The Taming of the Brew: Beers in The CityBy Charlie Roper
The City of London is an odd place (note the capital C – it’s a little presumptuous even for me to generalise a metropolis of 8m people). Walk through on a Thursday night and the pavements pulse to the sound of the salary man (a gender neutral term in my view) supping, sloshing and swilling. But come Saturday and a ghost town awaits – inhabited only by confused and lonely tourists wondering where they took a wrong turn.
This strange dichotomy is perhaps why few independent establishments have dared to enter the square mile. Big breweries and bar chains possess the muscle and buying power to survive on limited trading but most others seemed, well, screwed.
Or so I thought.
Recently though a few green shoots have sprouted, allowing the humble number cruncher (alas dear reader this column doth butter no parsnips) a decent pint at the end the day. About time. (See what I’ve done there?)
The Taming of the Brew: Staple Beer
Staple Beer: Champale Extra Brut IPA, Mondo Brewing, Battersea, 6% ABV
Where to Drink it: The Arbitrageur, Bank. A gem of a find tucked behind as-historic-as-you-like Drapers Hall on Throgmorton Avenue. Easy to miss as you walk past, but make sure you don’t. Fiercely local, they only serve beers brewed here in London, but luckily for them there are plenty to go around!
What is it? Brut (French for dry) IPA’s are quite the rage amongst beer nerds right now. Using an enzyme usually preserved for big boozy stouts, brewers can break down all the long chain sugars into bitesize pieces for the yeast to dine out on. The result is a beer with pretty much no residual sugar – hence brut. Champale is their attempt at a wine/beer pun but don’t let it put you off – this beer is aromatic, fruity and has not an ounce of bitterness in it – perfect for a summer’s day.
In My Own Words: “Given the wine analogy I’m going to amp up my ponciness – channelling my inner Jill Goolden. It’s like a big IPA turned down a few notches. A touch more estery than your normal IPA. It’s a bit more restrained – a little more mature maybe? Bags of white fruit. Like a cool peach on a hot summers day.”
Photo Credit: Addie Chinn
The Taming of the Brew: Blindside Beer
Blindside Beer: Oechsner Heffeweizen, Germany, 5.2% ABV
Where to Drink it? The Pelt Trader, City of London. Nestled behind Canon Street Station. The Pelt Trader throngs with commuters squeezing in a pint on their way home. A great selection of both keg and cask beers, you’re never going to be disappointed with what they have on offer. As an added bonus they also do pizzas!
What is it? A Heffeweizen is a wheat beer and this one is unsurprisingly from Germany. The wheat gives the beer a beautiful hazy, golden glow. The nose is pure foam banana sweets – actually esters thrown up by the yeast, a trick much loved by our German and Belgian friends. Whilst hops are used they are purely there to balance it out – don’t expect to taste mango – allowing the malt and yeast to really shine through.
In my own words: “It’s like banana bread. Delicious, toasted and buttered banana bread. I’d want this in the winter. But I don’t want it to be winter. Not yet anyway…”
Photo Credit: The Pelt Trader