Beer Guide London Visits 18 – North West London
With a large proportion of Guide entries still to be visited / revisited I still had a number of fairly logical groupings to go at. Today I decided to take advantage of the Overground line out of Richmond to explore an area of London that I have, on the whole, rarely visited.
I jumped off the train at West Hampstead and took a short walk down the road for a first visit to Bohemia House, a specialist Czech & Slovak bar. From the outside it has the appearance of a normal residential property but once inside it definitely has more of a “club” feeling, indeed it used to be the Czech & Slovak club. There is a good selection of both imported beers and a draft beer from the London brewer of very authentic Czech beers, Bohem. Food is also served here with plenty of traditional dishes to choose from including my favourite pickled sausage! With the sudden, shock, closing of Pivo this is currently the best place to get Czech beers in London.
A quick hop on the Jubilee Line to Willesden Green took me to the days second stop, Beer + Burger (Willesden). This is one of the smaller branches but still manages to stock the great range of beer, both draft and packaged, that you associate with them. They also have the same excellent food menu which meant I was able to partake of my usual chips, cheese & gravy. Usually on my trips out I get to the end of the day and realise I haven’t eaten, today I’d had food at every stop so far!
A tube and bus journey got me to Hampstead and a visit to the original home of Camden Town Brewery, the Horseshoe. It was very busy in here with friends and families meeting up for lunch, and given what the industry has been through in the last couple of years it was a very pleasing sight. Luckily I was able to grab the one stool at the bar to drink my beer. From the range of Camden beers on offer I chose one of the Arch 55 range, the Czech Pilsner, it seemed appropriate for the day.
It was a nice day so I decided to walk from here through the leafy back streets of Hampstead. Suffice to say I don’t think I’ll be moving here any time soon. After 15 minutes or so I arrived at stop 4, the Magdala. This is a large pub at the southern end of Hampstead Heath that has been sympathetically restored by Big Smoke. Plenty of art deco features inside and the usual good selection of beers you associate with pubs in this family. A glance at the available beers showed me that there was only one obvious choice, Marble‘s Export Mild on cask, and it did not disappoint.
Another short walk in the sunshine took me from Hampstead to Belsize Park and stop 5 at the Stag. Another large, imposing, corner pub that is a sister pub to the Mall Tavern in Notting Hill and with an equally impressive beer range including one from their own “brewery” which after investigation turned out to be contract brewed, but was still very tasty. Alas, on this, my second, visit I didn’t repeat the Sylvester McCoy sighting of the first!
More walking, enjoying the sights as I went including the Isokon Flats, apparently the first modern block of flats opened in 1934. Stop 6 was my 2nd new Guide entry of the day, the Haverstock Tavern. A very impressive independent pub with a good selection of beers to choose from. It is large, light and airy with great views over the main road so you can people watch as you drink and a large beer garden.
After finishing here I dropped down in to Camden where the next stop was initial visit to the recently opened Werewolf Tap Room, indeed it was so new there was still no signage up and I nearly missed the arch housing it. Initial beers were cuckoo brewed elsewhere but they have now got their own kit up and running and they are producing some truly fine beers. Managed to have a really good chat with the brewer/owner about his plans. Keep an eye out for their beers!
My final destination was a new / not new visit to Caps and Taps. My only other visit was to their original location in Kentish Town but they have moved to larger premises in Tufnell Park. The extra space has given them room to increase the range and also put more seating in, all in all a much deserved upgrade to what was already a good place to visit. I finished a very enjoyable days exploring with the Ukranian fundraising beer brewed by Newbarns.