22 August 2023

Beer Guide London Visits 27 – East London

By admin

The Friday of the long Bank Holiday weekend saw me riding the District line to it’s final stop at Upminster and a day exploring the far Eastern reaches of Guide territory. A ten minute walk from the tube station brought me to the first stop of the day, Upminster Tap Room. This is a slightly larger than usual micropub with a good range of cask beers served on gravity from the cold room. On this occasion they had plenty of Jubilee beers on offer and all of those that I sampled were in excellent condition. I also had a good chat with the young couple who had recently taken over and found them to be both friendly and enthusiastic.

I headed back to the station and took the Upminster to Romford train and alighted at the midway stop of Emerson Park for the short walk to the award winning Hop Inn. Since my only previous visit they have acquired the premises next door to double their space. Another great selection of well served cask and keg beers, and a good range of ciders, a passion of the owner, and as it happened to be World Cider Day it would have been rude not to try one.

Back to the station for the one stop to Romford, then one stop on the Elizabeth Line to Gidea Park and stop three, Gidea Park Micropub. This is what you expect from a micropub, cosy and friendly with a great beer choice. The gravity served cask beer was in excellent condition and there was an interesting choice of keg beers. It’s a bit of a trek to this part of London but these three pubs connected easily by train and/or bus mean it is well worth the effort.

More use was made of the Elizabeth Line to get to an anonymous industrial estate in Harold Wood and the premises of East Side Brewery. My first time trying their beers and they were pretty good. Run by some friendly Indians the set up was the typical brewery in an industrial unit with seating inside and out. Unfortunately they, like many other breweries, succumbed earlier this year to the economic pressures facing the industry. A real shame as their was a certain delightful quirkiness to this place.

At the Guide we often get people suggesting places that they feel are worth checking out. We always make a point of getting around to visiting because we don’t want to miss out on an unknown gem, and it is always easier when someone responds to one of my tweets on a day out with a recommendation as it invariably means I am not far away, and so I found myself paying a visit to the Railway Bell adjacent to South Woodford station. This turned out to be a Greene King pub but with a surprisingly good beer range, not quite good enough to make it guideworthy but I’m not going to say no to a new Deya beer!

I headed in to Leytonstone for my next stop but as I was walking along the High Road I caught sight of an A-board outside a food shop advertising craft beer, and it would have been remiss of me not to take a look. A delicatessen with a friendly welcome and two taps plus plenty of package beer. There is a large room at the back where you can sit and enjoy your beer. It’s discoveries like this that make all of the walking around London a pleasure.

After this pleasant distraction I finally made it to my intended destination, Mammoth Tap Room. Annoyingly it had opened a week after my previous visit to the area so it was good to be able to fill the gap. An arch under the railway with six of their own, very good, beers on tap.

From Leytonstone I headed over to Walthamstow to visit the numerous Guide entries here, with three of them in one very small industrial estate! First up was Pillars Brewery Tap with 4 of their own beers on tap. Seating is within the brewing area with some additional seating outside. This brewery does a number of different lager styles and it does them very well. Worth seeking them out.

A couple of units along is The Real Al Tap (TRAP), ostensibly a specialist cider bar it does also have 5 taps. As this is, shock horror, not a brewery, there is plenty of seating available inside the large unit. It has a very good reputation amongst cider lovers in the capital and hosts regular events.

Turn left out of here and around the corner is Wild Card Barrel Store (Ravenswood) which is the original home of Wild Card before the kit was relocated to the Blackhorse area of Walthamstow. With the kit gone their is plenty of space in the large unit for both seating and their barrel store where beers are aged. Plenty of their own beers available on tap and the pizza smelled very good.

Leaving the industrial estate via the slightly obscure rear footpath I headed in to central Walthamstow where the first of two stops was Beer + Burger (Walthamstow), the E17 branch of this small, but excellent, chain of bottle shops that also serve a great range of draft beers and excellent burgers. My visit here came after a recent refurb but I have noticed while preparing this post that it is listed on their website as temporarily closed. I really do need to clear the backlog of these posts!

And so it was on to my twelfth, and final, visit of the day, The Collab. The name refers to the fact that this is a joint venture between Signature Brewery and burger store We Serve Humans. Over a dozen taps split pretty much equally between Signature and guests in a large airy space. One day I will try the food here!

Thus ended a long and enjoyable day on the far side of Town. All that remained was the journey home…