Beer Guide London Visits 3 – Blackhorse Beer Mile
Things are improving, not only did I set out this week with a plan but I had an actual itinerary. Don’t worry, this level of organisation won’t last. Indeed it nearly didn’t this week as once I told Jezza of my plans he immediately responded with, well as you’ll be there could you just pop in to…
Enough of the preamble, on to the details. I headed out to the Walthamstow area, more specifically the slew of Breweries to the North of Blackhorse Road tube station which has become known as the Blackhorse Beer Mile. My intention was to start at the top and work my way back down, taking detailed notes so that I can include it in the forthcoming Pub Crawl section of this site. For that reason I’ll omit too much of the logistics here as they will be covered properly in the next few days.
A short bus ride from the tube station dropped me a brief walk from the first stop of the day, Tavern On The Hill. Previously a pub know as the Warrant Officer it has been taken over by Wild Card Brewery and now offers a range of their beers, both cask and keg, in a back street pub. Now I won’t say that I’m overly keen but they had to unlock the doors for me, the first customer of the day. It was a pleasant surprise to find that Wild Card had a cask offering and it would have been rude not to try it and as Best Bitters go it was pretty good, and in excellent condition. This is a classic old style pub and it is good to see breweries taking on places like this alongside their brewery taprooms.
The walk from here to the second stop is less than ten minutes, but it is just about the longest of the day! And so I arrived at my second Guide catch up, the impressive High Hill Taproom, home of Hackney Brewery. It is a cavernous building but they have done a really good job of creating a self contained tap room within whilst maintaining plenty of seating elsewhere in the brewery.
Now the next section is a bit tricky so you may need to refer to the detailed directions in the Crawl section. You cross the road and you arrive at Wild Card Lockwood the home of Wild Card Brewery. Another huge industrial space and a step up from their original site. Plenty of seating inside and out and, as you would expect, a good selection of their beers. Plus, and I can’t emphasise this enough, they sell Tayto crisps!
I had one of those moments here when I was sure that I knew the person who served me but wasn’t 100% sure. I eventually worked out where I thought that I knew them from and was quite relieved when they confirmed that, yes, they did used to work at BrewDog Shepherd’s Bush.
It’s now just a case of working your way back South through the industrial estate with the next stop being another of my required Guide catch ups, Beerblefish Tap Room. You know the drill by now, it’s a brewery with plenty of seating where you can sample their beers in the best possible condition. What I wasn’t expecting was the fact that on the draft list there were more cask beers available than keg, with the beer drawn on gravity from the casks visible in the cold room behind the bar. They are passionate about their cask and the ESB was superb!
The next tap is located behind, and backing on to Beerblefish. This was was my second visit to the Exale Taproom but the first had been on their opening day when it was still very much a work in progress. It was good to get back and see how everything has settled down in to a nice cosy drinking area. I had a flight of four beers here and none of them disappointed, simply confirming that they are a great, friendly brewery.
And so on to the last stop on the mile, and my last catch up visit, the absolutely huge Truman’s Social Club, new home of Truman’s Brewery. This is a seriously large taproom and space, the only comparison I can come up with personally is the feeling I had on my visit to Stone’s Berlin taproom. The actual bar is somewhat lost in the huge space but had a good selection available.
It’s less than ten minutes walk from here back to Blackhorse Road tube station but I diverted off to check out the “while you are in the area” bottle shop 151 For The Road. We knew that it was a bottle shop that had links to a couple of bars that are already in the Guide but recent information was that they had now also started selling draft beer to drink on-site. It didn’t start well as the door was locked but that proved to be because the guy had had to take a comfort break, the perils of a single manned establishment! I can confirm that they do now serve draft beers, two at the moment but they are hoping to increase this soon.
I could, and possibly should, have headed home at this point. I didn’t. There is another Guide entry conveniently close, and in my defence Jezza had mentioned that it had disappeared off the brewery website so I felt obliged to do a bit more research. It’s a short bus journey down to St James Street Station and the adjacent CRATE St James Street, a collection of shipping containers stacked together and housing food outlets together with my ninth and final stop of the day, Untraditional Pub run by Pillars Brewery. I was happy to find that it was still in situ, my journey wasn’t in vain and I finished the day with one of their excellent Pilsners.
I got home, but I’m not entirely sure how… I just say that I need to keep practicing!