Beer Guide London Visits 9 – King’s Cross, Euston & Hammersmith
With my trip safely out of the way I could get back to my Guide revisits in earnest, albeit exercising a degree of caution. I opted to start today by heading to the King’s Cross area and take it from there. Rather than the long walk I jumped on the 390 bus from King’s Cross to the most northerly of the four King’s Cross entries and work my way back.
Thus my first stop was only my second visit to Two Tribes, now called Two Tribes Campfire. My initial visit was when they had only recently opened and it was a tap room in the brewery unit, now they have converted a large area of the outdoor space using shipping containers and awnings, and very impressive it is too. Even on a cold January day it wasn’t uncomfortable. I arrived well after the advertising opening hour but the sole member of staff was still opening up – like a lot of businesses they were having staffing issues thanks to Covid – but he was more than happy to serve me, and as I was the sole customer we had a good chat about how things had been going. I really liked this new setup, and they have done a good job with making sure it is well signed from the main road, something the original tap room lacked.
From here I started the walk back to King’s Cross with the next stop being Little Creatures Tap Room. The obvious first question to ask was whether they had any of the in-house brewery beers on but I was told that they hadn’t brewed for a while. It wasn’t clear to what extent this is pandemic related or maybe connected to the recent news of the parent company exploring their options as to the future of their UK operation. Instead the taps were filled with beers from their “sister” breweries, Fourpure & Magic Rock. It remains to be seen what happens to all of these breweries going forward.
From here it is a short walk south to what is, I think, the largest branch of Beer + Burger. The King’s Cross branch is light and spacious and there is always a really good choice of beers here, although my timing was a bit out this time and I had just missed a couple of beers from a new, to me, Swedish brewery. However there is another reason I will always pop in to any of the branches when I’m passing and that is the fantastic fries, cheese & gravy that they serve. Perfect sustenance on a beery day out!
I now just had one pub left in the King’s Cross area, and it was very much a case of saving the best one until last. The Queen’s Head is one of the great London pubs. Situated in a quiet residential street just 5 minutes from King’s Cross it is not only a classic locals pub but one that is also a magnet for discerning travellers wanting to wait out the time before their train with some great beer. Alongside the great beer range they also do fantastic plates of cheeses and meats, something that nowhere near enough pubs do, put fresh from my poutine I had to give them a miss today. The pub remained closed for quite some time during the last couple of years so it was a huge relief to hear that it was re-opening and very heartening to see how busy it was on a random January Saturday afternoon. Long may it continue.
Now that I had done the King’s Cross entries it was only logical to stroll down the Euston Road to the Euston Tap. Located, as the name suggests, in one of the arches outside Euston station this quirky bar often has some really good beers on offer. Unfortunately on this occasion the range wasn’t that inspiring and the bottle range was virtually non-existent. This is a shame because the Tap is far and away the best place to grab a beer before your train from Euston. Hopefully it is a temporary blip, being encountered by a lot of bars, as they attempt to navigate back to normality after the last couple of years.
It was still relatively early so I decided to break my journey home in Hammersmith to visit a couple of the Guide entries there. First up was the Duke of Hammersmith, the new name for what was Draft House (Hammersmith). When the Draft House chain was acquired by BrewDog they kept things pretty much the same, only going for a full rebrand shortly before the first lock down ended, although the varied beer range stayed unchanged. On this visit, though, I met what I can only describe as BrewDog Lite. All bar a couple of the beers were from BrewDog. A real shame as this used to be a must visit for me. Again, it may just be a temporary adjustment, but in this case, given the owners, it is more likely to be a permanent downgrading.
I finished my day by heading to the most recent addition to the Craft Beer Co. chain of bars, Craft Beer Co. (Hammersmith). This is located within the shopping arcade above Hammersmith tube station and is a conversion of what was a Greene King pub. It is a large space with amazing decor and is a great place for me to make a pitstop on my journey home on the Piccadilly Line. This was another bar where there was a reduction in the number of beers on offer, but in this case there was no reduction in the quality on offer. Hopefully soon, and this goes for all pubs and bars, things start to return to normality. And that was my day done, with 7 Guide entries revisited. Slowly I’m getting back in to my stride, albeit still exercising a degree of caution.