21 June 2021

Testing the (sparkling) water.

By admin

So it’s been just under two months since I was told to stop drinking alcohol. Two months where the weeks have been spent at work and the weekends have been spent moping at home feeling sorry for myself.

At least in recent weeks I have been able to watch on enviously as Jezza starts to ramp up efforts to clear the backlog of potential London Beer Guide entries. In general conversation it was mentioned that on the 20th he was undertaking a whistle stop tour of the Hackney area.

I mulled over this for a few days and then pinged him the message “I may join you, I’ll let you know.” I eventually decided that if I didn’t make an effort to break the downward cycle I had got myself in to then there could be no telling what may happen in the remaining four months. I confirmed that I would be joining him.

So at 12:00 I found myself outside the new Old Street Brewery Tap Room. They hadn’t yet opened, but a Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea, kept me entertained until Jezza arrived. We decided to head across the yard to Crate whilst we waited for Old Street to open.

And so after what seemed like forever, but was in reality only a few months, I was in a bar again. And beginning my day of drinking sparkling water! That didn’t matter. I was out and about. I was in Jezza’s excellent company. If you ignored the lack of beer then everything was OK in the world.

The day saw us carry out a typical Guide reconnaissance trip, flying visits here and there, working out the best route from A to B on the fly as one bar was dropped in favour of another at the last moment. Exactly the kind of day I love and have missed. I visited 7 bars/tap rooms, a mixture of new places and revisits to old haunts, simply because we were in the area.

I’m not going to say what the final decisions were, you will have to wait for the official London Beer Guide announcements for that! I’ll just list where we visited.

Crate Brewery

Old Street Brewery Tap Room

Howling Hops Tank Bar

Hackney Tap

Five Points Brewery

Kraft Dalston

Red Hand

So, how did I feel about it all? It was great to be out and about and in such good, very much missed, company. And on the whole it was OK, but it was still tough looking at the beer lists and thinking “I’d like to try that,” “ooh, that sounds interesting!” But, yes, I will probably do it again. I just hope I can get back to the beers sooner rather than later!

And, just in case you were wondering, water of the day award went to Hackney Tap…