I've found a craft beer pub! On Saturday I met up with a couple of old friends in London for a beer or two.
First I used the opportunity to try some of my beers on draught so we called in at the Hundred Crows Rising. I was delighted to see they had the AK on so I belatedly raised a glass to the lads from the valley for the greatest footballing achievement since 1911. Very much a gastro-pub, though we were perfectly welcome just drinking beer, it had the contemporary open plan, bare floor boards and no soft furnishings design.
I was expecting more of the same when we moved on to our next stop, the nearby Islington Craft Beer Co. But much to my surprise they had carpets (except by the bar), curtains, and comfy seats. A welcome development, not just for beer lovers with chalfonts but for people who like a chat. I don't know why all the other craft beer places I've been too go for the stripped back bar look but I prefer a place with a bit of cosiness and something to absorb the noise of people talking.
They had a long line of hand pumps, there were keg taps round the corner for those lacking in moral fibre
and there were bottled beer menus on each table for those with more money than sense.
After a brief loiter at the bar we settled into some seats and that was it for us moving on again. We did wander round the hand pumps a bit though, and my favourite was Siren's Undercurrent (4.5% ABV). Advertised with the world's largest pump clip it had an unusual mix of American hops and oats in a pale beer which worked surprisingly well and avoided the one dimensional nature of many beers that are hop forward in the modern style.
It was good to be in a craft beer place that felt like a pub not a bar, and I do hope it catches on.