This is one I hadn’t really thought of doing before: take away beer. Boxpark opened in Croydon a while back, and one of the highlights is a small bar run by a local microbrewery, The Cronx Brewery. What’s even better is that they sell their beer to take home as well.
Take away beer? Yum
I quite like the idea of taking a beer or two home to enjoy. One reason is that the toilets at home are usually cleaner, and a wider (and better value) selection of snacks is available at home. It makes me wonder why I hadn’t bought beer to take home before.
I opted for a few bottles of the Kotchin, a hoppy blonde ale. Delicious with the fried chicken burger I picked up on the way home. I know I could have bought the beer from a supermarket or off-license. There is something to be said for supporting local small businesses directly. In addition to that the fact that the staff at the bar are fantastic. So I really want the little bar to stay around.
Ever since I’ve been coming to Seattle, I’ve enjoyed Elysian Breweries‘ creations. This trip Space Dust, a hoppy IPA, seems to have taken over most places I’ve visited.
[Photo is missing due to an accident with the phone]
In this case, the answer would be: no, it’s not heavenly. It’s more like space crack than space dust. To my peril, I discovered that the Elysian creation ways in at a hefty 8.2%, which means that after three or four hefty American-sized servings, I realised I’d had more to drink than I had planned to. I was fairly convinced that I had taken photos of the beer and the cure coaster for it, but I can’t find the pictures anywhere. So the lack of photos is not really an accident, more of an ‘oops, that wasn’t supposed to happen. The amount of strong beer and the residual effects of the jetlag meant that I didn’t have a particularly good sleep that evening.
However, if you enjoy hoppy IPAs, and you happen to bump into a Space Dust, you should definitely try it. If you don’t like bitter, hoppy beers, I wouldn’t recommend it as it would be a bit of a shock to your system.
The last day of our office being Clerkenwell required a trip to the BrewDog pub on Clerkenwell Road.
The BrewDog Pub
As I have had to say a few times in this series of new things, I should have gone before. It’s a wonderful pub (or bar, really). Almost the entire range of beers that BrewDog brews are for sale. I played it safe and went for a relatively low alcohol pale. Their reputation for offering highly potent brews is well founded. Most of the menu was too strong for my liking, especially for having a work night :).
We didn’t try the food, but it looked delicious. It’s going to be a bit out of the way for me most of the time now, but if I happen to be in Clerkenwell again any time soon, I would drop by.
I had been to a different BrewDog pub before and had obviously had some of their beers, like the ubiquitous Punk IPA (good value at your nearest Wetherspoons). Their less-than-subtle marketing and PR also hadn’t escaped me: a kind of corporate cool hipster company.
Writing this post I had a quick look at their site and history, and it’s actually quite interesting. They really do push themselves as the techno-hipster beer lifestyle company. That is not a bad thing, and it is squarely aimed at my demographic.
The really interesting thing a friend pointed out while we were at BrewDog is that they make their recipes available, keeping true to their origins. Anyone can download their DIY Dog guide here. The provide step-by-step instructions to brew their beers at home. Which is an awesome thing to make available. If I had enough space, this would be an awesome candidate for a new thing to do.
Monday’s are probably not the best day to go to the pub. My friend John was in town today. He successfully completed the new thing a day challenge a few years ago. I couldn’t skip catching up with him. This was also a good day to visit a couple of pubs near the office before moving to the new office. So, yet again, the new thing for the day was visiting a new pub or two
The Hat and Tun
First stop: the Hat and Tun. The just of Hatton Garden, it’s a lovely little pub. I’ve walked past it a few times and should have stopped in sooner. They were serving perfectly kept Hophead, a deliciously hoppy number by Dark Star Brewery. It’s probably my favourite beer, and safe for Mondays as it’s fairly low in alcohol. We hung around at the bar over the beer, chatting about suitably geeky tech stuff. I also tried to pick up a few ideas for new things.
The One Tun
With a wanton disregard for the fact that it was Monday, a second stop was added to the mini-crawl. The One Tun is slightly closer to Farringdon. Also a nice pub, and yet again I had to ask myself: why have we been going to the less interesting pubs near the office. The One Tun had One Tun Ale, a perfectly acceptable, if slightly dull, ale. Still not bad, and if I had gone there sooner, I probably would have added it to my list of acceptable venues.
Don’t worry, only two punny pub names for the day. Day 25 is done, and so far it’s been fun. It turns out that a little prod to try something different is good. If you have any suggestions, please let me know what you think would make a good new thing.
Today’s new thing was supposed to a trip to Bromley to see some community theatre, but in the end, we ended up missing that. A night out Bromley wasn’t something I’d done before. Bromley has also changed quite a lot in the past few years, with a number of new pubs appearing.
The Railway Tavern
First stop: the Railway Tavern, across the road from Bromley North station. It’s another Antic pub. Like all Antic pubs, it serves a good selection of beers in a quirky setting. The pub wasn’t overly busy, but there was a good buzz. If you happen to be in Bromley, it’s well worth a visit. The menu seemed interesting, but we didn’t stop for a meal.
Next stop: Star and Garter
In a previous incarnation, the Star and Garter were Bromley’s only gay bar. It has reopened in the spirit of a trendy real ale/craft beer pub. They have a really good selection of beers, even if some of my friends would complain that there’s not enough cask ale on. I had an IPA from Tool, a Danish brewer. I really enjoyed it, even if it was a bit too strong. We ended up passing through the local Fuller’s on the way back as well.
No community theatre, though, so that will have to come another evening. Bromley is a lot more interesting than I remember, though. It’s also nicer than Croydon, with a much better selection of pubs and restaurants.
Beer and burger for less than £14? I can already hear you saying that that’s not a particularly good deal. What if I told you that it was 4 beers and a burger?
Seeing is believing
It’s true, with a bit of effort and some luck you can still have four pints and a burger for less than £15. To clarify, this wasn’t at a Wetherspoon’s. Furthermore, I only had 2 of the pints, seeing as it mid-week.
A quick stop at my local pub, the Builders Arms (I believe there’s an apostrophe missing there somewhere, but that’s how they spell it). It’s a wonderful local, with a superb beer garden for days when it is a bitter warmer than it was today. Visiting there is not particularly new, but the stars aligned to allow for some epically great value today.
Firstly, my friend is carrying a Fuller’s Inndulgence card, which is available to employees and shareholders and grants a fifteen percent discount. This pushed the price for two beers and a burger below £14. Not a bad start to the evening. However, the landlady of the pub insisted that the beer she’d served us wasn’t entirely up to scratch. I thought it was still drinkable, but gladly accepted the replacement pints, which brought the total up to four pints, all for the princely aforementioned sum. Sometimes you’re lucky, unlike this morning’s shock at the £2,15 for a double espresso at Starbucks, a whopping 15% increase overnight. Over the past 5 years, I’ve seen double espressos at suburban stations go from £1,50 to £2,15. It’s almost as bad as the fare increases on the railways in general.
Thought for the day
Admittedly today was slightly scraping the barrel in terms of being a new thing. I have spent 5 minutes reflecting on the progress so far, and I think I will have to try slightly harder at new things if I am going to reach the 365-day target. It’s easy when travelling or during the weekends, but the really hard part is going to be during ‘normal’ working weeks. I think it’s time to sit down and work on a more detailed plan for this project.
Had a new beer today. The street outside my office has never been this empty. We were the only people in the pub, and I can’t remember the last time that happened in central Londom on a Friday. The beer itself was ok, a darkish ale but without too much body to it. I’m going to miss the Clerrkenwell CBC when we move though.
The street at 19:00:
I’ve enjoyed the quiet week at the office: working in an empty office does feel quite productive, and I think I’m going to try to find some time every week to get that space to think every week.