Tryanuary II – The Discoveries
As we come to the end of the first Tryanuary, it is time to cast a glance over our shoulders and attempt to remember quite what that amazing beer we had at half ten one Thursday night in that great little bar on the other side of town was. It has been a lot of fun exploring and researching the vast tracts that I still have barely scratched the surface of and going out of my way to track down other's recommendations, even if I haven't always then agreed with them afterwards. It is simple idea, but one I hope continues to brighten many future dank Januarys to come.
Bar: The King's Arms, Bethnal Green – One pub that kept cropping up time and again as a great place to go and drink in East London was the magnificent King's Arms, even appearing in a few Tryanuary-themed pub crawls – including our own impromptu one. Hidden down the back streets off Bethnal Green Road, it has an old fashioned, quiet and friendly atmosphere akin to a proper village local. The beer selection however is anything but; a vast array of all styles from all places, supplemented by an impressive array of bottles that included some rare treats that seriously tempted me. Short walks to the likes of The White Hart (home of One Mile End), Mother Kelly's and BrewDog, this is quickly becoming the mile to trek when it's not Saturday.
Beer: Millionaire, The Wild Beer Co. – I know I featured The Wild Beer Co. in part one, but their new Millionaire is simply too good a beer to leave out. A milk stout with cacao nibs, salt and caramel added (as in the shortbread treat from which it takes its name, which also happens to be a personal favourite), I can't get enough of this. So incredibly smooth in a light, creamy manner due to the lactose sugar, the chocolate and caramel flavours add a deliciously decadent twist to it all; the only ingredient that doesn't come through for me is the salt. I spent a long time trying to track this down such was the appeal, whilst others cruelly raved about it all over social media, and it does not disappoint.
Bottle Shop: Hop Burns & Black, East Dulwich – A fantastic new outpost south of the river, this little shop celebrates three hip movements that aren’t necessarily tied together particularly strongly: craft beer, hot sauce and 2nd hand vinyl. The emphasis of Hop Burns & Black is very much on the first, with as much as two thirds of the shelves given over to beers from all over the globe, many unseen elsewhere. Given the location and the fact it is run by a pair of Kiwis, by far the best ranges are London (and the south east in particular) and New Zealand beers. My remarkable find of the month was bottles of Yeastie Boys' Rex Attitude, a 100% peat-smoked malt golden ale that has quite the reputation; I loved the almost overpowering smokiness, akin to an Islay whisky (albeit a touch more medicinal in tone) but without the hearty burn.
Brewery: Orbit Beers – Ok, so Orbit may not be an entirely new brewery to me, but this month I have tried two frankly excellent new beers from this SE London lot. The first to cross my path was Leaf, a rauch alt that is full of smoked meat flavours, a really satisfying example of the style that not only promises much on the nose, but then delivers all the way through to the end of the long finish. Their double brown stout Seven is another success story; bold and rich without being too heavy, the dominant character is dark chocolate. It slips down so easily. This is a brewery moving in the right direction very quickly, and I for one cannot wait to taste what they turn their hands to next.