The Craft Beer Company, Leather Lane, London, EC1N 7TR

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First off, thanks to Oracle for organizing their CloudWorld seminar in the Excel centre yesterday, and thanks to my colleague Karl for plotting us a route back to Marylebone via the Craft Beer Company’s Leather Lane establishment.

The premises are an old, slightly dingy, wood panelled, corner pub at the bottom end of Leather Lane.  Nothing really has been done to the internal decor, so it’s not been poncified, jazzed up or anything else – lending a corner boozer, old-world charm to the place…you know, a bit like city pubs were before the chains came and replaced all the old features with new, reproduction, pretend old features…

All of which means that you get to concentrate solely on the beer, and by crikey have they got some!  We counted at least 18 on keg, and another 16 or so on hand-pull/beer-engine.  The fridges are literally bulging with extraordinary bottles, some of which I’ve only ever seen in books – cuvee rene gueze being one of them, amongst a ton of other exciting UK and US craft specialities.

I felt the need for something over-the-top hoppy, so asked the chap behind the bar for “something with far, far, too many hops in it” and got a half of an unbranded keg IPA, which was supremely bitter and so stuffed with hops I thought I would faint.  Marvellous stuff and at 6.9% kept me satisfied throughout.  (This is precisely the type of beer that I try to make at home, and will be soon…hops and grain will be ordered in the next day or so)

Continuing my hoppy theme, I plumped for a half of Jaipur on tap (as I’ve never come across it on tap before) and that was a touch thinner than the preceding IPA, but more spritzy in it’s hoppiness and was again just what I was after on a wet and grey London afternoon.

Karl, meanwhile, had a Kernel single hop pale ale, brewed with Nugget hops.  I had a small taste and as with all Kernel beers was excellent, slightly grassy and pleasantly resiny with a good bitter edge.  He then went for the Buxton US Rye Amber ale, which was pleasantly malty with just enough hoppiness to help things along…I’m afraid I don’t have much else to say about this particular beer as I was lost in hoppy no-name IPA and Jaipur reverie by this point!

I need some sort of excuse to get up to Leather Lane again (or one of the other branches – see the website, below) in the near future as there’s just too many interesting beers to get down my hairy throat.

The beer selection is also “reassuringly priced” and with no TV, games machines or other guff means that it keeps the “pub wankers” out…

Great stuff!