Friday saw the quiet opening of the latest Craft Beer Co. pub in Brixton, following in the footsteps of the popular haunts of the same name in Clerkenwell and
London-on-Sea Brighton, plus their forefather CASK in Pimlico.
Anyone familiar with these other pubs will know the drill by now. Brilliant beer, lots of it and a regular turnaround. And on our visit to Brixton on Sunday, we have to add to that list extremely friendly and knowledgeable staff and a fairly decent scotch egg.
The company brings together some of the best and most interesting brews from the UK and around the world, not only serving them in their pubs but also offering bottles to purchase. There’s so much variety that its hard to even pull together highlights, but there’s a very rational love affair with Mikkeller going on. This multi-award-winning Danish-origin brewery is a pioneer of the roaming ‘gypsy brewing’ movement which sees brewers move around facilities rather than stick to one base, and has over 100 beers to their name. We dare say you’ll find around half of those at Craft Beer Co. between bottles and draft, including the pub’s house Craft Lager, which Mikkeller makes especially for them. With a soft hoppy flavour and subtle hints of raisin, it’s a sexy, easy drinking floozy of a pint which turns out to actually be quite intellectual deep down.
Thornbridge’s Bracia, which is aged in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks is another winner in our book, with sweet, liquorice-y, roasted malt flavours giving enough lift to make you forget it’s 9.3%. And it tastes exotic enough that you’d never guess it was from Derbyshire. The ever-reliable Dark Star from Sussex is also well represented, and there’s a few interesting ciders for good measure. Our only complaint about the beers available (and we’re just going on our visit as they do change all the time) is that we’d have liked to have seen a few more London brews available. Kernel was there, but maybe some of By The Horns, East London Brewery or Meantime would have been a nice addition - London’s starting to get pretty good at this brewing lark and it would be good to see our pubs giving them a friendly push.
Prices vary from well under £4 a pint to well over that for a half, but once rarity is factored in and import costs considered, it has to be said that The Craft Beer Co. seems to be fairly good value for money. So, it’s a great pub and a worthwhile addition to the area, but almost more interesting than the pub’s opening in itself is what it says about Brixton. With Brixton Village now firmly established and bragging venues as effortlessly trendy (and good at cocktails) as Seven at Brixton, a thriving Sunday farmers’ market amongst London’s best and most understated, and not forgetting the excellent beer pub Crown & Anchor just down the road, Brixton has become a true foodie quarter. And an excellent spot for a pub crawl.
The Craft Beer Co. Brixton is at 11-13 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PD. Visit the website here.