Welcome to our ongoing mission to explore what London has to offer the discerning lover of excellent beer - from pubs and retailers that take pride in the quality of their hoppy offerings, to local breweries and beer events. In this instalment, we learn not to judge a book by its cover.
Built into the structure of a 1970s council estate in Pimlico is a pub that is easily missed. Walking past, unless you were paying attention, you could fail to spot that the establishment is a public house at all, let alone one that you would go out of your way to visit. And yet you would be wrong to turn up your nose at this particular drinkery.
The underwhelming and pokey entrance to Cask Pub and Kitchen conceals a surprisingly bright, airy and spacious interior. And it gets better, with a bar housing eight hand-pumps and several European-style keg offerings, complemented by a couple of fridges of Belgian beer. The place was almost empty when we turned up on a Sunday afternoon, although it became slightly less deserted as the afternoon progressed.
And how it progressed. The atmosphere was immediately welcoming and comfortable, some barely-perceptible jazz music could be heard over some discrete speakers, and the light green wood-panelled walls and tall thin windows made the most of the space as sunlight streamed in, making settling in for a gentle afternoon session an appealing prospect. Beers arrived and departed, as did some rather generous (but not cheap) roasted sustenance. Pork scratchings were notable by their absence. Shame.
On our visit, many of the cask ales took the form of refreshing pale ales - all decent session beers - with a couple of notable exceptions: the Murmansk Baltic Porter tasted almost offensively powerful and commanding, with little subtlety but still plenty of different flavours, while the Thornbridge Black IPA tasted like the bastard offspring of a smooth mild and an aromatic IPA, with a surprisingly bitter aftertaste. Quite odd, but not necessarily problematic.
From keg, Moravka was an excellent, clean-tasting, unpasteurised lager from Taddington Brewery - enjoyable enough to twist the arm of the most ardent cask ale snob. From the fridge, Viven IPA was an immense Belgian take on an American IPA with strong, sharp, aromatic hops. Impressive stuff.
In its current incarnation Cask Pub and Kitchen has been open since last autumn, and it’s still ripe for ‘discovering’. We would recommend that you do so.
Cask Pub and Kitchen, 6 Charlwood Street, London SW1V 6EE.