All you London beer-lovers will no doubt already know about Quaffs. It’s a market stall within Spitalfields market, 5 minutes walk from Liverpool Street Station.
I was there yesterday, buying beer for Christmas, and I can heartily recommend the selection and the service. Good to see a wide range of glasses too – perfect for making up gift sets. Who wouldn’t want to receive a hand-prepared selection of Brasserie Ellezelloise (with the fabulous Hercule Stout) with one of their nice chalice glasses?
I bought enough beer to get a free carrying case/bag/suitcase. Very good marketing trick that!
Oh, and I forgot to tell them Stonch sent me. Would I have got a discount if I did?
Details of beers in stock, opening times and how to get there are available on the Quaffs website here.Â It can be difficult to find – it’s sort of opposite the entrance to Canteen, backing onto where the food market is going to be.
Apparently today is the day most chosen for Christmas parties, and therefore the day when ambulance crews are most poised to pick up the pieces. I seem to remember that last year there was a lot of hysteria in the media about this, but there aren’t so many silly stories this year, perhaps because society didn’t in fact break down and the streets did not run with blood as predicted.
The Evening Standard and other related papers are having a go, though, with the story that Londoners are estimated to spend Â£120m on booze in two days (today and yesterday). However, that’s only Â£20 per Londoner (assuming 6m adult Londoners*), spread across two days. Â£10.00 doesn’t buy you many drinks in Central London these days, particularly in a wanky City bar (bottle of Becks – Â£4.20!!!!!!!!!**)
Given the hysteria about binge-drinking at the moment, Â£120m seems surprisingly low.
*Figure derived from the Office of National Statistics estimates in 2006. The figure of 6m includes the over 16s (because apparently they’re all drinking a bottle of wine a week) and excludes short-term migrants.
**That’s about a million dollars for our readers across the pond.
The specialist beer and wine shop which used to be in the basement of Army and Navy Stores (House of Fraser) on Victoria Street in Westminster has been replaced… by a branch of Gap.
So, no more Sam Smith gift sets; no more oddball Belgian beers; and no more bottle-conditioned stouts and porters, five minutes from my work.
Still, at least I’ll be able to buy “khakis” and striped scarves now…
The reopening today of the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden has made me wonder why there’s no museum of brewing in the capital.
Sure, individual breweries around the country have their own museums, and Coors/Bass have the best claim to running the national museum of brewing in Burton Upon Trent.
But there’s nothing in London. The whole city is, in effect, a museum of brewing, but it would be nice to see key artifacts brought together in one place (the old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, for example) to tell the fascinating story of brewing in this city.
Failing that, though, what about an exhibition at the excellent but occasionally overlooked Museum of London? That has a great “Victorian street”, including a pub, and some great stuff in the archives, so they’re halfway there already.
Update: I wonder if this story on Hop Talk might not have subconsciously influenced my thinking?
Following a tip-off from Stonch’s blog, I convinced some colleagues that, if we must go for an after work drink on a Tuesday night, we should do it at a Fuller’s pub, so I could try cask-conditioned London Porter.
It’s one of our very favourite beers — there’s a very short list of about four beers that both Boak and I agree are bang on — but I’d never had it on tap.
As is often the case, it was a very different beer than the bottled version. It had a lighter body for one thing and possibly also a lighter colour (transparent red). Unlike the bottled version, it maintained a lovely head all the way down. It was incredibly fruity, with a little less of the sourness or coffee flavour I’m used to from the bottle.
I probably ever so slightly prefer the bottled version, but nonetheless, it would be nice if this stayed on tap in Fuller’s pubs all year round. As it is, they often have both Honey Dew and Discovery, which are similar-tasting light, lagery ales, and HSB and London Pride, which are similar tasting brown bitters, and nothing like a dark mild/stout/porter except Guinness.
In fact, all pubs should make it their business to have one lightish beer, one brown beer, and one black beer. Then there would always be something to suit my mood.