beer reviews pubs

Where's me pilsner to, my luvver?


It may seem odd to go all the way to Bristol and then make Zero Degrees our first stop, given we have a branch of the same brewpub in London. The shameful truth is, though, that we’ve never been to the one in Blackheath,  despite hearing great things about the beer from bloggers and friends.

On this occasion, the decision was made for us when we’d dragged ourselves up the charming, Dickensian Christmas Steps and spotted that the place was opposite, just as we started to feel peckish and thirsty.

Despite the late-90s trendy warehouse look and aspirational dance-jazz soundtrack, the first thing that struck us was how many families were in, contributing to a German brauhaus atmosphere. The staff were extremely friendly, too, although that seems to be true of Bristolians more generally. We got a smile on approaching the bar; a “be with you in a minute”; a bit of banter during service; and some apparent expertise when it came to the flavour and manufacture of the beer. Impressive stuff.

We started out with the pilsner and one of the specials, continental blonde. The pilsner was bang on, if mainstream — something like tankova Urquell.

The continental blonde was fascinating and delicious. Despite the colour, we think it was actually a clone of a Belgian pale ale, but much fresher tasting than any example of the real thing we’ve had. It was spicy with hints of banana — an absolute treat.

The wheat ale was Belgian style and utterly delicious. Again, the freshness and condition was outstanding. The dark lager was also of a superior quality, as good as the wonderful Bernard Dark, with a besutiful balance of treacle and bitterness. It might almost be as good as U Fleku.

The prices, as Jeff has noted of the London branch, were very competitive for such an apparently swanky place, with regulars at £2.60 specials at £2.90.

A minor quibble, though: does the name refer to the temperature of the bar? Brrrrrr….

8 replies on “Where's me pilsner to, my luvver?”

Funny. On Saturday I went to the Blackheath ZeroDegrees and was really disappointed with the beer. Sadly the food wasn’t much better either. It wasn’t that anything was bad, it just wasn’t as I remembered it from my last visit in summer.

PS. I don’t think ZeroDegrees is swanky. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy visiting the place, but it’s pretty chavtastic…

Jeff — I used to live across the road from the London branch. On Saturday nights, there was always a very rowdy queue of blokes twice my size in short-sleeved shirts. And on Sunday morning, pools of vomit with a heady Saaz aroma. That’s part of the reason we’ve never been, I think.

Blimey — that’s saying something.

I wonder how variable the beers are between sites (I gather there are branches in Reading and Cardiff, too) and between batches?

The cheery barman told us that the mango fruit beer (we had a taste, but didn’t bother with a pint) starts out sweet and gets drier as it ages, so it’s not as clinical as all the chrome and steel would have you think.

I recently went to the 0Degrees in Reading, food was ok but I thought the beer was bland, too cold and over-carbonated. A real shame as their brewing kit is beautiful, and a brewer with a bit of talent could make some amazing beer on it.

[…] down the road is the Angel Inn, a much trendier pub. As at Zero Degrees in Bristol, the tone was set by a cheerful barman who, before we got down to business, asked: “How are […]

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