One of the things we’re really going to miss about London is how new places to drink decent beer seem to pop up every five minutes, often with very little fanfare.
Mason & Taylor has very recently opened on Bethnal Green Road, selling ‘craft beer’ to the trendies of East London. It features beers from the Camden Town Brewery (including a Helles which is better than Meantime’s); some very interesting Belgian and American choices on tap (Brooklyn, Westmalle Dubbel); three cask ales (from Dark Star and Pictish this time) and loads and loads of bottles.
Boak had Molenbier — gorgeous, dense, sweet and sour — while Bailey went for Otley 08, also a barley wine. Unfortunately, although quite likeable, this tasted a bit too much of raw alcohol and grass and could possibly have done to mature a bit longer. Full credit to the waitresses though, with expert commentary on the beer and good pouring technique (“it’s bottle conditioned so I’ll leave the sediment in the bottom”).
The food is tapas-style, but not at all Spanish. We had a little plate of sausage and mash and breast of woodpigeon with chutney. The style of cooking reminded us of some of the more upmarket bars in San Sebastian.
Overall, M&T is definitely going for a cool crowd, but isn’t shy about its beer geekery either: they were proudly advertising a single hop ale festival at the end of April, for example. We hope it succeeds, though, for now, it seems a little quiet for this buzzing part of town.