Friday 30 November 2012

Crate Brewery Hackney, Barrel and Horn Bromley

I've never been the most trendiest bloke. I've managed to avoid going to any warehouse raves, I've got no idea what a fixie bike is, I still think global hypercolour t-shirts deserve to make a comeback and I had to ask the Lovely Jemma how to spell "fixie". So when I was invited to a friends party at the new Crate brewery in "up and coming Hackney," my first thought was "what the hell is the Crate Brewery?" My second thought was that the only thing up and coming in Hackney is the blood spurting out of hapless saps as they've either been stabbed or shot. For both of these reasons I was a little nervous attending.

Obiligatory blurry shot of a bar.
It turns out I didn't need to be. Despite the walk from Hackney Wick station to the Crate looking like a prime way to get stabbed, the Crate is a bustling, friendly craft ale house with a good selection of beers brewed onsite. It did feel a little bit warehousey, which is now a real word as I've added it to the Google dictionary, but I'll forgive it. Four taps serve beers from the onsite brewery. I sampled the IPA which was a fine example, flowery, hoppy, all the good things you'd expect from a decent IPA. The Best Bitter was also excellent, refreshing and comforting, with a lovely bitter finish. The IPA was the clear winner of the evening and was selling like hotcakes - it was gone before the night was through. All the ales were reasonably priced, and there was a decent bottle selection as well.

Crate also offers a tempting pizza menu. The Lovely Jemma and myself went for the spicy salami pizza and it was excellent. Nice, thin crispy base, decent toppings, not too greasy. A good accompanier with the beer. The atmosphere throughout the evening was pleasant and I'm pleased to report that the hipster quotient was low. I had a great night here and would be eager to return if it wasn't for the fact that's in Hackney Wick.

Another hipster-type pub I've started to grown fond of is the Barrel & Horn in Bromley. There's vintage wallpaper and "kooky" trinkets scattered about but it has a shambling charm rather than being grating. It's like someone who doesn't quite know what they're doing has had a bit of a go at recreating a Shoreditch bar. Because it's a hipster pub in a town which has no hipsters the atmosphere is a bit odd but good.  An eclectic mix of families, "trendies" and workers all come together to enjoy the wide range of beer and decent food. Their ale selection is pretty good but when I was last there only two of the four pumps were on. I hope this was just a off night and not a sign of things to come. I opted for a pint of Hairy Dog by Late Knights, a newly started London microbrewery. This Black IPA was great with a really good coffee and chocolate taste. Barrel & Horn is probably the best pub in a town that has the pleasure of two Wetherspoons and is well worth stopping by. And if it looks a bit too trendy for you there's always The Partridge next door.

Two hipster pubs in as many weeks. Maybe I'm starting to mellow in my old age. In my next update expect the blog to be renamed "An Ironically Bitter Bloke" and a picture of me wearing my skinniest skinny jeans. See you then!

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