Friday, 19 February 2010

The Rake

14 Winchester Walk
London Bridge
London SE1 9AG

Can it really be that London's smallest pub is also one of its best? What makes The Rake outstanding is the nonsense-free way in which it functions as a simple room for beer lovers. The wall of fridges behind the bar contains dozens of different bottles and the bar staff are happy to let you browse before buying, offering the odd taste from the taps and giving their advice. Thanks to T for introducing me to this haven of hops.

Now, down to business. First up I tried Brewdog's Punk IPA (above right), described confusingly as a "post modern classic pale ale" but also, less confusingly, as "aggressive". The 6% hoppy kick is disguised by a benevolently light-coloured body and a pleasantly frothy head. But this dog bites.

Next up, a pint of Harvestoun Schiehallion (left), from the cask (4.8%). You might get away with calling this a lager, since it's brewed with lager malt and fermented with a lager yeast, but it tastes nothing like any lager I know. Imagine a flat, golden lager with tons of flavour but little aftertaste, and you'll be getting close. I imagine I could happily drink nine pints of the stuff. Lovely.

Canary (right) - from the tap. "Quaffable to the point of boring," read our notes. But still quaffable.

Easy Street Wheat Beer (pictured top), from Odell Brewing Company in Colorado - the same state as my beloved Blue Moon. The cereal aromas emanating from this bottle are extraordinary, like a giant bag of Maltesers. The taste is a little more subtle, but the bready maltiness is still noticeable, and pleasant. The lack of filtering gives the beer a cloudy appearance and leaves a little sediment in the bottle. Top beer.

Finally, Victory Hop Devil Ale (left), which for me was rich and full of flavour but also syrupy and unbalanced, with too much maltiness for its own good. I would have enjoyed this 6.7% beer more had it been served in a smaller bottle. A miniature, perhaps.

A quick public service announcement - mind the price tags on some of these. A number of bottles, usually imports, cost over a fiver and they were trying to flog some kind of Norwegian stout for £9 a pint! Check before you buy. In better news, plenty are more reasonably priced, and the beers on tap change regularly, I'm told, so there's every reason to return.

1 comment:

  1. I think balance is over-rated. Bring on the hops...