Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Draft House - Northcote

Thanks to the new shiny pub guide book I was given we decided to try out this one which neither myself or my partner actually knew about. Usually when we are in the area we head to the Falcon near Clapham Junction station for a drink, fantastic pub with well kept and regularly changing beers. But the temptation of a different bottle range of beers plus American & Belgium beers on tap proved quite a draw for us to wander further up Northcote Road than we would normally.

According to the blurb in the book The Draft House opened back in 2009, it is one of a small chain of three bars. It is a small place, if you know the Harp in Charing Cross then think along those lines but without the upstairs part. Luckily we arrived early enough on Saturday evening to bag a table in the window and after adjusting the curtain so cut out the cold December wind when the door opened it was a snug warm seat.

The staff are friendly and knowledgeable on their beer range and also will point out prices to you so you don’t get a surprise when you come to pay. The bottle range is good although small; it doesn’t have anything particularly unusual or rare. Well, not if you are used to hunting out the weird and unusual from the Rake or Cask. I tried Left Hand’s Milk Stout which was a lovely sweet beer whilst my partner tried a Ginger Tom which was good although I couldn’t tell the difference between it and Fentiman’s Ginger Beer which is one of the ingredients to this beer. The milk stout was a new style for me and I enjoyed it, Left Hand beers are really worth trying if you see them.

The beers on cask and keg do tend towards the pale, IPA and lagerly beers with a couple of porters. All are very well kept; indeed the selection seemed to sell very well as the place soon became packed with lots of people after varying beers. Sadly the only dark beers on the bar were Porterhouse’s Plain Porter, which I found to be bland; by bland I mean it was exactly like Guinness and Meantime’s London which is ok, better than the other but still not one I would willingly go for. But given at least they had two dark beers on its better than what a lot of other pubs do.

We didn’t eat here but the food from the kitchen did smell gorgeous, this is definitely a place I would come back to for a drink with friends or with my husband for a quiet drink and chat.

The pub guide did us proud for this trip and I have talked (badgered) the husband to trying a few trips out to other parts of London in search of the others held within this book. It’s a doable task to tick off all the pubs held in this book I am sure!

The Draft House
94 Northcote Road
SW11 6QW

Sunday, 11 December 2011

London's Best Pubs

By Peter Haydon &Tim Hampson

As a surprise pressie I received a copy of this book from my husband this weekend. Strangely despite my drinking habits and enjoyment of pubs I don't buy beer or pub guides although I do have a copy of the Good Beer Guide on my iPad but again that was the other half loading it on before giving me the thing. However it is a very very good book to get a bit of history of the pub you are currently sitting in or thinking of getting to. The maps that head each section are clear and useful, which should make the process of finding some of them easier.

For each pub there are a couple of pictures, a brief mention of typical beers served and it's history. No critical remarks on beer quality though, one of the pubs mentioned I know from trying it a couple of times that it serves beer in appalling state knowing that people head to it because it is a historic pub not for a drink. Local office workers drink wine rather than beers so why bother keeping the beer in a good state is the attitude. Oh well.

If you are beer drinker and you know London you may differ in opinion to the writers on the best pubs in each area, I was surprised that the Falcon near Clapham Junction wasn't there for example but we all have our own favourites in places. Good book, not pocket sized but definitely handbag sized.