Patty & Bun last week I tweeted asking if anybody could recommend a good new craft beer bar nearby in Central London. Of the various suggestions which came back two names came up more than any others: The Pelt Trader and Draft House.
The latter, on Charlotte street, was the closer and therefore got my vote. It also had the advantage of looking to have a bit of outside standing room and even a few chairs, which on a rare sunny autumn day is a thing not to be sniffed at.
The beer selection was also great. All well chosen and interesting, but not so bonkers, barrel aged or rare that your wallet gives out before your thirst. Thanks to an Oktoberfest promotion there were quite a few German beers on to - Paulaner Dunkel and ‘Oktoberfest’ (a maltier 6% version of their lager) I believe, plus one more that slips my mind. These were around £5.50 a pint or you could buy a 1 litre stein for £8 – a marked saving that would have probably suckered me in if not for the fact there were too many other beers I wanted to try.
I started with a Moor Top from Buxton brewery which was extremely hoppy – grapefruit and mixed citrus - with not a hint of sweetness to stop those hops punishing the pallet. That said there is a smoothness to the body that keeps this 3.6% beer from slipping into wateriness - a class act as ever from the buxton boys and a damned fine low abv beer.
After that, I couldn’t resist the straightforward lupulin hit of Victory Hop Devil on keg. With an extremely floral and perfumed aroma this was a very different beast to the bottles I’ve tried previously. The flavour was smooth, balanced and lightly sweet with peach and apricot sitting behind rose, pine and fruit-salad chews. Really drinkable and not too bitter, this is a fantastic beer that really suits being served a bit colder.
My last beer of the night was the ever dependable Lagunitas IPA. Whilst I've seen quite a few tweets from people exclaiming the freshness of this recently in the UK i'm not sure I can agree completely. It was much less bitterly hoppy than when I drank it in NYC - sure it's travelled better than some US beers available over here, but super fresh? I'm not sure. On this occasion it was tasting bittersweet with a slight resinous pine note and a dry lemon rind finish. It goes down smooth but is missing the punch that the Hop Devil delivered - more of an everyday IPA by all accounts, but eminently drinkable all the same.
Overall, I enjoyed Draft House and would certainly give it another go if I was ducking away from the horrors of Oxford St. They’ve got a few outlets all over London, so no doubt experience will vary and I’d love to know your thoughts on their other spots.
The Draft House, Charlotte St, London
(First photo credit The Draft House)
The Draft House, Charlotte St, London Reviewed by Neil, Eating isn't Cheating on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 Rating: 5