The Draft House, Charlotte St, London

After visiting the quite frankly fantastic 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.

First impressions are good. It looks like a pub. Wooden floor, proper bar, homemade pork scratchings the size of shatterproof rulers and a chalkboard. Chalkboards are essential in my opinion. They allow the staff to quickly update the information pertaining to what’s on draught as they change it - meaning I can decide what I want before I get to the bar.

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.

Next up was Wild Beer Co ‘Fresh’ on cask. This is a beer I’ve heard a lot of good things about but which can be different everytime you taste it. Apparently they have a semi-fixed recipe but substitute the hops for whatever is freshest – not a bad idea but makes things a bit of a guessing game for the drinker. This one tasted like a sort of tutti fruity cask wit, with a really inviting fruity aroma and a tangerine and children's fruit-chew flavour spiked with hints of saison like yeast notes. Interesting, decent, but one was enough, which seems to be my conclusion for most of Wild Beer’s range.

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.

Sierra Nevada porter was as roasty, smooth and good as always, though benefitted from being left to warm up a little. It also went great with the spicy, thin, salami like bar snacks being sold (about a pound each). The barman's description of 'posh pepparami' was pretty spot on, though his advice to just eat them as they are, 'straight in', wasn't. You need to peel the outer casing off first.

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

http://www.drafthouse.co.uk/news/2012/charlotte-street-kitchen-opening-hou

(First photo credit The Draft House)

 

3 comments:

  1. How was the cask beer temperature? My experiences of it have been that it is on the warm side.

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  2. It was pretty spot on to be honest. Though perhaps at this time of year that is to be expected.

    I certainly didnt think it was too warm and, if anything, I probably prefer my cask beer slightly cooler than most.

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  3. Peter is right - we have had a number of issues with our coolers in Tower Bridge and Seething Lane which have now, I am happy to report, been rectified. Neil - many thanks for your kind words!

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