Thursday 23rd January - List Leader Natalie has been resting on her 50 point lead for the last couple of months, so when she decided to get back involved, I thought I'd make her trek to Bethnal Green and head down the dodgiest alleyway we could find.
Powser Street is the one you want, for after a slightly unsettling walk in the dark alongside the railtracks you will find the Redchurch Brewery who open their upstairs space as a taproom on Thursdays (6.30-11pm) and occasional Saturdays (when there is often live music). We were joined by Luke, Lee and Sam (who are fighting it out for 3rd place) and East London locals Taro and Tom.
Unlike most brewery taprooms, a lot of care has been put into the design. It is a really good looking bar, one that deserves to be open more than once a week!
We settled in and worked our way through the 6 beers that were available on tap - Shoreditch Blonde, Great Eastern IPA, Bethnal Pale Ale, Brick Lane Lager (seasonal), Old Ford Stout and Hackney Gold. The strong IPA and Old Ford Stout (both around 7.5%) were my favourites, but the whole range is very impressive. Brick Lane Lager and Hackney Gold are perfect for a relaxed session. They might need to look at their pricing again - 1/2 pint = £2, 2/3 pint = £3 - I know which I would go for!
If beer isn't your thing, there is gin and vodka from Sacred and a selection of wines. There isn't much going on food wise, but there was a jar of Holy F*ck nuts (made using one of The Ribman's deadly hot sauces - he also has one called Christ on a Bike!). It was pretty empty for the duration of our stay - I really hope it picks up as it's a wonderful space to have a drink, and the beer is top notch. Maybe time to put a sandwich board out on the main road?
Our second stop of the evening was just on the corner of the creepy Powser Street and Cambridge Heath Road. Satan's Whiskers is a "neighbourhood cocktail bar with a penchant for old school hip hop". It was buzzing when we arrived, and we just about managed to squeeze on to a couple of tables thanks to some kind rearranging from punters. The décor is pretty bonkers and our waitress was bizarrely decked out in stars and stripes.
There has been a lot of talk about the high quality of their classic cocktails, but we also decided to stop for food. Sweet potato fries were a huge success, as was the quirky Scallop and Bacon Roll with Mary-Rose sauce.
Cocktails are reasonably priced at £7.50 / £8. Vieux Carre (Rye, Cognac, Sweet Vermouth, Benedictine, Bitters) was well balanced, as was the very drinkable El Diablo (Tequila, Ginger Syrup, Lime, Cassis, Ginger Ale). Clementine Buck (Gin, Clementine and Ginger Ale) didn't impress the List Leader. Sadly no-one went for the Salty Dog (Vodka, Pink Grapefruit and Pink Salt) which sounds very interesting. There is an impressive back bar to get stuck in to if you don't fancy a mixed drink.
The vibe was fun and service was superb - a much needed hangout to drink in Bethnal Green along with Redchurch Brewery. Check out Hunter S in Dalston and The Hemingway in Hackney from the same people.
Last but not least was The King's Arms, sister pub to the awesome Earl of Essex in Angel. It is hidden away on a side street in between Bethnal Green and Shoreditch High Street. The lack of punters suggest that it is possibly not the best situated boozer in London, but the quality of beer on offer will hopefully start to draw more people in. It could be part of a brilliant beer crawl with Redchurch Brewery, Well & Bucket, Brewdog Shoreditch and Crown and Shuttle all nearby.
We stuck to halves again to get through as many beers as possible. Burning Sky Aurora, Ska Modus Hoperandi, Lagunitas IPA, Bristol Beer Factory Nova ranked highly on our visit, but there is something for everyone here. If the 20+ taps don't do it for you, dip into their excellent bottled list where you can find the likes of Evil Twin Even More Jesus, Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard, and Westbrook Citrus Ninja Exchange.
Non-beer drinkers are well catered for with a solid range of spirits and wines. On the food front, they don't have a kitchen space at the moment, but there are £8 meat and cheese boards with some really interesting choices on there alongside massive Pig & Hay Scotch eggs (Pork & Herb, Chorizo, Mushroom & Tarragon).
I enjoy their Beer of the Day posts on their website - the staff are all clearly passionate about beer. Buy them one of the weird bottles if you have any spare cash, they are waiting to taste quite a few of them!
I highly recommend going out of your way to drink at The King's Arms - hopefully others will start to do so as it deserves to be busier. The Earl of Essex is equally brilliant and similarly tucked away! The King's Arms are having a Birra del Borga Tap Takeover tomorrow (Thursday January 30th) with head brewer Leonardo di Vincenzo which should be worth a look.
Thanks to the Team for a fun, boozy Thursday. Luke and Sam move to 39, one ahead of 4th placed Lee on 38. Taro moved up to 8th place with 25 points. Anna turned up in The King's Arms to pick up a sneaky point.