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Wednesday 7 May 2014

Beer Rebellion - Meat the Butcher

Sunday May 4th - After spending half the day wading through "May the Fourth be with you" puns on twitter, I eventually made it out of the flat and hopped on a train to Gipsy Hill to try out Beer Rebellion.

The 17 minute train journey from Clapham Junction in the direction of Crystal Palace will put many off, but they will be missing out on a peaceful part of London, and a cracking little pub.

Beer Rebellion is run by the Late Knights Brewery guys, and it just celebrated its 1 year anniversary.  It is technically a popup, situated just opposite the station, but they have recently bought up the old betting shop next door so soon it will be a permanent fixture.  On top of that, they are planning to open several more beer bars across South London with Peckham and Penge sites rumoured.  The next to open will be London Beer Dispensary in Brockley around 22nd May.

Photo Credit - Jo Hones

They weren't lying about the hill.
As well as fresh Late Knights beer, they always have several more guest cask ales on.  On our visit, Liverpool Craft Beer Co. Hop Beast & Brighton Bier South Coast IPA impressed alongside Late Knights Worm Catcher IPA.  Prices are refreshingly low - you can get 3 x 1/3 pints for £3.20!  Takeaway cartons are available, and you can also take home bottles from their excellent range.  If you aren't a beer drinker, there are a few ciders plus wines & whiskies.

Core Late Knights beer range

Photo Credit - Jo Hones

Beer Rebellion also do a pretty great burger.  Lauren and I opted for two Wilson Picketts and a pint of chips for £14.50 altogether.  As my mother is constantly reminding me, I eat a lot of burgers, and Wilson held his own very nicely.

We were already charmed by the location, quality beer and tasty burgers, but the little messages scribbled on walls and doors sealed the deal. "Toilets, innit" was probably my favourite.  Add to that a quirky downstairs living room with a mirror on the ceiling, ridiculous board games such as Smokers Wild ("The Hilarious Anti-Smoking Game!"), and a cute garden, and Beer Rebellion really has everything you need!

Beer Rebellion is a welcome alternative to the beer tap arms race that is going on between the likes of Brewdog and Craft Beer Co. at the moment - bring on London Beer Dispensary in Brockley!

Tuesday May 6th - I wrote recently about Gillray's Bar & Steakhouse without actually eating any steak, but I can put that right now having attended their Meat the Butcher event with O'Shea's Butchers.

We gathered in the wonderful bar with sunny views over the Thames for a round of G&Ts (Death's Door & Martin Miller's for starters) before heading through to the back of the restaurant for a butchery demonstration.

O'Shea's established the first Butchers in Tipperary in 1789.  Now you can find them in Bermondsey on Druid Street, next door to Anspach & Hobday brewery and close to Maltby Street Market & Spa Terminus (which they are part of).

Darragh O'Shea (8th generation butcher) and Gillray's Head Chef Gareth Bowen talked us through proceedings whilst Jozef worked away with hands, knives and hacksaws.  A crowd of 40 or so salivated from a safe distance. They made it all look rather easy - apparently any butcher worth his salt should be able to prepare and weigh up cuts from a 75kg hind quarter in around 30 minutes!

Rather than ramble on, here are a few random notes that I jotted down:

- Bavette Steak is "the monkfish of the beef world"
- 35 days is the optimum length for ageing rump. The carcass has lots of blood, so they put it in a dry ageing chamber with no moisture in, drawing out just enough moisture from the meat so that you can leave your thumbprint in it.  Any longer and you might end up with biltong!
- They make every effort to minimise stress for cows in their final few hours (e.g. not allowing them to see round the corner!) to keep the meat in top condition
- Tri-tip is the butcher's little secret cut that most people don't ask for - they like to keep it to themselves!
- The fat cap is great for making burgers - let it melt in to the meat
- Finish off steaks in the oven
- Don't freeze ideally, and if you have to, make sure it isn't too wet going in or ice crystals will form

As Darragh said, go and talk to your local butcher, most of them will (hopefully) be more informative than a supermarket shelf!

Don't try this at home

T-Bone Steak

All the meat
After the excellent presentation, we all moved back in to the dining room to sample Gillray's & O'Shea's finest!  We started with a ridiculous Yorkie - a giant Yorkshire pudding filled with melted Montgomery cheddar, served with a light horseradish sauce.

Gillray's Yorkie
Next up, we were given not one but two generous cuts of meat - a skirt steak and a rib-eye.  Both were full of flavour and beautifully cooked.  A 300g Skirt Steak at Gillray's is £20.00 which I highly recommend with some of their Baked Bone Marrow, and either the Triple Cooked or Truffle & Old Winchester Chips!

Skirt & Rib-eye steaks

A comment on foodie blogger society // Gavin's camera phone on a plate

Fantastic Mustard with Old Rosie Cider from Westons
Dessert was two miniature versions of the enormous puddings I raved about last time, Sherry Trifle & Lemon Meringue Pie - read more here.

Sherry Trifle and Lemon Meringue Pie
Hats off to Gareth Bowen & his culinary team at Gillray's once again - superb food from start to finish. I couldn't leave without one or two more gins - thanks to Head Bartender Joao for recommending the interesting Saffron Gin for a G&T.

As for O'Shea's, go and say hello to them in Bermondsey and buy some meat! They are also firing up a BBQ on Saturday lunchtimes which I will definitely be going along to soon.


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