I was lucky enough to recently visit the latest Brewhouse & Kitchen brewpub on it’s official opening night, a renovated tram-house building very close to the Highbury tube station.
I was invited down by Su-Lin, a lovely PR star who looks after the pub chain and many other trendy venues and events in London. She knew I was already a fan of the Islington sister pub, having been there four times over the last year or so.
The Highbury brewpub felt larger than the Islington one, and their brewery was definitely a larger bit of kit. They will be brewing (at least) six unique beers onsite (which we got to sample during the evening), from a very tradition session bitter to a hoppy black IPA. They offer the same £99 brewing experience if you fancy your hand helping the head brewer for a day, helping create one of the 750 pint batches of ale. You get breakfast and lunch, and a 5 litre mini-keg of beer to take home too, as well as the experience of being a commercial brewer for the day, and probably learning a lot about how good beer is made. I was told there will also be additional season ales – so a good reason to visit at different times of the year.
During the evening we were treated to tasters of most of the ‘brewed here’ range of beers, and I can say there wasn’t a bad beer in the lot of them – some weren’t ones I’d go out of my way for, but that’s just because of style (I don’t really order traditional session bitters anymore, but that doesn’t mean the 3.6% Tramshed beer was a bad beer by any means!).
The session IPA, “The Goalscorer”, was a fine effort for a 4.5% beer. Plenty of hop, but enough of a backbone to it so it wasn’t a hop tea. If you like dark beers, the “No 19.” brown porter will hit the mark – plenty of roasty chocolate in it – it’s not a totally opaque black beer, more an old fashioned dark brown beer. If like me you like your dark beers hoppy, their black IPA “Illustrator” might do the trick. It’s a relatively low abv 5.5% (which is a couple of % down on many black IPAs I’ve tried), so still suitable for drinking any time of day, but still has that hit of hops and some roastyness. If you want a golden ale you can quaff all day long, then the “Romford Pele” (named after Arsenal hero Ray Parlour) is the one to go for – it’s not too hoppy if you aren’t a fan of intense flavoured golden beers.
While tasting the beers, and a few nibbles sample from their food range, I got plenty of time chatting with the head brewer, who started as a home brewer, learning his trade the way many new wave brewers have, small batch and experimental.
The pub is going to be very popular when the sun is out, as it has a decent sized two tier walled beer garden out front, so you can enjoy the rays without being jostled in the street like you get in many London pubs where people have to stand in the street outside. As you can see from my pictures below, the interior is clean and ‘industrial’ (as are many of the current crop of new pubs), copper, old brick walls, concrete and interesting lighting.
While I only got to try a few samples of the menu, I’m told that the beer-can chicken is very good – I’ll put it on my ‘to try’ list when I next get down to London.
For those who like to mix up the beer types, there’s also a small range of cold keg beers, including the popular Camden Pils, the very good Beavertown Gamma Ray, and one of the big bold American IPA’s which is popping up everywhere, Lagunitas.
I can see this pub being very popular with local workers, where they can come to relax after work, also those going to the football at Arsenal who want something a bit better than the ‘evil’ Fosters/GGuinness/Strongbow combo, and also beer enthusiasts and tickers who ‘need’ the unique beers brewed here. Oh and also couples looking for somewhere decent to eat where it’s not going to cost an arm n leg and there’s a decent beer on offer.
I’ll definitely be back – maybe as part of a Highbury -> Islington pub crawl, where you can top and tail with this and the Brewhouse and Kitchen in Islington!
Brewhouse & Kitchen
(formerly Junction, Tramshed)