TAP EAST – LONDON

Tap East
Westfield Shopping Centre
London
E20 1EE

FIRST VISIT: SATURDAY 13 SEPTEMBER 2014

Opening a pub in a shopping centre is a great idea. Opening a pub, that sells great beer (some of it brewed on the premises), in a shopping centre is a fantastic idea. Tap East is run by the same folk who run Utobeer and The Rake so if you know either of those places you’ll have a rough idea what to expect. It’s an alright place to visit if you happen to find yourself in the area but I’m not sure it really warrants a special trip. I’ve been there a few times in the past and I’ve always found it to be a little soulless but perhaps that’s because the seven minute wander through Consumerville that you need to take if you arrive via Stratford Station always leaves me feeling disgruntled and at odds with the people of the world (or at least those who flock to Westfield).

The Northern Line was out of action so our initial route to Beavertown had been blocked. Our alternative route took us to Stratford on the Jubilee Line then onwards via train to Tottenham Hale. We were faced with a 30 minute wait at Stratford Station or a seven minute walk to Tap East, a swift beer then a seven minute walk back to the station. Naturally, we took the second option. It was a frustrating task weaving in and out of happy shoppers but I managed to make it the bar without committing any acts of violence. I took a moment to peruse the beer pumps and then ordered a Twin Peaks. I’m not a huge fan of Thornbridge but I am a huge fan of David Lynch. I didn’t think I’d had Twin Peaks before but when I logged it on Untappd I realised that I’d had just a couple of months previously when I was in Amsterdam for the Carnivale Brettanomyces. It was cold and fizzy, which was pretty much what I wanted. When the beer was gone it was time to once again brave the zombie shoppers of Westfield.

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CRAFT BEER RISING – LONDON

Craft Beer Rising
Old Truman Brewery
19 Brick Lane
London
E1 6QL

FIRST VISIT: SATURDAY 22 FEBRUARY 2014 (AFTERNOON SESSION)

Craft Beer Rising launched in 2013. Even before it had opened its doors to the paying public the word on the street was that it was nothing more than a corporate wank fest. By the time it had gently shepherded out the last of its drunken punters that word on the street was that it was nothing more than a corporate wank fest but it was also whatever you chose to make of it. In due course the 2014 edition was announced and I initially had no plans to go. But then I was informed that the Saturday sessions were taking place on the same Saturday as a gig by The Coal Porters. A beer festival followed by a gig? Count me in. Over the coming weeks the brewery list began to emerge. It was certainly more than decent enough but not exactly epoch slaying. There were several great breweries on the last but hardly anybody that you’d struggle to find if you went searching within the confines of the M25. But, hey, a beer festival is whatever you choose to make of it.

I had a great time. Caught up some old acquaintances. Made some new ones. Chatted face to face with some folk who I’d previously only chatted to on Twitter. Bumped into quite a few people who I know from the excellent Bristol beer scene. And, perhaps most importantly, I got drunk on super tasty beer.

The Old Truman Brewery is a great space. The festival occupied several rooms of varying shapes and sizes – like a giant beer lined rabbit warren. Some the areas were way more cramped than others but even in those spaces the traffic was flowing reasonably smoothly and swiftly and you rarely had to wait for more than a few seconds to get a beer. Some criticism has been levelled at the amount of branding at the event but I liked the fact that each brewery had their own little stall and it was easy to see exactly who they were before getting too close as it made it easy to avoid having to make the embarrassing choice of walking away emptied handed or buying a beer you didn’t really want. Oh, the queue for the gents wasn’t anything to be overly concerned about, which is always a bonus. The people manning the bars and food stands were all friendly and helpful. And the stewards and security staff were numerous and easy to spot but certainly not obtrusive. All in all it was a job well done.

Anyway, for those interested, here are the beers I consumed:

Attaboy by Truman’s – 4.6%
Sour Saxon (Cell Rebirth) by The Celt Experience – 4%
Ola Dubh 18 by Harviestoun – 8%
Original by Thistly Cross Cider – 7.2%
Fifth Element by Beavertown – 7.3%
All Day IPA by Founders – 4.7%
Discovery by Renaissance – 4.5%
IPA by Lagunitas – 6.2%
Re Hop by Toccalmatto – 5%
Delirium Tremens by Huyghe – 7.5%
Black IPA by Brighton Bier – 7%
Sour Saxon (Cell Rebirth) by The Celt Experience – 4%
In The Pines by Wiper & True – 5.3%
Independence by Bristol Beer Factory – 4.6%
Imperial Raspberry Stout by Thornbridge & St Eriks – 10%

I suppose the simple fact that the only beer I had more than once was the Sour Saxon strongly suggests that it was my beer of the festival. It arguably was but it should be noted that I didn’t have a bad beer all day, which is something I’ve never managed to say after a session at the Great British Beer Festival.

If Craft Beer Rising returns in 2015 I will return to Craft Beer Rising.