Wednesday 19 January 2011

Drinking humble pie

Sometimes, first impressions are misleading. Just over a week ago on this very site, I damned a pub relationship as doomed. Unsalvageable. Pretty much dead in the water. 

But there are times when you have to admit you were wrong about something. Maybe you didn't give it a fair crack or were too quick to judge.

So reeling from my wrongness about Brew Dog and all their beer (sorry guys - Riptide is really quite nice), I'm forced to eat my words about The Crown in Southwark. I hold my hands up. I'm sorry. I was wrong about you. I was being hasty. Can you forgive me?

I'm afforded the opportunity to revisit the place when I hear they've got Dark Star M&M Special Porter - a collaboration between beer writer Melissa Cole and head brewer Mark Tranter - on the pumps. This is a big, singed plum pudding of a beer. Heck, it's almost a full meal, which is handy as it's lunchtime when I decide to try it out.

A smoky spirit-like smell greets you as you raise the glass to your face. First sip delivers a full, smooth flavour that pushes the smoke to the background as your tongue is then overwhelmed by a marauding gang of fruit-laden fullness. The gang proceeds to pour Cognac liberally about the place before casually tossing a lit match into the resulting tinderbox and watching it burn, giggling as it does so. Cinders linger until doused by a raisin fire hydrant and you're left to savour the smoky embers. Magnificent.

Chatting to the Crown's manager, I discovered a real passion for the beer he sells, the plans he has for the place and the philosophy that will shape it in future. And I fancy it. Not only is The Crown dedicated to stocking a wide and ever-changing variety of locally brewed ales, it's also changing its standard range of taps to run a more eclectic range. This will include two given over to beers supplied by Utobeer in Borough Market, supplier extraordinaire to this calendar.

Brewer nights and talk of sister pubs elsewhere fuel the burgeoning passion. So goodbye doubts and awkward silence. We're not going to be 'just good friends'. I've changed my mind about you.

This could well be the start of a beautiful relationship.


Mark Dredge said...

Great description of the beer - I'm looking forward to trying it tomorrow! The Crown is a new pub for me so I look forward to heading along there sometime - I need to do a pub crawl of places I haven't been to in London before!

Eddie Grace said...

Cheers, Mark. I wouldn't have singled it out as a place worth going to, but tbh, it's going to become a worthy spot, I reckon. Good beer kept well is usually a decent recipe.