The pub used to be a gastro I am told, which makes complete sense when I look around the décor: stripped down oak floorboards the colour of sand, Farrow and Ball style paint scheme on the wall (lamp room grey perhaps?), lots of light coming in through the large latticed collection of glass panes, an ironic mix of old school pub tables with metal clawed feet, seaside fish and chip restaurant red banquettes and a couple of stools and their accompanying tables that might have been made in the workshop at the local tech. The music at the moment is In The Midnight Hour, not Wilson Pickett but more of a Commitments’ version perhaps? Outside London passes by, buses, mopeds defecating their shrill sound of two-stroke hell, off-white van man, Boris bikes and Londoners going about their way, large, tall, fat, thin, small and in-between. The bar is L-shaped, and I hazard a guess that before it was a gastro it was a traditional boozer, the place where the racing might have been on all day, the beer dispensed with a minimum of fuss and food limited to whatever the licensee could forage in the local cash and carry. Outside the Grand Union canal stills itself, a long dark green rippled skin of water larging itself through this part of west London. The beer? I’ve just had a glass of Redemption Pale Ale, and spent what felt like an eon (but was probably only a couple of minutes) evalutating the ‘fruity’ nose. In the end I think of sensual ripe apricot skin with wisps of berry (raspberry) floating into the action as well. The malty sweetness is caramel influenced and I also pick out an edgy spike of spiciness reminiscent of rye; the finish is a dusty and grainy dryness that turns the mouth into an agreeable sort of Sahara. For 3.8%, this is a beer that really makes me want another. But there’s a lot of choice so (while watching a man spear his salad into his mouth with the sort of lust that I imagine only happened on some medieval killing field) I have a glass of Kernel’s Centennial Columbus IPA — I can smell it across the bar as it is poured. We are looking at a fragrance that I can only imagine as a cross between a hop field where all the hop devils are hard at work night and day and the early morning descent I once took, windows open, gentle breeze off the Med, after a night crossing the Maritime Alps, into the town of Grasse. Oh and I’m in the Union Tavern, Fuller’s tremendous take on a craft beer bar. Love it.