Why is it that every time I visit the Euston Tap I am in a rush? First time I went I was desperate to catch a train westwards; the next time I visited was rather late in the evening but I managed to grab a couple of convivial drinks with former manager Yan. This afternoon I was heading out east but still managed to hoist 20 minutes — and I still think it’s a remarkable and aesthetically pleasing re-imagining of what constitutes a beer bar/pub. This time, as I was on my own, I managed to have a better look at the copper bar back with its taps sticking out and the narrow copper sink at the bottom (it all looks as if it were from the same piece of metal). It’s the sort of thing I reckon is inspired by what I have seen been used for run-offs of the wort during the mash at breweries such as Budvar and St Austell (I remember going to SA in 2006 to brew a Kōlsch style beer with Roger Ryman; it was also a normal brewing day and I was handed a glass of fresh wort — it was unbearably sweet, but some of the brewing staff loved it; at least I didn’t have the brewer’s breakfast: fresh wort with a raw egg in it). I also never fail to be amused by the tap handles poking out of the sheet of copper either. Very craft beer US brewpub meets comic book — and why not?
I had time for a pint of Camden Pale Ale, which I have had before and been beguiled by the delicate floral aromatics and its general joie de vivre. This time I was disappointed by its limpid Sargasso Sea character while the boiled sweet (lemon) note at the back of the throat distracted me. On the other hand, the Thornbridge Colorado Red Odell collaboration was a magnificent rich old master of aromatic malts, plum fruitiness, grapefruit and alcohol all strapped onto a fulsome body. So last word: I do love the way that the likes of the Rake, the various Taps, the Port Street Beer House, Southampton Arms, Falmouth’s Hand and North Bar have all widened and evolved the beer drinking experience — having written features over the years about innovation in the brewing industry (which seems to look to the Simon Cowell crowd-pleasing mode of thinking, apart from the exception of Innis & Gunn, whom I still rate apart from their recent fruit beer expressions), these guys have come up with a truer sense of innovation that no one saw coming.