Monday, January 23, 2012

The Crosse Keys - City of London

For our latest visit to a Top 25 Pub in London we went to The Crosse Keys, in the City. This is a Wetherspoon pub and, like some other Wetherspoons in the City, it's in a converted old bank. The Crosse Keys is massive, with tall ceilings, soberly decorated walls, columns and balconies. If you're looking for a "homey" pub, well this is not the place for you. In terms of service and quality of food, it is very similar to most Wetherspoons; not great, but it'll do. Also, lots of space doesn't mean that finding a seat will be easy. 'spoons are generally busy, but this one has a special attraction: an impressive selection of real ale, starting at up to 20 different types early in the evening. We had the chance to try a few.

? - Hopocalypse: this IPA has a slight dark gold colour; strong tangy smell, notes of pine. The taste was, well, really hoppy but surprisingly not too bitter. Really enjoyed it and would have gladly kept on drinking it for the evening. Unfortunately I won't remember the brewery and way too many brewers seem to enjoy the pun...

Wharfebank, Slingers Gold: a nice citrusy smell and a light refreshing taste. May seem dull, but a bit of maltiness makes it worth a few pints. Probably best in warm weather.

Welton's, Take This Love: Amber colour, unpleasant ripe smell. Feel strangely sparkly, but tastes more balanced than expected, with hop and earthy flavours.

Notes from GB:

Blindman, Mine Beer: this was a leather-colored light dun-amber beer, with only a gently hoppy aroma. A cool and sparkly first taste, leads to a bit of lager hop on the swill, and finally an earthy, ripe malty swallow. One pint was okay, but it was definitely a bit too lagery for my tastes.

Burton Bridge, Bramble Stout: pitch black with a creamy brown head, a hint of smoke and tannin in the scent. Very rich with beechsmoke in the first taste, followed by a warm coffee/chocolate bitterness and hints of smoky back bacon. It was creamily bitter and a bit metallic on the swill, with a mix of chemical charcoal and woody traces in the finish. An interesting drop to be sure, but a bit much for me if I'm honest.

Arundel, Stronghold: a radiant dark-auburn beauty, with a soft malty aroma, seductive chewy sweetness in the first taste. But it offers a rapid change to a very ripe wild berry flavor on the swill, and then some cocoa and nutty bitterness, hints of sour sap, in a slightly turned finish overwhelmed with stewed yeast. Finishing on this brew left my mouth dry for the rest of the evening, and I didn't bother finishing the pint.

1 comment:

  1. We went to the Crosse Keys again on a Friday night a few weeks later, and as you would expect it was even more crowded. Despite being the size of an aircraft hangar, there was nowhere to sit and barely standing room when we arrived a little after 17:00 (and it didn't get much quieter by 23:00 when we left). Despite a huge circular bar, the wait to get served was several minutes long, minimum, the staff were pretty clueless about the selection, and not very good at serving either. The vaunted 35 beers on tap started to run out very quickly, until at 11pm we were told "no ales left at all". Pathetic.

    Really the only thing going for this bar at all is the selection of beers, and there are several other pubs in London that are much more reliable on that front (even Euston Tap and the Cask are preferable). Sorry, but this pub gets a big thumbs down from me.