Thursday, May 24, 2012

Utobeer (Borough Market)

This evening, on our way to the Market Porter (which RV will post about later), we popped into the Utobeer stall in Borough Market to pick up some bottled beers for a more detailed tasting (which we'll no doubt post here some time). Strangely, this little shop is listed in Des de Moor's book as one of the Top 25 Bars in London: although I've seen pubs with bigger selections (The Cask in Pimlico, for example), and certainly shops with wider and more interesting real ale offerings (Real Ale in Richmond, for one).

It's true that Utobeer's little corner of the market is well-stocked with interesting beers, certainly better than most supermarkets will offer. The left-hand side is almost entirely made over to British Ales (London, the rest of England, and Scotland, respectively), and the right-hand side to German, Belgian and American ales. (Other international varieties--including some intriguing Icelandic brews--are on the low shelves on the left in the photograph.) A large part of the British section is taken up with not-particularly-obscure breweries such as the #LocAle Fullers and Meantime; more widely cast St Peter's, BrewDog and Harviestoun. (The American section include large selections from Brooklyn, Sierra Nevada, Flying Dog, Stones, etc. The usual suspects, but a good range from each, nevertheless.) While many of these can be found in a good supermarket, the selection here is much better than you'll find locally, although significantly more expensive even for the easily found titles.

While at first glance I was a bit concerned that everything looked rather familiar, and thought that I wasn't going to pick up anything that I hadn't tasted before, once I looked beneath the surface I found myself getting excited at brews that I'd only seen at the GBBF in the past, or even names completely new to me. (I look forward to tasting some of those!)

Summary: the location is brilliant, the selection good but not unrivaled, the staff helpful (if not obviously beer-geeks themselves), and we have a dozen bottles of unusual ale settling in the pantry ready for a tasting over dinner very soon. ::happy face::

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