03 December 2008

It's Boak and Bailey's fault

Back in September last year I, for some reason, decided to tour the brewpubs of London in a single day. I don't think I missed any, but since then the scene has changed. Among the newcomers is William IV in Leyton: recently returned to brewing (say B & B) but not that you'd know it from outside. It's just your average suburban boozer on the inside: comfy but slightly cavernous. The difference is that three of the beers are brewed on-site by the Sweet William microbrewery out back.

It being December and the cold creeping in, Brodie's Mild was first on my agenda. Unfortunately I got a sharp vinegar bitterness from this: like an acetobacter party where everyone's invited. At the bottom end there's a coffee bitterness but not quite enough to justify the sharpness yet not sufficient, I thought, to warrant taking half a pint back. I moved on.

The brave Brodie's London Lager was next. It poured beautifully from the cask: a pure limpid gold. The taste is mostly clean and clear with just a hint of lemon notes in it. If I had to be fussy I'd point out the leathery, musty edges to the beer, but they're a minor element in what is a good attempt at the whole lager thing.

The final beer of the evening was their IPA. I liked this immediately with its hoppy yet easy first impressions, followed up by the mouth-coating full malts and slightly metallic English hops. This, while not world class, does a good job of capturing the essence of an English IPA.

I have to say I wouldn't recommend the William IV as an out-of-the-way excursion for the beer traveller, but if you're in the area and looking for a decent pub: there it is. And as a brewing pub on one's doorstep: yeah, I'd be happy with that.


  1. Anonymous8:32 am

    Thanks for linking to your article from 2007-- I have taken notes. I really admire your packing that all into one day! Something I haven't managed in the three years of living in London.

    Sadly, it seems Bunker has changed their Soho Red, which was one of my guilty pleasures. It's now a forgettable version called Freedom.

  2. Glad you made it! Looks like they're changing their line-up quite frequently as well -- we'll have to go and try the lager.

    I wonder whether they should make a bit more of the "brewed on the premises" thing. As you say, you wouldn't really know -- yes, there is a sign outside, but that's been there for donkey's years, including the period they weren't brewing.

  3. Definitely. There's also something innately wrong, I think, with a pub-brewery that doesn't have the kit on prominent display.