I was midway through explaining to my drinking chum the difference between his half of Henley Dark porter and my Zeitgeist black lager when the barmaid glanced over from the pint she was pouring. ‘You’ve got them the wrong way round,’ she said. She hadn’t served us, the beers were in identical glasses, they looked exactly the same to me – how could she tell?
Such an insouciantly cool observation is testament to Brewdog staff’s knowledge (and irreverent attitude). The Scottish craft brewery’s London outpost is an initiation into the exciting and groundbreaking world of craft beer, but never feels intimidating. Admit to a bartender you’ve no idea where to start and they’ll gladly guide you through the list, offering tasters.
And what a list it is – every one of Brewdog’s groundbreaking beers on keg draught (with occasional guests) and bottle, from the smooth, amber 5am Saint to the quadruple IPA ‘Sink the Bismarck’ at 41 per cent. Fridges hold a selection from other microbreweries, mainly from the US (the likes of Stone, Evil Twin and Anchor, although there’s plenty on offer from the Scandic Mikkeller and Nogne Ø too). British beer producers barely get a look-in – almost certainly a typical Brewdog provocation.