The Craft Beer Co’s expansion continues apace – this time it’s rocked up in Old Street, taking over The Nelson’s Retreat and painting it bright red to flag to passers-by that it might be worth a visit. A nifty smokers’ yard has been added, while sticky, beer-stained tables have been replaced by stands and high stools. Look around the packed bar to see a mix of men and women – a sign the pub has moved on a couple of centuries since my last visit.
Boozers beware: while most beers (pints, cans or bottles) on the extensive menu come in at the just-over-a-fiver mark, some can be double the price. Check before buying, or you may need another drink when the bill arrives.
You’re paying for the kind of premium product The Craft Beer Co has become synonymous with, though. Brixton Brewery’s Electric IPA was thoroughly drinkable, immediately sweet with a hoppy aftertaste, while Pressure Drop’s Pale Fire was, as expected, one of the best pale ales on offer. Pizzas and pork pies are available, the former coming from neighbours Slice and More. It’s not the best grub in east London, but those who’ve been even remotely aware of The Craft Beer Co’s journey so far will know the hoppy line-up provides more than enough in the way of sustenance.