Time Out says
A long-needed craft beer haven in Kingston.
It’s always surprised us how a town as affluent as Kingston has remained relatively barren in its restaurant and (particularly) pub scene. There have been occasional flickers of hope, but in general most local bars just tick over on regulars, showing little ambition for progress or an eye for the prize, slowly degenerating towards closure – The Albion on Fairfield Road being a prime case in point.
Step forward Big Smoke Brew Co, owners of the popular Antelope in Surbiton, who have taken this once-loved community pub by the scruff of the neck, gutted it, spruced it up and created a beacon for craft beer lovers near the centre of town. The only problem for the throng of customers – eclectic in age and gender – is where to start. From cask (all £4 a pint) it was good to see both Kingston’s Park Brewery and Big Smoke’s own ales represented among a multitude of small-batch brewers.
Another 16 were on offer on keg, including Cromarty, Yeastie Boys and Howling Hops. A further 28 bottles, four cans and ten ciders complete the offering – see what we mean? Busy staff are young, knowledgeable and enthusiastic – the recommended Gravitas (4.8% abv) from Vale was floral on the nose, fruity to taste and a fine pale ale. The house’s own take, Solaris (3.8%), wasn’t far behind. Food has an American influence and seemed popular, though the burger was nothing to write home about and the fried chicken needed a lot more spice.
But, in a locale sorely lacking in craft establishments, this already-successful venture can only be seen as Big Smoke’s launchpad for similar spots in the area. Watch this space – and get down to The Albion in the meantime.
45 Fairfield Road
Kingston upon Thames
|Opening hours:||Mon-Thu midday-11pm, Fri-Sat midday-11.30pm, Sun midday-10.30pm|
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