I don't get to drink in London very often at all. In fact the last time I went to a pub in London was more than a couple of years ago I should think. Living on the South Coast you would think a trip up to London was fairly easy but the train times from home are about 90 minutes at best. So that's my excuse. Blame it on Southern Railways. Anyway I have vowed that this year will be different and I have already kept true to my promise after meeting up with Dave, a friend over from Australia, along with Ian, a mate who lives in the London burbs. Every year we get together for a drink when Dave is over and in the past we have met in Brighton, Croydon and Clapham Junction and always at a decent pub. This year I suggested the Cask Pub & Kitchen in Pimlico as it is within easy walking distance from Victoria Station. It was also recommended to me as a fabulous pub.
Head out of Victoria station towards Westminster Abbey and after half a mile or so you turn right into Charlwood Street. The pub is located on a street corner on the left hand side of the road. It's a smart looking pub which you would expect as it has only been open five years or so. You just don't find pubs like this outside of a big city. The first thing that strikes me is that it is not a particularly big pub but there are plenty of tables with modern stylish comfortable seating. They seem to be packed in tightly but moving between them with a few pints in hand is not a problem even though most of the tables are taken all evening with thirsty people no doubt relaxing after a day at work and no doubt throwing two fingers up at Dryanuary. Ha! For a Tuesday evening in January the place is really buzzing.
One sight I never tire of seeing is a long row of handpumps. This pub has ten and they are all in use with beery delights from Buxton, Siren, Dark Star, Burning Sky, Northern Monk, Summer Wine and Marble. Quite an impressive selection. Dave had texted me to say he was there and asked me what I wanted so when I arrived a pint of Buxton Moor Top (3.6% ABV) was waiting for me. The pub's website has their daily beers in a downloadable pdf format which is very useful!! The Moor Top proved to be a great choice. Beautifully light and citrussy with a generous helping of Chinook hops from the US.
The food menu from the kitchen is simple. An amazing array of gourmet burgers and I chose a Heat Burger with lashings of genuine buffalo source for £11.70. It was sensational and I washed it down with a Burning Sky Porter (4.8% ABV). Probably not the best pairing but I had got through most of it before the food arrived. This was my first dark beer from this excellent brewery and I was not disappointed. Very smooth with a great balance between bitter and sweet.
After this I stayed on the darks with a Northern Monk Festive Star (5.9% ABV) which is described as a festive porter. Northern Monk started out as a bit of a gypsy brewer but last year they opened up their own brewery in Leeds. Northern Star is their Mocha Porter, a collaboration with North Star Micro Coffee Roasters who are also based in Leeds. I am assuming this festive version is the same beer with a few spices thrown in. I shared it round and between us we detected nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon in that order. I'm not a fan of cloves but this was ok as the spices did not dominate at all over and above the coffee. I wasn't expecting to totally love it but I did like it which probably means I would absolutely love the unspiced version.
Whilst I was going through the darks, Ian was experiencing the amazing delights of Siren Undercurrent (4.5% ABV) and Dark Star Vic Secret Hophead (3.8% ABV) whilst Dave ventured on to the extensive keg list. Ten guest kegs were available along with five house kegs and with my friend being a bit of a nutter he chose a half of Evil Twin Molotov Cocktail (13.0% ABV). Evil Twin are gypsy brewers from Denmark and there were four of their beers available on tap. This triple IPA was £6.50 for a half pint and in fact the cheapest guest keg beer was £2.75 for a half of a 4.2% ABV beer. Blimey I could never afford to veer away from cask, the prices of which were all under £5 with the Moor Top being just £3.75 which for London seems pretty decent. Anyway, I got to enjoy a sip of this ultra strong beer and I was surprised at how gorgeous it was. The sip probably cost 50p but it was pretty damn good and my mate didn't take long to polish off the rest of the half.
We finished off the evening with a pint of Buxton Axe Edge (6.8% ABV). I love this beer in bottles so I was delighted to find it in cask, especially as their website says it is only available in keg or in bottle. It is a full flavoured IPA hopped with Amarillo, Citra and Nelson Sauvin so for me this beer can do no wrong. It is pale and fruity with pineapple, mandarin and passion flavours particularly dominant over the citrus. A very tasty end to a superb evening and I cannot recommend this pub highly enough.