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WRITER, CONSULTANT AND BROADCASTER SPECIALISING IN BEER, PUBS AND CIDER. BEER WRITER OF THE YEAR 2009 AND 2012

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Thursday, 4 November 2010

Exclusive: the Euston Tap: A Sneak Preview

When the Sheffield Tap opened almost a year ago, I wrote that it was almost worth getting the train to Sheffield just to sit and have a drink in the station.  Since then, I have done just that.  But now there's no need: the team behind this wonderful craft beer bar - one of the best in the country - have now repeated their stunning success at Euston Station.

In an audacious and visionary move, Jamie Hawksworth and co - also responsible for the Pivo bar in York - have taken a lease on one of the iconic square Portland stone buildings flanking the front of the station, and made it the Euston Tap.  Yesterday, manager Yan Pilkington invited me for a look around.

London landmark becomes beery destination.
The builders - imported like the management from Sheffield - were still busy when I arrived.  A lobby into the bar area was being erected over the door, and Yan and Jamie were in the cellar struggling with the three pythons that will take the beer into the bar.  Said beer was standing on pallettes outside on the grass, and there was an awful lot of it.  I imagine the guys won't be getting too much sleep between now and 6pm tomorrow,  Friday 5th November, when the place opens.

Signage will be subtle, to say the least
I love the ambition here.  And while it's not finished, it already looks stunning.

It's a small place, but not as small as you'd think if you walk past.  There's standing room for around 65 downstairs, and then a spiral staircase leads to a second floor where a lounge area will seat up to around another 50.

When you walk in, the main bar itself - like the one in the Sheffield tap - takes your breath away.

Would you like a beer sir?



They've gone for the American craft beer bar style, with all the taps coming out of the back wall and nothing on the bar itself.  By opening time, this back bar will be flanked by two fridges, which you'll be able to walk up to and inspect.

But the main stars are the draught beers.  Expect to encounter beers here that you will never see anywhere else.  The taps will be constantly rotating, and treats lined up for the first couple of months include cask Thornbridge Alliance and Bracia - outstanding, rare beers never seen on tap before - and Coalition, a collaborative brew with Dark Star that has been maturing for two years at Thornbridge.  One cask is coming here, the other is going to the Sheffield Tap, and the rest is going to be bottled - that's how rare this beer is.  The cask beer selection will at all times include three beers from Thornbridge and three from Marble.
Eight cask ale taps, looking forward to the objections from dinosaurs
There are 19 quality keg beers.  I spotted Bernard's wonderful unpastuerised lager, Matuska, a rising star from the Czech Republic that blew us beer writers away when we visited recently, Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, and Stone Pale Ale, to name but a few. In those fridges there'll be 100 rotating bottles.  Currently these include 60 American craft beers, 30 German and ten from Danish cuckoo brewer Mikkeller.

You have never seen a craft beer selection like this anywhere else.  And Yan insists you won't be paying through the nose for it either - cask ales start at £2.70.

There's just one serious flaw.  This is a listed building, and the work that can be done to it is limited.  Which means there is one - ONE - toilet in the entire place, and it's at the top of the spiral stairs. So remember to go before you get here.
   
If you're a craft beer geek already, you will now be reading this already queuing outside the Tap for tomorrow's opening.  If you're not, I urge you to get to Euston as quickly as possible to sample some remarkable beers in what will be a wonderful atmosphere.  You'll never make your train from Euston again.

See you there.

34 comments:

Rob Nicholson said...

Does this mean the beer is delivered by gravity to the taps? Doesn't bother me as long as it tastes good but just wondered.

thebeermonkey said...

Excellent News. I'm down in London next week and will be paying the E.T. a visit. The lacklustre Bree Louise now has some serious competition down that neck of the woods

MusicRab said...

Visionary? I'd say its a logical progression. It's the "Mikkeller Style" - simple - with choice - and don't overdoo the loos (bum bum).
e.g. here's a Mikkeller stillage -
Mikkeller Bar Look familiar? There's room for a bar like this in every UK city, and room for a few more in London. I want to open one next to Waterloo...(oh no, its the loos again). Good luck to the Sheffield Tap!

BLTP said...

Sounds good am looking forward to visiting.
Maybe a subject for another post but pubs really need to improve their toilets especially in London. I love old pubs etc and understand they are hard to improve but decent toilets really make a pub. We went to a pub recently and you could smell the bogs as you walked in the door , don't the owners notice this? Some of the best pubs in London have the most hellish and grim toilets .

Liam said...

Good news. I will be leaving the fair city of Sheffield soon and will definitely miss The Tap, great place. On my journey to pastures new though I will be passing through Euston so I will be sure to check it out.

@MusicRab - that photo is mouth watering to say the least! I'll be in Denmark next year so will definitely be checking it out.

Actually Pete, I am doing some travelling and while I can't say it was directly influenced by your books (had already planned to go - but loved Three Sheets and Hops & Glory), I am definitely excited to experience different beer cultures and it is partially a personal quest to find the meaning of beer too. ;) I am travelling overland to India, I wonder if the motion of the rails and road will improve a beer? I might have to take a bottle of Jaipur with me to find out. :D

Liam said...

Good news. I will be leaving the fair city of Sheffield soon and will definitely miss The Tap, great place. On my journey to pastures new though I will be passing through Euston so I will be sure to check it out.

@MusicRab - that photo is mouth watering to say the least! I'll be in Denmark next year so will definitely be checking it out.

Actually Pete, I am doing some travelling and while I can't say it was directly influenced by your books (had already planned to go - but loved Three Sheets and Hops & Glory), I am definitely excited to experience different beer cultures and it is partially a personal quest to find the meaning of beer too. ;) I am travelling overland to India, I wonder if the motion of the rails and road will improve a beer? I might have to take a bottle of Jaipur with me to find out. :D

MusicRab said...

Watch out BLTP - the dinosaurs are after pub snobs like us;)

StringersBeer said...

One lavvie up a spiral staircase? I'm surprised they got planning permission. Imagine the queue - a real opportunity for the upskirt afficionado, but difficult in a wheelchair I bet.

The Beer Nut said...

Gorgeous. That's the Friday after the Guild dinner sorted then.

"upskirt aficionado" - love it!

Richard said...

Pivo (or Pivni as it is now) in York also has one toilet up a spiral(ish) staircase - must be a theme!

Beer range sounds astonishing - unfortunate for those of us who travel to London on the East Coast. How far is it from King's Cross to Euston...? ;)

beerprole said...

This is great - if only the Leeds trains went from there rather than King's Cross, which I find pretty poorly served for a pint within dashing distance of a train.

Although this is obviously very much worth the walk down the Euston Road for a special visit. Love the look of the taps.

Pete Brown said...

Good news for East Coasters is Euston is one tube stop or 5 mins walk from Kings X!

Tboner said...

Sounds fantastic. Perfect day trip from Dublin! Colostomy bag at the ready with only one toilet!

Séan Billings said...

Those cask ale taps are beautiful. I wonder who makes them.

Mr G. said...

BLTP you sound like my mum at a caravan site.

Ant said...

The toilet situation doesn't sound ideal. As long as the whole bar doesn't smell of piss like the Bree Louise, then I'll be happy.

The Beer Nut said...

Actually, aren't the Bree Louise toilets just inside the door? So we can just nip over and use them.

Anonymous said...

New Beer Menu at CASK P+K includes 30 Mikkeller beers and more than 300 in total from Germany, Belgium, Holland, Italy and the States

ChrisM said...

Fair play to Jamie, he knows what he's doing! The toilet situation doesn't sound ideal, though. (At Pivni in York there's more than one - the gents has one cubical and one urinal, and I guess there's at least one cubical in the ladies...!)

Gutted I can't make the launch tomorrow!

Young Irish Girl said...

This is fantastic news. Being from the Northwest of America I'm about to pass out from lack of amazing, hoppy beer here in the Northwest of England. This just gave me an excuse to go down to London and my train gets into Euston. Please tell me they managed to score a keg of Deschutes Brewery beer, the best brewery in America.

Regardless, I'm still thrilled.

dave said...

While I was studying abroad one of my classes was near the Euston tube stop. If this place existed back then I would have never made it to class.

englishbeerman said...

And it will save me walking to Mables when I have a quick one before catching the train home! Bet Fullers (Dorich Arch) aren't happy!

Jonathan said...

This all sounds absolutely fantastic but the toilet situation is beyond ridiculous. People will have to queue for ages to get into a toilet that will no doubt be vile once it has been, ahem, well-used. Certainly would put my partner of going with me and me as well, I'm afraid, which is a shame because the beer offering sounds amazing.

Is it near enough to the station to use ones there?

Zandy said...

It is two minutes walk from the station concourse, so for me the loos there would make a reasonable break between rounds.

CarsmileSteve said...

The toilet thing was unbelievable on Friday night, even when it quieted down about half 8. I ended up going over to the Doric... The beer's great, but it's not (yet) a good pub

Barry said...

Trouble is, the toilets in Euston aren't free and for anyone needing to go a few times, it will be very annoying to say the least. And I don't think the Bree would take kindly to Taps customers using their loos.

CarsmileSteve said...

Sorry, to clarify, I went to the Doric to use their loo, not drink their beer. We suggested that the tap should put the code for the Doric toilets above the bar...

Rob Nicholson said...

One toilet will be more than adequate! I think we're toilet obsessed in the UK... We like to queue so I've heard

Anonymous said...

went on Friday, great beer.

Was planning to have a work do there but after seeing the toilet situation i won't be. work colleagues wouldn't be very pleased. not very accessible is it?

BLTP said...

well went for scoop or two here on tues at the tap and its great wonderful beer friendly helpful staff. On subject of bogs they will have apparently portaloos on peak days and as for accessibilty most old ldn pubs are just as bad as their loos are down a set of narrow windey stairs

Boak said...

Bad enough to share a bog with blokes. Even worse when there's no bog roll and no drier...

I go out of my way to go to the Sheffield tap, so I hope last night's experience was just a blip, but I'm not in a hurry to go back, rare beer or not. I speak as a native Londoner who is used to a certain amount of snooty service.

taps said...

Nice to have a information like this..innovative.i think its gonna make sounds great!


taps

kitchen taps said...

Have visited a few times and is a wonderful and charming place!

Kitchen Taps said...

I have wanted to visit for months since first reading this post.

After waiting so long I will be in London next week and this is on my list of places to visit.