Thursday 3rd November 2011
This imposing pub in Leyton, East London, is at the top of the High Road, at 816, on the corner of William Street. It's right by the Bakers Arms crossroads, another London pub reference. The pub was built in 1897 and was obviously once multi-roomed. Nowadays it is one large drinking space but retains some original fittings. Naturally what stands out with this boozer is situated at the back, a working brewery, Brodies.
This started life in 2000 as the Sweet William Brewery and survived until 2005. I remember visiting it one afternoon after finishing an early shift when I worked in London. There were four beers on offer, names escape me now, but I liked only one. Even now there are one or two strange ones but overall they are much much better.
The pub and brewery were taken over by Lizzy and James Brodie from their father Brian, in 2008 and they reactivated the brewery. The earlier brewing was done as a sort of franchise. It is estimated that over sixty different beers have been brewed since 2008, and it is quite difficult to work out what ones are in the core range, and what are specials, as it seems that if a beer is popular it becomes a regular.
So back to our visit, we had quite a choice, as no less than sixteen beers were presented for our consumption.
We tasted nine and this is what we thought of those. London Fields PA: nice citrus hop taste, well liked. Kiwi: over the top grapefruit aroma and taste, over the top flavour also. Bethnal Green Bitter: a traditional bitter, it was OK but seemed to have a sharp "edge", slightly out of condition?
Californian: really nice, it seemed to have a mixture of American hops. Organic Belgian Ale: a very sweet butterscotch taste, not liked. Shoreditch Sunshine: a golden ale with lots of American hops and a perfume taste. OK. Colnel (Secret Recipe): we hoped it might remain secret after tasting, very hoppy, but unbalanced, a lot of grapefruit. 100 Hop Rock: a special, we didn't like it and thought we would. It was weird, it had a very bitter aftertaste but the actual flavour wasn't great.
Finally we bit into Dalston Black IPA; very well liked although it should be described as a bitter porter rather than an IPA. It would have been nice to wade through the rest of the beers but, as always is the case, there was a deadline.
When you taste a lot of beers from the same brewery, and we don't think any other has as many as this, there has to be winners and losers, so don't let the comments above put you off visiting. Brodies has a regular range of beers but is also an experimental brewery and not all drinkers appreciate the more extreme elements of the experimentation, but others do.
The brewery itself is a five barrel plant and there is also a small bottling system that produces enough for the pub and for takeaways. Certain independent off-licences in London sell their beers. Traditional Cider and Perry are offered.
In the pub there are some rather spectacular mirrors on the walls. The Martel brandy one is very beautiful but the most glorious is the Truman's Brewery example in the front bar area, see photo.
So, in summation, a pub that is well worth visiting although you might not like all of the incredible varieties of beer, there will always be some for you.
William IV, 816 High Road, Leyton, London E10 6AE
Open: Monday-Thursday 11:00-24:00; Friday-Saturday 11:00-01:00; Sunday 12:00-24:00
Walthamstow Central (Underground and National Rail) 20 mins walk.
Walthamstow Queens Road 15-20 mins walk. Leyton Midland Road 12 mins walk.
A large number of buses pass by or close to this pub.