Monday 9th December 2013
This corner bar opened on Friday 28th September 2012 and is part of a small expanding chain that uses the "Craft Beer Co." name for its bars and pubs. The Brixton outlet is the third under the name, after the original in Clerkenwell which is near to Hatton Garden and Farringdon. The Brighton outlet opened later, and then Brixton. This was followed by an Islington branch and finally, for the time being at least, the Clapham bar. This is not far from where I was this evening and it had opened just four days previously.
In its last incarnation the premises was home to the Hive Bar. Before that it was the Jacaranda Garden, of which I know nothing of its function or what it sold, but it resonated in the mind, as I used to see the name emblazoned above the door as I passed through on trains up on the viaduct above.
It was fairly quiet on this early evening visit, but soon filled up with customers over the next three quarters of an hour. As there wasn't a lot of activity when I arrived I was able to take a look around and found myself in a small bar. It is actually so small that the hand pumps for the cask were in the normal position on the bar counter but the keg beers were served from a sort of gantry with the person serving having to stretch up to the fonts to dispense it.
There are a few tables of the upright kind with stools and some of these are partially made of bicycle parts. I didn't use them but they seem to be a bit unsteady and I can't think what it might be like in there later in the evening after a few more libations! The facilities are located up the stairs and there is a small upstairs room.
At the bar were ten hand pumps for dispensing the real stuff. There were also 20 fonts for foreign keg beers and those from British "Kraft" micro-keggeries and others.
Of course, there was the usual discrepancy in cost for these compared with the cask offerings, but that is the way these bars make their money. I suppose we should be grateful for those prepared to pay more for gassy beer, as they subsidise the real ale drinker.
Of the ten hand pumps, there were seven in use. Six cask ales were offered: Rooster's (Harrogate, North Yorkshire) Londinium (5.5%), a collaboration between the brewery and Taylors of Harrogate, well known purveyors of tea and coffee. This brew had coffee as the added ingredient. Also from Rooster's was High Treason (4.7%), a stout with added treacle.
There was also Brixton Reliance (4.2%), a Pale Ale in the American style. This brewery is located further along the same road as Craft in an arch under the railway line. From Manchester there was Marble Best (4.3%) and from the Kent Brewery (Birling, Kent) was their Altered States (4.7%). This brewery also produces the Craft Co.'s house beer: Craft Pale (3.8%).
The only other hand pump in use was occupied by Millwhite's (Hemel Hempstead, Herts) Blackberry Blush Cider (6.5%). Food offered in the pub consists of Pork Pies and Scotch Eggs, along with the usual packets of crisps, nuts, scratchings, etc.
So, there you have it. Well worth visiting for some unusual cask beers.
Craft Beer Co., 11-13 Brixton Station Road, Brixton, London SW9 8PA. Tel: 0207 095 0129
Open: Monday-Wednesday: 16.30-23.00; Thursday 16.30-24.00; Friday 16.30-01.00; Saturday 12.00-01.00; Sunday 12.00-22.30
This pub is very accessible. From Brixton Underground station (Victoria Line) exit to the
right, walk under the overhead railway bridge and turn right. The pub is around 100 metres along, on the left. From Brixton station (SouthEastern Trains from Victoria to Orpington), descend to street level, turn right and then again, walk under the overhead railway bridge and turn right. The pub is around 100 metres along, on the left.
There are many bus routes that stop very close to the pub.