Monday, 11 November 2019

Obadiah Poundage launch

All around me on the plane are Ajax fans. They’re off to watch them play away in the Champions League at Chelsea. Let’s hope they don’t notice the Chelsea hat in my pocket.

There’s a long story to that. Why I have a Chelsea hat. I don’t even vaguely support them. In fact, I hate them on principle. As I do all London teams. Everyone from the Midlands and North does. It’s not just me. When younger, Alexei was once vaguely drawn to Chelsea. I think because, at the time, they had a player called Alexei. He’s no longer fussed and I needed a winter hat. No point wasting money on a new one.

I’ve flown into Heathrow. Which means a long tube journey. No time to hang around as I’m scheduled to meet Mike Siegel of Goose Island at 2 PM. It’s 12:40 when the train trundles out of terminal 4. And I need to get all the way across town to Aldgate East.

To my great surprise, I’ve still five minutes when I emerge, blinking and mole-like, from the tube station. So I quickly nip into Tesco for a few bits and bobs. It’s just about exactly two when I start checking in. No sign of Mike, though.

I trail up to my room and power up my laptop. There’s a mail from Mike: he’s running a little late. Can we meet at 2:30? No problem. Gives me a chance to catch my breath.

We head off up Commercial Street to the Goose Island brewpub. It’s not that far and the weather is dry. Oddly enough, I can’t ever remember walking down this way before. Though I have spent quite a lot of time in the East of London.

I tell Mike of a particularly scary pub crawl down the Whitechapel Road. Including a visit to the Blind Beggar, former Mann’s brewery tap.

“Lovely pub. It’s where one of the Krays blew a rival gangster’s head off.”

The brewpub is pretty empty. Just a couple of staff and a brewer. Mike is just checking everything is set up for tonight. While we’re hanging around, I give Wimbledon XK Mild a try. Very nice it is, too. As I’d expected. So I try their Copper Leaf, too. It’s also rather good.

Emma Inch arrives. She’ll be compering for us tonight. We run through approximately how things will go. We’ve never met properly before and it’s nice to have the chance of a chat.

A whole stack of people I know turn up. I won’t go through the whole list. As I’ll probably forget several. Derek Prentice, who was also involved in the project takes us for a quick tout around the old Truman site, which is just over the road. Who better for the job?

Emma does an excellent job of keeping the conversation going between me and Mike at the launch itself. She asks relevant questions and I try not to wander off the track too much in my replies. I’m easily distracted.

The beer is very well received. Which is pleasing. With its heavy Brettanomyces character, it’s not what modern drinkers expect from a Porter.

Talking done, a whole load of us tip over to the Golden Heart, former Truman brewery tap, for multiple pints and lots of conversation.

We finish off in Pride of Spitalfields for some final beers. Well, we don’t totally finish there. Remembering that we haven’t eaten since midday, Mike and I go for the only available option at midnight: a kebab. Been a while since I had one of those.

Sleep needs no coaxing when my head hits the pillow.

Goose Island Brewpub London
222 Shoreditch High St,
London E1 6PJ.

Golden Heart
110 Commercial St,
London E1 6LZ
Tel: +44 20 7247 2158

The Pride of Spitalfields
3 Heneage St,
London E1 5LJ.
Tel: +44 20 7247 8933


Kevin said...

In the final blend what was the ratio of brett porter to fresh?

Ed said...

Great do and a great beer!

Ron Pattinson said...


one third old, two thirds young.

Martyn Cornell said...

Derek's tour was great - I'd have paid money for that …

Ron Pattinson said...


I've urged Derek several times to write a memoir. He has so many great stories and insights. Maybe you should just interview him and write it up. I'm sure it would be both fascinating and an important record of a certain period in British brewing.

Anonymous said...

I don't know whether it's because of Derek's involvement, but those Wimbledon beers have a definite Fullers character to my taste - that mandarin marmalade flavour.