Monday, June 20, 2016

Beer School

"Is there a good craft beer bar around here?" is a phrase I found myself asking locals more frequently than I care to admit. Don't get me wrong, the Fuller's/Meantime/usual standard fare was good for the first few days, but a girl has to have a little variety now and then. This is easy to do in San Diego, with over 125 craft breweries, not to mention the prolific home brew market trying to be the next big thing. In London, however, this proved to be difficult. After the first few days, I chalked the lack of good beer up to being in Kensington. So I hauled myself to Shoreditch, the hipster mecca, because if anyone appreciates good beer, it's a hipster. But alas, no good beer to be found. With all this going on the first week, it might be an understatement to say I was excited for Crate, too excited really.

It did not disappoint. The pale ale: glorious, refreshing, cold. The stout was silky smooth and creamy. The IPA made me homesick for the first time this trip. And had Luke, the manager, not spoke to betray his roots, I could have sworn I've seen him walking in his Aloha shirt and man bun into Thorn Street brewery in North Park. Everything about Crate reminded me of home, from the reclaimed wood, to the picnic tables, to the malty dank smell I've come to associate with San Diego breweries.

Fully admit this isn't my picture. I was too busy enjoying the beer.

Where the English have us beat is the tour. I have never been served that much beer or given that much access to the production facilities. It was clear that Luke is super passionate about his craft and wanted to share it, rather than a go through the typical rehearsed script often heard back home.

Now that the proverbial flood gates have opened, I'm finding good beer around every corner. This trip I have purposely avoided buying items I can get back home. I have yet to step foot in Starbucks and I won't buy American brands when I can get their British counterparts. But that being said, it was rather wonderful to experience West Coast influenced but British made IPA at Crate. This is exactly the type of international relations I can get behind.

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