Beer and Loathing: The Camden Brewery
The Camden Brewery, Camden
The other ‘cool’ brewery doing well in London at the moment (there are lots of arguably ‘cooler’ smaller breweries in East London brewing beer than will no doubt reach our mouths in the coming years) is the Camden Town Brewing Co. They do a solid range of very drinkable craft beer with sensible names describing what they actually are, unlike Brewdog who give all their beers fruity names that give you little clue as to what they actually are. It’s generally accepted that as far as craft beer goes, Camden have North London’s pumps and Meantime in Greenwich have South London’s pumps. You will very rarely see the two on offer in the same pub. This makes them sworn rivals and it is, unfortunately, an all too regular sight to see teams of brewers from each beer house fighting running gun battles through the streets of once middle class craft beer drinking London neighbourhoods. The bloodshed has to stop.
Camden brewery apparently holds some pansy ass open day every so often. I couldn’t possibly tell you how frequently or on what days they fall, but when we walked past they were having one. Were it not for the high concentration of under fives, and adults who had created these under fives, the event would have been sick as all hell. As it stood there were a range of little boutique food stalls, a couple of beer stalls (obviously selling Camden Town) and then the indoor brewery tap bar too. It had the air of a village fête, complete with bitter gossiping locals pouring scorn on Margaret’s latest hairdo and discussing the imminent demise of Tom and Paula’s marriage. There was community spirit.
We felt mildly like trespassers, partly because we had walked to the brewery expecting to peer over the closed gates and maybe asking a security guard “Mister! Oi mister! Can we ‘ave some beer?” but instead found this carnival of middle classery, and partly because we walked in sipping beers we had bought from a local off licence called ‘Drinker’s Paradise.’ Also we were a little bit pissed (this review happens a mere half an hour after we leave the premises of the last one) and being pissed around toddlers instantly makes you feel uneasy.
The whole brewery is underneath the arches of Kentish Town West Overground Station, with a few fermentation vessels jamming out in the open air just to the side of the arches. It certainly makes for an interesting wander around. We couldn’t explore too much inside though as they had blocked off all the entrances to the nether regions of the brewery with kegs. Which is probably wise considering the amount of kindergarteners doing the rounds. Nobody wants some idiot child falling into the mash tun and making the next batch of wheat beer Little Tommy flavoured. The drink of choice on paedophile island. (Worst island.)
Yeah, there were some, like ‘I have had kids so can’t do Ket anymore’ style mid 30s hipsters. But fairly ‘hip’ nonetheless. Also, the babes manning the stalls were primo babes. So there’s that. I reckon if we injected a healthy dose of 18-25 year olds and put some crap band on a stage somewhere that had lots of hype behind it the whole place’s score would go through the roof. Onto the platform of Kentish Town West! Geddit? Anyway. What I’m trying to say is that the venue is very cool.
Miles and miles away from baffled tourists wearing Cyberdog and shops selling incense. There’s a picturesque urban park next to the brewery lined by lots of handsome buildings. I can see why a little nest of monied, Monocle reading hipst-dads have sprung up here. It is nice. Transport links are obviously pretty awesome as well. It being in a train station and all.
The food we got was a little pricy, but reasonable given the surroundings. And although I don’t strictly remember how much the beer I bought was, one would imagine that this is probably the cheapest place you can buy Camden Town Brewery beer, straight from the maturation vessel.
Community vibes are sick in tiny villages where everyone knows everyone because there are nine houses and everybody has basically interbred anyway. It’s genuine and happening and it’s probably more difficult to stop it than do anything else. In London it feels a touch disingenuous, none of these cats are from Camden. Probably not even from London. Not that I am. But there was a sort of smug ‘look at this post modern village within a city we have created’ vibe going on that I wasn’t cool with. There’s a chance I was reading too much into this though, one eye closed, swaying slightly, curling my lip at 6 year olds on those stupid scooter things with a ball instead of handlebars. Don’t take your children to a brewery. It’s weird.
Do you have any god awful pubs in mind for Jack to go to at some point in the future? If you do please harass him on twitter @beerandloathinz