With 37 draught beers and over 150 bottles, The Craft Beer Co definitely starts off in the right direction.
Not far from Farringdon tube station, the brother of Cask Pub and Kitchen opened this week proudly fronting London's largest beer selection. And what a selection it is: house beers from Mikkeller and Kent Brewery; permanent keg fonts (with each font having three taps each) for Mikkeller, sour beer, lager and imports (with more fonts to spare for IPAs or saisons or stouts or whatever); a long line of casks from some of the UK's best breweries; and a bottle list which reads like beer porn.
Downstairs is wide and thin with a long bar, the whole place made to feel bigger by the mirrored ceiling. There's lots of standing room (to perve over the pump clips and fridge contents) plus stools and tables, music plays at just the right volume to blend with the background, the bare decoration of stripped wood and dark furniture works well against the white walls and flashes of the striking red logo. Upstairs is quiet and lined with tables for those who want to get comfortable and spend the evening working through the line-up of beers – a fire place in the middle and windows all around make it homely and airy. It's not cheap, pushing £3.50 a pint of cask and keg starting just under £4 a pint, but those prices are almost expected in London. Importantly, it's got a great atmosphere already with staff who know what they are doing and are passionate about it.
Being bold, I think Craft will almost immediately become the number one beer destination in London, and that's with a lot of strong competition (Southampton Arms, Cask, The Rake, White Horse, Euston Tap). It's got the biggest beer selection (with something to suit any taste), it's got unique beers, it's in a good location, there's a great atmosphere to the place and it feels like a pub to sit down and drink in.
The Craft Beer Co is now open. You should check it out.