Tapping the East
The Tap East pub in the Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford was set up in a mere 8 weeks and the brewery followed soon after. CAMRA's London Tasting panel popped in to find out more about this Pub Brewery that is developing a reputation for its beer. Glyn Roberts, of Uttobeer, took time off from his beer ordering to tell the story.
When the Westfield Shopping Centre was set up, they were looking for artisan food suppliers and Uttobeer, owners of the more famous Rake in Borough Market, were approached and then it was all hands to the deck to get the venture up and running. The small brewery (2.5 barrels) was set up at the back of the pub and Tap East became the only brew pub in a shopping centre in Europe.
Glyn's background is very much ensconced in the pub industry. He has worked for M&B, the defunct off license, Threshers, Firkin and the White Horse at Parson's Green. He joined the Rake about 5 years ago and now is responsible for 95% of the beer for Uttobeer, which, of course, includes the wholesaling business as well as the two pubs and the stall in Borough Market.
70% of the beer is draught, 25% bottle and the rest 'keg'. None of the beer is filtered or pasteurised. Tap East currently brew 2 to 3 times a week, producing beer for the pub, the Rake, beer festivals and doing swaps with other brewers. Besides their regular beers, they do specials including collaborative brews with other UK brewers such as Roosters and Brodies and American brewers e.g. Left Hand.
Tap East's brewer, Jim Wilson, brews around 5 beers regularly, the weakest of which was JWB (James Wilson's Bitter). They use three different dry yeasts (Nottingham, American and Belgian for one offs). Jim previously brewed at Brentwood Brewery. During the visit, three beers were tasted:
APA (4.4%ABV): Coffee in the Morning (5.6%ABV): A black porter with coffee dominating the aroma and flavour, lingering the dry bitter finish. There is some sweet black treacle notes with a trace of liquorice. The coffee comes from Grind Coffee Shop, around the corner and the first brew was done with some of their staff. The hops used are East Kent Goldings. Double IPA (8.7%ABV): This beer is brewed once a year and is mainly bottled. It is a light brown barley wine with a smooth mouthfeel, caramelised fruit, toffee and a little nuttiness. The fruity slightly bitter aftertaste is long and lingering. The hops are both American, Calypso and Centennial. If you have not been to Tap East, it is directly opposite Stratford International train station. If you need an excuse to go, pop along in October for their beer festival, which will feature 30 beers. See http//www.tapeast.co.uk