I’m sure it was more design than accident that TapEast was built right next to Stratford International Station. Nobody seems to know if continental trains ever will stop there, but it’s very handy for visitors from oop North. If you come into Kings Cross, neighbouring Saint Pancras is a mere seven minutes from Stratford on the new High Speed line. On saturday it was where I met my brother, down to see his new nephew. I hadn’t seen Our Lad for six months – time for a brewski. Nowadays, I don’t get to the pub much – so every minute and every beer counts. TapEast, then.
My first visit to Westfield’s brewpub was underwhelming. My second, where I enjoyed a superb pint of Oakham Citra was heartening. Our Lad orders a Sierra Nevada Pale. I order a half of Tap East’s 6% Extra Stout, made about 15 feet from the pump in their new brewhouse.
I am presented with what looks like a half of flat coke.
“Er, is this meant to come with no trace of a head?” I asked the barman.
“Nah. You don’t get a head with this one”. And he’s off.
You what? A loose, ‘bubbly’ head I can deal with. I’ve lived in the South a long time. But this had nothing, not even the faintest ghost of a vicar’s collar. Once in the mouth, the Stout had a few, if meagre, signs of life despite appearances. A fair bit of liquorice. Treacle toffee. But it was thin and dull. I didn’t even finish it. I’ve now had three beers in TapEast, and two have been dismal. Ordinarily, I would have argued. But I simply couldn’t be bothered. I took the coward’s way out and Tweeted about it instead.
A bit later, and two stops up the Central Line to the Red Lion, Leytonstone. Outstanding Standing Out for me, Brodie’s Hackney Red for our Lad. Yep, this’ll do. Light, bitter. A good saturday afternoon pint. The Brodies was more copper than red – well balanced, clean. Our next pint was a Brodies Shoreditch Sunshine. Brimful of orangey notes and grippingly hoppy – dry, dry, dry. A much bigger drink than you might expect for 3.8%. Makes you wonder what Brodies can do with a 2.8% ‘peoples pint’.
This was the first time I’d done a proper visit to E11’s newest boozer. Usually i’m in and out after one pint. It was nice to sit and take it all in. The right kind of busy. Hum of conversation. Unobtrusive music. Bloke having a swift pint while the wife’s in Primark. Read the papers. Bring your dog. Bring your kids. The couple on the table next to us playing Cleudo and drinking La Chouffe. Another beer? Same again. Cheers. Then off to meet Mrs and Little Wheels at our favourite restaurant.
Sunday morning. Bacon sarnies all round.
Eyup. A direct message from Twitter. Don’t get many of those.
Hi, this is Glyn, Manager of
@TapEast. Deepest apologies for your terrible service yesterday. I have already reprimanded the person involved. As far as I can tell, you got a terrible pour yesterday because I’ve poured a half this morning and it kept it’s head for 25 mins. I agree with you, beer brewed on site should be A1 and I’m extremely unhappy that you were treated so badly obviously I realise you may not be inclined to return but if you do, please come say hi and I’ll try and make it up to you somehow!
Oh, blimey. The internet does work after all. Being British, I instantly reply, worrying that I’ve got the barman into big trouble.
tbh – he deserved to get in trouble for that, it was lazy service and I won’t have it. Thanks for your understanding and your best wishes.
After this last visit I was indeed going to give up on TapEast, for the time being at least. To be fair, nobody else seems to have a bad word to say about the place, and I want to be the same. I have to assume I’ve been unlucky, but these days I just don’t have the time or money to play Real Ale Roulette. But Glyn, after this response, I certainly will be back – and soon.