Crate Brewery Birthday Bash
Crate Brewery has been serving beer and pizza from their industrial warehouse residency in Hackney Wick for full year now. Located right next to the canal it’s a beautiful place to have a drink or nine on a warm summer evening. Their birthday celebration corresponds with the opening of a completely new brewery and launching a new pale ale. We were invited to come along to have a look at the new digs.
The new brewery is just across the yard. The decor is professionally shabby, just as their pub a few meters away. Along one of the warehouse walls is their new brew kit, which is far from shabby looking. It’s all clad in wood and looks expensive. It’s fenced in by a long rack of kegs and they’ve even set up a Ping-Pong table at the back. People were floating around with smiles on their faces, beer in their glasses, hungrily looking for the people handing out pizza. They also had a little bar area where they were doing tastings of their beer.
Crate is very much a middle of the road brewery. They’re not in the game to make the most incredible beer in the universe. They don’t do any imperial styles, sours or barrel ageing. You get the impression they create beer to please the masses, and in the process ends up not overly pleasing anyone. Their range consists of a lager, a bitter, a golden ale, an IPA, a stout and the new pale ale. All of them ok, but none of them close to being as good as some of the beer brewed by other London breweries. That said, the bar is extremely high at the moment. What they’re doing right though is taking a holistic approach to the experience of drinking beer. They’ve got an amazing location and an eye for creating a nice atmosphere. Their combination of beer and pizza is pretty much spot on. I’ve got friends I’d rather take here than traverse Bermondsey to get to Kernel. They serve as a soft introduction to the wonders of drinking good beer. They’re also branching out to offer their beers to people who wouldn’t necessarily come across beer like this. Crate is now being served at the Royal Opera House, and they’ve got plans to get in at festivals. So while their beers might be mediocre I’d much rather be downing one of their lagers at a drunken festival than the liquid that goes by the name of Foster’s.
Another good thing with Crate is that they usually have a good selection of other breweries on offer. In the past I’ve enjoyed the brews of the likes of Buxton, Little Creatures and Kernel here, paired with a few slices of their most excellent pizza (did I mention how much I like their pizza). And although they’re extending their own operation I’ve been told they’ll keep pouring the beer of their contemporaries as well.
Their official birthday party kicks off tomorrow, Saturday 20th of July. If you want to get some pizza I recommend getting there early as their waiting time gets pretty insane as it gets busy. I saw a good few disappointed hipsters surviving on nuts while waiting over an hour for their food to arrive. Crate will also be present at the upcoming London Craft Beer Festival, where they’ll be pouring their beers next to giants like Mikkeller, Kernel, Magic Rock, To Øl and De Molen. Whether they’ve got something special to bring along to the party remains to be seen.
We had a great time at the new Crate Brewery and will definitely come back to enjoy a few cold ones by the canal, especially if the weather holds up. Here’s to hoping that more places like this will crop up – places with great atmosphere and really really good beer. Cheers.
Photos by: Klaas Diersmann