I first came across Draft House Sunday Sessions on Matt Curtis’ excellent Total Ales blog earlier in the year, and immediately resolved to go. Fast forward to May and my girlfriend gave me an IOU for a ticket to one of the events...fast forward a bit more to last Sunday and we finally made it.
For the uninitiated Draft House is a mini chain of pubs that serve excellent beer to London punters. Sunday Sessions are held at their smallest pub on Charlotte Street; a better venue for a quiet(ish) Sunday afternoon of boozing is hard to imagine. The sessions are essentially ‘meet the brewer’ type events with a bit of a twist, as beers are paired with small plates of food. It’s also incredibly good value at £25 a head which gets you six thirds of, beer and six small plates of deliciousness to match.
Last week the pub hosted Lervig Aktiebryggeri, a brewery based in Stavanger in southern Norway. The brewery was set up in 2003 in the former premises of Tou Brewery which had been bought out by Carlsberg. It’s therefore a bit different from your average ‘craft’ brewery in that its home is a huge brewery designed for the mass-production of pilsner.
The beers were absolutely superb from start to finish. The afternoon got underway with Lervig and Magic Rock’s collaboration Farmhouse IPA, a wonderful bitter, hoppy IPA with a hint of wheat, paired with an oyster served with a strawberry dressing. Next up came a Rye IPA, part of Lervig’s ‘Brewers Reserve’ series that was served alongside sous-vide salmon with horseradish and watercress. The third course was another collaboration, this time with All In Brewing; am imperial porter with wonderful roasted flavours and a beautiful steak tartare served on a rye bread crisp.
The staff at the Draft House were doing a superb job of engaging people in conversation, as were the David and James from Lervig and as we tucked into our beers the volume in the room increased noticeably. A Sorachi Ace lager offered a bit of a breather after the hefty porter and was easily one of the best lagers I’ve ever had. This was closely followed by a double IPA which went down almost as easily despite its 10% ABV, a real testament to the skill of the brewers. The DIPA was paired with what was probably my favourite course, a deep-fried croquette of elk and buttermilk which provided some much needed grease and salt.
The drinking and eating concluded with a single hop Galaxy IPA that came with some wonderful orange ice cream, a shard of crispy parma ham and a honey gel (jelly?) that was so good it almost defies description. The conversation between staff, brewers and punters alike continued before we went on our merry way, not before I grabbed a couple more cans of some Lervig beers that hadn’t featured on the menu.
I really couldn’t think of anything about Sunday Sessions that could be done any better; the staff are friendly and attentive and bring you delicious booze and food of a quality that is second to none, all at a bargain price in a fantastic environment. Sunday Sessions seem to be scheduled sporadically so it’s best to keep an eye on the Draft House website, I’ll probably see you there.