London – Ealing (Borough of) – Brewdog Ealing

I am continuing on my little project to visit all the Brewdogs in London (and indeed, further afield, but that will take me a little longer) and this one is in Ealing and only opened a few weeks ago. The reviews so far are nearly all very positive, although I’m genuinely amused by the review which noted:

“The beer is sad – need better flavours.”

I assume that this is from someone who loves their Fosters or something. Anyway, that sounds sneery and isn’t really relevant (although I won’t let that stop me). As for why I keep visiting Brewdog bars, it’s because there is always something new to drink, the service is friendly and the locations have a bit of excitement to them. I also like their vibrancy and energy, it’s not something that a lot of pubs and bars can get right.. And, they also have a policy of showing football, but only showing it in a limited part of the bar to avoid annoying those of us who want to concentrate on the beer. A win-win compromise as far as I’m concerned, especially as they are doing deals to get football fans in, so they aren’t neglected.

There’s a large interior and it’s all nice and shiny, as it should be since it only recently opened. I had reserved my Wings Wednesday extravaganza in advance as usual and I’m not entirely sure that they found my reservation judging by the confused looks, but it didn’t matter, they had lots of space. They offered me a choice of tables inside and outside (unlike the Roebuck and their shove him in the corner approach – although I note they’ve been picking up more bad reviews over the last few days and I suspect it’s the same staff member I experienced. But I digress….) before I announced that I liked inside and I could do with a power point if they had one. I’m a little surprised that a new Brewdog bar doesn’t have more tables with power points, but the staff member found one and that sufficed me perfectly.

I’d add that the bar staff seemed quite young. That annoyed me because that made me realise I’m not 14 any more, but I don’t think I can really blame the bar for that. The staff were all well trained, engaging, knowledgeable and keen to help, so there were no issues in that regard. The service remained very impressive throughout, always attentive and polite, I was suitably impressed.

My unlimited chicken wings and although it’s exactly the same dish as the other bars, the sauce seemed a little less harsh, with the chicken wings having that more crispy edge to them. As much as anyone can have a favourite Brewdog for their chicken wings, this is my preferred bar so far.

Onto the drinks, of which I went for three. The Frog Gone Rouge from Elusive Brewing (on the left in the above photo) is defined as an “Hibiscus & Rhubarb Kölsch-style Lager”. A certain person, who I will begrudgingly admit slightly knows more about craft beer than me, would probably have been able to pull out the hibiscus flavour and tell me what beer he’s had that was similar (I struggle to remember what I had yesterday, which is one of the reasons that I have this blog to remind me). Unfortunately, I have no idea what a bloody hibiscus tastes like, so I’m going to define this as more of a fruit juice with a rhubarb kick. I’m not sure that this is the delicate phrasing that this beer deserves, but that’s about my limit of wording to it. I liked it though, refreshing and with an edge of tartness.

My second beer (on the right of the above photo) is the 42|DDH Pale Ale – Citra & Sabro from Brew by Numbers. I like BBN beers (and thanks for the toast on Untappd, I’m easily pleased by such things) and it’s defined as “this double dry hopped pale ale delivers tooty fruity intense bursts of flavour, tropical fruit, grapefruit, coconut, melon and freshly cut spring grass”. Another refreshing beer with a tropical taste, certainly with the grapefruit and I think the coconut, but I’m a little less convinced by the grass. I liked the clean flavours and the lingering aftertaste, a decidedly lovely beer.

My third beer (that I didn’t take a photograph of) was more complex, the Arcade City by Overworks (effectively Brewdog) and it’s noted that:

“Black as a Ninja’s robe, an Origami of flavours unfold. Floral jasmine and sweet cranberries are layered over the indulgent big sour stout beneath. Poached prunes, deep notes of raisin and roasty chocolate flavours compete with the seismic sourness. Finishes with the complex malt and alcohol warmth expected of Tokyo. Jasmine creeps back again as mouth-watering acidity plays out.”

These sour stouts do confuse me, it doesn’t provide me with the rich and decadent taste of chocolate, Bounty bars, coffee or liquorice, but it does offer, as they say themselves, poached prunes….. The beer is thick (is that proper beer describing language?) and I did wonder at first if I had ordered sump oil. But, after the sour hit of what is a 10% ABV and that strength is obvious from the taste, there was a richness of flavour that meant I really did like this beer. Very much a beer that can be sipped, there were a few different flavours there and I wouldn’t have picked out cranberries, but after I read they were there, I could get that fruitiness. I don’t know about the poached prunes and I’m not sure that it was actually that chocolately, but it was rich and felt like it was a beer for grown-ups. Although it feels its 10%, it was still smooth and these initially what seemed conflicting tastes and flavours blended nicely. I think I’m starting to write drivel now, so I’ll stop on the beer description….

More chicken wings and these kept on coming nice and quickly. There were no delays with the payment process, but I had to confess to the bar staff that they had forgotten one of the three drinks that I’d had. The staff member told me that they couldn’t find that drink on the till, therefore they considered it didn’t exist. I’m happy with that decision, although if I had realised it didn’t exist, I might have had two thirds of it.

I know that Brewdog have faced some criticism nationally this week, but their bars are being run with some considerable ability and management skill. The staff are knowledgeable, the locations are on-trend, the beers are excellent and I can see the juggernaut of Brewdog openings likely to continue around the world. It’s becoming apparent just how far behind some pub chains are getting as well and I wonder whether there might be some major crashes in the years to come as the beer market all realigns.

As for this bar, I couldn’t fault it and I’m really rather impressed by the whole arrangement. Very lovely.