Worley’s Red Hen at The Euston Cider Tap

I’ve been walking round london on a photo tour. After 2 hours of walking in 27° heat, I’m sweating like Fred West in a Time Team special, (thanks to John Hamilton, for that one), and I’m ready for ‘something on the lips’, as my dad says. I head to the Euston Cider Tap, to my favourite roadside beer garden, and soak up some particulate matter.

Passing through the district of St Pancras, I see a whole weekend’s worth of pubs that I’ve not yet tried. I’ll leave that for another weekend, but I realise I’m seriously lagging in my quest to visit every London pub before I die. I’ve just decided that I will take on this quest. I don’t yet know when I will die. Probably while I’m on a pub crawl.

I reach the Cider Tap, there’s plenty of room inside and out. What appears to be a stag-do of super heroes – if super heroes had to put their own makeup on while drunk – is just about to leave.

From the wall menu, I pick the Worleys Red Hen. It’s a 6% medium dry, from Somerset. It sounds perfect.

Worleys Red Hen

Golden and still, it perfectly compliments the evening, probably with something like “hello evening, that’s a lovely blouse”. It smells like warm toffee apples and the taste is much the same, but rather dry. A bit watery for me, needs a sugar lump. Worleys do make a medium sweet, too. I might have liked that one more.

A French girl in a baseball cap has been standing outside for a while, and eventually asks me where The Rocket is. The sun is thankfully, dipping behind the Grant Thompson building. Behind me are a bunch of Italians, the other side seem to be a bunch of students saying hello in different oriental languages. The obligatory, toothless junkie comes begging for money. She seems to get an audience with the Italians and well-pleased with her new-found crack money, she skips off across the station to find her dealer. There’s also  large contingent of Warrington Wolves fans, steadily arriving

Station pubs usually attract the weirdest of folks, the Euston Taps (there’s two of them!) are the best station pubs.

Red Hen cider, with it’s dryness, does have a bit of a peck to it. I wonder what would happen if I mixed this with a London Rooster! That would be a post for after the watershed, but I am getting rather eggcidered about it. Haha. Ah, I always say, if you can make yourself laugh, you don’t need friends.

Probably time to go

Verdict 3.5/5

Snails Bank at the Euston Cider Tap

I’ve been walking round London town, looking at stuff all day – photos and the like, pretending to be cultured. My lungs will be black by now, so I’d best get some antioxidants.

The handiest place for a pint of antioxidants in the Euston locale, is the Euston Cider Tap. It’s a bright day, as I wonder through the towers and traffic of Euston. Oh look, there’s the BT tower!

The cider menu, chalked up on the back wall, lists what’s available today. I’m going to go for the Snails Bank, it’s still, medium, and I haven’t yet tried it. “Cash only bar” is painted on the counter in Tipp-Ex, so I pay my four quid, (Cheap for London), and head outside. It’s a Saturday afternoon, so still too early for the ravers to be out and there’s plenty of room outside. A nice day to sit and sup and breathe in the nitrous oxide from the Euston Road.

I take a pew amongst the reasonably civilised, still-sober cider drinkers, and see that my Snails Bank looks, by far, the most mental drink at the table – like a pint of thick, frothy piss. Everyone else is on pale, sugar water. Snails Bank is an opaque, dark orange colour, and though it’s supposed to be a still cider, it came out with a bit of head on it. Snails_Bank (3 of 4)

Snails Bank is a 5.2% cider, I’m expecting it to be rough and dry, but it tastes as caramel as it looks. Not too sweet, but it’s cider apples dipped in honey. Actually a very mild flavour, a smokey-sunshine taste. That’s my lungs fixed, then.

A shaven-headed Harley fan and his lady, sporting his-and-hers Harley jackets, cross the road towards us. Cider drinkers, I bet. They return to the tables with some proper-looking cider. I notice the chap next to me is reading “Suicide, a modern obsession“. I’ll recommend the barman give him a plastic glass next time, just in case.

Snail’s Bank website tells me that this is a Herefordshire cider. It’s called the Appley Dappley, which adds “the more contemporary Russet apple” to the blend. They’re aiming traditional ciders at modern tastes. I can see where they’re coming from and I’d recommend this as an easy drinking cider, if cider rookies can get past the initial shock of the colour. Snails Bank also make a keg cider, which they claim is made of pure pressed apple juice. I’d like to have a go on that!

Via my eavesdropping, I find out the Harley fan is down from the Midlands, to fix his sister’s curtain rail. A string of winos file past, asking for spare change. The suicidal gives them all a bit of change, he seems a kind man. Well I suppose he won’t need it where he’s going.

Snails_Bank (4 of 4)

The only printable bit of graffiti

I’m actually surprised by the mixture of drinkers at the Cider Tap, I expected there’s be more elderly, toothless men. However, now I have the taste for something stronger, something that might knock my teeth out. I’m about to go and ask what is the worst cider on the menu, when a bunch of young lovers arrive, which reminds me I’m old and alone, so I decide to leave it for another day. A quick visit to the unisex bog, before getting on the bus, offers several minutes of entertainment, in the form of insults, and advice. Most are not printable here.

Verdict: 4/5

Severn Scrumpy at The Euston Cider Tap

I’ve been set loose on a Thursday afternoon, with nothing better to do than sniff out a few good ciders. After seeking out The Euston Cider Tap, I’m deciding on the second of my five-a-day. In fact, there’s a lot of evidence that proper cider is high in easily-absorbable antioxidants. Enough of the science, let’s get on with it.

There’s now a few old dears inside, in pastel anoraks seemingly waiting for a train, while the bearded barman plays ‘The Ace of Severn ScrumpySpades’ at a safe level over the sound system. I opt for a traditional-sounding Severn Scrumpy. The beard offers me a taste – a sign that this one will certainly be something to write about. I decline the sample, and request to proceed, immediately,  with the immersive experience.

BOOM! It’s like drinking smoke machine liquid, (try Googling ‘fog juice’). Severn Scrumpy still bears enough sweetness and dryness to make it bearable, but this cider has spent a week at reading Festival, standing next to a bonfire, holding a milk jug full of scrumpy, while some hoodied crusty chucks pieces of smashed up guitar onto the fire.

I take another bite of the charred apple, it’s starting to burn my throat now. The 6.3% Gloucestershire cider is not for the faint-hearted, but a treacly taste shines through and draws me on, through the thick smoke of the dance floor. The old chap in the corner who raises his eyebrows every time I glance over, is waiting for his chum, who is tottering down the steep spiral staircase. I realise the toilets must be up there – probably not the safest toilet-route in a proper cider bar. I sit back and savour a cider that must certainly be difficult to find in these parts, and read about cider-making in French, while I wait for the nosebleed to arrive. Fouloir a vendanges….mmm…fog juice….

Verdict: 2.5/5 it’s an experience

Cider Crawl, North Central London. Episode 3: Euston Cider Tap

I’m making my way though Euston train station, on a cider crawl. This may be the first ever cider crawl, in fact, I’ll trade mark the term. I’m on a Cider Crawl® . I’m making my way through Euston Station, with a quick stop for my ciderkick to get some plasters – his new shoes are killing him. Always wear sensible shoes when out on an all-day lashing. You could even buy this sensible pair, called Marc.

The Euston Cider Tap is part of a pair of little pubs, housed within the old ticket offices of the first Euston station. I won’t describe it too much, as you can read more about it on this previous post. Go on, it’s quite good.Euston Cider tap

We arrive at the Tap at twilight, though that is of no significance to this post. We choose from the wide range of ciders chalked up on the blackboard. There’s more scrump in here than you can shake a Tom Putt at. I decide on the London Cider “Bushpig”, my ciderkick chooses the Twisted Cider “Misty“.

We translocate to one of the tall benches within the bar. the Bushpig, like its cuddly name, is fragrant, like apricots in summer picnic. I see the my ciderkick’s face turning at the taste of the misty. We make a swap and he’s much more content with the Bushpig. Unlike the summery cider, Misty feels more like a spicy winter drink. Like a weird winter candle scent, it’s dry, herby, coriander, tomato vine, mildew, burned stuff… I can’t quite put my.. I know! It’s like when, on bonfire night, your mam can’t afford a pumpkin, so you have to make a hallowe’en lantern with a  swede. Then it’s too small for the candle, so the top gets burnt. Misty tastes like that smell.

Euston Cider Tap InsideMisty is heavier on the nose than the Bushpig, which, despite its name, does not smell much at all. By heavier, I mean minging. There’s a lot going on in that mist. It’s made with all local (Dorset) apples, and the Twisted strapline is “Don’t get Wasted, get Twisted’. ‘Don’t get Pisseded’, would also rhyme.

It’s Good Friday, and it’s a bit quiet round these parts, but is surprisingly full in this cosy little bar. I observe the barman telling a punter what ciders are on offer. I hear an American accent in reply, ‘That doesn’t mean anything to me’. He asks for something apply, something sweet. Halves please. Another customer arrives, just down from Royston Vasey. He asks for anything weak. The barman points at me.

I think people are missing the point of The Cider Tap. Hanging around a bus station, drinking weak, sweet cider is what 14 year-olds do. If you come to the Tap, you really have to get into the spirit of things and try a proper pint. So, rather than watch a load of middle aged men looking like they’ve just tried an oyster for the first time, we drink up and knob off through the dim, drizzly Fitzrovian streets, heading towards our next Cider Crawl® target: Oxford Street and The Green Man.

Verdict: 5:5

A dedicated cider bar, in a disused ticket office outside Euston bus station? You couldn’t make this stuff up!

Broome Farm at the Euston Cider Tap

It’s a Thursday and I have a day off.

Woop de do!

I’m planning to visit the London Drinker Festival near Euston today, so I’m heading up the fragrant streets of Bloomsbury to the Euston Road.

Euston Cider TapOutside the bus station, I happen upon The Euston Cider Tap. I’ve been meaning to visit this place for a long time. I decide to pop in for an hors-d’oeuvre. The Euston Cider Tap and it’s sister pub, The Euston Tap, are housed in twin lodges that were built as part of the original Euston Station. They were intended as booking offices for the two rail companies that ran from Euston Station, and each lodge is covered in stone, carved with the names of towns that could once be reached from Euston Station. Thanks to a grim redevelopment of the station in the 60s, though the lodges were preserved, they now serve a much more useful purpose–selling booze.

I always thought they were war memorials. I venture into the Cider Tap, like an AlcoTARDIS, it seems bigger on the inside. Above the massively bearded barman, hangs a sign, reminding me that cider is one of my five a day. The blackboard lists the 16 available ciders. Best just have one for now. Or two.

A couple of other drinkers are being served. It sounds like they’re looking for a Kopparberg style, asking about the sparkling ciders and steering clear of the stills. They quickly disappear over the road to the normal Tap, which seems much busier this afternoon, serving more familiar beers. The clientele of the Taps, seems to be travellers, office workers, stag dos and vagrants. And of course, myself.

Looking at the cider menu, I feel I want to have a Countdown numbers round choice–”one from the top and four from anywhere else please, Carol”. I select the Broome Farm medium cider. It’s sunny outside and, as it’s been a grey start to the year, I pop out to lean nonchalantly against a barrel and soak up some vitamin D. Besides, who could resist the idyllic setting of Euston Bus station, and the buzz of the passing traffic. Good job cider is full of anti-oxidants to counteract al this pollution. Ah, a ‘Mix It‘ cement-mixer trundles past. I was wondering how they’d deal with their namesake being a kiddy-fiddler.Broome Farm Cider

Broome Farm is a 6% cider from the Ross-on-WyeThe cider smells of fresh weeds and shrubbery. It’s got a dryness to it, but is nicely balanced, with a bit of a sting, like falling into a patch of damp nettles while on holiday at the caravan.

It’s very refreshing for a sunny afternoon, and even more refreshing, (in London), at £3.60 a pint. The Ross Cider website is poorly built and a little difficult to navigate. The ‘About Our Cider‘ page, merely shows a photo of some apples. While I feel they need to pay a bit more attention to the site, it’s reassuring to know they’re probably more interested in making and drinking the stuff, than adding links to a website.

I’m feeling a bit smug, drinking my cider, while thousands of workers hurry around me. I think I will have to have the second of my five-a-day.

Verdict: 4/5