Beer has a magical effect on people: drinking it, smelling it or seeing it poured unleashes the Pavlovian feeling that you're about to have a good time. Venues like Brewhouse & Kitchen (Highbury) are fully aware of the transformative powers of beer and have crafted everything about the pub-cum-brewery as a monument to the nation's favourite beverage, from the bronzed vats to a drinks menu packed with delicious and diverse offerings. As a beer lover, the moment I walked into the Brewhouse & Kitchen it became apparent I stumbled into the right place.
Walking down the eighty-capacity front beer garden, I was immediately bombarded by the beer paraphernalia that defines the style of the Brewhouse. The walls are decked with glass cases filled with the beer brewing ingredients of barley or the notoriously suspicious-looking hops. Most tables are redesigned barrels with a wooden top for your drink, while the huge brewing vats sprout vast copper tubes that imbues a make-shift industrial feel. The whole venue merges the industriousness of a brewery with the comforts of a modern bar, which drives home the fact that this place is a love letter to beer.
Food & Drink
With all this beverage hype, we had to indulge in their Beer Masterclass (£20), and added a B&K Gourmet Burger for an extra £10 as well. We were greeted by their Head Brewer, a man with almost unparalleled passion and knowledge of craft beer, real ale and lager. He talked us through the process of brewing beer, from how different types of beers are brewed to how ingredients effect the brew, but with such passion that it was impossible not to be swept up in his enthusiasm.
After the brief lecture, it was time for the main event: the beer tasting! It starts off with a safe British bitter of Tramshead (£3.40) but eventually leads us through a tour of brews from around the world, like the ultimately pleasant Japanese Asahi Super Dry (£4.80), the hoppy, American explosion of Gamma Ray Pale Ale (£5.60) or the thick yet tart flavour of Scottish Innis & Gunn Original (4.50). The whole experience lasts about two hours and you can drink as little or as much as you'd like - but it's safe to say that we took full advantage of the beers on offer. The beer tasting gives such a wide range of beers but doesn't even scratch the surface of the flavours on the menu. With dozens to choose from, this is the perfect opportunity to find your favourite type and explore the variety of beverages on offer.
Halfway through we were served our dinner of the Funky Chicken Burger (£10.95) and New Yorker Burger (£13.95). The chicken is battered with the beer brewed on site, lending a tangy taste with a bitter edge that really complimented the meat. The New Yorker, however, is the definition of comfort food: a beef burger slavered in slow-pulled pork and Monterrey Jack Cheese. The meat was juicy and rested perfectly with the beer we'd already consumed. Both dishes were served with thin American-style chips and onion rings, which we both picked on as we continued our beer odyssey.
The Brewhouse & Kitchen mostly hits that sweet spot of busy: there's plenty of seating despite the healthy Thursday night crowd, and the bar service was swift, though the roar of conversation can sometimes get overwhelming. No one waited more than a few minutes before giving their drink order, which aids the relaxed attitude that pervades the whole venue. The crowd was a mix of older beer drinkers - those permanent fixtures in any pub - and younger professional people probably attracted to the fair prices and variety of drink.
The Brewhouse & Kitchen (Highbury) is a beer lover's dream. The wide selection of craft beers on offer - a lot of which are brewed on site - is enough to satisfy the fussiest drink connoisseur and the brewery aesthetic manages to be both original and comforting. If you love beer, or just really appreciate a good pub, this is the place for you.