Around a ten minute walk from Gidea Park station, in that strange, liminal space that isn’t quite London but isn’t yet Essex, there is a wonder.
Tucked between Co-op supermarkets and wine megastores in Gidea Park you’ll find an imaginatively named micropub: Gidea Park Micropub. Don’t let the low effort name fool you. This place is something special.
It’s not the fanciest affair. The outdoor seats are all old casks with cushions balanced on top, the tables are plastic. But what this place lacks in seating, it makes up for in its selection.
This place has five rotating cask ales, six craft beer kegs, six craft ciders and another four fruit ciders. That’s a selection than most Wetherspoons in a space around one tenth the size. The only downside is you can’t make a start on the tap list at eight in the morning.
Polly’s, A Late Summer Citra
Polly’s has been very popular on Instagram over the last couple of months, so this provided an exciting opportunity to see what all the fuss is about. This particular beer, a Citra-hopped New England pale, certainly explained some of the hype.
This beer is thicc. It looks like a milkshake, a pale, cloudy yellow in colour with a thick white head, and even sloshing it around the glass a little shows how viscous this beer will be.
On the nose there’s the classic Citra aromas: lemon and tangerine, but also a strangely fruity foam banana note. As expected, the mouthfeel is thick, coating the mouth and tongue.
I have a sneaking suspicion the banana is an off flavour here. But you know what? I think, on this occasion, it works. The mouthfeel is the main event here, the flavour just a supporting act.
Crafty Brewing Co, Loxhill Biscuit
Despite the name, Loxhill Biscuit isn’t especially biscuity. The hops lead, bringing bitterness along with some lemon, orange, and grapefruit rind. When the malt does arrive it’s caramel, not biscuit, though perhaps at a stretch you could argue they were aiming for Twix.
It’s not a bad beer. But when you consider it weighs in at just 3.6% ABV, it becomes a lot more impressive. As far as session beers go, this is pretty good. The fact that it’s gluten-free counts for something too: not a bad session option for coeliacs.
Green Jack, Gone Fishing
I was familiar with the name Green Jack from our brief encounter at the 2018 Great British Beer Festival, where they won 2nd in the competition. Ripper didn’t especially impress me at the time, but this beer is a different kettle of fish.
At 5.5%, Gone Fishing is a lot stronger than Loxhill Biscuit. It’s a lot darker too, with a caramel, roasty aroma, even a touch of spiciness. On the palate it’s sweet, with just a touch of bitterness, balanced with chocolate malt and rich hazelnuts. It’s not far off drinking Nutella, which, if my sister is anything to go by, is something people enjoy doing. At least with Gone Fishing there isn’t so much guilt afterwards.