The beautifully crisp, petillant pale ales from the North of England have been our inspiration for the London Tap recipe.
I was “weaned on” the old style cask Boddingtons brewed at Strangeways brewery in Manchester (i.e. before it was sold to Whitbread in 1989). Bizarrely my O’ Level Maths teacher, first introduced me to the delights of Boddingtons cask ale (he’d probably locked away nowadays for such a misdemeanour!).
The original Boddies (3.8% abv) on cask was an unusually light colour, and was bedecked by a smooth white mousse generated by the twin effects of bags of natural condition, and a spray nozzle known as a sparklet. On the palate, it had a nice tight bitterness and for some reason, went down even better accompanied by a bag of dry roasted peanuts (followed by a short meander to the Wing Wah). Several pints of bitter, some peanuts, and a bag of fish and chips with curry sauce, all for a bluey (AKA “a fiver”) – oh my days!
I loved Boddies so much I persuaded several local publicans to employ me, and so learned to pull the perfect pint. (Grasp a sparkling clean, cold glass, dip the nozzle into its base, give three firm pulls of the hand pump, then a gentle top-up leaving the perfect gap for the head. Place the glass on the bar towel with the logo facing the customer (don’t touch the rim!)). It was hard work but I enjoyed every minute.
London Tap is a not a copy of the Boddingtons’ recipe. But using local pale malts and a combination of UK and US hops, we’ve developed a beer (also 3.8% abv) that is dry, pale, crisp, and with a light creamy head. It translates very well into the bottle as well. Not surprisingly London Tap is our most popular beer.
The New River has supplied London with fresh drinking water, and has thus been “London’s Tap”, for over 400 years.