10 March 2014

Crate Brewery

When it's a crazily beautiful day, there's little else better than sitting outside with something icy cold in your hand. And when three of your friends have spent the weekend packing to move house (or move country), there's nothing quite like spending a very sunny afternoon down by the canal at one of Hackney's worst kept secrets.

Nestled behind Hackney Wick, tucked against the Regent Canal and a stone's throw away from Victoria Park, Crate Brewery's is nothing if not enterprising. As its name suggests, everything outside is built from crates and palettes but inside, you'll find a real treasure. Constructed from bits and pieces found in the area, the warehouse space has been converted into a handsome, bustling brewery. There's five home-brewed pints on the menu (the Crate Lager's a good'un) and they also welcome other craft beers from around the world on a regular basis.

No old man boozer this though, what better way to wash down your pint than with a very moreish pizza? Served on boards, these crisp stonebaked pizzas have some of the best toppings I've ever tasted. I opted for the very colourful and tasty courgette, feta, red onion and gremolata pizza and managed to demolish it in one fell swoop with the help of some fiery chilli oil.

It's a popular place, particularly on warm and lazy Sundays. The sun disappears over to the other side of the canal pretty early on but make like the many canine companions and chase it into the brewery's lot. Trying to get a table is like trying to get the two-second rule to work in your favour but nab one if you see it and order your pizza sharpish - the wait for food can take up to an hour and they even had to close the kitchen for a bit to handle all the orders when we went.

The simplicity here is charming. It's a much-loved little spot and perfect for the summer. Bonus tip? Play your cards right and you can sit in the little (moored) boat for a real bit of messing about on the river.

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