Some things are clear matches made in heaven: strawberries and cream, cheese and biscuits, chocolate and caramel... A less obvious combination is beer and whiskey. I'll admit that it's only in the last couple of years that I've actually enjoyed drinking either - whether it's a couple of pints after work or the automatic order of an Old Fashioned, you'd be hard pushed to find me drinking anything neon blue that comes served in a pitcher.
I'm not the only one, of course, and beer and whiskey are nothing new but a pop-up bar that just serves craft beer and Bulleit whiskey all the way from Brooklyn definitely is. Taking over a former pickle factory across the street from an old gas works, The Stevedores is a bluesy, industrial Prohibition style jaunt in its last of a six week run bringing some of the finest flavours together to killer tunes (think The Rolling Stones, T-Rex, The Doors).
The barrels are changed every Wednesday, with Tuesdays being happy hour prices until the keg kicks. First up, we started with the Buxton Living End, an Imperial Stout IPA that's aged in bourbon barrels for a hoppy, malty yet smooth taste. Once empty, the beer barrels are then filled with Jiminez scotch leading to craft bourbons with that warm beer finish.
Then we moved on to food from Pull & Punch. Unlike most restaurants where food and drink are at opposite ends of the scale, chef Rich has deliberately created menus that are influenced by the flavours of the beer on the bar. Take the Sorportel pork bun (a pulled pork burger brought to life with cumin, cloves and turmeric) that went down swimmingly with the whiskey sour made from Session IPA gomme. Or the Issan carbs (Thai style potatoes with coconut and basil) that work brilliantly with lighter pale ales such as the Brew By Numbers IPA (think grapefruit, lemon and mango).
We finished up with a couple of stouts (I like the peanut buttery Yankee Sandwich), some smooth shots of the Bulleit Rye and Bullet Whiskey as well as the best Old Fashioned I've tried yet. A tantalisingly silky take on the classic with an unbeatable stout gomme chocolatiness that I think mixologists will be hard-pressed to surpass.
The Stevedores run is ending this week so catch it while you can. The brains behind it are back later this year with a craft beer festival and I'll be first in line for a pint or two of the good stuff.