Every now and then a pub or bar breaks through the mediocrity of London's pub scene to offer something generally accepted as out of the ordinary.
The last exceptional newcomer was probably the Bricklayers Arms in Putney which resurfaced five years ago offering the full range of beer from Timothy Taylor Brewery in Yorkshire - it is rare to find their complete range in Yorkshire let alone London. The Bricklayers Arms has gone from strength to strength over time expanding the offering to include guest ales from microbreweries and hosting regular beer festivals. They have been twice winners of the CAMRA Greater London Pub of the Year and their latest beer festival last week must have been the best pub beer festival ever hosted in London with 140 beers from 67 Yorkshire breweries.
Last year, my favourite breakthrough pub was the Bull at Horton Kirby - not really London but close enough for a regular visit to their brewery showcase weekends with special beers from special breweries. The Bull went on to be CAMRA's Kent Pub of the Year for 2009.
In 2010, I have high hopes that the next pub to surge to the attention of London's beer drinkers will be the Cask Pub and Kitchen in Pimlico a 7-8 minute walk south of Victoria. It has been advertising in London Drinker for a few months and I was impressed with the beer, the choice and the enthusiastic attitude of the bar staff when I visited for the first time just before Christmas.
On my second visit a couple of week ago I was greeted with a second bank of handpumps (now 8, previously 5) serving three beers from Thornbridge Brewery and two from Dark Star. The other pumps also carried beers from microbreweries rarely seen in London. I sampled the Thornbridge Vienna IPA and the Thornbridge Exposed and they were both excellent as you might expect, the latter being a rare stout brewed with strawberry and pink peppercorns. The popular food match working beautifully in a beer with the strawberry and pepper complimenting each other but not too overpowering to spoil the roasted flavours of the stout.
The cask ale is complimented with some German, Czech and British lagers and a bottle list of at least 30 Belgian and over 100 German for those who like to go continental.
I am by no means the first to sing their praises and you can be sure I will not be the last. Boak and Bailey have written about it here and here.
The pub is situated at 6 Charlwood Street, SW1V 2EE and I recommend a visit.