Mike’s visit to Roast

Due to the perils of working in retail, my better half and I have only recently celebrated Valentines Day. We decided to mark the belated occasion with a meal at Roast in Borough Market. The website looked daunting, however  I had one of the best dining experiences of my life. The food was exceptional, with a reasonably priced three course set menu at £35 a head. The atmosphere was lively and there was even a Jazz band providing the background music.


Many things impressed me with their range of drinks. Firstly, their oenomatic machines meant that there was a wide range of fine wines available by the glass. This is a huge development in helping to expand the variety of wine that people are able to sample. I hope these machines become more common in restaurants. Secondly, restaurants now value a range of quality craft beers as essential to a balanced drinks menu. Beer is not an afterthought at Roast, where they have three Meantime beers in the fridge; lager, pilsner, and Yakima Red.  However it was their own brand beers, brewed for them by Whitstable brewery, that impressed me the most. They had a pilsner, wheat beer, IPA and Oyster stout available.   Each of them are served in a signature glass, much as you would a wine. I had a wheat beer which came in its own Champagne style glass. This helped to accent wonderful notes of bubblegum and banana. I then had the Oyster stout which came in a ceramic tankard which upfront had a good hit of coffee bitterness but then turned into a dark chocolate sweetness. Ideal with my desert.

It is a shame I could not try their IPA, given the quality of the first two, however I intend on returning to Roast in the near future. If you are looking for a special lunch or dinner then I would highly recommend Roast. Leaving aside the excellence and breadth of their wine and beer list the food was lovely and the service impeccable. I urge you all to go and enjoy the Roast experience. Ideally with one of their wheat beers!

Our first few beers

To honour the launch of this blog we decided to have a tasting evening where we sampled a selection of beers, some old favourites and some new to us! Going forward we will do some themed tastings and comparisons however for our first we are going to be a bit more haphazard.

The beers we drank, from right to left for some reason.

Curious Brew; the product of Chapel Down winery. This beer is what happens when you add champagne yeast to well-chosen hops and malts. It is a refreshing new-age lager, packed with aromas of gooseberry and tropical fruit. All of these factors make it a very drinkable lager. The second bottle tempted our new found professionalism, but we resisted.

Camden Town Hells Lager; another wonderfully refreshing beer but nowhere near as aromatic as the Curious Brew. However, what it lacked in aromatics it made up for with its slight hoppiness. With an almost biscuity quality this made another favourable impression on us. Having drunk plenty of Paulaner Helles (argued by many to be the king) we are certain this is a worthy match in terms of quality.

Fruh Kolsch; another German style beer. This top fermented beer is not as popular in the UK as it is at home in Cologne, though that does leave more bottles for us. Really pleasing bitterness. Certainly a beer we hope will become more prominent and if you are looking for something better than a generic lager/Cobra for your curry then look no further than Kolsch.

Cantillon Iris; from the iconic Belgium brewery this is a dry hopped Geuze. To say it blew our socks off would be a mild understatement. It is a mouth-puckeringly sour beer. Mike loved it, Phill liked it. It is certainly a beer that is not to everyone’s taste but to say there was an abundance of flavour would be to undersell it. The bitterness from the dry hopping added an extra dimension to the traditional, almost cider like qualities of a Geuze.

Nogne Porter; every time we have tasted a Nogne beer we have been thoroughly impressed and once again they do not disappoint. A dense black colour in the glass, there was an array of dark chocolate and bitter coffee flavours on offer. Very smooth in body, the 7% abv was not felt at all. It would make an excellent beer to match with your pudding, or like us, have in its place.

Meantime Yakima Red; the combination of five different hops this is a robust beer and one that helped finish off the evening. Full bodied, and a slight toastiness accompanied some fruit flavours. It is a shame we had eaten our steaks by this point as this would have gone great with them. We are both eternally grateful to Meantime for making this a full time beer and not just a limited run!

We hope you have found the above recollections of the beers we drank useful. Let us know what your thoughts are on the beers we tried and please voice any recommendations for other beers based on them!

Suppliers used;

Camden Hells, Curious Brew Lager and Yakima Red all came from Grape Sense in Chalk Farm.

The Cantillon Iris came from Bitter Virtue in Southampton.

Fruh Kolsch and Nogne Porter came from The Vineking, Reigate.