Back in September last year I, for some reason, decided to tour the brewpubs of London in a single day. I don't think I missed any, but since then the scene has changed. Among the newcomers is William IV in Leyton: recently returned to brewing (say B & B) but not that you'd know it from outside. It's just your average suburban boozer on the inside: comfy but slightly cavernous. The difference is that three of the beers are brewed on-site by the Sweet William microbrewery out back.
It being December and the cold creeping in, Brodie's Mild was first on my agenda. Unfortunately I got a sharp vinegar bitterness from this: like an acetobacter party where everyone's invited. At the bottom end there's a coffee bitterness but not quite enough to justify the sharpness yet not sufficient, I thought, to warrant taking half a pint back. I moved on.
The brave Brodie's London Lager was next. It poured beautifully from the cask: a pure limpid gold. The taste is mostly clean and clear with just a hint of lemon notes in it. If I had to be fussy I'd point out the leathery, musty edges to the beer, but they're a minor element in what is a good attempt at the whole lager thing.
The final beer of the evening was their IPA. I liked this immediately with its hoppy yet easy first impressions, followed up by the mouth-coating full malts and slightly metallic English hops. This, while not world class, does a good job of capturing the essence of an English IPA.
I have to say I wouldn't recommend the William IV as an out-of-the-way excursion for the beer traveller, but if you're in the area and looking for a decent pub: there it is. And as a brewing pub on one's doorstep: yeah, I'd be happy with that.