Hackney Wick Station. Bit of a dump really. Not a lot going for it. You can just about see what can only be described as the backside of the Olympic Stadium, through a gap in some houses. But for this summer at least and up until 31 October it will be the destination of choice for those who like their beer. For just a 5 minute walk away is an old public baths that is hosting Urban Sessions.
If you walked past it you’d possibly think the understated signage was some sort of youth club or drop in centre. Not the mecca of beer to be found inside. Urban Sessions is the brain child of Melissa Cole and what a great job she’s done. Inside there is a perfect ambience – a DJ is spinning tunes (is that the right lingo?) in the background, a few tables dotted around the space and there is also a decent sized ‘beer garden’ (although as it was raining I was unable to take advantage of this).
There is a LOT of beer to choose from – roughly 30ish taps on offer plus a cocktail bar where you can choose to add beer into your cocktail if that floats your boat. You can pay cash or do slightly better for your money and buy beer tokens (1 token = 1/3 pint). Drinks are available in 1/3 or 2/3 measures – there are no pints to be had in here lager boys.
Enough rambling about the ambience and onto the drinks. Here’s my bar tab from my night at Urban Sessions and some brief thoughts on each…
Nelson Saison by Weird Beard/Elusive Brewing (6.9%)
Well balanced, smooth, easy drinking Saison with a hint of spices. Collaboration beer with home brewer Andy Parker
Siberia Rhubarb Saison by Ilkley Brewing Co (5.9%)
Like drinking rhubarb & custard sweets. Couldn’t drink too many of these but really easy to drink. A collaboration brew with Melissa Cole.
Honey Brown Lager by Sleeman (5.2%)
Another easy drinker, with sweet flavours throughout.
Jaipur by Thornbridge (5.9%)
What more can be said about this that hasn’t already been said? Jaipur is an amazing beer – check out our review of it here
Yakima Red by Meantime (4.1%)
A great balance of hops in this beer, giving way to an easy, moreish finish
Cannonball by Magic Rock (7.4%)
Love cannonball, it’s like the start of hopaggedon. From the first hints of the aroma through to the smokey finish, this is close to the perfect beer.
Great Eastern India Pale Ale by Redchurch (7.4%)
Didn’t enjoy this one so much. Found the hops a little to harsh and dry, not my sort of thing at all.
I’d highly recommend a trip to Hackney Wick Station but only as a waypoint on route to Urban Sessions. If you enjoy your beer and like to enjoy beer with other beer lovers, this is a place you need to be.
Thanks to the guys at I Love Free Beer for taking us along to Urban Sessions, it was great to meet Melissa, Mark from The Beer Boutique and to see the guys from Honest Brew setting up their kit for this week’s live brewing session.
www.urbansessions.co.uk for more information
www.ilovefreebeer.com for information on how to download the app and claim your free beer at Urban Sessions