Heroes of one earthly realm may be villains in another; quests overlap, and compete. Yet it is when the friction between two forces fully envelopes protagonist/antagonist that the mirage of difference can be removed, the underlying heart of proceedings is thrust into light and journeymen become compatriots….
This is the Brewdyssey; the journey of the J!
So, you’re up to speed with this sidequest, right? If not linkety link here.
So I awoke early on Monday and placed the triumvirate of aged j in my postman bag; delighting in my morning flat white, before hitting my fixed gear bike to conduct my daily journey from SE to E (that’s South East London to East London).
No, I’m not a fucking hipster… I swear it.(Yes you are. Deal with it. – Bifur)
Anyhoo… I feel that the geographical movement of this beer should be documented; provenance, historicity and all that shit which, whilst won’t actually affect the taste of the beer chemically, may have a nice psychological effect on our American compatriots tastebuds… So.
I dash through Catford (past a huge carbon fibre cat) through Lewisham (past nothing interesting at all) up through back streets and into Greenwich! Boom, this beer has been at the epicentre of all time… Time in our sense being an entirely human construct.
I then head underneath the Thames in a manly footpath tunnel, emerging in the isle of dogs. Apparently so called because ot used to be home to feral dogs… I think. (actually, according to my extensive Wikipedia research, that’s about the only reason that’s not been suggested…-Bifur)
Anyway, more backstreets, underneath the shadow of canary wharf (business wankers) and through the borough of tower hamlets more thoroughly. Limehouse, Poplar, Mile End, Bow… These are bastions of the ‘East End’ of London… There’s an exhilaration to weaving through the dockland areas, ducking underneath transport flyovers and weaving between cars.
Next we enter Newham… Past the Olympic stadium and through Stratford town centre.
Bang, into Waltham Forest and through the Leyton area… Alfred Hitchcock was from around these parts.
Back streets again and into Walthamstow… This is E17 bruv, home to the megastars east17! Boom.
My fave thing here is this weird church mural with what looks like Rufus from Bill and Ted ordained as a priest… To be honest, that’d be a priest I believe!
Any way, beer in bag in work for a few hours until… Time for the next leg.
Back the way I came but turning in the Leyton area, Lea Bridge Road to be exact.
I bomb down through Hackney, following a van from a local craft brewery (Ironic? Not really. But funny none the less – Bifur). Through the Shoreditch area, into City of London, back into Tower Hamlets (this time the White Chapel area- Jack the Ripper people!) and into Tower Bridge. I run into head office and do what I need to do… Then back on bike.
Now, the courier (real name Sebastian, but always referred to as ‘The Courier’ because it sounds fucking cool) works at Imperial College; a physicist courier he be. This means this leg takes me east to west.. I’m on the river at Tower Bridge so I decide to follow it west, until Chelsea, then turn up into South Kensington… Sooooo
Tower bridge to London bridge, cycling along the nippy main road that goes under London bridge. Through Southwark under Blackfriars, into Lambeth and Waterloo and bang. Westminster… Past the Houses of Parliament and statues of not very nice people that we regard as greats (hey-up Cromwell) and sloop through Vauxhall.
Next is Pink Floyd bridge, also known as Battersea bridge, and here we are in Chelsea. Up through Sloane square (hey posh folk) and bang, South Kensington.
Through the shadow of our national museums, up a pedestrianised roadway and… Halt by a Portakabin.
A quick couple of texts and The Courier arrives, handover complete.
This beer has been through 11 London boroughs… It’s been through areas of great deprivation and those of enormous wealth. It has sucked up history- good, bad and indifferent. It has felt the ebb and flow of London life, and has fused itself with the very essence of the capital. It is a beer of the city, built upon the Thames (literally – we use Thames water) and a beer of pushing boundaries, of going beyond the norm.
Enjoy your Atlantic crossing Fizzy J! We wish you well! To our American friend… Enjoy, we hope you can taste the smoke…
Also, the courier is super lovely and we can’t thank him enough.
P.S. – Bifur here people.What Dwalin failed to mention in his heroic Hermes like journey he had a humbling accidental encounter with a deflated inner tube. That’s right, the bane of all road warriors, A Puncture! Dwalin bravely overcame this most heinous of disastors with the minimum of tears and struggled heroically onwards…