It’s confession time. I overdid it ever so slightly over the weekend and yesterday the prospect of a beer wasn’t overly appealing. A day of rest was all I needed, however, and with the added impetus of a visit to north London’s newest bottle shop I’m pleased to say I’m back with the programme. Dusty Dick’s Craft Beer Emporium can be found adjacent to the Harringay Arms on Crouch Hill, and although it only opened last week, from what I saw it’ll be a great addition to the beer scene in Crouch End. It stocks a diverse range of beers from countries far and wide, and even boasts its own in-house beer – Dusty Dick’s India Pale Ale brewed by Firebrand Brewing Co. from Cornwall. Thanks to a shared licence with the neighbours next door (I assume its a joint enterprise), it also plans to sell beer on site, including from keg, but owing to teething problems I made do with the bottled version, which was kindly given to me by the friendly owner/manager Ben.
After limbering up with a couple of Dead Pony Clubs, I popped the cap and it poured amber and opaque, with very little in the way of carbonation. The aroma and flavour were beguiling; there was some citrus bitterness and tropical fruit but also something else I couldn’t quite pinpoint, and being somewhat flat it tasted like a boozy tropical fruit juice, albeit from a high-end supermarket.
Somewhat underwhelmed I opened my second beer of the night from Firebrand (bringing me up to speed with #12BeersofXmas), the All American IPA. Also opaque and amber but a deeper hue than the Dusty Dick’s IPA, I was immediately struck by the caramel aroma I associate with Double IPAs and “Macro Glory Juice” Goose Island IPA. There’s sweet malt caramel on tasting too, but also massive grapefruit notes and the slightest boozy kick (for the record it comes in at 6%). With better carbonation and a dry aftertaste that has you hankering for more, it was a wholly more satisfying beer than its predecessor.
I look forward to further visits to Dusty Dick’s, and hope that they plan events and so on in the future as although a small space, this ramshackle and, yes dusty, venue has vibe. And more importantly, it also has a dog – an incredibly cute and friendly staffie who may or may not be called Derek.