The craft beer revolution continues apace in Crouch End with the opening of a new sit-in bottle shop, Dusty Dick’s Craft Beer Emporium. Adjacent to the Harringay Arms on Crouch Hill and stocking more than 150 beers, it complements the two Oddbins and independent retailer Bottle Apostle in the area, with the added bonus of growler refills from a venue with “vibe”.
Antipodean manager Ben Hayes arrived in the UK six years ago, after he ran out of beer money at Oktoberfest and sold his return ticket for a couple steins of Lowenbrau. After getting a job in a Knightsbridge pub serving pints of London Pride to tourists, he was swiftly fired for showing a complete lack of interest, and moved onto Dingwalls in Camden. Here, he learned the unique skill of how to throw an empty pint glass and bounce it off the lock without smashing it, and in three years he and his brother had raised the funds to buy the lease on the Harringay Arms.
Among the UK breweries represented at Dusty Dick’s is Cornwall’s Firebrand. So impressed was Ben with the Firebrand samples he was sent, a deal was struck for them to supply an in-house IPA; and discussions are ongoing about adding a stout and a saison to the Dusty Dick’s range. Ben is also in talks with various local producers about hosting food and beer pairing events, and “meet the brewer” events are in the pipeline.
Ben uses eight suppliers for the more distinctive beers he stocks but, where possible, he goes directly to the source and has found the London breweries to be very supportive. He told me that Irish and Scottish craft beers are harder to come by and so he is in discussions with some breweries in order to remedy this. From a personal perspective, my quality of life would be enhanced no end if I could pick up a few beers by the likes of Alechemy, Eight Degrees or Galway Bay on my way home from work.
All of which sounds great, doesn’t it? But it gets better. Every trip to Dusty Dick’s comes with a warm welcome from Dennis the dog, giving you a warm fuzzy feeling that all the craft beer in the world can’t match.