Monday, 28 January 2013

The Hope

Seeking somewhere different for a late lunch, Christine and I headed 30 minutes down the road in search of the Greater London CAMRA pub of the year, The Hope in Carshalton.

Three years ago The Hope was facing extinction with plans a foot to convert the 19th Century bar into a Indian restaurant and that's where the story would end had it not been for it's intrepid regulars. Who pooled together and purchased the lease, free of ties from Punch Taverns. Now with 40 share holders on board they've bought the fixtures and fittings, stock etc from the holding company that was operating the pub. The company formed (48 West Limited) has set a restriction of 24% on the number of shares an individual can hold. Ensuring there cannot be a majority holder and keeps this pub firmly rooted in its community. One perfectly matched shareholder is Croydon's latest brewery Clarence & Fredericks.

As we arrived we were greeted with The Hope's mock Tudor fa├žade and original fittings, to the right there's a small area with seating and a piano; the rest of the pub continues round to the left curving around the well stocked bar. Offering 6 real ales as well 3 real ciders and 3 craft keg pumps. I had to check twice when I saw Mikkeller - Santa's Little Helper 11%ABV on tap! Not your usual CAMRA pub offerings and one I've not seen outside of Copenhagen. Alas having not yet eaten I went for something with a slightly more respectable ABV; Gadds - Oatmeal Stout 4.5% ABV wondefully smooth with hints of chocolate and coffee. Whilst Christine had a half of Saltaire Brewery - New World Red 5.2% ABV heavily hopped with hops from Australia, America & New Zealand giving it a fruity bitter finish.

With the pub bustling with people it soon became apparent that we'd unfortunately missed the lunch menu (12-3pm) and so sat down with our drinks to take in the surroundings. As well as the cask and keg ales The Hope has a great bottle range including Brew Dog, Brodies and several well known Belgian breweries
Also on keg was Brodies - Citra for Breakfast 10.1% ABV  as well as a number of German lagers
But  as we had driven we decided to leave in the hunt for food elsewhere.

The transport links to The Hope are numerous and there's ample parking if you're driving as well as being a 5 minute walk from Carshalton station. However we've since discovered the 157 bus stops near by handy for our next trip to sample some of the higher ABV beers! We'll make sure we make it for lunch next time too!!

For a video tour of the pub and interview with some of the shareholders click here

*Picture from the wonderful Make Mine a Beer - follow him on Twitter @SW6Badger