LONDON | If you could pair beer with any food item, what would it be? How about doughnuts? A few weeks ago, we went to an innovative pop-up beer and doughnut tasting put on by Grub Club held at the recently renovated pub The Birdcage at 80 Columbia Road. Grub Club puts on pop-up dining experiences all over London. They connect chefs with foodies via creative and innovative pop-up experiences. Beer and Doughnut tasting was their latest concoction.
The Birdcage, since its recent sale and renovation now comes under the Draft House name. The name of the game at any Draft House pub is great beer making it a perfect venue for beer and doughnut tasting. The beer for this event was put on by Five Points Brewing Company and the doughnuts by The Hole, both based in Hackney. The Hole pops up at various events around London with its “Hole” foods. The Hole is known for its unique doughnut combinations from savoury to sweet. One of their standout creations is the Katsu Curry doughnut- which unfortunately didn’t make the tasting menu.
The event sold out quickly, much to the chagrin of some of our friends who didn’t act fast enough to get one of the 40 spots available.
For £15.00 per person were treated to five “courses’ of half pints and doughnuts. The doughnuts from The Hole were extraordinary and totally expanded my idea of what constitutes the realm of doughnuts. From savoury to sweet the pairings were:
Five Points Pale with a Salt & Vinegar Doughnut
The doughnut was smartly served in a chip style wrapping. The beer was a refreshing an American style pale. The combo was both sweet and savoury.
Five Points IPA with a Pineapple & Coconut Doughnut
The beer was an IPA with both Australian and American hops which were strong on the tropical flavour. The doughnut featured candied pineapple and coconut in the icing. This tropical combination was just delicious.
London Smoke with Rosemary, Sea Salt, & White Truffle Oil Doughnut
This was a powerhouse of flavour not least because the beer packs a punch at 7.8% APV. London Smoke is aptly named – it definitely has a strong smoke flavour. We really are a sucker for truffle as it always leaves a long lingering after taste (apologies if everything from this point on now has “hints of truffle”)
Hook Island Red with British Cherry Doughnut
The beer was a big red ale with 6% ABV and 20% rye hops. The cherry and other dark fruits definitely came through in flavours of the beer. The doughnut featured cherry jam and an actual cherry on top. This one left us thinking “Why don’t we eat more cherry jam?”
Railway Porter with Chocolate & Toffee Doughnut
This was the dessert course. The 4.8% ABV beer was made from 7 different British malts and hops had hints of toffee and chocolate. The doughnut was topped with a chocolate and toffee icing and a piece of crispy toffee.
We’ve heard about Grub Club as way for talented chefs to host dinner parties all over London before. Their events range from Michelin dinners to beer & doughnuts and all things in the middle of the spectrum between fine and causal dining.. They’ve hosted events in Clock Towers and Underground carriages just to name a few. The only thing they do guarantee is that no two nights are ever the same.
This beer & doughnut event was the kind of event you could attend solo, with a group of friends, or to impress a new date. No doubt the next time they offer up Beer and Doughnut tasting it will be another sell out. We look forward to seeing what combination Grub Club puts together next. In the meantime, if you’re in this part of town and looking for a great beer, decent gastropub food and a welcoming atmosphere, you should definitely consider stopping in at the Birdcage.
80 Columbia Road
London E2 7QB
Mon – Thu: 4:00pm to 11:00pm
Fri – Sat 12:00pm to 1:00am
Sun: 9:00am to 10:30pm