Bethnal Green is soaked in East London history, a vibrant busy part of East London which is embracing the new with the old. It is most likely that a large percentage of people who have come to Bethnal Green in search of beer haven’t searched much further than Mother Kellys and Redchurch Taproom. But if you dig a bit deeper and keep searching five to ten minutes further down the road you will discover one of London’s newest Taprooms from Three Sods Brewery.
Three Sods Brewery started up in late 2014 and consist of Dave, Jordan and Adam. The name Three Sods comes from the Irish background of Jordan. When laws and licensing were made for distillers regarding selling their good not everyone followed the rules. Those who continued to carry on brewing illegally would paint a sod of peat white and hang it outside their door so people would be aware that they could purchase their dodgy moonshine without letting the authorities know.
There is no sod of peat painted white outside the tap room, but you will find a much better beverage than the moonshine of times gone by. An easy five to eight-minute walk straight up Bethnal Green road, which is the road running under the railway bridge running along Paradise Row, followed by a right at Pollard Row Row (the corner of the church) will lead you to the Bethnal Green Working Mans Club. From the outside you would be forgiven to think that there was no life inside the building but the truth is far from that. Working men’s club are like private social clubs and started at the turn of 19th century when groups of working men who worked in industrial areas (thought to originate in the North but also started in Australia at the same time!) all clubbed together to form a social place where they could all hang out. Throughout the decades these have evolved with time and become center points for communities. The Bethnal Green Working Mans club sits opposite two huge high rise flats and reminded me of a bit of old school East London you hear about from family members and films (guvnor). Outside you can’t miss the building due to the huge spray painted flower! Those who enjoy art on walls will also notice an original Banksy, although due to some clever spark who wanted to rip it off the wall and a few taggers, it has seen better days! Walk through the main doors and head straight downstairs, this is where you will find the Three Sods Brewery Taproom.
Walking in you are instantly hit with a feeling of walking back in time. The room is like something out of the 60s or 70s. Old record players, classic pub tables with red velvet seated chairs, original bar shelves, boating memorabilia and lots and lots of clocks decorate the room. The bar itself even has two boat fronts with all the pint and half pint dimple glasses on show. The bar, at the moment, features three hand pumps, two old keg lines may feature key keg beers later in the future. The brewery itself sits in the cellar, which is right under the Taproom.
The Working Mans Club has some very popular and random entertainment nights on, even on my visit I had to take a double look when I saw a lady in full burlesque gear walk past the bar! I hope the brewery and Working Mans Club can work hand in hand going forward, with nights getting busy upstairs it would be great to see people go downstairs to sample the beers from the brewery. I visited early on in the evening and left early, but even when I was present there was a few people checking out the new venue, including a lot of the East London and City branch of CAMRA.
Four beers from Three Sods featured on the night, their black IPA Mud Peddler Black 5%, Session IPA 4.4%, their new creation Leap Year Golden Ale and in bottles they also had Belgian Bugger 5%. My pick of the beers so far is Belgium Bugger, a wheat pale ale which has smooth subtle hints of those Belgian wheat beer flavours of banana and cloves, but with an easy drinking pale ale feel.
Some places try to replica the vintage bar feel but Three Sods Taproom is the real deal, it really is that classic bar without trying hard to be. It is worth making the extra walk after Mother Kellys and Redchurch to taste some beer in one of East London’s newest taproom which is dripping in real London history.
Three Sods Brewery Address – 42 Pollard Row, London, E2 6NB