It’s been a busy few months for The Five Points Brewing Company with the release of their Field Day Citrus Pale and their acquisition of the adjacent arch at their Hackney Downs site. Despite this, they’ve made time to collaborate with Poppies, London fish and chips stalwart, on a beer brewed to perfectly complement the nation’s most iconic dish.
Poppies Pale Ale is launching today, on National Fish and Chips Day, and will be available at all Poppies sites across the city.
Most Londoners will know Poppies because of its venerated fish and chips. In a city where such a classic and simple dish can go so wrong, Poppies is always a safe bet. It’s down to their legacy and attention to quality; the fish used is delivered straight from Billingsgate market and is filleted in-house by skilled staff. They’ve been serving up great food since 1952, when Pat ‘Pop’ Newland founded the Spitalfields site. He was the real deal: a born and bred East Londoner who began working on a fish and chips stall on Roman Road Market at the tender age of 11.
Although Poppies has been around for over half a century, their ethos is modern and all of their fish is sustainable. Their partnership with Five Points intrinsically fits too; here are two companies firmly rooted in East London and have similar local focus. As you’d expect from the brewery, Five Points didn’t take this challenge flippantly – Poppies Pale Ale was meticulously devised and brewed to ensure that it was the superlative companion to Poppies’ specialty dish, from complementing the crispy batter to cutting through the hot, stodgy chips.
Beer and food matching is something that’s increasing in popularity, as the growing number of pairing events hosted by breweries around London demonstrates. But do we really need a curated beer to accompany our cheeky hit of fish and chips? Well, Poppies Pale Ale stands on its own as a highly drinkable pale. In accordance with the local focus of Poppies, the beer uses only British malts and hops, which gives it bitterness to cut through fatty foods, but has enough zesty citrus in the body to balance this and make it intensely refreshing on its own.
A lot of care has gone into getting the recipe just right, from the involvement of beer sommeliers from drinks agency Boutique Bar Brands to having the Poppies team give their feedback. This is the first time Five Points have worked with a restaurant to brew a bespoke beer and, based on the reactions of the team, they seem delighted with the result. So here we have a beer that stands on its own as a worthy choice, but also tastes exceptional when fish and chips are added to the equation. If it comes down to savouring a beer solo, or over a box of steaming chips and flaky battered fish, I know what I’d choose, though.
The beer will be unveiled across all Poppies locations – that’s in Spitalfields, Soho and Camden – from today.
Thank you to the team at Five Points for inviting me along to a preview tasting of Poppies Pale Ale.