Pilsner UrquellPilsner Urquell

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Galvin HOP, London

Galvin HOP is a ‘pub deluxe’ next to Spitalfields Market, London. From their four tanks they pour over 900 pints of Pilsner Urquell every week where it’s served alongside exceptional food. Here we meet Head Tapster Joel Buxton.

I’ve always been in the hospitality business. I tried doing office work but it bored me. I just hated the restrictive environment and sitting at a computer – so one day, out of the blue, I just quit.

I’d decided I was going to be a chef. I’d always loved food and I’d been cooking from the age of 13 as my parents both worked so I had to prepare my own food after school. I was – and still am – constantly writing down ideas for recipes or concepts but I had no experience in restaurant kitchens whatsoever.

It might have been fate but I’d read an article about the Galvin brothers, Jeff and Chris, so I headed to Café Chapelle to look for experience. The Head Chef laughed at me at first but admired my gutsy approach and asked me to work for a week for free. By Friday he gave me a permanent job.

I worked as a chef for three years. I went from a commis chef to senior chef de partie. It taught me about working under pressure and working as part of a team. Galvin is well respected and insists on quality produce and techniques, in the kitchen and the bar. We always go to great lengths for all our dishes.

I left Galvin to go back to Essex but returned when I heard they were opening up Galvin HOP. I was offered Head Bartender in January 2016 and was Bar Manager by May.

I look after the Pilsner Urquell in this pub and think we serve the best pint in London. I’m a very enthusiastic home brewer – and have been doing it for years. I’ve brewed all sorts of ales, stouts, porters and IPAs. I really want to educate our customers about beer generally.

London is a melting pot of different cultures, especially in the area where I work, so my customers are really international and accepting of new things, like foam on a pint. They’ve often been to cultures where foam is traditional so I don’t get too many complaints.

If the customers don’t know then I explain the wet foam – that it’s still beer. I use a Champagne flute and pour a mliko. The fluted glass means the foam turns to beer quicker and people are astounded by it. It’s a nice quick way to teach them.

Pilsner Urquell is our only beer on draught and people seek us out for it – we have lots of regulars. It’s hands-down my favourite lager. I like its heritage – it’s a true original – and they have high quality standards and use quality ingredients, just like HOP. We as a company believe Pilsner Urquell is the best beer in the world.