Thursday, 26 July 2012

Postcards From Brighton

Dear Beerfriends,
Arrived at lunchtime. Travelled by train, not in the back of a tourvan under a pile of instruments like the previous time I was in Brighton.
Found Bankers chippy then wandered along the seafront under the hot sun.
A look around the lanes then on to The Brewery Tap.

The Brewery Tap has 31 taps on the bar wall. 15 beers were on including Jever, Snake Dog IPA, Anchor Steam and Duchesse De Bourgogne.
The cold Williams Brothers Caesar Augustus was delicious. I couldn't tell if I was drinking lager or IPA, it turns out it's a lager/IPA hybrid, so there you go.

Then a walk up the hill to the recently opened Craft Beer Co. Much like the one in Clerkenwell there were an incredible range of beers on offer. Mikkeller, Southern Tier, Evil Twin, Camden, Summer Wine, Dark Star, Magic Rock on draught and an impressive selection of bottles in the fridges.
The copper topped tables are a nice touch.

It's the kind of pub that dogs take their owners, I'm sure I counted 5 canine companions during our rest here.
We found another type of canine companion here.

Finally a visit to the Evening Star for Brodie's Simcoe for Breakfast, a hopped up Imperial stout, and some Dark Star beers. I admit by now I was getting tunnel vision but it's a lovely boozer and the staff here were very welcoming.

Wish you were here? I wish I was again soon XXX

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Leicester Pubs: The Globe

The Globe stands on the corner of Silver Street and Carts Lane in the city centre. Apparently the building has been a boozer since around 1720.

It had become a little grotty in recent years so, as Everard's flagship Leicester pub, its recent refurbishment is welcome.

I'll be honest here and say I've never really been a fan of Everard's beers. My eyes usually stray to the guest ales in their pubs.
That said, if you know what to expect from the beers that's fine, we're just interested in the refurbishment.

They've made a pretty good job of it I reckon. Plenty of cosy snugs. Much of the layout is the same but it looks more like a basic Victorian boozer. The only thing missing is a room with sawdust on the floor.
Some of the old gas lighting remains, gas lighting that many years ago a friend of mine accidentally set fire to his hair on.

The food menu looks tempting. From burgers to olive and hummus platters, steak and Stilton sandwiches and posh fish finger sandwiches.
The ingredients are going to be purchased daily from the market, about 5 minutes walk away.

So the The Globe is definitely worth a visit, there's a great new team running it. I just wonder if anyone has told them the place is haunted...

Monday, 16 July 2012

Church End Beer and Classic Bikes

I usually head to Church End Brewery Tap at least twice a year.
I should get there more often as it's only a short train and bus journey away.

They hold an annual Classic Bikes meet in the summer. I've managed to get to a couple of these.
There were some beautiful machines there this year including a 1974 Ducati, Triumph Bonnevilles, and a Douglas Dragonfly.

Half the fun is not knowing what will arrive, everyone's heads turn as another bike rides into the car park.

The other pleasure is drinking a Coffin of beer.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Westvleteren: It Will Find You

When you first begin drinking Trappist beers you get to hear about the elusive ones.
The fact that they're difficult to get hold of might make you long for them even more. Or could it just be that you enjoy all the other Trappist beers so you need to complete the set?

I have been looking for Westvleteren on and off for the past few years and had resigned myself to not bothering again until maybe the next time I went to Brussels.

I was going to Derby beer festival on Thursday until a friend invited me along to his birthday bash. If I hadn't had accepted his invitation then I would have missed a chance.
A diversion and a casual mention of some beers and there it was.

Westvleteren will find you eventually when you're least expecting it.

Friday, 6 July 2012

The Session 65: So Lonely... (The Bolthole)

A friend of mine says everyone needs a bolthole. She's dead right.
When she wants an undisturbed pint she drinks in one of the city's crappiest pubs, safe in the knowledge that no one she knows will walk in.

I also have a couple of boltholes, somewhere to escape just for an hour or two, usually after work once a week or on a Sunday afternoon.

Without a doubt, most of the friends I've made over the past 24 years I've first met in pubs. Socialising over a few pints is still my favourite thing about drinking in a pub, but there's always that other pleasure of a quiet couple of pints on my own.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

When Pubs Had Mystery

When I was growing up pubs had mystery. Us kids weren't allowed inside, we had to sit in the beer garden with a bottle of Hoyes lemonade, sucking through a paper straw that collapsed before we'd even got half way through.

Walking past a pub I was captivated by the sweet pungent smell of spilt beer and cigarette smoke, the sound of noisy chatter. Windows were frosted or blurred with bullseyes so no one could see inside.

Going to private functions in rooms above pubs one would catch a quick glimpse of the bar, full of unrecognisable faces.

Frequent shopping trips to Burton upon Trent meant other smells associated with beer, the smell of hops in boiling wort came from clouds of steam hanging over the streets. The pubs here looked different, many stood at the end of rows of terraced houses, or so it seemed.

I was intrigued by this mystery and it was one of the reasons I couldn't wait to start drinking in pubs as soon as I could get away with it.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

BFI DVD: Roll Out The Barrel

Roll Out The Barrel is a compilation of short films on the British pub.
The 2 disc collection of 20 films in black and white and colour begins with The Story of English Inns from 1944 and ends with Local Life from 1982.
What we get is a combination of documentaries and trade films, some entertaining and some lacklustre.

There are a few highlights for me beginning with All In Good Time, shot by one of my favourite cinematographers, Peter Jessop and set in a pub in Banbury where one of a newlywed couple steals an ashtray from a pub table.
Under The Table You Must Go is a tour of London pubs and clubs with TV and radio personalities of the time including Jon Pertwee, Jimmy Hill and Richard "Stinker" Murdoch. My favourite clip is the light hearted look at the history of pubs starring Richard Wattis, What'll You Have?

Guinness For You is a fairly abstract trade film with an abstract soundtrack that wouldn't be out of place on a Throbbing Gristle or Anal album.
Some of Monty Python's Flying Circus demonstrate how to clean keg lines in Henry Cleans Up.

It's an interesting collection, some of the films I shall watch again, others I won't.
The DVD comes with a warning that it contains scenes of, prepare to be shocked folks, drinking.