Wikio - Top Blogs - Wine and beer The Real Ale Girl: February 2010

Sunday 28 February 2010

Dresses, beer, dresses, beer

What else could a girl have in hand when trying on wedding dresses than a botte of ale (this time, Maypole Mild from Oakleaf) which was the last of a fabulous Christmas present, a box of ales from Winter really must be over- the box is now empty.
Friday, late afternoon, and I was squished inside the Market Porter, drinking something lovely, but I wasn't too sure what it was- it was too busy to get a view of the pumps, but it took me nicely into the weekend- a weekend that was quite lacking in ale opportunities. Until today, that is.
Hounslow. Trekking over there on a Bridesmaid dress quest, we popped into it's Wetherspoons; one of first, in true shop conversion/ local history on the walls style. Welton's Horsham Old, Cotleigh's Buzzard and Caledonian's Over the top gave us the strength to step out into the gale and find the bus to Isleworth- how could we be this close and not make a detour to the Red Lion? Now, its not everyday that avid London Drinker readers find a pub beer festival accidently, but it happened today, in the form of their Celtic fest, serving 25 Scottish and Welsh beers over the weekend. We managed 8 this afternoon- not bad for a Sunday, but very easy when there are tasty offerings from Abergavenny's Tudor brewery, and more Rhymney (mentioned last week.) This time is was their Dark. Dark indeed, and delicious. Beautiful beers, good live music, this is a truly fabulous pub- worth reserving bridesmaid dresses on the other side of London for.

Sunday 21 February 2010

All over the shop...

Wowzer, what a week! Sorry for the lack of post last week, but as I mentioned, I was in Amsterdam, drinking lots of (in the words of The Wenlock) Fizzy Piss in the form of Heineken. I did get to drink wort on their brewery tour though, now that's a sweet experience.
Back in London, we went for a whisky tasting this time, at Cadenhead's, where whilst not being an expert on the stuff, I fooled the proprietor with taste buds that have been honed into accuracy through real ale sampling!
From whisky in Marylebone to Porter in Tunbridge Wells, courtesy of the fabulous Royal Oak. The perfect spot for a cosy Wednesday night, we enjoyed their new pie and beer deal with the beautiful Larkin's Porter- its so nice to try something different by them. Lovely. And they serve Ramos Pinto Port- this place knows their stuff.
And then to Wales, Swansea in particular. Despite forgetting my Good Beer Guide (potential ale on tour disaster) a soon to be relative filled me in on the places to be. He led us to The Joiner's Arms in nearby Bishopston, which, as well as being a gorgeous homely pub full of friendly locals celebrating Friday afternoon, it's also the home of The Swansea Brewing Co. We made our way through their available range; the Bishopswood Bitter and Three Cliffs Gold (which admittedly, whilst tasty, were spookily similar to each other) and the stronger Original Wood, with a real lump of carved wood for a pump clip. We also popped into one of Swansea's Wetherspoons where, despite huge wine/ cider hangovers, we were able to sip down some more Welsh ale, this time from the Rhymney Brewery. I wish I could say it cured the hangover, but it stood no chance after I'd witnessed all those cockles in the market. I was feeling better, however by the time we headed to a Sizzling food pub, which was just as well, as they were serving Brains Bitter for £2 a pint.
Now, last time, I said the Southampton Arms was enough to make me want to move to Kentish town and I had a feeling it would'nt be long before we returned. Yesterday was the first opportunity we had, sneaking it onto the end of the Kentish Town Crawl recommended by those nice folks we met last time. The sublime Pineapple and the busy Junction served us well on the ale front, each place allowing the three of us to try a different ale. The Dartmouth Arms, whilst being a fun pub with an amazing board game selection, was a bit disappointing on the ale front, so we drank cider and Erdinger. And so to the super Southampton Arms- an amazing pale ale from the new Redemption Brewery, a rich Porter (or was it a stout) from Bath's Abbey Ales, and Fraoch's Heather Ale were the tastiest of a superb selection, and we nibbled on the world's best Scotch egg.
Oh, and between arriving back from Swansea mid afternoon and our evening crawl in Kentish Town, I managed to squeeze in a trip to The Old Coffee House in Soho for this week's Brodies fix- yummy stuff, the West End Best. Looking forward to the Easter Festival.
Indeed, what a week. Think I need an ale from the cupboard to help me recover.

Sunday 7 February 2010

Can we move to Kentish Town?

Despite possiby the craziest week at work, I how managed to sneak in a few ales- although, we all know that ale is the best therapy.
A sleepy trip to the Capital, Forest Hill's Wetherspoon's, left us full of a sense of what we were missing- three extremely exciting looking beers were all 'available soon'... if only we lived the sorts of lives that meant we could pop in everyday. We can dream. 
On Thursday, as the work madness was subsiding, we made a pilgrimage across London to Kentish Town and the glorious haven that is the new Southhamptpn arms. An alehouse by name, alehouse by nature- they serve only real ale and cider from small independent producers, with no fizzy piss to be seen! Sharing a pew and marvelling at the pork pies, we enjoyed to beers by the Earl of Soham Brewery and made our way through all eight ciders. We met some lovely locals and a surpirise workmate who gave us enough pub tip offs to merit a pretty good crawl in the near future. Yet another pub to make you want to move... anyone fancy opening an alehouse in Lewisham?
Today took us to the Mad Hatter, the Fuller's pub by Blackfriars bridge, which wasn't yet serving their new Bengal Lancer- we'll just have to wait until Tuesday when we are having a tutored tasting by Fuller's head brewer. Then over to Greenwich and the Admiral Hardy where we were pleasantly surprised as, despite only popping in for the football, we were greeted by Sharp's Winter Berry. Tasty stuff. Still not being willing to head home, we navigatec our way to the Dog and Bell for a gargantuan Bar Billiards Tournament, washed down with Moorhouses Black Cat Mild and Nethergate Umbel Ale- strange not to see something rarer in Deptford's beer paradise, but still certainly yummy. Also strange for me not to win the Bar Billiards tournament.
Next weekend takes us to Amsterdam, so, dear followers, there will be no blog on Sunday, but I'll try and make a new post on Saturday, if you are lucky.