I'm in London and the sun is shining. Hooray. We decided last night to have a quick wander out. I kind of regard arrival here as being the first night of my holidays, which shows I have no sense at all. At least I have no work to do today (or any other day). My co-conspirator, E does of course, but we were quite restrained.
So, first a fifteen minute walk to the Draft House at Seething Lane. I really do like it here, but the cask beer never sings out to you. It always seems to be under conditioned, or over vented. These display similar symptoms and I'd need to know more about their cellar practice to know which it is, but there are clues, especially if you know the beer. This time the beer of choice was Marble Pint with which of course I am rather familiar. It lacked condition, with scarecly a prickle of CO2 on the palate, but was fresh, clean and tasted like Marble Pint. It was just on the right side of cool and I noticed the Cask Marque shield prominently displayed near the handpumps. So. My verdict? Over vented. Any London pub that would like my advice on looking after cask has only to ask. It is a bit of a specialism of mine and my fees are very reasonable.
Then another ten minutes or so to the Pelt Trader, which again I like though hardly for aesthetic reasons. Why do I like it? The cask beer is always as spot on as it can be, given that it pours through columns in the wall. Oakham Citra was at perfect cellar temperature and bursting with condition. You can buy cask with confidence here. Trust me on that one.
Lastly we decided on a bit of grub on the way back at our local JDW. Very nice mixed grill and a pint of very well kept The Bruery Oatmeal Stout, part of JDW American Craft Brewers Showcase. What a good beer. Very rich though, with cocoa powder nose, chocolate and mocha coffee with a touch of vanilla and a good silky malt and oat base which just needed a sparkler to give it the creamy head it deserved. It is perhaps a bit sweet for more than one and all the more amazing that this rather good beer came out of Caledonian in Edinburgh, whose record on these American beers is at best, mixed.
As I said, good to be back and on Saturday, the Bermondsey Mile and London Murky.
Keeping cask beer well is as easy as pie if you have turnover. Trust me on that one too.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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