Readers of this blog will know I can be a bit scathing about quality of cask beer in London. I don't do so lightly as after all it is easy to get right. But nonetheless to redress the balance in this quick post, here's some good news.
Last Saturday we met friends who had come down from Manchester for the day. Their plans, being Beavertown fan-boys - well craft fans in general really - was that we should go to Beavertown's Saturday opening. Alas it was not to be as instead of the usual open day, it was a ticket event which had sold out. So we arranged instead to meet in Soho for some more ordinary pub crawling. Our first pub was based on nearness to Tottenham Court tube and you don't get nearer that Nicolson's Flying Horse. Let's draw a veil over the awful beer there, but it was just a meeting place. We had intended to have a look at the Fitzroy Tavern, newly renovated by Sam Smith's. (As an aside, I found out when reading a book this weekend about the blitz, that the Fitzroy was a well know haunt of homosexuals during the war. That's where you went for a sure pick-up if one batted for that side. Or both.) Alas entry wasn't to be either, as it is still closed for aforesaid renovations fifteen or more months after it started, so plan B was the Draft House across the road, also in Charlotte St. The beer there was fine and actually cool to cold, which is unusual if our local DH in Seething Lane is anything to go by. It wasn't Good Beer Guide standards in my view, but good enough to have a couple and it started an upwards trend.
Brodies' Old Coffee House was busy and the beer was pretty good. Again probably not quite GBG standard, but a notch up from the Draft House. Food was required by now and so we went on that basis to the Queen's Head in nearby Piccadilly. Both the welcome and the beer were excellent, with Good Beer Guide quality beer and staff who seemed to actually like their job. The rising trend continued.
Train time for our friends took us the the Euston Tap where the beer was outstanding. You expect this from them and good it is too not to be disappointed. A two pinter most certainly and it was the sort of quality and choice that made you wish you'd come in earlier. Always a good sign. GBG quality? You bet. Lastly for us was our London local the Dispensary in Leman St which had a beer festival on. More of that another time, but it was great to see the place buzzing, as they don't normally open on a Saturday. The beer was in great nick too. Again Good Beer Guide quality.
Good cask beer in London is good to find. It was an enjoyable day.
The photo was of a lovely old mirror in the Queens Head. London is great for old brewery mirrors.
I borrowed the blitz book via E from Tower Hamlets Libraries. A good read if that sort of thing interests you.
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 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
Read my information and links and then decide for yourself. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes.
If you wish to email me you can do so by using this address: tandleman[at]yahoo.co.uk
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Beer samples are welcome, but I cannot guarantee a good review. You, the brewer, on the other hand can.
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