London Calling – Day Two

As where we stayed and where any of you stay is pretty much irrelevant I’ll start day two’s journey at the same point for ease as Day One which was Euston Station, or perhaps let’s make that the Euston Tap as you know you’ll go there.

From here take the Northern Line southbound to Leicester Square to be in a short walking distance of The Harp (47 Chandos Place, WC2N 4HS). In reality we didn’t actually visit The Harp on the day (I had to allow Mrs Beersay some shopping and sightseeing time) but have done in the past many times and it’s well worth a stop off.

Walking back to Leicester Square take the Northern Line again southbound to Embankment, change to the Circle Line eastbound for Tower Hill and head for The Dean Swift (10 Gainsford Street, Butlers Wharf, SE1 2NE), you can use Tower Bridge but either way it’s a bit of a walk but also a good way to build a thirst…

Dean Swift is in a lovely area of London near the river, offering a great selection of beers including a full bottle range by the very local Kernel Brewery, fabulous food to be had here too.

This was the venue for the last years International IPA day feast, as featured in the Summer Wine Brewery’s blog post here. To my knowledge at least, there is no way other than to yomp back to Tower Bridge and the wonderful Borough Market area which is alone worth a visit for the great foodie treats whose aromas assault your nose on arrival. Thankfully there are other reasons to visit, the superb beer shop Utobeer (found inside the market) for those all important beer hauls and of course The Rake which is a small but extremely functional must visit bar, found on Winchester Walk.

When we visited it was approaching the weekend of the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster and the guys at Rake had chosen to commemorate the historic event by serving a selection of beers from Stoke On Trent* (*birthplace of Captain Smith) based brewery Titanic.

Nothing wrong with that you might say and I’d normally agree. However, hailing from Burslem and using Titanic brewery tap Bulls Head as my local the last thing I wanted to see on the bar was not one, but four beers from Titanic including their keg stout (not pictured), talk about a busmans holiday.. ūüėČ

There are a few more places to visit in the area that we sadly missed at the time including The Market Porter (Borough Market), but one I’d definitely look for next time around is Brew Wharf (Stoney Street, London SE1 9AD), keep checking their website for details. It’s also worth doing the above two pubs in reverse and leaving Tower Hill out of the equation. This means that you can start at the Rake and call in on the way back for refreshments after your walk. Also if it’s a Saturday you have to visit Kernel Brewery, it’s the law!!

Our final venue for today (after a couple of hours back at Brewdog Camden) was to be Cask Pub and Kitchen. Take the Jubilee Line westbound from London Bridge to Green Park, change taking the Victoria Line westbound to Pimlico, Cask is found at 6 Charlwood Street SW1V 2EE. If you’ve not been before it’s a bit of a surprise on arrival, tucked away at the base of a block of apartments you’d be forgiven in walking right on by, DON’T..

This visit reaffirmed Cask as my favourite London drinking venue, we arrived at around 8pm the place in full swing and every table inside and out taken. Food is a big plus here and obviously popular as this was Wednesday night and everywhere folks were tucking in. That said I was served quickly and found a little nook to settle in as we slowly made our way up the table pecking order, before finally getting one near the bar (and an electric socket for a much-needed phone top up). The beer range is absolutely massive and comes from all over the world, you could easily spend a whole day here if your legs/brain are able to get you home afterwards. We spent a full evening here and barely scratched the surface.

For me though it ‘s not just the beer and food that make the place, the atmosphere is brilliant, buzzing away like a hive of bees around you. The venue is comfortable, part candlelit at night and painted in pastel shades, it’s just a nice place to be. Most importantly though the staff are friendly, knowledgable and remarkably patient, taking time to explain what beers are or what the next logical step would be to old and newbies alike. Top marks guys, we had a wonderful night.

If you are in town on May 5th 2012, I’d also recommend checking this night out at Cask too, a night of fantastic beers will be in store for attendees for sure!

So that’s it, the end of our day was done and a good time was had by all. I hope though that these guides have been useful and are at least accurate enough to allow you to pick and choose your own route and pit stops on your visit. Tomorrow I’ll post a simple list of all the pubs suggested to me and their nearest tube station, hopefully that will serve as a handy carry around version.

Of course again I stress I am not a Londoner and these are my own interpretations of directions etc, if I’ve made glaring errors please point them out and I’ll change the details. Similarly I know that this has probably only scratched the surface and that local sand regular visitors will be screaming inside about their favourite, so if I’ve missed an “unmissable pub” let me know that too in comments and help make this a functional living post.

For further and a much more detailed look at pubs, bars etc in London and hundreds of other places besides, I’d heartily recommend you visit Des de Moor‘s website Beer Culture, this guy knows his onions.

Cheers everyone!

More De Molen hits The Mother Town.

I posted a little while ago in my post “Burslem twinned with Bodegraven” about my delight that after some gentle nudging my local pub, Titanic Brewerys “The Bulls Head” had taken the plunge and was getting a larger stock of foreign import bottled beers, in particular those from Dutch brewers De Molen.

Well I am doubly thrilled to tell you that they have been a roaring success and that from today another eight are being¬†added to the beer menu. I’ve gleaned a few tasting notes from various internet sites to give an idea about what to expect, but I stress, I have only tasted one of these so far so don’t hold me to them.. If reputation is anything to go by though you won’t go far wrong.. ūüėČ

Engels: Our attempt at creating a real English cask ale. And we certainly succeeded. At the Great Brittish Beer Festival our Engels was appreciated by all that tried. Cask ale from the continent? Yeah! Also available bottled by the way.

Hemel and Aarde: Made with the most heavily peated malt in the world from the Bruichladdich distillery. Almost pitch black and opaque, small head. Furiously peated aroma, hiding the malt, licorice and dark chocolate somewhat. Very full-bodied, thick mouthfeel, like fluid bread. Dark chocolate, loads of peat, lapsang souchong tea, chocolate cake, culminating in an almost endless aftertaste that also has licorice.

Op & Top: Light IPA/Bitter using European hops and late hopped with US Cascade and Amarillo. Light floral aromas with notes of lemon, bread & caramel. Fresh and delicate flavours of citrus fruit, grass, and yeast. An uncomplicated light refreshing style.

Hel & Verdoemenis: Brewed with brown malts, an English traditional specialty malt, we created an Imperial Russian Stout that has won prizes at festivals across Europe from Sweden to Italy. It’s big (10% ABV), black, roasted and complex. We are convinced that not trying this ale will be a mortal sin to your taste buds and beer experience.

Bloed Zweet & Tranen: The standard Bloed, Zweet en Tranen (Blood Sweat and Tears) is a beer inspired by Bamberg smoked lagers, but upped in alcohol and with the addition of English peated malt to the Franconian smoked stuff. This variant is the result of an incident in which Scottish peated malt intended for Bruichladdich whisky got into the mash tun by mistake. (courtesy of Beer Culture with Des De Moore)

Man & Muis: Copper cloudy, with aromas of grass, grapefruit, citrus zests and some malts. Taste is light malted, good sweetness, still quite light and drinkable. Finishes with nice american hops combined with grassy saaz hop bitterness

Geboren and Getogen:¬†Born & Raised’ is a smoked pale ale, the beer has lovely light citrus & bittering hops, & the smokey embers are ever present throught the flavours

Licht and Lustig: Described as a speciality grain beer,pours a hazy medium orange colour. Aroma is slightly malty, toasted caramel, hops bring tropical & citrus fruit, banana, slightly yeasty. Taste is citrus again, wheats, some caramel, banana and toffee.

All good news for the drinkers and visitors to Burslem.

If you’ve not tried one you’re unlikely to get the chance to drink 13 varieties all in one place anywhere in the UK I’d bet, so come on down and get stuck in. Oh and when you do PLEASE pop back on here and let me know what you think in the comments section below and give the staff at the Bulls some feedback too.


The dangers of NOT drinking beer!

It’s been a funny old week, a four day beer disaster in North Wales rescued only by a healthy supply of fine bottles, followed by an increasingly improving IPA week at my local The Bulls Head, which has included two crackers from Summer Wine Brewery Nerotype Herkules & 7C’s.

Today we had two choices, a hastily arranged trip to the Hawkshead Brewery beer festival or the original plan of a good walk in the peak district followed by lunch in nearby Buxton where hopefully I could source some Axe Edge, named after the area near to where were heading.

After a bit of research it seemed that accommodation in Staveley for the fest was going to be unlikely so we made the decision to give it a miss this year and plan for another, so off a hiking we went.

All was going well, we arrived mid morning to the sleepy backwater village of Hollinsclough where we were to do a circular route taking us across Chrome Hill and back to the village. We set off in good spirits across the River Dove and climbing steadily on a mixture of muddy tracks and concrete paths.

It was here that things began to go wrong, the written instructions were a little ambiguous so we walked for about half a mile before making the decision that we were on the wrong route. Doubling back to another fork in the road we again ascended across fields filled with grazing sheep, crossing a stile leading to another rough track which ran across the top the steep ridge of a valley. But alas this was no better, the view we had was of Chrome Hill, WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON CHROME BLOODY HILL!!!

We could though see the village so decided that enough was enough and headed for Hollinsclough and the car.

Was lady luck finished with us though? Was she buggery, after around 50 metres Rach (the wife) stumbled, gave out a painful yelp (including a few expletives) before sinking to the floor crying with agony with a nasty ankle injury. She could not have picked a worse spot, the terrain was the worst we’d seen, leaving us a choice between a long walk back the way we’d came or a steep descent down rough and slippy paths.

Opting for the latter and to cut a rather long story short, after very long painful and scary hour, (the scary bit was the pretty hairy moment where we had to cross a field of rather angry looking bulls), we made it back to the car.

The rest of the afternoon was spent in a local hospital walk in (Hobble In) centre where after three hours it turned out thankfully to be only a nasty sprain.

The moral of this story though is this, if we’d have gone to Hawkshead none of this would have happened, we’d all be happy and healthy.

Proving without a shadow of doubt, BEER IS GOOD FOR YOU!

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