Saturday, August 6, 2011

More wandering around London

We headed down to Tooting to check out some pubs there, but our info was incorrect and they all opened at 4 or 5pm. So we went to Old Street to check out the Old Fountain.

We stopped at the Euston Tap for quick pick-me-up.

Hewitts Urbane Gorrilla and Ilkly Black

Walking over to Great Portland Street to catch a bus, something interesting....

Human Fussball

Southampton Arms in Kentish Town -- maybe my new favorite place in London. Too bad it takes a bit of work to get there.

At the Baker Street Tube Stop (decorated with lots of Sherlock Holmes) is the Metropolitan Bar, a Wetherspoon's pub. Time for dinner and a beer.

Theakstons Old Peculier and Grainstore Golden

Something non-beer to do when in London....

The Willow Walk for a nightcap.

Weltons Meteor and Weltons Stumpy

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

GBBF Starts

Didn't really take an photos of the first day. Too busy walking around and talking to people.

I will make one comment: In past festivals they organized the British beers basically by region. You could go to one place and try all the Scottish beers or the Yorkshire beers.

This year (and I guess last year, but I wasn't there) they are grouped alphabetically by county, with, say counties starting with letters A,B,C at Bar W6. Then once you get there, there is no indication of the location of the breweries. You have to read the program to find out the details. I guess that is the intention, but it makes it hard for a visitor who wants to try a particular regional style.

I hope they change it back the old way.

Walking around London

Some pictures as we visited some pubs in the area before going to the Cask Pub for their Kernel Brewery night.

We started out at the Speaker, named for the Speaker of the House of Commons (who rarely speaks)

We walked down to Westminster...

...where across from Big Ben (actually St. Stephens Tower) is St. Stephen's Tavern.

It is a Badger pub and we had a couple of nice Badger beers, but it was quite warm and there was no air conditioning so we soon left.

Walking up Whitehall we came to Lord Moon of the Mall, a Wetherspoon's Pub.

I was slightly air conditioned, so we had a couple of pints.

A short walk east is the Harp, voted as CAMRA's National Pub of the Year for 2011. We had been by once before but it was way too crowded. At 3:30pm on Monday afternoon it was just starting to fill up.

We hopped on the Tube back to Victoria and after a short walk were at the Cask Pub and Kitchen. It was already packed inside (and very warm) and the crowd was spilling into the street. They had 9 Kernel beers on draft (keg) and four on handpump. All were wonderful.

Too busy drinking to take pictures, so these will have to suffice.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Lunch in Greenwich, afternoon in London

We took the DLR (Docklands Light Rail) out to Cambridge to check out the new pub call the Old Brewery. It is what was once the Hospital of the Royal Naval College.

They had 9 Meantime taps (but at least one -- the Kellerbier -- was out) and two handpumps, one with cider and one with Meantime London Pale Ale.

Meantime Helles and Cask London Pale Ale

Cheeseburger (Irish beef) and chips.

Meantime London Stout ( both glasses, go figure)

We decided to take the bus back to central London, so we could stop off in Deptford and visit the Dog and Bell, a recommended pub.

Dog and Bell, Deptford

They had half a dozen beers on handpump.  I had a Fullers ESB and Tom an Acorn Barnsley Bitter.

Fullers ESB and Barnsley Bitter

After a nice beer in the garden, we walked back to the bus stop. The bus nominally runs ever 12 minutes on Sunday. After about 20 minutes there was quite a large crowd waiting. When the bus finally did come, of course it was packed.  We went up to the upper deck, which was also full. You are not supposed to stand up there, but there was no way we could fit in downstairs. I believe we also had a less experienced driver --or maybe the bus was just overloaded. Eventually we got a seat but the upper deck was quite hot. After what seemed like hours (but was probably just an hour) we arrived at our stop.

We walked a couple blocks down to the Princess Louise, one of the few Samuel Smith's pubs in London.

They have only one cask ale, Sam Smith's Old Brewery Bitter (a/k/a OBB). It was £2.11 per pint. That has to be the cheapest pint in London.

O.B.B. x 2

Inside at the Princess Louise

Suitably refreshed, we walked a little into Soho and stopped at the Dog and Duck (I guess we need to find a pub called Duck and Bell to complete the trio). This pub is owned by Nicholson's -- a pub chain whose London pubs all seem to be either historical or historical replications. The chain has a set list of guest beers and each pub has a different selection, marked on a chalkboard outside.

Dog and Duck

It is a cozy little pub. It was at one time George Orwell's local (for a little bit of culture)

Salopian Darwins Origin and Skipton Copper Dragon Golden Pippen
We were meeting a local friend at the Market Porter near the Borough Market (south end of London Bridge). So we headed that way.

On the way we passed the Barrowboy and Banker but it looked like they had just closed.

We also passed the Mudlark, another Nicholson's pub. If we weren't just about late for our appointment, might have stopped for a pint.

The Mudlark

Some Mudlark Handpumps
 Around the corner we came to the Borough Market. In the "old days" when pub opening hours were more tightly controlled, they were open in the morning for the workers in the Market coming off work. Also a popular spot for anybody in the area working the graveyard shift.

Market Porter

Leyden Oyster Stout and Bridgehouse Barnstormer

This Oyster stout was better than the one I had earlier in the week, but still not up the level of the Porterhouse Oyster Stout.

Our friends soon arrived and a couple of pints later we called it a night, while they went on to other places. Very close by are two other highly rated pubs -- the Brew Wharf, which in addition to having a brewery on site (but never any of their beers when I've been there) they sell a good range of Meantime beers and a decent selection of imported keg and bottled beers (which is why the locals like it), and also the Rake -- a fairly new place (5 years) that usually has something special.