Saturday, 9 December 2017

Catch Up - Oktoberfest, Crisis, Bree Louise and Punk at the Dome

I have been very remiss in updating this blog recently. I have been out to quite a few nice pubs and venues recently but many have got lost in the mists of time (well, last two months anyway). Following are a few of those that I actually made a note of or actually remember the dates for, but not to the same depth of detail as I usually report...

Friday 29th September to Monday 2nd October 2017 - Oktoberfest, Munich

I managed to get back to the Oktoberfest in Munich with SH again this year. We went for the final weekend this time as it should not have been so busy, but it was just as busy as normal! We did a lot of our usual things and ended up in many places the same as last time, but one special event was that we managed to bag a table in the upstairs hall of the Hofbrauhaus. We drank many different local brews and got onto talking terms with the manager of one of the stand-up bars in the Oktoberfest grounds. Next time I will make sure to make a note of the breweries and beers tried and then get all of the photos up onto the blog in a timely manner.

3rd November 2017 - Da Gianni pizzeria, Antwerp

I made my yearly trip to Antwerp for the Crisis gaming event with number one son over the Guy Fawkes weekend. We usually stay over for a couple of nights which gives us the chance to sample some of the local delights. On the day of our arrival (we go by car and Channel Tunnel) the journey took a lot longer than usual - it was a perfect storm of events; two sets of long term roadworks that the city council decided to focus on more this weekend, two major accidents and two concerts hosted in the city. The entire journey time would have been the same as in a normal year, except that the events outlined above delayed our final three miles by over five hours!

Anyway, our arrival was extremely late and, after checking into our hotel, we had to hunt around for somewhere still open for a bite to eat. We found a great little pizzeria that also sold some lovely choices of beer. Due to the time available though I decided to stick with just a couple of bottles of the same brew to save thinking power.

Beers drunk on this visit:

Grimbergen Dubbel (6.5%) - Brouwerij Alken-Maes, Belgium

4th November 2017 - Pulled Taco Bar

After the show, which runs all day Saturday, we got showered an dchanged and decided to head into town - #1Son fancied Mexican cuisine this evening. Unfortunately it decided to tip down with rain whilst we were looking around for somewhere to eat, so we ran back to the first Mexican restaurant we came across after we couldn't get into the rib house earlier on our walk.

I have to say that the prawn filled soft tacos and nachos starter were amongst the best I have ever eaten from a Mexican restaurant. They only had a small selection of beers available, but strangely (or maybe not as it was a Mexican restaurant) all of them, were American.

This restaurant has a fantastic cellar section that they presumably open up on busier evenings. It appears to be carved from the bedrock in places and makes for a very atmospheric experience.

Beers drunk on this visit:

Gooze IPA (5.9%) - Goose Island Brewing Company, Chicago, USA

After the meal, we headed back out into the pouring rain towards our hotel. I was looking for a bar to frequent along the way but in the end we wound up back at the hotel. I am glad we did really as I found a really tatsy beer that I had not tried from their menu before.

Beers drunk at hotel:

Tripel Karmeliet (8.4%) -Brouwerij Bosteels, Buggenhout, Belgium

11th November 2017 - Bree Louise

69 Cobourg St, Kings Cross, London NW1 2HH

I hadn't seen one of my old rugby friends for a while, so arranged to meet RT, a Saracens supporter, at the Bree Louise in Euston. I have not been to this pub, renowned for its pies, before so I was glad RT chose it as our venue; unfortunately it is due to close down in January 2018.

We had a great chat over a few more beers than I ordinarily would have drunk on a day out in London Town until he got called home by 'er indoors. Obviously I had to sample one of the pies (steak and kidney) too, which helped to soak up the alcohol.

Beers drunk on this visit:

1) Knight of the Garter (3.8%) - Windsor and Eaton Brewery
2) Routemaster Red (3.8%) - Southwark Brewery
3) Grandstand (3.8%) - Twickenham brewery
4) Powerhouse Porter (4.7%) - Sambrooks Brewery
5) Iceberg (4.1%) - Titanic Brewery

11th November 2017 - The Dome, Tufnell Park

2A Dartmouth Park Hill, London NW5 1HL

This was a spur of the moment event for me. Earlier in the day I had looked up to see what was on this evening at The Dome only to find that the all-day Lenmania event was sold out.

After having a few beers with RT, I mentioned this to him and he said why not chance my arm and hea dupithere anyway and if I can't get in have  acouple of pints in the Boston Arms next door. I took him at his word and, as luck would have it, I managed to get in on a returned ticket - for which I paid nothing! So a big thank you to the person who returned that ticket.

I managed to see two bands; Employed to Serve - a very heavy, hardcore band (not usually my cup of tea but it was made all the better for being live); and Jamie Lenman himself (a great punk artist who gets a great sound out of just his guitar and a drummer). The Lenman set was enhanced with guest musicians from the bands that were on throughout the rest of the day.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, the first gig I have been to in many, many years. I will definitely return when I can get the free time and the right kinds of bands are on.

Beers drunk on this visit:

3 Hop Lager (4.5%) - Caledonian Brewing Company

Friday, 20 October 2017

640 East bar

640 East Bar - Friday 25th August 2017

Montgomery Square (in the middle), Upper Bank Street, Canary Wharf, London E14 5JJ

I started a new contract back in June after six months of unemployment. It is great to be back in work and meeting friends new and old. I am back working with a couple of my colleagues, MS and GW (who I often go out for a beer with), from a previous contract and have met some other great guys to have a beer with.

After a particularly hectic week we decided to pop outside the office after work for a couple of beers before heading home. That couple wound up being a few more.

It is not a bad little bar but they only have the one beer (Lagunistas IPA) on tap,  plus a lager and a cider. Everything else is from a can. Luckily the choice of cans available isn't too bad. Attached to the bar is also a small food kitchen and a coffee lounge. Not a bad little venue for the nice summer evenings but it does get cold during the autumnal days (I went there again Friday 20/10/17, but only for a soft drink, so I won't be blogging that visit) when coats are required due to it being open to the elements.

Beers drunk on this visit:
1) IPA (6.2%) - Lagunistas Brewing Company, Petaluma, California, USA - a well, rounded, drinkable IPA with caramel undertones
2+) a variety of Brewdog and other small brewery beers in cans that I forgot to make a note of

The Railway Tavern

The Railway Tavern - Saturday 9th September 2017

38 Bexley High Street, Bexley, Kent DA5 1AH

Apologies for not updating for quite a while. Lots has been happening in my personal life recently, including a house move, and I have not had the time to get onto my blogs. I have not really been out much as a result of things that have been happening but there are a couple of pub trips I can include.

First up is a bit of a celebratory one - my son's 18th birthday. We did all the usual for him on his actual birthday (presents, meal etc.) but I also took him out to one of my new locals in Bexley Village to buy him his first pint, which turned out to be a couple of bottles of Budweiser 😒 I however, had a couple of pints of ale.

It was quiet in the pub for a Saturday night, but that was fine with us as we just chewed the fat and he ranted about how much he hated his part-time job. Kids eh?

Beers drunk on this visit:

1) Palaeolithic (3.8%) - Caveman Brewery, Swanscombe, Kent - a hoppy, citrusy light session beer

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The Temple Brew House

The Temple Brew House - Friday 11th August 2017

46 Essex Street, London WC2R 3JF

Here's a short missve to the first actual visit to a pub in August. The last few entries have been for July events that I just haven't had time to update until now due to my recent house move.

SH and I decided on a night out to catch up with each other and chat about Oktoberfest this year (amongst other things). I was at a bit of a loss for pubs to try until my work colleague PH suggested the Temple Brew House in Essex Street. He mentioned the Toat and Burnt Toast ales that were brewewd on the premises and that sold me on this little gem of a location.

It is laid out very much like a bierkeller; well, it sells beer and is in the basement of a building. It is very noisy in here, but this may be becuse it is a small, underground, enclosed space with nowhere for the sound of conversation to dissipate. The crowd was very young on the evening we visited, but no less friendly for it. There is a huge array of beers on tap or cask, as well as wine and other drinks for those that prefer those for a tipple. The menu is a little limited and quite expensive, so it put me off a little from eating there. SH and I decided to just grab some cheesy chips to line our stomachs, and these were very tasty indeed. If these are anything to go by (and PH's recommendation), then the food would be worth trying out if your wallet is not quite so tight as mine at the moment.

I would definitely like to come back again to try a few more of the on-premise brewed beers, so may book this up again quite soon as I know a couple of chaps that would enjoy the place. There was only one downer to my experience: I ordered a pint of Gavel which turned out to be very cloudy, and a quick sip proved it to be off. The staff were very good at replacing my pint with something drinkable, but they did not take the pump out of service - some people would wake up with very sour stomachs the next day.

Beers drunk on this visit:
1) Very Pale Ale (4.2%) - Essex Street Brewery, Aldwych, London - a light hoppy session pale ale (Vegan)
2) M.A.C. Pale Ale (4.5%) - Essex Street Brewery, Aldwych, London  - a hoppy golden pale ale (Gluten Free)
3) Mosaic Mandarina Bavaria Pale Ale (5.5%) - Kernel Brewery, London - a very easy drinking, but strong pale ale. One of the tastiest beers I have drunk

Due to the small nature of the breweries I have found it difficult to find decent sized beer tap labels to put onto the blog below. Hopefully as these breweries become more competitive they will get a larger footprint on the web and more photos of their wares will be forthcoming.

The Great Welling Beer Festival - Day 2

Guy Earl of Warwick - Saturday 29th July 2017

I had only booked this day in advance with MB, but I managed a last minute scrabble with my running chums yesterday. The Guy Earl of Warwick pub was heaving again tonight despite the poor weather. The live entertainment carried on, as did the food being offered at the small stalls. I was intending on getting some noodles as MB had had some the night before and they looked mighty tasty, but they had sold out by the time I decided to eat, so went for a burger instead. It wasn't too bad, but did well at soaking up the alcohol.

I started off on the menu where I left off the day before and worked my way down again. This time I managed five halves before having to head off home again. MB and I caught up as we had not seen each other in a few weeks (the previous night we didn't get to put the world to rights as we chatted freely amongst our groups of friends instead). Quite a few of the beers had sold out by the time we got round to them this evening, but I managed to get to a few I wanted to try, and a few I have had before and enjoyed.

Beers drunk on this visit:
6) Blonde (3.8%) - Brentwood Brewery - a hoppy blonde ale with a spicy finish
8) No.7 (3.8%) - Gadds Brewery - a hoppy, consistent pale ale
10) Porthbud (4.0%) - Bude Brewery - a fruity pale ale with a hoppy finish
17) Gold (4.3%) - Brentwood Brewery - a very fruity golden ale
21) Hopspur (4.5%) - Redemption Brewery - an amber ale with citrus aromas and sweet hoppy taste

The Great Welling Beer Festival 2017

Guy Earl of Warwick - Friday 28th July 2017

I missed this event last year, but decided to make up for it a little bit this year by visiting twice. It was held at the usual venue, the Guy Earl of Warwick pub in Welling. They had the usual live music and entertainment on a new stage as well as several other stalls selling a variety of foods. The beers were in abundance this year and I was able to order all four of the ones I wanted this time round.

Park View Road, Welling, Kent DA16 1TB
I started off at the top of the menu and worked my way down. I managed four halves before having to go home and getting some rest before my run the following day. It was well attended again this year and I was lucky in meeting up with two of my circles of friends: MB plus five of his workmates (many of whom I have been drinking with before) and NW, TJ, CM and a couple of others from my Saturday Parkrun collective.

Beers drunk on this visit:
1) Plateau (3.5%) - Burning Sky Brewery - a pale gold full-flavoured, zesty ale
2) Golden Braid (3.7%) - Hop Daemon - a refreshoing, golden session bitter
3) Fine Light (3.7%) - Goachers Brewery - a medium sweet, light bitter session ale
4) Jeff Hudson Bitter (3.8%) - Oakham Brewery - a light bitter with hoppy and fruity finish

The White Horse

The White Horse - Tuesday 25th July 2017

20-22 Peckham Rye, London SE15 4JR
The trip to this pub came as a bit of a surprise. My gaming buddy RM from the Roleplay Haven got in contact out of the blue and asked me out for a beer. I obviously responded in the affirmative and agreed to meet him at the same pub we met at last time.

This time around we sat outside on the benches in the front beer garden and chatted the evening away. We had a lot to catch up on as we had not spoken for many a moon. Mostly it was about gaming but a little about real-life too.

There was the usual four pumps on the go, so I opted to start at the left and work my way across. I managed three out of the four before it was time to leave. All went down really well in the light, bright summer evening.

I was tempted by the food on offer tonight, but as I had grabbed a large chicken fillet burger from Morley's just up the road before arriving at the pub, I decided against eating for the sake of it. Maybe next time?

Beers drunk on this visit:
Pale Ale (4.1%) - Brockley Brewery, Brockley, London - a fruity, full-bodied pale ale
Wandle (3.8%) - Sambrook's Brewery, London - a hoppy, well-balanced golden ale
Commonside Pale Ale (5.0%) - Belleville Brewing Co., Wandsworth, London - a fruity, easy-drinking session pale ale