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

Saturday, 1 July 2017

The Battle of Medway 1667

Upnor - Sunday 11th June 2017

For the 350th anniversary of the last attack on British soil by the Dutch, English Heritage put on a re-enactment weekend for its members (and other casual visitors) to commemorate the daring deed. It was a brave attack that was most successful in its outcome: several Royal Navy warships were fired and/or sunk, a few were towed off as trpohies. However, most importantly of all for the Dutch, they had carried off a daring raid on a naval depot that was supposed to be well-defended and burnt the beard of King Charles II. At the time, this was the worst defeat of the Royal Navy in terms of cost - £200,000 at the time, with the loss of around 13 ships, of which four were Ships of the Line.

What has this to do with beer, I hear you ask? Well, GW and I had all the best intentions at heart to go watch the re-enactment, but we got caught up at the Tudor Rose by a fine Sunday lunch and a few ales to wash it down, and missed all the action! Still, at least we heard the gun shots and cannon fire.

The Tudor Rose
31, 29 High St, Upper Upnor, Rochester, Kent ME2 4XG
We arrived at the pub in high spirits and, after ordering a beer and some pork scratchings at the bar, we headed out into the garden for a chat. The chat led to another beer, and that led to lunch whilst all hell was breaking loose just over the castle wall behind us. Oh well, we still had a great day in the beer garden.

Beers drunk on this visit:
1) Whitstable Bay IPA (3.9%) - Shepherd Neame Brewery, Faversham, Kent - a light, sweet, malty pale ale
2) Whitstable Bay Red IPA (4.5%) - Shepherd Neame Brewery, Faversham, Kent - a deep red pale ale with a malt and citrus flavour

Although both beers are listed as being Whitstable Bay ale brewed at the Faversham Steam Brewery, they are actually brewed by Shepherd Neame. Still, pedantry aside, I like the subtle distinction in brand name.

Romans and beer

Richborough, Reculver and Upnor - Saturday 3rd June 2017

GW has recovered well from his various illnesses and is now up for heading out and exploring again. Today we went to a variety of archaeological sites and a couple of pubs for refreshment. It started out as an overcast day, but soon the sun poked its head through the clouds to make for a fine afternoon.

After visiting Richborough Roman Fortress and buying some lovely English strawberies from a roadside farm shop we decided lunch was in order. We made our way along the coast to Reculver where we grabbed a meal and a pint before exploring the old church on the promontory.

The King Ethelbert
King Ethelbert Inn, Reculver, Herne Bay CT6 6SU

This pub is situated in a lovely area, with the sea and ruins to one side and a captive audience (a caravan park) on the other. It was very busy outside when we arrived but the restuarant area inside had a few spare tables available.

The pub boasts three ales on tap and a fantastic menu. I chose a pint of Bishop's Finger (a favourite of mine that I haven't drunk on draught for a while) and the home-made steak and kidney pudding - yes, that's right, a full-on home-made pudding complete with thick suet pastry and crammed with large pieces of steak and kidney in a rich gravy. The accompaniments of steamed, rustic vegetables and potatoes filled me to the brim and stopped me from grabbing a full-on suet-laden Spotted Dick and custard for dessert. If you wish to visit this pub for lunch or an evening meal, I thoroughly recommend building a big appetite and maybe visit in the colder seasons, as the food is rib-stickingly good, and there is plenty of it. There are other meals on the menu that would cater better for those with smaller appetites or a non-carnivorous palate.

I think this pub would be a very lively one in the evening and in the heart of summer, so I think GW and I got there at exactly the right time and season to experience it without too much of a crowd.

Beers drunk on this visit:
1) Bishop's Finger (5.0%) - Shepherd Neame Brewery, Faversham, Kent - a nut-brown, ESB with a touch of sweetness
After a stroll along the beach to walk off some of the large luncheon, we jumped back into the car (GW was not on the alcohol today) and made a trip to one of our most regularly visited pubs in Upnor...

The Tudor Rose
31, 29 High St, Upper Upnor, Rochester ME2 4XG
GW and I have been in here on many an occasion. We like the laid back atmosphere and choice of beers on tap - they usually have three or four ales on five taps. This is another Shepherd Neame pub (I am so lucky to come from the county with the longest recorded brewing tradition in England - Kent) and the choice of beers suits most palates.

After grabbing a pint at the bar, GW and I walked down to the bench by the riverside and sat there whiling away an hour or so watching the boats come and go.

Beers drunk on this visit:
1) Master Brew (3.7%) - Shepherd Neame Brewery, Faversham, Kent - a mild, brown bitter with a hoppy aroma

Monday, 29 May 2017

Another Comic signing

Forbidden Planet - Saturday 27th May 2017

179 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8JR

Today was the turn of 2000AD and Judge Dredd Megazine stalwart, Judge Anderson. This comic details what happens to Cassandra after the events portrayed in the 2012 movie Dredd. Rebellion have released several of these follow on titles now but this is the first one I have bought on release and at a signing. I have met Alec Morley on previous 2000AD signing occasions, so it was good to see him again. I grabbed a couple of each variant of the comic and got them signed. It would have been nice if the artist was there too. Simon Davies, the Slaine artist was there but I could not afford the graphic novels on offer which he illustrated (perhaps when I am back in employment?).

These signings only come along two or three times a year, so I make sure I have a good day when I go to one by indulging in as many of my hobbies at one time as I can. This event was no different; I arrived at the signing in readiness for the 1pm start time. After I had indulged in a little bit of fanboy behaviour, it was onto the beer and then some food.

Pillars of Hercules
7 Greek Street, Soho, London W1D 4DF
After the signing I had a few hours to kill until MB arrived. I popped into the usual haunt I now use to unwind after a long afternoon of queuing. There were the usual four or five beers on offer, but I stuck to just the one this afternoon as I had tried all on offer on several occasions previously.

Grasshopper (3.8%) - Westerham Brewery, Westerham, Kent - a dark, malty session bitter

The Golden Lion

51 Dean Street, Soho, London W1D 5BH
After finishing my beers and comics (as well as finishing a book of Cthulhu Wars short stories that had been hanging around on my Kindle for several weeks) I decided to stretch my legs and see if I could get to see the rugby results. I found just the pub but I only got to see the final few minutes of extra time; unfortunately, Wasps (the team I support) were beaten at the end of the session by a last minute penalty. Ho hum. I stayed in the pub supping an ale and watching the world go by until MB arrived.

Bow Bells (4.2%) - Truman Brewery, Hackney, East London  - an orange and lemon infused pale ale

Truman's Brewery was one of those that closed down a few years ago when ale drinking went out of fashion to lager. The brewery was founded in 1666 and brewed until 1989. Luckily for us, the current owners re-opened the site and began brewing again in 2010.

MB met me in The Golden Lion just as I finished my drink, so we headed straight out to grab something to eat as it was now gone 7pm. We visited a burger bar recommended to me a while back by an Aussie friend - in his opinion, the best chain restaurant burgers in London are to be found here...

Honest Burgers, Soho

4a Meard Street London W1F 0EF
This restaurant gets an honorary mention due to the fact it sources at least one beer on its menu from a local microbrewery. Honest Burgers literally sell half-a dozen burgers, a few sides and a few choices of drink - that's it. MB and I indulged in their local brewery ale. It would have been rude not to!

St. Reatham (4.6%) - Inkspot Brewery, Streatham, London - a refreshing Munich style lager

17 Manette St, Soho, London W1D 4AS

So, today ended up being a great day of indulgence. I managed to get to a couple of pubs again, culminating in a trip to rockers' paradise The Crobar. I also managed to get to a new (for me anyway) burger joint foir my evening meal and also, not mentioned above, a trip to the rudest Chinese restaurant in town - Wong Kei - for my lunch (before I hit the pubs). I used to go here a lot with my friend GW to line our stomachs before heading to rock bars back in the 80s and 90s. We always had a won-ton soup, followed by beef fried noodles washed down with jasmine tea. Today, though, my appetite was not so great so I just had the noodles and tea. Unfortunately, maybe because it was relativelty quiet in the restaurant, I was not subjected to being rushed or any rude behaviour, which was a shame as that is part of the restaurant's charm. I remember on occasion turning up when the place was heaving and having to split the party over three floors of the restaurant! I also recall an American tourist trying to impress his new girlfriend who ended up being chased out by a meat cleaver-wielding chef. His crime?  Not ordering quickly enough!

Anyway, back to the Crobar; their choice of ales is rather limited (to bottles and cans only) and as I have mentioned this place on several previous occasions I won't go into much detail except to say that one of their wall murals has changed in the few weeks since I last went. It was not very busy in here tonight though, perhaps due to the Iron Maiden concert on in London this evening?

Trooper Ale (4.7%) - Robinsons Brewery, Stockport, Cheshire - a deep coloured malty bitter