Sunday, 4 September 2016

Micropub Crawl in Sidcup

Micropubs in Sidcup - Saturday 3rd September 2016

Micropubs are like London buses. You wait for ages for one to turn up and then two come along together. We have been spoiled recently with the arrival of several new micropubs in the Bexley area.
  • The Door Hinge, Welling
  • The Penny Farthing, Crayford
  • One Inn the Wood, Petts Wood
  • The Broken Drum, Blackfen
  • The Long Pond, Eltham

I am sure there are others, so if any of you know of a micropub in the vicinity, please add it to the comments below. I can then make sure I visit that one too. Anyway, I thought I had visited all of the micropubs in the area, but on our last pub session MB mentioned that there were two new ones being built in the area and would be opening very soon. I did a bit of Google-fu on Saturday afternoon and discovered that the two new pubs he mentioned have since opened.

The Hoppers Hut

Invicta Parade, 1, High St, Sidcup, Kent DA14 6ER

My good wife Mrs. Odo asked me if I wanted a lift to the pub this evening. I jumped at the chance as it would save me valuable drinking time that would have been taken up waiting for public transport. It also served the purpose of getting me to the pub dry as it had just begun to rain.

First impressions of this little gem of a micropub was that it was fairly busy (about twenty or so patrons) and fitted the mould of most of the others I had visited; a quiet, friendly place for friends to gather and have a few tasty jars of ale and a good chat without the interruption of loud music, lager and lads out "on the pull", although there is a time and place for those activities too.

They had six beers on the board along with some rather tasty crisps (chips for my American readers); I opted for the spicy chorizo flavour.

I was happy to while away an hour or so sipping on a couple of beers and munching my snack whilst reading my Kindle book and listening to the conversations going on around me. The atmosphere was friendly (the gents at one table offered me a seat at the end so I could have somewhere to park my rear and set down my pint) and the staff welcomed me with a smile.

Beers drunk on this visit :

1) Comfortably Numb (3.8%) - Bad Co. Brewery, Thirsk, North Yorkshire - a smooth session ale with a hoppy kick and plenty of citrus

2) Falling Star (4.2%) - Wickwar Brewing Co., Wickwar, Gloucestershire - a golden (but amber coloured) malty ale with a bitter after taste
Number of visits : 1st

The Hackney Carriage

165 Station Rd, Sidcup, Kent DA15 7AA
As time was getting on and opening hours for micropubs are not as long as traditional pubs, I moved on after my second beer and caught the bus from just outside the Hoppers Hut to just outside the Hackney Carriage - result!

Upon arrival, the place was really jumping. It was packed to the rafters and everyone was having a good time; there was a great buzzing atmosphere. It was so packed that people were spilling onto the pavement outside and I had to prop up the bar as there were no seats available. This was no bad thing though, as it gave me the opportunity to have a good chat with the two bartenders and the landlady, Liz. I also grabbed another bag of crisps here, Duck in Hoisin Sauce - the flavours offered by niche crisp manufacturers are certainly something to appreciate these days.

The place is nicely decorated and a lot of time and effort has gone into making the place look good - a woman's touch can certainly be seen here. They stock five or six beers on tap and four ciders, as well as a good selection of wine. I have seen a review that says this pub is no more than a glorified wine bar but I beg to disagree. When speaking to Liz, she mentioned she wanted make the place more female friendly, and judging by the male/female ratio in there I think she has hit on the right formula. The only other micropub that I have visited that matches the Hackney Carriage for diversity of clientelle is the One in the Wood.

Beers drunk on this visit :
1) Headland Red (4.3%) - Woldtop Brewery, Driffield, East Yorkshire - a malty, flavoursome red
2) Blonde (5.0%) - Banktop Brewery, Bolton, Greater Manchester - a pale amber, fruity but dry ale
Number of visits : 1st

Whilst she dropped me off at the first micropub, my wife decided she was going to buy herself a bottle of wine for the evening. However, a short while into my first pint I got a text from her to say that she had picked up a few bottles of a rum flavoured beer. I just happened to return home in time to help her finish one of the bottles that she had bought.

Brewery: AB InBev UK Ltd
Location: Porter Tun House 500 Capability Green Luton Bedfordshire
ABV : 5.9%
Notes: a strong lager with a sweet rum flavour

This beer is certainly aimed at younger people or those with a sweet tooth. It is tasty but I could only drink one bottle of this with a meal at any one sitting. It is also deceptively strong for a supermarket shop bought bottled beer.