Friday, 27 January 2017

Burns Night (continued)

The Furze Wren - Thursday 26th January 2017

Broadway Square, 6 Market Place, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 7DY

Wetherspoons have had a week long celebration of all things Rabbie Burns, so MB and I thought it rude not to partake of their hospitality and grab a few drinks to accompany one of their special burgers.

We met at the usual time and grabbed a beer before sitting down in a booth for one of long meandering chats about all things and nothing. We ordered one of teh special Burns Night burgers which consisted of a 6oz Angus beef patty, the usual salad stuff and a large slice of haggis to top it off. It was accompanied by a small handful of chips (fries), a few onion rings and a lovely whiskey based sauce.

The first beer we had was very unusual in that it took an age to settle but it did settle nice and clear. It had a relatively sweet taste to start but then went very hoppy. As the pint went on, and our taste buds adapted it turned into a very nice pint indeed. In fact all three beers tonight were exteremely tasty but the choice was very limited (their usual four house ales, Spitfire and three other pumps that were either on their way of "off"). We only really had the choice of two beers on tap but we had a bottle of Krombacher lager beer to accompany our meal, which worked out rather nicely.

Beers drunk on this visit :
1) True Grit (3.9%) - Rooster's Brewery, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire - a citrusy, golden ale with a long-lasting bitter finish
2) Krombacher (4.8%) - Krombacher Brauerei, Kreuztal, Germany - a strong, dry golden pilsner
3) Double Gold (5.0%) - Phoenix Brewery, Heywood, Greater Manchester - a strong,  full-bodied, full-flavoured easy drinking bitter
Next up is teh London Beer Festival put on, again, by Wetherspoons. I am hoping to get to sample at least half of the twenty or so ales on offer over the next week and a bit.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Burns Night

Burns Night - 25th January 2017

MB and I have had a little tradition dating back about 20 years or so that we visit the Robin Hood and Little John pub for a few beers; haggis, tatties and neeps; and a whiskey to wash it down on Burns Night. There are a few reasons for this; MB's birthday is very close to this date, he can trace his ancestors back to the poet himself and the pub is a fantastic venue for just such an evening.

The Robin Hood and Little John

78 Lion Road, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 8PF

This evening was no different other than we were joined by the other MB from the usual three muskabeers team we form to visit beer festivals and partake of pub crawls.

We arrived at 8:30pm and grabbed a pint before sitting down at one of the back tables. The reason we didn't prop the bar up for any longer is that I had undergone some physiotherapy for my legs and back earlier that afternoon and they were hurting like crazy.

It was a little quiet in there this evening (last year was the same too, but most other years it is heaving) so we were able to grab that table and have a good conversation over a few beers and some lovely food prepared by the landlady. The beer selection has changed over the last few years, as old favourites have come and gone only to be replaced by other stalwart ales. The latest list is not as strong alcoholically as the previous year's list, but I am happy with that - many are around or below the magic 4% mark with only one at 4.5%. The guest ales were also around the 4% mark too (but one was not due in for a few days).

Beers drunk on this visit :
1) Flying Scotsman (4%) - Caledonian Brewing Co, Edinburgh, Scotland - a rich, full flavoured bitter
2) Whitstable Bay (3.9%) - Faversham Steam Brewery (Shepherd Neame), Faversham, Kent  - a light, fruity pale ale
3) Bexley's Own Beer (4.2%) - Bexley Brewery, Bexley, Kent - a subtle, smooth bitter/sweet pale ale

Friday, 13 January 2017

Thursday Curry Night

Furze Wren - 12th January 2017

Broadway Square, 6 Market Place, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 7DY

I had not been out for a beer for four weeks, so I decided to call up MB to see if he fancied a curry and some beers. I am on a tight budget due to my lack of work at the moment, so The Furze Wren, a Wetherspoons pub with a Thursday night Curry Club, seemed like the best option for my wallet.

I battled a sudden snow flurry and subsequent deep freeze by taking the bus to the pub (the bus stops are directly outside my house and directly outside the pub - how is that for convenience?). I arrived in good time as a result and got chatting to a couple of gentlemen at the bar who were members of the local CAMRA society. They gave me a few good tips regarding Wetherspoons pubs and the aftermath of their frequent beer festivals (another is due at the end of the month). When a festival is finished, all the unused beer in the smaller branches/pubs gets transported to one of the major pubs in the area - in my case, this would be The Furze Wren - as they will be more likely to sell the last knockings before the beer turns. So, when I missed out on hitting those elusive few beers at the end of the festival in November, I could have gone to the Furze and maybe grabbed one of the last pints available from the unfinished barrels the week after. He also mentioned that the Great Harry in Woolwich was another that took in the unfinished barrels for its local area. Thanks for the tip gents.

This evening, due to the inclement weather, we were able to have a choice of tables to sit at as it was quite empty. We manged to sit in a booth and chat the evening away over a beef Madras (MB) and a chicken Jalfrezi (me). As mentioned previously, these curries will never win awards but they are filling and reasonably good value for what you get on your plate.

Beers drunk on this visit :
1) Best Bitter (4.0%) - Courage (Charles Wells) Brewery, Bedford - a pale brown, easy drinking session bitter
2) Lancaster Bomber (4.4%) - Thwaites (Marston's) Brewery, Wolverhampton - an easy drinking, rich, malty amber beer
3) Decadence (4.4%) - Brewster's Brewery, Grantham, Lincolnshire - a golden, hoppy beer with a citrusy aftertaste

A little bit of trivia here - a brewster was a medieval female brewer. Sara Barton set up Brewster's Brewery back in 1998 due to her love of beer. Good on her! She certainly knows how to brew a, dare I say, decadent ale.