Saturday, 25 February 2017

The Furze Wren

The Furze Wren - Thursday 23rd February 2017

Bexleyheath Shopping Centre, Broadway Square, 6 Market Pl, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 7DY
MB and I decided to kickstart our Thursday sessions again with a trip to The Furze Wren this week. We haven't been keeping up with our weekly meetings due to work (lack of) or illness getting in the way, but hopefully now we can get back into our stride. We decided on the Furze as it is probably the easiest to get a table in and also it usually has the best choice of ales on offer (a couple of weeks ago excepted). We were not to be disappointed this week as there were plenty of new ales on offer and we were able to grab a table.

We decided not to eat at the pub this time as my funds are a bit low, but the price of the beer in a Wetherspoons is very reasonable so a trip to one of their pubs is always good value for money.

I cannot complain about any of the beers on offer this evening; all were very tasty and all had a different flavour for a great variety. I even thoroughly enjoyed the porter.

Beers drunk in this visit :
1) Summer Down Under (3.9%) - Twickenham Brewery, London - a citrusy, smooth golden ale with a strong hoppy after taste
2) Mauler (3.9%) - Ringwood Brewery, Ringwood, Hampshire - a crisp, clean golden ale
3) Ten-Fifty (5.0%) - Grainstore Brewery, Oakham, Rutland - a mahogany ale with a fine bitter-sweet balance
4) SOD - Shefford Old Dark (5.0%) - Banks & Taylor Brewery, Shefford, Bedfordshire - a malty, easy drinking porter styled ale

Thursday, 16 February 2017

The Lamb and Flag

The Lamb and Flag - Friday 10th February 2017

33 Rose St, London WC2E 9EB
I took a trip to London to visit a few comic shops prior to the 2000AD 40th Anniversary celebration event on the 12th February (see my other blog -  Little Odo's Grand Days Out for more details) in order to pick up the 40th anniversary Thrill Power Overload book. I used this new tome for collecting a few autographs of the artists and creators of the magazine.

Anyway, it was a miserable day and after a lot of running around in the rain trying to find the book I decided I wanted a beer to warm my cockles. I had passed the Lamb a few times on my walkabout, so decided to pop in there for a pint before grabbing a burger and heading home. I was greeted warmly by the bar staff and the 8 (eight) beers on offer (5 Fullers and 3 guest ales) also made me feel welcome. I could easily have sat in here all day working my way through them all, but I had to be home by a certain time for when the kids got home from school.

Beers drunk on this visit :

1) Front Row (3.7%) - Fullers Brewery, Chiswick, London - a seasonal, refereshing session ale, brewed to be drunk whilst watching rugby

The Lamb and Flag is another of London's great old boozers. Again, a drinking hole that can claim Charles Dickens as one of its patrons, as well as a slew of bare-knuckle prize fighters. From the pub's website...

"Great London pubs don't get more historic than this. The very first mention of a pub on this site is in 1772, when it was known as The Coopers Arms (the name changed to The Lamb & Flag in 1833).
The building's brickwork is circa 1958 and conceals what may be an early 18th century frame of a house, replacing the original one built in 1638.

The pub acquired a reputation in the early nineteenth century for staging bare-knuckle prize fights earning it the nickname 'The Bucket of Blood,' and the alleyway beside the pub was the scene of an attack on the poet John Dryden in 1679 by thugs hired by John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, with whom he had a long-standing conflict" 

Wetherspoon's London Beer Festival (Day 7)

Wetherspoon's London Beer Festival - Thursday 2nd February 2017

234-236 Broadway, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 8AS
As the choice of beers was so poor at The Furze Wren, MB and I decided to try our other local Wetherspoons instead. The choice was a bit better this time. We decided not to eat as we are both on a bit of a budget at the moment.

We managed to get a booth at the pub, which was nice, and we had a great conversation. An observation on the patrons at the other table that shared our booth: two gents were there for a couple of beers and a curry. Other than asking each other what they wanted to drink and eat when it was their round, they did not say another word to each other during their entire time there. Both spent the evening on their smart phones. I don't know what his says about them but to me I would have got up and left as soon as the other person's phone came out. When I go out, I want to talk and interact with those I am with, not my phone - I can do that any time, and it would cost a darn sight less if my "night out" was conducted at home. Am I an old git that is not up with the times? I don't know about that, but I'd rather speak to a person than a piece of electronic gadgetry.

Beers drunk on this visit :

1) Pacific Pale Ale (4.0%) - Enefeld Brewery, Enfield, London - a golden, fruity ale
2) Copper Leaf (4.0%) - Wimbledon Brewery, London - a fruity, copper-coloured ale with a pine undertone
3) Pearly Queen (4.5%) - East London Brewery, Leyton, London - a smooth, creamy, mahogany coloured porter
4) Imperial IPA (5.7%) - Southwark Brewery, Southwark, London - a very hoppy, fruity golden beer

Unfortunately, we were unable to get to any other Wetherspoon pubs for the duration of this festival. It was a bit of a damp squib for us (we only tried 6 out of the 20 ales on offer); maybe things will be better for the international festival in a few months' time?

Wetherspoon's London Beer Festival (Day 5)

Wetherspoon's London Beer Festival - Tuesday 31st January 2017

The Wetherspoons chain has been running a beer festival over this last week or so to celebrate London's breweries. The festival runs from Friday 27th January until Sunday 5th February. There will be 20 beers on offer, including eighteen cask ales and two keg beers, from 15 London breweries at 126 London pubs. I was hoping to get to sample quite a few of them but time and availability of the ales in the pubs has put a bit of a dampener on things.

The Furze Wren
Broadway Square, 6 Market Place, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 7DY
I was hoping to get to a few pubs over the week to sample as many of the beers on offer as possible, but the first pub I went to, where I expected there to be the most variety on offer, was very disappointing. The Furze Wren only had two of the ales on when MB and I arrived, and three of their pumps were "off". I was not impressed, as I was hoping to get five or six beers crossed off the list.

Beers drunk on this visit :

1) Phoenix Smoked Porter (4.5%) - Wimbledon Brewery, London - a smooth, rich porter
2) Forty-Niner (4.9%) - Ringwood Brewery, Hampshire -a golden, full-flavoured ale
3) Spiced Chai Red (5.2%) - Hop Stuff Brewery, Woolwich, London -a spicy, dark brown ale
4) IPA (6.2%) - Lagunitas Brewing Company, Petaluma, California, USA -a hoppy ale with caramel undertones

Only the Phoenix Smoked Porter and the Spiced Chai Red were from the menu of the beer festival. Two down, eighteen to go.
I couldn't find any pictures for the pump label for the Spiced Chai Red ale.