Years Past - England part 4

The last post about our 2005 European year. This covers Feb 23-Mar 20, 2006. Thanks for following.


Found still more new beers to try - mostly in London. The CAMRA Good Beer Guide lists over 4500 pubs in England and more than 500 breweries making real ale. We've just scratched the surface.
  • 1648 Winter Warrant - From the 1648 Brewery. Fairly thick dark winter warmer with a touch of plum. On the edge of grainy. Hops are quite subdued. Still, only 4.8%.
  • Abbeydale Moonshine - Perfect middle-of-the-range bitter. Maris Otter and Willamette. 4.3% (R).
  • Arundel Hard Willie - 4.7%.
  • Bartram's Jester Quick One - Not as dark as it could be for that much caramel. Sweetness is too strong. 4.4%.
  • Bateman's Jester.
  • Beartown Polar Eclipse - Rich oatmeal stout with roast chocolate and sweet coffee notes. Quite good. 4.8% (R).
  • Belhaven 6 Nations - For the rugby series.
  • Blindman's Icarus.
  • Brecon County Bitter.
  • Coach House Innkeepers. Darkish, fruity. Strong bitter finish. 4.5%.
  • Dark Star Nut Brown Ale. 4.5%.
  • Eastwood & Sanders Maximum Darkness - Oatmeal stout with plenty of chocolate taste but a bit light in the body. 4.3% (R).
  • Enfield Ale - Golden with honey notes.
  • Frankton Bagby Barnstormer - lightish session ale.
  • Freeminer Slaughter Porter - Dark cordovan red. Maybe a bit thin on the mouthfeel. Perfect balance. Lingering dry grainy bitter aftertaste. Some dark chocolate. 5.0%. (W)
  • Fullers Jack Frost.
  • Fullers London Porter - Chocolate and chickory. Rich.
  • Hanby Golden Honey. Light colored pale ale. Hone comes through strong but not overly sweet. A+.
  • Harviestoun Lager - Yes, cask conditioned. A bit bland. Still working with noticeable carbonation. Warmish temperature doesn't suit.
  • Harveys Armada - Fuggles earthiness. 4.5%.
  • Harveys Best - Ditto. 4.0%.
  • Harveys Mild - Ditto. Dark color. Possibly the least alcoholic mild but still not weak. A bit sweet. 3.0%.
  • Harveys Pale - Ditto the Fuggles. Makes you wonder that Harvey's measures ABV in .5% intervals. 3.5%.
  • Harveys 1859 Porter - Quite dark and quite restrained. Elegant. 4.8%.
  • Hidden Hidden Depths. Black dry stout. 4.6%.
  • Hidden Old Sarum - Dark. Bitter. Malty. Seems stronger than the 4.5%.
  • Hobden's Naughty Ferret.
  • Hydes Heavenly Draught - Reddish amber bitter with lots of Fuggles and Goldings. 4.2% (R).
  • Inveralmond Independence.
  • Jennings Cockerhoop - Hoppy Golden Ale with Goldings hops.
  • Malvern Hills Black Pearl Premium Bitter - Modern Golden Ale in all it's bitter glory.
  • Marston Sweet Chariot Carry Me Home.
  • McEwans Champion - Scottish Ale. Strong, edgy. Fruit background. 7.3%.
  • Meantime Porter - Served on CO2 so some carbonation on the upper lip. Slides down. Nice but otherwise not notable, maybe because it was served too cold. Belies the 6.5%. (W)
  • Nick Staffords Hambletons Gold Fleet.
  • North Cotswalds Cockles.
  • O'Hanlon's Port Stout. (W)
  • Outlaw Roosters Oyster Stout - Rich, thick. Black. Black malt with no sweetness evident anywhere. No hops either so balance is good. 4.7% (W)
  • Porterhouse Chocolate Truffle. (W)
  • Ridley Prospect - Golden Ale. 4.1%.
  • Salopian Shropshire Gold - Bland. Creamy. Dark oak color.
  • Sharp's Will's Resolve.
  • Shepard Neame Master Brew.
  • Skinners Betty Boogs.
  • Smiles Old Tosser - "Traditional dark ale". Really too sweet. 4.5%.
  • Stonehenge Sign of Spring - Drinkable but greenish. 4.6% (R).
  • Tring Jack O'Legs. Wonderfully strong, wonderfully simple, wonderfully balanced. 4.2% A+.
  • Thwaites Bomber.
  • Uley Old Spot - Strong bitterness. 5.0%.
  • West Berkshire Good Old Boy - 4.0%.
  • Westoe IPA.
  • Wizard White Wizard - Golden or light pale ale, tough to tell which. New Zealand Green Bullit hops.
  • Wold Top Mars Magic - Progress hops. Amber hue. Light body. 4.6% (R).
  • Wye Valley Victory Ale - 4.8%.
  • Cotswold Brewing Lager - A brewery in Witney that opened in May, 2005 with vessels bought from New York. Their lager is the only offering and it's gaining popularity in the west Oxfordshire area. Uses Maris Otter with Liberty and Hershbrucken hops.
  • Leffe Radieuse - Nose: caramel, toffee, pear? Taste: Something darker. Red grape, sloe? Low carbonation. Mild belch. On tap.
  • Inch's Harvest Dry Cider - 6.1%.
  • Demon Crisis Cider locally made at the Red Lion, Isleworth.
  • Rum Cask Cider also locally made - The rum aging doesn't come through as rum, rather as a sweet spiciness. Excellent.
(W) - At the White Horse on Parson's Green Porter and Stout Festival.
(R) - At the Red Lion, Isleworth, Spring Equinox Beer Festival

My son and daughter-in-law joined us for a couple of weeks. Jon and I toured lots of CAMRA-listed and other recommended pubs in London. In the downtown area every pub is elbow-to-elbow with suits after work as people spend a couple of hours bracing themselves for or avoiding the butt-to-butt ride home on the Underground. This affected our drinking schedule.
  • Elephant and Castle - Royal Oak* - Harvey's only London pub. 5 beers on. Classic 2-bar with a busy public side and a sedate reading room on the saloon side.
  • Holborn - Cittie of York - Cavernous high-ceilinged old pub with big vats over the bar. Tiny 4-seat snugs with armchairs along one wall. Odd triangular burner stove in the middle of the floor that has no chimney.
  • Holborn - Princess Louise - Elegant Victorian interior. Sam Smith's pub. Met a very friendly local drunk who recommended several other pubs we'd already been to.
  • Holborn - Shakespeare's Head - A JD Wetherspoons we wandered into by mistake.
  • Isleworth - Red Lion* - Local's pub that was CAMRA's regional pub of the year many times. Also "One of the top 50 boozers in London". Apt description.
  • Lambeth - 3 Stags - Local with very comfortable couches. Just outside the Imperial War Museum.
  • London Bridge Station - Shipwrights Arms.
  • Moorgate - Globe Bar - Ehhh.
  • Moorgate - Red Lion - Have to get out of this area to find a better pub.
  • Tower Hill - Hung Drawn and Quartered - Fullers pub. Inexpensive food.
  • Waterloo - Hole-in-the-Wall* - 2-bar pub just outside the north door of the station. Good meeting place. Front bar was un-manned in the early afternoon but back bar was excellent.
  • Westminster - Buckingham Arms* - It has been in every edition of the Good Beer Guide. Very busy and still very friendly. Met a couple of people who recognized my Gravity Head T-shirt and gave us some recommendations.
  • Westminster - Red Lion* - Tiny and disorganized pub right around the corner from Parliament on Whitehall.
  • Westminster - Sanctuary Hotel* - Elegant place near the Abbey.
And a couple more outside of London:
  • Steeple Aston - Red Lion
  • Gloucester - Severn Bore Inn - Highway roadhouse that packs with people when the bore is running.
* - In the CAMRA Good Beer Guide.

Inside the Princess Louise.

Inside the Westminster Arms after a hard day at the office.

Red Lion in Avebury. What a goldmine.

The Red Lion is dead center of the circle above - the largest ancient stone ring in the world.
Tourist trade is massive every day of the year.

Found a London brewpub. The Bunker in a basement location in Earlham Street in the west end theatre area. It's changed hands a few times since being built in 1994 by Freedom Brewery. They still make Freedom Bier. Yep, a "German" pub. All wood, silver paint, and long tables at least.
The beers are a Pilsner, Organic Lager, and an Amber which wasn't on tap. Both that we tried were decent but carbonated and cold, a bit bready with plenty of hops. Very light color.

Finally found a homebrew shop. They are really quite rare and Pops Home Brew in Cheltenham is one of only two in the county of Gloucestershire. Had a nice hour chat about the business. Their place would fit right in to the US.

Owner Steve and full-time business partner, his wife, sorry, forgot your name.

The proper British beer glass is called a Nonik.

Best beer names (tie): Quick One and The Usual.

Shepherd Neame is England's oldest brewery - from 1696.

Met a guy who says two pints of nitro-beer gives him a nosebleed. Thinks it's like the bends.

Europe Totals (subject to final audit):

Country Bars Breweries/
Beers Beer Festivals Beer
Austria   5 23   1
Belgium 20 4 82   3
Canary Islands 3   5    
England 234 9 365 11 1
France 2 7 28    
Germany 15 71 225 2 5
Gibraltar 4   4    
Hungary 1 2 7    
Luxembourg 1   2   1
Maderia 2   2    
3   23    
Portgual 1   1    
Slovakia 4   7    
Spain 8   7    
Switzerland   7 44 1  

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