This photo was taken rather early last Friday evening (8.30ish?). I am sure the landlord was happy to be drunk dry but us punters were thirsty and wanted more. The answer? I can’t really remember. I think there was some Fuller’s 1845 bottles and a few pints of Guinness involved and there must have been Orval as well as I have a few photos of Orval and a wine glass. I vaguely recall enjoying the Orval and being philosophical. It was almost like an Orval epiphany as I have always found it taste of wet dog or horse. I was pretty sauced up by this point in time and hadn’t paused to eat anything either. So I must offer my most sincerest apologies to the guy I discussed fishing with (he knows who he is)… I was well out of order. Ponds were meant to be fished from!
It probably took me three years to realise, but I have to declare Fullers London Pride as my favourite session ale. This was not an easy thing for me to admit. For too long I chased the elusive beer holy grail in pubs across London just being set back by disappointment after disappointment. While I always had a soft spot for Pride, I nearly always overlooked it at the pumps for some rare microbrewed concoction. It seems that over time I have come full circle and will now take Pride whenever I can get it.
This particular pint was scoffed at The Botanist on Kew Green late on Saturday afternoon. This pub had a bar full of imported continental proper real keg and one beer engine with Pride on. If a pub can only support one pump, then Pride would have to be the only choice. What’s your favourite session beer?
As mentioned on Friday afternoon, I took advantage of my CAMRA membership to gain free access to the Ealing Beer Festival. For some time now I have considered this to be the only CAMRA event worth going to but now I am reconsidering this position. We arrived in the afternoon to find that only CAMRA stereotypes were present. That’s right, the crowd was mainly middle class older gents with beards and belly’s who liked to wear fishing vests. There were a few other people who I would describe as socially eccentric there as well but I won’t rip on the mentally disabled. We can learn a lot from all people in society (including the disabled and handicapped)- except real ale freaks. Actually on this point I should note that many of the CAMRA volunteers were amputees. I have nothing further to say on that, just stating my observation.
There has been a bit of debate recently surrounding the relative merits of “Extreme” beers. It seems that Tandleman started it here where he has digested popular CAMRA opinion (and claimed it to be his own and not CAMRA’s opinion). Anyhow to prove a point, at the Ealing Beer Festival Yesterday there were only a handful of beers over 5%. One of these beers was Fuller’s Vintage 2008. I ordered a half only to find it infected (tasting of artificial cherry and band aids/plasters). Despite me pointing out the obvious they continued to sell the beer telling me that I didn’t know what I was talking about. Good one CAMRA!
I still drank the infected half. I guess that was pretty extreme……….
It was a monumental task. To pack up and box the contents of the flat ready for shipping back to Australia. After the hard work, I quenched my hard earned thirst in style – with a ten year old bottle of Fuller’s Vintage Ale.
Just a quick post today with some news. I would like to announce that I only have one month left as a resident of the United Kingdom before I jet back to Australia. It’s been a while coming but after three and a half years of shit weather and shit food with only travel and beer to compensate, something had to give.
Last Thursday saw me back in Wuppertal, Germany on a client visit. This involved a 4.15am start and didn’t see me back in the UK until well after the sun had set (OK it was about 10.15pm). The upside of this is that I enjoyed several Altbiers on the companies dime, but I had to travel to Wuppertal (the ass end of the universe) for the pleasure. Understandably I was dog tired on Friday morning and decided to work from home so I could have a lie in. Most people take the piss when they work from home, but for some reason I always end up being smashed with tasks flooding into my email inbox. Last Friday was no exception and I also had to deal with a solid back load of crap from Thursday as well. As I am a “work hard, play hard” kind of bloke I decided to knock off early and head down the pub for a beer and something to eat. My first choice is usually The Havelock for their excellent food and proper real keg from Meantime, but I missed their lunch service (which finishes at 2.30pm). In light of the
stupid inconvenient food service hours at The Havelock, I opted to head down to Fuller’s recent acquisition “The Queens Head” on Brook Green. This was a good move as they had the new Gales beer “Seafarers” on which is nice and hoppy and very drinkable at 3.6%. I decided not to get any food, but crumbled during my second pint and went for the steak baguette with horseradish mayo. If only all Friday’s were this productive!
I had some good news last Wednesday –
it’s not widely advertised yet and is still sensitive here at work so I can’t go into details but I was promoted and now have a ‘Senior’ in front of my title, so I deemed it appropriate to celebrate. To achieve this I cracked open a bottle of Gales Prize Old Ale 2007 Vintage (9% abv) to mark the occasion. I really shouldn’t have bothered – It was vinegar. I was devastated and resorted to a bottle of Magner’s Light which had been hovering around since someone left it behind at some stage. The Magner’s was drinkable after I added some 7-Up to it, the Gales went down the sink.
Interestingly the fools who comment at BeerAdvocate couldn’t tell that it was infected and wrote up tasting notes on it! A few of the ‘raters’ even comment on the vinegar ‘notes’ in it’s flavour, like it is a deliberate feature. Don’t believe everything you read online – OK, make an exception for me…
I am back at work now after spending the bank holiday weekend in a lazy fashion. Luckily it is ticker Tuesday and I can fill you in on what I have been up too. On Friday evening I managed to get down the Roebuck in Chiswick for pint of Adnam’s bitter (which was a little plain) and a pint of Erdinger. I decided to go for the proper real keg as I have yet to have a decent pint of ale there on cask. After this I enjoyed an awesome ribeye steak down the road at The High Street Brasserie. I am going to rave about this steak for a bit as it was pretty awesome. Probably over 400 grams worth with the marrowed bone still attached. I enjoyed it rare as all good steak must be enjoyed! (BTW I washed this down with two pints of Staropramen) I am a little bit ashamed with the after dinner activities which saw me drinking pints of Foster’s lager in Belushi’s at Hammersmith – a circus of a venue with maybe just a smidge more class than a Walkabout, but not much more. The Fosters was cold and refreshing though and certainly suited to the warm evening.
I had two bottles of Fuller’s Vintage Ale kicking around my flat, enticing me to drink them. Last Sunday I could hold out no longer and drank the younger of the two bottles. The 2008 Vintage is still a little rough around the edges, but there is a beautiful barley wine starting to shine through. Upon tasting the elixir, my wife exclaimed “It doesn’t taste like beer, it’s more like Hennessy, XO or a sweet dessert wine”. I tend to agree with her. The beer is very grape like in character with a strong alcohol warmth/sweetness that is hot, but not cloying. I assume that the longer the beer ages, the more mellow and smooth the overall flavour becomes. Anyhow to test this theory I have a bottle of Fuller’s 1999 Vintage Ale sitting at the top of my staircase. I plan to drink it when I have something to celebrate (like when I can finally confirm that I am moving back to Australia). Let’s hope that day comes soon!