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!
Last night I popped into the pub for a couple of beers after work en route to my wife’s work leaving drinks. The pub was pretty quiet and Peter the Bike wasn’t around to talk shit with so I plonked myself down and read the paper. I retired “The Sun” after the cursory glances at Page 3 and Dear Deidre and picked up a copy of ‘Beers of the World’. I hadn’t seen this publication around before and gave it a flick through (I never read anything properly anymore – a habit formed after years of dealing with scientific literature) and found it a bit bizarre. The editorial is a mix. There are a few leftist CAMRA type articles by Protzy and his ilk, but there are also some nice historical articles – including one on nitro-keg and the birth of proper real keg (which happened to disregard 50 years of history and start in 1994). One thing that stuck out was the number of female contributors. Melissa Cole has a piece in there and the magazine is edited by Sally Toms (who I have been told is ‘fit’). The magazines credibility went further downhill after I parsed the altbier article where of the 7 beers they recommend, only two were German. WTF??
Anyhow after a couple of pints of Altons Pride I headed west to The Bridge House (W2) to meet up with the Missus and her associates. Most of these types were pretty pissed when I got there and had moved onto lemonades. I defied their softness and went for a pint of Landlord which hadn’t been cellared properly and was over carbonated. This didn’t last long in the sultry weather and was quickly followed by a pint of Kuppers Kolsch. For dinner we moved along to Westbourne Grove to the Dim Sum heaven that is Ping Pong. I chose to wash down my soggy steamed parcels of who knows what with a few bottles of Tiger, which I happen to like.
This morning I am actually feeling pretty good considering the massive amount of piss I drank last night. Today is my last day of employment with my current shop, hence I am taking the piss and blogging when I ‘should’ be working. In reality today will be spent preparing myself my own work leaving drinks which kick off sometime after five. Bring it on…..
I have a new computer. It was time to replace my aging Toshiba Satellite laptop with a new more up to date machine. I have been having a horrible experience with my Windows based work machine recently and wanted something robust and fast. So to cut to the chase I ended up buying a Macbook Pro 13″. So far I am very impressed with the machine and I am questioning myself why I didn’t make the jump across to the apple sooner. The beauty of the situation is the timing as I can get a VAT refund as I am leaving the UK for longer than 12 months. Couple this with the education discount I received (my UCL staff card is still valid, although I no longer work there) and the free Ipod Touch included with the education promo and it is almost a bargain. It also means that I am cool like Robert Webb or Justin Long.
One thing I love about the UK is the randomness of the print media. I think the term “Media Circus” is a fair and accurate description. I had the fortune of flicking through (well I made it to page 3) a copy of the UK’s best selling newspaper “The Sun” while at The Gunmakers last Friday evening.
Those of you who follow my Twitter feed could probably see this one coming. For those of you don’t, I had a rather massive night on Friday and posted a couple of updates via Twitter.
I was so smashed when I had this one at The Parrs Head that I forgot I had drank it! Last Friday, Gareth and I bunked off work at about 3.30 pm and headed down to The Gunmakers for a couple of quick after work beers. Being a bank holiday weekend, Jeff was playing it safe and only had Harvey’s Best on so we had a pint (or was it two) before heading down to The Coach and Horses for a few Pints of Landlord. Sometime after that I vaguely remember being back in The Gunmakers drinking with Peter the Bike until I got an angry call from the Mrs demanding me back home. I still squeezed in another pint before going home to face the wrath of my wife!
Anyhow we ended up going to The Parr’s Head for dinner and they had just put a cask of Hooky Bitter on. I can’t tell you what it was like though as I cannot remember. It can’t have been too exciting then…..
Life has been hectic lately and my regular lunchtime posts have become ever more irregular. Luckily, today is ticker Tuesday so I can eliminate my backlog in pretty much one bludgeoning swoop. To keep it interesting I won’t go on about my pub binges with Peter and Co. at The Gunmakers, or my adventures at The Parr’s Head and The Havelock- they were standard pissup affairs.
Thornbridge Halcyon (7.7% abv) – this hop monster IPA uses fresh green hops as opposed to dried stable hops. Judging by the hop haze this beer had, I will assume there were a lot of hops added as well. I won’t go into too many details, but Darren over at Blog o’Beer posted some good stuff here.
Today is ticker Tuesday. Basically in this post I will cover some of the beers I have had over the last week or so. I was reviewing the photos from my phone and realised that I had more than just a couple.
Last Thursday night I went for a drink with Mike, a guy I used to work with. He suggested ‘The Castle’ just off High Holborn. I had not been there since I was served a dodgy pint. Anyway not much has changed, the place still has 9 handpumps and is chock full of people drinking Peroni. Mike has become allergic to beer lately and has moved onto cider, which left me to hold up the fort in the beer department. I first got my teeth into a pint of Bushy’s Helmsman which is a 4.5% copper coloured bitter that had lost most of it’s condition and was starting to taste a little ordinary. Obviously this one has not been a big seller! I forced it down as technically while it was past it’s best, it was in no way stale.
Next on my list was Titanic White Star (4.8% abv), which is a hoppy golden coloured bitter and was in very good condition. I didn’t tempt fate and squeezed in a few of these and didn’t bother to see what else was on offer.
Friday was a pretty quiet day in the office so a few of the lads headed down to Ye Olde Mitre for a pint over lunch. The inner ticker came out and I gravitated towards the guest ale which was Pirates Gold (4.0% abv) from Cornwall’s Wooden Hand Brewery. It’s funny how you can go to a region and not find any of the local beers, but head back to London and they are everywhere! The beer is a fruity bitter and suited the afternoon which was cold. I still think the old Mitre is over rated. I look forward to returning once Fuller’s take the reigns.
After work on Friday (ok, well it was 3.45pm), a colleague of mine Gareth and I headed down the street to The Gunmakers for a couple of beers. It really was a slow day. I won’t go into too much detail as I think I have covered all Jeff’s offerings before. Anyhow I had a pint of Batemans XXXB and a pint of TT Landlord. I think I will stick with the Landlord in Future as I am not that big a fan of the Bateman’s and I had a pint of Harvey’s Best the week before and I am not really a huge fan of that either. I like the pub though and it seems to be busy nearly all the time now with a solid set of regulars, some of whom I am getting to know.
On Saturday I was conned into seeing ‘Marley and Me’ with the missus. Well I’m not totally whipped and there is a plan in place here. I go and see one chick film, this builds me up some points so we can see Terminator Salvation, Fast and the Furious 4 or X-Men Wolverine next time we go. After the movie I raided my beer collection (I have a rather large stash of bottles) and enjoyed some Saison 1900 and a bottle of Sierra Nevada Stout while watching ‘Come Dine with Me’. Watching foodie TV had me craving for some decent nosh, but our pantry was bare. Rather than do a Tesco run, we went to a local Vietmanese joint ‘Saigon Saigon’ where I enjoyed not only very good Vietmanese cuisine, but a couple of bottles of Saigon Export. This is an interesting beer that has only a very mild bitterness and a subtle honey like malt sweetness that works well with the caramelised flavours and spices in the food. A good general food pairing.
Sunday was Boat Race day and we headed down to Furnival Gardens to watch the race. We got down there, grabbed some food and staked a position on the barrier wall. After about ten minutes it started to rain – not fun. The wind also briefly picked up and it was freezing cold so we headed back to the flat to watch the race on TV. A much smarter option. Back at the flat I inspected my beer stash and selected two Bath Ales – the Gem and Barnstormer. Either my palette is loosing it’s touch or these beers are basically the same. Come to think of it, the Gem was slightly more fruity. Still nice beers to drink while watching the race. I don’t really have any allegiance to either of the two schools as I didn’t go to either. Plus I don’t like the religious origins of OxBridge and prefer the secular nature of UCL where I do have an affiliation being a former staff member. Putting religion aside the last beer I had on Sunday was Mad Goose Pale Ale from Purity Brewing Co. This beer was nice, but had an abrupt wheat malt taste that I don’t like. I prefer all barley malt beers, but I liked the hop character. I have a bottle of Purity’s Amber Ale in the fridge at home which I will eventually get around to.
Anyhow I apologise for the congested and disjointed post. Maybe I am still a ticker at heart?
Most countries with beer cultures have unwritten rules about how to act and behave in the pub. To many who travel to Australia from the USA or Europe (UK excluded), the culture and behavior of drinkers may be, somewhat in lack of a better word, “foreign”. Australian readers will be familiar with these rules, but for everyone else they are as follows;
- Always keep your beer in your hand, touching your plate or as close to the edge of the table as possible. Don’t leave it in the middle of the table as this can become confusing when many people are drinking at the table.
- Free beer should always be consumed at a pace greater than that of a beer which had been bought by you or someone in your shouting party.
- Never accept a beer if you do not intend to shout on that evening. Shouting “next time” is not acceptable no matter how much interest is involved. This leaves the rest of your drinking party agitated and they will say bad things about you after you leave, or if they’ve had a few this may lead to violence.
- Even worse than the previous rule is accepting beers from the drinking party and then just buying one for yourself when it is your turn. If you make it home without at least one broken bone you should consider yourself lucky!
- If you are falling behind in the rounds, complaining that you ate too much is not a legitimate excuse. You should have foreseen the night of drinking ahead and not filled your beer stomach with food. The beer stomach must be kept separate from the food stomach at all times.
- If the beer is served in a stubbie, pouring it into a glass to drink is simply not acceptable.
- It is a well understood obligation that slower drinkers in a shout must attempt to keep pace with the faster members of a shout, so as to avoid bad feelings and cries of “Hurry up,” “Beer Queer,” etc.
- Changing drinks on people during a shout is considered poor form. I.e., shouting everyone VBs then asking for a Crownie or other “boutique” beer on the return leg.
- Guinness is to be served in an appropriate receptacle, i.e. a pint glass. Anything else is simply unacceptable.
- When drinking, it is bad manners to talk up your drinking ability when you are not going to perform. This includes the oft observed phrase, “I may not be able to drink much beer, but I’d kill you on Vodka / Bourbon / Scotch,” etc.
- NEVER, EVER drink so slow as to allow a beer to warm up.
- Beer from a tap must be drunk in the largest available beer glass of the establishment at all times, e.g. middie to be superseded by a schooner, pint to be superseded by a stein.
- Toohey’s or any brand of American beer should never be attempted to passed off as actual beer, unless obvious insult to the recipient/recipients is intended.
- One’s perceived beer drinking ability should not be in any way overshadowed by the frequency with which one visits the lavatory for urinary purposes. The idea is beer consumption, not beer retention.
- Stubbies must always be bought over cans unless there is storage or transport issues.
Knocking over someone else’s beer will only be tolerated if there is a full replacement on the table in an acceptable amount of time.
- Ambient temperature has no bearing whatsoever on the desire to consume beer. The day being “too cold” is never an excuse to get out of beer drinking.
- No matter how much money is earned by each of the party members the same shouting rules apply, unless one of the more “well-off” members insists on re-shouting. However, this in no way implies a future obligation to repeat the form.
When in Australia, if you follow these simple rules and you will be OK.
Moving from Australian beer to UK beer. I have to commend Jeff on the delicious pint of Tetley’s Dark Mild (3.2% abv) I had during my lunch hour today. A rare beer to see in London and a beer that is actually improved by the use of a sparkler. I also had some draught Sierra Nevada Pale Ale last night at Bodean’s BBQ. For those who have not heard of this restaurant chain, they serve mediocre Kansas City, MO style BBQ and SNPA on draught. Pity it cost me £5.95 per pint though!
Late last year I bought some Caffreys with the intention of making some steak and ale pie. Well I finally got off my ass and put the pictured concoction together. For those culinary nerds, I used Tesco Finest Rump steak and slow cooked it for several hours with some secret herbs and spices. Ok not so secret, they included some flour, onion gravy mix, vegetable stock cubes, onions and mushrooms. I also wanted to take a slightly different approach so I used dumplings instead of puff pastry to fulfill my carbohydrate delights. Not traditional I know, but damn tasty none the less. I am going to visit Jeff for lunch today at his pub. Will his chef’s culinary skills stand up to mine?
I also watched the ‘Celebrity come dine with me’ omnibus whilst preparing and eating my creation. I was backing Abi Titmuss to win. Sadly she did not, but it was entertaining. She is surprisingly bright as well as being attractive. The fact that she swings both ways is a bonus. A top bird.