Enjoy Playing Away From Home . . .

Monday 26 September 2011

Pub of the Day #5, Salutation Inn, Hammersmith.

Wandered from Victoria Station to Loftus Road to watch QPR v Villa yesterday, had a few drinks in The Salutation Inn in Hammersmith, where, not so long ago, we met up with a load of Villa fans who were at Fulham that day. Ironically, we played Villa yesterday, but not before I had some London Pride, though without the Villa fans company this time.

Met up with a few friends, enjoyed the warm day in the beer garden, but remarkably quiet there. Also, met an old mate who I know from another Hammersmith pub, but not football-related, which made the time fun.
I did moan at the barmaid for pulling a short measure even after I asked for it to be topped up! She said "It should have a head on it", I said, this isn't up north, this is London! Anyway, she poured out a full pint, but later brought out 2 pints to us in the garden 'gratis', obviously felt guilty (or had spat in them), or both...
The match? 1-1, poor ref as usual, maybe more about that another time...

Saturday 24 September 2011

Stockport, Pineapple Inn

OK, cheating a little for a "pub of the day", but there are 2 pubs in Stockport I am including, just down the same road from each other.
When in Stockport it would be a crime not to visit a Robinsons' pub, the local brewery, so first I shall reminisce over the Pineapple Inn in Heaton Lane, SK4, not to be confused with the Pineapple in Castle Street, SK3. My mate Dave called me up from the Castle Street version, which I had no idea existed before then, wondering where we were! Just how did we cope at away matches before the mobile phone became portable and cheap enough for popular use? Anyway, he and his entourage had caught a cab from the station (lazy gits) and the cab driver had asked if they were sure they wanted the Pineapple, Dave said "yes", so where were we?
Of course, WE were in the correct Pineapple Inn in Heaton Lane, so I directed him to come and meet us. Meanwhile we'd drunk a few pints of Robinsons' Hatters and Unicorn before they reached us, and also started eating lunch. I think I enjoyed eating a meat pie and fresh vegetables, I can't really remember that much about it as many pints have flown under the bridge since then, but I know I enjoyed the meal! I also remember we took the mick out of them when they finally turned up.
The Pineapple Inn is certainly a friendly hospitable pub to visit, with 3 separate rooms and walls adorned by china plates, though, unsurprisingly, not near the dartboard. I felt very comfortable drinking here, even when 10 Sheffield United fans walked through the door to join the dozen or so of us already there who were not Blades, but Rangers fans. The landlord's face was a picture, I just wish I'd had a camera in my hand at the precise moment the door opened to admit them.
However, he didn't need to worry, as we had arranged to meet up, not for any 'bovver', but to enjoy friendly banter, but, more importantly, the beer! I used to live in Sheffield, in fact I lived there for 15 years until recently, so I do know a significant number of Blades and Owls fans, I'm even friendly with most of the ones I know. Anyway, we had a good session, and the landlord's face perked up as his cash till chimed with the addition of extra takings.

Stockport, Crown Inn

Some of the Blades had already left for the station and Stoke before we left the Pineapple Inn, but the remainder and ourselves soon followed them out of the door, upsetting the landlord now, but we wandered along the road to the Crown Inn, nestling under the viaduct. After a couple of drinks at the Crown, the remaining Blades rushed off to catch their train to Stoke, but what a delight for us. This feels like a larger 'arier' pub, with 4 separate rooms and a 'beer garden', and an even more diverse set of regulars, certainly younger bar staff, and female too. It wasn't as busy as we thought it would be, but that wouldn't have mattered anyway, as all the staff were very friendly, very efficient and very knowledgeable about the beers they were selling.

There were 16 ales on offer, another continuous 'beer festival' in a pub, as all their ales regularly change, but they do have at least one Copper Dragon ale on sale, and I do like that particular West Yorkshire brewery's beers. To my great delight they had Copper Dragon's Golden Pippin that day, which is one of my favourite session beers, so you can guess what I drank. So we stayed there and rushed off to the match just to catch the teams coming out onto the pitch and, subsequently, enjoyed watching a 2-1 victory.
But our day didn't end when we left Edgeley Park after the final whistle blew, as we returned to be warmed up further by a wood-burning fire back at the Crown Inn, being later joined by a few of our Blades pals on their return from Stoke. The only concern now was, not to forget to leave on time to catch our respective trains home.

Thursday 22 September 2011

The Beer-Meister's Pub of the Day #2 - The Bricklayer's Arms, Putney, SW15

Owing to the fact we were literally "all at sea" yesterday, there will be 2 pubs of the day today. Aren't you lucky things? The Beer-Meister just keeps on giving, it really does.

The Bricklayer's Arms

A warm and welcoming, family run pub, The Bricklayer's Arms is an absolute treat of an away day pub for anyone visiting Fulham or Chelsea (Stamford Bridge is just a short hop on the tube away).

 Putney's Finest?
I visited this pub back in January 2008 before QPR's FA Cup 3rd Round tie at Stamford Bridge. At the time, we had just been taken over by Flavio Briatore and his consortium of billionaires. This was an ideal place to meet with friends and discuss how bright the club's future would be. There was a revolutionary air about the place. As it was, we lost the game that Saturday afternoon but were by no means disgraced by our near neighbours Chelsea and the pub holds happy memories for me.

"London's Permanent Beer Festival"

Fast forward a few years and although Flavio and Bernie are no more associated with my beloved Superhoops, I am looking forward to visiting this pub when we visit local-rivals Fulham at Craven Cottage (just over the river) in the not too distant future. Premiership football and the ticket prices that go with it may mean that I only stay for the one or two!

Predictably busy for Fulham home games but certainly one to visit if you keep your colours covered up and are respectful and friendly to the locals. Why would you be anything else eh?

"London's Permanent Beer Festival" always has a selection of beers and hand pumps available. This is a lovely pub which certainly warmed the cockles on that fresh January afternoon.

I won't try to do the pub's rich history justice and would instead lazilly prompt you to click the link to London Drinker's review. 

There are plenty of options for anyone visiting London for an away game, but give this little gem a look next time you're in Putney.

We're Not The Good Beer Guide . . .

First rule of Beer-Meister is not that nobody talks about Beer-Meister.

Our first rule, or perhaps thing you'll need to be aware of, is that although we are keen on "Real Ale," we are not CAMRA, and this is not the Good Beer Guide.

Great British Beer Festival, Earl's Court, 2011

We admire and respect everything they do, but this blog and Beer-Meister's main site is more to do with pubs and pub experience, particularly matchday pub experience. The Good Beer Guide is a source of constant inspiration to us; as is word of mouth recommendation,

We drink "fizzy tasteless stuff" as well as ale, and really do enjoy a pint of the black stuff. In fact, "mass produced" cider served over ice is ok too if a thirst needs quenching.

We're about the drinker as much as the drink, and supporting the pubs we drink in.


Tuesday 20 September 2011

The Beer-Meister's Pub of the Day #1 - The Cayo Arms, Cathedral Rd, Cardiff

Welcome to the first of what we hope will be a regular, if not daily feature on this blog, The Beer-Meister's Pub of the Day.


Picture the scene.

It's Good Friday in Cardiff. Tomorrow is St George's Day. More importantly, tomorrow afternoon will see table-topping Queens Park Rangers travel to the Welsh capital to take on fellow Championship promotion chasers Cardiff City. I'm in need of a recommendation. A safe and friendly pub please Mr Beer-Meister?

Now my previous visit to Cardiff to watch my beloved Superhoops had ended in heart-breaking cicumstances. Defeat to the Bluebirds at the Millennium Stadium in the Play-Off Final. A whole season coming down to "Big" Danny Shittu's failure to flatten Andy Campbell in extra-time. Oh yeah, that and Tommy Williams' refusal to "SQUARE IT" to Paul Furlong.

The journey away from Cardiff wasn't pleasant. A hint of good old fashioned celebratory violence hung in the air, people shook imaginary coffee beans in my direction.

So it was with some trepidation that I stepped off the train half expecting similar heart-ache again and near violent ridicule. I need not have worried. Neither about the football, or about the welcome in the Valleys.

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

In the spirit of this blog, Steve Colwell aka The Beermeister, recommended that if I along with my accompanying brother and good friend Tom, should visit only one pub in Cardiff, it should be the Cayo Arms. It was never likely to be the case that the three of us would only visit one pub, but visiting this wonderful establishment became a kind of pilgrimage.

Steve's recommendations are the stuff of legend. (I hope in time you will come to appreciate this by visiting this blog again.) Often there will be a 2 mile treck away from the train station and football ground, over and under viaducts, to find a pub with knitting patterns on the wall (Stockport County away).

Named in honour of William Julian Cayo-Evans, a famous Welshman who ran the 'Free Wales Army,' this seemed to be the kind of place where football talk should be kept to a minimum with accents remaining hushed and un-assuming at the bar. As it was, we met two more QPR fans outside in the large front beer garden.

"You three from London?"


"What you here for? The football?"


"Excellent, mind if we join you?"

Whilst trying to be as covert and respectable as possible I ordered a pint of Tomos Watkins'. I couldn't pronounce anymore than that. Fish and chips too as it was Good Friday. No complaints with either the beer or the beer-battered cod.

After a couple more pints of Tomos Watkins' the now extended group headed into the city centre where I have to confess to falling asleep whilst stood in the queue for a nightclub. Time to go back to the Travelodge then?

Still, the clue in how the evening ended should suggest that the welcome afforded to us at the Cayo Arms meant that we felt more than comfortable in our surroundings and happy to enjoy time in Wales.

I have to say that that "welcome" was similarly felt right across the City. I'm told that Cardiff is a much friendlier place to visit as an away fan now that Ninian Park has been replaced by the imaginatively titled Cardiff City Stadium.

As my father would say, you'll still need to keep your "eyes and ears" about you, but Cardiff and the Cayo are certainly wonderful places to visit if you come in peace, and leave with a 2-2 draw!

Enjoy Playing Away From Home . . .

Enjoy playing away from home... 
That's our slogan, 'enjoy playing away from home', not that we're trying to entice people into neglecting their marriage vows! Indeed, Beermeister was created as the site for people who like to follow their team playing away from home, who wish to enjoy themselves, and to drink and eat away from home in relative tranquility, mixing well with the locals. 

However, don't let me put you off immediately if you are not interested in football, as this and our sister site www.beer-meister.co.uk continue to develop for all people with good taste who travel to towns and cities they are not familiar with.

So, welcome to the online home of The Beermeister.

This is a national information service that wishes to share with you our long experience of finding the best ale and food (and more) throughout the land. Places are chosen with primary reference to quality, and so that you may enjoy yourself free from worries. Please note, the views expressed are those of the editor, unless otherwise referenced. Wherever possible, links are made to our recommendations' own websites.

If you are searching for noisy pubs with cheap lager and a rowdy clientele, this is not a site for you, but, of course, there are many other websites that will provide generously for you, also, fanzines and programmes tend to suggest great places for away fans to eat and drink at, and I'm not necessarily a bad source if you contact me directly either!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the website, why not get in touch if you have any suggestions for the site, useful information, or would like to find out more about towns and cities with sports venues (or music or just visiting), or if you just wish to make a comment? Your involvement is very much valued, thank you.

Also, follow us on facebook and Steve the Beermeister on facebook.

Remember to enjoy the whole experience when your team are playing away from home...