Enjoy Playing Away From Home . . .

Friday 30 March 2012

Bar of the Day - The Albatross Club, Bexhill

Thursday, 29th March 2012, and the bar of the day had to be The Albatross Club in Bexhill, East Sussex, which was midway in my walk along the seafront, in the wake of the Normans, even if many centuries later, from Pevensey Bay to Hastings. A word of warning, though, to gain admittance, you either need to be a member of the Royal Air Forces Association, or more recently admitted, a member of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), which, fortunately for me, I am.

The Albatross Club won CAMRA's South East Sussex Branch 'Club of the Year' for 2011, so having left Pevensey in time for me to reach Bexhill by 11.45, I thought I should sample what the Albatross had to offer me, other than memories of John Cleese and Mont Python, and what a good decision it was.
The Club is open from 11.00 to 2.30pm, and 7-11pm, as I said above, to members of the RAFA and CAMRA, and invited friends (who are discreetly asked to contribute 50p for a visit, so discreetly, I fell compelled to place a golden nugget in the box, after all, I'd saved much more than that just on the ale prices). I was given a very warm reception, despite this being my first ever visit (it shan't be my last) from Geoff the Chief Steward, and everyone I spoke to really, and what diverse backgrounds people I chatted to had! Geoff, who hails from the North East originally (test his accent), is also a member of CAMRA, and sells up to 3 very reasonably priced real ales, and a daily special and other food is available at reasonable prices too.
So what ales were on offer yesterday, Youngs Special (I had a pint), Dark Star's Chestnut (I didn't try, but you'll understand why shortly) and Dark Star's American Pale Ale (APA), and people who read what I write will know why I sampled a couple of pints of the APA, it is a crackin' ale! Anyway, suitably refreshed, and Geoff does keep a good ale (I shall be back), I set off on the final 5 miles of my walk...

Following an uneventful wander into Hastings, I had to finish off in a pub that regularly sells Dark Star Hophead, I'd have preferred APA on the day, but Hophead is a crackin' ale too, just a little less so. The Dolphin at Rock-a-Nore, Hastings, it was then. Anyway, I had to inform others I had just walked from Pevensey Bay for a few drinks, which I thought was a bit impressive, even if a debate on how far you can walk in an hour was started.... Cheers!

Wednesday 28 March 2012

St Leonards, Hastings+

A short walk to St Leonards via Bohemia, then back via Warrior Square and the front...

First stop was the North Star... 5 ales on sale here, including Hogs Back TEA, Landlord, Sussex Best, Woodforde's Nelson's Revenge, and Dark Star Rye & Juniper 'SAHTS Inspired Beer', at 5.2% a rich fruity, full-bodied pale ale, with a bitter and dry aftertaste... You'll take it from this that I drank the Rye & Juniper, yep indeed, very good!

Next, I visited the Dripping Spring, the only pub in the Hastings area where you can find Wye Valley HPA, as far as I'm aware, a really easy to drink pale bitter, and, therefore, one of the reasons to visit this pub. The new managers appear to have kept up the good name of previous incumbents, and a friendlier pub would be hard to find.
In addition to the HPA, there was Black Sheep Best, Bombardier, Sussex Best, and Courage Best on sale, with more coming on for the weekend, NB tomorrow (Friday 29th) Fullers ESB will be available, thankfully not today, as experience tells me I'm not at my best after a few pints of ESB.
I also tried a half of the Jennings Lakeland Stunner at 3.9%, pale, with hints of grapefruit, and a bitter sweet, a bit sour even, taste; it says 'full bodied' on the pump clip, yes it is, probably why the 'sweet & sour' taste in particular. Wasn't bad, but I decided to concentrate on the HPA.

Finally, I'm glad to have stopped at the White Rock Hotel, where I sat on the balcony, overlooking the pier and sea, crackin' weather, and very pleasant company to talk to, consequently I handed over my card, and it would be very nice to hear that she looks at this blog, if not the website...
I again drank the Dark Star Rye & Juniper (at only £3 a pint here!), well, it is very nice, and they also had Hastings Blonde (3.9%) and Porter (4.5%), and Rother Valley Blues, a 5% dark beer. As ever, the White Rock Hotel sells locally brewed ales from Sussex at a decent price, locale indeed!

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Beer Tax Escalator - BAD!

See http://www.camra.org.uk/beertaxpetition People thought there was no increase on tax on beer this year, well, wrong! It had already been decided, consequently, not an economic decision, axe this tax!

Friday 23 March 2012

Tia Maria

I'd hate people to think I only drink beer, Tia Maria and black coffee right now ;-)

Thursday 22 March 2012

Walking in a Mackie Wonderland

OK, that title may not make much sense to some who look at this blog, but it makes a point for me, pre-football match, so... Only 3 pubs yesterday, here goes...
The Old Coffee House in Beak Street, just off Regent Street, London. An outlet for Brodies Brewery. Came in from a lovely sunny afternoon to be faced with 6 Brodies ales, Old Street Ale (5%), Brainwave (possibly 3.6%, couldn't make out), Bethnal Green Bitter (4%), Dalstone Black IPA (a massive 7%) and Shoreditch Sunshine, 3.9% of a pale, very dry and bitter ale with huge grapefruit aroma and taste; you can take it I drank the 'Sunshine', but, as I was meeting someone at the next pub, sadly, only the time for one pint, but very glad I made the spontaneous visit.

My next visit was to the Coach & Horses, Bruton St, just off New Bond Street, a very interesting oasis run by Nicholsons, though a tad more expensive than the first watering hole, with more 'national' type ales; Youngs London Gold, Bombardier, London Pride and Marston's 'Single Hop' East Kent Golding at 4%. Having drunk many pints of all the others in other pubs, I stuck to a couple of pints of the 'Single Hop', which was a decent middle of the range and colour bitter... It did what it said on the label, basically.
A very interesting pub I've never been in before, bit expensive, great building, well worth the visit, in my humble opinion...
We finally met up with the rest of today's gang at the Leinster Arms, Leinster Terrace, just off Bayswater Road. A free house, that now offers a special 'sausage' menu, they still sell pies though (this used to be a pie and ale house). I'm a bit of a regular here, even if my visits are only about every 2 months or so now, but sells 5 ales, including, last night, 45 RPM from my old employer, Kelham Island Brewery (4.5% strangely); Pride and Doom Bar; Holdens Purple Haze (4%), a fruity pale ale with not too much going for it, not up to their usual bitters and mild; and North Yorkshire Fools Gold (4.6%), a much more refreshing pale ale with a dry aftertaste and a peachy aroma, loved it!
Brigitte was the only one of us who ate here, that is, until I was entranced by her meal, so I ended up buying a meal too. They have a choice of sausages, choice of mash, and even a choice of gravy; the only difference between our 2 meals was the gravy, Brigitte had the onion gravy and I had the red wine gravy. The sausages were full of flavour, rich and meaty, a 'Wild Hog' with all the flavourings, and the mash was an interesting mix of potato, cheese and tomatos... Delicious!
So, a good few hours and a great start to the evening, more of which elsewhere, cheers!

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Snowdrop Inn, Lewes

Something I forgot to mention in my tiredness last night, but the Snowdrop Inn also has a good selection of Belgian beers, meant to say, cheers!

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Lewes Revisited

OK, the Abergavenny Arms isn't in Lewes, but it's not in Wales either, well, not this one, it's in East Sussex (Rodmell)... During an eventual 10 mile circular walk from Lewes, we had a drink in the Abergavenny Arms, that sells food, and ales, of course! It can serve 3 ales at a time, but only 2 today, the ubiquitous Sussex Best, but also the West Sussex ale from Hammerpot, Shooting Star (3.8%), a medium coloured bitter, not too bad ;-)
We sat outside, not too bad a day... and the landlady was being interviewed/filmed for... No idea why! LOL The pub has it's own website at www.abergavennyarms.com

Well, we walked the walk, a bit hard at first, going up to the South Downs Way, but, after the Abergavenny Arms, mostly on the flat all the way to Lewes, where we came to the Snowdrop Inn, OK, been here before, but why not come back?? Loadsa real ales; Dark Star APA (what else would I drink, in the circumstances) and Black Coffee Pilsner... yep... Harveys Sussex Best and Porter, and Dorking Brewery's Red India Ale (5%) and BEL (5.5%), a pseudo Belgian ale... Love the place!
We ended at the Harveys' Brewery Tap, the John Harvey Tavern, which is a typical old pub inside, flagstone floor, wooden panels, floor, beams and pillars, ales from gravity feed (3 on handpump), indeed, you can pretty much purchase whatever ales Harveys has on sale here... We had the Old Ale, good choice ;-)
My only complaint is that, despite the interior, the John Harvey doesn't feel like a pub... It's so bright, with too much (large) modern glass windows... and the view of the car park, not good...
That's it for now... knackered ;-)

Sunday 18 March 2012

Pub of the Day - Dripping Well, Hastings

A lazy sunny Sunday afternoon...
... and every second Sunday lunchtime, the Dripping Well in Hastings has a Jazz gig, so this was my target today.
The Dripping Well is a freehold pub, near the centre of Hastings town, that serves decent cask conditioned ales, at a very reasonable price for the area.
I'm not a regular here, in the every day of the year way, but I always receive a decent reception with friendly discourse to be shared, and Sunday lunchtimes not only include the ubiquitous 'meat raffle' and great free Sunday grub, but jazz too, every second week.
Amongst others, earlier today, I chatted to Tony the landlord, Steve the (retired) fireman, Chris the ex-publican, and the very lovely Turkish barmaid, sigh...

... There are 4 cask conditioned ales on sale at the bar, all at under £3.00 a pint, which are very reasonable prices down here, if not too acceptable for people from up in t' North, but I don't live in Sheffield anymore! Indeed, Wadworth's Henry's IPA costs just £2.60 a pint...
... and very enjoyable free live jazz music is provided, from a less than the regular sized combo today (due to other Mother's Day demands!) This is a good session to be enjoyed, even for me in my knackered state, due to working a 13 hour night shift and no sleep for over 30 hours!
Cheers m'dears ;-)

Friday 16 March 2012

Phew! Sorted!

Yeh, phew! Sorted... and I am so amazed how easy it was, once I knew how...
So, the website and blog carry on with the same addresses, very grateful for your concern, Iain, cheers mate!
So, it will go on, and I've already got much to add to the website, but I was holding on until I knew I hadn't lost it, so expect many additions and updates to www.beer-meister.co.uk over the next few weeks.
Today? 5 or 6 pints of Hophead at the Dolphin in Hastings... relief, mostly, but a crackin' ale...
Tomorrow? The World LOL :-D

Tuesday 13 March 2012


I wont be posting much this week, trying to recover from last week, to start with, but also having trouble trying to renew my website, consequently, this blog as well. If I do lose them, I can assure people I shall return, probably as Steve the Beermeister, but, fingers crossed my emails will get some response asap.
Meanwhile, yesterday, I drank a couple of pints of Directors at the Dolphin in Hastings; always have to be careful as I have some very strong memories following drinking sessions in Courage pubs in the past, NB The Paviour's Arms in Westminster (beneath Westminster Hospital in the past, but no longer there).
So I wandered off and, silly me, found Dark Star Revelation at 5.7% in the White Rock Hotel, but only drank the one pint, but this is superb, hops+++, four of the US type hops, I believe, plus dry hopped too... I tried it in the Evening Star in Brighton a few weeks ago, so I knew it would be tasty, it certainly is a revelation!

Saturday 10 March 2012

Hove CAMRA beer festival

Yesterday, I visited the Sussex CAMRA Branches Beer & Cider Festival at Hove Town Hall, ends today.

OK, so the town hall isn't too impressive a building, though the older part around the corner is a little more interesting, but inside was very interesting, as there were a few rooms full of ales, bottled beers, ciders and perries, food, bits & bobs, and people who enjoy good beer!
I had 10 halves in my shortish lunchtime visit (open 11-3pm yesterday and again in the evening; I don't think it closes during the afternoon today though), so I'll list them as I drank them.
My first was Bowman's SHB (3.7%), which wasn't listed in the programme, nor is it on their website, so either a brand new ale, or a 'mix', not sure which, but it was very tasty for my first choice. OK, it's the winter (nearly over), but today I was concentrating on pale, session ales, and this fit the deal, a pale and very easy ale to drink, though not much aroma, so I'm guessing no American hops with their floral and fruity aromas. Anyhow, whilst just starting this, I met Keith of Porter Tours, someone I've known for years, but hadn't seen for a few; in fact, the last time was in a Eurostar bar, returning from Brussels! Great to meet up and hear news of people from an old haunt, the Andover Arms in Hammersmith.
I also met up with a couple of people from the Gardeners Arms in Lewes, otherwise, most people I knew who were coming were probably at the business end on Thursday.
I was served by a lovely young woman for my first two drinks, who tolerated my waffling too, and had the second ale, Twickenham's Grandstand (3.8%), pale, fruity, dry, and very nice!
Next, Sambrook's Pale Ale (4.2%), again pale, dry, slightly fruity flavour, another not in the programme, and cannot see anything about it on their website, but nice.
King's Cascade (4.2%), pale and hoppy, but not as much fruit flavour from the hops that I'd expected by the name.
Langham's Flor-ale (3.8%), pale, but not as much hops as I'd expected.
Fallen Angel's Gardeners Delight (4.2%) was dry and pale, very good, though missed the labels from their bottled beers (if you've not seen them, they're quite outstanding, in a sexist sort of way!), first time I've tasted one of their ales from cask.
Surrey Hills' Shere Drop (4.2%) was pale too, but tasted more like what I'd call a proper bitter from my youth, ie it was bitter, and they used to always be a mid-copper or bronze colour; I liked it!
I then had to try Bradfield's Steel Cow (4.5%) from my old stomping ground in South Yorkshire. I'm not sure if he works there now, but an old colleague of mine when I worked part-time at Kelham Island Brewery, Paul Ward, was their first brewer, I believe. It was worth trying too, pale and dry, and my notes say "not so bad", so it was good!
My penultimate drink was South Downs' Truleigh Gold (3.7%) which was pale and bitter, nice, but one of my favourite ales I kept til last, so 9 beers I'd never tasted before, and I was very happy, in more ways than one...
Dark Star APA (4.7%) is a pale, dry and bitter ale with the three 'Cs' of hops providing aroma and fruit flavours, crackin' ale and only £1.20 for a half! So, ended with 10, mostly 'locale', ales, and I enjoyed them all, and the wasabi peanuts and beansprouts too.

The view as I walked back into Brighton and my pre-station visit to the Evening Star (had to be done), where I drank 2 pints of the very good Magic Rock's Rapture, I think it was called, my notes aren't so clear now as I was a bit 'merry', at 4.6%, darker, but light very fruity flavour. I chatted to quite a few people, who probably wished I hadn't, and met up with Keith again. Good day, cheers!

Thursday 8 March 2012

Hastings 4 - Town Centre

OK, the town centre. Now, I've been down here a while, and the town centre isn't necessarily the place to take out your woman friends, or any friends for that matter, if they are of a nervous disposition...
Or so I was led to believe! Before I moved down here I checked up on the crime stats, as you can do that now on a special website. Now, I compared the stats between the area of Sheffield I previously lived in and central Hastings. Hastings came second with just a quarter of the reported crimes, so why do those living in more celubrious areas of Hastings have such a downer on us living in the centre of town? The real Old Town, ie, the Castle sits above US, although most of the buildings are Victorian or newer, this is where Hastings was when Willie the Conker landed a few miles away, and set up his HQ above this, the real OLD TOWN!!
So, I'm losing my way here... The Clarence, as you can see, work is ongoing here to refurbish the building, and I shall post further photographs when the work is completed. Mr Big of the FILO advised me The Clarence is selling real ales, and what a delight to discover in the town centre. It opens 10.00, or soon after, and serves up 3 regular ales and a guest. The regulars are the ubiquitous Sussex Best, Directors, and Landlord; the most recent guest was Brains Reverend James. I drank the Landlord, which, for pubs down here aside from Weatherspoons, was a bargain £2.50 a pint (they try to keep one ale at that price, others £3+), the cheapest ale in the centre of Hastings, apart from in t' 'Spoons'. They also sell a great selection of beers in bottles, eg Waggle Dance, Tanglefoot, 6X and Old Peculiar.
Had a good chat to the landlord, Mick, or 'Savage' to his mates, don't ask! Opening will be from 09.00 to midnight in April, when the work should be finished, and to 02.30 Fridays and Saturdays. This is a live music venue, and the place to be if you want a long night out coupled with real ale drinking. Good luck to Mick!

The Dripping Well, a freehouse, selling all its real ales under £3.00 a pint! Henry's IPA at just £2.60 a pint, Adnams Bitter, Directors and London Pride. The more I come into this pub, the more I want to return, friendly, and, well, good value too. Music (jazz/blues) every second Sunday lunchtime, I'll report back ;-)

Finally, Pissarros, OK, only 2 real ales, the uniquitous Sussex Best and, for now, Dark Star Old Chestnut, is the second ale, though this may change in the Spring (soon then!). Comfy, foodie bar, with live music for many evenings, late nights, and fun. Plus the 3 barmaids (including manager) today were in co-ordinated black and purple! Very fetching...
OK, so it wasn't quite finally, but the General Havelock hasn't re-opened yet. Jamie, the landlord from the North Star, will be the new boss here when it does reopen in April. He'd hoped to get the pub opened before then, but a few problems with planning permission have arisen, so you can expect it to be very sensitively refurbished when you do visit. There will be real ales, but, because of history (not the nicest place to drink at in recent history apparently) no children and no live music. Watch this space, as I want to give Jamie support for this venture. Good luck mate!

Hastings 3 - St Leonards and the front

OK, another lovely day, beautiful sky, mild, and, well, I'm nearly finished in my 4 part quest to provide knowledge of the real ale pubs and bars worth visiting in Hastings...
First, the White Rock Hotel, provides accommodation (dah!), but great to visit even if not a 'guest'. Virtually opposite the pier, non-smoking throughout, even on the terrace and it's sea view, decent breakfasts (I enjoyed eating the "Full Audrey" on Sunday morning, ie their full cooked breakfast) and 4 real ales served up to non-guests as well after 10.00 every day. Today, one pale ale, Hastings HPA (5 hopped IPA) at 4.7%, not so bad, does what it says on the label; Harveys Porter 1859, a 4.8% porter, easy to drink; Dark Star Black Coffee Pilsner at 4.8%, sounds weird, but actually quite a subtle coffee flavour, drinkable again; and the very good WJ King Kings Old Ale at a meagre 4.5%, dark, hint of coffee and strong roasted malt, reyt nice! They've 2 dark Star beers coming soon, Rye & Juniper and Revelation... which is a 'revelation', crackin' ale, I recently drank at the Evening Star in Brighton!

Next, the North Star in St Leonards (a way above Warrior Square), serving up 5 real ales, Hopback GFB, Hastings HPA again, Harveys Sussex Best, Timothy Taylor Landlord, and Dark Star Sussex Extra Stout. This is a crackin' pub, the landlord, Jamie, soon to reopen the General Havelock, see next posting! Always a good visit, and they have a 'loyalty card' for real ale drinkers (and for food), drink 9 pints and get one free... works for me ;-)
Finally, the Dripping Spring, which has new managers, great pub, the first I ever drank at in Hastings. They appear to be wanting to keep up a similar way of working, ie supporting real ales in their pub. 4 ales on today, though can have up to 7 or 8 at weekends. Today, the 2 regulars, Wye Valley HPA, an ale I particularly like, and this is the only place in Hastings it can be found, so my drink today, and Harveys Sussex Best. The 2 guests today were Adnams Broadside and Fullers ESB (I saw a regular from the Cinque Ports in the Old Toan drinking the ESB here today). Good luck to the new landlord and landlady, I support you!

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Hastings 2 - Old Town, East Side

Second day of Hastings (only 2 more to go).
The Dolphin, selling 5-6 real ales at any time. A great place to drink in for barflies like me, sells well-conditioned ales, friendly staff and customers. The 5 ales on at the moment are the 3 regulars, Dark Star Hophead (OK, by now you'll know it's what I usually drink), Courage Directors and the ubiquitous Harveys Sussex Best. 2 guests at the moment, Youngs Special, and Harveys Porter has replaced the Old Ale. In a Youngs pub, I'd drink Special, but then, if a Youngs pub was selling Hophead, I'd likely drink that ;-)
Last night they had a 'Mexican' night with food and music; I missed the chilli and fajitas, they've added Sausage & Mash night to the regular evening food nights (used to be just fish & chip night on Mondays), so keep on watching, the chef is looking to expand.

The Stag, allegedly, the oldest pub in Hastings, though there are many who would argue... A Shepherds Neame pub, which, on this weeks visit had the regular Bishop's Finger, Kent's Best and Thatcher's Heritage cider, and Shep's Amber Ale (a 'winter warmer' - not in my opinion) and Thwaites Wainright. I love Bishop's Finger, so guess what I drank?!?
Finally, the Cinque Ports Inn, which sells Sussex Best and Fullers ESB... OK, those who know me will know what I drink here, as one has little flavour, and the other is a favourite of mine from the West London brewery, oozing with flavour ;-)

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Hastings 1 - Old Town, West Side

Yesterday, visited the Old Town, Hastings, really the medieval part of Hastings, a little along from where the Normans first set up shop at the castle (above where I now live), and where the 2 oldest churches in Hastings now sit on the East and West Hills of The Bourne (was a stream, now a road).

The First In Last Out (FILO), a cracking pub with its own micro brewery, was inside the pub, but now moved up the hill to a new home. No food for now, as the kitchen has been moved within the pub out to the back, and should be ready by the end of March (looking forward to my next meal there). Above you see the focus of the pub, the very interesting and positively addictive fireplace, with Elaine at the bar. Also, met Mike, the landlord, and Tony, the manager, for the first time in a while.

The ales at the FILO above, 4 of their own ales and one guest ale is the usual offering. My favourite, Gold, wasn't on the bar on this day, but the Crofters is a great session bitter, and the newer Church Pale Ale (10p a pint goes towards the Church, I believe), a paler bitter.
Finally, for this blog, the Jenny Lind, just down the road from the FILO, 5 ales on at any time, all well known; Directors, Old Peculiar, Betty Stogs, Doom Bar and Wainwrights.

Thursday 1 March 2012

29 Feb - Le Gothique Revisited

After seeing my brother, and my two nieces today, and having a crackin' drink of Naked Ladies at the Crooked Billet earlier, despite the disappointment of no money making, I did have a great day... to be finished off by walking up to Clapham Junction station via Le Gothique, situated within the Royal Victoria Patriotic Building on the edge of Wandsworth Common.
This photo (taken on my last visit as it was dark today) is of the main door of the building, with St George slaying a dragon above, as he did, apparently. This door will be the used entrance (usually you go round the back of the building for Le Gothique) for the 4th Wandsworth Common Beer Festival, 29-31 March 2012, which will be located in the courtyards of the building as well as Le Gothique; go to www.wandsworthbeerfestival.eventbrite.com for more details.
I have talked about the Royal Victoria Patriotic Building and Le Gothique before, on this blog, and also on facebook, so no more here, but if you want to explore further, try www.legothique.co.uk which may whet your appetite...
So, what was Le Gothique like on my second visit, alone this time? Well, it appeared to be thriving, certainly in the early evening, when up to 40 people were present at any one time during my visit, a number going to a play being staged somewhere else in the building. This included women and men, people who had come in after work and locals, and young and not so young. Excellent atmosphere, not too loud, not inhospitable, but easy to cope with alone (not that I'm too shy a person).
Many were eating, some just chatting and drinking, sitting at tables, by the bar on stools, upstairs dining, and with a good service from bar and kitchen/serving staff. Comfortable...
Ales on today included Sambrook's Wandle and Junction, though the Junction ran out during my visit, and Spitfire from Shepherd Neame brewery. The landlord, Mark, is a great character to chat to, and was what I am coming to find his usual friendly and interesting self, yet very business-like, which are good credentials for a publican.
Saw the first half hour of the England v Holland football match on tv before I left, unobtrusive, not too loud, but replacing the nicely volumed music that is usually being played. Then, off up the Junction... Cheers!

29 Feb - Crooked Billet, Wimbledon Common

Trip to London for possible money-making purposes (sadly didn't work out), but had to include lunchtime and evening trips to pubs...
Lunchtime, my brother Dan and I walked up to Wimbledon Village and visited the Crooked Billet, on the edge of the Common. This is a crackin' Youngs pub, next door to the Hand in Hand (below), another very good Youngs pub which, under a previous ownership, used to be the only place I knew you could get Ruddles County before it fell under the spell of one of the new 'Nationals', Greene King.
OK, Youngs are now part of one of the new 'Nationals' too, following their merger/whatever the legal definition is, with Charles Wells of Bedford, so, all but the 2 guests listed below are actually brewed by Wells now; as brewers, Youngs and Courage RIP.
I like both of these pubs, but we only visited the Crooked Billet today, and didn't even drink Youngs Special, which I usually would, their ales on the bar including, Special and Ordinary from Youngs, Bombardier and Directors, their other regulars, and 2 guest ales, Doom Bar (OK, but can be drunk anywhere these days, and is only OK to my palate), and the 4.4% Twickenham Naked Ladies, what a great find for me, though I know it's been available for a while now, my first taste.
Naked Ladies, a nice image, but a big hit of hops to the nose when you first taste it, not so 'ladylike', quite a pale ale, but more bitter than I thought it would be. I like this beer!
The Hand in Hand, always worth a visit too, another good pub, just a few doors down from the Crooked Billet, in Crooked Billet, Wimbledon Village, SW19.