Enjoy Playing Away From Home . . .

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Tuesday 24th July and trip to St Leonards-on-Sea

An early start at the Tower again, first, to prove St Leonards isn't such a scary place, despite 'devil dogs' in the area (typical media exaggeration), but also as they sell good value ales at The Tower... I'd also said I'd lend my copy of The Dice Man to Louisa, but, sadly yet again, she wasn't around... However, I left the book behind the bar, many thanks. 

Good chat and good ales, 4 from Dark Star today, Saison, The Original, Sunburst and the Hophead that I drank. I'm getting more and more to like this pub, and good value too!  I also managed to get a photograph without a smoker lurking outside this time.

I then walked down the hill to the seafront, close by the pier, and visited the White Rock Hotel, despite my reservations about the temperature of the ales here, which regular readers will understand. Another 4 ales from Sussex brewers here, Dark Star's Hophead again, Harveys Olympia, a golden ale at 4.3%, Arundel Castle, a 3.8% 'tawny bitter', as it says on the pump clip, and the Dark Star ale I drank, Hylder Blonde. The Blonde is 4.2% and, apparently, flavoured with elderflowers, it has a flowery, fruity aroma, is pale, dry and bitter, and has a dryish peculiar aftertaste, presumably the elderflowers! Excellent service, as ever, from Kerry behind the bar, who has recently moved down the beach and now lives in the Old Town, hence is a bit of a regular at the Dolphin now, cheers!

From there, into town, and I own up, The John Logie Baird again, well, I do get 50p off a pint for being a CAMRA member... The usual larger regional brewers ales were on sale, Doom Bar, London Pride, Broadside etc, plus a couple that interested me, Beartown Bruins Ruin (5% and bronze coloured), and an ale brewed especially for 'spoons called Koroibos (named after the winner of the 'stadion' race at the first Olympic Games in 776BC).

Keisa served me, a friendly local lass, with very interesting tats and piercings; Koroibos was my choice, which is a collaboration between Everards and Corfu Brewery (yes, there is a real ale producer in Corfu!), however, at 4.5% I expected a lot more. It's refreshing, pale, hardly any aroma, and a bit bitter, but it could do with more hops (to my hoppy bitter taste buds), but it's very easy to drink, which makes it dangerous, especially at £1.99 a pint, and that's before I got my 50p deduction!

My final port of call was just down from Hastings railway station at Frank's Front Room, a reopened pub, very bright and airy in its new incarnation, usually selling 3 ales, Hastings Best Bitter and Blonde, and Sambrooks Wandle Bitter. Now, I live in Hastings, and was born and bred in Wandsworth, so it augured well!  I had a good chat to the hard-working Paul behind the bar, and with one of the three 'Franks' too, ie Geri...

Apparently, the Sambrooks may change and become more of a guest pump, and presently their food is mostly sandwiches, salads and bar snacks, but they are recruiting a chef in August, so things will change... Plans include evening meals, curry nights, quizzes and music; and the 'snug' (this is a 2 roomed bar) can be used for private functions already, and is. A very interesting new find.


Monday 23rd July at the Dolphin, Hastings

Hi, a lovely day, and a chance for me to play around with my Snoopy image (see facebook), but also to drink ales at the Dolphin, it just gets better! 

Still the regular Hophead, Directors and Sussex Best, the semi-regular 'seasonal' APA, and guest Goddards GO4IT!, well, they had brought in an extra firkin of it, plus a new guest ale, Castle Rock Elsie Mo (4.7%, light golden ale, grapefruity, slightly sweet, very good!).

Saturday 21 July 2012

Friday 20th July

Yesterday, I walked to Bexhill-on-Sea and back along the front, and a nice day it was (mostly);  I returned to Hastings via St Leonards-on-Sea, where I walked uphill to the Tower, 251 London Road TN37 6NB. 

I was looking forward to having a chat with the landlady, Louisa, sadly (for me, not her, obviously), she was having a short break away from work, so I shall have to put that chat on hold.  However, I was very happy to meet Linda, who provided a friendly and efficient presence behind the bar. I also had a good chat to a few lads this side of the bar, about anagrams, books and cricket mostly. I also had (what is left of) my hair 'ruffled' by a very pretty young lass, though, for more than one reason, I think she may have been a bit 'merry', and she did call me 'cheeky'  ;-)

Anyway, I drank 2 pints of Dark Star's American Pale Ale (APA), at 4.7%, which, as regular readers will realise by now, I do like, and at only £2.40 a pint, I was very happy to imbibe! There were also Sunburst (4.8%) and Saison (4.5%) from Dark Star, and Boadicea Ale, at 4.5%, from Rother Valley Brewery. So, 4 great ales from 2 local breweries, I'm beginning to like the Tower more and more the more often I visit the pub ;-)

Still a lovely bright day, though I was passed on the way down Bohemia Road, and I reached the Dripping Well, near to the centre of Hastings, where I had a good chat to the landlord, Nick, and discourse with very interesting and delightful charafters this side of the bar as well. 

Nick has been experimenting with ales on offer at the Dripping Well since he took over the pub, but has kept serving Directors and Henry's IPA as regulars; them being the two ales his regular customers drink mostly. Today, he had Hastings Best Bitter (4.1%), a very local ale, and quite a tasty medium coloured bitter, a well-balanced bitter typical of the South East, and at only £2.70 a pint, I was happy to drink a couple of pints (and the rain that persisted down during my visit meant I had to drink a couple of pints, it would have been rude, and very silly, to leave). 

The regular Sunday lunchtime music sessions are less regular now, next to be in September, but now there are Wednesday evening sessions too, I think it's the first Wednesday in the month, but I shall check on that next Wednesday week and, consequently, pass on more info then. 


Wednesday 18 July 2012

The John Logie Baird, Hastings

OK, I rarely go into Wetherspoons anywhere, but I have to own up to having a pint in The John Logie Baird, who lived and worked in the area whilst inventing tv, don't you know?!?  The pub, as you can see, doubles up as a bus stop (the people to the right are waiting for a bus, though I managed to keep the stop itself out of sight), and, just inside, people seem to be using it as an office, creche, some even eating and drinking in here...

Anyway, I've been here twice in less than a week, which is a new venture for me. On Friday, I had a mug of tea and bacon sandwich/roll/cobb (depending on where you're from) for £1.99, and, as CAMRA members like me can get 50p off a pint, was interested to try a pint of Brewsters Pandora, a 4.8% medium coloured 'bronze' bitter, slightly fruity, and, at £1.99 a pint, a very decent pint indeed, especially as I got it for £1.49 with my CAMRA discount token. Thanks Mr Spoon...

Today, though, I got back early from my morning constitutional walk and had a pint of Westerham 1965 Special Bitter Ale, again 4.8%, and again, costing just £1.49 with my discount. Good stuff!

They're also holding a Cider 'festival' at the moment, with pints from £2.20 a pint upwards, though I was sensible, and avoided one of those that early in the day. Cheers!

Monday 16 July 2012

The Dolphin, yes again, but a purpose...

The Dolphin, Hastings... OK, my local, but still brings in great guest ales, in addition to the 3 regulars, Hophead, Directors and Sussex Best, the seasonal regular, Dark Star APA, and why wouldn't I go there?  

So, what was different today? The rain and wind, and me being the only person on the beach... with about 200 gulls?
No, 2 Olympic guests at the Dolphin! Though, sadly, not Jessica Ennis and Victoria Pendleton, but 2 very good ales... Goddards 4.6% GO4IT!, a pale, dry, bitter, with a slightly metallic aftertaste, and not meant to be a complaint, as it is a good bitter, so not so sad! Also, and sorry, the pump clip has the tosser Sebastion Coe on it, tossing 5 olympic rings in the air... or is that juggling? Nethergate Brewery Lord of the Rings, 4.2% of, yet another, pale hoppy ale (I love this pub), quite dry, and very easy to drink...
OK, I ended up drinking Dark Star ales... first, Hophead, then APA... and very nice...
...and I did meet a QPR supporting family, on holiday in Hastings, great company, and a few great to chat to regulars too, and I'm looking forward to the arrival of the Olympic 'flame' tomorrow, where does all this fun end...

Thursday 12 July 2012

Wednesday 11th July 2012 - Back to the Dolphin.

OK, I was there Tuesday night too, but had to return and drink my old favourite Hophead! 

The usual 3 regulars, Hophead, Directors and Sussex Best were all on, plus the seasonal regular Dark Star APA...

Plus two other pale hoppy ales were on as guests also, Elgoods Golden Newt (4.1%, a little too biscuity and 'sweet' for me with my ever increasing fondness for bitter and dry ales, though certainly the Newt was being drunk by many regulars and visitors!) and Triple fff Brewery Moondance, another excellent grapefruity pale and dry 4.2% bitter, loved it!


Tuesday 10th July - Battle to Hastings via Icklesham

The Routemeister and I left Battle and walked along the 1066 Country Walk, link to Hastings, although we saw no giraffes today, we did see quite a few rabbits... 

We walked about 15 miles or so today, a bit harder than our Kent walk as more uphill climbs, plus some more taxing land, with a lunchtime stopover at Icklesham, where we visited the Robin Hood (the Routemeister's first visit here).

Sad news that Fred (a regular here who I always enjoy chatting to) has had a stroke, it appears, and is convalescing as we speak, our regards and best wishes to Fred.

Ales on today were Hastings Blonde, Tolly Cobbold Tolly English Ale (2.8%), Greene King London Glory, Morland Original, and we enjoyed 2 pints of Canterbury 2012 each, a 4.2% pale dry bitter, which was excellent.  We also sat outside enjoying the scenery for a short while, but it got a bit chilly!

The Icklesham Village Beer Festival is to be held behind the Robin Hood on the 19th-22nd July 2012, supporting local charities, local breweries and local acts. See the website for details at www.ivbf.co.uk.

We then returned to Hastings for the Routemeister to catch his return train to Clapham Junction. Cheers!

Monday 9th July 2012 - Crossing the border (into Kent)

We ventured across the border into Kent, and virtually straight away you come to 'Danger' areas (firing ranges) near Dungeness... However, we continued further east to Folkestone, which we promptly left walking back eastwards to the start of the Military Canal at Hythe, where we then walked northwards and reached the 2000 year old Roman fort, wall, and port, HQ of the Roman fleet in England, Thomas a Beckett's home and castle, and these 4 giraffes!

We carried on to Burmarsh and visited our first hostelry of the day, the Shepherd & Crook, a lovely old 16th century pub, restored in the 18th century, with a high beamed ceiling, plastered walls and cricket paraphernalia and photographs adorning the walls.

There was Weston's Organic Cider, Adnams Southwold and Naylor's Black & Jan being served from the bar. We drank the Black & Jan, a very good 4.4% porter, a crackin' pint.  We also made friends with the 12 year old pub dog, Jess, a grey collie cross, sadly, I forgot to take a photograph of her :-(

We then ventured further, saw many Norman churches, for some reason, walked a few miles southwards along the coast, then came back inland to New Romney, where we enjoyed the ale and convivial company at the 18th century Cinque Ports Arms.

There are 4 ever-changing ales at the Cinque Ports, today were Wadworths Red, White & Brew, Landlord, Whitstable Brewery's Fathersham Creek (3.8%, pale-ish biscuity tasting bitter, that the Routemeister enjoyed) and Crouch Vale Yakima Gold, that I rather enjoyed! The Yakima Gold was 4.2%, fruity, quite bitter, even a little bit 'sour' maybe, but excellent, in fact.

We then returned to Hastings by the 101/100 bus, having visited 2 excellent pubs today... cheers!

The Routemeister

Sunday 8th July - General Havelock

The Routemeister visited for a few days, so started drinking at the General Havelock in Hastings Sunday afternoon...

The General Havelock has up to 5 ales on now, today were Youngs Special, Sussex Best, Landlord, Doom Bar (which had just gone off) and Adnams Flame Runner, which I drank, 3.9%, a sharp pale bitter, with a rather strange aroma...

Then we went off to the Dolphin, Rock-a-Nore, where we enjoyed Dark Star Hophead, cheers!

Saturday 7 July 2012

Brewing history

According to legend, Osiris taught ancient Egyptians the art of brewing beer, but the brewing of beer was traditionally, but not exclusively, a female activity, through which women could earn a little extra money (or bartered goods) for themselves and their families.

The main ingredient in the beer was bread made from a rich yeasty dough, possibly including malt. The bread was lightly baked and crumbled into small pieces before being strained through a sieve with water. Flavour was added in the form of dates and the mixture was fermented in a large vat and then stored in large jars.

Cheers to the Egyptian women ;-)

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Dolphin, Hastings 3rd June

OK, for a change, I wandered eastwards, along the beach in the evening sunshine, and ended up at the Dolphin at Rock-a-Nore, presumably an Anglais interpretation of 'Northern Rock' (?), and started with my usual Dark Star Hophead, but more was available than I realised...

The 3 regulars, and summer 'special' were all on, ie Hophead, Directors (is it just me, or does this taste more 'malty' than it used to, have Charles Wells altered the recipe, it's like drinking liquidised Caramac!?!), Sussex Best, and the excellent Dark Star American Pale Ale (APA), plus 2 guests, the new localish brewer (Littlehampton), Anchor Springs Riptide (4.1%, a medium coloured traditional South Eastern bitter, pretty good) and Hop Back Summer Lightning, another old favourite... 

Consequently, following the Hophead, I tried a pint of the Summer Lightning, I had to compare the two for research purposes, of course, and I found that Summer Lightning still can hold it's head up high, but not quite to Hophead height, despite being stronger at 5% compared to 3.8%, which is some achievement for the Sussex brewer. The tasting notes in the Good Beer Guide for Summer Lightning read "Finely balanced, it has an intense bitterness, leading to a long, dry finish." Very true, though I would add a slight nutty flavour too, presumably to do with the hops used, but it still doesn't come up to the bitterness of Hophead, a crackin' ale, indeed, but not as bitter and dry, ie what I like ;-)

In amongst the convivial atmosphere and good company, which included Adam, behind the bar, and Mark (landlord) and Kevin among many this side of the bar, I also drank the APA, however, I have to concede that I still prefer the Hophead, but only by a 'short head' (in horse racing 'terms', not pubco fiddling the amount of beer they serve up 'terms'; which certainly isn't the case at the Dolphin, where you always get a proper measure). 

Incidentally, they ran out of the Riptide, this evening, but will have Elgoods Golden Newt coming on soon, a 4.1% golden ale, which I am looking forward to, probably after the weekend, cheers!