Enjoy Playing Away From Home . . .

Saturday 29 September 2012

Thursday 27th September, The Harp, London WC2

On my way back to Victoria Thursday morning, I was determined to visit The Harp, 47 Chandos Place, inbetween Covent Garden and Charing Cross. This pub won the CAMRA National Champion Pub of the Year in 2010, and London Cider Pub of the Year in 2011, but I walked right past it!  OK, I wasn't sleep walking, but the frontage is quite narrow, and there was scaffolding outside, it being redecorated at the moment, the windows were wide open (being of the sort often seen more on the Continent); I shall post a photograph of the outside when the work is finished, which should be by my next visit. But I did find it after walking up the (quite short) Chandos Place, and glad I am that I did!

This is what greets you immediately you walk through the door, a big hint of many ales served here in the past, and the many more to come.  Apart from ales, ciders and pump clips, the overall feeling is of wooden boards, bare floorboards (always a promising sign for a real ale pub, I think) and panelling on the walls and bar itself.  To the right of the bar is the standing area and, downstairs, seating is provided by bar stools and high tables and ledges; including upstairs, there must be about 20 stools in the pub.  Upstairs, there is a seating area with a high ledge along the side with stools, comfortable room for up to about 20, I'd imagine, with 14 comfy chairs at 'normal' seating level tables.
Also, a very friendly barmaid greeted me, apparently happy to give my many questions answers, and I did ask plenty, hopefully, not boring her too much, and ensuring I didn't interfere with the running of the pub, but you can find out more at the website.

You'll see more about the food on offer on the website, the pub opens at 10.00 hrs, Mon-Saturday, and 12.00 on Sundays; though opens at 10.00 on the Sundays before bank holiday Mondays.  Bottles of craft beers adorn cool cabinets behind the bar, usually 10-12 regularly changing ciders and perries (with 30 or so in the cellar for replenishment), and 8 or 9 ales, a fair old choice!  Again, I'll just discuss the ales I drank, but the usual 'regular' ales are Dark Star Hophead (I could be back at home), Harveys Sussex Best (I can't get away from it!), and Sambrooks Junction and Wandle.
Now, I've never actually tried the Junction, despite my coming from and growing up in Wandsworth (this brewery wasn't around then, of course), so I felt I'd have to sort that out... It's a 4.5% bitter, with a medium brown colour, the malt and hops are obvious, malt in the quaffing and hops in the bitter aftertaste.  I also drank a half of O'Hanlon's Stormstay, a 5% 'Premium Ale', again, bitter, a bit dry aftertaste, and easy to drink.  My favourite ale today was the Dark Star Kiwi, OK, and I've drunk it before, but this was even better, and I did enjoy it before.  A well conditioned pale, dry, hoppy ale, with a very fruity 'nose', very slightly hazy, which Dark Star own up to, but hardly noticeable, this was so good!  OK, I know I say it often, but I shall return, and looking forward to it.  

I got back to Victoria, via Buckingham Palace (I wasn't invited in, this time), with plenty of time before my train left, so took advantage of the 50p off CAMRA voucher at The Willow Walk, by the railway station. More expensive than my local Wetherspoons, this is Victoria after all, so, with discount, my ale was £2.39 a pint, instead of the usual £1.49 I pay a 'Spoons, but a decent enough pint of Hepworth Harvest Ale, a 4.5% golden ale.  Though I do have to make a note of the service from one of the barstaff, Lydia, who was an excellent example of customer service, who handled all customers with respect and panache; had to be said.  Great stuff, cheers!  

Friday 28 September 2012

Wednesday 26th September, West London W6

Train from Hastings to Victoria, 211 bus (passing the Royal Brompton Hospital, where my Dad died many years ago) to Hammersmith, a stroll down to Hammersmith Bridge, walk westwards along the north bank of the Thames, and you reach The Dove (see website), built in the early 18th century and originally a 'coffee house', I believe. Also, the 'local' of a hero of mine, William Morris, who used to live just yards further along the river, a few years ago though (in a big house).

This is one of my two favourite pubs in Hammersmith, a much visited by famous people Fullers house, sadly though, no Wild River on now as it is a seasonal ale, and the Summer Ale that was on, is also near the end of its season, being replaced by Red Fox for the Autumn. I really like Wild River, nice and bitter, meets my love of bitter ales, however, not being on, I thought I'd try the Summer Ale, not having drunk it for a few years (Of course, they had London Pride and ESB too, 4 ales in all)... Very easy drinking, but lacking the hops to suit my palate, oh well, as ever, friendly discourse at the bar and an enjoyable visit.
Incidentally, it has the smallest bar room in the World, Country, London, or whatever, cute little 'snug', some would call it, and also a wonderful balcony at the back, overlooking the river, which can be gorgeous, but also can get very busy, thus noisy in good weather, or for the Boat Race!  I also met the manager, Matt, but later on at the Salutation... 

So, I wandered back past Hammersmith Town Hall to King Street and the Salutation Inn (see website), my other Fullers love of the Borough!  To give my taste buds a bit of a wake up call, I had ESB here, always a blast of malt and hops; they also had London Pride and Gales Seafarers, Gales ales being brewed by Fullers now.  Amy, the manager was behind the bar, and I remember her from just over a year ago, on her first day here, when she gave me 2 free pints (a story for another day, but there was a good reason, not just my warmth and charm, lol), and I have seen her since, obviously.
Anyway, I had a good chat with Amy, and Matt from The Dove, when he arrived too.  These really are the best 2 pubs in Hammersmith, as far as I'm concerned, not just for the beer and food, but also the histories behind the pubs, and their individually unique architecture. So, I was in good cheer when I moved on to my third pub of the late afternoon, The Duchess of Cambridge, on the roundabout at the Stamford Brook end of Goldhawk Road; thanks to Paul for his advice about this pub.

The Duchess of Cambridge is  a 'sister' pub to the Bree Louise at Euston, similar set up regarding real ales and ciders and perries, food, though from a slightly different perspective, and 50p off for a pint of ale if you're a CAMRA member (I knew there was more than one good reason to re-join CAMRA); I believe they also give discount to students, go to their website for more information.

So, up to 15 ales on, 6 from handpumps and 9 gravity fed (14 when I was there) and 9 ciders and perries gravity fed. Also a selection of craft bottled beers and lagers, positively brimming with good cheer!  I was very ably served by Alice, the friendly barmaid, for most of my visit, and I met the landlord, Simon, before I left.  I shan't mention every ale, particularly as they regularly change, but just the ones I drank on Wednesday, though you'll get the idea from this photograph.

I met a group of Reading fans who were going to the QPR League Cup match too, who seemed reasonably happy with the pub, so welcoming to away fans as well as QPR fans.  I will add this pub to my website very soon.
I started with, gravity fed, Close Brewery Castillo, 3.9%, pale and dry session bitter, a pleasing start to my visit, though could do with a few more hops for me (you will be aware of my love of bitterness and dry ales). Then I had a pint of Westerham Summer Pearl, 3.8%, not quite so pale, but a real bitter in taste, probably my favourite drink of the day, again, gravity fed (notes for those who love frothy pints and live in the North, you probably wouldn't be happy with the gravity fed ales here). My final pint was from Pontypridd's Otley Brewery 07 Weissen, a 5% European style beer served from a handpump, dry and full bodied, pretty good; I will return, cheers!

Saturday 22 September 2012

21st September and Central Hastings

Pissarros, sadly, has had a repaint, now Battleship Grey on the outside, instead of the Green it used to be, what came over them was my immediate thought, but, apparently, this was it's colour many years ago, so reverting to the past (though the photo they have from then isn't in colour, so grey, hmm...).  They usually have 2 ales on sale, the regular is the ubiquitous Sussex Best and a guest, at the moment from Long Man Brewery (see websiteLong Blonde, 3.8%, a pale golden ale, not my favourite ale, but very easy to drink. There are plans to bring in a darker guest ale soon for the Autumn/Winter. 
I then popped into Frank's Front Room, which is certainly a comfortable bar to visit, it sells coffee, food and bar drinks too, eg the 2 regular ales are Hastings Best Bitter and Blonde, and a guest ale, today it was Black Sheep Best Bitter.  It really is a bright and airy watering/feeding hole, very woman friendly, and not just full of old men quaffing beer! Near the railway station, and certainly worth a visit when in Hastings.
I had a very friendly and informative chat with the barman, Paul, and another young woman working there (sorry! I missed your name), talking about pubs, ales and 'fishermen's rolls', one of which was eaten by me at the food & wine festival on Sunday last.  Today, I drank the Hastings Blonde (a lot of 'blondes' about today), which is 3.9%, was clear, quite bitter too, best I've tasted it so far. Hastings Brewery are brewing their ales without finings, to cater for vegetarian and vegan diets, so they can sometimes come up cloudy, but not today! 

Then I walked up to the Dripping Well, where I drank the Hastings Best Bitter, 4.1%, again an unfined ale, medium coloured, what I always grew up to think a bitter should look like... It's a fair enough bitter to drink, does what it says on the label, so I was happy to imbibe. They usually have 3 ales on sale from their 4 handpumps; the 2 others, regulars really, were Henry's IPA from Wadworths and Courage Directors
Also, Nick the Landlord made a short visit, whilst they received a delivery from Hastings Brewery (see website). Always friendly and easy to chat around the bar here, to other customers and staff alike, and good to see Nick, even if only briefly.

I ended my session by visiting the Hastings only Wetherspoons, the John Logie Baird, as, being a CAMRA member, I can get 50p off a pint there each day, which for me is every now and then, but worth taking advantage of every now and then.  They had the usual suspects, including Fullers London Pride, but I like to drink their guest ales for 2 reasons, they usually come from micros and are even cheaper!
The guests included Blindman's Icarus, a 4.5% ruby ale; Stonehenge Danish Dynamite, a 5% dry bitter; Orkney Raven Ale, at 3.8%, a session bitter; and my choice for a mere £1.49 a pint after my CAMRA discount, Exe Valley Shepherd's Crook, which I had to try as I lived in Exeter during the 1980s and regularly drank Exe Valley bitters at the Welcome Inn there, which is a medium coloured bitter, whose aroma was a bit off-putting, it smelt of wet dog, but was easy enough to drink, if a shade more boring than I expected at 4.7%.
So, report over, cheers!

Tuesday 18 September 2012

18th September, Bohemia Road and back to Hastings.

The Tower, just down from Bohemia Road above St Leonards, Hastings... and Louisa the landlady wasn't here again, starting to get a complex!

Anyway, great value real ales here, 1648 Britannia (4.1%), Hastings Blonde, and 2 Dark Star ales, Hophead at £2.30 a pint and APA at £2.40! Good company, chat, ales (I drank 2 pints of Hophead, unsurprisingly), I'm fast becoming a fan of this pub, shame it's up that hill!!

The Dripping Spring, just along Tower Road from The Tower, hasn't changed landlord/landlady yet! Usual suspects, Sussex Best, Wye Valley HPA, Ringwood Fortyniner and Black Sheep Best, plus Youngs Gold and Castle Rock Harvest Pale Ale, 3.8% of memories from my local being the Tyne Mill (Castle Rock pubco) New Barrack Tavern at Hillsborough in the early years of this century, which, of course, I drank for old times sake.

The North Star, just off Bohemia Road, and the delightful Paisley serving up the ale, and friendly chat with her and another barfly. The food has changed here, in that, hot food is only served on Wednesday Curry Night now, and rolls are served up from about 1pm every day except Sundays, when gratis food is provided after 3pm when the meat raffle is over.
Ales? 2 regulars, Taylor Landlord and Sussex Best, and 3 guests, Jennings Crag Rat (4.3%), Ripple Steam Best Bitter (4.1%, see website) and Rudgate Jolvik Blonde (3.8%), my choice today, a pale, dry bitter.

As usual, 4 local ales at the White Rock Hotel, down opposite the beach and pier, of which, I drank the Dark Star Kiwi, 4% and amazing fruit aroma as soon as your nose reaches the rim of the glass! Kiwi fruit tends to be a bit delicate, flavour wise, not really sure if it was the kiwi, or flavours from the hops used (more likely), but very fruity, pale, slightly 'hazy', and it's meant to be, the informed and always friendly Kerry told me, dry and bitter, I thought sweet for a while, but actually slightly 'tart' when I concentrated on the flavours, I liked it, indeed!
Oh yes, 3 other ales too... Harveys South Down Harvest Ale (5% and discussed in an earlier blog when I tried it at the Dolphin), 1648 Britannia Ale (4.1%) and Rother Valley Ebulem, 4.5% and an 'elderberry porter', a very dark ale. 

Finally, the Dolphin, at Rock-a-Nore, Hastings 'Old Town', the super efficient and always lovely two sisters, Laura and Louise working behind the bar today, and the usual regular ales, Sussex Best, Dark Star Hophead and APA, now Youngs Special, and Riptide back on again, and a new one, Sharp's Red Ale from Cornwall, 4.1% and the pump clip adds 'Eden Project' to the name, apparently, some ingredients are being sourced by the Project for a few special brews like this one. The Red Ale is very easy to drink, deep red colour, a bit sweet, with a cherry fruity and dry aftertaste, not really hoppy enough for me, but others were chucking it down!
Cheers :-)

Saturday 15 September 2012

14th September - Brighton & Hove Albion via Lewes

Usually I write this in the order I visit pubs or whatever, but today I thought I would alter that because it included drinking real ale inside the ground at Falmer, ie Brighton's super new all-in stadium, in the club, in all areas of the ground; and, apparently, they supply ales from the away team's home town in the away end so they can feel at home, together with away colours and decoration etc., and the comfy padded seats too!

This really must be the best football ground in the country for selling real ale, also, welcoming to away fans (I really would like to find out what Sheffield ales they had for last night, and if I find out, I shall add a comment at a later date) though I was sitting with the Seagulls fans, after taking up the invitation to take up the season ticket of someone who couldn't make this match. So, for home fans, ales were supplied by Harveys and Dark Star breweries; those who know me will be aware that I will have opted for the Dark Star Hophead without a further thought. Very comfortable seats and leg room for taller people than me, and welcoming to away fans, so I'm told, so I was glad to visit.  Oh yes, they also sold Beer Rocks Summer Ale (3.9%); but, as they appear to be a supplier of ales, rather than a brewer, I'm still trying to find out more about this ale and who actually brews it!

Before catching the train to Falmer, we stopped off at Lewes, first drinking at the Brewers Arms, which sells up to 7 ales and a real cider too, Riddenden Cider (8%).  The 3 ales we drank between us were Harveys Sussex Best, Dark Star Hylder Blonde, and I drank the Scots brewer, Fyne Ales Avalanche, 4.5 % of pale-ish, definitely bitter, and fruity, could I work out a definite flavour? Nope, but I think I'll go for grapefruit and gooseberries; I really need to find out the hops they used!

We then visited the Lewes Arms, a Fullers pub, but one that sells guest ales from other brewers too. So the usual array, Gales HSB and Seafarers, Fullers London Pride, Summer Ale and Wild River (which I passed on this time, though it is my current favourite Fullers ale), the ubiquitous Harveys Sussex Best, and my preference this time, as it has been a while since I drank it, Butcombe Bitter from the West Country. If you've not drunk it, Butcombe is really a traditional middle of the range and medium coloured bitter at 4%, it does what it says on the tin, it's a fine quaffing bitter!

Because we were meeting lager drinkers, and it's close to the railway station, we finally visited The Royal Oak, a Greene King pub, so the usual ales, plus Hardy & Hansons Olde Trip, Ruddles County and Morland's 4.1% Old Golden Hen, which I drank, quite fruity, not bad, but a bit thin and, frankly, not much life to it.

Anyway, this was before we got to the ground and enjoyed the very good facilities there, cheers!
PS. We met the lovely Steph at Lewes on our return journey, nice young lass to chat with, sadly, not happy to share her chocolates with us, if you/she reads this, cheers m'dear ;-)

Friday 14 September 2012

Wednesday 12th September - Kent and Romney Marsh.

The Tea-meister and I caught the 100 bus from Hastings and travelled along to Hythe, from where we walked up the Royal Military Canal, passing the giraffes again, very surreal... Crossed back over the canal and walked back towards Botolph's Bridge  and stopped for a pint at the Botolphs Bridge Inn (see website).

Like most pubs out this way, it's very food oriented, but also had a number of 'regular' old-timers, it appeared, pretty much blocking off the bar, sitting on 'high-chairs' (stools with arms), not the best way of allowing access to the bar, but probably reflects the pub itself, with outsiders most likely to come to eat, not be bar flies.
Anyway, a real cider on, Westons Traditional Cider at 6%, 2 regular ales, Greene King IPA and Sharp's Doom Bar, and  a guest, currently Adnams Broadside; so, not too adventurous, and no local micros ales, but we had the Doom Bar, which was pretty good, I hadn't drank it for a while, so I was pleasantly surprised!

Within Romney Marsh, and opposite the very old, historical church at St Mary's in the Marsh (see reference) is The Star Inn (see website), a crackin' pub with very friendly staff and regulars, a complete contrast to where we drank our first pint of the day.  We were served up our ale by the lovely Lucy, and chatted to very informative regulars, indeed, one of them went out of his way to supply me with the last 2 editions of the local CAMRA mag, Marsh Mash, many thanks to everyone there.
Oh yes, and a very local ale among the 2 guest ales, ie Hop Fuzz (see website) of West Hythe's The Goldsmith, a 4% golden bitter, presumably using American hops, and very nice too, plus they had Ringwood Fortyniner.  The 2 regular ales are Youngs Special and Ordinary (like being back in my birthplace, except it's not brewed at The Ram Brewery anymore).  The Star also sells a real cider, Thatchers Heritage.  Though it's out of the way for me, especially not living in Kent, I shall return, certainly the next time the Routemeister visits.

We then route marched to New Romney and the Cinque Ports Arms (see website) another good pub to return to, it certainly appears to be the best pub in New Romney if you want real ale, and especially local ales. 

There are 4 regularly changing ales, which, on our visit, included the excellent Hopback Summer Lightning (5%), St Austell Trelawny (3.8%), and 2 local-ish ales, Long Man of East Sussex Best Bitter (4% see website), and Old Dairy of Kent Gold Top (4.3% see website), which I drank, a slightly sweet pale-ish bitter, very tasty.
Of course, we then caught the bus back to Hastings from New Romney, dropping in at the Dolphin before finally heading for home, cheers!

The Tea-meister...

       Cheers to Dave ;-)

East Sussex, Tuesday 11th September 2012

Dave, my mate from West Yorkshire, the 'Tea-meister', visited me this week, so we went out for a walk in East Sussex this Tuesday, and gained refreshment at a few hostelries in East Sussex, maybe not so surprisingly...

We'd walked for a while before reaching the King's Head at Udimore (apparently, pronounced 'yoodeemore', or thereabouts), crackin' little ale house, as ever for country pubs, also a purveyor of food (website at www.thekingsheadudimore.co.uk).
The only regular ale here is the ubiquitous Sussex Best from Harveys, and they also have at least one guest ale, but can be up to 3 guests, today it was Bombardier, which I'd forgotten how decent a bitter it is!
We met a retired lad from Liverpool, very friendly chap, and we also were served by the friendly, yet busy and very knowledgeable, Julie, the landlady... we were also warned to beware of the 'wild boar' on our travels away from Udimore; we weren't attacked, you'll be glad to know ;-)

From Udimore, we walked south to Icklesham, and, at the Queens Head (website at www.queenshead.com) I had a pint of an old favourite from my time in Yorkshire! Ossett Silver King (4.3%)... Dave had a more local bitter, Rother Valley Level Best (4%), and they also had on their Ruby Wheat Beer (4.5%), Greene King's IPA and Abbot, Sussex Best, London Pride, Landlord, and the more local, Long Man Best Bitter.
Please note that a beer festival, featuring local Sussex and Kent ales, is to be held at the Queens Head next week, starting on Thursday 20th September and ending on Sunday 23rd, although some of the ales will be on sale from the Tuesday!

From Icklesham we walked frurther southwards, just missing the last bus back to Hastings from Pett Village (after 15.50!). Anyway, we decided to have another pint at the Two Sawyers (website at www.twosawyers.co.uk) before returning to Hastings; me drinking a lovely pint of Island Brewery Wight Gold (4%), and the Tea-meister having Ringwood Fortyniner; they also had Sussex Best and Wells Bombardier.

After a fast walk to the main road, we caught a bus back to Hastings and had a couple of pints at the Dolphin, always a good choice! In addition to the usual 4 ales, they had Harveys Southdown Harvest Ale, a fine 5% pale, full-bodied, ale, that Dave enjoyed, and TSA Ruby Red IPA (3.8%), that I'd previously tried, but a bit too malty for me, and not bitter enough... as usual, I drank Dark Star Hophead :-)


Monday 10 September 2012

Sunday 9th September 2012

Sunday was more work, and a bit busier lunchtime back at the Bricklayers Arms, but fewer ales available on Sunday...

We drank the excellent 'wheat beer' Wolf Brewery Straw Dog at 4.5%, pale and refreshing, slightly fruity and a hint of being 'sour', very European in style, and very enjoyable, so much so, that we had 3 pints with our sandwiches, this time bought in Sainsbury's...

When I left the Routemeister's new abode in Putney, I walked down to the Upper Richmond Road and caught the 337 bus to Clapham Junction, happily arriving early enough to step into the Falcon before catching my train...

Here, at the longest pub bar (according to the Guinness Book of Records), from the great array of ales available, I drank the Itchen Valley Calypso, a 4.1% 'American Pale Ale', ie, American hops. Not bad, but I missed the opportunity to drink another Purity ale, as I'd not spotted it on my arrival, oh well...

Saturday 8th September - Happy Birthday to me ;-)

Dan and I walked along the Surrey side of the Thames from Putney to Richmond to have lunch at the Waterman's Arms, and a lovely Thai meal it was too ( Pad Ki Moaw, stir-fried noodles with chicken, chilli, garlic and vegetables), Happy Birthday lunch! Also, in addition to the usual Youngs Special and 'Ordinary', the landlord now sells Twickenham Three Naked Ladies, an excellent 4.4% pale bitter which is as good as you'll get it here, and their ales never seem to disappoint me, plus this landlord is the 'real deal', having run the pub for years now, quality.

As we walked out of the Waterman's, we met up with an old mate, Colin, who joined us for a large amount of the continuing walk and pub trip... From Richmond, we walked back a wee while eastwards and crossed the Thames to come in from the west, and Middlesex bank, to Isleworth and The London Apprentice! Now, I've discussed the Apprentice before on this blog, so I'll just mention the ales available on Saturday, plus the Westons Traditional Scrumpy (6%) and Country Perry (4.5%).  We were served by the admirable Cat, who, whatever she professes, should be Irish (she'll appreciate what I mean when she reads this, I trust, because it is a compliment from me) and pulled 3 pints of the excellent Purity Ubu for us, 4.5% and a slightly darker than usual ales for me!
They also had old stalwarts, Pride, Doom Bar and Thwaite's Wainwright, a great old historic pub,  with a great view across and down the Thames, a West London favourite.
We continued eastwards along to the Bulls Head, Strand on The Green, Chiswick, a Chef & Brewer pub, so a bit food dominated, where we drank Fullers London Pride; they also sold Tribute, Doom Bar and Landlord, fairly trustworthy ales, if a little lacking in interest for me anymore, but the Pride was in decent form! This is close by the "Beatles' pub", but I've written about that not so long ago, and I really wanted a 'new' pub to visit on my birthday, ie one I'd never been to before, so this was it... 
OK, Colin had had enough of us by now, so left us, and we carryied on towards Hammersmith, past the Fullers Brewery at Chiswick, past William Morris' Kelmscott House, and we reached The Dove, one of my 2 favourite pubs in Hammersmith, both Fullers' houses... 
Again, I've written about this pub before, about its history, its overlooking the Thames, its rear 'balcony', it's crackin' bars, the Fullers ales, decent food... What more can I say? Well... In addition to the usual Pride and ESB, they had the seasonal Summer Ale and, one of my favourite Fullers' ales now, Wild River, a crackin' 4.5% bitter!  Enjoyed it here as usual, a Happy Birthday was enjoyed, and we went back to Putney to enjoy a curry...

Friday 7th September 2012 Bricklayers Arms, Putney

We concentrated more on helping my bro, the 'Routemeister', to move to Putney today, but we did make lunchtime and evening visits to his new 'local', though he reckons it's more MY new Putney local, The Bricklayers Arms, a regular London CAMRA Pub of the Year...

Lunchtime was very quiet, as you can see from this photograph from where we were sitting in the 'garden'. No food here, but they were happy to accept us bringing our own sandwiches from Waitrose in Putney High Street. There are 12 ales served from handpumps here and a real cider.
We only tried 3 of the ales available today, the Sunny Republic Beach Blonde at 3.7%, a sweetish fruity ale (website at Sunny Republic); Plain Ales Inn the Sun, a 4.6% 'blonde bitter' (website at Plain Ales), the Routemeister's favourite lunchtime drink today, an easy to drink 'fruity' pale ale; and my preference, though I had a try at the three of them, the Art Brew Bouncy, 5.2% of in your face hops, 5 hops actually, pale, dry, bitter, loved it! Website at Art Brew...

When we returned in the evening, I continued drinking the Bouncy, why not, it's pretty good?!? The Routemeister, ie my bro, Dan, started with the Inn the Sun, but couldn't resist drinking the Bouncy before we left. Great day drinking Bouncy, oh yes, and a a bit knackered with all the lifting, so slept well...


Wednesday 5 September 2012


OK, I have to prove I don't only drink in the Dolphin when in Hastings, and it's true, I don't only drink at the Dolphin, and, being a good member of CAMRA, well, a member who takes advantage of 50p off a pint at 'spoons every now and then, I visited Hastings 'spoons today, and had a pint of Arundel Stronghold, a 'Premium Ale' at 4.7%, and, with the CAMRA discount, a whopping £1.49 a pint, nice one... and it was a pretty decent darkish strongish ale, what you'd expect really!

Update on the Dolphin, though, and I have to giggle now, private joke! The Lemon Head and Heel Stone have been replaced by RCH Pitchfork and Old Slug Porter respectively, RCH do brew some very good beers! Mark (landlord) does like the Porter, and it's pretty good, I even had a pint of it on Monday, but back to my favourite Hophead...

Saturday 1 September 2012

Update from yesterday & Dolphin, Hastings

A gorgeous day yesterday, a bit more overcast today, and to the Dolphin...

I was here Thursday evening for the quiz too, our team, At The Bar, came equal first, though there were only 5 other teams this week (compared to 13 in total last week), potentially easier to come last too! There was a lovely near-full moon to admire from the beach on the walk home too, very atmospheric. Anyway, A few changes ale-wise at the Dolphin...

Because of trouble with the Directors, and I still think the recipe of that has been altered, if not the flavour has been effected by being brewed in Bedford now, Mark has brought in Youngs Special, ironically, brewed in Bedford at Charles Wells too!  It may not become the regular replacement, but signs are of sales of Special being significantly more than the Directors, so wait and see...

Sussex Best and Hophead remain regulars, and the APA remains as the summer reguar too, plus 2 guest ales, ie the Stonehenge Heel Stone (4.3%) already mentioned in previous blogs, and Growler Lemon Head (4%). The Lemon Head is a ginger and lemon flavoured ale, no surprise there then, though the ginger is very subtle, the lemon is in your face.  It's very refreshing, if a tad different, good summer ale, especially if you like shandies. By the way, I was confused by Growler Brewery, but it appears Nethergate are now calling themselves Growler, unless they always did and I just wasn't aware?