A new free house in London selling a variety of cask ales is, it seems, as rare as a bad pie in Wigan, so I had to investigate. Very handy for Chancery Lane Tube, the pub is a single room affair with some kind of function room upstairs. It was full of city types when I called, but I felt comfortable enough. The bar staff were friendly and cheerful. A big plus!
A couple of halves were ordered. Via the blackboard, "Alex" recommended Arundel Autum Fall. It was possibly the worst beer I have had this year! Flat as a witches tit and revolting flavours underneath. A disaster. I grimaced my way through half of it provoking a query from a barperson I assume to be Alex. He said it was unusual and that he noticed it was flat when he put it on. Perhaps the recommendation was whimsical, or he just wanted rid of it as soon as possible. I left half of my half! My other beer, Shardlow Golden Light was pale, hoppy, slightly watery, but refreshing. In addition there was beers from Saltaire, White Boar, Youngs and Bateman's. The up and coming list looked good too. So, overall, good!
After that I nipped into the Shakespeare's Head, a new JDW for me. I quite liked it and thought it one of the more pubby ones I have been in, albeit on a monolithic scale. I was able to renew my acquaintance with Itchen Valley beers. After the poor Tower Bridge, I was wary, but the Gold was light, hoppy and clean, while the Fagin tasted like the gold with crystal malt added and hops deducted. Not bad beers though.
Lastly, in the excellent Freemason's Arms - OK - I am biased because of the fetching bow fronted barmaid, I sampled Shepherd Neame Porter. A big fat zero for this. Thin and uninteresting!
MAD ABOUT MAIDSTONE - I have to be careful what I say about Maidstone; one of my top readers lives there (probably in the posh bit with a long name). A town best known, of cou...
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