Monday, 18 February 2008

Ending on a High Note

It was a lovely day so a walk was required. Now our walks always involve a pint somewhere along the way. Where to go? We decided to walk along the Thames towards the west, enjoying reading the various historical plaques as we went. We ended up in Westminster. Now didn't Boak and Bailey mention a beer festival in a pub?

Two things. The Speaker is a quaint throwback to the 60's or at best the 70's and none the worse for that. I half expected Harold Wilson to be sitting in the corner, puffing his pipe and sipping a half pint of bitter while nodding to Simon Templar standing at the bar. It was pleasant and friendly and had the feel of a local. The second thing? Well hardly a beer festival, rather the two guest pumps had two beers from the South West. Ah well.

I'd like to tell you how good the beer was. I really would. But I can't. The guests were Glastonbury Mystery Tor at 3.8%. This wasn't quite clear (top marks - a warning to that effect was given before purchase) and was cloyingly sweet and a bit watery. It tasted as though Caramac Bars had been added during fermentation. Not my sort of beer at all. Next up was RCH Double Header at 5.3%. I love RCH beers. I always used to order them for our beer festivals, they always drop bright and are always chock full of condition. Um. What happened here? This was flowery in the nose, thin, dry, papery and just awful. I couldn't finish it. Damn. Was this a rogue sample? I don't know, but I do feel both beers needed a few more days conditioning, So I liked the pub and didn't like the beers. The story of my London drinking life!

We headed back to Trafalgar Square for our bus back, avoiding noisy Kosovans celebrating escaping the clutches of Serbia and felt we had to have a successful drink. OK hands up, again we went to JDW. Lord Moon of the Mall always has around six guests and they are nearly always good. Yesterday was no exception. I enjoyed a half of Vale Pale despite definite signs of acetaldehyde (green apples). I enjoyed Titanic Full Steam less. It tasted of corks. Taking the Titanic theme too far? I reckon this brewery has lost its edge a bit. I didn't have any Okells - I do rate this Manx brewer highly - or Lees John Willies(coals to Newcastle).

E, wisely chose Oakham Inferno. This was Oakham at its best. In fact this was beer at its best. Pale, fresh, bursting with condition, hoppy, full bodied with a wonderful refreshing oriental fruit and grapefruit flavour, through to a lingering hoppy finish. It was one of the best beers I have had this year. Hell it might well be the best beer I have had this year. Three pints were scarcely enough.

So looking back there were some highs and too many lows. It is always enjoyable to try new pubs and new beers, but mistakes either by me in choosing, or careless licensees are particularly expensive in London. It makes me, a thrifty Scot less inclined to experiment than otherwise I might be. Until the next time that is!

Now home for a much needed rest!


Boak said...

We'll take your tip and leave the beer in the Speaker a day or two before we try it!

It is a good pub though, for the area.

Tandleman said...

Loved the pub. As I said a sort of throwback. I'd love to hear your views on the beer too.

Paul Garrard said...

RCH Pitchfork is one of my favourites, great beer. Oakham never disappoint either.