I am often struck by how much the past and present sit cheek by jowl in London. Yesterday's walk took us from home to Spitalfield Market, as I hadn't been since they tarted it up. It provided sufficient contrast to keep me interested and of course on the way I kept a weather eye for drinking establishments, past and present.
Behind our flat, in an area where there is much new development mixed with fairly new council housing and round the corner from a spanking new block of flats, sits a pub I have walked past many times. I have never seen the Dog and Truck open in the ten years we have had the flat round the corner, but then again, we tend only to pass this way at weekends, when presumably it is closed like a lot of pubs around here. In fact I only know it is still trading because of up to date notices in the window. The pub is decked out in Watney Combe and Reid regalia, faded now, but a perfect example of the 1960's preserved on the outside at least. I have made a mental note to call in one day soon. It is pictured (left).
We walked past the huge site of the former Black Eagle Brewery in Brick Lane, home to Truman's and later, around the market, I noted that the " Gun" isstill tricked out in Truman's colours. These are not faded, the gilt having a recent gleam and the paintwork, while not new, is not thirty years old. It looks good and is a reminder when pubs like this were commonplace and when maybe the London pub scene was a better one in some ways than it is now, with Charrington, Watney, Courage, Trumans, Youngs and Fullers juking it out for custom.
One of the delights of London is that round every corner lurks a new possibility. Walking back for a much needed pint in the Pride of Spitalfields, we came across an ex Charrington pub, another couple with Truman's insignia (much more faded) and even the odd Courage cockerel. peeping out. I don't remember the names. Next time I'm exploring, I'll take a notebook with me! Of course, not everything is sweetness and light. Back in the here and now, we entered the Pride of Spitalfields with hope in our hearts and me dragging my thirst behind me. We were anticipating a lovely pint of Crouch Vale Brewer's Gold, but alas it was finished and London Pride just wouldn't do. I needed pale and hoppy. We walked back past our flat, along Royal Mint St, passing the attractive Artful Dodger which doesn't live up to its potential at all, with its entrance blocking pool table and Greene King IPA. A brand new cask of Oakham JHB did the trick at the bustling Liberty Bounds, a JDW outlet.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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