Monday, 11 August 2008

Browned Off!

London it seems to me, is the brown beer capital of the UK. Nowhere else is the old fashioned brown coloured beer so beloved of the former nationals and regionals, so obviously on display. Is it by some kind of popular demand this unending repetitive list of Greene King IPA, Wells Bombardier, Shepherd Neame, Marstons, Adnams, Theakstons, Old Speckled Hen, Courage Best, not to mention the brown and boring Fullers and the bland and inoffensive Youngs (though they at least have the excuse they come from London!) Even the guests seems to be brown. Brown, brown, brown, brown, brown! Only the odd pump dispensing the variable Deuchar's IPA seems to shine amid all this bloody brown, warm, malty beer.

What on earth is it with the people that run pubs here? Where are the golden, hoppy and bitter beers that proliferate up North? What about a stout or a mild? Give us some variety and some unpredictability please. I called into the Nicholson's run and very attractive Argyll, just off Oxford Street. This is a beautiful pub and an oasis of calm seconds away from the frantic shopping heaven. A long side corridor, three ornate rooms with a snug and a lot of brown beer. I tried the Cains Bitter - brown and flat and then went for Taylors Landlord which was just OK. I eschewed the brown Black Sheep and the Deuchar's IPA and the brown Abbot. I remarked to the barman that they were all a bit brown and samey. "Yes they are a bit mate " he said turning away. Cheers then!

I hopped on the 15 bus back to Aldgate, where though only minutes from home, I needed a pee. The Dispensary is one of my nearest pubs and used to be the Old Dispensary. I went in and lo and behold found Adnams Explorer, Hog's Back Tea, Deuchar's IPA and amazingly Dark Star Hophead. I had a half. OK it could have been conditioned better and could have been cooler, but it was golden, hoppy and tasty.

The pub was empty and the welcome could have been warmer - a "Hello" would have been a start, but I had another pint. At least it wasn't brown!

23 comments:

Stonch said...

Said it before, and will say it again: you're drinking in the wrong pubs. Recently I've been craving brown beers because they're so rare in the places I drink!

Tandleman said...

Like the JT? Or the Betsey for example? A craving for brown beers is easily satisfied by going to two of your local pubs.

If they abound otherwise, as I keep saying to you, name names!

jocko said...

Most of the beers you mention are from the big regionals.They have flooded London with bland beer.Try the CASTLE or the Edgar Wallace both near Holborn.They both try to avoid the regionals.

Tandleman said...

I know them both Jocko - thanks. (In fact I have been in the Edgar Wallace with Stonch.) My point was more a general one.

Tyson said...

That's London for you, mate. You'll be better off in Germany.

Blamzee said...

What's your problem with Fullers, they have better beers than you get up north. Just calm down and have a northen monkey beer like John Smiths or Boddingtons maybe that will keep you happy p.s If you don't like London beer don't go to London!

sam said...

Yeah leave London beers alone.You obviously no nothing about beer if you are calling world class beers like Fullers and Youngs.Stick to Northern shit like John Smiths and Tetley.

Tandleman said...

Thanks for the informed and considered comments Guys.

YCC - Dubbel said...

Tandleman, you are absolutely right. The variety of beer styles in London is atrocious for a city of its size. Nicholsons could be a real saviour if they were just a little more adventurous in their ale selection. I despair at the number of pubs serving bland (and often stale) Adnams, Pride, Bombadier and dreary Youngs.

I would venture to suggest that Blamzee and Sam have never done any drinking outside of the capital if they think northerners are restricted to John Shits, Tetley & Boddies. Cities like Sheffield, Huddesfield and Derby (and virtually everywhere else) simply put London to shame.

Blamzee said...

If the london and southern brewers are bland and flat why do they sell better than the beers up north. All jokes aside there good beers up north but they are a different still to up north and just prefer southen beers, the only bad thing down south is trying to get a decent mild!

sean said...

Blamzee

You're welcome to your flat, insipid, warm London beer. Who says it sells more? Everyone knows that, as with football, the North is king.

a swift one... said...

The horror...the horror...

Blamzee said...

Sean

Greene King IPA is the number one selling cask ale in the UK and Fullers produce the Number one selling premium ale London pride and the number one organic ale Honey Dew and the Wells and Youngs range is in the top 10 as well. You can keep your Nitrokeg Bitters, because in the south we have the money and aren,t all ex miners or factory workers

Tandleman said...

Well at least we can agree on something1

Bailey said...

I've expressed this view in very similar terms myself. You would think that a pub with four guest ales would make sure it had one of each colour -- black, brown and yellow -- and maybe at a range of strengths from 3.7 to 5.5%. Shepherd Neame have an astounding range of almost identical beers -- didn't you once express the suspicion that they were the same beer watered down to different degrees? Fuller's (of whom I'm an unashamed fan) are good at this, to be fair to them. Some of their pubs (notably the Euston Flyer) now seem to have London Porter taps installed permanently, which is great to see. Of course, if you hate Fuller's beer, that doesn't help you much.

Tandleman said...

I like the Porter!

YCC - Dubbel said...

Really? London Porter on permanently? That makes it worth stopping by. Do you know of any others than the Flyer that have it?

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

A pub full of deep amber cask conditioned bitters,oh you poor thing!

I should be so lucky!

jocko said...

IF the Euston Flyer has London P orter on permenantly its keg beer .

jocko said...

Tandleman in the Edgar tonight they had 7 light coloured beers as its a summer fest promo.A guy came up and asked for a brown beer he was fed up of pale beers .Maybe its a London thing .

Tandleman said...

Like wot I said! (-;

Anonymous said...

This north south thing really is a load of tosh! People think what they want to think regardless of the truth.

Anonymous said...

This north south thing really is a load of tosh! People think what they want to think regardless of the truth.