My last couple of days in London have been taken up with meeting fellow bloggers. The good news is that I won't bore you with the details, but I will meet Woolpack Dave's recommendation to say nice things about pubs.
I didn't get a bad pint or go to a pub I didn't like in the last two days. OK some of the beer was a bit brown and some I liked a lot less than others, but I suppose it makes a change. Happily though it was interspersed with one or two pale and hoppy beauties. Step forward Dark Star Hophead and Oakham Hareflick, the latter in particular being responsible for me overdoing it slightly last night. I did make my usual pilgrimage to Covent Garden's Porterhouse to sample my favourite Wrassler's Stout. I also tried Clotworthy Dobbin, which was a lot darker than I'd anticipated and rather sweet and fruity, though to my taste, completely over carbonated.
Oh yes, nice things about pubs. Well I found without exception cheerful and pleasant bar staff, clean and welcoming pubs and most were very busy indeed despite the recession. I couldn't even fight my way in to the Harp, as it was overwhelmed with office workers supping madly. I know the Nag's Head in Covent Garden is a pricey tourist trap and that McMullen's beers aren't outstanding, but the pub itself is rather fine, with great views through large windows. I liked the Castle in Furnival St too, where Tyson and I had a pleasant chat with the manager in mid pub crawl and subsequent pubs were no less enjoyable. I even liked the massive JDW we supped in last night - I reckon that for sheer grandeur the Crosse Keys takes some beating and it was going like a fair as most inner London pubs seem to be. One thing really does make a pub buzz and that's a throng of customers and there seemed to be no shortage of them anywhere we went.
So yes, London really does have great pubs with great atmosphere and if you put aside that life doesn't always need to be one big beer festival, you can really have a good time in them.
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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