Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Maybe It's because I'm a Northerner


My trip to the Goodman's Field was everything it shouldn't have been. The place is crap. The beer was crap, with the condition of the beer being pitiful. I only had the Finnish Porter. It was flat, tired and a pale shadow of the beer I had tried in Rochdale. I left most of it.

So then a ten minute walk to the Liberty Bounds, a JDW right by the Tower of London. Funnily, despite the location, this is quite a good JDW. It has decent staff, is well laid out and is not at all cavernous and has a reasonable selection of beer in good condition. The list today wasn't inspiring, but I rather liked the Hook Norton Jackpot, which was so old fashioned I half expected to look out of the window and see a Hurricane doing a victory roll over the Thames, as a Bf 109 splashed in a heap. I'd then be joined by Bader and Co saying "Rotten luck Old Boy" as they had a farewell drink with Jerry before carting him off to the pokey. This was, in case you don't get it, a bloody old fashioned beer. An anachronism, so treasure it while you can.

I also quite liked Titanic Velvet Curtain, though the vanilla is a little overwhelming. Last for here, I tried the Czech Lager, Lucan. Umm, yes. It was may be a good beer and had quite a lot of freshness in the nose, but it was so super saturated with CO2, it was hard to discern how it really tasted. It must have been served with at least at three atmospheres of CO2 - probably more. Not a great way to present it at its best.

So two more on this little crawl. The Princess of Prussia is a great old East End pub, but it is a Shepherd Neame tied house with all the inherent problems that brings. The seasonal was - well I can't remember the name - but it tasted exactly like all SN beers. That's a skill in itself, unless you believe as I do, that all the beers from Shepherd Neame are party gyled from a shitty recipe in the first place. If you disagree, keep on supping Shep's beers. It'll mean all the less for me, which is a very good thing.

My last call was a pub a mere 300 yards from my flat, but one which I haven't been in since - oh - ten years ago - a few years after we bought the flat anyway. Main reason being that it was closed for a lot of the time. The Scarborough Arms is in the middle of a small council estate. I enjoyed the real East End atmosphere very much. The pub has a true local following, friendly bar staff and a real community feeling. I liked it enormously. What about the beer though I hear you scream? Well it wasn't great. Fullers LP and GKIPA in very ordinary condition. Bad enough selling bad beer, but bad beer in bad nick? Oh No.

So there we have it for today at least. My thoughts are usually boringly repetitious when it comes to London. As a generalisation, London has such good pubs, but such awful beer. Sort the beer out and London could shine. It won't though, but I do detect a slight trend upwards.

More of which soon!

PS - Tyson is joining me for a slurpo tomorrow. That'll be interesting!

PPS - I love the East End and am so glad our flat is in E1

18 comments:

Wilke said...

Sprechen Sie deutschen Herrn Mann? Wir suchen nach Englisch wie Sie. Sind Ihre waterboarding Fähigkeiten wie gut?

Erlangernick said...

Bad translation. "Englisch" should be "Engländer" (without the "nach"), and I'd wager that "Waterboardingsfähigkeiten" is one word.

But about this "old-fashioned" business--what makes this Hook Norton Jackpot so old fashioned? (Googling reveals that my hunch about what a Bf 109 is was right.)

Tandleman said...

It'll be that troll.Anyway waterboarding is a Yankee thing if Barack is to be believed. And the Deutsche probably came from an on line translator.

Ed said...

I don't think parti-gyling is necessarily a bad thing, I'm very fond of Fullers parti-gyled beers.

I've heard the problem with Sheps is their new energy efficient PDX boiler may well save money but it doesn't make good beer.

And if you're in the East End have you tried the Pride of Spitalfields, an old favourite of mine.

Tandleman said...

Ed. Well each to his own, but I don't care for Fullers beers either.Brown and sweet.

The PoS is a favourite of mine. I haven't been since December though. Is it still doing Crouch Vale Gold?

Ed said...

I haven't been to the Pride for a while either but it's had Brewers Gold on permenantly for years so I would assume so.

Wilke said...

No I am not trol. Deutsch is not my native speak or is englisch. It is not so true what is said about die talismann?

Minestrone said...

You obviously have not tried my well kept Sheps beers in Bow.
WE have a very tasty Bishops Finger and as for the delightful O' Malleys Stout which has just run out - Oh Well.........

Alan said...

At lunchtime today, the Pride of Spittlefield had Brewers Gold on, in reasonable nick. Also on were Sharp's Doombar, Fuller's ESB and London Pride.

If you can make it to the Liberty Bounds, you could try The Ship in Hart Street - a good old fashioned City pub with well kept beer. On the way home, you could try the Peacock in Minories - not much to look at but generally has a good pint.

Paul Bailey said...

As a Kentish lad I'm afraid I have to agree with your comments about Sheps. One dimensional sums up their beers so far as I am concerned, and I usually make a point of avoiding them if I can!

I'm not sure quite what went wrong with Shepherd Neame beers, as twenty or so years ago they were well worth sampling. I would go further than that and say that a well-kept pint of Shep's Bitter (before they re-named it "Master Brew") was one of the finest pints you could get.

Somewhere along the line that all changed, and the magnificent floral hoppiness was replaced by a harsh, unpleasant bitterness that has slowly become blander and blander over the course of the intervening years. It may be the use of conical fermenters, but I am convinced the recipe has changed significantly since the early 1980's.

It pains me that our largest local brewer no longer brews a beer I can enjoy, but fortunately we have plenty of outlets selling Harveys excellent Sussex Bitter, and if one takes a bit of extra trouble there's always Larkins, Goachers and Westerham beers to be had as well.

Jeff Frane said...

I still haven't seen an explanation of what you mean by an "old-fashioned beer."

Tandleman said...

How about beer that you would have been able to buy in the forties and fifties?

Tandleman said...

Alan - I quite like the Ship, but they usually have Butcombe Bitter on as well as a couple of ordinary choices. I don't care for Butcombe beers.

I know the Peacock, but not sure what they currently sell. I'll have a look in.

Paul - Thanks for this perspective. I think Sheps need to look at their recipes again.

Jeff Frane said...

Given that you weren't alive in the 40s and probably not drinking beer (much) in the 50s, this is as helpful as your definition of "mild."

What makes it "old fashioned"? Huge volume of kettle sugar?

wittenden said...

Like Paul Bailey, I live in the depths of Kent, and have been drinking Sheps for too long to contemplate, though in the 70s and 80s I was more likely to be drinking Fremlins. I've recently noticed an improvement in Masterbrew;: it seems much fresher and marmaladey, in fact the beer I had last weekend was a revelation. As a rule I don't drink it out of Kent or in a freehouse, but happily in a Sheps house.

Tandleman said...

Jeff I suppose it means brown, malty and not very hoppy - in this context at least.

Jeff Frane said...

But, but . . . that's exactly the sort of beer you're always whinging about. "Where's the hoppy pale stuff?" you kvetch.

Tandleman said...

That's why it's old fashioned See? Simples.