Monday, 10 August 2009

Undone by Dark Star

I felt pretty good yesterday despite my mixed night of kipping on the sofa and a few hours in bed. Bacon butties were the order of the day and then a walk. Over Tower Bridge and along the South Bank, skirting Borough Market and its overpriced beery attractions, we crossed the Millennium Bridge and past St Paul's Cathedral and headed down Fleet St towards the Strand. Instinctively I knew where we were heading and duly, we appeared outside the Porterhouse Brewing Co. A pint of Wrassler's XXXX was procured while E had the Oyster Stout. Is it just me, or is this beer getting better and better? It was deliciously smooth and very bitter, with a strong Goldings finish. Great stuff, so another was needed.

We sensibly just had two, then E suggested we take a look at the goings on at the spare plinth in Trafalgar Square. Our route took us past, a for once not too busy, Harp in Chandos Place. I looked in. Dark Star American Pale Ale was on. This had to be sampled, so a couple of halves were purchased. It was hoppily delicious, well balanced, cool, in perfect condition and moreish. When the coveted chairs looking out of the open front became available, our fate was sealed. We had a few. What a great pub this is. A good selection of beers, some friendly regulars and the most coveted thing of all, great and cheerful service. Noting my repeated ordering of Dark Star, the barmaid mentioned that two more handpumps are on order. Dark Star Hophead will become permanent and there will usually be one other from that brewery. That's not bad news.

We left later than intended in a cab. Worth every penny.

Astonishingly the owner of this gem turns out to be the dreaded Punch Taverns, though no complaints from me on this occasion.

20 comments:

John Bratley said...

Harp is not owned by Punch Taverns. It is an independent freehouse. The 2 pubs you drank in are both more expensive than the "overpriced" Borough Market pubs! (eg Market Porter £3.05, Brew Wharf £3.06 - with Camra Discount)

Tandleman said...

Well the certificate of ownership on the wall says "Punch Taverns, Burton on Trent". I went by that.

Secondly - I liked the pubs I went to, so much so I didn't notice the price. I don't care for the Market Porter that much and I wouldn't give Brew Wharf a penny of mine if I could avoid it.

Dubbel said...

Great news re Dark Star at the Harp and thanks for sharing the 'gen'.

I'll find myself actually wanting to just miss every train home from Charing Cross now.

Velky Al said...

Wrasslers is simply a fantastic stout, if that is the kind of beer drunk by my grandfather's generation then I think they knew something we don't. Shame it is a nitro pour mind, would be great to try a cask version.

"Eddie Rowles" said...

I heard from someone at GBBF that the old girl (Binny?) who runs this place has recently bought it. Not sure if anyone can confirm this.

I was in the Harp the other day and was on the APA too - it's always been good everytime I've had it.

My only gripe with the Harp is that they keep the ciders and perries in the chiller cabinets and they're often far too cold. But I can forgive them as the choice is often very good...

Mark said...

Oh yeah that Oyster stout is lovely - I make a beeline towards it when I'm around. And I'm loving the pale darkstar stuff too. APA is excellent but Six Hop is my favourite.

Woolpack Dave said...

Are Borough Market beery attractions overpriced? I thought they did unusual things, with the inherent cost that incurs. Not that I've been there, just what I've been told.

Guess I'll have to try it next time I venture to that big scary city.

knutalbert said...

I agree that BrewWharf is overpriced, but so is the Porterhouse IMHO. Market Porter has decent prices, at the Rake it depends on the rarity of the beers.

Dubbel said...

Brew Wharf is a bit overpriced, I suppose, seeing as the beer isn't up to scratch in my recent experience. The Rake can be a monumental rip-off. ALWAYS check the cost of a bottle before buying. The Market Porter is comparable with most places in C.London and is fine if you're happy to wait for and stand with your beer.

Tyson said...

The Porterhouse is definitely overpriced and is obviously aimed at the tourist pocket. The Market Porter is no more pricey than a lot of places and has a good range of beers, although they could do with using a sparkler. You pay a bit more in Brewery Wharf-to be expected in such a venue but I've paid more elsewhere and the beer is in good nick, unlike a lot of places in London.

Dave said...

Binnie completed the purchase of the Harp from Punch at the end of June. As reported two further handpumps have since been installed, and Hophead is a regular; last week Sambrooks Wandle was also available. The beers are priced at £3.10.
Surprisingly it never takes too log to be served however crowded.

Tandleman said...

Excellent. She can take the sign down now.

Barm said...

Am I the only one who thinks the Porterhouse stouts are incredibly dull? They're better than Guinness, but that's a case of "damned with faint praise" if ever I heard one.

John Clarke said...

Barm - yes.

Tandleman said...

Barm - If you think Wrasslers a dull beer, you must have more access to non dull beers in Glasgow than I ever thought possible, or indeed experienced.

Or you are barmy.

Tandleman said...

And knutalbert. I'd have thought you'd find almost anywhere in the world cheap to drink coming from Norway. (-;

Penny said...

I wouldn't really think of going there for a drink: it's squarely aimed at out-of-towners and real beer posers. Most of the beers aren't anything special for what you're paying. However, Wrasslers is the exception to all that. The original brew it's based on was supposedly Michael Collins' favourite tipple.

"Eddie Rowles" said...

We tend to wander round Borough Market quite frequently - the Rake (and Uttobeer) do seem very dear compared to the others - I wish they'd put prices on bottles at Uttobeer but that seems beyond them.

My main gripe with the Rake is that the bottled beers are far too cold.

Not been to Brew Wharf for a long time though it appears they're now serving beers from other breweries.

As for the Market Porter, this just tends to get stupidly busy and is not a pleasant drinking environment which means we stick to the (new) Wheatsheaf and the Royal Oak.

And the New Forest cider bar when the market is open of course...

Tandleman said...

Penny. It's a good Sunday post GBBF location for me and I am an out of towner. Not a poser though. Ain't got the figure for it and I agree about the Wrasslers - obviously - as I go there for it. The Plain isn't bad either actually.

bratleyktwatt said...

Brew Wharf has suspended brewing as the brewer has left. 2 beers from micros. Price £3.40 (£3.06 with 10% CAMRA Discount).