Friday, 20 August 2010

Thai One On

It was an auspicious start to my holidays. Despite, as usual, underestimating the time it would take to get to Piccadilly Station I got there in time to pick up my tickets from the machine and have 45 minutes in the Bull's Head. This is a very well run Marston's pub, which somehow manages to avoid the main trap of railway station pubs by not being the least bit sleazy. Lots to choose from in this two pint session and casting my eye round the various offerings I picked out Boondoggle by Ringwood. I've had it before and enjoyed it and it didn't disappoint today. Biscuity malt, decent bitterness and a full, pale body was a good start. A new one beckoned though. Jennings Lakeland Stunner did what it said on the tin. Pale, deliciously hoppy, with a lingering resinous finish, it was one of the best new beers I've had in a long time.

As I neared Euston I was reminded of the Bree Louise by a tweet. I nearly walked past, but nipped in. I passed on Brew Dog Paradox. Nothing else attracted me except Otley Thai Bo on the dreaded gravity. It was flat as a pancake, but fresh as a daisy, with incredible Thai flavours of lemon grass, ginger, chilli and more. Why did the bastards ruin such a gorgeous beer? I want to try this when it has been properly looked after. The casks had cooling jackets on them and soft spiles. I suspect though that the temperature (15C)and incorrect cellar procedure has done for the condition. If you are serving on gravity, use a soft spile for serving only. At all other times use a bamboo hard spile.This is free and good advice. Even better advice is not to serve it on gravity at all if you can help it, especially if you can't condition it around 10C.

The pub is a bit tired looking too, but wouldn't need that much to improve it. The staff are really nice, but as a beer house, it needs someone who knows what he or she is doing to transform the offer. Shame really, because London needs good free houses, but sadly, this isn't one.


Barm said...

I realise you can't use a sparkler when serving by gravity, but surely that's no reason to reject it in principle?

Erlangernick said...


Tyson said...


In a word, yes!

Tandleman said...

Hoping for a good gravity pint is would be, for me a flight in the face of experience.

jesusjohn said...

I agree re. gravity but some do it well. The Cambridge Blue, Cambridge, has a cellar-style 'tap room' (because the real cellar is tiny and they have 10+ ales on). One of the best pints they ever did was a gravity Oakham Tranquility - but i) it was conditioned at 10 degrees or so; ii) the beer was krausened and, consequently, explosively charged.

Anonymous said...

Good pub, the Bull's Head. Perfectly positioned for a last pint home before the tram.

And I've nipped into the Bree Louise on a few occasions now. Learned to avoid the gravity kegs, unless there's something on there particularly tasty-looking, in which case I might risk a half. But yeah, always flat.

The Rebellion Mild is worth a try if it's on the hand-pumps next time you're in. Still no sparkler, but not a bad drop for all that.