Thursday, 7 October 2010

Pretty Good Really



A quick ten minutes walk towards London Wall takes me to two Good Beer Guide boozers in the same street - well I say the same street and it is, but with two different street names. The first, the Nicolsons operated Crutched Friar, is an interesting place and is so popular with suits that you will feel completely out of place if you aren't wearing one. There's a good selection of decently priced beer here. My two halves, one Thornbridge Lord Marples and the other of Brewdog Punk IPA were rather warm and poorly conditioned. Shame. I don't care for Lord Marples at the best of times and this wasn't the best of times. The Punk was grapefruity and alcoholic, but didn't impress either. Not good for a busy pub, where cask beer was turning over pretty well.

It was a different story fifty yards away at the Ship, a neat little one room pub, which despite a rather pedestrian choice of beer, seemed well run and popular. The ubiquitous Doom Bar, Courage Best, Spitfire and Butcombe hardly enthrall, but you could see they were well looked after. Cool, sparkled and bright was the order of the day. My Butcombe Bitter was brown. It was spot on condition and temperature wise, but tasted of virtually nothing. While you may dislike the choice, you couldn't argue with the quality and cellarmanship.

A further ten minutes walk took me along the astonishingly busy Fenchurch St, where heads turned, including mine, as a girl in a short crimson dress walked across the road, a vivid contrast to the dark suited (male and female) conservatively dressed mass. At the end, a right turn and into the Crosse Keys, a large JDW. Two beers tried here; Bateman's Autumn Ale and RCH Old Slug Porter. Both were cool and in GBG form, but why nothing pale and hoppy with 21 beers on offer?

Back towards home now and the White Swan in Alie St. Now readers of this blog will know I'm no fan of Shepherd Neame's beers, but the Whitstable Ale, though predictably harsh, had some leafy hop and was cool and well conditioned. Whether it was worth an astonishing £3.40 a pint is an entirely different matter, but no other complaints.

Last port of call was the Dispensary in Leman St, where a half of the new Truman's Runner was slightly warm, but well conditioned, though to my taste a bit too malty. The bitter, hoppy finish did make up for it somewhat, but that elusive "drinkability" just isn't there. My final half was from Dark Star. Oktoberfest was a bit dark compared to the current Munich offerings, but was made with German malt and hops, with a full bodied bitter finish. It was pretty decent really, as you'd expect from this brewery. It was cool too.

So there we have it. Five GBG pubs visited and four were up to snuff and one just wasn't. I guess that's probably par for the course, but I'll try the Crutched Friar again soon. All in all, a good result for the Good Beer Beer Guide.

6 comments:

RedNev said...

I'd much rather have a well-kept 'usual suspect' than a poorly kept craft beer.

Tandleman said...

Indeed.

Phil said...

JDW seem to be putting up some resistance to that there golden revolution - and in commercial terms they do seem to know what they're doing. Two of my locals serve virtually nothing but hopmonsters, but in the third, a JDW, it's malt first pretty much all the way - and they're always busy. I mean, they can't all be there to get tanked up on the Marcle Hill...

Tyson said...

Interesting-the opposite of my experiences. The Swan is a gloomy dump and having served up three boiling pints of slop, won't be seeing me ever again. Never had a problem with the Friar, although even the best pub would struggle to deliver a "decent" pint of Lord Marples.

Tandleman said...

I remember you saying and I don't care much for the White Swan either, but you can only speak as you find. I've had better pints in the Friar too, but that's the way of it.

I'm not a fan of Marples either, though a lot seem to like it.

Phil. I think it varies.

Phil said...

As indeed does the reception of Lord Marples, judging from Tyson's comment; it's "A darkish, heavy bitter, with a full malty flavour (but no sweetness) backed by intense hoppy bitterness. A big, complex flavour; very rewarding." according to my tasting notes.