After a very enjoyable and relatively dry lunch in Mayfair last week (large gin £13 but very good) I was a little thirsty. Some kind Twitter folks had pointed me in the direction of some possible thirst slaking destinations near where I was lunching. The pubs are pretty posh in that neck of the woods with prices to match. The usual London rules apply though. Unless you know the place, avoid cask beer in an unknown pub. That was firmly fixed in my mind. I was after some lager. Probably just as well as I eyed, somewhat uneasily, Greene King IPA and something called London Glory - brewed in that far flung suburb of the great Metrolopiss - Bury St Edmunds. "Well serves you right for going into a Greene King pub" I hear you say, but it wasn't. It was the King's Arms in Shepherd Market, owned by Taylor Walker.
I had a pint and a half of Portobello London Pilsner (4.6%) with £1.10 change from a tenner. Six quid a pint,but it was fine in its own way. No obvious brewing faults, clean enough, no off tastes and I necked it down. But I wasn't happy at all about the glass (pictured). This tulip glass was without nucleation - in other words a glass designed for ale and most commonly known up here at least - as a Yorkshire glass. Let's be clear here. It isn't an appropriate glass to drink pilsner lager from. It takes the edge off drinking what was a decent enough pint. Surely if you can charge people six notes a pop, you can buy some appropriate glasses to serve the overpriced stuff in? It is just not good enough in my view. Mind you, to my shame, I did have a second. Well, I was thirsty as I said and we had a lovely spot at the window with lovely views of the foreign barmaids taking turns smoking.
Going back to Taylor Walker, there seems to be rather a lot of them (around 100 in London) and it seems that this chain has somewhat of an alliance with GK as I noted through various pub windows as we made our way back through the Christmas lights and the purring Rolls Royces awaiting their well heeled clients outside Aspreys, Oswald Boateng and many others. Want to see wealth. Take a walk along Bond Street. Still it was all very pleasant and the lights were very nice.
I've rabbited on about glasses before, but I make no apology for it. Good glassware is important and failure to provide it lets the customer down.
We moved on to drink Sam Smith's Pure Brewed in various Sam's pubs. Two quid or more less the round and better and stronger beer too.
The beer was nowhere as brown as this awful ophoto suggests. It was proper pilsner coloured. Lees Original Lager is served in its own glass. Good lads. Read more rantings and some praise about glassware here
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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