Monday, 26 September 2016

Dispensary Beer Festival


A few weeks ago I was in London having a few pints with @erlangernick. I wrote about some of it here. For our last beers, I took him to one of my local East End pubs, the Dispensary near Aldgate East Tube Station.  I usually go there when I am down at our London flat, as it sells decent beer and is handy for me.   During this visit, Annie the landlady came to chat and ask if I was coming to their beer festival. As it happened I was going to be in London that weekend. She asked if I wouldn't mind checking over the state of the beers on her external stillage and for a bit of advice -  which I duly gave.  She was worried (among other things) that the beer on the stillage, served by gravity, wouldn't be up to snuff.

Fast forward to the night before the festival when I went in to see what was going on. The stillage was erected, twelve beers on board and all vented using a porous hard spile as I had suggested. All were untapped.  Cold water cooling was supplied by Adnams and the beer seemed cool to the touch, so all looked good.  I tapped all the beers and samples were spot on.  So far so good.  I called in the next morning all was well. No big leaks - a miracle in itself - and even better - no cask had spat its tap out overnight. That's always a fear.  The beer was cellar cool, well conditioned and mostly pin bright apart from those that weren't meant to be. Well we thought they weren't meant to be, but it is hard to know these days.  All tasted fine however and we disregarded the odd haze. None were soupy.

The festival was opened by Roger Protz who was, to say the least, surprised to see me, but we had a great time and the pub was busy. Roger drank some Londom Porter which he loved and gave a very amusing and interesting speech about beers in the East End and spoke fondly about his old favourite, Charrington IPA. Roger is a true East Ender and was happy to be back. We had a good two or three hours. Later, much refreshed after our gated community's annual residents party, we called in again. The pub was still busy and beer still good. On Saturday night after meeting friends we nipped in once more on the way home and again the beer on stillage was still in great form and the pub, not usually open on a Saturday attracted quite a crowd.  It was clearly going well.

As I keep saying, looking after cask beer is actually fairly easy.  Why do so many get it wrong?

The photo shows Annie and me after the beers were tapped. I didn't take any pictures of Roger. Or much else. Don't know why really.

Disclosure: Annie is a pal. I just helped her for a few beers. And to prove a point I suppose. Oh and David, her husband gave me an excellent sausage butty!  Assuming the event wiped its face at least, Annie and David will be doing this again. I might help.

8 comments:

MerseyExile said...

I always enjoy your posts but sorry this one samcks of smugness and self congratulation.
Weel done. V.Good boy. Gold star.

Alan said...

Jeese. I've even zoomed the laptop's screen to maximum resolution and can't spot the smug. Very good post, I thought.

Tandleman said...

MerseyExile Guess it is all context. I talk the talk about beer quality and presentation but I walk the walk by putting my reputation for being able to look after beer on the line quite often.

Call that smug if you wish. But you know it is mostly relief.

Martin Taylor said...

Recommendations in London always welcome. Wonderful place to walk around, lovely pubs, but often disappoints for beer quality. Tipped up at the Dispensary last Monday and was (again) impressed with the stuff on pumps.

RedNev said...

Mersey Exile: TM has been actively involved in various CAMRA beer festivals in the North West, including the enormous Manchester Beer & Cider Festival (formerly the Winter Ales Festival), for more than thirty years; I know because I've been to quite a few of them. He also works regularly at the GBBF. Is he supposed to pretend he has learnt nothing in all that time in case a reader thinks he's showing off?

Your sarcastic final few words are distinctly ill-judged.

Cooking Lager said...

You make it sound more complicated that cracking open a can of lout, fella.

Professor Pie-Tin said...

Funnily enough I was about to post how refreshing it was to see someone who talks the talk actually doing the walk too - but you beat me to it.
Nice piece of writing too - building everyone up for a fall when in fact there wasn't one.
Glad to see a landlady taking some pride and interest in the beer.
Fuck the naysayers,old sport.

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