My trip to the Goodman's Field was everything it shouldn't have been. The place is crap. The beer was crap, with the condition of the beer being pitiful. I only had the Finnish Porter. It was flat, tired and a pale shadow of the beer I had tried in Rochdale. I left most of it.
So then a ten minute walk to the Liberty Bounds, a JDW right by the Tower of London. Funnily, despite the location, this is quite a good JDW. It has decent staff, is well laid out and is not at all cavernous and has a reasonable selection of beer in good condition. The list today wasn't inspiring, but I rather liked the Hook Norton Jackpot, which was so old fashioned I half expected to look out of the window and see a Hurricane doing a victory roll over the Thames, as a Bf 109 splashed in a heap. I'd then be joined by Bader and Co saying "Rotten luck Old Boy" as they had a farewell drink with Jerry before carting him off to the pokey. This was, in case you don't get it, a bloody old fashioned beer. An anachronism, so treasure it while you can.
I also quite liked Titanic Velvet Curtain, though the vanilla is a little overwhelming. Last for here, I tried the Czech Lager, Lucan. Umm, yes. It was may be a good beer and had quite a lot of freshness in the nose, but it was so super saturated with CO2, it was hard to discern how it really tasted. It must have been served with at least at three atmospheres of CO2 - probably more. Not a great way to present it at its best.
So two more on this little crawl. The Princess of Prussia is a great old East End pub, but it is a Shepherd Neame tied house with all the inherent problems that brings. The seasonal was - well I can't remember the name - but it tasted exactly like all SN beers. That's a skill in itself, unless you believe as I do, that all the beers from Shepherd Neame are party gyled from a shitty recipe in the first place. If you disagree, keep on supping Shep's beers. It'll mean all the less for me, which is a very good thing.
My last call was a pub a mere 300 yards from my flat, but one which I haven't been in since - oh - ten years ago - a few years after we bought the flat anyway. Main reason being that it was closed for a lot of the time. The Scarborough Arms is in the middle of a small council estate. I enjoyed the real East End atmosphere very much. The pub has a true local following, friendly bar staff and a real community feeling. I liked it enormously. What about the beer though I hear you scream? Well it wasn't great. Fullers LP and GKIPA in very ordinary condition. Bad enough selling bad beer, but bad beer in bad nick? Oh No.
So there we have it for today at least. My thoughts are usually boringly repetitious when it comes to London. As a generalisation, London has such good pubs, but such awful beer. Sort the beer out and London could shine. It won't though, but I do detect a slight trend upwards.
More of which soon!
PS - Tyson is joining me for a slurpo tomorrow. That'll be interesting! PPS - I love the East End and am so glad our flat is in E1
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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