Monday, 4 April 2011

Back in the Loop

Friday saw my first real foray into the JDW Fest. Somewhat surprisingly, bloggers seem to have largely ignored this event, so I was somewhat in the dark.  Thus, on my way back to Manchester,  I spent a couple of hours in Glasgow, where there are three JDWs within a cockstride of Central Station. I started off with my new favourite, Camperdown Place, which alas did not meet the standards of the esteemed Barm. However I have no inbuilt anti Wetherspoon bias and very much like chatty, helpful and pleasant bar staff, a comfortable atmosphere and proximity to a station, so it is just fine by me. Pick of the bunch I tried was Oakham Taipan which, despite the absence of the promised ginger, was very fine indeed. I also enjoyed Holden's April Showers which was remarkably bitter for a Holdens beer. My least favourite here was Hydes Plum Treat which was neither remotely plummy, nor a treat. On a similar vein, Thwaites Bloomin' Smoky wasn't remotely smoky - a good thing in my view - but do you see a theme emerging here of promised ingredients not delivering?

The Counting House just across the road, had been forced to wake up from its dark Scottish beer coma and had a few different beers on.  I liked Bateman's All Seasons, which tasted exactly like any other Bateman's beer you have ever tried, but is a taste I like. Less keen I was on Lancaster Kingmaker, which was sugary and unbalanced; Jennings Cocky Blonde  was green, hazy and not ready for serving. It shouldn't have been on the bar, but you certainly couldn't complain about the lack of blackberry in Mauldon's Blackberry Porter, as it was hoaching with them - too much so in fact and while Brain's Milkwood was good, Wolf Blonde was a big miss for this reporter at least. Last of the Central Station trio was the Sir John Moore, where Elgood's Spring Challenge was the only beer (of three) I hadn't tried. It was rather decent too, in a splendidly old fashioned way.  This pub probably fits the JDW stereotype much more than the other two, but ho hum.

As I was meeting E at Manchester Piccadilly, I had time to break my journey in Preston. The Greyfriar was literally eight deep at the bar at around six thirty,  I couldn't even see what was on the forest of pumps which, like a distant mountain range, was tantalising but beyond my reach, though somehow I managed to weave my way up through a raised seating area, to a corner of the bar, dragging my luggage behind me.  I could only see two handpumps from this rather poor vantage point, so halves of Green Jack Orange Wheat and Triple F Ramble Tamble were ordered, both of which were excellent, with the TripleF shading it.  By this time the gap at the bar, like a time portal, had closed for good, so back to the station I went.

Normal service is resumed.


Neil, Eating isn't Cheating said...

I did a round up of my top ten picks last week.

It's a great event. Ballast Point Calico and Roosters ANgry Yank being my favourite beers so far.

Sue said...

None of the tasting notes I've seen mention ginger with reference to Taipan, where did you see it? The Plum Treat I had in Urmston and Bury definitely had some plums in.

Barm said...

I never said the Camperdown Place didn't meet my standards; in fact I had a couple of very nice pints there last week. What I said was that if you like Spoons pubs, you'll also like this one, and if you don't, you won't.

Tyson said...

Taipan does not taste of ginger, but then, as there is none in it, it really shouldn't anyway. I found the Hydes to be plummy but in a sickly way. Still not tried the Orange Wheat-one of the very few yet untried.

Tandleman said...

Barm: I thought that might flush you out. I based what I said on this:

"One might think this would be quite pleasant but in reality it means the pub gets cramped and stuffy quite quickly. Other than that, well, it’s a Wetherspoons …"

I can't find your more generous interpretation in the main text or comments.

Sue: You are right. It must be thatdamed flash front to the beer list ion their web site. At least I didn't find ginger which would jhave been embarrassing. But no plums for sure!

Tandleman said...

Tyson: As Sue points out, God knows where I got that from, but as I said, it didn't.

Barm said...

What can I say? The first time I was in, it was early evening and very full, and it was indeed cramped and stuffy. Due to its smaller size it's inevitably going to fill up faster than most Spoons pubs. I don't see anything particularly controversial about that.

Erlangernick said... Okay then. The Krauts have no word for this, I'll have to learn them one.

Tandleman said...

Nick - the English scarcely have a word for it!

Tandleman said...

Barm - I think my point is that it is rather a good pub with good staff. Like all pubs, you have to pick your time.