For a change on Thursday I phoned my mate Colin and suggested that most old fashioned of things, a tea time pint. We chose the Ship Inn because Colin lives near it, we know the tea time crowd and the landlord and it is directly on my bus route In short, we know it as a convivial pub that is handy and where we know lots of people.
Now the tea time pint used to be beloved of the after work crew, though I'm guessing that isn't the case so often now, except of course in London, where almost everyone comes to work by public transport. (As a particularly important aside, if more people went to work elsewhere by bus or train, it would surely be of benefit to pubs?) I used to like it myself, but for many reasons, I gave it up years ago, long before I retired from the daily grind. Mostly it was because there was always that temptation to have one more than you should, and I felt it was a habit I ought to kick, despite enjoying the conviviality and the beery winding down.
The Ship still has a regular tea time mob, all living locally and all as far as I can tell either retired or dropping in after parking up at home. Few people at any pub want to chance even two pints and drive home afterwards, but where you have a relatively local living customer base, it is still the same cheery atmosphere I used to enjoy. So I stood at the bar and joined in with it all - swapping tales of this and that - a bit of banter and of course a touch of gossip, as there is a fair crossover between the Ship and my own local. They are pretty near neighbours and it is a great little pub which I like a lot.
It is a pity that there isn't more of this these days, as it lifted my spirits and of course, unencumbered by work the next day and the strain taken by the 17 bus, I had half a dozen pints of Lees Bitter. Maybe I'll do it more often.
Good for business too for sure.
I normally drink Bohemia Regent in the Ship, but the Lees Bitter was on good form. Unchallenging maybe, but I wasn't there to be challenged by the beer.
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. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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