Sunday, 29 September 2013

Back to Cask

After an exciting fly past over our flat - thanks British Airways - above and beyond and all that - we landed safely at London City Airport. I like LCY and fly from there whenever I can and the added bonus of a low level approach on the Eastern runway is possibly the most thrilling flight you can have and still wear the same underpants afterwards. Is it really that low? Well seems so.

The other bonus is a quick DLR ride to Tower Gateway and then we are home. Spain is left behind but the memories remain. Cruzcampo is just about tasteless. San Miguel is dry and can be not bad, Alhambra is tasteless and Mahou is just a bit better - the best of a bad lot, but nowhere as good as Lees Original Lager which I have been known to sup with pleasure. You can see what I'm thinking can't you? I need a pint of cask conditioned beer. But I'm in London. I think of my nearest pubs. Am I going to go to the Brown Bear with its dodgy warm beer? No fear. What about the Princess Of Prussia? I like that as a pub, but seriously, do you want your first cask pint after 15 days to be overpriced Shepherd Neame? Certainly not. What about Goodman's Field? A lottery on choice and quality? The Draft House in Seething Lane? It'll be warm likely as not. So what then? It must be within walking distance and have the certainty of quality. I think and say to E "What about a walk to The Pelt Trader?" E she say "Yes".

I've written about the Pelt Trader here and as a bonus, it is now firmly established, thus guaranteeing turnover.  The cellar is in capable hands and as a bonus,  my favourite and toppest barmaid in London* works there, adding even more quality to the already excellent team.  So we are on. Outside are suits galore. Inside is a much more mixed bunch of drinkers. I am greeted warmly at the bar and spot Stringers Gold on sale. No need to taste - it'll be good. Clean, spicy, cool, well conditioned, the beer is as good as it can be without a sparkler and a handpump. It barely touches the side and is repeated. I try a taste of Arbor Motueka, the follow up pint of which confirms a long held view which I am foolish enough to ignore on many an occasion. That is, a small taste tells you little. The beer itself is a disappointing thin effort of 3.8% with a dose of New Zealand hops to overcome its poor base. It works on almost no level. Ah cask. You lift me up and dash me down. E had fared much better with Tiny Rebel Fubar at 4.4%. Hoppy, pale, a body like a Strictly professional and just as enjoyable. I switched to it and it was a fine finish as grub beckoned.

Next day, at the Euston Tap on the way home, I enjoyed two superb pints of Buxton Moor Top. When in London, though very much improved in recent years,  you still have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your Princess. That's a worrying fact, but you can minimise your chances by careful selection. Both the PT and the ET fall into that category. They are also two of the few places where, with a pint and a half of under 4% beer, you are likely to get change from a fiver.  

Quality and value. In London. Pinch me, but trust me!

* @kirstariffic of course.  Ex Holburn Whippet.  Another good bet and all linked.  Funny that.


Neville Grundy said...

I'm not sure I'd regard a pint and a half for under £5 as value, especially as I can buy the same for £3.75 in my non-Spoons local.

Paul Bailey said...

We made our first trip from London City Airport, for our return flight to Nuremberg, back in the summer. I was really impressed by the short check-in time, and even quicker transit time on the return journey, (it was under 15 minutes from stepping off the plane, being bussed to the terminal, passing through passport control, collecting our baggage and walking onto the platform of the DLR!). Compare that to Gatwick or Heathrow.

I didn't see that much of the low-level approach, as I had an aisle seat, but next time (and there will definitely be a next time!), I will make sure I'm allocated a seat by the window.

Have yet to try the Pelt Trader, but have read quite a bit about it (mostly good). Will give it a go next time I'm in London.

Cooking Lager said...

Back to cask, back to blogging. Beer bloggery is mundane tripe when you're on your hols. You should blog from spain!