Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Not a Warm Pint in Sight

I mentioned my visit to Ramsgate in an earlier post and rather than bore you with, "We went here and drank this" I'll stick to a few basics which illustrate a bigger picture.  Ramsgate has a lot of friendly pubs and friendly people. Every pub we went in to had someone keen to talk to us. OK Nick is an American and attracts the "nutter on the bus" types, but even allowing for that, we did rather well on the chatting front. It was like being in pubs of yesteryear, with very mixed clientèles making the visit pleasant by including us. Perhaps it is that inclusiveness that is most missing from pubs nowadays as the market has fragmented and segmented into particular types sticking to particular pubs.

Secondly - and this is important - we didn't get a bad pint.  In two tiny micropubs, including one in which we were the first customers, the beer was cool and well conditioned.  That's important.  That's not to say I liked every beer. I didn't. I particularly disliked and was disappointed by the so called replacement for Ind Coope Draught Burton Ale, also called Draught Burton Ale by Burton Bridge Brewery, which tasted nothing at all like the original and left me fuming about it, but that happens.  This was in the second micropub of the day, the Hovelling Boat Inn which was simply superb. We were immediately included in the shouted banter with locals, one of whom travels frequently from Northampton just to be there. It is that good. Thirdly the prices. It wasn't uppermost in our minds, but most beers were around the £3 a pint mark which is pretty damn good for that part of the world.

Local beers were to the fore. Most beers were unashamedly brown. One landlord told us bluntly, but kindly that he didn't like golden ales. Well I might not agree, but at least what was on was good. I was particularly impressed by Gadds and by Westerham, but really, nothing was that bad at all. I liked the Ravensgate Arms where we exchanged good natured banter with the many bearded denizens, the Queens Head with its ornate front and craft keg, the Artillery Arms which could almost be described as a micropub and my favourite of them all the Montefiore Arms with its square bar, characterful locals, excellent Gadd's beer and a great atmosphere.  I asked the landlady if a taxi could be ordered for me around 45 minutes before I needed it. "Best get one right away" she said "It's Bingo night!"  Great stuff. I didn't enjoy the 35 minutes wait at the deserted station though.

Sometimes, as a pub man, I despair, but a visit to Ramsgate with its great pubs, good beer and above all smashing people, was a real tonic.

The other great thing about micropubs is selling simple things like filled rolls and pork pies.  Just what you need, though in fact it was a local baker that sorted me out with a whopping corned beef and tomato crusty cob for £1.55. Splendid.

Worryingly the largest Wetherspoons in the UK is being built on the seashore. Hope that doesn't bugger it all up!


Ed said...

That's very bad news about the DBA.

Cooking Lager said...

You should organise official TANDLEMAN piss ups just like other bloggers do how to beer blog evenings or beer/food matching or god forbid, beer and music matching.

Teach the kids how to become pub men.

Tandleman said...

In the brave new world Cookie there is no place for dinosaurs such as me. When I go, the piss up as we know it will die with me. Well there is Stonch. He just looks old, but I suppose he may keep it all going a bit.

Sensory matching of lunatically strong beer with odd non beery things things in it while eating placenta flavoured scotch eggs to the sound of bands that you've never heard of and never will- that's the fture. Embrace it. I'd love to say you heard it here first, but you didn't. It's already out there.

The future may not be dark, but it will be murky.

Curmudgeon said...

There's a particular combination of geography and social mix that supports this kind of lively local pub scene, but very hard to define it precisely. Love your reference to "the many bearded denizens" :-)

Neville Grundy said...

For quite a while, Ind Coope Burton was my favourite pint. I see little point in reviving a beer if the flavour isn't going to be matched.

You'll be a pub man for a good while yet, TM!

Ben Viveur said...

I'm finding this to be a pretty good time of year for beer temperature.

As soon as pubs stick the heating on (with the radiators waaaay too close to the cask lines) it'll all go to pot.

Curmudgeon said...

Did you turn the captcha off for a while and thus get an avalanche of spam?

Tandleman said...

That's the first for ages. i think if you stop it as I did for about a year, you drop off the list as it were.

Erlangernick said...

Lovely report. But where was the second micropub in which we were the lone punters? Don't say it's the Artillery Arms -- a proper, though small, boozer, not at all a micropub! Next time, we'll have to end there, since it's a riot in the evening with the locals. A bit quicker to the station from there than from the Monte, and it is less of a climb.

I'm glad you didn't list off "went here, drank that". That'd be painful to scroll through. The micropubs all seem to price their beer at 3 quid, regardless of strength. Well, except for that one 6.1% one we saw at the first place...IIRC.

AFA temperature goes, I've been in Thanet in all four seasons, and temps have never been a problem at any of these places. There have been other places, either outside of Thanet (Canterbury & environs) or not worthy of the Tand, where beer has been warm and/or off. Fairly consistently IME. And I'm about ready to stop giving them revisits.

Since temperatures were fine, what about condition? And not a sparkled beer all day -- how's a Northerner to cope?

I'm glad you liked the Ravensgate Arms, I wasn't sure how that would work out for you. Others I've been in with haven't liked it much, but it's grown on me. Except for my last visit, when he'd just put on a cask of Jaipur, of all things, and it was very much meh. I wonder if he just shouldn't have waited longer. Especially pleased that it being run by a half-colonist (Canadian/English) isn't problematic. They're a nice, very young couple, it's heartening to see them getting into and enjoying the trade.

Did you note that he's got 14 taps: 6 cask, 6 keykeg, and 2 ciders? All are done with the Jetflow pumps or whatever they're called.

Tandleman said...

Er. Didn't say we were lone customers in the second micropub.

Mark said...

Shhh! Don't say it too loudly, we don't want these places full of those bloody Down From London types!

Steve Foster said...

Thanet is one of my favourite places to drink. Shame it is a 500 mile round trip.Not only Ramsgate, but Broadstars and Margate have got the micropub scene just right.