Micropubs are a big thing in Kent it seems. There are loads of them and I had my first real introduction to the genre earlier this year in Broadstairs, at the invitation of my mate Erlangernick, who despite living in Franconia Germany - a good looking place with the odd nice beer or two - has developed a liking for Kent and in particular, the area of Thanet. Having visited twice now, I must say that it is a fairly likeable area, though I suppose good weather on both visits didn't harm things. Ramsgate is, to be honest, a seaside town that has seen better days, but which now seems to be on the up and up, with many houses festooned with scaffolding and builders hard at it renovating like mad. There's a lot of pubs.
I came down from London on the high speed Javelin train which was extremely comfortable and quick given the distance. Perhaps Londoners will latch on to its speed and convenience as a consumer dormitory? The station is a bit out of town which is a bummer, but having met up with Nick who is a bit of a Thanet expert, we set off on a beautiful autumn day for the centre and beer. The walk took us past the first pub of the day, the Conqueror, on a street corner and beckoning invitingly. It was after noon - well just about - so in we went, to a large square room. That was the pub, decorated with brewery memorabilia and photos of PS Conqueror, a paddle steamer of some renown and affection. The owner who was waiting on, pointed out his grandfather sitting amid the group of cut throats who were the crew. It was cosy. Nick might have said "gemütlich". It would have done nicely.
We settled down with cool, well conditioned half pints of Green Hop Ale from (I think) Westerham Brewery and jolly nice it was too, though I'm not sure that the green hops add anything much. So good I had another as we chatted to the owner, Colin Aris, who was a very amiable person indeed. He and Nick nattered about this and that brewery and pub that they knew about, while I threw in the odd remark and enjoyed the memorabilia on the walls. Colin ribbed me gently about the Baum in my area winning Camra's National Pub of the Year and beating him into second place. Ah yes. Sorry about that.
It was a good start and things actually got better. Ramsgate impressed.
More of micropubs and just small pubs next time. I didn't get a bad pint all day. Oh hang on. I did, but it was the exception rather than the rule.
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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