I 've been neglecting this for a bit now, largely because I'm to to my eyes in the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival for which I'm Deputy Organiser, but hopefully when all that is out of the way, I'll buck my ideas up a bit.
In the meantime, I forgot to give my views on the return of Brewdog to cask beer via a cask version of Dead Pony Club (3.8%) which I tried at the Draft House in Seething Lane a few weeks ago. Well I say a few weeks, but actually it was 21st November when I was last in London, so not so long ago really.
A couple of things. I wondered if there would be much change in the Draft House offering since Brewdog took them over and first impressions are that nothing much has changed. Maybe a bit more BrewDog on the bar - well definitely that - and possibly a decrease in choice in other areas - but still plenty to go at and all much as before.
I'd previously given up on the rancid cask offering here, preferring by far to drink Tankovna Pilsner Urquell. Many visits and really poor cask had put me off trying, so given that it was a quiet Wednesday afternoon, I wasn't optimistic. Nonetheless a pint was obtained and duly supped. It was fresh, well conditioned and actually pretty good. With its malty base and hoppy finish, it was a very decent pale ale (or standard bitter since it was in cask form) which I would happily drink again. OK, it didn't set the heather on fire, but I can well understand why BD chose this and I look forward to seeing more (and more adventurous) stuff on cask from them soon, remembering as I do some of the fantastic beers they used to produce. Trashy Blonde (not an acceptable name now I guess) and Alice Porter being two I remember very fondly.
So from me, a qualified "Welcome back" and well done on sorting out the cask quality at the Draft House, though I'll be back later this week to confirm improvement has been maintained.
Don't forget to come along to Manchester Central for the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival. It will be fab and is of course very reasonably priced.
We are having a day out in Winchester on Saturday - so tips for musn't miss pubs welcome.
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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