Monday, 6 March 2017

The Tudor Rose

The Tudor Rose - Saturday 4th March 2017

Tudor Rose, 31, 29 High St, Upper Upnor, Rochester ME2 4XG

My good friend GW has been quite ill for the last couple of years with recurring bronchitis and pneumonia. He has been in and out of hospital quite a few times and as a result I have not seen him regularly for a while. In the last three or so years we have literaly only seen each other for Oktoberfest in 2014 and a couple of Star wars films when they were released the last couple of years. Ordinarily we see each other around once or twice per month. He is not a great drinker but does enjoy the occasional beer - he is more interested in visiting new and interesting places and having great chats.

Thankfully, he is feeling much better now and he is up for getting out and about a bit more. This is good, as we often get to some of the more far flung pubs when we venture out. Tonight was a revisit to one of our favourites, The Tudor Rose in Upnor.

This is a great little pub situated on a cobbled street that runs down to the Thames past a Henrican castle. At the top of the street is another pub that we also visit regularly, but we decided on The Rose for our first trip out.

I was not to be disappointed with the three ales on pump and two on tap as well as all the usual fare for a small village pub that also caters for a lot of tourists during the holiday seasons. Unlike when I pop out with MB, GW and I generaly chase each drink down with a bag of peanuts, pork scratchings, cheese moments or suchlike. Unfortunately, since the last time we visited (maybe three years ago) they have stopped withteh locally produced pork scratchings. They do offer a decent meal, but we decided not to partake on this occasion; both to save money and leave room for a traditional kebab on the way home.

One other difference this time was that the TV was played at quite a loud volume. They normally show sport in the background with the sound down very low but I think because it was a David Haye title fight, there was sufficient interest to put the volume up.

Beers drunk on this visit :

1) Master Brew (4.0%) - Shepherd Neame Brewery, Faversham, Kent - an easy drinking, amber session ale
2) Whitstable Pale Ale (3.9%) -Faversham Steam Brewery, Kent - a light, refreshing pale ale

The Hackney Carriage

The Hackney Carriage - Thursday 2nd March 2017

165 Station Rd, Sidcup DA15 7AA

MB and I fancied somewhere a little different this week, so I suggested one of the newish micropubs in Sidcup would be good for a visit. We were not to be disappointed with the choice of beers on offer, and the welcoming atmosphere. It was busy in here this evening, but not as rammed as it was on my first visit (although that was on a Saturday night).

There was a good choice of beers, and whilst in there one of the "coming soon" ales was put on. Unfortunately we were only able to sample three ales before closing time (around 9:30 for last orders and 10pm for drink up), but they were three very tasty ones. We decided not to eat this evening but the pub does offer a few bar snacks if so required.

The cider and wine lists both looked rather adventurous with several kegs/bottles of each listed on the menus. I may have to return here just for a wine or cider evening.

We had an early finish tonight due to the pub closing but for some reason I have been feeling a little under the weather recently and our trip to this little gem of a pub was of about the right length. Unfortunately, the final beer was a little rushed - the half-pint of Nelson's blood went to our heads a little due to it being drunk quite a bit quicker than we normally imbibe.

On that final note, my normal drinking rate is about a pint per hour or so, but I try not to drink more than 3 pints per session. So, if more than three beers are listed in one of my blog entries it is normally because one or more of the ales would have been half pints. Using the list below as an example, the first two drinks were pints and the final beer was a half. I also have a rule to only drink ales that are around 4.0% or less in pints and above that in half pints.

1) Two Horses (3.8%) - Firebird Brewing Co, Rudgwick, East Sussex - a session golden ale
2) Duck & Cover (4.0%) - Green Duck Brewery, Stourbridge, West Midlands - a session IPA
3) Nelson's Blood (6.0%) - Nelson Brewery, Chatham, Kent - a strong, easy drinking malty ale

Saturday, 25 February 2017

The Furze Wren

The Furze Wren - Thursday 23rd February 2017

Bexleyheath Shopping Centre, Broadway Square, 6 Market Pl, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 7DY
MB and I decided to kickstart our Thursday sessions again with a trip to The Furze Wren this week. We haven't been keeping up with our weekly meetings due to work (lack of) or illness getting in the way, but hopefully now we can get back into our stride. We decided on the Furze as it is probably the easiest to get a table in and also it usually has the best choice of ales on offer (a couple of weeks ago excepted). We were not to be disappointed this week as there were plenty of new ales on offer and we were able to grab a table.

We decided not to eat at the pub this time as my funds are a bit low, but the price of the beer in a Wetherspoons is very reasonable so a trip to one of their pubs is always good value for money.

I cannot complain about any of the beers on offer this evening; all were very tasty and all had a different flavour for a great variety. I even thoroughly enjoyed the porter.

Beers drunk in this visit :
1) Summer Down Under (3.9%) - Twickenham Brewery, London - a citrusy, smooth golden ale with a strong hoppy after taste
2) Mauler (3.9%) - Ringwood Brewery, Ringwood, Hampshire - a crisp, clean golden ale
3) Ten-Fifty (5.0%) - Grainstore Brewery, Oakham, Rutland - a mahogany ale with a fine bitter-sweet balance
4) SOD - Shefford Old Dark (5.0%) - Banks & Taylor Brewery, Shefford, Bedfordshire - a malty, easy drinking porter styled ale

Thursday, 16 February 2017

The Lamb and Flag

The Lamb and Flag - Friday 10th February 2017

33 Rose St, London WC2E 9EB
I took a trip to London to visit a few comic shops prior to the 2000AD 40th Anniversary celebration event on the 12th February (see my other blog -  Little Odo's Grand Days Out for more details) in order to pick up the 40th anniversary Thrill Power Overload book. I used this new tome for collecting a few autographs of the artists and creators of the magazine.

Anyway, it was a miserable day and after a lot of running around in the rain trying to find the book I decided I wanted a beer to warm my cockles. I had passed the Lamb a few times on my walkabout, so decided to pop in there for a pint before grabbing a burger and heading home. I was greeted warmly by the bar staff and the 8 (eight) beers on offer (5 Fullers and 3 guest ales) also made me feel welcome. I could easily have sat in here all day working my way through them all, but I had to be home by a certain time for when the kids got home from school.

Beers drunk on this visit :

1) Front Row (3.7%) - Fullers Brewery, Chiswick, London - a seasonal, refereshing session ale, brewed to be drunk whilst watching rugby

The Lamb and Flag is another of London's great old boozers. Again, a drinking hole that can claim Charles Dickens as one of its patrons, as well as a slew of bare-knuckle prize fighters. From the pub's website...

"Great London pubs don't get more historic than this. The very first mention of a pub on this site is in 1772, when it was known as The Coopers Arms (the name changed to The Lamb & Flag in 1833).
The building's brickwork is circa 1958 and conceals what may be an early 18th century frame of a house, replacing the original one built in 1638.

The pub acquired a reputation in the early nineteenth century for staging bare-knuckle prize fights earning it the nickname 'The Bucket of Blood,' and the alleyway beside the pub was the scene of an attack on the poet John Dryden in 1679 by thugs hired by John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, with whom he had a long-standing conflict" 

Wetherspoon's London Beer Festival (Day 7)

Wetherspoon's London Beer Festival - Thursday 2nd February 2017

234-236 Broadway, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 8AS
As the choice of beers was so poor at The Furze Wren, MB and I decided to try our other local Wetherspoons instead. The choice was a bit better this time. We decided not to eat as we are both on a bit of a budget at the moment.

We managed to get a booth at the pub, which was nice, and we had a great conversation. An observation on the patrons at the other table that shared our booth: two gents were there for a couple of beers and a curry. Other than asking each other what they wanted to drink and eat when it was their round, they did not say another word to each other during their entire time there. Both spent the evening on their smart phones. I don't know what his says about them but to me I would have got up and left as soon as the other person's phone came out. When I go out, I want to talk and interact with those I am with, not my phone - I can do that any time, and it would cost a darn sight less if my "night out" was conducted at home. Am I an old git that is not up with the times? I don't know about that, but I'd rather speak to a person than a piece of electronic gadgetry.

Beers drunk on this visit :

1) Pacific Pale Ale (4.0%) - Enefeld Brewery, Enfield, London - a golden, fruity ale
2) Copper Leaf (4.0%) - Wimbledon Brewery, London - a fruity, copper-coloured ale with a pine undertone
3) Pearly Queen (4.5%) - East London Brewery, Leyton, London - a smooth, creamy, mahogany coloured porter
4) Imperial IPA (5.7%) - Southwark Brewery, Southwark, London - a very hoppy, fruity golden beer

Unfortunately, we were unable to get to any other Wetherspoon pubs for the duration of this festival. It was a bit of a damp squib for us (we only tried 6 out of the 20 ales on offer); maybe things will be better for the international festival in a few months' time?

Wetherspoon's London Beer Festival (Day 5)

Wetherspoon's London Beer Festival - Tuesday 31st January 2017

The Wetherspoons chain has been running a beer festival over this last week or so to celebrate London's breweries. The festival runs from Friday 27th January until Sunday 5th February. There will be 20 beers on offer, including eighteen cask ales and two keg beers, from 15 London breweries at 126 London pubs. I was hoping to get to sample quite a few of them but time and availability of the ales in the pubs has put a bit of a dampener on things.

The Furze Wren
Broadway Square, 6 Market Place, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 7DY
I was hoping to get to a few pubs over the week to sample as many of the beers on offer as possible, but the first pub I went to, where I expected there to be the most variety on offer, was very disappointing. The Furze Wren only had two of the ales on when MB and I arrived, and three of their pumps were "off". I was not impressed, as I was hoping to get five or six beers crossed off the list.

Beers drunk on this visit :

1) Phoenix Smoked Porter (4.5%) - Wimbledon Brewery, London - a smooth, rich porter
2) Forty-Niner (4.9%) - Ringwood Brewery, Hampshire -a golden, full-flavoured ale
3) Spiced Chai Red (5.2%) - Hop Stuff Brewery, Woolwich, London -a spicy, dark brown ale
4) IPA (6.2%) - Lagunitas Brewing Company, Petaluma, California, USA -a hoppy ale with caramel undertones

Only the Phoenix Smoked Porter and the Spiced Chai Red were from the menu of the beer festival. Two down, eighteen to go.
I couldn't find any pictures for the pump label for the Spiced Chai Red ale.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Burns Night (continued)

The Furze Wren - Thursday 26th January 2017

Broadway Square, 6 Market Place, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 7DY

Wetherspoons have had a week long celebration of all things Rabbie Burns, so MB and I thought it rude not to partake of their hospitality and grab a few drinks to accompany one of their special burgers.

We met at the usual time and grabbed a beer before sitting down in a booth for one of long meandering chats about all things and nothing. We ordered one of teh special Burns Night burgers which consisted of a 6oz Angus beef patty, the usual salad stuff and a large slice of haggis to top it off. It was accompanied by a small handful of chips (fries), a few onion rings and a lovely whiskey based sauce.

The first beer we had was very unusual in that it took an age to settle but it did settle nice and clear. It had a relatively sweet taste to start but then went very hoppy. As the pint went on, and our taste buds adapted it turned into a very nice pint indeed. In fact all three beers tonight were exteremely tasty but the choice was very limited (their usual four house ales, Spitfire and three other pumps that were either on their way of "off"). We only really had the choice of two beers on tap but we had a bottle of Krombacher lager beer to accompany our meal, which worked out rather nicely.

Beers drunk on this visit :
1) True Grit (3.9%) - Rooster's Brewery, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire - a citrusy, golden ale with a long-lasting bitter finish
2) Krombacher (4.8%) - Krombacher Brauerei, Kreuztal, Germany - a strong, dry golden pilsner
3) Double Gold (5.0%) - Phoenix Brewery, Heywood, Greater Manchester - a strong,  full-bodied, full-flavoured easy drinking bitter
Next up is teh London Beer Festival put on, again, by Wetherspoons. I am hoping to get to sample at least half of the twenty or so ales on offer over the next week and a bit.