Saturday, 1 July 2017

The Battle of Medway 1667

Upnor - Sunday 11th June 2017

For the 350th anniversary of the last attack on British soil by the Dutch, English Heritage put on a re-enactment weekend for its members (and other casual visitors) to commemorate the daring deed. It was a brave attack that was most successful in its outcome: several Royal Navy warships were fired and/or sunk, a few were towed off as trpohies. However, most importantly of all for the Dutch, they had carried off a daring raid on a naval depot that was supposed to be well-defended and burnt the beard of King Charles II. At the time, this was the worst defeat of the Royal Navy in terms of cost - £200,000 at the time, with the loss of around 13 ships, of which four were Ships of the Line.

What has this to do with beer, I hear you ask? Well, GW and I had all the best intentions at heart to go watch the re-enactment, but we got caught up at the Tudor Rose by a fine Sunday lunch and a few ales to wash it down, and missed all the action! Still, at least we heard the gun shots and cannon fire.

The Tudor Rose
31, 29 High St, Upper Upnor, Rochester, Kent ME2 4XG
We arrived at the pub in high spirits and, after ordering a beer and some pork scratchings at the bar, we headed out into the garden for a chat. The chat led to another beer, and that led to lunch whilst all hell was breaking loose just over the castle wall behind us. Oh well, we still had a great day in the beer garden.

Beers drunk on this visit:
1) Whitstable Bay IPA (3.9%) - Shepherd Neame Brewery, Faversham, Kent - a light, sweet, malty pale ale
2) Whitstable Bay Red IPA (4.5%) - Shepherd Neame Brewery, Faversham, Kent - a deep red pale ale with a malt and citrus flavour

Although both beers are listed as being Whitstable Bay ale brewed at the Faversham Steam Brewery, they are actually brewed by Shepherd Neame. Still, pedantry aside, I like the subtle distinction in brand name.

Romans and beer

Richborough, Reculver and Upnor - Saturday 3rd June 2017

GW has recovered well from his various illnesses and is now up for heading out and exploring again. Today we went to a variety of archaeological sites and a couple of pubs for refreshment. It started out as an overcast day, but soon the sun poked its head through the clouds to make for a fine afternoon.

After visiting Richborough Roman Fortress and buying some lovely English strawberies from a roadside farm shop we decided lunch was in order. We made our way along the coast to Reculver where we grabbed a meal and a pint before exploring the old church on the promontory.

The King Ethelbert
King Ethelbert Inn, Reculver, Herne Bay CT6 6SU

This pub is situated in a lovely area, with the sea and ruins to one side and a captive audience (a caravan park) on the other. It was very busy outside when we arrived but the restuarant area inside had a few spare tables available.

The pub boasts three ales on tap and a fantastic menu. I chose a pint of Bishop's Finger (a favourite of mine that I haven't drunk on draught for a while) and the home-made steak and kidney pudding - yes, that's right, a full-on home-made pudding complete with thick suet pastry and crammed with large pieces of steak and kidney in a rich gravy. The accompaniments of steamed, rustic vegetables and potatoes filled me to the brim and stopped me from grabbing a full-on suet-laden Spotted Dick and custard for dessert. If you wish to visit this pub for lunch or an evening meal, I thoroughly recommend building a big appetite and maybe visit in the colder seasons, as the food is rib-stickingly good, and there is plenty of it. There are other meals on the menu that would cater better for those with smaller appetites or a non-carnivorous palate.

I think this pub would be a very lively one in the evening and in the heart of summer, so I think GW and I got there at exactly the right time and season to experience it without too much of a crowd.

Beers drunk on this visit:
1) Bishop's Finger (5.0%) - Shepherd Neame Brewery, Faversham, Kent - a nut-brown, ESB with a touch of sweetness
After a stroll along the beach to walk off some of the large luncheon, we jumped back into the car (GW was not on the alcohol today) and made a trip to one of our most regularly visited pubs in Upnor...

The Tudor Rose
31, 29 High St, Upper Upnor, Rochester ME2 4XG
GW and I have been in here on many an occasion. We like the laid back atmosphere and choice of beers on tap - they usually have three or four ales on five taps. This is another Shepherd Neame pub (I am so lucky to come from the county with the longest recorded brewing tradition in England - Kent) and the choice of beers suits most palates.

After grabbing a pint at the bar, GW and I walked down to the bench by the riverside and sat there whiling away an hour or so watching the boats come and go.

Beers drunk on this visit:
1) Master Brew (3.7%) - Shepherd Neame Brewery, Faversham, Kent - a mild, brown bitter with a hoppy aroma