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Offline Irreverend Joe

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English beer trip
« on: January 12, 2008, 08:07:12 PM »
I got back from a two-week trip to southern England recently, and while I was over there I got to sit in a number of several-hundred-year-old pubs with fireplaces big enough that you can sit and drink INSIDE them, although your clothes and hair will smell like wood smoke for the rest of the day.  (Actually, they’ll do that even if you don’t sit in the fireplace if it’s winter – apparently central heating is optional for the country pubs.)  Sadly, I found that cask ale just isn’t for me – it’s not the serving temperature, which is perhaps 50 degrees or so, or the very low carbonation levels, there’s something else to it that I just can’t describe.  Part of my issue with cask may be that since I started brewing a couple of months ago I find that I need to have beer with character, and cask ales, at least the eight or nine that I tried, are in my opinion pretty wimpy.  (I hope there are no CAMRA members on this board!)  I found very low levels of hops in everything I tried – the IPA’s ALMOST had enough hops to call them hoppy, but not quite.  There was something else about cask ale, too, that I can only describe as sort of a watery pucker.  Sorry, that’s the best I can do to describe it, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that mouth feel in any other beers.

Every pub we went to, I found myself sitting under an ancient wooden ceiling beam with one of those nice Imperial-pint pub glasses in my hand, drinking a warm and flattish brew that didn’t taste like much, but enjoying the experience anyway.  Sadly, the nicest draft beer I had there was a nice bitter served from a regular keg in an Indian restaurant (what CAMRA would call an "unreal ale", I suppose), and my overall favorite beer for the trip was a pint bottle of “Twisted and Bitter” that I found at Sainsbury’s (a big British grocery chain, comparable to a higher-end American grocery store but with real beer) in Brighton.  (Lovely stuff, a bit like Bell’s Two-Hearted but more bitter on the front end and wildly citrusy at the back.)  They had perhaps a hundred different local beers by the pint bottle, and I wish I could have brought back one of each...

Maybe I was just unlucky in my cask ale choices – on the other hand, the last time I was in England I didn’t get to very many pubs, but I think I remember that the beer I did drink was pretty decent.  Still, with all the different cask ales that I tried, I think I must have seen a fair cross-section of the state of British real ale this time, so I don’t know what to think.

I wish I could list all the ales I tried, but I wasn’t taking notes as I didn’t want to look like an obvious beer tourist (although I doubtless did anyway) – I do remember that the Greene King IPA was better than most (Greene King, I found out after coming back to the States, is a huge brewing conglomerate, unloved by CAMRA), and Spitfire and Bombardier are okay, too, even though I think they’re pretty widely distributed over there as well.  There’s apparently a trend toward large breweries buying up all the pubs and replacing all the beers there with their own brands, it could be that I just ran into that issue headlong and only got to drink the crummy stuff?  I need to go back there and hit the north country to see if the cask ale is any different up there.
Primary: MW Pike's IPA
Secondaries: empty
Conditioning: MW Power Pack Porter
Drinking: MW Oldcastle Brown Ale
On deck: MW Amarillo Pale Ale

Offline Kegergator

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Re: English beer trip
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2008, 08:15:47 PM »
That sounds like a blast. Two weeks long enough for a good venture out into the pubs?
Everyone wants people they like to be right, that's why popular people are fucking dumb.

Offline Irreverend Joe

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Re: English beer trip
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2008, 08:28:11 PM »
It was great, would have gotten to drink more beer if we hadn't had so much going on while were there (my wife-equivalent is from England and there were a lot of family obligations).  The place with the huge fireplace was The Brocket Arms in the village of Ayot St. Lawrence - I was introduced to its proprietor, one C.T. Wingfield-Digby, who took a look at my beard and said, "Lovely! Do you have any wrens living in there?"  The barmaid was Australian, as it happened - we ran into a number of what Mr. Wingfield-Digby referred to as Antipodeans working in the pubs over there.  As we were leaving, a troop of foxhounds and fox hunters was passing through the drive - it was all thoroughly and 100% country English.  Perhaps what I should have done was to have picked out one promising pub and worked my way down all the tap handles pint by pint...   
Primary: MW Pike's IPA
Secondaries: empty
Conditioning: MW Power Pack Porter
Drinking: MW Oldcastle Brown Ale
On deck: MW Amarillo Pale Ale

Offline EskimoDave

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Re: English beer trip
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2010, 02:02:56 AM »
you got unlucky with your beer.  I spent almost 6 months in England last year.  I averaged just over 1 new beer a day there.  Plenty of beautiful beers.  Even more forgettable, but not bad, beers.  I spent a week at GBBF volunteering.  Free accommodation and free beer for a week in London, you'd have to be crazy not to jump a deal like that.  I had about 90 different beers that week (all servings were at least half a pint).

Cask ale all depends on the cellar man.  Polsonov and I were both in attendance at a local brewpub who had a cask on.  The bartender tipped the fucking cask and served me a glass full of yeast.  Not to mention the beer wasn't ready, but it was still a very nice beer.  So, yeah, cask ale is ALL about who is all about who ever is looking after the cask.

Greene King is kinda on the bad side.  I've always found them to be on the bland/unbalanced side.  Hop is their best beer (Formerly The Beer To Dine For).

Offline mr. furley

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Re: English beer trip
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2017, 08:26:03 PM »
Great job guys, I should have gone on this trip instead of driving all the way to the Keys to catch nurse sharks

:lol: had you dropped the sharks i'd have argued in favor of the Keys trip
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Offline Reina

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Re: English beer trip
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2017, 01:07:36 PM »
I've had a similar experience in London too, couldn't recommend it enough. So many good beers to try out.

Offline emerge

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Re: English beer trip
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2017, 11:59:57 AM »
Ye Olde Mitre in London has been on my bucket list for years. A real ale pub since 1546.
Probably too cluttered for some. :lol:





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Offline mr. furley

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Re: English beer trip
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2017, 12:11:03 PM »
too English for me :mellow:
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my head was buried in shuke's tits.
TITS help you hit home runs.

Offline borrowedladder

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Re: English beer trip
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2017, 12:13:57 PM »
These pictures show a lot more cleanliness and order.  The other ones were slapdash.

Offline flyingbison

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Re: English beer trip
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2017, 12:20:33 PM »
Looks like a nice little pub to me, not a junkyard.  :thumbup:

Offline emerge

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Re: English beer trip
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2017, 12:29:38 PM »
These pictures show a lot more cleanliness and order.  The other ones were slapdash.
It's British, would you expect any less?  :mellow:

edit: I take that back, so was this place:

« Last Edit: December 07, 2017, 12:32:22 PM by emerge »

Offline thickfreakness

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Re: English beer trip
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2017, 01:19:48 PM »
Imperial pint after imperial pint of real ale was one of the best parts of our trip to the UK in September.

Offline emerge

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Re: English beer trip
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2017, 01:43:30 PM »
Imperial pint after imperial pint of real ale was one of the best parts of our trip to the UK in September.
:hifive:
Was real ale pretty common, and was it usually served in good shape?
I had a friend over there not too long ago, and he said lots of stuff was served oxidized and diacetyl-heavy.
That said, the best Two Brothers beer i've ever had was a cask that had gone off. Brett funk and lemony tart Lacto.

Offline Tip Top

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Re: English beer trip
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2017, 01:53:57 PM »
Imperial pint after imperial pint of real ale was one of the best parts of our trip to the UK in September.
:hifive:
Was real ale pretty common, and was it usually served in good shape?
I had a friend over there not too long ago, and he said lots of stuff was served oxidized and diacetyl-heavy.
That said, the best Two Brothers beer i've ever had was a cask that had gone off. Brett funk and lemony tart Lacto.

Not the highest of standards...

Offline emerge

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Re: English beer trip
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2017, 02:57:13 PM »
Imperial pint after imperial pint of real ale was one of the best parts of our trip to the UK in September.
:hifive:
Was real ale pretty common, and was it usually served in good shape?
I had a friend over there not too long ago, and he said lots of stuff was served oxidized and diacetyl-heavy.
That said, the best Two Brothers beer i've ever had was a cask that had gone off. Brett funk and lemony tart Lacto.

Not the highest of standards...
the irony is their best beer is one they didn't infect themselves. :lol:

Offline thickfreakness

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Re: English beer trip
« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2017, 05:03:47 PM »
Imperial pint after imperial pint of real ale was one of the best parts of our trip to the UK in September.
:hifive:
Was real ale pretty common, and was it usually served in good shape?
I had a friend over there not too long ago, and he said lots of stuff was served oxidized and diacetyl-heavy.
That said, the best Two Brothers beer i've ever had was a cask that had gone off. Brett funk and lemony tart Lacto.

There was some of that, but it was mostly good. We were there for a wedding and the wedding party stayed at a small brewpub/B&B in a small town outside of Derby. Their beer was great.

Offline emerge

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Re: English beer trip
« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2017, 05:27:13 PM »
Imperial pint after imperial pint of real ale was one of the best parts of our trip to the UK in September.
:hifive:
Was real ale pretty common, and was it usually served in good shape?
I had a friend over there not too long ago, and he said lots of stuff was served oxidized and diacetyl-heavy.
That said, the best Two Brothers beer i've ever had was a cask that had gone off. Brett funk and lemony tart Lacto.

There was some of that, but it was mostly good. We were there for a wedding and the wedding party stayed at a small brewpub/B&B in a small town outside of Derby. Their beer was great.
Nice! :cheers: