Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Day in the Capital

I know its not quite within the remit of Huddersfield, but last week I managed a day sampling some of the beer guide pubs of London. I have not been there for years and wanted to try out some of the places that others have told me about. I was not disappointed.

Armed with a day travelcard and a bus map, (those who know me, can see I was combining my 2 hobbies !) I managed to find 4 of the capital's great pubs, all serving real ale in good form and all in different parts of the city. First out came the Jerusalem Tavern, the St Peters Brewery tap.

Not too hard to find and a real gem; bare boards, basic furniture, and 6 beers on tap and more on stillage. They say they serve the whole range of the brewery's beer, either over the bar or in bottles.

I managed to sample three on the bar, Golden, Stout and the current fruit beer which was Grapefruit. All decent beers but the fruit beer was superb, and tasted of real grapefruit.

The next stop was the Wenlock Arms, near Shoreditch Police Station. I think there must be an easier way to find it than we managed, which involved a 15 minute walk round one of Hackney's dodgier council estates. When we eventually reached it we were not disappointed with around ten beers on draught and from all over the country. I tried offerings from Acorn, Lees, and Mighty Oak and when the landlord saw me scribbling away was most helpful in answering a couple of queries, not always the case with tickers. But time was against me and I knew I had to cross London to find the next pub.

Another gem, the Market Porter in Borough. Again about 10 beers available, from breweries near and far. Their regular beer, Harvey's Sussex bitter was doing a roaring trade but I opted for the guests and this time sampled beers from Corvedale and Stonehenge and again, the quality was excellent. The pub was heaving at 4pm with people calling in after work and seating was at a premium. When I left I found as many people drinking outside as in the pub. Should you need to do a bit of shopping then Borough Market is just across the road.

My final call for the day was the Bree Louise in Euston, handy for the railway station and another super pub. More modern than the other three and crammed with people so I never got chance to count the handpumps, but they also serve beers from stillage on the bar and provided about 20 in total I think. Here I found a new brewery for me, Twickenham and the two beers of theirs I tried were fine, although more geared to southern tastes being more malty than hoppy. I completed my sampling with a couple of Itchen Valley beers, again a rarity up north, and again typically southern styled.

All in all I was very impressed. The price of the beer was around £3 a pint, an average for the capital, but all the pubs were busy so the recession does not seem to be biting too hard. The pubs were all different with their own character and the staff appeared knowledgeable and interested. All it takes is a bit of planning and all four pubs, and possibly more, can be done in a day. Why not have a go ?
All pics courtesy of beerintheevening & the pubs' own websites


Mark, said...

Our own Alan Walsh is down there today sussing out the pubs too. I should have gone too, I even booked the day off work a month ago but forgot to sort tickets!

I reckon he'll be heading for Jerusalem, Porterhouse and a few others.

Hopefully I'll get down to the capital for a pub day over Christmas when I visit my parents in Oxfordshire

TIW said...

Can I recommend the Harp, just off Trafalgar Square? One of the best pubs I've been in anywhere and definately the best in the West End.

Anonymous said...

Was this part of your honeymoon then - you sure know how to show a girl a good time! ;o)

Leigh said...

I can certainly echo TIW's shout out for the Harp - great beers in great nick.

Reanna said...

I too would recommend the Harp but I'm surprised you found the Bree so accommodating. It's not got a good rep with local drinkers and I've given up on it.

For the Wenlock, you'd probably been better off alighting at Old Street and passing Moorfields.

Timbo said...

Thanks for the advice. Could only comment on what I found at the time at the Bree, and it was so busy I never managed to speak to any of the staff except to order, but seemed decent enough.
I think I misread the map about the Wenlock hence my getting lost.
Like I said, it has been years since my last trip to London and I wanted to grab as many pubs I had heard of as I could, combining it with a bit of bus spotting, or I would have used the tube.
And I did consult Jacquie first and had some retail therapy at Harrods prior to the pub crawl !!!

Tandleman said...

Was the beer in the Jerusalem warm by any chance?

Timbo said...

Not that I really noticed but it had just opened and was a chilly day, so that may account for it..tim

Sapphire Blue said...

50p discount on ale for CAMRA members and students at Bree Louise (well there was on 17/10) make visit even better!

Sapphire Blue said...

50p discount for Camra and students (well on 17/10 anyway) make Bree Louise even better!