It Never Rains In Southern California London

The dust has settled. The livers have had time to recover. Yes, the great London Tour of Destruction has come to an end. The mission: show Archimedes and the Whitefield Holts Bandit some of the delights of London in just two days.

Archimedes requirements were as simple as himself-alcohol and food. We did well with the first, but somewhat forgot about the second. The WHB meanwhile wanted bright lights and dancing girls to make him feel at home, but used to beer at £1.60 a pint, what would he make of paying £4 for the same privilege?

Friday began with us waiting impatiently for Wetherspoons to open at 9am-the tension easing as the metal shutters slowly rolled upwards. And it was in Wetherspoons (Liverpool St Station) that we finished some 14 hours later. It’s a classic railway JDW, i.e. a dump, but the customers weren’t as daft as they looked. They had after all drunk them dry of two of the best festival beers-Titanic Tomahawk and Val-Dieu Abbaye Blonde. Still, the Pinot Grigio and Sailor Jerry went down easy enough.

In the meantime, we criss-crossed London from Greenwich to Islington and all points in-between. Old favourites such as the Charles Lamb and my London local, the Edgar Wallace (although they were very apologetic about only having five on), didn’t disappoint.

Yellowhammer in the Old Fountain was on good form as was the Hophead in the Seven Stars. The WHB was much taken by the Inns of Court. Or, more specifically, the lady legal beagles that frequent the Chancery Lane area. He certainly made a friend for life with Handbag Girl in the Knights Templar.

However, of all the pubs visited on Friday, the clear winner was the Old Brewery at Greenwich. This was a new one to me and is the new Meantime outlet. It was the perfect setting for alfresco beer on a sunny day and it does have an extensive selection to tempt you with-albeit some of them very pricey.

Archimedes was taken by the freely available water- it’s hand drawn from wells in Little Lever, where he lives. And the WHB gasped at the lack of sawdust on the floor-it’s compulsory in pubs in Whitefield. Shame the Kellerbier wasn’t on, but the Helles etc were all good. One quibble, though. Having the likes of Harveys and Hophead on handpull is fine (if probably unnecessary), but why was the Meantime the only one not available?

Saturday saw us loitering in Pimlico library before being the first through the doors at Cask. This is one of my favourites and the strong selection didn’t disappoint again. Sat outside watching life go by, we enjoyed the likes of Crouch Vale Brewers Gold, Thornbridge Hopton and Wild Swan. I also tried Thornbridge Martius which, despite being 5.2%, was a tasty, easy drinking, chestnut beer with a good spicy hop finish.

I also very much enjoyed the beers at Brewery Wharf. It’s vastly improved under new brewer, Phil Lowry and Goldfish Bowl is a fine session beer. However, the big gun in the armoury was the much hyped Hoptimum. Forget its 5.2% strength; this is a very impressive session beer for the serious hop lover.

Third best beer of the day was the unexpected treat of Mallinsons at the Market Porter. All in all, a pretty good standard was reached over the weekend. A dishonourable mention, however, must go to the Doric Arch. It lived up to its lacklustre reputation and provided an unsatisfying climax with under-conditioned Bitter & Twisted.


Penny said…
Wasn't Chancery Lane where the Mayfair club, many moons ago, was based? I bet you were a member.
Boak said…
So brewery wharf is worth a visit again? We'll have to give it a another go.
TIW said…
My days of a regarding 5.2%-er as a session beer are way behind me.

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