Friday, 30 December 2011
Friday, 14 October 2011
Saturday, 8 October 2011
P.s. I'm back baby!!
Sunday, 29 May 2011
If you've been reading my blog often, you may of picked up on the fact that I'm fascinated by old and aged beers, and with the recent Thomas Hardy Ale tasting being the oldest brew I'd ever been fortunate enough to try, it urged me to go full on and find a beer with some REAL maturity, and I found it with Bass Kings Ale 1902.... EBay can be a wonderful thing. Brewed by the historic and formally great brewing superpower Bass in 1902, it was called Kings Ale not for the often given reason of being to celebrate the coronation of the newly crowned king Edward VII, but was named so because the aforementioned king turned the valve that allowed the hot water to flow and start the mashing process.
Being the rather interesting beer it is, I thought that saving it for a special occasion seemed like the most appropriate thing to do, with suggestions of saving it for my 21st birthday that's coming up in August or to open it on the 110th anniversary of its brew day next February floating around, I then decide that I was too impatient to wait that long and that the pubs anniversary was just as good of a reason to crack it open as any. I waited until the band took a well earned 20 minute break, and then rounded up the selected few who I decided I would share this special brew with, and then made our way to the pubs function room to drink and talk about this historic bevvie.
After a bit of trouble popping the cork (insert crap joke here...I think I'll go with "we all have that problem from time to time eh lads") , which is perfectly understandably given the age. I carefully pour the rich smelling beer into 5 brandy snifters in which somehow ends up being a 3 man job, and after taking a few photos, we all clink glasses and go nose in for a pleasantly surprising smell, and then to sip the first taste of a 109 year old beer. Amazing, truly amazing. A rich, almost syrupy mouth feel that carries the beers superb and outstandingly still drinkable flavour that's remarkably reminiscent of a very rounded sherry, raisins, honey, a hint of brandy and Dundee marmalade that brings a deeply layered sweetness that balances the foretaste together with the subtle, but noticeably there aftertaste of a marmity saltiness that's less full on then it was in the Thomas Hardy Ale I tried, but was more embodied and layered in to the flavour of the beer.
The most surprising thing to come out of tasting was that we found there were noticeable differences in the taste between the 5 glasses that was dependant on the order in which they were poured. The glasses that were poured first had significantly more sweetness to them then the ones poured last, which had a more rounded flavour to them, which wasn't a bad thing, it just made it even more interesting to pass them round to get a sample of them all. The other noticeable thing was just how fast the oxidation of the beer affected the taste, it certainly needed to be drunk there and then because I think that being left open for even just 30 minutes would of spoiled the beer...and I think I would of beaten someone with the bottle if that happened.
Its was a truly special beer, a brilliant evening and definitely worth the money I paid for it. Its one of the things I love about beer, it really is suited to be drunk with friends, no matter if its just your average 3.8% best bitter or your over 12% 109 year old barley wine...its just the one true social drink.
Once again, thanks to all the people that made this last year so enjoyable for me and the pub, and I hope that I can continue writing this blog and working in this pub so that I can keep you all liquored up and having a good time for years to come. Thanks!!
Monday, 23 May 2011
Friday, 13 May 2011
As you may of guessed from the title, tonight I’m trying a bottle of Thomas hardy ale…but what you may have also noticed (cause I know what an observant lot you people are) is that this is a rather special bottle of beer because it was brewed in 1993, and as those whiz kids amongst you can work out…makes it 18 years old.
Now I know that to most people, drinking a beer that’s almost as old as they are would be seen as a rather stupid thing to do, with worries of gut rot etc.. coming in to mind, but luckily for me though, Thomas hardy ale is famed for being a keeping beer and is often quoted with lasting for 25 years or more …which is a good thing because it is unfortunately no longer being brewed.
Thomas hardy ale was first brewed by the Eldridge Pope brewery in 1968 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the authors death, and to make it one hell of a special beer, it was brewed to 12%abv and was matured in oak sherry casks for 9 months which was then conditioned in distinctive bottles, and over time was found to mature and improve after being laid down over a number of years. As I said, the beer is no longer being brewed, with production stopping in 1999, then being picked up by another brewery after the turn of the millennium, for it only to be stopped again in 2008. You can still find vintages from 1968 onward on eBay (which is where I got a hold of my bottle from), but obviously its not gonna be a cheap brew to buy.
Being the special brew it is, I'm shearing the drinking experience with my friend and boss Chris who's knowledge in beer...well pretty much in everything really is beyond human and I would probably ask him about anything and everything first before checking wikipedia.
As Chris does the honors and pours the beer carefully into two Belgian chalice glasses, the air is filled with a sweet plum, coco, slightly nutty and a deeply spiced malt aroma that's reminiscent of a Christmas pudding, and with its rich mahogany colour and a thick bodied appearance as I swirl it around the glass so I can dip my nose in to get a deeper whiff, creates an image in my mind of sitting round a fire with friends and tasting a fine port with cheese like a scene from a classic Dickensian Christmas...but I suppose standing at the bar chatting is just as a picturesque moment as any. Oh God, the mouth feel of this beer is fantastic. Velvet on the tongue and as smooth of a body as I think could every of been possible from a beer, the distinct lack of carbonation also really helps gives this brew the feel of a fortified wine. A wonderfully deep malty flavour that feels layered from all the years of ageing that coats the palate with the tastes of smooth milk chocolate, caramel, cinnamon, sherry and rich plump dried fruits, but there's a subtly undertone of marmitey saltiness that just cuts through the beer and fantastically brings the beer together. I'm sorry for waxing lyrical about this beer but it really is that fantastic, and I'm glad I shared the experience with someone because this is something that would of been wrong to keep to myself.
Thursday, 5 May 2011
If all goes well, I may brew it again some point soon, but with a few slight changes such as using a wild yeast strain or adding more flavourings (ginger might be nice??), but lets see how its goes first. My next batch of home brew is looking like its going to be just a basic English bitter (oooooh yes, I really know how to make things exciting :P) but I'm gonna try a few variations on what hops and grains I use so it makes it a tad more special. Right...enough of me banging on. To the beer!!
The beers appearance is a deep, hazy amber colour that has a very small white lacing head, but it does seem to have plenty of carbonation, with plenty of bubbles racing to the top of the glass. The aroma starts with the sweet smell of honey, but it also has traces of apple, mandarin and a faint herbal nose. Its mouth feel is crisp and refreshing but its body is lacking something and it is pretty thin. Wow. The flavour is very surprising. Its starts of with a pretty tart, almost citric flavour that gives me the feeling that its infected with some wild strain of yeast (which can be a good thing...and also now means I wont have to bother brewing it again!), but after the initial sourness, the honeys sweetness come into play and coats the tongue and slowly balances out the flavour. I'm also getting a faint juniper taste lurking in the background, but no sign of grassy/herbal notes from the nettles or dandelion. Totally unexpected and not bad. Maybe a bad thing to get a wild yeast in the brew, but I think I should give it some proper ageing before trying again so that the flavours develop and hopefully improves the beer as a whole.
My next blog post will be a tad of a long one, but its taken a week or so to write and its not ALL crap (well OK....no guarantees), but its all about beer and reading, so it could be worth a look!! Bye, bye all :)
Wednesday, 27 April 2011
balances well enough to allow you to read and enjoy this beer for the fantastic brew it is. I wish had more room to describe it but I must move on. A new edition to my favourite beer list me thinks.
Friday, 22 April 2011
As most people will know, the bank holiday isn't the only reason some people are celebrating....it is for me....but some people are also looking forward to the
Champagne and beer. Some would say the two are as far apart from each
other as two drink can be. Beer, seen as the drink of the every man
(and women) wile champagne is seen as the drink of the wealthy. But a
semi recent development in beer brewing brings a new style to the beer
world and draws the two rather special beverages closer then ever.
Bière de Champagne is a style of beer in which the brew is normally
matured for a lengthy amount of time and then goes under the ‘méthode
Champenoise’ to remove the yeast. Just like champagne.
And today I’m tasting what is probably the most easily obtainable of
these beers. ‘Deus’ is brewed in Belgium and then transported to
France to undergo conditioning and yeast removal . As you pour the beer
in to a champagne flute (well, you’ve got to have the appropriate
glassware don’t you) it instantly foams up the glass with a thick,
white head, so its like champagne already, but it quickly fades and
leaves only a thin lace at the top of the beer. Just looking at it, you
can tell this isn’t your normal beer. Straw gold and with the
carbonation creating thousands upon thousands of tiny bubbles, it
certainly looks the part. The aroma is loaded with fresh slightly tart
apples and pears with also a subtle hint of honey in the background
that’s making it smell so inviting. So why fight it. Time for taste.
Peaches and zesty oranges are the first flavours that come through the
onslaught of carbonation on my tongue, but this is meant in a good way.
It makes the beer ultimately refreshing and with other tastes of cider
apples, a nice wheaty taste (probably coming from the yeast) and a
slight spiciness balancing out the flavours, leavening the finish it
crisp and dry on the palate .
Overall a very nice beer and certainly one to experience. But as you
may of guessed it comes at a price. £13.99 being the average price
makes this one expensive beer. But I think its better then most
sparking wines and Champagne I’ve tried (which to be honest isn’t that much, and when I
have its only been the average £30ish pound a bottle type. But that’s
not the point) and with it being a time to relax and celebrate, why not give it a go??
Monday, 18 April 2011
The result? Avery, Brown, Dredge. A 7.5% ABV imperial pilsner that's a mix of traditional malt and hops with modern brewing methods such as continuous and dry hopping. The beer pours a nice pale amber colour, showing an almost champagne like carbonation with thousands of bubbles screaming to the surface and a thick white head making it an enticing sight. The beer smells of wonderful grassy and slightly herbal aromas with a faint orange/apricot whiff hiding in the background. Full bodied and smoother then Barry White (pre-cremation) it tames the carbonation wonderfully, but it still allows it to help the Strong saaz hoppyness tingle everything from your tongue to your lips. The hops grassy/herby flavours dominates but there is a slight citric undertone witch balances it well, and along with its good lager malt backbone, brings the whole beer together nicely. All in all, a pretty good beer and one worth trying. I will say that it tastes very similar to Bohemia Regent Prezident, but its definitely got a bit more zing to it owing to its extra kick because it was knocked up a notch with the hop weasel*
Also this week, as I said a post or 2 ago, Ive started a batch of cider this week, but to jazz it up a little bit, I'm adding rhubarb in to the mix. Ive got no idea how it will turn out, but I will be sure to let you know. That's all for now folks. Tutty byes.
*If you don't get this reference, all I can say is one thing......FUTURAMA
Friday, 15 April 2011
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Sunday, 10 April 2011
" Beer, glorious beer. I personally think Oliver would of been a far better musical if that was the song in their hearts in that famous seen. Yes, I know they’re only children, but come on…this was the Victorian times. Now I know saying this all sounds rather silly, but I think breaking into spontaneous song about the joys of a good beer sounds just like the kind of thing that would happen after necking a few, don’t you agree?
It never really ceases to amaze me seeing the influence that beer has on how people act and how it can change a social situation in a completely different way then I think is possible with any other form of alcohol, and not just by people acting up and letting loose when being drunk. Nothing beats the kind of banter you get when talking at the bar, pint firmly in hand, as you discus such important matters as work, politics, religion, who on TV you would like to have sex with etc.. such things couldn’t be spoken about over a glass of wine or a gin and diet tonic, it just wouldn’t feel right. Beyond all that fake macho rubbish though, beer just makes you feel more at ease with yourself and with what your doing. Its the drink of the everyman, it doesn’t try to be something its not, it doesn’t demand a special setting for it to be drunk and enjoyed, it can be drunk by everyone, man and women, young an old, Newcastle united fan and Sunderland supporter (although probably not best for them to drink together) and its the only drink other then tea that you can drink in large quantities without getting bored of it. Well you try drinking that much orange juice and find out for yourself.
I think that really though, one of the best things about what beer brings to society is that although people who enjoy beer can be split into more subgroups of fans then you’ll get with any other kind of drink, alcoholic or not, and more so then with any band or TV show. Be it your devout cask ale drinker, your trendy craft beer enthusiast, someone who enjoys a nice cold pint of branded lager and all of the groups in-between, these people are always brought together in the end at the pub. A national institution that’s grinded deep into this countries culture, founded by the need to drink beer, relax, to get away from the stresses of life and most important of all…to socialise. Some say that pubs have changed, they say that you can no longer just go out, find a pub somewhere that you’ve never been to before and be welcomed in and included in the banter at the bar just like a normal regular. Be it in a small village in the middle of nowhere or in London. Being a barman myself and by being a great fan of all things beer related, I can honestly say this just isn’t true. I’ve been to countless pubs and bars all-around, and of course yes, there are some exceptions to this , but the people in pubs are just as open and friendly as they’ve ever been. And the greatest way that this has been shown to me around this sceptred…if slightly boozy isle?? By the offer to and from locals to buy each other a pint.
Beer as been with us, in one form or another, for a long, long time and I expect it will be around for much longer. It’s a necessity of life, some would even say that it was what drove civilisation to be what it is today, I’m not a historian and I don’t know enough about how the world and its cultures developed to be able to prove this theory, but I can say one thing for certain…some of the best things that have happened to me in my life, and some of the greatest things I’ve done, have all been achieved from the love and influence of beer. Who knows how beer will change in the years to come? Some people are worried by the future, believing that beer drinkers are destined to be forced to drink bland, flavourless beers…both lagers and ales, but they shouldn't be. If history has shown us anything, the development of beer can only get better, that’s how we’re drinking some of the best beers ever brewed right now.
Get behind the geekiness that surrounds beer though, and just appreciate that it's there for you, through good times and through bad, at celebrating a new birth and at wakes, at weddings and at celebrating the divorce going through, but also, it's there with you when you're just relaxing, at home or at the pub with friends, just sitting there, adding its own bit of character to the scene, almost like it's apart of the gang."
Hope you enjoyed it. My next post will be some beer reviews and me letting you know how bottling my home brew went. Tutty bye.
Monday, 4 April 2011
Tuesday, 29 March 2011
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
Brew Dog being Brew Dog, they couldn't just brew and advertise these beers like a normal brewery....ohhhh no, the beers have been hopped and double dry hopped (never bloody heard of double dry hopping before?...Those crazy Scottish brewers) and also the packaging makes very clear that these beers contain nothing but pure and unadulterated hoppy awesomeness.But if there's anything that's made Brew Dog what they are today, its their OTT marketing....oh yeah,and their consistently brilliant beer (cant forget that now, can we?)
Well lets start with the English hop first shall we? Bramling cross (or how Brew Dog rather expectantly call it...Bramling X) starts with a warming blackberry and apple crumble aroma with a slight hint of ginger and a plummy finish makes it seem like a very homely beer, take a sip though, and all the comfort is tossed out the window like Hans Gruber in Die Hard. The first noticeable thing in the taste is that pretty much all the rich fruity notes in the aroma are replaced by a crisp earthy flavour that reminds me of nettles, dandelions and other grassy flavours tingling the tongue, but it also has an underlying sweetness which marks the return of the blackberries and now also pears from the smell which brings the beer together nicely and leaves the palate with a sweet richness, but also feeling refreshed.
Next we're turning Japanese (I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so.....oh God I'm sorry) with Sorachi Ace. Wow this is a strange little bugger, this brew smells like bubblegum
bloomin bubblegum!! With raspberry, strawberry and watermelon aromas also present, I cant say I've smelt any other beer like it, but what the hell is it gonna taste like? Hmmmm, well stickily sweet, rather chewy and not very pleasant. (and for anyone who doesn't knows me, its not often I don't like a beer) The clingy, strawberry sweetness is followed straight by a minty, Herby taste that just seem to fight each other for supremacy and the end result is a car crash of flavour that goes together as well as a Pot noodle would on Masterchef. Maybe its just me but I reallllly don't like this one. (I still finish the beer....never waste a beer, that's how I was raised and that's how I live.
Now its New Zealand's turn. Nelson Sauvin has a full on creamy, fruit aroma of grapefruit, apricot and lime which would make a bloody good yogurt, but also a dang nice smelling beer. Ohhhh bloody hell that's a mighty fine brew. Much more smoother then the other beers, its friggin wonderful, and also unlike the other beers so far, it keeps all of its flavours from the aroma in the taste but also adds a dash of zesty bitterness to the tongue which doesn't stay around for as long as the other beers....but it just make you wanna go back for more.
Last and very not least, from our American friends we have Citra. As the name suggests, the nose is full of citric fruits such as lemon, grapefruit and orange, but it also has a very slight piney note that you'll find in a lot of American I.P.A'S.Very nice, but nothing special. The flavours are very similar to the Nelson Sauvin, but more crisp and not so pronounced. Citra's a really tasty beer...but unfortunately its just too ordinary, probably from being a over used hop type in I.P.A'S, so I cant really blame it.
All in all, not a bad batch of beers from Brew Dog (again) but I will hesitate to try anything with Sorachi Ace from now on. This is a limited edition brew so I fully recommend getting a batch before its all gone.
Take care everyone.
Wednesday, 16 March 2011
Monday, 14 March 2011
When I first started this job almost a year ago, some of the first things I was told I would need to learn, but only I could through experience, was to be aware of my surroundings and to be always watching whats happening around the bar, even doing so without making it obvious I am. More seriously then that though, I would have to learn how to handle the situation if a fight ever broke out or if a customer became violent and aggressive. Learning these things was never going to be the most fun aspect of the job.
This Friday gone, for the first time, I dealt with one of those situations. It wasn't too big and I wont go into the full details of it, but a glass pint jug was thrown, a window was damaged and there was a scuffle outside. I was told I dealt with it really well but to be brutally honest, I knew the person causing the problem well and had it been a complete stranger, I don't think I would of been so fast and confidant with dealing with it. I'm a pretty small guy and I'm also fully aware that I'm a weak, un-intimidating person to boot, so in hairy situation I'm not really the best guy in the world to handle someone being violent, and in a fight, I'm just as likely to back away and give in as the french. (sorry, bad joke...but you didn't really expect me to be 100% serious did you??)
I'm really lucky to be where I work. Its mostly a very friendly and calm place, with this scuffle being probably the 2nd major problem in 10 months, I would say that this was pretty good going. Not all pubs are this lucky though, and there must be places all round the country were things like this happen most weekends, and also... most likely, much worse. I know that working in a pub where there is a constant treat of violence would really worry me and I would probably not last very long in the job, but what about the people who do work there?? Do they just take it as apart of the job and take it in their stride or do some spend the last hour before work praying for an easy shift??
Maybe I'm looking too much into it, and maybe nowhere is really that bad, but it does make me think hard this job could be and just how lucky I am.
Would be great to hear some peoples opinion on this. Thanks and see ya next time.
Wednesday, 9 March 2011
I heard something yesterday that got me thinking (and God we all know that it takes alot). I bumped in to a regular on the way to work...naming no names, but you know who you are...anyways, after a quick chat with Ben, I asked if he was coming to the pub anytime soon. The reply was no because he was trying to lose some weight. Now this shocked me because being someone who knows about these things, I've come to learn that weight put on through beer drinking is an important and healthy part of our diet and stopping could cause more harm then good.
Beer fat as I like to call it, is designed to keep us warm on those long walks back home on cold, wet and windy Saturday nights and also to create extra padding around the liver to stop anything from the outside damaging it. (cause again, God knows how much help that the livers gonna need). Beer also helps us relax, ease high blood pressure and its also full of nutrients. Below is a pie chart that shows the results of many minutes of very scientific and technological guesswork that shows that we need beer in our daily diet.
So there you have it! Undeniable proof that beers good for us and we need it to be healthy...so no more of this funny business about not coming to the pub. OK
DISCLAIMER: I, Matthew Turner openly admit that the above information is total rubbish and it holds no scientific or medical truth, but its my day off and I'm bored, so what else am I gonna do?? I'm sure a pint or so a day wont cause you any harm anyway....probably
Tuesday, 8 March 2011
Its not all bad though because my new back up plan is to go to this years Oktoberfest instead, which is something Ive been thinking about doing for the last few years anyway so it makes sense to go now as I've got this shiny new blog to tell ye all about it. I may also try to go to this years Great British Beer Festival as well so I can look and write about comparison between England's and Germany's biggest beer fests. Plus an excuse to get drunk is always handy.
Ive really got alot going on this year. GBBF, Oktoberfest, my 21st this year, MANOWAR in just under 3 weeks (EPIC!!) and I've got a few other little ideas floating around as well, so yeah, busy, busy, busy.
Another beer related topic (i suppose they almost always are really) I want to chat about is that last month marked a year since I started home brewing. My first batch was a standard 20 liter brew which the math wizards among you can guess made 40 500ml bottles, I have since reduced the size of my batches just because it makes life easier, but I've still got 5 bottles of this original batch left. The beer is a 6%abv dark ale, just right for a bit of ageing, so what i thought i would do is drink a bottle, write about it and then age the remaining 4 bottles for another year to see what difference it makes. If that goes well, I may just age the remaining 3 bottles even longer...but ill think about that more in a years time.
Appearance: Really dark, almost black in colour, but if held to the light the beer turns an amazing shade of ruby. A decent amount of carbonation with a nice golden head.
Smell: Prunes with a slight hint of cherry. Faint yeasty smell.
Taste: Rich and very creamy. starts very bitter, kinda like burnt coffee (can you burn coffee??) but it fades pretty fast and is then followed by a faint tartness (which is a good sign for the ageing) which brings the fruity flavours that were in the aroma in to full swing and finishes with a slightly sweet port-like flavour
Right I'll come back to that next year I suppose. Now I'm off to get ready for work.
Take care all.
* I'll try and keep this PG most of the time, but hey, I'll swear if i need to.
Saturday, 5 March 2011
What can i say?? boy did it live up to the hype. With a rich golden appearance, an aroma of apples, pine and a hint of grapefruit and a wonderful, complex taste that makes it sooo much better then some of the other beers in this style that I've tried. The first thing that is noticeable is the flavour of rich bitter marmalade that is perfectly matched by a smooth blackcurrant sweetness. The next slightly alarming thing about this beer is that for being 9%...its dangerously drinkable. you can tell that its strong, but the flavours blend so well that it hides the strength like a ninja. I don't know if The Old Dairy intend to brew this beer again, but my god they should, and if they do, they should make more hype about it, because its a great beer and beats some of the American brews at their own game.
The weekend really as been enjoyable so far...busy and knackering as hell, but still fun. We've seen alot of new faces and a bloody good chunk of familiar ones (which is always good to see) but there's still a few days left to go so i hope to see some more beer being drunk by you all soon.
In other news. I've just applied to join the first leg of a trip called The Great Baltic Adventure. http://www.wix.com/seanor/gba I wont bore you with all the details, but its basically a 5 leg trip, sailing from London to St Petersburg in a 60ft clipper carrying 12+ cask of beer. Sounds bloody good to me.
Right, I'm off to bed now cause I'm bloomin sleepy. Night all.
Tuesday, 1 March 2011
With the stillage set up, and with the beers waiting to be drunk, all we need is you jolly people to pop in and join us in a little celebration in saying bye bye to winter and hello to the rest of the busy (and i have full belief that it will be) year ahead. Kicking off on Thursday at 12:00pm, we are mostly focusing on stouts and porters, so expect some pretty interesting brews from the likes of Darkstar, O'Hanlons, Rother Valley and Potton brewery amongst a healthy range of others.
One beer that although is neither a stout or porter but none the less, i think deserves a special mention because its going to be such a unique beer is Hop Top from local brewers, The Old Dairy. A 9% ABV, double IPA, it already was going to be a interesting beer to try. One reason being that despite only being open little under a year, and after proving to be such consistently good brewers that The Old Dairy have the bulls (can you see what i did there??) to take on beer styles that you'll normally not find in this country...let alone being brewed by a small microbrewery, but this a special batch because its spent the last 5 months or so maturing. So something tells me its going to be pretty tasty.
There will be some great music Friday and Saturday night, and the kitchen will be open from 12pm-3pm and 6pm-9pm everyday with its usual delights, so you don't have an excuse to not come along and have a good time.
Of course, i don't want to miss out either, so Ive got Friday night off work so ill be there drinking, punning (sorry, but i just cant help myself) and having a good laugh. So next time you hear from me i should have some pics and a story to tell of a good night out.
Toodle pips all
Saturday, 26 February 2011
Friday, 25 February 2011
First item on my list of things to do today was bottle my latest home brew experiment, which was a honey and maple syrup wheat beer with banana.....mmmmm tasty, tasty yes but a real bugger to bottle. I wont go into the details but lets just say that syphoning is a bitch. Here's a picture to the right of the bottled beer. Yes i know it kinda looks like electric horse piss...but as long as it doesn't TASTE like it, then who cares??
Next on my list of things to do was go to the pub. Not because I'm some raving alcoholic (ish maybe) but its one that I've been suggested to go to for around about 6 months and I've only just had the chance to pop along to. I'm heading along down to none other then the red lion in Snargate.
Now. Thanks to the ever reliable Southern rail (note the sarcasm) I ended up getting to the pub an hour later then planned, at around 1:45 (and being an old style pub that closes a 3pm, that was kinda annoying) but once inside, i found the trip was more then worth it. I'm not going to drag on about all the good stuff about the pub, because i want you to at least to still be awake at the end of this, but the beer was great (Goachers mild and Skinners spriggan ale being pretty tasty), the regulars being friendly and just by the building itself being like an effing time machine made the place feel special and part of a dying breed of traditional English pubs....so get down there if you get a chance to, even if pubs arn't your thing....who knows how long this kinda place will last??
Right, I'm gonna try and spend the rest of my Friday night like a normal 20 year old by going out and having a good time. (I hope)
Till next time my friends.
Tuesday, 22 February 2011
Well to begin with I suppose I should bring you up to date with my life so far regarding the last 9 months or so. I live in the small tourist town of Rye in east Sussex, which as far as places to grow up, live and work go, its not half bad. One thing that the town is particularly known for (well locally at least) is that for only having a permanent population of about 3000ish, (which around 60% are OAPs and also don't go out regularly, but luckily the population more or less doubles in the summer) it has around 18 pubs and bars, which is more then enough to cope with the residents of this historic little town.
Right, i know what your thinking. "Small tourist town with lots of pubs. Great!! Must be full of good, proper, traditional English pubs." Unfortunately this wasn't the case. Pretty much every pub in town had been caught in the trap of all serving the same bland lagers, no choice of real ale (or if there was, it was always just Harveys Best, which don't get me wrong, it's a wonderfully hoppy beer, but it just gets a bit boring when its your only choice.) and they genuinely only cared about catering to the weekend youth crowd, which mostly meant there was very little atmosphere, loud, crap music blasting the speakers and some evenings ending in a fight. Not my idea of a pub at all. There were of course some exceptions, but even they weren't what i would call "good pubs" either. So imagine my joy when one day, wile i was at work, i was reading the local paper (it was a slooooow day) and i happened to come across an advert for the reopening (I didn't even know it was closed) and beer festival at The Queen's Head pub. i was shocked and kind of skeptical at first because this pub had a reputation of being one of the worst in town, and seeing how little other pubs have changed under new management in recent years, how much could it of changed?? Later that afternoon i was given all the persuasion i needed when a good number of customers were making positive remarks of the change at the pub, with a few suggesting i pop along down there. (one person who made the biggest fight for the case to make a visit there, ended up being a good friend of the new management....but I'm not going to hold it against him, in fact...thanks Damian) So my arm had been twisted enough and i decided to pop in after work. My life changed that evening.
I went straight home after work, got changed, had a bite to eat and then headed for the pub. When i arrived and walked through the already open door, i could see the change immediately. The walls had been repainted and decorated with amazing artwork of ships and a wonderful hand painted patten that made it look and feel special and unique. The loud, in your face music had been replaced by the sound of laughter and chatter as people did one of the fundamental things that pubs are for...socialising. Most importantly though, it had something else, something I'd not felt in a pub before in Rye...it had atmosphere. I walked round to the bar to order a drink, but i couldn't, i was too stunned, too happy and too impressed to speak. The gentleman behind the bar greeted me and after giving me a quick run through what was on offer, i went for a pint of Ringwood 49er and we got chatting. It turns out that this man was Chris, the new landlord of the pub, and after giving him all the praise in the world for what he and the rest of his team (who i was yet to meet, but they are all amazing, wonderful people..but I'll get to that in a bit) had done to the pub and then telling him about my self, i let him get back to work wile i explored the place a bit more.
Wow it was different. I couldn't get over it, it just made me soooo happy, i cant really explain it but "if carlsberg did pubs" hang on...bad example, that would be crap, but you know what i mean. All i could think about was that I'd found a very special place, a new home away from home. My first thought was that it was going to be my new local, but my second thought, or at that point, my dream, was what if i could work here? Well i made that dream happen after going back to the bar, then being even more overjoyed by finding the choice of Belgian beers available (I've been looking for a good supply of Belgian beer for AGES) and after a evening of chatting, getting drunk and having the best night out in rye for a loooong time, i came straight out with it and pretty much begged for a job. I was told to come for a trial shift in a few days time and see how that goes. Well it must of went well, cause here i am, 9 months later and i wouldn't trade this job for the world.
As I've mentioned previously though, its not just the beer and the pub it's self that makes it a great place to work and to drink, its the people. Over the passing months, Ive come to consider those that work here more then just employers and colleagues, no, they are more then that, they're my friends and as naff as it sounds, i consider them as family. They like me for who i am and they don't treat me any differently cause I'm abit weird, slow, annoying at times (I make ALOT of crap jokes and puns) and I've not really experienced life as much as they have, but they really are amazing, kind and special people. So in alphabetical order (just for funsies) Andy, Charlotte, Chris, Helen, Joe and Marcus.... thank you :)
Well that's a pretty short sum up of what I'm up to (ohhhh yes, it could go on for alot longer) but I hope I stick with doing this blog (and I hope some bugger reads it lol) and don't worry it wont all be this long and I'll try and make it a tad less boring aswell...but I'm making no guarantees :p
p.s. Yes i know my grammar is crap, and that my spelling isn't much better, but hey...give a guy a break