My friend Jimmy, a Surrey compleatist, was having a Good Beer Guide ticking expedition. For various reasons, the main one being abject cowardice, I've not been on one of Jimmy's expeditions before. There were 15 pubs on the list this time, which did have my liver quailing in terror, but I was told we might not make it to all of them. So putting aside my previous poltroonery I girded my loins and set off.
|Yup, it's a port|
There's a score of 1 or 0 in each category and then these are added to get the total score out of ten.
The first stop was the Old Customs House, a Fullers pub.
|The Old Customs House|
This was a large and busy pub with a lot of Fullers beers and a few guests on. No ESB though, which didn't go down well with Jimmy. Can't say I was keen on the place so it's score of only two is fine by me.
Next stop was the Bridge Tavern, another Fullers pub.
|The Bridge Tavern|
I wouldn't have it as my local mind you, the fire wasn't lit.
After that it was on to The Pembroke.
I like this one, it's the sort of place they have meat raffles in.
They had Bass on here, which as usual I had for nostalgic reasons. To my horror though I saw it was served through a sparkler so automatically a zero for beer quality.
On the way to the next pub we passed something called Brewery House, though sadly it's used by the scouts.
|The Hole in the wall|
And they were clearly going for the "beard or weird" score here.
This pub scored a very impressive eight points, making it the clear front runner at this stage.
The Barley Mow:
|The Barley Mow|
Five pints in I was definitely getting a bit pissed so had a half in the next one, The Apsley House:
|The Apsley House|
the Auckland Arms, with a very impressive exterior so we went off piste and called in.
|The Auckland Arms|
Continuing with our research we passed what looks like more brewery history:
|The Old Brewery|
They had what I'd been looking for: beer from Irving Brewery.
After that it was the Leopold Tavern:
There was a big beer range here...
... and no doubt about the beard or weird.
Then it was on to the Northcote Hotel:
They had Landlord on here, and very good it was too.
I've got a bit of a thing for Styrian goldings hops, probably down to me being brought up on the late lamented Burton.
The overall score here was only three though:
By this point it was time to get a curry in.
|Leading to Quain Avenue|
We managed one more on the way back to the station, The White Swan. This pub had its own brewery, which scores highly in my books, though of course this still scores only one in the binary scientific scoring system.
They had their version of a kolsch on cask, and unsurprisingly it was better than any real kolsch I've had. Definitely a point for beer quality here, and an overall total of five:
And with that it was time for the train home. Most of my mates fell asleep on the way back - light weights! Despite at times wimping out and having a half, my tally was more than the all important eight pints, meaning I can in fact still drink a gallon, and am indeed still a real man.
I hadn't been overly looking forward to going to Portsmouth, my previous impression being that it had all the charm of Aldershot by the sea, but there were some cracking pubs and I really enjoyed myself. I may even have to return.