Monday, 16 January 2017

Pub crawl of East London

On Saturday I went on one of Jimmy's ticking expeditions. It started in East Central London, worked its way further East and then back to Waterloo.

First stop was the Hoop and Grapes. This was a Shep's pub, not my favourite brewery but some of their beers are growing on me. I went for a Whitstable Bay Pale Ale, which was perfectly pleasant.  

Sadly it was about the only good thing about the pub.

After I'd arrived they turned on some awful music, and there weren't really any redeeming features about the pub, so using the scientific scoring system it gets just one point.

 The next stop was the Old Red Cow, and altogether more pleasant place.

 I had a pint of Twickenham's bitter in here.

Jim was confused by the board saying they had a Session IPA at 4.7% ABV, as something at that strength is clearly not a session beer. I had to explain that Americans had imported the British term session beer and adapted it to their own market by making it stronger. Some British brewers had now adopted the American usage which doesn't make any sense in Britain, as let's face it you can't have a session on beer of that strength.

The Old Red Cow was an all together much better place than the Hoop and Grapes, and scored a respectable five:

On the way to the next pub was passed a sign advertising "The Brewery". At first I wasn't sure if this was an old closed brewery, or a new recent start up. When we got closer I saw it was the former, and the penny dropped about where we must be. "Hang on a minute, are we on Chiswell Street?" I said, and sure enough we were, standing opposite the old Whitbread brewery.

Not that there was any need to locate myself as I was just following Jim round, but this is possibly the closest I've come to beer nerdery actually being useful for anything.

 We were heading to the Crown and Shuttle, a large pub with a two story smoking shelter made of scaffolding built out the back. 

I had the Dark Star best. 

We quite liked this one, shame the bogs smelt of piss.

Williams Ale and Cider House was next. At first I went for the mild, as you don't see milds often. Sadly it had a touch of the Sarsons about it so I had to switch it for a porter.

 I liked some of the old adverts they had on the walls. Advertising that you have equipment is a rather odd way to promote your brewery, which I guess is why all breweries decided to settle on saying they use the finest malts and hops instead.

 The adverts brought the score up slightly, but only to a lowly two:

The King's Stores followed, which had a customer possibly the best beard of the day. The rise of bearded youths has led to the scientific scoring system having to be adjusted slightly, but that's science for you. To score "Beard or weird" you really need a customer with a big enough beard to look like god, or a proper pub weirdo, not just a kid with a goatee. In future it's likely the category will therefore be re-named "God or odd".

 I had the By The Horns bitter.

I wasn't overly taken with the pub but it managed to get a four:

There was a woman outside in a coat with umpteen pockets being photographed, though by the time we got there the photographer had switched from her proper camera to using her phone. If they'd been inside I'm sure it would have counted as a special feature.

I don't think the situationists would approve

Though they might have liked thes

 It was an old favourite of mine next, the Pride of Spitalfields.

The ladder's still in the bog, though I'm sure when I were a lad it was propped up in the corridor outside.

And Mary's Pantry is still there, despite the fact I've never seen them sell food and Mary's been dead for years.

The Pride was as good as every, though I didn't stick with the name and had an ESB. 

It was the first pub we'd been to that had a carpet, which not only helps deaden the sound but adds to the cosy atmosphere that's so important in a pub.

Why don't more pubs have these?

The pub was so good we stopped for two here, following up the ESB with a Truman's porter. I was a bit suspicious this calling for a second beer meant my friends were having fun. I had to make clear we were on a scientific research trip and not here to enjoy ourselves. Despite a well deserved nine for the Pride it was time to move on.

The next pub on the list, the Dispensary, was shut as the management clearly prefer to spend Saturdays having conjugal relations with a close relative rather than opening the pub. So we went on to Turner's Old Star.

We were asked by a bloke there why the four of us were drinking halves, as he'd never seen that before. We did explain the mission we were on, but he was drinking wine anyway so was a fine one to talk. 

After that we were close to the river at the Town of Ramsgate. I'd been to this one before and wasn't that taken with it.

 But it still scored a very respectable six.

Our next port of call, the Draft House in Seething was not so good though. In fact it had all the charm of a ferry waiting room.

I know we had to be there for research purposes, but I can't for the life of me think why you'd go there by choice. Each to their own I suppose. Still, the beer was fine, Great Heck Voodoo Mild if I remember rightly.

 Then it was on to the Old King's Head.

It had a ladder on the way to the bogs, but I don't think it counts as a special feature like it does in the Pride.

A slight detour to The Rake followed, as one of us needed to tick it.

It was a salted caramel milk stout here. I'm not sure why caramel has to be salted nowadays, but the beer was fine. 

The Rake has the special feature of having brewers' autographs on the walls, so here's some pictures I prepared earlier:

It was a curry after that, then we were into the home straight.

The Lord Clyde was a great pub, and could really have done with a beardy weirdy to boost its score, a very solid six.

Last stop was the King's Arms for an Adnams bitter. 

It's a bit of an old favourite, and obviously not just with me, as it got an impressive eight.

It was definitely home time after that.

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