View Full Version : Northern Beer Blog - Pubpaper 761 – A journey of discovery via Bottledog and Friends

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31-05-2014, 11:46
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This week saw a day trip to our capital city to visit my employers head office. Situated about 10 miles south of the heart of london, it is a 4 hour trip each way. *Part of the trip takes me from Kings Cross to London Bridge, normally done in a 10 minute ride on the Northern Line tube, however with some time on my hands before my train to Leeds was due on the return leg I decided walk the 3 miles from the riverside station.
Before 4 weeks ago, I’d not visited London in over 16 years and I only saw Earls Court and Tottenham Court Road on those occasions as I went to the Motor and Consumer Electronics shows that used to be held there before its closure. **My first trip in May I only saw the insides of various railway and tube stations, so this was the first time I’d actually explored central London.
My journey took me over London Bridge, via St Pauls, the Strand and Camden. *Camden and the Grays Inn Road was a deliberate route choice so I could visit Bottledog, new retail shop from the people who brought you Brewdog, but more of that later. *You notice as you walk through the main streets that there are a nice amount of pubs and what really made me pleased me is that most of them have kept their original exterior, complete with the interesting old signage, acres of wood and glazed tiling (a personal favourite of mine on a pub). *I managed to spot only 2 chain pubs (to my knowledge judging by signage etc), Wetherspoons who kept the original features as they alway do on existing premises and Greene King who homogenised the exterior to look like every other establishment in the chain, uniform blandness just like their beers. **But lets not get into a Greene King kicking session, much as I would love to.
The visit to Bottledog was both out of interest and to get some beers in for the train trip home. **A small shop, but packed with beers from Flying Dog, Mikkeler, Kernel as well as the obvious focus on their own beers from the Brewdog brewery. **I’m considering myself lucky that my beer bill came in at under 20 quid when I left, less self control and a bigger bag would have seen it much higher than the actual bill for my 6 choices! *The fact that most of the beers were over 7% in strength meant I wasn’t going for session beers either (unless you inhabit the world of Hugh and the Cross Keys Siddal)
The staff were spot on in there, knowledgeable without being pushy and more of my hard earned money will be going their way on each trip, not the only place I had that experience that evening. *The beers were cracking as well, with all six being new to me. *The Brewdog Cocoa Psycho, a chocolate and coffee infused 10% Imperial Russian Stout was the perfect follow up to the bottle of German lager consumed before the train even left the station. *Although after the Kernel Indian Pale Ale which balanced off the heaviness of the stout perfectly with its fresh hoppy taste, I had the first world problem of chosing between a 7.4% Brewdog Libertine, the 7.2% Dogma from the same brewery or Jackhammer at the same strength. *I took the Jackhammer option and the highly bittered goodness accompanied my journey from Peterborough to Leeds. *The other two bottles are sitting in my fridge awaiting Saturday night as I write this.
After I got to Leeds I had 40 minutes to kill before my last leg home to Halifax, so I popped into Friends of Ham on the station approach, I’ve meant to visit this pub before, but it has always been too busy, this time however I got the chance to sit at the bar. *Like the Bottledog shop, the staff knew their beer very well, were friendly and willing to chat about beer between serving, and most importantly served some cracking beers. *A pub always endears itself to me when after chatting about a beer, a small sample is proffered without asking, a sign of genuine quality in a bar. *After the strong beer fest on the train I toned it down with a lovely 3.4% Red Willow beer, before ramping it up with a schooner of Hardknott Quebold at 7.4% from one of my favourite breweries when I get the chance to buy it. *A complex beer with nice hop flavours with more than a few hints of fruit and citrus is typical of the quality of their brews. *The food looked spot on if you like good cheese and continental meats as well, something normally I would have partaken in.
If only all trips home were this interesting!

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