View Full Version : Student Brewer - A weekend away

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25-02-2011, 16:41
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As a bit of a break from all the website and forum building, email sending, food cooking and doing Dad stuff, this weekend I booked off for a bit of a pub tour. Primarily, Friday night was a Beer Vs Wine food pairing evening at the Thatcher's Arms in Mt Bures.

I'm not too good at reviewing pubs and beers, as if I try to take notes I end up ignoring others around me (I can't multitask at all) - I found it fascinating how the journalists around the table could write notes and keep chatting with us. Needless to say for an in-depth report of the evening have a look at Pete Brown's blog (http://petebrown.blogspot.com/2011/02/beer-versus-wine-in-nice-way.html) or the Thatcher's blog (http://thatchersbeerblog.wordpress.com/2011/02/19/adnams-beer-vs-forrest-estate-wine-food-matching-evening/)

What I can tell you is that I was over the moon to meet Fergus Fitzgerald, the Head brewer at Adnams. I'm a little keen on Broadside, the first ale that I can remember really enjoying. I also now know I'm awful at bar billiards, that my food and drink matching is poor (the 2 courses I was absolutely certain on was met with disagreement from those sitting around me, so I quietened down a little) and that I've found yet another Brooklyn beer that I love - the Chocolate Stout.

I also got to try a beer brewed about 3 months before I was born, a royal wedding celebration ale in 1986.

I have to say, I've been inspired to do something similar at the Kilvert's. Whilst the beer festival is over August Bank Holiday this year, and should hopefully have a couple of beer and food matching events, I'm hoping to get one of these done during the Easter holidays, so stay tuned.

Onto Saturday, and one of the most painful starts to a day I've had in years. I'm obviously not a wine man. After taking about an hour to eat a sandwich and bowl of chips, I headed into London. I'd booked a budget hotel that offered free wifi and car parking, alongside 'heating' according to their website. Shortly after checking in I was in the Jolly Butchers, a pub that had been recommended and was kind of on the way home. I suppose you'd call it a craft beer pub, with a wide selection of cask ales, ciders and keg beers. On the keg side I tried Punk IPA - I presume the newer version as it didn't have the hops I recall enjoying last time (or at least not as strongly). Standing at the bar (the place was rammed from the time I got there, sadly including a group of adults too busy chatting to stop their children running around and up-and-down the stairs) I was intrigued to hear a woman walking up and down the bar asking every bloke if they were 'Ed the student brewer'.

Briefly I was tempted not to answer, but then I remembered a twitter conversation I'd had earlier with someone recommending the Kernel brewery on a Saturday as they open up to the public. Once I'd realised I was going to miss their opening times, @thehappybat offered to pick me up a couple of bottles and meet me at the Jolly Butchers. This was her, and I had a great time chatting to her and her friends about an assortment of things.

I'd like to just highlight something here. This is one of the things that makes me enjoy twitter and good beer together - someone I'd never spoken to on twitter or 'in real life' before recommending somewhere for me to go, then when I can't make it offering to pick up some of their beers and meet in another pub later to pass them on to me. So friendly, so helpful and an enjoyable couple of hours chatting away with people I otherwise would have never met.

So after paying them for my bottles, I decided to head into town and find some of the pubs I read about in blogs, the papers and on twitter. After debating which pubs to visit, I fancied a trip to the Euston Tap and then a wander around to see what tempts me.

Perhaps it was the long drive followed by long drinking session the previous day. Perhaps it was the expectation of something like the Sheffield Tap. I don't know, but I really wasn't impressed. The following blog will go into details, but after a quick pint I didn't fancy any more risks and got straight back on the tube and back to the bustling Jolly Butchers. A swift pint of Jaipur and off to bed for a decent kip before the long drive home.


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