Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Paul the beer blogger I presume?

As fellow beer blogger Paul Bailey has already reported, the lady and I were in Maidstone at the weekend, and on Saturday Paul and I (and Paul's son) met up. Having the local knowledge he had suggested a pub called the Rifle Volunteer, a Goacher’s pub, which I suspect has changed very little in the last thirty or forty years. On draught it offers three cask ales, all Goacher's, and one keg lager Hürlimann Swiss lager brewed by Shepherd Neame, the brewery that owned the Rifle Volunteer prior to them selling it to Goacher's. Anyone heard of Hürlimann? No me neither. The landlord delighted in telling me how under Shepherd Neame several blokes had turned up to change the font on the lager tap to some huge shining monstrosity for the to be sent away with a flee in their ear along with the news that a change wasn’t needed. I liked the landlord, although I suspect some would find him a challenge, but he amused me. A dry humoured cove who gave the impression that he’d been at the pub as long as the lager font and a man who clearly didn’t approve of change. Sadly there are so few time-warp pubs around these days.

Despite me often saying that I consider mild to be a cool weather drink, and Saturday being scorchio, I felt it my duty to start off with their weakest ale available. Discounting the heat it was an enjoyable pint, although I only had the one. After that I went onto the Light Ale which Paul and Matt were already drinking. Goachers Light Ale is a perfect summertime session beer, light as the name suggests in colour and with very little bitterness, so good I had two more. I couldn’t face trying the third ale that the pub had on cask as there was just no way I was going to drink stout in an unseasonal manner. As a result of the good ale and interesting chat tempus well and truly fugited, and our lunchtime drink was over in flash. We said our goodbyes with the suggestion of a re-match in Norfolk. Lunchtime drinking with good company is a damned fine pastime.

Blogging in general is a peculiar pastime and beer blogging in particular often seems like an esoteric minority sport that is undertaken by a few souls spread thinly. It was good to meet my first ‘other beer blogger’. Up until this point for all I knew all ‘other beer bloggers’ might have been computer generated and not real people. I now know I am not alone, human wise. Now how do I convince the rest of you that I’m not really Marvin the Paranoid Android?


RedNev said...

You've never met Tandleman?!?

Paul Garrard said...

Not me. Should I?

Paul Bailey said...

Glad you liked the Rifle Volunteers, Paul, and also the Goachers beers. You are correct about the pub not having changed in decades; certainly, apart from the change in owning brewery, it is pretty much as I remember it from 30 years ago when I lived in Maidstone.

Hürlimann is Shepherd Neame's original draught lager, brewed under license from the Swiss brewery of the same name, based in Zurich. Shep's claim on their website that they now own the brand, which seems a bit strange. Back in the days when I used to frequent Shep's pubs a lot more frequently than I do now, the beer was nicknamed "hooligans", presumably because of its alleged effects (a bit like Stella being known as "wife-beater")!

I hadn't heard the story before about the landlord refusing to have his lager font changed, but it doesn't surprise me. Like many local drinkers, I was relieved when Goachers bought the pub, as there was concern that Sheps may have closed it.

I enjoyed our get-together last Saturday, and as I'd told both my wife and colleagues at work, that I was meeting someone I'd been corresponding with "on-line", it was especially good to discover that you weren't Marvin the Paranoid Android after all!

Looking forward to a re-match in Norfolk sometime.