The weekend before last saw us back in Kent. We stayed at a Premier Inn in Rainham near Gillingham. Our reason for being there was to visit Chatham Dock Yards, and in particular an exhibition of Stanley Spencer paintings. The weekend was to throw up two beer surprises. First was the discovery that nestled in the proverbial bosom of Chatham Dock Yard was a brewery. The Nelson Brewery lives next to a Police Museum and advertises to the world with a sign above a shutter door proclaiming Brewery Tap and a dowdy blue and gold sign with the brewery name. I wandered over to the door. The lights were on but there was no one at home. Shame.
Attached to our hotel was a Beefeater restaurant. Not the most exciting of dining experiences but they are okay, usually. Beefeaters in my experience and my experience tends to be in Kent, usually offer Hobgoblin and Spitfire on cask; two very unexciting brews. On our first night they only had Hobgoblin on. Hobson’s choice, so to speak. So I was quite surprised when it turned out to be drinkable and left me feeling that I could quite happily drink another had time not been an issue. The following night the Shepherd Neame Spitfire was back on so I thought I’d risk it. It was a truly delicious pint. Clearly it was very fresh. In peak condition. The problem with so many brown beers these days is that you could be forgiven for thinking that hops played no part in their brewing. Spitfire normally falls into this category in my experience. The first pint slipped down a treat. A second was a must. If Spitfire was always like that I’d drink it more often. It just goes to show that occasionally a widely distributed and much travelled beer in a corporately cloned pub-grub eatery can exceed expectations. Sometimes two wrongs can make a right!