Up until yesterday I’d only ever had one pint of Milton ale that was any good. Apart from that one exception I’d always found their beer to have an odd tang, a sort of hint of TCP. Never an enjoyable characteristic in an ale. But ever since moving to Norwich I’d been meaning to give The White Lion, a Milton pub a go. Yesterday that ‘giving it a go’ day finally arrived. The Lady and I called in at lunchtime for a libation. The Lady plumped for a half of Milton Pegasus (4.1% ABV), whilst I went for slightly stronger Milton Augustus (5.8% ABV). And, do you know what? We enjoyed what we had. Both beers were in perfect condition and served in true East Anglian stylee. The heathens would have hated it! Unfortunately they weren’t doing food and as The Lady was in need of solids we couldn’t dally for a second drink. The White Lion is a mighty fine drinking establishment and I’ve changed my opinion of Milton ale. I hope I don’t leave it too long before returning.
When we first arrived in the fine city of Norwich I was saddened to see an Adnams pub that had apparently, at the time, not long closed down. The pub in question was called The Vine and a fine looking, small but nicely rounded city centre pub it looked too. It hadn’t been empty for too long when it reopened as, what I thought was a Thai restaurant. I don’t have a problem with Thai food, in fact I find it quite enjoyable, but we had found a really agreeable Thai restaurant in Timberhill, which is sort of our side of the city, and hadn’t yet got around to trying any others. Yesterday saw us on that side of the city, coming from the White Lion and in need of sustenance. We called in. You expect Singha and perhaps Tiger in these sorts of establishments but not much else. Surprisingly The Vine isn’t one of those sorts of establishments. Yes it does serve Singha, but it also has three real ales as well as Erdinger Weiss and three not so common lagers on tap and all imported. Whilst it is a restaurant, particularly upstairs, there is nothing to stop you popping in for a pint, and it has made it into the 2011 Good Beer Guide. I had a couple of pints of Humpty Dumpty Swallowtail and two nicer pints you could not wish for. I was truly gobsmacked. The Vine is a true gem.
Yesterday we struck gold. Norwich is still capable of throwing up nice surprises and I look forward to the next one. I do feel that I’ve still only scratched the surface. I think a little more application is needed. Yesterday was a smiley day; well I had a big grin by the time I’d finished.