Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Sticky tables

Sticky tables do they irritate anyone else like they irritate me?

Before you've even got to the bar and ordered a pint a good measure of a pub is reveal by the non-adhesive properties of their table tops. It’s a cleanliness thing. If they can't even keep their table tops clean and free from stickiness how good is the rest of the experience going to be? And there really is no excuse for it. I suppose if a pub is busy, having the odd ring on the table from a previous customer, whilst not ideal, is understandable. But when the adhesive is in layers built up over a period of time it really is totally unacceptable. There is no need for it!

I’ll get me coat.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Billy Childish’s Backyard

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!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Another wedge-end that is rather thin?

The beer blogosphere is littered with posts on pub closures and the many reasons for their decline. I’ve joined in the debate on a number of occasions on here and commenting on other blogs. There are all manner of theories, reasons and excuses for what has brought about the slow death of the pub; some seemingly more plausible than others. But just when you think that lot of the pub can get no worse another possible threat rears its ugly head.

Up and down the land the planning regulations along with listed building status have been used to thwart scheming breweries/pubcos/developers keen to make shed-loads of dosh. Councils of all hues have at times been successfully persuaded to refuse change of use applications or to list pub buildings that were being threatened with re-development. In fact it happened to a pub in our street just before we moved here. But it now looks as if the planning safety net could possibly be whipped away as well.

In a desperate attempt to try and shove a broom-handle up the arse of the corpse that is Free-Schools, and according to this piece, the ConDems are considering relaxing planning rules. “Apparently the lack of available buildings is one of the reasons cited by government for why they're not exactly being knocked over by a rush of organisations looking to set up a new school.” Pubs, amongst other buildings, are a possible contender to aid the fight for an even more unequal society. Now there are some of you who will accuse me of scaremongering and trying to score cheap partisan political points here, and i would be the first to accept that in its latter days the last Labour government didn’t do a great deal to help pubs either. But all I’m trying to highlight here is that pubs are still under threat and yet another hazard is potentially heading the industry's way. Governments just don’t care about pubs!

Man goes into a pub and enjoys a beer

I think I’m starting to snap out of the beer blogging malaise that has afflicted me since my return from holiday at the back-end of September. I’ve been drinking, but haven’t felt inspired to write about anything beer related. I went to the Ipswich Beer Festival in October which was well up to their usual high standard. And, last week I made a point of not bothering to go to the Norwich Beer Festival. I have had quite a few good beers over the last few weeks and a number of mediocre ones as well it has to be said. But hey, it doesn't really matter as who want to read ‘man goes into a pub and enjoys a beer’?