A while back, we reported the sad news that one of London’s few specialist beer outlets had closed.
Now it’s back.
The Army and Navy beer and wine shop in House of Fraser on Victoria Street, Westminster, London, reopened about a week ago, on the second floor. It’s a bit smaller than before, but it’s nice to see it back.
This month’s “What’s Brewing” contains the CAMRA financial statements, showing an operating loss of £71K compared to an operating profit of £44K last year. Net current liabilities are also up considerably.
Slightly concerned about the financial position of the organisation, I eventually found some commentary in “Beer”, the other paper that comes out with What’s Brewing. Apparently, the loss is due to not meeting income targets from the Great British Beer Festival. The commentary from the chair, Paula Waters, says that:
…we had to experiment with the amount of beer we bought in in order to judge how much we will require in future…we now know what we need to do to make the event work in 2008 with lower costs and the right amount of beer”
Interesting. I suppose it’s all well and good us members making demands about what the GBBF should contain, but we do need to remember that this is one of the premier sources of income for CAMRA. It’s oviously a fine balance to get enough beers to appeal to the hardened tickers yet not have too much left over at the end.
Personally, I wouldn’t mind a smaller selection, particularly if it was kept better. Let’s face it, even if you sat there from opening day to closing day and had a liver of iron, you’d never get through it all. Other members may disagree.
Keith Brainard’s daughter is better at beer tasting than most of us. This video of a recent beer tasting was crashed by his family, with amusing and frankly rather endearing results:
Keith’s blog is one of our favourites — lots of great tips for home brewers, mixed in with a little domestic detail.
For the source of the title of this post, see this Reeves and Mortimer clip which someone has kindly stuck up on Youtube.
It’s hardly an original observation, but we have to say that the Royal Oak on Tabard Street in Borough is a great pub, with wonderful beer.
It’s an old-skool pub, with some amazing beards on display, but there were also some youngsters, and even a party of very jolly Spaniards in a corner who were enjoying pints of Best and shepherds pie.
The beers are all good — Sussex Best is a classic, the mild is absurdly drinkable at 3% and the Armada tastes like a weak (but not dumbed-down) IPA. In fact, one of the wonderful things about Harvey’s is their ability to deliver astounding beer in session-able doses.
The star of the show was the porter, the strongest of the offerings at 4.8%. Michael Jackson described the taste as “toasty, faintly anise-like”. It had stacks going on — waves of roastiness and dark fruits, with a very unctuous body and great aftertaste. I think I might even prefer it to Fullers*.
The Royal Oak is on Tabard Street, near Borough station, or a short walk from London Bridge.
*Which, incidentally, you can get on tap at the Euston Flyer. Don’t know if Fullers have responded to my prayers and started doing it all year round, or whether it’s just left over from the autumn, but it’s marvelous!
Picture by da mad pixelist at Flickr, under a Creative Commons license.
This via Appellation beer.
The Coors Visitor Centre, aka the Bass Museum, in Burton on Trent, is to close in June 2008. Apparently it costs £1m a year to run, and visitor numbers are falling, despite a revamp. Full story here.
We’ve moaned about the lack of any museum celebrating London’s brewing heritage in the past, and it seems sad that there is no appetite for this kind of thing even in Burton. Not that we’ve ever been — perhaps there’s a good reason for the decline in visitor numbers…
Anyway, we’ll definitely be making the effort to get there before June – it’s been on our list for a while.
The Coors Visitor Centre site is here. They make no mention of the closure, so perhaps it’s not true.