Would-be trendy pubs seem to think it’s compulsory to offer Timothy Taylor’s Landlord. Maybe it’s something to do with Madonna?
Last night, I went to a friend’s birthday party in a supposed “gastropub” (viz. they had square plates). It was a perfectly nice place, with very friendly bar staff and (impressively) a dog. But I wasn’t impressed with the TTL. It wasn’t off — it was just old and tasted dull, with no discernible hop flavour or aroma. In fact, it tasted of Marmite, which is not a quality I look for in a beer.
The last good pint of TTL I had in a pub was in 2005, at the Trafalgar in Greenwich. Since then, I must have had 10 or 12 off, hot, stale or just plain dull pints. It’s a nice beer when it’s on form but, like a lot of similar products, its reputation is being damaged by indiscriminate distribution and poor quality control.
It must be a real dilemma for smaller breweries — push to expand and risk losing control over the quality of the product, or keep control and never sell a pint more than two miles from the brewery.