london real ale

London institutions: the Wenlock

View of the bar at the Wenlock Arms.

Like the Bree Louise, some love the Wenlock, while others really seem to hate it.

Having been a couple of times now, we’re of the view that it’s not as bad (smelly, grotty etc.) as its detractors say, and, in fact, has a lot of charm. The overwhelming feeling was as if we’d gone back in time. It’s like finding yourself back in the eighties, which has a certain appeal for us nostalgic types.

It is also one of those rare places that manages to attract a very broad range of people, from Shoreditch trendies, via tickers, to cockneys swapping racing tips.

The beer was in excellent nick. Wentworth Vanilla Stout was creamy — not like John Smith’s extra smooth, it just had lots of body and coated the mouth very pleasantly.

We were amazed by Harvey’s Ration Ale. A mere 2.7% but really flavoursome — more so than many beers we’ve had at more than 4%.

Welton’s Le Coq, more-or-less as promised, tasted like something strong and continental, although actually came in at a user-friendly 5.1%.

What is with the constant drive time radio, though? Isn’t that one of those peripheral CAMRA bugbears?

3 replies on “London institutions: the Wenlock”

“we’re of the view that it’s not as bad (smelly, grotty etc.) as its detractors say”

You’ve obviously not been upstairs … that’s where the aroma gets interesting. 😛


Wow, this must have been around the same time as my last Wenlock visit. I also had the Ration Ale, and also absolutely loved it! I guess it depends if you like that unique Harvey’s flavour – I do, and was also delighted to find that everywhere in the brewery smells *exactly* like that when I visited a couple of years ago.

Overall though, I am in the camp that finds the Wenlock a bit on the grotty side. I’d not thought of it in terms of 80s nostalgia though – interesting way of looking at it.

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