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Back in the Beer Loop, Sort Of

Windermere Pale Ale pint and pumpclip.

Apart from the small matter of the Olympics, our trip to London was also an opportunity to gorge on beers we can’t get here in the most westerly town in Britain.

We’ve been taking in the buzz about breweries like Hawkshead, Windsor and Eton and Kernel, and feeling a little left out. In the space of a few days, we put that right, as best we could.

We had a session on Hawkshead’s 3.5% barely-coloured-at-all Windermere Pale Ale at the Eagle which was just perfect — not aggressive or explosive, but certainly fascinating, like one of those actors who is charming for reasons you can’t quite put your finger on. And here’s sessionable: after a long evening concluding with several supposedly final rounds, we were more-or-less sober by the time we got home and hangover free the next day. Also good to note that, as the evening wore on, those we were with abandoned their Grolschs and Guinnesses until we were simply ordering eight Windermeres with each round.

We drank two kegged Kernel single-hop pale ales which went some way to convincing us of the hype: the kinds of beers you can smell from several feet away as they sit on the bar; which attack the senses and cause you to sit up straight, shaking the cobwebs from your head. We wouldn’t want to drink beer like this all the time but they were great as a hop-binge indulgence. (On a side note, one was served as cloudy as German wheat beer, but tasted just as good as t’other.)

We tried a couple of Windsor and Eton cask ales — Kohinoor IPA (4.5%) and Eton Boatman (4.3%) — which, even though they were served a touch warm, were obviously quality beers, and the kind of thing we’d be happy to drink every day of the week, much as we are with St Austell Tribute and Proper Job.

Amongst many other beers (Italian, Belgian, American; keg, cask, bottle… urgh… tired tastebuds) we even managed to fit in an ‘all-Brett’ kegged IPA from Brodies. We couldn’t tell it was made with Brettanomyces, to be honest, which is perhaps why we enjoyed it as much as we did.

But why did we feel the need to catch-up? We can get good beer in Cornwall and (though mild is in short supply) can even find a good variety, from strong stout to pale and hoppy. When you read breathless blog post after breathless blog post, though, it’s hard to maintain a philosophical indifference to the greener grass on the other side.

6 replies on “Back in the Beer Loop, Sort Of”

I was in the Southampton Arms yesterday, and tried three beers – one warm and completely flat (Truman Clean & Jerk), and two perfectly cool and in great condition (Buxton American Rye and Howling Hop Pale Ale – the later being brewed at their sister pub The Old Cock Tavern in Hackney). Not sure of the practical reasons for this.

B&B – glad you enjoyed the W&E beers. I’ve not had Eton Boatman, but Kohinoor is great. Conqueror, their “Black IPA” is excellent (and the 7% Conqueror 1073 in bottles also). They supplied the beer for my 40th, and the guests absolutely walloped it.

Will you be posting about GBBF? I enjoyed myself – I’d only done an Olympia GBBF once before. I may be imagining it, but Friday daytime (I tend to go from opening time on Friday until about 7pm) seemed much busier than usual. Olympics factor maybe? Dunno.

Tandleman — it is annoying. It can’t be structural as so many of these pubs are 19th century buildings with (presumably) deep, cool cellars. In another pub, burning hot glasses were blame…

Ant — we’ll probably write something. We’re still processing what we thought of it, but we came way with the usual mixed feelings.

I make fairly regular trips from Ireland to the Dartmouth/Ashburton/Newton Abbott area and wouold appreciate any tips on finding decent ale.

Doom Bar seems omnipresent and I just can’t get my head around that one.


Hi Prof

That’s way up country for us to have any useful gen – we’ve posted before on how Exeter seems to be a bit of a beer / decent pub desert. Having said that, we’ve usually enjoyed stuff from Bay’s (or is that Bays)

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