The Friday Pint 3 #11 – More Mawsons

In the middle of the warehouse in Chiswick from where once many sporting events were beamed to the world, a solitary frame remains from the once full and lively Central Apparatus Room (or CAR for short). In it sits a router, too heavy for anyone to move (the question of how did they get it in it the first place comes to mind, but it is not one for today).

For myself, today is a day off. A day with which I decided a couple of weeks ago I would use to come to Chiswick for a few pints in The Mawson Arms, that pub on the corner by the Fuller’s Brewery. It soon came to my attention, that seperately, there were other people who had muted plans to pay a visit to the old workplace, and to the pub in the process. How many of them will end up here is yet to be seen. It is still “pre-lunchtime” as I type, whilst occasionally stopping to pick up the pint glass, sat to the right and slightly up from the netbook on which I’m writing.

In the glass is a beer brewed for the World Cup named Two Halves. It has that Fuller’s taste. It’s a taste that I didn’t really realise was there, but a few months after my last shift in Chiswick, and that time without having a Fuller’s pub on my doorstep, it’s a taste that is the sort of taste that once you take the first sip, you realise you’ve missed it. That being said though, as drinkable as Two Halves is, it’s far from being amongst my favourite Fuller’s beers, or amongst the ones I look forward to seeing again, like Spring Sprinter and Jack Frost.

Across from the table I am currently sat at is a window. Outside of that window, dozens, probably hundreds of cars depending on the length of the session, pass by on the A4, headed either towards London, or in the other direction to Richmond and the South, or the West on the A4. I always found there to be something theraputic about sitting in here, or the nearby George and Devonshire, and watching the world pass by. Inside the pub, everything feels like it has stopped, outside however, everything continues as it was. A siren wails as the veichle it’s attached to rushes to the emergency it’s been called to. Taxis drive holidaymakers to their hotels, or business men and women to their meetings. Lorries drive shipments to their destinations, and occasionally, people will walk past, some on their way inside, some on their way to another place altogether.

The first of a few people have arrived. In the name of social politeness, it seems like a good time to finish this post, and also finish this pint beside me. You now have less than a month to buy your Beer Bash tickets and book any travel and accomodation you may need. I shall remind you of this fact again next week, and every week until the festival has passed.

Until then, have a great weekend.

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The Friday Pint 3 #10 – Back Again

I said at the start of the year that this year’s Friday Pint would focus mainly on local beer. As a result, it probably won’t surprise many of you who are regular readers of these posts that I am back in The Platform Tavern.

As I  currently write, I have beside me a half drunken pint of a new beer (to me at least) from the Dancing Man Brewery, a beer named “Respect Your Elders”. It’s not an undrinkable beer. Indeed there are many qualities to it which are rather nice, the tropical fruit aftertaste, for example. As an overall experience though, it’s the first new beer in quite sometime from here which hasn’t made me immediately want another. As I always try to point out whenever I’m not too keen on a beer though, your tastes will be different to mine. You may very well love this beer, so try it yourself and make your own mind up.

Also on the bar today is DNA, a brown ale brewed with marmalade which, along with Big Casino is my go to of the more regular brews when there isn’t a new brew to try.

On the subject of new brews, we are now just five weekends away from the second Birmingham Beer Bash. Tickets are available from the website now, a link to which you can find at the top of the sidebar to the right of this post. I had a quick runthrough of the announcements so far on the first Mixlr show (check the last Friday Pint for that). Over the next few weeks I’ll be aiming to record a few previews, similar to the preview posts I did last year, which I will also be doing again this year. I also hope to be able to do a show live from the Bash itself, talking to as many people as I can in the hour.

I now have a pint of the previously mentioned DNA beside me. It tastes as good as DNA does. In the restaurant part of the pub, a wedding party is going through the cake cutting part of things. It doesn’t seem like a bad place to have a wedding reception, though The Wool House seems like it will be even better.

On the subject of The Wool House, progression is being made. The kit is in storage, ready to be installed, and the end (or the beginning) is almost in sight. As soon as I know the opening date, I shall let you know. Alternatively, you can follow @dancingmanbrew on Twitter for more information.

Next week I shall be returning to Chiswick, for a long overdue return to The Mawson Arms. Until then, have a good weekend.

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The Friday Pint 3 #9 – Wales

A couple of weeks ago (the second May Bank Holiday, if anyone wants me to be more exact), I spent a couple of days in Cardiff with my fiancee. Naturally, I took the opportunity to visit a few bars and in keeping with this year’s Friday Pint focus, drink some local beers. I also picked up a number of bottles, some of which I shall be covering in this post.

The first place we visited for a beer was The City Arms, a pub that I had visited before, though not since it’s redevelopment. When I last visted, The City Arms had (if memory serves right, it probably doesn’t) only around 3 or 4 cask pumps. Now it has at least double, plus a couple of keg lines serving beers from the Brain’s Craft Brewery range.

I like The City Arms for a number of reasons. For starters it has a good beer range, which should always be the case in any good pub, whether they stock one beer, or one hundred beers, if the quality is there, I’m already halfway to being won over. Secondly, it’s in the city centre, but it doesn’t feel like it. If you’re approaching it from the city centre’s main shopping area, the fact it’s situated at the end of a side street makes it feel slightly out of the main “hustle and bustle” (not that Cardiff really has “hustle and bustle”). Thirdly, it feels like a pub.

Which is more than can be said for the Urban Tap House, Tiny Rebel’s Cardiff bar, which is literally just across the road from The City Arms (and I use literally in it’s literal definition there). I like the Urban Tap House, and I really like Tiny Rebel’s beers, but if I had to choose between the two bars to spend an afternoon or evening, The City Arms would be the winner. If money was no object however, I would certainly be spending some of my time working through those fridges in the Urban Tap House.

One place which only came to my attention due to it’s twitter account saying it was playing Manics songs on the day of the band’s Cardiff show back at the end of March is The Gravity Station, a bottle shop/tasting bar not far from the Cineworld and Motopoint Arena.

The Gravity Bar is owned by The Waen Brewery, and has a good selection of Welsh beers available to buy in bottle, alongside some from further afield. There is also around 6 draft beers available to drink in the shop. It was from here that I bought most of the bottles I came home with. A few more were bought from Wally’s Delicatessen.

In Good Morning… tradition, I’m now going to open a few of those bottles and continue writing this post as I go along.

First up into the glass is Waen’s Landmark, a beer which instantly made a good impression as I lifted the glass to my mouth. The aroma is the kind of fruity aroma that I’ve not had from a beer in quite a while. Tastewise, the first thing I got was peach, then sherbert, before finally bitterness. After a few more mouthfuls, that good first impression has been followed by slight disappointment, as none have been as good as that first taste. That being said, Landmark is still a beer that I’d drink again.

Following the Landmark into the glass is another Waen beer, Janner’s Pride, described on the bottle as a “Conker coloured best bitter with hints of ginger and whiskey”. It’s the first time I’ve seen conker used as a colour reference. When held up to the light, I’d argue it’s lighter than a conker, yet without light shining through it, they could be onto something.

Aroma wise it certainly smells “brown”, if that makes sense. It has a mix of burnt and caramel malt aromas that sometimes feature in the more malt focused beers. Tastewise, so far, it is failing to live up to the promise of that bottle label description. I have a suspicion that had I not read that, and was trying this blind, that I might have a differing opinion to the one I have now.

Next I’m moving on to the Brain’s Craft Brewery range. I have two bottles that I’ll be opening, and tried a few more whilst in Cardiff. The first bottle for this post is Brabo, a Belgian style pale ale.

I have to say, I rather like this. It’s not something I’d drink a lot of, butit’s certainly something I’d drink and suggest others try. It’s also a beer that could be used to introduced new drinkers to a wider ranger of beer. There’s a light biscuity sweetness in the taste, which makes the beer rather moorish. (The beer was brewed with beer writer Des de Moor, so I suppose you could say it was Des de Moorish if you wanted to make cheap puns, which I don’t so I won’t, but the option is there).

The second Brain’s Craft Brewery beer is Bragging Rights, a braggat style beer. The beer is brewed with honey, nutmeg, coriander, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon and ginger, all of which combine to give a beer which is by far my favourite of the night so far. The sweetness of the honey makes this a beer that can easily be shared with people who are usually put off by the bitterness of other beers.

The only other braggat style beer I’m aware of, is the one brewed by the Blue Anchor in Helston Cornwall. It’s a style I rather like, and it’s one I’d reccomend to any beer drinker.

To hear what I thought about the last two beers I picked up from Wales (from The Celt Experience), you can listen to the first Mixlr show here

Show links

Birmingham Beer Bash

Boak and Bailey’s Blog

Ronald Pattinson’s Blog

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