The Friday Pint 2015 #14 – Back to work again…

So, where were we? I believe the last time I wrote something here I was just about to turn 30, and my fiancee was about to come over from America. As things stand now, I am currently almost three weeks into my 31st year on this earth, and my fiancee is back in America, teaching kids music.

We had a good couple of beer and food filled weeks, with a couple of noteable beer related vists.

First up was a trip across London to Greenwich, and Meantime’s recently opened brewery tap room and shop. If all you’re after is a couple of pints of Meantime beer, you’re probably best off with either The Old Brewery or the Greenwich Union, depending on where you are in Greenwich. If you want Brewery Fresh Lager, the opportunity to buy a multitude of branded goods, and some bottles to take away, the taproom is certainly worth the walk. You can also admire all of the shiny brewing kit as well.

Over the first weekend we went up to the Midlands to visit a couple of friends. During this visit we went to Burton and Nottingham, popping into the National Brewery Museum and Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem whilst in both places.

For myself, it was the second visit to the museum. When I first visted, back in 2010, the onsite brewery was still under construction. It was nice to see everything finished. It was also nice to be able to try Bass and for it to actually taste okay. I had a pint in a pub in Bath a couple of years ago that tasted awful.

As for Ye Olde Trip, I can’t remember what I had to drink in there (it was a ruby ale, the name and brewery of which I forgot as soon as I left the bar) but I can say that the food, particularly the chips that came with my fish and chips, was very nice. The building it’s self was under some sort of construction, so unfortunately, some of my favourite parts of the pub weren’t accessible.

On the Tuesday, we met up with my brother and his wife at The Dancing Man. I can’t speak for anything else on the menu, but the Beef Rag and Bone meal was exceptionally good. It was also better than the description of braised brisket, cheese and roast potatoes. With two months having now passed since the doors opened, the venue has settled well. I’ll be writing a more detailed post on it soon.

The following weekend saw us head down to Devon for the Maltings Beer Festival. Unlike previous years (Bristol Beer Factory’s Southville Hop in 2013, and Penpont’s Chateaux Chiverac in 2014) there wasn’t really a beer that stood out for me over the three days this year. I did however, open my first bottle of Armand 4 (the autumn one). As neither my future wife, or best man enjoy sour beers, I had the hideous task of drinking the whole bottle to myself. Which I did. I fully expect I’ll be doing the same with my second and third bottles in 10 and 20 years time.

After the festival, we stopped off in Exeter on the way back for a family meal at The Fat Pig. It’s a small pub with a brewery on site, and a rather meat based menu. I liked it, and would quite like to return on a weekday to try something from their smoked menu.

As for what else happened whilst I was away, 10 more breweries for the Birmingham Beer Bash have been announced. Time is ticking if you want to get tickets, especially for Saturday. If you’ll be travelling by train to the Beer Bash, cheap advance tickets for the weekend should be going on sale soon. You should buy them so you have more money to buy beer with.

Just a suggestion.

As for this weekend, Vibrant Forest are celebrating the birthday of their first brew tomorrow with a party, including 10 beers on tap. If you’re in or around Lymington, you should make the trip down.

I’ll be back next week, with some sort of rambling. Until then, have a great weekend.

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The Friday Pint 2015 #13 – 10,956 days later…

This weekend (providing of course, nothing goes wrong tonight), I shall be passing that humanly significant age of 30.

Aside from the feeling that I probably should have achieved a lot more than I have done by now, 30 probably won’t be much different to 20, or 21, or 25, or even 29. Where this year will be different to recent years, is in the fact that I will actually be working on my birthday, rather than off as I usually am. After booking up holiday for my trip to Pittsburgh in February, the Maltings Festival and my fiance’s trip here this month, and my Dad’s 60th and the Birmingham Beer Bash in July, I soon found myself with not much holiday left.

As it is, I chose not to take this weekend off. Looking at how I’ll actually be getting in and out of work though, I’m starting to feel like I probably should have done. Thanks to replacement buses my usual half hour journey will be more like an hour.

Even if I was off, the Easter engineering works would have still affected whatever I would have been doing. Maybe that’s why I decided to go out yesterday, rather than today.

I decided to make my way to Siren to try out their tap room, and pick up a couple of bottles (which somehow turned into six). The journey turned out to be much easier than I was expecting. If any of you are wanting to visit Siren yourself, it’s a £6 return ticket on the number 3 bus from Reading (its probably slightly cheaper from Wokingham, if you’re coming from that direction).

The Siren tap room isn’t like most of the other tap rooms at breweries I’ve been to. My usual experience is of a purpose built room, away from the day to day operations of the brewery. At Siren, the tap room is part of the same space in which a lot of the work is done, separated only by the racks of old barrels.

Knowing where the brewery is, I’d like to go back when they have one of their special events. Given past form though, the next one will yet again be on a day when I’m working.

Three days of work left and then two weeks holiday. It’s all worth it in the end.

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