Brian reading about his beers
Having visitors from overseas there was only one thing to do. We headed up to the big smoke to get some quality cask beers in. First stop was The Blackfriar, for the fantastic interior and the delights of Timmy Taylor's Landlord.
Brian and Mike in the Blackfriars
Then it was on to Ye Old Mitre. As well as proper beer I was keen to show the colonials some history, and taking them to a pub older than their country combined the two. Despite now being owned by Fuller's there was still a varied selection of beers on which was good to see. We had Oakham Ale's excellent JHB. On the downside they have stuck a sign up pointing down the small alley way the pub is in, so playing spot the pub was a bit of a damp squib.
Brian in Ye Olde Mitre
Next stop was the only pub on our list that the lovely Lisa and I hadn't been too. We were off to one we'd fancied checking out for some time: beer nerd HQ, the Gunmakers arms. One time king of the beer bloggers, Stonch, runs this pub and the diminutive Northerner behind the bar may well have been him. Though Stonch knocked his blog on the head in January, when beer bloggers meet in London they seem to congregate here. Anyway, the guy seemed friendly enough and pints of Purity Brewing's Mad Goose were had by all. We weren't overly taken with the pub though, and the noxious odour one of the Canadians emitted didn't help, but with so many excellent pubs nearby I can't see us rushing back anytime soon.
Outside The Gunmakers
Our next port of call was the Cittie of Yorke, a Sam Smith's pub. It's another pub with a fantastic interior but Sam Smith's beers are always a bit of a disappointment. The lovely Lisa skipped on the beer here and the rest of us had the stout, with Brian also having a half of the ever boring Old Brewery Bitter so he could tick off having had beer served from a wooden cask. We managed to get seats in one of the confessional booths, though no one took the opportunity to own up to dumping their guts in The Gunmaker's.
One of the many eccentricities of Sam Smith's is that everything they sell is own brand. Not just the ales but the lagers, the wines, the spirits and the soft drinks. I once heard it said that there were only five non-own label thinks that can be found in a Sam Smith's pub and one of those is the angostura bitters. It might be less now as we noticed the crisps are now own label too.
Own label crisps
We needed food next so scoffed our emergency sausage rolls and headed to The Old Bank of England. This fine looking Fuller's pub may not have quite the architectural interest of some of the pubs we visited but it does serve good pies, and pie and mash was just the thing we needed to set us up for the next leg. It was washed down with pints of pride for most of us, but Brian edged further ahead in the alcohol stakes by going for an ESB.
The Old Bank of England
Revived by the power of pies we moved on to the Devereux where Brewer's Gold was the order of the day. The after work crowd was starting to thin out as our pints went down so when we'd finished we popped next door to the Edgar Wallace.
The Edgar Wallace
The beer we had was Blackwater Ska from Salopian brewery. This was an excellent pale beer with a new world hop flavour. I could almost pretend I'm a proper beer writer there. I wouldn't be at all surprised if there were hints of kumquat in the nose.
I have a photo of one of Brian's legs from this pub, which I feel I should share with the world.
Masonic infiltration of Ed's beer site
I was up to eight pints by this point so I'm not quite sure why I ended up sharing with Brian a bottle of a double IPA I've been working on but no doubt it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Many fried pork products were needed the next morning...