After all the foot slogging of our last research trip we went for a more concentrated effort this time, focusing of Borough.
Our first stop was The Wheatsheaf, a cellar bar. I spied Titanic Steerage amongst the handpumps, and fresh from enjoying their Lifeboat at the GBBF I had no hesitation in ordering a pint. Sadly it wasn't in good nick, unlike the lovely Lisa's Ufford's Golden Drop which was on top form.
It seemed a nice enough bar but I was getting a bit twitchy as I wanted to get to Utobeer before it shut so we hurried on.
I'd checked out the Utobeer website again before we set off, but as ever the promise on the holding page that a 'New website is coming soon' had not been fulfilled. Not having any advance information of what beers are on offer does make it difficult to plan your shopping, and the annoying (and quite possibly illegal) lack of prices on display doesn't help when you get there. Though they have started putting price tags on the really pricey beer, which no doubt saves the person on the till a lot of aggro from shocked customers.
As it was I nearly didn't spot one of the beers I was very keen to get as they were in a different section from the other British beers. Fortunately on my way to the till I spied them: Hardknott Dave's beers. These were pricey enough to qualify for price tags but we had to have one, so we forked out for a bottle of Infra red before heading on to the Market Porter.
We always seem to end up in the same spot in this pub, and whilst the view through the window (picture above) might look like an ordinary street seen it is in fact a form of entrapment. If you look closely you'll see the guy giving away free cheese samples which draws us into the shop every time. So one swift cheese purchase later we were ready for our next stop: Brew Wharf.
There won't be much change coming back from that £20 note
The last time we were here they didn't have any of their own beers on which is a bit crap for a brew pub, but I'd heard they'd improved so we gave it another go. They did actually have one of their own beers on this time, but they don't half crank the prices up here. It must be a Borough market thing. Their abc was a weak (3% ABV) beer that tasted of hops and nothing else. Really quite pleasant but at £3.90 a pint I should hope so too.
Never having been to the Rake, a bar connected to Utobeer and renowned for its beer range we thought we really ought to. Of course the Utobeer holding page doesn't do anything useful like give an address, if it did we might have made it there sooner.
The bar is tiny but they did have a lot of beers. On hand pump were two beers from Otley brewery, who are normally good and Goose Island Bourbon County Stout from the States. Excellent I thought and I asked for a pint of each. "I can only give you a half or third of the Stout" said the bar maid "It's 13%". Whilst we were conferring about whether this was really the sort of thing we should be buying the bar maid pulled us a half so I guess it was. The round came to £12.50 which I think is a record for two and a half pints. The Bourbon County Stout was good though. As flat as a pancake and syrupy in texture but very, very tasty. I've been meaning to brew a strong stout for a while but it might have to have be aged on spirit soaked oak chips now.
Our news pub was a much more normal boozer, The Shipwrights Arms, and I had a much more normal beer, Timmy Taylor's Landlord. It's a favourite of mine and I was glad to see it was runner up in this years Champion Beer of Britain competition.
Things must have been catching up with me at this point as we somehow ended up getting a taxi to a Mexican restaurant where we drank margaritas.
I didn't feel well the next day.