It’s as well to take advantage of what remains of the summer, so I met a friend for a weeknight pint.
Blackfriars was busy as usual, even though it was a Monday night. But something wasn’t right. Someone nabbed the last table while I was at the bar, and even the BrewDog Trashy Blonde wasn’t spectacular. We decided to move off somewhere else. Alas, this proved in retrospect a mistake.
We passed the Ingram Bar and looked in. Still only Greene King IPA on sale. Much quieter than Blackfriars with just half a dozen or so customers. The pub is up for let. No bloody wonder. We didn’t stay for a pint.
If the Ingram was quiet, The Auctioneers just around the corner was deserted. The single beer on offer was Marston’s EPA. Oh well, it gives me a chance to try the revolutionary Fast Cask technology. Marston’s can’t be too bothered about convincing people of Fast Cask. EPA is shit to begin with and remains so in any format. Slight mineraliness and the odd creamy blandness found in under-hopped beer. Is Fast Cask to blame? I don’t think so.
The Auctioneers is an odd place. When I entered my first impression was that it was like Wetherspoons, but without the smell of vinegary chips. After a while I decided that it was more like the awful plastic pubs you get grafted onto motorway hotels. I think it was the proliferation of menus, TV screens and lurid posters, half of which promoted cut-price drinks and the other half sensible drinking. It’s probably bouncing on a Friday night, but seemed rather sad on a Monday evening.
A couple of blocks westward we reach the Drum & Monkey, a Nicholson’s pub. The chain has made a recognisable effort to improve its cask beer offering, and the pub now has five handpumps. But oh dear, the beers on sale: Caledonian 80 and Deuchars IPA, Fullers Summer Ale, Brains bitter and St Austell Tribute; perhaps we got them on an bad night. The Fullers beer was somewhat grainy and just blah; Brains a fair bit better with slight traces of malt and hops discernible; Tribute had an intriguing citrussy lemon-meringue-pie nose, but failed to live up to expectations.
Why are so many beers so dull?
Is it me? Am I too picky?
Perhaps I was just in a bad mood. But shouldn’t going to the pub cheer you up?