Sunday, 23 January 2011

Nicholson's Ale Trail

The Day Started Out Promising
Finding Tom already sipping a half of Thornbridge's Jaipur was always going to be a good start to a day.
The Blackfriar is a gem of a pub, an Art Nouveau Grade II pub built in 1905 on the site of a Dominican friary.
Unfortunately there was only one ale from the festival on tap, Thornbridge's Wild Holly 5% ABV . Drinking in the extension designed as a "snack room" makes you feel as if you're in the crypt of a cathedral. Mosaiced ceilings and effigies of friars appear all round in the pub.

Diverting from our original plan we headed to the Old Bell Tavern on Fleet Street. Another pub steeped in London's history. Having been a licensed tavern for more than 300 years. Built by Sir Christopher Wren, it housed his masons who were rebuilding St Bride's Church after the Great Fire. Again only one Festival Ale on Tap and one I'd personally been looking forward too Brew Dogs Alpha Dog 4.5% ABV with its hoppy and bitter long lasting taste. Quite a few halves were sunk whilst we waited for Jon to join us. Playing (and losing in my case) a few games of Blackjack to pass the time. Something that is rarely seen in pubs these days, the alien idea of going to a pub to play games or read.

Next up a short walk south of the rivers was Doggetts Coat & Badge, name after Thomas Doggett who issued the winner of a yearly amateur rowing race on the Thames with a coat and badge. Over looking the Thames with four floors we plumped for the bar (obviously) and this time were greeted with 3 festival ales!
Thornbridge's Hark 4.8% ABV a warming winter ale with spiced fruit & Brock 4.1% ABV a very smooth and creamy dark stout. A personal favourite from the day. As well as trying Adnams Oyster Stout 4.3% ABV which sadly wasn't that memorable.

By the time we headed toward The Old Thameside it was already dark, however upon arriving we were greeted with a dark empty pub and apparent construction notices. Luckily enough the next pub was a short walk away. The Mudlark serving another favourite Brew Dog 5am Saint (see previous post) taking advantage of the 2 meals for £10 we scoffed dinner and tried to sober up a bit! With another festival ale on the we tried a seemingly unimpressive half pint of Vale Brewery's New Dawn 4.2% ABV.

Soon we were down to two as Jon & Christine departed, moving on along the river again to The Horniman at Hays over looking  HMS Belfast on the site of an old tea warehouse owned by Frederick Horniman, a famous tea dealer. A packed bar with several festival ales on offer, deciding to sit at that bar. We quickly sought after Jersey Liberation Blonde 3.5% ABV and a disappointing half of Rudgate Jorvik Blonde 3.8% ABV. As well as Saltaire Triple Chocoholic 4.8% ABV which Tom had been recommending to me for a while and it certainly didn't disappoint. With a deep chocolate taste and a smooth finish, definitely one to look out for.
Next up were White Horse's Black Horse Porter 5.0% ABV and my beer of the day Vicious American IPA 6.0% ABV-a wonderfully hopped strong tasting beer. Not too over powering like so many other American IPA's can be.

Unfortunately because I hadn't done my homework our next two pubs turned out to be closed at the weekend!! That's the city for you. Although The Ship in Talbot Court looked like it could be an interesting place to drink. So with that and probably for the best we called it a day.