Archive for January 9th, 2008

I have almost run out of pubs to blog about from my December visit, but I have a few left: 

Close to the southern end of Putney Bridge, you’ll find the Bricklayer’s Arms. Turn to the right after the bridge, and you have the pub on the right at the end of a side street, it’s easy to see from the main street along the river. (Don’t do as I did and waste your time in following the signs from Putney Bridge tube station to “footbridge”, as it leads you slightly astray. But the Thames makes it easy to navigate, even if you don’t know the area.)

This is an old fashioned pub with an emphasis on ales. They specialize in Timothy Taylor’s range, while their flagship Landlord is widely distributed, the rest of their beers like Ram Tam, Dark Mild and Golden Best.

There was no food on offer, no noisy electronic entertainment –  just a few customers enjoying their late afternoon pint. The background music was vintage seventies progressive rock with long guitar solos – no drum solos while I was there, I’m afraid.

In addition to the Timothy Taylor’s beers, there is an ever changing list of guest ales, with two or three on at any time. I had a very good glass of Downton Glory, a rather modest beer that opens up with both malt and hops as you sip. A nice surprise was the one I saved for last, the Downton Chocolate Orange Delight. Not dissimilar to an orange flavoured chocolate bar, this blends wonderfully into the porter base. This is not a beer I would spend an evening drinking, but it was lovely.

I had a nice chat with Will behind the bar, who was interested in a beer trip to Norway, which I have sketched out in an earlier blog post.

I assume the pub is more crowded at other times, it was named Greater London CAMRA pub of the year 2007, which should bring in a few guests. There was a list in the loo (!) of upcoming guest beers, and there will be a Yorkshire beer festival there some time in February as well. Good beer, good atmosphere, and it easy to find a bus or tube back to more central parts of London as well.

And I imagine this would be a splendid stop on a riverside walk in the area. Say hello to Will!

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Eric Asimov in the New York time has teamed up with Garrett Oliver, brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery and Phil Markowski, the brewmaster at the Southampton Publick House, a restaurant and brewery in Southampton, N.Y for a discussion and tasting of extreme beers.

Worth reading, even if you don’t agree with their conclusions.

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I am not going to bore you with lots of posts about the smoking ban, but I’d like to mention that the Economist Certain ideas of Europe blog covers the issue. Their focus is on all the outdoor heating systems being installed to accommodate the smokers (which I have blogged about before).

What none of these pieces mentioned is that these outdoor terrace heaters (which have also sprung up like topsy all over Brussels in the last couple of years) are not exactly a brilliant idea, environmentally. The gas ones may be prettily designed with little silver hats to reflect the heat downwards, but they still amount to sticking a bunch of large propane cylinders on the pavement, lighting them, and letting them heat the sky. The electric ones are surely equally wasteful, aren’t they?

So, smokers, enjoy the heaters while you can, I smell further bans here! This is not from a newspaper that is usually calling for government intervention…

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