I told you about the mixed experience Lars Marius, Stine and I had two years ago when we went to the White Horse Old and Winter Ale festival. The White Horse, with its splendid location in Parson’s Green, West London, has a long standing reputation for its solid beer list, both British and Belgian beers on draft and bottles which are picked for making up a broad range of flavours and styles, not to give a ticker’s list of pale lagers. (There is a lesson to be learned here, Porterhouse!)
But, as I have written about recently, the beer is dependent on the person who is serving it. At the time we had the most sweet waitress, who had just arrived from California. She did her best, but she did not have a clue about English ales. She kept mixing them up, which means we resorted to ordering bottles instead to make sure we got what we ordered.
This year it was easier. When I had elbowed my way past the main bar, I found that the back room, which used to be a restaurant with table service was now the bar for the festival itself, serving about a dozen milds, old ales, stouts, barley wines – English dark beers from cask stillage – no hand pumps, just the gravity to do the job.. Add to this a few BrewDogs and Belgian Winter Ales in the main bar, and you could easily spend the weekend here!
Well, I did not have the whole weekend at my disposal, just a few hours before being on my way. Things were made easier by another young American lady. From eavesdropping on the conversations she was having with the regulars, she had been there for quite some time, this being their last shift before getting back home for Christmas. The expertly poured glasses shown she had used here time there well.
Breconshire Rambler’s Ruin is an old ale, with some (intended oxidation. A reddish beer with little carbonation. Nice grassy hoppiness, malty body, but, somehow, the element’s did not blend too well together.
The Adnams Tally-Ho is very port-like, and is most sensibly drunk in halves. Rich, sweet, syrupy. Alcohol warmth. Prunes, figs, blackcurrant, sour cherries. A complex beer, I found myself a bench and sipped this slowly.
To finish off, I asked for the Fuller’s Golden Pride. This is not a new beer, but it is very seldom seen. A classic strong ale. Ripe fruits and berries. Blackcurrants, rowan berries. a little sour and oxidised, but pleasantly so. A neglected gem from the Fullers range, which should be available more often.
But why do they call it Golden Pride? It is not golden at all, but a lovely dark ruby. And when golden beers are a dime a dozen (well, £ 36 a dozen at today’s prices..), they could have played on the true color of the beer. Maybe it used to be golden?
I thought out a name for a ruby beer. Anyone can use it, though it will cost a dozen bottles for the first batch.
Ruby (Don’t take your love to town)