Saturday, September 02, 2006

Beer, and also fear

First post is easy, isn't it? You just throw some words in to test it's all up and running, and then bail out again. No-one's expecting anything, so you get that one for free. The second one (and presumably all subsequent ones) requires you, theoretically at least, to have something interesting to say. Not sure that I do at this precise moment, though that could be related to the slight hangover I'm suffering from. Caused by the semi-legendary:

Gloucester Road Pub Crawl Challenge

Start point: The Anchor, Bishopston, Bristol, here
End point: The Bishop's Tavern, Bishopston (or possibly Redland), Bristol, here

Pubs visited:

The Anchor: decor a bit chrome and neon-y for a traditional pub bore like me, but otherwise OK. Products sampled: Charles Wells Bombardier (very nice), burger & chips (cheapish and prompt).
The Old Fox: seems to have reinvented itself as a biker's pub since I was in there last, which is actually a bit of an improvement. And they have a jukebox! Time and space don't permit a full-length rant about the death of the great British pub jukebox, but very few pubs seem to have them these days. In fact off the top of my head the only other one in Bristol that I know of is in the Clyde Arms in Redland. The Jersey Lily on Blackboy Hill and the Scotchman And His Pack on St. Michael's Hill have both ditched theirs fairly recently. But I digress. Products sampled: Guinness, as Butcombe was the only beer they had, and it's a bit watery. You can't go wrong with Guinness, or at least you have to try very very hard. It was a pub in, bizarrely, Henley-On-Thames where I had the only unequivocally off pint of Guinness I've ever had. Can't remember the name of the pub, unfortunately.
The Golden Lion: Bit of a last-minute addition to the list as one of our original group had vetoed it, on the grounds that he'd been barred for some misdemeanour involving urinating in a place not to the landlord's liking (I'll spare you the details). However when he cried off sick it got a last-minute reprieve. And a good thing too as it's the last pub before a longish walk down the hill to the next one. Products sampled: Shepherd Neame Spitfire - very good.
The Robin Hood's Retreat: This is the first pub on the Gloucester Road I ever went into, back in late 1990 just after moving into a student flat on Redland Road. Back then it was a dingy spit & sawdust place where wizened scrumpy-crazed locals turn to look at you as you enter. Remember the Slaughtered Lamb in An American Werewolf In London? A bit like that. Nowadays, however, it's all very respectable, laminate flooring and all. Products sampled: Shepherd Neame Spitfire (again) - also very good. Large and impressive range of beer, actually, including, scarily, Theakston's Old Peculier. Discretion very much the better part of valour in this case - it's too sweet for me anyway (I'm sweet enough already).
The Bristol Flyer: skipped on grounds of time. Never liked it much anyway.
The Forester's Arms: By contrast, this one hasn't changed a bit since 1990. I doubt whether they've even cleaned the carpets. Products sampled: Bass - perfectly OK. There's a fine line with Bass between flat but zingy and pleasant and flat and evil and sulphurous - this was on the right side. Just.
Hobgoblin: skipped on grounds of time. Nothing wrong with it though.
Prince Of Wales: also skipped on grounds of time. Also nothing wrong with it though. Actually, thinking about it, there is one thing: it's a very nice friendly pub, but their beer selection isn't great. They've got Courage Best & Directors, neither of which are up to much (Courage beer always has a nasty antiseptic edge to it, I think), or Butcombe, which as I said earlier is inoffensive but a bit watery. Sort it out!
Bishop's Tavern: Formerly a Hogshead, and hasn't changed much apart from the sign, as far as I can tell. Products sampled: can't remember. Ker-ching! I think you'll find that's the mark of a perfectly judged pub crawl - extreme mental derangement doesn't set in until the last pub. Any earlier and there's a danger of forgetting where you live, or, even worse, deciding a kebab would be a terrific idea.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I THINK you'll find that that pint of guinness you had in Henley was perfectly fine, and well you know it, you picky get!
And the name of the pub by the way was the Coach and Horses, if I remember correctly.