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alesme
03-15-2007, 03:35 PM
Hello all, I am traveling to London 1st week of May for the Reading Beer Fest and was wondering if anyone has suggestions for Pubs or Ales that I need to try whilst there.Thanks!

dparsons
03-16-2007, 01:24 AM
I had a delicious Timothy Taylor's Landlord while I was there. Highly recommended.

Richard English
03-16-2007, 05:01 AM
As I have said before in these pages, this question has less validity when speaking of London than it does of almost any other city in the world. As dparsons suggests, Timothy Taylors's is a fine drink and, yes, you can get it in London. But Timmy's is a Yorkshire beer - brewed almost as far away from London as one can get and still be in England!

The great thing about London is that it has a huge number of pubs (between 5 and 6 thousand) - plus bars and hotels. Just pop into any pub, ask for a pint (making quite sure it's served from a beer engine (handpull) and not from a font (tap). If the pub doesn't have any handpumps then walk out and find another one - there will be one within a few yards. Remember, though, London is the largest city in Europe and one of the largest cities in the world (bigger than Chicago, for example) so your choice of pubs will be governed to an extent by where you are

You don't say where you're staying in London but I assume, if you're going to Reading, that it will be near Paddington (which is the mainline station for the West Country). I can recommend the Victoria, where I drink quite regularly. It's a Fuller's house and just 7 minutes walk from Paddington mainline station.

The range of beers is also excellent in London - although clearly some pubs will specialise and some will be better than others - both from the point of view of choice and of overall quality. Any J D Wetherspoon's (a pub chain) will always have at least 5 cask-conditioned ales, all at a competitive price.

Happy drinking!

gallowd7
03-16-2007, 07:37 AM
www.fancyapint.com

enough said!

Richard English
03-16-2007, 07:53 AM
This isn't a bad site for London but a more comprehensive site, covering the whole of the UK, plus the Channel Island and the Isle of Man, is Beer in the Evening, here http://www.beerintheevening.com/

surfadelic23
03-16-2007, 09:17 AM
Lucky you! Have a good time. If you're staying in the Paddington area, I liked the Mitre in Bayswater. They had 4-5 real ales on and a pretty friednly staff. You could also check the BeerAdvocate site too. They have pub reviews as well. Fancyapint and BITE are also excellent sites as is Stonch's beer blog which while new is very good...

alesme
03-17-2007, 09:37 AM
Thanks for all this info, it is exactly what I was looking for. We are staying in South Kensington and we'll actually be in the UK for 9 days with a 2 day stay in Dublin. Two of us have been to the UK and are looking forward to the Pub life while the other 2 are 1st timers who want the whole history tour. We plan on concentrating on London with few excursions to the outer areas. We have also scheduled a tour of the Fullers Brewery. Part of our group wants to tour the Guinness brewery but I've heard that it's a waste of our short time there. I appreciate all the opinions expressed here. Cheers!!
-Dave

Richard English
03-17-2007, 12:18 PM
Fullers is an old family brewery and you'll probably get to meet the head brewer if you go on the tour. You'll also have a chance to try their beers, all of which are superb.

Guinness is a mega-brewery and you'll see no more than you would on a tour of A-B. I'd not bother.

One thing you might like to try that few people know about is to go to the meat market at West Smithfield (your history-seeking friends can take a look at St Bartholomew's Hospital and the Churches of St Bartholomew the Great and the Less).

But the pubs in West Smithfield open at around 0600 to cater for the meat-workers who come of shift around then. You can get a glass of good beer and a full English breakfast http://www.icons.org.uk/nom/nominations/full-english-breakfast at several pubs in the area - and that's something that few other tourists even know about.

stronk
03-17-2007, 01:51 PM
I've been on the Guinness tour. It's not a brewery tour, more an exhibition, which is set up in the storehouse adjacent to the brewery. It's not really worth touring, but the 'gravity bar' at the top of the storehouse is definitely worth a visit just for its panoramic view and the reception area has an interesting display of sealed antique Guinness bottles.

dparsons
03-17-2007, 11:12 PM
Originally posted by Richard English
As I have said before in these pages, this question has less validity when speaking of London than it does of almost any other city in the world. As dparsons suggests, Timothy Taylors's is a fine drink and, yes, you can get it in London. But Timmy's is a Yorkshire beer - brewed almost as far away from London as one can get and still be in England!


Thanks for the info Richard. I wasn't aware of the origin of Timothy Taylor's fine brews. Here in the states we're not quite as localized in terms of what is available and we tend to forget that it isnt the same elsewhere.

I'd still recommend the Timothy Taylor Landlord as I enjoyed it more than the Fuller's I had. The TT website states:

LANDLORD
A Classic Strong Pale Ale, Landlord has won more awards nationally than any other beer: This includes four times as Champion at the Brewers' International Exhibition and four times as CAMRA’s beer of the year.
Refreshingly reliable, nationaly renowned, this full drinking Pale Ale with a complex and hoppy aroma has real "Pulling Power" and stands out in any bar as the ideal regular.
4.3% ABV

Richard English
03-18-2007, 02:57 AM
Originally posted by dparsons
Thanks for the info Richard. I wasn't aware of the origin of Timothy Taylor's fine brews. Here in the states we're not quite as localized in terms of what is available and we tend to forget that it isnt the same elsewhere.

In fact, I suspect that beer distribution in the USA is much as it is in the UK - some very local, some national or even international.

In the UK, many US brands are available anywhere and I suspect it's the same with UK brands in the USA.

Of course, it depends, too, on where you are: in Orlando it's difficult to get anything except chemical fizz; in Portland things are much better.

London is the largest city in Europe and probably has the widest range of products (of almost any kind) of any city in the world. This is mainly due to Britain's long trading heritage - we still trade more per head than any other country - and this is certainly reflected in the drinks selection. In even a small supermarket you'll find beers and wines from maybe 30 different countries - a choice unequalled even in shopping capitals like New York.

For the beer drinker this means a fine choice of bottled beers in supermarkets and a similarly fine choice of cask-conditioned beers in pubs - although, as yet, pubs don't generally have a very good range of bottled beers (although Wetherspoons is better than most).

So far as Timmy's versus Fuller's is concerned, I would be hard pressed to make a choice as both brewers make fine beers. My personal preference is for a very hoppy beer and that means that Fuller's cask conditioned ales are not always my first choice - I would prefer Harvey's or Youngs.

stronk
03-18-2007, 08:34 AM
Fuller's cask conditioned ales are not always my first choice - I would prefer Harvey's or Youngs.
Fuller's vs. Young's goes hands-down to Fuller's, IMO. Young's beers all taste very similar to me, especially the ones they invent for special events (although the event beers are no better from Fuller's, to be fair).

Harvey's, on the other hand, is a very good brewery. I can't compare them with Fuller's because I don't see them around much.

Richard English
03-18-2007, 01:14 PM
I was only comparing Young's ordinary with Fuller's Chiswick or their Special with Pride. I agree with what you say about special brews.

My local (just 20 yards from my front door) has Pride and Harvey's and I tend to drink the Harvey's - which is the most popular brew according to the Landlord.

Mind you, isn't it incredible that we are discussing the possible deficiencies of Fuller's London Pride, a brew which, if it were available on draught in a typical US beer desert, would have customers queueing at the door?!

stronk
03-18-2007, 08:08 PM
Ha! I agree. In fact, I'd usually be the first to trump London Pride (although it's so common around here that I rarely drink it if there's anything more novel on tap).

I'm not sure that Chiswick vs. Young's Bitter is a very fair match, style-wise. Then again, ESB against Special is an even less fair match. My beef with Young's is really that their Bitter and their Special are virtually indistinguishable, to my taste (put it this way: I wouldn't be able to tell which I was drinking if I was given one in isolation from the other).

Sorry to hi-jack this thread (although, if alesme is coming to London, this is all useful knowledge, I suppose).

dparsons
03-18-2007, 09:58 PM
Originally posted by Richard English
Mind you, isn't it incredible that we are discussing the possible deficiencies of Fuller's London Pride, a brew which, if it were available on draught in a typical US beer desert, would have customers queueing at the door?!

I wish that was true. Unfortunately, if you gave everyone at a bar a free Fuller's most of them would go back to their Coors Light. The others would likely already know what they were getting and would have gladly paid for it without the assistance.

And yes, the bantering about preferred Ales is beneficial to the intent of the thread. I'll have to add Harvey's to my list to look for if/when I'm over there again.

Richard English
03-19-2007, 03:46 AM
Harvey's is superb beer and a regular winner in the GBBF awards. The brewery is a relatively unspoilt one in Lewes http://www.harveys.org.uk/ and as such produces mainly for local distribution. It is difficult to find outside of Sussex, although there is an excellent Harvey's pub in Redhill - just 28 minutes by train from Victoria - called The Garland. The Landlord there generally has the entire Harvey's range (up to eight beers) and refuses to stock A-B Dudweiser. If you ask for Budweiser is his pub you'll get real Budweiser, from the Czech republic. He doesn't stock Coors, Miller or any other US chemical fizz. You can see a picture here http://www.harveys.org.uk/laypubgarland.htm and here http://www.beerintheevening.com/pubs/s/19/1993/Garland/Redhill Havey's have only one tenanted house in London, The Royal Oak, and you can find out about it here http://www.harveys.org.uk/laypubroyaloak.htm and here http://www.beerintheevening.com/pubs/s/28/2814/Royal_Oak/Borough

stronk
03-19-2007, 12:55 PM
Oh, of course! I forgot that Harvey's made Sussex Best. What a great beer that is; I do actually choose it over London Pride, when available.

Richard English
03-19-2007, 01:06 PM
In my local boozer they only have two proper beers - but the two are Fuller's London Pride and Harvey's Sussex - so I shouldn't complain too much!

alesme
04-26-2007, 07:12 AM
I'll be in London on Friday 4/27 and hope to be enjoying a pint by noon or so. Thanks to all and I'll report back upon my return. I am very excited about the Reading Beer Fest! My friends and I hope to spend at least 2 days there. Thanks again!!
-Dave