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View Full Version : Stella Artois Bock and the White Horse



stronk
09-22-2005, 07:17 PM
I went for a drink at the White Horse in Parsons Green today for the first time in more than half a year (I've been abroad) and found, to my dismay, that the entire food menu had been hijacked by the dreaded Stella Artois, the nastiest stain in Interbrew's varied collection of effluent.
The menu had previously been a worthy tribute to the cause of suggesting the appropriate beer alongside the appropriate wine to go with each dish. Now it's called the 'Artois September Menu' and all but three of the choices now have 'Stella Artois Bock' written as the beer suggestion.

Before you ask, no I haven't tried the bock yet (and I intend to as soon as I can work up the nerve and organise some method of washing my mouth out as quickly as possible afterwards). What surprised and saddened me is that a pub which had for years been the champion of rare and wonderful beers and had hidden all the mega-brand taps (including Stella Artois) out of sight behind the bar, has now gone over to the dark side so quickly and so unreservedly.

Now for the bright side: whilst I was sitting there with my sister lamenting and drinking some of the huge stock of great beer they still sell (we were drinking Rochefort 6, Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter, Paulaner Oktoberfest, De Köninck and Anchor OSA 2004), the landlord Mark walked up out of the blue and complimented us on our choice of drinks. I immediately started haranguing him about the fall into the poisoned arms of Interbrew and he told me that it was a temporary thing to help Stella promote a decent beer (for a change) and that I should apply for a job, as I seemed to know so much about beer. I, of course, replied that I already had, which confused him a bit!

Anyway, apart from that bit of news which will be irrelevent to almost all of you, I should say that I really enjoyed Anchor OSA 04. It was a good moderate strength (5.5%), which meant that it was malty, but not overly so and that a lovely lingering biscuity flavour was present just before the aftertaste which would have been consumed by the maltiness in a traditional strength winter brew. The malt was balanced by a moderate hit of unidentifiable hops, blended with the slight sour bitterness from the coriander, which matched and supplemented it very well. All sorts of other spices were present, but I was too busy enjoying the overall flavour gave up on further analysis.

EDIT: I'll try and get back to this thread with some notes on the bock, if I survive the tasting with all my brain cells and tastebuds intact.

Not that I'm biased or anything...

MeridianFC
09-22-2005, 07:48 PM
It's a man's work you're doing Stronk, don't think those of us behind the lines don't appreicate it.

(Anchor OSA, last years in particular, is one of my favorites).

chazwicke
09-22-2005, 09:33 PM
I started reading your post with a heavy heart. I certainly hope that the landlord was telling the truth.

I always look forward to OSA. Been hard to find on draught the past few years here in DC area but I usually love it even from the bottle.

stronk
09-23-2005, 09:04 AM
They have actually downsized a bit on the variety of beer (I couldn't spy Suffolk Strong or any St. Peter's beers, off the top of my head), but they're still the best pub near me. I hear that there is now a better place somewhere in central London, but that it is (not quite sure how) even more expensive than the White Horse. Given that my wallet starts screaming, leaps out of my pocket and bolts down the street as I walk through the door into the White Horse, I might have to go with someone rich and generous.

chazwicke
09-23-2005, 09:38 AM
Next time I come over you can play guide;)

Richard English
09-26-2005, 04:48 PM
I've never been to the White Horse as Parson's Green is probably a good hour from me- and I pass so many pubs on the way. But I should try.

Tomorrow the Garland, Redhill, with its range of all six of Harveys cask-conditioned ales to try...

stronk
10-02-2005, 04:16 PM
Next time I come over you can play guide
With pleasure! Let me know in advance, though, as I'm going to be in Oxford for about half of the next three years (uni) and I'll probably spend most of the rest of the time abroad.
If you do come over, you should make a point of coming to Oxford as well, as it has the best pubs of any city I know of (and they are also very real ale-orientated, with one of the best selections of any UK city).

Richard, you should come to the White Horse, but only if you pick your time carefully. I really can't say much for the clientele or the design of the place. They have a lot of comfy sofas and big tables, but this means that a quarter of the space in the pub can be taken up by three people monopolising a table or two sofas. On weekends and during summer it gets very crowded from 5 until closing time (and I really mean crowded). It can be very smokey and the staff have a very tenuous grip on the English language (for some reason, they make a point of hiring foreign students with little or no knowledge of the beer and wine they are selling).
Basically, I go there for the beer and the winter log fire (and because it's the only remotely good pub within walking distance of my home).

stronk
10-02-2005, 04:23 PM
Oh, yeah (and at the risk of becoming the most frequent poster on my own thread...): I have now tried the Stella Artois Bock. It was really not at all bad. It had a distinct large-brewery, unobjectionable character to it (think Interbrew's Leffe), but it was identifiably a bock and a respectable one, at that. Artois should be tentatively congratulated (though, doubtless, they are merely doing it to get a slice of the craft-beer pie and to give themselves a position of strength to crush the small breweries from the inside). Don't go out of your way, but don't turn your nose up, either.

chazwicke
10-03-2005, 08:24 AM
I've only been to Oxford once but enjoyed it greatly. Except for a run in with a meter maid and back then the pubs closed in the afternoon.

Quarkstorm
10-04-2005, 03:54 PM
Hey, not strictly speaking relevant to this thread but I was wondering are there many people from our side of the Atlantic on this board? As you can obviously see I'm new.

chazwicke
10-04-2005, 04:46 PM
Welcome to the board. There are a few members from Ireland and also from the UK. Welcome! welcome!

stronk
10-05-2005, 10:14 AM
I haven't been counting, but it feels like there are about 15 from GB and Eire and maybe 10-15 from the continent.

MeridianFC
10-05-2005, 10:14 AM
The head of N.I. CAMRA used to post here but I haven't seen him in a while. I believe his name was Mark.

chazwicke
10-05-2005, 10:19 AM
Speaking of those M.I.A. Where has Theakston been? He is a Manchesterian living here in NoVA.

MeridianFC
10-05-2005, 10:27 AM
He'd been having access problems from work.

noby
10-05-2005, 11:27 AM
Originally posted by chazwicke
Speaking of those M.I.A. Where has Theakston been? He is a Manchesterian living here in NoVA.

Mancunian ;)

chazwicke
10-05-2005, 11:30 AM
Originally posted by MeridianFC
He'd been having access problems from work.

Do you know if he is heading to Shirlington? I think he has been before.

And how about yourself?

noby
10-05-2005, 11:30 AM
Oh, yeah. I'm irish too.
Actually I'll be heading north in a couple of weeks. We have a wedding in Monaghan, and we're going to visit friends in Fermanagh too, while we're that far north. Whereabouts are you living?


Cormac

chazwicke
10-05-2005, 11:36 AM
Originally posted by noby
Mancunian ;)

Noted. Thanks!

Bloodaxe
10-05-2005, 12:52 PM
Well, I've just joined- I'm up in South Shields, about 10 miles East of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (about 270 miles North of London). Not a bad place for real ale, got a string of bars near the riverside! Just across the river is North Shields- where I'm originally from (I emigrated) which is well known in Tyneside for some decent real ale boozers! There's also Newcastle itself of course and the Ouseburn Valley too, which has some great places and music! Off tonight to Tynemouth (about 2 miles towards the coast from North Shields) to sup some Directors, Theakstons, etc. well, someone's gotta do it!

chazwicke
10-05-2005, 02:17 PM
Welcome to the board. Good to have you folks from across the pond. I am envious that you all have real ale everywhere. We have plenty of great beer here but from the cask is not as common.