London, Cornwall, Devon UK

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London, Cornwall, Devon UK

#1 Post by barry » Mon Jul 10, 2006 11:45 pm

let me start by saying that i cant follow the protocol of rating.

a couple of weeks ago i spent 2 weeks in england with extended
family. i made an effort to sample as many british beers as i could.
it was a great time. had many good beers. suprisingly, i only had a few
that i would consider excellent. but if you ever are thinking of going over,
i would recommend it. its a great experience. then again, i tend to think any international experience is.

the great thing about british pubs is that they vary in what they serve.
go to one pub, enjoy the beer. go to another one and they will have a different tap selection. this would be the case if you just went a few blocks down the street, but it varied even more when you traveled from one town/city to the next.

the good news:
"real ales" are still alive and well in the uk. as previously stated,
local/regional breweries are still making their share of bitters and varied ales. by "real ales" i mean cask conditioned ales that are hand pulled and are not force carbonated. they are served at cellar temps. every pub i went to (and there were too many to count) served at least 2 differrent ales. some had as many as 8. they were all good. ironicly, the "worst" was bass ale, but it was still pretty good.

my fave beer was actually not an ale but something like a cross between a porter and a sweet stout called cornish cream.

the bad news:
its not really "bad" news, but i found that having a few pints at one pub one day and then some different pints somewhere else the next day made it a bit difficult to compare them. they tended to all be fairly similar. this was made more difficult when staying in small towns as there werent a ton of pubs to bar hop to do so (the "family factor" also played a big role in this as well).

as i said, this isnt so much a complaint because they all were good. but because you had limited choices in any given pub, i was limited in doing side-by side tastings.

the ugly news:
lagers have taken ove the uk. not that i have anything against lagers,
but without fail every, and i mean every pub i went to, had carlsgerg, fosters, kroenenburg, and stella atrios on tap - cold and force carbonated. and not that it ranks as "ugly", but also guiness and guiness "extra cold".

the majority of people seemed to drink lagers. seemed liked only old men drank ales. if this trend continues, it would appear that the famed british ales are on their way out with pub patrons. to add to that, i saw an article in a local paper that said that wine drinking was up by 25% or more in the uk. in another article, it noted that the population in the uk is shrinking. doesnt bode well for the future of "real ales" in the uk.

i love the atmosphere of british pubs. while the quality of service varied
(the fench have a reputation of being rude, but the english arent what i would call overly friendly), we have nothing like those pubs here.

i was lucky to be there during the world cup and witness a whole pub full of brits watching the country being in their version of the superbowl.
to keep it brief, its nothing like what you would expect.

every pub has a hand painted sign relating to the name of the place.
they were like their own versions of beer lables. really cool.

they best named pub we went to was called "the bucket of blood".
the place dates back to roman times and is suposedly haunted.
the ceilings were 7 feet high at best, and had multiple cross beams on which you could crack your head on even if you were under 6 feet tall.

so go to england while they still have "real ales".


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