Belgian Summer Saunter 2018, Day Four Gent

Chemical Dealership, Gent
Chemical Dealership, Gent

Gent/Ghent/Gand is a city that I have been wanting to return to for some time. I last visited over a decade ago, a not-so successful beer trip as we were spending a day there with Wifey’s parents who are certainly not beer bores like me. I was struck by the grandness of the architecture within the centre of the city with the Graslei harbour being a notable memory. However, I was keen to explore Gent in more detail and try to get under the skin of the second largest municipality in Belgium.

Shopfronts, Gent
Shopfronts, Gent

I was staying at the Ibis Dampoort, just on the north-east side of the city and a simple stroll into town. Walking north to the Handelsdok basin felt like being on a Terminator movie set. Many of the crumbling dockside buildings were taken over to art installations, skateparks and meeting places of all descriptions. Crossing the footbridge brought me to Joint Dokkaffee, an arty beer cafe on a barge. The temperature was hitting 37 degrees and a Saison Biologique from Dupont hit the spot.

Joint Dokkaffee, Gent
Joint Dokkaffee, Gent

Suitably refreshed it was time to take in some of the city’s sites. Heading down to the Graslei, the medieval port in the centre of the city, the many grand buildings surrounding this area are a reflection of the city’s past wealth. Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant is on the Leie just before you get to Graslei and an ideal place to stop for a restorative. I tried a glass of dry-hopped Gandavum from Proef. The beer list is impressive and if you’re hungry you can pop next door to their Eethuisje Chez Leontine. Moving on to Vrijdagmarkt I spent some time away from the heat in the Dulle Griet, another old beer cafe with an impressive list. Situated on the market square this pub was unavoidably full of tourists, the majority of who happily gave up one of their shoes for the privilege of drinking one of the Max house beers from a 120cl stirrup glass. Each to their own. I went for a Soleil Levant from Brussels Beer Project.

Soleil Levant
Soleil Levant
Gent architecture
Gent architecture

My next stop was another institution, the Trollekelder next to St Jacob’s Church. A remnant from Belgium’s impressive tilt at the World Cup title, Go Belgium is a red berry Belgian ale which unfortunately lacks a fruit punch.

Go Belgium, Brussels Beer Project
Go Belgium, Brussels Beer Project

A new day brought more searing sunshine so why not head off to a brewery in the heart of the city? Gruut has been around for almost 10 years now and brewer Annick De Splenter’s family use to own Riva in Dentergem. Of particular interest is that Annick brews her beers without the use of hops, hence the name Gruut. Gruut is the mixture of herbs and spices used to flavour these beers. Many years ago, brewers from the French side of major Belgian rivers used gruut, those from the northern German side used hops. This is not unique to Belgium as even in Britain, brewers used to make ‘ale’ which was un-hopped. Once British brewers adopted hops to flavour their beers was it then called ‘beer’.

Gruut Inferno 9%
Gruut Inferno 9%

They currently make 5 beers and the 3 that I tried were all good quality and well-balanced. The glasses have a little silver mirror on the bottom which reflect erotic drawings from the beer mats. There is an open door policy at the brewery but you can pre-book guided tours if you wish. They also offer guided walks, boat rides and give you the opportunity to add your own flavours to their blond beer.

Gruut Brewkit
Gruut Brewkit
Eclectic
Eclectic
Gruut Brewery, Straight Outta Chiswick
Gruut Brewery, Straight Outta Chiswick

Suitably refreshed it was now time to wander towards Sint-Pieters and the university area of town. It was summer so the pace of life around here had slowed somewhat and many of the student-orientated bars were operating on reduced opening hours. Planck, a lovely steamer-turned beer cafe is located on the canal just down from the University. The terrace is an oasis of calm and I enjoyed a lovely Netebuk from Gulden Spoor.

Kaffee The Planck
Kaffee The Planck

Across the street is De Brouwzaele who’s claim to fame is its amazing bar which has the top of a brewing kettle sat atop it. I was excited to see a favourite of mine on tap, Witkap Stimulo. However, the beer was tart and not up to standard. A shame.

De Brouwerzael
De Brouwerzael
Witkap Stimulo, not the usual standard
Witkap Stimulo, not the usual standard

Redemption was to be found across the footbridge to the other side of the canal. I think that I’ve found my favourite cafe in Gent, thanks to the indispensable Good Beer Guide Belgium. On the water’s edge below St Peter’s Abbey sits Geus Van Gent. I enjoyed a lovely Geuze from Tilquin on the terrace with a generous helping of cheese, salami and local Tierenteyn mustard. I’m glad that I then chose to explore the cafe’s interior as it is a dream.

Geus Van Gent
Geus Van Gent
Terrace, Geus Van Gent
Terrace, Geus Van Gent

Various styles of cafe furniture mingle with leather sofas and a pool table. The art is funky, sometimes rude and the soundtrack is classic jazz. I could happily have stayed here all evening and am kicking myself for not doing so. A repeat visit is certainly on the cards. Apart from a superb range of lambics they also champion local producers. I was happy to try another wonderful beer from the ever-impressive Humboldt en Gauss.

Populist, Humboldt en Gauss
Populist, Humboldt en Gauss
Geus Van Gent
Geus Van Gent
Geus Van Gent
Geus Van Gent
Ahem, Geus Van Gent
Ahem, Geus Van Gent

Foolishly electing to head back into the centre of town I took a walk to Trappistenhuis. Nice bar, good service but be warned that it is just around the corner from Gent’s blue light street, I somehow have an uncanny knack for stumbling onto these areas like a moth to a lamp. Beating a hasty retreat, I was tempted to return to the Trollekelder but at the last minute decided to try Afsnis which is just opposite. Another cool cafe dedicated to lambics and locally-produced beers. I plumped for some more beers from VDBCK. I think that these boys are destined to go from strength to strength. Must pay them a visit soon.

Gravensteen, 10th century moated castle
Gravensteen, 10th century moated castle

I would definitely recommend a trip here and urge you to step off the well-beaten tourist track and seek out some of the great bars outside the centre. If you are travelling by car I would strongly recommend stocking up at Hopduvel, one of the best beer warehouses in Belgium.

 

http://www.waterhuisaandebierkant.be

http://www.dullegriet.be

http://jointjoint.be/Kaffee/Dokhome/index.html

http://www.gruut.be

http://www.deplanck.be

http://www.trollekelder.be

http://www.geuzenhuis.be

http://trappistenhuis.com

https://www.vbdck.be

http://www.dehopduvel.be

 

Belgian Summer Saunter 2018, Day Two Antwerp

De Koninck Brewery
De Koninck Brewery

I love Belgian railways. Cheap, on time, if you miss your train a guard will usually advise which circuit of alternative routes will get you to your destination, phone charging sockets, bathrooms, etc, etc. Leaving from Mechelen, in 20 minutes I arrived at Antwerp Centraal. Such a beautiful station, the grandness of its architecture is breathtaking. Arriving on a sleepy Sunday my first detour was to the De Koninck Brewery. With a history dating back to the early 1800’s this is the home of the classic Antwerp Pale Ale, a beer that you can order by the name of its glass alone – a Bollecke. Since 2010, the former one-beer brewery now has a wider range of beers within its portfolio and also showcases many of the other Duvel-owned breweries within its Taproom.

A classic
A classic

The tour requires no advanced booking as it is fully automated and interactive. Starting with a glass of one of their new beers, Triple D’Anvers on their sunny terrace you are taken on a history lesson of the city and the brewery.

Triple D'Anvers
Triple D’Anvers

The production of beer is delivered via a video screen on a brewing copper and numerous innovative AV tools are used to inform you of the brewing history and innovations that have occurred over time. I particularly enjoyed being taken on a virtual tour in a vintage dray – the child in you will love this!

Bollecke Glass Chandelier?
Bollecke Glass Chandelier?

There are two tap rooms – one for Duvel and the other featuring the De Koninck brands plus beers from Liefmans, Boulevard, Firestone Walker and Ommegang. You get two tasters of your choice and then I would recommend a tasting flight to try as many beers as you can. The room is very comfortable and were I with friends I would probably have stayed longer. The team behind the bar couldn’t be anymore helpful either, giving much-needed advice on how to navigate the tram from the brewery into the centre of the city.

De Koninck beer brands
De Koninck beer brands

So off by tram I went into the heart of Antwerp to take in a whistle-stop tour of most of my favourite city bars. Starting at the Pelikaan, a brown bar at the back of the Cathedral I headed to the Quinten Matsijs, the oldest continually licensed cafe in Belgium for some kaaskroketten and a beer.

Pelikaan, Antwerp
Pelikaan, Antwerp
Merckx at the Pelikaan
Merckx at the Pelikaan
Quinten Matsijs
Quinten Matsijs

After lunch it was time to take a quick tour of the city’s sights but the heat from one of the hottest summers on record forced me to take further liquid refreshment. Paters Vaetje wetted my appetite before venturing onto Ware Jacob, a lovely old brown bar specialising in local brews and British breweriana – I spotted an old Whitbread Best Bitter keg font I kid you not! Jack’s Precious IPA is part of the Belgian Legends series by The Musketeers Brewery who are building a new brewery in Sint-Gillis-Waas. Local brewers ‘t Pakhuis are also featured and I enjoyed their Zwarte Jacob stout.

Warre Jacob
Ware Jacob
Zwarte Sinjoor, Warre Jacob
Zwarte Sinjoor, Warre Jacob

A pair of local chaps insisted on taking me to a bar down the street. Not for the beer which was the usual selection of lagers and Belgian heavyweights but for their juke box – of sorts. Along the rear wall of the cafe is an old fairground music machine. I have never seen anything quite like it. They kept passing euros across the bar so that the landlady would keep playing the thing. Some of the locals had fingers in their ears. If you want to see Belgian Bizzare, head for the Beveren.

Beveren, Antwerp
Beveren, Antwerp

My next to last stop is my favourite cafe in Antwerp (the Kulminator was closed for holidays). The Oud Arsenaal on Maria Pijpelincxstraat is a wonderful local pub with a great beer list and a noisy, laughter-filled atmosphere. I tried their house beer plus SmasH Pale Ale from Brasserie C in Liege.

Torpah, Oud Arsenaal
Torpah, Oud Arsenaal

It was now time to get my train back to Mechelen. Just missing it I stopped off at the Bier Central on the square outside the station. Having some time before my train I also took advantage of a proper look at the interior of this station. Right up there with my favourite grand railway stations, it is pretty awe-inspiring.

Antwerp Central Station
Antwerp Central Station
Antwerp Central Station
Antwerp Central Station

 

http://www.dekoninck.be/en/home

https://www.facebook.com/Caf%C3%A9-Pelikaan-430809940641852

http://www.quintenmatsijs.be

http://www.patersvaetje.be

https://www.facebook.com/DeWareJacob

http://www.dorstvlegel.be

https://www.biercentral.be

 

 

 

Belgian Summer Saunter 2018, day one Mechelen

As is the norm in my house, this summer Wifey went back to the US to catch up with family leaving me the opportunity to cross the Channel to Belgium, visit breweries new and old, check out the beer scene within various cities and catch up with friends.

Arriving in Mechelen after a four hour delay at the Tunnel I was gasping for a beer. My host Frank obliged me with a fridge full of Het Anker beers – gratis – his effort to spread the love for this fantastic brewery. He even had the full range of glassware to go with his beers. A great start to the trip.

Gouden Carolus Tripel
Gouden Carolus Tripel

I was visiting Brouwerij Het Anker which I reviewed a while ago, follow the link: https://pauldav1963.wordpress.com/tag/brouwerij-het-anker/  However I wasn’t taking a tour of the brewery this time but dining in their brasserie which was unfortunately closed for refurbishment when I last visited. I also wanted to taste their new U.L.T.R.A. beer, a reduced alcohol pale weighing in at 3.7%. As expected dinner was fantastic, perch cerviche paired with the new U.L.T.R.A. beer – very tasty at 3.7%. Grilled rib eye, peppercorn sauce and Carolus Classic. Can’t wait to go back!

Brouwerij Het Anker
Brouwerij Het Anker

Other Mechelen highlights included a bar that is new to me. Makadam is located on the main square and has an interesting beer list with a focus on newer producers. I had a lovely Saison from Kerel with a view of the beach volleyball in the square.

Kerel Saison, Makadam
Kerel Saison, Makadam

Another steak at the consistently high quality Afspraak, on the road leading from the main square to Nekkerspoel train station was followed by some refreshing lambic at the Gouden Vis, a beautiful art nouveau cafe better suited for a date rather than a beer hunter. However, a real treat was to discover that an institution that I had assumed had been lost forever had re-opened. Den Stillen Genieter has risen from the flames and is located on Korenmarkt, a lovely tree-lined square with plenty of outdoor seating. 300+ beers available, mainly from smaller and new producers. I went there both days enjoying beers from Het Nest, Wolf and Kerel.

Wolf 7, on the terrace at Den Stillen Gentier
Wolf 7, on the terrace at Den Stillen Gentier

All in all another great visit to Mechelen, a lovely city that is easy to navigate with many bike routes out into the countryside. About 30 minutes to Antwerp it is a more affordable base from which to discover the delights of Belgium’s second largest city.

Goodnight from Mechelen
Goodnight from Mechelen

https://www.hetanker.be

http://www.dafspraak.be

https://barmakadam.com

http://www.degoudenvis.be

https://www.facebook.com/denstillengenietermechelen

 

Sint-Jakobs volkscafe, Brugge

Spent a hectic day in West Flanders this week, catching up on some Christmas shopping and getting the beer stocks at Chez Davies replenished. Some great stuff was found at Noel Cuvelier, Bacchus Cornelius, 2be and the local supermarkets in Watou and Brugge.

Sint-Jakob volkscafe, Brugge
Sint-Jakob volkscafe, Brugge

Needing some liquid refreshment before the journey back to London I stumbled upon this guy behind a new bar in Sint-Jakobstraat. Looked very familiar.

Tom and his new bar
Tom and his new bar

Tom Matthys, until recently ‘man on the taps’ at ‘t Brugs Beertje opened his new bar in November and was taken by surprise by how busy his new venture has been. Tom stresses that ‘this isn’t a beer bar for beer geeks’ but a community venue that opens early and, thankfully for the neighbours closes at a reasonable 11pm. A large number of locals have embraced his friendly bar and are thankful that the former ‘Nite Cafe’ has changed hands. The ambience is relaxed and cosy, folkmusic sits heavily within the playlist along with international classics – Tom Jones perhaps? Sing-a-longs are encouraged and Roman beers feature heavily on the drinks list. Roman are based in Mater, east of Oudenaarde and are reputed to be Belgium’s oldest brewery being founded in 1545.

Adrian Brouwer Winter Wood 2016
Adrian Brouwer Winter Wood 2016

Looking to try a new and interesting festive beer before heading back to the tunnel, Tom recommended Adrian Brouwer Winter Wood 2016, a limited batch whisky oaked dark beer that has been so popular that stocks have now run out. A deep dark amber beer with a medium brown head, Winter Wood has aromas of roasted dark malts, coffee, a slight whiff of whisky, port and Christmas pudding. As it warms, fruity apples come into play. The taste is sweet and fizzy with more coffee, chocolate and figs. The finish is long and warming with bitterness, coffee and treacle. A true festive treat and if I didn’t have a crossing booked for that night I would have happily settled into an armchair with a couple more of these! ABV 10%

Sint-Jakobs volkscafe

Sint-Jakobstraat 60, 8000 Brugge

Opens from 14:00 to 23:00 each day, closed Thursday

http://www.roman.be/

King’s Arms, Roupell Street, London SE1

Following an aborted attempt to attend a beer tasting at Uttobeer and with time on my hands, I took a walk through Southwark to take in one of my favourite bars, the award-winning Kings Arms.

The Kings Arms, Roupell Street
The Kings Arms, Roupell Street

I used to walk past this pub on my way home from work at Lloyd’s Bank many years ago. The pub is sited on an unspoilt stretch of terraced housing, just a stone’s throw away from Waterloo Station. The street of 70 Georgian houses dates back to 1830 and is regularly used as a backdrop in TV and Film, most recently the Kray Twins biopic Legend. Under the usual threat of development, an online petition to protect the Grade 2 listed street has attracted over 11,500 supporters.

Roupell Street
Roupell Street

The Kings Arms features nine real ales, a full range of keg and locally bottled beers including The Kernel and Four Pure to name a few. A wide-ranging menu of pub favourites also includes a comprehensive selection Thai food. The pub was packed at 3pm on a Friday afternoon which demonstrates that it ticks all boxes. I opted for a pint of Potters’ Fields Porter from the Southwark Brewing Company on nearby Druid Street. A delicious beer for Autumn and Winter, it oozes chocolate malt and coffee grouts. I would happily sup a few of these while ensconced next to the pub’s open fire. Yum. ABV 4%

Southwark Porter
Southwark Potters’ Fields Porter

The pub is traditionally furnished with two small bars and lots of cosy places to settle into. At the rear is a large dining area suitable for families. The cask range is constantly changing and forthcoming ales are advertised behind the bar. Many framed historical photos of the area adorn the bar and I was delighted to see a framed 1909 edition of The Ring boxing magazine featuring my relative ‘Peerless’ Jim Driscoll (nan’s brother), still being displayed.

'Peerless' Jim Driscoll
‘Peerless’ Jim Driscoll

The Ring used to be the historic home of British boxing and many who fought there went on to become British, European and World champions. The site is acknowledged by another pub, aptly christened The Ring.

The Ring, Blackfriars Road, SE1
The Ring, Blackfriars Road, SE1

http://www.thekingsarmslondon.co.uk

http://theringbarlondon.co.uk/

http://www.southwarkbrewing.co.uk/

West Flanders saunter. A weekend of cycling, beer and sun (hopefully)

Back to beautiful Brugge for some much needed beer hunting tail-ended by a return to Watou and Poperinge for their wonderful local beers. With Operation Stack doubling my journey time I had to delay my anticipated return to Noel Cuvelier and top up my beer supplies and head straight out to ‘t Cafe Terrastje for some draft Straffe Hendrick.

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Still the only bar I can find in Brugge that serves Straffe Tripel on draft, this lovely cafe must be the friendliest pub in the city, if not Belgium. Ian and Patricia never fail to impress with their subtle and charming hospitality and a couple of Straffe and some bitterballen set up my evening perfectly. Off to ‘t Brugs Beertje for conversation, cheese and pate and a run through the latest editions of the beer menu.

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t Brugs Beertje, a must on every beer lovers’ bucket list 

I’ve been coming here for about 25 years and never tire of it. I enjoyed many fine ales including Lamoral (from Van den Bossche), De Konninck (always on tap here), Rodenbach Vintage, Hanssens Oude Gueuze, Oud Beersel and young Orval, a personal favourite. Finished off with more Orval at the ‘t Stokershuis (not a great bar, but next door to the hotel).

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Daisy Claeys, legend                                               Tom gets the beers in

Saturday was meant to be a cycling day to Knokke but the apocalyptic weather put paid for that, even the Belgians weren’t venturing out! Instead, a quick trip to Noel Cuvelier, in Abele to replenish the beer stock and get in another crate of Straffe for the missus. Off to Esen to visit Dolle Brouwers, it was great to have free rein of the brewery and take some pics.

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Dolle Brouwers, Esen                                      Bottling plant

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Couldn’t fit these into the car!             Hop country – look at those clouds!

On the way back to Brugge, I dropped into Prik and Tik beer wharehouse in Sijsele, on the outskirts of the city. I managed to pick up some large bottles of limited edition Arend, St Feullien and lovely Gouden Carolus. Instead of cycling I spent a couple of hours in the company of two guys from Tadworth while watching Le Tour and enjoying some Keizer Karel from Charles Quint.

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Keizer Karel                                Should have been me doing this!

Back to ‘t Brugs Beertje, and more Rodenbach Vintage. I also had the pleasure of enjoying one of Eli Noe’s beers. Eli heads up ‘t Brugs Bierinstituut and knows his stuff.

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Eli and one of his beers

Sunday brought sunshine at last! Off onto my trusty steed and a nice 2 and a half hour ride up the canals to Beernem (great name) before the rain returned. Got thirsty so I simply had to stop at ‘t Boothuis for a cheeky Omer and a chat with a group of Belgian cycle geeks – who were also enjoying Omer and Westmalle.

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Omer, a nice blond                                    Getting back quickly before the rain

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Canalside

A nice ride into a head wind and a circle around Brugge led me back to ‘t Cafe Tarrastje for some draft Watous Wit, probably my favourite Belgian Wit, especially on draft.

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Tidy                                                Ian and Patricia, first class hosts

A nostalgic trip back to De Garre where I enjoyed their draft Garre Tripel from Van Steenberge, accompanied by a small bowl of cheese of course.

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De Garre Tripel, with cheese as always

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From this…….                                             to this!

With the sun finally out, it was time to try a bar that I hadn’t visited before.

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Near the Minnewater, Brugsch Bieratelier serves a range of draft-only brews, mainly new editions. Their house beer is made by Fort Lapin and was very good. I also tried Tank 7 from Boulevard in Kansas City who were bought by Duvel Moortgat almost 2 years ago. Again very nice.

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Finally, a visit to see Bruno at Cafe Vlissinghe as it is his pub’s 500 year anniversary. Not only is the year celebrated by 12 months of events, Bruno has contracted Fort Lapin to produce a house beer which was so great I had to have it twice! It’s similar to the one at Bieratelier but is more amber in colour and has a richer flavour.

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Cafe Vlissinghe house beer 

Next day, on the way home I stayed at Barbara’s Wethuys in Watou square and enjoyed some hospitality at De Vrede, Westvleteren and a top steak at Cafe de la Paix in Poperinge.

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Westvleteren 8, my fave of the three beers

I love to troll around Watou, stop in each of the bars and try and stoke up a conversation with locals, tourists or bar owners. Apart from 2 top breweries, St Bernardus and Van Eecke, there isn’t a great deal to see except from the bars, restaurants and some cool art in the local St Bavo Church, check it out.

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Church art, Watou-style

And that was it, home again and this time just a 30 minute delay. Not much cycling so was it worth it? What do you think..

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Beer stash, courtesy of Noel Cuvelier, Prik & Tik

Oh, and we’re back again in 3 weeks

 

All change at the Tap on the Line, Kew. Manager Barbara Habieb discusses her plans for this historic pub, the only remaining licensed house situated on an underground station

The former Railway pub on Kew Gardens station was extensively refurbished by Fullers in September 2013 and re-opened its doors as the newly christened ‘Tap on the Line‘. Adam Pearson who managed the transition from a slightly shabby local into a contemporary brightly lit modern bar, moved on to manage the Castle in Harrow in January 2015. The pub features an ever-changing line up range of quality cask and craft beers alongside the excellent Fullers range, coupled with an extensive food menu aimed to satisfy both thirsty locals and the constant influx of day trippers on the way to and from Kew Gardens.

Tap-on-The-Line-41

Barbara Habieb took over the reins at the Tap in January and 2 months later I asked her about how different her experience at the ‘Tap’ has been compared to her former pubs and what plans she has in store for the future.

Barbara has been with Fullers for over 9 years and her first impressions of the Tap was relaxed how the tempo is compared to her last two pubs, the Parcel Yard on King’s Cross station and the Vintry near the monument in the city of London. With extremely busy peak services lasting 3 hours, service at the Parcel Yard had to be quick and efficient. At the Tap there is more time for casual conversation with customers with service being more genteel as is the overall feel of the pub. Barbara has been working on developing her teams’ service skills especially with regard to meals, normally taken in the pubs atrium. By raising these standards and bringing in consistency she expects to generate a better dining experience for customers and is aware that word of mouth recommendations will increase her pub’s reputation for food. She is now working on chef recruitment and development and has a new set of menus to be launched soon.

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As befits a pub within the Fullers stable, the Tap has a good reputation for the quality of its beers. Fullers cask beers feature London Pride, ESB and a rotating seasonal. 2 guest beers from within the London Brewers Alliance complete the cask offer. Keg beers are represented by the Fullers range, main brand lagers and a cider with a further 5 craft beers including Sierra Nevada and Chimay Gold. The beer list is supplemented by many bottled beers from the UK and worldwide.

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This summer, Barbara is researching a possible English wine festival and is looking at introducing a range of ciders served on the bar counter. Music featuring local artists are set to resume on different nights of the week. She is also building ties to local events, the Kew Village Market held the first Sunday of each month and the Kew the Music series in July. Relationships are being built with the local Queen’s School parents and she hopes to host children’s reading groups on Friday mornings. The upcoming Rugby World Cup held down the road in Twickenham will also be supported with the Tap being an easily accessible venue for both pre and post match libations.

Events are promoted via the pub’s website, social media and advertising boards strategically placed both within and outside on the pubs terrace. Watch this space.

www.tapontheline.co.uk

https://twitter.com/TapOnTheLine

https://www.facebook.com/TapOnTheLine

A long overdue visit to the Prospect of Whitby

Traditionally my pub of choice in Wapping has been the Captain Kidd owing to its lovely river front terrace. How I managed to not go to the Prospect of Whitby is anyone’s guess. This fantastic riverside pub dates from about 1520 and was given its name in the 19th Century.

Prospect of Whitby  01Wapping_prospect_of_whitby_1-1

The pub contains a warren of interconnecting lounges, serviced from a magnificent pewter bar – only the second one that I have seen since the Petit Fer au Cheval in Paris’ Marias. There are two riverside terraces, perfect for summer drinking. The knowledgeable bar staff serve a number of cask ales from local East End breweries, including East London Brewery, Hackney and Truman. I sampled ELB’s Pale Ale, 4% ABV which was a deliciously thirst-quenching respite after a windy trudge up the riverbank.

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The amazing pewter bar counter

An extensive menu of Great British pub food makes this a perfect venue for a pub lunch or supper.

Contact: http://www.taylor-walker.co.uk/pub/prospect-of-whitby-wapping/c8166/

Austrian Trappist beers reviewed

Recently we have seen additional breweries added to the list of the Trappists with new beers becoming available from Austria, the Netherlands and the USA. I recently tasted two beers from the Engelszell Trappist Brewery in Austria. The monastery gained it’s Trappist status in 2012 and is located in Upper Austria. It’s beers are named after former Superiors at the monastery, Gregorius, Benno and Nivard. It also produces highly regarded liqueurs and cheeses.

Benno Trappist Austria Jan 2015

Benno ‘Special Beer’ pours with a good, creamy head and is amber coloured with a fine bead, The beer is bottle-conditioned with a malty, bready, vanilla nose with a slight hint of toffee apple. It is spritzy on the tongue with a hoppy, slightly sweet/honey taste with a coriander and grassy undertone. The finish is warming and beery. ABV 6.9%.

Gregorius Trappist Austria Jan 2015

Gregorius ‘Extra Strong Ale’ has a light-brown head and a dark ruby red colour. Again, it is bottle conditioned and has a rich caramel, hop and porty nose with a hint of apple peel. The taste is also rich and full flavoured with hints of dark chocolate, coffee, caramel, brandy and toffee and has a smokey background. The finish is long, smoky, boozy and bitter with liquorice and toffee. ABV 9.7%

Visit the website at: http://www.stift-engelszell.at/cmsimple/?Trappistenbier-Brauerei

The fantastic Square and Compass, Worth Matravers is reviewed

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I was blessed to be able to visit this wonderful, historic stone pub again on a beautiful late winter’s day last week. A pub since 1776, the interior of these two former adjoining cottages remains little changed.

IMG_4544IMG_4542Two lounges plus a fossil museum and large outside seating area are served via two hatches, one dispensing pies and pasties and the other providing a range of real ales on gravity dispense, ciders and perries (including their own creations) and a broad selection of alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages.

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This is a pub that one never wants to leave and offers up a huge range of events for the local community including live music, stone carving, summer fayres and many beer, cider and cheese festivals. A magnificent pub, ‘a true gem in the heart of Dorset’, it continues to ignore the ravages of modernisation that blight so many pubs currently.

Visit their website at http://www.squareandcompasspub.co.uk

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