Fuller’s London Porter 5.4%

5 12 2010

Fairly recently I wrote a review on Fuller’s London Pride (here) today I turn my attention to another beer from the London based brewery; Fuller’s London Porter.

I’m not going to prattle on at length about the history and origins of porter – trust me I can if you want ūüėČ but it is great to see a London brewery still leads the way in producing what I and many others deem to be the gold standard of porters.

Ok so where to begin, well it pours very dark brown, not black close enough, there is a slight ruby sheen to a pint if held up directly to the light. The head is egg-shell white and settles out at around 2 fingers, the head fades away a fair bit but leaves a load of lacing on the glass.

In terms of aroma you can quite clearly make out roasted malt, some bitter coffee notes and a hint of toffee or caramel, there is also a slight nuttiness and a hint of hops.

Taste is where Fuller’s have really won through on this one; everything you can pick up in the aroma of the porter is present and more.¬† The deep roasted malts come to the fore along with the coffee note and that toffee/caramel sweetness.

The chocolate from the roasted malt comes through in the after taste but in a subtle way, it is very much a supporting character in this porter as is the slightly nutty taste. There is a hint of fruitiness that you just about pick up in the background as well, if I had to try and pin it down I would go with raisins or sultanas with a tiny hit of vanilla creeping in as well.

All in all you come away with a rich complex taste that for me ticks all the right boxes, it is rich and malty, slightly sweet and fruity with an underlying bitterness that is refreshing and cuts through the richness which otherwise might be a tad cloying.

In terms of mouthfeel there is only really one word to describe this porter: smooth. In face we are going beyond smooth we are talking baby’s bottoms or the finest velvet gliding across your tongue¬† – ok well maybe not baby’s bottoms but you get the picture.

A lot of people far more worthy than I have waxed lyrical about Fuller’s London Porter and have even gone so far as to vote it the World’s best porter on several occasions. I don’t often like to follow crowds or ride along with popular opinion but on this occasion I can’t really disagree with any degree of conviction.

There might be better porters out there but if there are I certainly haven’t found them.

5/5





IT’S NOT COMING HOME

2 12 2010

Well there it is;  the World Cup 2018 will not be coming home to the nation that gave football to the world.

Instead it is off to Russia and whilst I ¬†have nothing but congratulations for the newly affirmed host nation I can’t help but feel a little¬†disappointed¬†that by the time it is even possible for their to be a world cup hosted here in England I will be old and grey.

The lift that a successful world cup bid would have given to the nation would have been huge and not just for die-hard supporters such as I.

The suggestion that this is all one big fix are rolling in and will continue to do so for sometime, not helped by the supposed official leaks that were coming out up to 30 minutes before the results were announced lauding Russia as having won.

One thing that does need to be seriously looked into is the allegations of major corruption within FIFA itself, the thought of going through an other bidding process with the same bribe taking officials in charge is quite frankly ludicrous.

But there is no point lingering on what might have been and what isn’t, instead we should look forward to the spectacle that will be London 2012 and focus on what really matters trying to win the world cup in 2014.

 





Fuller’s London Pride – English Pale Ale

22 11 2010

fullers london prideLondon Pride is Fuller’s flagship beer and has to go down as being one of the best examples of an English pale ale.

It is widely available on cask in the south of England and is one of the most commonly encountered bottled real ales that you can find, you can even find it on British Airways and American Airlines flights!

The cask version of London pride comes in at 4.1% ABV whilst the bottled version is slightly more alcoholic at 4.7% .  Personally I prefer my London Pride from the cask but there is really very little difference between the two.

The aroma that you get from London Pride is primarily malty with a suggestion of fresh bread, there is a slight note of hoppiness that comes through in the background along with a hint of toffee which adds a pleasant sweetness.

When poured there is a rather thin off white head, about 2 fingers worth, that lasts well and provides a fair amount of lacing. The body of the beer is a  clear amber colour that just sparkles when the light hits it.

 Following on from the dominant aromas of the beer the first flavour that you notice is a rich biscuit taste coming from the malt along with the toffee sweetness some buttery caramel and a light fruitiness.

The hopping in London Pride is great, there is a good level of bitterness that perfectly balances with the rich malts and helps to cut through the sweetness the leafy hop flavour is refreshing and carries through to the finish.

London Pride has a nice well rounded feel to it with a medium body, good carbonation and a wonderful smoothness to it, the flavours are complex and layered with everything working together perfectly.

A truly outstanding beer

4.9/5





The Hobgoblin / Devonshire Arms – Camden

9 11 2010

 

The Hobgoblin in Camden holds the distinction of being the longest surving “Goth” pub in London, both in it’s current guise as the Hobgoblin and under it’s previous name “The Devonshire Arms”.

¬†I say previous name but the sign for the Devonshire still hangs on the wall and most regulars and locals still refer to it as the Dev’

It’s close proximity to Slimelight has probably played no small part in the longevity of the pub as it ideally situated for having a few drinks before going on to the club.

As previously mentioned The Hobgoblin is primarily a Goth pub and it’s decor reflects this with black being the pre-eminent colour inside the 3 storey mock Tudor building. The walls are liberally covered in posters and flyers for various goth and metal bands and there are the odd pieces of gothic paraphenalia; gargoyles and the like.

I don’t know if it is still the case now but last time I was in The Hobgoblin/Dev the tables had been covered over with various “calling cards” and clippings from porno mags, perhaps not the most child friendly or PC of coverings but woudl you really be in here with your kids or your nan? Probably not.

The toilets in here are and have always been vile, they smell as if a tramp and his friends have taken up permanent residence and they don’t look much better. It is probably for the best that there is no food offering here as I wouldn’t like to think that the hands that touched my sandwich had been in these loos.

The music in here is always good playing a nice mix of classic rock and punk in amongst the heavier metal tracks and there is often a DJ playing of an evening.

There used to be a dress code up until a few years back but that was more to deter trouble makes then to be a pain, now there isn’t officially a dress code as such but you do stand out if you are wearing anything much brighter then black… the admittance policy is now far shorter and to the point – No Wankers.¬† A policy that I wish far more pubs would operate by.

The quality of the beer can be a little hit and miss but the selection is normally good, last time I was in there were a couple of Wychwood ales on tap along with London Pride.

All in all the Hobgoblin/Dev is alright, the music is good, the decor is interesting and most of the staff and customers are friendly enough.

On the downside the beer can be less then stellar, the hygiene is from the dark ages (cant say I’m overly bothered though) and there are occasionally some overly agressive old dossers in there trying to mooch drinks.

But don’t let that put you off, there are far worse places to have a drink – the world’s end springs to mind and really no trip to Camden would be complete without a pint or two here.





The Marquis of Gransby, Cambridge Circus

29 10 2010

The Marquis of Granby

142 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8HJ

The Marquis of Granby is probably the pick of the pubs at Cambridge Circus, unfortunately that isn’t saying a great deal!

The pub itself is well situated and has a fairly large main bar with a smaller room upstairs that is occasionally open when the pub is busy and boy does this place get busy, particularly on match days.

The decor is a bit tired and shabby looking which is a shame considering the last refit was as recent as 2008! The posters and programs from various operas and plays over the years add a bit of interest though.

The staff are competent and the service is prompt enough, I have found the landlord to be a tad unfriendly though; one particular story that was relayed to me involved a non-regular asking for the television to be turned up so he could hear the game and the landlord turning the volume from 0-100 whilst staring the guy down the whole time.

In relation to the football the Marquis seems to focus on showing Celtic matches and appeasing the cockney red brigade, funny as I thought we were in London not Manchester!

There is usually a decent selection of beers on offer and last time I was in here I had a very good pint of Ringwood Old Thumper and a not so stellar pint of Cornish Coaster – which was no fault of the pub I just don’t find much to enjoy about it!

The prices can be a little prohibitive if you were planning on having a bit of a session, a short walk can see you paying £2.50-£3.00 a pint as opposed to the £3.50-£4.00 that you will pay in the Marquis.

I find the Marquis of Granby to be fine if I am bowling along through Soho and need to wet my whistle but for me it would be a stop along the way, not a destination.





The Kings Ford – Chingford E4

22 10 2010
The King’s Ford
250-252 Chingford Mount Road
Chingford
E4 8JL
Phone
020 8523 9365

The Kings Ford is part of the JD Wetherspoon chain of pubs and as always with Wetherspoon pubs you mostly know whar you are gonig to get before you even enter the door.

There is the usual cheap, cheerful and filling pub grub there are the same specials nights and same offers that you see scrawled on chalk boards the length and breadth of the country.

There is also¬†the same bittersweet feeling that accompanies all Wetherspoon venues; I always feel a pang of dissapointment that the pub in question is part of a chain and isn’t an independant local free from the whims of big busines. However at the same time this is always offset by the fact that if Wetherspoons weren’t around there would be even fewer pubs then there now are and far fewer pubs would serve real ale

All that aside the King’s Ford isn’t a bad little pub; certainly it is one of the few options if you want to drink well kept real ales at a pub in Waltham Forest and that alone makes it worth a mention.

You certainly wouldn’t visit the King’s Ford for the decor, it is dark and dingy inside and looks like it is overdue a spot of renovation, but then I guess Wetherspoon have bigger fish to fry then the wallpaper of a pub in Chingford.

The atmosphere in the pub is nice enough during the day and in early evenings when it is mostly old men passing the day away enjoying a cheap pint or 5. Over the weekend it does get busy, the cheap price of drinks makes it a popular place for people to start the night off before heading on elswe as such there can be a distinct lack of seating from about 8.30 onwards.

Service is normally good and the pub seems really well run, the current management are strict on checking ID which seems to deter a lot of the underage kids that often make a Wetherspoon pub their home from home.

There are usually at least 5 ales on tap and the selection is good, even by Wetherspoon standards. Last time I was in the King’s Ford they had Abbot Ale, Greene King IPA, Rudgate Ruby Mild and two beers from the Brentwood Brewery – Chockwork Orange and Hope & Glory.

I can really recommend the Chockwork Orange, it is a beautifully complex dark ale coming in at a pleasant 6.5%.

As well as the real ales on tap they also had a cider that managed to fall outside of the usual strongbow or magners selection¬† in this case it was Weston’s Marcle Hill.

If you are looking for a traditional English pub full of character then the King’s Ford probably isn’t the pub for you, but if you are looking for a good selection of real ales at a great price and happen to be in the area then give it a go.





Jamie’s 30 minute meals

20 10 2010

I rarely watch television these days but when I do I quite often find myself gravitating towards the cooking shows, sometimes the American shows like Iron Chef America or Chopped etc but more often than not I end up watching programmes with British or European cooks/chefs such as Nigella Lawson, The Hairy Bikers, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and of course Jamie Oliver.

I never use to have much time for Jamie Oliver a few years back, in my eyes he was a mockney who was playing up on a laddish image to gain popularity. I can’t have been the only one as nowadays we see a much calmer more down to Earth Jamie and what comes across more then the moped, the band and all the other extraneous garbage is that he really loves food.

It’s more than that though it comes across that not only does he care about and love food but he seems very genuine in his desire to improve the eating habits of all of us.

His new show and book fit into this ethos well; by focusing on meals that can be prepared and cooked in a short period of time he is showing people that no matter how busy your life might seem there is always time to eat properly and well.

I know he isn’t the first to go down this route and I’m sure that he won’t be the last but he does do it a lot better then some.

I was particularly taken with his recipe for a very quick, tasty and refreshing lemon pickle which he showed alongside a rogan josh and a carrot salad.

So here it is, if you want to find Jamie’s recipe for rogan josh and the carrot salad then click here

Jamie Oliver’s Lemon Pickle

‚ÄĘ 1 lemon
‚ÄĘ 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
‚ÄĘ 1 level teaspoon turmeric
‚ÄĘ ¬ľ of a fresh red chilli
‚ÄĘ 1 small dried chilli

Cut the lemon into eighths, then deseed and finely slice.

Finely slice the red chilli quarter. Put a small pan on to a medium to high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan

Add the mustard seeds, turmeric and the sliced chilli. Crumble int he dried chilli.

When everything starts to sizzle, add the sliced lemon and a pinch of salt, count to ten, then take off the heat and put in a bowl to cool.

*I personally liked this with a whole chilli as opposed to just the quarter*

 








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