Banks UCB – Ultimate Curry Beer

28 06 2011


Here is a bit of an oddity that I turned up on draft at the Coppermill in Walthamstow last time that I was back home.

As the sharp eyed amongst you may have spotted UCB stands for Ultimate Curry Beer and it has been brewed specifically to accompany said food stuff, now as anyone who has set foot in the Coppermill will know there isn’t really food on offer in the pub, pickled egg anyone, as such I was drinking this with my usual accompaniment of more pints.

I have heard from a few people that UCB really isn’t a beer to be drunk by itself and whilst I don’t completely agree with them I can see their point, it has a very strong, very hoppy flavour and may not be to everyone’s tastes, however with a good spicy curry it would work perfectly.

Personally I like strong tasting beers and actually enjoyed this as a nice pint for a relaxed afternoon session, the 5.3% ABV is easy going enough that you could sink more than a few pints with ease yet strong enough that know you still know youare having a beer.

In terms of appearance UCB is a rich, golden brown with a fairly thick creamy head not unlike a pint of stout or dare I mention it… Caffreys – Shudder. The head lasts well for the duration of the pint with a fair amount of lacing.

In terms of taste and aroma the hopping comes through very clearly along with some strong citrus and a little floral hint, as mentioned previously the hopping IS strong but in a refreshing way.

All in all a pretty good pint and worth a try IF you happen to come across it, if you are lucky enough to come across it at the same time as a good hot curry then you are in for a real treat.


The Kings Ford – Chingford E4

22 10 2010
The King’s Ford
250-252 Chingford Mount Road
E4 8JL
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.

A quick update

9 08 2010

Well I have been away from things for about the last week or so as I had to make a quick trip home and was completely and utterly without internet for 6 whole days… a chilling experience.

Still it wasn’t all doom and gloom; whilst I was over I managed to pop along to the Great British Beer festival (henceforth known as the GBBF) at Earl’s Court, far more to follow on that shortly 🙂

Ash Cloud Blues

25 04 2010

Well I finally made it back!

I was only supposed to be back home in London for 4 days but in the end it was 8.

My flight over on Saturday morning was cancelled early on in the debacle and so instead I had to throw myself on the vagaries of Bus Eireann’s Eurolines service; €58 secured my place on a coach that would leave Cork city at 4 PM Friday and see me arrive at Victoria coach station at 8.30 AM Saturday morning.

16 1/2 hours by coach and ferry what the fuck is this, the stone age? In a mere four hours more I could have flown from Dublin to Sydney and at least had my own guaranteed seat.

The bus (coach sounds too impressive) was driven by some miserable, old, gremlin like creature who seemed to think that heaters operating on full blast is what the passengers really needed; especially as I was crammed onto a two person bench seat with a serious contender for world’s fatest, sweatiest bastard, mmmmm.

After arriving at Victoria I foudn that due to a couple of jumpers the evening before there were a handful of line closures and as such my options for getting over to Liverpool street and then Walthamstow were slighlty limited.

I ended up getting up to Aldgate East in a rather convoluted fashion and then took a stroll through Brick Lane, Petticoat Lane and Spittal Fields Market and ended up at Liverpool Street and finally managed to go through to St Jame’s Street station on the overhead.

Was I ever pleased to be home, this wasn’t a fucking journey it was one of the labours of Heracles!

The return was a little smoother, my flight back on the Wednesday was gorunded so I managed to re-book for Friday evening, eventually making it back to Eire at an enjoyable 11.48pm, so only a mere 2 hours late.

I guess my main frustration with the whole travel fiasco is this; was there a problem and exactly what the fuck was it?

Seeing how quickly the decision was made to re-open air space I am left with two possible conclusions; either there was a serious risk from the ash cloud and the airlines pressured the aviation authorities into opening before they wanted to OR the risk was never really that serious and the CAA et al disrupted the arrangemens of hundred of thousands of people because they need to grow a pair.

Neither option pleases me that much!

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