Saturday, January 14, 2012

Classic Pubs and Craft Beers of London

by Rich
If you’re planning a craft beer tour of London and you live in the tristate area, your best preparation is a trip to The Ship Inn in Milford, NJ.   The mild but tasty cask conditioned ales they serve there are similar to what you will experience in London. My explorations over there were rather limited, we only had a few days,  but I kept my eyes open for the pubs displaying CAMRA and Cask Marque logos . These 2 organizations are dedicated to what the British call "real ale."
My diligence was rewarded. On the top of my list was The Museum Tavern. It's been in the same location for more than 250 years. As a matter of fact it changed its name when the British Museum opened across the street in 1760 or so. According to reports Arthur Conan Doyle may have gotten inspiration for some Sherlock Holmes stories while sipping ale here. Karl Marx also frequented the place while working as a reporter in London. They served a cask conditioned "Old Peculier." This roasted malt ale was delicious. You may recall from the Ship Inn review that these ales are low in alcohol, about 4% or 5% abv, and they don't have a real heavy hop taste but they are flavorful and aromatic. Old Peculier is available in bottles on this side of the ocean.

We also sampled a made-in-London local brew while visiting our friends in Hampsted, a 45 minute ride from central London. The Flask, as the pub was called, had Sambrooks "Wandle" on tap and it was worth the work on the beer engine especially since I wasn't the one working it. The cask ales don't have a lot of carbonation so the ale has to be pumped up by hand using that engine.
Close to our hotel we visited The Drayton Arms and tried some "Bishops Tipple" and some "Oxford Gold." Once again, we had no complaints. The CAMRA and Cash Marque websites offer lots of information so anyone planning a trip can find some tips before they leave.  Cheers!

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