Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy birthday Grandad

The weekend found me visiting the English suburbs of my early childhood for my Grandad's ninetieth birthday. We had a get together involving four generations of my father's side of the family, something that really drives home just how old my grandfather is. He was born in 1919 and spent all his life in the historical town of Egham, except for a stint in the army which found him carrying a Bren gun around the deserts of Africa. That's him on the right in the 1940's, in uniform enjoying a pint of something dark, more than likely Guinness.

Egham is only around 20 miles form London and the most direct route to London from Egham takes you straight past Chiswick on the M4. I discovered this while being ferried to the RealAle.com bricks and mortar shop near Twickenham. Chiswick is of course home to Fuller, Smith & Turner, the producers of any number of great beers, and usually there is some Fuller's to be had in the pub that housed our family get together. I was surprised to find that the biggest seller the pub stocks at the moment is Doom Bar from Sharp's brewery of the Southwest. My uncle had travelled from down that way and was disgusted that a beer from his region was on offer near London. His other options were Courage Best Bitter, which was thin and bland, and Bomardier which surprised me with a distinct and very pleasant English hop flavour I can't say I really noted before. Apparently Doom Bar is the most popular beer the pub has ever stocked, but I can't say I rated it all.

Having checked out their website, my trip to the RealAle.com shop was much anticipated. As it turned out, the website does not do justice to the selection on offer. BrewDog are well represented and I took advantage of this by grabbing some Atlantic IPA, How to Disappear Completely and Storm. American beer was present in force, though a little pricey so I restricted myself to Dogfish Head's Palo Santo Marron and Victory's Storm King Imperial Stout. Out of curiosity I bagged some Thornbridge Brewery Jaipur IPA to see what all the fuss is about and in keeping with the Corninsh beer theme, some St Austell Brewery Proper Job, which I am sure I have tried before, but more about that in a later post.

9 comments:

The Beer Nut said...

Welcome to the Doom Bar Is Boring Club. Your membership number is 0002.

Thom said...

It's a funny thing. All the ale drinkers at the party thought it was crap, yet when I asked the owner of the pub he told me that the regulars lap the stuff up, and he's afraid to take it off.

Mark said...

I went to university in Egham (did you see the uni? It's a beautiful place) and lived there for three years. We'd drink in Twickenham quite a lot and go to realale.com whenever we could. The shop keeps on getting better and better every time I go.

What pub were you in? If it was in Egham, or within a couple of miles radius, there's a very good chance I've drunk there.

Thom said...

We're you in Holloway? My I learned this weekend that my great grandfather help build the original buildings.

The party was in The Forresters, and I also and a few pints in The Crown. There's a good chance you walked past my Grandad's house coming down from the college if your were at Holloway.

Mark said...

Yeah I studied there - cool about your great grandfather, it's such an impressive building, I used to love wandering around inside getting lost. I lived on campus then in the Green and then in Egham and walked everywhere so probably did walk past it! Used to drink in the Crown a lot and had a few in The Foresters too. There was a beer festival in Egham a few weeks ago, shame they didn't do that while I was there!

Thom said...

I grew up in Englefield Green and wandered down the hill to visit my grandparents at the weekends.

There was a beer festival on this weekend in Egham. I saw random, poorly laminated signs for it around the town, but never figured out where it was on.

BarryM (Adeptus) said...

That's a great pic Thom :)

Barm said...

How do you know it's Guinness in the picture? Did you ask him what he used to drink?

Can't see the bloody label on that bottle! I can just imagine the camera-man saying "Let's annoy the amateur historians of the future by obscuring the bottle with this pint!"

Thom said...

You're right, it may well not be Guinness. I just think it's the most likely beer, what with its ubiquitous nature, even back then.