Tag Archives: Good Beer Guide

Berkhamsted, Leighton Buzzard, but not Tring

I took a swift and possibly irrational dislike to Berkhamsted. A town of few redeeming features made worse by my being given the wrong opening times for The Lamb. Not inclined to linger longer than necessary I had an early and thoroughly pleasant pint (Totem by local brewery Haresfoot) in a disappointing Wetherspoons that promised lots but delivered little.

And then it rained.

Tring is one of those maddening places where the station is some distance from the town. I had decided that rather than walk there I would instead walk along the towpath of the Grand Union Canal for half an hour to reach the Grand Junction Arms. A horribly muddy towpath and wholly inadequate clothing put paid to that plan and getting the next train north I left Tring for another day.

Simon and Nellie

Simon and Nellie

My first stop in Leighton Buzzard was All Saint’s church to see the graffito depicting Simon and Nellie arguing over how best to cook a pudding. It is from this pleasing image we get Simnel cake.

Leaving the church I warily popped into the Golden Ball. I am always suspicious of a pub promising a great atmosphere – at 12:20 on a Monday afternoon such promises are seldom lived up to. I was further put off by a ‘house ale’ which was nothing more than a mass brewed Carlsberg cask ale which is produced solely for lazy pubs to put their own name to. This pretence summed the place up. A shite pub pretending to be a good boozer – and failing. Bitter & Twisted by Harviestoun increasingly reflected my mood.

The beer selection was ordinary. That it is in the Good Beer Guide raises questions about the standard of pubs locally – or the taste of local CAMRA members who voted it in.*

This day was not going well.

Then there was the Red Lion. A dog, an open fire, a fish tank, a small but impressive selection of ales plus a real cider, and a couple of people talking about railways. This is a pub to cherish. I had a Strongarm by Camerons and was contented.

 

*I think Leighton Buzzard is in the South Beds CAMRA region. So I am one such member. I have never taken part in the discussions for local entries into the Good Beer Guide. Perhaps I ought to start.

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Lewisham – Toasting good news for pubs

I think that when a branch of Wetherspoons makes it into the Good Beer Guide it says more about the other pubs locally than it does about the quality of the pub concerned. But since the guide did recommend it, and I have some CAMRA vouchers that need using before the end of the month, I popped into the Watch House in Lewisham.

It was of course what one expects of a Wetherspoons pub, entirely unremarkable save for an excellent selection of real ales (5) and real ciders (3 – I think). And the pint of Old Engine Oil (Harviestoun) was a cracking drop of porter with which to toast the news that the beer duty escalator had been scrapped in the chancellor’s budget today. Congratulations are due to the Campaign for Real Ale for orchestrating an excellent campaign.