Last Friday I paid a visit to the Red Lion, a hostelry in-between Carnaby Street and Regent Street. If any non-Londoners are reading this, Carnaby Street is where confused tourists go to relive the swinging sixties scene of London before realising it's long gone and now just full of soulless chain shops and other confused and disappointed tourists. Regent Street has an Apple store. I once set foot in there. I was disappointed for two reasons. First of all, it doesn't sell apples. Secondly, when I asked a gurning chump arrogantly claiming to be a “Genius” if he could direct me to the Granny Smiths or the Golden Delicious if that's all they had he instead directed me to what appeared to be a overpriced novelty computer for children. When I politely pointed out that the mouse was clearly defective as it had a button missing he got visibly upset and asked me to leave.
The Red Lion is a Sam Smiths pub. As mentioned in previous posts I don't really trust Sam Smiths and their cheap beer. Well the ale is cheap – the lager and cider is now around £3 in London making it much the same as other places. I still haven't found the secret to their cheap ale but I believe the Sam Smiths brewery is located beneath a barbershop where the customers keep mysteriously disappearing. I opted for a pint of the Old Brewery Bitter which sadly was only available in keg. It tasted fine with the usual creamy, slightly nutty flavour that accompanies this perfectly functional pint. At £2.11 you can't really complain, although that is steep for Sam Smiths. I once had a pint in Blackpool for £1.30 – and that was last year, not eighties prices! Although you can't accurately tell what decade it is in Blackpool.
|A Sam Smith (thanks Google)|
The pub was astonishingly busy but as it's a cheap pint in Soho that was to be expected. There are three bars and the staff were coping fairly well although they were a little bit slow. The barmaid was quite attractive though so I forgave her tardiness, which I'm sure she was grateful for. Sadly the rumours of the Alpine Lager disappearing from Sam Smiths pub appears to be true and only the Taddy Lager was available. This is probably a good thing as the Alpine Lager was so named for making whoever drank it shit themselves – much like when looking at a black run in the Alps. A tenuous link but one that is strangely appropriate.
Over the weekend I made the obligatory stop into the Wetherspoons Victoria Station with The Lovely Jemma to try some more of their festival ales, and use up my CAMRA vouchers. The Titanic “Fit Out” was a very tasty bitter from the ever reliable Titanic brewery. This pleasant golden ale has been brewed specifically for the festival and worth a pint if you spot it. I also enjoyed a rather good pint of the Brains “SA Dark.” This pint is a bit odd as the initial flavour is of absolutely nothing. This gives you time to contemplate the universe and your place in it. Then a rather pleasant chocolate flavour comes through and a satisfying dry finish. Another good one to try if you spot it, although the ale festival finishes on the 23rd October so best make it quick.
Apologies for the lack of the pictures in this update, as I'm useless and forgot to take any. You'll be pleased to know my next update is about some charming pubs in Brighton where again I forgot to take pictures. Sorry.