Friday 11 November 2011

Westerham, General Wolfe and Kitchen Aids

I paid a visit to Westerham last weekend, a quaint little village in Kent not far from Bromley. Whenever I'm going somewhere for the first time I do what every self-respecting beer nerd with a internt connection does – look up what the best pubs are in the area at (or BITE.) It's true that the people who leave comments on there prefer a certain type of pub – the more old fashioned, quiet and devoid of anyone under 30 it is the better. Except for pubs in London where all that matters is that the pub serves a ridiculous amount of ale and that there is nobody there in a suit. God help you if you're a landlord and your pub plays loud music, has bright lights or a chav accidentally wanders in and orders a Fosters while a BITE user is there – that's an immediate 1.5/10 score and your pub shunned by beard wielding ale geeks forever.

To be honest all review websites are generally a bit of a minefield, as the majority of reviewers are schizophrenic nutjobs who only award one or five stars to everything. TripAdvisor reviewers are usually the worst, generally consisting of complaining Americas with reviews along the lines of “the room was fabulous, the scenery amazing, the food fantastic but the bell hop handed my bag to me using his right hand which is of course terribly offensive and rude ONE STAR.” In fact some reviewers are so bad Channel 4 did a documentary about TripAdvisor, with tales of downtrodden hotel landlords having to close down their business because of some bonkers reviewer starting a hate campaign because "the toilet flush only lasted five seconds, completely inadequate to clear the enormous turd I'd deposited in there and causing great embarrassment to me and my miserable frigid wife ONE STAR."

I am the destroyer of meats and the creator
of dinners.
But I digress. I've passed through Westerham a few times and there were a couple of pubs that looked nice, and BITE agreed that they were worth visiting. The first stop for me and The Lovely Jemma was the General Wolfe, which is a few minutes walk away from the village centre. Before going there we first had to drag ourselves away from the village cookery shop. Every time I go into a cookery shop I want to buy everything in there. The ridiculous novelty salt and pepper pots no doubt shaped like barnyard animals. The hilarious range of whisks and cutlery no doubt shaped like barnyard animals. And the Kitchen Aids, monstrous blenders from America that could quite easily destroy some barnyard animals. The main reason I would ever consider getting married is so I can put a Kitchen Aid on the wedding list. And a Playstation 3. If I'm going to commit to something for such a long length of time I might as well enjoy myself.

The Gangly Ghoul. Yummy. And spooky.
Yooky, if you will. Or Summy.
Walking into the General Wolfe we were greeted by the landlord, one punter and a trio of dogs. The punter and two of the dogs promptly left leaving just me and TLJ as the only customers left in the pub. The landlord turned out to be a lovely bloke and with the log fire burning away and the pub dog scampering about it was a pleasant atmosphere. The pub is tied with Greene King and the seasonal Gangly Ghoul was on offer. This dark bitter was in top condition and was an excellent pint. The landlord also had a Cains ale on tap but he wasn't going to serve it until the evening when it was ready. A shame as I love a Cains ale and you rarely see them in the South but good on him for not serving it until he was happy it was ready. We tucked into a tasty lunch as locals stopped by for a quick pint. As we were leaving a few regulars were at the bar creating a buzzy atmosphere. A very pleasant pub and I look forward to going back.

We also stopped into the Grasshopper on the Green, a large multi room pub slap bang in the centre of the village, next to the green funnily enough. This was a food orientated pub but they were quite happy for people to just have a drink. Unlike some foody pubs we were even allowed to sit at a table despite not ordering food! There wasn't even a customary evil glare from the staff. I felt truly honoured. They have a ale specially made for them by the local Westerham Brewery. Sadly I've forgotten what is was called but it wasn't a particulary nice pint, which was a shame. The pub was pleasant enough, with a lovely fire burning and the regulars were having a grand old time.

Overall it was a very pleasant afternoon, and the General Wolfe is well worth stopping in to if you're near by.

Hello! I'm the chap who writes the image captions for this blog. If you're reading this, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SEND HELP. Dave has broken both my knees now and won't let me leave the house. Many thanks.


  1. Brilliant. One question though. Pretty sure we used to drive through Westerham when I was small and there was at the very least signage about General Wolfe. I had the idea there was a pub named after him, but it wasn't this one. More of a big sprawling place, on a corner perhaps?

  2. Glad you enjoyed the article! As far as I'm aware there's only ever been one General Wolfe pub in Westerham. However I believe one of the other pubs on the high street (might be the George & Dragon which is on a corner) does have a plaque claiming that General Wolfe had stayed there. Next time I'm passing through there I'll take a look!