Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) are a owner of chain pubs that have really taken on the pub food mantle. So much so that I would rarely go into if I just having a pint. I recently visited an M&B owned "Vintage Inn" pub near Biggin Hill, the Aperfield Inn. I'd be tempted to call this place a restaurant rather than a pub. There is a bar and a small seating area for drinkers but this was basically a Harvester in all but name. The small ale selection had London Pride and Youngs available. I opted for a pint of Youngs Bitter which was in good flavour, befitting of the Casque Mark the pub had been awarded. It's a shame the Aperfield isn't more welcoming to drinkers, as it's the only pub nearby in the area and it would make for a good community hub. To be fair the food I had was tasty (a Pork Belly Sunday Lunch) but this wasn't really a place you could go for a chat and a pint.
M&B also own the Ember Inn brand. I've generally thought of them to be more as food pubs like the Vintage Inn but my view was changed when I recently popped in to the Railway Hotel in West Wickham. As it's mentioned in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide and I just had to tick it off on their mobile app, I went in for just a quick pint. There was a mini ale festival on with a good selection of Great British Beer Festival winners, so I ended up staying for a couple. I enjoyed a pint of RCH Brewery P.G Steam, a solid best bitter with a pleasant hint of sweetness. The Leeds Brewery Leeds Pale Ale wasn't as good, but was still a tasty, floral and hoppy ale. The atmosphere was comfortable and overall I spent a perfectly pleasant evening there. It certainly exceeded my expectations, or perhaps misconceptions, of what appeared to be a nondescript, everyday chain pub.
|Obligatory terrible camera phone shot of the interior of Brewdog Shoreditch|
|The artists rendition of Paddy is scarily|
Finally, considering the Shoreditch location, I'm pleased to report the bar was largely hipster free and I didn't feel the urge to punch anybody in the face. I can't guarantee that's the situation every night though.
I'm going to try and start doing more regular updates of this blog. In the future there will be a new post on the 15th and 30th of the month as a minimum. I do enjoy broadcasting my inane thoughts over the internet, and I hope you enjoy reading them!