First of all apologies for the long wait in posting this hopefully witty and entertaining chapter of my blog. It's been a busy past few weeks for me, with a trip to Paris with the Lovely Jemma and a stag do in Manchester. I managed to visit a couple of new places in Manchester since my last visit there and I'll be blogging about those soon. Sadly there's not much to report about Paris beer wise. The French love their wine so I knew finding decent places for beer would be a problem. However Time Out mentioned a couple of craft ale bars that have sprung up. I was prepared to visit both and blog about them to you lovely people.
Sadly the first bar was closed on the night we went to visit, and then the next day my delicate British stomach was completed baffled by the amount of butter, cream and red meat I was consuming and I spent most of the day on the loo. This made a visit to the pub both unappealing and unlikely. Don't worry, while I was on the toilet I was weeping, firstly because I just wanted it all to end but also because I'd let my reader(s?) down by not being able to write about some weird French brews. The only beer I did manage to drink in Paris was a Leffe Blonde at Marlusse Et Lapin, a quirky little bar with an area called granny's room, complete with old lady bed and old fashioned drawers and cupboards. Luckily there were no activities granny would have disapproved of from the couple sitting on the bed, just polite conversation and slurping of wine. Well I assume it was polite conversation, they could have been talking about doing disgraceful things to each other involving whips and cattle prods, but because everything in the French language sounds beautiful I never would have known. Both the beer and the bar were pretty good.
But that's enough about Paris. A few weeks ago I paid a visit to the town of Bath. The weather was a bit hit and miss but luckily there were plenty of pubs to duck in to when the weather got a bit dreary. Things got off to a good start with a visit to Pig and Fiddle. This is a shabby but welcoming place with a large, narrow main room, a large beer garden and a hidden snug round the back of the bar. The airy main room is packed with tacky memorabilia which adds to the laid back vibe of the place. A solid ale selection was on offer, and I went for a pint of Adam Henson's Rare Breed by the Buxton Brewery. I have no idea who Adam Henson is but his rare breed is pretty good, with a pleasurable hoppy finish.
Leaving the Pig and Fiddle we moved to somewhere with a more mature vibe, The Salamander. Owned by Bath Ales, it has a modern interior and a grown up feel, but the atmosphere was a little stilted and not as welcoming as the Fiddle. It felt like I was invading a very middle class book club. There were probably more glasses of wine than beer on the tables, and the customers were enjoying tasty looking but expensive food. The Bath Ales were pretty good, with a Special Pale Ale (SPA) going down very well with a light, almost lemongrass flavour, very pleasurable. The Summer Hare was not quite as good but a solid hoppy finish made it a decent sup.
The final pub, for this post at least, is The Raven. This is a friendly two floor boozer with a laid back vibe. It appeared to be heavily involved in the local community with plenty of posters advertising future events, mainly aimed towards students. There are two house brews on offer, brewed by Blindman's, and I opted for a pint of Raven's Gold. Sadly this didn't live up to my expectations and it was a rather limp, bland golden ale. The plate of sausage and mash I ordered for lunch was tremendous though, making the trip to the pub more than worthwhile. Be aware that there's a £10 card minimum here, and that the house red is terrible. I only mention this so you don't get caught out like my friend and end up ordering a large glass of the house red to make up the minimum. The wine was horrific, tasting like it had been passed through a diseased duck on a hot July's day.
Plenty to come in Part 2, including two of the best pubs on the trip. See you next Sunday. That's right, I'm going to update this blog every Sunday! Let's see how long that lasts.