I'm noticing a bit of a trend to my drinking patterns lately. Not just obvious markers such as "to excess" and "recklessly" but more subtle patterns are emerging. I seem to be finding myself wanting to stay put once I get to a good pub.
This isn't exactly a groundbreaking outlook of course, but one of the things that has happened as a result of this blog is that I sometimes visit quite a few pubs in one "session" so that I have stuff to report. It's not like the blog owns me - because I enjoy tasting different beers, and soaking up different atmospheres in venues. And also, the walking between pubs probably does me good.
However over the last week the concept of a session, in its traditional sense of staying in one pub, has become more prominent. Staying put is the new crawl. I think it may catch on, much like other recent inventions, such as the wheel....
If you want to try out my new hobby, you will need the following:
A : a good pub
B : a few good beers to choose from
C : some money
D : plenty of time
Last night I followed the above recipe with some success, as below...
I was heading to the Closed Shop and was meeting Wee Keefy for a few drinks. I knew he was only coming out for a couple, after which he'd likely be off home so I planned to wander down to the Uni Arms or the Bath afterwards. There was an exemplary range of beer on again at the Shop, and it was really busy when I arrived at about half 7. I got a grammatically accurate pork pie and a pint of the excellent Dancing Duck Dark Drake and awaited the arrival of the brother of mine.
The Dark Drake was on excellent form so when he arrived, and, as everyone does, went to the upper part of the bar to look at the beers on the top two pumps instead of reading the sign, I recommended it to him, and got another pint for myself. In the end he had a half of Robinsons Unicorn and half a Drake. We were soon ensconced with good beers surrounded by people enjoying good beers. This is a heady and largely irresistible cocktail.
I had half of the Welbeck Dark Horse next (two dark beers out of 6 - spoilt!) and half a blue Bee Tangled Up IPA, as did WK, and we continued chatting. At some point Father O-matic arrived with Pete Green from the world of writing. It transpired he was having some sort of birthday so once WK had sloped off home like a good lad I joined the party and spent a very agreeable few hours talking beer and pubs and, erm, other things. I also accidentally had numerous pints of Tangled Up IPA. I think this made me sleepy.
Alas the throng departed around 23.00 and I had to find the cash for another half to last me until I had to leave for the night bus. I'd been sat in the Closed Shop for about 4 hours and enjoyed every minute of it. And to be honest, once I was in, I never gave the idea of moving on a second thought.
A similar thing happened on Friday, although for reasons of mastication I did venture on from pub number one in the end. I'd headed for Shakespeares after work with Mr Howard from the world of music, and we sat in the beer garden, in defiance of common sense, enjoying the echoes of sunlight that were imprinted on the scene from earlier. We were both on pints of the rather smashing Raw Mount Adam, a zingily hoppy, fruity, pale beer cramming in loads of flavour at 3.6%.
We were soon joined by Steve who went for old reliable Deception whilst I had another Raw. As our conversation turned to that Woman the atmosphere became more charged and passionate and it was only right that my next pint was of Steel City Brewing Metal Fatigue, with just the right amount of bitterness to represent the feelings of the brewers toward the subject figure, and just enough hops to make its drinking enjoyable and valedictory at the same time. A very good beer.
More Raw followed but alas Dave and Stave were off to get smashed on Buckfast and play gin rummy (have I remembered this right?!) so I stopped for a last one before heading on to eat. That last beer was a pint of the strong Arbor and Bristol beer factory English IPA, a surprisingly soupy but not unenjoyable concoction that may have been brewed with British hops.
My final and thus non session stop off was in the Bath Hotel, where I had one of their legendary hot roast pork sarnies, a half of Raw Pacific Gem and a pint of the Bristol Beer Factory Bitter Californian. There's been plenty of Brizzle stuff up in Sheffield lately and quite frankly that can only be a good thing.
So it seems that I have used the above recipe to end up in two cracking pubs drinking great beer. Although, having left to go to the Bath, I think I've not completely nailed this new hobby. Here's to my getting plenty more practice at staying in pubs for a long time.....