This town is hard on the feet with its many steep inclines and cobbled streets, but that is all the more justification for stopping off, resting your weary legs and having a restorative pint of life giving ale. This is not a straight forward as it might seem because pubs serving craft beer are few and far between. True, most pubs of the older style have a cask or two on, but invariable it is the rather disappointing Deuchar's IPA which just doesn't make the grade. In cask this beer is a mere 3.8% abv and rather insipid, and doesn't provide what the slightly stronger bottled version offers. The Deuchar's 80/- is also quite common and fills the need for a mild dark beer, should it come upon you. A little of bit of footwork might result in stumbling upon some Deuchars XPA which is slightly stronger, much more satisfying on the hop front and the best of Deuchar's offerings.
|"They got bars in New York that never close
And bars where the people take off their clothes
And bars where the young folks dance all night
And bars where a fella can pick a fight
If you want to you can spend the night, behind bars"
- Talkin' Big Apple '75 - Loudon Wainwright III
If none of that takes your fancy, or even if it does, you can also spend the night in a bar that has 66 taps and over 130 bottled beers.
I spent a recent long weekend on a visit to Munich. The following is not by any means a “Beer Guide to Munich” because we simply did not have enough time available to us to visit all the best places. But we did manage a number of brews in several excellent venues.
When one shops at Munich’s Marienplatz Christmas Market, it doesn’t take long to generate a thirst. Our first stop for beer was Der Pschorr, a fine recently renovated place just at Viktualienmarkt. This was an ideal oasis located close to the main centre of activity. It has high vaulted ceilings (as nearly all Bavarian bierhallen seem to have), but has quite a modern feel to it. And so, my first ever beer on German soil was a Hacker Pschorr Dunkel, quite a pleasant brew in a pleasant location.
My plane touched down in Heathrow bumpily at 11.20 in the morning as another disgruntled Aer Lingus pilot took out his frustrations on the tarmac. My mission for the day was to drink a pint in each of London's seven brewpubs, and with the first opening its doors at noon I set off at speed through the tin tunnels of the airport.
Despite its size, London is rather poorly served for breweries. Of course there's the legendary Fuller's, and craft operations like Meantime in Greenwich, but nothing like what one would expect from Europe's largest city and the capital of such a beery nation. My targets for the day are mostly part of a growing movement to buck this trend and bring highly localised beer back to the people of the city. With this in mind I reached the Tube and struck eastward towards London itself.
What can you say about a city in which the best lagers in the world are available on every street corner at a quarter of the cost of pub prices in Dublin?
It’s a beer lover’s fantasy and I found it hard to believe I was really there, and this was before I discovered the micro brewed offerings. I flew from London but Aer Lingus provide a regular service to Prague and the journey from the airport to the city centre can be made by taxi or for just 20 CZK (75 cents) via public transport. The taxi service appears official and well regulated with a set price for the trip while the public transport option we took entails a bus journey and a metro connection. The metro runs beautifully, is safe to use and easy to navigate. The city itself can be easily traversed on foot or the metro can be used to get around very quickly.