Brewdog, Camden, June 2018

Brewdog continue to court controversy and divide opinion around the country. Whatever they do, they manage to put a foot wrong somewhere along the way, and pretend that they hadn’t really thought something through completely, when they probably knew that they would get loads of publicity from whatever the stunt was (Pink IPA is probably the latest in a long line of these).

(Edit : August 2018’s “beer porn” was another new low for Brodog. It’s getting harder to continue supporting them, and it might soon be time to call it a day.)

There was a time a few years ago when they were an oasis in a desert of terrible mass market beer. But that time has passed, and there are now many oases around, whilst the quality of some BD products seems to have dwindled. This year’s launch of Fanzine is a bit of a case in point. A very convenient idea (three cans of beer delivered every few weeks) which was supposed to be “for the beer geeks”. However, some of the things have been so utterly dull that they could have been produced by any faceless brewing megacorp. The “small batch English IPA – retro IPA” from last month was as bad as Greene King IPA. How is that possible?

All that said, I will often go into a Brewdog bar if there’s one nearby, as there are likely to be some well kept guest beers on, as well as a few interesting Brewdog ones which might be worth a try.

Tonight, alongside the second half of Colombia vs. Poland, that guest beer was Shika from Wild Beer, a decent pilsner and a perfectly good football pint. No time for any more tonight as I have to be up bright and early in the morning to begin a week of brain melting training.

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Bucks Head, Camden, June 2018

Hot town, summer in the city,
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty.

Yes, it’s summer and I’m in London. After a lovely weekend away camping, it was back home and then off to the station to catch a train down to that London. I’m here for a week. Five days of 9-5 solid training course on quite a dry subject. With two exams, the second of which is 2 1/2 hours long.

What this does mean is a run of blog posts, because I have to go out and have dinner each night, and to stop myself going insane there are a couple of comedy gigs lined up too, my reward for revising and doing mock exam papers most nights.

I’m staying in Camden again because I’ve stayed here a few times before, the hotel is reasonably priced (for London, and it meets corporate pricing requirements) and the Northern line is handy for travelling for the daytime activities and evening ones (although I hadn’t spotted that the station is exit only in the early evening whilst they are upgrading escalators).

I picked a familiar pub for dinner, The Bucks Head. Nice and close to the hotel, we were here in November for a drink, and the menu had some interesting items on it. And the football was on. The World Cup has had some cracking games this year, and this was my first chance to watch one down the pub.

Drink first, and another “same as last time” beer, LPA – London Pale Ale by Southwark Brewing Co, a simple session ale with a gentle hoppy hint hidden in there somewhere. And some happy Colombian fans (I think Yerry Mina had just scored).

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The super smoked meats pizza was calling me. Pulled pork? Yes please! Slow cooked hickory smoked brisket? Yes please! “Sauce drizzles” of cheese, teryaki and BBQ? Probably. “Superfood side salad” – probably a good idea to have something a bit healthier. Apparently it was the last pizza in the kitchen tonight.

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The pizza didn’t quite live up to its billing. More meat was required, the teryaki didn’t seem to make it on, and the “cheese sauce drizzle” was just weird. It needed some vegetable matter.

The superfood side salad was hardly that. A few slices of cucumber, avocado, tomato, onion, pepper and a few leaves is not exactly the greatest side in the world. Bit of a rip off and lacking super.

The atmosphere inside wasn’t the greatest, so I decided on plan B, and headed off to Brewdog to watch the second half.