Friday, July 31, 2009

Beer Summit : London, Summer of 2009

When one is tired of London, one is tired of life (Samuel Johnson)

Obama had a beer summit in the gardens of the White House on 3oth, 2009 with Sgt James Crowley of the Massachusetts Police Department ( opted and served a Blue Moon beer), Henry Louise Gates Jr a Harward University Professor (opted and served a Sam Adams beer) and Mr President opted for the beer of the American working class a Bud Light.We had a similar beer summit in London circa 21-26 July 2009. The trio here was different (means, I shared these 9 beers in 5 days with these gents), Ranjit Kumar (my maternal Uncle, my childhood idol and aka, Samson in College and Johnny by his wife and friends now), lives in London since 52 years, truly a working class hero), Beera- My buddy from the Indian Army now a senior executive with the Lloyds bank.

My first beer in London a Carlsberg, I love the beer, a little disappointed (because, I have loads of it in New Delhi now), I was living with Johnny (my Uncle, called John) and his humorous and bundle of energy, his Irish wife Aggie with of course dearest wife Praveen and little Detective An. Promised myself to try a lot more beers.

The next day after a covering a lot of ground in London, the Salvador Dali Universe and Gallery, we reached an outdoor cafĂ© within the Royal Festival Hall on Belvedere Road, on the classy South Bank, called you know what Canteen ( it was dearest wife’s choice, we went back two days later for a coffee and cheese cakes). The vivacious waitress Polly grazed my arm and offered a Helles Lager, though brought to us by a shaggy Scotsman Michael .Mmm it was light and cold and I was thirsty, the recommendation and the recommendee, both were nice. We enjoyed the beer, infact I had the beer, while dear Praveen had a lemonade and Detective An had a classic Coke in classic glass bottle with Fish and chips and dish of mashed potatoes.

I opened the fridge one day (extending the generosity of our loving hosts) and pulled out a bottle of Peroni, (my Uncle usually stocks exotic sounding east European and Bulgarian beer), this time he had gone upmarket and stocked Italian beer. Though, I have had Peroni in Nat’s restaurant Flavours in Delhi. It felt refreshing and light, it’s a pity, I followed it with yet another Carlsberg or was it a scotch, a Chivas 18 year old (which is as different and superior from its Chivas regular as cheese is from chalk or something like that) or was it a Islay of Mist, a single malt blend too evolved for my humble and broken in palette.

We had an image of an ideal pub, within an animal sounding name (like Hog in the Pound, The Horse and the Groom) and lo behold we were at Hares and Hound a lovely 105 year old pub in Osterly park. We loved it, a traditional place in fact, now owned by the Fullers Brewery waited by the pretty Louise a Fillipino who has been in and out of this pub for seven years.

Amidst ,Bangers (Cumberland sausages) and mash with onion gravy and Fried cod (fish)and chips and lots of other food had memorable pints and half pints of Fullers Discovery (pale blonde Beer), Fullers ESB and the dark Guinness. Discovery was what it promised blonde and light and pale both to look at and drink, ESB was strong and had a bite to it and the Guinness got me into a dark mood (the lady in the photo shot and ad for Guinness is not Louise the Fillipino, lest you get ideas) we went to family bar and this is family viewing blog. Is that right or what ?

Beera(sounds similar to Beer, is Berender Pal Singh the senior executive), picked me up from home and said lets go to Windsor Castle, I thought to myself Castle at night, its like asking someone lets go to Red Fort or Purana Qila. Well I said lets go with the flow. It turned out to be an upmarket bar, pub , restaurant and nightclub district, the excellent host that he is,took me to three bars, The King and Castle where I had a shy beer amidst the heavy Vodka and Redbull drinking by the Eton College boys which is in the neighbourhood. With girls from every where, and the shortest skirts on this side of Soho. We are accosted by four young girls who ask for a light I offer them a lit cigarette, one of them ,an Indian says, join us we are going to Liquid and then Vanilla. I am too old and Beera is to sober to respond. Well I forgot the beer in all this excitement. I had a fruity garden Beer Leffe out of a bottle. Nice. Fortified by the encounter, Beera decided to stick to double of Jamieson the Irish whisky for the night, I meekly followed. In two characteristic bars, the Ha Ha Bar and Grill at the Windsor station and gues what the Horse and the Groom , but more of that later, her we are talking just beer.
The Last day, I have to have some more beers, we go to the neighbourhood store called Exotic and pick up Grolsch and John Smiths. I had seen and read about Grolsch in movies and books, It was nice and not a strong beer as I thought it would be. The last one was John Smiths it come with a plastic widget in the can which I was told by Uncle John, helps it move from a canned beer to a beer from the pump. Though it promises, to be a bitter it was not that bitter, It was quite nice. That’s the Story, Three Guys Nine beers in 5days. That my Beer Summit a lot more interesting than Obama’s
So Long or is It Tally Ho !


ramanujan said...

hey,when do w get to read more of your entries-i really like them.Best,Ram

Anonymous said...

Hey great post. Thought I'm not sure I agree with you 100%. Keep em coming. Are you interested in having anyone guest post opposing views?