Famous Royal Navy Volunteer
FIRST VISIT: SATURDAY 18 JANUARY 2014
The Famous Royal Navy Volunteer used to be the kind of pub you’d look in and then decide it looked to dodgy so you’d hastily move on. But not anymore. These days it’s a welcoming beacon of beautifulness. It’s bright. It’s airy. It has big comfy seats. It has free WIFI. It does delicious food. The staff are nice and friendly. The bogs are fantastic. And the beer is great: keg, cask, bottles – whatever way you like to get you craft beer hit TFRNV has it covered.
It took just a few seconds of staring at the beer board to know what my opening choice had to be: Arbor Ales’ Down Deeperest (a 13% Imperial Black Saison). I’m a big fan of Arbor’s previous two Down incarnations: Down Deeper (an 11.2% Imperial IPA) and Down Deeperer (a 12% Black Barley Wine). Down Deeperest was launched back at the end of August 2013 at the CAMRGB Twissup in Bristol. A prior engagement meant I couldn’t be there. And since its launch I’d failed to find any of the Deeperest. I won’t confess to that fact upsetting me but that fact did upset me. But here it was. Right before my very eyes and in my grubby mitts was a third pint of Arbor’s Down Deeperest – I was about to complete the unholiest of trinities. I was mildly concerned that I wouldn’t like at the few dark saisons I’d previously tried had been very strange things that had left me unsure about trying any others. The Deeperst was rubbish. Really really rubbish. My life was in tatters. O curse you, you evil god of dark saisons, curse you! Nah. I’m just shitting you. It was delicious. Dark, complex and mean and moody but with a delicateness and subtly that a lot of high ABV beers lack. I was impressed. I was tempted to order another third or maybe even be a crazy bastard and go a half but instead I decided to play it relatively safe and go for a half of the Kernel Double 4C, which clocks in at a modest 9.6%. It was good. Not as good as the Deeperest. But comparisons are odouress so let’s just leave it at a simple it was good. Time to exit stage left…