Duchess of Cambridge
FIRST VISIT: FRIDAY 21 MARCH 2014
Alight at Goldhawk Road tube station and you are faced with two options. Turn right and walk for a couple of minutes to BrewDog Shepherds Bush or turn left and walk for eighteen minutes to the Duchess of Cambridge. The left hand path will take you past several pubs that have closed down and a few more that probably should have. If the weather is fine it’s a pleasant enough little jaunt.
As I approached the pub I feared that it hadn’t yet opened for the day. It looked pretty dark inside and there were no happy smiley faces staring out of the windows. I tried the door. It opened. I entered. The place was empty and no music was playing. Once again I wondered if the place was closed. I felt like I was intruding. I walked past the unoccupied seats and turned the corner to face the bar. Someone was standing there doing paperwork. He looked slightly startled but smiled politely and asked what I would like to drink. Open for business!
I ordered a pint of Art Brew’s Hip Hop Dr Rudi. Despite the fact there was a pump clip for it on a hand pull it was served from a gravity cask. I took my pint to a booth table and surveyed my surroundings. The Duchess of Cambridge is larger than I was expecting and a lot less grubby looking than its sister pub, the Bree Louise. It has a slightly dishevelled appearance but it feels more bohemian than out of work bum. I liked the place. It had a nice feel to it even though it was empty. Sadly, my beer wasn’t in great condition. It wasn’t atrocious or even bad enough to pour it in a plant pot but it certainly wasn’t as good as I know that beer can be. Most annoying. The cask and keg lists are written on a blackboard – the words before my eyes weren’t super exciting but there were a few beers worth drinking provided the quality was up to scratch. On the table was a big fat fake leatherbound menu. I assumed it would list the bottled beer collection but unless I had a duff copy the menus only list food and wine and spirits, which seems a bit of an oversight. I returned to the bar ordered a pint of W&E Conqueror. Once again it was served from gravity. While there I had a perusal of the bottle beer fridges. They housed an interesting little range of Belgian beers alongside BrewDog San Diego Scotch Ale, Brooklyn Monster, Flying Dog Horn Dog and a few others. Assuming the pricing is correct it would certainly be a fridge worth exploring. I returned to my table. I believe Conqueror is the first BIPA I ever tried. I also believe that first pint of Conqueror was in far better condition than the pint I now had before me. Most annoying. Initially I was planning on meeting a mate in the Duchess but after two disappointing pints and several explanatory tweets I was double timing it back down Goldhawk Road: Destination BDSB.
I actually quite liked the Duchess of Cambridge but thanks to the poor quality of the beer I didn’t like it anywhere as much as I should have, which is a bit of a shame. It’s unlikely I’ll be returning anytime soon.