FOUR CANDLES – OXFORD

Four Candles
George Street
Oxford
OX1 2BE

FIRST VISIT: TUESDAY 8 APRIL 2014

The quest for Yeastie continues. But once again ends in failure.

Once again I’d stumbled upon a Spoons that didn’t have any of the overseas offerings. Have Spoons managers suddenly gone all Xenophobic? Shame on them. I decided to go for half of the Greene King Double Hop Monster IPA as I’d heard some decent things about. If fellow beer geeks are saying decent things about a GK beer then it must be truly awesome. It was decent. Decent enough that’ll I’ll try it again. It lingering dry bitter finish reminded me of the Stone/Adnams DIPA collab from earlier in the year. Perhaps the GK crew have been taking a sneaky peak at Adnams’ homework.

The pub, as I’m sure you will have guessed, is named after the famous Two Ronnies sketch. Ronnie Barker attended a school (now part of the University’s History Faculty) that was located more or less next door. Naturally, the pub has some fork handles on the wall. I look forward to the Head of Naming Newly Acquired Acquisitions at Spoons calling a pub The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town.

While I was sitting supping my ale I couldn’t help noticing the dark grainy wood that the bar’s constructed from. It reminded me of Copenhagen airport. Perhaps one day Greene King will be invited to attend the Copenhagen Beer Celebration. Perhaps not.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

TURF TAVERN – OXFORD

Turf Tavern
Bath Place
Oxford
OX1 3SU

FIRST VISIT: TUESDAY 8 APRIL 2014

If you stumble down a narrow alley located near to Oxford’s Bridge of Sighs rip-off (actually, it’s more of a Rialto Bridge rip-off but let’s not worry about such things) you will find the pub that is ‘possibly’ Oxford’s oldest. As you’d expect from a pub that is several hundred years old it is a bit of a ramshackle affair. And as you’d expect from a pub located in Oxford it is usually jammed full of students and tourists. If you are anywhere near 6 feet tall and don’t like crowds comprised of people with high IQs and/or large cameras you might want to avoid the place.

The bar is split in two by a supporting wall. Greene King beers occupy one side and beer from other breweries, which are just as exciting as GK, occupy the other. I went for a pint of Old Rosie. Twelve real ales on tap and I opt for a cloudy flat cider! I sat outside and watched the people come and go (sadly, not talking of Michelangelo). Most of the folk with large cameras took a photo or twelve before departing without buying a drink. Most of the students went a sat in one of three outside areas and smoked designer cigarettes. I left straight after my last heroic gulp of fermented apple juice. There was no reason to hang around.

The Turf Tavern is a bona fide tourist attraction. If you go to Paris and don’t see the Eifel Tower people will laugh at you. If you go to Oxford and don’t see where Bill Clinton didn’t inhale people will laugh at you. Let them laugh.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

ROYAL BLENHEIM – OXFORD

Royal Blenheim
St Ebbes
Oxford
OX1 1PT

FIRST VISIT: TUESDAY 8 APRIL 2014

The first time I tried to visit the Royal Blenheim (sometime back in 2013) it was closed for refurb. Today it was open. I’m not sure what the refurb entailed but the place felt soulless. It’s got that modern but pseudo-old thing going on. It’s a thing that I don’t think anywhere successfully pulls off. Perhaps I hold a different view if I visited on a Friday night but on a Tuesday during the day the place had nothing that made it worthy of a recommendation.

Most of the beers available were from White Horse brewery – it is their pub – but I decided to go for a guest offering – Yakima from Everards. Every beer geek hop freak knows that the Yakima Valley is the Promised Land so when we see a beer called Yakima we expect it too be a super-hoppy delight. Sadly, the Everards Yakima is not a super-hoppy delight. I think the nicest way to describe is to say it is dull but not disgusting.

When I was halfway through my pint the barman stepped outside. He returned a few seconds later and approached me and asked if I had a light. I told him I didn’t. He lingered for a second or two before moving on without saying a word. I’m not sure he believed me. I finished my pint and left. I doubt I will return.