Indy Man Beer Con
FIRST VISIT: SATURDAY 11 OCTOBER 2014
How can you fail to love the Indy Man Beer Con? You get to drink great beer while staggering around a disused Victorian Public Baths!
I woke up drunk from the night before. It had been a good night that had started with drinking Stillwater in the King’s Arms and had ended with a mosh at a Future of the Left gig in the Garage… and in between those two events we managed to knock back some cans of Bengali Tiger and some pints of Devil’s Backbone IPA in a Spoons. The morning started just before seven with a bottle of IPA Citra Galactique (by Brasseurs du Grand Paris) in the house the on the train we had a bottle of Moet & Chandon followed by a can of Smog Rocket and a bottle of La Noire (by Correizenne). By the time I arrived in Manchester at 11am I was already pretty trashed. We wandered in the general direction of the Victorian Baths but eventually got bored and flagged down a taxi.
Once inside the festival my opening salvo was an Original (Cider) from Thistly Cross. After that it was beer overdrive! At some point I got so drunk that I actually stopped logging beers on Untappd. Before that I spent a fair bit of time hanging out in the Turkish Baths and on a rocking chair that was somewhere near the Magic Rock bar. Along the way I met up with old friends but probably didn’t make any new ones. I had a lovely time.
For the sake of historical accuracy, here are the beers I had (before my ability to tap an iProduct screen escaped me):
So’Hop – Moor
Gamma Ray – Beavertown
Earl Phantom – Beavertown
Cap Dog – BrewDog
Pognophobia – Magic Rock
Sour Bikini – Evil Twin
Imperial Doughnut Break – Evil Twin
Fuck Art This Is Advertising – To Øl
One Hells Of A Beaver – Camden Town and Beavertown
Black Betty – Beavertown
Yeah, IndyManBeerCon 2014 was great… I will be returning in 2015.
Beer House (Paddington)
SECOND VISIT: SUNDAY 14 SEPTEMBER 2014
My train was ‘delayed’ so I decided to pop into this place and have a beer while keeping an eye on the train boards. The draught beer was unenticing – Meantime stuff or GK Noble or a £6 pint of 5AM Saint. I looked in the fridges and spotted nice neat rows of Camden Town Hells. In honour of my favourite beer writer, Matthew Curtis, I decided to buy a bottle. After much tapping at his EPOS, coupled with a look of mild anguish, the bartender told me that it was £5.05 a bottle but there was a special on which meant I could get two bottles for seven quid. I was on my own and didn’t really fancy two bottles but even though it meant spending an extra £1.95 it made more fiscal sense to get two bottles. I poured one of the bottles and had a few gulps. It was okay. It was arguably better than okay. It is certainly one of the better lagers that you can easily purchase in central London. I looked at the train boards and the ‘Delayed’ had changed to ‘On Time’. Fucking hell. I had five minutes to down two bottles of Hells then make it over to Platform 4. Obviously, I made it with a couple of minutes to spare.
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FIRST VISIT: THURSDAY 13 MARCH 2014
The Beer House is effectively a train station waiting room. But a train station waiting room that sells expensive beer. For a few years it was known as the Isambard and in those days the most exotic drink you could acquire was a pint of Guinness. Even then the beer was 50p more expensive per pint than Paddington station’s other pub, the Mad Bishop & Bear. The current incarnation sells Brooklyn Lager and 5AM Saint and a revolving selection of Meantime offerings. The rise in the quality of the beer range has also seen a rise in prices. You’ll be lucky if your pint comes furnished with any change from a fiver. Actually, you’ll probably have to hand over some coins with your crumpled blue note. A pint of 5AM Saint cost £5.60 (or it did back in May 2013 – it might have gone up!) Decor wise, the place is dark and uninspiring. There’s a big telly that usually shows the news or sport (sound down, subtitles on) and free wi-fi but other than that the place makes no real attempt to coax you to stick around for anything other a quick bite to eat and a swift pint or two. The toilets can only be accessed if you know the secret code. But the bar staff seem happy to give the code to people who have asked politely to use the loo but not actually bothered buying a drink. Despite the inflated prices and the fact that it has nothing to recommend it, I still enjoy having a beer or two in the Beer House. Probably because it’s dark. Like my heart.
I ordered a half of Meantime’s Smoked Porter, which I didn’t think was particularly smoked or porterish but it was decent enough. I also had a £2.00 pork pie, which looked like it was an Asda Smart Price Mini Pork Pie and had next to no flavour. The Colman’s mustard helped jazz it up. Pie dispatched and beer downed it was time to go as the 1536 to Cheltenham Spa (via Swindon) was departing in less than three minutes.
If I was still in early twenties I’m sure I would find this place great. I’m not in my early twenties. The best thing that I can think to say about the place was that the jukebox looked like it was worth a dropping in a pound coin or two.
The beer list was so uninspiring that we had to go for a pint of Camden Town Pale Ale. It’s not often you get a keg pint that is in poor condition but this was one of those times. We would have been better off drinking Doom Bar and Holsten in the Boston Arms… umm… actually…