Showing posts with label my local. Show all posts
Showing posts with label my local. Show all posts

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Local - Guest Blog

Ah, Prague, city of a thousand spires, the golden city, the place I still think of as being "home" (in some loose, woolly sense of course). A city of writers, thinkers and drinkers, Kafka, Havel and Hrabal. A city with pubs on most street corners and some in between corners in case you need refreshment from one corner to the next. Enough with the misty eyed reminiscences, this week's guest blogger is often known as Max, though perhaps more often known as Pivní Filosof. I have shared many a pint with Max, not to mention beer spirits at festivals in Plzeň, so it is my pleasure to hand Fuggled over to him for a few hundred words.


Other than the pub in the village I lived at the time (a great place where we had our wedding reception and we still visit every year on that day's anniversary), my first local in Prague was U Pětníka, a small pub near the Dejvická metro station.


I was introduced to it by a friend and it was love at first pint. The place is rather small, welcoming, with solid food and great atmosphere. They also had very good Staropramen 10o tanková. I spent many a great evening there, until InBev decided to turn the Smíchov brand into the Czech version of Brahma, which made me go in search of greener pastures.


By that time my beer horizons were expanding and one day I came across Pivovarsky Klub, which became my local after the first sip of I don't remember now which beer. At the time, this place was something unheard of, six taps! and all with stuff from small and micro breweries. I would go every week just to see what was new. I made friends there, got in "ahoj" terms with some of the staff and sometimes could spend hours chatting with them or the owner. What a great place, to this day, and it would still be my local if in April 2008 I hadn't found Zly ?asy.


Today this pub in Nusle is almost an international celebrity. It was ranked by RateBeer among the Top 40 pubs in the world and it came out in first place in a recent survey carried out by a Czech newspaper. Things were very different three and a half years ago. The pub had just come out of its contract with Staropramen and Pilsner Urquell and were just getting into the "?tvrtá pípa" thing. They had Kácov and a couple more things, but not only I felt this was just the beginning of something good, but the atmosphere of this cellar reminded me a lot of U Pětníka's and made me realise how much I was missing a place like that. It didn't take much for Zly ?asy to become my new local.


With time I've met many of the regulars and I know that whenever I drop by for a pint I will find someone to chat with. I also have to honour of always having a place at the ?tamgasty table and also to be counted among Hanz's friends. He's Zly ?asy's owner, a great guy who knows a thing or two about beer and loves and loves what he does, but above all, who wants to do things the best possible way. I've talked to him countless times about his plans, his ideas, I've even helped him find suppliers for some of the imported beers, always sitting in that deep cellar, beer in hand.


Since that first visit I've seen Zly ?asy grow to become what it is today, one of the finest pubs in the world, but at heart, it is still that same neighbourhood dive I fell in love with back then.

Friday, January 6, 2012

My Local - Guest Blog

When I went to France in 2008 for Christmas and New Year, we actually spent Christmas in Kent at my eldest brother's house, I drank a fair bit of local Kentish ale. One of my January posts was about the Gadd's beers that I drank while I was there, and in the comments was a new commenter for me at the time, one Mark Dredge, author of Pencil and Spoon and subsequently much lauded beer blogger. It is my pleasure then, that today Mark is my guest blogger.


I don’t have a local. Not somewhere I’d like to regularly drink that’s stumbling distance from my front door. I never have had a local. When I moved in with my girlfriend two years ago I went in search of a local and found nothing (I found pubs but not ones I’d like to drink in...). I’m moving house in a few weeks and I’ll go on the search for a local again then. I hope I find somewhere good, although I doubt I’ll go there very often.

Not having a local doesn’t bother me much. I wasn’t brought up around the pub environment so it never mattered to me. More important was spending time with family and friends. For me, being with family or friends is more important than where we actually are. I very rarely go out drinking alone. I don’t pop to the pub for a few pints and a chat with whoever is there. I’d rather sit at home with a bottle from the fridge (though solo drinking can be a fine thing).

There are pubs that I go to more often than others, so I guess these are my ‘locals’, even if they would take me over an hour to travel to from home. But I don’t work near where I live and I tend to go out near where I work. And that’s in London and London has a lot of pubs.

I’m not a monogamous drinker. I regularly return to the same places but I go because I like the beer there or want to meet friends there. A local, for me, is something that other people have. Maybe if I lived near a good pub this would be different. Maybe not.

Friday, December 30, 2011

My Local - Guest Blog

Pubs are a topic very close to my heart. Pubs are, in my as ever unhumble opinion, the natural environment for the lover of beer. It seems fitting then that the last post of 2011 should be a guest post on the theme of pubs, in particular the ones we call our "local". It is also fitting that the author of this post is Adrian Tierney-Jones of Called to the Bar, one of my favourite and absolute must read blogs, he is also the author of Great British Pubs. Without further ado, let me hand over to Adrian....


I’m greedy. I’m positively gargantuan in my appetite for pubs, which is why whenever I am asked about my local, I answer that I have two of them and both suit my ever changing moods in many ways. Both of them serve good grub and I eat in both. Both of them keep a perfect cellar and I drink beer in both, especially at the weekend, where in the company of several other topers I start at the bottom pub by the river and then end up at the pub at the top nearest to my house. I drink cask beer most times — St Austell Proper Job, Tribute, Otter Head, anything from Bristol Beer Factory, Dark Star, Adnams, Thornbridge — or I might have an Orval or a Flying Dog IPA (in their proper glasses).

Then, as Graham Greene wrote, there’s the human element. I like the people who run both these pubs. I enjoy the company of those that drink in both these pubs (some of whom, like myself, lead a dual pub life). We swap jokes, gossip, local news, comments on the weather, football and rugby anecdotes, rarely politics though, moans about road-works (they’ve just finished) and occasionally I talk about beer, though I try not to. I am minded to remember the look on the face of one of the guys a couple of years ago after I’d persuaded one of my pubs to take in Schneider Weiss on draught — I like this lager he said to me, and 10 minutes later was wishing he’d kept his mouth shut as I continued to drone on about Bavarian Weizen. On the other hand, Mike always asks me what the guest beer at one of my locals is like when I see him there over the weekend. We also get lots of tourists and you get wistful comments about how they would like a local back home. I always like talking with them; you just never know where the journey of conversation is going to take you.

So what else do my locals offer me? Both are a home from home, a place that is homely and public, a public house in the true sense of the word and of course having two homes is better than one (well I suppose you could say I have three). And much as I like the social discourse that having a local pub brings there are also subtle nuances that I think you can show whenever you just want to read your paper and have a quiet pint (though there is the odd type who even if it’s obvious that I’m sitting there working on my laptop will wander over and ask me what I am doing — for him and his sort I have reserved a special place in the third ring of hell, otherwise known as one of the pubs in the nearest market town over the border).

There’s one other thing that occurs to me as I think about the local. I travel about visiting pubs and I think that sometimes one also can have a mobile local, one that is very much of the here and now, a local that you don’t visit that often but as soon as you walk in it’s like slipping into a favourite pair of carpet slippers (not that I ever wear the fiendish things) and starting to relax. And this then makes me think that a local pub is both a physical entity (whether it’s one or two) and also a state of mind.

And finally, dialectically speaking, the synthesis of all this thought about the local is that it makes me realise what is the greatest thing about the local pub — it offers a never-ending potential for discussion and debate on what a local pub is. The road goes on forever.

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Local - Guest Blog

Earlier this year I had the inestimable pleasure of brewing a beer with the guys at Devils Backbone and beer historian Ron Pattinson, of Shut About Barclay Perkins fame. Well Ron has stepped in the guest blogger shoes to tell us about his local pubs....


My local. What could be easier than shooting the breeze about the place you usually drink? Well, for me it's a bit tricky. First of all I have to decide what is my local.

Strictly speaking, it's either the Playground Pub or Gent aan de Schinkel.

I would tell you the real name of the first one. If I could remember it. Physically, it's the closest pub to my flat. And, as the nickname might well give away, It's a place I used to frequent with the kids. Dump them in the playground and then dump myself at the bar. Only it never quite worked out as simply as that. But when does anything go the way it should? (And for that matter, when will I stop asking questions?) Kids, eh. Always wanting attention the little attention vampires. That and unhealthy food.

The pub was a good way to get acquainted with some of the other people in our neighbourhood. As it turned, mostly ones with kids themselves. I wasn't the only one with the idea about dumping the babes and boozing myself into oblivion. Must be something about children that prompts that.

I don't go there any more. On principle. Despite the law, they allow smoking. Yes, just what I need. Bugger my lungs even more.

I have a strange relationship with Gent aan de Schinkel. I won't go into that now. Let's just say that it also has something to do with my kids. On the face of it, it's an obvious candidate for my local. Just around the corner and a sort of half beer café. It used to be a full one, but they've pared back the range somewhat over the years. Still, La Chouffe and Filliers 8 (a rather delicious jenever) is usually enough to satisfy me. All sounds pretty good so far, doesn't it? Now here are the not-so-good points.


They major on food. I rarely to never eat out in Amsterdam. No point. There's a kitchen and a cook back home. Seems like a huge waste of money. Being crowded out of a pub by diners isn't my idea of fun (I won't tell you what is, it's just too sad). Especially (here's the second not-so-good point) when they are a bunch of yuppies. I prefer a more genuine drinking atmosphere myself. Preferably without any music, TVs, slot machines or yuppies. Miserable old git, that's me.

The pub I most regularly go in Amsterdam in Wildeman. Not exactly local, at near dead on three miles away, as the crow flies. Not being a crow, it's just as well the number 2 tram takes me virtually door to door. Usually on Saturday afternoon.

Night time boozing. It's a young man's (or woman's) game. My powers of recovery are too feeble for it to be an option most nights. And, given the state I'm in when I leave a pub, it's best if there's still daylight. Gives me a sporting chance of getting home uninjured. It's hard enough getting up in the morning when I've gone to bed sober. I'm not taking any chances. That's why 2 o' clock in the afternoon is my designated Wildeman time.

I'm not the only one with a routine. The bloke with a beard who reads the paper. He's always there, too. Reading the paper. As well as me and Mike, Guy Thornton often turns up. Very reassuring. Usually we occupy enough seats to keep out the young. The bastards. With their designer clothes, radiant skin and irritating electronic devices. Ticky, ticky, tick. You can't get away from people fiddling with some gadget or other nowadays.

When I contemplating writing this piece I realised there was another pub that had a claim to be my local. What is a local? It's a home from home. Somewhere you feel comfortable and safe. Where there are people you know. Where you can walk in at any time of the day and someone will say "Hello Ron" (it's probably a different name your case, but you get the idea). Where there's always someone to chat with. A place where the normal rules of physics don't apply. It doesn't matter how long since your last visit, you pick up straight away where you left off, even if it's been a year.


Going by those criteria, I realise there was an odd candidate for my local: the Gunmakers in London. The preceding paragraph, that was all about the Gunmakers. I feel bizarrely at home there. Even though I've not lived in London since I became aware of it. Even though I've not spent more than four days on the bounce in London for several decades. Yet every time I walk through the door the welcome rushed out to meet me.


Of course, it helps that I'm mates with Jeff, the landlord. But that isn't the only reason I love the place. Well-kept cask beer is a must. And Jeff's is very well looked after. Not a huge selection, just four handpumps. But I've never been shallow enough to judge a pub by the number of beers it sells. (Some of my favourite pubs only sell one.) Small, but well chosen. That's the Gunmakers beer range. You're guaranteed that any beer you buy will be in top condition.

I'm going to contradict myself now. But who gives a toss about consistency other than premiership managers? The Gunmakers is at times of the day mostly given over to diners. I told you I hated that. But there's always space for the solitary drinker and his pint and paper. And having a full kitchen means they can offer the things I like to eat in a pub: homemade scotch eggs and pork pie.

Maybe it's the associations that makes it such a happy place for me. Most of my visits are after a session in the London Metropolitan Archives, which isn't far away. Aching and dirty, but with a camera full of brewing records, I stumble in and soothe my exhaustion with a pint. Several pints. Because pints like company, too.

There you have it, three locals for the price of one. Sorry, four for. Pubs, they’re like kids. Noisy, irritating, lively, invigorating. And just like kids, it’s cruel to pick just one favourite.

Friday, December 16, 2011

My Local - Guest Blog

We come back to Virginia for this week's guest blog. Richmond based Eric Delia is the man behind the Relentless Thirst blog and an all round superb human being to boot. Since Mrs V and I moved to the States in 2009, Eric and his now wife have become good friends and we count it an honour to be able to name them as such. So let me hand over to Eric.....


I'll be up front with you. I don't have a local.

To make a fairly confident assumption, I'd argue that most Americans don't have one either. At least not in the traditional British sense of the word. The way I see it, you can be a frequent customer of a drinking establishment, but that still doesn't necessarily make it your local.

Local as an adjective is defined by Merriam-Webster as "primarily serving the needs of a particular limited district." In noun form, the same source also includes the British definition of "a nearby or neighborhood pub." Due to zoning laws, reliance on the automobile, and the vicious circle of demonization and quiet overindulgence of alcohol, "locals" in the United States are mainly confined to densely-populated urban centers, if they exist here at all. Oft-cited examples are bars, but to me, a public house means more than just that. Though that tangent is probably best left for another post.

Therefore, if I have to pick a place in order to appease Velky Al, I'll go out on a limb and pick Whole Foods.


That's right, I'm not going with any of the grassroots spots in Richmond, Virginia that have happened to catch the beer bug in the past few years. I'm picking a chain of upscale grocery stores that has caught the beer bug in the past few years. In particular, my local Whole Foods.

The Whole Foods in my area has quite the selection of beer, not to mention food, wine, homeopathic healing salves, and accessories for the home. It's a regular earth-loving granola-fest, and I dig it. The products on the shelf often emphasize local, organic, or both simultaneously, all of which I'm happy to support with my wallet. That, and they fill growlers. So it's a win-win.

At any given time, there are eight beers on tap, and they rotate constantly. In addition to standard releases from breweries, their beer buyer often stocks up on limited release kegs of various sizes to store for appropriate seasons or occasions, and rarely do I come across their current draft list without wanting to walk away with 64oz of something.

It's my local, in a sense, because it's where I buy my groceries, where I can have an open discussion about the latest trends in the beer world, and at times, it's also where I do my drinking. As always, there's more to do there than just drink. After work, when I need to pick up some made-in-house organic sausage or fresh local produce, I can grab a pint before I do my shopping. How cool is that?

It's also a place to get away from other places. Not to be insulting, but I'd rather discuss beer, or any topic really, with people I care about or whose opinions I respect. It would be nice to have the sense of community that truly local, neighborhood pubs often cultivate, but I just don't see it here in the US.

So while it may sound selfish to want to drink a pint alone in quiet reflection, or in the company of a small group of friends, it's the way I prefer to spend my valuable leisure time when having a pint out. It just so happens that I enjoy doing that at Whole Foods. Lately, it's the closest thing to a local that I can find.

Friday, December 9, 2011

My Local - Guest Blog

Pubs are a ubiquitous feature of life in many European countries and Ireland surely has one of the more celebrated pub cultures. So, off to Ireland we go, and this week's post comes from Reuben, writer of the Tale of the Ale blog and all round good egg. I'll be hanging out with Reuben and his wife in a few weeks in Paris, something Mrs V and I are very much looking forward to. Without further ado.....


Ah the local, a term of endearment. It's a home away from home. For many it might feel more like home than wherever you live. It's an odd term "Your local". What does it actually mean? In the strictest terms, your local should be the pub/bar that's closest to your place of residence, or at least in the vicinity. What happens if you live in a small rural town with only two remaining pubs? That's my current situation, since I have moved to the town formerly known as Beggars Bridge, though the Irish name Droichead Chaisleán Loiste means Castlelost Bridge and refers to a ruined castle named Castlelost and so on. Yes there is history to this little town, though little of it all that interesting. Not until you get to more modern times. Apparently (and I have no evidence either way), my humble little town is the site of the country's first strip or pole dancing club. I'm not sure which, or even if it's true but since it happened before I moved here, I also don't care.

What I do care about is that of the two pubs remaining in my town, neither have any beer worth drinking. Now that would not bother me so much if my closest pub, Bagnalls (the one VelkyAl has been to) still served food. When we moved here first they actually had lovely food and Sunday lunch was fantastic. It was not a carvery, it was menu and table service but the cost was about the same and the food quality far superior to a carvery. Sadly they stopped serving food a few years ago and as a result, we stopped having a reason to go there. I have tried a few times to make it my local. For a time they had bottled Guinness and I went to watch a few rugby games but it just had no atmosphere.

The other pub called Lysters is more of a farmer and GAA pub. I have only been in there once while waiting for the post office to open. When I mentioned this to the bar man he pointed out that in actual fact the post office closed in 20 minutes and I had been waiting for it to close all that time.

I now have a dilemma. The closest homely pub to me is in my closest large town of Mullingar. Daly's serves craft beer and is a lovely pub as well. It is hard to get to using public transport. My only real option is to either use a taxi at over €20 each way, or I can cycle as I did in my report.

That means my real local, the one I feel most at home in must be somewhere with a better public transport link and where else but my home town of Dublin?


There are many great pubs I can choose but The Bull & Castle usually ends up as number one, as long as we are talking Saturday or Sunday afternoon when it's quiet enough to sit at the downstairs bar and read. Later on weekends they bring on a DJ and loud music to ruin the atmosphere and ability to have a conversation. This can be overlooked for their dedication to craft beer, their sheer range of craft and world beers and also because if I get hungry, as I often do when drinking beer, I have some fantastic dishes to choose from. The manager also runs a blog listing their latest beers and current rotation cask and keg offerings.


Sitting at the bar downstairs is probably my favourite place to be while enjoying a beer, a book and perhaps something to eat. Upstairs is the German style beer hall but there is something more homely & more welcoming about the downstairs bar if you are on your own. If not, head upstairs to the beer hall and pick any bench style table. Pick a beer of any of the chalkboard or table menus. See what's on cask that day or watch a match on the projector, assuming there is one. It's a great place to watch Rugby matches.

There are quieter and more relaxing pubs, pubs that serve better food perhaps or even pubs that might be better craic, but as an all round great place to be, for their sheer number of speciality world and craft beers, their dedication to Irish craft beer and their cask offerings and many other indefinable reasons, The Bull & Castle is my local, my home away from home.

Friday, December 2, 2011

My Local - Guest Blog

For our guest blog this week we head to the right side of Hadrian's Wall, and then up the M8 a bit to Glasgow, a city where I have spent many a happy evening hanging out, drinking and having a black pudding supper. Needless to say I like Glasgow a lot, and when Mrs V and I discuss the possibility of moving to the UK, Glasgow is high on the list of places I would happily move to. The Glasgow based blog "I might have a glass of beer" is absolutely essential reading, written by Barm, also known in the Twitter world as @robsterowski. Here, then, is the post...


I should admit it straight away: I’ve never really had a local.

I did when I started drinking. It was the only decent pub in my town, and the last bus home left from across the street, which was convenient. I spent many sessions in there with my chums from school, before we all started moving away, discovering the differences between Guinness, Heineken, Whitbread Pale Ale and McEwan’s Blue Label. It had a big mahogany island bar and was one of those pubs where the ladies’ toilet was an obvious recent addition.


But I’ve seldom lived close to a pub where I’d actually want to drink. Some will say the first mentioned above doesn’t even count, as it wasn’t within walking distance. It’s usually been at least a bus ride away.

This is probably why I always insist on booking somewhere central when I go on a trip. For a few joyous days one time, Brauerei Spezial in Bamberg was my local. That was nice.

The essence of a local, though, isn’t really proximity; it’s having a connection to the pub and to its regulars. For a period a group of us scenesters would hang around in an old Victorian pub at Charing Cross talking about music; the bands and songs we talked about would naturally flow into the playlist at the club night the next evening. The beer was nothing special, but the scene was.

This went on for a year or so and then fizzled out, as these things inevitably do. Oddly enough, the club night was in a different venue, which had terrible beer. I begrudged the money for every pint I bought there, but I never resented buying a round in the pub. Because the local isn't really about beer, but relationships. If the beer is good, that makes the relationships stronger because you find yourself in the pub with your friends more often.

Every pub should aim to be a local for at least a few people. If too many of the customers are regulars, it can be unwelcoming to outsiders. Maybe this is why I never really wanted to go to a lot of pubs that were physically nearby.

Constant motion is the price paid by those who crave variety in their drinking. Even if you have a bar with a hundred or two hundred different beers, waiting for the world’s beers to come to you is lame. You have to go out and find them in their native habitat. Then come home and drink ale in the local and try to fit in again. As people move about so much nowadays, a session with friends in the local can become a special occasion, which is a shame.

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Local - Guest Blog

This week's guest post on the theme of "my local" comes from pithy blogger, beer taster, beer retailer and one of the few people I know with a beer named after him - Zak Avery. Over to you Zak......


To me, there's a clear difference between "your local" and "your favourite".

To get to my local, I walk for about 4 minutes. To get to my favourite - depending on which favourite you mean - is anything from a 20 minute busride to a longhaul flight. Even then, I'm cheating a bit, because I walk past two pubs to get to "my local", The Black Bull in Rothwell.


The Black Bull is typical of good, suburban British pubs. Everything about it is instantly familiar, from the almost-lurid pattern of the brown and red carpet to the elbow-height, dark wooden wainscotting. True to type, there is a bit of exposed brickwork, and an area of bare floorboards that leads up to, and around, the bar. At 6.30 on a wet Thursday evening, there is already an assortment of drinkers assembled, but the pub is quiet. The gleaming chrome fonts offer familiar megabrands, the optics on the wooden barback are the usual suspects. The selection is nothing to write home about.

Of course, there's a reason that I walk past two pubs to get to this one. It's not the slightly-too-loud jukebox, the quiz machine, the Sky Sports TVs, the raised area with the pool table. It is, of course, the beer. Ordinary, beautiful, humble, dazzling British bitter. They have three handpumps, and will rotate beers through them with a decent amount of speed - tonight there are only two on, which is as it should be mid-week. It's better to offer one cask ale in perfect condition than three that are past their best, and The Black Bull knows that. I've never had a bad pint here. Tonight, I'm drinking Adnams Southwold Bitter, in an Adnams glass, at the perfect temperature. Other times, Tetley's Bitter (in a Tetley's glass), Acorn Barnsley Bitter (in an Acorn glass), Ossett Excelsior (in an Ossett glass).

The Black Bull is an ur-pub, outside of fashion and trend. This is the sort of place that any visitor to the UK should try to experience in order to get an insight into the real drinking culture of the country. While I love drinking in beer geek bars (and I use that term with love), while I love being asked "This is £9 a pint, is that OK?", while I love the current preoccupation with offering the best Scotch egg known to humanity as a humble bar snack ("This Scotch egg's a fiver, is that OK?"), I also love the brilliant simplicity of a pub that just wants to be a good, ordinary pub serving good, ordinary beer.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Guest Blog - My Local

This week's guest blog is by Leslie from Texas, the person behind Lushtastic and one of Houston's leading bloggers, so rather me wittering on, I hand you over to her:

When I first discovered an old gas station turned coffee shop, turned amazing craft beer bar, nestled in the quiet Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston, I was in love. The Petrol Station*, with their laid back atmosphere, 2 huge patios, rumors of expansion and possible brewpub dreams, great food menu (get the garlic-parmesan fries with everything), and ever evolving and changing craft beer selection, I knew there wouldn’t be another place I loved in this town more to get my craft beer fix.


I started frequenting Petrol after a visit with my dear friends, Christine and Jordan, and now I feel like family. Troy, the best beertender ever, knows the styles I like to drink and always has a recommendation for me when I can’t decide (which is often, as I am quite indecisive with their list). He even made a Chocolate Yeti “Beeramisu”, with homemade marscapone, for my friend Cathy’s birthday party we had there.


Not only is Petrol a perfect place to drink a delicious craft beer and eat yummy tacos (the special on Tuesdays), owner Ben Fullelove goes out of his way to acquire seriously awesome beers for other events, like the Dogfish Head Scavenger Hunt he hosted in October of 2010, that featured a different rare, vintage Dogfish beer at a different bar each day, some to take home, some to drink on premise (Texas law says if an establishment has a mixed-liquor license, no beers are available to-go). I participated in the hunt every day for 10 days, figured out the clues, knew the password and had all the beers. I got a sweet t-shirt and a 4pack of beer out of it too.

Petrol sells growlers too, a few times a year they offer a limited number of these to-go containers and they always feature an entertaining graphic. It has become almost a cult following of Houston beer nerds, everyone trying their hardest to collect all of the Petrol growlers. The last round involved selling them out of the trunk of Ben's classic Lincoln across the street from the bar in their parking lot, and sold out in something like 15 minutes.


Then there are Ben’s beer dinners. Coming up for Houston Beer Week in November, he is collaborating with Jonathan Jones of Xuco Xicana to face-off in a beer dinner vs. beer dinner against Kevin Floyd of Anvil and forthcoming Hay Merchant, who is teamed up with Chris Shepherd of the upcoming Underbelly. It will include 10 courses and 10 beers, and it is sure to be epic. Previously, he has worked with Chef Jones on two beer dinners, I attended both and they were fabulous. The first one took place during Houston Beer Week in 2010 and the second was earlier this year in March. Both of them paired rare beers (to our market) with fabulous creations from Chef Jones. I have been to some great beer dinners in my time of enjoying craft beers, but these take the cake, by far.

When someone asks me where to go in Houston for good beer, good food, or a good patio, I always recommend Petrol. Hell, I recommend Petrol for almost anything, I have all of my blog interviews there and any meetings I can possibly schedule there as well. The only downside, if you aren't a regular and used to it, may be the wait time for food when they are busy. Their small kitchen seriously limits how much food they can make quickly during busy times. These guys take their time, but I have never seen that as a bad thing, only an indication that the food is fresh, made-to-order and always stellar.

*Petrol Station, 985 Wakefield Drive, Houston, Texas, 77018

Friday, November 4, 2011

Finding A Local - Guest Blog

Today sees the beginning of a new series of guest blogs here on Fuggled. Taking on the theme of "My Local" the bloggers I have invited will be talking about the pub scene where they live. So rather than me wittering on much longer, I will hand over to the first guest bloggers of the series, Boak and Bailey:


We've just moved to Penzance which is a really, really long way from London -- a short bus ride from Land's End, in fact; in the Atlantic; near America.

With all of our friends hundreds of miles away, as the nights draw in, and the sea starts to crash over the promenade, we're beginning to realise just how much we're going to need a friendly local pub.

But which will it be?

Our actual local -- the nearest pub geographically -- is described online as "grubby inside, grubby outside, and with a hostile atmosphere". It certainly doesn't look welcoming. We're going to give it a miss.


So, downright rough pubs aside, based on what we've seen so far, we've got a choice of lovely pubs with bad beer, or soulless pubs with good beer.

The long-term project is to drink in the lovely pubs often enough that we get to know the landlords and then explain why we only ever drink Budvar from bottles. If that goes well and we "do a Barm", our problem might be solved.


As it is, we've more-or-less decided that, spiritually speaking, our local is a 20 minute bus ride away in a village on the way to St Ives. The beer is great, the regulars are chatty, and the landlord, who brews out back, is happy to geek out about hops with us.


If only it were nearer... As it is, we'll probably never be able to go often enough to earn the sacred right to hang our own glass behind the bar, or be greeted by name when we walk through the door.

Old Friends: Joseph's Brau PLZNR

I have to admit that there really are not that many things that I miss as a result of this pandemic. I am sure that comes as something of a ...

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