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Old 02-01-2008, 12:53 AM   #1
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Default Beer questions for the Brits!

SWMBO and I are going back to England the first week of March to visit family, etc. It's been about 3-1/2 years since I was there last and when I was there, I wasn't a homebrewer. I was appreciative of good beer, but not a beer geek like now. So, this time, while SWMBO thinks I'm going to visit family, etc., in reality I'm on a quest for real ale! I'll be visiting the following areas and wondered if any of the Brits out there know of good pubs serving real ale (with good food, of course!) or any other beer-related destinations in these areas: Shropshire (Shrewsbury/Church Stretton), Chester, Liverpool, and London. We'll be renting a car, so going off the beaten path won't be a problem.

Also, what's the hops situation there for homebrewers? I'm a big fan of EKG and Fuggles. They're not easy to find here right now in the States. Any good home brew stores worth visiting? I wonder if I'd have trouble getting bags of hops through customs

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Old 02-01-2008, 02:51 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine
(with good food, of course!)
I'm sorry but place in the UK has good food.
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Old 02-01-2008, 09:46 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine
I'll be visiting the following areas and wondered if any of the Brits out there know of good pubs serving real ale (with good food, of course!) or any other beer-related destinations in these areas: Shropshire (Shrewsbury/Church Stretton), Chester, Liverpool, and London. We'll be renting a car, so going off the beaten path won't be a problem.
As a starting point for pubs, it might be worth checking out http://www.beerintheevening.com/ - I think it started off as a London-only guide but has broadened out a lot. I'm afraid I don't know Chester or Liverpool at all, but I bet you'll find some great country pubs in Shropshire. (I've just noticed Church Stretton has its own website - http://www.churchstretton.co.uk/ ). And it's not that far from Ludlow, which is gorgeous and when I was there a couple of years ago had some great pubs - sorry I can't remember any names

Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine
Also, what's the hops situation there for homebrewers? I'm a big fan of EKG and Fuggles. They're not easy to find here right now in the States. Any good home brew stores worth visiting? I wonder if I'd have trouble getting bags of hops through customs
It should be a piece of cake to find EKG and Fuggles. Something to bear in mind though is that the home brew scene here is far less active than in the US. Home brewing in the UK got kind of a bad name in the 1970s and 1980s when it was almost exclusively a way of making cheap (and nasty) booze. Until I went to the States and actually tried homebrew, I too had thought that it was only made by fat guys with beards who were too cheap to pay for proper beer in the pub. Obviously that's nonsense, but the view persists, and an unfortunate consequence is that there are some HBS that cater almost entirely for that market. I've been to a couple of stores that only sell crusty brown hops and LME from the last century, and where I was told not to waste my money buying DME as table sugar would do just as well and was much cheaper. That said, there are some great shops (my favourite is www.hopandgrape.co.uk - they're miles north of anywhere you're going though they do mail order; I think the shop Orfy uses might be reachable from Chester or Liverpool).
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Old 02-01-2008, 12:15 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by sause
I'm sorry but place in the UK has good food.
That's an old wives tale! I know Britain doesn't have a reputation for good food, but I'll take British pub food over Applebees, TGIFridays, Bob Evans, and any other standard American fare any day. The best steak I've ever had was in a country pub/restaurant in Shropshire. There's been concerted effort at pubs across Britain over the last X number of years to make pub food better. It's not just jacket potatoes anymore (although, those are good too).
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Old 02-01-2008, 08:58 PM   #5
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You might consider posting this question on a UK-based brewing forum.

Here is one I have been lurking on for a while, but I am sure there are others:

http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/forum/index.php

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Old 02-01-2008, 09:19 PM   #6
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Stonch has mapped the best pubs in London (map) - have a couple for me!!

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Old 02-01-2008, 11:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sause
I'm sorry but place in the UK has good food.
Orfy's place , at least the food in some of the photos sure looked good.
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Old 02-02-2008, 12:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
it was only made by fat guys with beards who were too cheap to pay for proper beer in the pub
As a fat guy who hasn't shaved this week, I'll point out that fat guys with beards who aren't too cheap to pay for proper beer in pubs do, also, brew decent stuff.

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Old 02-02-2008, 01:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caskconditioned
Stonch has mapped the best pubs in London (map) - have a couple for me!!
That's a very useful tool! Thanks.
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Old 02-02-2008, 01:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine
That's an old wives tale! I know Britain doesn't have a reputation for good food, but I'll take British pub food over Applebees, TGIFridays, Bob Evans, and any other standard American fare any day.
that's kinda unfair assessment. there's arse loads of good ma pa type places in the states. you have to look past the glitter.
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