|A small selection of beer pump clips|
at the Thirty-Nine Steps
One thing about Kent is evident. The public transport system is great. We boarded the number 8,"The Breeze" service from the Thanet coast to Kent's capital, and within 50 minutes we had arrived. After a bit of window shopping and trying to find an ankle support for my troublesome leg,we settled down in The City Arms, Butchery Lane. After a fire in 2001, this alehouse re-opened in 2004 and is a showcase for Canterbury Brewery's beer and local ciders. I had a pint of the very aromatic "Little Red Rye" 4.5%, whilst a half of Henderson's "Toffee Apple Cider" ,a 6% delight, was also taken. A busy pub and a pure gem with knowledgeable staff and a friendly feel.After this,we popped around the corner to The Old Buttermarket. A pretentious looking pub and bland tasting ale was my summing up once we had struggled to finish a pint of Nicholson's "Pale" at 4% and half of the 4.4% Woodfordes' "Norfolk Hawker". Both lacked that fresh taste of a good conditioned beer.A disappointment.In the meantime we had received an expected phone call from "T'other 'arf's" brother and sister-in -law Andrew and Jayne , who, along with Tom their son,would be meeting us for a few.Did we know where The Parrot pub was? Of course we did. The Beermonster had sniffed this one out on a previous visit. Canterbury's oldest pub was soon on the horizon and we were presently sat in the comfortable beer garden enjoying various measures of Shepherd Neames "Whitstable Bay Pale ale" , 3.9% and "Spitfire"at 4.2% along with the 4.8% "Samuel Adams Boston Lager" brewed under licence by the same brewers. These went down well and we accompanied these with some rather filling posh sarnies from the lunch menu. We decided to walk round to The Foundry Brew Pub in White Horse Lane,
home of The Canterbury Brewery. A full collection of therir wares were on display and during our visit we tried sampled the Amber ale "Torpedo" 4.5%, "Street Light Porter" an excellent dark beer of 5.8%, ,the Golden Ale,"Foundry Man's Gold" 4% 5.6% "Red Rye", "Topaz", "Hop Doctor" and, somehow I managed to down two pints of the 7.4% and very smooth drinking "Revenge". For such a strong set of beers, these are all very enjoyable on the tastebuds and all go down a little too easily. This is the perfect showcase for these ales and I will never tire of visiting The Foundry. We left late in the afternoon to visit, if memory serves me right,The Bell & Crown in Palace St. Here I had, according to my notes Wantsum "Red Raddle" a 5% Summer Ale , and the same strength Old Dairy brew "Gold Top".My notes suggest one of our company,at least, chose the Old Fountains' brew of "Whitstable EIPA" a +4% IPA. My memories at this point are somewhat sketchy and with my achilles throbbing like Billy-o, my capacity of alcohol almost exceeded, we should have popped on the bus back to Margate. We should have,I know but with such great company, we went back to Fordwich and The George and Dragon where we met up with the final family member, Ellie.I have been to
The George a few times, and a lovely family pub it is. It always carries a good range of local ales, and one can struggle to leave the welcoming atmosphere here. After quite a while and a few more beers (can't remember exactly which but I do remember a lovely Porter), we went back,or struggled back, to our hosts' for an improvised supper of pizza,chips etc. as the Chinese Take-Away was shut. We thoroughly enjoyed our day and, as we set out for the last bus back, we felt absolutely shattered. With the motion of the bus, a loving and long suffering partner to rest my weary head on,& enough booze in my bloodstream to float the QE2,I was soon embarrassingly snooring my way back to Thanet. Ooops.The next day we had planned a crawl on The Loop. I was aware, as we entered Margate at 00-10, this may not happen!!
|The bar at The Foundry.|
|The George & Dragon,Fordwich.|
If memory serves me right !!!
On Wednesday, we had a run out in the car to Ramsgate, only a couple or so miles away. As expected, we did not partake of the liquids but, on first appearances, it certainly has much to offer the connoisseur of ales. We had a lovely "Whippy" ice-cream by the harbour,a wonderful area with so much maritime history abounding it, and watched the people go by.The range of real ale pubs around the harbour area was many and varied. We promised ourselves an afternoon in this historical resort next time we visit, but our time in Thanet was coming to an end.It is nice to leave a couple of places on ones "list" to re-visit in the future. All that Shepherd's Neame, Gadd's and the rest of the Kentish brewers' wares, would have to wait. The next day, we were heading back to North East Lincolnshire.
We left Kent, and Tony to a bit of peace and quiet, just before 09-45, gypsy tart safely stowed for the long journey home. We made good time, and, after a 15 minute stop for fuel near Peterborough, arrived back home around 2pm.Another trip over,and another tasting session ! Roll on the next one.Cheers and keep it "Real"