Did you notice that Twitter poll? The one that asked which beer you would pick if you went into a pub and they four handpumps serving London Pride, Landlord, Harvey's Best and Batham's Bitter? Well Dolores sort of got to do that last weekend.
Not that we were lucky enough to find that set on offer in a single pub. But we did have the chance to try all but Batham's in a variety of pubs. And Dolores tried all of them. Any guesses as to which was her favourite?
It all kicked off at the Friend at Hand. Even before we'd checked into our hotel. Dolores was hoping for London Pride. But since Greene King took ove Taylor Walker, who used to own the pub, that's diappeared. Initially replaced by London Glory. The first time Dolores took a sip of that I could see diappointment flush her face. I won't make the mistake of getting her one again.
My little face shone when I spotted the Landlord pumpclip. I'd been dispatched to the bar with the instruction: "Get me a nice cask Bitter, Ronald." Surely Landlord would satisfy that requirement.
"How's your beer, Dolores?" I asked when she was a couple of gobfulls in.
"Quite nice? That's one of the top-rated casks Bitters." I'd expected a little more enthusiasm.
We only stayed for the one.
Checked in and bags dumped, we headed to the supermarket for bits and bobs to munch and slurp in our hotel. Just essential things for me, beer, crisps and whisky. On the way back we walked past another pub, The Marquis Cornwallis.
"Do they sell London Pride here?" Dolores asked, impressively interested in more early-afternoon beer.
"I'll take a look." I said and poked my head around the door. "No, but they do have Landlord."
"Let's not bother then."
Damn. No more beer for me quite yet then. Just as well I'd invested in some drinks for our room.
A curry later, I ask Dolores: "Fancy another beer?"
"Yes, if it's London Pride."
"No problem. We're close to Euston Road and the Euston Flyer. It's a Fullers pub. They're bound to have it."
It was around 6:30 when we trolled up at the Euston Flyer. Not a great time to arrive at this specific pub on a Friday. It was full of the fucking off back up North for the weekend crowd. Dolores isn't usually keen on standing in pubs. She made an exception in this case. We found a corner towards the toilets.
I could tell Dolores was enjoying it by the way her glass was emptying. A good bit quicker than my pint of ESB. When she'd necked the first pint, Dolores was ready for another. Praise indeed, given the awkward corner we were crammed into.
We were up early on Saturday. I needed a new pair of shoes. I was going to say Doc Martin's, but they aren't strickly speaking that. They're another brand that are like the old DMs. Camden is where we were headed. To the British Boot Company. It didn't take me long to find what I wanted. I always buy exactly the same shoes.
It wasn't yet 11 AM by the time we were done.
"What about a beer?" Dolores asked.
"It's a bit early yet."
Indeed all the pubs around were still closed. Instead we had a wander down Camden High Street to gawp at the shops. As we were nearing the end, I spotted something.
"Ooh, look. The Elephant's Head is open. Let's have a pint here."
It's surprisingly crowded behind the door, where there's a large group of middle-aged men in sill cchristmas outfits. But Dolores's attention is drawn to the bar. Where there's the reassuring red pumpclip of London Pride.
"I won't bother asking what you want."
We stay for two rounds. Though I buy them both. Never seems to be her shout.
The British Museum is next on the list. Except when we get there, the queue outside is enormous. And it's cold. And raining.
"We could wait in the Museum Tavern until the queue is shorter." I suggested helpfully.
I knew there would be no Pride inside for Dolores. But there would be Old Peculier for me. Bound to be something to to suit the taste of Dolores. Cask Ordinary Bitter is all she seeks. I ordered her a Sanbrook Junction without asking what she wanted.
"How's your beer?"
"It's OK." I could read on her face that she wanted to add "But not as good as London Pride."
My Old Puke was as stonking as ever. It's always good in the Museum Tavern. Unfortunately, I didn't have the chance of a second as the museum queue had become just about reasonable.
When we were done in the museum our feet are aching something rotten. Time for beer to soothe our poor limbs.
"We could go back to Tottenham Court Road tube and head South." I suggested. "There's another pub on the Northern Line we could drop by."
"As long as there's not too much walking."
It was a short walk from Borough tube to our destination. But it was pissing it down "Don't worry. Another 20 minutes and we'll be there." I teased.
"Very funny, Ronald."
Considering the weather and time of day, the Royal Oak was fairly lively.
"I know what I'm having. Do you want a Mild, too?" I asked Dolores.
"Do they have a nice Bitter?"
"It's Harveys pub. Of course they do."
"How's your beer?"
"OK." Dolores didn't look that enthusiastice about her Sussex Best.
Next we both had an Old. "It's like a strong Mild."
"It's just 4.3% ."
She seemed to quite like it. But swapped back to Sussex Best for her next pint. Which I suppose says something.
We ended the weekend in the Euston Flyer, whiling away the time before nipping over the road to catch the Eurostar back home. No prize for getting what Dolores was drinking: London Pride.
Friend at Hand
2 - 4 Herbrand Street,
London WC1N 1HX.
The Marquis Cornwallis
31 Marchmont St, Bloomsbury,
London WC1N 1AP.
The Euston Flyer
83-87 Euston Rd,
London NW1 2RA.
49 Great Russell St,
London WC1B 3BA.
The Royal Oak
44 Tabard St,
London SE1 4JU, UK
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