I was tempted to call this Deal or no Deal, as on Sunday in Dover I contemplated making a short train trip and longer walk to this great pub. Deal won out, though the walk in the dark back up the hill from Dover station to my Premier Inn wasn’t the type of excitement I need at my age.
Actually my main motive to visit Deal was a 15 minutes walk away in the contiguous small town of Walmer (you can’t see the join). I needed to tick off the Lighthouse, an enterprising pub promoting live music and attracting a mixed but affluent-looking crowd. I particularly like Old Dairy, and their IPA from the barrel, from a pleasingly short range, was a solid NBSS 3.5.
The Berry is only 5 minutes away through the pleasant residential streets. On my first visit we camped at Clifford Park, and this was (just) the pick of a wonderful collection of proper pubs in Deal. That Friday night it was packed, service was quick, beer was superb and the chat was invigorating.
On Sunday early evening it was a tad quieter, service slower but very friendly, and the beer just as good, so I got to appreciate a pub with much in common with Macclesfield’s Waters Green or Bury St Edmund’s Dove – focused on being a pub rather than a beer exhibition. It’s not an extraordinary building, but seating is comfortable and conducive to a session.
I tried the recommended Time & Tide from craft keg taps *, which was superb, but the reinstalment of the Gadds (NBSS 4) provided a beer much closer to my preferred temperature. I could have stayed for a Harveys Old, but we all have (reduced) limits.
I love Deal. The pebbly beach enjoys wonderful sunsets, the streets are packed with medieval buildings, and our family’s favourite curry house (Malaad) is the perfect complement for the pubs. It can also be added on to a trip to Ramsgate, which of course is the centre of the beer world outside of Manchester.
*I don’t understand KeyKeg. I thought it was real ale but here it tasted distinctly chillier than the cask. Not sure I can be bothered to research it either.