Another exciting post from the A2.
But first, your Christmas quiz;
Usual quiz rules, or lack thereof.
Onward to the Medway towns, last visited a year ago when Son No.1 was down at the dockyards on a tour of Kent University.
Next stop on the train, Rainham.
If you’re looking for an authentic “micro pub experience“, this is for you.
The folk arrayed around the outside seating were, perhaps, younger than you’d find elsewhere, but the ale and cider list will look familiar to those familiar with micros in South-east London or Thanet.
My notes say… nothing. It’s very difficult to find fresh things to say about micros. Very good beer from Hopfuzz (NBSS 3.5), oversized glass, blokes settled in for the afternoon, that’s it.
The main attraction was the exciting range of CAMRA magazines. I thought about setting fire to the new Ullage for entertainment, but that sort of thing goes down better in Ember Inns than micropubs.
Another two stops to Chatham, a place you skirt around en-route to somewhere more interesting. Like Gillingham.
Here’s a real ale desert for you, from Chatham town centre down to the M2.
Just as well, then, that two of those three “real” pubs on Railway Street are in the Guide.
And here’s what you get when I remove the real ale filter;
Spot the difference.
A quick look up Chatham Hill shows you just how hilly this area is.
I presume they can’t roll the barrels of Burning Sky or Harvey up and down those roads. It’s scary just looking at it now.
Here’s a classic keg pub. Or it would be, if it wasn’t closed.
As I approached the town centre from the east, I was struck by a wave of emotion as I realised I’d never been in Chatham High Street (see how excited I am when I get to Montrose).
Here’s the highlights;
Yeah. It’s fantastic*. Like Woolwich with less diversity, which may be right up some folks’ street. Plenty of student jobs in Chicken Cottage if you go to Uni here.
The two pubs are great too. Confusingly after “Prince of Ales” comes “Prince of Wales“.
I’ve become quite adept at spotting Stonegate pubs now. They’re like Spoons with TV sports, as here. I counted 26 televisions showing the Cherries v Saints to an audience of about 5.
This one has all the customers who would never go in the Prince of Ales, and vice versa.
While I waited for my bargain pint of Doom Bar, I overhead a conversation about a faulty widget on the Strongbow Dark Fruits tap. Nothing ever goes wrong with real ale, of course.
I chickened out of the Doom Bar at the last moment and had the excellent (and cheaper) house beer from Wantsum (NBSS 3.5) ,whose beers should always be served this well.
A lively pub, exemplified by one overhead line;
“Can I see your giant sausage ?”
Sadly, I’d already passed Rainham Meats, and the Spoons was over the road, so I never got the chance to see the local delicacy.
The Thomas Waghorn lacks a mobility scooter outside (it may have been in the giant smoking area), but in all other respects was a proper local rather than an OAP diner, with the Christmas party trade confined to the upstairs room.
The highpoint was the odd chilled cider dispensers;
The beer selection was again majoring on ales from “Available Soon” of Battle. I had a half of Doom Bar (ugh) and a half of X2 (ugh), plus two free refills of flat white from the new DIY Spoons coffee dispensers.
The craft keg looked much the better bet, not for the first time. This one is reminiscent of the Spoons in Feltham.
If two pubs in the Beer Guide in Chatham is a miracle; the superiority of the Stonegate over the Spoons is surely a sign of the End of Times.
*It really is.