As you’ve asked (you really haven’t) here’s the pics from my inadvisable 20 minutes trip to the Spoons in Redhill.

20 minutes isn’t much, but it was long enough to get from the station, barging past 417 schoolchildren to the Sun, order a pint and chicken dippers, and still get back for the train to London Bridge.

Yes, that’s the best I can make Redhill look, dark and menacing.

The Sun clearly hasn’t had a penny spent on it since my 1998 visit, which I like.

Back then, the Autumn Spoons festival was a big thing. And not just with weirdy beer tickers with Panda Pop bottles.

Younger readers may be staggered to learn that as recently as 2001 the Regal in Cambridge imported Barrels of Rauchbier for the Spoons festival, to the delight of visiting Wigan Athletic fans.

Where did it all go wrong?

Weird seasonals, pointless collaboration Ales, beers with daft names.

No-one cares.

Except in Redhill. At the bar, an excitable young man (it’s always men) saw my £1.49 pint of Camerons and asked me what it tastes of!

“Here mate, have a try

He looked repulsed. He was after tasting notes!

Actually, pretty well conditioned and cool, if a bit chocolatey (NBSS 3+). I’d have told our beer enthusiast that if he’d hung around.

The ching-ching-ching behind me revealed the fruit machine winner. A Carling drinker, obviously.

I hit the jackpot too, arriving 40 seconds before the train left Redhill.

I may never be back. Think on that.


    1. Don’t believe that, Mark 😉

      The Schlenkerla Rauchbier drunk in their pub in Bamber is one of the Great pub experiences, along with Uerige in Dusseldorf, Bass in the Dead Poets and Doom Bar in the Bull in Sawbridgeworth.

      As always, the bottled version will lack the subtlety of the draught. Sorry about that 😕

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m not sure about all these foreign beers.
        I recently read on another site about “beers in Belgium that smell and taste of Flemish rabbit piss”.
        Maybe we should stick to what we know and love.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. We stayed at the brand new Travelodge across the road from the Sun in March (NTSS 4.5). I hope that cask of JHB hasn’t been on since then! We didn’t see many cask drinkers but it was a handy stop for breakfast, and certainly all life was present, as they say. Ground floor loos too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A national Travelodge scoring scheme is long overdue. Redhill sounds better than Tower Bridge, Chris.

      Oh yes. Ground floor loos. “Not many cask drinkers” is a question of degree, of course. In your venerable Station House in Durham I presume you’re about 75% real ale, while I’d say 5% is now good in most Spoons where it used to be 15%. We can discuss that with flip charts and detailed notes when I ever get back to Durham rather than zoom past on the train.

      The expectation that you wouldn’t see the same beer twice (beyond IPA/Abbott/Doom) is telling, isn’t it?

      Liked by 2 people

  2. That is true – they probably sell more cask in absolute terms than we do!

    We have use of a projector if you want to prepare a PowerPoint presentation for your next visit…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tim will be 64 later this month and maybe he’s getting a bit tired with it all now but, like our old friend Humphrey, is reluctant to hand over to anyone else.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There are normally plenty trains between Redhill and London Bridge*, so unless you had a tight connection to make there, for your onward journey, you could have enjoyed a more leisurely time in Spoons.

    *Sometimes you have to change at East Croydon.


    1. My blog sometimes skips the details I enjoy in your posts, Paul.

      I was only rushing as I said I’d meet Christine before 6. As it was I could have had that extra half hour, but then I expect I’d have been tempted by the Garland with its range of Harvey’s.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, where did the Spoons festivals go wrong? As you say Martin, too many one-off beers and collaboration brews with silly names.

    I gave up on them quite a few years ago.


    1. You’d probably notice that change in the Tonbridge Spoons, Paul. Though the beer quality when we popped in with you last year was good.

      I sense in the 90s there were Spoons managers with a real passion for cask, making full use of guests. Now it seems to be a case of “whatever”.

      There are exceptions. Musselburgh made a real effort, and the Paignton manager came over to ask me what I thought of the Otter, oddly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “the Paignton manager came over to ask me what I thought of the Otter” to which you replied “better than a rat any day” ?

        Liked by 1 person

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