HELLISH HEMEL, MARVELLOUS MONKS

Closing in on a Hertfordshire completion now, but it’s not an easy task. Facebook pages have either not been updated for 18 months or only tell you their dining hours or are just a succession of job ads or tell you opening hours for their sister pub but not themselves.

Please, please, put your opening times on your pinned Facebook post, folks.

No such problem with Monks micro in mighty Hemel Hempstead, which gave me clear and unequivocal opening times (pretty much “always open”).

No, the problem with Hemel, for anyone daft enough to arrive by car, is one familiar to visitors to Swindon;

A nerve shredding six-parter of a roundabout follow up with the low punch of roadworks, and the knock-out blow of punitive parking charges.

I should have pre-empted Monks on my last, disastrous visit. Herts beer twitter was screaming “Do Monks, do Monks !” well before then.

This is a serious beer place. Beer on gravity, beer from the pump, and “the other stuff”.

Gravity or handpump ? I hate decisions.

Oh well, just go for the first one on the board, eh ? One of the best beers I ever had was a Buntingford Brew in a micro just up the road (Buzzard).

It was hazy, said the charming young chap.

It’s meant to be hazy” said his boss, taking a sample.

And it was.

All was quiet and peaceful, not what I want at all. It was my fault I chose to sit at the beer barrel.

The beer was superb, cool and rich. A 3.5, I think.

But if it’s the last time I come back to Hemel, I’m afraid my abiding memory will be of the urinals.

Not a metaphor, I assure you.

14 thoughts on “HELLISH HEMEL, MARVELLOUS MONKS

  1. Obviously the Burton-on-Trent urinal salesman has got as far as Hemel.

    It does say it’s hazy on the beer board, which is how it should be.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Assume there’ll be a twin blog coming ticking off White Lion, Apsley, at same time (unless been before), providing its rather restricted opening hours didn’t defeat you. Though possible that wouldn’t be a long-term problem, as Peter has just announced he’s retiring, and it’s only during his stewardship that the beer has been much good. An exemplar of the maxim that excellent cellarmanship can often make even average beers sing. We await to see if the pub survives. Defined up the council ward boundary (which is somewhat wider than what most people might naturally consider to be Apsley, as includes Corner Hall) the suburb has already lost seven out of eleven pubs since the Eighties.

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  3. “Hellish Hemel” indeed. I grew up in Hemel Hempstead, from age 7 to 19. The Square where the Monks Inn is situated used to be the market. My uncle had a stall selling his pots, I bought many albums at the record stall, and I had a job for a few months on Mr & Mrs Parrot’s fruit and veg stall.

    How can they turn over enough beer to keep 10 real ales on the go?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “How can they turn over enough beer to keep 10 real ales on the go?”

      I was really doubtful when it opened, not convinced it could sustain that. But landlord Clint clearly knew the market far better than me. Since moving to Hemel in Eighties I’d drop into various pubs here for one or two, but for (local) proper drinking always chose to go to Berkhamsted or St Albans. Seems there were more Hemelites doing same sort of thing than had realised, just waiting for somewhere to drink decent beer in town. It’s only occasional that, when a beer proves less popular, it reaches the tired stage. The bulk are gone in three to four days; and those that hit the customer base’s sweet spot can struggle to last through a second day.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I “found” Monks late in 2019 so didn’t have much time to enjoy it before, you know…
    But it is a marvellous place, knocking all sorts of spots off of many of the pubs in the local area.

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