Bensoir! It's me, Benjamin. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You may have read stuff I've written elsewhere, but here on my own blog as Ben Viveur I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others, so pretty much anything goes.

BV is about enjoying real food and drink in the real world. I showcase recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. And as a critic I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended. Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Spoonsfest hit for six!

I was expecting to spend this evening travelling around London pubs, often walking in and then coming straight out again in a state of increasing exasperation.

Instead I've been able to stay in and relax while listening to coverage of Coventry's victory over Crawley Town, and I'll probably tune in to the US Election Coverage in a minute (prediction: as I've been saying for many months now, an uneventful Obama win with the GOP only gaining one or two states they didn't win in 2008).

The reason I've been able to take things easy is mainly thanks to Tim Martin and his pubs not being frustrating for once.

I criticised Mr. Wetherspoon the other day for the quality of his burgers - quite rightly, because they are substandard shite - but probably the best thing about our glorious nation's favourite pub chain is the bi-annual 'beer festivals'.

For a couple of weeks every Spring and Autumn, beer tickers of the UK play 'Spoons Bingo' and try to get through the 50 different beers available, some of which are always very elusive, and some of which appear all the time, all over the place. Believe me, you grow to despise some of these beers...

But this year, something very special happened, for last night, I scooped the last six beers I required in a single evening!

Man on a mission

I left the office at about 6:45, and exactly three hours later, I'd done the 50, with nearly a week to spare.

I only had to walk straight out of a pub once in the entire evening, and then it was only because the Hamilton Hall, Liverpool Street, had just run out of a beer not five minutes earlier.

That's unusual because in previous years it's been a hell of a lot harder. There have been days when I've been to seven or eight different pubs and not found a single new beer - and that's not when searching for the last one, that's when I've still needed about 17 beers!

But in recent Wetherfests, Mrs B-V has helped out by phoning up pubs to find out which beers they have on, helping me to avoid dead ends.

Even so, yesterday's performance was nothing short of amazing. I'd picked up five on Friday evening, leaving me with half a dozen to go.

Number 50!
But Saturday was fruitless. I had a couple of beers at the Catford Bridge Tavern, and a couple more at the new Craft Beer Company in Brixton. I also went to a Fireworks display in Dulwich which promised Bonfire Night-themed real ales, but which only delivered Greene King IPA and fucking Doom Bar.

Sunday was a fasting day, as part of our 5:2 diet, which meant no beer, but shitting crikey, I more than made up for it tonight.

The magnificent Six

First stop after work was the Wetherflagship Crosse Keys which delivered Box Steam 'Ghost Train' - a pleasant, fairly hoppy bitter - and Rhymney 'Iron Brew' which was, as the name implies, metallic and unpleasant.

Acting on Mrs B-V's research, I headed west where the Knight's Templar in Holborn gave me Harviestoun 'Wild Hop', a blonde ale with a good Simcoe hop bite. Then came a newsflash that the Sir John Oldcastle had the fairly ordinary TSA 'Silver Mist'.

With just two beers required I suddenly thought about making a visit to the Goodmans Field, a Spoons that I always forget about, and which I'd only been to once before, back when it first opened over ten years ago. I think they only had three festival beers on, but I downed the pint of Oakleaf 'Liberty Boat' and headed to my final destination which happened to be on the way home.

I knew that the Gate Clock in Greenwich had had Mordue 'Lubelski' on since the previous day and supplies were running low. I'd seen it on turned-round pumpclips a couple of times already, but as I approached the bar I saw the pumpclip staring me square in the face and triumphantly ordered the fucker, before downing it in a few hearty gulps.

And that's my cue to not venture into another Wetherspoons pub for at least a month!


Wetherspoons 'World's Biggest Real Ale Festival' runs officially until Sunday November 11 - and if past experience is anything to go by, the beers will be available in most of their pubs for at least a week beyond this

1 comment:

  1. I once did a massive shit at the Knights Templar.

    It's probably still there, as far as I know. It was a dreadnought of a turd, and the barkeep wasn't best pleased.


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