14.3.15 After doing some shopping (and convincing myself that I could pull off a questionable denim waistcoat) we went to the pub. Chirs suggested it, which is unusual as it's normally me who hankers for a beer first. As happens most weekends we tried to think of somewhere we wanted to go that we hadn't been to in a while. Living in Norwich we are spoiled for fab pubs, but end up going to the same places we love over and over. Sometimes we are reminded of a great pub we should visit more often, sometimes we wish we'd just gone to our favourite and stopped being pubventurous.
Where: Ten Bells (or X Bells if that's your bag)
St Benedicts Street, Norwich
What: Rok IPA, Black Wolf Brewery
The Ten Bells is somewhere we don't usually go to, as their extensive cocktail menu means getting stuck behind someone who wants three complicated flashy drinks that take twenty minutes to make, while all I want is a pint. Frustrating. This, however, is rarely the case during the day so we were served super fast. Despite their propensity to cocktails and rare gins and whiskeys the Ten Bells is still capable of feeling like a pub. Albeit with trendy grey walls and up-lighters under their bottles. The other thing that bodes well for beer lovers is the staff always seem to know what they're talking about, even when it comes to the real ale. The selection of ales is always good too and often includes local stuff as well as brewers like Hog Back. While I love Adnams, not everyone in Norfolk has to serve it. You heard it here first.
I had seen the pump clip for the Black Wolf Brewey's new 'Rok' IPA somewhere before and wanted to try it. I am a sucker for a good pump clip, and this one was metallic blue with a wolf holding a guitar in one hand while throwing heavy metal horns with the other. Sold. I love a good IPA, but some suffer from tasting too watery, too middle-of-the-road-ey. This one was awesome. As I remarked to Chris, 'this beer has a proper beer flavour'. I did say I wasn't a food critic. Nice colour, citrus aftertaste (grapefruit says Chris). At 4% it would make a good session ale. It was over this beer that I decided to write a beer blog. If I hadn't decided to write this blog, I probably would have drunk that beer all day.
P-SB says: PUB! Good bar for daytime drinking. Knowledgeable staff. Well-kept beers and a good variety. City beer garden too.
BEER! Drink it again? Hell yes. Buy branded merchandise? Most likely.
Off to the next pub....
Where: White Lion
Duke Street, Norwich
What: Medusa and Sparta, Milton Brewery
The White Lion is a fabulous pub. Award winning in fact. They specialise in cider but as cider makes me very drunk very quickly (and not in a good way) I stick to their real ales, which are also awesome. While their cider selection changes, the White Lion seems to stick with beers from the Milton Brewery only, which is no bad thing. While occasionally the front bar can feel a bit 'local' (as in people sometimes stare at you when you first walk in, and the bar stools are always taken by the same faces) it has a friendly atmosphere and decent food. It also has an open policy on geeks and mild-mannered weirdos, as people can often be seen in the back bar playing Magic The Gathering and such like. We often go there for Sunday lunch (which is always brilliant and good value for money) and before nights out and they never bat an eyelid at my crazy outfits. I love the fact that they have a sign above the door reminding people that the pub is primarily a place for grown-ups, children should be well behaved or go home. I concur.
I had a pint of Sparta, pale ale, easy drinking but can suffer from lack of depth, which just comes down to what you like really. Chris had a Medusa, as he prefers something a little darker. both beers are of similar strength (4.3% and 4.6%) but the Medusa is too heavy for my palette. I could drink one pint of it with a little effort but more than that would be too much. Chris loves his coffee strong and the same goes for his bevvies so he enjoys the burnt fruit taste.
P-SB says: PUB! This pub is good day or night, and it looks like a proper pub too. Staff are happy to advise on beer and give tasters, food is fab and there is a covered garden, bar billiards and a dart board.
BEER! Drink it again? I would probably try something else, as I've still not found the Milton beer that does it for me, but the pub is so nice by the time I leave I've forgotten what I've tried as I'm a bit fuzzy-headed.
Off to the next pub....
Where: The Woolpack Yard
Muspole Street, Norwich
What: Noble, Greene King brewery
The Woolpack Yard usually has Yardbird on tap which is one such lager, but they had sold out that evening. Unfortunately Yardbird is the main reason we visit the Woolpack. The barmaid suggested a pint of Noble instead and gave us tasters and it was pretty similar. The only thing I didn't like was the glass it came in. I'm a little old school and I like my pints in a pint glass, not an oversized wine glass. The pub is not normally the style I like - beige walls with high stools and leather sofas - but the beer garden/courtyard is a lush place to sit. I think the pub suffers from being almost hidden away in the city centre, but this is what makes the courtyard so nice, as it feels like you're in a secluded bit of the city and there's a lot of sky to be enjoyed.
Noble tasted similar to Erdinger, but less wheaty. I think we only had one, as it was gassy (as lagers tend to be) and we were already quite full. Also even though it was a Saturday night the pub was fairly quiet, and I like a bit of atmosphere alongside my beverage. After finishing our beers, we headed home for a takeaway.
P-SB says: PUB! Slightly more trendy than I usually like, but the staff are friendly and the beer garden is big.
BEER! Drink it again? Maybe, if there was no decent real ale available, but it reminded me why I don't drink lagers much. Gassy!