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The Mother of All Trips Continued

Posted by Joelle on 07/18/2002 02:42:47 PM

Part 2: Wimbledon

Catching the requisite trains to make it to London went smoothly, and we pulled into Waterloo station 45 minutes behind schedule. Apparently this is a fairly common occurrence with the Eurostar. Jeremy and Theresa were waiting for us at the gate, and we were off to their flat in Wimbledon. I must say that rush hour in a London tube station was quite a revelation for us slow moving Texans. Jeremy had to give us a crash course in proper London commuting etiquette (i.e. get the hell out of my way, I have a train to catch!).

We settled in, and had a quick tour of their flat which was replete with Belgian beer paraphernalia. Next we were treated to our first taste of BBB Babillard Blond. It was very subtly spiced, and I enjoyed it very much. After fortifying ourselves with a delicious pasta dinner, Jeremy, Dan and I were off to the Sultan to sample some real ales (unfortunately Theresa was feeling under the weather, and we had a very early start the next day).

I knew it was a good sign when I realized that the Sultan is located on Norman Rd. (I figured you'd be interested in that tidbit cousin Jeff). It is a cozy pub that stocks Hop Back Brewery beers. We split half pints of all of their cask ales, and a bottle of Taiphoon (made with lemon grass and coriander) since it wasn't on tap. I think my favorite of the cask ales was the GFB. We headed back home and were in bed by 23:00.

After a quick 4 hour nap, we managed to drag ourselves out of bed and head out to que up for Wimbledon tickets. Things were looking good when we pulled up in our taxi at the end of the que around 4:00. We were considerably closer than J & T had managed to get the previous year, so center court was looking like a real possibility. We settled in for the long wait. At 6:00 Jeremy popped open a bottle of Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus to break the monotony. The only problem was we didn't have the proper glassware, but we made due with "gasp" plastic cups with Cantillon written on them. Regardless of the drinking vessel, it really hit the spot. Finally around 10:00 we made it into the grounds with our center court tickets, and after a rain delay the play started an hour late at 14:00. We saw Venus Williams v. Elena Likotseva, the last set of Greg Rudsedski v. Xavier Malisse, and Monica Seles v. Justine Henin. We had a great time despite the cold temperatures (in the 50s) and occasional rain showers. After a tasty curry in a nearby restaurant to warm us up, we hit the hay early.

There was no appreciable rest for the weary, and we were up again around 7:00 so we could make our reservations to ride the London Eye. Even with the rain, it gave us a spectacular view of the city. Following the ride J & T took us on a walking tour of the area around Big Ben, a quick stop in the food section of Harrod's and lunch at the Market Porter. I really liked the atmosphere in this pub, and the Beef and Kidney Pie was very tasty.

After lunch Theresa headed home for a nap, and Jeremy, Dan and I hit some more pubs. We went to the Jerusalem Tavern, Ye Olde Mitre (where we were mistaken for Canadians, not sure why...) and Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. Beer highlights for me were Banks & Taylor SOS, St. Peter's Old Style Porter (don't order their lemon/ginger wheat, ugh!), Adnams Bitter and Sam Smith's Extra Stout (does it always have a smokey flavor?).

Last but not least we were off to babblefest at the White Horse. Before the babbling commenced Jeremy arranged for a tour of the cellar with Mark Dorber. Talk about a wealth of cellaring knowledge, not to mention of beer in general. Mark was a very friendly host, and treated us to a sample from all of the casks he was currently serving. He also tapped a cask that wasn't quite conditioned to compare to the ones that were ready to be served. During the tour Jeremy was eyeing Mark's collection of special beers and he noticed a bunch of Grolsch bottles in the corner. He said, "Mark, I can understand why you're cellaring bottles of Anchor Christmas, Gale's Prize Old Ale, etc., but what's with the Grolsch?" Mark asked him if he wanted one, and Jeremy demurred. Then he whispered to me that it was JW Lees from a cask he had at his old ale festival. Then he asked me if I wanted one, and I said, "oh yeah!" Jeremy realized he'd given the wrong answer after I told him the contents of the bottles and said he'd like one too, but Mark said he'd missed his chance. Ha! We did leave the bottle with Jeremy though since he had managed to get us a tour of the fabled cellar. Other big news from the cellar is the imminent arrival of some special American brews. Mark says he's arranged to carry some beers from Dogfish Head and New Glarus in the near future. What a coup for you London babblers! Properly fortified with real ale we headed back upstairs where Mark treated us to another round. What a guy! We chatted with Mark for awhile until the other babblers arrived. We had quite a crew there with Ian, Thom, Paulette, Jeremy, Theresa, Dan and me. Mat even managed to make an appearance before heading to work. He didn't look too happy with his orange juice though. ;^) It was a great evening and we all bantered like we were old friends (which I guess we are in a way). We had to head home all too soon because it was going to be another early wake up call to catch the Eurostar to Belgium.

Antwerp and Brussels are coming up next!

The Mother of All Trips Continued - Joelle, 07/18/02 02:42:47 PM
        really enjoying this..... - Priscilla Estes, 07/20/02 06:58:31 AM
        Re: The Mother of All Trips Continued - DeeDee, 07/19/02 08:00:23 PM
                Dee Dee..as in Aaron? - Dick, 07/19/02 08:31:52 PM
                        Re: Dee Dee..as in Aaron? - SDS, 07/20/02 07:21:56 PM
        Guess who's getting the American beers for them? - Perkeo, 07/19/02 05:14:01 PM
                Yup... nfm - David Anderson, 07/21/02 09:46:13 PM
                        Beer (Exporter) Man! - Chuck Cook, 07/21/02 11:04:57 PM
        Cantillon from plastic cups - Jeremy Gray, 07/19/02 10:24:47 AM
                Re: Cantillon from plastic cups - Joelle, 07/19/02 10:58:32 AM
        Getting very curious about the rest... nfm - Joris P., 07/19/02 06:05:52 AM
                Re: Getting very curious about the rest... - Joelle, 07/19/02 05:47:16 PM

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Around Bruges in 80 Beers: 2nd Edition

Around London in 80 Beers

Around Brussels in 80 Beers

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