A Walk and a Beer

Saturday 20th was hot, but high cloud kept it from being uncomfortable.  We had decided to book a couple of day trips with a local outfit called M&M Tours.  One of the Ms is a friend, I’ve not met the other M but the mailing address is his and its a pleasing walk up and over the hill to the west, so I decided to deliver the booking by hand and foot.

The destination is also good for the Craft Beer pub, so, doubly incentivised, I set out.  Victoria Street is a well kept street, nearly every house is recently painted, each has a clear front door number – nobody’s relying on a neighbour for their own ID.  And not one door has a little note saying ‘Bell not working, please knock loudly’ (a sure sign of a poorly maintained rental).  Outside one house there was an old man (and I say that as a man of 63 years young).  I knew where I was and where I was going , but I stopped and asked if I was in Victoria Road.  I just sensed he was looking for an early conversation – so we talked.  After a couple of minutes he told me I needed the house three doors down and I thanked him and left.

The Craft Beer pub was playing Supertramp, ‘Crime of the Century’.  They always have music I like in there, I’d been playing another of their albums over breakfast – ‘Crisis, What Crisis?’.  Plenty of interesting beers so decided on three halves:

Marble’s Pint (an unlikely name for a beer, made odder by the strapline, ‘cask conditioned beer produced to standards’ – but what standards I wonder?)  But a great hoppy pale ale of character.

Hawkshead’s Windermere Ale, a gentle blonde beer.

and Fynebank’s Peat Smoked Golden Ale – a pleasing light beer, but not much sign of peat smoke.

The barman is a homebrewer.  We talked of my recent wheat and coriander beer, and he recommended a speciality yeast, which I will try (White Labs Wit II yeast).  More usefully he suggested one beer that failed might have been because I fermented it at too high a temperature – the nasty nail varnish remover (acetone) taint was a giveaway, he said.

Whilst sitting and gazing out the window I saw three buses pass.  Like many Brighton buses they all had names on them, people with Brighton connections.  The names were Ida Lupino, Alfred Feld and Isambard Kingdom Brunel.  I knew of Alfred Feld, met him once, he was a Councillor for the town and a local hotelier.  I knew Ida Lupino was an actress and had been in Hollywood, and of course I knew of I K Brunel, but in Brighton??

Checked the bus company website later – both went to school here briefly.  Brunel left school here (at 19) and went straight to take over management of his father’s big project – the first ever tunnel under a river – the Thames at Rotherhithe.  More on Ida here.

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