England: Let There be Beer

Bless their hearts, there’s something not quite right about English food. Like canned corn niblets in tuna salad. Prawn cocktail-flavored potato chips. And sausages with a mealy texture that’s off-putting to most Americans.

There are areas in which they excel–chocolate, of course. Cheddar and stilton are two of the world’s grandest cheeses.

And beer.

By my count, we sampled close to 20 different beers on our trip. One interesting  fun fact about the beer in England–even the darkest, heaviest beers have less alcohol content than a Miller Lite.

We had Cotleigh Red-nosed Reindeer. Woodenhand Pirate’s Golf. Christmas Fairy. West Country Pitchfork and Yellow Hammer.

We had them in places that looked like this:


And this:

One of the great novelties of travel for me is riding trains. There is no mass transit where I live. There’s not even a bus. So riding trains is an adventure. Early on I found out about the Rail Ale Trails. The train operators have teamed up with independent pubs that offer locally-made beers. It may be a marketing gimmick, but we got a kick out of it.

One place where we stopped was so small that we had to tell the conductor we wanted to get off there. To get back on, you have to stand on the platform and wave at the engineer as the train approaches.

Our destination was just on the other side of the station and across a river.

We sat here and sampled Somerset Mad Ale and Commando Bitter.


Chips aren’t the only food the English will flavor oddly.

This one was Husband’s. I don’t even go down the banana aisle at the store. He liked it, but said it’s certainly not something he’d rush out and buy a case of.

For me, the best beer was this one. Not only for its taste, but for its label too.

Beer this good can make you forget about the corn in your tuna fish sandwich. Cheers!




Filed under Travel

11 responses to “England: Let There be Beer

  1. We excel at cider too! Nothing beats a pint of cloudy.

  2. OH my god. I must have been on this side too long. I like corn in my tuna. Must re-evaluate my tastes!

    Despite the low alcohol content in most local beers: most locals drink imports …. one of the favourites being Stella, which is fondly referred to as “Wife Beater” for the activity it encourages after too much consumption. Oh dear. x

  3. Pingback: World Beers Review » England: Let There be Beer | Here In Franklin

  4. oh the ‘trains and beer’ visits to public houses is a winner! if i get back to england, i’m going to have to do this!

    @ellie – i think the ‘stella’=’wife beater’ is a reference to “streetcar named desire”… we use the same slang here in the midwestern US….

  5. I’m from England, and this is a novelty to me, too. All these small independent brewers only really started to take off after I’d left. Now when I go back, relatives are politely requested to get in a few bottles of Badger’s Golden Champion or Golden Glory….(http://www.hall-woodhouse.co.uk/beers/badgerales/goldenchampion.asp). Mmm.

  6. Julie

    Once in England we were dinner guests in the home of a barrister and family. I still have a vivid memory of those huge, dry, undercooked lima beans on my plate. AND NO BEER WAS IN SIGHT!
    Thanks for the pleasure of going with you via this blog on your tour of pubs. England does offer the best castles, legends, and ongoing friendly parties (a.k.a. pubs) anywhere.

  7. That was a lovely travelogue. Ahhh…if only. I don’t mind living through the experiences of others but sometimes I feel like life is passing me by.

  8. As an English person, I don’t understand Prawn Cocktail crisps either. It’s just wrong.

    And the corn in Tuna sandwiches? Ive never seen. But then, you were way down south by the looks of it. They do some odd things down there.

    They do good things too….like the Cornish Cream Tea for example. I so hope you had one of those while you were here. Its worth every single one of the thousand or so calories!

  9. Dolly–Thanks for visiting Franklin and for commenting. Husband had a pear cider he enjoyed. Next time we’ll know to ask for a cloudy.
    Ellie–Those are the small things that make travel interesting. I like Stella too–we can get in the local grocery store.
    DF–I always thought that “wife beater” referred to the T-shirt he was wearing? Funny how it all relates in a circular manner.
    PG–Thanks for the tip. I’ll be on the lookout for those brands.
    Julie–Ugh, I can’t stand lima beans in any shape or fashion, cooked or uncooked, They just always taste like glue to me.
    UB–Hey–I’ve been to Disney and it’s really a lot of fun. But I’m happy that you enjoy my journeys.
    Beth–I had a cream tea on an earlier visit. I couldn’t move for hours after. We can buy little jars of clotted cream here…it’s sinful.

  10. Niece Whit

    So. Jealous.

  11. Do you read Martha Grimes’ mysteries? She has taken me to many an English put.

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