Sunday, 21 July 2019

Nothing "Ordinary" about that pint of Young's

You could call it serendipity, but after my reply to comments made by Etu  on my post about Sambrook’s Brewery moving to Young's former home at Wandsworth, that at the first pub I stopped at, on my NDW walk, I should find both Young’s Ordinary and Special on sale.

It was also somewhat ironic, particularly after me stating that it was a long time since I had a pint of either beer, and that whilst Ordinary sometimes makes an appearance  locally pubs, I don't recall seeing Special anywhere, apart from in a Young's pub.

So there they both were, gracing the bar of the marvellous little Tiger Inn, in the tiny hamlet of Stowting, which is situated directly on the NDW, in a sheltered valley, between two clefts of the North Downs. I’d just walked seven and a half miles, so was just over half-way on my first day’s walk. It was scorching hot day and I was definitely in need of some liquid refreshment, to quench my thirst and then speed me on my way.

There were two other beers on the bar, one a “house beer” produced for the pub by Tonbridge Brewery, and the other an offering from Shepherd Neame but, as my eyes were instantly drawn to the two Young’s beers, I only know that after looking at the photo I took at the time.

I ordered a pint of Ordinary, watching with eager intent as the young barman pulled it up.  I didn’t balk at the price, which was around the £4 mark, but instead raised the glass straight away to my lips and boy was it good.

I'm not just saying that because it was it was my first and, as it happened, only pint on a very hot day, but it was truly excellent. Cool, well-conditioned, with just the right degree of hoppy-fruitiness that grabbed onto the back of my throat in order to satiate my thirst.

I was well pleased and, taking my pint outside, found a shady spot where I could dump my rucksack, take the weight off my shoulders and sit down for a spot of pure relaxation and enjoyment. I was torn between knocking my pint back in a few long draughts, or attempting to savour it and enjoy the moment. The beer was so good that I opted for the latter; although I did take the occasional lengthy swig.

That pint of Young’s Ordinary came close to perfection for me, so even though its appeal might have been enhanced by the distance I’d walked, the heat of the afternoon, the idyllic setting of the pub and the general feeling of well-being, I scored it at 4.0 NBSS.

I was tempted to go for another, but I know from past experience that too much beer does tend to slow the walking pace. I was also tempted to try the Special, the chances that it would be anywhere near as good as what I'd just sampled, were probably not that high. I say that without any disrespect to the Tiger Inn and its management, it’s just that I know from experience that the chances of finding two beers worthy of a 4.0, are pretty slim.

Discretion got the better part of me and the same amount of miles to cover, before I reached my resting place for the night, I reluctantly bid farewell to the Tiger and its rural charms. That was not before though, asking the kind young lady behind the bar to re-fill my water bottle - something I was really glad of on the second half of my walk!

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