Keg. And Cans. The Times They Are A’Changing.

It’s a funny old world. It gets funnier the longer you live in it. Funny ha-ha. And Funny Peculiar.

Friday evening on Twitter, the Edwardstone White Horse announced that going onto their keg line was Thornbridge Brewery’s Cocoa Wonderland (6.8% abv). Keg has made a comeback in the past few years, courtesy of ‘Craft Ale’, and over the past year I’ve had a couple of decent dark ales at The Victoria Inn on their keg line. And, notably, at the aforementioned White Horse, I had two pints (on two separate visits) of Yeastie Boys ‘Pot Kettle Black’, a 6.5% porter aged in Pinot Noir casks, that was drop dead gorgeous.

So a weekend trip to the White Horse, I pondered. Then, minutes later Andrew Skene of the new Queen Street Brewhouse in Colchester tweeted that he was putting on, from his Dominion Brewery, their 10% ‘Mad Trappiste’ (aged in a cognac cask) and their ‘Reluctant Prophet’, an 8% black IPA.

Decisions, decisions.

Turns out that the decision was made for me today, as a trip into Colchester Town Centre was necessary. But as it was lunchtime, a drink and some food was in order. Drink was taken at the Queen Street Brewhouse, and it being a very warm lunchtime I opted for half of the ‘Reluctant Prophet’. Not too hoppy, and quite robust, with just a hint of cough medicine to it! And Bob Dylan on vinyl on their record player…

Where to for lunch? The nearby Three Wise Monkeys, to taste their US-style slow-smoked meats of various persuasions. Truth be told, I’ve been a tad disappointed with the TWM so far, as of their 20 beer lines, the four that are cask are generally bitters, and the 16 keg lines are IPAs, pale ales and the like with only Guinness there for us with a preference for dark ales. We headed upstairs, and I was most impressed – great design and furniture with a lot of the old character showing through. Foodwise there was plenty to tempt, but we went for the chilli and nachos with cheese. Always a good way to test out the catering in a pub/restaurant – as it’s easy to do that dish cheaply and ineffectively, but a bit more work to make it top quality. And theirs was top, top quality.

Beer-wise, with no dark ales on tap (Guinness don’t count) I started surveying the bottled beers, and was tempted by some of the Flying Dog beers, but decided, in for a penny… and went for Beavertown ‘Smog Rocket’ porter – in a can.

And to say that I was amazed was an understatement. A cracking porter, with absolutely no indication of it having come from a can, and one of the best pints (or 333mls) I have had for some time. With the cracking food, in a great setting (who needs to fly to New York for this kind of eatery experience!) and they even had Iggy Pop’s ‘Passenger’ playing, making this old punk very happy.