Friday 28 January 2011
That's the gambol
Early arrival in town to meet people I haven't seen since the late '90s affords me the opportunity to reacquaint myself with The Lamb in Lamb's Conduit Street, WC1. This was my favourite pub for years, first chanced upon after an all night rave in the early '90s, up until Young's was taken over by Charles Wells and ruined its authenticity.
You used to be able to get Old Nick in here on tap, if I remember rightly. Now you can get Bombardier. Great.
But some innovations must be applauded and one of these is the three-glass paddle. What's that, you say? Quite simply, it's three one-third pint glasses with a different beer in each, inserted into what looks like a cross between a three-leaf clover and a table tennis bat. With holes in it for the glasses, of course.
The three I go for are Sambrook's Wandle and Junction and Young's London Gold. The Wandle is light and fairly crisp, but almost too much like a lager for my liking. But the beauty of this system is that there's only ever a third of a pint to get through, so really there's little to worry the discerning drinker.
Young's London Gold is a feistier affair that snaps like fire-crackers on your tongue. But they're cheap ones bought at Lidl, so there's genuine disappointment when the flavour runs out quickly.
Junction's the heavyweight among them, bowling into you like a lummox stumbling down Lavender Hilll on its way to the station. It's one you'd usually take your time over, especially in pint form, but with the smaller measure, it's much more manageable.
Unfortunately, none of these ales has really hit the mark. Maybe it's because they haven't had time to state their cases before I moved on to the next.
But no matter. The three-pint paddle is a great idea and I giggle still at the memory of carrying it to my table from the bar. You wouldn't want to do it if the place were packed like it usually is, although if they carry on diluting this once fine boozer with unwelcome additions like Courage Directors, then that might not be too much of a problem in future.