Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Beer of the week

I am very lucky to have a pub near my work where the landlady uses her discretion to provide an amazing range of beers and lagers that you wouldn’t normally find together.  This ranges from Czech and German lagers, to American craft beers and a number of beers from independent breweries from London and elsewhere.

There are four bitters on hand pump and one of them gets changed quite regularly which means that there is usually something new to try out each time I visit.

This week it was the turn of Monsoon from Leeds Brewery to occupy the prime spot.  It’s the first time I have seen any beer from this particular brewer but the bright label caught my eye and I am a big fan of the recent renaissance in the production of India Pale Ales as they used to be rather than the lower gravity beers that we commonly associate with the term.

There is nothing that I could find on their website to find out any more about the beer  (

The label in the picture suggests its 4.5%.  I checked out a few reviews on line and it looks like it was 4.1% back in September 2010 and 2011The beer has the classic IPA style, pale and golden in colour with a distinct hoppy aroma.  It has a strong taste that warns you of its heritage.

Unfortunately the Leeds Brewery’s trendy new app tells me that the nearest pub for a regular pint is in Lincolnshire so I better get back to my local for a few more before its all gone!

On an unrelated note can I ask all beer lovers to voice their concerns about the beer escalator tax by visiting the following sites or writing to your own MP


Monday, 25 February 2013

Posh Pints... Peterboro Beer Guide for Charlton Fans

As promised, a few gems for those of you going to the Charlton away game against Peterborough and who enjoy a good pint.  Before I go any further, if you were one of the few idiots at Crystal Palace, please don’t bother going to either of these places.  Generally the taste of real ale is enough to put off the lager louts but I shall be visiting them both and don’t want my evening ruined thank you!  I am sure the same goes for the majority of Charlton fans
I imagine that plenty of you are going by train so the first stop is literally a stone’s throw across the main road from the station on Westgate.  The Brewery Tap is a showcase for Oakham Ales but they also have a range of other brews too.  I would recommend the Jeffrey Hudson as a standard session bitter, or the Scarlet Macaw if you’re after something more adventurous.
I haven’t eaten in there but I have had good recommendations from friends on the Thai food menu which complements the ales on offer.
The ground is a short walk away (about a kilometre) along the main road.  As you approach the ground down London road, take a right at the main junction into Oundle road.  A few hundred yards on the left is the Palmerston Arms.
Although this is a Bateman’s pub they have eight to ten real ales on tap at any one time and there is always something interesting on tap to tickle your palette.
All the beer is served directly from the barrel in a conditioned room behind the bar which you can view through a large glass window.  Last time I was there the only non real ale on tap was a lonely Becks Vier tucked away at the end of the bar but it’s a brave person that risks the wrath of the landlady by asking for it.
There are other pubs near the ground which offer a more standard fare.  The Cherry Tree, also on Oundle Road is amenable to both home and away fans.
I hope you find this information useful, and if you did can you drop me a comment or two on the blog to let me know.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Damp Squib at the Valley

Well I knew it was going to be a bad day at the Valley just as I got there.  I'd heard that there would be a new edition of the newly relaunched "Voice of the Valley" and purchased one without looking at it.  Only when I got inside the football ground did I look at it and discover that it's the same one that I had purchased at the Birmingham game on the 9th of February.  It does show you the effort that the club has to go to to produce a new copy at each and every home game.

I gave my copy away to a fellow supporter inside the ground so it didn't go to waste.  Incidentally, I asked the vendor how many they were selling.  He was rather coy in his answer but said that they were "doing all right".  I look forward to the next issue.

Well by the time I have published this you will all have read the account of the match on other blogs and the official site, so in line with my policy I will share a few thoughts and moments on what was not a great game by any account.

Good away support for Nottingham Forest

First, I enjoyed Chris Solly's free kick straight down the line.  Forest thought he would cross over to the left as he had previously done and where most of the players were lining up, but he played it straight down the field to a waiting and unmarked Scott Wagstaff.  I'm not sure if it was planned and Waggy failed to take advantage of the opportunity but I would like to see them try it again at another match.

Secondly, a fine display in the 87th minute by Leon Cort.  The robust defender is known for blocking, heading and kicking and not much else.  However, not only did he dribble with the ball but he also neatly dinked the Forest player.  Surely a candidate for Soccer AM's showboat section?  Keep it up Leon, with our midfield display yesterday we are going to need you !

Charlton lacked Fire !
Finally I have become a big fan of using Twitter to enhance and enrich my match day experience.  I am not really into following all and sundry but like those people who can add something useful.  Its good to get other peoples' perspective on things and get an instant assessment from others on things which I may have missed.  The red card incident involving Kermogant was a prime example which we in the West Stand along with many others missed what was going on but others did see and tweet about.  However, frustratingly I cannot get a 3G signal within the Valley and have to catch up after the game or rely on my trusty analogue radio.  Does anyone else have this problem and is there anything we can do about it?

I've been blogging for about six weeks now and intend to dedicate a post of my experiences but I do have to take my hat off to my fellow Charlton bloggers.  By the time I have posted this all the others will have had their match reports finely honed and up for hours.  I have a long way to go.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Chopping down the Forest

Please look elsewhere for a more detailed account but I thjought I would share a few thoughts on Charlton's game tomorrow against Nottingham Forest. 

The statistics on the Charlton website ( show the earlier away fixture as a fairly even game with Forest coming out eventual 2-1 winners.  However, I, and I am sure a few other fans, remember us being played off the park by them at the time.  Whether it was nerves I am not sure but I also seem to remember a wrongly given free kick against Chris Solly going sweetly into the back of the net.

We have grown as a team since then and have nothing to fear.  Despite some of our results the team have shown that they can compete against the best.  However, given the recent goal fest they have enjoyed against Huddersfield on Tuesday we should be weary.  They are vulnerable though as the 2-0 loss to struggling Bristol City earlier in the month showed.

Billy Davies on the Forest website has said “Charlton’s victory at Leicester on Tuesday is a perfect example of why we must treat every team in this division with the utmost respect".(
This is the one phrase that sums up the Championship perfectly.  There are rarely any run away winners in this league and teams rarely perform consistently.

Given this I would like to see us start out again using a 4-5-1 formation with Dervite in front of the back four to provide additional cover until we are able to read how Forest are playing.  If and when the game settles down we can then get more adventurous bringing on Fuller or Haynes as an impact striker.

It will also be nice to see Andy Reid back at the Valley again.  By all accounts he is a genuinely nice person and has somehow managed to transform his previously stocky build to become a much better player.  I also liked him for his work effort on the pitch.  However, he's now with the opposition so polite respect is the order of the day.

I'm expecting a decent turnout from the Forest fans so in the famous words of big Dave Lockwood we really do need to "get behind the boys and make some noise" !!


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Yann's Revenge

Unfortunately my other half is a Gooner so I was on Champions League duty last night rather than listening to the Charlton commentary, and what a sorry game that was.

Photo from @CAFCofficial
 However, thanks to the miracles of modern technology that is Twitter and the tireless work of the Charlton media team and others (more later) i had a good rolling commentary of the action, then a quick dash home to watch all one minute and thirty nine seconds of the action on sky sports news.

I watched the game in a pub in Greenwich and got some very odd stares when I started fist pumping when Yanns goal went in and there were various mutterings about my allegiances.  The pub shall remain nameless but if you are going to show the football on the big screen please show the staff how to put the sound on!

The statistics show that Leicester dominated the game but I am pleased that the team converted their chances when they had them.  I was very pleased to see that the curse of the former player came to haunt Leicester and the fact that Yann still didn't celebrate makes him even more of a man in my eyes.

My twitter followings of choice for the match experience were as follows:-
@CAFCofficial are amazing with their output.  As well as tweeting on the commentary and the live match blog, they had photos, match report and all the rest completed by the time they were tucked up in bed, which by my reckoning was about 4am so that's dedication to the cause!
@CAFClive for alternative commentary

For richness and the best posts I like the following:-

@peterfinch46 of Meridian fame
@BigDL our match day man with the mic who seems to have recovered from his man flu
@HungryTed who also has a great blog which I thoroughly recommend
@MattJarvisCAFC - for choice cutting quips

The general #cafc tag is useful for colour but the retweets from some of the above provide the best of those if you don't fancy getting bogged down in tweets.

In between the Charlton action Danny Baker (@prodnose) provided a lot of light hearted entertainment having a right dig at Arsenal.  One wonders why he was not at the Millwall game (or if he was why was he not concentrating on it)....hmmm, see below for a clue

I noticed that two upcoming opponents Forest (v Huddersfield) and Peterborough (away to Millwall) had a bit of a goal fest last night winning 6-1 and 5-1 respectively, so the boys have been put on notice.
Although it was a Tuesday I noticed that the attendance at Millwall slipped below the 9,000 mark last night for the first time in the league. 

I will publish more about Peterborough nearer the time, with a run down on the team (who I have seen a number of times) and some recommendations for those of you who enjoy a decent pint of bitter.  In the meantime lets hope we can repeat last night's performance on Saturday


Monday, 18 February 2013

Wetting your whistle at the Wharf

Well after the first goal went in on Saturday I gave up listening to the Charlton game on BBC Radio London and joined a few friends at Canary Wharf to wet my whistle.

The Henry Addington was the first pub to open on the Wharf and at one time held the record for Europe's longest bar.  We stopped going when it became a hangout for the younger type of drinker and the beers seemed to be slopped out without any care.  Well I am pleased to say that things have changed.  It is now branded a Nicholson's pub which means plenty of choice and well kept bitters.  I am happy to say I was not disappointed as the following selection shows:-


I must add my apologies to Moles Brewery as I did not take a picture of their Mole Catcher strong ale which also available on tap.  Its good to see someone as mainstream as Nicholsons supporting the various micro breweries around and as long as the vodka red bull brigade aren't too much in evidence I shall be returning.  I am really pleased to see this renaissance in proper beer and look forward to trying plenty more.

I heard the Meridian radio Charlton podcast on the way into work this morning and heard Andrew "10dog" Hughes commentary on the home game against Birmingham. I've never seen a footballer watching their team that has shown any excitement so it was a real joy to hear the passion in his voice.  If you haven't heard it yet then please do have a listen to the game on the CAFC player or the Meridian podcast.

Further to my previous post I noticed plenty of empty seats at the Huddersfield game on Sunday for those of you still thinking about going to the Leicester game, train prices (at sensible times) are now over £100 return

Friday, 15 February 2013

Phew....maybe...for Charlton

Well it looks like the gods have been listening and Boyd has not joined Hull.  However, we still have a hard game ahead on Saturday despite the almost fully fit squad.  It looks like we may be reverting to a more conventional 4-4-2 formation which should give Kermogant a bit of a breather from his usual role.  Given our recent performances we know that Charlton are capable of winning this but we musn't be complacent and convert those chances when we have them.

It could be worse, if we were still in the FA Cup we would be facing Wigan.  Huddersfield are selling tickets on the turnstile at £10 and £15 which tells you all you need to know.

A big thumbs up goes out to Meridian radio for the podcast of their radio show.  I have subscribed and it makes good listening on the daily commute into work

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Boyd to Hull on Loan?

There are strong rumours that George Boyd will go out on loan from Peterborough to Hull.  He is a fast player with plenty of pace and has scored a number of memorable goals this season for them.  He will cause plenty of problems for Charlton if he is included in an already strong Hull squad for our visit on Saturday.

Lets just hope the talked about "loan fee" will require plenty of discussion and doesn't conclude until next week.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Brum Deal

Well as I have previously said there are plenty of bloggers who can provide a more poignant view of the match than me, especially by the time I have managed to post this.  By Monday I'd like to think that we've all settled down and are now looking forward to the next game.

However, apart from the result (remember we didn't lose!) I did enjoy the game.  Kermogant was as tireless as ever, Fuller really showed his class and strength.  Evina is also cementing his place at left back.  I was very proud of the performance and quite surprised that the statistics had Birmingham level pegging with us in the majority of cases.  Goalkeeper Butland really did keep Birmingham in the game.  It appears that the introduction of Dervite was an attempt to change the defencive line up to the one that worked so successfully in the first half against Crystal Palace.  Yet I think it caught the team out and there was little effort to keep hold of the ball in extra time.

I noticed that one Birmingham Blogger is calling for fines for those clubs that don't look after their pitches.  I just hope he doesn't go anywhere near Paddy Powell with a pitchfork!  He apparently has no idea that it is virtually impossible to get seed to grow in these conditions and even new turf has no chance of embedding into the ground.  Just look at the whole sods of turf being ripped up in the France v Wales rugby game.

I also bought my first ever copy of Voice of the Valley and it was great to get some of the background and inside stories on various events that have happened over the past few years. 

Recommended drinking this week is an excellent pint of Trawler Boys Best Bitter from the Green Jack Brewery in Suffolk  It won the Best Bitter category at last year's Great British Beer Festival and came second in the Champion Beer Award.  Now pouring as a guest ale at the Market Tavern in Mayfair so get it while its available.

By the way does anyone have a recipe for a Blue Saketini cocktail?

Friday, 8 February 2013

CAFC Red Divison... Whats it all about?

I noticed an interesting little tirade on twitter this morning from various Charlton fans at CAFC Red Division.  For those of you who haven't heard about them their twitter feed says they are "a group of Charlton lads trying to help improve the atmosphere, not a firm"

I am a following of @CAFCRedDivision and it is clear they are a passionate supporter of Charlton.  I don't know any more about these guys but do support any initiative to create a fantastic atmosphere at home and away games to get behind our footballers.

However it appears that many fans are blaming them for any trouble that occurs at matches.  We don't have a huge problem at Charlton and I don't want to blow it all up out of proportion but it would be good to cut out the few bad eggs we have.

Red Division have made it clear that they do not support any such behaviour.  So come on guys, please don't knock them - lets support the initiative and don't put down someone who is genuinely trying to make an effort. This includes the West stand supporters (me included) who can't string a few songs together at matches.

However, there are, I am sure, some supporters aligning themselves to Red Division who cause trouble, and similarly other people causing trouble whom some Charlton fans automatically associate with Red Division.

Rather than blaming Red Division lets target the individuals so we can stop the flares and the mindless vandalism.  We all seem to have phones with cameras these days - just look at the great photos of the away support at Palace.  Surely isn't it just a matter of taking a few snaps and sending them to the club?  Even if you can't capture the actual event, a mug shot would begin to pinpoint the people involved.  If trouble makers know that they are likely to be snapped and reported they are less likely to commit these acts.  I am sure the club would be behind this and help ensure anonymity if that was a worry to people?  So come on folks, lets get snapping!!

As ever your comments are greatly appreciated.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Brazil, Banter and Ben

The England v Brazil friendly was a pleasant surprise last night.  Apart from a few dodgy moments of defending I though the team did well.  We could tell Ronaldinho wasn’t going to score his penalty the moment we saw the worry in his eyes.  I was a little surprised at the lack of praise for Walcott who had some storming runs down the right hand side to deliver the ball into the box.
For those of you who like a bit of light hearted entertainment combined with their football matters can I recommend Tony’s Team Talk, late Wednesday night on Radio five.  The link to the podcast is here:-
Each week, Tony pits Dan Walker of football focus with sports commentator Conor McNamara.  They discuss the latest games, try and guess a shock score line in next week’s fixtures and compete in the half time quiz.
Incidentally follow Conor on twitter (@ConorMcNamaraIE).  Compared to the drab factual accounts of most sports presenters he’s quite witty and does a guide to the grub he gets served at various football grounds – worth a look at the very least.
Looking forward to the home game against Birmingham on Saturday.  Let’s hope Paddy has sorted out the pitch to Ben Hamer’s satisfaction  ( ) !!!!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Wiltons Music Hall

I’m still feeling sore about the Crystal Palace loss to talk about football today so here’s something to take your mind off football for a day at least.
For those working in the city and wanting a change of scenery from the usual pubs and bars can I recommend Wiltons Music Hall to you.
It’s a short walk east from Tower Gateway, just off Cable Street and the Highway.
They have a great rustic bar called the Mahogany Bar which retains many of the original music hall's features.  They are currently serving Adnams American IPA, Trumans Runner and Meantime London lager on tap.  There are numerous rooms and cubby holes to hide away in and in the early evening they offer a complimentary range of aperitivos and snacks to go with your drinks.
While you’re there pick up a leaflet for the various events on at the hall, its a local venue that deserves our support.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Two contrasting sides of South London

This posting is slightly later than expected owing to Internet connectivity issues North of the Thames !

Unfortunately I could not be at the Crystal Palace game owing to other commitments but I was following it on twitter and did see two photos that showed the contrasting nature of our support.  The first was a fantastic photo retweeted by Jason Euell amongst others which showed the entire away support stand rocking with excitement.  You could really feel the atmosphere from the photo and the red flare in the background made it even more surreal.  The second was not so pleasant and showed a row of wooden seats all smashed up.  I remember going to the Women’s FA cup final there many moons ago and remarking that the wooden seats needed replacing then so maybe someone is doing them a favour but please lets not do it again!  I know it’s only a minority but it undoes all the hard work that the clubs and many fans do, and in the long run will harm us by reducing the number of away tickets available and increasing the club’s policing costs.  We have a great away support in the Championship so let’s not get a bad reputation with it.

Instead I found myself entertaining friends in Greenwich.  I hadn’t been for a while and it was good to check out a few haunts.  The Spanish Galleon is a Shepherd Neame pub (just off the main market square) which annoyingly had run out of Spitfire so we settled for a decent pint of Master Brew and settled in for the first half of the England v Scotland six nations game.  They also seem to have converted their menu into a specialist fish and chips/pie selection.  I didn’t try it but it looked good and may be worth a visit again provided the Spitfire is back on!

The second half saw a change of venue and we went around the corner to the Admiral Hardy.  This had a much better atmosphere and a further good selection of beers including Adnam’s Ghostship – a strong pale ale which I enjoyed.  We would have had more but that too ran out, with the bar staff trying to offer me the last three quarters of cloudy mulch for the price of a half which was politely declined.

They also had a beer I hadn’t seen before called Alexander Buckhorn is made by Sharpes brewery of Doombar fame which is found in almost every pub these days.  For whatever reason I am not a fan of Doombar but this was a marvellous golden ale and well worth a try if you can find it.  Its 4.8% and is brewed with sea buckthorne and alexander seeds.  Its may be a speciality beer as its not even listed on the brewery's website. 

Moan of the day  - I’m not sure why a busy pub would run out of popular beers on a prime Saturday afternoon of rugby.  Surely they know their audiences and have further barrels ready and settled for pouring!  Just saying…..

We rounded off the evening with a visit to the Old Brewery housed within the Naval College.  Its run by Meantime Breweries and has an excellent restaurant menu with a beer recommendation for each course
The bar is a show case for their beer with over ten to choose from as well as a wide variety of bottles.  We plumped for the Yakima Red a new ale to me described as a hoppy American Craft beer style and had a gorgeous ruby red colour.  I like to keep this place a secret but for real ale lovers here's the link:-

I have made arrangements to be at the Peterborough game and as I grew up there I will be providing you with a few suggestions to complement Ian Cartwright's official away ground guide in due course

Cheers !

Friday, 1 February 2013

Yawn, no transfer activity at the Valley.....but more to come?

It should come as no surprise that there was a distinct lack of transfer activity at the Valley last night.  The state of Charlton's finances, the comments attributed to Michael Slater about blowing the budget on the wages of a few premiership loan players and a virtually fully fit squad meant that this was inevitably going to be a quiet one for us.  Thankfully we also managed to hold on to our key players, despite wind ups from Johnny Jackson on Twitter to the contrary (thanks Skip !!).

The arguments about whether Stephens should have gone to Villa or not remain but it was good to see that (on the outside at least) Villa kept a sense of etiquette and did not attempt to disrupt things with another offer.

Although the transfer market has now closed until the summer, the loan market remains open for a little while yet and a predict a few players will join now that clubs have a bit more time to concentrate on loan signings.

I was a little surprised to see Danny Green go out on loan, maybe this was a result of Danny Hollands being injured, so the net financial position remains the same.  I like his pace and willingness to take a shot.  Greeny is still our player and he gets valuable game time (similar to Scott Wagstaff's time at Leyton Orient and look at him now!). [Update - I understand that the FA have now blocked Swindon from making any player transfers so Mr Green remains at the Valley!]

A trip by fellow Charlton blogger Hungry Ted ( to a few craft beer breweries in Denmark has put me in the mood for a bevy and so on Saturday I shall be visiting the Old Brewery in Greenwich, where the Meantime Brewery have an enviable selection of their finest libations on offer.  Expect a hazy report sometime on Sunday, the tone of which will very much depend on how we did at Palace the previous day.