The Asia Pub Guide

Good pubs, great beer (and a few restaurants too) in Asia.

Ruddles County

October 01, 2007 By: admin Category: Beer

THE LABEL doesn’t say brewed in Rutland anymore. I’m sure it used to, even though Rutland had ceased to exist in all but the hearts and minds of the people that lived there. England’s smallest county had been absorbed into Leicestershire in 1974 but proud Rutlanders would have none of it. Stationary still proclaimed the the towns and villages remained in the county of Rutland.

And so did beer labels, Ruddles brewery was a proud Rutlander. It was was established in 1858 in the village Langham, although it didn’t become Ruddles until George Ruddle bought it in 1912. Over the years it had several owners but in 1997 it was bought by Morlands who moved the brewery to Abingdon. Which was a bit of a shame because that was the same year that Rutland regained its status as a county.

Morlands struggled for three years to get the flavour right until they, in turn, were bought by Greene King. In 2000 the brewing process was moved again. This time to the Green King Brewery in Bury St Edmonds.

As any good brewer will know, without the Langham well water there really was no chance of copying the original flavour. Greene King is a good brewery and they didn’t even try. The recipes used today are not the same as those used by the original brewery.

It would be silly of me to say I remember the old Ruddles County well, I don’t. It’s been too long since I last tasted it and besides, not remembering is a fitting tribute to any alcoholic beverage. But I do remember that I liked it a lot.

The current version is not bad either. It has a dry bitterness, which I like, and to all intents and purposes are the characteristics that I enjoyed in it’s previous incarnation. This has a fruity, hoppy aroma, which are characteristics that I wouldn’t have stopped to think about back then, and an ABV of 4.7%. It also has the ability to go down rather well after a long day at the office.

It may not be the beer that made the name world famous but it is still a good one to have around.

  The youtube movie is and old Ruddles TV ad featuring the Bonzo’s Vivian Stanshall. The DVD is Neil Innes affectionate poke at the Beatles

Deborah Coleman

September 05, 2007 By: admin Category: Live Music

HERE’S A taste of blues queen Deborah Coleman playing Bad Boy at the North Atlantic Blues Festival earlier this year.

Deborah will be playing at Grappa’s Cellar on 28th and 29th of September.

Saxophone Pub, Bangkok

August 04, 2007 By: admin Category: Cool Pubs

THIS PLACE is not easy to find when you are heading there for the first time. But it is well worth the effort if you are into jazz and blues.

Saxophone is a lot bigger than you expect when you first step inside. I have a suspicion that it was originally two houses knocked into one. A tell tale remnant of wall, to the left as you go in, is scarcely disguised by the remnant of trumpet that sticks out from it. There is a saxophone fixed to a red brick arch that juts out from the bar and a gaggle of tubas occupy a perch high above the stage.

Other sundry brass instruments languish in other nooks, crannies, or simply stick out from brickwork, there are some pictures on the walls. Barrels and clocks are scattered hither and thither and flags are draped and dangled from various places.

What would have been the upstairs has been knocked out leaving just enough floor-space around the edges to create an all round balcony overlooking the bar and the stage area which is finnished with huge red curtains.

The overall effect is a surreal mix of medieval banquet hall and demolition site loaded with atmosphere. There are two live sets of some of Bangkok’s finest jazz and blues every night, seven days a week, plus occasional special guests. Best of all admission is free.

There is nothing special on the beer menu but the drinks are reasonably priced. There is also the regular selection of spirits and a range of cocktails.

The Saxophone was opened in 1987 and can accommodate up to 400 people. Apparently there is also a pool table but I have never seen it, I usually go to listen to the blues.

Saxophone Pub
3/8 Victory Monument, Phyathai Road, Bangkok
Tel. 022 465 472

Take the skytrain to Victory Monument. When you get off the train go down from the platform and follow the walkway under the train lines towards the monument itself. As the train lines veer to the right so should you. Look down to the street below and look for the black ‘Jack Daniels’ sign on the line of buildings that face the market and eating out area. You’ll have to keep walking a bit to the next flight of steps down then make your way back to that Jack Daniels sign.

AND THAT reminds me, back in 1956 one of the coolest most laid back and chilled out saxophonists of all time got together with the legendary ivory tickler, Art Tatum. Unbelievably the results didn’t see light of day until the 70’s. Tatum very much led the sessions but it is Webster’s languid sax and sense of melody that will make your toes curl with pleasure.

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    • Singapore: The Pump Room is launching their first Annual Charity Golf Tournament on Wednesday 2nd July 2008 at Keppel Club in aid of The Lupus Association Singapore.
    Information and application forms can be found here

    • Hong Kong: A new pub called The Wheel has opened at 26 Hollywood Road. That's almost opposite The Globe. It has six TV screens for watching sports and a small range of bottled beers including Spitfire and Old Speckled Hen.
    • Hong Kong: 10 May Eugene Pao plays classic rock.
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    Grappa's Cellar
    Call (852) 2521-2322 for reservations
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