Spring means DERT, the annual Rapper dancing tournament. Rapper is a sword dance originally performed in pubs by miners from the pit villages of Northumberland and Durham. The tradition of dancing in pubs is continued in DERT, for me this is an excellent excuse for a pub crawl.
The tournament this year was in Soho, so I looked forward to visiting some boozers that were new to me, and hopefully drinking a few London brews.
We wedged ourselves in the Shaston Arms and started with a pint of syrupy Firkin Fox by Hall and Woodhouse. Things were to improve enormously after this. The dancing in here was good though, with the Kingsmen and Star and Shadow. Someone that looked uncannily like HRH turned up with one of her Corgis.
Next up was The Three Greyhounds, a Nicholson's pub, so the guest ales were likely to be more exciting. The Summer Wine Brewery Barista, their espresso stout, was gorgeous. Loads of coffee, smooth and not bitter. Next to it on the bar was Otley Thai-Bo, a pale ale brewed with lemongrass, lime leaf and galangal. The Thai-Bo was refreshing in the crowded corner pub so it soon slipped down as Nottingham's Whip The Cat performed.
The best drinking of the day was during the dancers lunch break when we headed to The Old Coffee House on Beak Street. Five Brodie's beers; Amarilla, Citra, Brainwave, London Fields and Hackney Red IPA. All these were jam-packed with hops. I could easily find myself stuck in here for a few hours the next time I visit London.
The final leg took us to Endurance on Berwick Street and pints of Sambrook's Wandle bitter. My tastebuds had been lashed by now, but it seemed a pretty decent fruity beer. It was the first time I've tasted Wandle and the first time I think I've been in a pub with a stuffed bear stood in the corner.
That was it for another year. It usually takes me a couple of days to get the sound of concertinas and fiddles out of my head after DERT but I was to receive some help a few hours later from Electric Wizard at the Forum.