Notes from West London

A tale of two gallons

Earlier this month I reflected on drinking, and posed this question for anyone who still drinks beer or cider: how many pints is enough? The answer I offered, which is true for many questions: “it all depends”. Usually, the “two pint feeling” is good enough but there are times when you go further. The words below record a couple of days recently when the right amount of beer or cider was a neat, old-fashioned gallon.

Last month, in this piece about visiting St Fiacre’s Well in Kilkenny on our recent holiday in Ireland, I listed three tasks that I had set myself for the day in honour of my father. The last of them was ”drink a gallon of Guinness during the course of the day”. For the record, I achieved this over the course of around nine hours, starting with a pint in Tynan’s at 1pm. I had another two in Bollards before the service at St Fiacre’s Well, one in Kyteler’s on our return to the city and a couple more in The Left Bank around 6pm. I had one more with dinner in Langton’s and my eighth and final pint served as my pudding, at about 10pm.

Earlier this month I saw my first game at the new Brentford  FC stadium, their comfortable 5-2 win against Leeds United, the team I have followed since childhood. Three of us met for the game and over the course of eight hours each of us managed a gallon of our chosen brew. For two of us that meant beer, but our compadre now has severe gluten intolerance. He used to drink beer but even the gluten-free stuff has an unwelcome effect. In recent years he has switched to cider.

We met at a pub in Ealing (The Forester) before the game and just had time for our first pint of the day (London Pride for me). We got to the ground quicker than we thought we would and had another pint before kick-off, one at half-time, and another after the game (London Pride again for me each time). We made our way to The New Inn, an Irish bar near the old Brentford stadium, and I switched to Guinness. A couple of pints there, then a cab ride to another Irish bar (O’Brien’s on Uxbridge Road) and a final couple of pints for me.

My wife called just before 9pm to say that she and the children were back from visiting my mother-in-law in North London and dinner (shepherd’s pie) would be ready within 30 minutes. I finished my final pint, refusing all offers of more, or a little Jameson for the road, and headed home to eat.

The previous month I had planned exactly how much I was going to consume. I hadn’t done so on this occasion but as I headed home for my shepherd’s pie I reflected that, once again, a gallon was just the right amount.


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