Drinking is ingrained upon the English psyche; as such the culture of England is heavily centred on the pub, often it is the centre point of the community offering fine ale, great food, and fun times. If you are embarking upon a tour of England sampling pub life is strongly advisable, while most travellers may think that the beer of England is predominantly a warm and flat affair, the sheer variety makes a tour of the nation's pubs a great holiday idea.
A good pint of beer is an experience that is difficult to quantify. In England the culture of beer making has been developed over centuries producing a variety of beers that offer unrivalled choice and a great tasting experience. While you tour the pubs of England you will see bitters, milds, stouts, ciders and lagers; literally there is something for everyone. The drink is not the only reason to embark on such a tour however, the pubs of England offer unique travel experiences and the chance to sample the English way of life at its most social and fun loving.
The pubs of England are considered by many to be the oldest in the world, while you sit surrounded by oak beams and quaint fire places, sipping your pint in such surroundings makes an English pub truly unique. Sadly today the pubs of England are increasingly being taken over by the big breweries and chains; they retain their age old charm and tradition. As you sit by a roaring fire listening to the gentle murmur of conversation and clinking of glasses you will be glad you decided to tour these windows into history.
Naturally as a nation with such a strong history of brewing and drinking, pubs are ever present in England. Names such as the Red Lion, the Royal Oak and Ye Olde Fighting Cocks give the traveller an idea of the history of these premises, often presented on the walls, or easily discovered when engaging in conversation with the landlord or locals. The majority of pubs that you will see on your tour have been at the heart of their communities for centuries. Today they retain this primary position in the lives of villages and towns; while record numbers of pubs are shutting; there is still one in nearly all settlements in the country. So while you tour, stopping off for a spot of lunch or a quick drink is always and option.
The beers of England are famous worldwide; fundamentally there are five varieties to tickle the taste buds. The most famed are the bitters and ales; these differ from pub to pub as the beer carries on fermenting in the barrel but also due to the large number of breweries who brew unique ales for local public houses. The taste of ale may be full of citrus or hops but all are quite flat and served warm in comparison to continental and American beers. In addition to the ales are the milds, these are a darker variety of beer that are often mixed with bitter. The darkest of the beers are the stouts, while Guinness may be the most famous; there are many different varieties of the 'black stuff'. Cider is also a popular summer drink, that is best in the West Country, be careful though, a pint of 'scrumpy' can often be very strong.
When on your England tour you will see many pubs of varying quality, do not be put off by a bad experience though, a few miles up the road it is doubtless you will find an establishment that serves fine beer, unbelievable food and friendly locals. For an experience of the true English culture, look to the pub for the best experience.
Travel expert Thomas Pretty looks into how your England tour should include a visit to a public house.