Blimey - a look at my Wikio ranking (if anyone still looks at Wikio rankings) shows what happens when you don't blog for six weeks...
In case you've not been following, the reason I seem to have given up blogging is that I have to focus on my new book. It's going well: I've written about 45,000 words (about 140 pages) so far, but with a mid-January deadline I won't be having much of a Christmas, and I won't be blogging too often before it's finished.
But I just wanted to do a quick post because I went to the journalist's launch of Brew Dog's new London bar last night in Camden, North London.
And it's really just to reiterate what I said when I visited their Edinburgh bar in the summer, and express my delight that they've opened one a bit closer to my house.
No brewer divides opinion and stirs up as much controversy as Brew Dog. And they do that deliberately. Sometimes I write to slag off their childish pranks, sometimes to praise them. About two years ago half the blogosphere was devoted to discussion of their antics (oh, and their beers) and I've read some people say they gave up reading blogs because they were sick of reading about Brew Dog.
But the company is four years old now and maturing rather nicely. And the bars - which are starting to spread to many major UK cities - really are excellent.
Purists will be upset that they don't do any cask beers at all, but this would be a good experiment: if you're prepared to be open-minded, it's worth going along and challenging the keg offering to deliver. I think there's something there for everyone. Last night I was talking to someone who writes for London Drinker, CAMRA London's magazine, and we were disagreeing about keg beer - he was saying he could still taste the gas in the beers he was drinking and that he didn't like that and wished they were available on cask. But later, he tried some of the stronger beers and came back to tell me they were excellent.
So there's a great range on offer. And the other thing I love about Brew Dog bars is that when I walk in, and I feel a little bit old and that the bar might be too cool for school, this is dispelled as soon as I actually get to the bar. Brew Dog bars could so easily be too cool for school, and they're not. They're unpretentious and run by people with a genuine passion for beer, a passion they want to spread.
Finally, I went here directly from a new 'bar and kitchen' (ugh!) run by a reasonably large pub operator, that's moving with the times by stocking an interesting range of craft beers that will be familiar to geeks but you really don't see in many places at all. That's to be welcomed. But £4.25 for a pint of cask Meantime Pale Ale (4.2% ABV), brewed less then ten miles away, was taking the fucking piss. By contrast, the prices at Brew Dog were perfectly reasonable for what you were getting.
Gotta leave it there - got to go and write about Princess Margaret and the Bishop of Southwark having a lock in.
But if you're in London, go to Brew Dog Camden. And of you're not, don't worry - a Brew Dog bar will probably be opening a bit closer to you sooner than you think.