Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Fri May 01 2015

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  • Gabe Zaldivar | May 1, 2015 11:00 PM ET

    Taste Testing 9 Frosty Beers in Beautiful Pubs Around the United Kingdom

    Taste Testing 9 Frosty Beers in Beautiful Pubs Around the United Kingdom

    Images via Melissa and Gabe Zaldivar

    The British have perfected the most enjoyable way to get inebriated. It’s called the pub, and I visited, oh, about a few of them during my two-week stint.

    Now before I get to what is a laundry list of liver destruction, I must say there is something so immensely satisfying about the pub.

    Rather than slink off to a corner of the bar and wait for a waitress like many of us might do here, or start a tab and forget about each and every transaction, you are forced to engage the bartender in a most natural way.

    By having to pay at the bar you are interacting with the gate keeper, the person who holds the keys to that liquid gold that will soon have you glowing in the aftermath of meat pies and emptied pint glasses.

    Now before we dive into this figurative mug of beer and pubs, let me also say that, contrary to previous thoughts, serving beer at a cool but not cold room temperature is ingenious.

    It’s that kind of brilliance that has me thinking our ancestors should have just paid the flipping taxes. Perhaps our harshly freezing pints of beer in the states would be just cool enough to satisfy and warm enough for the flavors to breathe through.

    Enough with tenuous patriotism, let’s talk beer. Here is a breakdown that comes with completely unscientific scores that were somewhat biased on my state of hunger at the time.


    Guinness (The Victoria): The most obvious choice.

    I include it here because this was the first meat pie as well as the first Guinness I had in this fine land, and both were beautiful.

    Perhaps it’s the ambiance or the storing method or perhaps the proximity to the brewer, but this beer is better in Europe.

    I don’t even care if it’s just in my head, this was the go-to hydration tool used over and over during my trip, surpassing water by a sizable difference.

    Score: The most perfect beer.


    Noble (The King’s Arms): This is the first foray into beer I had after arriving in the Cotswold village, which I enjoyed after a drive from Bath. If you followed my article on driving in Britain, you will understand I was thirsty for a quick respite from unrelenting stress. The beer did its job most admirably.

    Score: 7

    Henrys IPA (The Talbot): I came to this beer after finishing my amble through Cotswold villages.

    It was a bit creamy with nuanced hoppiness. But really, it tasted like victory.

    Score: 7

    Lower Slaughter:

    The Slaughter’s Country Inn:

    We came to this inn at the end of our gentle walk from Stow-on the-Wold, which was more of an arduous journey through mud, verdant fields, a stinky mill and various horse enclosures.

    It was awesome.

    Thankfully, we were just able to put in an order for the best fish and chips I had on the trip, which paired so nicely with well-earned pints. 

    Brakspear – I’ve had just about enough of the IPA revolution that features breweries trying to beat your taste buds into submission with bitterness. In the case of this golden triumph, the beer was sublime. It was hoppy with a clean finish.

    Right before the hops became too intense the sensation washed away, leaving you refreshed.

    Score: 8

    Hobgoblin: Newcastle lovers will enjoy this darker pint that was actually light in taste with enjoyable toasty and crisp features.

    Score: 7.9


    Edinburgh is a drinking town in an otherwise well lubricated country. Hopping into a pub or bar late at night will afford you a sampling of all manners of inebriation.

    There is the group out to celebrate and the few who are out to forget. We saw the jubilant, the feisty and just about everyone in between.

    You could say it was love at first sip.

    Edinburgh Pale Ale: I didn’t have great luck with pale ales in Scotland, but that’s on me. Instead of asking the bartender for suggestions I ordered based on a whim, which led to this very light beer that had just a hint of hops.

    Score: 6

    Deuchars IPA (Footlights): Read above. It’s the kind of beer that you might use in an afternoon playing beer pong. Deuchars is extremely easy to drink, which isn’t always a good thing. 

    Score: 6.5

    Caesar Augustus (Whiski Rooms): This beautiful pint came after a couple flights of whisky. So it’s appropriate to say I was in a fairly good mood.

    If you miss out on a Scotch tasting, this bar has myriad flights to sample and the bartenders are beyond helpful in walking you through your journey.

    And this, my friends, is how I happened upon one of my favorite beers.

    Score: 8

    Dark Island - (Bennets Bar): The last night in Edinburgh was a fruitful one, featuring one of the best pubs around.

    It’s quaint, approachable and filled with countless options to slake your thirst. Dark Island was the epitome of the bar in which I ordered it. While it was dark the finish was extremely clean. But it had nuance, gravity and demanded your undying appreciation.

    Score: 8.5

    Now there were many other beers and pubs I visited throughout the country, including stops in York and Bath.

    However, the above is just a sample of those that stood out among the rest for various reasons.

    Now if a location isn’t included above, please excuse me. It seems my slightly inebriated notation wasn’t as thorough as I had hoped. Please know that it wasn’t for lack of enjoyment.

    Now before I leave you to your own drunken travel, I have to give a shout out to the best practice of all, which is the ability to drink outside myriad pubs in this fine country.

    There is something so invigorating about standing outside in the revitalizing cold to enjoy a pint.

    This furthers the sentiment that Britain understands that drinking is more than just a vehicle to an altered state. It’s an experience, one that will only enhance your travels if you allow yourself to ask, engage, taste and enjoy.

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Gabe Zaldivar The Main Course

Gabe Zaldivar Born on the rough streets of suburban West Covina, I learned a great many things, some of which has proved useful: knowing the tell-tale sounds of an ice cream truck and crafting a world-class burrito come to mind. You have seen my work on Bleacher Report and possibly my mug on CNN. Perhaps, if you are into archaic modes of entertainment, you have also heard me on the radio. Pop culture is my beat. If it has to do with the intersection of travel, entertainment and pop culture, I'm your guy.
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