Tag Archives: reviews

Twickenham Fine Ales Brewery Tour

Twickenham’s rugby connections mean that the town is more famous for the consumption of beer than its production. It will be a long time before that changes but local brewery Twickenham Fine Ales is doing a pretty good job of putting Twickenham on the map for quality brews. In fact, it’s London’s oldest micro-brewery, having celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2014.

Founded by Steve Brown in 2004, the business has grown over the last decade picking up awards, moving to a bigger and better space, and raising both its profile and its sales. Its beers are now widely available in local pubs and further afield too. They can also be found, bottled up, on the shelves of discerning off-licences. Perhaps you’ve seen Naked Ladies, Grandstand and Redhead on the pumps at your local. These regulars form just three of the 20 different beers produced each year.

The brewery bar is open on rugby days (there’ll be a big screen there for this Saturday’s England game) and there are also monthly tours which offer a guide to the art of making proper ales and provide an opportunity to sample the wares ‘in the spirit of education and learning’. Here at twickerati we don’t usually do reviews but for the chance of drinking some booze at a real life brewery, we thought we’d break the rules and pop along.

For the beer-hardened band of brothers (and sisters) who assembled at TFA’s Mereway Road HQ the tour began with a run through of the brewery’s history before moving on to the rather more important subject of making beer. Our hosts Ben and Dave talked through the whole process from end to end with plenty of ‘sciencey’ bits thrown in. Dave even went into detail (too much detail, perhaps) about the hot, sweaty, uncomfortable work of cleaning out the copper. Rather him than us, we all thought.

Twickenham Fine Ales currently produce four brews each week but with demand still growing, a fifth fermentation vessel is now being added. Tour goers get the opportunity to sample three beers, in our case Grandstand (3.8%, well hopped, refreshing with citrus notes), Sundancer (3.7%, a crisp and hoppy session bitter) and Winter Cheer (4.4%, dark, full bodied, hints of spice). As brewer Dave explained, Twickenham beers tend to be at the ‘hoppier side of traditional’ with their hops sourced from countries such as the USA, Slovenia and Germany as well as from the UK. The rise of micro-breweries in recent years, especially in America, has caused a significant increase in the demand for hops, pushing up the price and meaning that brewers are having to look carefully at where they source their ingredients.

Grist, mash, liquor, sparging, hot wort, cold wort, wet yeast, dry yeast and ullage. If you don’t know what they are now, you will do by the end of the tour.

The Mereway Road brewery is not exactly a big place and so looking around doesn’t take up much time, but the insights into brewing and the business of brewing provide for a very interesting evening, made all the more enjoyable by the friendly and informative team. And then of course, there’s sampling the beer too. In conclusion: well worth a visit.

LINK:
* Twickenham Fine Ales Tours (cost: £15)

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Guest Blog: My Twickenham

Like Twickenham? Here at twickerati HQ we do. What about you, Sir? And you, Madam? Well, local mum and dog owner, Michelle Reynolds, certainly likes Twickenham. In fact she likes it so much she’s written a guest item about it especially for us. Here’s what she has to say…

TWICKENHAM – A BABY & DOGGY PARADISE

Michelle + baby + dog

Michelle, plus baby & Ronnie

On the plane home to the UK after living in New York for three years, my husband gave me his ‘to do’ list for the year ahead. “Get a dog. Buy a house. Have a baby”. So we turned our back on city centre life and three years later, here I am in leafy Twickenham, living the dream! Yes I am one of those mummies with buggies who steamroll over you the minute you step outside of your Twickers abode. I also tend to be dragged along by Ronnie, an unruly Boxer cross mutt. Factor in the other hairy boy in my life – my husband – and we are quite the traveling circus. Continue reading

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Film Festival Films Online

The inaugural Twickenham Alive Film Festival sparked a lot of interest and a lot of entries. The screening and awards ceremony took place on 26th April at Twickenham Stadium in front of the assembled glitterati from among the twickerati and beyond. Having been banned from attending after an incident at another local event involving a vicar, his pet python, a bottle of tequila and a well-known Richmond Councillor (see note 1 below) your humble correspondent had to report on the evening from a safe distance. Luckily the films are now online for the great viewing public – as well as us – to enjoy. You like? We do. There’s some real talent on display from a diverse mix of film makers.

You can see a selection of the best on the Twickenham Alive website. Of the ones we’ve seen so far, we especially like The Magick of Twickenham (Toby Alington), School Run Strut (Alban Low) and Garden of Reason (Ham Youth Centre). You’ll all have your own favourites, so take a look and let us know which ones warrant a BAFTA, a Twickenham TWAFTA or would get you buffing up a couple of Golden Globes in no time.

Why not add your reviews on here?

LINK:
www.twickenhamfilmfestival.com

Note 1: No such incident took place or is likely to take place.

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The Twickenham Shopping Index

After an epic journey around the streets of Twickenham involving hours of diligent note taking, we are able to bring you the great twickerati “Twickenham Shopping Index”. It’s not quite the Standard & Poor’s ratings index but it is a seriously considered (if amateur*) assessment of the prospect of the town’s sometimes successful but often beleaguered retail premises. Continue reading

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Twickenham Festival: How was it for you?

So, Twickenham Festival has now ended. As the food stalls, paddleboards, music stages, beer tents, dragon boats and kids rides get packed up for another year and the padlocks firmly secured on Pope’s Grotto and JMW Turner’s house, we ask the question, “How was it for you”? OK, so it’s not quite like that and there’s no huge lock-up in a railway arch where Arthur Daley is storing all that kit for the next 11 1/2 months but we like the idea of it anyway. And fret not, there are still a lot of events going on over the summer which you can check out on our What’s On page (see Index menu) but the Festival proper is now done & dusted.

A lot of work goes into putting on the activities and so we’ll add a word of thanks to all those who helped make it happen especially the folks at Twickenham Alive, LBRuT (yes, El Brute), the Twickenham Town Business Association (including its Chairman Bruce “Crusader Travel” Lyons). Cheers folks.

The weather was a bit crap for most of it but the turn out seemed pretty good. Did you go to much? Did you go to too much? Too many events? Or too few? If you didn’t show up, what would you want to see at a Twickenham Festival to grab your attention? Too many questions? Time for some answers then. Off you go…

P.S. One link:
* The twickerati Twickenham Festival & Carnival Photo Gallery

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Best Chinese or Thai in Twickenham. You tell us.

Is there a town in Britain without a Chinese takeaway? Come to think of it, is there a city in the world without a Chinese restaurant of some kind? To take each of those questions in turn, probably not and… probably not. Add to that the fact (and it is a fact, or at least a made-up fact) that Thai food is the new Chinese and that Vietnamese is the new Thai and we’re positively spoilt for choice when it comes to cuisine from the far east. Or so you might think. A recent delivery to twickerati HQ of a decidedly average Chinese takeaway sowed the [sesame] seeds for this item. Let’s just say that a few of the dishes were left a little bit wanton. New knowledge is required. We’ve previously established Twickenham’s best Indian restaurant, where the best Italian food is to be found and which is best local pub (the answer to all three questions being a very clear: “your personal favourite”) but what about the best place for crispy duck pancakes, or pad thai or pho? Whether it’s eat in or takeaway, the twickerati need to share their knowledge and reviews of where’s best in Twickenham for Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese. And how about where to go for Indonesian and Malaysian food? Or perhaps we want to head north for some Japanese and Korean fare?

Here’s a list of most of the places that fit the bill in Twickenham although we’ve probably missed a few: Jun Ming (Heath Road), O’Zon (London Road), Shanghai Village (York Street), Pho Saigon (York Street), Miss Siam (York Street), Lakksa Thai (Heath Road), Thai Pin (St Margarets Road), Thai at the Prince Albert (Hampton Road), Makan Makan (Richmond Road), Fat Boys or Thai Upon Thames (East Twickenham), Sopa, (Strawberry Hill), Panda Garden takeaway (Heath Road) or E-wok takeaway (Crown Road).

Add your comments and reviews right here. We’re simply quite desperate to find out what you think.

P.S. Previous review threads on twickerati:
* Best Curry
* Best Italian/Pizza
* Best Pub
* Best Cafe

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Twickenham’s Perfect Pub? What Would Orwell Say?

The crucial question of Twickenham’s best pub was recently discussed on twickerati. It’s a toughie, a real toughie. But one pub came out of that particular survey very well. It used to be a little bit crap; now it’s rather good. In this review feature, Twickenham resident, pub-goer and beer drinker Newcastle Martin gets to grips with whether the revamped Sussex Arms really is the perfect local pub. Here’s his view.

The Sussex, Twickenham

Twickenham’s Perfect Pub?
In 1946, George Orwell wrote a famous essay on the perfect pub. He nominated a local called the Moon Under Water, specifying its good beer, popularity with regulars, open fires, decent food, friendly service, the “comfortable ugliness” of its Victorian fittings, ample garden and lack of ‘rowdies’ and radio. The only problem was that the Moon Under Water never existed — or at least it didn’t until many years later Tim Martin of JD Wetherspoon fame gave that name to several of the chain’s pubs, thereby creating a modern dystopia Orwell might have satirised.
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Twickenham’s Restaurant Glut: Food for Thought

All Quiet on the Twickenham Front?

Twickenham has its fair share of eateries. In fact it probably has more than its fair share. One might assume that a large number of restaurants and cafes is the mark of a thriving town but in Twickenham only a few are regularly full while some seem permanently empty. In this guest blog, local journalist Simon Hemelryk gives his views on the issue and looks at what, if anything, can be done to fix it. Got your own opinions or solutions? Why not add your comments below.



There’s a standing joke in my household about the number of restaurants, cafes and pubs-that-do-food in Twickenham. My wife has always reckoned there must be at least 50, but I thought it might be as many as 70. So, a couple of days ago, I cycled round the area and counted them.

The actual figure is 128. Yep, that’s one establishment for every 153 of the town’s 19,555 residents – from the Beefeater at the top of Sixth Cross Road, to the little café next to Marble Hill House, to La Cena close to Richmond Bridge. I’m not even including anything that could be said to be Teddington, Old Isleworth or Whitton, or takeaways that don’t have proper seating.
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Boutique Chic in Twickenham

Amanda is a local Twickenham resident who is obsessed with cooking, crochet, all things vintage, and the “Twickenham Boutiques”. She writes the Vintage Savoir Faire website, where she learns to live healthier & more creatively through good food, kitchen remedies and handmade beauty products. In this feature she gives the twickerati the lowdown on boutique chic, Twickenham style…

Shop the Twickenham Boutiques
Feeling frazzled by the crowds in Kingston? Don’t want to make the long trek into London? Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Twickenham has some of the finest shopping in the borough – if you know where to look. Yes, Church Street is lovely – but it’s for amateurs. Serious Twickenham shoppers hit up the boutiques. The Twickenham Boutiques.

Not familiar with these exclusive retail establishments? That’s probably because they’re interspersed with regular shops on the High Street. The Boutiques like to keep a low profile. In fact, you probably walk right by them everyday. But The Boutiques are where all the best names of Twickenham do their shopping. From last season’s ladies clothing, to slightly scuffed shoes, to previously assembled jigsaw puzzles, to (slightly chipped) fine china and crystal – it’s all available at The Boutiques…
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