26 Jan 2012

Fuller’s Bengal Lancer and Avery Row

The beer

I’ve ranted about Fuller’s and Bengal Lancer fairly recently on this blog, so I’m not going to go into too much detail here about how it looks (celestial), what it smells like (angelic) or its flavour profile (ambrosial).

It is the quintessential English-style IPA; an absolute world-beater that should be worshipped as though a god.

And if it were elevated to the heights to which it belongs, it would be a compassionate deity, rewarding its faithful with ultimate enlightenment and the revelation of the true path to glory.

I quite like it.

The street

Avery Row is more of an alley than a street really. You might call it a lane, even.

Whatever it is, it’s in Mayfair, linking Brook Street at its north end to Grosvenor Street at its south.

It has the kind of magical, hidden entrance I love, one you can’t even really see from certain angles.

It’s not the sort of street you just stumble upon; everyone who walks down it has a reason to do so.

I have two.

The match

I love London, I really do.

Part of what connects me to this city is the rituals I’ve built up over the years, the self-indulgent ceremonies I allow myself once in a while.

They’re mapped very clearly in my mind, and usually link certain activities to zig-zag routes through certain areas that have important stops along the way.

As vapid and inane as it might sound, clothes shopping in the west end is one of those ceremonies.

I’ve always had an interest in clothing, though I’ve never really examined why – it’s either because I see myself as some kind of physical wretch whose true form can only be obscured by the elegance of tailored garments, or it’s because I see style as an expression of inner thought, an extension of the soul, a statement of intent and a memorandum of understanding between me and the world.

Or maybe I’m just as shallow as a puddle.

The current West End shopping ceremonial procession begins at Selfridges, where I wander around for a while looking at things I can’t afford.

From there it’s a quick dash down South Molton Lane and onto Avery Row for my first reason: the Paul Smith Sale Shop.

I’m not going to wax lyrical about Paul Smith here, I’ll save that for a dedicated post, but needless to say I’m a fan.

Being able to pick up an exquisitely-made, beautifully-detailed shirt for less than half its original price fills me with the kind of warm glow that only the ultimately-meaningless consumption of quality goods can bring.

Then it’s on to the Iron Duke, a Fuller’s pub that’s usually relatively quiet on a Saturday.

It’s a great, cosy little pub, with really decent food and exceptional, attentive service. The beer is kept ridiculously well. Perfect for a lunchtime drink on your tod.

I’m keeping the hyperbole in check here as I’m almost reluctant to share this info – if other people cotton on to my Saturday haven and Avery Row becomes a popular destination, well, I’ll have ruined it.

Avery Row doesn’t exist. Forget everything I just said.


  1. I had a pint of Bengal Lancer on Tuesday and it was incredible. Such depth of flavour but also so light and gluggable. It's a seriously good beer!

  2. #KegBengal and ship it south!

  3. I'm just so happy it exists.

    I want to find out, outside of beer connoisseurs, who's drinking it.

    It's clearly commercially viable, I just can't work out who the average Bengal drinker is.

    Maybe it's me.