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Tag: Big Smoke Badge

Flying Scotsman Trip – Day 0

To London, and on the Caledonian Sleeper

Finally, it is happening! I had to postpone this trip three times already, each time amending, or cancelling and rebooking most of the eleven trains and six hotels. This Friday morning however, I was actually back in a Eurostar travelling through the Chunnel to St. Pancras International.

Because I arrived in London earlier than usual, I had decided to use that extra time to make the trek all the way to Ealing, after first dropping off my bag at a Radical Storage point, and a coffee at Origin Coffee in the British Library. In Ealing, one of the newest BrewDog bars had recently opened, not surprisingly called BrewDog Ealing. There I met up with beer friends Jackie and Simon, and BrewDog’s beer trainer Paddy joined us as well. Since it was only noon, and drinking on an empty stomach is never a good idea, we had lunch there as well.

After lunch, we made our way back to the centre of London again, making various beery stops along the way: Kill the Cat, where we were joined by fellow EFP Liam, the Mikkeller Bar, the Mikkeller Brewpub, where Emma joined us, and finally, after picking up my bag again, the Euston Tap.

After a last couple of beers, we said our goodbyes, because it was time for me to board the Caledonian Sleeper. I had traveled on it before, but since then, the service has been completely overhauled. Even though it has been plagued with issues since then—especially recently—there was nothing wrong with the train I was booked on for the night: it departed on time, I had warm water in the shower, and the lounge car was open for business!

Big Smoke Badge: 9/9!

The last day in London, time for one more BrewDog bar to complete the challenge!

So we had brunch in BrewDog Shoreditch, to recover a bit from the previous day, and we received the coveted ninth stamp. We decided not to claim the pint of Punk IPA we had earned straight away—it was still a bit early for pints—but to save it for whenever we can visit the soon-to-be-opened BrewDog Canary Wharf. That way, we can sort of earn the Big Smoke Badge twice, making it 10 bars out of 10!

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Big Smoke Badge: 8/9

No more delays, time to get some more stamps in our Beer Visa!

A quick visit to BrewDog Soho, and then continue to the last bar new to us: BrewDog Seven Dials.

Then the last visit of the day for the badge; BrewDog Clerkenwell.

Bacon & Bathers

We started our day in BrewDog Tower Hill, the biggest bar in the chain, since it opens earlier than any other, and it serves breakfast. Bacon rolls for the win!

Another attraction of the bar is the full-size brewing installation, technically making this the only—at least for now—BrewDog brewpub. Since the beers brewed there are only available in that bar, we had to try some, even if it wasn’t even noon yet…

Since we didn’t want all of our trip to be about beer, we also visited the National Gallery. There were so many paintings there I had to learn about for an exam just a couple of weeks ago! For instance: these Bathers, the first by Paul Cézanne, the second by Georges Seurat.

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Big Smoke Badge: 4/9

To start, we wanted to get some of the more remote bars done, so first up was the most southern BrewDog bar in London: BrewDog Clapham Junction.

We arrived mere minutes after they opened, but the welcome couldn’t have been warmer! We had some pizza to prepare us for an evening of beer, later topped up with some crack fries in the most western bar, BrewDog Shepherds Bush.

BrewDog Camden just underwent a ten day refurbishment, but luckily for us, it reopened tonight, reason for a big party. Unfortunately, they had some trouble with a few beers on tap, and the stamp was nowhere to be found…

The last bar of the day is the first one we hadn’t actually visited before: BrewDog Angel. In this bar there are some home brew kits one can use to brew their own beer, but for the occasion of a Two Tribes Tap Takeover, a professional brewer had taken over the mash paddle. Even before we had our drinks, we were given the grand tour, and invited to participate in the brewing process.

Ready, set, go!

After over seven hours in a bus—luckily well air-conditioned—and the obligatory double customs checks, we caffeinated ourselves at Iris & June: excellent espresso from the local roasters Ozone Coffee.

After that, it was just late enough to check into our home for the next couple of nights: easyHotel London Victoria. Excess luggage dropped off, and we’re now ready to take on the challenge, and go to our first BrewDog bar!

London revisited: by bus

We’ve been to London quite a few times before, visited a lot of sights and bars, but the introduction of BrewDog’s Beer Visa enticed us to revisit the Big Smoke, to earn the eponymous badge.

Al we need to do, is visit all nine BrewDog bars in the city, stamp out little booklets, and have our EFP cards swiped. Of course, we do need to have a drink in each bar as well…

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It’s been a while since we’ve taken a bus to the UK, preferring a high speed train over a rather slow bus. However, because of our rather late decision to go on this trip, Eurostar prices had already risen to a ridiculously high level! So a trip by Flixbus it will be this time—Megabus doesn’t operate on the European mainland anymore—and from the money saved, we booked two nights in an easyHotel, conveniently close to Victoria Coach Station, so we can spread out our bar visits a little. The downside of this mode of transportation: we did have to get up quite early for a bus that will get us there before nightfall.

We got bumped from those nice places, by the way, since apparently now it’s possible to reserve specific seats, and we weren’t aware of that…