Mike and Pete Gerrard, the beer loving brothers behind a new book ‘Around The Tube in 80 Pubs’. This is a great read highlighting some of the best London pubs that are walking distance from tube stations. From some of London’s most historic venues to some cool new additions, this book is sure to have something for every beer lover. We caught up with them about beer in Yorkshire and America, and how they created this fantastic read about the best London pubs on the tube system.
10 Questions For...
1. Who are you?
Pete: My name’s Pete Gerrard, and after leaving school I had a brief career as a lumberjack before going to University College London and gaining a degree in astronomy. After working for over 20 years for a gaming company called Barcrest, I took early retirement in order to focus more on beer.
Mike: I’m Big Brother and I’m a freelance travel writer, though in the last few years I’ve started writing about drink as well. I’ve also started learning the mandolin, but it’s slow progress!
2. Where are you living at the moment?
Pete: A village called Slaithwaite, usually pronounced Slawit, which is near Huddersfield in West Yorkshire.
Mike: My wife’s American and we spend half the year in Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, and the other half near Tucson in Arizona. It’s a bit of a contrast.
3. Tell us a little about yourself, what lead you to write a book about the best London pubs on the tube lines?
Pete: I’ve already mentioned University College London, and my first job after leaving University was based in London. I lived there for some time, and through my former job at Barcrest I got to visit on numerous occasions. I became familiar with some of the best London pubs and bars, I’ve always liked the place. When my brother asked if I could do some research for our book Around The Tube In 80 Pubs, I was only too happy to oblige.
Mike: Our dad was a writer in his spare time and I definitely inherited that gene. I always wanted to be a writer and have been lucky enough to make a living as a travel writer.
4. Which venues locally are your favourite for drinking beer? Where should we have on our radar?
Pete: The village of Slaithwaite is blessed with a number of interesting pubs. We’ve got The Commercial, The Swan, and The Shoulder of Mutton, amongst others. Not too far away is a place called Linthwaite, with its fine pub The Sair. They have their own brewery, and I’ve never seen their beers on sale anywhere other than at their own pub. It’s a legend.
Mike: We do have a good brewery in Wisbech, Elgood’s, but Wisbech can’t really compare to Tucson for a beer scene! I wrote a piece about it for the American magazine, BeerAdvocate, and you can read it here: https://www.beeradvocate.com/articles/14343/where-to-drink-in-tucson-arizona/
5. Can you describe your local beer scene in a few words?
Pete: Thriving. I live a short distance away from Empire Brewery, and a couple of their beers are on sale in The Commercial in Slaithwaite at £2 a pint. Yes, £2! If they can do it, why can’t others? We’re lucky being near Huddersfield, which is home to many breweries, and two of them have got their own brewery tap in the town, namely Magic Rock and Mallinsons. Both are fine venues.
6. Which is your favourite world city to visit, and if we were to go there where would you send us?
Pete: I once read an article where somebody described their favourite British cities to go drinking, and to my amazement at the top of the list was Norwich. I’d never been there, and couldn’t imagine why it was rated above the likes of Edinburgh, Leeds, Bristol, and so on. I paid it a visit for the first time in the year that they had their first City Of Ale festival, and I’ve been going back every year ever since. There are so many great pubs! To name just half a dozen, I’d suggest the Adam and Eve, the Wig and Pen, The Coach and Horses, The Vine, The Murderers, and of course The Fat Cat.
Mike: I think the most exciting city I’ve been to is New York, but favourite city is definitely Denver. We’ve been there several times, including once for The Great American Beer Festival. Every beer lover should go to that event at least once. The Wynkoop was Colorado’s first brewpub and it’s still one of the best. And how can you not love a bar called The Fainting Goat? Luckily one of our good friends in Denver, Rich Grant, is a beer nut so he’s always got places to recommend. He has a blog combining his two main interests: Walking and Drinking Beer. https://walkinganddrinkingbeer.blogspot.co.uk/
7. Which destination would be top of your bucket list and why? What would you get up to there?
Pete: Top of my list would be Chicago. I’ve never visited it other than as a place to change planes, but everything I’ve read about it talks of a vibrant craft beer culture. So I’d really like to go there and visit as many bars and breweries as possible.
Mike: Definitely Asheville in North Carolina, which has become one of the USA’s top beer cities in the last few years. I’m dying to visit it rather than just read about it.
8. What is the most unique food and drink experience you’ve had in your city?
Pete: That would have to be The Grove in Huddersfield. You wouldn’t go there for an evening meal, but there can’t be too many places selling Scorpion Suckers Lollipops.
Mike: You’re spoilt for choice in Tucson but I’ve a soft spot for Barrio Brewing which has a great atmosphere. You can combine one of my favourite beers, a Barrio Blonde, with a Southwestern Burger. It’s got Hatch green chilis in, from New Mexico, and is mouthwateringly wonderful.
9. If you were to design a beer tour of any city, which spots would you include and why?
Pete: My nearest town of Huddersfield is among the best places I know for a drink in Britain. The drinking holes here definitely rival even the best London pubs. Where to begin? The Magic Rock brewery tap, The Sportsman (great pies as well as pints), The Kings Head on the station, The Grove (over 30 beers to choose from – permanently!), The Rat and Ratchet (another one with its own brewery), The Corner (Mallinsons’ brewery tap), add it all up and you’ve got over 100 ales to choose from on any one day. Marvellous!
10. And lastly, this is your place to shamelessly plug anything you want to!
Pete: Obviously I’ve got to mention our book Around The Tube In 80 Pubs, available from Amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats. Are there going to be any more books? Watch this space!
Mike: The way the book came about was that the title popped into my head a few years ago. That would make a great book, I thought, and then never did anything more about it. It was Pete who basically said we’ve got to make this happen, so we did. People are always looking for the best London pubs and highlighting the ones near tube stations just made sense.
*Why not check out the Beer Adventures ‘London Tube Tour’ featuring some of the excellent venues mentioned in the ’80 Pubs’ book here – you can then see how great they are for yourself!