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Previous Pint Pleasures - May 29, 2000

guinness eileen

The Mogul, Chapel Place, Dover, Kent

The Mogul is now closed.

This wonderful pub is easy to walk to but a bit of a challenge to actually drive to. But don't give up too easily -- there is a way to get from the York Street roundabout into the seemingly-inaccessible Chapel Place. And once you've figured that out, you'll soon discover the effort was well worth it and your thirst will be happily attended to.

Originally called the New Mogul when it first opened at the turn of the century, this historic pub featuring Channel and harbour views nearly burned down in November of 1986. Fortunately it's still with us because the real ale is outstanding. Three or four selections are all dispensed directly from the cask via the tap and spile method. On our first visit we had pints of Sharp's Doom Bar Bitter (4.0% ABV, Sharp's Brewery, Wadebridge, Cornwall). This is a nice, vegetable-tinged beer, very drinkable on such a rare visit to Dover. Also on tap that day were Hook Norton Mild (3.0% ABV, Hook Norton Brewery, Banbury, Oxfordshire) and Kitchen Ranting Raspberry (4.6% ABV, The Kitchen Brewery, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire).

On a very recent visit we had pints of Miss Whiplash (4.2% ABV, George Bateman & Son Ltd., Wainfleet, Lincolnshire). This ale has a light, almondy taste and is a perfect refresher after a day spent on a cross-channel ferry. As it says on the pub clip, it's a "Spanking Good Beer," although I'm not sure I'd want to be spanked while drinking it. Even though the clip also sports a drawing of a fat scantily-clad woman, the beer is actually quite pleasurable to drink. To each her own, as they say... We also tried the Spirit Level (4.6% ABV, Rother Valley Brewing Company, Northiam, East Sussex). This is a luscious, velvety beer, like a brown swathe of suede over your tongue. The selections at the Mogul change regularly, and upcoming brews are announced on the chalkboard.

The Mogul is a cosy but airy place featuring a light wood floor, back garden, and chatty regulars who obviously come for the beer. The afternoon we were there Landlady Charlie put some Billie Holiday on the stereo -- a perfect genre and mood for such a pleasant, inviting pub. This is the type of place where you feel like spending your afternoons, the Third Place after home and work, serving as your corner coffeehouse, shop, laundromat, and petrol station -- except that there's no espresso, washing machines, petrol pumps, or, well, anything other than a pleasant atmosphere with real ales. The food is reportedly good as well.

The Mogul is also one of the few area pubs around where you can get cask-conditioned mild ale. Not that I'm particularly interested in drinking mild ale, mind you -- but it's becoming more popular because of the lower alcohol level (usually between 3.0 and 3.5% ABV, although some are much stronger) and the fact that drinking and driving are so frowned upon these days. Also it has a different sort of flavour from regular real ales which might appeal more to individuals who don't care for strongly hoppy or malty beers. According to CAMRA there is a resurgence of interest in mild ales and a campaign on to urge more pubs, especially in the Southeast, to offer it as an alternate choice along with the stronger-charactered real ales.

Variety and choice: that's what drinking decent beer in a decent pub is all about, isn't it? Oh, and pleasure, too...

Mogul Updates
(Last updated 12th December 2001)