Malta is a densely populated island with a charming capital, hospitable people, much quirkiness and the peal of church bells in every town and village.
It was British until 1964 and they drive on the left, or more usually in the centre, as comic Mark Steel recently pointed out.
The warm brown limestone (“industrial Cotswold” according to Madame Luna) looks great at sunset, especially when depicting long defunct Reading breweries.
I tried a bottle of Simonds’ Hop Leaf but it was unpleasantly metallic. The company survives as part of Simonds Farsons Cisk, the latter being the name of Malta’s best selling beer. Also file under metallic.
Real Ale Street
Neighbouring Gozo was more intimate. These salt pans were still being worked by a local family.
Gozo also has the Lord Chambray brewery and it was their beers that dominated the taps at 67 Kapitali in Valletta, named (possibly) after the Lisbon Lions.
We tried several of these and they were generally pretty good.
If you really want to know about the pubs and beer of Malta then Richard Coldwell is your man https://beerleeds.co.uk/2019/02/22/malta-2019/
Our excellent bed and breakfast was in Zebbug, a short bus ride from Valletta. The pub there had no draught beer of any description but enough bottles to keep us going and an inexhaustible supply of free snacks. As you can see the Golden Lion had pumps but no beer.
No longer the Golden Lion
it’s not all about Tony Drago
Empty vodka bottle not for sale
I didn’t get to see the local team but did polish off the Maltese Premier League in the space of 24 hours (they only use 3 stadiums). At Hamrun Spartans I was one of the very few without a musical instrument but did my best to improvise. Hibernians Stadium had a somewhat treacherous descent from the dressing rooms.
Birdlife Malta do a terrific job running some small reserves that have to be gated and secured to stop shooters. Following a referendum it’s now only legal to shoot Quail during a short season but sadly many other birds such as Turtle Doves seem to be regarded as fair game. We had great views of birds like Black-winged Stilt and Wood Sandpiper.
We had a great time but weren’t tempted by the Rabbit Nights at the Brown Jug.
Malta has its knockers. But we had a rare old time. Cheers.