When I retired I think Mrs RM may have harboured some thoughts of me engaged in indoor activity such as monitoring the paint dry or rating the daytime TV. I’ve let her down badly on that front, so felt I could make it up to her with a nice growler of craft IPA with her tea.
Thirsty is a newish off-licence/bar/coffee shop in what was Threshers on the historic Mitchams Corner (see this post). Pints & Pubs has a good review here. There have been interesting food trucks parked outside (not the bike) when I’ve walked past before.
A few places locally, notably the excellent Bacchanalia, do real ale take-aways, but the benches here allowed me to have a small taste (excellent) of the Hardknott IPA selected for Mrs RM, making it also slightly less heavy on the walk home. It’s a small but interesting selection; I’m afraid I can’t tell you whether “fresh” means real and don’t really care.
I’ve seen groups of ladies enjoying a good wine selection before, but today’s fellow customers were on the excellent Hot Numbers coffee. Among the topics discussed on adjoining tables were the importance of provenance, varietal wines, and the disappointing wine offer at the Cambridge Beer Festival. I’m very nosey.
Several off-licences seem to be expanding their offer recently. I wrote before about Ely’s 3at3, a café doubling up as a bottled beer shop to good effect, and back in Cambridge the upmarket Wine Merchants near the punts has introduced simple food and wine tasting into its small premises. Not really a place to go to enjoy Beavertown cans though.
The most striking in-shop drinking space was in Glossop. While the beer blogging intelligentsia downed OBB with real people, Mrs RM and I were mixing with the Dark Peak’s moneyed classes in Harvey Leonard, whose communal tables and cheese platters really invited an evening on the bottled Cloudwater and self-service wine machine.
The other place that impressed me was the Tap & Bottles in Southport, which also has the more established Inn Beer Shop. Both sell local beer on handpump alongside an impressive range of bottles, and seem to attract a different crowd to your average micro-pub, possibly because of the wine offer.
The dividing line between cafes, micro-pubs and off licences seems to be blurring. These expanded off-licences certainly expand the range of places you can drink, and provide useful outlets for some of our newer breweries, which can’t be bad either.
Halfway home on the dull walk along the Cam, I stopped for a swig from the bottle, proving I have no idea about either bottled beer or physics. The explosion of hoppy froth was quite impressive, and I now have the added bonus of a Duck and Cover coat imbued with the spirit of craft IPA.