An Ibis in central Reading for £11.85 with loyalty points, and that included a free bottle of Moretti, which isn’t the worst lager ever. Life doesn’t get much better.
Folk from Newbury as well as Reading insisted on meeting up at the Nag’s Head, which I’d visited before, but on rare occasions I’ll do the same thing twice.
It’s been the classic Reading alehouse, perhaps along with the Alehouse (Hobgoblin) for some years now, and it was as boisterous as I just about remembered it.
Close to the station in an attractive residential area, it looks attractive from the street, and you’re drawn in by the Double Diamond sign above the door.
Early Sunday evening, it had a great range of drinkers as well as drinks, which for me is what makes a pub. This felt like a pub, not a “CAMRA pub”. Not quite packed, but a lot busier than, say, Newbury’s pubs the other Wednesday. The piano and dart board seem to be used rather than mere props, and the food is pub snack classics.
And the beer range was one of the best outside Manchester. Actually, it reminded me a lot of Stockport’s Magnet, albeit smaller and more open plan. Most beers seemed to be a standard £3.40 a pint, which is impressive for a town where £4 is now common.
The blackboard showing what’s on next highlighted the range of styles and strengths on offer. In typical fashion, I started from the
west left with Cloudwater IPA (NBSS 3.5), which was the only possible choice really. More sensible locals seemed to be going through the range starting at 3.3%.
The introduction of craft beers on a keg wall is the major change since my first visit, but doesn’t seem to have changed the dynamic of the pub at all. With proper seating it proved hard to find the motivation for the two mile walk to my last Berkshire GBG tick..