Mrs RM had put up with me trudging round with her in the electronics section at John Lewis (Robert Sayle to me), so she felt she’d earned something strong in Pint Shop. Cambridge’s craft place is the one she picks when we’re out, in the same way my sister has always ended up in Falmouth’s HAND. Decent seating, people watching potential, strong distinctive beer.
The Pint Shop looked like a Cambridge take on the Tap or Port Street formula when it arrived in 2013. What initially put me off was the apparent focus on food (“Meat, Bread, Beer”) and self-conscious hipster touches such as the loss of the pence on the blackboard. Reading Trip Advisor you’d still think it was a posh restaurant with fine wines.
If you stick to the bar area, it can feel quite pubby, with all the restaurant noise well out of earshot. And it does attract a reasonable age range of custom in its civilised setting.
It might well be the strength, but we’ve always enjoyed the drinks there a lot. It might not compare with Small Bar or Beermoth or Euston Tap, but you do get a decent range of styles and strengths.
Mrs RM went for the strongest keg, from Moor (9.2%); I went for the Arbor on cask. The keg was less chilled than expected, the cask was an ideal temperature and superbly smoth (NBSS 3.5). As Mrs RM said of her half, you’d pay more (no pun intended) for a lesser glass of wine of similar strength.
Moor seem able to get their excellent beers into good outlets (as in Chester) which care how they’re kept; that’s the key to reputation management as a brewery.
I can’t say the banter is classic; the notable event came from me uttering foul oaths (see below). Folk here aren’t beer geeks, but they’ve probably heard of Adnams Lighthouse.
Perversely given the name, not many pints are served either, but a decent amount of beer. For Cambridge, beers from Weird Beard and Magic Rock are still a novelty; goodness knows what it makes of Sam Smiths.
Bank Holidays in years past would have meant people settling in for the afternoon and working through the beer list (when it was IPA and Abbot). I would have bought Mrs RM another half (bet they wouldn’t sell it in pints), but my bank was closed on Bank Holiday Monday and unable to arrange the necessary loan.
Why nearly Top 100 ? On every visit, I’ve banged my head on those stupid dangling lights when sitting down or passing Mrs RM her beer. An ergonomic disaster.