I’m making a special effort to tell the folk behind the bar when their beer is really good. It goes down well, even in that London (OK, only had to do that once there this month). Simon mentioned some weird looks he’s had when complimenting the beer, but that’s more to do with the notebook in his hand at the time.
Of course, the other side of the coin is the badly kept pint that gets taken back, although in that case I seem to find myself apologising that their beer is off.
Most of the pubs I’m visiting at the moment are new to the Beer Guide, displaying their GBG17 sticker with pride (albeit upside down in one case), and keen to chat if not busy. There’s a lot of not-very-busy pubs at the moment.
The Red Lion in Cranford St John is a very rare new entry in the wilderness between Kettering and Huntingdon. It’s a classic small village all-rounder, and one for fans of stone-built pubs.
The restaurant area is kept separate from a cosy (if slightly twee) public bar free of reserved signs and menus. One local sitting at the bar was disappointingly keen to talk about the A14.
In a GBG world of Locales and ten pumps, it was a joy to see this line-up on the bar;
That would have been exciting 20 years ago, and those are three solid beers when served in good condition. The Pedigree was Derby-standard (NBSS 3.5) first off the pumps, and I told the newish Landlord how good it was to see Pedi this far east.
I wonder how many people really demand more exciting beers from village pubs like this.
NB Very few pubs over the years have asked me what I thought of their beer, and two of those were Wetherspoons.