As the song goes, “For each pound of joy, there’s an ounce of regret“, and for every trip to Newbury there’s one to Theale, one of our most bewildering large villages.
You might assume West Berkshire is all horsey racing, drama societies and Good Old Boys. Theale, though, would be more at home as a suburb of Wigan, so “lively” are its pubs. I always assumed this was where folk from Reading came for their aggro, but perhaps that’s Goring these days.
I thought it was a large village anyway. Looking at Wikipedia now I see it’s only half the size of my own. That the Bull was my fifth basic Beer Guide pub here over the years seems more than surprising. Of those five, the Lamb and Red Lion are two of a number of less surprising casualties.
I have no idea what heinous crime against CAMRA the Volunteer has commited to escape the GBG over the years, but it is an attractive-looking Fullers house so perhaps there’s your explanation. No doubt I’ll be headed there next year.
I’m struggling to write much about Theale that isn’t about pubs, but Holy Trinity is as impressive a church as I’ve seen in a village of 3,000 souls.
And the Old Lamb would make a good micropub.
You probably won’t believe this, but I thought I’d discovered an unlogged new micropub called The Ale Club near the church. The handwritten sign read “The ale club – open from 5pm for real ales, draft beers and larger’s“. But it was just a sign for the village social club.
Anyway, the Bull. Looks OK on the outside.
On the upside, it’s the only pub in Theale I haven’t felt a tiny bit intimidated in, and I’m no shrinking violet. The Wadworth Bishop’s Tipple was pretty good too (NBSS 3.5), though probably not quite drinking at its 5% ABV. The lack of a 6X is a criminal offence.
I see Simon had a fun time here recently, when he astonishingly predicted its GBG status. I couldn’t be that harsh; I liked the unmodernised feel and the lack of a Prosecco promotion is always a bonus.
I took a lot of photos of the “characters” alluded to on the Falcon sign but on legal advice I’m not using them here. They know where I live, you see.
NB Would have used “Theale or no The ale” as a title but sure BRAPA has that under copyright.