or “Fear and loathing in Bradford-on-Avon”
Let’s get it over with, then. Beer quality, or lack of it, in upmarket pubs.
I was reading the highlights of the first 10 years of Pub Curmudgeon recently and this post stuck out. It includes the classic line;
“But you can only drink one at a time, and I don’t feel short-changed if I spend all evening drinking the same beer, or regularly go into pubs that offer nothing I haven’t had before.”
My thoughts entirely. And while a great pub should have good beer, good beer doesn’t, of itself, make a great pub.
If you want to see what makes a great pub experience, BRAPA captures best what I love about visiting pubs. Simon seems to be on a roll at the moment, 50+ GBG pubs in July, and not a bad pint on his recent epic trip to Cornwall.
That might not be your or my experience of quality, but Si sticks to the Beer Guide and always drinks pints, both of which help. He doesn’t tend to go for the most unusual beer on the bar, either. Weird beers are rarely the fastest moving.
My record on beer quality has been a bit patchy of late, with a couple of examples of slow moving beer in gastro pubs bringing my average beer score close to NBSS 3, which isn’t bad, but hardly inspiring.
First stop on the slow train back from Frome was in the unheralded town of Westbury, which has much to be unheralded about. The highlight of an immensely dull hour’s walk to and from the station is this closed pub.
I can hear you packing your suitcases to go there now.
The Horse & Groom is the sort of place my Mum would like, because it feels nothing like a pub anymore.
I should have followed my own advice and gone for the Doom Bar, as the Twisted Ale Pirate (NBSS 2) was clearly not the local choice. But of course local beers, and lots of them, get you in the Beer Guide (say people on Discourse).
Twenty minutes later in Bradford-on-Avon, at least you have classic riverside views to compensate for tired beer.
Compare and contrast The Bridge tea rooms with Timbrell’s Yard.
The Yard offers 9am opening, but attempts to clarify with them whether this included beer or just coffee and Prosecco were unsuccessful. Beer quality at 10pm (Bristol Beer Factory, NBSS 2) suggested a 9am pint would have been a brave choice. Again, the sort of local beers that you find in upmarket gastros everywhere.
The posing tables and thin glasses didn’t help my appreciation of the BBF either, and custom all in the 25-35 age range produces dull banter in a dining pub.
That’s the bad news. From here on it’s all great(ish).