The Castle

A 'warts & all' account of the transformation of a run-down pub in Bradford-On-Avon into a 'proper' Inn (food pub with rooms). Written by Alex Reilley & Pierre Woodford

Saturday, March 24, 2007

It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it!

The time had come to go to a few breweries and taste what was on offer in Wiltshire in the way of good beers for our pumps, some of the breweries instead sent us to pubs where their beers were on offer but still, we got to try some lovely beers and the day proved to be very productive (it's not often that beer and productive go together!).

David, Alex's father in-law, joined us on the trip. Being a beer buff and member of CAMRA he was on board to provide some expert advice. In all six of us went, with Peter being the nominated driver of his mini-bus. We all met at Peter's house at 11.30 to start the expedition and set off heading for the relatively new The Three Castles brewery in Pewsey where we were made very welcome and sampled a few of their very fine beers (top picture). After that we were in need of some food so headed of to a pub that we were told sold beers from Box Steam, unfortunately they had run out so we had to settle for 6X, not a beer we intend to stock, with a bit of nosh. After the quick pit-stop to refuel we set off in search of Blindmans (second, third and fourth pictures and not strictly in Wiltshire, Somerset in fact), where again we were welcomed and given a little talk on how their beers were made and were given the name of a local pub where their beers were on offer so we set off to find it. It was closed and reopened at 5.30, time was getting tight as we needed to get to Frome for our next appointment so we left it.

In Frome we descended upon a nice little pub that was owned by the Milk Street brewery. Again some great beers were tasted and a very nice stout too. We had a good chat with the owner about his beers and where he heralded from, before tucking into a full pint of our choice. Alas it was then time to leave and head back to base. Once back in Bristol & with the wind in our sales we took the executive decision to carry on with our tasting as we thought it should be necessary to try as many beers as we could whilst we had our expert in tow. We eventually found our way to a small pub by the name of Cornubia owned by another fairly new Wiltshire brewery called Hidden Brewery (fifth picture) and again settled in to taste some mighty fine ales. With much beer swilling around inside us it was 'curry time'.

The following morning was 'challenging' but the trip definately answered some questions for us if although it did raise some ones: -

Should we ditch the idea of selling Guinness & carry a good local porter instead?

We really like the idea of having our own house ale - a pint of Flatcapper has a great ring to it. But do we simply re-badge an existing ale (very common practice) or do we get a brewery to brew our very own beer?

How many ales should we carry & should all the ales be from Wiltshire with the exception of 1 that is our 'Foreign Guest Ale'.

Lots to ponder, but it's so nice having total freedom to deal with anyone we choose & not be tied.


At 5:12 PM GMT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love to try real ales from time to time but please, now we are finally going to have a quality local without the thought of walking back up the hill at the end of a session, don't deprive me of my Guinness. DW

At 6:18 PM GMT, Anonymous Shane McCracken said...

Agreed. Keep the Guinness.


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