Or alternatively:- What price a Bristol Beer Week Beer?
Rose kindly gave me a lift to Severn Beach Station. I then caught the replacement bus and train to Temple Meads and took the five minute walk to the Barley Mow, arriving one minute late. In true Clarkson style, Ronnie, Bob and Paul were grinning and watch tapping as I arrived. At least I had managed to stay on the train, more than can be said of the two Gloucester Cricket fans who went to Lords last week but had to “volunteer” to get off the train at Reading. Yes, of course I believe you chaps.
Today was the tail end of the Bristol Beer Week. This concept has to be good for the City because, in time, and with some growth, it might well add to the tourist showcase mix. At the moment it has the many “crafty” new pubs and breweries shouting loudly through a loosely co-ordinated programme of events. Therein lies my problem with its present format. If it about creating an impression of the city it will, in time, need to engage with the fuller range of pubs and brewers. We chose the Barley Mow partly because it was playing its part in the week by offering a German Sausage fest. German beers and staff in lederhosen will appeal to some. We settled to the back yard and chatted about the news since we last met. The staff prepared various meats and salads and we moved on. The pub always has a well-chosen range of beer and offered CAMRA discounts.
Moor Brewery Tap
This brewery tap was going the whole hog. The yard was set up for their pub game Olympics, involving skittles, can shooting, paper aeroplane making etc. The full range of their organic and unfined beers were available. It has a real place in the real ale tourist trail, evidenced by groups of folk, like us, visiting for the first time. Then came the price. Four pints at over £18, nothing particularly strong, in a brewery tap. I can’t help but think the tourist impression created would be that Bristol has a fun, innovative brewery that sells seriously expensive beer. They either are badly buying ingredients or have high overheads. I can understand the need to make a profit, even when selling in their own tap but £4.60 a pint for a session beer straight from a cask in the brewery yard? We negotiated a loan for a second pint and ordered a taxi to the game.
Bristol Rovers 1 Portsmouth 2 Attendance 8555 (1188 Pompey fans)
The best team won. It was a good game to watch with two teams playing the ball on the ground and chances being taken by Portsmouth and not by the Gas. This is now a theme of reports this season, and indeed, recent years.
Entertainment Value 4
Man of the Match: Tom Lockyer again
Plenty of them but generally quite quiet. It was a warm sunny afternoon and an open terrace can make for a good place to snooze when your team is winning.
For balance this was the half time view of the West Enclosure.
This is our regular meeting place but the expense of Bristol Beers reared its head here as well. You will know that I have experience in buying beer and have talked in the past about the Timothy Taylor beer pricing policy. I cannot explain the following situation. Four beers as per the rest of the day. Total charge in the £16 range. Nothing so odd here. Two beers are next to each other. Tiny Rebel Cwtch, recent National Beer award winner and Timothy Taylor Landlord, a similar award winner in years now long gone. Cwtch is a 4.5% amber red ale, Landlord, a 4.3% classic Pale Amber Ale. Cwtch was on sale for £3 a pint, Landlord £4.40. I repeat, £3 V £4.40. I queried this with the lady behind the bar. She repeated the mantra about Timothy Taylor being dearer to buy and perhaps the Cwtch was on a special offer but I would ask why offer a beer that gives the landlord so little a margin that they get a reputation of being an expensive pub. She said it was popular and people are willing to pay the price. I agreed and putting that concept into play we decided to make the beer last as long as we could before forgoing the usual second or third point and moving on. As a landlord I know I would prefer to sell three rounds of £15 than one round of £16.
Bus to town
Now when I mention Crofters Rights to friends I they often suggest it is expensive. Given the experience of the day we entered expecting this Crafty favourite might offer an alternative. A new large TV was showing the Rugby, a live band was warming up behind the back doors. A round of five pints, Geoff had joined us, was £17, £3.40 a pint on average. The quality was good, new beers were sampled. Atom Schrodinger’s Cat hit the spot for me. We finished our match review and planned the next week. I booked up hotels for Tuesday night and then we parted to various places to watch the Rugby. Rose came to the rescue, we went home; a good choice, I think, given the result. There can be nothing worse than big screen Rugby in a city centre pub when your national side loses.
Pub of the Day: Barley Mow
Beer of the Day: Atom Schrodinger’s Cat
Hartlepool Away Tuesday evening. A Tuesday night from Bristol to Hartlepool? Cheers Mr Fixture Planner.