It’s a bit of a mouthful, The Real Ale Classroom, so I will refer to it simply as the Classroom. I must add, that at this stage on my day out in Leicester, Martin Taylor and I had left Pucurmudgeon to make his way back to Greater Manchester and had reverted to a phase of bus, walk, bus, walk, walk some more, into the deepest suburbs of Leicester to ‘tick’ some new entries into GBG2018.
The suburb of Stoneygate felt quite pleasant, if not a little quiet. I did think at one stage that Martin Taylor was leading me on a wild goose chase, but then, out of the semis, loomed a parade of shops and a micro-pub. Turns out we walked the long way round and the ‘nearer to the bus stop on the main road’ end of the parade was bit more characterful with older, more villagey than suburby type houses. That’s what it felt to me as we walked back to the main road, anyhow.
I didn’t get the theme at first. Yes, I identified the ex-school science lab stools and benches, but failed to connect it with classroom. The real ale science lab maybe, but not classroom. It’s only when I did some research that I find the venture was set up by two ex-schoolteachers. They opened this one up in November 2015 and followed it up with a second one in 2017 in Lutterworth. Fair play to you guys, they are guys, Ian & Steve, you’re doing a good job.
I’ll start with the micro bit. It’s definitely a micro. The ale is on gantries behind the bar, screened off by insulated perspex, with a hole cut out for the tap to poke through. I couldn’t see any additional cooling, but there was obviously a chiller unit in there somewhere because the beer temperature was spot on.
It isn’t very big inside, and Martin Taylor said these sort of places made him feel claustrophobic. Not me, and I definitely do not like to be confined. I thought it was all quite pleasant. In fact, to my mind everything was first class, they even allow cute little dogs in!
As I suspected, the toilets were of the highest standard (want a decent pint, find a pub with decent bogs, 9/10 times anyway). There were as many people in as it could comfortably fit, that’s about eighteen then, and they were all having a nice time. Most were drinking cask ale, but a few ladies drank from goldfish bowls.
They should all have been drinking beer though, because it was excellent. I tell thee, absolutely spot on, NBSS 4+, and something a bit more progressive than the majority of what I had seen all day; Arbor Ales Smack my Brew Up, £3.80 a pint, which was coincidentally the most I had paid all day. I reckon there were more hops in this one pint than there were in a gallon of anything else I’d drunk.
When you look at the blackboard, you might be mistaken, as I was, that there were loads of beers on. Actually, you had to look closely at the X or ✔︎ to the left of the beer which denoted whether it was on, or yet to come on. There were only four casks pouring, straight from the tap, including a porter, and all from decent forward looking breweries. None of that established in 1849, now being brewed anywhere but here stuff, in this place. Five real ciders too.
I was like a pig in muck. I could have stopped here all night, but Martin Taylor wouldn’t let me; more pubs to do. In nine Leicester pubs, only two have come anywhere near as good as this, for different reasons too. I mean, at the end of the day it’s the beer that counts, not where you sup it?
Verdict: If I had to live in Leicester then I would have to live somewhere near The Real Ale Classroom! That’s Allandale Road LE2 then!