I’m not sure why we went in here on the Beer and Pubs Forum Proper Day Out? I’ll re-phrase that, had I not been part of our merry little group there is no way I would ever have gone in here at 5.30pm on a Friday, or any other time really. I mean, I can go in a pub like this any day of the week, without having to drive 120 miles. It didn’t even have the Rifle Drum factor.
There was quite a buzz when we walked in. Two deep at the bar and I queued for ages whilst the regulars got served before me. Strangely, about half way down my pint they all went home for their tea and the pub became suddenly quite empty. It made me wonder how you make a living on a couple of hours tea time trade? Hopefully they’ll get more in later
As soon as you walked in you knew cask ale was out of the question. Pubs like this are the reason that cask ale has such a bad reputation amongst a lot of regular drinkers. The Half Moon was full of regular drinkers and all the ones I saw were not drinking cask ale.
I instantly made the decision this was a Guinness pub. Personally I thought the Pub Men would know enough not to trust this sort of hostelry with cask beer. The pint of Taylor’s Golden Best never left the bar. I tried a sampler, it smelled foul, I tasted it … Sarson’s. Fair play to the professional bar maid, she replaced it with Black Sheep and didn’t charge for it either, providing me with a glass of water to rinse the taste from my mouth.
I probably sound like a beer snob to some here, but I’ll paraphrase Pubcurmudgeon when he says that some wouldn’t cross the road for a pint of Black Sheep. I wouldn’t. And I definitely wouldn’t have driven to Rugby for it, I don’t even drink it at home. But each to their own.
Reality is, this pub is exactly the same as the one opposite my house. The one I’ve loved for years. The one where I’ve celebrated any and every occasion, including the births of my kids; and cried at funeral wakes for genuine friends and those taken too soon. The one I’d go in whatever the beer was like, and latterly it was appalling. Although in it’s heyday, you couldn’t find a better pint of cask John Smith’s Bitter. It’s closed and for sale at the minute, I know Ei won’t sell it to anyone wanting to reopen it as a pub.
Pubs can be intensely personal things and what suits one doesn’t suit another. I wrote down ‘Just a Proper Pub’ in my note book, and that’s what it was. Sadly, many Proper Pubs are Lager and Creamflow dens these days and just not somewhere I want to try on a day out.