Thursday, 21 June 2012

Church End Brewery Tap

This evening I went for a drive with the sole purpose of visiting the Church End Brewery Tap.  Situated the other side of Coventry near Nuneaton it can be found in the village of Ridge Lane.  Ridge Lane is not your picturesque country idyll.  Within five miles of a working colliery it appears a bit rough around the edges but welcoming nonetheless.  Finding the Church End Brewery Tap would be difficult without a satnav and I was also thankful for the billboard on the road pointing me down a track between a row of houses.  The track opened up into a large car park.  To the left was the pub which looks more like a social club.  A lovely large garden would be popular on a nice sunny evening but tonight it was looking like rain. 

The inside of the pub contains a large cavernous lounge and beyond is an entrance to a further bar.  You are immediately aware of the brewery.  The smell is delightful and one wall of the large lounge has a window to the actual brewery.  It appears to be very popular with locals but it has a warm, friendly atmosphere for visitors like myself.  I was offered a beer menu (8 to choose from) and I chose a pint of Gravediggers Ale at 3.8%.  It did not say on the menu, but it looked like a mild with a colour that was very black and just asking to be sampled.  The notes described it as being black and red in colour but this was a beer so black that even the red bits were black !!  It turned out to be an absolutely delicious mild.  Plenty of dark chocolate malt and highly recommended. 

The brewery was founded in 1994 in an old coffin shop and coffins are still a current theme.  You can order a coffin (a 1/3 pint sampler of all 8 beers available) and as well as the Gravediggers Ale you can order a Stout Coffin (a 4.6% stout).  Sadly I was driving so there was no more for me tonight but I will return in a few weeks. 

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The Bear at the Swan's Nest

Tonight I redeemed myself by avoiding the Wetherspoons pub.  Instead, I visited my favourite pub in Stratford-upon-Avon.  The Bear at the Swan's Nest is unusual because it is a pub (The Bear) within a hotel (Swan's Nest).  It has a lovely array of handpumps usually representing local breweries and tonight I chose a pint of Best Bitter from the North Cotswold Brewery.  A nice golden colour with plenty of hoppiness.  At 4.0% ABV it is a very nice session bitter.  It was one of two beers available this evening from the same brewery.  The second is the slightly stronger Shagweaver.  Only one pint again for me tonight though so I'll look for that one next time.  The Bear is situated across from the River Avon and has a riverside garden (across a minor road) which leads to a public car park.  Inside it has lovely comfortable chairs, friendly bar staff and a delightfully relaxing atmosphere.  Highly recommended if you are visiting this idyllic Warwickshire town.

Monday, 18 June 2012


I am currently working in Stratford-upon-avon for a few months and tonight I went to the Golden Bee (a Wetherspoons pub in the centre of Stratford-upon-avon) and had a pint of Rudgate Ruby Mild.  The Rudgate brewery is based just outside York and was founded in 1992.  The Ruby Mild is a lovely beer.  It has a lovely dark ruby colour (hence the name) and a delicious nutty taste.  The ABV of 4.4% is higher than traditional milds that were around when I was younger but stronger milds are becoming more prevalent.  CAMRA have done a fantastic job trying to revive milds with their Make Mine A Mild campaign each May.

I think there are two points that can be discussed with this post.  The first is obviously the style of beer.  Are you a fan of mild?  Is it something you are unfamiliar with?  The second is the pub.  Are you a fan of Wetherspoons?  Some people hate them.  Are they loved by anyone?  You will be hearing about my views over time.  This is a first post to kick things off though so I'm keeping it brief. 

Happy drinking.