For me, pubs are a sanctuary. A place to go for a quiet pint or, if I am with family or friends, a place to have a good conversation without being distracted. The Old Thatched Tavern in Stratford-on-Avon is a lovely pub. When I first visited it was owned by Enterprise Inns but earlier this year it was bought by Fullers, the Chiswick brewer. For me, this should have been a reason to jump for joy. Gales HSB is the first beer I fell in love with. I was concerned when Gales were bought by Fullers and the brewery was closed but I still think it is a lovely beer. The opportunity to drink it in one of my favourite pubs in Stratford-on-Avon is surely too good to be true?
Yes, the Old Thatched Tavern is a lovely pub. However, it does have one irritating problem. The pub bore! I am a very chilled out person and not easily annoyed. Life is too short to get stressed out about minor irritations. However, there is one person in this pub who makes it such an unenjoyable place to pop in for a quiet drink. I used to go in for a pint on a weekly basis. However, he is always in there when I visit. Tonight was my first visit for well over a month but he was in there again with his group of friends. The bar is very small and his group sit in the centre. However, his voice is the one that dominates and carries to all corners of the pub. His volume control is distinctly lacking. In a large pub I may not find it such an issue. However, he is a loud man in a small pub and it puts me off going in there. Sad but that's the way it is.
Tonight I gave the HSB a miss to try my first taste of the Seafarers Ale (3.6% ABV). Well it is International Talk Like A Pirate Day! It's a very pleasant pale coloured bitter. Citrus undertones but with a pleasantly bitter aftertaste combine to produce a good session beer. HSB, Red Fox and London Pride were the other available beers tonight but I had to give my ears a rest so I departed for the Bear at the Swan's Nest where I was delighted to see Citra (4.2% ABV) was still available. Brewed by Oakham Ales the beer is named after the very distinctive hop that goes into it. I got to know about this hop during my brewing experience at Sadlers Ales as I spent ages breaking it up to go into their lovely JPA. A sharp grapefruit tang to it makes it a very hoppy beer with a very refreshing clean taste.
Could the loveliness of these hoppy beers render a man speechless? There is one man I would like to try it out on.