Tonight brought back memories of trips to New England. I decided to drive out to the Wood Farm Brewery near Rugby close to the Leicestershire/Warwickshire border. Less than a mile from the Old Fosse Way it appears to be situated in the middle of nowhere. In reality it is very close to the village of Frolesworth where my mum was born and which I know very well. The nearest place to the brewery though is the village of Willey but being set in 35 acres of farmland and approaching from the Old Fosse Way you do not see any signs of this or any other village. Immediately upon seeing the modern barn conversion that houses the pub and brewery my memories of a number of micro breweries in New England came flooding back. In particular, the place reminded me of the Long Trail Brewing Co of Vermont.
Upon entering, the smell of brewing attacks your senses. I absolutely love the smell of hops. The very spacious area in front of you leads to the bar and a window at the back gives fine views of the 16 barrel plant that creates the seven different ales. To the left the stairs lead you up to a seating area which overlooks the downstairs bar. I had already decided a carry out pack of three bottles would provide ample opportunity to sample their beers at a more leisurely pace so a single pint would keep me going before driving back to Stratford-on-Avon. I chose their premium bitter Union (4.6% ABV). It was a pale coloured beer with citrus notes but it also had a very pleasant bitter aftertaste.
More about the beer over the weekend when I enjoy the three bottles I purchased. What you might want to know now is whether the pub is worth visiting? The answer is a resounding yes. Food is to the fore. The plates of food coming out of the kitchen looked particularly appetising. With the pub's location it is impossible to rely on drinkers to bring in the required profits. Brewery tours (with food) are advertised and the Christmas menus were already out and looked to be excellent value. Outside the pub has a large garden with plenty of wooden tables so a Summer visit would be a good idea too. Once again, the locals and staff were friendly. I am still not used to these friendly greetings from both sides of the bar. I was offered free samples before choosing which bottles to purchase which was a nice gesture.
Overall, this is an operation definitely worth a visit. They have obviously made a large investment in both the pub and the brewery and it you won't be disappointed when making the drive out there. It may not be a pub you would have as your local due to the location but when you want a good meal with a fine ale to wash it down it is worth checking out.