The hideous beer tax escalator is no more. Introduced in 2008 it has since killed off many pubs and has resulted in a massive loss of revenue to the government. This calls for a celebration.
Not one to change my plans I headed for the pub I intended to visit this evening, the Griffin Inn near Shustoke, a small village between Birmingham and Coventry. Approaching from the north you pass through the village of Shustoke and out the other side. When you go round a very sharp bend to the left the pub is on the immediate left.
Entering from the car park I had to bend down to get through the door and I immediately felt the warm glow from the ancient fireplace in front of me. The bar to the right has three handpumps but the beer board has an incredibly long list so there are plenty more handpumps along the remainder of the bar that stretches across the central heart of the pub. I was hoping for a beer from the Griffin Brewery next door but none were available. Such an occasion required a special beer though and I was delighted to see Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby (6.0% ABV) on their list.
The beer list included Jennings Dark Mild, Marstons Pedigree, RCH Pitchfork, Theakston Old Peculiar, Greene King Old Reserve, Everards Sunchaser and Dark Star Six Hop. Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby is a classic though. I rarely see it on the bar so there was no hesitation in selecting it and at just £3.40 for a pint it was very well priced too. It is a lovely dark ruby colour (as the name suggests). It is low hopped as you would expect from a mild and plenty of dark chocolate malt. It is incredibly smooth and absolutely delicious.
I headed into the other half of the pub where I found another lovely old fireplace. The low beams had old beermats affixed to them, some of which were ancient (Double Diamond and Eldridge Pope Royal Oak to name a couple). There were lots of nooks and crannies and a healthy crowd of locals chatting away. There were no noisy distractions from TVs or machines. It is an idyllic pub. Fresh local eggs were sitting on the bar for purchase, there was a conservatory at the back for children and the garden appeared to be a good size that would be popular in Summer. It is deservedly a GBG regular.
A lovely pint in an excellent pub. No better way to celebrate the death of a ridiculous tax. Let's hope we now see a decline in the number of pub closures. So, switch off the TV and get out there and find a local pub you are happy with and use it.