Yes this is a bit of a rant. Unusual for me but it pissed me off enough to write about it and I wonder what other people think. Last night was our CAMRA social. OK we are not the best bunch at getting to the pub before 9.00.pm and last night we were later than normal and we arrived at the Anglesey Arms in Halnaker at about 9.30.pm for our first pint of the evening. This was good timing as it coincided with England knocking in the second goal against Poland and I could look forward to a World Cup summer next year.
After a quick pint we headed to our final pub of the evening, the George Inn at Eartham. We visited this pub a few months ago and we had a good chat with the landlord and we were impressed with the beer selection and quality sufficiently to take another look for possible inclusion in next years Good Beer Guide. In we trudged to be met by a barmaid who told us she was cashing up as it had been a quiet evening but she would however serve us up to 10.30.pm. By now it was ten past the hour so there was just time for a quick pint (or two very quick pints). So here's my rant.
Surely in these tough times, when pubs are closing all over the place, would it be a good idea to NOT turn away a group of thirsty drinkers? Looking at the website for the George Inn it is clear that the closing time is 11.00.pm with no mention that it might close earlier if they feel like an early night. Yes it is a lovely pub and yes the beer quality is good with an interesting and varied selection but this is no bloody good if the pub is shut when you want a drink.
OK rant over. On the plus side the two pints I had at the George were superb although swiftly downing a pint of Kissingate Six Crows at a hefty 6.6% ABV was not ideal as it was a beer to savour at a relaxed leisurely pace. This intensely black stout had an immediate hit of bitter coffee but this bitterness seemed to reduce the more I drank. There was a beautifully subtle sweetness in the aftertaste along with some nice smoky notes. Overall it was a truly lovely stout.
The pint I had prior to the Kissingate was Downlands Conker (4.4% ABV). This beer was a delight although it was consumed far too quickly. I was expecting this autumnal ale to be conker coloured but it was actually quite pale although it did have a lovely malty base to it. It was an enjoyably interesting beer but my apologies as I did not do it justice. My mind was on the clock and ensuring I could try the Six Crows which everyone was raving about.
So a far from relaxed evening of drinking. A message to pubs out there - open when you say you are going to be open. It's good business practice and it can turn a quiet evening into a profitable one.