This time of year is always interesting as we use the CAMRA socials to visit pubs that we have put on the long list for the next Good Beer Guide. Some pubs rise to the occasion but that certainly wasn't the case this week.
We visited a certain pub in Chichester (which shall remain nameless) and one of our group who had arrived first warned us off from ordering the Anchor Springs Neptune. He offered us a sip of his half and although Anchor Springs is beer we would all avoid normally this was definitely off. The faint taste of vinegar was unmistakeable. That left us with a choice of Milestone Rich Ruby and Dark Star Hophead. I had a pint of each. The first was far from being good and the second was the worst pint of Hophead I've had this year. This is a pub that reopened at the start of this year and which I reviewed here. Oops I said it would remain nameless. Never mind.
I can forgive pubs for selling beer that is not always on top form. It happens. The two pints I had were OKish. The first was just not to my personal taste I think. I do love Hophead though and when it is in top condition it is a session beer that is hard to beat. It is a regular beer at this pub too so they must get through it at a decent rate, especially when the two guest beer choices are dire. What I cannot forgive is the attitude of the pub when a beer is off. Everyone in our group agreed it should be returned but they refused to take it back and swap it for something else. The barman spoke to the manager and was told it was fresh on so it couldn't be off. An absolutely awful attitude.
I am quick to praise pubs when they get things right. I also try to be positive and give the benefit of the doubt at times. Some pubs though get it so wrong. I find it hard to believe that a pub has nobody there that can taste a beer and know it is off and remove it from sale. This beer will probably still be on sale today and people will think the Anchor Springs beer is even worse than it usually is. Pub owners and managers everywhere. If you are in the business of selling beer then I suggest you find out about beer even if you do not usually drink it and know what an off beer tastes like. You may then get more repeat customers. Chichester now has a decent choice of pubs selling good real ale with a number of them listed as possible new GBG entries for next year. We can however cross this one off our list now.