Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Festival of The Vine

A couple of weeks ago when we called in at The Vine for lunch I was amazed to see that they were organising a beer festival. Amazed because it is quite a small pub and whilst it is in the Good Beer Guide it is a predominantly food driven pub that you would not expect to host a beer festival. Last night was the first night of their self styled “small but beautifully formed” beer festival so I called in for an early evening pint to check it out. The downstairs bar had indeed been transformed into a mini festival. Tables had been moved out of the way, a stillage had been erected against one of the walls and around a dozen ales were on offer. Not only that but they still had three hand pumps offering their usual fare at the bar. The Vine is just off the market in the heart of the city. Don’t you just marvel at this sort of wonderfulness?

I plumped for a pint of Castle Rock Preservation. Not a bad choice as it turned out. A bit on the brown side taste-wise but with enough character to make it interesting and enjoyable. I suspect that in my eyes Castle Rock is a victim of their own success as they’ve set the bar really high with Harvest Pale. The downstairs of the pub was buzzing with plenty of drinkers, all male save one. There also seemed to be a steady flow of diners heading upstairs. So apart from the initial surprise shown by some as they entered the pub it wasn’t turning their food-driven clientele away. a double plus. I’m not sure if I’ll make it back again this week but I shall try.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Pint of beer 'to break £3 barrier'

So the headline proclaims on this Press Association news item. It is reporting that “The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said the increase in VAT to 20% would add a further 6p to the cost of a pint of beer, on top of the 26% rise in Beer Tax seen during the past two years.” Of course it is nonsense as, depending on where you are and your chosen tipple, the £3 barrier has been broken for quite some time. But it does highlight the fact that for the pub the future continues to be less than rosy. Today’s VAT rise will hit the pub in two ways, first it raises the price of their wares, but it will also mean that people will have less disposable cash. Pubs will have to fight hard to grab a decent slice of a shrinking cake.