On entering the pub I was surprised to see how much space the bar takes up as it's only a small place and there isn't much room downstairs. Behind the bar is a copper panel with lots of taps coming out of it. I think it's meant to look like an old brewery underback but one of my friends was convinced it was modeled on a urinal.
The upper floor has some very small toilets but a surprisingly large amount of seating space. But enough about the pub I was here for the beer. They had eight cask beers on, their names displayed on a blackboard to the left. A few of them were from Brewdog but I've haven't been impressed by their beers when I've had them on cask. There was also Thornbridge Wild Swan but I'm not taken with that one either. I then spied Marble Pint so plumped for that. When it arrived I remembered I'd had it not so long ago and it wasn't really to my taste. A pale beer with a huge amount of hops I find it low in drinkability despite its modest strength. I moved on to stout next to even out my beer balance. I started on the Dark Star, which was a bit astringent and then went on to Adnam's which went down more smoothly. The lovely Lisa was quite taken with the other stout on offer which was we think from the Bristol Beer Factory.
Dan and Simon had arrived and had a pint by this point so we were ready for the short stroll to our next stop the Doric Arch. The beer range here was more to my taste: Fuller's Bengal Lances, Timmy Taylor's Landlord and Kelham Island Pale Rider were all clamoring for me to drink them. But the guy behind the bar recommended Springhead Sweet lips so after a taster I went for that one. It was good and hoppy but balanced enough to be drinkable.
The last time I'd been this pub, which is in what looks like an office block attached to the station, I'd though it had all the ambiance of a waiting room. This time we managed to sit in a little alcove and I was more than happy. I don't ask for much: a good beer, a good seat and good company will do me.
Unfortunately for us the pub was packed with people watching rugby on two telly screens. There seemed to be loads of beers on, many on stillage behind the bar but if there was a list of the beers I didn't seen it.
They had a weird pricing structure, that at first looked like a discount for CAMRA members but when you examined the prices was more surcharge for non-CAMRA members.
The beers didn't seem in ideal condition, and some beer even had to be abandoned so I won't pass judgement on them.We moved swiftly on to a Mexican restaurant Lisa had factored into the pub crawl for some much needed sustenance.
At this point the careful planning was put to one side and we used psychogeography to chose the next pub The Crown and Anchor. I'm not sure what Guy Debord would have thought but we liked it.
I got quite excited when I saw the handpumps as they had White Shield on draught. I'd never seen it on draught before and the gossip is that it actually tastes good again. Sadly it was cloudy so it got sent back. Further research is necessary.
I ended up having a pint of keg Sierra Nevada. Presumably this is 'craft keg'. It was pleasant enough but too cold.
And after that it was time to pour ourselves home.