Sunday, 12 August 2012

22 Earl Of Chester

Visited on 5 June 2012
Here's the photo ...

... and here's the (not quite accurate) map

Last stop on this evening of miserable weather and wildly varying standards is this street corner pub on the traffic light crossroads of Wistaston Road and Flag Lane. I often walk past en route to and from Asda, and see the chalked advert for Lymestone ales (they’re brewed in Stone, the other side of Stoke-on-Trent).

But the place is almost empty, and what’s worse, the manager and barmaid seem surprised to have someone to serve. This is strange – the place has special offers on house doubles and bottled beers (including large ones of Fuller’s London Pride, not offered by exactly every pub in the area), and the cask is a very reasonable £2.40 a pint, so what’s the problem?

 “It’s the last pint”. And it really is the last one: there’s just enough to fill a pint glass before it goes all froth and air. Strewth, it’s midweek and they run out of cask. So Stonefaced is sort of OK, but no better. But the manager has a cunning plan to deflect any criticism: he blames the barmaid for drinking it all. Then he does it again. And a third time he does it, by which time it becomes tedious.

Maybe it gets better at the weekend, but this kind of pub should be attracting regulars every day. Maybe they gravitated to the Hop Pole or the Duke of Bridgwater (review later). The barmaid tells me it’s her night off tomorrow, and she’s going out ... to the Hop Pole. So that’s who won this territorial battle, then.

Whatever the problem it needs sorting. Maybe it’s a work in progress – apparently the folks here used to run The Park nearby (now closed) – but it’s worrying that there are so few in, and running out of cask after advertising it outside is out of order. Although the manager says Lymestone are delivering tomorrow.

Ho yus? Do they use FastCask? If not, then the stuff won’t drop bright for tomorrow evening. It may be ready for Thursday, but maybe it won’t. And if you’re selling a different cask beer – this pub had a delivery from Offbeat Brewery between my visit and doing the review – it might be a good idea to change the advertising.

Someone needs to pull their finger out sharpish here. It’s not as if there is a shortage of potential punters within a five minute walk of the place. I was expecting better. Very disappointing.

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