Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Good, The Bad And The Commended – 3


And at last the Crewe Beer Blog survey arrives at the town’s best pubs, counting down from fifth best to the winner, or in this case, winners. As with the pubs at the other end of the scale, there is one gap in the line-up, thanks to Punch Taverns (long may they rot in hell) imposing closure on one of the best locals’ venues. But enough of mocking the afflicted – on with the countdown.

All of these pubs offer cask ale: some offer several choices. And all try that little bit harder.

5 Nag’s Head This tiny street corner pub just north of the town centre has retained its separate tap room – the temptation to knock through to make more space must have been very strong over the years – and has one regular cask beer with a rotating list of guests for backup. There is acoustic music in the lounge from Wednesdays most weeks. It can be a squeeze when busy, but it’s worth a visit.

4 Hop Pole Interesting room layout, smartly presented, an island bar, three regularly changing cask beers, good service, happy regulars, and a covered terrace for smokers. Welcoming to everyone, and much improved under the current management. No wonder it’s doing well.

3 British Lion Well, if it were open, it would be. A traditional locals’ pub on Nantwich Road, it had been run down of late and had closed once when I visited. Having not been reopened for long, it was already proving popular and a real effort was being put in by the new manager. And then it closed again, and Punch are trying to sell it for a Very Silly Price Indeed. This kind of PubCo behaviour makes me bloody angry. It should annoy you too.

1= Borough Arms Sorry, I couldn’t make one of the last two entries second and just one first. So it’s an equal top. The Borough puts a staggering nine cask beers on, as well as lots of continental stuff. Some concession to nitro-keg is made: you can get Guinness and “smooth” bitter. They brew their own on the premises, although the availability is a little hit and miss.

1= Hops This “Belgian Style Cafe Bar” offers five different cask ales, one of which is brewed especially for them. A range of keg and bottled continental beers are also offered, and the only concession to ad-mans’ land is Becks Vier, which adheres to German beer purity laws. No nitro-keg stout or “smooth” bitter here. It’s friendly and different.

And that’s the end of our survey. But there will be more from the blog later.

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