Growing up in a pub, working in the pub/restaurant/hotel game for most of my life has left me with an on-edge feeling when ever I go into an establishment. It’s rare that there are pubs that I can go into and sit and enjoy the beer with out the meerest hint of criticism. I am a fussy “person”, according to Eddie Gadd; to which my standard retort is, thanks for the compliment. But, as above, this leads to situations that I find it hard to relax in; where everyone else is…
Not with the Bull.
The Bull, Horton Kirby is a pub some one hours drive from my door. I have known the pub for some years, having been fishing around them-there-parts since the early 90’s on the numerous gravel pits that pot hole the darent valley. Over the last few years, Garret and Lynn have taken the place on, and run with it. They have not only developed the comunity spirit, the food (great comfort food) and importantly the cask-ale offerings.
Last night, back killing me, I had no doubts where I was going. I don’t need many tweets to get there, despite the journey time. Recent visits the taps have been loaded with DarkStar, BrewDog, Thornbridge and Marble; breweries that I hold in regard, as do many out there. Last night saw a Fyne Ales show case, but with the opportunity to have a few slurps of Marble Dobber – I kinda bypassed the Fyne Ales.
But, it was the company too: Garrett and Lynn are very charming, happy people and always smiling! They really love what they are doing; where as all to frequently you find the doom and gloom landlord…
Then the locals are always talking, curious, chatting – just waffling – not intruded on by jukeboxes or screens. Call me old and cynical, but I do like a pub with out all that shit. The other company was nigh on a little #twissup: Mark Dredge (@Markdredge), Mark Charlwood (@beerbirrabier) and Brad Bonser, (@dubbel) who’s birthday it was.
Sitting, listening to both Marks, even Lee; hearing people a fair bit younger than me pondering brewer movements like football stars leaving their favorite club, dissecting beers and celebrating in an light fashion, with their girlfriends in tow (suffering or otherwise, allbeit in the cool near autumn evening) was a wonderful experience. I have had a lot on over the past week or so, the London Brewer Alliance program coming to it’s annual conclusion with their Showcase, the previous evening. Nursing a more than tender lower back, the company was enough distraction (with the addition of strong meds) from the back pain and a brief consideration for the last nights drinking craic.
It must be fantastic to walk into a beer discovery moment, walk into a pub like the bull now in contrast to what it was like, not even a two or three years ago. Yes, solely for reasons of clarity, Garrett has bought beer from me, but this is not to say I was incredibly flattered that he did so, and champions the efforts of mine as much those other brewers he choses; always the best he can lay his hands on.
Garrett choses the best as a basic marker, I think the Bull is hard to beat. As a cask-ale centric place, it’s to my mind the best for a good ways. Please take a day and head there.