Hop & Vine Tony and I couldn’t get into this pub when we tried on Monday, primarily as it’s shut on Mondays. However, I didn’t want to miss out (and my friend Julian S from Norwich is also a fan of this pub, so it came personally recommended), so I went down on the Tuesday evening to see why this Good Beer Guide pub was so well reviewed.
The beers on the bar, certainly an excellent choice with plenty of different styles. Incidentally, I didn’t like how my view of their crisp selection on the bottom shelf was obscured by the high bar. I realised after I had ordered that they had Frazzles and I didn’t get to order them….. I’m not saying that this is a critical problem in the world today that needs media attention and Government action, but I felt it worthy of mentioning here.
A more complete look at the beers that they had, which I’d mostly already had in one shape or form, but there were some that intrigued me. The Albino Pheasant from Verdant Brewing was tempting, but it’s not a cheap beer and I’m sure there will be another occasion.
The artwork on the wall was, well, I can’t really say anything as apparently it’s of the owners and it feels wrong to make any other comment than to say it’s certainly quite decadent. I would say though that I hope JD Wetherspoon don’t decide this is an angle that they want to go down, I don’t need to see any more of Tim Martin.
The interior decoration was certainly quirky….. In front of the stuffed animal on the wall, that’s a Green Devil IPA from Oakham Ales which I expected to be quite average, but was actually anything but. Zesty, hoppy and quite powerful, I really liked this.
I also didn’t have great expectations for my half a pint of Alf, a collaboration between Marble Beers and Amundsen Brewery of Norway. I’m not very good at describing pale ales, but I’ll have a go, but just to say, this was a beer which had a depth of flavour that I’ve rarely experienced in this style, although it is a 5.4% beer. I had to think about this beer and sip it slowly, pretending that I actually had a clue what flavours I was trying to decipher. It was very fruity, that was evident, and there was a strong hoppy background to it and I decided that I could taste peach, although I probably made that up. A clean flavour and rich aftertaste, and I wish I could explain why I liked this beer, but that’ll have to do in my little write-up. I gave it 4.75 on Untappd though, which was generous of me.
The pub had a relaxed atmosphere, clearly something very different and not run of the mill. The staff were friendly and helpful, welcoming customers who were leaving and departing, with a community feel to the whole arrangement. I hope that they remain in the Good Beer Guide for many more years to come, it was all really rather lovely.