Excuse the sub-optimal photo quality, but this is the Good Beer Guide listed Chequers pub. It’s operated by the Wye Valley Brewery, so there’s a strong emphasis here on the beers that they brew. The building was constructed in the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century, with seventeenth and nineteenth century extensions. It was likely first used as a residential property, with the earliest evidence of it being a licensed premises being from 1843.
This is a photo of the real ales that I had to take of the back bar rather than the front bar. My first impressions of the venue were negative as they had customer seating along the small front bar which entirely blocked the view of the real ales, meaning I had to try and use my camera to zoom into the options. One customer provided me with help with choosing a beer which is all rather lovely, although it’s more usual that the member of the bar staff does that. Anyway, that issue aside, there was a laid-back and inviting feel to the pub.
Julian’s camera isn’t for effect here, it was just a relatively small table. The choice of table was mine as I noticed that I could charge my phone if we sat there, another little problem resolved. The beer is the Talisman from Wye Valley Brewery, a well kept pale ale which was unexceptional but still pleasant tasting.
There was lots of heritage here, although I had thought when visiting that it was an old coaching inn and it doesn’t appear to have been despite its size. However, a modern extension and new toilets has been sensitively placed onto the side of the building, with the interior feeling historic and comfortable. Just a couple of weeks ago it was named by Hereford CAMRA as their “pub of the season” which isn’t an award that I’ve heard of before.
Engagement from the team members was minimal, but by putting seats in front of such a small bar they’ve created a barrier to first time customers. The result of that is team members are unable to help customers, a situation that I thought was just a little sub-optimal. All else seemed fine though, with the pub being clean and well presented. For those lacking in confidence, it’s probably best to visit a venue such as the town’s JD Wetherspoon which doesn’t barricade its bar as part of some defensive mechanism against newcomers, but for those who are confident and want to try Wye Valley beers, it’s recommended.