I’m writing about my visit to Boxcar a little earlier than I had anticipated as Nathan has just told me that it has permanently closed down since I visited in mid February 2023, just one week before the brewery issued a statement saying they were going into administration, posting on social media that “due to an unworkable situation with our landlords, partly due to the pandemic and overhanging debt, we had to leave our premises on 23rd February”.
I was the first customer of the evening and I managed to get muddled up with the door and couldn’t get in. Fortunately, a staff member heard me being incompetent and rushed to open the door for me. My usual making great first impressions and all that.
The interior and I remained the only customer for the entire time that I was there, which was the best part of an hour. The staff were perfectly friendly although there wasn’t much depth of engagement, but that’s completely understandable now as they were likely just a little distracted. It remained an inviting and welcoming atmosphere though and I liked the design of the venue.
I’ve known Boxcar for their milds and I’ve had a couple of them before, including the 9% Triple Dark Mild. And I had just eaten, but otherwise I would have been very tempted by the Hula Hoops and Mini Cheddars, with particular praise for having two different flavours of the latter. The King’s Head in Norwich has normal and smoky BBQ Mini Cheddars such is their level of professionalism in bar snack options.
To ensure I tried a new beer, this is the Double Dark Mild, a beautifully rich and smooth beer with an ABV of 6.3%. Full-bodied with flavours of dark fruits, suitably decadent and it’s disappointing to know that this is now no longer brewed.
The Solar Flare, a hoppy NEIPA coming in at 5.2%, a perfectly pleasant taste and it had the smoothness that I was looking for.
All very sad that the venue has now gone, but on the positive side, there is the hope that Boxcar can start again in new premises, so all is not lost. I’m pleased that I took the opportunity to go when I did since they shut the week after I visited, but they seem optimistic that they can return at a different time in a different place as they’ve been able to keep the brand which means they can become a cuckoo brewery for a while. It must be soul destroying to have their dreams set back when they’ve got such a solid reputation, but they seem to have a strong supporter base which will help them to recover.