Reading – Weather Station

Formerly the Eldon Arms, this pub was renamed in 2019 after being taken over by the Wild Weather Ales brewery. It’s listed in the Good Beer Guide, although primarily for its relatively small collection of real ales, rather than for its very decadent selection of keg beers.

There are some really quite exciting options there, with the member of bar staff being knowledgeable about their venue’s offerings, which inevitably had lots of Wild Weather Ales, but also a fair few Omnipollo beers although these were mostly in cans. This felt a grown-up sort of pub, entirely informal and actually a bit rough around the edges, but the quality of the drinks available had a maturity that I decided made it instantly deserve respect.

Two things here, there was a decent selection of beers in the fridges, and that leads me to moan once again about how non-tied licensed premises should nearly always try and offer something similar. Secondly, I wasn’t a fan of the big chunky table that I was sitting at, as the surfaces weren’t entirely flat. With decadent beers, I don’t want to risk of a spillage.

The star of this expensive show was the Mammut Barrel Aged from Omnipollo and this was a quite beautiful beer. There were flavours that would hit the palate at different times, giving tastes of bourbon, vanilla, Oreos (not sure I was meant to get that, but there we go) and some nuttiness to the whole arrangement. A complex and beautiful beer, this is really a dessert substitute that saves people having to eat cake.

I was so excited to try the Mammut that I had it first, before the Maple Latte from Wild Weather, and that was evidently the wrong way to enjoy these. But like Theresa May running recklessly through a field, it’s time sometimes to throw caution to the wind. This beer was smooth with some pleasant honey flavours, although perhaps it was just very slightly artificial, but it was still a delight. It was like a little cup of really quite smooth coffee after the most luxurious and full of desserts. I think I’m one of my flights of fancy again here though, but it’s fair to say that I really could get into this beer thing…..

Back to the pub, other from a very loud barking dog that I was pleased was moved to the other end of the bar quite promptly, the surroundings were peaceful. I browsed yet another book on my phone, which is all to the good as I’m making rapid progress through my little backlog of reading. The staff members were unobtrusive, but always helpful, and it was surprisingly not busy inside for a Friday evening, although my visit was on the day of the gales.

The pub reviews are all as positive as a venue could really hope for, with no 1/5 feedback on Google Reviews at least. They did pick up this:

“Would be good but loud metal music will mean this place won’t survive… unfortunately.”

as a 2/5 shortly after opening, but I think that the reviewer has already been proved wrong. I can’t remember the music and that often is something that I fail to notice, but that means that it didn’t annoy me. If it was loud metal music then I would certainly be muttering about the place (well, to myself), so perhaps they’ve moderated the noise since this review. Someone complained that they were “too hipster for cash”, which is a sneer that tells me more about the reviewer, but it’s certainly an on-trend venue because of the quality of the surroundings. This is an unusual pub to be in the Good Beer Guide, but I’m very pleased that it is, this is the sort of venue that the book must include to ensure that it remains relevant, which means CAMRA needs to ensure it has members who visit pubs like this.