Beers drank on the 2013 Reading beer festival ‘ale trail’.

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Please see my post from last year > for the reason behind the local CAMRA branch organising an ale trail.

This year only 20 Pubs to visit, but just the one free ticket on completion, rather than the 28 pubs last year and 2 free tickets.
Beer standard was high, just one pub served me an undrinkable vinegar tasting beer, and the ale trail pamphlet allowed beer ‘scoring’ this year, so that particular pub was duly given the mark it deserved!
Notes on this years trail appear at the bottom of this blog.

Only 4 weeks now until the festival, I can’t wait. :).

16/2 – 1 – The Royal Oak, Tilehurst, Beer – ‘Cumberland Ale’ 4.0% – Jennings Brewery
20/2 – 2 – The Fox and Hounds, Sunnyside, Theale – Beer – ‘Pride of Pendle’ 4.1%, Moorhouses Brewery.
22/2 – 3 – The Bird in Hand, Knowl Hill, Beer – ‘Vanilla Ale’ 4.0%, Art Brew Brewery.
28/2 – 4 – Inn on the Park, Woodley, Beer – ‘Doombar’ 4.0%, Sharps Brewery.
28/2 – 5 – Good Companions, Woodley, Beer – ‘Bitter’ 3.8%, Black Sheep Brewery.
4/3 – 6 – The Red Lion, Upper Basildon, Beer – ‘Bitter’ 3.6%, Otter Brewery.
7/3 – 7 – Horse & Groom, Mortimer, Beer – ‘Jail Ale’ 4.8%, Dartmoor Brewery.
8/3 – 8 – Bell & Bottle, Shinfield, Beer – ‘Sheep Dip’ 3.8%, Plain Ales Brewery.
9/3 – 9 – Ale House, Reading, Beer – ‘Hoppy Harrington’ 4.7%, Sherfield Village Brewery.
9/3 – 10 – The Nags Head, Reading, Beer – ‘Berkshire Beauty’ 4.3%, West Berkshire Brewery and ‘Intrigue’ 4.2%, Plain Ales Brewery.
9/3 – 11 – Rose & Thistle, Reading, Beer – ‘IPA’ 3.6%, Greene King Brewery.
11/3 -12 – Lyndhurst, Reading, Beer – ‘Midhurst Mild’ 3.4%, Ballards Brewery.
18/3 -13 – Star, Waltham St Lawrence – Beer – ‘Henrys IPA’ 3.6%, Wadworths Brewery.
18/3 -14 – Shurlock Inn, Shurlock Row – Beer – ‘Mr Chubbs Lunchtime Bitter’ 3.7%, West Berkshire Brewery.
21/3 -15 – The Swan, Three Mile Cross – Beer – ‘Landlord’ 4.3%, Timothy Taylor Brewery.
23/3 -16 – Fox and Hounds, Caversham, Beer- ‘Hop Fest’ 3.8%, Red Squirrel Brewery.
1/4 – 17 – Maiden Over, Earley – Beer – ‘King John’ 4.2%, Andwell Brewery.
1/4 – 18 – Abbot Cook, Reading – Beer – ‘Green Mantle’ 3.9%, Broughton Brewery.
2/4 – 19 – Wagon & Horses, Twyford – Beer – ‘Brickworks Bitter’ 4.2%, Binghams Brewery.
2/4 – 20 – Black Horse, Emmer Green – Beer – ‘Bitter’ 3.7%, Youngs Brewery.

We ate at the Red Lion, Upper Basildon, food excellent, Mon night so service quick. And we also ate at the Lyndhurst, food also good, also Monday, so ditto.

Tried and trusted favourites like the Nags Head and the Bird in Hand, as usual, interesting and tasty range of beers. I discovered the Waggon and Horses in Twyford, a very tasty Brickworks bitter from Binghams. I really liked this homely pub, log fire and a pub cat, it felt a really friendly place.

A couple of places on the trail IMO had a dull and uninteresting range of bog standard beers, these days with ‘locale’ I expect a least a local tasty micro brew beer. One good thing, I did not have to suffer Brakspear beers, awful insipid stuff.

IMO I’d rather see pubs that consistently offer an interesting range of beers year after year and have them repeated in the trail rather than have new pubs on the trail, seemingly, just for the sake of somewhere ‘new to go’. It should be the best 20 for the year, if that top 20 doesn’t change, tough.

Everywhere I found a friendly welcome, though one place though seems to wallow in its ‘clique’ atmosphere, that gets worse every time I go there, about time they stopped taking their irregular customers for granted!

So, I achieved my goal of a different real ale in every pub, and only 1 that I purchased was virtually undrinkable. And my favourite beers drank were;

1/ ‘Vanilla Ale’ 4.0%, Art Brew Brewery – Bird in Hand.
2/ ‘Green Mantle’ 3.9%, Broughton Brewery – Abbot Cook.
3/ ‘Brickworks Bitter’ 4.2%, Binghams Brewery – Waggon and Horses/Twyford.
4/ ‘Sheep Dip’ 3.8%, Plain Ales Brewery – Bell and Bottle.



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