Phantom Brewing Co.

Taprooms seem to be cropping up everywhere around Reading, and the latest to join the collection is Phantom Brewing Co., which opened late last November. It seemed to come out of nowhere – the first I heard of it was a press release in the local newspaper of all places, and a lot of people seemed sceptical that it was even a real taproom. And in fact when it opened it wasn’t a real taproom, because they didn’t have the brewing equipment in at the time. But they have been up and running and brewing on-site for a few months now, so it’s time for a proper review.

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Bierhaus

Is it just me, or does the S at the end of the sign outside Bierhaus look wonky? Not that it really matters for pulling in the punters. I think it’s one of those places that you have to know it’s there and actively make an effort to get there. It’s stuck down a side street next to The Hexagon that most people don’t casually pass and pop in on a whim, so by the time you get there, it’s too late to change your mind just because of a wonky S. Continue reading “Bierhaus”

Zerodegrees

As a pub reviewer, I occasionally get invited along to openings and events (which I tend not to go to). However, this week Zerodegrees managed to trick me into going to their grand re-opening by not telling me about it and me coincidentally turning up for a long overdue review. Normally I’d not review somewhere on opening night, but given that they were closed for just 3 days, and that the changes were simply a lick of paint, and a neon sign, I think it’s fair for me to proceed.

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The Bird In Hand

On a cold winter’s day, what better to do than take a trip to a nice old country pub to have a few pints and some food by the fire.  I get that if you stumble on this review in July that’s not helpful, so substitute “on a warm summer’s day, what better thing to do than a trip to a nice old country pub to have a few pints in the garden” if that’s the case. Either would be equally true of this pub – The Bird In Hand, in Sonning Common. Continue reading “The Bird In Hand”

The Hope and Bear

This week I had the absolute, but unexpected, pleasure of joining the Reading Board Games group in the Hope and Bear for a night out. How can it be unexpected? Well, I invited Reading’s premier gin expert, The Gin Devil (Daryl) to come for a review with me, and when I suggested the Hope and Bear, he let on that he is not just the Gin Devil, but also the Board Games King (my words, not his), and started a board games night years ago that still runs there. I thought I was quite good at board games so happily agreed. It didn’t quite turn out like that. Continue reading “The Hope and Bear”

The Bugle

I have to admit I was surprised when I got a tweet from an internationally famous celebrity, volunteering to review of all places, The Bugle. In fact, she claimed it was the one pub in Reading she most wanted to see reviewed. It seemed implausible, but who am I to turn down the opportunity?

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The Crowne Plaza

Reviewing hotel bars isn’t really my thing. They are generally so impersonal with middle of the road beer, middle of the road food, and high-end prices. But the Crowne Plaza looked to be potentially different. It has one of the few bars in Reading where you can sit outside by the river, and it’s got an outside bar in collaboration with West Berkshire Brewery, so it was worth an investigation. Continue reading “The Crowne Plaza”

The Queen’s Head

I hate pubs with ambiguous names. It really distresses me to write about somewhere without knowing exactly what it is called. The Queen’s Head is one such example. Outside the pub it’s called “The Queens Head Inn” on the wall, “Queens Head Inn” on the sign, “Queens Head” over the window, and “The Queen’s Head” on the mirror behind the bar (the only version with a possessive apostrophe). To make matters worse, their Facebook page is called “The Queen’s Head PUB” (their capitalization, not mine), and What Pub calls it “Queens Head”, although notes that it’s also known as “Nob”. I’m weeping as I write this.

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West Berkshire Brewery

My first attempt to visit West Berkshire Brewery was a bit of a disaster. It was meant to be a Father’s Day treat, but when we eventually got there we found that everyone else had had the same idea – the place was overflowing, no spare seats at all, and over an hour wait for food. And apparently kids don’t want to just stand there starving while they watch you downing pint after pint of Good Old Boy on your own, even if it is Father’s Day.  But it looked great, and a return visit on a day not dedicated to the wonders of fatherhood was clearly essential. Continue reading “West Berkshire Brewery”

Airport Bars

My day job (yes, blogging about pubs is not a full-time job) involves me occasionally flying to America. And if that has taught me one thing, it’s that flying and drinking more than a pint is one of the worst things you can do for jetlag. However, that opinion isn’t a popular one, especially with people jetting off on holiday, so here’s your indispensable guide to the bars at our local airports. Continue reading “Airport Bars”