As you may know, Cloudwater recently announced the stopping of production of their range of cask beer, sad news that prompted many to write on the subject of cask drinking more generally. I was lucky enough to try Cloudwater’s cask range and it was pretty fantastic (as I’ve come to expect from them) – coupled with other recent cask experiences I was convinced to offer my two pence on the subject – that cask beer looked after, kept well and served at its best can be a joy, and only when these standards slip are you likely to find the problems that brewers can associate with cask.
This got me thinking; it would be sad to see cask drinking drop slowly off the radar, and it’s not ok that some pubs, distributors and restaurants serve bad cask beer, giving the breweries/beer a bad name, and a poor experience for the consumer. I drink and enjoy both cask and keg, but there are places I shy away from cask after being bitten by bad pints in the past.
Aside from Cloudwater, my other recent cask enjoyments were in two local places I’m very fond of; The Brighton Beer Dispensary and The Watchmakers Arms are both great boozers, offering excellent beer in different but each wonderful settings.
The Watchmakers Arms
Brighton & Hove’s first micro-pub, found in Goldstone Villas, a mere stones throw from Hove station. Offering cask beer, local wine and soft drinks, along with traditional pub snacks; you know the ones – sausage rolls, pork scratchings, nuts and crisps – exactly what you want to match up with a pint; nothing more nothing less, it’s kept simple but great. The couples who own The Watchmakers are not from traditional pub running backgrounds, having previously worked in teaching and ICT, but are clearly family people and their friendly approach shows they care for their customers as much as they do for their beer. Their recent tap take over by Vibrant Forest was brilliant – a whole host of beers from the new forest, and Andrew from the brewery on hand to talk through on the night – another positive show for what cask beer should be all about. If you find yourself in Hove I’d highly recommend The Watchmakers and their well-kept cask beer, and who knows – we might even bump into each other!
The Brighton Beer Dispensary
Once a run down, lonely boozer, the Brighton Beer Dispensary is now a cosy and friendly spot – offering up cask, keg and fridge selections, along with everything else you’d expect from a favourite local pub. The effort these guys have made in the beer industry means they can offer some great tap takeovers and meet the brewery events (and beer, of course).
A recent BBD tap take over and meet the brewer event with Northern Monk offered five cask choices (along with an abundance of keg), and I went straight for a pint of Eternal Session IPA, which tasted fantastic. Jim & Cody have a host of breweries lined up in the coming months, so check out the board & get down to the Brighton Beer Dispensary – and that’s without even touching on the food from Dizzy Gull, which is banging!
These two encounters made me want to show support for the good local cask offerings out there, and whilst I’m saddened that Cloudwater, Buxton & others have stopped their cask ranges, there’s still a lot of good options to try when you know where to look!
For more information see the links below:
The Watchmakers Arms – http://www.thewatchmakersarms.co.uk/
The Brighton Beer Dispensary – https://www.facebook.com/BRTNDispensary/