The Wool House – Southampton’s Soon-to-be Latest Pub!

Southampton is getting a new pub!

As posted on the Platform Tavern’s Facebook page approximately two hours ago, a panel of six councilors voted unamiously in favour of Dancing Man Brewery’s plans for The Wool House building.

They hope to open doors at some point in July. I’m hoping that it doesn’t clash with the Birmingham Beer Bash. If it does I’ll be making my way down at the first opportunity.

Today is a good day for the people of Southampton. (35)

The Friday Pint 3 #6 – Festivals Galore

A bit of a different approach to The Friday Pint this week, with me using it to promote a few events happening this weekend, next weekend, and in the future.

Firstly, Happy Easter everybody. As it’s a bank holiday weekend in the UK, there’s a good chance there’s a beer festival of some size somewhere near you (if you’re reading in the UK).  I’m working this weekend, so won’t be able to get to any of them, but here’s what I’d consider if I wasn’t…

The Brodies Bunny Basher festival is worth a visit if you’re in or near (or willing to travel to) the Leytonstone end of London. Chances are this is where a number of the countries beer geeks will be this weekend, so like previous years, it will get busy.

If I’m honest, making the trek to East London from Slough doesn’t really appeal to me, as much as the chance to savour a glass of Elizabethan does, I don’t think I could be bothered with navigating tube trains and buses on an Easter weekend.

The Platform Tavern Easter Cider and Blues Festival, and The Rockstone Easter Beer Festival in Southampton would involve a just as long (timewise) journey, and would probably be enjoyed by myself much more.

Next weekend The Rockstone have a Cider festival of their own, which is possibly where I’ll end up on the Sunday, after spending the previous three days at the Maltings Beer Festival in Newton Abbot.

Last year was the first time I went to the festival, and I was won over by the quality and condition of the beer available (perhaps a result of the festival being SIBA’s South West beer competition). This year I have yet again booked the whole weekend down there, and plan on following a similar approach to last year, where I worked my way through breweries.

As for my tip for the overall competition winner, I’d bet on Rebel Brewery’s Mexi-Cocoa if there was a book running on it.

As for the future, it’s about time I mentioned this year’s Birmingham Beer Bash on here. Tickets for individual sessions are now available here.

Whilst I’m part of the organizing team, I’m not part of the much smaller part of that team in charge of organizing and revealing the exciting line up of beers, food and fringe events that we have this year. There’s some returning favourites from last year, including Wild Beer, Siren, Thornbridge and Magic Rock, alongside some breweries making their beer bash debut. The full list of breweries can be found here.

In terms of food, the only announcement so far has been that of The Original Patty Men. Last year they sold out within the first hour of each session they were serving at, and with good reason. Their burgers were very, very nice. I’m certainly looking forward to getting to have another this year.

As well as great beer and food, the Bash also has some great fringe events lined up, information about which will be revealed via the festival’s social media feeds on Facebook and Twitter.

I’ll be doing a similar preview to the Bash as I did last year closer to the event. As for now, I’m going to try and keep myself awake. Until the next time reader… (99)

Black and Tan Experiments # something, I’ve absolutely no idea and can’t really be bothered to go back and find out

It’s been a while since I last did one of these. I think this may be number 19 or 20, or even 21. In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter. Unless one of you is keeping score out there, in which case this is the first post of series two, which is actually series one from a new production crew, for budget reasons and such.

I could waffle on for ages, but lets get down to business. Last week, whilst we were at The Platform Tavern, conversation led to Sadler’s Ales Mud City Stout and Bristol Beer Factory’s Southville Hop. Both of them are awesome beers which I absolutely love individually. I can’t remember how they came to be referenced individually, or which one came first, but it wasn’t long before the idea of mixing the two came about.

I have to say that the balance I had as I started writing this post (about half and half), is good, but it isn’t really better than the individual parts. Moving the balance towards the stout end doesn’t really work either, nor does switching the bias towards the Southville Hop.

Some would say that the lesson to be learned here is just because you can try to mix and blend beers doesn’t mean you should. However, if you don’t at least try first, it’s very difficult to know what works and what doesn’t. Mud City Stout and Southville Hop don’t work.

They’re still awesome beers on their own though. I encourage you to track them down and try them. Seriously.

  (123)

The Friday Pint 3 #5 – Happy Birthday To Me

So, here I am again. To clarify for those who read the post earlier in the week without realising what day it was, it was an April Fool. I am very much still drinking beer, as I’m doing right now (Bingham’s Vanilla Stout), and the last couple of days.

As you might have guessed, or assumed from the title of this post, it’s my birthday this week, today in fact. Unfortunately I have work tomorrow (and don’t want to use holiday I’ll want to use later in the year), and so I’m not able to go out drinking with those I’d normally go drinking with, which is why all of that happened yesterday.

Granted, for the most part of the day, it was just me, progressing through Southampton on a somewhat unintended pub crawl, taking in The Rockstone, The Junction, The South Western Arms, The Butchers Hook, and finally The Platform Tavern. They may be rather spread out, but Southampton actually does have some good pubs in and around it.

The highlights of yesterday’s little adventure were the last two stops. The Butchers Hook was, bar the one customer already in, empty. As a result I was able to take a seat and look around. The ceiling is “tiled” with old (and I mean old, many of them look much older than me) beer mats. It’s the sort of place where you could probably noticed something new each time you go in.

The only real problem I have with The Butchers Hook is that it’s somewhat of a trek for me to visit. It’s a trek that I’ll be making when I can, but it won’t be anywhere near as often as it would be if I lived closer to it. For those wondering, the beer I drank whilst there was Burning Sky’s Aurora. I enjoyed it, but wasn’t bowled over by it. I have seen others say good things about it though, so it’s probably best you try it yourself and make up your own mind.

The final stop, and my favourite, for many reasons, was The Platform Tavern. It was here that I was joined by my good friend Chris. Over the course of our session here, we enjoyed Pilgrim’s Pale Ale on draught, followed by 16 Tonne Stout and Pole Axed in bottle.

Long time readers of this blog may recall me raving about Pole Axed in the past. It’s one of only two Citra hopped beers (the other being a Kernel IPA) that I’ve really enjoyed. Every other Citra hopped beer (that I can remember) has made me feel that the hop is rather overrated. The bottle I had last night rekindled my love affair with the beer, to the point where I’ll be buying several bottles of the stuff when it goes on sale in Bitter Virtue.

I could easily rave about Pole Axed all night, however there are two other beers that need some time. Pilgrim’s Pale Ale tasted the best I’ve had it, possibly ever. It’s not really a beer that gets me excited, but it is a beer that I enjoy that can be drunk as a session beer, something which can’t really be said for Pole Axed. The 16 Tonne Stout (a chilli chocolate stout) also tasted good. The balance was, for me, much more enjoyable that the last time I had it on draught, when the chilli was a bit too strong.

To finish the evening (and this post), the first bottle of Jelly Baby Massacre 2 was opened. In my opinion it is a tad on the sweet side. I definitely over compensated when I was adding jelly babies to the boil. It’s still an enjoyable beer, and thinking about it, would probably make a good basis for an ice cream float.

As for now, I’m still drinking that Bingham’s Vanilla Stout. It’s somewhat disapointing in comparison to Bingham’s regular stout, which I rather enjoyed. It doesn’t really taste of vanilla, not even a hint. Once I finish this it’s a choice of Mud City Stout or Southville Hop. Alternatively, I save those for a mixing experiment and enjoy the Bourbon County I have on the shelf.

It is my birthday after all… (305)

An announcement

Since starting my beery journey I’ve had some great and memorable moments. I’ve made some great friends, tried some great beers, and visited places I wouldn’t have done otherwise because of beer.

The problem is though I’ve become bored of beer. I no longer wish to talk about it, write about it, or even drink it. It is with that in mind that I have considered the future of this blog. It shall remain as is, however I will be handing over the reigns of beer blogging to guest bloggers, whilst I shall be starting a voyage of discovery down the road of non beeryness.

I hope that you will continue to read this blog, and I thank you for the time you have given it in its short life so far. (144)

The Friday Pint 3 #4 – A post which isn’t really a Friday Pint post, but is being posted on a Friday, so it might as well be.

I like kids.

Allow me to put that into a little more context. I like the inventive and inquisitive nature of kids. I like their lack of cynicsm. I like the joy and hope that they represent. I like the idea of kids playing and having fun. It’s what they should do. Playing and having fun is what being a child (or being childish if you’re somewhat older), is all about.

I hate parents who allow their children to play in restaurants, pubs, supermarkets, and anywhere else that is highly inappropriate for a child to be running around.

I’ll be honest, I know I shouldn’t, but whenever I’m somewhere that a child is running around when they shouldn’t be, a part of me hopes that they fall, trip and hurt themselves. Of course, whatever the circumstances, it wouldn’t be an accident, or the child’s fault for running around when they shouldn’t be. It’s your fault for walking into the path of that child, or for having your chair out a bit.

I say the following to all parents of young children, present and future. Allow your children to play. By all means, encourage it, but realize that there are appropriate and inappropriate places for them to do so. If others in your vicinity scowl or tut at you whilst trying to avoid your child, it’s probably a good idea for you to tell them to calm down.

  (2210)

The Wool House – The Plans

Time for another update on The Wool House and Dancing Man Brewery’s plans to move into the building…

The planning application is now available to view on the Southampton City Council website. You can view it yourself by clicking this link.

At the point of writing, 10 comments have been submitted on the application online, with a 50/50 split between those opposed and those supporting the venture. Whether this reflects the response of those voicing their opinion offline is unknown to me.

Several of the significant dates have passed, and just over two weeks remain before the Neighbour Consultation Expiry Date. After this, the deadline for making a decision on the application is the 17th April.

As for the plans themselves, the long curved bar with the brewery behind it, seems very appealing to me. In fact, the whole of the bottom floor seems very enticing to me, particuarly the three sofas that are on the drawings.

I’ll be checking in on the Southampton City Council website regularly, and if anything of note occurs, I shall be posting it here. Hopefully, the next post I write will be one reporting the approval of the plans, and then the start of the building works.

In the meantime, the success of The Butchers Hook in it’s first two weeks of operation has shown that there is a thirst for more quality beer in Southampton. If you can get in when it’s open, it’s worth a visit. If you’d like to read a review from someone who spent longer than I did there last week, fellow blogger Biere Belle wrote about The Butchers Hook on her site. (2088)

The Friday Pint 3 #3 – A Trip to Twyford

Last night I drank the other two beers I bought in last month’s trip down to Windsor and Eton Brewery, namely Canberra and Conqueror 1075.

The Canberra is a beer I probably need to try again to formulate a more solid opinion on. With each mouthful, the thoughts inside my head alternated between “mmm, this is quite nice” and “meh”. In comparison, the Conqueror 1075, a stronger version of the brewery’s black IPA, was met with a much more positive response.

And so onto today, where this morning I popped on a train down to Twyford, and walked up to the Binghams Brewery to pick up some more beer. I ended up leaving with one of each bottle, and a two litre bottle of Twyford Tipple, this being after trying the others available on draft, and finding that the first one I tried was the one I felt I could drink all afternoon/evening.

There’s nothing overly special about Twyford Tipple. It’s a 3.7% session ale, the kind of which can be found all over the country, some better than others. It’s more malt driven than hop driven, with some rather nice caramel notes that compliment the bitterness.

In the fridge there’s a bottle of the brewery’s ginger stout. I also bought the standard, coffee, chilli and vanilla stouts, along with Brickworks Bitter and Spacy Hoppy, their IPA. I’ll be opening these over the next couple of weeks and updating accordingly.

Until then, I’m going to enjoy the beer in this glass. (1900)

Hops to Heaven

Way back in 2004, when I was but a young 18 year old first year student at Southampton Institute on the Media Technology course, I was part of a group that decided to make a piece on beer for their video production coursework.

The rushes tapes have been sat in the small cupboard beside my bed for virtually a decade now (I can’t remember exactly when we shot the footage seen in the video, but I’m pretty sure it was early 2004, before my 19th birthday in the April of that year). This week I decided to get them transferred to a format that I can share with you, the reader of this fine blog.

I have a feeling that I may have ended up with presenting duties because no one else wanted to do it, though it may have been the case that I just wanted to be the star. I honestly can’t remember.

Hops to Heaven

(201)

The Wool House – An Update

Before Christmas I wrote about the campaign against the proposed development of one of Southampton’s historic buildings into a brewpub and restaurant. Since that time, much has happened.

The Dancing Man Brewery Team put forward their views in a letter published by The Daily Echo on the 9th January. They highlight that a lot of work is needed on the building, especially to the roof, which has suffered substantial damage in recent years. The one line that stands out in the letter for me, is the following:

we want to keep the Wool House for the community and will welcome anyone of any age who just wants to pop in to see the building.”

After having popped into the building last summer, to try and get an idea of what the potential new pub may be like, I think that The Wool House has the potential to be Southampton’s destination pub, visited not just for the beer, but for the atmosphere it has.

The 21st of January saw the petition against the proposed development close. 414 people signed the petition between 3/12/2013 and 21/1/2014. In their response to the petition, the council refer to the project as an “innovative and sustainable use of an historic building that has seen a wide variety of uses in its 600 year history.” They also highlight the fact that the team behind the Dancing Man Brewery are supporters of local musicians and bands.

Hopefully, work will begin soon on the building, and an extra stop will be added to an already promising pub crawl, which next weekend will be gaining a new stop in The Butchers Hook, a micropub in Bitterne that has some exciting beer never seen in Southampton before.

It still has a long way to match the beer scene of some other cities in the UK, but things are certainly starting to look up in Southampton. (1751)