Friday, 20 February 2009



I love pubs, probably more than most, I love the fact they come in all shapes and sizes, I love what they used to stand for and how they have developed as times have changed. Having spent the last 10 years of my life as a publican this is probably no surprise, but it doesn’t leave me as sad as it should to see the numbers of pubs closing. I think it is probably about time drinking culture in this country re-invented itself and hopefully the good ones will survive.

My issue is that it is hugely dependant on who owns the pub as to whether they survive or not, and not about the people running them. So many are owned by property companies and developers after fast money or a decent share-price that they don’t care who is in the pubs as long as they get their pieces of silver… too many good people will be lost to the pub game and that is the biggest shame. Rant over….

I am blessed with 3 excellent pubs within 10 minutes of where I live and a further 6 within about 25 minutes. As I live in south Somerset these could all be called local. Each of them brings something different to the table and I love that I can choose my pub depending on my mood and what I want to drink, and (if I’m really lucky) eat. As you would expect from good country pubs they all serve an excellent pint of real ale, and some go far beyond that with interesting beers from all over the world.

Probably my very favourite pub is the Queens Arms at Corton Denham, a small village on the Somerset and Dorset border owned by a man (the pub not the village) I seem to be stalking around the country, having followed him to North London and South Somerset… what are the chances. It is only 2 miles from Beer Ventures, so should be perfect for the after work pint! The Queens is a real pub and then some, there will be traditionalists who don’t and won’t like it, but I fear this is more because of the customers than the pub.

The nitty gritty looks like this, there are great real ales, from local brewers like Moor and guest ales from further afield. There are interesting and different kegged beers, Meantime IPA and Stout regularly appear, and occasional delights make it over the water from Anchor, as well as good quality European lagers. Local Cask Cider sits on the back bar and there is actually a Cider & Apple juice list from local farms. A huge range of Whisky, an excellent selection of Sherry (a drink I must learn more about), interesting and unusual Wines… I could carry on and on…. The food follows a similar example, they have their own pigs and chickens and everything else is sourced from close by. Presentation is clever and rustic, as are the dishes, its proper country cooking taking traditional ideas and putting a bit of modern funk into it.

The reason I love this pub is because they care and because they try. The service can sometimes be slightly casual and the customers ooze wealth, sometimes in that unpleasant way… but the pub is a triumph and I salute them…

If you want to give it a go there are 5 rooms above it to stay in! and guess what? they're good too.
Happy Adventuring!

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