here is some info based on recent events, nights out and discoveries.
it seems the Da's have lost their minds completely and only gone and put on two guests from their allocation of four handpumps. Oakham Ales JHB, and the excellent Dark Star Pale Ale where the offerings to complement the Thornbridge Brock, and the thingemabob. James advises that Oakham Citra will be on soon as well - this is one of my favourite Oakham offerings, mores the shame that a sudden scarcity of funds means I may miss tasting it.
Is continuing to offer excellent in house brewery beers and, on my last two visits, a guest from the excellent West Berkshire Brewery. Prices are also very competitive, especially for the Little Ale Cart beers, and they continue to provide at least one dark beer, so its well worth a visit.
Tonight was to be the night I wrote about the recent revelations about the Rutland, and the impact on the pub, its regulars, and its "community". My main point was going to focus firmly on the lack of any statement from the pub. Happily this situation has now changed.
As befits a pub which places itself firmly in the social media spectrum, a statement has been made on the Rutland's Facebook Wall (I haven't checked Twitter yet, although, being limited to 140 characters one assumes only a link to Facebook....) There may be a catch in that you have to "Like" them, (ironic!) but its there.
It was vital a statement was made to highlight the pub and pub company's stance concerning what had happened and the wider issue of "banter" and sexual harrassment at work. Whether you think they took too long over it, or even that it makes no difference, I personally think its a positive development. I read the story in three different papers and got conflicting details, (and really only one side) so clarification is beneficial, and ultimately something the regulars deserve.
Crucially, the Blue Bee Turned Out Mild and their excellent Red White and Blue were in impeccable form when I visited on Saturday, especially the latter. It starts with the beer ....
The Hop continues to showcase covers bands and opens that little bit later on a weekend than some of the more traditional pubs nearby. They have also continued to stock a non-Ossett/Ossett acquired brewery guest real ale. On Saturday night the excellent Milestone Traditional Mild was on good form, and formed part of a decent range of pale and dark beers on offer.
Far away festival
Years ago in days of yore this blog was rather "catchily" called Wee Beefy's unspoilt pubs and Cretan kafenions. This was very a reflection of my soft spot for Crete (there are some posts from there from 2010 in the post list) and regular visits to it.
Very slowly Crete is starting to make beer. Its own beer. Not Henninger or Carlsberg or Amstel brewed under license (and am not sure that is even still done in Crete itself, more likely the Greek mainland), but actual Cretan beer. Albeit even then the first brewery to be set up commercially in Crete, possibly since the inter war years or longer, was set up by an enterprising German, there are very very small signs of interest in beers brewed in Crete.
At present, to the best of my not very up to date knowledge, there are two breweries actually in Crete - Brinks Rethymnian, an organic brewery making unpasteurised bottled beer, and Charma, a brewery based in or around Chania producing a lager and a dark ale (Charma Black). Mythos, Alfa and the excellent Craft Brewery from Greece are also notable, more so Craft for its excellent Pilsner.
Its not an exaggeration to say that before these two Cretan brewers started and before Craft became available (albeit in small pockets, mainly on the South coast), beer in Crete was dismal. If you didn't like Amstel or Heineken it was useless. Mythos provided some respite, and Alfa is quite palatable, but it was only if you paid over the odds for export Guinness or found a bottle of Amstel Bock hiding at the back of a fridge or Supermarket shelf, that you could ever get anything darker to sup.
In a surprise but welcome development, I can report that this year Crete will hold its first beer festival. It runs from the 13th to the 22nd of July, and is taking place in Platanias, a touristy area outside one of the major cities, Chania. There is a link here but the details are almost all as above, and the link to the exhibition centre, if you translate it, is really for advertisers, sponsors, or, I dunno, brewers?
The logo's on the Exhibition centre advert mysteriously mention neither of the two Cretan breweries so this could all be a cynical exercise in appealing to the more, how shall we say, beer loving nations that swarm to the island every year, but we'll have to see. There is also one which seems to say "I'm Backing The Pub" which despite its apparent Englishness I think I have seen before on a beer mat in Chania.
If I hear anything else I'll let you know, but if you happen to find yourself on the island in the second week of July, I would recommend a visit, if nothing else to find out what Troegs Craft brewers decide to sell, and how popular the Smithwicks and Macfarland brands turn out...
More news and stuff soon.