Mudgie is always banging on about children in pubs. In fact he admits it to being "a bit of a hobby horse". Frankly I don't tend to come across them too much in the pubs I go to, though we do often get quite a few on a Sunday afternoon in the Tavern, but thankfully most are very well behaved. We get far more trouble from dogs. My other haunts tend to be relatively child free, though the Rose of Lancaster, where I am often to be found of a Friday tea-time, usually has quite a few eating with parents. It is though so well run, with high standards and a manager that is always there and having a word if needed, that I am not bothered by them one bit. That's as it should be. Well behaved children enjoying themselves are a delight.
Not so on Saturday night. In a pub near me which won't be named, I entered around seven in the evening with my lass. Firstly, in a heaving pub, we could see that almost every table was inundated with uncollected glasses and empty plates. Food was till being served and we did find a seat after moving glasses to a nearby table. Children were running about shrieking and chasing each other, using the steps as a jumping playground and getting under the feet of the customers, and dangerously, staff bearing plates of hot food. They were unchecked by their parents. This is the kind of thing that really annoys. To me, together with the uncleared tables and the absence of a manager taking control, this is a sign that the pub is being run badly. Children aren't the issue really, as children will be children, but the failure of parents to apply discipline was magnified by the failure of pub management to apply standards. We supped up quickly and left and won't be back at a time when children are there. It was just a bit of a nightmare.
On a different tack, last night at our CAMRA Branch meeting in the Baum, I had a beer from a brewery in Kent whose beer I know quite well, as it is often available in London. Having had it in less than optimal conditions in London, I nonetheless think it as a pretty good beer and was looking forward to trying it under the assurance of the highest possible standards, in this former National Pub of the Year. This example wasn't. It was distinctly phenolic. Now here's the thing. Discussing it with some of my fellows, only one out of four of five that tried it identified the distinct (to me) TCP overtones. I recalled Mark Dredge writing about this and stating "this is another off-flavour which some people are more susceptible to tasting than others". Too true and a reminder that we all perceive flavour differently. How many times have you thought a beer dreadful while someone else loves it - or, indeed, vice versa?
So two issues. One easy to tackle and one less so. The joys of the pub.
Now someone is going to say "Why didn't you complain?" Well, I have complained about this pub before to the owners and clearly nothing has changed. maybe the potential revenue loss might be an issue. I'll just vote with my feet.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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