Rehanging the Broad Face Sign

Dusty, the landlord of The Broad Face on Bridge Street will be hanging up the restored original pub sign (as featured on the front cover of the current issue of the Oxford Drinker) at the pub on the evening of Friday 4 March 2011.

Local band, Full Circle, will be playing and hopefully it will be a fun event.

Also see this article in the Abingdon Herald.

Loose Cannon Pale Ale Trials

The Loose Cannon Brewery in Abingdon in Suffolk Way has just finished brewing a new beer.

As with the Abingdon Bridge when it was launched last year, Will Laithwaite the owner and head brewer has made two different recipies, currently known as Trial Brew 1 and Trial Brew 2. They are made from the same malt and yeast but use different hops.

  • Trial Brew 1: Made with Fuggles and Goldings Hops: Smooth, almost sweet, delicate, slightly spicy
  • Trial Brew 2: Made with Challenger and Pioneer Hops: Lemon/Gratefruit citrus aroma.
Handpump serving Loose Cannon Pale Ale at the brewery

Both trials can be sampled at the brewery shop, which is at the brewery in Suffolk Way.

You can also buy both of the Pale Ale trials as well as Abingdon Bridge in various sizes including 1 and 2 Litre bottles, mini-casks, polypins and Firkins.

We took a few litres back to our office to get the opinions of our colleagues. The reaction to each trial seems quite mixed. Both are very drinkable and different people seem to prefer different ones. Personally my vote is for Trial Brew 2 as it has a more complex taste, but brew 1 has more traditional English hops.

Bottles of Loose Cannon Pale Ale trial to try at home (or work!).

At the moment it is not being served in any Abingdon pub, but hopefully some of them will start stocking it in the next week or two. In the meantime, I recommend visiting the brewery to try it out. The brewery shop is open weekdays from 8am-6pm and Saturdays 9am-5pm.

The Cricketer’s Arms in Littleworth has both of the Pale Ale trials as well as Abingdon Bridge at their Beer & Sausage Festival this weekend, which features 14 mainly local real ales and 2 real ciders. More information can be found at www2.cricketers-arms.co.uk/beer_and_sausage_festival

This Week’s Beers Available at Brewery Tap

The Brewery Tap in Ock Street has a changing selection of real ales with a mixture of locally brewed ales, award winning beers from further afield and a good selection from Greene Kings guests.

For this week (7th February) they have:

  • Morland’s Original 4.0% WEST GATE Suffolk 3.05
    RUBY BROWN. Original is a fully fermented, refreshing ale with a very distinctive and intense
    bitterness. Hints of subtle fruitiness on the nose follow through to the palette along with a light
    touch of malt.
  • Good Old Boy 4.0% WEST BERKS BREWERY Yattendon, Berkshire 3.45
    LIGHT CHESTNUT. A good balance of malt and hops giving a full-bodied bitter with strong malt
    fl avours, yet retaining a rounded bitterness and a strong hop fi nish. Champion Best Bitter in
    the CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain London and South East Regional Beer of the Year Competition
    2009.
  • Riptide 4.1% BREW DOG Fraserbourgh 3.45
    DARK. A strong, silky smooth imperial stout with a deep, dark ruby appearance. Mocha, bitter
    chocolate, liquorice and dark cherry flavours prevail, before the balanced, warming and
    encapsulating finish.
  • Original 5.5% EVERARDS Leicestershire, 3.55
    CLASSIC TAWNY BROWN. A locally brewed ale with a good balance between hop and malt.
    Full fl avoured and smooth, with well rounded bitterness from Challenger hops. Savinski hops
    give the beer a light citrus and floral finish
  • Alpha Dog 4.7% BREW DOG Fraserbourgh 3.45
    HAZLENUT BROWN. A rock and roll medley of summer fruit and pine gives way to hints of
    roasted malt and a heady hoppiness, but with very low bitterness.
  • Yorkshire Terrier 4.2% YORK BREWERY 3.40
    GOLDEN. This multiple award-winning Yorkshire beer is a golden coloured premium bitter with
    a rich, creamy malt and full hop palate finish.
  • In the cellar: Pheonix by Westgate, Henry’s IPA by Wadsworths, Golden Glow by Holden’s, Abingdon Bridge by Loose Cannon

If any other landlords (or customers) would like to keep me regularly informed of the beer range in any Abingdon pubs, particularly ones which have a changing range of guest beers, then I will be happy to post them here.

Abingdon Beer Update: February 2011

I am sorry not to have posted anything here for several months. It has been quite an eventful time for Abingdon pubs.

The Fitzharris Arms has closed down, currently boarded up and sold to Tesco. This was a community pub serving an area of Abingdon without any other pubs close by. The nearest pub is the Spread Eagle which is over half a mile away. See This Abingdon Blog for photos of the Fitzharris in its sad closed down state.

The Nags Head also closed after christmas and is currently boarded up.

The Plough was up for sale and I understand an offer has been made on it. There are several rumours going around town about the buyer and what the intention is, but it seems unlikely to remain as a traditional pub.

The Ox closed down briefly, but appears to have reopened again. I have heard that it is now selling good real ale such as Timothy Taylor Landlord Bitter, but I have not yet had chance to check for myself. If true, then this would be excellent for Abingdon to have a freehouse free of Greene King’s control of most Abingdon pubs.

The Black Swan I believe has changed management and has signs on the window applying for a change in license involving making the bar smaller and removing some fixed seating.

The Blue Boar which has been something of a desert for real ale has been reported as occasionally having real ale available.

The Brewery Tap has reached an agreement with Greene King allowing two handpumps to be free of tie. As part of CAMRA LocAle scheme, it is expected that at least one of these will have a local beer on most of the time. The other four handpumps are from Greene King’s range of guests, and currently include a good range of different ales including two from Brew Dog. They are holding a blues, brews and jazz festival on March 25th-27th.

The White Horse, also a Greene King pub continues to have an interesting range of guest beers.

The Stocks Bar (Crown & Thistle Hotel) also continues to vary its range, mainly from the Marstons group of breweries including Ringwood, Jennings, Wychwood and Brakspear.

The Old Anchor (yet another Greene King pub) always serves its 3 Greene King beers in good condition, but it is likely that landlady Leslie will be leaving in a few months when Greene King find new tenants. Over the last few years several excellent beer festivals have been held there, and you always get a friendly welcome. This is one of Abingdon’s picture postcard pubs, being one of the first sights you get of Abingdon when travelling up the Thames. I hope that it will continue as a pub.

The King’s Head & Bell had its first Winter Beer festival last weekend. This include 16 beers with about half coming from Hook Norton’s range, some local beers from Vale, White Horse and Abingdon’s Loose Cannon, and the Steam Brewery. This was held upstairs in the King Charles’ Room and combined with the Rugby being shown on TV Friday and Saturday and a folk music session on Sunday had a really good friendly pub atmosphere.

The Broad Face have managed to recover and restore the original lost pub sign that was taken down in 2001, and plans to reinstate it soon. They are also holding their first beer festival on 1st-3rd April coinciding with Abingdon Arts Festival. Also remember they have live jazz music every Sunday afternoon as well as live bands most fridays.

Sorry not to mention every pub… The Spread Eagle, Punch Bowl and Cross Keys are always worth a visit. The Prince of Wales just outside Abingdon in Shippon always has 6 real ales, a new dining room, open fireplace and a friendly environment.