Chester & South Clwyd

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

Pub visits under new regulations

Friday 9 October 2020

Report on a small pub crawl after the implementation of 10pm closing and mask-wearing regulations,

The first pub visited was the Architect, a Brunning and Price pub, a superb listed building and former home of the renowned architect Thomas Harrison (1774 -1829). His works in Chester included the rebuilding of Chester Castle (1785 1822) and designs for the Grosvenor Bridge, completed after his death in 1829. The balcony from his upstairs bedroom overlooks both structures. The interior is now decorated with excellent replicas of pictures from the nearby Grosvenor Museum art collection. We arrived outside the entrance door and donned our face masks. We were greeted just inside the door; the contact details were collected for one of us and we were asked to sanitise our hands. We were then shown to our table and went close enough to the bar to see the real ales that were on offer. Had we failed to remember them all, we could see them listed on chalkboards. Our beer order was taken at our table and delivered. Beers were, Phoenix Brunning and Price bitter, Weetwood Eastgate, Tatton Blonde, Beatnix Republic 2 AM Poet, Brimstage Trappers Hat, Roosters American Hopped IPA, and Sherwood Reserve Stout.

Our second call was the Big Hand Alehouse, another pub with Thomas Harrison connections. It is set in the cellar of Watergate House, built in 1820 by Harrison for the Clerk to the Peace of Cheshire, Henry Potts. Once again, masks were obligatory, details given and suitably sanitised we were shown to our table. We were impressed by the amount of work undertaken to separate tables and create a series of booths divided by screens. Big Hand Super Tidy, Seren and Apaloosa were on offer and all in very good condition. Food is now served Wednesday to Sunday, 5.00 – 9.00.

Our final pub was the Goat and Munch in Garden Lane. No grand architecture here, but the former fridge repair shop has become a real ale mecca and community micro-pub. Despite its size, social distancing and the wearing of masks are rigorously enforced and hand sanitisers are on every table. Red Willow Wreckless, and Kirkstall Jasper were on offer. The Jasper was cloudy, but intended to be so and clearly labelled by the brewery on the pump clip. The third beer had just run out and was replaced by a Salopian Torque. Again, all the real ales were in very good condition.