Monday, 20 September 2010

The Bird In Hand - Reading

I just spent a rather pleasant couple of days staying at one of the finest real ale pubs I've ever been in.

The Bird In Hand ( is a beautiful 14th Century inn, just outside Reading. The food is outstanding, the rooms are nice and at a reasonable rate, and the staff are friendly and welcoming. But now to the important part...the beer.

The inn has won CAMRA Berkshire's Pub of the Year, and it was well-deserved. It has 5 pumps, and while I was there had a good selection. They've recently decided to dedicate one pump to Brewdog's fine selection, although at the moment they have 2, plus Brewdog's 77 lager on tap as well.

The selection on the first night was:
Brewdog's Punk IPA
Brewdog's 5AM Saint
Brakspear Bitter
Red Squirrel's Munich Beer
Ascot Ales Oktoberfest
(we just missed Hammerpot's Bottle Wreck'd Porter)

I started off with Munich Beer, a lovely German-style beer, slightly sweet with a toffee finish. Very much a session beer, I could drink this all night. This was followed by Ascot Ales Oktoberfest - much the same, but with more malt.

The following evening, 2 beers had finished, and had been replaced with Brewdog's Edge, and Cliff Quay's Tolly Rodger.

I tried a sample of Brewdog's Edge - very, very dry mild ale, deep scarlet. Too dry for me, but a friend was impressed.

Cliff Quay's Tolly Roger, on the other hand, was a very drinkable golden ale, with strong honey and citrus flavours.

There are also usually a good selection of bottled beers (did I mention they like Brewdog? Just about every Brewdog bottle is available) and others, such as Ascot Ale's Alligator.

I simply cannot recommend this pub enough, and if it wasn't for the fact that its 400 miles away, I would gladly make it my local.