Tuesday 24 May 2016

Micropubs - The Door Hinge and The Broken Drum

The Micropub - a small licensed premises selling real ale and not much else, with no music or fruit machines to be seen or heard. They are basically a CAMRA members wet dream come to life. The micropub movement has been moving along quite happily now over the past few years. I've managed to visit a few of them. I have always enjoyed my time at them, even if the small rooms means they usually feel very busy, filled with men of a certain age (old.)

I recently had the pleasure of visiting two micropubs in Welling, a suburb in South East London where the most noticeable feature is that there is a Tesco's and a Morrisons directly across the road from each other, like two cowboys having a show down to see who's going to leave town first. A few minutes walk away from the superstores is The Door Hinge, the first micropub of my visit. It fit the micropub template to a tee - a very small room with cosy bench furnishings and plenty of random tat plastered all over the walls, with a well chosen selection of ales on offer. The clientele was older and it turned out a fair few of them were CAMRA members. Unsurprising as micropubs may as well have signs plastered on the front saying "CAMRA members come drink in here - it's all your pub dreams come to life!"

I realise I'm sounding a bit snarky about CAMRA but I do quite like them, and I'm even a member. They still seem to be struggling a bit with this whole craft beer thing though. Some want to dismiss it, some want to embrace, personally I don't mind if bearded hipsters are making the beer as long as it is tasty. The Door Hinge certainly serves a decent pint and the friendly landlord handed me a half of Iceberg from the Titanic brewery, a hoppy treat that I always enjoy. Perching on the end of a bench I had a chat with other punters about the (rather good) Wetherspoons up the road and what local real ale festivals were coming up. Soon it was time to move on to the next micro.

The Broken Drum hasn't been around as long as the Door Hinge, and it's in a rather awkward location off a main road and near to a very popular local pub (The George Staples.) With it also being a Tuesday afternoon it was very quiet when I walked in, with a young couple and child being the only other customer. The beer selection was tempting though and I settled on another bench with a tasty pint of Goachers Best Dark Ale which went down very well.

Despite the lack of customers it was nice having a drink in here, and I had a second drink, the excellent Blue Top from the Old Diary brewery, whose beers are well made and very enjoyable. I had a pleasant chat with the landlord about the do's and dont's of opening a micropub, as it's something I'd be interested in doing once I have the funds. He was more than happy to have a chat. I think that's what I like best about micros, it's nice just sitting down among strangers and having a chat. Beer is a social lubricant after all. It may not be for everyone, but I enjoy it.

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