On the way down to Devon, we decided to stop off at the Brewhouse & Kitchen Pub/Restaurant at Gloucester Quays. This place looks pretty impressive, the bar and eating area is open plan, with beer bottle decor and pays homage to the Brewpub side of things pretty well.
This place is almost a craft beer heaven. The brewpub creations are available as hand pulled ales and the draught ales on the back wall include the likes of Beavertown, a couple of independent breweries and some macro beers offerings. There’s a good range of bottled Belgian ales and craft beer bottlings too. All the back wall draught beers come with custom shaped handles, something that i have not seen before in the U.K, however I’m guessing this will result in a reluctance to vary the offerings. All the glassware offerings are pretty good, sporting modern designs and minimal branding. You can also purchase said glassware for a reasonable price.
SSBanner American Pale Ale – 4.5%
The first beer I tried was SSBanner American Pale Ale at 4.5% ABV. It came in at around £4.20 a pint and was a pretty decent pour (for Hand pull) giving a nice amber colour, generating a decent head and low/average retention. The beer also has low carbonation, which is to be expected. There was a slight whiff of citrus aroma on the pour, however, this quickly disappears to nothingness and is replaced by sweet malt. The taste is moderately bitter with a hint of bittersweet at the end with some fruitiness coming through. Body is really quite watery and unpleasant. Overall, this beer could use more aroma hops for a APA and hold back on the bittering hops somewhat. I don’t think this beer was representative of the style at all and I found this disappointing.
#WallsLayoff Unfined Wheat Beer – 5.0%
The second brew was #WallsLayoff Unfined Wheat Beer at 5.0% and around £4.50 a pint. The pour was a bit thin, with a micro head generation. The aroma is all banana and yeasty. The appearance is non carbonated, slightly hazy and golden, and the taste is really quite watery and lacks body (again!) but I think this is partly due to a lack of any carbonation and potentially some mashing temp issues. The taste is also initially sweet, followed by an odd aftertaste on the way to sour. This is not a good wheat beer at all and I’m again disappointed. Firstly because wheat beer should not be hand pulled, this should really be served on draught.
I love the concept of this place. A dream envisioned by beer entrepreneurs, hitting the chain circuit. The decor is splendid, the brew kit in the corner, all shiney and clad in copper. The food looks pretty darn good, and the place has all the adopted mantra of what Dogfish Head started all those years ago, albeit with a slight detour: The beer.
The general beer is quite watery, lacks sufficient hops for the style: in particular the American Pale Ale. Imagine expecting something like Beavertown Gamma Ray and getting something like Fullers ESB. Lovely. There was no house IPA on tap either. I must credit the place as having decent beers on tap including Weihenstephan on tap. Now that is something to marvel at. If this place got the beer right, with more hops, more body and possibly a bit more ABV (and style variation) I would have stayed all night. Instead, I experienced more chain pub than brewpub.