I’ve written about the Grain and Hop Store before, when it reopened almost two years ago as Greene King’s attempt at a craft beer bar. I liked it more than I expected to then, and I still like it now. It’s a welcoming spacious place, and for a former industrial building (Avery Scales factory) manages to avoid the cold industrial feel I find, say, a typical Brewdog bar emanates, having plenty of wood furnishings and warm colours to soften the exposed pipes and brickwork, and as our visit was on the eve of Twelfth Night, the last of the festive decorations were still in place, including of course a Rocking Rudolph flashing pump clip.
That said, the keg beer list was a bit of a disappointment. I could put this down to it being a cold Wednesday evening in “Dryanuary”, but if that were the case I’d expect to see fewer cask ales if anything, yet all six cask ales were on, it was the keg list that had diminished – I don’t visit often enough to know if this was a one-off or a trend. In any case, after having the Brentwood Chocwork Orange I’d have preferred a reduced cask choice – I’d kindly suggest it was on the turn, but more honestly it tasted like it had been filtered through soil. The Brewdog Santa Paws was fine though, and the cask Oakham Oblivion, to be fair. There’s always the Tankovna.
It was only 6pm, so it might not be a concern that there weren’t many people in, but a large pub can look especially empty when it’s not busy. I want this pub to succeed, as I say, I think it’s a nice place, but on this occasion it didn’t appear to be exactly thriving. One to keep an eye on maybe.