Saturday, 10 November 2007

The Royal Oak, Friday Street near Horsham 10th November 2007

I was really looking forward to visiting this haunt of Sussex beer aficionados.

Whether I happened to go on an unusually busy night I don’t know, but I was unprepared for the sheer rudeness of the customers. It’s a small pub with low ceilings and narrow doorways, which makes standing in them all the more stupid, in my opinion.

I tried twice to get to the bar and twice gave up. There was Cajun food available which was lovely, except for the fight to get a plate, the fight to get a place in the queue, and then the fight to get to the serving spoon.

When I finally reached the bar I found eight real ales and a cider on.

Grand Union English Wheat Beer (4.4%): Pleasant although a bit dishwatery. Very pale.
Grand Union One Hop: Progress (4.5%): Tasty malty light coloured beer with a long, strong hoppy aftertaste.
Surrey Hills Ranmore Ale (3.8%): Unprepossessing tasteless light coloured beer.
Dark Star Old Ale (4.0%): Tasty rounded malty old, with a slight tang.

The first time I was served I had to wait until every other person had been served around me, regardless of how long they’d been waiting. I asked sensible questions about the beers but was not offered any samples, even though others around me were. I was served a half in a lined but chipped pint glass, and was generally disenchanted by the whole experience.

I will give this pub another chance because so many people say how great it is, but I’m nowhere near convinced. The one thing I can’t fault is the choice of beers that was available. The beer quality was good but not spectacular.

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