The Wyndham Arms in Salisbury, Wiltshire, is somewhere we’ve longed to go ever since seeing its bright yellow, Hopback Brewery branded frontage from a speeding car a few years ago. It’s where the brewery began, before moving to bigger premises. This weekend, we finally made it, and what a treat it was.
Four Hopback beers from casks, several in bottles in the fridge, plus a Guinness-baiting stout on the keg font, kept us there for most of the evening. There’s also a tasteful selection of German and Belgian bottles.
But the real pleasure was in the balance the management had struck between a normal, cosy pub serving the locals (lots of them were in) and something that geeks like us would go out of our way for. That’s canny business from which other landlords would do well to learn.
Having sussed us as geeks, the barman understood completely when we wanted a bottle of Entire Stout from the fridge and a half of the keg to compare. For the record, they were both much better than Guinness, but the bottled version seemed more bitter, emphasising chocolate, whereas the keg was more sour (in a nice way).
Tip: to really blend in, order a pint of Crop or Summer, rather than using the full names (Crop Circle and Summer Lightning). And Kronenbourg 1664 is simply “Numbers”‘.