The White Lion Hotel in the centre of Bristol is an outlet for Gloucestershire’s Wickwar Brewing, which is what lured us in.
The pub itself is very strange. It has a tiny public bar and, when we were there, the clientele comprised hard blokes, mad northern ladies in hats, and French labourers drinking Grolsch. And (surely this is more trouble than it’s worth?) there is a rickety, wobbling, narrow spiral staircase leading to the gents toilet downstairs. It nearly did for Bailey and we can’t help but wonder how many people have died happy clattering drunkenly down it over the years.
As for the beer,the award-winning Station Porter was the standout — intensely fruity, with a sour blackcurrant flavour. Like Fuller’s London Porter, it seems to be a beer that ripens when it’s been in the cask for a while. We’d say it was on the very edge of being off, but we think we caught it just at its peak. It’s also just nice to see a porter on offfer on the pumps in a more-or-less normal pub.
Banker’s Draft is the one they’re really pushing with posters all over the place. ‘Wacky’ topical name aside (it’s not their worst) it probably deserves the hoo-ha, being a very drinkable, somewhat interesting pale, fruity, sweet ale with an elderflower-like hop flavour.
Wickwar are clearly a sort-of OK brewery who’ll we’ll look out for in future.