A crumbling stone building in the grounds of a ramshackle castle is home to what might just be the UK’s quirkiest craft beer bottle shop.
Beer Revolution, in the world-famous book town of Hay-on-Wye, stocks hundreds of beers from some of the UK’s top microbreweries.
Welsh beers feature heavily on its shelves, with innovative and up-and-coming small batch brewers given the space to shine among established big names.
And its location on the Welsh-English border affords farm-door access to some of Herefordshire’s best artisan cider producers.
The shop opened a year ago on a cobbled courtyard that forms part of Hay Castle’s grounds, taking over an old storeroom.
Its whitewashed stone walls keep the stock flavour-saving cool even in the height of summer while the upstairs mezzanine has been transformed into a grungy bar and tasting area.
Complete with battered but comfy sofas and repurposed pallet furniture, it’s the perfect spot to escape the madness of Hay’s annual literary festival.
The shop has just marked its first birthday (November 2015) by launching a web store.
Stock is constantly rotating as the owners snag whatever catches their eye (or their palate!) – keep an eye on www.beerrevolution.co.uk for what’s new.
The site is also the place to go to bag a bottle of ‘Cwtch’ – the current holder of the coveted ‘Champion Beer of Britain’ title – from Newport-based brewery Tiny Rebel.
The InnSpectre reviews…
There’s a fine selection of books available at the King Lud on the Isle of Wight, although it’s going to take a certain kind of pubgoer to thumb through the weighty tome that is Active Server Pages 3.0. For those looking for a more free-flowing read there’s the Concise Oxford Dictionary.
The barmaid at the Railway in Cheam stared right through me as I ordered a pint. She then looked away when handing over my change with an expression of total and utter disgust. She looked hot, but I felt hideous. It was as if Kim Kardashian was pulling pints for the Elephant Man.
I risked life and limb by going for a wee at the Nell Gwynne, Covent Garden. The descent down the stairs to the toilets is akin to walking down a lift shaft. Bow your head and hold on tight to the handrails as you prepare for a journey to the centre of the pub. Resurfacing gives the drinker a real sense of achievement that I can only imagine was felt by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing when they conquered Everest back in 1953.
I edged towards the bar at the Zetland Arms in South Kensington, bumping my cheap old man bag into posh people who I suspect have names such as Tarquin, Octavia, Marmaduke and Cressida, all of whom had the obligatory quiff and smug smile you’d expect from polo-loving members of the aristocracy.