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10-03-2015, 12:40
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Micropubs are a growing thing I believe. We are about to get the first in my area, but some say it all started in Kent where I went on Sunday last. Although the owner of the micropub on Hartlepool Station is a mate, I haven't been there, so my only previous visit to one was in Newark, in the very delightful Just Beer, which I wrote about here (http://tandlemanbeerblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/the-mean-back-streets-of-cambridge.html). On Sunday last though, I had the experience of three in one day, in Broadstairs, just a short (albeit expensive) 81 minute journey from St Pancras. My guide on this visit was my friend Nick (@erlangernick)) who was holidaying there on a sabbatical from Bavaria.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-lr2WW2HqJD0/VP7jfpURjaI/AAAAAAAAGCY/A-UbjXwteBU/s1600/yardofalebroadstairs.jpg (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-lr2WW2HqJD0/VP7jfpURjaI/AAAAAAAAGCY/A-UbjXwteBU/s1600/yardofalebroadstairs.jpg)After a walk on the sandy beach on what was a lovely spring day, we had a few beers around the town including the first micropub, the Thirty Nine Steps, quite a large one room affair, with the beer served at one end from a large refrigerated display cabinet kind of thing. It was jammed with customers. Further away, up a very large hill and through a lovely piece of suburbia beyond the railway station, Nick led us through the back-streets to two quite lovely little "micropubs". The irony of being guided through Broadstairs by a Germanicised Yankee was not lost on me, but Nick had been there before and give him his due, despite the twists and turns, we went straight to both. Both different too. The Yard of Ale has a definite farmhouse feel and a nice yard to sit in - with very attractive wrought iron gates - we chatted to the guy that made them - it's that sort of place - and the more pubby, on a street corner, Four Candles, where we received an absolutely tremendous welcome from both landlord and customers. Indeed the welcome in all three was splendid and noticeably warm. They were all busy too and not at all cliquey, which you might imagine to be a danger.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-mBZb-ZBoqGQ/VP7ji-GvikI/AAAAAAAAGCg/ozc8ZtnehmE/s1600/4candlesbroadstairs.jpg (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-mBZb-ZBoqGQ/VP7ji-GvikI/AAAAAAAAGCg/ozc8ZtnehmE/s1600/4candlesbroadstairs.jpg)Personally I loved the micropubs. They seemed to me to take us back to a more intimate and personal pub experience. The basic theme is a one roomed pub with beer drawn directly from the barrels and no lager etc. Real cider was a feature too in all of them and all beer and cider seemed to be about £3 a pint. Food was of the pork pies and pickled eggs variety, but who really needs more while supping ale or cider? I think they've a good chance of spreading and being successful. Potential owners will have to do their homework and pick locations carefully, and while they'll never replace "proper" pubs, they would certainly seem to me to have a deserved place in the drinking spectrum.

I am told set up costs can be around £10,000, so possibly it's a relatively cheap way to enter the free trade? So are micropubs a viable new craze? You know, in the right circumstances, I think they might be.

What of the beer I hear you ask? Not so bad, though personally I'd go like Just Beer in Newark with handpumps. I drank cider though mainly. It just seemed the right thing to do.

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