Thursday, October 18, 2007

Busy Weekend Part 1 - Fernandes Bier Keller, Wakefield

What a hectic end to the week this is turning out to be with a couple of new pub launches plus a beer festival too! And it won't be helped by a packed sporting weekend that will surely handicap my chances of spending some meaningful time at these events. But enough idle chat - here's my three ha'pence worth on the newly built Fernandes bar.

Fernandes BO (Before Ossett)
The new look Fernandes - it could be Bavaria!

Ossett's first non-cask bar opened it's doors to an invited few this evening and thanks to a little rescheduling I was able to get there for a few pictures moments before the guests arrived. The outside of this impressive brewhouse is unrecognisable after the rendering and paintwork and really does look every bit the authentic Deutsche deal. An incredible transformation!

Sandwiched as it is between the brewery and the pub, the interior of this first-floor former brew shop manages to convey a kind of hushed intimacy partly due to the low ceilings, columns and small windows, but also because it feels as if it shouldn't really be there - like a speakeasy if you will, illegal yet exciting. My original vision had been of a more 'modern', brighter bar with plenty of mirrors and chrome etc but then I guess this is probably more eurothentic [sic] - though I do speak from limited experience both on matters of prohibition and continental pub-crawling!

Moving on to the beer and I noticed that it isn't a totally cask-free bar after all as there's a single handpump dispensing the brewery's flagship ale Silver King - I would imagine to prevent parties of mixed drinkers having to go their separate ways every so often! The line up of draught continental brews looks impressive and though most of it is way beyond my tolerance level I am intending to educate my taste buds in the ways of 'die kraft' just as soon as I can! There's also a long menu of imported bottles for the real connoisseur, which to be honest intimidated me a little. I love choice - but too much choice and I just have to run and hide!

The new bar unfortunately shares the upstairs pub's toilet facilities so there's no getting around the dreaded staircases I'm afraid. It's always been my philosophy that the fewer things there are to trip over when having beers, the longer I'll stay alive - and looking at the strength of what's on offer here, I wouldn't fancy my chances of remaining in one piece for very long!
The Verdict: Well bearing in mind I don't drink very much European style beer I will probably be spending more time in the equally charming cask bar upstairs but, as I hope you can tell from the pictures, this new bierkeller has certainly got bags of style and hats off to Ossett brewery for embarking on such a unique and courageous venture.

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