I mentioned Greene King last week, and they are again in the news with the announcement of their rebranding and end of year results.  Sadly not brewing decent beer yet then.  The logo will change from the “Green Abbot” to “The Bury St Edmunds Crown and Arrows”.  I admit the logo does look a lot nicer from a design point of view and puts the focus on their regional roots, but is not likely to tempt me to drink their beer any time soon.  Many people obviously disagree with me however as their sales rose 6% to top the £1 billion level in 2010-2011.  Food related sales accounted for 60% of these figures it is interesting to note, outstripping the liquid sales by quite a majority.

The brewery is also reducing their tenanted estate and it appears that many of the managers of such establishments across the board are experiencing very different conditions, with 56% experiencing expected or better than expected trading and 43% being left disappointed.  That is nearly half of those who responded.  The interesting figure to come out of this is that the relationship between pub tenants and their manager at the PubCo is worsening overall with 61% of respondants citing no increase in support from said manager over the year.  Taking these two facts in combination could be interpreted as PubCo’s attempts to organically reduce their tenanted stock.

It has also come to my attention that the Fosters brand are bringing out Foster Gold, a premium chill filtered version of the base product.  The target audience for this beer is, to quote Fosters, “aimed at 18 to 34-year-old men, who want something more sophisticated than a can, particularly when women are around”.  That reads to me as “you have got more chance of pulling when you drinking a bottle of alcoholic piss water rather than a blue can of it”.  I’m sure most women’s sole criteria when picking a partner is not what vessel they are drinking a very poor beer from.   When a beer can make Greene King an attractive option then you know it is not good.

Last weekend saw me visit the Old Bridge Inn at Ripponden, a pub which sits not 30 yards from the main Halifax to Rochdale road, but may as well be 300 yards away if you didn’t know where it was.  Tucked on a side street which leads to the parish church just off the Elland Road, and over a narrow cobbled bridge, the pub sits by the River Ryburn and has its beer garden overlooking the same.  The pub, which is one of the oldest in the area, had 3 real ale pumps on when I visited, and the one I selected on the day was a decent pint, if a touch bitter for me. The guest beers which accompany the Timothy Taylor regulars are rotated regularly, with Brass Monkey, Goose Eye and Daleside products all listed for the near future on their website.  The food I would class as going towards gasto pub in places on the menu.

I had the chance on Friday to try the latest signature beer from Thwaites, Crowd Pleaser (4.2%) at The Ship Inn.  A pleasant fruity beer, leading to a dry finish is organically brewed and was well received by yours truly.  Coming soon from them is 13 Guns, the beer out of this years selection I am most looking forward to.  It is a hoppy American style IPA, with a touch of bitterness, just the beer to really appeal to me.  I’ve sampled 3 of these signature brews so far this year and have been consistently good so far.  Their regular smooth ale is also one of the few “smooths” I am willing to drink on a frequent basis, with this being my normal pint at the local cricket club.

More than a few of these were drank on Sunday at Ramfest 2 at the Southowram Cricket Club which exceeded all expectations and over 750 people had a great day out in the sun including the editor of this publication.  The 6 bands went down really well, and many pints, bottles and burgers were happily consumed by all.  May I give my personal thanks to the editor for all his support in helping to promote this event.

Until next week, happy supping.