There is a lot of dismissing of the Wetherspoons chain of pubs because they are a chain. I too am not a big fan of the mass market pub, particularly the ones with televisions blazing away all day. But from a beer perspective they are making a tipple far more affordable.
However, it was my venture into a Wetherspoons pub in Petts Wood that got me a pint of Spitfire for just ₤1.49! A bargain in anyone’s book. A walk through our local woods to the Crown Inn (School Road, Chislehurst, BR7 5PQ) at Chislehurst (check out our free crawl), a Shepard Neame pub, saw me paying ₤3.25 for the same beer.
OK, I will admit that the pint in the Crown Inn tasted fresher, but the pint in Wetherspoons was certainly not “off” and tasted perfectly fine. Can our pockets continue to pay over ₤3 for a pint of beer?
A walk around the pubs of London is evidence enough to show that ₤3 to ₤3.50 is the going rate for a pint and there is no evidence that the pubs are empty. Indeed with the current economic climate, I would have expected publicans to be hit hard, but I reckon the reverse is true, pubs look like they are booming.
But before you agree that beer is becoming expensive, take a moment for our friends in Western Australia. On a recent trip, a late afternoon call on a very sunny Thursday saw me take a 20 minute walk from West Perth to Leederville.
Braving the cyclists hooning along the footpath and the traffic lights that have a green man time that Linford Christie would have difficulty beating, I arrived at the Garden – a bar in the garden of the Leederville Hotel.
The Leederville Hotel, or Leedy as Aussies commonly refer to it as, has always been a bit of a shit-hole, so anything they did could only be an improvement.
The shock came when I ordered a pint of Little Creatures Pale Ale (from the awesome Little Creatures Brewery in Freemantle) and was charged a whopping $10.50.
Well, how much is that you may ask? With the current exchange rate that’s about £6.50 – double the price of a pint in a decent London pub!
So next time you are asked for £3.50 for a pint, spare a thought for the Aussies. At £6.50 a pint, that’s a lot of money to be crying into when you lose the Ashes!