The pub doesn’t formally open until Sunday, but from Thursday it opened its doors to invited guests to allow them a sneak preview and give the staff the opportunity to put their training into practice before all hell breaks loose once they open properly.
Being an invited guest makes me feel very grand, but it wasn’t that hard: if you were an early follower on Twitter (@BKGloucester) you could get in touch and they sent you an invite. I didn’t even do that: my invite came through Gloucester CAMRA – there are distinct advantages to membership.
So what did I think?
Well, on the strength of last night I have to say that I give it a resounding thumbs up.
The Brewhouse and Kitchen is located on Bakers Quay, facing out onto the canal and just a short walk from Llanthony Bridge. The decor and ambience of the place fit in well with nearby Tank and Portivo Lounge, with wooden floors, bare brick walls and lots of exposed industrial looking gubbins up in the roof.
What makes the Brewhouse and Kitchen special is the Brewhouse bit: in the corner are a number of beautifully polished brewing vessels where they will brew all of their own beers. There are five beers as standard, all named with a local flavour:
- Stevedore Session Bitter, named for the stevedores who used to work the docks loading and unloading ships
- Down a Pegg American Amber Ale named for Gloucester’s own Simon Pegg
- SSB American Pale Ale, named for the Star Spangled Banner, the music for which was written in 1750 by Gloucester man John Stafford Smith
- Shed Head Session IPA, named obviously for Gloucester’s rugby fans
- Propulsion Black IPA named for Gloucester’s aircraft industry and Frank Whittle’s jet engine.
As well as getting the opportunity to try the beer, we also got a small taste of the ‘Kitchen’ part of the operation with ribs, chicken wings and black pudding fritters handed around – delicious. The full menu was available to see for future reference and looked extremely tempting.
And finally, an important aspect of any pub that far too many overlook: the staff. There were a good number of them buzzing around and all were polite, friendly and chatty. They also know their stuff: they have had two weeks training in which they have learned about the beers – not only those on tap, but also the extensive bottled selection. With a pub based around the beer this is very important; they can also tell you the story behind the beers’ names.
So overall Brewhouse and Kitchen looks like a good addition to the thriving Docks scene: in keeping with the area and a good complement to existing offerings.