Hopefully we can give you a bit of an insight here into the reasons why we have decided to soon open The Wight Bear Ale House as well as give you a sense of the journey that we have been on that lead to that momentous decision.
Where did it all begin?
Well we’re not actually too sure if there was a start point because we have had an appreciation of good beer for many years, and to pin it down would be difficult, however we knew that we would get involved in something to do with beer somewhere at sometime!
We were fortunate enough to be able to visit New Zealand last February (to visit our Kiwi brother) where we were both knocked out by the level of craft brewing and the dedicated enthusiasm the Kiwis have for their beer.
Suffice to say we got stuck into some terrific bottles of beer from Stoke Brewery and The Mussel Inn, and quaffed Sprig and Fern Brewery ales as well as visiting the long list of “garage” craft brewers in Wellington such as Garage Project and Parrot Dog – such a tough holiday.
The American beer style influence is very apparent with big IPAs and thumping Red Ales but coupled with the fragrant hops they produce, such as the Motueka, the blend was always going to be a winner.
The aroma from the hop fields driving through Moutere was wonderful in the late summer warmth. We did taste some great wine too, but wow is it expensive out there.
After an amazing time in New Zealand, we started our trip back to the UK with a couple of weeks in Australia. Again we found a great selection of craft beers so made sure we put in some hard work to try as many as could while in the land of koalas and kangaroos. And as we discovered, there’s definitely more to Australia than a warm can of Fosters.
That wonderful experience in the Southern Hemisphere stayed with us and we bored people rigid with our stories when we got back to the UK.
Somehow it galvanised our need to taste more beer and we found ourselves planning the odd trip away in our T25 campervan where a Good Beer Guide pub or beer festival was happening nearby. It culminated in a 10 day trip in September along the Sussex and Kent coast visiting the list of recommended Micropubs – really, this is all in the name of research you understand! Once again we were very impressed by the enthusiasm and dedication that came across from the owners of these establishments.
We spent a very convivial evening at The Just Reproach in Deal where we thought the whole “keep it simple” mantra made complete sense and worked very well. We also visited The 39 Steps, The Harbour Arms and The Black Dog (to name but a few) where apart from the obvious personalisation of the pubs, the same Micropub ethos came through.
The following weekend a conversation then took place where the essence of the idea was that Southbourne Grove could support such an idea as the Micropub and why hasn’t someone done it already? There was an obvious niche that could be filled by a Micropub selling cask real ale that the other establishments didn’t or couldn’t.
So who on Earth was going to open a Micropub in Southbourne?
Well if no-one else is going to do it… why don’t we?
What?! Oh. Yes. Well why not! How difficult can it be?
Oh my gosh, are you serious? You are serious aren’t you?
… Ok, let’s do it!