Wetherspoons Beer Festival Wed 10th to Sun 21st Oct

Oh yes, it’s here again, but quite different this time. No international brewers, very few Wetherspoons specials. They appear to be going for more established or seasonal beers from the larger breweries. All of which means that I have a rather manageable target of just 14 of the 30 beers to find.

The link to the list can be found here

https://www.jdwetherspoon.com/pubs/events/real-ale-and-cider-festival

I have added the beers that we are missing on Ratebeer, so no need to be adding yourselves.

Okay it’s not the most exciting list and probably won’t require Ian doing a cycling tour, but there is a chance of completion for the rest of us this time.

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I use to love Wetherspoon, but since Tim Martin has gone all nationalist/racist and is rejecting anything not British in his pubs, I no longer feel comfortable going there. My wife is European, as are many of my friends - on and off RateBeer. There are already plenty of dick-head pubs where the racists go to moan about there being too many Polish people in the UK, without Wetherspoons joining in. One of the particular things I liked about Wetherspoons was that it was so inclusive. Not any more it seems.

We live in troubling times.

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I couldn’t have said it better myself. There are plenty of other places I can go where I and my family feel welcome. I’m not boycotting per se but it’s an uncommon occurrence…

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I must say we don’t visit Wetherspoons very often either, nor ever really have, but that’s because I have never really enjoyed that many of them. I find them to be uncomfortable, often dirty drinking dens rather than destination venues.
As a remainer, having voted that way and still believe that it should be the Country should be going, I have never agreed with Tim Martins point of view and his constant banging on about it to an already converted audience.
However I’m not sure that makes him a racist, ironically at some points his company must have been one of the biggest employers of East Europeans in Britain, we certainly seemed to have had many in our local Spoons. This isn’t the case now, but I doubt that it would be their company policy to reduce their international employees.
Whilst I agree that his establishments attract a fair share of red necked anti immigration customers Tim Martin is entitled to his own view point, as are we all. Doesn’t make him right but also doesn’t make him anything other than misguided.

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Tim Martin is making a rod for his own back in my opinion. Blocking drinks from his pubs if they come from a European source, what next food and staff (as alluded above)?

As for liking Wetherspoon pubs or not, I have mixed feelings; some are fine, some lovely and plenty are neither of those two. Times of the day also play a part in my Wetherspoon’s experiences, as some can change drastically in the evenings, just like many other pubs. I will not be banning myself but I have never really tried to find reams of them anyway.

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It’s a tricky thing deciding when excluding the product of another people because they are not produced by your people is racist or acceptable, and you’re probably right that he intentions are not racist. However, while his intentions might not be, his actions are. Up until Brexit he was happy to not just include products from outside the UK, but positively sought them out. Now, suddenly, he excludes them. This is not an economic choice, but a purely judgemental one. It will no doubt appeal to the bigots and racists he presumably wants to attract into his pubs. And it will keep away those Europeans who want to drink products they are familiar with.

I wonder what he will do after Brexit? And I wonder what he will do if we do get another referendum and the vote this time is to remain?

What JDW seem to have done so far is replace Champagne and wheat beers produced in France and Germany with some local versions (with Blue Moon being classed as a local wheat beer? and Sparkling wines from the UK and Australia are being substituted for champagne). So seems more like a policy to ensure supply for JDWs in the case of issues with getting goods from the EU after Brexit. It’s interesting that Kopparberg confirmed that it will be producing its cider in the UK post-Brexit to ensure it’s hold on the UK fruit alco-pop cider supply.

That’s a shame… keeping Kopparberg out was one of the incredibly few things (maybe the only thing?) that was good about Brexit…

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Anyway, since when was Kopparberg cider?

It says it’s a premium cider on the bottle

Tim Martin has said that he has some European contracts he has to honour, but when they have expired he will gradually drop all European products, even Lavaza coffee, his top seller. This is before he has any idea of what deals will be done. Nobody knows what deals will be done. But Martin has decided he doesn’t want European products regardless of what deals are done.

Like so many Brexiteers, he is stunningly ignorant of how the EU works, calling the European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker an “unelected oligarch” even though Junker had to be nominated by the European Council (who are all elected European heads of state) and then elected by the European Parliament (which consists of elected MEPs). Meanwhile, Theresa May became Prime Minister of the UK without the public, the MPS, or even her own party voting for her. She put herself forward, and nobody stood against her. So the Brits have an unelected leader negotiating with a legitimately double elected leader, but Martin the Brexiter calls the legitimate European leader the “unelected oligarch”. Cough cough, splutter splutter. There’s none so blind as an opinionated nationalist racist.

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On the other hand, I had breakfast and a couple of beers at the new Spoons at St Pancras on Saturday and very pleasant it was too. Empty at 09.00 a weekend, breakfast was served quickly and politely and the 2 beers I sampled were both in good condition and temperature.

I have to go into the centre of Wellington this afternoon (Tuesday 16th Oct), for a couple of reasons.

It is my intention to start a pub crawl from the Wetherspoon’s back home via two other public houses. I shall report back here on the selection in Spoons and the other ones; you lucky people!

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Picked up another 3 today. Just 8 to go for me.

Right; back home after a very pleasant evening with the wife.

The William Withering (local Wetherspoon) did me proud. Eight festival beers on, seven (only six after checking) new to me. obviously tried all seven; Castle Rock ‘Wheel of Fortune’ being our favourite beer tasted.

Of the 30 beers in the festival I now discover I have had 10 before. So 20 to find I have had 6; 14 to go (not that I am intending to rush out and find them).

Second pub was closed (new winter opening hours); bugger!

Cock Hotel had as usual, eight hand-pulls; always Hobsons Best Bitter in good order. A new Beartown brew (for me anyway), Hobsons Mild, Stairway from Ludlow and a Limehouse Porter from Listers.

The shires are alive!

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I have to take Sandra to Reading on Saturday and I get to have a quick spin round. Fortunately we are going by Train, so no worry of driving. Hopefully I can dive in to the remaining town centre Spoons to see if there are any winners in there before ending up at The Nags.
Biggest concern is that Reading host Millwall on Saturday afternoon, might be a little tetchy for a while in town.

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I have to say the condition and quality of the cask ales in my local Wetherspoon last night were excellent.

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Off to the 4th Shifnal (CAMRA) Beer Festival today; according to the beer list there should be eight new hits for me, five from Shropshire.

On the way I shall pop into my local Spoons to see if there are any different festival beers on, hopefully one or two of the fourteen I haven’t tried yet.

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Not done a single festival beer.

This is due to 4 things.

  1. No foreign collaborations reduces the interest in this festival
  2. 30 beers, at least half of which I have had already is no longer a challenge
  3. I can get better beer distribution without making the huge effort
  4. Really disappointed in the overt Brexit owner, I’ve always liked Spoons, and will continue to use them when required, but it leaves a bad taste these days.

Therefore there will be no harrisoni cycle hunt for Spoons beers this October. A disappointment I know, but I will be hunting down the 50 BrewDog Collab beers instead in 7 Dials / Soho so keep an eye on that thread instead

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I will be doing BrewDog Soho and Seven Dials rather than my usual Spoons tour on Saturday

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