Team talk issue raised by: Justin Hamilton.

Whitstable Bay

Whitstable Bay, the club’s session ale

In a nutshell: The bar regularly has a single bitter on handpump – Shepherd Neame’s Whitstable Bay. Can we have some variety? Can we have guest beers so there is an alternative style of beer?

The answer: Yes we can have a different beer as our standard ale and we can have guest beers from different breweries. But the devil is in the detail.

Pauline the pints

We have a sponsorship deal with the local Kent brewery Shepherd Neame. The more we buy from them the better the deal we get. That means our main beer needs to be from Shepherd Neame. It could be Master Brew, Spitfire or Bishop’s Finger, for example. The reality if the main ale needs to be session ale that meets a wide variety of tastes.

Whitstable Bay is a pale ale at just 3.9%. The brewery’s other main session ale is Master Brew at just 3.7%. But the brewery describes Master Brew as: “A distinctive, mid-brown bitter ale, with all the hoppy aroma you would expect of a beer brewed in the heart of the hop country.”

Hoppy, dark in colour, these are both warning signs for some drinkers. While many of us might be happy with Master Brew, others wouldn’t. If there is a groundswell of opinion that the main beer in the bar should be a different Shepherd Neame beer, and sales did not drop off as a result, Pauline will happily switch the order.

Welcoming guests

Brockley brewery beers

Local brewers, such as Brockley Brewery, could be supported

Guest beers are a simpler matter. We can have any of the other Shepherd Neame beers as a guest ale. But we are not tied to one brewery. We could get a guest beer from any brewery providing we can find a distributor to get it to us.

The issue here is volume sales. We need to guarantee the club drinks all the guest beer in the short space of time before it goes off. Realistically that restricts it to weekends when we have event or guaranteed large turnouts, such as VP lunches. If it is not drunk it will go off and that will be a waste. During the week there is simply not enough demand to have two cask ales on draft.

So, expect to see a guest beer at the next VP lunch on 29 February. If you have suggestion for a beer you’d like to see, comment below.

If you have a question, a compliment or suggestions for improvement, contact team talk