There is a new type of bar appearing around the Southampton area, and one that I am every enthusiastic about. This is the Craft Ale Houses and they are proving to be very popular. One of the first ones to appear on the scene back in 2014, was set up in an old Victorian butcher’s shop. Sad to see the butcher’s gone, but on the positive it hasn’t been turned into a junk shop. As a nod to the former premises they called themselves The Butcher’s Hook Alehouse.
The Butcher’s Hook
The Butcher’s Hook is a small independent alehouse and the first thing that you notice upon entering is the fact there is no bar. I would imagine that not only is it a great unique selling point, it probably helps save a lot of space, considering the whole area only measures 12 feet by 27 feet. Seating is either a small area outside, or on communal tables inside, but real ale folk are friendly and chat to other like-minded individuals. There is also a long ledge inside for those who prefer to drink standing up.
The Craft Ales
The Butchers’ Hook has up to 8 gravity-fed cask ale kegs on at any one time. The beers change daily and the ones available on tap are displayed on a chalk board. They also sell a range of other craft ales from bottles and tins which are shown on an even larger list near the bar entrance. They cover a wide selection of local, nationwide and international craft breweries.
When I visited with my girlfriend a couple of weekends ago, I started with a very easy drinking Hirundo by Thornbridge Brewery. However, on their list they also had a couple of strong ales including a 13% ABV Molotov Cocktail by Evil Twin Brewing and a Kentucky Breakfast Stout at 12.4% brewed by Founders Brewing Company. These stronger beers are often brewed in small batches and can be quite hard to come by. I find that some can be quite harsh due to the domination of alcohol. However, these were both well rounded and comparable to drinking a fine wine. An indication, I would like to think, of the owner’s knowledge of the modern craft beer trends.
It is the second time I have been and need to make more of an effort to get to that side of town as the have a very good thing going on. Cheers!
The Butcher’s Hook, 7 Farm Manor Road, Southampton SO18 1NN