A new Chester pub passionate about great ales hopes to have shiny happy customers to match the shiny coppers in its basement microbrewery.
Warm Hearth Ltd, trading as Brewhouse & Kitchen, took over The Forest House, Love Street, from Wetherspoon’s in May.
The pub will reopen on Monday, October 3 following a radical transformation of the late 18th century premises and with staff trained up to know everything about the products they sell.
General manager Dan Grist, who transferred from The Forest House, said: “Brewhouse & Kitchen is about great ale, great food and great people as well. It’s about having the knowledge in your team to make sure guests enjoy themselves but also to know about every beer that we sell.
“So if we sell 16 keg products and eight cask products, plus 30-40 bottled products, that’s a lot of beer to know about and these guys, at the end of these three weeks, will know everything about everything.”
He added: “We’ve got a good range of red wine and rose and sparkling wines as well. We’ve got cocktails and beer-tails so that’s unique for us. They sound odd but they’re actually really, really nice.”
And the licensee insists: “There’s a beer for everyone, even if you don’t normally like beer, you will find one that you like.”
Dan is this week interviewing for the brewer who will run the in-house micro-brewery and deliver master classes for the public, which is something a bit different.
For £20, guests will be able to try eight beers as the expert talks them through each one and attempts to educate while tantalising their taste buds.
“There’s Krombacher Dark lager, for example,” said Dan. “You close your eyes and you know you're drinking a lager but you look at it and your eyes tell you ‘that’s a stout, that’s a porter’ but it’s not.”
Price-wise Dan says spirits will be competitive with Wetherspoon’s while their own beers will range from about £3.50 per pint up to £4.25. The Belgian Tongerlo Blond, voted the world’s best beer, will be the most expensive at about £6 per pint.
Turning to the kitchen part of Brewhouse & Kitchen, the pub will open with the winter menu which has yet to be unveiled. Dan sums up the experience as ‘casual dining’ with many dishes that revolve around the ales such as beer can chicken but with the usual popular pub fare such as burgers, ribs and steaks.
Table-service is an option for both beverages and food or customers can order at the bar. Unlike its Wetherspoon’s predecessor, there will be background music.
London-based Brewhouse & Kitchen has 15 pubs in the group including outlets in Wilmslow, Sutton Coldfield, Cheltenham, Bristol, Bournemouth, Islington, Portsmouth and Southampton.
The sale of Forest House was part of a nationwide sell-off of 34 JD Wetherspoon outlets worth an estimated £40m.