Last Saturday I wandered into my second favourite pub in Alnwick, The Tanners Arms. Since I moved to Alnwick I've been a fan of The Tanners. On my visits to Alnwick's award-winning John Bull Inn the Tanners has always been that back-up option that rarely gets used. However recently I've taken a certain liking to the place and at first I was confused as to why this was. The John Bull has has a superior beer range (whereas the Tanners has rarely more than three handpulls on the go at once) and an immense array of over a hundred malt whiskys on offer (the Tanners has an alright range).
But this isn't the point. The thing that's interesting about pubs is that each has its own charm, its own individual vibe almost. Those that know the pubs of Newcastle know that sampling craft brews at the Free Trade isn't the same as knocking back pints of Gladiator at the Crown Posada. The same goes in Alnwick. The Tanners has its own charms, atmosphere, friendly clientele and a tree right in the middle of it. Even though the giant wide screen TV looks totally out of place an a bit wrong the place still gets the thumbs up from me.
But here's the question. How important is it for a pub to have a good beer range? For me it definitely makes a difference especially on first impressions. But without any interesting beers at all I usually end up walking straight back out the door.