They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Thursday 20 March 2014

A Greene King 'Craft Ale House' (Woodies)

So tonight was the launch of the new crafty version of our local Woodies pub. You can ask the question, what happens when Greene King throws loads of money at one of their pubs and tries to jump on the "Craft Beer" bandwagon... Turns out, they do a pretty damn good job of it!

I'll now take you through a bit of a photo montage of my evening tonight...

The first thing that was evident when we walked in was the selection of cask ales displayed on separate mini interchangeable chalk slates... making scanning the busy bar a thing of the past:

Next up was the bar itself.. Smart, professional and looking good, with 8 permanent cask beers (mainly local) and 4 guest ales. Tonight we went for some St Austell Proper Job, Abbeydale Pale Ale and Roosters YPA, amongst some bottled beers.. (pretty good right! All were in great nick too.)

Speaking of the bottled beers, this was the main centre piece behind the bar, with a very large variety of spirits either side:

The selection was quite honestly impressive for a Greene King pub. I think what impressed me most was the sheer variety though. Goose Island IPA sat alongside Becks, Punk IPA alongside Budweiser, Anchor Porter alongside Fruli, St Stefanus alongside Newcastle Brown Ale and Brooklyn Lager, and many more.. There is literally something for everyone!
    Speaking of which, they even had my personal favourite of the Greene King range:

Not only was the selection great, but it was brilliantly informed as well with a variety of menus giving plenty of tasting notes..

The decorum of the new interior is especially nice, and gives you the feel of a cosy village/country pub. They have a lot of interesting features also, like stools made from books:

And polished floors, where sticky carpets used to lay:

Woodies even passed the toilet test (new pubs getting a face lift but not fixing up the loos...) Passed with flying wall colours!

It's clear they're still passionate about the 'deal' factor. There are plenty of chalk boards around to tempt you with great looking foods, or bargains like "buy a bottle of wine, get a free cheese board" sort of thing.

Overall I went into the pub tonight getting ready to be let down, but silently excited.. Turns out I wasn't disappointed, quite the opposite! I genuinely think what they've done with the place is actually special, be it Greene King or not! You can't help but smile when people are drinking keg Punk IPA and keg Greene King Yardbird alongside one another... Bringing me back to the choice factor once again, Woodies really does now have something for everyone. Fancy a really nice beer? They have it.. Fancy a Yager bomb? get two! With a side of Lagavullin 16yr!

Woodies is definitely worth a visit now, I do recommend. And considering it's literally next door to Beer Ritz, a few of my other favourite haunts do finally have some true competition! they have battleships in the board game section.


  1. in gentrifying the gaff for the aspirant middle class have they done away with the dart board and meat raffle?

    1. Meat raffle yes, dart board no! it's tucked away in the corner though...

  2. I do wonder how they're going to keep the cask in decent condition, considering it wasn't brilliant with half as many on offer. Nice to see proper job up our way though.

    Do they still have sky sports, pool table etc?

    1. Well it tasted great last night, I hope it continues!
      The pool table is gone, but they still have sky sports. That being said, it's much, much less intrusive to the feel of the place, rather you'd have to seek it out than it being in your face..

  3. Well I went the other night to check it out myself and on the whole I'm pretty impressed. If this is the direction mainstream pubs are going then the signs are pretty good.

    Main problem was that of 12 cask beers, most were of the bitter/golden variety. I think only Abbot Ale and Old Speckled Hen were above 4.2% abv (and they don't exactly interest me). No stouts or porters. The range of breweries was certainly OK (Ilkley, Roosters, Hop Studio), they all do very nice golden ales, but I'm not sure what the point is when they are all much of a muchness. Maybe it was just a midweek blip. I know there were more interesting beers in the fridges, but I like cask in the pub, and if I want an interesting bottle of something then I know somewhere pretty close by that's OK for that ;)

    Nice to have some interesting keg offerings, but a bit surprised that they're not having a guest keg. Maybe the market in the mainstream isn't quite there yet as far as keg is concerned.

    Then went to Kirkstall Bridge where they only had 4 casks on (busy night I think), but they had a stout, strong IPA and a weaker pale ale. Nowhere near the number of beers on, but much more variety.

  4. A Greene King 'Craft Ale House' (Woodies) <--- That's what i was looking for
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