BAG O’ NAILS – BRISTOL

Bag O’ Nails
St George’s Road
Bristol
BS1 5UW

FIRST VISIT: FRIDAY 18 JULY 2014

The Bag O’ Nails is a bit of a Bristol legend. Much like its landlord. And its cats. It’s a small place but it’s home to a lot of beer and a record player that plays actual records. If you ask nicely the staff will even let you choice what record gets played. If you behave really nicely you might even get to play one of your own records instead of the house stock. Just remember to keep your stiletto heels off the floor and that Protz is a BrewDog and you should be fine.

From Thursday evening to Sunday close the Nails is home to the Harbourside Cynical Cash In Beer Festival. A glittering array of superstar breweries whose beers are scheduled to make an appearance: Hardknott, Summer Wine, Ilkley, Arbor, Hop Kettle, Burning Sky, Steel City, Wiper & True, et al. I’m always up for scooping some Arbor and Wiper & True but it was the chance to drink some Hop Kettle somewhere that isn’t the Red Lion that had me most keen to pay the Bag a visit.

When I arrived there was a few folk ahead of me but the place wasn’t busy. Luke the Landlord and a barman were busy checking the readiness of the beers on gravity. I decided to order a pint of Steel City’s Protz’s Pleasure. It’s a 5.3% BIPA and it was brewed to celebrate the fact that Protz said the BIPAs are an insult to history. Except he didn’t. He merely said the name is an insult to history. In the trendier beer corner of Twitter he got a load of abuse, some of it going way beyond good spirited and into the realm of downright offensive. Protz isn’t the only person to have taken aim at the term BIPA but in the nouveau-beer age Protz is seen as old skool and consequently and enemy of the state whereas Garret Oliver, another famous BIPA detractor, is consider uber-cool so his words are forgiven, forgotten, ignored. Of course, some people have purposely misinterpreted Protz’s words for their own nefarious cash in purposes and they appear to have done so without any apparent trace of irony. Such is the ways of the world. Steel City’s take on a BIPA is okay but considering its name and its mission it is a bit of an insult to insults.

Before I could have another pint I had to undertake a little bit of cellar work. A cask of Moor Revival needed tapped and as it was sitting on the bar Luke asked if I would put some weight behind it to make sure it didn’t end up falling off the bar. The beer was tapped. My weight kept it happily on the bar. A fountain of beer shot upwards and outwards. I took a step to the side and avoided most of the geyser but did get splashed a bit – best smelling aftershave I’ve encountered.

For my second pint I wanted a hit of Hop Kettle but unfortunately it wasn’t quite ready. So I went for a pint of Red Stoat from Ashley Down. It was good but seemed a little bit dark and heavy for a bitter. I was tempted to go for a pint of Wiper & True In The Penis (a Bag O’ Nails exclusive) but time was ticking on and the pub was getting a bit too busy and I fancied revisiting BrewDog and the Stars before catching a train home.

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