FOUNTAIN INN – GLOUCESTER

Fountain Inn
Westgate Street
Gloucester
GL1 2NW

FIRST VISIT: SUNDAY 25 MAY 2014

According to online sources, the Fountain is the place to go to if you fancy a decent beer in Gloucester. It’s located down a little side alley but there’s an A-Frame board on the main street to help you find the place with the minimum of fuss. Inside it feels a little run-down and local but the staff greet you with a smile and a glad word and nobody gives you daggers. The bar was home to seven ales and one cider: Tribute, Jail Ale, Otter Ale, Butcombe Bitter, Purity Saddleback, Cotleigh IPA, Black Sheep Bitter and Orchard Pig’s Navel Gazer cider. Pump clips one the wall suggested that sometime in the past the Fountain had served Arbor and Bristol Beer Factory. I ordered a pint of the Cotleigh IPA, primarily because they have crafted up their pump clips. It was an acceptable enough beer but the hop hit and the 3.9% ABV means it doesn’t really warrant being called an IPA. It was lunchtime so we ordered food. My lamb roast was decent and the pint of Saddle Back I had to go with it was also decent.

The next time I visit Gloucester there’s a fair chance I’ll return to the Fountain but I won’t return to Gloucester just to visit the Fountain.

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ROLLESTON ARMS – SWINDON

Rolleston Arms
Commercial Road
Swindon
SN1 5NX

FIRST VISIT: THURSDAY 3 APRIL 2014

The Rolleston is a bit of Swindon institution but it’s seen better days. It’s been run down, threatened with closure, temporarily closed, reopened, run down, threatened with closure… (repeat to fade). But it’s standing.

Outside is the good old Greene King logo. Nice and big to make it easier for you to avoid the place. But it’s no longer a GK pub. Or, if it is, they don’t bother having a hand in the beers that the place sells. There were a loads of big brand kegged products that you find in most mainstream pubs. The cask list offered London Pride (these days Swindon is practically a suburb of London), Doombar (we are sort of in the West Country) and Purity’s Mad Goose (our friends to the north). Naturally, I opted for a Mad Goose. It’s a good beer and I’ve long preferred it to Purity’s more famous Ubu. In the fridge, alongside the alcopops and mixers, were bottles of Bombardier, which seemed like a slightly odd choice for the only bottled beer. I took my beverage to a chewed up but comfy leather sofa.

The Rolleston is a decent sized L-shaped boozer. It looks like and feels like a pub. You can sense the regret and lost opportunities as soon as you step through the doors. ‘If only I hadn’t discovered Doombar, I could have been a contender.’ There’s artwork on the walls. Artwork that you can buy, if you so desire. That’s long been a feature of the Rolleston. They don’t just sell beer. They give wall space to local artists. And they host live music. And, according to bits of paper placed strategically around the place, they do the best Sunday Roast in town – just like another 20 or so places. There’s free Wifi but only for 30 minutes but if you hang around longer you might get to re-log back in. I didn’t hang around for 30 minutes. I scooped my pint in about 25 then headed of on quest to discover Yeastie Boys.

The Rolleston is better than I remembered. I won’t be rushing back but I won’t be avoiding it with quite the fury that I once did.