Sandford Park Alehouse
FIRST VISIT: SATURDAY 1 NOVEMBER 2014
I’d long heard tales of how great the Sandford Park Alehouse is so it was nice to finally make it’s acquaintance.
From the outside it looks like someone’s house – a nice old house but a house nonetheless. Inside it’s a spacious multi-room affair with an equally spacious garden out back. When I approached the bar I thought the place was cask only as I failed to notice any keg taps. But that wasn’t a problem as they had Oakham Citra. The place was packed full of older well-to-do folk and younger guys in suits (it would appear that young men in Cheltenham like to get dressed up when they go out on a Saturday night – I didn’t know that was still a thing) so we had either had to stand or take a seat outside. We took a seat outside. From my seat I noticed all the keg taps lined up against the back wall. Doh! But hey! It was no real disaster as a pint of Oakham Citra is always an enjoyable experience. When my pint was dead I popped back inside to sample something from the keg line-up. I very nearly almost ordered an Ultimate Stout from Bristol Beer Factory but I at the last moment I decided to go for a Southville Hop – one of the very beers to be created in the UK (and beyond). It was getting cold outside and there sit wasn’t any seats available inside but I fancied another beer regardless. This time I decided to go for a bottle. The previous two beers had been long-time favourites so I decided to stick with that theme. I ordered a bottle of Rochefort 10. The barman (possibly the owner) gave me a look then place the bottle and a standard half pint glass on the beer. I couldn’t see any Rochefort glasses but there were plenty of far more suitable glasses available. I didn’t feel in the mood to complain so I paid my £6.00 and took my beer and its highly unsuitable glass outside. Too add to my discontent some dodgy looking characters had took up residence at the table beside mine. One of them was so trashed that he was falling asleep (been there!) and the other two were joyously recalling the days when the Sandford used to be a Working Mans Club (there are still loads of them in Cheltenham). I gulped the Rochefort down far quicker than a beer of such stature deserves then left.
Despite the fact that the visit was slightly sullied by the fact that the barman must have though I looked like a glass thief I will happily return to the Sandford. I might even keep returning until the I get the chance to steal a Rochefort glass.