A century of local real ales… in only seven months

A Leicestershire pub is celebrating serving a century of local real ales this weekend, after only seven months open.

The Geese and Fountain in Croxton Kerrial opened its doors last August, after the previous pub, The Peacock, had laid empty for nearly three years. Now, seven months later, they are about to serve their one hundredth locally brewed real ale.

Licensee Nick Holden says the pub is all about highlighting the best of local produce, and the beer is no exception. “We offer a great variety of real ales, from hoppy pale ales to milds, stouts and porters, but all of them are selected from local breweries – no more than 40 miles from the pub itself. This is a return to tradition for the pub industry, when pubs would either have a brewery on-site or offer beers from the local area. We believe serving local beer is good for the environment and good for customers – when you visit the Geese and Fountain you know you’re going to get something special, something different, something that little bit more memorable.”

And with new beers being added to the bar each week, Nick is celebrating a very special century – 100 different locally brewed beers have now been served from the bar, in the course of just seven months of trading. “We do sometimes go back to ‘old favourites’ which have proved especially popular with our regulars,” explained Kate Ahrens, landlady, and Nick’s partner, “but we always aim to have at least two new beers available each week. Every time you visit us, we want you to be able to try something new.”

The 100th beer to be served on the bar at the Geese and Fountain is a special beer in its own right – the result of a collaboration between two Nottingham-based breweries: Abstract Jungle and Totally Brewed. Their Chocolate Hazelnut Porter will go on the bar this weekend, and will mark the Geese and Fountain’s first 100 beers. Nick said it was a good choice: “It’s nice that we’re marking the first 100 beers with something a bit special, the result of a collaboration amongst local brewers, and also a Porter – as March sees the ‘Stout and Porter Stroll’ organised by Nottingham’s branch of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale.”

Of course, it’s not just the beers that are local at the Geese and Fountain. They also serve lots of local produce in their food menu, including ice cream made at the pub using cream from a local rare breed dairy herd. There are gins and vodkas from Leicestershire, ciders from Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, and, of course, quality local cheeses and pork pies.

But the focus on local beers makes the pub stand out. Nick adds, “It is a bit unusual to come in to a village pub and not see any nationally recognised brands on the bar – even our lagers, our ciders and our stout and so on are all brewed locally. It does sometimes take people a little while to adjust. With the big breweries dominating the industry we have got used to the same few brands appearing on every single bar. But with new breweries springing up all over the country, and micropubs and craft beer bars appearing in many towns and cities, the pub industry is changing for the better. Customers will get more variety, more choice, and more great beer to drink. We’re looking forward to our second century of great local beers.

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