The Bird-In-Hand,Earls Colne is a remote pub without huge sales (understatement) but I was able to get five different beers (1 on hand pump) all in good condition. The reason was that the gravity beer came in polypins. The brewery doesn't like the messing about but the system works. If your local publican says "there's no demand . . ." then suggest they try a polypin and harass the brewery.
Compare with the George,Witham: Eventually they stocked up with polypins of Winter ale then kept it secret - not a single advertisement until they needed to sell it quick. Perhaps some landlords should try the very simplest of marketing over the bar rather than leave the field clear for TV adverts for cans and widgets. How pleasant the invitation "Have a sip of X and tell me what you think."
Gray & Sons allow their houses to have a guest beer alongside Greene King (IPA and Abbot). For this policy to be successful there has to be sufficient demand to keep the beers turning over - so get out there and try it. I fancy the guest list is rather limited but I don't expect the suggestions of loyal drinkers for alternatives will be ignored.
As a stranger in the Hoop, Stock I was offered a taste before you buy of a beer that I asked about.
In October the mild was real mild rather than the darkened bitter. The Spectacular wasn't, and beware of fake witchfinder (ESX with colouring) - freehouses should specifically insist on the true brews when ordering - they are far superior to the blends. Go to the Walnut Tree for the best Ridleys IPA. This pub consistently serves Ridleys better than anywhere else. I'm looking forward to tasting the Winter Ale which is available now - Ask your local to get a polypin, it is excellent if history is anything to go by.
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