John and Sally Tarling, licensees of the Oakwood on Rayleigh Road in Leigh-on-Sea are seeing such a demand for real ale from their customers that they’ve increased the number of handpulls in the pub from three to seven.
Currently on offer at the Oakwood, which is owned by national pub operator, the Stonegate Pub Company is Crouch Vale’s Brewers Gold and Essex Boys, Young’s Best Bitter, Ringwood Brewery’s Best Bitter, Wells & Young’s Bombardier, Adnams Southwold bitter and Weston’s Traditional Scrumpy.
“We’re seeing a real resurgence in cask ale at the Oakwood”, said Sally Tarling. “A lot of our regulars who come to the pub say they’ve been told that it’s better for their waistline - I’m not sure about that myself! What I have noticed is that people want something a little different from their drink choices and are really experimenting with tastes and flavours which is something that you get with real ale, what with all its complexities. Of course, I also think it helps that you can only get a glass of hand pulled real ale in a great British pub - if the beer is kept in perfect condition and served correctly, there’s nothing like it!
“Another factor in the rise in popularity of real ale is the fact that people can get a beer that’s brewed in their local area and they like to support that wherever they can – that’s what we’ve tried to do by having Crouch Vale’s beers and Adnams Southwold. In the South East, we’ve got so many breweries to choose from so we’ll be aiming to get a few local brews on the bar wherever possible.”
The Oakwood has Cask Marque accreditation which is an organisation that awards pubs for serving great quality cask ale.