Back to Boring Beer At The Grange, Ealing
Despite it being just round the corner from our flat, we’ve never been regulars at The Grange. When we first moved into the area, the beer there was terrible, the food naff.
When the new manager Ross arrived in the tail end of 2002 things seemed to improve enormously and in March I gave it a much more complimentary review. The beer quality had improved dramatically, and the fact that two of the three handpulls were dedicated to guests was much welcomed.
Unfortunatly Ross moved on – he was only temporary, and in April new people arrived.
All change at the Grange.
It took us a few weeks to go back and was saddend to find just Directors and Spitfire on. The Directors was of no surprise. One handpull had alternated between Courage Best and Directors under Ross anyway. Bit Spitfire, whilst a nice ale, is a far cry from the interesting and varied range that had arrived from smaller brewers.
I had hoped it was a momentary blip – taking over a pub has to be a lot of work. They’d been hard at it – the furniture had been re-organised and the new layout was much better. That they had done very well.
And there it was… Gone again.
When we went back a few weeks later, two guest ales (one a Batemans, one a scottish brewer I hadn’t heard of) were on. Cynically I said at the time that I hoped it wasn’t just a few barrells that had been left over.
Again a few weeks later… Last night in fact. My cynical nature seemed correct. Whilst the beer garden had been tidied up, and a small room on the other side had been cleared out and made into the table football area, there was something very wrong.
Three handpulls. One Directors, one Best, one Fullers London Pride.
What an imaginative third beer to choose (not).
Now I’m not going to knock any three of these ales. Pride in particular is a great ale. But this is Ealing. The Fullers brewery is right next door. They brew fantastic beers and they own a huge chunk of the pubs in the area. Indeed there aren’t many pubs (with handpulls) in Ealing that don’t sell Pride. In fact the only one I knew was the Grange.
So you’ve got an entire town who just can’t get away from London Pride. Everywhere you go, it’s there. So what do you do if you run one of the few pubs in the area that doesn’t sell Pride?
Well put Pride on obviously. Talk about lack of imagination.
Some logic behind it all?
Maybe the guests weren’t selling well. To be honest I find this hard to believe as everytime I went and watched the bar, the guests were doing a far better trade than the Directors or the Best that were on the third pump. People knew they could get something different, so were going (hey, I’d only gone in because a CAMRA member told me that the beer had improved).
With the main reason for visiting the Grange has now gone, and unless I hear that the beer policy has changed back, I won’t be back.
Take my advice, go elsewhere.
There are far nicer pubs in Ealing, but I liked going to the Grange every now and then just because I’d be able to escape Fullers’ near monopoly on the town, and try a few pints of something that wasn’t available in every other pub in the area – try a few pints of a beer I’d never heard of.
It’s sad that a pub that had a real chance to corner a market and make a good reputation for itself, has been dumped back into bog-standard pub territory.