Plug and Taps is the latest craft beer bar on the Preston scene.Advertisement
Located at 32 Lune Street, it joins the likes of The Guild Ale House, The Moorbrook and The Continental as a purveyor of real ale. It was opened a couple of weeks ago by the people who run the popular Market Ale House in Leyland.
I visit on a pleasant Friday evening and the sun is streaming through the windows.
I should say upfront that, while I like beer, I’m no real ale expert. In fact I usually choose an ale based on where it’s made or how appealing the logo is (sorry!).
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On this occasion it’s the former, as I plump for a Northern Monk. It’s a 7% seasoner from the greatest place on Earth, Yorkshire (Editor’s note: We will be having words with Kate about this!)
I tell Adam behind the bar about the very unscientific reason for my decision, but he explains about the hoppiness of this particular ale, and assures me that it’s a good choice. The beer is noticeably and deliciously chilled, and has an almost fruity taste.
My companion has a shandy made with the 3.6% Life’s A Beach from Brass Castle, which is described as a “pineapple and coconut wheat treat”. It’s also vegan and brewed to a gluten free recipe.
The ale is mixed with Fever Tree lemonade, and as such I declare it to be one of the poshest shandies ever made.
As the beer slips down, I earwig over a conversation taking place at the other end of the bar about beer. It may as well be in Swedish but there’s one guy who sounds particularly knowledgeable. He looks like he’s in his happy place – drinking, discussing ales, comparing prices, and generally geeking out over everything beer related.
Another ale catches my eye due to its modern, pastel logo that looks quite different to the usual gaudy real ale designs. I mention it to Adam and he explains that this particular brew is from Manchester firm Cloudwater, and costs the equivalent of £10 per pint.
I nearly fall off my stool. I had no idea ale could cost so much. However Adam explains it’s full of expensive ingredients, and at 8.5% I suppose you wouldn’t need much of it before you really were falling off your stool.
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I might have tried the Cloudwater, but next I fancy sampling one of the eclectic range of high-end gins on offer. I plump for Puerto de Indias strawberry gin with Fever Tree tonic. The gin is made with real strawberries and is served on ice with fresh strawberry and raspberry garnish. It’s very refreshing and not at all too sweet. Apparently this is a popular choice with patrons.
I finish my gin while enjoying the old indie tunes that are playing. I notice there are Preston North End programmes to peruse, and beers available to take out.
A modern and welcoming bar, at Plug & Taps it doesn’t seem to matter what you know or don’t know about ale. But as I emerge into the late evening sunshine, I realise that next time I visit, I’ll at least know a little bit more.
Have you been to Plug & Taps? Let us know what you thought in the comments below.