You had me at Lagunitas IPA…

…kinda.

When Spoons announced they were bringing BrewDog to their bars I sulked. I love(d) BrewDog’s balls-in-the-air marketing strategy and now it seems like they’re getting into bed with their polar opposites. Sitting snugly alongside the “generic beers” that they used to oh so despise.

I only go into Spoons for a few reasons;

  1. It’s raining
  2. I need to pee
  3. I fancy a Punk IPA and Sainsbury’s is closed.

The only other bar that sells Punk in Lincoln is the Strait and Narrow and though they have an extensive range of beers I don’t fancy taking out a loan for bottle. So, in search of our post-work Punk we head to Spoons where I can catch up with my old colleagues and be glad I don’t work there any more.

I am biased against Spoons. I’ve worked there and spent too much of my time making Jagerbombs (3 for a fiver!) and upselling Fosters. And it so happens that Lincoln doesn’t have the best selection of Wetherspoons. I generally don’t wish to walk through the crowd of 9am-til-late Ruddles drinkers and “and chips” smell to get to the bar.

Yes, I get that there are good Spoons out there. Nate Southwood speaks highly of Spoons and I trust his opinion. In fact, I have quite the liking for both the Abraham Derby in Dudley (after a snowy afternoon spent there last year with several pints of stout) and The Moon Under Water in Wolverhampton which is quite pleasant in the pre and post show atmosphere due to being opposite The Grand Theatre.

But even so. “This.Is.Lager” (which, quite frankly, is a obnoxious and ridiculous name) isn’t going to bring me to Spoons. It’s not an exciting sounding beer. However, Lagunitas IPA, now that’s an exciting beer. I’ve only had the pleasure of Lagunitas a handful of times and those were in London. It’s a beautiful IPA and I’m genuinely excited to be able to get hold of it in little old Lincoln. I would much rather sit in The West End Tap or the Strait or… well, several other pubs in Lincoln and drink it. Actually, my sofa’d be bloody lovely. However, my dislike of Spoons is definitely not going to put me off Lagunitas. And Devil’s Backbone? Never had it but sure! Sounds fun. Rogue? Give me some now!

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When it comes to cask ale one can do pretty well in Lincoln. Between my work, The West End Tap, The Dog & Bone (recently announced as CAMRA’s East Midlands Pub of the Year, The Joiner’s Arms, The Struggler’s Arms and several other Lincoln pubs there’s an ace selection of cask ale. I try any new bottles that come into work and occasionally the Strait stick something new in their range but other than that I have to venture to Newark for something new….ark.

The other day Nate mentioned that “Wetherspoons frequently have beers that I can’t get anywhere else in Norwich”. Not so much before, at least, nothing you couldn’t get in a supermarket bottle-wise. And I don’t venture into the real ale focused Spoons in town due to the offputting atmospheres. But now, with the addition of names like Lagunitas and Rogue, Spoons have drawn my gaze again.

If Spoons keeps this up and really fills out their bottle range then this is fantastic. Being able to go anywhere in the country and have an amazing choice of bottle “craft” and “world” beers is wonderful.

I wouldn’t say I’m a Spoons convert. I’m still deeply uncomfortable with their heartless somewhat monopolising position in the industry… but this new range is impressive. There’s no chain out there with anything close. I’m in.

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