Goodbye to The Craft Rooms, we barely knew you.

This week we heard that Beerheadz, the fabulous chain of bars in the East Midlands, is finally getting a branch in Lincoln. Their bars in Retford and Grantham (there’s also two on their way in Nottingham and Melton Mowbrey) have a wide selection of cask, keg, bottled and canned beers. Basically, exactly what the Bail needs.

“Two craft beer bars,” I thought, “How wonderful! I sure hope one doesn’t decided it’s had enough of the craft world and completely change it’s identity even though it rebranded only a few weeks ago…”

Okay, I didn’t think that. But you understand my meaning. Last week I tweeted about less than half of the lines in The Craft Rooms having beer in them on a Saturday night so I can’t say I’m too surprised at this recent turn of events.

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Rebranding (again – The Craft Rooms has had at least two logos since it opened in February) to The Ale House, the keg lines are going and they’ll be focusing on cask ale with a brewery downstairs. Steve Marston, who runs The Craft Rooms/Ale House says they’ll be transforming into “a micropub with an attached brewery”. According to a statement made by Lincoln CAMRA The Ale House will have “Four Real Ales, Four Real Ciders, and a Craft Lager” (emphasis mine). The brewery will be called Walk Through Brewing, which as a name I actually think is rather wonderful as you walk through the brewery kit as you enter the venue. Although the venue is a little larger than your standard micropub, Steve has has success with his other micropub, The Hop & Barley, down the high street.

I find it hilarious that this looks like poetry at a glance.

Now, to be fair, Lincoln doesn’t have a brewery in the city centre (Although we do have Lincolnshire Brewing Co at The George at Langworth and Greg’s Brewery at The Dambusters just outside the city) and it will be interesting to have a brewery tap. However it seems very odd for a business to focus on cask ale only a few months after it dropped the cask ales that weren’t selling. Additionally the brewery kit that will make up Walk Through Brewing began it’s life as Cathedral Heights, Marston’s Bracebridge Heath brewery which stopped brewing back in May.

Aaron Joyce, Chairman of Lincoln CAMRA had the following to say;

As a business model The Craft Rooms seemed a promising venture. It was unique to the city in the volume and range of craft keg products they had on offer. It is good to see they tried but if it wasn’t working I welcome a change in direction to see a licences business remain open than become another statistic in the list of pubs that have had to close. As I see it, the craft scene is predominantly aimed at the younger market, and with Lincoln’s nightlife being predominantly student led I could foresee such a business struggling during the University break. Who knows in the future things may change, but for now I will support “The Craft Rooms” in its new incarnation as “The Ale House”.

The Ale House official launch is tomorrow.

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