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Recommended: Brewhouse & Kitchen, Bournemouth

I like beer. Of course I do – I’m a ‘bloody bloke’. So imagine my delight when I was asked to spend the evening tasting beer at the brand new Brewhouse & Kitchen in Bournemouth. “Well, someone’s got to do it”, I said to myself. And as I’ve already frequented one of Brewhouse & Kitchen’s other local establishments (Southbourne branch) I was fairly confident I’d be in for a treat.

It wasn’t until I was trundling up the hill towards the Triangle that something dawned on me – I don’t actually know that much about beer. I drink quite a lot of the stuff, but it’s not like with wine where I pretend to know the difference between grapes, regions and years. When it comes to beer, I tend to stick to lager and go for brands I’m familiar with. But with the ever-increasing popularity of craft beer and microbreweries, I thought it was high time I got myself in the know and this was the perfect opportunity to do so.

The Brewhouse & Kitchen group have a reputation for taking on derelict sites and completely transforming them. In Southbourne, it was The Malt and Hops that was given a new lease of life after sitting empty since 2008. And now, it was the former Branksome Arms that had been revitalised and would have beer coursing through its veins once again. As I entered the new establishment, I was immediately struck by the décor. A combination of brick style tiling, copper piping and original features salvaged from the former pub gave it just the right mix of traditional and trendy. The beach huts in the garden and the beer kegs for urinals were also nice touches, but overall the place had a really warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Head Brewer, Nicolas, who would be guiding us through our tasting experience, greeted us and began to explain the proceedings for the next few hours. We’d taste 5 beers and were given sheets to fill out as we went, with some nibbles in between tastings to cleanse our palettes. So after a few introductions, we got straight down to business and the sampling began.

Here’s my overview of the beers we tasted:

Beer No. 1 – Lightning Bolt, 5.5% (IPA)
Taste: Peachy, fruity, smoky
My rating: 3/5

Beer No. 2 – Pogo, 4% (APA)
Taste: Fruity, crisp
My rating: 4.5/5

Beer No. 3 – Tongerlo, 6% (Abbey beer)
Taste: Honey, banana
My rating: 4/5

Beer No. 4 – Krombacker Dark, 4.3% (Dark lager)
Taste: Smooth, creamy
My rating: 5/5

Beer No.5 – Schlenkerla, 5.1% (Smoked ale)
Taste: Smokey, BBQ sauce
My rating: 3.5/5

It was a really fun experience, and I learnt a lot about different beers, the brewing process, what you should drink with what food and other insightful tips. I am now a self-proclaimed connoisseur. Nicolas was great, as were the rest of the team, and it was the perfect setting for an afternoon of quaffing beer.

I wouldn’t say that I’m a craft beer convert but the experience definitely opened my eyes to what’s on offer and I’d be more than happy to sample some of their own brews on my next visit. I think that’s what I like most about Brewhouse & Kitchen – they cater for craft beer ‘virgins’ and beer connoisseurs alike, so you don’t have to feel intimidated if you don’t know your IPA from your APA.

So if you find yourself in town looking for somewhere to relax and enjoy a nice bit of food and drink, I’d strongly recommend checking out the new Brewhouse & Kitchen at the Triangle. And if you want to learn more about beer and the brewing process, and have laugh at the same time, their beer tasting experience is well worth a go.

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Dominic Brancaleone

Dominic Brancaleone

Dom completed a BA (Hons) degree in Arts & Media and gained a number of professional credits working on film and TV productions before heading to Bournemouth to complete a screenwriting Masters degree. Now he spends most of his time rowing and producing video content for national and international brands.

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