Tim Hampson's Beer Blog

The quest for the perfect beer

A perfect pub – Barley Mow, Soutshea, Portsmouth

with 2 comments

There is something about the perfect beer pub. You actually feel it the moment you walk in the door. The atmosphere embraces you like an old friend. You might have never have crossed its threshold before but you know exactly where you are and why you are there.

But what makes the perfect beer pub? Is it the building and its location? Is it the people who work there? The people who drink there? The beers they serve? There are thousands of places selling beer in the UK – but how many are perfect beer pubs? Sadly not many.

A two-bar, street corner local, the Barley Mow, in Soutshea, Portsmouth is an Enterprise Pub, was shut when Judith Burr took it on. But a few short years later is it experiencing a resurgence thanks to her vision and enthusiasm. The Barley Mow is no foodies pub, the offering is simple chilli con carne, baked potato, a toastie or a roll. But beer is at the heart of this perfect pub. The pub now has seven different beer pumps on the bar. It started with two.

The pub serves Gales HSB & Fullers London Pride permanently and four guest ales from a wide variety of breweries. Hopback, Hogsback, Ringwood, Hooknorton, Tripple FFF & The Hidden Brewery & a mild to name but a few.

It is in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide and the pub has close links with the local branch.

Judith said:“I see real ale as the way forward. We offer variety and choice and say we can find a beer for any customer. Quality starts in the cellar and all the staff are trained to clean a beer line when a new cask is put on. Our customer range from students to college professionals, workmen and retired people. Ladies can come in on their own or in small groups because they feel safe.

“Beer drinkers are better behaved, they come in for a drink and rather than get drunk. We have comfortable seating because most people want to relax.

“You have to be brave to be a successful seller of beer as you will sometimes lose beer and have to throw it away. There is no point in struggling to sell something if it is going off. But it pays off in the end.”

A perfect local - the Barley Mow in Portsmouth

A perfect local - the Barley Mow in Portsmouth


Written by timhampson

August 7, 2010 at 7:09 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Hey congratulations on your new blog! A good way for me to enjoy your fine prose.



    August 7, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    • I’m glad you like it. Though I had hoped to perfect the art of manging the site before letting people see it. But I think Ruth put something on FaceBook about it. I have been putting off doing a blog for years – but publishers all seem to ask the question “do you have a blog”.
      And as the first person to respond to the blog – I feel I should offer a special prize. But what?


      August 8, 2010 at 10:39 am

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