Update: now closed – there was a planning application to redevelop site for residences but it was rejected – future unknown.
During Mr & Mrs Fueled by Beer’s recent Theale Village: a Walk & Dine Destination this pub appeared to be open but signs of life inside were barely discernable. What we could see screamed ‘old geezer’s boozer’ – not very appealing – so we passed it by…
In researching this and other Theale posts I came across numerous juicy conflicting stories from around a year ago concerning the Red Lion. Some spoke of licensees stiffing the local populace and running off with wads of cash.
Others held some new licencees in awe talking about ‘how they were turning the old pub around.’ On the ground there doesn’t seem to be much evidence of either but my curiosity won’t let this one go.
What I do know is the pub is under new management, has a very new Facebook page, and is running a lunchtime food promo 8-19 July. So, when it comes to the stories, I suspect the latter rather than the former may be true. A visit is definitely in order if for no other reason but to get some dirt.
Mind you, if the Red Lion continues to carry cask ales from XT Brewing they’ll be worth visiting. According to their website this two year-old brewery only distributes within a 20 mile mile radius; they’re 35 miles from Theale by the shortest distance. At this year’s Reading Beer Festival XT’s oak-aged “8” was one of the standout brews.
Recommendation? Reserving judgement for a proper visit. Update: I did go in before they closed. It was me, the landlady, her daughter, their dog, and a TV showing a game show to an empty room. Beer was uninspired. Very sad.