There are times when conventional wisdom isn’t very wise. Case in point: our local JD Wetherspoon pubs. We’re supposed to believe that being part of a large Pubco chain is inherently bad. Not so for Mr & Mrs Fueled by Beer: our previously reported visits to the Monks’ Retreat, and now a second Wetherspoon pub, The Hope Tap, have painted a very different picture…
The Hope Tap, like its stable-mate The Monks’ Retreat, is a large traditional city centre pub. The two pubs act like bookends standing at each end of Friar Street.
Food is essentially the same at both places: both delivering good quality and offering excellent value for money. And the Real Ale selection during our visit to The Hope Tap was truly outstanding, and so reasonably priced too.
Although not officially LocAle designated (due, I believe, to some bureaucracy within my local CAMRA branch) the Hope Tap is accredited by Cask Marque. In my experience I have found LocAles at The Hope Tap every time I’ve visited, and often more so than at The Monks’ Retreat, so I find the lack of a LocAle designation somewhat ironic. For the purposes of categorizing my blog posts I am including the Hope Tap as a LocAle pub.
The latter’s Citra Hop is possibly the tastiest ale I have sampled since getting off the airplane at Heathrow. The remainder of the pumps were pulling excellent brews from Fullers, Greene King, and Ruddles; not too shabby a lineup.
One thing the Hope Tap has that is absent at the Monks’ Retreat is an outdoor beer garden out back. It’s very unusual for a town centre pub to have this kind of outdoor space: take the Monks’ Retreat for example, they have a small enclosed sidewalk seating area outside the front of the pub. On what was a lovely warm sunny Saturday afternoon, the Hope Taps’s outdoor area was very popular.
I mentioned in my post about the Monks’ Retreat that it would be our go-to place in Reading town centre. However with a few more visits I might start leaning more towards the Hope Tap. Either way, it’s all good for JD Wetherspoon.
The Hope Tap: Recommended 🙂