Back in 1840, at the height of the stagecoach trade, Theale had 11 inns and a brewery servicing travelers along its half mile stretch of the old London to Bath road. In 1841 Brunel’s Great Western Railway arrived and promptly killed Theale’s coaching business. Today the old brewery is long gone and of the original inns just four remain – including The Volunteer. These days the pub is a Fullers house as highly regarded for its food as it is for its ales…
Of course as a Fullers house The Volunteer only offers beers from the Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, which being just outside Reading CAMRA’s 30 mile radius, makes the pub ineligible for LocAle accreditation. However the pub is Cask Marque approved and its lineup of Fullers standard and rotating seasonal ales have been found to be in good condition during each of our visits.
Besides the great cask ale lineup The Volunteer has an excellent food menu, albeit a bit pricey for some items. However among Theale’s food-led pubs we believe the Volunteer delivers a superior experience to the Bull on the High Street, and is exceeded only by Wadworth stable mate the Fox & Hounds on Station Road (south of the canal).
The Volunteer: thoroughly recommended 🙂