When I hit Faringdon last year for some runs, I was pleased to find so many good pubs. I ran up to the Swan on one of these loops and found that it was still being prepared to open (I believe the carpet was just being laid and there were scaffolds and shit everywhere. Now, my new commute takes me right past the place a couple times a day so I hopped (pun) off to try it out this week.
It is home of the Faringdon Brewery, a tiny operation down the basement, but the current run won’t be ready until next Friday. No worries, as they had 5 of the 6 pumps loaded with good ales to choose from. Better than that, they were £2.50 per pint. Better still, you could split it into 3 X 1/3 pint glasses and create your own sampler platter which I did with (from left to right, above) a Whitstable Brewery Oyster Stout, a Vale Brewery Special, and a Marston’s Sweet Chariot.
The Oyster Stout was lighter than most stouts and had a tart finish you can feel in the cheekbones. The Special was copper coloured and a bit light and astringent after the stout (which was probably a poor choice as a starter), and not at all my favourite Vale brew. The Sweet Chariot was very nice, though; it had an almost viscous mouth and deep, oaky flavours but wasn’t at all heavy. Marston’s brews this for the Six Nations Rugby tourney and the pump clip, with the George Flag on it, went strongly against the grain of the Welshman at the end of the bar.
As the only non-brewer in the pub, I was treated to the brainstorming session for naming their ale in honour of the impending Royal Wedding. The front runners all seemed to have Willie in the name…Willie’s Wobbler, for instance. On my way out, I suggested something to do with the extra Bank Holiday along the lines of Lost Weekend. We’ll see what they come up with, I guess.