Exiting the Faringdon Budgens with my bottle of chianti for supper just as the bus passed by, I comforted myself with a pint of Cotswold Cider in the Portwell Angel, another basement bar next door to the Old Crown. The pint was tart, astringent, and very, very good…this was the best cider I’ve had in months. The hostess and the only other punter were friendly as we swapped NHS stories and talked about the best place to sit when the next barrel gets tapped (the barmaid is a barrel-tapping virgin as far as the hammer-and-bung gravity-fed variety is concerned). I think sitting right up front — the barrels are at about eye level as you sit at the bar — with an empty glass is the way forward, but, alas I was done with my current glass and unwilling to miss another bus. Hopefully some video of the event will turn up on YouTube.