The site of the old Rustic Vine restaurant on St Michaels Hill, originally closed (according to signs that were in the window) due to a gas leak, is no longer empty. Number 157-159 is now home to Bath Ales’ newest venture in the form of Beerd: a craft beer and pizza bar.
A rainy evening in December saw us making the trek up for the opening night – word had got out quickly via Twitter, and the bar was already very lively when we arrived.
The right hand side of the venue as you walk in is dedicated to a seating area, with tables and chairs mainly filled by those tucking into pizzas from Beerd’s roaring pizza oven, visible through the kitchen doors. Priced between £7.50 and £9.50, their thin-base pizzas looked and smelled fantastic, with toppings such as goats’ cheese, grilled aubergine and basil, salami and red chilli, and chorizo and roasted pepper all available.
Diners can also choose from a small selection of salads, as well as a range of snacks and starters such as pork sausage and mustard, Padron peppers, olives or a cured meat platter. Having already eaten, we chose a portion of the crispy pig skin (£3.00) to snack on – a generous share of beautifully salty crackling, including some strips with the added bonus of small amounts of meat underneath.
We opted for the left hand side of the bar, an area with a few tables dotted around but mainly standing room. A large barrel in the centre of the area provides somewhere to rest your drinks, and we sat on brightly coloured stools at a long counter opposite the bar.
All attired in Beerd t-shirts, the bar staff are friendly and happy, and more than willing to help customers navigate their way through the mindboggling selection of beers on offer. When we visited, a selection of 4 cask beers and 9 from the keg were accompanied by around 30 bottled varieties – and plans to offer more, with a blackboard at the left of the bar announcing that Dark Star American Pale Ale and Dark Star Smoked Porter were “coming soon”. The list of bottles, as you would expect, includes a number of Bath Ales varieties, as well as others from the local Bristol Beer Factory – but also a wide range from further afield. The States are well-represented, with the likes of Flying Dog and Goose Island breweries appearing on the list, as well as European brewers such as Timmermans, Brouwerij Bosteels and Küppers.
On draught, customers have the option of ordering 1/3 pint, half a pint, 2/3 pint or a whole pint of the beer of their choice. Bath Ales make an appearance here again, with S.P.A., Dark Side and Festivity available at the time of visiting, but you’ll also find a decent range of beers – and strengths! – ranging from the 4% German Flensberger Lager, to the 8.3% Raging Bitch, a Belgian-style IPA from Flying Dog, Maryland. We were also impressed with the way in which the beers from the keg were presented behind the bar!
Those who aren’t so keen on beer will find a decent selection of soft drinks (including the delicious Goose Island Orange Cream Soda) and six wines on the “Non Beery Drinks” section of the menu.
On first impressions, Beerd is a fantastic place, filling a gap in the market in Bristol. With specialist wine and cider venues already existing, it’s good to see the beer drinkers now also being catered for. I have no doubts that this place will be a resounding success, despite its relatively quiet location.
Find Beerd on the Bristol Bites Directory…