The Review – The Crafty Tap in Christchurch
Being relatively local to us, we’ve been threatening to pop into The Crafty Tap in Christchurch for some time now. As usual life gets in the way and we can’t believe it’s been a good few months since they opened before we finally managed to pop in recently. And we’re very glad we did.
We’ll get this out of the way early. Yes, traditionalists won’t classify this as a micropub. This self-styled Craft Beer Taproom & Bottle Shop never proclaims to be one though. But from our perspective they fit right in with the rest of them.
Upon walking in, the first thing that struck us was the size. It’s what estate agents will refer to as “easy-to-maintain” when selling a room, i.e. it’s pretty small. There’s seating for around 25 with some additional standing space. But they’ve done really well with the layout. We especially like the narrow table down the middle of the room which encourages conversation. At the same time there’s clever little wall ledges and surrounding areas to find a space that’s less communal.
Along the walls there are shelves and a fridge with a decent selection of beers, ales, ciders and wine for purchase to take home.
The small bar area proudly declares Good Beer Lives Here and the selection on tap on our visit proved it. The beer board basically covered most of the “Ale Scale” from a hoppy lager all the way through to a heavy porter. A couple of pale ales were included and even the inevitable sour that’s making its way onto most beer boards these days. Some cider and fine wines were also available although at £8.90 for a large glass of rosé we stuck to beer for the evening. Specifically the De La Crème milk stout from the guys at Mad Squirrel breweries. Absolutely delicious and possibly the best tagline ever for a beer – “Dark as a moonless night and smoother than Morgan Freeman in a velvet suit”
Just on that note, say what you want about the craft beer scene, but the amount of flavour the breweries are packing into their beers these days is just fantastic. Sure something like a sour is not always to everyone’s taste and a 9% porter is always going to be an acquired taste. But it’s opening up the beer and specifically ale scene to a much bigger, and perhaps more importantly, diverse crowd which can only be a good thing for all those concerned.
The Crafty Tap is everything we want in a local taphouse, micrpopub, or microbar. It’s small, welcoming, and communal, with a great selection of beers that you might not find in a normal pub served by knowledgeable staff who clearly have a passion for what they are doing. There’s no fruit machines in sight nor football on a tv. It’s the kind of place where you can pop in for a swift one by yourself or have a nice session with some friends. It’s hip without being hipster. The kind of place which you would be happy to call your local.