BrewHaus (Lincoln)

Lincoln is a city that can be cut cleanly into two halves. The top half, The Bailgate, is a little cobbled honeytrap. A crooked, meandering street lined with toffee shops, over-priced shabbychictat peddlers and bakers. It’s quaint and English and you half expect to stumble across a new branch of Olivander’s Wand Shop. Up here you’ve also got the cathedral (big and old) and Lincoln Castle (bigger and older) that now houses a copy of the Magna Carta. Quick heads up – it’s £12 to get in, but the Prince of Wales pub up the street has a framed photocopy you can check out for the price of a pint…

The other half of Lincoln, at the bottom of the aptly titled “Steep Hill” (Britain’s Best Street Winner 2012), is a bit less nice. Individual pubs and sole traders give ways to naff restaurant chains, Amazon-proof computer game shops and lots and lots of outdoor clothing places…

Sadly for the BrewHaus, it doesn’t belong in either of these two distinct halves.

The building itself is a grand old red brick beast, presumably an old industrial building or some sort. The inside has been carefully not restored to its former glory. Original fire places sit unused, old pipework is exposed and decaying old transom windows remain above doorways. Divided into two rooms, you can easily imagine banging and scratching and making going on one side of the wall, whilst people on the other side tickle type writers and show each other pieces of very important paper. It’s almost a bit museum-like and I had a proper good nosy round.

The BrewHaus, true to its name, is in the game of offering loads of different lagers and beers from across the world. It does cocktails, which may veer it away from the “proper pub” bracket, but I’m going to let that one slide. It’s a fine balance to get right for publicans at the moment – an appropriate amount of guest ales, displayed correctly in a very specific environment is good. Either side of this tightrope and you’re either a craft-ale-bandwagon-jumping, big-bearded hipster, or you’ll be subject to complaints along the lines of, “seriously, you only do John Smith’s!?” The BrewHaus fares well here…

It also scored full marks from my nose. The whole place absolutely hums with the smell of freshly cooking pizza. If this is what the Bake Off tent smells like it’s no wonder Mel and Sue are always so chipper. I’ve no doubt that the pizzas are good, but I have to pull the place up on going for a “Pizza and Pie” only menu. This is a bit naff; the kind of thing you can get away with in London where people are generally happy to pay twice as much for half as much, but not in Lincoln where people (myself included) generally want to pay half as much for twice as much. One or the other is fine – see The Newman Arms or Pizza Express for good examples of how this works – or just a normal menu. I think my grievance is that the combo seems to be based on alliteration only. There’s no obvious culinary link, nor can I think of a time when I’ve fancied pie and my partner has hankered for pizza and we’ve ended up staying in. Nobody is about to open a “Tapas and Toasties” place

That pettifoggery aside, the BrewHaus is a top place to drink in Lincoln, the only problem being that it is in Lincoln. Were this place tucked down an icy eastern European side street (Riga? Krakow? Berlin?) it would belong. Sadly, in Lincoln, it doesn’t. It’s too good.

brewhaus lincoln 3

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