Landlord’s Witter By Barry Fenton
An interview with a landlord from a local pub. This time Barry has been to welcome Pierre Cudon from the Queen’s Oak in Finchampstead, a Brakspear’s pub opposite the church.
Oxford Gold (4.2%), Hobgoblin Gold (4.3%) and Banks’ Blazin’ Fury (4.1%), “an amber beer, with a hint of ginger.” Next on is Brakspears Best Bitter (3.4%).
How important are Real Ales & cider to your pub? Very, so I make sure that I look after them in the cellar.
What are your impressions of CAMRA in the area?
Good. I’ve met a few members and the local branch is soon to hold a meeting here.
What plans have you got for your pub in the next year?
We’ve already renovated inside and out and next we will concentrate on the big garden. More events, including a Christmas family day on 23rd December, with a Christmas market and even a family of reindeer will be attending.
What is craft beer?
A real beer which needs taking care of. Not a lager.
What are your thoughts on the success of craft beers?
It makes beer more popular. Encourages new breweries. Good for the industry. Authentic.
How long have you been in the pub business and at the Queen’s Oak?
I’ve always been in hospitality, starting in a restaurant in Morzine in the French Alps. I’m originally from Brittany. I moved to England ten years ago and worked first in the Plough in Cobham. In 2012 I became the General Manager of the Flowerpot in Sunbury. Finally I came to the Queen’s Oak in March this year.
What do you most like about the pub trade?
There’s nothing like the English pub in France. I like that everybody comes together in the pub and it offers a good range of food and drink.
And the least?
The competition from big companies, selling at a cheaper price because they buy at a cheaper price.
What Real Ales are you selling today and how does this change? Issue 49, Winter 2017
What would you like to get over to our readers to encourage them to come into your pub?
A beautiful spot, with lots of walks nearby. Informal, with all tables available to drink or eat. We serve good homemade food. I’m French but we’re not a French restaurant! I’m working on my new menu which will be available by the time this is published. We have a big, secure garden with a kids play area. Our extensive wine list has 16 wines available by the glass.
What wrong would you most like to put right in the pub trade?
I love traditional English pubs, but believe that too many are overdeveloped to all look the same. I’m trying to get back to the basics.
Which celebrity would you most like to work behind your bar and why? David Walliams. He would be good to talk to and he’s a good laugh. He appears very approachable.
Issue 49 of the Mad Cow - Magazine of the Berkshire South-East ("BSE") branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale)