2 years ago

Spring 2011 - Arun & Adur CAMRA

Spring 2011 - Arun & Adur CAMRA

Inn FocusThe Bull Inn,

Inn FocusThe Bull Inn, Chichester andMemories of the RainbowAbout six or seven times in my life (I am62) I have been privileged to know apub when it has been In Its Prime. Bythis I mean that in that pub, at that time,everything has come together to make it agreat place to be. Usually the reason for thishappy conjunction has chiefly been the PersonBehind the Bar, be he or she the licensee orthe barperson, but added to that of course hasbeen the selection of beers on sale, the atmosphere(created mainly by the PBB with thehelp of the Regulars), and last but not leastthe character of the place itself. One such timewas in 1991-93 when I was new to Sussex andcommuting at weekends to and from my homein Wiltshire. Having made contacts with thelocal branch of CAMRA I was often drawn tothe Rainbow in St. Pauls Road, Chichester(now known as the Happy Medium) which inthose days was more or less the only place toget decent beer in Chichester.not have something interesting flowing fromit, and often the next guest beer to come onwould ‘leak’ out a bit early!Keith Dixon was the Landlord of the Rainbow,and his personality and skills made itwhat it was. Lodging in Summersdale, I wouldborrow my landlady’s bike and pedal eagerlydown to the Rainbow on branch meetingnights. I would also go down there at othertimes for the regular Special Food Nights whenthe pub would be bulging at the seams withpeople enjoying foreign-themed food of highquality. Keith had run the Rainbow since 1985and under an Ind Coope tenancy he hadgained the right to have a single guest beer ofhis choice (remember the 1989 Beer Orders? –a well-meant but naïve piece of legislation thatled to the formation of the dreaded Pub Companiesafter big pub-owning breweries wereforced to sell off large numbers of their pubs).Keith used that right to the utmost – there wasnever a time when the guest beer pump didEventually the Rainbow was sold off to aPubco – Sycamore Inns (now defunct) butKeith held on to his guest beer rights as longas possible, fighting off all ‘offers’ of a leasedeal that would tie him to a short and boringPubco beer list. In the end he was forced togive up the Rainbow, like many other successfulPubco landlordssince, by anovernight rent hikethat made it impossiblefor him tomake a living. Keithleft the Rainbow in1994 and has notrun a pub regularlysince then, until in September 2010 he tookover at the Bull Inn (pictured), 4-5 MarketRoad, opposite the Cattle Market car park inChichester. In partnership with Bill O’Hagan ofsausage-making fame, he has taken a free-oftielease on the Bull, and has already begun20 Sussex Drinker: Spring 2011

once more to stamp his mark on the Chichesterpub scene.I can personally testify that Keith has lostnone of his dry sense of humour, and it is apleasure to see him back in harness behind abar (see photo), where he is so obviously athome. The choice of beers on sale varies somewhat,but there is a welcome tendencytowards Harveys of Lewes, whose beers arerare in Chichester, plus other guests from nearand far. Keith’s old friends from the Rainbowdays, and many others, are flocking to see himin his new role at the Bull, where O’Hagan’ssausages are on the menu as well as sandwichesand other nice grub. I wish Keith andBill the very best of luck with the Bull – itcould not be in better hands. Incidentally,unlike ordinary people, a pub (or a Landlord)can be In Its (or His) Prime more than once,and maybe this is the time for Keith at theBull. I hope so.Technical note: take a look at the system inuse to cool the beers on gravity stillage behindthe bar at the Bull: cooling water is circulatedthrough L-shaped pipes inserted through thefilling-hole at the top of the cask. Those arecalled Probes, and I have not seen them in usein Sussex before although they were wellknownin Wadworth’s houses in Wiltshire. Thisis the most effective way to cool a cask that isset up in a warm drinking area. Wadworth’scasks were, and still are, wooden, and so didnot normally need any insulation, and the heatis extracted directly from the beer itself, nearthe cask bottom from where the beer is aboutto be drawn off.Arundel Brewery Ltd, C7 Ford Airfield Ind Est,Ford, Arundel, West Sussex BN18 0HYTel: 01903 Brown (not that one – the other one!)Western Sussex BranchSussex Drinker: Spring 2011 21

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