What, exactly, I asked myself, sipping on a fine porter in The Ferret Wednesday evening just gone, is a ‘hipster’?
Vintage gear and beards are involved, that much is certain. Certain, at least, in the minds of our popular media, keen as ever to pigeonhole and poke fun.
Yet there I was in arguably what is considered Preston’s premier city-centre hipster pub, and of the 20 or so punters and staff present no more than 70 per cent sported whiskers, hardly any of them women.
And while the place does have a sort of vintage feel, this derives more from the design cues on posters and such, than the space itself, which is clean, modern, functionally furnished and well laid-out, enough to make a fairly small premises seem open and rangey (if you want to see mindless ‘vintage’ pop in any out of town chain carvery gaffe and observe the pathetic synthetic ‘rustic’ decor and rusty hoes screwed to walls).
So maybe The Ferret crowd aren’t hipsters after all. Who knows, maybe hipsters don’t even exist, and are just another media papfest put out there to blindside the credulous.
Whatever, in common with most places I have encountered with the ‘hipster’ tag, The Ferret is an excellent pub.
Comfy, friendly, laid-back, good music (any pub that plays me Led Zep, Scott Walker, The Stranglers and Jimi Hendrix in the space of an hour is okay with me), relaxed and great ale.
Three pints, not one that I’d tried before, all three I’d seek out to drink again. Starting with aforementioned Extra Superior Porter by Empire Brewing, and superior is the word.
Coffee aromas penetrate a frothy beige head, and once through this crust the bitter chocolate and roasted malt combine to make an ale that’s not quite as full-bodied as some porters, but no worse for that.
Next up, my pick of the trio, Celt Experience Silures, a pale ale packing a mighty wallop.
Sharp and fruity up the nose, potent bitterness teams up with sweet vanilla maltiness to make a refreshing but satisfying ale that tastes much stronger than the posted 4.6%.
Rounding off with an easy drinking session beer, and most impressed by a Baby Ghost IPA from Raw Brewing Company.
Floral to sniff, fruity to drink, dry as a bone and crisp as, well, a crisp.
All well-kept, with the three coming in under the tenner, if this is hipsterdom I’m growing me a vintage beard.
But it probably isn’t. And even if it was, you don’t need a beard. Ask the women.
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