Hereford Beer House; Home of the True Craft Connoisseur

Hereford Beer House, west street hereford
It’s beautiful!

In a world where advertising at times becomes overwhelming, consumers will often turn to word of mouth suggestions from friends with similar interests, or naturally gravitate in the direction of a business that appeals to them on their foot paths around the city.

This was the case when I discovered the Hereford Beer House. A friend who is always on top of what is happening around the city uploaded a picture on Facebook of an Oregon ale they were enjoying at the Hereford Beer House…the rest is history. I immediately made a beeline for West Street on a quest to find out what it was all about.

I wasn’t disappointed, the Hereford Beer house has an inviting chic exterior, and the interior vibe feels as avante-garde as the owners, Johnny Bright and Amelie Varin. There is a lovely bar and window seating so you can enjoy your craft ale and people watch simultaneously. Towards the back you will find a cooler packed with craft beers and ales – like heaven.

“When the barrel is empty, that particular beer/ale is no longer on offer, and they will bring out a new brewery’s liquid gold to offer the anticipating craft enthusiast.  I really love this concept, it is like a beer festival all year round”

You will find yourself standing their ages, intrigued by the unusual selection of international beers and ales, their beautiful branding and the thought through fusions concocted by these enticing breweries.  A candy shop for adults.

Hereford Beer House, west street hereford
Hereford Beer House, West Street, Hereford

This young couple that consists of Amelie Varin from Marseille, and Johnny Bright from London, love beer so much that their first date found them in the Southampton Arms in Kentish town forming a beer alliance…the rest is history.

The clientele, which consists of an eclectic crowd of craft connoisseurs ranging between the ages of 20-55, find appeal in the unique variety of craft beers and ales this couple expertly and passionately select, also the pretentious-free atmosphere.

Johnny Bright seeking the craft

They happily and expertly guide you through their frequently refreshed selection,  and have done so for many who are too embarrassed to admit, they don’t understand what craft beer means.  These two love to talk beer so you will certainly head home with a selection you cannot wait to crack open, and a bit wiser.

My favourite aspect of how they run their business is the beers on tap.  When the barrel is empty, that particular beer/ale is no longer on offer, and they will bring out a new brewery’s liquid gold to offer the anticipating craft enthusiast.  I really love this concept, it is like a beer festival all year round.

You can drink in or take out (bottles only), and there are a few classic they always have in stock such as Chimay (Belgium), Anchor Steam (Northern California), Tribute (UK) and a few others -meanwhile keeping the rest of the rotation interesting.  They also stock local ciders.

Small independents like these are making Hereford its own destination for outsiders, and making life a little more interesting for locals.  I have said it before, West Street is a great independent hub in the city.

The prices are by no means cheap, but are not by any means astronomical.  The price is standard for imported craft ales, which I actually think are affordable.  Consider what you pay for a cocktail where you never know if you will end up with something watered down and disappointing, therefore regretfully paying out your hard earned pence.

Hereford City Centric is grateful they made the move to Hereford.  Luckily, they have no problem finding patrons who are passionate about their business; the type who just know through a keen sense, that they are there and seek them out.  We certainly give them a thumbs up.

Hereford Beer House, 65 West Street, Hereford HR4 0BX

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Photography by Jonathon Paul of Horizo Images, 


Are You Ready for the Grand Opening of the Hereford Blues movement?

Hereford Blues Club
Left: Troy Redfern Right: John Steven Hales

When John Steven Hale established Porkbelly Promotions, he wasn’t aware of how his musical endeavours would pick up momentum around the city, or that the boy who first discovered Blues music at the Record Club lunch in school would one day launch his own Blues club.

February 13th marks the opening night of The Hereford Blues Club, which will be a fortnightly affair at the newly reopened Booth Hall in the city centre.

The Booth Hall as a venue is exploring new frontiers in entertainment and creating a buzz in the city with the opening of The Hereford Blues Club which will only cost a fiver entry.

Another important player in The Hereford Blues Club, Clear Cut Promotions Lady boss, Clare Foster, is John’s support network, and a Blues and Rock enthusiast herself.

When the Hereford Blues Club was Born

One lovely afternoon, while sitting in the Cafe All Saints, over  the discussion of the March 05 Hereford Rocks event taking place at the Left Bank (that they too have conjured up),  The Hereford Blues Club was born, a natural progression off of the back of Hereford Rocks…and what they hope becomes a Blues movement for the city of Hereford

Opening acts for the launch night will include Troy Redfern, a Hergest Ridge, Herefordshire local who plays slide guitar with the skills of a seasoned Roots Blues musician living out of a suitcase all his life.  He will also be joined by our very own Hereford baby faced Blues boys, Sweet Talk.

“Troy’s musical maturity can be likened to someone born on the Bayou, spoon fed grits, catfish and Bourbon, but amazingly he is a local Herefordshire local boy.”


You can thank the Johnny B Goode scene in Back to the Future for Troy’s introduction into the Blues, and Eddie James “Son” House Jr. for inspiring him to pick up the slide.  Troy’s musical maturity can be likened to someone born on the bayou, spoon fed grits, catfish and Bourbon, but amazingly he is a local Herefordshire local boy.

Troy is on his way up with a Blues Boulevard 3-album record deal that includes his last work  Backdoor Hoodoo, (remember to support your local musicians and give it a listen, be great during those summer BBQ’s), and one soon to launch this year in July.  We will keep you posted.  He is off with that suitcase to Belgium soon for a European tour, catch him while you can!

Londoner John Steven Hales recalls his introduction to Hereford in the 70’when he took a college teacher training course, “There was a big music scene happening in Hereford then, it was a great city and when I returned after many years  away, which included living in London and Brighton,  I was not impressed with the lack of music venues and gigs supporting live musicians”

Hereford City Centric and The Booth Hall
Arran and Willow Vidal-Hall discussing the future of The Booth Hall with Hereford City Centric

The city has been quiet many years now since the recession and the  entertainment austerity climate which loomed over it like a thick heavy fog.  No longer on the decline, Hereford is becoming a vibrant music and foodie destination.  Let’s hope 2016 promises many good things for Hereford and The Hereford Blues Clubs is one of those very special gifts.

Photographs by Jonathon Paul Photography with Horizo Images.  We are very happy to have him on board as a creative contributor.

Review by Michelle Cuadra, Creative Director, HCC

The Booth Hall Smash Expectations with a Legendary Opening Night

In an evening that will be difficult to parallel, Hereford found its soul mate, and I found my favourite new pub in the city, the newly refurbished Booth Hall.

Booth hall hereford, circus acts, live music herefordshire
The Booth Hall has come alive with a red glow

The Booth Halls latest caretakers, young and inherently eccentric Bristol natives Willow and Arran Vidal-Hall, have taken over the Booth Hall with a vision to establish a venue that promotes music and creativity. This does not of course, discount the many other wonderful venues in the city that I love, but this one stands out as the most unique. It has heart.

Upon entering the building, which is off of the beaten track in the city like many of the new establishments being set up by young, daring entrepreneurs, you immediately are overwhelmed with an energy not experienced before in Hereford.

It was no longer the place you once new. A red, glow that felt like an aura filled the room, emanating warmth and positivity, and the snazzy stage set up drew your attention as soon as you walked down into the main bar and suddenly you realized, “you aren’t in Kansas anymore Dorothy”  or shall I say, the “old, stale Hereford anymore” Gotta tell it like it is.

Booth hall hereford, circus acts, 12th century herefordshireThere was a tribal vibe, with family and friends giving Arran and Willow their full support, and adding character and hospitality to the crowd, with smiling faces, emanating excitement for Arran and Willow’s now successful venture.

As the night unravelled, performances by sultry songstress Bekki  Cameron, popular covers band Phoenix and entrancing circus acts rocked the socks off and visually stimulated the literal sea of humans flowing in like a high tide.  The crowd was interesting, one I had not seen in so many numbers at any venue in Hereford.  Us media types were certainly taken a back.

As I regretfully departed for the next leg of  my nights journey, I could have stayed for days, which involved a small, intimate open mic Christmas event at Hooty Roots Vintage (again like no other in the city), with participating musicians such as Claire Perkins, Tom Berron and musicians from polish gypsy jazz band Hybrid Vigonr (I may have the name totally wrong…sorry guys); the human tide continued to flow into The Booth Hall making for a most successful affair.

In a brief, conversation with Arran, which at this rate I was fortunate enough to get in, I realized he is a humble, genuine dreamer who, like his sister, is passionate for his craft, one Hereford City Centric understands completely, and well just an all around wonderful human who had no clue what was coming his way.  At 8pm the numbers were picking up and Arran was already appreciative…uh oh Arran you had no idea.

Willow’s pixie-like beauty only added to the character of the venue.  She was a busy girl behind the bar, zooming around making things happen. No chance in engaging her this time. These two jumped right in the deep end with only three weeks to make this opening night happen; I can only say, with genuine admiration and awe, that they succeeded in their endeavour.

Upcoming events at the Booth Hall include Porkbelly Promotions featuring Troy Redfern on the 22nd of January and also the Hereford Blues Club commencing February 13 which will be a really cool event to look forward too.

We also hope to see them promoting more of our unique, talented acts on offer around the city from various music genres that don’t often have a platform.  I have often felt that only certain acts have prominence over-shadowing entire genres of unique musicians hidden away in little garages or having to perform outside of Herefordshire.  A complete waste. We love all our musicians, but want more…hint to The Booth Hall from Hereford City Centric.