My wife and I visited this pub last week after a long walk in the surrounding area. We went in for a couple of drinks with the intention to possibly eat and stay for a while. First impressions were good and loved the local, country feel to the pub. I ordered a pint of their own brewery beer and my wife had half a cider. We enjoyed these drinks so much and were very comfortable in front of the log fire that we decided to have the same again. After tasting the second pint of beer I felt that there was a definite difference between the two pints, so much so that I took the beer back to the bar and pointed this out. The barman that served me tasted the pint and agreed that it did taste "tangy" and "not how it normally tastes". He said he would speak to the manager who wasn't at that time behind the bar so I went back to my seat. What followed was not how I feel a professional manager should react to a customer's opinion. He came over to our table and told me in no uncertain terms that the barrel would not be replaced and that there was nothing wrong with the beer. Not only was he rude to us but he was also rude about his staff, saying that the barman who had agreed with me "did not know what he was talking about". His manner was extremely condescending implying that I probably didn't know what a real ale was and that perhaps it was to do with my tastebuds?! The situation could have been resolved easily by the staff offering us an alternative once I had taken the beer back. I was not looking to complain, I just wanted them to be aware in case the beer did need replacing. The manager seemed angry at the suggestion and handled the situation badly. The mantra 'the customer is always right' must have slipped right past him during any management training... I would guess a pub like the Royal Oak relies on passing trade for the majority of its custom so he might want to think again when speaking to 'non-locals' as it might have more of an impact than expected. It's a real shame as other than that we had a lovely visit and would have been keen to visit again. I'm not sure we will be in such a rush to get back especially if the beer is off....!!
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