Alehouse                                                                        Nag's Head    

I must acknowledge, and give thanks for, the advice of 2 good friends, both called Robert, both from Sheffield, but supporters of rival football clubs, the Owls and Blades. What they do have in common, apart from both knowing me, is a love of football and real ale, a great combination for my purposes indeed! The most recent visitor to Reading was Rob the Owl, who passed on details of The Alehouse, Broad Street GR1 2BH, which Bob the Blade (also happy enough to be called "Rob", but I need to differentiate a bit here) has told me is his favoured first port of call, maybe even his favourite pub, in Reading. 

The Alehouse, formerly called the Hobgoblin, is an "excellent pub, just 5 minutes from the railway station" reports Rob, where he enjoyed drinking a "nice pint of Havant Decided, a 3.8% hoppy IPA style of beer". This is a small pub with wee little "nooks and crannies" away from the bar, allowing for children, dogs and mobile phones to be 'tolerated' at the pub, because they are banned from the bar itself! There are 8 handpumps providing real ales from microbreweries, 3 dedicated to the 'locale' West Berkshire brewery, and 5 rapidly changing guest ales. 2 keg 'craft' beers (my last view of the website showed from Art Brew and Magic Rock breweries), cider, perry and mead are also available, and a fair selection of bottled Belgian beers too. 

Bob added that he would then move on to the Nag's Head, Russell Street RG1 7XD. The Nag's Head is a "friendly pub with loads of pumps, good food, but best of all, they lay on a double decker bus to and from the Madejski Stadium for about £3. Straight back to the pub after the match!" There are 12 handpumps serving up constantly changing real ales from mostly local breweries, and usually more than a dozen varieties of real cider and perry, plus an eclectic mix of bottled beers.

Both of these pubs are in the 2014 CAMRA Good Beer Guide, indeed, have been regular entries in the Good Beer Guide over many years.