From Harpenden to St Albans, Mad Squirrel is growing fast!
- Credit: Archant
I have written about the site in Heritage Close next to Lussmanns quite a few times over the years; the latest incarnation is a craft beer bar, and it already looks very popular and busy.
Mad Squirrel opened at the start of the summer, and the tree-lined terrace with views of the Cathedral and Vintry Garden has to be one of the best locations in St Albans. If you manage to grab a table, this is the perfect spot to enjoy an after-work beer.
I went along one busy Friday evening when the heavens opened so we had to stay inside (the bar is over two floors) and it was pretty rammed. I had to wait at the bar for a while and was overlooked a couple of times for taller male customers, but managed to order a pint of their bestseller Sumo (an APA) beer, which was excellent.
Mad Squirrel have their own brewery in Potten End, and their list includes Zealous (a pils), a pale ale HopFest, a milk stout De La Creme and a London porter as well as various seasonal specials. You can get around 25 beers on tap in the bar which is a mixture of their own brews and guest beers from other independent producers. They also sell wine, spirits, ciders and prosecco (my pals wanted that so they do cater for all customers!). There is a short pizza menu and the ones I saw going past looked great; I need to go back and try them.
We went upstairs in search of a table and it didn't seem to have much furniture up there; it might work better as a dining area? Or a private space for parties? We decided to stay downstairs which had a better atmosphere.
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Mad Squirrel is growing fast, and they opened a bar in Harpenden just before Christmas, which is at the top of the High Street with a terrace overlooking St Nicholas Church. Both the Harpenden and St Albans bars hold live music and comedy events, so keep an eye out for those on their Insta feed. The next one being advertised is on Saturday August 31 in St Albans - Kirsty Fuller who sings blues, soul and roots.
Tim Hickford from Mad Squirrel told me: 'St Albans is a prominent and historic beer city and we are absolutely thrilled to be contributing to that reputation and lineage in our own small way. We have been blown away with the positive response from customers, this has definitely been our highest profile opening to date. We can't wait to become embedded in the local community and for residents and visitors of St. Albans to become acquainted with our broad range of unfiltered, unpasteurised, vegan-friendly beers.'
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The brewery has only been producing beer since 2010 but has grown dramatically and now produces around two million pints annually. It holds the title of Hertfordshire's best brewery in the RateBeer Awards. As well as in their own bars and shops (they have a shop at the brewery) Mad Squirrel also sell in shops, hotels, pubs, bars and cafés in the area; you have probably seen their distinctive cans. You can book tours of the brewery for 25 a person which includes six tastings and pizza.
Mad Squirrel just had a very busy weekend at the UK Strongest Man competition in Verulamium Park, and I am sure we will see them pop up at more local events and festivals now they have recovered from their two new openings.
Both the St Albans and Harpenden bars are open every day (check the website for specific times), so go along and support one of our local brewers!