Review: Dinner with the family at Beerd, Kingsdown, Bristol, by Mark Taylor
It had been one of those frantic, post-school afternoons that only befuddled parents of young children can relate to.
My daughter's school run was quickly followed by an emergency trip to the ballet shop and then a mad sprint to her modern dance class which wasn't due to end until gone 6pm. With very little in the fridge at home, a quick post-dancing pizza seemed like the quickest solution for the "nearly six"-year-old and a cold beer seemed an ever-tempting prospect for her exhausted dad, so Beerd it was.
Owned by Bath Ales brewery, Beerd opened at the end of 2011 in what had been the Rustic Vine café on St Michael's Hill. It styles itself as a craft ale bar and the range of beers changes all the time. On this occasion, they included draught Brugse Zot Blonde, Brooklyn Lager and Bath Ales' own Dark Side Stout.
There were also a few guests on offer – I went for the malty Titanic Iceberg from Stoke-on-Trent – and keg options included ales from the up-and-coming Wild Beer Co from Somerset.
The interior of Beerd was designed by Bristol-based Simple Simon, who were also responsible for the newly opened River Cottage Canteen. The industrial "junk yard" style design includes a bar made from reclaimed wooden doors and floorboards with original flaking paint. Walls are exposed brick and "Metro" tiles, bespoke wallpaper uses old beer labels.
The dining area of Beerd has comfortable leather banquettes, reclaimed wooden tables and colourful, mismatched chairs.
Bar snacks include a cured meat platter (£7), sausage with mustard (£2.50) and warm bar nuts (£3) apparently made to the Union Square Café recipe from New York. There are also salads such as tomato, mozzarella and basil oil or mixed leaf – all available in two sizes and ranging in price from £3.50 to £9.
But the main focus here is the short menu of 12-inch pizzas, the bases of which are made using flour from Naples. There are six regular types of pizza and a pizza of the week, all priced between £7.50 and £9.50 (although bargain-hunters should note that on weekday lunchtimes, nine-inch Margaritas are £4.95).
The hungry ballerina went for the tomato, mozzarella and basil (£7.50), while I opted for the more grown-up prosciutto, artichoke, olives and mushroom (£9.50).
Both had thin, crisp, blistered bases and toppings that were generous without being overwhelming or heavy.
As is often the case when eating pizzas with children in restaurants – or at least, my daughter anyway – most of my olives and prosciutto disappeared in the split second I was enjoying a sip of beer. They ended up on hers, but at least that saved me the usual £1.25 cost of "official" extra toppings.