So it was I found myself at the Dog & Partridge in Sunninghill (which is actually in Berkshire, but only just).
It's a finely equipped, delightful venue, with smart, welcoming staff and superb food - the Sunday roast beef was stunning. The courtyard garden is arranged around a water feature with a thankfully-partitioned off children's play area. On a sunny Sunday afternoon it was a delight.
However...(there's always a "however")...I wanted some ale.
On offer was London Pride (dull), Doom Bar (gone downhill since it became ubiquitous), and Guardsman, which I'd not had before, and was relatively local.
You know how some beers leave a long, dry aftertaste? This left the longest aftertaste I've ever known; of the sort that made you want to drink something else to take the foul, malt-heavy taste away. It was utterly awful; I couldn't finish it.
Now look again at the picture above. As regular readers will note, I know nowt about beer, but those taps suggest to me that they aren't really looking after the beer properly. They seem, well, false (I appreciate I might be completely wrong here, and welcome correction). I would hazard a guess that the pub isn't really interested in beer (the glass of Merlot I had afterwards was excellent, by the way), and offers "real ales" because they think they should. Maybe Guardsman is really nice, and they'd just served it badly?
Either way, next time I go there I'm sticking to the wine.