I spent three nights in Bournemouth last week. It was a mixture of business and watching Tranmere Rovers which certainly wasn't pleasurable. Of course, I spent plenty of time in pubs but I found the drinking experience a little disappointing. I visited six GBG pubs, three in Bournemouth and three in Poole which adjoins its neighbour seamlessly. I also tried two Wetherspoons. I'm pretty brave you know.
Beer quality was good apart from the 'Spoons in Boscombe, with the Bermuda Triangle in Lower Parkstone setting an excellent standard. It wasn't the quality but the beer styles that I had trouble with.
Ringwood and Wadworth dominated, two breweries producing old fashioned malty beers, particularly Ringwood whose beers I always find too sweet. There was a distinct lack of hops and beers from micros. Nottingham, Orkney, Tirrell, even Robinson's Build a Rocket Boys! could be found but nothing resembling a hoppy bitter or IPA. The only beer I found from a small brewery was from the Dorset Brewing Co., Dorchester which didn't impress me this time or previously.
There was no vibrant pub selling craft beers and unusually for such a large population centre there seems to be a lack of good cask beer venues.
Nice scenery, but don't expect great beer.