Tucked away in Cheltenham is Bad Shepherd Brewing Co, a brewery all about complimenting their fine craft beers with bar-style comfort food.
The owners, husband and wife duo Dereck and Diti Hales, opened Bad Shepherd in late 2015. However, they have recently upped the plant-based ante with an entirely separate menu for vegans!
The Hales wanted something separate and solid, instead of one or two ‘token gesture’ vegan options, so they came up with a vegan barbecue menu (which they affectionately call VBQ), that is based off their core menu of smoked meats and pub-fare.
The vegan menu features burgers (cheeseburger, or pulled jackfruit), tacos (smoked tofu, and also pulled ‘pork’ and pickled pineapple), an American-style veggie dog and nachos, as well as classic sides such as corn on the cob, tater tots, fries and a refreshing beet and carrot salad (to break up all that glorious vegan meat and cheese!).
The Bad Shepherd kitchen has a fryer especially for vegan food. Therefore their chips and fried goods aren’t cooked in the same oil as the non-vegan options.
Their take on mac and cheese is one of the most popular offerings on the non-vegan menu – sources tell me that may be the next thing to make its way onto the vegan menu, so keep your eyes peeled!
Their decor is modern, with exposed brick walls, recently updated wooden tabletops and a mix of regular tables and high benches with bar stools, plus the occasional hint of greenery tucked around the venue. The brewery is very family-friendly, with a selection of board games such as Scrabble and Connect-4 available to play while you eat.
Overall, the service was excellent and the range of vegan options is now massive and varied. My personal favourite was the cheeseburger – perfect amount of pickles! The tater tots made an excellent entree or snack, and the grated beet and carrot salad was a refreshing and healthy alternative (and still delicious!).