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BITE user comments - blue_scrumpy

Comments by blue_scrumpy

The Magpie and Crown, Brentford

We finished in the Magpie & Crown on Sunday evening. It was my first visit since New Year's Eve, 2015. I'd been in a bit of a state that night. I was slightly more sober on this visit. The place has not changed at all. The interior is basic. The gents toilets stink. But the ale and cider range is still as good as ever. There was Bad Seed Endgame (something topical to do with Brexit perhaps?), Five Points XPA, Reunion Incredible Pale Ale, Downton Mint Chocolypse Stout, White Horse Show Pony IPA & Bingham's Brickworks Bitter. The cider was Broadoak Crimson King. The perry was Purbeck Perfect Pear. In fact, other than the drinks selection, I could have just repeated my review in 2016. Good pub and one I really ought to get to more often.

13 Nov 2018 20:41

The Beehive, Brentford

Fuller's pub on Brentford High Street that I have passed by on a number of occasions. I've often admired the tilework. But knowing it's a Fuller's pub, I've never ventured in. I decided to put that right on Sunday evening. We immediately quadrupled the customer base. But we had a good conversation with the guy sat at the bar and the barmaid about the local area. Pride & ESB were the real ales. Needs a few customers. But not a bad pub.

13 Nov 2018 20:36

The Albany Arms, Brentford

The Albany Arms has re-opened as the Black Dog Beer House. It is a valuable addition to the area, with a great selection of ales and ciders. The atmosphere is comfortable. The gents toilets are spacious! Ales on during our visit were Heavy Industry Pigeon Toes Orange Peel, Brew York Brew York, Howling Hops Pudding Ale Chocolate Stout, Ainsty Rattlesnake Ruby, Ilkley Joshua Jane, Rooster's YPA & Tiny Rebel Juicy. Ciders were Bumble Bee Gribble, Gwynt y Ddraig Happy Daze, Eden Still Cloudy Medium, Abrahall's Ashton Bitters & Ashridge Pear Cider. There was also a good selection of craft beers. Makes for a good crawl in Brentford now from the Express Tavern to the Magpie & Crown. Close to Brentford FC's football ground too. Definitely worthy of a visit these days, despite the poor reviews under its previous guise.

13 Nov 2018 20:32

The Express Tavern, Kew Bridge

After a hiatus of over 3 hours, I returned to the Express Tavern. This is part of an ever-expanding chain of well-run pubs with a good ale and cider selection. Sunday evening was no exception. Some of the blackboards were incorrect. But the ale selection was Bass, Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter, Big Smoke Solaris & Dark Wave, Errant Altura Coffee Stout, Hammerpot Harvest Ale, Oakham Citra, Steam Box Ghost Train, Watney's Ray Of Sunshine & Bingham's Rye IPA. Ciders were Sandford Orchards Devon Red, Orchard Pig Marmalade Cider & Navel Gazer, Lilley's Mango Cider & Gwynt y Ddraig Farmhouse Scrumpy. I prefer the Antelope and the Sussex Arms. But this is still a very good London pub. We moved on from here to the nearby Stable for a few more ciders and a pizza. I will request that to be added. But it is just next to One Over The Ait.

13 Nov 2018 20:20

The Pilot, Chiswick

Fuller's pub off the beaten track in Fulham, close to the A4 which passes through the area on flyovers. Pride is the regular ale. Bengal Lancer was the seasonal beer. I felt the pub was a little chintzy. But there are plenty of tables. Food is served. I didn't dislike the pub. But I wouldn't rush back.

13 Nov 2018 20:13

The Prince Albert, Notting Hill

With just time for one last drink before getting the tube to Stamford Bridge, I made my last stop the Prince Albert, just at the bottom of Portobello Road. It's predictably an attraction for tourists. So it seems to attract a transient crowd. But I finally managed to get a seat. So I felt a bit more at home. Ales were London Pride, Ubu & Monty Python's Holy Grail. With still no dark beers in sight, I decided to go for a craft cider from a can in the fridge. My hopped cider with mimosa scarcely got me any change from £6. I won't be having that again!

13 Nov 2018 20:06

The Hillgate, Notting Hill Gate

With time to kill, this pub was an extra bonus for me. It's a gastropub tucked away a couple of minutes walk from Notting Hill Gate tube in a residential area. The place was busy. There were a couple of drinkers at the bar. But most people were there for food. There are waiting staff, who were turning away people at the door, such was its popularity for meals. Sharp's Atlantic is the house beer. Guests were Marston's Poppy Ale & Wessex Witchcraft. The latter was my choice and it wasn't a bad tipple. Although, as with the Windsor Castle just up the hill, it was standing room only and I felt in the way as there wasn't even a surface to place my drink. Better than I had originally anticipated though.

13 Nov 2018 20:02

The Windsor Castle, Kensington

Nice old pub. But at Sunday lunchtime, it seemed to be all diners. All tables were laid out for food, making it uncomfortable for drinking. The various rooms are full of character. Ales were Timothy Taylor Landlord, Sharp's Doom Bar, Fuller's London Pride, Purity Ubu & Mad Goose & Rudgate Hop For Heroes. None of the ales really appealed to me. I went for the Rudgate one, having not seen it before. But as expected, it was not my kind of beer. I did later notice a few interesting looking bottles and cans in the fridges. But it didn't seem like a place for a drinker at Sunday lunchtime. So I quickly moved on. Worth seeing for the interior though.

13 Nov 2018 19:56

The Bridge House, Paddington

Second stop on a visit to West London on Sunday after a Wetherspoon's breakfast at the Greenwood Hotel, Northolt. The Bridge House is located near to Little Venice in a prominent corner location. Similar to Mappiman, this wasn't really a place that floated my boat (or should it be barge?). It's a strange place. The theatre is upstairs. Downstairs feels more like a gastropub than a bar. There is a strange mix of furniture. Doom Bar appears to be the regular ale. Broadside & Ubu were the guests. The Broadside was very cloudy, either because it was the first one pulled through or it was the end of the cask. Either way, a disappointing visit.

13 Nov 2018 19:50

The Orange Tree, Baldock

My twelfth and last pub in Hertfordshire turned out to be an excellent way to finish the day. This is a Greene King pub in a residential area. There are two main rooms, with a large conservatory area, an outdoor drinking space and another side room. A 60th birthday party was taking place in the conservatory. Being a Greene King pub, it had Abbot, IPA & XX Mild. But there were also 3 ales from Buntingford - Fantashtic, Hurricane & Arachnophobeer, as well as Bristol Beef Factory Bow Street. The two real ciders were Arthur's Bone Dry & Apple Cottage Katy. Both were new ones for me. The former wasn't quite as dry as I was expecting. The latter was more of a medium with a slightly dry aftertaste. The Orange Tree was certainly busy and serves a wide range of people, including diners, drinkers, families and sports viewers. Worthy of a visit.

12 Nov 2018 21:54

The Victoria, Baldock

The Victoria looks quite promising from the outside. But they don't come much more basic than this on the inside. Bare floorboards and a bit of a grungy atmosphere. Doom Bar is the real ale. Locals seemed a friendly enough bunch and there are a multitude of TVs showing different channels. So I guess it's popular with sports viewers. Worst pub of the day for me though.

12 Nov 2018 21:48

Cock, Baldock

The Cock was the first of three pubs visited in Baldock on Saturday evening. It has a bar and a lounge with two separate entrance doors. Although inside, they merge into one where they meet at the bar. As with Snarling Mallard's review, I didn't find the beer range too inspiring. Morland Old Speckled Hen was joined by Greene King IPA & XX Mild & Robinson's Unicorn. A little disappointing.

12 Nov 2018 21:45

The Brocket Arms, Ayot St. Lawrence

Reached by narrow country lanes that were almost impassable due to floodwater, this is a fairly remote (for Hertfordshire) rural pub that has lots of character and lots of history. We managed to grab a space on the small and tight car park. Our hopes of having a meal here were dashed by the fact that the dining room was about to be used for some kind of talk. Most of the patrons were clearly there for the talk. The bar area comprises two separate small rooms. It was packed and a real struggle to get served. The ale range was Tring Brocket, Wychwood Hobgoblin, Greene King IPA & Abbot, Cotleigh Night Owl & Ascot Ghost Horse. I opted for the Ghost Horse, which was quite pleasant. It was standing room only. So we were forced to spend our time in the corridor at the rear where local jams and chutneys were for sale. Despite it being packed, I quite liked this pub.

12 Nov 2018 21:42

The White Horse, Welwyn

The White Horse is tucked away up a back street in Welwyn. But it was busy on Saturday evening. Complimentary scratchings were being put on some tables and on the bar. The atmosphere was reasonably lively, with the rugby showing on the TV and a mix of clientele from local drunks to families. Ales were all from national breweries - Sharp's Atlantic & Doom Bar, Adnams Bitter & Greene King Abbot were supplemented by a guest, which was Courage Directors.

12 Nov 2018 21:36

The Chequers, Stevenage

Whilst I hadn't been drinking in Stevenage for almost 5 years, the Chequers must surely rate as one of the best pubs in town. It was busy on our Saturday evening visit. The Wales rugby game was on at quite a loud volume. The ale selection was certainly good - Greene King IPA, XX Mild & Abbot, Oakham Bishop's Farewell, Morland Original, Mad Squirrel Hopfest, Brentwood Chocwork Orange, Leighton Buzzard Cuckoo & Reunion Talwar. In addition, at the side of the bar were 5 handpulls for cider. 4 were clipped - Weston's Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig & Saxby's Traditional & Rhubarb Cider. I went for the Rhubarb, which was a new one for me. Decent place.

12 Nov 2018 21:32

The Dun Cow, Stevenage

Two bar locals' pub in a residential area, not too far from the Old Town. It had quite a raucous atmosphere, with a live Rugby international occupying most people's attention in one room and a pool table in the second room. Ales were mostly national ones - St Austell Proper Job, Greene King IPA & London Glory, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Fuller's London Pride & Woodfordes Wherry. Not a place I'd rush back to.

12 Nov 2018 21:26

The Rising Sun, Weston

This is one of those pubs that you drive for ages along country lanes and think surely there can't be a pub around here. But it suddenly appears like an oasis. The Rising Sun is a McMullen's house. It has 3 real ales. AK & Country Bitter are the regular beers. The seasonal beer was Victory Stout. The Stout tasted more like a dark mild than a stout. There were a few locals and their dogs in the main bar area. There is also a large dining area, which was unoccupied. Quite a cosy place though.

12 Nov 2018 21:20

The Rabbit's Foot, Ardeley

After a visit to the Fox in Aspenden (another one I have requested to be added to BITE), our fourth stop was the Jolly Waggoner in the remote village of Ardeley. The pub is situated opposite a farm which you can visit. We arrived in a bit of a downpour. But inside, there was a roaring fire, giving the pub a cosy feel. The 3 ales on were New River Twin Spring, Hadham 18ct Golden Ale & 3 Brewers Mild. We were the only customers. But we were soon joined by another family. Nice little pub.

12 Nov 2018 21:15

Brambles, Buntingford

This was to be our second pub in Hertfordshire on Saturday lunchtime after the Blind Fiddler at Anstey (not listed on here). But the Brambles is now closed. I peered through the windows and saw a row of handpulls with an Abbot pumpclip and an empty glass on the bar. But it didn't look like it had been open any time recently. We moved on to the Crown at the opposite end of the High Street. I will request for that one to be added to BITE.

12 Nov 2018 21:03

Basingstoke Rugby Club, Basingstoke

Our final stop of the day was this rugby club on the western outskirts of Basingstoke. It has a fairly small bar, that was showing live Premier League football and was packed. Presumably there had been a game on earlier. The larger adjacent function room was being prepared for an evening event. London Pride is the regular ale. I went for the guest, which was Elsie Mo.

4 Nov 2018 12:35

The Fur and Feathers, Herriard

We'd hoped to eat at this pub. But it was only just past 6pm and food is not served until 6:30. You get the impression that food is the pub's mainstay. But drinkers are equally well served. 3 unusual ales were on - Flack Manor Wolfie, Hogs Back Home Harvest & Fallen Acorn Pompey Royal. The barman was friendly and knowledgeable. He offered me tasters of two of the beers. My half of Wolfie was very nice indeed. The 3 locals standing at the bar also seemed friendly. The interior is bright and well decorated. An all-round decent pub.

4 Nov 2018 12:32

Lasham Gliding Club, Alton

I tried to enter Lasham Airfield from the village end, but to no avail. Security put a stop to that. But after a long drive around the airfield, we came to the main entrance and located the dimly lit entrance. You walk through a cafeteria and seating area to get to the small bar where two ales are served - Gale's HSB & Wychwood Hobgoblin. Having had the Hobgoblin earlier in the day, I opted for the HSB, which was a nice drop. The place was fairly busy, with mainly younger people who had presumably been gliding. Fairly unremarkable place for ales. But apparently it's the largest gliding centre in Europe.

4 Nov 2018 12:27

The Royal Oak, Lasham

Warm and cosy pub that seems primarily aimed at diners. Each table had the pub's Christmas menu. We were the only customers. So it was difficult to judge the atmosphere, which appeared to be lacking. The two real ales were Andwell Gold Muddler & Hogsback TEA.

4 Nov 2018 12:23

The Golden Pot, Shalden

This pub is closed and currently fenced off. It seems to have closed its doors only recently.

4 Nov 2018 12:19

The Crown Hotel, Alton

Situated between the town's Curtis Museum and Allen Gallery, the Crown is a pub/hotel at the top end of the High Street with a handy car park at the rear. It's a fairly quiet place with some fairly unique large polished tables. Doom Bar & TEA were the two real ales. I think there's better pubs in Alton though.

4 Nov 2018 12:18

The George, Alton

It's been over 10 years since I was last in Alton and that was before I started recording my visits on BITE. But yesterday, I was back to do a couple of pubs I'd missed previously. The George was my first stop and it is seemingly a favourite of the local CAMRA group and with good reason too. This was my favourite pub of the day in Hampshire. It's a lively place, popular with drinkers, diners and families. The interior is quite modern. But with the gents being outside, there are a few clues to the fact that this is a much older establishment. The ale range was the most diverse we found during the day. Sharp's Sea Fury is a rather unusual beer to have as a mainstay. But here it is the regular ale. Guests on yesterday were Itchen Valley Pure Gold & Guy PA, Brains Café Phoenix & Marston's Saddle Tank. I opted for the Café Phoenix, which was also my favourite beer of the day. Just one small criticism - there is no real cider on draught (I didn't check the fridges for bottles as I was happy enough with my beer selection). But seemingly very few pubs serve real cider in this part of Hampshire.

4 Nov 2018 12:14

Three Horseshoes, East Worldham

This is a well decorated Fuller's pub that is clearly popular with families and diners. There is a corner with plenty to keep little ones occupied. There were also more real ales than in previous pubs we had visited. Fuller's London Pride is their regular beer. But they also had their Red Fox, their Gale's HSB and also Dark Star Hophead. Staff were fairly welcoming. Not bad for a Fuller's pub.

4 Nov 2018 11:56

The Red Lion, Oakhanger

Pleasant country pub that you detect has a little history. There are car parks at the front and at the rear. A group were drinking in one corner, with one or two others at the bar. There is only one solitary real ale these days. This was Itchen Valley New Hampshire, an American Pale Ale. Service was friendly and cheerful.

4 Nov 2018 11:53

The Holly Bush, Headley

Village pub on a prominent bend in the road. A handful of locals were in, along with the barmaid. A live Premier League football match was on the TV. There were no diners. Doom Bar is the regular ale. The guest was Hobgoblin, which I partook in. A slightly short measure was served. Fairly middle of the road pub.

4 Nov 2018 11:50

The Crown Inn, Headley

Rural pub in a picturesque setting on a hill. The car park and beer garden are opposite and across the road. The front door opens straight out onto the lane. Watch out for vehicles and the multitude of cyclists when you step out. This is a quiet pub with a few people in for the limited menu and one drinker with his dog sat at the bar. The highlight was when another dog entered and there appeared to be a minor disagreement. The two real ales were Fuller's London Pride & Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold.

4 Nov 2018 11:44

The Richmond Arms, Richmond

Now called the Tap Tavern, this place is tucked away from the main street Richmond. I was the only customer in during my lunchtime visit. 2 ales were on - Twickenham Naked Ladies & Roosters The Wanderer. There are far more craft beers. I opted for the Siren Sweet Dream, which was £3.20 for a half. There were other craft beers from Siren, Wiper & True, Anspach & Hobday, Twickenham, Steam Machine, Siphon, South Lakes, Big Smoke, Salopian, Wild Weather & Roosters. Not sure I'll be back due to the excessive prices.

1 Nov 2018 19:56

The Gas Lamp, Manchester

With time for just one pub on our Sunday visit to Manchester, I headed here on Sunday evening. This is a cellar bar that is easy to miss. A handful of people were in. But I didn't get a great impression of this place. The 3 real ales were not really to my taste - Fallen Just The Ticket, Backbone Bone Machine & Pomona Island Amarillo. Keg beers included ones from White Hag, Pomona Island & North Brew. There was also a wide bottled selection. The atmosphere felt cold. Not overly impressed.

30 Oct 2018 22:12

The City Arms, Manchester

You can always rely on the City Arms for a decent pint (and a great selection) in the centre of Manchester. We often end up here. Sunday's visit was quieter than previous visits. Most football fans seemed to have left for the game, leaving a small number of regulars. We had swift halves. The selection on this occasion was Titanic Plum Porter, Brighthouse Odin, Thornbridge Woodlands, Silver Street Session, Navigation Cream Head, First Chop Hop Moon, Moon Rakers Mild & Weston's Old Rosie.

30 Oct 2018 22:09

The Old Monkey, Manchester

Having visited the Circus and the Grey Horse, this was the last of this trio of Portland Street pubs I was yet to visit. It's a busy Holt's house. Their Bitter, IPA & Two Hoots seem to be the regular ales. But I went for the Mild. They also had Bootleg Chorlton Pale Ale & Chorlton Green Hop. I assume this is Holt's offshoot "craft" brewery. But I stand to be corrected. I must say that I prefer the other two pubs on this stretch of the street. The Old Monkey lacks character. Although it is the largest of the three, by a country mile.

30 Oct 2018 22:04

Paddy's Goose, Manchester

Just round the corner from the Molly House in the Gay Village, this pub is now called the Goose. It was the busier of the two pubs we visited. London Pride & Dizzy Blonde were the two real ales. Staff were friendly. But I wouldn't rush back here.

30 Oct 2018 22:01

Molly House, Manchester

The Molly House is in Manchester's Gay Village. It is in the current Good Beer Guide. So we decided to pay it a visit. Well worth a visit it is too. The ground floor room has a really well stocked bar with a varied selection of 6 real ales. They were Beartown Kodiak's Revenge, Best Bitter & Quantock, Cheshire Brewhouse Green Hop Harvest 2018, Nightjar Supernova & Manning Cave Man. The spirit selection is also impressive. All of the options are labelled with prices, which I thought a great idea. This was my favourite pub of the day in Manchester.

30 Oct 2018 21:59

Piccadilly Tap, Manchester

The Piccadilly Tap always makes a good meeting place if travelling through Piccadilly station. But I wouldn't say it is a destination pub. The cask and keg beer choice is good. But it just doesn't have the feeling of a proper pub. Customers always seem to be very transient. Whilst that makes grabbing a table easy, it's a strange atmosphere. Real ales on our Sunday lunchtime visit were Bristol Beer Factory Chocolate & Raspberry Stout, Titanic Mild & Plum Porter, RedWillow Shameless & Thirst Class Kiss My Ace. The cider was Lilley's Mango Cider. I'll increase my rating marginally to 7/10.

30 Oct 2018 21:52

The Grapes, Stockport

Closed and I believe this is now offices.

30 Oct 2018 21:43

The Olde Vic, Stockport

My final pub in Stockport took me to the Edgeley area of the town. This pub has limited opening hours. But being near to the football ground, it does open when Stockport are playing at home. They were nearing the end of their match on my visit. But the pub was quiet. It's a small corner pub with a bit of character and friendly staff. The ale selection was varied - Salopian Luna, Mallinson's Ekka, Hopcraft Queen Anne's Revenge & Mad Dog Stouty McStout Face. There are also two real ciders, which were Lilley's Sunset & Cotswold Cider Company No Brainer. The game finished and still nobody came in! But I had a train to catch, in any case.

30 Oct 2018 21:41

The Magnet, Stockport

Sorry. Forgot to mention that Salopian Oracle was also on. It is the one permanent ale.

30 Oct 2018 21:37

The Magnet, Stockport

The Magnet is fairly unassuming from the outside. But step inside and you'll find a beer ticker's paradise. Ales are shown on big screens. Although I'm not quite sure of their accuracy. The beer I had was listed under dark beers, but then there was a further comment describing it as a "pale ale". The full selection of cask beers was Track Sonoma Pale, Bollington White Nancy & Dinner Ale, Siren Yulu, Iron Pier English Pale, Fernandes Jolly Joker, Tiny Rebel Express Yourself (my choice), Millstone Tiger Rut, Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold, Brightside Uncle Dunkel, Kelham Island Pale Rider & Thornbridge Woodlands. My only criticism would be the lack of a real cider. The place was fairly busy. I retreated to a small side room, where a group of people appeared to be having a mass picnic, presumably with the permission of the staff. Another good Stockport pub.

30 Oct 2018 21:36

The Railway, Stockport

Not to be confused with the Railway in the Portwood area of town, this one is in Heaton Norris and in my opinion is not quite as good. The barman seemed a bit grumpy and the ales were all on the pale side - Holt's Bitter, White Horse Bitter, Bob's White Lion & Atomic Fusion. I opted for the Fusion, which wasn't really my ideal beer. TVs were showing the latest football scores. Worthy of any crawl in this area. But there are better choices around.

30 Oct 2018 21:30

The Hope Inn, Stockport

Stockport's Wellington Road looks like a good road for a pub crawl. If doing that, the Hope is as good a place to start as any. This 2 room pub is home to the Fool Hardy brewery. Ales from them were Reckless, Roushou, Random, Risky & Rannygazou. The latter was a plum porter and it was also my favourite beer of the day. Guest ales were Grafton Zombie Heart, Elgood's Puff & Salopian False Flag. The cider was Broadoak Moonshine. Another 8/10 from me for this pub.

30 Oct 2018 21:26

The Navigation Inn, Heaton Norris

My tour around Stockport's pubs eventually took me to the Heaton Norris area. First stop was this Beartown pub, just off a busy roundabout. Bearskinful was the only one of their ales one. They also had Holt's Bitter & Mild & Nethergate GB. Both the exterior and interior look as though they have seen better days. There were 3 other customers, watching 20/20 cricket on the TV in one of two fairly large rooms. I think I read that this was the local CAMRA pub of the season. But I'd struggle to justify that. There are many better pubs in the town. I moved onto the Silver Jubilee, which is not one of those better pubs and is not listed on the site. To be honest, that one is not worth adding.

30 Oct 2018 21:21

The Railway, Stockport

The Railway was the furthest east I ventured in Stockport. It looks very grotty from the outside. But inside is a fine drinkers' boozer with a great selection of ales and a real cider. The barmaid seemed to know her beers, which was encouraging. Ales were Acorn Barnsley Bitter, Phoenix Arizona, Dunham Massey Chocolate Cherry & Dunham Porter, Outstanding Blond & Ultra Pale, Salopian Oracle, Thornbridge Jaipur, Kelham Island Pale Rider & Pictish Brewer's Gold. The cider was Sheppy's Farmhouse. I would say it is worth the trek from the railway station, if you're in the town. One of several excellent pubs in the town.

30 Oct 2018 21:15

The Arden Arms, Stockport

Traditional Robinson's corner house that was very busy on my Saturday lunchtime visit. Most people were finishing off meals. But there were plenty of people just there for the ales. A unique feature here is a snug, which you have to walk through the bar area itself to get to. Initially I thought there was just a huge number of bar staff, until I realised that some of the people wandering behind the bar were actually punters. The pub only stocks Robinson's ales. They had Unicorn, Wizard, Dizzy Blonde, Trooper & Light Brigade. Most of these were fairly pale ales. I opted for the Wizard. A bit out of the centre. But worth finding.

30 Oct 2018 21:10

Tiviot, Stockport

Long since demolished. There is now a large office block where it once stood.

30 Oct 2018 21:04

Swan With Two Necks, Stockport

Robinson's pub next to a modern shopping centre. It was apparently saved from demolition despite the development of the area. The pub has plenty of character, with a tiny front bar and a couple of old rooms at the rear. I sat in the drinking corridor in between, which was decorated with Halloween items. I also chose the Freddie Brewger seasonal beer from Robinson's. Unicorn & Old Tom were the other cask ales. Old Rosie cider was also available. Snacks are served. A pub with plenty of character.

30 Oct 2018 21:03

The Pack Horse Inn, Stockport

This pub is currently closed and boarded up. Try the nearby Remedy Bar & Brewhouse instead.

30 Oct 2018 20:52

The Bakers Vaults, Stockport

Robinson's pub with a difference in the Market Square. The interior is nicely decorated with a mix of seating. A kitchen in one corner serves food. But the real attraction is the ale selection. The usual Robinson's ales are served - Dizzy Blonde, Trooper & Unicorn, alongside lesser seen ones - Double Hop & Cumbria Way. But they also have Titanic Plum Porter, plus a number of guests - Titanic Cappuccino, Luna Moonshake & Bridgehouse Holy Cow. The real cider is Old Rosie. A new bar called Project 53 has opened a few doors up and the Remedy Bar & Brewhouse is also across the square. I only visited the latter. But it was very good. I have requested it to be added to BITE.

30 Oct 2018 20:50

The Boar's Head, Stockport

The Boar's Head is set at the top of town in the Market Square. It is one of a number of pubs in the square itself. This was also the second Sam Smith's pub I'd visited in town. It was much busier than the Queen's Head. There are multiple rooms and despite it still being morning, most tables were occupied with drinkers who seemed to be setting in for the day. OBB is the usual ale. Service was without a smile. I settled down with a half of the OBB in the rear room, where one elderly gent seemed to make every other word 'the f word'. Certainly a locals' pub.

30 Oct 2018 20:40

The Three Shires, Stockport

The Three Shires has reverted to a former name - Huffy's. It's now a wine bar/bistro. There are no real ales. Keg options are Brewdog Punk IPA, Peroni, Open Gate Citrus IPA, Guinness, Hop House Lager, Tetley's Smoothflow, Carlsberg, Carlsberg Export & San Miguel. The worst of 16 pubs I tried in the town.

30 Oct 2018 20:35

The Queens Head, Stockport

Stockport is quite deceptive. Look at a map and you think it's a nice easy walk from one pub to the next. But everything is at different levels. The Queen's Head is an old Samuel Smith's pub at the bottom of some large steps. I was in shortly after opening at 11am. OBB is the real ale. But the real attraction here is the traditional interior. There are 3 rooms. Whilst I didn't get past the front bar, the snug in the middle is supposed to be the highlight. The pub seems to attract an ageing clientele. It's certainly on of the cheapest places in town.

30 Oct 2018 20:32

Calverts Court, Stockport

With train tickets booked on a Saturday to Manchester for a football match that was moved on the Sunday, I decided not to let them go to waste and headed for a day out in Stockport. This branch of Wetherspoon's was my first stop, largely because it was the only establishment open at 10am. It was also a good opportunity for a breakfast. There's nothing particularly special about this 'spoons. But it does stretch back a fair way. Despite the early hour, it was busy - so much so that regulars had formed an orderly queue at the bar to get served. If concerned by the previous review, I can confirm that Greene King Abbot was definitely on alongside other 'spoons staples Ruddles Best & Sharp's Doom Bar. Guests were Liberation IPA, Brewster's Brewer's Dozen, Evan Evans Hop Picker, Castle Rock Wheel of Fortune & Robinson's Dizzy Blonde. Ciders were Purbeck Devil's Leaf, Rich's Legbender, Weston's Old Rosie & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. Food took a while to arrive. But I think I'd just ordered at the wrong time. Note that a few doors up is the excellent Petersgate Tap. It is not listed on here. But it was my favourite pub in the town.

30 Oct 2018 20:22

The Castle Inn, Little Birch

The Castle was our final stop in Herefordshire. It's a gem of a pub well off the beaten track. We'd saved it until last, due to its limited opening hours. The bar has a farmhouse feel, with a high ceiling. There is a separate dining area. The solitary real ale was Hopfather from Wye Valley. But they also had Ty Gwyn Perry on handpull. We had dinner in the bar area and this was not a disappointment either. Recommended.

30 Oct 2018 20:13

The New Harp Inn, Hoarwithy

We were hoping to eat here. We'd passed earlier on and confirmed that the pub was open all day. So we'd left it until later when other pubs were still closed. Food is not served until 6pm and we were just a little early for that. This is a dog friendly place which served Wye Valley Bitter. There was also a guest ale, which was Adnams Ghost Ship. Gents' toilets are outdoor at the rear.

30 Oct 2018 20:09

Gordon Bennett's, Hereford

We were catching up with new entries to the Good Beer Guide in Hereford and this was one. It was the busiest of the Herefordshire pubs we visited on Friday. 5 ales were on. 3 of those were from Wye Valley - Bitter, HPA & Butty Bach. Guest ales were Milestone Oktoberfest & Tiny Rebel Cwtch. There is no real cider. The pub/bar was decked out for Halloween. But I felt it lacked atmosphere. There are 2 floors. All drinkers were on the ground floor. But this will be another place that presumably gets much busier late in the evening, as it opens until the early hours.

30 Oct 2018 20:05

The Orange Tree, Hereford

This place is a fairly trendy craft beer bar set into an old building not too far from the cathedral. 3 ales were on - Rooster's Yankee, Salopian Voodoo & Blue Monkey BG Sips. The two Weston's ciders were Flat Tyre & Rusted Wheel. I can imagine that this place gets quite busy of an evening. But late afternoon on a Friday, we were the only customers. The better of the two pubs we visited in Hereford on the day. But I prefer the Victory, the Beer in Hand and the King's Fee.

30 Oct 2018 20:01

The Dog Inn, Ewyas Harold

The Dog does not open until 3pm. But there were already a few in when we entered soon after opening. It's a nice enough place and well worth combining with the Temple Bar just along the road. The 3 real ales are Ludlow Gold, Sharp's Doom Bar & Otter Amber. They also had Gwatkin Yarlington Mill Cider & Farmhouse Perry on draught, with a further bottled choice mainly from Gwatkin. Another decent pub.

30 Oct 2018 19:57

The Temple Bar Inn, Ewyas Harold

The Temple Bar is situated in a nice village close to the Welsh border. We had timed our visit to be just before the pub was due to close for the afternoon, as the other pub didn't open until 3pm. But there were plenty of drinkers in and it didn't look like it was going to close any time soon. The selection of 4 ales was unusual, apart from the staple Wye Valley Butty Bach. Guests were Bespoke Saved By The Bell & Tudor Blorenge Golden Ale. It was a bottle of the local Gwatkin Original Blend for me. One local decided to chat to us on his way out, his beer belly hanging out from underneath his shirt. "If the mattress gives way, I'll send you the spring" was his valued comment. Couldn't see any food here. But it was well after lunch time. There is a small fish and chip shop opposite.

30 Oct 2018 19:52

The Red Lion, Kilpeck

Modernised pub that felt a little upmarket. It clearly specialises in food. But the barmaid/landlady was very chatty and friendly. Wye Valley Butty Bach is the regular beer. The guest was Three Tuns Rantipole. There is no real cider on draught. But there is a good selection of local Ty Gwyn ciders in bottles.

30 Oct 2018 19:27

Black Swan Inn, Much Dewchurch

After a few food-dominated pubs, the Black Swan felt much more like a drinkers' pub. We sat in the bar to the right-hand side. To the left was most likely a dining area. A few other drinkers were in. Timothy Taylor Landlord is always on here. Guests were Slater's Premium & Swan Green Swan. 4 real ciders are fetched from the cellar. These were Weston's Old Rosie & Family Reserve, Abrahall's Cracklin' Rosie Perry & Cockyard Cider. The best of 11 pubs visited in Herefordshire on Friday.

30 Oct 2018 19:23

The Harewood End Inn, Harewood End

Country pub where the expectation is that you will eat. There is a small bar area to the left as you walk in. But there is a much larger dining area to the right of the entrance. Unusually for this area, St Austell Tribute is the regular ale. The guest was Hobson's Champion Mild. Situated on a busy road, making it hard to exit the car park.

30 Oct 2018 19:17

Cottage of Content, Carey

Country pub in a delightful location and seemingly popular with diners. Hobson's Best & Wye Valley Butty Bach are the real ales. Real cider is available in bottles. We shared a Brown Snout from Ross-on-Wye. A few others were in. But they all seemed to be diners.

30 Oct 2018 19:12

The Red Lion, Bredwardine

Visited the Red Lion shortly after opening on a Friday lunchtime. It seems tucked away in the middle of nowhere. Although the lane outside is categorised as a B road. The interior looked fairly small at first. But we were only in the bar area. At the rear are more rooms leading to accommodation. Presumably some of these rooms are used for diners. But we were the only customers. Judging by the various pictures, the pub is certainly popular with local fishermen. Wye Valley Butty Bach is the regular ale. The guest was Ruffled Feathers from the Swan Brewery. There was no real cider.

30 Oct 2018 19:06

The Little Thatch, Quedgeley

I paid a return visit to this lovely building yesterday. This time I was here on a Saturday when it was open, as opposed to a Sunday when it clearly closes. The interior matches the expectations of the exterior. But apart from the 2 bar staff, there was only one other small group of 3 or 4 in. So it felt a little dead. Exmoor Ale was the solitary real ale. It was in a reasonable condition. This place is not worth going out of your way for. But I'll upgrade my score to a 5, based on the impressive building and the fact that it does at least stock a real ale.

14 Oct 2018 12:19

The Lower George Inn, Gloucester

The Lower George was the only place with no real ale that we tried in Gloucestershire yesterday. There were a number of handpulls. But all of the clips were turned round. There was no real cider either. But the interior of this pub is lovely and traditional, with a few elderly locals enjoying the excellent hospitality. It was the landlady's birthday and she had a karaoke in the room at the rear. There were a few characters in here. Decent place. But a shame there were no ales.

14 Oct 2018 12:15

Dick Whittington, Gloucester

Gloucester is certainly an interesting place to visit for pubs. From the modern bars and restaurants of the gentrified docks area (incidentally I have requested the new Brewhouse & Kitchen in the Quays to be added) to the historic pubs in the city centre, there seems to be something for everyone. I was surprised however with how quiet the city centre pubs were for a Saturday night. The Dick Whittington is a Grade I listed building. The main bar area is large and it extends a fair way back. Downstairs there is an equally large room, used for functions. To the side is a small enclosed courtyard, which can also be used by drinkers. But the place was very quiet, with almost as many bar staff as customers. 4 ales were on - Lancaster Haymaker, Battledown Saison & Bespoke Hell's Bells & Leading Light. The landlady was friendly. Nobody was eating on our visit. We concur with the previous review about the toilets. They were less than impressive.

14 Oct 2018 11:58

The Cross Keys Inn, Gloucester

Following my last review in February 2017, I returned to the Cross Keys last night. This time I found it open. In fact, it was very difficult not to know it was open given the music blaring up the alleyway to the main street. The music outside in the alley was actually louder than it was inside. There are a couple of separate bars in this place. The smaller one is more traditional. But there is a larger second room where a musician started to set up whilst we were there. The barmaid was friendly and they do serve a real ale, which on this occasion was Betty Stogs. I also spied Weston's Scrumpy Cloudy Cider in a bottle of the fridge. So I indulged in that. A fairly grungy place. But with some character.

14 Oct 2018 11:51

Englands Glory, Gloucester

Wadworth's pub not a million miles from the city centre. It has a very rough around the edges feel to it. The car park is a tip with broken glass and rubble. The interior doesn't feel much better, with paint peeling off the walls and a generally grubby feel. Nevertheless, it seems to have a loyal local following and the barmaid and locals were all friendly. They were engaging in some amusing conversations. The 2 ales were 6X & Swordfish. An added bonus for me was a real cider - Old Rosie. Despite the worn feel, I quite liked this place for some reason. They now open all day at weekends.

14 Oct 2018 11:43

The King Edward VII, Longlevens

Ember Inn's establishment in Longlevens that has an entry in the current Good Beer Guide. Ember Inn's pubs aim at the family market, trying to attract drinkers and diners. It is similar to the nearby Greyhound and other than their own labelled ale from Black Sheep, they do stock a range of national guests. Bath Gem is apparently a regular here. Others were Purity Ubu, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Banks's Sunbeam & Sharp's Atlantic. Whilst you're always assured of a real ale here, I struggle to appreciate the surroundings. Their pubs always have very little character. Ok, but nothing out of the ordinary.

14 Oct 2018 11:38

The Greyhound, Longlevens

Marston's pub in a local shopping precinct in the Longlevens area of Gloucester. It's actually quite cosy inside and is designed to meet the need of local drinkers, diners and families doing a bit of both. From the outside it looks quite old. But this is still a fairly new build. So it lacks character inside. 6 ales were on - Banks's Bitter & Sunbeam, Wychwood Hobgoblin, Wells Bombardier Glorious English, Ringwood Razor Back & Marston's Pedigree & 61 Deep.

14 Oct 2018 11:34

The Royal Exchange, Hartpury

A pub that has been modernised and that is clearly aimed at the passing dining trade. But nevertheless, this was my second favourite pub of the day. There are a couple of rooms. Both seem to cater for diners. But the bar area can also be used for drinkers like ourselves. Wye Valley HPA & Butty Bach are the regular ales. There was also a guest, which was Windrush Ale from the North Cotswold Brewery. 3 fruit ciders are from Lilley's - Mango, Pear & Raspberry and Apple & Blackberry. Since the picture above, the pub is now clad in ivy, which had turned an autumn red colour.

14 Oct 2018 11:28

The Boat Inn, Ashleworth

Fantastic pub. It is approached down a narrow line past a tithe barn. It appears though you're heading into a farmyard. But right at the end, as far as you can go before driving into the River Severn, is this delightful rural pub. It's very olde worlde inside with a main bar area where a few locals were congregated and a couple of other rooms. Outdoors are several covered areas that resemble an antiques yard. Whilst there are only 3 real ales served, there were a total of 14 real ciders. The ales were Battledown Pale Ale, Clavell & Hind Rook Wood & Lakehouse Cherry Chocolate Porter. Ciders were Fisher's Dry, Mango, Strawberry & Lime, Pomegranate & Orange & Perry, Cotswold Cider Company Hornblower & Muscle Mary, Millwhites Strawberry Cider, Gwynt y Ddraig Fiery Fox, Hartland's Traditional Farmhouse, Out of the Orchard Medium Cider & Perry & Severn Cider Medium & Special. I could have quite happily stayed all day in this pub and got thoroughly sozzled. But there were other new places to try. This will be only the 7th pub I have scored a maximum 10/10, as I struggled to fault it. Well worth seeking out.

14 Oct 2018 11:22

The Bricklayers Arms, Leicester

Corner pub that is on the rugby and football stadium side of the city. It's a bit basic and many were watching live football. The ale range does not vary. It was Theakston Welford Road Ale, Fuller's London Pride & Thwaite's Wainwright. There are better pubs around. But at least I can say I've tried it now.

7 Oct 2018 16:06

The Criterion, Leicester

We were intending to visit the Criterion and the nearby Blue Boar on our trip to Leicester. We'd had quite a few in the Blue Boar and enjoyed it last year. But this time we stayed put in the Criterion. Service wasn't the friendliest and we were served out of turn. But the ale selection is still good - Oakham Bishop's Farewell, Inferno, Green Devil IPA & Black Hole Porter, Salopian Kashmir, Dhillon's Napa, Framework Sinker Stout, Arbor Meg's Bomb & Atom Schrodinger's Cat. Ciders were Weston's Old Rosie & Charnwood Jason. The latter was a new one for me. Traditional pub that may not be the best in Leicester these days. But I have a feeling I've still to visit a better pub or two in the city.

7 Oct 2018 16:02

The Polar Bear, Leicester

We tried this place yesterday after seeing it in the new Good Beer Guide. Unfortunately it was nowhere near as good as Broood. So we'd wished we'd done these 2 the other way round. Ales were Thwaite's Lancaster Bomber, Blue Monkey BG Sips, Marston's Old Empire, Frothblowers Piffle Stonker & Milestone Shine On & Oktoberfest. Ciders were all from Lilley's - Mango Cider, Strawberry Cider & Rum Cider. I asked for the Rum Cider. But there was an overwhelming taste of pipe cleaner with perhaps a hint of mango. I've still no idea if it was the correct cider. Ales weren't in the best condition either. A good CAMRA discount is offered though and the long, thin interior of the pub allows for plenty of space with a mixture of drinkers, families and diners. There is a pool table at the far end. A touch disappointing.

7 Oct 2018 15:52

Broood, Leicester

We'd been here before when it was called something else. Now there is a decent selection of real ale and the décor is much improved. Bar snacks are served. Ales were Langton Union Wharf, Lytham Radler, Belvoir Dark Horse, North Pale, Elephant School Peasant's Revolt, Oakham Inferno & Shiny New World. Ciders were Gwynt y Ddraig Welsh Warrior, Weston's Old Rosie & Lilley's Mango Cider. I stuck to the cider on my first visit. But I did also have the Dark Horse later when we returned. Friends raved about the North Pale. A massive improvement on what was here before and somewhere we're likely to return to again next time we're in Leicester.

7 Oct 2018 15:45

The Tabard, Turnham Green

The Tabard is still just about the best pub in Chiswick. It's tucked just around the corner from Turnham Green tube station. There's a decent selection of ales - Greene King Abbot & IPA, Truman's Swift & Waterloo Sunset, Sambrook's Junction & Powerhouse Porter & St Austell Tribute. There were also 2 real ciders - Weston's Old Rosie & Lilley's Strawberry Cider. They offer a CAMRA discount, but apparently not on the cider. The clientele were a bit rowdy and the atmosphere was noisy in general. But a fairly decent place.

7 Oct 2018 15:38

The Packhorse and Talbot, Chiswick

Greene King pub on the main drag in Chiswick. It's a fairly large place with plenty of space for drinkers. Live Premier League football was being shown on my Friday evening visit. Greene King IPA was supplemented y Wimbledon Common Pale & Red Leaf, Black Sheep Best Bitter & Truman's Runner. Probably one of Chiswick's better pubs. But nothing special in the grand scheme of things.

7 Oct 2018 15:34

All Bar One, Chiswick

This place has re-opened as No. 197 Chiswick Fire Station. It's an upmarket gastropub that was quite busy on our Friday evening visit. There is an oval shaped bar in the centre with an open-plan kitchen and seating for diners at the rear. The solitary ale was London Pride. Not my cup of tea.

7 Oct 2018 15:29

Kellys Dispensary, Liverpool

This place has long been on my hitlist of Liverpool pubs. It is back open again and is one of quite a few pubs and bars along this stretch of Smithdown Road. We had been to the excellent Handyman Supermarket and equally good Craft Taproom, with a visit to the disappointing Frank's in between. Kelly's Dispensary has an aged feel to it, with a bit of faded splendour. Champions League football was on the TV. JW Lees Bitter was supplemented by Sharp's Doom Bar & Weetwood Pale. The Weetwood beer was undrinkable. So we both ended up with the Lees Bitter, which was fairly decent. There is also an Addlestones pump. But the barmaid proclaimed this to be off. Not the best of places. But there's plenty of other decent pubs along here to make this a worthy stop on a crawl along the Smithdown Road.

3 Oct 2018 21:25

Dovedale Towers, Liverpool

After a visit to the Three Piggies on nearby Allerton Road (I will request that to be added), I made a return visit to the Dovedale Towers after a 20+ year hiatus. The interior and exterior of this place is to be admired and the real ale selection is better than I had expected. Jenning's Cumberland Ale is generally on, with 3 guests, which were Wells Bombardier Glorious English, Salopian Oracle & Hogsback TEA. Sadly it looks like the real cider mentioned in the last review has been discontinued.

3 Oct 2018 21:08

The White Star, Liverpool

Still a reliable old boozer in the Cavern Quarter. Stopped in here for a swift half yesterday afternoon. It was fairly quiet, with only 3 others in. Although we didn't venture any further than the front bar. Caledonian Deuchars IPA & Bass appear to be the regular ales these days. Guests were Moorhouses Pride of Pendle, Purity Mad Goose & Otter Bitter.

3 Oct 2018 21:00

Paddington Packet Boat, Uxbridge

Closed last week and it's now boarded up ready for demolition and the building of yet more houses.

1 Oct 2018 20:40

The Malt Shovel, Uxbridge

Food-dominated place next to the canal. Beware of a 3 hour limit for parking, with cameras enforcing the restriction. Ales were Doom Bar, London Pride & Proper Job. But the focus is on the food and drinkers are ushered to the small seating area around the bar. We had Sunday lunch, which was fine, albeit on the expensive side.

1 Oct 2018 20:39

The Three Compasses, Chelmsford

This was my 9th port of call in Essex and I'd been to a wide selection of pubs and clubs. But this was the kind of establishment I enjoy the most - a nice cosy and traditional country pub. It's only small. But seating was available. Others in had seemingly eaten earlier in the evening. As with the previous review in 2011, there are still just the two real ales. But the choice is more adventurous and local these days. The regular beer is Bishop Nick Ridley's Rite. The guest beer was Mighty Oak Captain Bob. It looks like the same landlady is in charge and as the previous customer had ordered the Captain Bob from her, I decided to follow suit. But unfortunately, it was way past its best. Picking up a copy of the local CAMRA magazine here, I read that it had received the Silver award for a Bitter in CAMRAs beer of the year competition. But not on this showing it wasn't. Incidentally, CAMRA appears to have got their choice of pubs in nearby Galleywood very wrong too. The Eagle is in the current Good Beer Guide. But it was absolutely awful, whereas the nearby Horse & Groom hasn't been in the Good Beer Guide since 2006. But it was excellent. Neither are listed on BITE. I will request the latter to be added to the site. Enter the former at your peril, unless you enjoy a lager in a raucous atmosphere with a disco populated with drunken youths! Despite the less than perfect beer quality in the Three Compasses, I would definitely recommend a visit here.

30 Sep 2018 11:40

The Old Windmill, South Hanningfield

I was surprised to see a Brunning & Price pub in this out-of-the-way place near to Hanningfield Reservoir. It's clearly very food-focused. As a drinker, I wasn't made to feel particularly welcome. There is no seating area as such set aside for drinkers. In fact, I sat in an area of tables already reserved for Sunday lunchtime diners. Four ales were on - St Austell Brunning & Price Traditional Bitter, Mighty Oak Kings & Maldon Gold & Brentwood Best. I left with pretty much the same sentiments as the previous reviewer. Not worth your time unless you're eating.

30 Sep 2018 11:30

The Bell, Chelmsford

This is a food-oriented pub to the south of Chelmsford in a rural setting. We initially walked into the restaurant area, where the bar was looking pretty sparse. We exited and walked round the pub to the busier bar area. Unfortunately our plans to eat here seemed to flounder initially as children were not allowed in after 6pm. But staff eventually let us bring our charge in with us. The regular ales are Greene King IPA & Crouch Vale Brewer's Gold. The guest beer was Wibbler's Dengie IPA. We enjoyed a nice pub meal in here. It's clearly a popular place.

30 Sep 2018 11:24

The Barge Inn, Battlesbridge

This pub is based in a complex dominated by a large antiques centre. The River Crouch is just over the road and this weatherboarded pub makes it quite a picturesque scene. There were a number of staff around when we entered. But all of them decided to ignore us for a few minutes. An initial idea to eat here was rejected by the lack of any kind of welcome. Ales were Greene King IPA, Abbot & London Glory & Crouch Vale Brewer's Gold. Drinks were inordinately expensive. Our round for two came to £4.95. On handing the barmaid a £10 note, the barmaid asked if I'd got the 5p. I duly obliged and received just £5 change. Clearly Essex youngsters are not sufficiently skilled in mathematics! £5.05 for half of cider and a soft drink poured from a £1 carton from the fridge is a bit of a rip off. We left this pretentious place behind in search of a decent pub. Incidentally, I later noted that a micropub has opened in the Antiques Centre complex. I'm sure that is a far better option.

30 Sep 2018 11:19

South Benfleet Social Club, Benfleet

Fifth stop on our Essex crawl was this excellent social club. It ended up being my favourite stop of the day. The interior has two rooms either side of the central bar, with one seemingly used as a function room. The main bar area was comfortable and cosy, with a number of friendly locals. Staff were also pleasant. The Chelsea match was on a TV at one end. Unlike most other local pubs, this place served something different from Greene King IPA & Doom Bar. The range was Maldon A Drop Of Nelson's Blood & Puck's Folly, Leigh-On-Sea Two Island & Mighty Oak Explorer. Weston's Family Reserve was also available in a box in the fridge. I recommend this place, if you ever find yourself in South Benfleet.

30 Sep 2018 11:11

Hoy & Helmet, South Benfleet

This is a Greene King pub close to South Benfleet station. It was packed on our early Saturday evening visit with some rowdy Essex locals, both young and old. Some may have found the atmosphere a little intimidating. Football was showing on the TV. There were plenty of bar staff. But getting served was a challenge. Greene King IPA is a regular beer. Guests were Morland Old Speckled Hen, Sharp's Doom Bar & Wadworth Swordfish. There's a nice garden area just over the opposite side of the car park, which is pay and display.

30 Sep 2018 11:06

The Gun, Pitsea

The Gun was last in the Good Beer Guide in 2016. But it appears to have gone downhill since then. The interior is fairly bland and characterless and the garden has been closed off. Sharp's Doom Bar is the regular ale. Guests were Wadworth 6X & Hancock's HB. There is no real cider and bar staff didn't seem to know what a real cider was. Can't see this one staying open for much longer.

30 Sep 2018 11:01

Moon On The Square, Basildon

The Moon On The Square was our second stop in Basildon yesterday, following the Basildon Sports & Social Club on the northern outskirts. This is of course a Wetherspoon's pub on the edge of the Eastgate Shopping Centre and near to both the railway and bus stations. The area feels a little dilapidated. But the Moon On The Square is a typical old 'spoon's with an open-plan interior. Greene King Abbot & Ruddles Best are the regular beers. Guests are Sharp's Doom Bar, Ringwood Forty Nine, Sambrook's Junction & Prescott Grand Prix. Ciders were Black Dragon & Old Rosie. There were the usual mix of daytime Wetherspoon's miscreants. But this was one of only 2 places where I found real cider in this part of Essex. So it does deserve some credit.

30 Sep 2018 10:57

The Pheasant, Harlington

I was back in the Pheasant for another works do on Friday evening. The place was heaving as usual. There's a mixture of locals and people staying in the airport hotels. The ale choice is now down to just two - Pride & Doom Bar. I stuck to Aspall's Cider. We migrated to the restaurant area which opens at 6pm. The food is always reliable here and portions are large. It's not cheap though. You can also eat in the bar, if you can find a table. Probably the best pub in the Heathrow area. But it doesn't really have much competition.

30 Sep 2018 10:49

The Three Magpies, Heathrow

I remember going in a pub on the Bath Road many years ago. I'm not sure if it was this one or not. But I think this was in fact my first visit here. It's quite a large pub with a seating area set aside to the rear left-hand side of the bar for dining. However early on a Friday evening, it was mainly drinkers. This is a John Barras pub. So Greene King IPA is the regular ale. Additional ales were Greene King Abbot & Sharp's Doom Bar. There is no real cider. Pretty disappointing place. But I did at least get a CAMRA discount.

30 Sep 2018 10:46

The Sussex Arms, Twickenham

The Sussex Arms still gets my vote as one of the best pubs in London. We were here on Thursday and both the inside and the large garden at the rear were busy when we arrived. It actually got busier throughout the evening, which made service slower than usual. Ales on when I arrived were Mad Squirrel London Porter, Big Smoke Dark Wave, Bedlam Benchmark, Beatniks Republic Leather Soul, Windsor & Eton Eton Boatman, DBC Dorset Knob, West Berkshire Maharaja IPA, Thornbridge Honey Dew Melon, Arbor Piccolina, Gloucester No Coffee No Workee, Burning Sky Aurora & Thameside White Swan. Whilst I started on the cider, some of the ales we initially ordered in our group were cloudy and well past their best. Whether they were having issues with the beer quality or whether it was the volume they were getting through, I don't know. But beers were changing at a rapid rate. By the time we left, 7 ales had been poured through - Five Points Pale, Pig & Porter Hibiscus Pale Too Many Dicks On the Dancefloor, Welton's It's Time For A Hoedown, Kent Cobnut, Oakham Elephant In The Whirlpool, Windsor & Eton British Champion's Day Ale & Wild Weather Storm In A Teacup. Beer quality certainly improved as the evening wore on. Ciders were Ascension Sonic Titan, Sandford Orchards Devon Mist, Abrahall's Thundering Molly, Cotswold Cider Company Freak Show, Seacider White Peach & Cornwall Cider Company Apple Slayer. Thursday is steak night. So we took advantage of a steak deal which included a pint. Don't forget to get your stamps too. Get every 10th pint free. Another good evening in the Sussex Arms.

30 Sep 2018 10:41

The Bloomsbury, Twickenham

Visited here for the first time early on Thursday evening. I was surprised to find 4 ales. The regular ale is Fuller's London Pride. But they also had Twickenham Naked Ladies & Caledonian Golden XPA & Autumn Red. We tried both of the Caledonian beers and neither were in a particularly good condition. Didn't spend much time inside, as we sat outside on the patio at the front. But the interior did seem nice enough. Didn't inspire me sufficiently to attempt a return visit.

30 Sep 2018 10:28

Arnos Arms, New Southgate

I'm fairly sure that this was the first pub I've visited in N11. Situated nextdoor to Arnos Grove tube station, this is a large establishment with a modern but not unpleasant interior, which now serves real ales. The two ales were both from Redemption - Hotspur & Trinity. But there was also a real cider that I'd not had before - Snail's Bank Gooseberry Fool. There are plenty of craft beers too. Most of the clientele seemed to be families in for Sunday brunch. It was still morning on my visit. So it was probably not the most representative time. But there was only one other drinker. I'd definitely come back here though. Moved on from here to the Little Green Dragon in Winchmore Hill and the Prince in Wood Green. Neither are listed on here. But they are recommended. So I will request their addition.

24 Sep 2018 20:41

The Moon Under Water, Colindale

Sunday morning and it was time to do the new pubs in the 2019 Good Beer Guide that I had not previously visited in North London. The Moon Under Water is situated in a parade of shops in Colindale on the main Edgware Road. I was here for a breakfast and an early pint. Greene King Abbot is the regular ale. But there are 4 guests - Enefeld London Pale Ale & Speculation, Twickenham Autumn Red and a Wadworth collaboration porter called Naked Bliss. I opted for the latter. The solitary barman was very efficient and was dealing with a fair few customers for the time of day. Food arrived quickly. Another plus point is for the ground floor toilets. It's very rare that you don't have to go up or down stairs to spend a penny in a 'Spoons. Fairly average Wetherspoon's that would be above average in my view if they served a real cider. But there's probably not much call for it locally.

24 Sep 2018 20:33

The White Lion, Bourton

Final stop in Dorset on Saturday evening for us was the White Lion at Bourton. Luckily for us, we had saved the best pub of the day until last. It's fairly close to the A303. So you will unwittingly travel very close to here without knowing it when driving between London and the West Country. It's a fairly large, but traditional place with areas for both drinking and dining. Despite arriving fairly late, they fitted us in for a meal and I enjoyed a very nice meal. There is a children's meal too. Otter Amber is the regular ale. There were 3 guests - Dartmoor Jail Ale, Exmoor Fox & Keystone Bedrock. Ciders were Rich's Farmhouse & Thatcher's Traditional. The bill was handed over without the drinks on. Staff seemed surprised and appreciative of my honesty to point this out. But they had been friendly and helpful during our visit. So I was not about to fiddle them out of a few quid. Lovely place.

24 Sep 2018 20:23

The Stapleton Arms, Gillingham

Village pub with a bar area and a more formal dining area. There are plenty of tables. But we felt that it had a real pretentious feel to it. Although it was more upmarket than other pubs we had visited during the day. The 3 ales were Sharp's Doom Bar & Atlantic & Plain Ales Innocence. I went for the latter, with no real cider available. The place soon filled up with diners. But we took a look at the menu and decided that it was not for us. There were a number of dogs too - far too many for our liking. Boules can now be played at the front. Not overly enamoured with this pub though.

24 Sep 2018 20:16

The Digby Tap, Sherborne

I had really high hopes for this pub. But once again, my hopes were shattered. The place is a great old fashioned boozer with a few different spit and sawdust rooms, including one with a pool table at the far end. The menu looked interesting. But food is only served at lunchtime. The disappointment for me was the ale selection. I ordered Teignworthy Neap Tide. But that had run out. That left just St Austell Trelawny. I resorted to a fizzy cider (Rattler). Otter Bitter was later pulled through. But with just one real ale on my arrival, the ale selection was worse than Mad Dog's opposite. Lovely pub. But a terrible ale selection. If this is the best Sherborne has to offer, I won't be returning any time soon.

24 Sep 2018 20:11

The Britannia Inn, Sherborne

Sherborne is a lovely little town. But it's pretty awful for real ale. This place is now called Mad Dog's and is set out similar to an American diner. However it did have 2 ales, which were Spitfire & Deuchars. Live football was on the TV. Doesn't really feel like a pub. Disappointing.

24 Sep 2018 20:05

The Chetnole Inn, Chetnole

The Chetnole Inn was another bonus pub for us in Dorset. But this was another disappointment. Ales were Butcombe Gold & Adam Henson's Rare Breed, Wriggle Valley Golden Bear & Ringwood Forty Niner. The cider was Cheddar Valley dispensed from a font.. But the barmaid informed me that it was fizzy. So I politely declined. We were the only customers and we sat in the lounge/dining area. Several tables had dinner reservations laid out on them. There is another separate bar area.

24 Sep 2018 20:01

The White Hart, Sherborne

With two pubs in Sherborne closed, it was time to call in on a couple of standby pubs! The first was the White Hart in Yetminster, which is open all day on a Saturday. I was suitably impressed by this place, especially the cider range. Ales were Wriggle Valley Golden Bear, Palmer's Dorset Gold & Fine Tuned Langport Bitter. Ciders were Harry's Flash Harry & Scrummage, Dorset Nectar Old Harry Rocks & Ham Hill Cider Bop Drop. A number of locals were crowded around the bar, leaving plenty of seating space. There is a nice outdoor area with a skittles alley also situated at the rear. Recommended.

24 Sep 2018 19:55

The Kings Arms Inn, Thornford

Touring the country regularly, Dorset is my favourite county for pubs. But this visit was largely disappointing, until I reached the Kings Arms. Finally a pub that offered a warm welcome with friendly staff and customers. It was quiet on our Saturday afternoon visit, with only a couple of customers and a few staff. Sharp's Doom Bar is the regular ale. The 3 changing ales were Cerne Abbas Ale, Palmer's Copper & Cotleigh New Harvest. After two dry pubs for real cider, I also hit lucky with Dorset Orchards First Press. This is everything that a good village pub should be.

24 Sep 2018 19:49

The White Hart, Bishops Caundle

Set on the bend of a main road, this pub has a bar area and a separate dining area. It was a bit chilly inside. A family eating in one corner were creating a fair amount of noise and there were a couple of locals in the bar area. There is plenty of seating. The 3 ales were Trelawny, Hophead & 6X, whilst there was no real cider. Another disappointing pub.

24 Sep 2018 19:42

The Trooper, Stourton Caundle

Set in a lovely Dorset village, this place looked very promising from the outside. But the inside has been modernised and the strange and varied furniture didn't seem in keeping with a village pub. There was abstract artwork on the walls. The real ale was Dartmoor Best Bitter and there was no real cider. Two locals were propping up the bar. But they were the only other customers. The gents is outside and entered from the side of the pub. I'm not sure I've ever witnessed so many spiders in one small place. Accommodation is in separate outhouses at the rear of the car park. I found this a fairly soulless place and am really struggling to find too much to recommend about it. Not quite sure how it has made the 2019 Good Beer Guide.

24 Sep 2018 18:21

Skippers, Sherborne

This pub on the edge of town changed its name to the Teddy Rowe. But it is closed again now. There was a light on inside. But various rubble in the car park and a chain across the car park entrance was sufficient to indicate to us that it wouldn't be opening for custom on the day of our visit.

24 Sep 2018 18:15

The Crown Hotel, Sherborne

The Crown was closed on our Saturday lunchtime visit. It looks like they're looking for new tenants.

24 Sep 2018 18:13

The Mitre Inn, Sandford Orcas

Lovely village local that opens at 11:30. We chose this as a starting point for a 10-pub Dorset crawl, as many (including this one) close during the afternoon. We arrived to find the lights switched off. We were the first in and it was deadly quiet. Ales were Sharp's Doom Bar, Hopback Summer Lightning & Dartmoor Best. But I was more impressed with the cider range - Lilley's Somerset Scrumpy, Red Rabbit & Mango Cider, along with Dorset Nectar Old Harry Rocks. 3 other locals walked in. A couple were in for lunch and another guy was obviously a local drinker. You enter through a hallway, which feels like somebody's house. Beyond is the bar and a restaurant area. One of the best pubs we visited on Saturday.

24 Sep 2018 18:09

The Queens Head Inn, Tirril

As the 2008 review states, this is no longer a pub featuring local Tirril ales. It's now a Robinson's place, which seems to be more geared up towards food. Drinks are very expensive. Nice place though with low ceilings and a number of rooms. Dizzy Blonde & Cumbria Way were the two real ales.

17 Sep 2018 20:13

The Yanwath Gate Inn, Yanwath

Olde worlde pub tucked away off the main road in the village of Yanwath. Seems to specialise in food. But they had a selection of pale ales - Tractor Shed Mowdy Pale Ale, Eden Fuggle & Appleby Haweswater Blonde. I was hoping to find a real cider. But there were none. At least the barman was an Everton fan though!

17 Sep 2018 20:10

The Dog Beck, Penrith

Wetherspoon's branch unusually tucked away from the centre of Penrith and all of its nightlife. The building looks nice from the outside. Apparently it used to be a nightclub. Inside is fairly bland. There is a roof terrace upstairs. Ales were Sharp's Doom Bar, Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Thwaite's Wainwright, Settle Epic IPA & Derwent Grune Point. The cider was Old Rosie. Had a reasonable breakfast here on Sunday evening. It was a good chance to use a CAMRA voucher.

17 Sep 2018 20:06

General Wolfe, Penrith

Thwaite's pub that advertises on its Facebook page as being open until 1am on a Saturday night. However they wouldn't serve me shortly after 11:30pm. So no beerintheevening means a 1/10 from me for this place.

17 Sep 2018 20:01

Royal, Penrith

Just found this pub on the site. It was my third stop in Penrith on Saturday evening. This was a lively place, supposedly with late night opening hours. Yet it is also a nice, traditional place. Unfortunately there were no local ales. The selection was Wye Valley HPA or Otter Ale. Although a third one was being poured through at 11:30pm. They also had Weston's Old Rosie.

17 Sep 2018 19:59

Foundry 34, Penrith

Foundry 34 was a lively place tucked away off the main drags in Penrith. There was a rather loud band on during my late Saturday night visit. It's a modern-looking place with a solitary real ale. This was Hesket Newmarket Brim Fell IPA. I was hoping to find real cider here. But sadly there was none. Moved on from here to the Royal, which was much better. I will request it to be added. My final pub after that was the Castlegate. But that's definitely not worth adding to the site!

17 Sep 2018 19:55

Moo Bar, Penrith

This is now the Fell Bar. It was my favourite pub/bar of 23 new establishments tried over the weekend. It's a small place, with not much space for seating. But there are other floors and the turnover of customers was quick. Beers, both cask and keg are on a blackboard, alongside ciders, a craft lager and ciders. The cask ales from Fell were Ghyll, Robust Porter & Nelson & Chinook. Guests were Allendale Summit Single, RedWillow Effortless & Northern Moon Faith. The 3 ciders were Snail's Bank Fruit Bat, Oliver's Dry & Thistly Cross Traditional. Bar staff seemed to be knowledgeable. Reminiscent of a micropub, this is a welcome addition to the pub scene in Penrith and probably the best in town.

17 Sep 2018 19:49

The Shepherds Inn, Langwathby

This was the 5th pub in a row in North East Cumbria that was unable to serve us food. Apparently this one stops serving as early as 8pm. Whilst the others were apologetic, service in here was fairly miserable. We ended up resorting to a kebab in Penrith. It's a shame that nowhere around here serves food on a Saturday evening. Thwaite's Wainwright & Tirril Rydal Pale Ale were the ales. There was no real cider. Disappointing.

17 Sep 2018 19:42

The Highland Drove, Great Salkeld

It was dark by the time we got to this village. But you could tell it is an archetypal English village with a lovely stone church and this pub. We'd hoped to eat here. They advertise that they serve food from 6pm until 9pm. But shortly after 8pm, they had decided that they didn't want any customers. After failing to find food in the previous 3 pubs, we'd hoped to get something to eat here. The food smelt good, which only made us feel worse. Onto the beer - Theakston Black Bull Bitter & Eden Kyloe's Kushie were supplemented by Keswick Gold. A nice pub in a lovely village. But they need to get their act together where food is concerned.

17 Sep 2018 19:36

Joiners Arms, Lazonby

We arrived here well after 7pm on a Saturday evening and the pub was closed. We were just about to head off when a light appeared. Apparently they don't open until 7:30 as the locals don't come out until later. There's no real ale here. The keg selection is Guinness, John Smith's, Kronenbourg & Fosters. The owners still have a lot of work to do with this place. There seems to be work ongoing with a large room at the rear, which contained some strange mannequin-type models. There is a pool table in a room down a couple of stairs from the main bar. Pool is free to play. Although space is tight. Not one for the ale connoisseur. But a friendly village local situated just up from the village's popular open-air heated pool and playground.

17 Sep 2018 19:29

The Fetherston Arms, Kirkoswald

We tried both pubs in this lovely small village, set on a hill. The Fetherston Arms was easily better than the Crown. It had a good crowd of drinkers and the dining area looked full too. There were a few dogs in the bar. Everybody seemed friendly. Theakston Best Bitter is the permanent beer. Guest ales were Lancaster Blonde, Derwent Carlisle State Bitter & Fell Brewery Nelson Chinook. As with the Crown, the real cider was Weston's Family Reserve.

17 Sep 2018 19:25

The Fox and Pheasant Inn, Armathwaite

The Fox & Pheasant enjoys a beautiful setting in the Eden Valley overlooking the river and a stone bridge. It's a country pub with a bar area and a separate dining area. A roaring coal fire was in action on our early Saturday evening visit. There were a few locals in the bar and a couple of families in the dining room. It's run by Robinson's. There are 3 of their ales and a guest. The 3 Robinson's ales were Cumbria Way, Dizzy Blonde & Unicorn. The guest was Hawkshead Windermere Pale. There was no real cider. Nice pub.

17 Sep 2018 19:19

Cross Keys, Bishop Middleham

Our final pub in Durham was the Cross Keys. It's a pub that is clearly central to the local community. A group of kids wandered in for fish and chips to takeaway. Inside is quite cosy, with several secluded areas. A few people were eating in one corner. The latest Saturday football scores were on the TV. Maxim Swedish Blonde & Consett Ale Works Red Dust were the two real ales.

17 Sep 2018 19:14

The Surtees Arms, Ferryhill

The Surtees Arms was our 9th County Durham pub after visiting the nearby Manor House in Ferryhill itself (not listed on here). This pub is the brewery tap for the Yard of Ale brewery. 3 of their ales were on - One Foot in the Yard, Devil's Last Intake & Four Hop Gold. There was no real cider. The pub doesn't look much from the outside. But inside, there is a decent community local with 3 rooms and a serving hatch from a central corridor. Some kind of group was meeting in the one room. Friendly service and a very nice traditional boozer.

17 Sep 2018 19:10

Ship Inn, Middlestone

I agree with the previous review. This is a proper village boozer with three small rooms and a decent selection of ales. Parking is just opposite the road, overlooking rolling fields. The pub has no music or other electronics. It specialises in conversation. Locals and staff are friendly. The ale selection was Yard of Ale Savage Wit, Brentwood Gold, Maxim Samson, Rudgate Valkyrie APA & Mithril Walking On Sunshine. I went for the Savage Wit, which was a dark wheat bear with orange. It was not the best and tasted on the turn. Can't fault the pub itself though.

17 Sep 2018 19:05

The Tut 'n' Shive, Bishop Auckland

Now a Ladbroke's betting shop.

17 Sep 2018 18:59

Stanley Jefferson, Bishop Auckland

The Stanley Jefferson was the last of 5 pubs I tried on Friday evening in Bishop Auckland. It ended up being my favourite pub in the town. As it's a Wetherspoon's, that doesn't say too much for the pubs in the town. The pub has a little more character than most branches of the chain, with several separate drinking areas, rather than one large open room. It was quiet on my late Friday night visit. Ales were Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharp's Doom Bar, Summerskills Whistle Belly Vengeance, Purple Moose Dark Side of the Moose, Tyne Bank EPA & Mauldon's Black Adder. Ciders were Weston's Old Rosie & Snail's Bank Rhubarb Cider.

17 Sep 2018 18:58

The Grand, Bishop Auckland

The Grand Hotel was the first of 6 pubs I visited in Bishop Auckland on Friday evening and Saturday lunchtime. It's a fairly basic pub inside. But locals and staff are friendly. Karaoke was on during my Friday visit. The landlord spent a good while chatting to me about the pubs in the town. The pub has accommodation. But unfortunately, I'd booked the Premier Inn on the outskirts of town. The Grand is near the station and much more central. Two handpulls were clipped with George Samuel Brewing Company Harvey & Yard of Ale Four Gold Hop. But a better surprise for me were the 3 real ciders - Weston's Old Rosie, Lilley's Mango Cider & Sandford Orchards Cider Ginger. This was certainly one of the better pubs in the town. I also visited the Station Hotel, the Green Tree, the Bay Horse and Pollards. None of these are listed on the site. The last two are the only two worth adding.

17 Sep 2018 18:22

The Good Yarn, Uxbridge

Was here today following a visit to the nearby Beefeater and some shopping. Little has changed. Although it was a little quieter than normal. We managed to grab a booth in the raised seating area at the rear. Ales today were Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharp's Doom Bar, Purity Ubu, Purple Moose Dark Side of the Moose, Peerless Full Whack, Whitstable Kentish Reserve & Upham Autumn Leaves. As usual, the cider was Black Dragon.

9 Sep 2018 18:55

The Royal Oak Inn, Meavy

Our final stop in Devon was the Royal Oak. It took us much longer to get here than normal, as the main road into the village was closed. Whilst it was already dark, we could appreciate that this was the archetypal village pub situated in the centre of the village overlooking the village green. There is a lounge bar which served food and a more basic and traditional public bar. Staff were friendly. 3 regular beers are Dartmoor Jail Ale & Meavy Oak Ale & St Austell Proper Job. The guest beer was Otter Amber. Ciders were Hunt's Wobbler & Barn Screecher & Sandford Orchards Old Kirton. They also had Black Rat Perry. Certainly a very nice pub. But I did have high expectations after reading reviews.

4 Sep 2018 21:22

Rock Inn, Yelverton

The Rock was a strange find in this part of Devon. It's a large place with a number of big rooms, with an outdoor area at the front where you can get your ale from a hatch. Looked fairly upmarket. But it was certainly busy. Ales were fairly standard for the area. Sharp's Doom Bar & Dartmoor Jail Ale & Legend were supplemented by Bay's Summer Ale.

4 Sep 2018 21:17

The Burrator Inn, Dousland

I was disappointed by this pub. It has a large interior and was quite busy. A few were eating. There is also a garden area with a children's play area. The ale selection does not change and consists of local staples - Dartmoor Jail Ale, Otter Amber, St Austell Tribute & Sharp's Doom Bar. I'm surprised this is in the 2018 Good Beer Guide.

4 Sep 2018 21:12

The Walkhampton Inn, Yelverton

This was easily the best of 22 pubs I visited in Devon and Cornwall over the weekend. We missed it at first. The signs are currently hidden by scaffolding. But it is right in the centre of this quaint Dartmoor village. Parking is limited. New owners have taken over the pub and seem to be making a real go of it. The pub could certainly do with a small makeover. But I couldn't fault the ale and cider selection and the food was pretty decent too. It seemed to be enjoying a good local custom. Ales were Dartmoor Legend, Exeter County Best & Roam Tavy IPA. But it was the cider selection that impressed me most. There were a number of boxes at the one end of the bar. Although I think they were left over from a cider festival held the previous weekend of the August Bank Holiday. They had Sandford Orchards Old Kirton, Countyman Farm Scrumpy Medium, Cornwall Cider Company Rhubarb & Custard, Winkleigh Sam's Autumn Scrumpy & Fruity Blackcurrant, Lilley's Pickled Parrot Perry & Orchard Pig Navel Gazer. The décor is simple and traditional. There is a small garden at the rear. Lovely pub, worthy of an 8/10.

4 Sep 2018 21:08

The Trout and Tipple, Tavistock

I wasn't convinced that this pub would be open during the late afternoon. It advertises as being closed. But we dropped by and found it open. There were only 2 other customers. The owners seemed friendly enough though. The pub has a bar area and a similar sized restaurant area. The car park and trout farm are opposite. Take care if crossing the road, as cars come around the bend quite rapidly. Ales were Dartmoor Jail Ale, Otter Bright & St Austell Tribute. But there was no real cider. Moved on from here to the Whitchurch Inn, which was on the opposite side of Tavistock and is not listed on here.

4 Sep 2018 21:00

The Castle Inn Hotel, Lydford

Fourth pub on a Sunday visit to West Devon was the Castle Inn. This is a delightful small village with a castle, a church and a nearby gorge owned by the National Trust. The Castle is owned by St Austell. It's a nice place with a decent size garden at the rear. Having just come from Cornwall though, I was sick of the sight of Sharps & St Austell ales. Tribute, Proper Job & Trelawny are served alongside a guest ale, which was Bath Summer's Hare. I had the Trelawny, which was ok until a wasp decided to do a front crawl in it. Ironically the first 3 pubs we tried were all better. I've requested that the Ashwater Inn, the Pint & Post, St Giles on the Heath and the Blue Lion Inn at Lewdown are added to the site.

4 Sep 2018 20:53

The First and Last, Penzance

Last stop in Penzance on Saturday night was the appropriately named First & Last. This pub is a fairly cosy place for drinkers. But it feels a bit out on a limb and was very quiet on what should presumably be its busiest time of the week. I was the only person in the one bar. But there were a few more in a lounge. The solitary ale was Keltek Magik, which was quite a nice way to finish.

3 Sep 2018 19:52

Fountain Tavern, Penzance

The Fountain was open on my visit this weekend. It was a fair slog uphill from the Crown and was another bonus pub where I was hoping to find a few ciders. Alas, the best I could manage was Rattler. It was quite busy with people watching golf. Ales were St Austell Tribute, Sharp's Doom Bar & Rebel Gold. Not really worth the walk uphill from town.

3 Sep 2018 19:48

The Crown Inn, Penzance

The Crown is the only remaining Penzance pub in the Good Beer Guide. It's tucked away just off a main street on the corner of a square. Run by the Cornish Crown brewery, all of the ales were from the brewery - One Hop Grain, SPA, Red IPA, Porter, IPA & Causeway. It's only a small pub with a bar and an ever smaller side room. Customers were a strange mix. The pub had a bohemian type feel. Nice place. But my Porter was only fairly average.

3 Sep 2018 19:45

Tremenheere, Penzance

I agree with the last reviewer. Whilst there are generally better pubs than Wetherspoon's in most towns I visit, this was actually my favourite pub in Penzance. It's not much to look at from the outside and I'm never encouraged by the sight of bouncers. But this place was packed, with a usual mix of elderly drinkers, diners and younger people starting their night out. Ales were the standard offering of Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharp's Doom Bar, with guests - Bay's Topsail, Banks's Red Racer & Grafton Caramel Stout. I'd also finally located ciders other than Old Rosie in Cornwall. It was 1 of only 12 pubs with anything other than the Herefordshire staple. The selection was Thatcher's Traditional, Sandford Orchards Hangy Downs, Polgoon Mount's Bay & Winkleigh Sam's Medium. A very nice pint was consumed with a 50p off CAMRA voucher!

3 Sep 2018 19:41

The Turks Head, Penzance

The Turk's Head was a bonus pub for me that I'd not planned on visiting. Just a few doors up from the more famous Admiral Benbow, the Turk's Head is actually older and a little less pretentious. It was very busy on my Saturday evening visit, with all food tables occupied and people spilling outside. I managed to grab a stool at the bar. Ales were Sharp's Doom Bar, Skinner's Hops n Honey & Betty Stogs & Timothy Taylor Landlord. Cider was Old Rosie. Friendly service.

3 Sep 2018 19:36

The Admiral Benbow, Penzance

Strange place that certainly wins the award for most quirky pub in Penzance. It has many different seating areas and many many naval artefacts around the walls and ceilings. But the ale selection is disappointing. The eponymous Sharp's Doom Bar & St Austell Tribute were accompanied by Treen's Essential. I went for the Treen's ale. But the seating I selected was fairly uncomfortable and it was next to a group of rugby fans who'd clearly consumed a few too many. Worthy of a visit to admire the interior. But don't expect anything special ale-wise.

3 Sep 2018 19:33

The Alexandra, Penzance

Strange pub, just off the seafront in Penzance. I've never seen a crazy golf course in a pub garden before. But I've still got plenty to do! This wasn't a nice enough day to be outside anyway, with fog and drizzle. The concept of spending a penny is still alive and kicking here. Ladies have to take a penny from the bar to spend one. Gents toilets are more accessible. Ales were Sharp's Original & Skinner's Lushington's. We'd hoped to eat here. But they weren't serving food. So we nipped round to the Thai restaurant a couple of doors up. This is a pub that seems to be stuck deep in the past.

3 Sep 2018 19:29

The Pirate Inn, Alverton

The Pirate Inn was our first stop in Penzance after the nearby Polgoon Cider shop. It's located in the North West outskirts and is a reasonable choice. Having had high hopes of finding real cider in Cornwall, it was the first place I'd visited with any on. Never had an Old Rosie seemed more appealing. It was busy on our early Sunday evening visit with a mixture of drinkers and diners. I'd planned to eat here. But our B & B owner did not recommend it. The idea of tapas did appeal. But we soon found out that they only serve it until 5pm, unless like a couple of locals who walked in after us, you know the owners! Still a nice pub though. Ales were all from Sharp's - Doom Bar, Atlantic & Sea Fury.

3 Sep 2018 19:23

The Sportsmans Arms, Penzance

Disappointing local pub not far from Penzance. It has a fairly basic interior. Locals were watching final football scores come through on the TV on our Saturday afternoon visit. A couple of younger ones were playing pool in one corner. The solitary ale was Cotleigh Seahawk. There is no longer any real cider.

3 Sep 2018 19:15

The Fountain Inn, Newbridge

I'd read that the licensing hours of this place are limited to 6-10. But sadly they are even more limited than that now. A sign on the door declares that this is no longer a pub. Whilst it still apparently dispenses cask ales and real cider, it is only served to residents in the B & B. So I guess the selection is much more limited, with a reduced footfall. But unfortunately we were unable to see, as the notice on the door made it quite clear that passing trade is not welcome. 1/10 as there is no longer beerintheevening unless you fancy staying in a small Cornish village a few miles from civilisation.

3 Sep 2018 19:11

The Star Inn, St Just

Second stop in St Just was the Star. It's a two room village local with seemingly friendly locals and staff. It has a mobile phone policy. Rugby was being shown on the TVs. Ales were the same 3 St Austell ales in the King's Arms over the road - Tribute, Proper Job & Cornish Best. But they did have a guest, which was Bath Gem. Healey's Rattler was on for the wife. Another atmospheric village local and the better of the two we tried in this village.

3 Sep 2018 19:08

Kings Arms, St Just

Lovely old pub in St Just, just a couple of doors up from the church in the main square. It's a St Austell house. So ale choice was limited to Tribute, Proper Job & Cornish Best. I opted for the latter and wished I hadn't. No reflection on the beer. It's just my thing. There are a number of different sections. Diners appear to use the area at the rear. Quite dark inside. But lots of character, with plenty on the walls to keep you occupied.

3 Sep 2018 19:05

The Queens Arms, St Just

After a long drive to this far corner of Cornwall, we arrived to find this nice village local in former tin mining country. There is a main bar area with a small conservatory overlooking the garden at the rear. Customers were a mixture of locals with their dogs and a few tourists, some of whom were arriving for meals. Ales were Sharp's Doom Bar and a couple of guests from Skinner's - Hops 'N' Honey & Lushington's. No sign of any real cider that I could see. I opted for the Hops 'n' Honey. Not really my cup of tea. Nice pub though.

3 Sep 2018 19:00

The Grapes, Liverpool

After a disappointing visit to a new bar called the Beer Engine, my final port of call for the evening was the Grapes. This is always a reliable venue for a drink after 11pm in Liverpool. It was fairly busy at this time last night, as usual. The interior has been expanded and tidied up. It creates a bright and pleasant drinking environment. Service is quick and the bar staff are knowledgeable. Last night, the ales were Melwood Marmalade Skies, Red Star Grapes IPA, Hawkshead Chapter 11 That Old Rope, Neptune Tatha, Rock The Boat Faith Hope & Charity, Castle Rock Factory No. 6 & Cwrw Ial Pothole Porter. In addition they have a real cider. This is normally Seacider Medium Dry. But they did apparently have a couple of other varieties of Seacider waiting in the cellar. This is fast becoming one of my favourite pubs in Liverpool, as it is consistently good.

30 Aug 2018 19:29

Mackenzie's, Liverpool

Advertises on its website that it's open until 11:30 on a weekday. Sadly they refused service shortly after 11pm. Downgrading my rating to a 3/10.

30 Aug 2018 19:23

The Dispensary, Liverpool

Not the greatest ale selection on a visit last night - George Wright Mark's Mild, Titanic Plum Porter & First Class, Fyne Ales Hurricane Jack, Rat White Rat & Hawkshead Windermere Pale. Still one of the best boozers in the city though.

30 Aug 2018 19:18

The Beer Parlour, Chesterfield

My final stop in Chesterfield was the Beer Parlour. It's a former bottle shop that is now more of a small locals' bar now. It has a fairly rustic feel to it. But it's clearly a popular little place. I can imagine it gets very busy on matchdays. But it's location tucked away off the main Sheffield Road probably saves it from being overwhelmed. Ales on were Double Top Treble 20 & Mad House, Thornbridge Jaipur, Acorn Barnsley Bitter, Axholme Cleethorpe Pale Ale, Abbeydale Deception, Vog Paradigm Shift & Slater's Haka. The cider selection was huge - Lilley's Merry Monkey, Somerset Scrumpy, Lemon & Lime Cider, Rhubarb Cider, Strawberry Cider, Apples & Pears & Apple & Blackberry, Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon & Happy Daze, Thistly Cross Whisky Cask & Broadoak Rum & Raisin. Well worth a trip out of town to Whittington Moor to check it out.

28 Aug 2018 20:36

Spa Lane Vaults, Chesterfield

The Spa Lane Vaults was my preferred Wetherspoon's in Chesterfield. It has a more modern interior than the Portland Arms. But it seemed to be more popular with diners, it's much bigger inside than it first looks, meaning plenty of seating and the ale and cider range was good - Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Derventio Barbarian, Beermats Diplomat, Amber Ales Revolution, Welbeck Abbey Cavendish, Sharp's Doom Bar, Weston's Old Rosie, Cock Eyed Pear Mania & Snail's Bank Rhubarb Cider. As with the Portland Arms, there were a few families in.

28 Aug 2018 20:29

White Swan, Chesterfield

The White Swan is currently closed. No sign of life. But the signage is still there.

28 Aug 2018 20:26

The Rutland, Chesterfield

The Rutland Arms is situated next to Chesterfield's most famous landmark. But it was very quiet on my Monday evening visit. There are a number of sections and tucked away across what is a reasonably large interior was a grand total of 5 other patrons. The barman looked suitably bored. A 6th customer other than myself did later appear. But he replaced a guy who looked as if he had already had a few too many. The ale selection was decent - Greene King Abbot, Thornbridge Jaipur, Blue Bee Tempest Stout, Castle Rock Elsie Mo, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Sharp's Doom Bar, St Austell Tribute & Abbeydale Doctor Morton's Myar Skikt. The cider was Old Rosie. Cosy place. But could have done with more customers to create a better atmosphere.

28 Aug 2018 20:25

The Market, Chesterfield

The Market Pub was one of the busier pubs I found in what was a deserted Chesterfield town centre on Bank Holiday Monday evening. There is an L-shaped bar and the interior has a little character. Plenty of people were eating. The burgers looked tempting. A few drinkers were sat outside on the edge of the Market Square. Ales were Greene King Abbot, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Kelham Island Easy Rider, Oakham Citra & Welbeck Abbey Portland Black, Cavendish & Henrietta. Locals seem to enjoy fruit ciders in this town. The selection reflected this - Lilley's Apple & Blackberry Cider & Mango Cider. Probably the best pub right in the town centre.

28 Aug 2018 20:20

Portland Hotel, Chesterfield

The Portland Hotel is a branch of Wetherspoon's in a fairly impressive building just off the Market Square. The interior was fairly bland, as you'd expect and maybe a little smaller than it looks from the outside. It was busy with the usual 'spoons type of customers. Ales were Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharp's Doom Bar, Mr Grundy's Lord Kitchener, Welbeck Abbey Cavendish, Derventio Barbarian, Falstaff A Fistful Of Hops, Pheasantry Best Bitter, Beermats Diplomat & Howard Town Monk's Gold. Ciders were both from Weston's - Old Rosie & Marcle Hill. I preferred the other Wetherspoon's in town.

28 Aug 2018 20:15

Chesterfield Alehouse, Chesterfield

The Chesterfield Alehouse is a decent micropub just at the western edge of the town centre. It was reasonably busy on my visit, which made the ground floor seem a little cramped. But there are also a couple of rooms with extra seating upstairs. Ales were Cromarty Happy Chappy, Box Social Sussed, Anarchy Cult Leader, Ashover Poet's Tipple & Brew York Tonkoko Milk Stout & Black Eagle. Ciders were Abrahall's AD, Thistly Cross Traditional, Oliver's Perry, Broadoak Strawberry Cider & Lilley's Mango Cider. In addition, there were 6 craft beers on draft from Bone Machine. Clearly a decent choice for the more discerning drinker in the town.

28 Aug 2018 20:10

Boythorpe Inn, Chesterfield

The Boythorpe Inn is situated just up from Queen's Park, where there was a funfair on my Bank Holiday Monday visit to the town. It's a Greene King pub. I was expecting it to be a bit more foodie than it was. But in fact, it was full with drinkers, mostly the lager-drinking variety. There were 2 real ales - Greene King IPA and a guest - Robinson's Dizzy Blonde. Seemed a little too rough for my liking. Locals (one was called Lukaku) seemed to be getting ready for the live football on the TV.

28 Aug 2018 20:04

The Star, Chesterfield

Back in Chesterfield after a 6 year gap, after hearing plenty of positive stories of the ale scene in the town, I started my visit in the Star. This is in the Brampton area to the west of town, where there are some fabulous choices. This is not one of them. Although it did serve Theakston Lightfoot and Ossett Yorkshire Blonde. The pub has a very worn feel to it. But the locals seemed a friendly bunch and there was plenty of banter between them. Most were getting on. Some were playing cards or dominoes in the corner. Not the best place for ales. But a good, honest boozer. Moved on from here to find the Real Ale Corner closed for the weekend. But I did manage visits to the excellent Tap House (Barlow Brewery) and the Tramway Tavern (Brampton Brewery). The latter had a beer festival. I also visited the Brampton Manor. None are listed on the site. But I'll request that the Tap House and the Tramway Tavern are added.

28 Aug 2018 19:31

The Peacock, Bakewell

Yesterday was my first ever visit to Bakewell. What a nightmare getting into this town on a Bank Holiday Monday. It's a lovely little town in a picturesque riverside setting. But it does get overwhelmed with tourists. The Peacock was no exception. It took around 15 minutes to get served and all tables were taken. Many were in for lunch. I retreated outside and managed to grab a table, once I'd finally been served. I can imagine this to be a nice and cosy place on a quiet winter's evening. So a summer bank holiday lunchtime may have given a false impression. Ales were Peak Ales Bakewell Best Bitter, Chatsworth Gold & Summer Sovereign & Thornbridge Lord Marples. Moved on from here to the Lamb at Holymoorside, which is not listed on here.

28 Aug 2018 19:22

Goat and Tricycle, Bournemouth

Made a return visit to the Goat & Tricycle yesterday at opening time and in between visiting the Poole Hill Brewery, just around the corner and the nearby All Hail Ale micropub. Neither of those are listed on the site. So I've requested them to be added. The Goat & Tricycle was pretty much as I remember it from my first visit just over 3 years ago. Wadworth ales on were 6X, Horizon, Bishop's Tipple, IPA & Swordfish. There were 2 guests apiece from Brains - Rev James Gold & Original & Lacon's - Falcon & Encore. The cider was Weston's Raspberry Roller, which I'd not had before. A bit out of a way from the centre. But with other decent places opening around here, I'm sure I'll be back. No children are allowed.

26 Aug 2018 12:34

The Drapers Arms, Peterborough

Made an unscheduled stop here yesterday on the way from the Peterborough Beer Festival back to the station. It's a Wetherspoon's about 4-5 minutes walk from the station. Didn't get to see too much. But the interior seemed nice enough. Ales were Grainstore Ten Fifty, Sharp's Doom Bar, Greene King IPA & Abbot, Brewsters Hophead & Marquis, Newby Wyke Wolfpack, Oakham Inferno & Thornbridge Jaipur. Ciders were Weston's Old Rosie & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. Will have to make a return visit when a little more sober.

23 Aug 2018 18:29

The Wharf, Macclesfield

My final stop in Macclesfield was the Wharf. I was hoping for a real cider. But the landlord revealed that they'd recently stopped stocking it, due to a poor take-up. Nevertheless, there was a good ale selections and he was very keen and knowledgeable about his range. Clearly a man who knows his beers. Butcombe Original is the regular ale. Guests were Oakham JHB, Eyes Dark Harvest, Pentrich Soma & Castle Rock Sound and Vision. I finished with the Dark Harvest. Apparently all of their beers are wheat beers and this one was certainly quite unique and flavoursome. Another place to recommend in Macclesfield.

19 Aug 2018 13:44

The Dolphin, Macclesfield

Another Robinson's pub tucked away off the main roads on a corner. It was another cosy place with a small bar at the front showing live boxing at a rather loud volume and a slightly larger lounge area. The regular Unicorn & Wizard were supplemented by another Robinson's ale - Blonde, James Blonde. Family friendly pub.

19 Aug 2018 13:40

The Macc, Macclesfield

I was impressed by the Macc. It was quiet on my Saturday evening visit. But the range of ales and ciders was good. I'm surprised it hasn't been in the Good Beer Guide since 2015. Ales were mostly from Wander Beyond. The owner apparently also runs the brewery. There was Peak Pale Ale, Great Rift Milk Stout, Twin Peaks & Daze, alongside Alchemist Ale from Pictish. Ciders were Happy Daze & Black Dragon from Gwynt y Ddraig. They also have a number of craft beers from Wander Beyond, Fell Brewery & RedWillow. There are a couple of large rooms. One has sofas and books. It makes for a comfortable visit. The Milk Stout was very nice indeed. Not sure how we missed this place when we last visited Macclesfield in 2009.

19 Aug 2018 13:37

The British Flag, Macclesfield

Back in Macclesfield after a stop at the excellent Alderley Edge Union Club (not listed on here), my first stop was the British Flag. Another backstreet pub with a name I've not come across before. The Union Jack was on display. The photo above is no longer accurate. It's no longer a Robinson's pub. It is instead a freehouse. But the name of the pub is displayed with the same unique Robinson's lettering on the outside. Unicorn is still dispensed. The guest ale was Pedigree. The pub has a cosy feel to it with a couple of different rooms. It was reasonably busy with mainly middle-aged and old-aged men. Live Premier League football was showing on the TV. There is a pool table at the back. I also recommend the Chinese takeaway (Mandarin House) just down the road, which was also doing a roaring trade. Could we start a Chineseintheevening?

19 Aug 2018 13:29

The Old Ship Inn, Macclesfield

The Old Ship was my last stop in Macclesfield, before taking a detour to Liverpool. It has a fairly run-down feel to it, that may be slightly too down the spectrum to be described as characterful. Dogs negotiated, I managed to get to the bar to check out the ale selection. This was Storm Brewing Storm Dexter & Slater's Citrus. I opted for the Storm Dexter, which was decent. Live Premier League football was being shown on a TV at a rather loud volume. There is a smoking area at the rear.

19 Aug 2018 13:18

The Plough, Macclesfield

Next stop in Macclesfield was this back street boozer. There were more staff than customers, with the landlord, landlady, barmaid and one other customer, plus a dog. The landlady apologised jokingly for the domestics, as I left, as they'd spent my entire short visit rowing. The interior is nice and cosy with a number of rooms. Tetley Cask & Jennings Cumberland Ale was the ale choice. Friendly place.

19 Aug 2018 13:13

The Park Tavern, Macclesfield

The Park Tavern is on a main road out of Macclesfield in a row of terraced houses. There were only a couple of other customers in. But they were happy to engage in conversation, including the son of a well-known radio presenter. The bar staff also instantly engaged me in conversation. Ales were all from Bollington - Best, Long Hop, Oat Mill Stout, White Nancy, Dinner Ale & Eastern Nights. Ciders were Weston's Old Rosie & Dorset Nectar Hunny Bubble, a new one for me. The interior is quit bright. Just about the best pub I have visited in Macclesfield. Recommended.

19 Aug 2018 13:04

The Prince of Wales, Macclesfield

On my return to Macclesfield after a 9 year hiatus, this was the first of 8 pubs I tried in the town. It was the one closest to the town centre. Apart from the barmaid, it was all blokes. Some of the language was somewhat suspect. A couple were playing either dominoes or cards in one corner. The ale range was disappointing - Bass & Saddle Tank. I was encouraged by advertisements for some kind of cider festival. Alas the cider on offer was Somersby's. Disappointing.

19 Aug 2018 12:56

The George and Dragon, Macclesfield

This pub is currently in quite a dilapidated state and well and truly closed, with fencing around it. I was reading that it had experienced a serious fire.

19 Aug 2018 12:52

Ye Olde Admiral Rodney, Prestbury

This Robinson's house is situated in the middle of a line of pretty cottages. It's an idyllic location. The interior has a number of rooms, each with character. There is also a small outdoor courtyard area, where the only other customer in before me was reading a newspaper. It was very peaceful, with no music or TV. Another couple of guys appeared later. All including the barman seemed friendly. There is a public car park at the rear. Unicorn & Dizzy Blonde are the regular ales. On this visit, they also had Wizard.

19 Aug 2018 12:50

The Cat Inn, Enville

I met the landlord and the local Enville brewers on a visit to the Great British Beer Festival last week and I had promised I would visit yesterday. So I did indeed venture here after a much awaited first visit to the nearby Cider House at Wootton. The Cat was busy at 12:30 on a Sunday with people sitting down for Sunday lunches. There are 3 rooms. We retreated to a rear dining room. Ales were Enville Ale, Ginger & Simpkiss Bitter. Guests were Stourton APA, Hobson's Town Crier, Millstone Tiger Rut & Ma Pardoe's Original. Ciders were Farmer Jim's Farmyard Fruits & Lyme Bay Jack Ratt. Still worthy of a stop if in the area.

13 Aug 2018 20:08

The Great Western, Wolverhampton

Great pub that we like to visit each time we're in Wolverhampton. It's handy for the station and the football ground. They allow away fans in, unlike many in the centre. We came here after the game. There were lengthy queues to get served and unfortunately there weren't many ales left. Holden's Black Country Bitter, Special & Golden Glow & Batham's Best Bitter were supplemented by a guest ale - Thornbridge Rattlesnake. They also had a real cider - Holden's Marcher Lord's, which was very quaffable indeed and a new one for me. Inside, there is a small bar at the front, which leads up to more seating and opens out further to a conservatory beyond. Despite the crowds, we were glad to be out of the rain and we fully appreciated one last drink before heading home.

13 Aug 2018 20:02

Dog and Doublet, Wolverhampton

Back in the city centre and we visited the Dog & Doublet before finishing at the Lych Gate Tavern. I reviewed the latter earlier this year. So I won't review that again. But the Dog & Doublet was very good too. It was quieter than I had anticipated when we walked in, with only one row of people at the bar. But by the time we left, it was 5/6 deep. Given the place is not that big, it had got fairly crowded. The ale range was decent. Ludlow Gold is the regular ale. Guests were Oakham Citra, Rat Atella Milk Chocolate & Hazelnut Stout, Kelham Island Pale Rider, Wood's Lass & Abbeydale Moonshine. The cider was Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. Probably the best place we went to for beers on this trip to Wolverhampton. But I marginally preferred Hail To The Ale, by virtue of its ciders. Offers a CAMRA discount. I'll definitely be back here some time soon.

13 Aug 2018 19:55

The Royal Oak, Wolverhampton

After a visit to the Summer House in Whitmore Reans (not yet listed on here), we moved back towards the centre, with a stop at the Royal Oak. This was a much busier pub than others we visited. But it was slightly nearer to the football ground and with kick off approaching, it was gradually getting busier. A nice, traditional boozer owned by Marston's with seating around a bar. Regular ales are Banks's Amber Bitter, Mild & Sunbeam & Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold. Guests were Marston's Old Empire & Thwaite's Wainwright. Clearly a popular place with some friendly customers.

13 Aug 2018 19:47

The Newhampton Inn, Whitmore Reans

Backstreet pub in Whitmore Reans with a traditional interior. Inside there are a number of rooms. At the rear are the outdoor gents toilets and a bowling green. It was quiet on our Saturday lunchtime visit, especially considering it was a matchday. The ale choice was not quite as good as I was expecting either - Courage Best, Oakham Citra, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Wye Valley HPA & Butty Bach & Sharp's Doom Bar. I was hoping for a real cider. But there was none available. We did get a CAMRA discount on half pints here though and the interior makes it worthy of a visit.

13 Aug 2018 19:41

Hail to the Ale, Tettenhall

Walked here from the Dog & Gun through a very nice area of housing and via the Claregate, a new build Generous George (Marston's) pub which I have requested to be added to the site. Hail To The Ale is well worth the trip out of the city centre. It's a micropub owned by Morton Brewery. Coneydog Lite was the ale from Morton. Although Penkside Pale was pulled through before we left. Guests were Leatherbritches Mad Ruby & Corvedale Golden Dale. Ciders were Broadoak Bristol Port, Cock Eyed Devon Jasper & Hurst View Rhubarb Blend & Chyder Cherry Blend. I had the two Hurst View ciders before moving onto a bottle of Hurst View Golden Pip. The black pudding, cheese and onion rolls were nice and so were the variety of scratchings they stocked. It's a dog friendly place, with many pictures of dogs in the unisex toilet. Friendly staff and punters. A really decent place, that was my favourite pub on this visit to Wolverhampton. Didn't get any discount as a CAMRA member. But this was not advertised.

13 Aug 2018 19:37

The Dog and Gun, Tettenhall

After one last pub in the city centre (Yates's!), we took the bus out to this Ember Inns pub. It's a typical branch of this chain, in all apart from the real ale selection. They're supposed to have 5 beers. But most were "coming soon". The only two on were Black Sheep Ember Pale Ale & Thwaite's Wainwright. Very disappointing, especially whey they offer tasting paddles. The food looked nice though. Probably the worst Ember Inn I've been in.

13 Aug 2018 18:57

The Wheatsheaf, Wolverhampton

The Wheatsheaf was another Wolverhampton city centre pub that exceeded my expectations. It looks quite small when you originally enter. But take the passageway behind the bar and you'll find a large room, a courtyard and a garden area beyond that. I sat in the front bar, which had a nice atmosphere, with a small number of locals congregated at the bar. It's a Marston's pub, but with another friendly welcome. Ales were Banks's Amber Bitter, Mild, Sunbeam & Numero Nuno & Wychwood Hobgoblin & Hobgoblin Gold. Ciders were Weston's Old Rosie & Thatcher's Stan's Big Apple.

13 Aug 2018 18:52

The Tap and Spile, Wolverhampton

I wasn't expecting much from the Duke of York. But as Wobbly Bob says, I got a warm welcome. There were 4 ales on - Duke of York House Bitter, Salopian Lemon Dream, Enville Ale & Marston's 61 Deep. Much to my surprise, they also had Weston's Old Rosie. So what better way to start a crawl of Wolverhampton pubs at 10am in the morning with a 7.3% cider! The pub itself, like many around had opened at 8am, as Wolves were playing at home. Away fans are not allowed. So I pretended not to be one! Nice, traditional interior. Sky Sports was on the TVs. There were already a few in at 10am. Moved on from here to the nearby McGhee's, where there was one other customer, but no real ale. So I won't bother requesting it to be added to the site.

13 Aug 2018 18:45

The Marine Hotel, Peel

I've just noticed that my review of this place has gone missing. I was in on 3rd December 2016. I remember it well as one of the few places on the island you can get a decent cider. Has an imposing exterior. The interior is much plainer. Ales were Morland Original, Ruddles Best & Okells Bitter. Ciders from Manx Cider Company were Jinnie The Bitch & Jenny Lay Black. It's between this one and the White House Hotel for the best pub in Peel.

8 Aug 2018 20:56

The Horatio Todds, Belfast

After a visit to the Sunflower (not listed on here and another Northern Irish pub with no real ale), my last stop was Horatio Todds out to the east of town on the Newtonards Road. It no longer serves ale. The keg selection was Hoegaarden, Clonmel 1650, Heverlee, Becks Vier, Tennents, Sullivan's Maltings Red Ale, Leffe, Magners, Guinness, Bud Light, Menabrea, Roundstone Irish Ale & Whitewater Magpie's Leap. This was a popular place and mainly populated by youngsters. Prices were high. Not worth the trip out of town.

6 Aug 2018 22:22

The Garrick Bar, Belfast

I'm not sure if I was here on the same day as Snarling Mallard. But I visited here yesterday (Sunday) afternoon and did manage to get a Doom Bar served from the cask in the smaller bar. There is a good range of bottled beers and ciders too. The place was packed with people watching gaelic football. It seemed like a big game. But this is a typical pub that you'll find in Irish towns and cities and I enjoyed the atmosphere here. Decent place.

6 Aug 2018 22:17

The Errigle Inn, Belfast

I've been to a few pubs in Belfast on my previous visits. But this has become my new favourite. In fact, it was my favourite pub of the weekend. Located to the south of the centre on the Ormeau Road, it's rather an unassuming location. Similar to the Crown, it has a fantastic traditional interior. The famous room is the Oak Lounge, which I initially overlooked, instead heading through to a busier bar. Ales and ciders are listed on electronic screens. Cask ales were Farmageddon American Pale Ale, Ringwood Razor Back, Whitewater Bee's Endeavour & Beer Hut Wahey IPA. There were a number of craft beers. But to my surprise, they had a real cider - Hogan's French Revelation. Not only had I found a real cider in a non-Wetherspoon's in Northern Ireland (a first for me), the cider itself was one I hadn't previously tried. I had a little wonder around and found another large room packed with people watching the Charity Shield final, before eventually finishing my cider in the wonderfully atmospheric Oak Lounge. It was deadly quiet in there and it is the room where the cask ales and real cider are dispensed from (I'd wondered where the barman serving me had disappeared off to). I'd certainly like to come back here one day. Great pub.

6 Aug 2018 22:14

Jenny Watts, Bangor

First stop on a fleeting visit to Northern Ireland was this pleasant enough pub in Bangor. I'd been to the Esplanade 7 years ago. But I believe the Jenny Watts is now the only pub serving real ale in the town now. In fact, it was one of only 3 pubs in the province, where I actually found an ale. Doom Bar, it was. I sampled the Orchard Thieves Cider, which was a new one on me. It was a fizzy one, but fairly quaffable. The interior is cosy with seating arranged around a central bar. A band was playing during my Sunday lunchtime visit. Some were tucking into said lunches. Moved on from here on lengthy drives to the Parson's Nose in Hillsborough and the Brewer's House in Donaghmore. Neither are listed on here. But neither had a real ale. So I won't request them to be added.

6 Aug 2018 22:06

College Arms, Peterborough

After a visit to the Burghley Club (not listed on here and definitely worthy of a mention), I ended up my visit to Peterborough at this branch of Wetherspoon's. It's more of the old men's version of the chain than the youngsters'/student hangout. Clientele included a few Bristol Rovers football fans and a guy being carted off in an ambulance. There is plenty of space. But it all feels a bit dated. Toilets are a good climb. Ales were Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted, Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Ilkley Rombald & Adnams Anti Hipster Min. Ciders were Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon & Weston's Old Rosie & Marcle Hill. I've been to better 'spoons. But this one was adequate.

6 Aug 2018 21:58

Goodbarns Yard, Peterborough

This is now some kind of Indian restaurant and there's quite a few trees that have grown around it since the photo above was taken.

6 Aug 2018 21:54

The Hand and Heart, Peterborough

This is a gem of a pub in the backstreets of Peterborough. The interior is classic and the landlord is knowledgeable about his stock and keen to welcome people. The ale range is unusual - Abbeydale Kid Ryneamite, Brewster's Grantham Gingerbread Brew & Marquis, Purple Cow Holy Cow & Westgate Sunburst. There was also a pumpclip for Three Brothers Maple Syrup & Bacon Blonde. That was one of two pumpclips on the same handpull. So it was possibly on in a different room, or from the cellar. There was unfortunately no real cider, which meant it was only my second favourite pub of the day. I did however enjoy my Holy Cow, which washed down a nice homemade Scotch Egg. Parking is difficult, if you drive here. But it's best to find another way here anyway, as like me you'll be wanting more.

6 Aug 2018 21:52

The Blue Bell Inn, Dogsthorpe

Imposing pub situated just off a roundabout. It's run by Elgood's and is supposedly the oldest pub in Peterborough. Cambridge Bitter was the solitary real ale. The barman didn't seem the friendliest and the punters weren't much more accommodating. The bar had very little character left. Poor.

6 Aug 2018 21:47

The Royal Oak, Walton

There was a building that looked like it used to be pub on this main road. It was surrounded by modern housing and was certainly no longer open.

6 Aug 2018 21:44

Ploughman, Werrington

Situated in a modern shopping development in Werrington, this is not the sort of place you'd normally expect to find a real ale pub. But all credit to the landlord, he has a good local following. Unfortunately a recent beer festival appeared to have depleted stocks. There were 5 ales - The Beer Studio Copper Blush, Cameron's Gabbo, Marston's 61 Deep, Woodforde's Wherry & Wells Eagle IPA. There was no real cider. I was offered Rattler Berry Cider. But that wasn't what I was looking for. Still, I was happy watching my the first half of my football team's pre-season game. Sports TV is clearly big here. Worthy of another visit one day, as I suspect this was an off-day.

6 Aug 2018 21:43

Dragon, Werrington

The Dragon is in a modern residential area (Werrington) to the north of Peterborough. It has the feel of a council estate pub. It did however have 3 real ales - Wells Bombardier Glorious English, Young's Special & Adnams Ghost Ship. Clearly popular with the local community and for sports fans. But I wouldn't rush back.

6 Aug 2018 21:38

Royal Oak, Castor Village

After 3 fairly decent pubs, the Royal Oak was my fourth stop. I was expecting much more. But this is a very average place and when you have a pub as good as the Prince of Wales Feathers up the road, you probably wouldn't choose to come here. I was surprised to see it in the current Good Beer Guide. Tribute, Landlord and JHB were the 3 ales. I was the only customer and the young barmaid seemed a little bored. The interior was nice. But overall this was a disappointment.

6 Aug 2018 21:35

The Prince of Wales Feathers, Castor

This village pub was my favourite of 10 visited in Cambridgeshire on Saturday. The ale range is good. The standard ales are Adnams Broadside & Woodforde's Wherry. But guests were all unusual - Castor Ales Hopping Toad (brewed just up the road), Magpie Wanderers, Humpty Dumpty Reedcutter & Ridgeside Cascadia. Whilst I was expecting several ciders and was slightly disappointed that there was only one, it was one I'd never tried before - Watergull Orchards Strawberry Cider. Their Lime Cider had just finished. Most people were dining and of the diners, the majority were outside. Cricket was on the TV. The best pub in the village and worth making a detour to.

6 Aug 2018 21:32

White Hart, Stamford

Upmarket country pub overlooking the village church. I sat in the main bar, which is clearly an old barn. At the rear, there must be a function room, as there were wedding guests appearing. There is also accommodation. The bar has lots of implements hanging from the ceiling and an array of different seating back on the ground. Board games are located in one corner. The regular ales were Oakham JHB, Grainstore Red Kite. Timothy Taylor Landlord was a guest and they also had Rutland Cider Company Rutland, which I took advantage of. Quite expensive for these part. But a nice pub, nonetheless.

6 Aug 2018 21:26

Millstone Inn, Barnack, Stamford

Everard's pub in a nice North Cambridgeshire village. There are a number of seating areas, including a small snug. It's clearly a popular place for eating. I think I was the only one in just for a drink. Everard's ales are Original, Tiger & Sunchaser. Brains The Rev James was the guest ale and to my pleasant surprise, they also had Old Rosie cider.

6 Aug 2018 21:22

Derehams Inn, Loudwater

This pub is tucked away up a narrow lane just off the A40 and very close to an M40 junction. You wouldn't know it was here, unless you'd been told. It has a lovely feel to it. Although the bar layout is a little awkward and difficult to access. 4 ales were on and they were from varied breweries - Brew Foundation Little Bitter That, Loddon Bamboozle, Fuller's London Pride & Arundel Castle. Dogs are certainly welcomed. There is an outdoor area at the rear.

29 Jul 2018 20:43

The General Havelock, Wycombe Marsh

Back into Buckinghamshire this afternoon and with time for two pubs in Loudwater, this was my first port of call. Set in an urbanised area, it has the feel of a village local with both drinkers and diners accommodated. Although some of the latter seemed a touch peeved. One elderly couple gave up waiting for their Sunday roast. But the food did look good if you could tolerate the wait. It's a Fuller's pub. So they had ESB & London Pride, in addition to Gale's Seafarers & HSB. Guests were Adnams Mosaic & Dark Star Sunbeam. Decent pub.

29 Jul 2018 20:39

The Ballot Box, Greenford

This is a Greene King Hungry Horse that still has the Wacky Warehouse attached, but with a separate entrance. I was here for a children's party. I'm not quite sure why you would come here otherwise. Greene King IPA was the solitary ale. But prices were reasonable. It was my second visit here and I can only imagine a return visit for another children's event.

29 Jul 2018 20:35

Kingsfield Arms, Harrow

This place is now a pub selling Indian cuisine. I was the only customer at lunchtime today. But it still has the feel of a traditional pub and the staff were friendly. 2 ales were Timothy Taylor Landlord & Woodforde's Bure Gold. I went for the latter and was served an overpriced short measure that tasted as if it had been sat in the pipes for some time. Nothing to recommend here.

29 Jul 2018 20:31

The Black Horse, Wembley

The Black Horse appears to be the only real ale pub in Sudbury. It's an Ember Inns establishment and was empty apart from the bar and kitchen staff when I entered this morning. Typical Ember Inns layout with a focus on dining. There is plenty of seating. Ales were Adnams Broadside, Fuller's London Pride and Black Sheep Ember Pale Ale. The guest was St Austell Proper Job. Bog standard, but ok in an ale desert.

29 Jul 2018 20:27

O'Donoghues, Marlow

Our final stop in Buckinghamshire yesterday was this place. It's now called the Butcher's Tap and is quite a unique place. As you enter, it has the smell and appearance of a butchers. Chefs behind the bar/counter were preparing steaks on a chopping board. There were 2 ales. The standard one is Greene King Hand & Flowers IPA. I opted for the guest, which was Rebellion Zebedee. It's a small place. All tables were taken. So it was standing room only. Unisex toilets are hidden away upstairs and are quite gaudy. A strange place. But I quite liked it.

29 Jul 2018 20:22

Hogshead, Marlow

This place is now called the Old Brewery. In between times, it has also been a Slug & Lettuce. It certainly has a chain pub feel to it. Although now it seems to focus on being a place to go to watch sports. There are multiple TVs, including one row of tables with a TV at each. A pre-season friendly between two European teams was being shown. Ales were not too inspiring - Fuller's London Pride, Sharp's Doom Bar & Rebellion IPA. I went for a keg cider. At £4.80 a pint, I wish I hadn't.

29 Jul 2018 20:18

The Prince of Wales, Marlow

In a very upmarket town, this is a much more down-at-heel kind of place and I'd normally appreciate that. But the place was packed early on a Saturday evening as there was live music. It had started at 6pm, which seemed a strange time to have something on. But it had certainly attracted a large crowd. The car park was completely full and it took almost 10 minutes to get served. Making yourself heard above the din and over the people crowded around the bar was also a challenge. There was however a rear dining area that was empty and a small outdoor area adjacent to the car park. Ales were Brakspear Bitter, Sharp's Doom Bar & Rebellion IPA & Blonde. Moved on from here to the Royal British Legion next to the station, which is not listed on here but stocks a more diverse range of ales.

29 Jul 2018 20:14

Duke of Cambridge, Marlow

Now known simply as the Duke, this is a backstreet pub in Marlow that I noted was served by the local bus. It was struggling to fit between the parked cars. The pub doubles up as a Chinese restaurant and has some unusual décor, especially in the rear garden. Heavy metal music was playing in the bar. But I don't believe this is the norm. Some heavy metal types had been requesting tracks on the jukebox to the annoyance of the barmaid. Rebellion IPA & Unifer were the ales.

29 Jul 2018 20:08

The Britannia, Marlow

I was surprised to see a McMullen's pub outside of Hertfordshire. But sure enough, this was is thriving in Marlow with a fairly young crowd and some families. As the previous reviewer states, there is a lot of glass. Watch the pane by the door. You can easily walk into it. There is a garden at the rear with decking split between smoking and non-smoking areas. The inside is bigger than it first seems with most areas set aside for dining. We also noted a spit roast. The 3 McMullen's ales were AK, IPA & HMS Britannia.

29 Jul 2018 20:04

The Three Horseshoes, Marlow

This is probably the best pub Marlow has to offer. But it's a fair way out of town and up a big hill. The Rebellion Brewery is just down the road. We went there afterwards and it was doing a roaring trade. But the Three Horseshoes predictably had a good range of ales from them - IPA, Smuggler, Zebedee, Blonder & Saint. But I was drawn more to the sight of a real cider, a rare sight indeed in these parts and the only pub of 13 I tried in Buckinghamshire over the course of the weekend to stock one. It was Old Rosie, but felt like striking gold. There were very few customers in here. All were drinkers. Judging by Snarling Mallard's review, it probably gets much busier when food is being served. Nice enough place and worthy of a 7/10 as pub of the day.

29 Jul 2018 20:00

The Live and Let Live, Booker

Another closed pub and another replaced by houses. Looks like it was an interesting location too.

29 Jul 2018 19:54

The Old Sun, Lane End

Now a modern housing development. But strangely enough, the old pub sign still stands.

29 Jul 2018 19:53

The Chequers Inn, Wheeler End

Fullers pub in a lovely little village tucked alongside the M40. The interior is fairly basic and they seem to be undergoing some sort of renovations. Pride, ESB & Seafarers were the 3 ales. Has a good selection of games at one end of the bar.

29 Jul 2018 19:52

Old Ship Inn, Cadmore End

This pub is now closed. Such a shame, as it looks like a lovely little place.

29 Jul 2018 19:48

The Boot, Bledlow Ridge

I'm still trying to calm down after a terrible experience in this place yesterday. It looked quite promising from the outside and first impressions were good, with 3 Rebellion ales on the bar - IPA, Blonde & Roasted Nuts. Unfortunately for my wife (and my wallet), the cider was Symonds, which she is not particularly fond of. Instead she requested a Tia Maria with Coke. Ordering this seemed to meet with a little confusion from what I assume was the landlady. Yes it's the liqueur you can have with coffee. She served it with a small amount of coke as requested and all seemed well. I spotted some chilli scratchings which looked interesting and ordered those too. Then came the moment of horror. My half of Roasted Nuts, a Tia Maria and coke and some scratchings had somehow come to £10.20!! I asked for the breakdown - £1.90 for the ale, £4.50 for the small spirit, £1.80 for a splash of coke and £2 for a bag of scratchings. I was gobsmacked. SInce when does a 25ml spirit cost £4.50 and since when is a splash of coke £1.80?! As for the scratchings, you can get small meals for that price. I reluctantly handed over £11 and the woman had the cheek to shut the till without handing over the change, until I had to intervene. She turned the Roasted Nuts pumpclip round after serving me for some reason too. Was it off? If so, why was it served? I have to say, it did taste fine though. My wife savoured every last moment of her £6.30 drink. Food prices looked reasonable here. But they turned a couple away whilst we were there. I'm surprised they manage to do any trade. But the two sports cars presumably belonging to the owners in the car park indicate that they do, or do they just prey on unsuspecting visitors like myself. I truly wish I'd declined to pay and exited when informed of the total. Rip off place.

29 Jul 2018 19:47

The Crown, Radnage

The Crown is set amongst some lovely countryside and unlike the Mash Inn in nearby Bennett's End, it was willing to accept a casual drinker. I hesitate in using the word welcome, as the people from this part of the country do not appear to be the friendliest. The Crown also had the same two ales as the Mash - Rebellion IPA & Zebedee. I was hoping a might find a real cider here. But Aspalls was the only draught option. Inside is fairly small and seemed to be populated mainly by families having lunch. There is a nice lawn at the rear and a few tables at the roadside at the front. Accommodation is adjacent to the car park.

29 Jul 2018 19:35

The Three Horseshoes Inn, Radnage

This place is tucked away down narrow country lanes. It has been renamed the Mash Inn and is a restaurant with accommodation. Only those booked for meals or rooms can take advantage of the two Rebellion ales they have on offer. No beer available for this casual visitor. So a minimum score from me.

29 Jul 2018 19:02

The Lions of Bledlow, Bledlow

First stop on a trip to the Chilterns yesterday was the Lions of Bledlow, supposedly so called as there were 2 pubs here both with Lion in the name. The interior is dark and beamed. There were 5 real ales - Reunion Opening Gambit, Great Heck Trafalgar, Tring Pale Four, Cotleigh Tawny Owl & Wadworth 6X. I was torn about what to order and the barman recommended the Opening Gambit. I took him up on the recommendation. But it wasn't really my type of ale. The table next to us had followed us in and their salads arrived promptly. A nice country pub seemingly popular with cyclists, possibly from the nearby Phoenix Trail.

29 Jul 2018 18:58

The Pelt trader, Cannon Street

I dropped by the Pelt Trader this afternoon (a Monday) when passing through the City. It's a pub I heard about a few years ago, but hadn't had the opportunity to visit. Being in the City, it's only open during the week. The pub is tucked away in the railway arches of Cannon Street station. As such, there's little light and on a hot day (like it was today), it may not be the ideal location. Nevertheless, there is a half decent selection of cask ales and some craft beers on keg too. Real ales on my visit were Bristol Beer Factory Nova, Milk Stout & Base Camp, Five Points CPA & Harvey's Olympia. The cider was Seacider Rhubarb. Keg options were from Beavertown, Kernel, Moor, Bristol Beer Factory, Five Points & Harvey's. It's £5 a pint here. So you know you're in London. Although I've paid more than that elsewhere. Certainly a decent pub to know about when in the City. But I wasn't overwhelmed.

23 Jul 2018 17:29

The Elm Tree, Beech Hill

Our final pub on our Sunday evening trip to Berkshire was supposed to be the Elm Tree. It proudly advertises on the exterior that it is open all day. But alas at 7:45 on a Sunday evening, there was no sign of life and the pub was closed. False advertising. Not to be outdone, I returned this evening. Two ales were on - Landlord & Razor Back. Neither inspired me. So I went for an Aspall's cider, which was promptly dispensed from a pint glass into my half glass. I wondered how long it had been sitting there. The interior was nicer than I expected. But most people were enjoying the evening sunshine on the outdoor patio. 0/10 for my first visit and 4/10 for my second visit, due to questionable serving practices. I'll average that out with a 2/10 for this one. Very disappointing.

16 Jul 2018 21:23

The Royal Oak, Yattendon

Centrally located and upmarket village pub in the same village as the West Berkshire Brewery. Ales were Good Old Boy & Mister Chubb's Lunchtime Bitter from the brewery. The cider was Abrahall's Slack Alice. The outside of the pub on the roadside is covered in foliage. There is a small garden at the rear, with a building site in between the building and the garden itself. Most people were in the garden and were dining alfresco, as it was just too warm to be inside early yesterday evening. But there is plenty of space inside. The pub appears to double up as a hotel.

16 Jul 2018 21:18

Langley Hall Inn, Worlds End

I'm not sure if this place has been completely demolished or not. But there was certainly no pub here any longer. All of the buildings here look new.

16 Jul 2018 21:13

The Fox Inn, Hermitage

Another nice and welcoming Berkshire village pub with a nice interior and a garden on different levels. At the bottom level is a small children's play area. Staff were friendly. But the ale choice is limited to Young's Special & Sharp's Doom Bar. We made use of the mobile fish and chip van in the car park, which was doing a good trade.

16 Jul 2018 21:10

The Bunk Inn, Curridge

Country pub in a nice location. It seems to have a focus on food, with a large dining area. But there was nobody eating. A handful of locals were watching the World Cup final. At the rear is a nice garden, overlooking a large field with horses. Ales are from Upham. Tipster & Punter are the regular ales. Fields Of Gold was the seasonal choice.

16 Jul 2018 21:06

The Rowbarge, Woolhampton

After a visit to the Butt Inn in Aldermaston (not listed on BITE), our next stop was the Rowbarge. This is a popular Brunning & Price pub in a riverside location. There are a number of rooms inside, which appear primarily for diners. In addition, there is a large number of tables to the side of the river Kennet overlooking a swing bridge. There is also an outdoor barbecue. Ales were Red Cat Mr M's, Itchen Valley Pride Of The Valley, Wild Weather False Sense Of Security, Triple fff Goldfffinger, Siren White Tips & Windsor & Eton Firefly. I happened to ask if they offered a CAMRA discount. The barman had never heard of any such thing and asked if that meant he had to have his picture taken with a camera! A local at the bar soon educated him and pointed out that the pub has won CAMRA awards. Nice location. But you can tell it is a chain pub. Not one of the best Brunning & Price pubs I have visited.

16 Jul 2018 21:01

The Six Bells, Beenham

We rushed here yesterday believing that it closed at 3pm on a Sunday and does not open in the evening. In actual fact, it closes at 2:30pm. But luckily for us, the landlady did serve us. There was one other couple at the bar and a group of 4 settling their food bill. Very soon, we were the only customers left. But the interior is nicely set out. There is a good selection of board games. Ales were West Berkshire Good Old Boy & Magg's Magnificent Mild & Loose Cannon Gunner's Gold. There was no real cider. Our visit was a bit rushed. But at least we got to sample the local in this lovely village.

16 Jul 2018 20:47

The Bell and Bottle, Shinfield

The Bell & Bottle was my second pub in Shinfield yesterday afternoon. It's another decent pub with a good ale selection and a couple of ciders. The interior is fairly bright. There is a bar area and a separate games room with a TV that was presumably being used for World Cup football games. There was also a garden at the rear. Ales were Plain Sheep Dip, Yeovil Hopkandi, Bond Goldihops & Welton's Three Lions IPA. Ciders (and the Welton's ale) were remaining from a beer festival held 2 weekend's previous. They were Tutts Clump Rhubarb Cider & Rum Cask. The pub is opposite the village green, where a fair was being held. The pub is popular with families.

16 Jul 2018 20:42

The Magpie and Parrot, Shinfield

I wasn't expecting an awful lot from this pub. It hasn't registered an entry in the Good Beer Guide since 2010 and it looked very quiet when we arrived yesterday lunchtime. London Pride is the only real ale. But to my surprise, they also had a box of Cornish Orchards Farmhouse Cider. The real surprise is the wonderful interior, with 2 small rooms crammed full of knick knacks. I noticed the sign on the entrance stating no mobile phones. But I didn't notice the sign stating no children in the bar, until we left. But the barmaid and locals were happy to overlook this and my 5 year old was quite happy playing dominoes! This is a really special little place with friendly people and whilst I place great emphasis on ale and cider range when judging pubs, I'm also really appreciative of proper old fashioned places such as this one. It was my favourite pub of the day. Beware the limited opening hours though.

16 Jul 2018 20:36

The Bull, Barkham

First pub of 10 in Berkshire yesterday was this one. It's a country pub on a small roundabout, with a large car park. As luck would have it, they had a beer festival on. Ales either in the bar or in the outdoor courtyard were Sharp's Doom Bar, Gales HSB, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Rebellion IPA, Unifer & Smuggler, Brains The Rev James, Great Heck Trafalgar, Kelham Island Best Of You, Skinners Betty Stogs, Wishbone Drover, Exile Apollo, Exmoor Stag & Caveman Neo. Disappointingly there was no real cider. I opted for the Drover, which wasn't my kind of beer at all, despite being just about the darkest beer available. Music was a bit too loud outside. But staff were all friendly.

16 Jul 2018 20:27

The North Star, Iver

Was back here this afternoon, my first visit in several years. Little has changed and there is still no real ale. The interior is quite cosy and they serve Thai food. I'd never been into the garden before. But that is quite pleasant too. The all keg range was Fosters, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruit, Guinness, Amstel, Caledonian Coast To Coast, Birra Moretti & Heineken. As a pub it's ok. But I'm looking for a much better beer/cider selection these days.

14 Jul 2018 15:17

The Dolphin, Uxbridge

Was very quiet here today on our Saturday lunchtime visit. It must be one of the very few pubs in Uxbridge I hadn't previously tried. Doom Bar is the solitary real ale. Difficult to judge given how quiet it was. But the landlord seemed friendly enough.

14 Jul 2018 15:11

The Crown, Flitwick

The Crown is tucked away in a residential area of Flitwick. I was hoping for a decent ale to round off my visit of Bedfordshire. But the only ale on offer was the ubiquitous Doom Bar. I opted for a fizzy cider instead and in disgust. The garden area is nice though and they were watering the lawns ready for a beer festival next weekend. Hopefully they'll have more than one real ale for that. Otherwise there will be many more disappointed customers.

9 Jul 2018 20:02

Swan, Flitwick

This was the better of the two pubs we visited in Ampthill. It's situated next to the rail station and you can sit in the garden watching the trains go by, if that's your thing. The resident Young's Bitter was supplemented by Marstons Pedigree & Wells Brewmance. There are a couple of rooms inside. One has a pool table. They could probably make more of the outdoor area, which is a bit scruffy. A fairly average pub overall.

9 Jul 2018 19:59

The Ossory Arms, Ampthill

We paid this place a visit as it was very close to the Albion. It did not have any real ale on our visit. Keg beers were Camden Town Camden Hells, San Miguel, Carling, Budweiser, Blue Moon, Budweiser, Brewdog Punk IPA, Fosters, Strongbow, Guinness & Birra Moretti. The barmaid and the pub cat were the only people left after a group of lads disappeared shortly after we arrived. We sat on the small paved area at the front of the pub. Nice enough pub. But it's a shame they have no real ale.

9 Jul 2018 19:55

The Albion, Ampthill

This is the first entry you will find in the Good Beer Guide and it's a worthy place to start. Of 11 Bedfordshire pubs visited yesterday, this was by far the best. It's been almost 9 years since I was last in Ampthill. But I'm fairly certain this must be the best pub in town. Whilst run by Everard's, only their Tiger is on offer. There are 3 ales from Banks & Taylor - Dragon Slayer, Shefford Bitter & Golden Fox. 8 guests were Lincoln Green Robin Hood, Milton Medusa, Shefford Plum Mild, Milestone Centenary Ale & Raspberry Craft Beer, Dow Bridge Summer Light, Wadworth Studs Up & Shardlow Chancellor's Revenge. Ciders were Weston's Old Rosie & Family Reserve, with Knight's Malvern Gold being a guest. The inside has a fairly old fashioned feel with suitable vintage music. In addition to the main bar area, there is a smaller room at the rear. Each table had a bowl of complimentary snacks. There were other tempting items on the bar. Well worth a visit.

9 Jul 2018 19:51

Duke, Kempston

The Duke is a locals pub in an area that is not particularly inspiring. As the previous reviewer says, the solitary real ale is Eagle IPA. Inside is fairly well decorated. Outside is a small patio area with a fish tank and a large grassy area with a children's play area. But watch out for the dog mess.

9 Jul 2018 19:44

The Kings Arms, Bedford

The King's Arms was the last remaining pub I hadn't previously visited in Bedford in the Good Beer Guide. It's a Greene King pub. But I was expecting better. Ales were all from the Greene King group with IPA & Old Speckled Hen accompanied by guests Old Golden Hen & Back of the Net. I was expecting one or two real ciders. But there were none. There are a number of rooms inside and a pleasant courtyard seating area leading to the car park at the rear. Disappointing overall though.

9 Jul 2018 19:39

The Bankers Draft, Bedford

This old Wetherspoon's pub is now a Brewhouse & Kitchen, brewing its own beers on the premises. Their regular ales are Banker's Draught, Intrepid & Invarsity. There is also a changing beer, which was Braxator. Orchard Pig Maverick was also on tap. Food is promoted and it is family friendly. There is an outdoor area at the rear. Not sure if the CAMRA discount is offered on cider. But I forgot to ask in any case.

9 Jul 2018 19:35

Horse & Groom, Clapham

The Horse & Groom was the only one of Clapham's three pubs that we visited yesterday. It's another Greene King pub that had Abbot & IPA. The guest was Landlord from Timothy Taylor. The interior felt fairly upmarket. But we sat inside as the outdoor areas offered no respite from the sun. The garden area surrounding the car park was fairly expansive though.

9 Jul 2018 19:30

The Sun Inn, Felmersham

Third rural pub and third quaint thatched building. The Sun has a locals bar at the front and a dining room at the rear. Beyond that is a terraced garden with plenty of plants and butterflies. Eagle IPA, Greene King Abbot & Brakspear Oxford Gold were the ales. I was hoping for real cider. But none was on offer.

9 Jul 2018 19:25

The Bell, Odell

Lovely village pub which is much smaller inside than it looks from the outside. At the rear, there is a large garden, split into a number of areas. It is clearly popular with families. There is also an outdoor bar. Beyond the garden, a path leads down to the river. It's a Greene King pub and the ales were Greene King IPA & Abbot, Ruddles Best, Hardy & Hanson's Olde Trip & Hogsback TEA. The landlady and staff were friendly.

9 Jul 2018 19:21

Fox Inn, Carlton

The Fox was the best of 4 rural pubs we visited in North Bedfordshire yesterday lunchtime. Whilst the address is listed as the High Street, the car park is approached from the Causeway. It was already full by the time we arrived. There is a main bar area where most locals were congregating and a small games area with a dartboard and Northamptonshire skittles in a raised area near the toilets. There is a garden area to the side of the pub and another to the rear. Ales were Fullers London Pride, Eagle IPA, Pitchfork Old Slug Porter & Nobby's Stiles 1966. We were asked by the landlady if we were hoping to eat. She would have been struggling to cater for us, as a large group was on its way. But we were only after drinks.

9 Jul 2018 19:16

The Dragon, Nottingham

I'd noticed the Dragon on our walk out of town. It looked like an interesting, but small pub from the outside. We returned on our way back to the centre. Inside, the pub stretches back a fair way to the next street. But it doesn't have too much character. The ale range was also disappointing compared with other Nottingham pubs we'd visited - Adnams Broadside, Castle Rock Harvest Pale, Oakham Citra & Black Sheep Best Bitter.

3 Jul 2018 22:54

The Gatehouse, Nottingham

This pub is now called the Toll Bar. We stopped by, but found all of the real ales off. The barman said they'd all sold out. Normally I'd stay and have a keg beer/cider. But I didn't want this to be my last pub in Nottingham as we were on the way back to the station. So we walked back out. I'll return one day. Hopefully there'll be some beer on by then.

3 Jul 2018 22:50

The Organ Grinder, Nottingham

I've been to a number of Blue Monkey pubs before. But this was my first visit to their brewery tap. There is a single, small room with friendly bar staff. Blue Monkey ales were Guerrilla Stout, BG Sips, Evolution, Rhubarb and Custard, Funky Gibbon & 99 Red Baboons. Guests were Dark Star Partridge & Batemans XB. There were two Gwynt y Ddraig ciders - Happy Daze & Dog Dancer. But I opted for Broadoak Perry. Another decent Nottingham pub in a city that doesn't stop giving.

3 Jul 2018 22:48

The Falcon Inn, Nottingham

It wasn't very far to walk from the Sir John Borlase Warren. But we still managed to get the wrong entrance and stumbled into what looked like a cocktail bar. The barman seemed quite relieved we didn't stay. The Falcon is a small pub with a good ale range - Oakham Citra, Titanic Plum Porter, Welbeck Abbey Jess Canadian Summer & Red Feather, Abbeydale Bootlegger & Oldershaw Heavenly Blonde. Ciders were Gwynt y Ddraig Happy Daze & Lilley's Mango. Has much character.

3 Jul 2018 22:44

The Sir John Borlase Warren, Nottingham

This pub has a prominent position at the top of Derby Road. It is an Everards/Lincoln Green colaboration pub with another good selection of beers - Everards Tiger, Lincoln Green Hood, Gin & Beer It, Tuck, Marion, Blackshale & Archer, Banks & Taylor Dragon Slayer & Little Sheff, Spitting Feathers Thirst Quencher, Peakstones Rock Nemesis & Naylor's Old Ale. Worley's Rocky Road cider was also on. Getting quite drunk by now, we didn't venture too far from the bar. So no chance to explore.

3 Jul 2018 22:40

A Room With a Brew, Nottingham

We saw this micropub on the way up the hill. So we decided to head back down to it. It's run by Scribblers. Their ales were Rebecca, Beerfest At Tiffany's, Masher In the Rye, Hoppy Porter & Beyond Reasonable Stout. There was also Full Mash Illuminati & Pennine Best Bitter. Ciders were Moles Black Rat & Lilley's Mango & Apple and Blackberry Cider. Bar snacks were advertised, but unavailable. But they were happy for us to bring in food from a nearby bakery. Worthy of a visit.

3 Jul 2018 22:35

The Hand and Heart, Nottingham

After a walk uphill out of the town centre, we arrived at the first of 5 pubs I was to try in this part of Nottingham. The Hand & Heart is built into caves. This makes the restaurant area at the back very dark. We chose to sit in the drinkers area at the front. Several of our party decided to tuck into bar snacks. The ale selection was Maypole Little Weed, Dancing Duck Light Hearted & Heavy Handed, Lenton Lane Cherry Phoenix & Vanguard & Springhead Outlawed & Left Lion. Ciders were Snail's Bank Apple Dappley & Raspberry Ripple. A fairly unique establishment.

3 Jul 2018 22:31

The Bell Inn, Nottingham

The Bell is in the central shopping area and is another Greene King pub. There are a number of bars. We first tried one in a room in the right as we walked in. But there were no staff in there and the reaction from drinkers in the room was that there was unlikely to be for some time. We tried another room across the central corridor. There were staff present, but a limited ale selection. Persevere and continue to the largest room at the rear. There were multiple bar staff and the full range of ales - Greene King Bell Inn Bitter, IPA & Abbot, Morland Old Speckled Hen, Nottingham Extra Pale & Robin Hood, Shipstones Original, Grafton Caramel Stout, Magpie Cherry Raven & Oakham Green Devil. The World Cup match between France and Argentina was just reaching half time. We were rather amused by the guy dressed as a cowboy with a cucumber in his holster at the bar. A nice old pub, that was busy on our visit. But there is plenty of space for the throngs.

3 Jul 2018 22:26

The Malt Cross, Nottingham

Somehow we missed the entrance to this rather unique place. We found ourselves in a basement and took the opportunity to visit the gents which are built into caves. Some rather more sober people than ourselves were also lost in the bowels of the building. But we eventually managed to follow our sixth sense to the bar where the entertainment was from a band of bongo drummers. A couple of my party decided to join in with the drumming. Strangely enough, they decided to take a break shortly after. Formerly a music hall with a galleried interior and very pleasant surroundings, the ale selection was also decent - Framework Grand Union, Adnams Ghost Ship & T Drop, Titanic Plum Porter & Navigation Blonde & Malt Cross Sesssion IPA. Ciders were Thirsty Farmer Sweet & Dry, Blue Barrel Smokin' Barrels & Lilley's Mango Cider. I echo the views of Mappiman before me. Another great Nottingham pub.

3 Jul 2018 22:20

The Roundhouse, Nottingham

Next stop on our crawl of Nottingham was the Roundhouse. The building is quite a unique shape (round!) and the bar is upstairs from the entrance. Toilets are at street level near the entrance. It looked a little upmarket at first glance. But the welcome was warm and despite a warning from the bar staff, they tolerated our group which was starting to become a little rowdy! Ales were Lenton Lane The Roundhouse, Springhead Outlawed, Blind Tiger & Drop O' The Black Stuff, Home Ales Robin Hood Pale Ale & Tollgate Hackney Blonde. Don't forget your CAMRA discount (if you're a member). Many pubs in Nottingham offer it.

3 Jul 2018 22:13

Crafty Crow, Nottingham

The Crafty Crow is the brewery tap for the Falcon brewery. The pub is light and airy with a large, central bar. There are handpulls on both sides of the bar and also a selection of craft beers in the middle. Magpie ales were Stoked, Best, Jay IPA & Raven Stout. They also had a Magpie cider - Nottingham Blend, which was later supplemented with their Summer Fruits Cider, which was quite handy considering I somehow managed to knock over my Nottingham Blend, seemingly much to the barmaid's disgust. Guest ales were Imperial Single Hop Jester, Great Heck Citra, Stockport Stock Porter & Maypole RAF 100. There was also Thirsty Farmer Lemon & Lime Cider. Decent pub.

3 Jul 2018 22:09

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham

No trip to Nottingham would have been complete without a visit to the Olde Trip to Jerusalem. This was my first time in this pub and despite being crowded, there was still plenty of atmosphere. There are a number of characterful rooms on different levels. The one we were in reminded me of Gordon's Wine Bar in London, as it is tucked underground underneath Nottingham Castle. Despite being a Greene King pub, the ale range was quite decent - Greene King Abbot, Hardy & Hanson's Olde Trip, Nottingham Extra Pale, Legend & Rock Mild, Brewster's Grantham Gingerbread Brew, Beermats Diplomat, Howard Town Dark Peak & Lincoln Green Gin and Beer It. The cider was Bottle Kicking Cider Company Apple and Mango, whilst they also had Broadoak Perry. Despite being very touristy and very busy, this is still a place where you can have a decent conversation with strangers. A must visit.

3 Jul 2018 22:00

Fellows Morton & Clayton Ltd, Nottingham

This pub is currently closed and boarded up.

3 Jul 2018 21:46

Canal House, Nottingham

After a visit to the excellent Beer HeadZ at the station (not listed on here), our third stop in Nottingham was this warehouse-style pub. It is a large barnlike pub that is slightly unusual in that the canal runs into it and there are a couple of canal barges moored inside. You get to the bar by crossing a bridge over the canal. Beers, both cask and keg are displayed on screens behind the long bar. Despite the large interior, there is a focus on upright drinking, with strategically placed barrels on which you can place your drinks. There is also plenty of outdoor seating next to the canal. Ales on were Castle Rock Harvest Pale, Hemlock Bitter, Helen Watts & IPA V1, Nene Valley John Lennon & Titanic Cappuccino Stout. Ciders were Abrahall's AD, Friel's Cider, Once Upon A Tree Crooked Branch, Seacider Blood Orange, Gladstone 101, Barbourne Sweet Kernel, Thirsty Farmer Blackcurrant Cider & Hawke's Urban Orchard Berry Cider. There were plenty of bar staff. So service was efficient. Probably my favourite pub on this visit to Nottingham, which has a great selection of pubs.

3 Jul 2018 21:41

The Vat and Fiddle, Nottingham

We started our visit to Nottingham on Saturday at this pub to the south of the station. It serves as the brewery tap for the nearby Castle Rock brewery. Ales from Castle Rock were Harvest Pale, Black Gold, Sheriff's Tipple, Elsie Mo, Screech Owl, Preservation, Helen Watts Juniper Mild & IPA V1. There were also 5 guest ales - Waen Lemon Drizzle, Bone Machine Skeleton Party, Oakham Hawse Buckler & Abstract Jungle Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout. There were also 8 ciders or perries - Gwynt Y Ddraig Black Dragon & Fiery Fox, Weston's Old Rosie, Lilley's Bee Sting Perry, Cornish Orchards Vintage Cider, Snail's Bank Fruit Bat & Kniveton Cider Company Never Mind The Hillocks. All except the latter were listed on a blackboard and are fetched from the cellar. But there was one box in the Fridge. A CAMRA discount is offered. Whilst the interior is quite traditional, we sat outside, where there is plenty of seating. A few groups were arriving for tours of the adjacent brewery and were starting with one (or maybe two) in the pub. Open at 11am, this was a good place to start.

3 Jul 2018 21:23

The Royal Oak, West Molesey

Fairly average local pub with fairly average ale - Sharp's Doom Bar, Courage Best & Directors & Fuller's Oliver's Island. The Japan v Senegal World Cup match was just starting on the TV on our visit. Not really much to recommend here.

2 Jul 2018 21:56

The Red Lion, St Peter Port

Returning to St Peter Port and following a visit to the Prince of Wales (not listed on here), I headed along the coastline to the northern outskirts of the town. The Red Lion seems like a good old fashioned locals pub with two small rooms. They had 2 ales - Brentwood Legacy & Shepherd Neame Whitstable Bay Pale Ale. Unusually for the island, they also had a real cider - Abrahall's Lily The Pink. Certainly one of the island's better pubs and worth the fair stroll or short bus journey away from the Town Terminus. Would have like to have spent longer here. But I had a flight to catch.

23 Jun 2018 13:46

The Admirel de Saumarez, St Peter Port

The bar in this hotel is now called the Pickled Pig and it was my second stop of a short crawl of Guernsey. My first pub was the excellent Golden Lion, which is not listed on here, but now seems to be the best pub on the island. The Pickled Pig was fairly poor. The pub itself is dark and tables were made out for diners. I went round to the more brightly lit hotel lobby area to consume my half of Liberation, the only real ale. A touch disappointing. Moved on from here to the other side of the island to La Grand Mare Hotel & Golf Club for an even worse Patois.

23 Jun 2018 13:39

The Stag Inn, Llanidloes

Final pub in Llanidloes for me on Saturday. Still no sign of the hens in the Stag. Still no sign of any real cider either. Apparently they took the real cider out a year or two ago. I don't believe there is any in town now. The 2 ales were Three Tuns Rantipole & Fullers ESB. I hadn't come all this way for a London beer. So I opted for the Rantipole, which was fine. The local youth were holding a rave in the rear room, whilst playing pool. The noise in the bar was a bit too much. But there were more dogs than humans. There appeared to be a garden at the rear.

12 Jun 2018 20:50

The Angel Inn, Llanidloes

My penultimate pub in Llanidloes was the Angel. It was a quiet two or three roomed pub, which was showing international rugby. The locals seemed to be happy that South Africa were launching a comeback against England. There were more hens in here - Old Golden Hen was accompanied by Old Speckled Hen. Abbot & Butty Bach were also present.

12 Jun 2018 20:46

Old Mill Bar, Llanidloes

The Old Mill is a former social club tucked away through an archway from the High Street, but also accessible from a car par at the rear. You walk through local residents' gardens to get in. Music being played didn't seem befitting to a pub in a small market town in rural Wales. But maybe this is the place the local hipsters hang out. Although there were no other customers on my visit. The young barman assured me it had been packed earlier and all the punters were attending a function in the pub's function room. He offered me a piece of chocolate cake! Ales looked encouraging - Ludlow Blonde & Black Night & Wye Valley The Hopfather. I selected the Black Night, but it ran out before I could get a full glass - disappointing as it was the only dark ale present in 12 pubs visited in Powys on this day. I went for The Hopfather instead, which was far better than I expected, given I don't normally enjoy hoppy beers. This is the only Llanidloes pub in the current Good Beer Guide and I would rate it as the best in the town.

12 Jun 2018 20:43

Mount Inn, Llanidloes

No sign of the hen party I'd seen earlier in the Red Lion. Although they did have Morland Old Golden Hen on at the bar. Greene King Abbot & Bass completed the uninspiring ale line-up. I was the only customer. But the barmaid was friendly enough.

12 Jun 2018 20:36

The Royal Head, Llanidloes

The Whistling Badger at the Royal Head offered the friendliest welcome in town. What I assumed to be the landlady was happy to chat about the local cider producer in Berriew. I had one of their apple juices as the 7.1% bottle of their cider wasn't really compatible with driving. Ales were Glaslyn, HPA & Doom Bar. Nice beamed interior with a touch of character.

12 Jun 2018 20:33

Red Lion Hotel, Llanidloes

I entered here as a large group of girls all dressed in black t-shirts and shorts were exiting. Either they were all called Jones or this was a hen party. Unsurprisingly this was the busiest pub in Llanidloes and all of the remaining customers were blokes. This is an old coaching inn and you can drink in the courtyard at the rear. Two ales from Monty's were on - Sunshine & Mischief. One of the better pubs in town.

12 Jun 2018 20:31

Crown and Anchor Inn, Llanidloes

Multi-roomed pub that was my first stop in Llanidloes. Only one other customer was present. Butty Bach & The Rev James were the ales. Nice place and I'll repeat the previous reviewer in stating that the barmaid was friendly.

12 Jun 2018 20:27

Red Lion, Trefeglwys

It's certainly exciting on the roads around here. I nearly crashed into a combine harvester that had pulled out of a field in front of me on the way here. When leaving, I got stuck behind a tractor that would be classed as vintage in most places. As I was driving, I ordered a soft drink and a bag of crisps in here. I'm sure I was told it was £2 and I handed over a £5 note only to get £2 change. Either my hearing is going, or I was short-changed. Wye Valley Butty Bach & Three Tuns XXX were the only ales. A few other locals were in the bar of this two-roomed pub. The separate dining area was empty.

12 Jun 2018 20:23

The Red Lion, Caersws

The Red Lion was the only pub I visited in Caersws. I'd read that it served real cider. But when I asked the barmaid what ciders they served, I was offered Strongbow and various bottled options. It was only when I tried to be more specific and asked if they had anything such as a Westons cider, that one of the local pointed out a small sign advertising Rosie's Pig. So I was in luck. Locals seemed fairly jovial. But I'm not sure about the anti-English jokes. Much of the discussion revolved around some kind of local contest revolving around how many potatoes you could fit in a bucket. I think I'll stick to England!

12 Jun 2018 19:47

The Goat Hotel, Llanfair Caereinion

This was the second pub I visited in Llanfair Caereinion, after the Black Horse. The Goat was the better of the two pubs, with a better ale selection - Conwy Irish Red, Woods Born 'n' Bred & Dorking Washington Gold. The Goat was very quiet, with only 3 other customers in the bar and a couple sat outside. It still took a while to get served. Seemingly a nice pub. But just like the Black Horse down the road, it was plagued by dozens of flies. Although the Black Horse was slightly worse. Seemingly this village has a fly problem. Incidentally, I had earlier been to the Stumble Inn at Bwlch-y-cibau, which ended up being my favourite pub of the day. I have requested it to be added to the site.

12 Jun 2018 19:40

The Granite City, Aberdeen

Time for one last drink before flying out of Aberdeen. The Granite City is no longer a Wetherspoons. But it still has 2 real ales - Caledonian Deuchars IPA & Wooha Blonde. I had the Blonde which was fine. But prices are expensive and the place was very quiet on a Sunday evening. Seemingly everybody had headed airside and were packed in the small pub nearer the gates. Probably not as good as it once was when it was a 'spoons. But at least there is still a real ale at the airport.

4 Jun 2018 21:02

Archibald Simpson, Aberdeen

After a visit to the nearby 6°N, a craft beer bar that I have requested to be added, my final pub in Aberdeen city centre was the Archibald Simpson. Alas in my 23rd pub of the weekend in Scotland, I finally located a real cider. Never was a pint of Old Rosie more appreciated. This Wetherspoon's is the better of Aberdeen's two branches and has a prominent location in a former bank. Ales were Caledonian Deuchars IPA, Greene King Abbot, Kansas Avenue Red Lonesome Duck, Banks's Maui, Windswept APA & Aurora, Stewart Jack Back & Redcastle Crusader. The Balmoral Chicken with haggis was slightly different from normal 'spoons fare, but acceptable. As can often be the case, this branch of Wetherspoon's didn't have tills that could accept the 50p off CAMRA vouchers, despite the vouchers being valid. I've had this a number of times now. A decent pub to finish my tour of Aberdeen.

4 Jun 2018 20:58

The Tolbooth, Ellon

The Tolbooth was my fourth pub on a trip outside of Aberdeen on Sunday lunchtime. I'll request the New Inn at Aberchirder, the Ythanview Hotel in Methlick and the Station Hotel in Ellon to be added. The Tolbooth is a reasonably friendly town pub. The bar area is quite dark. But there is a brighter conservatory and an outdoor area at the rear. Greene King Abbot is the regular ale. Guests were Black Sheep Best Bitter & Caledonian 80/-. I had the latter, which was well kept. Note that children are not allowed. But this is probably the best pub in Ellon.

4 Jun 2018 20:48

Justice Mill, Aberdeen

Large Lloyds Bar version of Wetherspoon's that stretches a fair way back. Late on a Saturday evening it resembled a nightclub, with bouncers, a DJ, loud music, flashing lights and lots of smartly dressed youngsters sipping (or rather guzzling) cocktails. I probably looked a little out of place supping my pint of Orkney Dark Island. Only 3 other ales were on - Caledonian Deuchars IPA, Greene King Abbot & Banks's Maui. My initial hopes at spotting Weston's Old Rosie on handpull with a gleaming pumpclip was soon dispelled when I was told it was off. Why do 'spoons insist on displaying pumpclips from beers or ciders that are unavailable. Disappointing place. Although I'd like to think it's better during the day.

4 Jun 2018 20:39

The Howff, Aberdeen

You never quite know what you're going to get when walking into a cellar bar on a main shopping street. But despite just the solitary Deeside ale, I found this quite a nice comfortable bar. It was after 11pm on a Saturday and it was still fairly busy. The real ale was Swift.

4 Jun 2018 20:34

The Queen Vic, Aberdeen

The Queen Vic can be found in the Rosemount area of the city. It is one large bar. All 4 real ales are located at the end of the bar. They can be difficult to see, if people are sat or stood in that area. But the two permanent ales are Caledonian Deuchars IPA & Timothy Taylor Landlord. Guests on my visit were Hobsons Old Prickly & Keith Smoke Keith. Not bad at all.

4 Jun 2018 20:31

St Machar Bar, Aberdeen

Saturday evening was my first visit to the cobbled Old Aberdeen area, next to the university. The St Machar Bar did not look open from the outside. But inside it was quite lively. A group of young students had clearly had a fair amount. Caledonian Deuchars IPA is the regular beer. The guest was Loch Leven Pale Ale. There's a good range of whiskies and other spirits behind the long bar. Addlestones was the cider. One of Aberdeen's better pubs. I moved on from here to the disappointing Northern Hotel, which is not worth a visit.

4 Jun 2018 20:27

The Prestoungrange Gothenburg, Prestonpans

A return visit and I finally got to have a beer on this Saturday afternoon visit. The main bar is impressive, with its large island beer and painted ceiling. Other rooms are equally well decorated and there is some nice tilework. It's a far bigger place than it looks from the outside. The two real ales were both from Knops - India Pale Ale & Black Cork. A decent place for a drink and much more down-to-earth than I had anticipated. The car park is opposite next to the sea wall. But take care crossing the busy road.

4 Jun 2018 20:21

Buccleuch Arms Hotel, St Boswells

Penultimate pub for us in the Borders was the Buccleuch Arms. It's a large and rambling upmarket establishment. Food appears to be popular and there is also accommodation. In fact, it feels more like a hotel than a pub/restaurant. It is a good place for families. The two real ales were Born In The Borders Foxy Blonde & Greene King IPA. We moved on from here to the Red Lion in Earlston where I had a nice Orkney Dark Island. I'll request for it to be added to the site.

4 Jun 2018 20:13

The Cross Keys Inn, Ancrum

I'm not sure if this pub is the brewery tap for Born In The Borders. But it certainly specialises in their ales. Two were being dispensed on cask - Game Bird & Foxy Blonde. There are two drinking areas at the front and a larger dining room at the rear. There is also an enclosed courtyard for drinking, as well as a garden area at the rear and a patio at the front. Most people were eating in the dining room. But there were another couple having a bar snack in the bar when we arrived in the pouring rain. Nice place.

4 Jun 2018 20:09

Rutherfords, Kelso

Rutherfords was my favourite pub of my weekend visit to Scotland. It's a micropub on Kelso's main square and is apparently Scotland's first and only micropub. There were 4 cask ales dispensed by gravity - Broughton Dark Dunter, Stewarts 80/- & Radical Road & Firebrick Pagan Queen. They had no real cider, apart from in bottles. But they do have a fine selection of gins. The small seating area is compact and there are board games to play. Even more popular was a small area of outdoor seating at the front and overlooking the square. Scotland needs more similar establishments. But it's a shame they haven't discovered real cider.

4 Jun 2018 20:02

The White Swan, Kelso

This is now called the Typsie Ghillie. The pub is entered from a leafy square that overlooking Kelso Abbey. It was quiet on our Saturday morning visit. But they had 2 ales on - Born In The Borders Game Bird & Broughton Hopopotamos. The pub has bare boards and feels quite dark. There is a pool table. Music was playing. We moved into the café (White Swan Bistro) which can be entered from the other side of the building and the main square. You can order the ales in there too. But it is more of an coffee shop/dining establishment.

4 Jun 2018 19:57

The Cobbles Inn, Kelso

Cobbles was the first place we sample on Saturday morning in Kelso. It's tucked away off a corner of the main square and has the feeling of a wine bar/bistro. There is a dining area to the left as you enter, with a bar to the right with a few small tables. This is still the brewery tap for the Tempest Brewery. Their Best Bitter & Armadillo Pale were the two cask ales. But they also had a number of keg options and more bottles of Tempest beers. The atmosphere was relaxed and they obviously have a loyal local following. Service was friendly. A good option when in the town.

4 Jun 2018 19:51

The Besom Inn, Coldstream

The Besom was the second of three pubs I tried in Coldstream on Friday evening. It was by far the nicest pub in Coldstream with a lovely bar area. However the beer quality was not the best. I chose the Hetton Howler that had a smoky taste and was rather cloudy. The other ale was the house beer Besom Ale. Whilst this was the nicest pub, I did have a much better Rigg & Furrow Run Hop Run in the Castle Hotel. But that place was overrun with drunken young adults failing badly at karaoke. The Newcastle Arms Hotel had no real ales, but arguably the warmest welcome.

4 Jun 2018 19:45

The Commercial Inn, Coldstream

Now an Indian restaurant.

4 Jun 2018 19:36

The Wheatsheaf, Swinton

More of a restaurant than a pub, this place did serve a cask Belhaven IPA from a solitary handpull. We sat outside at a table overlooking the large village green, with a group of lads playing football. The interior was quite cosy and staff offered a friendly welcome. But this is not a place you'd have a session.

4 Jun 2018 19:32

The Allanton Inn, Allanton

Slightly upmarket country pub with a couple of real ales. These were Jarl & Ossian. The number of waiting staff at 9pm on a Friday evening gave an indication of how popular this pub is for food. With it being a relatively mild evening, I joined other drinkers in the rear garden, an enclosed lawn with plenty of tables and seating. Nice village pub.

4 Jun 2018 19:25

The Kingston Gate, Norbiton

Saw this pub was in the Good Beer Guide. So I decided to give it a go prior to a visit to Surbiton. It's a fairly large pub on a roundabout in the Norbiton area of KIngston. There are 6 ales. But I was disappointed that none were dark. The selection was Park Gallows Gold & Driftway, Twickenham Naked Ladies & Spring Ale, Wimbledon Copper Leaf & Truman's Knees Up. There were only a handful of other customers there, including a couple sat outside at the front. The barmaid started pulling a pint when I'd asked for a half. Luckily I stopped her in time. Not sure I'd hurry back.

23 May 2018 19:10

The Antelope, Surbiton

Made a return visit to the Antelope last night, after a maiden visit to the Black Horse in Norbiton (not listed on the site). The Antelope is probably the best of this chain of pubs. Their loyalty cards are useful to have. But note that those issued by the Corner House in Windsor cannot be used in the other 4 pubs. Yesterday's ale selection was Big Smoke Solaris, Sunshower & Underworld, East London Brewery Foundation Bitter, Heavy Industry Pigeon Toed Orange Peel, Neptune Nammu, Summer Wine Firefly, Bristol Beer Factory Low Rider, Northern Whisper Soft Mick & Gun Milk Stout. Ciders were Charnwood Megablend Bone Dry, Bignose Beardy A Bit Of Omff, Cotswold Cider Company She Devil & Yellow Hammer & Seacider Mango Infused Cider. We partook in the Tuesday offer for ribs and wings along with a pint of one of their Big Smoke beers for £12. The brewery is indeed in a separate building at the rear, the other side of a secluded outdoor courtyard. One of London's best pubs in my opinion.

23 May 2018 19:01

The Anglesey Arms Hotel, Caernarfon

Marston's pub overlooking the Menai Strait. Many people were outside enjoying the last of the evening's light. I sat inside, which gradually got busier as the outside temperature dropped. For a Marston's pub I was impressed with the ale range - Brains SA, Exeter Brewing Company 'fraid Not, Black Sheep Monty Python's Flying Circus & Purity Mad Goose. I had the 'fraid Not, which was quite nice for a pale ale.

21 May 2018 20:00

The Black Boy Inn, Caernarfon

This was the best pub I visited yesterday in Caernarfon. Situated up a narrow street, it has a dark and cosy interior. It was also the busiest of my 4 pubs. Two drawbacks were the fairly slow service - I witnessed one guy who gave up waiting and went elsewhere and a more limited real ale range than I was expected. The 3 ales on were Bass, Bragdy Conwy Welsh Pride & Dark Star Espresso. There was one unused handpull. But I was left wondering if there were any different beers in a different room somewhere. Despite this, I was happy enough with the Espresso. An old pub that is worth a visit.

21 May 2018 19:56

Tafarn Y Porth, Caernarfon

Tafarn y Porth is Caernarfon's branch of Wetherspoon's. Of the 4 pubs I visited in Caernarfon, it had the largest range of ales - Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Bass, Ringwood Forty Niner, Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold, Ramsbury Gold, Oakham JHB & Big Bog Jack O'Lantern. It was also the only place with real cider - Old Rosie & Black Dragon. Tafarn y Porth enjoys a great location next to the castle. It was fairly quiet for a 'spoons. Service was quick.

21 May 2018 19:53

Alexandra Hotel, Caernarfon

After 4 final pubs in Anglesey, none of which are listed on here, but aren't worth adding, as they had no more than JW Lees Bitter, I returned to the mainland. After trying the Gardd Fon in Felinheli, my first pub in Caernarfon was Yr Alex, formerly the Alexandra Hotel. It was my first time in Caernarfon for 24 years. So I didn't remember much about it. Yr Alex is just outside the town centre on a busy roundabout. It had two real ales - Bass & Brains The Rev James. There were a few in the one room and another customer in a second room. But the place was quite quiet on a Sunday evening. Not particularly worth a return visit.

21 May 2018 19:44

The Seventy-Nine, Holyhead

Tried visiting this place yesterday. It's on what seems like Holyhead's main shopping street. But it has now closed down.

21 May 2018 19:33

The White Eagle Pub, Anglesea

Fourth pub of the day in Anglesey was the White Eagle. We came here from the Valley Hotel and the Anchorage Hotel. The White Eagle is tucked away at the southern end of Holy Island. Despite its remote location, it was very busy. Popular with families and multiple dogs, it clearly does a good trade in food. The real ale selection was probably the best on the island too. Ales on this visit were Weetwood Eastgate, Bragdy Conwy California & Beachcomber, Coach House 16 & Dunscar Blonde And Ambitious.

21 May 2018 19:30

The Crown Inn, Aberffraw

Our first pub on a Sunday visit to complete the Good Beer Guide pubs of Anglesey was the Crown. It's a nice looking pub in the village square. But the three small rooms have been modernised inside. A few villagers were in the main bar, where we sat. The two ales were Purple Moose Elderflower Ale & Heavy Industry Diawl Bach. A few people were eating. Decent village boozer.

21 May 2018 19:24

Yr Hen Dderwan, Carmarthen

Yr Hen Dderwen was my last scheduled stop of the night in Carmarthen. It's a Wetherspoon's that had 3 doorman on my Saturday evening visit. The ale range was easily the best in town. Ales were Greene King Abbot, Caledonian Deuchars IPA, Windsor & Eton Harry & Meghan's Windsor Knot, Hook Norton Old Hooky, Grainstore Rutland Beast, Boss Brave & Gower Power. Ciders were all from Gwynt y Ddraig - Black Dragon, Dog Dancer, Ancient Warrior & Fiery Fox. It was quite a lively place late on a Saturday evening. But the decent selection of ciders had a thumbs up from me. I moved on from here to the excellent Parrot and the dreadful Castle Hotel. I'll request for the former to be added to the site.

21 May 2018 19:18

Queens Hotel, Carmarthen

The Queens Hotel was a lively place on my Saturday evening visit. It took a while to get served, with somebody ordering multiple pints of Guinness and somebody else ordering double spirits. The two ales were both from Evan Evans - Welsh Pale Ale & Cwrw. I didn't get to explore the whole pub. But there are a couple of very traditional rooms with comfortable seating. There is also an outdoor area at the rear next to the castle. There were a few drunken characters in here. One Irish guy managed to start a little sing-song. But he was struggling to stand up. One of the better pubs in Carmarthen. The best was probably the Friends Arms, which I have requested to be added to the site.

21 May 2018 19:13

The Perrivale Inn, Ammanford

This pub is now called the Red Kite Inn. It was our third pub of the day in Carmarthenshire after the Ivy Bush and the Red Lion Hotel. We continued onto the King's Head Hotel at Capel Hendre, the Smiths Arms in Foelgastell, the Mansell Arms in Porthrhyd and the Stag & Pheasant & the Friends Arms in Carmarthen. None of the others are listed on here. But I'll request for the best ones to be added. Ironically the only one of our first 8 pubs to be listed on the site, the Red Kite Inn, was the poorest of the lot. The young barman was friendly. But there was nobody else in and the solitary ale was Courage Best.

21 May 2018 18:53

The Goose, Walthamstow

With just time to try one more pub in Walthamstow, this pub opposite Central station was just the ticket. The ale range surprised me - Gales Seafarers, East London Pale Ale, Cowcatcher & Quadrant Oatmeal Stout, Leigh On Sea Six Little Ships, Redemption Pale & Greene King Harry Ever After. It was far better than I had expected. Spanish football was on the TV. But the big drawback with this place was the prices. It was by far the most expensive pub we visited in Walthamstow. This seemed odd as I'm sure I remember Goose pubs as being good value. But this one is obviously exploiting its location. I wouldn't rule out another visit though.

14 May 2018 19:34

The Queens Arms, Walthamstow

Corner pub in the village conservation area of Walthamstow. The ale selection was better than I had expected - Roosters Highway Fifty One, Timothy Taylor Cook Lane IPA & Dark Star Sunburst. My only criticism was that they were all similar sorts of beer. A dark beer or a cider would have been nice. Clientele appeared to be young to middle-aged locals. The barmaid got our order wrong, but did not offer to change it.

14 May 2018 19:30

The Wild Card Brewery, Walthamstow

Another Walthamstow place that has gone downhill. Unlike my last visit when the only ales available were Wild Card ones, there were no Wild Card ales on at all. The real cider has also disappeared. The 3 ales were Dancing Duck 22 & Ay Up & Brewsters Hophead. We sat on the benches outside. I'm sure the inside has been opened up and there is no longer any seating. Disappointing.

14 May 2018 19:27

The Nags Head, Walthamstow

I haven't been to the Nag's Head for some time. Yesterday I went back and found only 4 ales on. I'm sure there used to be more. The selection was Timothy Taylor Landlord, Three Sods Mon Cheri & BoHo Bitter & Wadworth Epic Brew. I'm now wondering if there were some more elsewhere I missed. No sign of any cats this time. But there was live music on and they had presumably been driven out. We too elected to sit outdoors in the large paved garden at the rear.

14 May 2018 19:24

The Bell, Walthamstow

I was back in the Bell last night. Similar to the Olde Rose & Crown, the Bell was not as good as I remembered. Ales were St Austell Tribute, Long Man American Pale Ale, Fuzzy Duck Pheasant Plucker, Three Castles Gatehouse, Pig & Porter Dance First, Salopian Darwin's Origin, Titanic Lifeboat & Kent KGB. When I asked the barmaid what real ciders there were, she asked what a real cider was. Apparently they no longer stock them. My Dance First was ok. But I'm definitely downgrading my score for this place. Going downhill. But still a solid 7/10.

14 May 2018 19:20

The Rose and Crown, Walthamstow

Almost 6 years after my only previous visit to the Olde Rose & Crown, I returned yesterday evening, after a visit to the nearby Mirth, Marvel & Maud, which I will request to be added to the site. As is often the case, the Olde Rose & Crown wasn't quite as good as I remembered. The 6 ales were Daleside Monkey Wrench, Otter Ale, Moles Rucking Mole, Purity Ubu, Wantsum Dynamo & Shiny 4Wood. The solitary cider was Seacider Rhubarb. Although they do also have Addlestones on a handpump. There was a mobile truck outside the front door selling food, possibly crepes. Good pub and I'm sure I will be back. I'll keep my score as 8/10 for now.

14 May 2018 19:13

The Cock Tavern, Hackney

Was back in Hackney yesterday. After a visit to the disappointing Oslo, I headed to the Cock Tavern, one of my favourite pubs in East London. It was quiet, as it often is earlier in the day. But the ale and cider range was excellent, as usual. Howling Hops IPA, Pale XX, Pale Ale & Black, Wild Beer Millionaire, Beer Monkey Bitter Revival & One Mile End Desservir Peanut Butter and Jelly Stout were the real ales. Ciders were Perry's Barn Owl, Burrow Hill Cider & Cider Bus, Farmer Jim's Apple Red & Rhubarb Bob, Millwhites Rum Cask & Newton Court Dabinett. Still a great pub.

14 May 2018 19:06

The Dundee Arms, Bethnal Green

Was here at opening time yesterday. This is a fairly basic place with a couple of real ales. Yesterday these were Signature Brew Progressive & Purity Bunny Hop. Seems to be a fairly trendy place. But it was difficult to judge with it being so quiet. Tried the wifi, using a code on the wall. But this didn't work. Ok, but nothing special.

14 May 2018 18:56

The Coach and Horses Inn, Chepstow

With the Queen's Head closed, my final pub of the day in Gwent ended up being the Coach & Horses. It's a Brain's pub. Their Bitter & SA were on, alongside guests - Bath Gem & Butcombe Original. But I'd agree with the previous reviewer that this wasn't the most inspiring. Of more interest was the clientele. From the drunk lady at the bar to the cross dressing man sat at a table, the pub certainly had its share of characters. A good pub should always have a few characters. So a bonus point for that.

8 May 2018 21:06

Queen's Head, Chepstow

I'd read some good things about this micropub and I was really looking forward to visiting after we'd been to the Coach & Horses in Caerwent and the Chepstow Athletic Club. But alas it was closed shortly after 8pm on a bank holiday weekend. 1/10 for a place with unpredictable opening hours.

8 May 2018 21:01

Castle Inn, Caldicot

This place was shut all day yesterday (Bank Holiday Monday). That seems like a strange way to run a business. With the lovely weather, they would have made a killing. Judging by the previous review, we did at least manage to try one pub in Caldicot (the Cross Inn). But it must have been in the rough part of town! 1/10 for a pub cannot open on a bank holiday weekend. Hopefully I'll be back one day to give a more accurate review.

8 May 2018 20:58

The Wheatsheaf Inn, Magor

The Wheatsheaf was the better of Magor's two pubs. The ale selection was varied - Rhymney Export, Boss Nutjob, Castles Ironclad & Bradgy Twt Lol Crazy Peacock. The Nutjob was very nutty, maybe too nutty for my liking! Service was efficient, despite the pub being fairly busy with the village's May Fair in full flow. Possibly the best pub of 10 we tried in Gwent yesterday.

8 May 2018 20:55

The Golden Lion, Magor

Magor was holding a May Fair on our bank holiday Monday visit. The Golden Lion was at the heart of it all and as such, it was heaving. Inside seemed busy. We thought it might be quieter in the garden. But the small area for children was absolutely rammed. How the children's play frame and swings didn't collapse under the weight of so many kids, I'll never know! The Rev James was the only ale available. Clearly they didn't have the foresight to realise how busy it would be. Service was quick though, despite the crowds. Would like to visit again on a normal day to get a better impression.

8 May 2018 20:51

The Bell Inn, Caerleon

The Bell Inn is on the opposite side of the river from most pubs and the main Roman sites in Caerleon. It's tucked away up a quaint backstreet. It's probably the best pub Caerleon has to offer. But there's significant scope for improvement. Before we'd even managed to get to the bar, we were jumped upon by a lady who asked if she could help us. I replied that I'd like to purchase a drink. But she quickly decided to tell us that all of the lagers were off! I was more focused on the list of ciders on a blackboard though. I was trying to work out whether they were all draught or whether they were bottles when the barmaid decided to ignore me in favour of somebody about to place a huge food and drinks order. When the barmaid got this wrong, it took an eternity to rectify and only 5 minutes later did one of the other staff members, who were sat talking the wrong side of the bar, decide to help out. So much for being jumped upon on arrival! It soon transpired that they didn't have all of the ciders/perries on the board as our first request was off. Assuming the rest were available, the selection was Weston's Rosie's Pig, Old Rosie & Flat Tyre, Aspall's Temple Moon, Cyderkyn & Raspberry & Ginger, Abrahalls Lily The Pink, Thatcher's Stan's Big Apple, Traditional & Cheddar Valley & Garden Cider Company Vintage. The two ales were Wainwright & Boltmaker. The pub was very quiet inside. This may have had something to do with the lack of lager. But there were a few in the suntrap terrace garden at the rear. Good pub, but with service issues.

8 May 2018 20:47

Hanbury Arms, Caerleon

After visiting some of Caerleon's tourist sites, we retreated to this Brain's pub next to the River Usk. It has plenty of seating next to what is not the most picturesque river you'll ever see. The ales were Rev James, SA Gold & Crowded Hops. We joined the throngs enjoying the sunshine outside. But there were plenty of customers drinking and dining inside too.

8 May 2018 20:37

Priory Hotel, Newport

After a visit to the Red Lion, the Priory Hotel was our second port of call in the Roman town of Caerleon. It's an impressive building with nice gardens at the rear and some interesting carvings. The two real ales were Glamorgan Welsh Pale & Wye Valley Butty Bach. Two keg beers - Felinfoel Double Dragon & Wye Valley Wholesome Stout are dispensed from handpulls. The American barman couldn't seemed to control the stout and I ended up with a short measure. It was also far too cold for my liking, despite the hot weather yesterday. Nice building. But a shame about the beer.

8 May 2018 20:34

Park Inn, Woodsetton

The Park Inn is the brewery tap for Holden's and is next to the brewery itself. Ales from Holden's were Black Country Bitter, Black Country Mild, Special & XB. Guests were Wye Valley Bitter, Enville Ginger & Sarah Hughes SPA. The Mild was certainly better than the Banks's version I had in the previous pub. Service was also decent and the locals seemed fairly friendly.

8 May 2018 20:28

Fountain Inn, Tipton

Following Sunday lunch at the disappointing Gongoozler (not listed on here), we continued with the canal theme and moved onto the Fountain. Most customers were enjoying the sunshine outside next to the canal. But the plastic glasses being dispensed for those drinking outdoors persuaded us otherwise. The ale range was a little disappointing - Banks's Mild, Wye Valley HPA, Adnams Mosaic, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Greene King Abbot & Thwaites Wainwright. There was no real cider either. But a lot of people seemed to be enjoying the fizzy Thatcher's varieties. The pub itself is fairly basic. Service wasn't the best. The younger barmaid hadn't got a clue which order to serve people in. So she just served those she knew. Like the last reviewer, I too had the Mild. I'm not a fan of Banks's Mild. But this was the best option. Disappointing pub.

8 May 2018 20:24

The Royal Oak, Hendre

I went to some fairly strange pubs in Wales over the weekend. But this one was possibly the strangest of all. Opening times are limited here. So I saved my visit until the evening. The pubs seems to open at 7pm each day. Once past the cacophony of bells that greets you as you open the door, you will see the bar in front of you with rooms either side. I opted for the room on the right, where all the other customers were. 2 ales were on - Hafod Little Marvel & Cwrw Llyn Golau Pale. Not wishing to get the pronunciation wrong, I ordered a half of the Golau Pale which the barmaid fetched from the opposite side of the bar. Unfortunately I couldn't see what she was pouring, as she brought a pint over. She seemed deeply offended when I said I only wanted a half and placed the pint on the counter expecting me to stomach it, despite it not being my error. She eventually poured half into a separate glass. But her reaction soured my opinion of the pub. It's situated in an idyllic setting. But I wonder how many visitors they actually get. They certainly seemed uneasy at a stranger's presence. Nice pub, but not the most welcoming to visitors.

8 May 2018 20:15

The Offas Dyke Hotel, Broughton

Large Greene King pub in a residential area of Broughton. There is a public bar that was showing live sport, a bright and airy lounge/dining area and plenty of outdoor seating. Ales were Greene King Abbot, Black IPA & Band of Brothers, St Austell Tribute & Robinson's Dizzy Blonde. I had the Black IPA, which I had not seen before. It was ok. But I'm not a fan of black IPAs. The pub offers a CAMRA discount and it is well advertised. But despite for this, I forgot to ask for it. A community pub that is worth a visit.

8 May 2018 20:06

White Horse Inn, Cilcain

The White Horse was a complete contrast to my 2 previous pubs, the Castle Inn in Shotton and the Ship Inn in Connah's Quay, which frankly are not worth adding to the site. Leaving built-up areas behind and heading towards the Clwydian mountains, the countryside around Cilcain is picturesque and the village itself is lovely. You won't get a mobile phone signal in the pub. But you will get a nice country pub atmosphere with a focus on conversation, beer and food. There are two small rooms and an equally small outside area at the side. The welcome was friendly. Ales were Usher's 1824 & Wye Valley Butty Bach. One of my two favourite pubs of the day. The other was the Mold Alehouse, which I moved onto after a visit to the Crown Inn in Pantymwyn. I'll request for both to be added to the site.

8 May 2018 19:57

Crown and Liver Inn, Hawarden

I'm not quite sure to make of this pub. From the outside, it looks quite rough. After helping a guy to jump start his motorbike on the car park, I entered into the pub and found a fairly gaudy interior, that felt more like a lap-dancing club than a pub. With chandeliers and unusual decorations, it was all a little strange. But the welcome was very friendly and they did have Wainwright & Bombardier Glorious English on as real ales. A fairly unique place. I was the only customer. So it was difficult to judge. But I'd certainly give it another go if passing.

8 May 2018 19:50

Fox and Grapes, Hawarden

The Fox & Grapes is one of two pubs I tried in Hawarden. Neither were brilliant. But the Glynne Arms had the better atmosphere and a far better ale selection. I will request for that to be added to the site. The Fox & Grapes was very quiet. Only two other customers were present. Ales were also fairly standard - Weetwood Cheshire Cat, Tetley's Cask & Sharp's Doom Bar.

8 May 2018 19:44

The White Horse, Hedgerley

Started my weekend in the White Horse on Friday evening. It was a nice evening and people were out enjoying the last rays of sunshine of the day. The pub has changed little since my last review. Ales on this visit were Rebellion IPA, Old Pie Factory American Pale, Hal's Ales Poker Brown, Reunion Actus Reus, Atlantic Azores, Hattie Brown Kirrin Island, Flash House Neighbourhood & Fierce and Noble Session IPA. Ciders were Abrahalls Ruby Tuesday, Salt Hill Green Man & Barbourne Whisky Cask. Craft beers were Mala Gissona Apatxe & Paulaner Hefe Weissbier. Excellent village pub. Looking forward to the next beer festival over the bank holiday weekend.

8 May 2018 19:38

Robin Hood Inn, Sheffield

Having started our tour of Yorkshire pubs at the Robin Hood in Altofts, near Wakefield, it seemed rather appropriate that our 29th and final pub was also called the Robin Hood. This one was rather quiet on our Sunday evening visit. The 2 ales on were Abbeydale Moonshine & Timothy Taylor Landlord. Having seen the Moonshine in many pubs I'd visited, I thought I'd finally give it a go. Not really my type of beer. But this was well kept and still went down fine. Friendly enough staff and barmaid.

2 May 2018 19:13

The Golden Ball Inn, Rotherham

Our fourth and final pub in Whiston was finally the one where I managed to get the Sunday roast I was craving. It was nice. But there wasn't much in the way of vegetables. The pub was quite busy. Many others were eating and there is a separate dining area. But drinkers were congregated around the bar. It has the feel of a village pub, as it is tucked away from the main road. Ales were Sharp's Doom Bar, Black Sheep Best Bitter, Wells Bombardier Glorious English & York Yorkshire Terrier. Quite an expensive place.

2 May 2018 19:08

The Sitwell Arms, Whiston

Large pub that is food oriented. We were hoping to eat. But they'd run out of roast dinners. We initially sat down underneath a TV. But there was a group of foul-mouthed youngsters who had presumably watching the live football that had just finished. So we moved elsewhere. There are several separate areas, including a large dining room. Ales were Abbeydale Moonshine, Acorn Darkness & Saint George & Chantry Iron & Steel Bitter. The Darkness was good. Not a bad place.

2 May 2018 19:02

Chequers Inn, Whiston

Friendly, locals pub that seems that seems to have a reputation for good Sunday lunches. I was hoping to grab one on our Sunday evening visit. But they had stopped serving them. The leftover Yorkshire puddings on the bar looked good though. Ales were Bradfield Farmer's Blonde, Tetley Cask, Sharp's Sea Fury & Abbeydale Moonshine. The only annoying thing was all of the locals crowded around the bar.

2 May 2018 07:46

Hind, Rotherham

The Hind was the first of 4 pubs in or around Whiston that we visited. It's a large, roadside Ember Inns establishment and the interior was fairly typical of this chain. Ales were Black Sheep Ember Pale Ale, Abbeydale Moonshine, Kirkstall Yorkshire Dales Pale, Bru Stout & Thwaites Wainwright. It was reasonably busy on our early Sunday evening visit.

2 May 2018 07:43

Three Horse Shoes, Wickersley

After visits to the Hilltop Hotel in Conisbrough (I have requested for this to be added) and the Woodman in Sunnyside (Marston's pub not worth adding), we moved on to Wickersley, starting at the Wickersley Old Village Cricket Club. None of these are listed on the site. But we then moved onto the Three Horseshoes. Getting served was the first challenge. The bar is set up into little sections and is a little awkward. But this didn't take too long, in all fairness. Ales were Fuller's London Pride, Marston's Pedigree, Fuggle Bunny Chapter 7 & Timothy Taylor Landlord. As we left, Don Valley Hitchcock was being poured through. Nice enough place with limited seating. Some is reserved for dining. Live Premier League football was on the TVs. Attracts a mixed crowd. CAMRA discounts are offered.

2 May 2018 07:40

Church House, Wath Upon Dearne

Wetherspoon's location in what looks like a nice building from the outside, but is showing its age a little on the inside. For a Wetherspoon's, it's actually quite compact. As usual, toilets are hidden away upstairs to maximise space. Ales were Greene King Abbot & George & Flagon, Ruddles Best, Sharp's Doom Bar, Ossett Silver King, Theakston Old Peculier, Leeds Yorkshire Gold & Stancill No. 7 Barnsley Bitter. Ciders were Black Dragon & Rosie's Pig. Whilst in town, make sure you try the nearby Wath Tap, a micropub on the High Street which I'll request to be added.

2 May 2018 07:27

The Corn Dolly, Bradford

Backstreet pub away from the town centre, but close to a large casino. It was busy with locals. Some were playing each other at pool. One lady in particular was clearly a very good player! The interior is basic. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Ales were Everard's Tiger, Moorhouses White Witch, Timothy Taylor Boltmaker, Exmoor Gold, Pitchfork Single Header, Abbeydale Prophecy, Morland Old Speckled Hen & Goose Eye Pommie's Revenge.

1 May 2018 21:31

The Shoulder of Mutton, Bradford

Usual traditional Sam Smith's house, with OBB on handpull. Bar staff and customers were friendly. The interior layout has a number of rooms. There is an enclosed yard at the rear. Gents toilets are also outside. If you like Sam Smith's pubs, you'll enjoy it here.

1 May 2018 21:26

The Sparrow, Bradford

After a visit to the busy Record Café, I made the short walk across the road to the Sparrow Bier Café. This was equally busy. But I managed to grab a stool at the bar. This is a small single-room bar with a varied ale and cider selection. Ales were Kirkstall Pale Ale, Turning Point Lucid Dream Cookie Cream Stout & Avalon & Fallen Grapevine. One of these soon went and was replaced by Thornbridge Jessamine. Ciders were all very strong - Premium Drinks Cherry Perry & Passion Fruit Perry (both 7.5%), Woodthorpe Hall Rubie Suzie (11%) and Mr Whitehead's Devil's Device (8.4%). Another really decent option in Bradford. Not really a pub, but a varied section of ales and ciders.

1 May 2018 21:23

The Castle Hotel, Bradford

Saw this place in the current Good Beer Guide and had high hopes. But it was very disappointing. Music was blasting out as I entered. This was apparently DJ Nigel, with a selection of tracks on his laptop! The pub is fairly traditional. The Indian landlord was struggling to understand my drink order. Not sure if it was due to my southern accent or the noise emanating from DJ Nigel. But we got there eventually. The 2 real ales were Wychwood Hobgoblin & Welbeck Abbey Helen Let's Get Fiscal. As per previous reviews, I agree that there are some interesting characters in here. Moved onto the Record Café (not listed on here) for a slightly more civilised, if not more drunken crowd.

1 May 2018 21:16

Jacobs Well, Bradford

I thought I already knew the best pub in Bradford before this visit. The Fighting Cock is a fantastic traditional boozer with a good selection of ale and cider. But Jacobs Beer House destroyed my illusion. Whilst the former is a more traditional place, the atmosphere in Jacobs is also good and the ale and cider selection is much better. The choice on Saturday evening was Wychwood Hobgoblin, Stancill Barnsley Bitter, Sunbeam Eclipse, Slightly Foxed New Zealand Pale Ale, Hilltop Raspberry Beret, Ashover The Fabrick & Titanic Plum Porter. Unsurprisingly for the 2017 Yorkshire CAMRA cider pub of the year (or possibly runners up), it had an excellent range of ciders - Coleman's Pear Cider & Dry Cider, Pure North Valley Oak, Old Fruity & Sweet Union, Broadoak Perry, Grumpy John's Medium, Udders Orchard Lindley Gold & Snails Bank Very Perry. I could have quite easily stayed here the entire evening. But I stayed for 3 and then moved on, with more delights of Bradford still to discover. Great pub.

1 May 2018 21:11

Sir Titus Salt, Bradford

Former baths and Wetherspoon's branch that is now looking very dilapidated. Surprising since it hasn't been closed that long.

1 May 2018 21:03

Sportsman, Huddersfield

I just had time to visit one more pub before leaving Huddersfield. So I joined a few mates in the Sportsman. The bar area is fairly small and after the football match, it was a few deep at the bar. But the wait was well worth it. Ales were Timothy Boltmaker, Mallinson's Motueka, Howling Hops Riding Ale, Ridgeside Cascadian & Maffin, Roaring Four American IPA & Tiny Rebel Chocolate Stay Puft. A real cider and perry were also from Tiny Rebel - Protaropia & Peariscope. There are a couple of rooms off the main bar and an outdoor yard at the rear, where we retreated to. Part is undercover. I really liked this pub and it's not far off the Rat & Ratchet and the Grove in my list of favourite pub in the town.

1 May 2018 21:01

The Parish, Huddersfield

I had time for one more swift half before heading to the game on Saturday afternoon. So I headed for this rockers' bar. It's quite civilised during the daytime and there was a reasonable crowd of football fans and some diners and drinkers. Burgers is the speciality. Ales were Timothy Taylor Landlord, Saltaire Raspberry Blonde, Magic Rock Dark Arts, Cameron's Whakanui & Bad Company Love Ever Gold. There is a pool table. A bit rough and ready. But I'd happily come here again.

1 May 2018 20:55

Cherry Tree, Huddersfield

The Cherry Tree is a Wetherspoon's outlet not too far from Huddersfield station. It appeared very busy on my early Saturday afternoon visit, with bouncers on the door. But once past the entrance, service was quite quick and there was plenty of space to move towards the rear. Ales were Greene King Abbot, Elland 1872 Porter & White Prussian, Moorhouses Watchfinder General & Pendle Witches Brew, Acorn Dragon IPA, Springhead Exodus & Bradfield Farmer's Blonde. Ciders were Old Rosie & Black Dragon. Ok. But I probably wouldn't bother again with so many other decent pubs in Huddersfield, unless I was trying to use my CAMRA vouchers.

1 May 2018 20:37

Monkey, Bradford

Small pub on the western outskirts of Bradford that is listed in the current Good Beer Guide. This main room is small and there is an even smaller games room with a pool table entered through a separate door. The solitary real ale was Peacemaker from Salamander. Being a porter, that at least pleased me. But I was expecting more ales. One other customer and the landlord were present. A nice place though.

1 May 2018 20:30

The Biko Bar, Bradford

I did go looking to see if this bar still exists, possibly with a different name. But the Victoria Building is no longer open to the public and there is no mention of a bar here. I didn't bother trying the Ubar.

1 May 2018 20:26

The Prospect Of Bradford, Bradford

The Prospect of Bradford still stands as a building. But it looks rather forlorn in an area of dereliction at the top of a hill. Closed though.

1 May 2018 20:24

The Goldsborough, Bradford

Now offices. But the Corn Dolly is still open nearby.

1 May 2018 20:22

The Cock and Bottle, Bradford

Sited on a busy set of traffic lights, this place is now a cake shop. I did contemplate stopping by for a cake. But it was a bit too early in the day for that. Seemed to be some strange comings and goings in the car park.

1 May 2018 20:17

The Ginger Goose, Bradford

I'd passed the Ginger Goose late on Friday evening. It had bouncers on the door and had a rough appearance. I gave it a miss in favour of the City Vaults. But I was back on Saturday morning. CAMRA's website records this place as having no real ale. But as the previous two reviewers state, they do have Saltaire Blond, which I availed myself of. The window seats are the prime position in this pub. Local blokes were watching the goings on in the street, with Centenary Square just on the other side. The clientele seemed similar to that of a Wetherspoon's. Given I couldn't locate a 'spoons in the city, this may be why. Snooker was on the TVs. Pretty poor pub in all though.

1 May 2018 20:14

Old Bank, Bradford

You can probably guess what the Old Bank used to be in its former life. The interior feels a bit bland and lifeless now though. We sat in the side room, which struggles without natural light. We were there at 10am on a Saturday morning. One other customer soon walked in. But the atmosphere was obviously lacking. 6 ales were on - Coach House Lemon & Ginger, Naylor's Spoke, Hancock's HB, Salamander Golden, Scarborough Citra & Sharp's Doom Bar. Wifi didn't work. But you could get hold of the Ginger Goose wifi, just the other side of the wall. Both pubs are part of the same chain. The Old Bank was probably the best in the chain.

1 May 2018 20:09

The City Vaults, Bradford

I just had time to visit one pub in Bradford on Friday evening. It was gone 11pm. So there was little choice at that time. But the City Vaults was open. Ales on offer appeared to be Tetley's Cask, Black Sheep Best Bitter, Saltaire Blonde & Upham Tester. But when ordering the Saltaire beer, I was told that nobody had been drinking the ales for a few hours. So they had taken them off. I ended up with a bottle. The interior is fairly traditional and there are a number of different alcoves and corners to retire to. Music was being played far too loud though to make it a very relaxing experience. Those sat at the bar seemed to be enjoying it. But I'm not sure about everyone else. Part of a chain of 4 pubs in Bradford city centre, this one had the nicest interior. But the Old Bank had the best ales.

1 May 2018 20:02

The Black Bull, Kirkgate

Friendly pub that felt like a village pub. Ales were Black Sheep Best Bitter & Monty Python's Flying Circus, Roosters This Is England & Cameron's Whakanui. They also had Thatcher's Stan's Big Apple cider. A CAMRA discount is offered. It was fairly quiet on my visit.

1 May 2018 19:56

Horse and Jockey Inn, Birstall

The Horse & Jockey was the first of two pubs I tried in Birstall on Friday. It feels reasonably large and had a decent crowd on my evening visit. The TV was showing live Championship football. Ales were Bradfield Farmer's Blonde, Jennings Cumberland Ale, John Smith's Cask, Sharps Doom Bar, Ossett Silver King & Roosters This Is England. They also had a real cider - Rosie's Pig. A CAMRA discount is offered. But children are not allowed in.

1 May 2018 19:54

The Graziers Inn, Wakefield

The Graziers was our second pub of the evening on Friday, following the Robin Hood Inn at Altofts (I have requested this to be added to the site). Whilst not quite as good as the Robin Hood, the Graziers is a popular community local. Rugby League was showing on the TV and a few were playing pool in one section. There are 3 separate areas and an outdoor area used by smokers. Ales were John Smiths Cask, Abbeydale Moonshine, Belhaven Bridge To Nowhere, Theakston Old Peculier & Timothy Taylor Landlord.

1 May 2018 19:47

Floodgate Ale House, Stafford

We'd saved the Floodgate until last, on our 14 pub tour of the town. This was intentional, as I was hoping to save the best until last. We certainly weren't disappointed. Ales were Redemption Pale Ale, Bristol Beer Factory Independence, Anarchy Guzzolene, Ludlow Gold & Abbeydale Coffee & Hazlenut Stout. Ciders were Lilley's Rhubarb Cider, Hurst View Jibber Jabber, Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon, Abrahalls Thundering Molly & Broadoak Sloe Gin Cider. This micropub is handy for the station and is in my opinion the best pub in Stafford. With two Chinese takeaways nextdoor, our evening meal was sorted too!

22 Apr 2018 19:00

The Sun, Stafford

Made a return visit to the Sun yesterday. Everard's Tiger & Titanic Captain Smith's, White Star, Anchor & Steerage were supplemented by their Plum Porter, Dark Star The Original, Festival & American Brown Ale, Potbelly Lager Brau & Castle Rock Screech Owl. There was no real cider that I could see. Although reading my last review, they may not have been obvious. Still a decent option when in Stafford though.

22 Apr 2018 18:54

Swan Hotel, Stafford

The Swan Hotel is an old coaching inn on a central shopping street. It was busy with a wedding reception on our visit. But there are lots of different rooms that meant that other drinkers and diners were unaffected. Thwaites Wainwright was supplemented by Wychwood Hobgoblin, Wells Bombardier Glorious English & Wye Valle HPA.

22 Apr 2018 18:49

The Shrewsbury Arms, Stafford

The Shrewsbury Arms was the second Black Country Ales pub we tried in Stafford yesterday. Whilst this one wasn't as good as the Bird In Hand, it still warrants a 7/10. The Shrewsbury Arms was much quieter. But the interior is cosy enough and the ale range was good. Black Country BFG, Fireside & Pig On The Wall were supplemented by Bespoke Golden Rule, Corvedale Pax Rule, Downton Apple Blossom Ale, Blind Monkey Albion Pale Ale, Pheasantry Aurora & Falstaff Smiling Assassin. The real cider was Gwynt y Ddraig Dog Dancer. Had a scotch egg which was nice. Worth a visit.

22 Apr 2018 18:45

The Rose and Crown, Stafford

Joule's pub with a number of different rooms and seating areas including a courtyard at the rear. Ales were Blonde, Pale & Slumbering Monk. There were no guests that I could see and no real cider. But the Slumbering Monk was ok.

22 Apr 2018 18:37

The Market Vaults, Stafford

The Market Vaults is situated just off the Market Square. The interior is dark and there are several sections around a central bar. The ale range was a little disappointing - Sunbeam and Top Totty are the regular beers and Hobgoblin, Wainwright & Old Empire were the guests. I had the Hobgoblin and my drinking partner had the Top Totty. Plenty of people were ordering the Top Totty, but it wasn't to our taste. This is the kind of place that probably has a better atmosphere in the evenings, especially when live music is on. I do recommend No. 7 Market Square nextdoor though - a very interesting place with a real ale and craft beers. I have requested for it to be added to the site.

22 Apr 2018 18:11

The Bird In Hand, Stafford

Two years on from my last review and what a transformation. The pub has been taken over by Black Country Ales and it now rivals the Floodgate as the best pub in Stafford. I was suitably impressed. The place has had a refurbishment without destroying any of its character. The loud music has gone and has been replaced by conversation. It was also much busier, with people no doubt attracted by the excellent ale and cider range. The 3 Black Country ales are BFG, Fireside & Pig On The Wall. Guest ales were Salopian Lemon Dream, Falstaff Smiling Assassin & Sandiway Chain Breaker. 2 ciders were Snail's Bank Appley Dappley & La Cantina Private Number. Really good pub.

22 Apr 2018 18:04

The Lamb, Broad Eye

After visits to the Hop Pole and the newly opened Slater's Bar (neither are on the site but I'll request the latter to be added), we moved onto the Lamb. It was much quieter than other pubs we visited, with seemingly only customer. But I suspect he may have been the owner. Wells Bombardier Burning Gold was supplemented by Cameron's Strongarm. We had both and they were both fine. The pub itself is nice enough. But we were surprised how quiet it was, considering its location.

22 Apr 2018 17:55

The Tap and Spile, Stafford

Currently closed and an asbestos removal van was outside.

22 Apr 2018 17:49

The King's Arms, Stafford

The King's Arms is a really nice backstreet boozer that is clearly popular. By the time we left at 12:50, it was already really busy. Bass is always on and the guests were Steam Box Golden Bolt, Morrell's Champion & Black Sheep Best Bitter & Monty Python's Flying Circus. There were also 4 ciders - Gwynt y Ddraig Farmer's Pride & Weston's Rusted Wheel, Flat Tyre & Hand Brake. A gin festival was also advertised. Football was showing on the TV and there is a dartboard in a prominent position. It offers a CAMRA discount too. Good pub and one of the best in Stafford.

22 Apr 2018 17:48

Greyhound, Stafford

Pub on a side street almost opposite the prison. We arrived shortly after opening. But a few had already beaten us to it. Bradfield Farmer's Blonde was the regular beer and there were 6 guests - Salopian Shropshire Gold, The Hop Studio Pale, Dancing Duck Abduction, Oakham JHB, Welbeck Abbey Harley & Brewsmith Oatmeal Stout. There was no real cider. I opted for the only dark beer - the Oatmeal Stout, which was probably the worst beer I had all day in Stafford. It may just have been the first one out though. There is a bar at the front and a larger room at the rear.

22 Apr 2018 17:40

The Vine, Stafford

The Vine was our first stop of a Stafford crawl yesterday. It is a hotel that has a bar with a fair few locals. It's open for breakfast early in the morning. All ales are from Marston's - Banks's Amber Bitter, Marston's Pedigree & Jennings Cocker Hoop. The bar is a comfortable room. But quite a few tables were reserved.

22 Apr 2018 17:30

Lord Caradoc, Port Talbot

I've passed through Port Talbot a few times on the train, but never alighted. It looks like a fairly grim place. The main street has a handful of bars and take-away joints. The highlight appears to be the Lord Caradoc, a branch of Wetherspoon's. The pub was busy. But the ale range was disappointing. The regular beers - Sharps Doom Bar, Greene King Abbot & Ruddles Best were supplemented by just two guests - Brains The Rev James & Nick Stafford's Hambleton Ales Nightmare Porter. However there were three fruit ciders left over from 'spoon's recent cider festival - Snail's Bank Rhubarb Cider, Tempted Elderflower Cider & Cock Eyed Pear Mania. I opted for the Elderflower Cider and watched for almost 10 minutes whilst four staff members all tried to squeeze the last of the box into my glass. I could have ended up with a free half. But I was driving and unable to take up their offer. Probably the best pub in Port Talbot. I moved on from here to the excellent Brit Pub in Cwmafan and the Federation Bar in Maesteg. I'll request both to be added to the site.

15 Apr 2018 12:10

Smiths Arms, Neath Abbey

After a visit to Neath's RAFA Club, I moved on to the Neath Abbey area of the town to visit the Smiths Arms. It is clearly an old roadside hostelry that has been sensitively restored. There are two large rooms - a bar and a lounge. All other customers were in the bar, which had a pool table. But I retreated to the lounge, where the real ales are pulled from. Only one was available on this visit - Neath Welsh Amber. The landlord was very friendly and offered me a newspaper to read. The lounge itself was a very nice and cosy room. Tried to visit the Crown in Skewen. But that has now closed. I was successful however in visiting the Bowen Arms in Birchgrove, further up the road. Neither are listed on the site.

15 Apr 2018 12:02

The Borough Arms, Neath

My fourth pub on my visit to Neath was the Borough Arms, home of the Borough brewery. Its beers are brewed out the back and some were arriving to purchase bottles. Bass is the regular ale. But there was only one Borough ale on, which was Full Blast. I chose the guest ale, which was Hanlon's Firefly Bitter. The barmaid was friendly and the two customers seemed to be too. Pleasant backstreet pub that didn't quite meet my expectations. CAMRA describe it as "probably the best back-street pub in Wales". But it also claims that they always have 3 Borough brewery ales. So maybe my experience was a one off. Still a nice place though.

15 Apr 2018 11:57

David Prothero, Neath

The David Protheroe was my first stop on a tour of Neath's pubs yesterday. It's a Wetherspoon's pub opposite the railway station on the town's main street. Yesterday morning it was fairly busy with a mixture of people/families having breakfast/lunch and early drinkers. I was doing both. It was the old police station and there are a number of hidden corners, but as usual with Wetherspoon's pubs, there is little character. Toilets are upstairs. Service was quick. Ales were Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharps Doom Bar, Wychwood Hobgoblin, Tomos Watkin OSB & Pecker Wrecker, Rhymney Golden Ale & Brains SA. Ciders left over from the recent festival were Tempted Elderflower & Snails Bank Rhubarb. I moved on from here to the Oasis Bar at Neath Sports Centre and to the newly re-opened Highlander. Neither are listed on the site, but are not worth adding.

15 Apr 2018 11:51

The Postern Gate, Warrington

With time for one last pub before my train from Bank Quay station, I headed to the Postern Gate, which I'd spotted much earlier in the day when in the Friar Penketh. I'd been drawn by the prospect of the advertised Lilley's cider. But alas, there was none. The Postern Gate is more of a nightclub than a bar or a pub. It has several bouncers, loud music, posturing young adults and no real ale or cider. Not really my kind of place. For what it's worth, the keg selection was Guinness, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruit, Fosters, Kronenbourg, Birra Moretti, John Smith's & Heineken. I was one of the lucky ones to get my drink in a glass, as opposed to plastic.

2 Apr 2018 12:04

The Feathers, Warrington

Back in Warrington later in the evening and a after a visit to the lively Bear & Bottle, I decided to give the Feathers a go. It is in the main nightlife area and was even livelier if anything than the Bear & Bottle. A live band was playing and it was standing room only. No real ale is served. The keg selection was Carling & Carling Cider, Staropramen, Fosters, Guinness, Pravha, Estrella Damm, Caffreys, Birra Moretti, Hop House Lager & John Smith's. Poor.

2 Apr 2018 12:01

9 Gallon, Warrington

Small bar, similar to a micropub, with a central bar and a few other tables. Most people were congregated around the bar itself. Whilst this was not on my original itinerary of Warrington pubs, I'd had it recommended to me and thought I'd try it if there was time. There was just enough time for a couple of halves before heading back to Warrington Central for my train. Ales on offer were Wychwood Dirty Tackle, Front Row 99, Pied Bull Black Bull, Heritage Life Force, Totally Brewed Captain Hop Beard & Thwaite's Wainwright. Ciders were Weston's Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig & Hogan's Harvest Press. I was served by a barman, who was later joined by the landlady. The latter was asking everyone if they were CAMRA members, as they are entitled to a discount. Unfortunately the barman was not doing the same. So I missed out. But this was a busy pub and was my favourite pub in the town. Recommended.

2 Apr 2018 11:55

White Hart, Warrington

Very poor town centre pub that clearly has a high turnover. Three real ales, all from Caledonian, were on - Deuchars, Edinburgh Castle & Over The Bar. After a long wait to be served, as most people appeared to be washing glasses, I finally received a half of the Edinburgh Castle. Unfortunately it was on the turn. I didn't bother sending it back as I didn't fancy any of the others anyway. Seems to be popular for food.

2 Apr 2018 11:50

The Barley Mow, Warrington

Lovely old building with a rambling interior in the centre of Warrington's shopping area. The focus appears to be predominantly on food. But ale drinkers are accommodated. The choice was Greene King Abbot or Adnams Fat Sprat. Family friendly place.

2 Apr 2018 11:47

Hop Pole, Warrington

Busy corner pub attracting a varied clientele near to Warrington Central station. Old Speckled Hen & Hobgoblin were the real ales. Not a bad option if changing trains with little time to spare.

2 Apr 2018 11:44

Lord Rodney, Warrington

With time to visit a few other establishments in Warrington, I thought I'd give the Rodney a go. It's opposite the town's rugby ground and I'd imagine it would be very busy on a matchday. But there was no game on Saturday. So the pub was fairly quiet. No real ale is served. Keg choices were Thwaite's Smooth, Carling, Guinness, Fosters, Stella Artois, Strongbow, San Miguel, Kingstone Press Fruit Cider, Shipyard American Pale Ale & Bud Light. The interior had a bit of character with a central island bar. But otherwise poor.

2 Apr 2018 11:42

Albion, Warrington

The Albion was the last pub on my list of intended targets in Warrington. This pub feels a little distant from many of the other Warrington pubs. But it had a friendly atmosphere. Whilst a refurbishment has taken away some of the character, you can still feel a sense of history here with multiple large rooms. The ale range was quite decent too. Merlin's Gold was supplemented by Mallinson's Mosaic, Littleover Dazzler IPA & Stockport Jester. A CAMRA discount was offered on my half and football was being shown on the TV next to a pool table alongside the bar. Nice place. Could have done with a darker beer or a cider though.

2 Apr 2018 11:35

Ring O'Bells, Warrington

The Ring O' Bells enjoys a location next to what looks like Warrington's main church, which has an impressive, tall steeple. A wedding was in progress and half of the tables in the pub had been blocked off for guests. Ales were Coach House Bellringer & Greene King IPA. The inside has recently been refurbished and it now feels fairly uninspiring with little character. The pub was also soon overwhelmed by the wedding party. Disappointing.

2 Apr 2018 11:29

Bulls Head, Warrington

An old building that feels a bit too dilapidated inside too. There are a number of rooms. But I remained in the front bar. A handful of locals were in watching the football on Saturday lunchtime. The ale choice was disappointing - Sharp's Doom Bar & Sea Fury, Exmoor Gold, Ringwood Razor Back & Black Sheep Monty Python's Flying Circus.

2 Apr 2018 11:25

Tavern, Warrington

4T's brewery tap that wasn't too busy on my arrival on Saturday lunchtime, despite a Liverpool match just kicking off and being shown on two or three TVs. Service was quick and efficient. 3 of the brewery's own ales were on - APA, Big Daddy & Old School Mild. Guests were Oakham Inferno, Mallinson's Motueka, Poynton Vulcan, Revolutions Switch #7 & Red Willow Wreckless. All football games from Liverpool or Manchester clubs appear on the TVs. Some of the regulars were moaning that it was too cold.

2 Apr 2018 11:20

Porter's Ale House, Warrington

This pub appears to have been closed down by the police and/or council a couple of weeks ago due to noise and antisocial behaviour. It already looks very run down.

2 Apr 2018 11:14

The Looking Glass, Warrington

The Looking Glass was the second Wetherspoon's I visited in Warrington. It enjoys a prominent corner location and was busier and livelier than the Friar Penketh. It was also much harder to get served, with just one overworked girl behind the bar taking drink and food orders and making coffees. A 10 minute wait for service ensued. That did at least give me time to spy a couple of real ciders in the fridges that I hadn't previously noticed. The ale selection was Greene King Abbot, Ruddles, Best, Sharp's Doom Bar, Coach House Coachman's Spring & Gunpowder Mild, Harviestoun Old Engine Oil, Jenning's Sneck Lifter, Wadworth Green Beacon & Caledonian Port of Leith. Ciders were Broadoak Moonshine, Cock Eyed Pear Mania, Hunt's Wobbler & Tempted Elderflower Cider.

2 Apr 2018 11:12

The Lower Angel, Warrington

This was without doubt one of the best pubs I tried on an Easter Saturday visit to Warrington. It's in the main shopping area and attracts a varied clientele. There are two traditional rooms. Locals and the landlord are friendly and open to conversation. The ale range was good - Weetwood Best Bitter, Mallinson's Columbus, Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter, Merlin's Elixir, Lymestone Stone The Crows, Coastal Cornish Porter & Amplified Ales Red Special. The real cider was Thirsty Farmer Medium. I'd definitely return here, as there was little to fault it.

2 Apr 2018 11:06

Blue Bell, Warrington

There was a police car outside this pub on my Saturday morning arrival, with an area cordoned off. The pub was still open. But apparently there had been some trouble here the previous evening. The Bluebell was pretty disappointing. It's a Greene King pub and the solitary ale was Old Golden Hen. Even then, the barman was not sure if it was on or not. There were a few people in. But many were simply having breakfast.

2 Apr 2018 11:01

Friar Penketh, Warrington

The Friar Penketh appears to be the nearest decent real ale pub near to Warrington Bank Quay station. So it was my first stopping point in the town on Saturday morning. It's a Wetherspoon's built on the site of an old friary. There is a glass window on the floor near the entrance where you can see some of its remains. The pub itself is split over two levels. I passed the upstairs bar on the way to the toilets and could see it had one or two different ales from downstairs. But there didn't appear to be anyone serving and I'd imagine these were just old pumpclips that had not been removed. Downstairs, there appeared to be confusion around where the pumpclips actually were. Eventually the range was revealed to be Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharp's Doom Bar, Phoenix Wobbly Bob, Peerless Red Rocks, Shepherd Neame Night At the Village, Caledonian Talisman, Longman American Pale Ale & Rudgate Ruby Mild. They also had Broadoak Perry in a box in the fridge. The pub appears to be in the centre of Warrington's nightlife and I did return to the area much later in the evening. But at this time of the day, people were enjoying Wetherspoon's breakfasts. A fair number of odd groups were entering. A decent enough choice. But I did prefer their other branch in the town.

2 Apr 2018 10:57

Egham United Services Club, Egham

Was back at the United Services Club on Wednesday night for the preview evening of their Easter Beer Festival. The club received a local CAMRA award during the evening. As usual, all of the beers and ciders were in good order and there was an excellent range. Breweries represented included Marlow, Surrey Hills, Test, Waylands, Windsor & Eton, Downlands, Loud Shirt, Ascot, Stratford-upon-Avon, Beatnikz, Big Hand, Bragdy Twt, Brew Monster, Chapeau, Church Hanbrewery, Electric Bear, Fuzzchat, Grey Trees, Harbour, Heavy Industry, Mallinsons, Moncada, Noog, Oddly, Pomona, Red Cat, Stardust, Tenby, Thames Side, Three Daggers, Top Notch, Wander Beyond & West by Three. Cider producers were Mr Whitehead's, Salt Hill, Saxby's, Thistly Cross & Hogan's. Another very good evening.

2 Apr 2018 10:48

The Green Dragon, Welton

Marston's pub in a nice village setting, albeit very close to the busy A63. Inside there were plenty of people enjoying meals. We sat outside enjoying the last of the day's rays of sunshine. But it was getting decidedly chilly. Ales were all from the Marston's stable - Sunbeam, Boon Doggle, Forty Niner & Hobgoblin Gold. This was far better than the new Marston's identikit pub called the Sandpiper just down the road in Melton which is not listed on here. We also moved on to the Hase in Hessle and the Beech Tree in Kirk Ella. Neither are listed on here. But I actually rated the former as my favourite pub of the day.

26 Mar 2018 21:34

The Buccaneer, Brough

I quite liked this pub, which is situated very close to Brough railway station. There is a spacious public bar at the front and a dining area at the rear. Timothy Taylor Landlord & Tetley Cask were supplemented by Robinson's Dizzy Blonde and Weston's Old Rosie cider. Real cider seemed very hard to come by on this visit to Yorkshire and it was only the second I'd come across in this my 17th pub of the weekend.

26 Mar 2018 21:30

The Triton Inn, Brantingham

The Triton is a pub housed in a seemingly old building, but with a modern interior with little character. There was a bar area and what seemed a fairly upmarket dining area. Most people seemed to be enjoying a touch of sunshine at the tables overlooking the car park or the children's play area. Very much a family-oriented pub. The ale range was uninspiring - Timothy Taylor Landlord, Theakston Best Bitter & Great Newsome Sleck Dust.

26 Mar 2018 21:26

Fox & Coney Inn, South Cave

Wasn't overly impressed with this place. The ale range was one of the best we found in East Yorkshire - Black Mill Black Gold, Crafty Little Brewery Wolf Bite IPA & Chameleon, Yorkshire Brewhouse YPA, Theakston Best Bitter & Timothy Taylor Landlord. But service from the young staff left a lot to be desired. There is a bar area at the front and a dining area at the rear. But one of the barmaids asked us if we had checked if there had been any tables in the bar where we could have sat at, instead of in the dining area. There hadn't been. But she still decided to go and check. But why would you query this, when there more spare tables than occupied ones in the dining area. Very strange behaviour and one that is probably enforced on the young impressionable staff. They clearly value diners more than drinkers, which is a shame, as the pub has potential.

26 Mar 2018 21:22

The Gait Inn, York

The Gait was our second pub on a Sunday afternoon, sandwiched between the Fleece Inn at Bishop Wilton and the Carpenters Arms in Market Weighton. Neither of those are listed on the site. The Gait is a fairly small place with a public bar at the front and a dining room at the rear. All tables were taken on our visit. So we retreated to a small yard and garden at the back. Although there is only one solitary bench to sit on. The place is clearly very popular for drinkers and diners alike. Ales were Black Sheep Best Bitter, Tetley Cask, Theakston Best Bitter & Pennine Mad March. The only one of 10 pubs we tried in East Yorkshire that is in the current Good Beer Guide. But it was far from being the best. Maybe would be better if a little less crowded. This is a lovely area though.

26 Mar 2018 21:15

Royal Oak, Old Malton

The Royal Oak is one of two pubs in Old Malton I visited on Saturday evening. The Wentworth Arms is not listed on here. It has a wider ale selection. But I actually preferred the Royal Oak, which had a much more traditional feel. The room had a lovely real fire, which was being well tended by the welcoming Scottish publicans, presumably husband and wife. Definitely popular with locals. Dominoes had been laid out on one table in preparation for the arrival of a few of them. The two ales were Theakston Best Bitter & Great Yorkshire Yorkshire Pale. My Theakston's was a very enjoyable beer to round off my evening.

26 Mar 2018 21:07

The Marcia Hotel, Bishopthorpe

The Marcia was standing room only in the bar on our Saturday evening visit. It also has a separate room for dining. Service was polite and efficient. Some of the ales had run out and not been replaced. But they had Leeds Pale, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Bradfield Farmer's Blonde, Treboom Yorkshire Sparkle & Ainsty Somachi Samurai all on. We didn't try the Woodman over the road. But it strikes me that Bishopthorpe makes for a nice, short crawl.

26 Mar 2018 21:01

The Ebor, Bishopthorpe

Two bar Sam Smith's pub in the main street through Bishopthorpe. OBB is the solitary real ale. But we did enjoy a meal here. It was very busy on our Saturday evening visit. But we were squeezed in (literally). Service was very nice, from polite bar staff/servers. The menu is quite basic. But the specials board was more appealing. Has a nice garden at the rear.

26 Mar 2018 20:57

Duke of York, York

We were back in York to try a couple of places that had previously escaped our attention. Whilst the Brew York Tap Room is not listed on here, it was the better of the two. But we also liked the Duke of York, run by Cameron's. It's a small, but busy place on King's Square, just off the Shambles. Spread over a couple of floors, many of the upstairs tables were reserved for diners. Downstairs was more for drinkers. But they did welcome our child though. Service was good. Ales were Leeds Yorkshire Gold, Pale, Best & Midnight Bell, Cameron's Sanctuary & Brown Dog, Brass Castle Misfit & Roosters By Eck. Nice place with a lively but civil atmosphere.

26 Mar 2018 20:52

Crown Hotel Suddaby's, Malton

Stayed at this place for a couple of nights over the weekend. It's not what you'd expect of a hotel. The fairly impressive exterior and the modern-looking pub sign may give a misleading impression as the interior of this place is much more down at heel. The conservatory is pleasant. Beyond that is a wide open space used for festivals and presumably concerts, with accommodation in an annexe at the rear. Ales on my Friday evening visit into the pub itself were Suddaby's (Leeds) Double Chance, Wold Top Gemini, Jennings Cumberland Ale & Sneck Lifter & Helmsley Striding The Riding. There is a fridge to the side of the bar with some more unusual beers and the bottle shop next door also has a great selection, if it is open. A band was playing in the bar on the Friday evening and it was easily the busiest pub in Malton on that night. Accommodation was very nice and there is space for car parking at the rear, albeit on a very rutted surface. Neil the owner is very amenable. A strange kind of place, with a bit of an eccentric feel. But I quite liked it.

26 Mar 2018 20:44

The Blue Ball, Malton

Lovely old pub with a tiny central bar and a number of small rooms where conversation is king. There was no TV and no music on my visit. I was easily the youngest customer. But all seemed friendly. The ale range was exactly the same as the last review. Worthy of a visit.

26 Mar 2018 20:37

Spotted Cow, Malton

The Spotted Cow is tucked away behind the Market Square next to a livestock market. I made it just before they were closing on Friday evening. There are a number of small rooms, which give the pub character. But it had a fairly worn feel. Ales were Tetley's Cask, Fullers Front Line, Wychwood Hobgoblin & Bradfield Farmer's Blonde.

26 Mar 2018 20:34

The New Malton, Malton

The New Malton is situated in Malton's Market Place. It was very quiet on our Friday evening visit and I have a feeling that had I arrived any later, they would have already closed. Luckily I arrived just before the last customers were leaving. Staff were very friendly though and my Hops Studio Vanilla Porter was very enjoyable and easily the best ale I had in the town. The other two ales on offer were Daleside Old Legover & Great Yorkshire Top of the Hops. The décor feels quite modern. Although it's quite an old building.

26 Mar 2018 20:31

The Ship Inn, York

Stopped off here on Friday evening on our journey further north. It was fine for a half and a quick meal. Strongarm was the only real ale. But I quite like that. So I was reasonably happy. Food was ok. Service was too, apart from an initial grumpy welcome. Looked like a nice riverside location. But it was dark when we arrived. So it was difficult to judge.

26 Mar 2018 20:25

The White Star, Stoke-on-Trent

The White Start didn't quite look like the picture above, on a very snow Saturday evening visit to Stoke. We dodged the bouncer and entered via the side door. The clientele seemed to be a lot younger than I remember and the atmosphere was a bit more lively. But it was not as crowded as it can normally get on a matchday. But perhaps the result and the weather influenced that. The young bar staff seemed a bit full of themselves. Ales were Titanic White Star, Captain Smiths, Plum Porter & Steerage, Everard's Tiger, Welbeck Abbey Red Feather, Fat Cat EPA & White Horse Blowing Stone. Ciders were Snail's Bank Tumbledown & Broadoak Draught & Moonshine.

18 Mar 2018 12:56

Greys Corner, Stoke on Trent

This corner pub is now called the Olde Bull & Bush and it's in the current Good Beer Guide. With time to spare before our train, we headed here for a swift pint. Bass is the regular ale. But it was supplemented by Dancing Duck Duck Berry & Nice Weather (it certainly wasn't outside!) & Wincle Rambler. Ciders were Lilley's Darkcider, Bee Sting Perry & Crazy Goat, Broadoak Moonshine & Hurst View Spiced Rum Cider. CAMRA discounts are available on pints of ale only. The pub appears to be Chinese-owned. There are 2 rooms (from my rather glazed memory) and it has a traditional feel. I'll definitely be back when next drinking in this area.

18 Mar 2018 12:51

London Road Ale House, Stoke on Trent

Yesterday was our third visit to the London Road Ale House. It's a great place to visit after watching a game at the Britannia Stadium. Ales on yesterday were Ossett Treacle Stout, Purple Moose Elderflower, Snake Eyes Hoppy Pale & Wincle Imperial Stout & Sir Phillip. Ciders were Broadoak Crimson King & Strawberry Cider, Lilley's Gladiator & Snail's Bank Elderflower Gin & Tonic. All of the drinks options are displayed on a large board on the side wall, including forthcoming beers. One of the barmen took to the piano shortly after we arrived to play "Delilah"! A very decent place to know about.

18 Mar 2018 12:45

Bridge Street Ale House, Newcastle under Lyme

As mentioned in my last review just over 2 years ago, I said we'd be back here the next time in Newcastle. Sure enough, we were in this part of town and paid a return visit. The owner is from Kent and we were warned in the previous bar that he was grumpy. But we didn't find that. He just has a very dry sense of humour. Ales were Downton Quadhop, Red Willow Shameless, Great Orme Where There Be Dragons & Backyard 1898 Dark Mild. Ciders were Friel's Cider, Wise Owl Bittersweet Dry, Kent Cider Company Mango Cider, Cotswold Cider Company Freak Show & Sandford Orchards Devon Mist & Blindcider. Bottled lager is relabelled. I can't recall its name. But I believe it was "Pish", which is representative of the owner's sense of humour. Watch out for the spicy pork scratchings. They are hot! We moved on from here to Wellers, another decent bar and tap for Weal Ales, which I'll request to be added onto the website. Increasing my score for the Bridge Street Ale House to a 9/10. Probably the best place for a drink in Newcastle.

18 Mar 2018 12:37

Hopwater Cellar, Newcastle under Lyme

The Hopwater Cellar is a place we spotted on our last visit to Newcastle just over 2 years ago. But we never actually entered. Seeing it was in the Good Beer Guide, we decided to give it a try. It's more of an off license with seating than a bar. But the whole setup seems to work well and it feels a bit like a micropub. There is only one handpull, which was dispensing Thornbridge Crackendale. But they also had another couple of taps with Mad Hatter Toxteth IPA & Ridgeside Fubarb, a Rhubarb & Custard sour beer. The bottle selection is extensive and just opposite the bar. The only real cider available is in bottles. There are seating areas either side. I've just read that they offer a discount to CAMRA members. But this wasn't clearly advertised. So we didn't benefit from that. The owner and clientele were friendly. A place we'll probably try again.

18 Mar 2018 12:29

Ten Green Bottles, Newcastle under Lyme

Ten Green Bottles is a craft beer bar and bottle shop which also serves coffees and was quite busy on our Saturday morning visit. There are 10 taps on the wall at the back of the bar. Amongst the beers being dispensed on our visit were Bristol Beer Factory Milk Stout, Tiny Rebel There's Always Honey In The Banana Stand & Cheeky V, Backyard Shed Head APA, Black Iris Divine Elements & Beavertown Gamma Ray. A decent place. But it had more of a café atmosphere than that of a bar or pub. We spotted a new micropub opposite - the Thirsty Giraffe, which despite being much quieter, was much more to our liking. I'll try to get it added onto the site.

18 Mar 2018 12:21

Lymestone Vaults, Newcastle under Lyme

Yesterday was our second visit to the Lymestone Vaults, tucked away down a narrow passage off Newcastle's main shopping street. It opens from late morning on a Saturday. There were seven beers from Lymestone - Stone Cutter, Stone Face, Foundation Stone, Ein Stein, Stone The Crows, Heart of Stone & Pounanu, in addition to two guests from Pennine - Best Bitter & Ruby Rose. Ciders were Mr Whitehead's Devil's Device, Scrumpy Wasp Overcast, Hurst View Medium & La Cantina Moody Blues & Midnight Hour. The interior has a nice, cosy feel inside. It is clearly liked by locals. Service was knowledgeable and efficient. There's several other really decent pubs/bars in the vicinity. So this is a nice place for a decent pub tour.

18 Mar 2018 12:15

Lime Kiln, Liverpool

The Lime Kiln was much busier than I'd seen it before when we visited yesterday lunchtime. There wasn't a free table. The beer selection was fairly good - Greene KIng Abbot, Ruddles Best, Peerless Red Rocks & Langton Spin, Hawkshead Brodie's Prime, Robinson's Unicorn, Brains SA, Purple Moose Elderflower, Cairngorm Black Gold & Weetwood Maori Sidestep. But unusually there were no real ciders. Cider appears to be pretty hard to find in branches of Wetherspoon's in Liverpool these days, which is disappointing. Nevertheless, the ale selection offered us enough choice. Still the best 'spoons in Liverpool in my opinion.

11 Mar 2018 11:44

The Blue Bell, Preston

The Olde Blue Bell was my last pub in Preston before taking the train home. It's a Sam Smiths pub with a nice, traditional interior. One main room wraps around the bar, with a real fire at the rear. There is a separate room at the front. Old Brewery Bitter is available on handpull.

4 Mar 2018 15:47

Stanley Arms, Preston

I was slightly disappointed by this place. Service was not the best. Multiple people who had arrived at the bar after me were served first, including a guy who appeared next to me who knew full well that I'd been there some time before he got there, but didn't have the courtesy or politeness to point that out to the bar staff. I later encountered the same guy acting very suspiciously in the gents. Seemed like a transaction of some kind was taking place. The two barmen were clearly overwhelmed by the number of customers. Whilst the one that served me was quite efficient (albeit serving whoever happened to be in his direct line of eyesight), the other was taking an eternity serving spirits and dealing with credit card payments. Why do busy pubs like this accept cards when they clearly don't have enough staff to deal with the extra workload? Ales were MPA, Dizzy Blonde & Hobgoblin. A disappointing visit. If you want a better experience in the same street, try the Guild Ale House. This micropub is bigger than most and not listed on here. But it's easily the best pub I've been to in Preston. I'll request for it to be added to the site.

4 Mar 2018 15:42

The Market Tavern, Preston

I was fairly impressed by this pub. But there is still room for improvement. It's a traditional and friendly boozer opposite Preston's market. It was busy, but not crowded on my Saturday evening visit. But I still managed to find a seat. Ales were Wylam Hickey The Rake, Tiny Rebel Fugg Life, Theakston Lightfoot & Double Cross IPA & Adnams Fat Sprat. I was a little disappointed that there were no dark beers or a real cider. But I did note in the local CAMRA magazine that they are thinking of introducing cider. Decent pub.

4 Mar 2018 15:35

The Dog and Partridge, Preston

The Dog & Partridge has changed hands and recently re-opened. But it still has a focus on rock music, which was playing on video screens. A live band was advertised for that night. The ale selection was very disappointing - just Wainwright & Doom Bar. The pub felt dull and dingy. There was no wifi, if you're looking for that kind of thing. Worst pub I tried in Preston.

4 Mar 2018 15:29

The Fox and Grapes, Preston

As the previous reviewer states, this is now the Beachcomber. It was not open on my Saturday evening visit.

4 Mar 2018 15:25

The Postal Order, Blackburn

With a little time to spare in Blackburn whilst waiting for the train (or is it some kind of tram?) back to Preston, we stopped off for a quick pint in this Wetherspoon's. It was my first stop in Blackburn in more than 6 years. The Postal Order is very much as I remember it. Busy as usual, there appears to be less seating here than in other Wetherspoon branches. Service was a little disorganised and the bar area can get quite crowded, as it is quite narrow. Ales were Evan Evans Grand Cru, Three B's Pinch Noggin, Loddon Ferryman's Gold, Sharps Doom Bar, Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Beartown Bearly Literate, Phoenix Monkeytown Mild, Cross Bay Red IPA & Bridgehouse Blonde. Ciders were Weston's Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig. I had the mild, which was in a decent condition.

4 Mar 2018 15:22

The Bridge Bier Huis, Burnley

Made a fleeting visit here again yesterday. It was busy, but with the cold weather, getting served was much easier than on my previous visit. This time, the ale range was Lancaster Red, Navigation New Dawn, Beer Monkey Uncle Monk's IPA & Moorhouses Pride of Pendle & Premiership. They also had Lilley's Bee Sting Perry. With the weather and Northern rail deciding not to run any trains, I didn't get the time I'd hoped for in here. I've heard that there are possibly better pubs in Burnley that I also need to try.

4 Mar 2018 15:17

The Estcourt Tavern, Watford

Greene King corner pub that was beginning to empty out prior to a Watford game. Although there were still a few people left watching the rugby. The 3 ales were Greene King IPA & Mighty Moose IPA & Hogsback TEA. A very swift visit for me. But I might try to return when much more sober.

25 Feb 2018 11:49

The Wellington Arms, Watford

Another new pub for me in Watford. I'd been to the Estcourt Arms before a couple of years ago. But I'd given this place a miss. It was very busy prior to a Watford football game, with the rugby also showing. Fuller's London Pride & Tring Moongazer were the two real ales. The bar is L-shaped. But moving around was difficult, as it was so busy. Service was efficient, given how busy it was. Comfortable place. But I prefer the more traditional Estcourt Arms opposite.

25 Feb 2018 11:45

The White Hart Tap, St Albans

Our last pub of the day in St Albans was the White Hart Tap. It was much better than I remembered it from my last visit over 7 years ago. I remember it being packed on that autumn Saturday evening. But it was much more pleasant on this winter Saturday afternoon. The barmaid and customers were friendly. Families were present. The ale range was Castle Rock Harvest Pale, Tring Side Pocket For A Toad, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Sharp's Doom Bar, Staggeringly Good Stagger Saurus IPA, Mad Squirrel Roadkill & Howling Hops Pale. Ciders were Aspall's Temple Moon, Weston's Flat Tyre & Friel's Traditional Cider. I'm increasing my score from 5 to 7/10.

25 Feb 2018 11:39

The Beehive, St Albans

The Beehive was another new St Albans pub for me on our short tour of the city's hostelries yesterday. Similar to the Farmers Boy, it had the rugby on TVs. But there was much more space to enjoy a drink here and there were also more staff serving. The 3 ales were Tring Side Pocket For A Toad & Ridgeway & Wadworth 6X. Friendly enough place. But it did feel a bit too modern for my liking.

25 Feb 2018 11:34

The Farmers Boy, St Albans

Paid a return visit to the Farmers Boy after trying the excellent Beer Shop just opposite, which wasn't there the last time I visited St Albans. Whilst the Beer Shop is not listed on here, it's well worth a visit and you can drink any of their bottles or draught ales on the premises. The Farmers Boy was much busier than my last visit in 2010. It was pretty much standing room only, with patrons watching the Six Nations England game on a TV in the corner. Service was pretty laboured. The regular ales are Robinson's Trooper, Bath Gem & Adnams Mosaice. Two guests were Oakham Dragon & Arbor Some Kind of Wise Guy. Unfortunately there were no dark beers and no real cider. Food is served from an open kitchen to the rear of the bar. Too busy to enjoy and the drinks range could be better.

25 Feb 2018 11:29

The Robin Hood, St Albans

The Robin Hood is tucked away near St Albans City station. It is a large single room, with a garden at the rear. Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter is the regular ale. The two guests were Exmoor Stag & Salopian Shropshire Gold. There are also 4 boxed ciders on the bar. These were Weston's Old Rosie, Thatcher's Cheddar Valley, Garden Cider Vintage & Abrahall's Celtic Tiger. The latter was another new one for me. Curling was replaced on the TV by the Six Nations Rugby whilst we were there. The barman appeared a little miserable. But this was a pub I'd not been to before and I'd certainly give it another go.

25 Feb 2018 11:22

The Mermaid, St Albans

It's a fair slog uphill from St Albans Abbey railway station to the Mermaid. But it's still my favourite pub in the city. Although my opinion is swayed by its excellent range of ciders. The ale range is good, but more limited. Yesterday, ales were Oakham Citra, Front Row Crouch & Hartley's Heroes, Wickwar Cotswold Way, Bateman's Hooker & Beartown Black Bear. Ciders were Farmer Jim's Sweet, Scrumpy Wasp Hibernate, Gwynt y Ddraig Happy Daze & Celtic Warrior, Thatcher's Stan's Big Apple & Stan's Traditional, Barbourne Painted Lady Perry, Broadoak Moonshine, Pheasant Plucker & Spiced Cider, Snails Bank Orchard Dry & Orchard Pig Maverick. A couple of new ones there for me. There were a few St Albans City football fans in there playing darts at one end, with other drinkers at the other side of the bar. A great traditional pub that should be on any pub tour of St Albans.

25 Feb 2018 11:16

The Flag, Watford

Visited the Flag yesterday morning, whilst changing trains at the adjacent Watford Junction. It's quite an imposing building with a few steps leading up to the door. I could see how the set-up would be good for live music. But at breakfast time, it wasn't particularly atmospheric. It is mainly open-plan with some raised areas. St Austell Tribute was accompanied by Sharp's Doom Bar & Firebird Parody. I had the Parody and benefitted from a CAMRA discount. Whilst pale ales aren't normally my thing, this was a nice beer. I may return next time I'm at the station. But I wouldn't make a special visit.

25 Feb 2018 11:06

The Rising Sun, Bewdley

Friendly locals' pub amongst some terraced houses and at the Safari Park end of town. There is a single room that is sub-divided. Youngsters were playing darts, whilst a couple of dogs were present. Ales were Banks's Original, Bewdley Worcestershire Way & Wye Valley HPA & Butty Bach.

12 Feb 2018 21:24

The Waggon And Horses, Bewdley

Penultimate pub on our tour of Bewdley pubs, the Old Waggon & Horses combines is a proper pub that also serves food. There is a small bar area to the right as you enter. The area to the left has another area for drinkers, with an area for diners beyond that next to the kitchen. Football was showing on the TV. Ales were Banks's Mild, Batham's Best Bitter, Thwaites Wainwright, Ludlow Gold & Holden's Golden Glow. The cider was Thatcher's Cheddar Valley. Nice pub with a small car park at the side.

12 Feb 2018 21:21

The Great Western, Bewdley

The Great Western is situated next to a viaduct which carries the Severn Valley Railway above the main road. It's a large place with a decent selection of real ales and a couple of Weston's ciders. Ales were Morland Old Golden Hen, Bewdley 2857, Worcestershire Way & Severn Valley Aleway & Three Tuns XXX. Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig were the ciders. No food is served. But one of the bar staff was serving the locals with various complimentary delicacies to try, which seemed to be meeting with their approval. From here we went back across the river to the new Real Ale Tavern, a Black Country Ales establishment. That was probably the best pub in Bewdley for its variety of ales and ciders. I will request it to be added.

12 Feb 2018 21:14

The Cock and Magpie, Bewdley

Along with the Mug House several door up, which I had previously visited but not reviewed, the Cock & Magpie has a lovely location next to the River Severn. As I remember, these pubs used to flood in years gone by. From the outside, the pub looks like a traditional boozer. It has 2 rooms. The larger one is in use as a bar. The other is for diners. Whilst we didn't try the dining room, the bar is kitted out with some rather strange furniture. I'm told that the ladies was quite unique too. I didn't visit the gents. It seemed to work. Whilst not traditional, it didn't ruin the experience. 6 Nations rugby was showing on the television. Ales were Marston's EPA, Ringwood Boon Doggle & Thwaites Wainwright.

12 Feb 2018 21:09

The Little Pack Horse, Bewdley

Lovely little pub on a narrow but busy street. It's officially the High Street. But it's by no means the town's main street. There are a number of different drinking/dining areas. As Snarling Mallard says, many seemed to be taken by diners. Apparently they're famous for their pies and they did look fairly large. Hobson's Twisted Spire & Town Crier are the standard ales. The guest was Wye Valley Butty Bach. Another pub where the bar staffs' mathematics skills appear a little challenged.

12 Feb 2018 21:04

The Woodcolliers Arms, Bewdley

The building is still here and so are the signs and the name of the pub is even still etched into the windows. But it's certainly no longer a pub and seemed to be in residential use.

12 Feb 2018 20:57

Black Boy, Bewdley

Bewdley has two pubs called the Black Boy. I will primarily review the one on Wyre Hill. Wyre Hill is a residential street away from the main road. I wasn't expecting the pub to be open on Sunday lunchtime. But it was and it was doing a roaring trade. It's a great example of a locals' pub with conversation, decent beer and bar snacks. There are 2 rooms - one at the front, with a corridor leading to a smaller bar at the rear. Listening to the conversation, I got the feeling that this has recently changed hands and things have very much changed for the better. Everybody was really complimentary about the pub reverting to a more traditional atmosphere. The barmaid (possibly owner, I don't know) was really friendly. Bewdley Worcestershire Way, Hobson's Champion Mild, Ludlow Gold & Wye Valley Butty Bach were the ales. We went for a couple of cobs. They had ham and tomato, bacon, black pudding and tomato and cheese and onion. All had generous levels of filling. They also had Scotch Eggs, sausage rolls and pork pie. The oldest and nicest pub in Bewdley. Others had better ale ranges. But I really enjoyed my visit here. 7/10. As the other Black Boy on Kidderminster Road near the river is not listed on here (although the picture above is that one), I will briefly mention it here. It re-opened last month. But it felt a bit too new for my liking. There is a large main bar and a small snug in the corner. We sat next to the open fire in the bar. Ales are Wye Valley HPA & Butty Bach, St Austell Tribute & Bewdley Worcestershire Way. 5/10 for this one.

12 Feb 2018 20:55

Hop Pole Inn, Bewdley

The Hop Pole is almost at the top of the hill heading west out of Bewdley town centre. We commenced a tour of some of the town's pubs here yesterday. It's more of a foodie place than anything right now. You know as soon as you walk in, as they ask if you've reserved a table. Since when do you have to reserve a table in a pub! Marston's EPA, Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold & Ringwood Boon Doggle were the 3 ales. The interior has a cosy feel. Most people were eating. But there was one table of elderly folk in just for the beer. I guess it's a struggle getting back up the hill if you live in this part of town. Friendly owner, with fairly clueless staff.

12 Feb 2018 20:44

The Lion Tavern, Liverpool

I hadn't been to the Lion for a few months. So I thought I'd pay it a visit whilst in Liverpool on Saturday. The bar was much busier than I'd seen it of late and despite being the only person waiting, I struggled to get the attention of the barmaid. This seems to be an age-old problem in here and I've heard others mentioning it. On the positive side, the ale range is back up to normal. Red Star Lion Pale Ale Formby Blonde were supplemented by Rock The Boat Bootle Bull & Mussel Wreck, Dartmoor Best, Oakham Citra, Rat White Rat & Big Bog Bog Standard Bitter. Unfortunately there was no real cider. 2 boxes of Rosie's Pig hidden beneath the bar were both empty. I always want this pub to match the promise of its interior. But it never quite delivers.

12 Feb 2018 20:34

The Plough Inn, Far Forest

Large pub predominantly for diners, with a huge car park. We were in need of sustenance. So we requested a table. They currently do a 3-course meal for £10. This included a full carvery. We were stuffed. Ales were Enville Ale, Wye Valley HPA & Theakston Old Peculier. There were no real ciders. But they did have Rattler, which is rarely seen in these parts. I'd definitely recommend this place for a value-for-money meal, with real ale.

12 Feb 2018 20:28

Colliers Arms, Kidderminster

The Colliers Arms is now the Colliers Farm Shop & Café. We visited on Friday evening, which is the only night it opens beyond 5:30. The place is now more of a restaurant than a pub. There is a bar area and a conservatory. But both were mainly for diners. Friday was fish and chip shop. There is an adjacent shop, which was closed. Hobson's Old Prickly was the solitary real ale, whilst there was no real cider.

12 Feb 2018 20:19

The Rock Cross Inn, Rock

Locals' pub in the small village of Rock. The bar has a fairly basic interior with a pool table and dartboard at one end of the room. We didn't visit the lounge. Hobson's Best Bitter, Wye Valley HPA & Bewdley Worcestershire Way were the 3 real ales. No real cider was served. Highlight was a dog quite happily drinking the beer straight from his owner's pint glass.

12 Feb 2018 20:14

The Bell, Pensax

The Bell was our favourite pub of 4 we visited on Friday evening last week. The welcome was really warm. The pub has a bar, a small adjacent snug and a dining room along the corridor. The snug was full with people who had booked to dine. But the staff opened up the dining room for us, as we were travelling with our boy. Ales were Hobson's Best Bitter, Exmoor Gold, Prescott Hill Climb, Kinver Light Railway & Ludlow Gold. There were no real ciders on, which was a little disappointing. But they clearly do stock them from time to time. Robinson's Flagon was the best option available.

12 Feb 2018 20:09

Admiral Rodney Inn, Martley

The Admiral Rodney was closed when we tried to visit last week. The pub sign had been removed and it didn't look like it was due to re-open any time soon. Although I read that it should be back in business next month.

12 Feb 2018 19:58

The Elephant and Castle, Bury St Edmunds

Still closed.

4 Feb 2018 19:51

The Queens Head, Bury St Edmunds

Still closed. But I believe the sign was still there.

4 Feb 2018 19:51

Langtrys, Stone

Was closed when we visited in November.

4 Feb 2018 19:49

The Duke of Wellington, Blythe Bridge

This Tesco Express had just been burgled when we passed.

4 Feb 2018 19:48

Dolphin & Anchor, Chichester

Had this Wetherspoon's on my list to visit on New Year's Eve. But as we were about to walk in, a group of young guys exited and told us it was closed and there had been a leak through the ceiling. One of them then proceeded to urinate on the corner. We left them to it and enjoyed a pleasant drink in Belle Isle just opposite. I expect Wetherspoon's lost a decent evening takings from this. We'll be back again to try it one day.

4 Feb 2018 19:45

The Bull Inn, Chichester

Still closed.

4 Feb 2018 19:41

The Seymore Arms, East Knoyle

Still closed.

4 Feb 2018 19:39

The Malt Shovel, Nuneaton

Still closed on New Year's Eve. But there appears to be work being done to the building.

4 Feb 2018 19:35

The Taproom, Islington

The Taproom was my final new pub yesterday. It is a long, thin bar on Upper Street, with a young crowd. There is a pizza oven at the rear. We sat next to it and it certainly made me feel hungry. Casks are in a fridge behind the bar. Real ales were Mad Squirrel Sumo APA & De La Crème, Siren Yulu, 360 Degrees IPA, Taproom Pale Ale & Dark Star Revelation. There was no real cider. But they did have a keg Real Al Company Crafty Apple which I'd not tried before and was nice. Had heard good reports about this place and it lived up to its billing.

4 Feb 2018 19:34

The Angel, Old Street

One of the better pubs I tried after my visit to the Wenlock yesterday. This is a small pub a stone's throw from Old Street station. I was quite impressed that in addition to the regular beer Doom Bar, they had 2 Thornbridge ales on yesterday - Crackendale & Jaipur. Neither are my kind of beer. But I tried the Crackendale and it was in good condition.

4 Feb 2018 19:28

The William Blake, Old Street

You could be forgiven for thinking you're in a Wetherspoon's when here. It's a large open-plan chain-type pub, which was fairly packed on my visit. People were watching the Six Nations rugby. Pride, Doom Bar & Tribute were the real ales. For a moment, I was excited to see two real ciders on a couple of handpulls at the side of the bar. But alas they were just for show and neither were available. No real cider is served. Another disappointing pub.

4 Feb 2018 19:24

The Trader, Old Street

This was quite a busy and noisy pub. The patrons were watching the football scores come through on the TV. Fairly unremarkable pub which had Doom Bar, Wandle & Ghost Ship all on.

4 Feb 2018 19:20

The Bull's Head, Clerkenwell

I should also have said that this is now called the Corner Bar.

4 Feb 2018 19:17

The Bull's Head, Clerkenwell

Was here yesterday. It was probably the worst pub I tried out of 12. There's handpulls, but no real ale. The keg choice was Meantime London Lager, Strongbow, Brooklyn Lager, Whitstable Bay Pale Ale, Camden Hells Lager, Stella Artois, Tetley's Extra Cold, San Miguel, Guinness, Fosters & Carlsberg. The highlight of my visit was watching a 2 horse race for a 3 mile steeplechase!

4 Feb 2018 19:17

The Britannia, Clerkenwell

Corner pub supported by locals in Clerkenwell/Finsbury. Spitfire was the solitary real ale yesterday. There is a single room with an island bar. Live Six Nations rugby was being shown on the TV.

4 Feb 2018 19:14

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

Was back in the Wenlock again yesterday for a couple of pints. It was quiet when we arrived. But a large group arrived, stayed for one and then left again. Ales were Dark Star Hophead & American Pale Ale, Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde, Fyne Ales Jarl, Triple fff Hunky Dory, Mighty Oak Black Crow Porter, Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter & Hawkshead NZPA. I was a little disappointed to see the cider range reduced to two - Broome Farm Dry & Ascension Cider Company Into The Dark. Still a good pub.

4 Feb 2018 19:11

The Royal Star, Hoxton

I'd not been to this place before yesterday. But it has a wine bar feel to it now. I gather it was a traditional pub before. Doom Bar was on. But we did not want to stay too long.

4 Feb 2018 19:05

The Old Fountain, Old Street

I think it had been almost 5 years since my last visit here. I was back briefly yesterday, following a visit to the Draft House Old Street, just across the road. The Old Fountain was quiet and we were the only ones in. But it still has a good craft beer and real ale range. Ales were Hammerton N7, Tempest Cascadian, Five Points XPA, Oakham Citra, Moor Confidence & Fuller's London Pride. The cider was Cock Eyed Mad Jack.

4 Feb 2018 19:01

The Antwerp Arms, Tottenham

Was here for opening yesterday, or in fact slightly before. I hear that it gets packed out when there are games at White Hart Lane. So they've probably suffered whilst Tottenham are playing at Wembley. I was the only customer yesterday for opening. But the young barmaid was friendly and talkative. Redemption Hotspur was the solitary real ale. But I guess they get very little turnover when there is no football. The pub overlooks Bruce Castle Park.

4 Feb 2018 18:55

The Mossy Well, Muswell Hill

Back to the present and I started off a visit to North and Central London with a breakfast and a pint. It's a Wetherspoon's pub bang in the centre of Muswell Hill. The exterior is inviting and the interior is fairly spotless and spread over a couple of floors. A nicer drinking environment than most of the chain. The regular ales are Greene King IPA & Abbot, Sharp's Doom Bar & Fuller's London Pride. Guests as part of Wetherspoon's London beer festival being held this week - Kelham Island Pale Rider, Portobello Central Line Red, Exmoor Beast, Wolf Granny Wouldn't Like It, Signature Brew Session, Cronx Yallah Mild & Windsor and Eton Guardsman & Lumberjack. The real cider was Old Rosie. Locals were commenting that it was busier than normal and there were a fair few in.

4 Feb 2018 18:48

The Red Lion, Heytesbury

This was the last pub of the night of a rural pub crawl of Wiltshire. The pub did not re-open until 6pm. We had initially arrived when it was closed. On arrival, it was a bit cold inside. But we decided to eat. This proved to be a bit of a mistake. A group of local residents were soon to arrive to host a quiz night, in aid of a new church roof. The look of shock and horror on their faces when they saw us sat at their usual table was priceless. It caused chaos as the usual occupants sat at somebody else's table displacing somebody else and confusion reigned. We were approached several times asking if we would be leaving, somebody put a coat down next to us, somebody tried putting a reserved sign down on the table and finally somebody came and joined us at the table. The quiz night had proven much more popular than anybody had expected and the owners were struggling to cope. The food was ok and the beers were Doom Bar & Pride. An amusing evening which culminating in us asking if we'd like to contribute to the church roof. I smiled and politely declined!

4 Feb 2018 18:09

The Post Office Vaults, Birmingham

I still rate this as the best pub in Birmingham. It's small and gets quite crowded at peak times. But the beer and cider range are second to none. Not really enough time to do it justice whilst changing trains at New Street recently. But the beers were Kinver 1st Class Stamp, Hobson's Champion Mild, Nene Valley Manhattan Project, Red Willow Smokeless, Crate Amber, Stonehenge Spire Ale, Bespoke Going Off Half-Cocked & Little Critters Sleepy Badger. Ciders (and perries) were Hogan's Lonely Partridge Perry, Harvest Press, Hazy Rays, Panking Pole & Wild Elder, CJ's Perry & Watkin's Sunset Oak. Excellent.

4 Feb 2018 18:00

The Midland Hotel, Hendon

Came along to here recently, as it was the only North West London pub in the 2018 Good Beer Guide that I had not been to. It was quite frankly disappointing. Hophead was the solitary real ale. I'm not normally into hoppy beers. But I had it anyway and the quality was fine. Very quiet on my Saturday lunchtime visit. But I doubt I'll venture to Hendon again any time soon.

4 Feb 2018 17:55

Stag and Pheasant, Hartshill

The Stag & Pheasant was the worst of the 3 Hartshill pubs I sampled. It had very little atmosphere and the only ale was Doom Bar. Nice situation overlooking the tiny village green though.

4 Feb 2018 17:53

The Bell Inn, Chichester

Last stop of a Christmas Eve trip to Chichester, the Bell was fairly busy with people just coming out for the evening. It had a relaxed sociable atmosphere. Ales were Hardy and Hanson's Rocking Rudolph, Hopback Elf and Hoppiness & Hogs Back Yule Hog.

4 Feb 2018 17:50

The Kings Arms, Waterloo

Unspoiled backstreet pub within easy walking distance of Waterloo and Waterloo East stations, despite being in a wonderful residential terraced street. There are 2 front bars and a larger rear space. Ale selection was a little disappointing on our last visit in November - Truman's Swift & Zephyr, Notting Hill Blonde, Ruby Rye & Amber, Butcombe Bitter, Gun Extra Pale, Adnams Bitter, Sharp's Ale of Kings, Dark Star Hophead & Kent Black Gold. A fair few ales, but I prefer a mild, porter or stout. No real cider either. Hoping for a more diverse range next time. But unlike the pub, maybe I am getting spoilt.

4 Feb 2018 17:46

Waterloo Tap, Waterloo

I'd heard a lot about this place. So I was keen to try it. First problem was that it didn't open when advertised. The barman said he was the only person available to open up and it wasn't really his problem! Probably the same one from the previous review. Neverthless, this bar tucked under the railway arches is probably the best pub in the close vicinity of Waterloo station. It's a single small room with bench seating. Real ales were Adnams Bitter, Burning Sky Plateau & Five Points Railway Porter & XPA. The cider was Hallet's PX and there is a good range of craft beers. I would definitely return despite the unpredictable opening hours and the questionable 'take it or leave it' service.

4 Feb 2018 17:42

The Fire Station, Waterloo

My November visit here was the first time I have been to the Fire Station. No need to guess what it used to be and the white tiling creates a pleasant, if not a little cold, drinking environment. With there being a rugby game on at Twickenham, most pubs including this one, were busy. 5 ales were on - Hackney Best Bitter, Wychwood Hobgoblin, Sambrook's Wandle & Marston's EPA & Pedigree. Probably wouldn't make a special return visit.

4 Feb 2018 17:38

The Hole In The Wall, Waterloo

This place seems to get dirtier and dirtier. Service is fairly clueless and what's with the plastic glasses. We only came here because the Waterloo Tap was closed. Ales were Watney's Pale Ale, Truman's Gunboat Smith, Greene King Abbot, Hogs Back Tea, Southwark Bankside Blonde & Harvard, Young's Bitter & Sharp's Doom Bar.

4 Feb 2018 17:35

The One Legged Shunter, Blythe Bridge

This pub was closed on our November visit. Apparently it was closed for the whole month whilst the railway was not operating. Will have to come back one day. For now, it's the minimum score.

4 Feb 2018 17:32

Crossways Micropub, Blythe Bridge

This was the best of the two pubs we tried in Blythe Bridge. It's a micropub that doesn't look much from the outside. The interior feels like a typical micropub though. The barman and the regulars were clearly beer experts. Ales were Peakstone's Rock Nemesis, Black Hole & Blonde. Ciders were Weston's Old Rosie, Butford Organic Perry & Abrahall's Nell Gwynne. Not too far from the station either.

4 Feb 2018 17:31

Bushel, Bury St Edmunds

Fairly stylish Greene King pub/restaurant that also offers accommodation in the brewery's home town. There were a mixture of people in, including drinkers, diners and families. Ales were Greene King, IPA, Abbot & Starry Night & Morland Old Speckled Hen. There is a fairly decent real ale shop just up the road if heading back to the town centre.

4 Feb 2018 17:26

The Battle of Trafalgar, Brighton

The Battle of Trafalgar is just up a hill from the main station in Brighton. So it's handy for a swift one (not necessarily from Bowman's!), before the train. Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter & Fuller's London Pride are the regular beers. Guests were Purity Mad Goose, Black Sheep Rye Mild & Thwaite's Wainwright.

4 Feb 2018 17:23

The Regency Tavern, Brighton

I suspect this is a particularly gay-friendly Brighton pub, given by some of the actions we witnessed at the bar. But it's a Shepherd Neame pub with a gaudy interior, which is tucked away up an alley (no pun intended), off a leafy square. The ales on our visit were Spitfire, Spitfire Gold & Master Brew. Worthy of a visit, if only to admire the furnishings.

4 Feb 2018 17:21

The Royal Oak, Nuneaton

The Royal Oak was easily the best pub in Hartshill. It was very busy in the public bar. But the lounge was much quieter. Getting served was a chore. Ales were Skinner's Cornish Knocker, Tomos Watkin Pecker Wrecker, Castle Rock Snowhite & Bass. Ciders were Lilley's Mango & Weston's Flat Tyre.

4 Feb 2018 17:15

The Rake, London Bridge

Nice beer - mainly craft, but some real ales. This place is just too expensive. Luckily, the prices probably drive a fair few away. So it's not overly busy, given its size and you're left primarily with knowledgeable drinkers. On a weekend evening visit in November, the cask ales were Great Heck Navigator, Manchester Brewing Company King Cotton, Gipsy Hill Southpaw & Anorak Plum Mild. They also had Black Rat Perry. The highlight of this visit was one of the taps springing loose and a stout spraying wildly over the bar staff who were furiously searching for a bucket to contain it.

4 Feb 2018 17:09

Kings Arms, Bury St Edmunds

Noisy Greene King pub in Bury St Edmunds. They were showing live football during our visit. Some of the language of the patrons was appalling. Nice drinking environment, noise and language apart. But the range was restricted to GK - Abbot, IPA, Gangly Ghoul & Tequila Mocking Bird, apart from a guest from Purple Moose - Madog's Ale. Passable.

4 Feb 2018 17:05

The Inn Beer Shop, Southport

Now called the Bottle Shop, I paid two visits to this place late last year. It is much like it was before, albeit a little more popular these days. Southport Band Stand & Problem Child Rascal were the two ales on my first visit. The cider was Welsh Warrior. The bottle selection is of course good. Always worthy of a stop whilst in Southport.

4 Feb 2018 17:01

Richard John Blackler, Liverpool

Busy as usual on my last visit, which was a Saturday morning in October. Took a while to get served. But I did eventually find a table. Ales on this visit were Cotleigh Chocca Mocca, JW Lees Weaver's Shuttle, Well's Banana Bread Beer, Marston's Early Doors, Titanic Red IPA, Banks's Arcadia, Caledonian Trojan Horse, Theakston Pink Grapefruit Ale, Wychwood Hobgoblin, Sharp's Doom Bar, Greene King Abbot & Ruddles Best. The cider was Old Rosie.

4 Feb 2018 16:57

The West Quay, Brighton

Wetherspoon's pub in the Marina development to the east of Brighton. This pub is split over a couple of levels and enjoys nice views of the marina. Unusually, it doesn't have the typical 'spoons interior. Ales were Greene King Abbot & IPA, Sharp's Doom Bar, Westgate Conkers, Banks & Taylor SOS, Long Man Wild Man, Firebird Heritage & Dark Star Revelation. Ciders were Black Dragon & Old Rosie. 7/10.

4 Feb 2018 16:52

Dean Park Inn, Bournemouth

This Wadworth pub/hotel was our first port of call on a recent trip to Bournemouth. It opens fairly early, which is why we headed here first. The owners are friendly. Ales are 6X, IPA & Swordfish.

4 Feb 2018 16:46

The Guest House, Southport

I've had a couple of recent visits to the Guest House, whilst in Southport. My first was in October. It's still a really down-to-earth town pub with multiple rooms, where you can either engage in conversation with like-minded people or find a quiet corner for a touch of solitude to perhaps read a book. Ales on my October visit were Acorn Phantasm, Ossett Yorkshire Blonde, Courage Directors, Castle Rock Harvest Pale, Thwaite's Wainwright & Lightfoot, Adnams Bitter & Caledonian Deuchars IPA.

4 Feb 2018 16:42

The Dove Inn, Corton

I would echo the previous reviewer and I don't drive a posh car. This had been intended to be our final pub of the day. Luckily, the Red Lion in Heytesbury had been closed. So we were still to return there, as this would have been an extremely disappointing end to the day. The interior is modern with a large open-plan bar. There were a couple of other customers when we arrived. But they soon left. Otter Bitter & Wadworth 6X were the two real ales. But I wouldn't bother.

4 Feb 2018 16:37

The Bath Arms, Crockerton

I wasn't expecting this pub to be open late afternoon one weekend in January. But it was open and it was packed. Wessex Potter's Ale & Crockerton Classic were the two real ales. Bar staff were really friendly. Had to use the ladies, as the gents were out of order. Nice, unpretentious local.

4 Feb 2018 16:34

The Angel, Hindon

On a cold day in early January, it was nice to see a roaring fire next to the bar. We enjoyed a nice hour either side of the fire. There were a handful of others in. Many pubs around here close during the afternoon and this is no exception. I'm not sure if this is owned by Fuller's. But the 2 ales were ESB & Oliver's Island. Not too bad. A little pricey though.

4 Feb 2018 16:29

The Queens Park Hotel, Bournemouth

Prominent corner pub on a set of traffic lights and probably the nearest pub to Bournemouth's football ground. It's home match fans only on matchdays and bouncers enforce this. But we managed to get in to find Doom Bar as the solitary real ale. Most of the pre-match crowd had already departed on our visit, leaving just stacks of glasses. Difficult to judge any further. But I doubt I'd return unless going to the football.

4 Feb 2018 16:23

The Lark Rise, Winton

Fairly grotty corner establishment in Winton. Razor Back & Boon Doggle were the two Ringwood ales. But this pub is unappealing from the outside and is not much better when inside. It's large enough though. I would recommend staying in the Silverback opposite, a decent micropub.

4 Feb 2018 16:20

The Bush Inn, Chichester

Still closed.

4 Feb 2018 16:18

Eastgate, Chichester

Busy pub on the eastern edge of Chichester. It has a fairly basic, old-fashioned interior. But the people were friendly enough. It's a Fuller's pub. So they had Pride & Gale's HSB & Seafarers. But they also had Rebellion Roasted Nuts & The Beer Studio Red Admiral on Christmas Eve.

4 Feb 2018 16:17

The Arkles, Anfield

After a visit to the improved Flat Iron down the road, we stopped off in the Arkles for a final liquid refreshment before heading over Stanley Park on a late November visit to Liverpool. Greene King IPA & Morland Old Speckled Hen were the two real ales on, as this is a Greene King pub. Very lively on Anfield matchdays, as you'd expect. But it's large enough to fit a fair few in. Quieter for Goodison home games.

4 Feb 2018 16:14

The Waggon and Horses, Cradley Heath

Looks like a typical Black Country pub from the outside. But the interior was a bit too modern for my liking. Customers were all fairly young, as were the staff. But the ales were better than I had expected - Morland Old Hoppy Hen, Penpont Cornish Coast & Hobson's Champion Mild. They also had a real cider - Lilley's Wild Dog. I'd try another visit.

4 Feb 2018 16:11

Star, Stone

Last pub of the night in Stone was the Star. It's a Marston's pub next to the canal. There are lots of small rooms with beams and low ceilings that are quite atmospheric. It was quiet when we first arrived. But a party of about a dozen people arrived. They'd clearly been drinking for a while; a lively lot who were happy to engage in conversation. Pedigree & Hobgoblin were the ales.

4 Feb 2018 16:08

The Swan Inn, Stone

I think I may have said that I thought the Borehole was Stone's best pub. But this one runs it very close. If it's variety you're after, this is probably where you're best heading. It's also got much more of a traditional pub atmosphere. Ales on our November visit were Coach House Old Priory, Sadler's Peaky Blinder, Abbeydale Moonshine, Oakham Bishop's Farewell, Blythe Hamstall Hop, Burton Old Cottage Halcyon Gaze, Thornbridge Brother Rabbit, Cwrw Llyn Porth Neigwl IPA & Neepsend Brew Co. Vanilla Stout. Ciders were Abrahall's AD & Ruby Tuesday & Black Rat Cider & Perry. Great pub.

4 Feb 2018 16:05

Red Lion, Stone

A strange pub this one. There was a very noisy crowd in the large rear room with loud music blasting out. Most were youngsters. It took an eternity to get served as the barmaids were overrun with people ordering cocktails and shots. However we soon discovered the quieter front bar, where a much older clientele were engaged in pleasant conversation, much as my ideal pub would be. All in this bar were much friendlier. I wouldn't rush back for the beers though - Pedigree, Tribute & Cumberland Ale.

4 Feb 2018 16:01

Post Of Stone, Stone

This is Stone's branch of Wetherspoons. It was actually quite quiet for a Saturday evening in November. There were plenty of spare tables. The usual Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharp's Doom Bar were on. But they also had Slater's Columbia Coffee Stout, Oakham JHB, Salopian Oracle & Shepherd Neame Bishop's Finger. They don't stock real cider as according to the barman there is apparently no demand for it. Still a 6/10 though, as the quietness meant that the atmosphere wasn't quite as rowdy as many branches of 'spoons.

4 Feb 2018 15:58

The Pheasant Inn, Stone

The Pheasant was the first pub we visited on an evening out in Stone. It's a traditional backstreet local away from the town centre. There was a fairly relaxed atmosphere. Marston's Pedigree was supplemented by Purity Pure Gold, Morland Old Speckled Hen & Sharp's Doom Bar.

4 Feb 2018 15:54

The Victory Inn, Brighton

Visited the Victory on a trip to Brighton in October. It sounds like we had a better experience than Little Drummer Boy. The ale range was Hepworth Red Export, Dark Star Festival & Laine Bestest Bitter. Ciders were Orchard Pig The Hogfather & Weston's Old Rosie. A nice old pub with an L-shaped interior that had a nice atmosphere. I'd come back.

4 Feb 2018 15:50

Gallaghers, Birkenhead

We stayed overnight in Birkenhead in early January and made a beeline to Gallagher's. It's still the best pub on the Wirral for me. There's always a really friendly atmosphere in here and a decent selection of ales. On this visit, there was Brimstage Trapper's Hat & IPA, Hawkshead Bitter & Cambrian 5 Hop & Rat Mother Rat. Ciders are fetched from the cellar. There was Thistly Cross Whisky Cask, Millwhites Rum Cask, Abrahall's Loubi Lou, Lilley's Bee Sting Perry & Broadoak Pear & Chilli. My only criticism of the ciders is that they don't appear to change that often. Staff are friendly. Beware the sloping shelf opposite the bar. The beer mats are there for a reason. Placing my Mother Rat between them meant the glass sliding off. Staff went above and beyond by offering me a replacement. But then I guessed they'd seen it happen before. Top pub.

4 Feb 2018 15:44

The Parkstone and Heatherlands, Bournemouth

We made an unplanned stop here between visiting Winton's two micropubs. This is a Wetherspoons that somehow does not make the Good Beer Guide. But it was one of the best I have been in. The interior was nothing special. It felt quite dated. But the cider range was second to none - Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon, Fiery Fox, Sleigh Ride, Welsh Warrior, Ancient Warrior & Two Trees Perry, Purbeck Cider Company Devil's Leaf & Muddy Scamp, Weston's Rosie's Pig, Wyld Wod & Marcle Hill, Orchard Pig The Hogfather, Thistly Cross Whisky Cask & Cock Eyed Bushpig. Ales were Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharp's Doom Bar, Ringwood Forty Niner, Jenning's Sneck Lifter, Goddard's Duck's Folly, Otter Claus & Kelham Island Pale Rider. Excellent Wetherspoon's. I'm thinking of moving to the area!

4 Feb 2018 15:36

Windsor, Birmingham

This pub was a new one for me on a very short visit to Birmingham. We had arrived whilst the Birmingham derby was being played. So bouncers were on the door. The pub has very little character and it has a distinct chain feel. But there were some ales - Wychwood Hobgoblin, Greene King Abbot & IPA, Morland Old Spooky Hen (it was 2 days before Halloween) & Rudgate Shed 7 Going For Gold. There were also more ciders than I had expected - Thatcher's Stan's Big Apple, Weston's Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig & Thistly Cross Whisky Cask. I wouldn't rule out another visit.

4 Feb 2018 15:29

The Fox and Hounds, East Knoyle

I really liked this pub. We arrived shortly before the pub was due to close for the afternoon, which may explain why the one barmaid (possibly the landlady) chose to blank us. Luckily another barmaid after if she could help. But I didn't need help (some may argue otherwise)! I just wanted a drink. Ales were Butcombe Adam Henson's Rare Breed, Fuller's London Pride & Hopback Crop Circle. The cider was Harry's Medium Farmhouse. I'll give a 7/10. But it could have been much better with a less insular focus, i.e. acknowledge all customers, instead of just the locals.

4 Feb 2018 15:24

Lady Greys, Newcastle upon Tyne

I think I may have requested this pub to be added to the site after my previous visit. But I was back just after 1am on one weekday night in December. It has late-night opening. So it was an ideal way to finish a tour of Newcastle pubs. There were bouncers on the doors and a lively young crowd. But the beer selection was as good as ever - Mordue Northumbrian Blonde, Anarchy Xmas Chaos, Three Kings Canadien Red, Ale Exploration Almasty, Fyne Ales Cascarino Boulevard, Dark Revolution SoLA & Allendale Pennine Pale. The cider was Seacider Medium.

4 Feb 2018 15:19

The Southwark Tavern, London Bridge

I seem to recall having been in here during the dim and distant past. But my latest visit was better than expected. It enjoys a prominent location on the corner as you enter Borough Market. But it didn't feel too crowded or touristy. The ale range was also quite good - Sharp's Doom Bar, St Austell Proper Job, Adnams The Herbalist, Saltaire Triple Chocoholic, Thornbridge Wild Holly & Black Out Porter. I don't remember receiving short measures. But I'd had a few and may not have noticed.

4 Feb 2018 15:15

The Talbot Inn, Berwick St John

Another rural Wiltshire pub in a beautiful village location. Service wasn't the best. But the food being served up in the main bar and in the side room looked very tempting. Ales were Ringwood Best Bitter & Sixpenny Pale Ale & 6d Best. Nice pub. But could have been better with a nicer welcome.

4 Feb 2018 15:10

The Anchor, Hartshill

Everard's pub outside of the village on the main road. It has a very cosy bar/restaurant where most people were just finishing their Sunday lunches on my New Year's Eve visit. However they were all being distracted by extremely loud bass coming from a marquee outside. The music was vibrating the pub and didn't sit well with the quaint pub atmosphere that presumably makes the pub a nice place to visit. Ales were Tiger & Original. I didn't stay too long.

4 Feb 2018 15:06

The Three Guineas, Reading

With 30 minutes to spare between trains one Sunday morning in Reading, what better place to have a swift half than the Three Guineas. It's part of the station, but outside the ticket barriers. The interior has been refreshed and seems much more modern, which is not necessarily a bad thing. As a Fuller's tied pub, it had ESB, Pride & Oliver's Island & Gale's HSB as standard. Seasonal beers and guests were Fuller's Red Fox & Damson Porter, Castle Rock Harvest Pale & Westgate Atlantic Hop. I think this pub has improved since its refurbishment. I shall have to return when it is busier. On this visit, I was the only customer.

4 Feb 2018 15:00

Bell And Talbot, Bridgnorth

Locals' pub just outside the town centre, which is very dull (in lighting terms) inside. We sat in the small front bar. But most people seemed to be in the larger room at the rear. Batham's Best Bitter was supported by Wye Valley HPA & Salopian Hop Twister. There was no sign of a real cider.

4 Feb 2018 14:49

The Woodberry Down, Bridgnorth

Visited the Woodberry for Sunday lunch in November. It looks a large place from the outside, with a large car park and large grounds. But inside is a little more cosy. It does seem more of a diners pub than a drinkers pub. But this was fine, as our many purpose of visiting was to dine. Ales were Sadler's Peaky Blinder, Hobson's Old Prickly & Wye Valley HPA. The food was good.

4 Feb 2018 14:46

The Dove, Bury St Edmunds

The Dove was one of the last pubs we tried on a late-October visit to Bury St Edmunds. It's outside the town centre. But it was very busy during our visit. There were no spare tables in either the main bar area or the adjoining smaller room. Ales were Woodforde's Wherry, Wolf Edith Cavell & Mad Wolf, Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold, Mighty Oak Captain Bob & Adnams Ghost Ship. Cider names were not listed. But all were from Burnard's. They were categorised as dry, medium and sweet. One of the best pubs in Bury.

4 Feb 2018 14:42

The Greys, Brighton

Parked my car in the Hannover area of the city one Sunday in September, whilst visiting. We had time to do a couple of pubs before departing and this was the first of the two. It's a small corner pub on a street with more of its fair share of pubs. A few people were tucking into late Sunday lunches. But we made do with a drink. Ales were Franklin's Mama Knows Best, Hopback Summer Lightning & Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter.

4 Feb 2018 14:36

The Forester, Donhead St Andrew

Lovely little place with a stream running through the garden. But this is very much now a restaurant. We did stop for just a drink. But sitting at tables only made up for diners feels a little uncomfortable. Butcombe Original & Otter Bitter were the ales. 5/10 for it being such a lovely building in a glorious location.

2 Feb 2018 22:42

The Four Chestnuts, Chichester

As others have said, this pub is actually called the Four Chesnuts. It is situated in the middle of a triangular junction. It has recently re-opened. In fact, I had expected it to still be shut. Therefore it was an unexpected bonus. With just Ghost Ship & Doom Bar on, the ale range was uninspiring. But staff were friendly.

2 Feb 2018 22:39

Queens Arms, Basingstoke

This is a convenient pub when changing trains in Basingstoke. We had just enough time for a swift half. It's a small place, with a central bar. For such a small place, it had a few ales - 1648 Winter Solstice, Rudate Viking, Bowman Wallops Wood, Sharp's Doom Bar & Courage Directors. Would visit again in similar circumstances.

2 Feb 2018 22:36

Cabbage Hall, Anfield

Ventured in here in November, after a gap of over 20 years. It's not as I remember it. But it's a typical suburban Liverpool pub. No real ales are served (apparently apart from Liverpool matchdays), despite pumpclips being on display. The selection for the purists was Guinness, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruit, Carling, Peroni, Coors Light, Stella Artois, John Smith's Extra, Blue Moon & Fosters. One to avoid.

2 Feb 2018 22:34

The Globe, London Bridge

This pub was a new one for me. It's a small corner pub in Borough Market, that gets busy quickly. Had quite a few drunks on my Saturday night visit, including myself. Spitfire & Swift were the two real ales. Average.

2 Feb 2018 22:30

Black Cock Inn, Blythe Bridge

A very disappointing pub on the main street in Blythe Bridge. Abbot & Bombardier were the two ales. The furniture all has Stoke City colours on it. Rugby was showing on the television. The local ATM at the Tesco's just up the road had been burgled, with police in attendance!

2 Feb 2018 22:28

The Huntsman, Cheadle

Cheadle looks like a nice, small town and the Huntsman was the solitary pub we tried. I quite liked it. Marston's Pedigree was supplemented with Joule's Slumbering Monk, Castle Rock Elsie Mo, Goff's White Knight & Black Sheep Rye Mild. The cider was Lilley's Mango Cider and there was also Gwynt y Ddraig Two Trees Perry. A solid 7/10 for this one.

2 Feb 2018 22:26

The Alton Bridge Hotel, Alton

The Alton Bridge Hotel was the first of 10 or so pubs we tried in Staffordshire, back in November. Luckily Alton Towers was closed. As such, this place was fairly quiet. There were a few diners in and one other drinker at the bar. Ales were Oakham Citra, Wincle Wibbly Wallaby & Sharp's Doom Bar. There is a car park and a large garden on the opposite side of the road.

2 Feb 2018 22:24

The Crown and Castle, Risby

Traditional two room village local with some friendly, but ageing customers. Adnams Bitter & Woodforde's Red Admiral were the two real ales. Not bad at all.

2 Feb 2018 22:21

The Excelsior, Liverpool

With the Ship & Mitre a few doors up, I seldom get in here. But I did stop for a drink back in October. I believe it has improved of late and it is in an area of good pubs. On my visit, they had Rock The Boat Bootle Bull, Big Bog Blonde Bach, Salopian Lemon Dream, Robinson's Dizzy Blonde, Brains The Rev James & Timothy Taylor Landlord. They also had Old Rose cider.

2 Feb 2018 22:19

The Royal George, Hersham

It's a Young's pub with a choice of Special or Ordinary. Despite the limited selection, the barmaid still seemed to get our order wrong and didn't believe it when we said it was wrong. The only other remarkable thing was the Parrot sat in the middle of the room. Appeared to sell Thai food. But the chef was on holiday.

2 Feb 2018 22:11

William Stanley, South Norwood

I don't believe I ever visited this pub when it was a Wetherspoon's. But it is now run by Nicholson's and named the Shelverdine Gatehouse. I checked ahead to see if I would be able to get in as an away fan on a matchday. The answer was no. But we got in anyway and there were plenty of other away fans present. Crowded, as you'd expect when Crystal Palace are playing. But there are plenty of different seating areas. Ales were Volden Pale, Saltaire Triple Chocoholic, Ilkley Mary Jane & Magic Rock Hat Trick. They normally stock cider. But on this occasion, they had run out.

2 Feb 2018 22:08

Tap and Bottles, Southport

Made a return visit to this micropub on Bonfire night (daytime) last year. It wasn't as busy as my last visit. But I see they have removed the seating that was upstairs on my last visit. Ales this time were Mobberley Brewhouse Boom Juice, Melwood High Time, Wylam 011 Loral & Salopian Mixed Metaphor. Ciders were Thistly Cross Strawberry & Weston's Mulled Cider. Not quite as impressed as last time. But I'll keep my score as 7/10.

2 Feb 2018 22:04

Brighton Beer Dispensary, Brighton

Another decent Brighton pub hidden away up a backstreet, but close enough to the commercial area. As the previous reviewer says, there is a good selection of keg beers alongside the cask selection. Cask beers during our visit were Siren Yulu, Liquid Mistress & Broken Dreams & Brighton Bier South Coast IPA, Good Chemistry & Natural Selection. Ciders were Ross-on-Wye Ashton Bitter Blend, Harry's Haymaker & Sandford Orchards Devon Red. The inside is small. Many had spilled out into an equally small conservatory. We had to stand. I'm sure I'll be back here though.

2 Feb 2018 22:01

Moon Under Water, Wolverhampton

Was here on New Year's Day lunchtime before catching a train. As usual in here, getting served took an eternity, with people ordering coffees and food. But there is always a good selection of beers. On this day, it was Peerless Lottie Dod, Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Phoenix Hopsack, Sharp's Doom Bar, Brewsters Hop A Doodle Doo, Caledonian Bitter Winter, Wolf Granny Wouldn't Like It, Adnams Old Ale, Naylor's Santa's Dark Side & Banks's Sunbeam. The two Weston's ciders were Wyld Wood & Old Rosie. I seem to recall having the Santa's Dark Side, which was passable.

2 Feb 2018 21:56

Felix Holt, Nuneaton

Final pub of New Year's Eve in Nuneaton for me was this Wetherspoon's. It seemed fairly small in comparison to many I've been in. That meant that toilets were frustratingly on a different level. It started off quiet, but gradually got busier whilst I was there. Ales were Oakham Bishop's Farewell, Ringwood XXXX Porter, Wolf Granny Wouldn't Like It, Roosters Yankee, Marston's Pedigree, Greene King Abbot & Ruddles Best. They also had two ciders - Thistly Cross Whisky Cask & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon.

2 Feb 2018 21:52

Ashley Park Hotel, Walton on Thames

Ember Inns pub near the station in Walton. On a day where I struggled to find any real cider, this did at least have a mulled cider - Orchard Pig Juggler. The bar manager insisted on putting it in the microwaved. It was a cold night. So I didn't moan too much. Ales were Sharp's Doom Bar, Fuller's London Pride, Shepherd Neame No. 18 Yard Rudolph's Reward, Reunion Opening Gambit, Hogs Back TEA, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Black Sheep Ember Pale Ale. Plenty of people were dining and I recall a live Arsenal match on the televisions. One of the better pubs on this night.

2 Feb 2018 21:49

The Bacchus, Newcastle

The Bacchus is still one of the best, if not the best pub in Newcastle city centre, in my opinion. It was quiet at around midnight on my midweek visit. I think we were the last out. But once again, there was a decent beer selection - Fyne Ales Jarl, Anarchy Blonde Star, Bandwagon All Smokey, Hadrian and Border Ouseburn Porter, Abbeydale Voyager IPA, Three Kings Canadien Gold, Flash House Table Beer, Errant The Passenger & Yorkshire Dales Askrigg Bitter. The cider was Thistly Cross Whisky Cask. A must visit.

2 Feb 2018 21:46

Parcel Yard, Leicester

After having had a heavy session in the Blue Boar (a really good Leicester pub not yet listed on here), I found myself once again in an inebriated state in this Steamin' Billy pub next to Leicester station. Ales this time were Steamin' Billy 1485 & Billy, Brains The Rev James, Butcombe Rare Breed & Charnwood Black Hen. One day I'll try visiting here sober!

2 Feb 2018 21:40

Tilt, Birmingham

Small Birmingham bar tucked away in an arcade. We came here after our train to Leicester was cancelled. All of the beers were craft beers, with breweries such as Brew By Numbers, Amundsen, Vocation, Deya & Northern Monk represented. It's a strange place that seems to specialise in coffees. As the previous reviewer states, there are also pinball machines.

2 Feb 2018 21:38

Clove Hitch, Liverpool

The Clove Hitch and its basement 23 Club are a nice new addition to the Liverpool pub scene. This is more of a wine bar/gastropub than a traditional boozer. But it does serve 2 or 3 cask ales and about a dozen craft beers, possibly the best selection of craft beers in Liverpool. My last visit was in September. I don't recall the real ales. But craft beers were from brewers such as Northern Monk, Weird Beard, Siren, Wylam & Kernel. It is quite pricey. But you will find some unique beers here. The small outdoor courtyard at the rear is nice in the summer.

2 Feb 2018 21:35

The Hop and Kilderkin, Winton

The Hop & Kilderkin was the first of a few pubs we tried in Winton between Christmas and New Year. Our main reason for visiting were the two micropubs on this street - Micro Moose and the Silverback. Neither are listed on here. Both were good. The Hop & Kilderkin was open before the others though. So we ventured in. It's a typical food and family-oriented Greene King pub. Greene King IPA & Hardy and Hanson's Rocking Rudolph were the two real ales. Killed some time, if nothing else.

2 Feb 2018 21:28

The Southampton Arms, Gospel Oak

My most recent visit to the Southampton Arms was in mid-January. Very little has changed. It's still a vibrant pub sticking to its principles. Ales on this visit were Thornbridge Lord Marples, Kent Cobnut, Dark Star Revelation, Howling Hops AUPA, Summer Wine Stateside, Teleporter & Redwood, Gyle 59 Freedom Hiker, East London Orchid & Magic Rock Dark Arts. Ciders were Crone's Organic, Millwhites Hedgelayer, Perry, Ginger Gold & Blackberry Blush, Farmer Jim's Farmyard Fruits & Snail's Bank Very Perry. Fatty's Scrumpy & Orchard Pig Navel Gazer came on later. So did Brodie's Shoreditch Sunshine. Still my favourite pub. If I had one criticism, it would be with the ciders. There is too much of an emphasis towards Millwhiltes ciders, which aren't a particular favourite of mine. But maybe others do prefer them.

2 Feb 2018 21:19

The Bell Inn, Wylye

A nice country pub which was second on our list of rural Wiltshire pubs. This one caught me by surprise. It was much better than I had expected. There was a mixture of local drinkers and people there for their Sunday roasts. Ales were Sharp's Doom Bar & Atlantic, Plain Ales Innocence & Titanic Plum Porter. The two Lilley's ciders were Mango & Rhubarb.

2 Feb 2018 21:14

Lord Hop, Nuneaton

The Lord Hop is a nice micropub in Nuneaton town centre. I was here on New Year's Eve when many other pubs had closed for private (ticket only) parties. Despite taking ages to get served, I quite enjoyed this place. There are a few seats in the small ground floor bar. But there are more upstairs where it can be much quieter. Unlike Tuna, I wasn't in too bad a state. So the beer list was Naylor's Mistletoe, Milestone Donner & Blitzed, Kelham Island Fairytale of New York & Abbeydale Night Before Christmas. Spot the theme! Ciders were Harry's Haystack, Weston's Hand Brake & Rusted Wheel, Lilley's Mango Cider & Rhubarb Cider, Cotswold Cider Company Voodoo Pulp & Snail's Bank Orchard Dry. Possibly the best pub in Nuneaton. But I still have some more to try.

2 Feb 2018 21:10

The Bear Hotel, Walton on Thames

The Bear was fairly busy on my Thursday evening visit. The barman (possibly landlord) was nowhere to be seen when we arrived. It was a good 5 minutes before he turned up and then he started serving a local who had just got to the bar without even considering to ask who was next. The ignorant local wasn't about to tell him either. With Fuller's London Pride and Young's Ordinary as the two real ales and the haphazard service, I wouldn't recommend this place unless you're already a regular.

2 Feb 2018 21:05

The Billiard Hall, West Bromwich

This is a really good Wetherspoons. It feels a little run down. But the beer selection is always good. So are the ciders. Prices are decent and service is good too. It's always been busy when I've visited. My Boxing Day visit was no different. Ales were Shepherd Neame Bishop's Finger & No. 18 Yard Rudolph's Reward, Hook Norton Old Hooky, Silhill Gold Star, Oakham JHB, Greene King Abbot, Rudgate Evil Elf & Ruddles Best. Ciders were Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon, Polgoon Cornish Apple & Thistly Cross Whisky Cask. I seem to recall the Polgoon being £2 a pint, which was great value. Best option for drinking in West Bromwich town centre.

2 Feb 2018 21:03

The Anglesey Arms, Halnaker

Country pub with 2 rooms and some friendly customers. The beer wasn't the best though. The selection was Bowman Swift One& Quiver Bitter, Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter & Young's Bitter. The bar area looked very festive, with a large Christmas tree.

2 Feb 2018 20:59

The Swan Inn, Midhurst

Apologies. There were actually 3 ales on in the Swan. All were from Harvey's - Sussex Best Bitter, Old Ale & Christmas Ale.

2 Feb 2018 20:56

The Cornerstone, Brighton

Still known as the Admiral. I quite liked this pub in a prominent corner location. The range of ales was good - Downlands Bramber, Dark Star Crème Brulée, Reunion Frost Fair & Hammerpot Shepherd's Warmer. For once in a pub, there was a decent selection of dark ales. The barmaid warned us to sample the Crème Brulée before buying it, as it was an acquired taste. She wasn't wrong! The cider was Seacider Winter Spiced. We spent a pleasant time here playing snakes and ladders in the corner!

2 Feb 2018 20:55

The Bugle Inn, Brighton

Small backstreet local with a central bar and seating all around. It was very quiet on our weekend lunchtime visit. Ales were Goldmark Secret Santa, Bugle Best & Sharp's Doom Bar. A bit too quiet for my liking. Only one other customer was present.

2 Feb 2018 20:51

The Abbey, Liverpool

The Abbey has now closed and the place has been refurbished and re-opened as a Head Of Steam, run by Cameron's Brewery. The bar has been moved to a central position and this place is much improved. The Abbey was a place that I might pass and wonder in to see what was on, but seldom have a drink there. The Head Of Steam is more of a destination pub that is worthy of a visit in its own right. I've been here 3 or 4 times now. I've been when it has been quiet and I've been when it has been packed. Food is served. Live football is shown on the TV. Service is by knowledgeable staff and they offer a CAMRA discount. But it can take a while when they are busy. Ales on my December 2nd visit were Brew York Little Eagle, Cameron's Strongarm, Road Crew & Cola Bottle Stout, Leeds Pale, Exit 22 Golden Cascade, Chapter Parabola & Neptune Black Percula Chocolate Orange Stout. The real cider was Orchard Pig The Hogfather. Great new pub.

2 Feb 2018 20:47

The Old Kings Head, Borough

Came here for the second time in November. I think I was less impressed than on my first visit. Ales were all national standards - Adnams Ghost Ship, Sharp's Doom Bar, St Austell Tribute & Proper Job, Black Sheep Best Bitter & Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter. The exterior looks very promising and similar to the nearby George, it is located up an alleyway. But the interior is fairly bland and open-plan. It was very busy on my latest Saturday evening visit.

2 Feb 2018 20:40

The Olde Bull Inn, Barton Mills

This was our first stop on a tour of Suffolk pubs in October. It was fairly pricey and seemed to be aimed at diners. Adnams Broadside & Lighthouse were the ales. Disappointing.

2 Feb 2018 20:35

The Albion, Kingston Upon Thames

The Albion was the last of this chain of pubs I had yet to visit. So I came along to here one week night in October. All of this chain (Sussex Arms in Twickenham, Antelope in Surbiton, Express at Kew Bridge & Corner House in Windsor) are worthy of a visit, dispensing a good range of ales and ciders in nice settings. This place also served tasty pizzas and has a nice leafy setting overlooking a green. Ales were Titanic Cappuccino, Tempest Little White Cloud, Roosters Assassin & Roots Rock And Reggae, Dorking DB One, Vocation Search and Rescue, Squawk Oat Pale Ale, Big Smoke Sunshower & Solaris & XT4. Ciders were Orchard Pig Navel Gazer & Juggler, Spice Road Dry Cider & Lilley's Merry Monkey. Kentish Pip 2013 Vintage was later added. I'd venture as far as saying that this is now the best pub in Kingston.

2 Feb 2018 20:32

Peaky Blinders, Southport

My main reason for visiting Southport in October was to try Peaky Blinders, as it was an entry in the 2018 Good Beer Guide that I had not been to. I was left a little disappointed. It has the feel of a café bar and it had a fairly trendy crowd. Ales on were Timothy Taylor Landlord, Robinson's Double Hop & Cross Bay Sunset & Vesper. None were really to my liking and they have no real cider either. I did try the Corridor, Bar 45 and the Cocoa House also during my visit. All appear to be new bars that have sprung up in what has become known as Southport's Northern Quarter. There's certainly a decent selection along here now. But the best I can award Peaky Blinders is a 5/10.

2 Feb 2018 20:25

Grasshopper, Southport

I tried visiting this micropub over a year ago. It was closed on my visit and I ended up in the Pines just round the corner. Both bars are about a 7-8 minute walk from Hillside station. I have however been back to the Grasshopper twice since. It's an excellent micropub run by an amiable guy from the south of England. On the second visit, I was served by his daughter. Ales on during my first visit were Salopian Hop Twister, Red Star Havana Moon, Potts Brewing Company Flywheel & Bank Top Pavilion Pale Ale & Flat Cap. Ciders were Thistly Cross Jaggy Thistle & Whisky Cask, Weston's Old Rosie, Heck's Kingston Black, Abrahall's Dry, Sheppy's Orchard Dew & Broadoak Pear and Chilli, Strawberry Cider & Damson Cider. The weekend between my two visits ironically played host to a cider festival. But the owner gave me a tasting of some he had in during my first visit and there were still quite a few left over the following week. Another decent micropub that has sprung up in the area north of Liverpool that I can heartily recommend.

2 Feb 2018 20:20

Cricketers Arms, St Helens

I think I must have requested for this pub to be added to the site, as I didn't review it the first time I came here. But I returned in early October. I believe it got to the final 4 of the CAMRA pub of the year competition. But I'm not sure if the winner has been announced yet. But having been to 3 of the finalists, I'd say it has a pretty good chance, as it's the best of the 3 I have been to. Unlike the previous reviewer, I've not had a problem getting served on either of my two visits and the pub was fairly busy on both occasions. It has a fairly traditional interior with numerous tables and a few blackboards listing the ales. On my October visit they had Marble Bitter, Deeply Vale Golden Vale & DVB, Titanic Cherry Dark, Ossett Spellbound, Brightside Green Bullet, Robinson's Dark Vader, Harvey's IPA, Bank Top Pavilion Ale, Elland White Prussian, Riverhead Black Moss Stout, Pictish Jarrylo & Rat White Rat. There's also a decent selection of ciders - Abrahall's Lily The Pink, Ross-on-Wye Whole Juice, Herefordshire Tutti Frutti, Farmer Jim's Strawberry and Kiwi Cider, Gwynt y Ddraig Ancient Warrior, Weston's Old Rosie, Cotswold No Brainer, Cornwall Cider Company Apple Slayer & Lilley's Bee Sting Perry. St Helens has become a decent town to drink in and this is now the best option.

2 Feb 2018 20:14

The Hat and Beaver Inn, Atherstone

Traditional and lively boozer in Atherstone. Customers seemed to be mainly horse racing fans, who were watching the horse racing channel. I think I was the youngest in. Ales were Bass & Springhead Fallen Angel. They also had Old Rosie cider. Moved on up the road from here to the Blue Boar in Mancetter, which is not listed on here, but worth a try.

2 Feb 2018 20:02

The Albert Arms, Esher

Still closed. I'll be back to try the Bear at some point and hopefully it will have re-opened.

2 Feb 2018 19:59

The Wheatsheaf on the Green, Esher

This was the last and best of 10 Surrey pubs we tried between Christmas and New Year. Unlike many other pubs, it was really busy with a lively crowd. There is a large dining area at the rear and a number of different drinking areas at the front of the pub. One room appeared to be hosting a private party. Ales on were Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter, Hogs Back TEA, Surrey Hills Shere Drop & Twickenham Winter Star.

2 Feb 2018 19:58

The Craft Beer Co, Brighton

Having been to a few of this chain's pubs in London, I found this one a little disappointing. The range of beers was much slimmer than in its London counterparts. There were 5 ales - Pig & Porter American Amber, Dark Star Hophead & Hophead Extra, Clerkenwell Pale & Crouch Vale Ten 46. The cider was Lilley's Mango Cider. It's a fairly small establishment on a street corner. There are other decent pubs in this area of Brighton. So I'll probably drop in again some time. But there are better pubs in Brighton.

2 Feb 2018 19:53

The Evening Star, Brighton

I've been meaning to visit here for some time. I finally got the opportunity in mid-October. Luckily the pre-football rush was over. We may have missed the kick off ourselves. But at least the pub was quieter. It's a lovely little single room boozer, which is fairly basic in character. Dark Star Hophead & American Pale Ale were on. Guests were Fyne Ales Monterey Boulevard, Bristol Beer Factory Mischief & Thornbridge Cocoa Wonderland. Ciders were Seacider Medium & Ascencion Company Pilot. This pub will be near the top of my list to visit next time I'm in Brighton.

2 Feb 2018 19:49

The Pump House, Brighton

Sorry. Harveys's Sussex Best Bitter too.

2 Feb 2018 19:45

The Pump House, Brighton

Old Nicholson's pub near the Lanes. Has a number of different rooms with plenty of character. But it felt a little touristy. Ales were St Austell Nicholson's Pale Ale, Adnams Tow Bays, Vocation Fire And Water, Hop Stuff Mjango Unchained & Wimbledon Hop Harvest. Old Rosie was the cider.

2 Feb 2018 19:45

The Shakespeare's Head, Holborn

I returned here after a 5 year gap back in mid-October. It's a large Wetherspoons on Kingsway. My visit was on a Sunday morning. I arrived before alcohol could be served. But a 10 minute wait soon solved that problem. There were a few other people in having breakfast and other tourists arrived. But by and large, it was fairly quiet apart from one guy who was particularly friendly. But I think he had some kind of mental problem. The staff seemed to know him. Ales were Well's Banana Bread Beer, East London Jamboree, Adnams Young Henry's Newtowner & Tally Ho, Hogs Back Farnham White, Theakston Pink Grapefruit Ale, Greene King IPA, Banks's Arcadia, Truman's Dark Side of the Moon, Fuller's London Pride & Castle Rock Autumn Haze. The cider was Black Dragon. A slightly improved experience than my previous visit and certainly a decent ale selection.

2 Feb 2018 19:42

The Prince Leopold, Upton Lovell

This pub has a lovely village location and it's nice enough inside. But I'm surprised by its entry in the current Good Beer Guide. Butcombe Original & Fuller's London Pride were the only ales and there was no real cider. Pity.

1 Feb 2018 21:38

Euston Tap, Euston

With the demise of the Bree Louise for HS2 construction, the Euston Tap is now the best option for a real ale near Euston. It's on the expensive craft beer scale. But it's still a decent option. My last visit was early in January. The cask range was Hackney Best Bitter, Oakham Black Hole Porter & Below Zero, Redemption/Kernel Victorian Mild, Vog Paradigm Shift & South Island, Mordue Northumbrian Blonde & Gipsy Hill Lemon Drop & Denali. I was personally disappointed to lose the Cider Tap in the East house. But it was clearly not doing as well as the Euston Tap itself. I gather it is still doing some ciders. But I haven't had chance to visit that side since it changed, as it rarely seems open.

1 Feb 2018 21:36

The Brewery Tap, Liverpool

We came here on New Year's Day. We had been hoping to try a new bar called Gibberish which has opened just around the corner and the Higson's H1780 Tap & Still which has also opened nearby. Neither of those were open. So we retreated to the Brewery Tap. With Cain's long gone, the three ales were Cross Bay Sunset & Zenith & Neptune Mermaid's Purse. A bit out on a limb this one. But this is an up and coming area. So it may increase in popularity.

1 Feb 2018 21:32

The Firkin Shed, Bournemouth

We were back in Bournemouth again at the tail end of December and we just had to return to the Firkin Shed. It was still every bit as good as our previous visits and remains a 10/10 for me. The ale range was Farmageddon Barrel-Aged Barley Wine, Siren Double Iced Latte & Undercurrent, Grapefruit Moon, Waen Something's Come Over You, Art Brew Anarchist Party Bitter & Sixpenny 6d Black. Ciders were Orchard Pig Maverick, Sandford Orchards Fanny's Bramble, Abrahall's Slack Alice, Marshwood Vale Dorset Tit, Broadoak Perry & Cider, Burrow Hill Farmhouse Cider & Countryman Farm Scrumpy & Barrel-Aged Scrumpy. Looking forward to my next visit already.

1 Feb 2018 21:27

The Old Manor Inn, Walton on Thames

The Young's Ordinary & Sharp's Doom Bar were supplemented by Courage Best on our visit. The beers may have been nothing special. But this is a great little backstreet boozer in Walton with some friendly customers and owners. One of my favourite pubs in a pretty poor selection we sampled in Surrey.

1 Feb 2018 21:23

Prestonville Arms, Brighton

Located on a hill in a residential area, this is a lively backstreet boozer that seems to cater for both drinkers and diners alike. It's a Fuller's establishment and accordingly had London Pride, as well as Seafarers & HSB from Gale's. But they also had Rebellion Roasted Nuts as a guest. My son was quite happy watching a group of men playing jenga!

1 Feb 2018 21:20

The Hanover, Brighton

The Hanover was another pub we visited in the Hanover area of Brighton. It had a decent array of ales - Cellar Head Cinnamon Porter, Holler Boys Fog Cutter, Greyhound Blonde Bird, Sharp's Doom Bar & Gun Scaramanga. The cider was Old Rosie. It's a fairly large pub stretching either side of a reasonably long bar. A little out of town. But worthy of a trip.

1 Feb 2018 21:17

Goblets, Southampton

First visit to this cellar bar in November for me. Some of the beers had gone off. But there was still Vibrant Forest Cydonia & Black Forest & Eight Arch Corbel. Ciders were Purbeck Muddy Scamp & Joe's Sweet & South Downs Horsey Girl. I'm sure I'll be back here one day.

1 Feb 2018 21:11

The Nutshell, Bury St Edmunds

I'd read that this pub was small. But I wasn't quite prepared for exactly how small it would be. You can see inside as you approach. But I couldn't work out how I'd be able to fit in through the door! Miraculously, the locals managed to make space for an extra body. As a Greene King pub, only Abbot & IPA are served. The single bar is full of oddities including a mummified cat. I decided to ascend the narrow staircase in the hope of finding some space. But upstairs there is a small room which acts as a function room. I doubt you could hold a function with more than 10 people, due to the confined space. There was also a toilet. With no seating or tables, I went back down to the bar and managed to perch on the end of a bench. I definitely recommend a visit here. The people in here are friendly, if not a little eccentric and the pub itself is a gem.

1 Feb 2018 21:08

Oakes Barn, Bury St Edmonds

On a cold late-October weekend afternoon, we ended up sitting outside here. Inside was just too packed and justifiably so. This is a good pub. Ales were Oakham JHB & Black Hole Bitter, Adnams Bitter, Lacon's Phantom & Mighty Oak Due South & English Oak. Ciders were Abrahalls AM, Millwhites Rum Cask, Weston's Flat Tyre & Hand Brake & Dudda's Tun Apricot Cider & Cheery Old Dudda. Probably the best pub in Bury St Edmunds. An 8/10 from me.

1 Feb 2018 21:02

The North Laine, Brighton

Came here briefly prior to a football match at Brighton back in October. Many websites said it opened at 11am. But lo and behold, it was remained closed until midday. The place is quite large and with no other customers, it was devoid of atmosphere. North Laine ales on were Single Hop, Amber, D'Oubloon, Bestest Bitter, Hop Bomb & Golden Laine. Not a dark beer in sight and no real cider either. Not to my liking.

1 Feb 2018 20:56

The Punch Bowl, Colnbrook

Took a few people here for a Thai meal earlier in January. The pub appears to have gone downhill a little. The furniture is very worn and the place was being warmed by a Calor gas heather. Pride was the solitary ale and the Thai food was only average, with smaller than average portions. I'm not surprised it was quiet.

1 Feb 2018 20:50

The Benett Arms, Semley

The Semley Arms was our favourite pub in a Sunday crawl of 10 rural Wiltshire pubs. Overlooking a large expanse of greenery that is the local village green, this village pub clearly had a loyal clientele crowding around the bar. Ales were Ringwood Best Bitter, Twisted Ale Rider & Cotleigh Long-Eared Owl. It also had Lilley's Red Rabbit cider, which I rarely see. Recommended.

1 Feb 2018 20:46

The Lych Gate Tavern, Wolverhampton

Black Country Ales pub in the centre of Wolverhampton, which was one of very few to open at lunchtime on New Year's Day. I was relatively impressed. There was a decent beer selection on, despite it apparently being a late night session, the evening before. The range was Mobberley Brewhouse Solstice, Beowulf Dark Raven, Downton Hopoholic, Newbridge Solaris, Black Country Ales Fireside, BFG & Pig On The Wall, Oakham JHB & Salopian Lemon Dream. The real cider was Thistly Cross Whisky Cask. I'll look forward to returning here.

1 Feb 2018 20:42

The Hearty Goodfellow, Nuneaton

I arrived at this pub to find most people leaving. Apparently it was closing to prepare for a New Year's Eve function, with tickets require. No beer in the evening possible here. Where's the facility to award a 0/10?

1 Feb 2018 20:37

Royal Oak, Nuneaton

The Royal Oak was my first planned pub of a number of Nuneaton pubs on New Year's Eve. There were a few in when I first arrived. But by the time I left, it was very busy with a large group of young drinkers having arrived. The pub is a single room with opened up areas at the front and rear. It felt fairly soulless and the ales didn't offer a huge variety - Greene King Abbot, Thwaites Wainwright, Hardy and Hanson's Rocking Rudolph & Black Sheep Best Bitter.

1 Feb 2018 20:36

The Weir Hotel, Walton on Thames

The Weir overlooks what was a rather swollen River Thames. The picture above suggests that it would be a nice place to spend some time in the summer. Encouraged by its entry in the 2018 Good Beer Guide, we tried it on a winter's evening. It was quite frankly disappointing. Greene King Abbot, Sharp's DoomBar & Hogs Back Surrey Nirvana were the only ales and there was no real cider. Perhaps we should have followed the previous reviewer's suggestion and not bothered when the weather is inclement.

1 Feb 2018 20:27

The Golden Grove, Chertsey

Looks like a nice pub from the outside. But inside, it is more of a restaurant. In fact, when we first arrived, we bumped into a fellow drinker who had been refused service. He was told to come back later if he wanted a drink. We decided that we'd better head back to the Olde Swan and return later. Upon return, the afternoon dining session was complete and they were preparing for the evening session. Whilst there was nobody else in, they did initially seem reluctant to serve us, having thought that the doors were locked. Ales were Proper Job, Doom Bar & Hobgoblin Gold. Very disappointing.

1 Feb 2018 20:22

The Olde Swan Hotel, Chertsey

The Olde Swan is fairly centrally situated in Chertsey. But it's a pub I had not previously visited. A few people were enjoying a dinner. The interior had mismatched furniture. But the ambience was nice. Ales were Thwaites Wainwright, Windsor & Eton Mandarin, Tring Side Pocket For A Toad & Sharp's Doom Bar.

1 Feb 2018 20:19

Kings Head, Ashford

Marstons pub which was quite busy on our visit. There is a dining area to the left as you walk in and an area more suited to drinkers to the right. The interior is fairly modern and bland. Pedigree, Saddle Back, Directors & Hobgoblin was the ale choice.

1 Feb 2018 20:17

The Rising Sun, Stanwell

I used to work fairly close to the Rising Sun. But I never actually managed to find my way inside. But using a free evening between Christmas and New Year, this was the first port of call on a crawl of Surrey pubs. To be honest, it was quite disappointing. It's very much a locals pub, that probably accommodates a few local workers too. The ale selection was poor - just Greene King London Glory & Hardy and Hanson's Bitter. I think there are better pubs in Stanwell. But there's nothing particularly good in the village.

1 Feb 2018 20:15

The Vine, West Bromwich

We were back here on Boxing Day. I'd tried a number of other pubs in West Bromwich. But most I tried were closed. The Vine was as busy as usual on a matchday. The solitary real ale (Holden's Golden Glow) ran out just as I got there, which left a poor selection. It's just about the best pub nearest the Hawthorns. But I'm downgrading the score to a 4/10.

1 Feb 2018 20:10

The Happy Medium, Chichester

The Rainbow was our penultimate stop in Chichester on Christmas Eve. It's on a road heading out of the city. But I didn't find it particularly welcoming and despite it being Christmas Eve, with many pubs being quite busy, this one was quiet. Ales were Bowman Yum & Downlands Best & Root Thirteen Pale Ale.

1 Feb 2018 20:06

The Chichester Inn, Chichester

The Chichester Inn turned out to be the best pub we found in Chichester on a Christmas Eve visit. There is a front bar and a back bar, connected by a corridor to the side. The barmaid was very friendly. Ales were Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter, Vibrant Forest Black Forest & Citra & Langham Hip Hop. My Black Forest was my favourite beer of the day. Chichester doesn't appear to have too many decent pubs. But this one was a clear favourite for me.

1 Feb 2018 19:55

The Star and Garter, East Dean

Quiet village pub, with a modern interior featuring plenty of wood. Only one other customer was present on our visit. Beers are dispensed from a separate cold room. All 3 ales were from Arundel - Castle, Gold & Black Stallion. The latter was very enjoyable.

1 Feb 2018 19:50

The Fox Goes Free, Charlton

The Fox Goes Free has a lovely setting in a nice West Sussex village. It was certainly quite popular. Cars had spilled over from the car park and were either side of the lane, which appeared to be annoying the local residents. The entrance door is slightly strange in that you have to open it to get in and then close it in order to head to the room on your left. I held the door for a lady coming from that direction, only for her to leave the door wide open. This didn't appear to be appreciated by the locals (it was fairly cold on our Christmas Eve visit) and I was abruptly told to close the door, even though I hadn't left it open! It was a good job I was in a reasonable state of mind. The interior has a number of different rooms, with open fires. Ales were Goldmark Secret Santa & Liquid Gold & Arundel Fox Goes Free Bitter. Addlestones cider is also served, which I always enjoy. It is becoming a rare sight these days.

1 Feb 2018 19:47

The Greyhound, Cocking Causeway

Roadside pub just outside Midhurst. The bar area itself is quite nice and there is a separate dining room at the rear. Bar staff were friendly. But they were adopting that rather annoying habit of serving locals at the same time as ourselves, despite us having waited longer. Ales available were Bowman Swift One, Upham Merrylegs, Skinner's Betty Stogs & Flack Manor Flack's Double Drop.

1 Feb 2018 19:41

The Swan Inn, Midhurst

Harvey's pub that stands in a rather unusual position in Midhurst, in that one side of a road runs one side of the building and the other carriageway is on the other side. Dog friendly place, as the owner has a dog of her own. Harvey's Old Ale was on. The interior is over two levels.

1 Feb 2018 19:37

Mitre Tavern, Brighton

Another traditional pub in a commercial area of Brighton. This place is a Harvey's pub and is listed in the current 2018 Good Beer Guide. Ales were Dark Mild, Old Ale, Christmas Ale, Bonfire Boy & Sussex Best Bitter - plenty for those who like their beers dark (and strong). Old Rosie cider was also available. The barmaid was very friendly. Nice place.

1 Feb 2018 19:30

The Dover Castle, Brighton

With so many pubs on Southover Street and in the Hanover district in general, the Dover Castle is where to come if you like Shepherd Neame beers. It has a fairly dark single bar, seemingly with an emphasis on food. Ales were Christmas Ale, No. 18 Yard Rudolph's Reward & Whitstable Bay Pale Ale in our pre-Christmas visit.

1 Feb 2018 19:26

Sir Charles Napier, Brighton

Corner pub with fairly old-fashioned interior. The main drawback is that this is a Fuller's tied house. As such, the ale range consisted of Fuller's London Pride & Old Winter Ale & Gale's Seafarers & HSB. But it's welcoming and still worth a visit.

1 Feb 2018 19:24

The Pub With No Name, Brighton

The Southover is now a decent real ale and craft beer place on Southover Street. It is one of numerous pubs on this street, which make for a good crawl. The central bar is a horseshoe shape, with seating on both sides. Ales were Sharp's Atlantic & Sea Fury, Gun Project Babylon, Firebird Parody Session IPA & Tiny Rebel Beat Box. Another decent pub on this rewarding street.

1 Feb 2018 19:19

The Constant Service, Brighton

This place has a single, small bar. It stocks ales from Harvey's. On our visit, they had Sussex Best Bitter, Sussex Old Ale & Wild Hop Blonde. There was also a real cider - Weston's Family Reserve. The vinyl record player and numerous LPs are a nice touch. I'd read that this wasn't supposed to open until 4pm on a Saturday. But we were there before and it was already busy.

1 Feb 2018 19:15

The Reservoir, Brighton

Backstreet pub set over a couple of floors. The ground floor bar was the main drinking area and had a nice atmosphere. There are a few more tables and a grabbing machine downstairs. Well we were at the seaside! Ales on our December Saturday visit were Firebird Parody Session IPA, Gun Strong Pale & Red Ale. The real cider was Weston's Hand Brake. Nice place.

1 Feb 2018 19:10

The Black Boy Inn, Bridgnorth

Went in here one Sunday lunchtime after visiting Bridgnorth's Christmas Market. The pub is situated on a hill between High Town and Low Town. It was packed, with standing room only. One room had some kind of live music. Ales were Salopian Golden Thread, Greene King St Edmund's Ale, Hobson's Old Prickly, Hardy and Hanson's Olde Trip, Gorgeous Beer Company Black Boy Bitter & Saltaire Triple Chocoholic. The cider was Old Rosie. The pub positive oozes character and is one to search out if in Bridgnorth.

1 Feb 2018 19:03

New Penny Farthing, Liverpool

The New Penny Farthing is no more. The Courtyard Bar & Kitchen opened up late last year and couldn't be much more of a polar opposite to its predecessor. I initially tried to visit on a Sunday. But it doesn't open on Sundays, I later found out. But I did return on a Saturday in early December. The ground floor is the bar and the upstairs is a restaurant. Both enjoy nice views of St George's Hall. Although the door of the bar was open and it was quite cold inside. Ales were Rock The Boat Yellow Submarine Special & Bootle Bull & Liverpool Organic William Roscoe. A massive improvement on the New Penny Farthing. But I doubt I'll be a regular visitor.

1 Feb 2018 18:58

The George and Dragon, Yiewsley

Have been in here a few times of late. It's still a decent place to watch live football. But the language can be colourful and there's a few characters. Tried eating here one evening too. But food was pretty poor. It's still a Greene King establishment and Rocking Rudolph was the ale on just before Christmas.

1 Feb 2018 18:24

The Crown and Sceptre, Uxbridge

This place is now called Whelan's. As I'd not been before, I visited one weekday lunchtime. It is effectively an Irish bar that had a few waifs and strays (including me) populating it. I suspect many stay there for much of the day. It stays open until very late. The two ales were Fuller's London Pride & Whelan's House Ale (from Caledonian). I went for the House Ale, which was on the turn. Very disappointing.

1 Feb 2018 18:20

The Harp, Covent Garden

We ended up in the Harp on one Saturday night in November. My memories of this visit are a little hazy. But we stood in the alleyway at the rear, where we were hassled by quite a few homeless people, who use the area to sleep rough. Ales were Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter, Dark Star Hophead & American Pale Ale, Animal Peacock, Hawkshead Dry Stone Stout, Hammerton N1, Burning Sky Plateau, Fuller's London Pride & One Mile End Great Tom Mild. Ciders were Lilley's Pear and Raspberry & Rum Cask and two others called Buckshot and Scrumpy (I couldn't find out the producers). The Harp is still a great pub. But as always, it was too busy to enjoy when we visited. It's always best to visit earlier in the day when it can be enjoyed.

1 Feb 2018 18:16

Wheatsheaf, Southwark

I made a return visit to the Sheaf in November, following a crawl of pubs in the Borough Market area. My experience was very similar to last time, with the place being crowded. Tables had lots of uncollected glasses on them. Ales were Hammerpot Shooting Star, Navigation Patriot, North Cotswold Tumbling Jack, Upham Boomerang & Redcar Golden Ale & Autumn Ale. I recall having the Autumn Ale, which wasn't the best.

1 Feb 2018 18:09

The Royal Exchange, Stone

Titanic pub in Stone that was a bit too busy for my liking on a Saturday evening visit. Regular Titanic ales were Steerage, White Star, Captain Smith's, Plum Porter, Iceberg & Steerage. They also had Kolsch from Titanic. Everard's Tiger is also a regular. Guests were Lacon's Legacy, Arbor Pocket Rocket, Anarchy Anti-Venom, Lytham Gold & Grafton Moon Frost. Cider was Lyme Bay Chapel Rock. Stone is a great town for pubs and this is certainly one of the best. 7/10.

1 Feb 2018 18:04

The Borehole, Stone

The Borehole was possibly the best pub of a recent (November) weekend trip to Stone. It's the brewery tap for the Lymestone Brewery and is situated on an industrial estate, a little out of town. Ales from Lymestone were Stone Cutter, Stone Faced, Foundation Stone, Ein Stein & Stone The Crows. Guests were Magpie Six Is A Wish & Stray Cat Lion Eyes. Ciders were La Cantina Superstition Peach & Haywood Farm Traditional. Certainly one of the two best pubs in Stone.

1 Feb 2018 18:01

The Fox and Hounds, Thurston

Pub just outside Bury St Edmunds that I'm struggling to recall too much about, as it was at the end of a long day. Greene King IPA, Adnams Broadside & Bitter, Steambox Derail Ale & Exmoor Ale were the ales. I seem to remember it being busy.

1 Feb 2018 17:52

Rose and Crown, Bury St Edmunds

The Rose & Crown was the last pub we visited on a tour of Bury St Edmunds in late October. It's a traditional Greene King pub on the same street as the brewery. The interior is old fashioned and all the better for it. Beware the opening times, as it does close on weekend afternoons. Ales on my visit were Greene King IPA, Abbot & XX Mild, Skinner's Betty Stogs, Exmoor Gold & Timothy Taylor Landlord. I always enjoy their Mild, despite the low ABV.

1 Feb 2018 17:40

The Spread Eagle, Bury St Edmunds

Greene King pub that appears focused on diners. We also came in to eat at the end of October. Food was fairly average, as I recall. The 3 ales were IPA, Abbot & Starry Nights. Situated on a roundabout to the west of town, it's not really worth making the effort to come here.

1 Feb 2018 17:28

The Lucky Rover, Hook

Finally got around to trying this pub following a visit to Chessington World of Adventures in September. There are no real ales served - just Guinness, Strongbow, Fosters, Carling, Coors Light, Kronenbourg, Heineken & Hop House Lager. It was a cold day and the fire was on. The customers all seemed to be local.

1 Feb 2018 17:20

Mackenzie's, Liverpool

Was here last in September, one Saturday afternoon. I've not got much to add from my previous review. But ales on that day were Sharp's Doom Bar, Salopian Sixth Mass & Sienna & Red Star Sandinista. There's so many decent bars in this area. So I do very often pop in to see what is on. It's certainly worth it if in the area.

1 Feb 2018 17:16

Skew Bridge Alehouse, Rainhill

We visited the Skew Bridge Alehouse one midweek evening back in September. Parking isn't easy around here. But this micropub is situated in a small shopping precinct. It was fairly busy on our visit. Ales were Tigertops Saint Hop, Lytham Stout & Lytham Royal, Scarborough Transmission & Outstanding Fix. Ciders were Thistly Cross Original, Lilley's Apple and Blackberry & Red Rabbit & Kentish Pip Craftsman. Probably the best pub in Rainhill these days.

1 Feb 2018 17:12

The Alwyne Castle, Islington

I wasn't planning to visit this pub today. But with a little spare time, I took a wonder away from Highbury & Islington station to see what it was like. The exterior doesn't look too promising. But the interior is typical of many in this area, with a limited number of cask ales, keg options and a fairly trendy crowd who congregate in fairly large groups around sofas and the like. A couple of groups were eating on my weekday lunchtime visit. The 4 cask ales were Truman's Fine and Dandy, St Austell Proper Job, Oakham JHB & Thornbridge Crackendale. There were also a number of keg beers from Thornbridge. Not too bad. My Fine and Dandy was slightly unusual, but absolutely fine.

1 Feb 2018 17:02

Brewhouse and Kitchen, Highbury

Decided to give this place a try whilst in North London today. I'll be back in the area on Saturday. But apparently they don't allow the general public in when Arsenal are playing a match. It was presumably much quieter today than it would be on a match day. There were a few other groups in there, who were mostly eating. I was approached by somebody on entering. The assumption was that I was there to eat. But I was invited to sit anywhere when requesting a drink only. Ales are all their own and are brewed on site - Astronomer, Romford Pele, Goal Scorer, Raleigh, Illustrator, Tramshed & Winter Warmer. They also had a real cider on handpull - Orchard Pig Maverick Ginger & Chilli Cider. I'd heard that this chain does stock a cider normally. But this was the first time I've seen one. But then this was only the third branch I'd visited. The building itself is apparently an old tramshed. The brewing equipment is at the rear. Possibly the best of these pubs I've been to. But at £4.60 a pint, I may not be here too often. You do get a CAMRA discount (if you're a member), which needs to be approved by the manager.

1 Feb 2018 16:57

The North Western, Liverpool

Was in here this morning prior to catching a train. With many different rooms and drinking areas, this Wetherspoon's always feels busy. At 10am this morning, there were tables available. But it can often be so crowded to be uncomfortable. If you're after real ales, be sure to check the offerings on both bars. There are generally some additional ones on the neighbouring bar. Today's selection was Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharp's Doom Bar, Big Bog Morast, Caledonian Edinburgh Castle, Moorhouses Pendle Witches Brew, Peerless Curve Ball Blonde, Coach House Cheshire Gold & Burton Bridge Stairway To Heaven. There were no ciders today. But there can sometimes be a box lurking away in a fridge. It goes without saying that the North Western is a decent option for one last drink before catching a train.

1 Feb 2018 16:47

Hard Times and Misery, Liverpool

The Hard Times and Misery is a tiny establishment a little off the beaten track, but worth seeking out. The small ground floor bar has a few seats. But it can get crowded. There are tables, seats and a unisex toilet upstairs. Opening hours are limited. But the ale range is decent. There are cask ales, craft beers and also bottled beers. The cask range yesterday was Heavy Industry Chinese Burn, Red Star Formby IPA & Hafod Fruitcake Amber Ale. The two ciders were from Farmer Jim's - Medium Cider & Rhubarb Bob. A really decent addition to the Liverpool pub scene.

1 Feb 2018 16:27

Belvedere, Liverpool

I like the Belvedere. It's a really compact pub. As soon as there are a few people in the bar area, it becomes crowded. But yesterday's visit was a little disappointing. 4 ales were on - Higson's Pale & Amber, Phoenix Arizona & Grey Hawk Pippin. There was no real cider on this visit. The Pippin was ok, but not really my favourite style of beer. Friends were not impressed with the Arizona. Nice pub. But the range and quality of drinks was disappointing based on this visit.

1 Feb 2018 16:22

The Font, Liverpool

Stopped by here again yesterday. Again, little has changed since my previous visits. The 2 ales were Mobberley Brewhouse Road Runner & Salopian Chicane. The cider was Rosie's Triple D. We arrived during happy hour. But I'm not sure it made any difference to the prices.

1 Feb 2018 16:17

The Cambridge, Liverpool

Was back in the Cambridge again yesterday as part of a tour of a few Liverpool establishments. We were the first visitors in yesterday afternoon. Little has changed again. The owners still appear to be the same. Marston's EPA was the only real ale.

1 Feb 2018 16:14

The Graduate, Warwick University

I'm not sure the Graduate exists in its old format. The primary bar in the Students' Union is now called the Dirty Duck. Although it does have a smaller room adjoining it that is called the Graduate. That is for postgraduates and has no real ales. The Dirty Duck was busy on Saturday evening. It serves 2 real ales. These were North Cotswold Moreton Mild & Wye Valley Summit. There were also 3 real ciders from Lilleys - Mango Cider, Apples and Pears & Darkcider. Food is served from an open kitchen. Surprisingly we didn't seem to be the oldest customers in here on Saturday evening. A good option if you happen to be at the university.

30 Jan 2018 19:55

The Burnt Post, Coventry

The Burnt Post was the third and final Ember Inns pub we visited on Saturday. It is on the main A45 and it felt a bit dated compared with the other two. The ale selection was also limited to just Doom Bar, Tribute, Proper Job & Ubu. It was very busy though. The interior is large and all tables were occupied with standing room only in parts. One area was inexplicably cordoned off. Glasses were piling up on the bar. More drinkers than diners. But that may have just been the time of our visit (Saturday evening).

30 Jan 2018 19:50

The Open Arms, Cheylesmore

The Open Arms was our second Ember Inns pub of the day in Coventry. It was a typical version of the chain and the L-shaped room was quite busy on our early Saturday evening visit. Ales were Black Sheep Ember Pale Ale, Brakspear Oxford Gold, Butcombe Bitter, Adnams Ghost Ship & Skinners Porthleven.

30 Jan 2018 19:47

Hare and Hounds, Coventry

The Hare & Hounds felt like a chain establishment. But it is owned by Punch Taverns. It is a large place with a bar area and a restaurant which appeared to be being used for a disco on our Saturday evening visit. There is a separate function room alongside the massive car park. That seemed to be in use too. Service seemed to take an eternity. I think we may have chosen the slowest barmaid to have ever been employed. Ales were Bass, Sharp's Doom Bar, Ringwood Boon Doggle & Wye Valley The Hopfather. The drinking environment was fine. But there was some swearing from one of the female patrons.

30 Jan 2018 19:42

The Greyhound Inn, Longford

This was easily the best pub we tried in Coventry on Saturday. Travelling around Coventry can be a little dis-orientating as its so spread out. This pub is close to the M6 and near to a canal. I wasn't aware that it was within walking distance to the Ricoh Arena, until I read the last review. So it will certainly be an option if I ever go there again. The Greyhound has a bar area and a separate dining area. It is full of character with plenty of knick knacks to admire. The ale selection was also different. Bass is the regular ale. Guests were Box Steam Gym Dodger, Abbeydale Deception & Greene King Abbot. They also had a real cider from Hecks. Well worth visiting.

30 Jan 2018 19:36

The Boat Inn, Potters Green

We arrived here in the dark. So I'm not quite sure why this pub is called the Boat. It doesn't appear to be near any waterways. Nevertheless, it is a nice traditional pub with a number of small rooms. Two rooms have access to the bar - a front room and a rear bar on an upper level. We chose the rear bar to get served. It has an unusually high bar counter. Getting served was a struggle with only one barmaid. But she got round everybody eventually. Ales were Sharp's Doom Bar, St Austell Tribute & Greene King IPA. It looks as if they usually have Bass on. But this was off. Locals appeared friendly. We retreated to another room at the front, near the entrance to the pub. Fairly decent place.

30 Jan 2018 19:31

Red Lion, Walsgrave

The Red Lion is an Ember Inns pub out to the east of the city, next to a hospital. As such, you have to pay for the privilege of parking in the pub car park. This was the first of three Ember Inns pubs I visited on Saturday and it was probably the best of them. The 5 real ales were Black Sheep Ember Pale Ale, Purity Pure Gold, Fyne Ales Maverick, Well's Bombardier Glorious English & Sharp's Doom Bar. It was also the only one of the three with a real cider - Weston's Rosie's Pig. The clientele seemed fairly down-to-earth. It was disappointing that there was no CAMRA discount on halves.

30 Jan 2018 19:26

Caludon Inn, Coventry

There appear to be some new-build houses here now, if I've got the location correct.

30 Jan 2018 19:20

Rose and Woodbine, Coventry

Fairly unremarkable corner pub in a heavily residential area. It was one of those places where you're stared at as you walk through the door and are treated as suspicious by the bar staff. The large room we sat in had plenty of available seating and was populating by an ageing clientele who were congregated nearest the bar. A second room appeared to have a pool table and may have had some younger occupants. Black Sheep Best Bitter & Sharp's Doom Bar were the two real ales. No real cider was served.

30 Jan 2018 19:18

Biggin Hall, Coventry

The Biggin Hall is a large pub to the east of Coventry city centre. As the previous reviewer says, it is in the 2013 Good Beer Guide. Unsurprisingly it hasn't been in any of the 5 subsequent guides. It's a local and traditional Marston's establishment. Pedigree is the standard ale, whilst Saddle Tank & EPA were the two changing ales. There are a number of large rooms. The public bar at the front had football scores on one TV and live horse racing on the other. Service was friendly.

30 Jan 2018 19:13

The Beer Engine, Coventry

This pub appears to be undergoing a refurbishment at present. There was certainly work on-going when we passed by on Saturday. The signs are still up. So maybe it will re-open as a pub. Instead we continued up the street and started a crawl of Coventry in the Twisted Barrel Brewery & Tap House, which is not listed on here, but thoroughly recommended.

30 Jan 2018 19:04

The Inn on the Green, Hanwell

Finally got to this pub on Wednesday evening. It's now called Green W7. The name doesn't sound too promising. But this is still a pub and not some cocktail bar or similar. On first sight, the ale range looked quite promising with 5 or 6 pumpclips. But closer inspection revealed that they had followed the Wetherspoon's example by putting "coming soon" on some of them. Alas, there were 3 ales - Twickenham Redhead & Sundancer & Timothy Taylor Landlord. There are better local pubs. But this one was better than I was expecting.

29 Jan 2018 22:09

The Dodo, Hanwell

Paid my second visit to the Dodo on Friday evening. I believe this is still the best micropub in West London. With the Owl & Pussycat, the Grosvenor and the Fox all nearby, it makes for a fairly good 4 pub crawl. The Dodo is tiny, in common with most micropubs. But it can get busy, attracting a loyal, local clientele. Service is directly to the table. A blackboard displays the changing cask ale selection, whilst menus on each table list the bottled beers and draught ciders. The selection of Friday evening was Tiny Rebel Juicy, Belleville Calif-Oregon, Arbor Simcoe, Pig & Porter Slow Black & Gun Red Ale. The Slow Black was later replaced by Thornbridge Jaipur. Ciders were Seacider Passion Fruit Cider & Marmalade Cider, Oliver's Festival Cider, Newton Court Yarlington Mill & Winnals Longdon Perry, Snails Bank Appley Dappley & Hallets National Treasure. This isn't the easiest pub to get to. But there are buses to Ealing Broadway station. Hanwell station is also only 10 minutes walk away. Recommended.

29 Jan 2018 22:05

The Swan Inn, Liverpool

Fourth pub on my short Liverpool crawl yesterday was the Swan. It was quiet, with only a couple of other punters in, along with the barmaid. But with Guns 'n' Roses on the jukebox, it was only quiet in one sense. Ales on were Phoenix Hopsack, Springhead Blind Tiger, Black Sheep Brian, Leeds Midnight Bell, Robinsons Trooper, Marstons Owd Rodger & Cotleigh Old Buzzard. Wobbly Bob was off. The usual real cider is Rosie's Triple D. Rock pub that looks nothing from the outside, but is worth a visit if in this area of Liverpool, populated with late night bars and clubs.

21 Jan 2018 17:07

The Roscoe Head, Liverpool

Have been here a few times in the last few months. With the site being down, I haven't been able to review this pub (along with countless others around the country). Yesterday it was my second pub in Liverpool after the nearby Drunken Scholar (not listed on here). As usual, there were at least a dozen people in here and despite there being 4 small rooms, each room apart from the bar area felt full. The ale range was decent - Timothy Taylor Landlord, Tetleys Cask, Scarborough Trident & Stout, Conwy Rampart & George Wright Resolution. Weston's Old Rosie in the real cider. Apart from a slightly short measure, the Stout I had was pleasant enough. Still a traditional and reliable Liverpool city centre boozer.

21 Jan 2018 17:02

Port Street Beer House, Manchester

Returned to the Port Street Beer House on Sunday afternoon after finding it closed last time. As usual it was fairly busy. But the ale range was good - Magic Rock Common Grounds Coffee Porter, Kirkstall/Whitelocks CCCII, Black Iris Bleeding Heart, Squawk Pale, Track/Takk Finka & Redwillow Effortless. The cider was Blaengawney Hallets Heartbreaker. Still a good option not too far from Piccadilly station.

19 Sep 2017 21:15

The City Arms, Manchester

Was here on Sunday afternoon. It was first visit for several years. The pub seemed much smaller than I remember it. But it was better than I recalled too. There are 2 small rooms with a corridor leading outside from the toilets that goes past the rooms. Ales were Brightside The Mancunian, Moorhouses Pride of Pendle, Redwillow Faithless 72, Weetwood Southern Cross, Salamander Jeez Louise, Tickety Brew Double Hop Pale & Bank Top Dark Mild. Unlike my last visit, they now also have a real cider which is seemingly always Old Rosie. Decent place that is tucked far enough off the beaten track to avoid getting too crowded.

19 Sep 2017 21:08

Cafe Beermoth, Manchester

Modern-type café-bar with a large selection of craft beers, in addition to 7 real ales. All of the pumps are unclipped. But the selection is listed above on the back wall. Unfortunately what it doesn''t tell you is the style of beer. So you''re reliant on the bar staff''s knowledge, which was fairly spot on. The 7 real ales were North Full Fathom 5, Thornbridge Jaipur, Brother Rabbit & Lord Marples, Vocation Heart & Soul, Redwillow Weightless & Ilkley Mary Jane. A decent new addition to the Manchester beer scene. But prices are not cheap.

19 Sep 2017 21:03

The Down Inn, The Down

Was here for Sunday lunch after a hiatus of around 20 years. I remember it as more of a pub. But as the previous reviewer states, it feels more of a restaurant with real ales these days. Although Sunday lunches always used to be good. Ales on were Hobson''s Twisted Spire & Town Crier & Salopian Shropshire Gold.

11 Sep 2017 20:47

The Baltic Fleet, Liverpool

I always enjoy a visit to the Baltic Fleet. But sadly I don''t get here as often as I''d like, as it''s a bit too far from the centre to build into a decent crawl. This was my first visit since February. I know that as I recognise the Six Nations ales that WezzieLad mentions below. Whilst the Wapping brewery has now gone, the ale selection is still decent. Ales were Melwood Derby Stout, Big Bog Quagmire, Liverpool Organic 24 Carat Gold, Neptune Sea Monkeys, Spitting Feathers Session Ale, Robinson''s Dizzy Blonde, Rock The Boat Fab Four & Phoenix West Coast Magic. The solitary cider was Malvern Magic. One of my Liverpool favourites and all the better for not having a TV, especially if you want a quiet drink when there is football showing.

11 Sep 2017 20:40

The Elephant And Castle, Dawley

The Elephant & Castle was my penultimate pub of the day in Shropshire. This is another decent establishment in what is a quiet area of Telford. The landlord was friendly and knowledgeable. The pub appears to be focused around decent conversation, with everybody getting involved. Ales were Joule''s Pale, Lymestone Foundation Stone, Tring Side Pocket For A Toad & Ludlow Blonde. The real cider on the board had just gone. But he did have a suitable replacement - Abrahall''s Thundering Molly. Families are welcome. Moved on from here to the Three Crowns, which was not a patch on this one and is not listed on here.

11 Sep 2017 20:33

Station Inn, Telford

Now a private house.

11 Sep 2017 20:28

Fighting Cocks, Oakengates

On my last visit to Oakengates many years ago, I remember thinking that the Crown and the Station make a great pair of pubs to visit. You could step out of one, cross the road and straight into the other. The Old Fighting Cocks now makes it into a great trio of pubs. This was my favourite new pub of the day. Ales were mainly from the Hop & Stagger Brewery - Golden Wonder, Shropshire Pale Ale, Triple Hop IPA, Dark Horse Mild & Bridgnorth Porter. Everard''s Tiger is another regular. Guests were Stonehenge Great Dane, Black Edge American Pale Ale & Tring Moongazing. There were also 2 real ciders - Weston''s Family Reserve & Bottle Kicking Cider Company Scrambler. The interior has a number of rooms, with an outdoor yard area at the rear. I really enjoyed my Bridgnorth Porter, which went down far too easily. I can only dreaming of living on this street!

11 Sep 2017 20:28

The Compasses Inn, Ketley

I''ve been to the Compasses before several years back. But I don''t recall it. The welcome wasn''t exactly warm. Locals were occupying the bar area making getting served difficult. The barmaid greeted us with "Are you ok?", as if to say "Are you sure you''re in the right place?". Ales were Salopian Hop Twister & Hobson''s Best & Old Prickly. At the rear is a log cabin that serves a Mongolian Barbecue. The bar staff probably get many people looking to eat wondering into the pub area, which probably explains the frosty reception. Disappointing return visit.

11 Sep 2017 20:16

The Cock Hotel, Wellington

The Cock is situated on a busy junction. It''s a great old pub with lots of character. The main bar has hops on the ceiling. There is another quieter room that presumably acts as the lounge and a more formal restaurant at the rear. The barmaid or landlady was friendly and greeted us by at least informing us that the Kelham Island Pale Rider. It''s nice to have such professionalism when you can go to many places, try ordering a beer and find that it''s not actually on. Ales remaining were Hobson''s Best & Dark Mild, Wood''s Purple Haze, Skinner''s Betty Stogs, Joule''s Blonde & Burton Bridge Porter. The cider was Old Rosie. Best pub in Wellington.

11 Sep 2017 20:09

Railway Inn, Wellington

Mid-terrace locals'' pub that had a live singer on our Sunday afternoon visit. The bar area was packed. A small room just beyond was showing live Premier League football. Whilst another room at the rear offered a bit more solitude. Wye Valley Butty Bach & HPA appear to be the regulars. The guest was Six Bells Spikey Blonde. The music was a bit too loud to enjoy and certainly too loud to hear the price of our round from the barmaid. Locals appeared to be enjoying the music though. Seems like a decent community boozer.

11 Sep 2017 20:04

The Wrekin Inn, Telford

This pub is currently under new ownership and it has returned to the Good Beer Guide after 3 year''s absence. It''s a fairly basic place with plenty of space for live bands to play. There''s also an area with a pool table. Locals seemed a bit suspicious of strangers. But the landlord was pleasant. Ales were Three Tuns XXX, Salopian Golden Thread, Wye Valley HPA & Butty Bach, Dark Star Hophead & Itchen Valley New Hampshire. The solitary cider was Old Rosie. There''s a small patio area outside. Decent and offers a CAMRA discount too.

11 Sep 2017 19:59

Smithfield Inn, Wellington

Still appears to be a fish and chip place.

11 Sep 2017 19:55

The Pheasant Inn, Wellington

Friendly town centre pub with a good selection of ales from Rowton - Area 51, Ironbridge Gold, Star Light & Moonstruck Mild. Everard''s Tiger is another regular. Guests were Heritage Victoria Pale Ale & Nottingham Cock & Hoop. They also have a couple of ciders on handpull. These were Bottle Kicking Company Scrambler & Weston''s Old Rosie. A complimentary plate of roast potatoes delivered to the table was a nice touch for a Sunday afternoon. The best pub in Wellington town centre.

11 Sep 2017 19:54

The William Withering, Telford

Branch of Wetherspoon''s on Wellington''s main pedestrianized shopping street. As with many, it goes back quite a way and service is slow, due to insufficient staff. This was despite it being a fairly quiet Sunday afternoon. The barmaid that served me didn''t have much of an idea about their drinks selection and had no idea at all how to use the till. Ales were Salopian Shropshire Gold, Ruddles Best, Slater''s Haka, Three Castles Autumn Daze, Goff''s Jouster & Conwy Rampart. Ciders were Ashridge Devon Bloom, Mr Whitehead''s Toffee Apple Cider & Sandford Orchards Kung Fu. I assume the ciders were left over from the not so recent cider festival. Luckily for me, the Kung Fu was one of the ones I never got to sample. Its condition was still good.

11 Sep 2017 19:49

The Malt Shovel, Telford

Marston''s pub on the northern outskirts of Telford. The student barman and other customers seemed friendly enough. The pub has 2 rooms and a dated feel. the 3 ales on were Marston''s Pedigree, Banks''s Sunbeam & Ringwood Razor Back. Not too much to recommend it.

11 Sep 2017 19:36

The Gate Inn, Telford

This place is still closed and boarded up.

11 Sep 2017 19:31

Brent Knoll Inn, East Brent

Last stop of the night in Somerset was the Brent Knoll Inn, situated on a one-way lane not too far from the A38 and the M5. It was quiet on my visit. The interior is divided into a small bar area and a larger restaurant which was made out for breakfast. So they presumably do accommodation. Just a handful of what appeared to be regulars were in the bar. Ales were St Austell Tribute, Fuller''s London Pride & Exmoor Fox. They also had Thatcher''s Traditional Cider. Fairly decent pub, apart from the service from the heavily tattooed barmaid. I''m never too impressed when bar staff don''t tell you the price and just offer you an outstretched hand awaiting some kind of payment. It''s always polite to state the price, before requesting money. It shouldn''t be up to the customer to ask how much his/her drink is. Apparently they offer CAMRA discounts on ales. I''m not sure if they do the same with ciders as communication didn''t get anywhere close to offering that.

3 Sep 2017 11:12

The Coopers Arms, Highbridge

Arrived at this place to see a bus load of revellers just departing. Most were in fancy dress. I guess it was probably a stag party. Inside those customers that remained all seemed pretty sizzled, all singing to songs coming on the jukebox. The barmaid completely blanked me. She seemed more interested in partaking in the free snacks on the bar than doing any work. Luckily a guy appeared and took my order. With Young''s London Gold & Special & Courage Directors, I was spoilt for choice! The multi-roomed interior was a bit of a mess, presumably as they had been so busy. But the munching barmaid was clearly in no mood to make it any more respectable. Or maybe it''s always in that state when they open up each day! Handy for the nearby station. But easily the worst pub of the day.

3 Sep 2017 11:06

Royal Artillery Arms, Highbridge

No sign of a pub here anymore. Assume the new-build housing has replaced it.

3 Sep 2017 11:00

The Crossways Inn, Highbridge

After a visit to nearby Breen, I arrived back in civilisation at the Crossways Inn in Highbridge. I see it has been voted Somerset CAMRA pub of the year for the second year running and it was certainly my favourite of 10 sampled in the county. There are 2 or 3 brightly-lit rooms with a good selection of ales and ciders. Some were possibly left over from a beer festival held over the August bank holiday weekend. Ales were Black Flag White Cross IPA & Naughty Pilchard, Maxim Double Maxim, Franklin''s Resurrection, Pitchfork PG Steam & Butcombe Gold. Ciders were Cornish Orchards Pear Cider, Black Rat Cider, Lyme Bay Eventide, Rich''s Medium Dry & Orchard Pig Explorer. CAMRA discounts are offered on both halves and pints of both ale and cider. There is a large car park on the opposite side of the road.

3 Sep 2017 10:59

The Maypole Inn, Thurloxton

Situated just off the A38, this place should really be doing a roaring trade. But it appears to be struggling at present under caretaker owners. I feel it is only a matter of time, before it closes again. I read that the pub is a former cider house. But all real cider has long gone. Just 2 ales - Sharp''s Doom Bar and another from Exmoor were on. Inside there are a few large rooms. But most are unused. Those customers that were present were mostly in the garden, which has itself seen better days. It does have some children''s play equipment though, including swings and a slide. Do watch out for dog mess though. One of the worst pubs we tried during the day. But I recommend the Globe Inn, just down the road in North Petherton. It''s not listed on this site. But it is much more of a thriving affair and is a good example of an unpretentious village local.

3 Sep 2017 10:50

The Cherry Grove Inn, Taunton

The Grove is a local boozer situated close to the station. It has a worn feel. The only ale was Hanlon''s Yellowhammer. There was no real cider. At the rear, there is a skittles room, another outbuilding with a pool table and an outdoor seating area, that is most probably favoured by smokers. A handful of locals were congregated around the bar.

3 Sep 2017 10:42

Ring of Bells, Taunton

On my third visit to Taunton to try the various pubs, this was my second pub of the day. The nearby Bank is not listed on the site. I have to say that of the 10 pubs and clubs that I''ve tried in the town, there''s nothing that really stands out as being the best. Although the Ring Of Bells is certainly a strong contender. It''s situated on a street corner, not far from the High Street and has 5 fairly decent ales. Although a real cider (only fizzy commercial ciders were available) and a dark beer would have been a nice addition. The selection was Oakham Citra, Quantock Rale Head, Otter Twelfth Man & Summer Light & Bristol Beer Factory Nova. The Twelfth Man appears to be so called due to the proximity of Somerset''s cricket ground. The pub itself felt light and airy on a late summer''s day. There are two or three inter-connecting rooms and a popular yard with outdoor seating at the side.

3 Sep 2017 10:34

Greyhound Inn, Staple Fitzpaine

Country pub situated on a crossroads of lanes in a dip. It seems to be largely food-dominated. Although I think there were people other than ourselves there just for a drink. It has a number of small rooms, making for a cosy atmosphere. Service was strange as the guy serving didn''t seem to have any clue about what they were selling or how to ring it up on the till. I guess he was just restaurant waiting staff, as he handed the round to another lady. I was surprised to see a Hall & Woodhouse pub in this part of the country. But predictably, the ale selection was Badger Best Bitter, Fursty Ferret & Union Joker. A pumpclip for Rosie''s Pig cider was turned round. There is plenty of brochures and information for the nearby Blackdown Hills, which appears to be popular walking territory. There are tables at the front and there is also a large car park at the side.

3 Sep 2017 10:22

The Square and Compass, Ashill

Large pub situated down a country lane to the south of Taunton. It seems a popular place for wedding venues, with a large barn just across the yard from the pub. Cars park along the verge down the lane. A wedding party had arrived just before us, which made getting served difficult. The pub itself is quite small and despite having plenty of staff ready, the narrow layout of the pub made it hard to get to the bar. The ales were from Devon and Cornwall. St Austell Tribute & Exmoor Ale were supplemented by St Austell Cornish Best on this occasion. Burrow Hill Farmhouse cider was also on a 4th handpull. We chose to sit in the large conservatory to the front of the pub, with plenty of pot plants all around. There is also a small garden area adjacent to the barn.

3 Sep 2017 10:15

The Antelope, Tooting

Large Antic pub with a variety of seating areas including an outdoor space at the rear. The drinks selection is probably still the best in Tooting - Thornbridge Jaipur, Sambrook''s Wandle, Volden Session Ale, Atom Blonde Ale, Marble Pint, Ilkley Summer Ale & Fallen Local Motive. The cider was Old Rosie.

28 Aug 2017 10:35

The Wheatsheaf, Tooting Bec

The Wheatsheaf is situated at a prominent intersection opposite Tooting Bec tube station. It enjoys a corner location with large windows making it a good spot for people watching. The ale range wasn''t the best in London - East London Brewery Jamboree, Dark Star Original & Partridge & Twickenham Sundancer. Service was good. A decent option if in the area.

28 Aug 2017 10:26

The White Horse, Parsons Green

Yesterday was my first visit to the White Horse in several years. It''s always a decent first stop after a football match at Stamford Bridge. The prices don''t seem quite as high as they did last time I visited. The ale selection is ok. Although the darkest beer was a brown ale. The choice was Tiny Rebel Mojito Sour, Harviestoun Summer Legend, Harvey''s Sussex Best Bitter, St. Austell Proper Job, Harbour India Brown Ale, Madness Absolutely, West Berkshire Good Old Boy & Oakham JHB. They no longer stock a real cider. The interior drinking environment is still pleasant. But most people were sat or stood outside enjoying the summer sun and views of the Green. Smells emanating from the barbecue were tempting.

28 Aug 2017 10:19

Port Street Beer House, Manchester

Closed when we tried to visit on Monday. Went to the Pie & Ale and the Soup Kitchen instead.

23 Aug 2017 18:10

The New Inn, Baschurch

The New Inn was supposed to be our first stop of 11 in Shropshire. But it also ended up being our last, when the car broke down! It enjoys a nice village setting, with a lovely church opposite. 3 ales were on - Hobson''s Best, Stonehouse Station Bitter & Salopian Shropshire Gold. The pub has a couple of rooms. It serves food. But dogs are welcomed in the bar. There is a nice patio area at the rear. But it was plagued by wasps.

23 Aug 2017 18:08

Vernon Arms, Liverpool

Paid a quick visit to the Vernon on Thursday evening after equally swift visits to the Ship & Mitre and the Dead Crafty Brewing Company. I still like the Vernon as a pub and it has a reasonable selection of ales, in addition to Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon cider. But sometimes the quality of what is on offer can be a little suspect. Ales on during our Thursday visit were Brains The Rev James, Liverpool Organic Johnny Handsome, Stamps Gitane Zarah''s Rum Porter, Coach House Blonde & Cross Bay Nightfall. Still a decent pub in a good area of Liverpool for pubs.

19 Aug 2017 10:40

The Fly in the Loaf, Liverpool

Was in the Fly last weekend. It was reasonably busy early on a Saturday evening. But there were plenty of staff to enable quick service. The Okell''s ales on were Bitter, MPA & Steam. They also had Robinson''s Dizzy Blonde & Kirkstall Black Band Porter & Three Swords. My porter was nice.

19 Aug 2017 10:34

The Plough, Greetham

The Plough was my final stop of the day in Rutland. It is a village local situated on a bank with a car park and a garden at the rear. Another strange feature at the back of the garden and at the top of the bank was a gift shop. Most people were enjoying a drink outside at the rear. But I opted to sit inside. Grainstore Red Kite, Shepherd Neame Spitfire, Timothy Taylor Golden Best & Greene King IPA were the 4 real ales I could see. But there was also a blackboard showing Beanie's Plough Cask Ale which may have been a house beer on in the second room. Cider was Weston's Old Rose. But they also had their Mulled Cider advertised. But it's not quite the weather for that.

14 Aug 2017 20:19

Sun Inn, Cottesmore

Everard's pub set back from the main road through the village on a junction. The interior has a number of tiny rooms and I think there was a garden at the rear. Ales were Tiger, Sunchaser & Sly Fox. The cider was Weston's Rosie's Pig. A nice village pub serving the local community well.

14 Aug 2017 20:15

The Old Buttercross, Barleythorpe

Far from being 'old', the Old Buttercross is a modern, new-build Marston's pub on the outskirts of town next to a new residential development. It's a family-friendly pub that is clearly popular with diners. Ales were all from the Marston's range - Hobgoblin, Wainwright & Pedigree, in addition to JHB from Oakham. Lacks the atmosphere of a traditional pub and the surrounding area is dominated by wasteland, which will presumably be occupied by new build houses at some point in the near future.

14 Aug 2017 20:10

The Old Plough, Braunston

The Old Plough is situated on a bend of the main road through the village of Braunston. There were a few in, with a mix of diners and drinkers. It has a nice garden away from the road at the rear too. The ale selection was the better of the two village pubs - Greene King Barmy Arms & Citrus IPA, Orkney/Belhaven Kittiwake & Grainstore Baby Beast. The latter was just about the only dark ale I found in my 10 Rutland pubs. So I was grateful for that. But unfortunately there was no real cider.

14 Aug 2017 20:05

Blue Ball, Braunston

Supposedly the oldest pub in Rutland, the Blue Ball sits opposite the church. Marston's EPA & Jenning's Cumberland Ale were both on. There are a number of different small rooms and an outdoor area. Some were enjoying Sunday lunch. Friendly owner.

14 Aug 2017 19:59

The Sun Inn, Belton

The Sun Inn was my favourite pub of the day. It's a lovely village local in a quiet backwater off the A47. You get the feeling that the 3 small rooms are just the same as they were 50 years ago. In fact, the customers are probably just the same, albeit much older. It's the kind of place that is a declining breed across England. So make use of it whilst it's still here. Ringwood Razor Back was the real ale. Be careful of opening times. I was conscious that it closed at 2pm on a Sunday.

14 Aug 2017 19:55

Crown Hotel, Uppingham

The Crown is situated on the High Street in Uppingham, a road which is currently being re-surfaced. The pub has two rooms, with a large bar at the front and a smaller room at the rear. There were a few in for Sunday lunches, a couple sat at the bar and another couple of Americans checking out of their stay in the pub's accommodation. As an Everards establishment, they had Tiger, Sunchaser & Original. A guest was Gale's HSB. The cider was Weston's Rosie's Pig. Had quite a down-to-earth feel which I wasn't really expecting given its location.

14 Aug 2017 19:49

The Old White Hart, Lyddington

I arrived at this pub shortly after what I thought was opening at midday on Sunday. But the place was already heaving with the two overflow car parks in use. The one is shared with a petanque court. There appeared to be some kind of function on, with a fair few elderly people present. Younger people appeared to be quite well-heeled. The pub occupies a lovely building in an equally lovely Rutland village. The interior has multiple rooms, some set out for diners. But I chose to sit outside in the garden. Ales were Greene King IPA, Nene Valley Blonde Session & Grainstore Summer Ale. Prices were on the steep side.

14 Aug 2017 19:41

The Plough Inn, Caldecott

Caldecott is a picturesque Rutland village with thatched cottages. The Plough overlooks the tiny village green. On my Sunday morning visit, there was just the landlord, another couple and myself. No music or TV. Just conversation. Just a good old-fashioned village local. Ales were Grainstore Cooking & Triple B & Marston's Crafty Fox Pale Ale. The better of the two pubs in Caldecott.

14 Aug 2017 19:36

The Castle Inn, Caldecott

First stop on a tour of Rutland yesterday was the Castle Inn. This place is more of a restaurant than a pub. It also has accommodation across the road. The pub itself is quite large with a pizza oven at the centre. There are a number of handpulls. But this was the only place I visited with no real ale on. Instead they did have a cider called Rutland from the Rutland Cider Company. Both pubs in Caldecott opened at 11am on a Sunday, allowing me to get an early start. But the door was locked when I arrived here and I entered through the patio. Has a large car park.

14 Aug 2017 19:31

The Roaring Meg, Newark

My last port of call in Newark on Saturday was the Roaring Meg, a Springhead pub. I recall the pub being fairly large and having a nice, but basic interior. I don't believe I was the only drunkard in here. In fact, there were quite a few rowdy people! I noted the Springhead ales as being Roaring Meg itself & The Bee's Knees. A guest was Dancing Duck Abduction. Not the best pub in Newark. But not the worst by any stretch.

7 Aug 2017 21:15

The Horse and Jockey, Newark

Oscar's is situated on the edge of town. Being my 14th pub, my memories are fairly hazy, apart from sitting at the bar! I did note down that the ales were Thornbridge Jaipur, Hopback Citra, Welbeck Abbey Kaiser & Henrieta, Full Mash Manhaton Pale & Black Sheep Best Bitter. Ciders were Snail's Bank Fruit Bat & Pig Squeal & Gwynt y Ddraig Celtic Warrior. Maybe I should go back again when sober. But my vague recollection was of a fairly decent pub and the drinks range backs this up.

7 Aug 2017 21:12

The Castle and Falcon, Newark

Quiet locals' boozer on the edge of town with John Smith's Cask, Wells Bombardier Glorious English & Tom Wood's Best Bitter. Two rooms, with only a couple of other punters present and athletics being shown on the TV.

7 Aug 2017 21:07

The Mail Coach, Newark

This place is now the Beaumond Cross Hotel. I note that the CAMRA website states that you can only go in here if you are a hotel guest. But I strolled in and had a half of Newark Best Bitter. It has the feel of a pub, including having a pool table. Perhaps on the up again. But I was the only customer. Needs to spread the word that it is open for business.

7 Aug 2017 21:03

The Organ Grinder, Newark

Blue Monkey pub with a small inside drinking area split into a number of areas. Two barmaids were on and they were dispensing 99 Red Baboons, Guerilla Stout, Simian Summer, BG Sips, Funky Gibbon & Infinity, all from Blue Monkey. They also had Green Jack Mahseer IPA as a guest. Comfortable surroundings. A little bit out of the centre. But worth a try.

7 Aug 2017 21:00

The Fox and Crown, Newark

I thought I'd done all of the best pubs in Newark. But then I came across the Fox & Crown. Another superb pub. Don't remember too much about this one as I was getting well oiled. But I do remember that the pub had a couple of rooms with a central bar and an efficient barmaid. It was reasonably quiet. Being a Castle Rock pub, they had Harvest Pale, Screech Owl & Preservation. But they also had a number of guests - Furnace C Bomb, Pheasantry Best Bitter & Black Pheasant, Black Iris Better The Devil You Know & Linear Summer Wit. Ciders were Abrahall's Lily The Pink & Thundering Molly, Cotswold Cider Company No Brainer, Lilley's Bee Sting Perry & Mango Cider, Mr Whitehead's Equinox, Broadoak Moonshine, Circle Butcher's Boy & Worley's Beatnik Billy. Another fantastic pub in Newark.

7 Aug 2017 20:57

Sir John Ardene, Newark

Wetherspoon's can offer the best selection of ales in many towns of this size. But not in Newark. In fact, the selection was quite poor - Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Thornbridge Jaipur, Brewsters Roll In The Hay & Jenning's Cocker Hoop. Ciders left over from the festival were Taunton Cider Company First Press Original & Ashridge Devon Bloom. You'll probably come here if you want cheap prices. It was certainly cheaper and busier than most other pubs. But with that came plenty of dirty tables and glasses strewn everywhere. Typical 'spoons layout, with a few more secluded sections than normal. But don't waste too much time here if visiting Newark, unless you're watching your wallet/purse.

7 Aug 2017 20:52

The Prince Rupert, Newark

Not quite as good as some of the other Newark pubs. But it would be rude not to stop in here for one. The rambling interior is spread out over multiple rooms, each with a different character. It could make so much space by knocking some walls down. But please don't ever do that. The small bar area in the centre can get crowded. But the selection was good - Brains The Rev James, Portobello Star, Boss Bliss, Manning Sha Man & Oakham JHB. Ciders were Millwhites Blackberry Blush, Black Rat Cider, Lilley's Lemon and Lime Cider & Scrumpy Wasp Nice Pear. Didn't notice any excessive pricing in here. But I was getting ever slightly inebriated at this point.

7 Aug 2017 20:48

The Flying Circus, Newark

The Flying Circus has plenty of Monty Python ephemera spread around the place and it was a far better pub for ales and ciders than I had anticipated. The knowledgeable barmaid offered Pentrich Columbus IPA, Ghost Reaper, Thornbridge Jaipur, Falstaff Suscon, Newark Flying Circus & North Riding US IPA. Ciders were Scrumpy Wasp Apple and Rhubarb, Hibernate & Amnesia & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon and there was also Broadoak Perry. Eclectic music on the jukebox too. Another to add to the 'not to miss' list of Newark pubs.

7 Aug 2017 20:43

Just Beer, Newark

Just Beer is situated just off the main road. It has a single, small bar with a bench or two outside. But its probably slightly larger than the average micropub. Whilst the Vaults was my favourite pub in Newark, Just Beer runs it very close and is probably the best pub in town for ales. The landlord is very friendly and certainly knows his stuff. Ales were Almasty Eureka IPA, Pentrich Citra, Credence Mosaic, Eyes Lecker Weisse, Millstone Chocolate Chilli Stout & North Riding/Brew York Cautious Hoptimist. Ciders were Lilley's Strawberry Cider, Gwynt y Ddraig Farmhouse Pyder & Orchard Pig Navel Gazer. Another Newark pub that offers a CAMRA discount. Recommended.

7 Aug 2017 20:38

The Muskham Ferry, Newark

My bus journey out from Newark wasn't completely wasted, as I found the Muskham Ferry open and doing a decent business with its popular riverside location on the banks of the Trent. Unfortunately my visit was a little rushed, as I wanted to get the next bus back to the metropolis. So I only had 15 minutes. Ales were Maypole Gate Hopper, Greene King Abbot, Nottingham Dreadnought & Sharp's Dawn Patrol. A very pleasant spot.

7 Aug 2017 20:33

The Crown Inn, Bathley

Wanting to leave Newark to do a couple of country pubs, I set out on a bus journey up the Great North Road and walked 15 minutes down the lane to the Crown only to find it closed on my Saturday evening visit. It was just after 2:45 when I arrived. There was a sign on the door with opening times that was blank(!) and a locked door. Not sure whether this pub only opens in the evening or if it is closed for good. May give it another try some time in the future. But for now it gets a minimum rating.

7 Aug 2017 20:29

Castle Barge, Newark

The Castle Barge reminded me very much of Charters in Peterborough. It got me wondering if it was possible to do a crawl of pubs on barges up the East Coast mainline. Does Grantham have a barge selling beer?! This was a nice and cosy place with a downstairs bar and a smaller sundeck upstairs, in addition to plenty of seating on the riverbank. Ales were Full Mash Warlord & Northern Lights, Northallerton Yorkshire Pale IPA & Pheasantry Lincoln Tank Ale. Ciders were Weston's Hand Brake & Old Banger, Abrahalls Lily The Pink & Black Rat Perry. CAMRA discounts on pints, but not halves. But another Newark pub worthy of a visit.

7 Aug 2017 20:25

The Castle, Newark

Currently closed.

7 Aug 2017 20:20

The Vaults, Newark

Just like Snarling Mallard, I found it a bit strange having to go up a flight of stairs in order to find another set of stairs down into this cellar bar. The Vaults has 2 rooms. You'll find a bar first and there appeared to be a dining area to the rear. For ales it may not be the best in Newark. But for ciders, it was. It is the current town cider pub of the year. Ales were Magpie Jay IPA, Tiny Rebel Hank, Pheasantry Best Bitter & Belvoir Oatmeal Stout. Ciders were Lilley's Strawberry Cider & Lemon and Lime Cider, Seacider Blueberry, Rich's Farmhouse Cider, Original Somerset Cider Company Apple Jack, Weston's Flat Tyre & Cornwall Cider Company Apple Slayer. CAMRA discounts are available on halves and pints of ales and ciders. My favourite pub in Newark. The town is a great place for a small crawl and as and when I return, I'm sure I'll drop by here.

7 Aug 2017 20:19

The Old Malt Shovel, Newark

Situated on a set of traffic lights to the north of the town centre, the Old Malt Shovel is a more welcoming pub than the White Swan opposite and it had a couple of real ales - Doom Bar & Old Speckled Hen. The pub was also doing lunch, with special deals on curries. There are many better pubs in Newark. But things were on the up on my crawl!

7 Aug 2017 20:11

The White Swan, Newark

My first ever visit to Newark, apart from passing through on the train, started at the White Swan. Since the last review, this pub has clearly gone downhill. There are 3 handpulls, but alas no real ale. The keg selection was Coors Light, John Smith's, Carling, Strongbow & Strongbow Dark Fruit, Kronenbourg, Fosters & Guinness. Just 2 customers were present and they were discussing how the smoking ban and cheap supermarket beer were ruining pubs. A couldn't help but think that they weren't the only reasons. Stock a decent range of ales and people will come. The worst of 15 pubs sampled on Saturday.

7 Aug 2017 20:06

The Red Lion, Brightwell-cum-Sotwell

The Red Lion was my final pub of the evening last Tuesday in Oxfordshire. It was fairly busy with people finishing off their meals and a few drinkers like myself. 3 ales were Loddon Hoppit, West Berkshire Good Old Boy, & White Horse Wayland Smithy. I opted for a bottle of the locally-produced Red Dog Medium Dry Cider, which was very nice indeed. Cosy and relaxing environment.

7 Aug 2017 19:59

The Plough, Long Wittenham

The Plough has a fairly small interior with a couple of rooms. But it has a large garden and car park at the rear, with children's play equipment and a bouncy castle. Flying Monk Elmers, Butcombe Bitter & Malt Missenden Pale Ale were the 3 real ales. Nice village pub with friendly staff.

7 Aug 2017 19:54

Nags Head On The Thames, Abingdon

The Nag's Head was easily the best of 3 Abingdon pubs sampled on this visit. It enjoys a nice location on an island of the Thames. Many people were enjoying their evening in the garden. Inside was a decent selection of ales - Loddon Ferryman's Gold, White Horse Black Beauty, Adnams Ghost Ship, Wantsum Fortitide, Vale Red Kite, Caledonian Nag's Island Pale Ale, Ramsbury Sunsplash & Goff's Tournament. Cider was Old Rosie. Toilets were clean.

7 Aug 2017 19:50

The Stocks Bar (Crown and Thistle Hotel), Abingdon

The Crown & Thistle is a hotel in the centre of Abingdon. It seems more suited to residents and diners than drinkers. However if you want a civilised drink in pleasant surroundings, it is a decent option. The Stocks Bar and a restaurant are amongst a number of areas surrounding a central courtyard. Ales are from Fuller's. They had London Pride & Oliver's Island on my visit in both the bar and the restaurant. The prices are eye-watering. I rarely moan at pub prices. But this really does take the biscuit.

7 Aug 2017 19:46

The Kings Head and Bell, Abingdon

Last Tuesday was a return visit to Abingdon for me. I don't think I was reviewing pubs on this site when I was last there. The King's Head & Bell is an old coaching inn with a more modern feel these days. The young barmaids were bubbly and friendly. Three ales were on - Adnams Regatta, Loose Cannon Minion & Cameron's Road Crew. Most people were enjoying the courtyard which sits between the buildings.

7 Aug 2017 19:41

The Wheatsheaf Inn, Drayton

The Wheatsheaf is a fairly small establishment near the main junction in Drayton. The interior is fairly cosy with a number of small seating areas. Ales were Bass & Adnams Bitter. Seems to do a fairly decent trade in food.

7 Aug 2017 19:36

The Admiral Benbow, Milton

Apparently the Plum Pudding (the new name for this pub) is a type of pig reared in Oxfordshire. The pub is located in a village not far from a busy trading estate, but with a feeling that you're a long way from civilisation. This could have been my favourite pub of the day. But it had a bit of a cliquey feel which produced one of those moments where you walk in and everything stops. Ales were Loose Cannon Abingdon Bridge, Woodforde's Wherry, Kelham Island California Drinking & Thwaite's Wainwright. Ciders were Worley's Mendip Hills & Beatnik Bill & Weston's Old Rosie. There is a small bar area at the front and a larger seating area presumably used by diners to the side. Still a decent pub.

7 Aug 2017 19:32

The Boars Head, Ardington

The Boar's Head is situated in a beautiful village and the pub itself looks very promising from the outside. But the interior has been ruined. The contemporary décor is well out of keeping with a traditional pub. It did have 5 real ales - Fuller's London Pride, West Berkshire Mister Chubbs, Loose Cannon Minion & Boar's Head Bitter. I was first in for the evening session and I was soon joined by one or two others. The young barman was friendly enough. But as the previous reviewer states, why spoil what was presumably a lovely pub?

7 Aug 2017 19:25

The North Star, Steventon

The North Star is tucked away from Steventon's main drag. But it's well worth the effort of finding. I couldn't find the entrance at first, with only sign of a server to the garden. But the owner/landlord soon provided directions from the garden. The interior is a fabulously well-preserved country-style pub with low beams and multiple rooms. The only drawback was that it was a little dark. Ales are all dispensed by gravity and they had Loddon Ferryman's Gold & Hullabaloo, Loose Cannon Minion & Greene King Barmy Army on. The landlord certainly seems keen to make this a going concern. He was a friendly guy and I wish him the best of luck. Best pub of the day for me in Oxfordshire.

7 Aug 2017 18:58

Cherry Tree, Steventon

Wadworth pub with 4 of their ales - 6X, Horizon, Henry's IPA & Bishop's Tipple. As luck would have it, they also had a couple of real ciders - Weston's Old Rosie & Lilley's Crazy Goat. The pub itself is fairly unremarkable, apart from having a bit of character from its low beams and cosy rooms. I sat in the quieter front bar. There were a couple of other locals in the rear bar on my early Tuesday evening visit.

7 Aug 2017 18:52

The Shire horse, Kettering

The Shire Horse was my final stop in Northamptonshire and was a real wild card. It hasn't been in the Good Beer Guide since 2010 and I wasn't sure what to expect. But it's under new ownership and has an impressive row of 15 handpulls. Not all are occupied by ales. Some were unclipped and ciders were included along the length of the bar too. But the selection was Wychwood Hobgoblin & Hobgoblin Gold, Brakspear Oxford Gold, Thwaite's Wainwright, Marston's EPA, Thornbridge Wild Swan, St Austell Tribute, Old England King George III & J Church Gold Testament. Ciders were Lilley's Mango Cider & Lemon & Lime Cider & Lyme Bay Jack Ratt Scrumpy & Jack Ratt Vintage Dry. There was a lively atmosphere here and a band was setting up. Most people seemed to know one another and there were kids too. The interior is fairly spartan. But there is also a garden at the rear. Well deserved 8/10 from me and one to watch.

31 Jul 2017 21:20

The Three Cocks, Kettering

I had high hopes for this pub and had saved it until late in the day. It promised 9 ciders. Whilst there were 8, they were the more commonly seen ones. Not to say that this is a decent pub. Staff seemed knowledgeable about their products, as did the friendly locals. Ales on were Mighty Oak Maldon Gold & Marynka, Grainstore Ten Fifty, Vale Fork Handles, Oakham Citra & Froth Blower's John Bull's Best. Ciders were Abrahall's Nell Gwynne, Westons Country Perry, Wyld Wood & Old Rosie, Gwynt y Ddraig Ancient Warrior, Welsh Warrior & Haymaker & Thatcher's Cheddar Valley. Good pub. But I felt somehow disappointed.

31 Jul 2017 21:14

Sawyers, Kettering

This building still bears the name "The Swan", which was presumably a former name. But Sawyer's is also now closed.

31 Jul 2017 21:09

The Alexandra Arms, Kettering

The Alexandra Arms was my favourite pub in Kettering and also my favourite in the county of Northamptonshire on a Sunday afternoon visit. This comes fairly close to ticking most of the boxes I'm looking for in a town pub. There is a front bar, which is fairly cosy and another room at the rear where Northamptonshire skittles was being played. Ales are different in each bar. This is a Marston's pub. So there was Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold, Marston's Pedigree New World & Banks's Bitter. But in addition, there was Church End Folka Cola, Hopback Summer Lightning, Castle Rock Screech Owl & Nobby's Swift Nick on. Ciders were Farmer Jim's Rhubarb Bob & Mango Cider & Lilley's Rum Cider. A number of handpulls were unclipped. So the range can obviously get better. The array of pumpclips on the walls is certainly impressive. Locals seemed friendly. My only slight negative was a perceived frosty reception from the barman. But otherwise, definitely recommended.

31 Jul 2017 21:08

Beeswing, Kettering

Large Everards community pub situated on a bank overlooking a road to the north of Kettering. Clearly a local favourite stocking 4 Everard's ales - Tiger, Sunchaser, Beacon & Single Hop IPA. I believe they normally have a cider too. But this was off on my visit. There are better pubs in the town.

31 Jul 2017 21:03

The Cherry Tree, Kettering

The Cherry Tree is currently closed and looks as if it is simply being refurbished.

31 Jul 2017 21:00

The Piper, Kettering

Following a disappointing visit to the Red Lion at Cranford St John, I moved onto my first port of call in Kettering - the Piper. This is a typical town local, reminiscent of something you would find on a council estate. The welcome was frosty and the interior was drab and like something out of the '70's. There was only one other customer in the room I was in. It has two large rooms. In short, don't come for the interior or the atmosphere. Come here for the ales. A decent selection seems to always be stocked. Yesterday it was Woodforde's Wherry, Castle Rock Harvest Pale, Nobby's Midsummer Crown, Goff's Summer Ale & White Knight (both of these were listed on a blackboard but I could see only one clipped) & Potbelly Beijing Black. Westons ciders were Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig. They also had their Country Perry. My review may have started poorly. But it emphasises that you should still visit here for the ale selection.

31 Jul 2017 20:58

White Horse Inn, Woodford

After a visit to the Rose & Crown in Islip (listed on here), I arrived in the village of Woodford. I'm sad to report that the White Horse is no longer. There are a couple of new housing developments along the narrow lane where this pub presumably once was. But I can recommend the Duke's in the same village and have requested this to be added to BITE.

31 Jul 2017 20:52

The Dog and Partridge, Titchmarsh

Lovely village. But sadly the pub has been replaced by housing.

31 Jul 2017 20:45

Montagu Arms, Oundle

The Montagu Arms in Barnwell was my second pub of a day out in Northamptonshire. I've requested the King's Arms in Polebrook to be added. The Montagu has an idyllic village setting (just noticed the previous reviewer also said this - it must be true) next to a stream. It has a number of different rooms with some focused on diners. But the ale selection was good - Digfield Shacklebush, Adnams Bitter & Blue Monkey Simian Summer. The cider was Gwynt y Ddraig Happy Daze. Had a relaxing 45 minutes or so here. Recommended.

31 Jul 2017 20:44

The Forum, Hexham

The Forum is Hexham's branch of Wetherspoons. It was the busiest pub I tried in the town and in truth is not a bad option. It's located in an old cinema building and is spread over a number of levels. I never did find the upstairs bit with large glass windows overlooking the Market Square. Ales were a bit sparse at first - Big Lamp Prince Bishop Ale, Sharp's Doom Bar & Ruddles Best. But whilst I was there, Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold & Allendale Summit Single were pulled through. Ciders were Taunton Cider Company First Press Original & Weston's Wyld Wood. The pub had a lively atmosphere with older stragglers from the afternoon session intertwined with younger people beginning their night out. It was that twilight zone when both age groups were out at the same time! Moved on from here to the Heart of Northumberland and the impressive Tannery. Neither are listed on the site and I'll request them to be added. The latter was my favourite pub of the day.

31 Jul 2017 20:32

Tap & Spile, Hexham

First stop for me in Hexham town centre on a Saturday evening was the Tap & Spile. This pub offers bed & breakfast and I had contacted them for a room. But they never replied. In hindsight, I was happier I had chosen a place a little out of the centre instead. The pub has two traditional rooms and a good selection of ales - Dent Aviator, Mordue Saaz, Pennine Best Bitter & Credence Revolving.

31 Jul 2017 20:26

The Dipton Mill Inn, Hexham

My first pub in Hexham (I say Hexham, but it's a few miles outside the centre) was the Dipton Mill Inn. Set in a dip in the road, it's a lovely location. Leave your mobile phone at home, as there no chance of a signal here. That leaves the pub to focus on conversation, decent ales and cider and also decent food. The Hexhamshire Brewery is on site and all ales were from them - Devil's Elbow, Cragnook Well & Whapweasel. The cider was Sandford Orchards Devon Mist. I enjoyed a nice and unusual curry here, as Saturday was curry night. Great atmosphere. Worth making the effort to seek out.

31 Jul 2017 20:20

Dyvel's, Corbridge

Just over one year on and I paid a return visit to the Dyvel's Inn. A welcome sight this time was an open pub with plenty of people in the garden. I can now give the pub a more realistic score. However a similar set of pub crawlers along the railway line to those I'd just met in the Wellington at Riding Mill awaited. On entering, I noticed a couple of young lads squaring up to one another in the garden. This appears to be a peaceful place normally, with the feel of a village pub inside. The ale selection was also decent, with Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold & Small World Thunderbridge Stout available. Old Rosie was also on for cider drinkers. My stout was delicious. I could sit back and watch the entertainment unfold as one guy made an appearance covered in blood. I wouldn't let this put you off though. You have to look beyond these anomalies and my firm belief is that this is a good place. Having visited two other pubs in the town last year, I also think it's easily the best pub in Corbridge.

31 Jul 2017 20:11

The Wellington, Riding Mill

I arrived at this Chef & Brewer establishment at the same time as a large group of people emerged from a hedge in the car park. Had I been a minute earlier, I would have probably got served. But my visit had coincided with a rowdy lot who had arrived on the train. Judging by the previous review, this appears to be a popular local pursuit on this rail line (more of that in my next review in Corbridge). Ales were fairly mainstream - Morland Old Golden Hen, Black Sheep Best Bitter & Greene King IPA. The only different beer was Wylam Gold Tankard. Bar staff hadn't got the faintest idea who was next in the queue to get served. So I waited for 5-10 minutes. The interior has a bit more character than other Chef & Brewer branches. There were some secluded corners being enjoyed by diners, whilst revellers chose to sit on the large patio at the front, enjoying the summer sunshine. You know what you're getting with Chef & Brewer and it isn't too much.

31 Jul 2017 20:04

The Blackbird, Ponteland

The Blackbird is a food-oriented and family-friendly not far from Newcastle Airport, but actually in Northumberland. The ale choice looked promising initially - Sharp's Sea Fury, Firebrick Wey-Aye IPA, Mordue Panda Frog Project Amphibious Four, Greene King Blackbird IPA & Handcrafted House Ale & Tops Monkey Business. I opted for the Sea Fury and wished I hadn't. It was hard to find a table and the atmosphere felt fairly subdued. Nice village setting. But failed to deliver for me.

31 Jul 2017 19:58

The Northumberland Arms, Bedlington

The Northumberland Arms was my first of 3 pubs in Bedlington. Finding its opening hours were a bit of a challenge. But I dropped by on Saturday afternoon in the hope of finding it open and sure enough it was. That's more than I can say for the Wharton Arms down the road which advertises as opening at 2pm on a Saturday, but didn't open until 4pm. Thankfully the Wharton Arms is not listed on here, as it's not worth knowing about. The Northumberland Arms had a friendly barmaid and 3 handpulls. Two of them were in use and held Cameron's Road Crew & Theakston Tour De Wot. I was offered samples of both. But they weren't really my kind of ale. So I opted for a soft drink, as I was driving. Friendly locals too make this the best 'real pub' in Bedlington. I use that term as Wetherspoons have recently opened the Red Lion, which I will request to be added. I spent a decent hour there waiting to see if and when the Wharton Arms to open, given they weren't answering the telephone!

31 Jul 2017 19:52

Queens Head, Newbiggin by the Sea

My first pub on a Saturday visit to Northumberland was the Queen's Head in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. The pub is split into two rooms by the large, central bar. Plenty of pumpclips on the walls allude to a decent, rotating selection. 2 ales are on offer. They were Itchen Valley Pride of the Valley & Hopback Summer Lightning. Seems to have a decent bunch of regulars who were discussing the day's topics of conversation. Old school indeed and not a woman in sight (in reference to the last review). But I'm sure women are made just as welcome! Decent pub. Moved on from here to Bubbles in Ashington. That's not worth adding to the site - no real ales. But they did have a real cider.

31 Jul 2017 19:44

The Aletaster, Low Fell

After dining at Angelo's Trattoria in East Rainton (until very recently the Old Ships Inn but never made it onto the site) and having a very pleasant visit to the Three Horseshoes in Leamside (another one I have requested to be added), I concluded my Friday night's drinking in the Ale Taster. I last tried a visit in January, 2013 when it was closed. This time it was open. A decent enough local pub with seating situated around the bar and a smaller room at the side. Service was friendly. But the ales were nothing out of the ordinary - Sharp's Doom Bar, Wells Bombardier, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Purity Pure Gold, Anarchy Blonde Star & Woodforde's Reedlighter. I went for the latter. But all of the ales were fairly similar style and not really my cup of tea.

31 Jul 2017 19:38

The Burn Hotel, Houghton le Spring

Can't say I was too impressed with this Marstons establishment. It is a busy pub located on an intersection with traffic lights. A band was playing live in one corner. So I retreated to the opposite corner where it was quieter. But unbelievably there was music playing on the sound system, competing with the heavy metal band and also the TV. Along with people shouting to make themselves heard, there was a cacophony of noise. The ale was Pedigree. I didn't stick around for long, having seen and heard enough.

31 Jul 2017 19:28

The Copt Hill, Houghton le Spring

Tried visiting here after a visit to the Stables in West Herrington, which is not listed on here. I've requested that to be added, along with the Green at Wardley. Alas the Copt Hill was closed with for sale signs. The only sign of life was a horse grazing in the beer garden. Nice view from the car park and garden though.

31 Jul 2017 19:24

The Shipwrights Hotel, North Hylton

The Shipwright's Hotel enjoys a fabulous location along a dead-end road and overlooking the Wear. But whilst it has plenty of promise, it fails to deliver. There are no longer any real ales. The keg selection was Birra Moretti, Guinness, Rekorderlig Strawberry & Lime, Carling, Carling Cider, Coors Light, Worthingtons Creamflow, John Smiths & Caffreys. The clientele looked a bit rough and ready for a scrap. There are a couple of rooms, with one reserved for diners. No sign of any on my visit though. Staff were friendly enough.

31 Jul 2017 19:18

The Wheatsheaf, Gateshead

I'm not sure whether the name is supposed to be Wheatsheaf or Wheat Sheaf. But either way, this was another good Felling pub spoilt only by its lack of custom. There was myself, the barman and one other person who may even have been the landlord. Run by the Big Lamp brewery, 4 of their ales were on - Keelman Brown, Sunny Daze, Prince Bishop Ale & Bitter. The interior is as Snarling Mallard says very traditional. There was no draught cider. But I did notice a large bottle of a Westons cider that may be used to dispense pints/halves. Would like to come back when it's a bit more lively. But I liked this place.

31 Jul 2017 19:11

The Old Fox, Gateshead

After a visit to the Schooner in Gateshead (excellent pub that I have requested to be added), I ventured to Felling on Friday evening with some trepidation, having heard that it was somewhat of a rough area. First impressions seemed to back up the rumours. But the Old Fox and the Wheat Sheaf are just a few yards away from each other on a side street and are both great pubs. For me, the Old Fox was the better of the two. It has an open-plan bar with plenty of tables and a worn feel. But the ale selection far surpassed my expectation - Rat The Rat of Khan, Titanic Chocolate & Vanilla Stout, Tiny Rebel Juicy & Dark Star Hophead. Despite it being quiet, the barman was pulling through a fifth beer. My stout was in good form. I'm fairly the Old Fox has improved significantly since the last review on here.

31 Jul 2017 19:06

Angel, Swanton Morley

The Angel was our final pub of the night in Norfolk and was a worthy last calling point. The pub has a main bar and a small games room with a pool table. I gather there was a separate dining room too. The bar area is quite dark (or at least it is at night). But it is an ideal place for conversation. The 3 ales were Hopback Summer Lightning, Woodfordes Wherry & Nethergate Augustinian. In addition, there was Broadoak Perry, fetched from the cellar. The landlord was very friendly. Another decent pub. There is a bowling green adjacent.

23 Jul 2017 12:13

Darby's, Swanton Morley

Swanton Morley was our final stop in Norfolk last night and Darby's was the first of the two pubs we tried in the village. In fact, I thought it was the best pub of the day. I didn't spend too much time inside. But the bar area looked nice enough and there were a couple of dogs chilling out. We sat at the rear where there is a smoking/barbecue area on a patio and a larger garden with a childrens' assault course with play equipment. The ale selection was one of the best I'd seen during my travels yesterday - Greene King IPA & Abbot, Lacons Legacy, Woodfordes Flagonry & Adnams Broadside & Ghost Ship. In addition, there were 2 real ciders from Abrahalls, which I hadn't expected - Tutti Frutti & Ruby Tuesday. I got the feeling that they had only just started selling them, as the barman didn't know the price. One of 2 good pubs in the village.

23 Jul 2017 12:09

The Railway, North Elmham

Lovely and traditional one room village local not far from a steam railway station and line. There were only a handful in on Saturday evening. But it makes for a nice atmosphere to have a reasonably quiet drink. Although there was music playing. Plenty to look at on the walls too. The 2 ales were St Peter's Golden Ale & Oakham Endless Summer. There was also a real cider. This was my eighth pub and only the second with a cider. This was Westons Rosie's Pig. Decent place.

23 Jul 2017 11:53

The Ploughshare, Beeston

After dinner at the Bull Inn at Litcham (not listed on here), we headed on to the Ploughshare. Unfortunately it's closed at present and looking rather overgrown. Large signs nearby invite passers by to save the Ploughshare, with an indication that they've got a long way to go.

23 Jul 2017 11:40

The Dabbling Duck, Great Massingham

A large and cosy pub which appears a really popular place for food. The pub is set in a beautiful village with a couple of duck ponds. Inside, there are a couple of rooms at the front. One acts as a bar area where locals had gathered with their dogs, whilst the other appears more suited to diners. Beyond that is a much larger and more formal dining area dominated by a stuffed boar's head. Even further beyond is an outdoor patio where pizzas are cooked, along with speciality barbecue food. There is also a garden area with a kids' play area and accommodation at the rear. Staff were all friendly and help us find some seats to go with the only spare unmade table. Ales were Adnams Ghost Ship, Grain Redwood & Oak & Woodfordes Wherry. Decent pub. Although it didn't feel like a traditional one.

23 Jul 2017 11:36

The Crown Inn, Kings Lynn

The Crown was our 5th pub on our Norfolk crawl yesterday. None of the previous 4 (Berney Arms at Barton Bendish, King's Arms at Shouldham, Gate at Fair Green or Sandboy at Bawsey) are listed on the site. The Crown is a Greene King establishment with a predominantly local clientele. Most of them appeared to like using 'fruity' language. The interior is fairly pleasant with a small bar area as you enter and a larger room as you turn to the left. Beyond that is the entrance to the garden, the toilets and a dining room. Nobody was eating on our visit. Ales are mostly from Greene King - Abbot, IPA & Old Speckled Hen. There was also a seasonal beer called Bermuda Joe's with was very fruity indeed. In addition, they had Orkney Kittiwake. Despite the language, the locals seemed friendly. They could do with a complete set of dominoes!

23 Jul 2017 11:29

J J Moons, Wembley

JJ Moon's has had a bit of a makeover. It has new carpets and the gents toilets now look clean for once, with a fresh feel. The customers are much the same. But the current bar staff seem much friendlier than in the past. The ale range was Sharp's Doom Bar, Greene King Abbot & IPA, Jenning's Hop Commotion & Cotleigh Barn Owl. Ciders were Knight's Malvern Myst, Broadoak Moonshine Rum & Raisin, Hunt's Artful Rodger & Taunton Cider Company First Press Original. Will up my score to 6/10 based on this last visit.

19 Jul 2017 20:09

The White House, Stockley Park

I'm sure I reviewed this pub a few weeks back. But maybe it got lost amidst all the spam. I was back here again on Monday evening. I'm not sure why I persist. But it is the nearest Wetherspoon's pub to where I live. The ale selection is never excellent. On Monday, it was Ruddles Best, Greene King Abbot, Sharp's Doom Bar & Windsor & Eton Corker & Eton Boatman. I was here for the cider festival. But they only had 3 ciders on - Worley's Mendip Hills, Ashridge Devon Bloom & Taunton Cider Company First Press Original. At least it was 3 ciders more than the last time I visited. The pub enjoys a nice location next to a lake, with plenty of birdlife. Meal portions appeared small and it can take a long while to get served. Not the best Wetherspoon's.

19 Jul 2017 20:01

The Mere Inn, Alsager

Paid a return visit to the Mere last Saturday. This time I found it open and extremely busy. Alsager was hosting some kind of music festival and bands were playing live in the pub. The place was packed and it was a struggle to get served in the small bar area. There were plenty of staff. But it was difficult to physically get to the bar. As a Joule's pub, it had their Blonde & Slumbering Monk, alongside Beer Tonic No. 37, presumably a seasonal beer. In addition, there was Full-Bodied Ruby Bear from Beartown, which I plumped for. At least I've found it open this time. But it's not a patch on the Lodge just up the street.

19 Jul 2017 19:56

The White Horse, Woolton

The White Horse has a nice, traditional feel inside with a few different drinking areas. Service was friendly. But the ale selection was not quite as good as I hoped - Fuller's London Pride, Greene King IPA, Upham Desert Gold & Westgate Atlantic Hop. Moved on from here to two pubs in Newton-le-Willows. But neither are listed on here. I'll try to get the Firkin Bar added, as it was my favourite pub of the day.

19 Jul 2017 19:47

The Gardeners Arms, Liverpool

After finally finding Que Pasa Cantina on Lark Lane open, I moved onto Woolton, another area of Merseyside I'd yet to visit. The Gardener's Arms was the first of two pubs I sampled here and I felt it was the better of the two. Although I believe it's the sister pub to the White Horse, which was my second pub. The Gardener's is situated in a residential area and has a fairly modern feel and looks as if it had been done out recently. The range of ales was better here than in the White Horse - Marston's 61 Deep, Greene King IPA, Sharp's Doom Bar, Thwaite's Bee's Knees, Big Bog Jack O'Lantern & Purple Moose Elderflower Ale. The small pots of beer you often see in front of pumps were on display, which always aids your decision. I went for the Jack O'Lantern which was decent quality.

19 Jul 2017 19:42

The Lazy Landlord, Wallasey

This Wirral micropub has been named local CAMRA pub of the year and it's easy to see why. The ale and cider selection is small. But what I had was good quality. Unlike many micropubs, this one does feel like a pub, probably due to its fairly traditional bar area. There is plenty of seating, both at the front and at a slightly more cosy area at the rear. Ales were Holt's Bitter, Salopian Oracle, Big Hand Little Monkey & George Wright Norther Lights. Cider was Seacider Medium. Locals seemed a friendly bunch with a sense of humour. A place I'm sure I'll be back to.

19 Jul 2017 19:33

Black Horse Hotel, Heswall

Currently closed for refurbishment.

19 Jul 2017 19:26

The Red Fox, Wirral

The Red Fox was my first stop on a Merseyside crawl late on a Saturday lunchtime. It's quite an impressive building from the outside and is set in extensive grounds with a large car park at the front and to the side. It's certainly not your typical pub. I was expecting a fairly pretentious place. But I do quite like Brunning & Price pubs and this was no exception. The interior is every bit as nice as the exterior, with drinkers and diners both catered for. Prices are steep. In fact, I can get cheaper pints in London. But the range was fairly decent. Ales were Facer's Sunlight Blonde & Scrum Dragon, Phoenix Brunning & Price Original, Pennine Hair of the Dog, Coach House Strawberry Blonde, Rudgate Ruby Mild & Elland 1872 Porter. Ciders were Abrahall's Lily The Pink, Slack Alice, Cuckoo Penny, Cracklin' Rosie Perry & Tutti Frutti Cherry & Pineapple, Rosie's Triple D, Black Bart & Wicked Wasp, Gwynt y Ddraig Fiery Fox, Farmer Jim's Strawberry Moon, Weston's Old Rosie & Orchard Pig Navel Gazer. I was not surprised to see that it has been named CAMRA's Cider Pub of the Year for the Wirral. Well worth visiting.

19 Jul 2017 19:25

Mardi Gras, Manchester

Was in here late on Sunday afternoon. It's a real ale oasis (Wetherspoon's) in the Trafford Centre. But prices are bumped up accordingly. I didn't notice the upstairs bar in the previous review. The ground floor bar only had 3 ales - Greene King Abbot, Sharps Doom Bar & Tickety Brew Golden Bitter. But I was here for the cider festival. On were Ashridge Devon Bloom, Worley's Mendip Hills, Weston's Old Rosie, Perry's Somerset Redstreak & Taunton Cider Company First Press Original. There was much less seating downstairs than in your typical 'spoon's. Not sure about upstairs. Decent option whilst shopping though.

10 Jul 2017 21:43

The Waggon and Horses, Wigan

The Waggon & Horses was my final pub of the day. It's a bit of a walk out of Leigh town centre and there's a building site in the way, if you head direct. The pub no longer serves any real ales. In fact, I thought it was closed when I first arrived. But alas it was open, with a few punters around the bar and others in a games room. A friendly place. But the keg selection was limited to Strongbow & Strongbow Dark Fruit, Fosters, Carlsberg, Carling, Walker's Smooth Bitter, Tetley Dark Mild & John Smith's Bitter. All handpulls have been removed and I wouldn't be surprised to see it close again.

10 Jul 2017 21:37

The Thomas Burke, Leigh

This branch of Wetherspoon's was my 16th pub of the day in Greater Manchester and finally I had found a pub that served a real cider. In fact it had 8. Although I suspect there'd be none if the 'spoon's cider festival hadn't been on. Ales were Mole's Mole Catcher, Acorn Yorkshire Pride, Sharp's Doom Bar, Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Jennings Hop Commotion & Conway Rampart. Ciders were Thatcher's Cheddar Valley & Stan's Big Apple, Weston's Marcle Hill, Gwatkin Yarlington Mill, Aston Manor Knight's Malvern Myst, Barbourne Strawberry Cider, Tempted Festival Scrumpy & Cock Eyed Pear Mania. Typical 'spoon's layout with fewer customers than I'd expected. Drinking on my own, I still managed to lose my table twice - once after a visit to the toilet and once after a trip to the bar! Service was decent for a change.

10 Jul 2017 21:28

White Lion, Leigh

The White Lion was my favourite pub of the day in Greater Manchester. It certainly had the best ale selection - Abbeydale Doctor Morton's Branding Irony, Allgates Industrrious Bee, Bank Top Flat Cap, Green Mill Flavia, Black Edge Black Stout, Elland South Sea Pale & Phoenix White Tornado. The interior has a nice feel too. It was busy enough to have an atmosphere, but quiet enough to find a place to sit. Music was playing. But you could get away from it if you wanted. Best pub in Leigh. But could do with a cider.

10 Jul 2017 21:17

Boars Head, Leigh

After 13 fairly average/poor pubs in Greater Manchester, I finally hit lucky with this one. It's a prominent building located on a street corner and the interior is just as impressive. The first thing you notice is the grand staircase, which overlooks the central bar. There are 2 or 3 large side rooms too. The 3 ales were also decent - Dog House UPA & Columbus Brown & Dunscar Monroe Blonde. As this is a rugby-mad town, a foreign rugby match was showing on the TV. The gents left a lot to be desired. But I quite liked this pub.

10 Jul 2017 21:10

The Musketeer, Leigh

Holt's pub with a nice, traditional interior. Bar staff looked at me with suspicion, as I was clearly a regular. The question "Can I help?" was asked, rather than "Hello, what would you like?". Maybe I should have said, "yes you can hand me all your money" and that would have satisfied expectations! Holt's Bitter was on, plus Runway To Holts. A band was getting ready for a performance. But this pub was much quieter than other pubs in the town. Maybe a more friendly welcome from the staff would encourage more trade.

10 Jul 2017 20:58

George & Dragon, Leigh

This was one of the busiest pubs I visited in Leigh, which was most likely because it was well priced. It also has a decent and central location near to the bus station. There is one large room, with an outdoor area at the rear and a smoking area at the side. The 3 ales were more unusual than other pubs I visited in the area - George Wright Cheeky Pheasant, Coach House Dragon Slayer & Jennings Cumberland Ale. My Cheeky Pheasant was much more enjoyable than other ales I'd had. But the place was far too busy for my liking and I'm never a fan of bouncers on doors. It's clearly a sign that the pub attracts troublemakers.

10 Jul 2017 20:50

The Waterside Inn, Leigh

The Waterside Inn is a Greene King pub situated in an old canalside warehouse. The place was nice enough and there are some nice outdoor seating areas overlooking the canal. But being a Greene King pub, the ale selection was poor - IPA, London Glory & Amplified Pale Ale, plus a guest which was St Austell Tribute. There are better pubs in Leigh.

10 Jul 2017 20:45

The Boathouse Inn, Astley

The Old Boat House certainly has the best location amongst Astley's pubs. It's sat on the canal and there is outdoor seating where you can watch boats and the rest of the world go by. The interior was fairly pleasant too. But it did have more of a restaurant feel, than that of a pub. Ales were a little more adventurous than other pubs in Astley - Exmoor Silver Stallion, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Robinsons Dizzy Blonde. Although I would have preferred a darker beer. Not my favourite place in Astley. We moved on to the Miners' Welfare Institute, where we watched a game of cricket. Sadly it's not listed on here. Neither are the next 6 I visited - the Mort Arms, Half Moon & Union Arms in Tyldesley and the Bowling Green Inn, Leigh Rugby Union Club & Nevison Inn in Leigh. I'll try to get the Union Arms added, as it was worthy of mention.

10 Jul 2017 20:32

The Bulls Head, Astley

Ember Inns establishment near the centre of Astley. It has the typical Ember Inns layout inside. But most people appeared to be sat outside on a grassy area. The ale range wasn't too inspiring - Thwaites Ember Pale Ale & Wainwright, Brains The Rev James Gold, Purity Pure Gold & Sharp's Atlantic.

10 Jul 2017 20:25

Cart and Horses, Tyldesley

The Cart & Horses is a Holt's house on the road out of Astley towards Leigh. It was the first of 17 pubs I sampled in the area on Saturday. Two ales were on - Lee's Bitter and an ale from Shepherd Neame. But nobody knew which one it was. We chose to sit in the garden at the back of the pub which had a bouncy castle to keep little ones entertained. There was also an outdoor patio area, popular with smokers. Whilst I didn't spend much time inside, it was multi-roomed and fairly traditional in style.

10 Jul 2017 20:20

The Wrens, Leeds

The Wrens was our penultimate pub in Leeds. Things had started to become a little messy and most of our party (including me) were onto gin or cocktails! This is a corner bar, with quite an impressive gin selection from memory. It felt bright and airy and had a number of small rooms. The 3 ales here were Black Sheep Holy Grail, Ilkley Mary Jane & Leeds Yorkshire Gold.

3 Jul 2017 19:15

Templar Hotel, Leeds

I quite liked this place. It felt a little off the beaten track. But it has a lovely exterior and inside there was a friendly welcome and many friendly locals. The pub has a real, traditional feel. Ales were Tetley Cask, Abbeydale Moonshine, Acorn Barnsley Bitter, Bradfield Farmer's Blonde, York Yorkshire Terrier, Greene King Amplified Radio X Gold, Copper Dragon Golden Pippin & Kirstall Three Swords. Just the ticket.

3 Jul 2017 19:11

The North Bar, Leeds

After a visit to the nearby Horse & Trumpet (not listed on here), we moved onto the North Bar, a much more modern affair. Although it was actually celebrating its 20th birthday. Supposedly it had a special birthday beer range. But these were all bottled and when we made a choice from their beer of the week board, it was not available. Cask ales were North Prototype, Kirkstall Pale Ale & Black Band Porter & Springhead Roaring Meg & Left Lion. Some of the craft beers were quite interesting. We went for a Lervig Sippin' Into Darkness Chocolate Martini Imperial Stout at 12%. Although it was an eye-watering £15 a pint. There was no real cider. Still a decent bar that I would go back to.

3 Jul 2017 19:05

The Ship, Leeds

Similar to Whitelock's just down the road, this pub is situated up a narrow alleyway. As such, the interior is quite dark. But there's plenty of space both inside in two rooms and outdoors in the alley. One of the two indoor rooms is for drinkers, whilst the other is focused more on diners. Disappointing ale range with Black Sheep Best Bitter, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Leeds Pale, Greene King IPA Gold & IPA Reserve & Morland Old Speckled Hen.

3 Jul 2017 18:56

Whitelocks, Leeds

I'd hyped this pub up in my mind. So I was a little disappointed after actually visiting it. Whitelock's has a lovely location hidden away up an alleyway from Leeds' main shopping street. The ale range was good, whilst not the best in Leeds. Ales during our visit were Ilkley Mary Jane, Theakston Best & Old Peculier, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Kirkstall Pale Ale, Wishbone Ginnel, North Riding US IPA, Riverhead Black Moss Stout, Bad Seed Session IPA, Wilde Child Hedonistic Existence & Treboom Summer Gold. Ciders are Weston's Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig, along with their Country Perry. There are no toilets in the pub. I believe this is a temporary thing. But you have to head further up the alleyway to the Turk's Head. Good pub. But there's better in Leeds.

3 Jul 2017 18:52

Friends of Ham, Leeds

This was my second favourite Leeds bar/pub on our Saturday afternoon crawl. It's actually more of a restaurant than a pub. In fact, the ham reference reveals that it is a charcuterie. So things didn't look too promising. But the ale and cider range here is unusual. Kirkstall Three Swords, Roosters High Tea & Birdman & Fallen Chew Chew were the ales. Pulp Beetroot and Orange, Broadoak Perry & Newton Court Gasping Goose was the choice. The keg selection was also decent and included Tiny Rebel Stay Puft. The ground floor room was busy. So we retreated to the quieter basement, where you can also take advantage of table service. Toilet cubicles are unisex. Not what you'd expect and certainly worthy of a repeat visit.

3 Jul 2017 18:46

Tapped, Leeds

Third stop on our crawl of Leeds city centre pubs and bars was Tapped. This is a bar which brews its own beer and it has an impressive range of both cask ales and craft beers. The real ales on were Tapped Brew Co. Rodeo, Brew York Viking DNA, Maris The Otter, X-Panda & Big Eagle, Kirkstall Dissolution, Cromarty Whiteout, Bad Seed Aussie Pale, Exit 33 Hopnotised & Mad Skills & Oakham Citra. The real cider was Thistly Cross Strawberry Cider. Some of the keg options were almost £12 a pint. But then they were 10.5%! Seating is on benches, which is ok if you're in a group, but probably not so good if you're on your tod. A bit too pricey for my liking. But it has a decent central location.

3 Jul 2017 18:40

Spencers, Leeds

The Head of Steam was our second pub of the day on our visit to Leeds. It had a better selection of both cask ales and craft beers than the Scarborough Hotel just round the corner and a CAMRA discount was offered here. The pub has a traditional feel, with a central bar. Staff were good and patient while we ordered 16 halves! Ales were Camerons Roots and Fruits, Road Crew & Strongarm, Northern Monk New World IPA, Timothy Taylor Boltmaker, Leeds Yorkshire Gold & Wilde Child Hedonistic Existence & Social Pariah. The cider was Lilley's Crazy Goat. Decent choice.

2 Jul 2017 14:14

The Scarbrough Hotel, Leeds

Nicholson's pub near the station with a fabulous tiled exterior. The interior does not quite live up to the promise though. Ales on were St Austell Nicholson's Pale Ale & Skipper, Tetley Cask, Salopian Shropshire Gold, Sharps Cornish Coaster, West Berkshire Good Old Boy & Titanic Plum Porter. CAMRA discount offered on pints only. With a long session ahead, we were only on halves. But maybe we should have shared pints - a very silly rule. Handy for the station. But there are many better pubs in Leeds.

2 Jul 2017 14:06

The Good Yarn, Uxbridge

Still one of the very few pubs in Uxbridge worth visiting. We were here on a Friday evening, when it was fairly busy with a drunk crowd at the bar. Feels fairly small for a Wetherspoon's. So you can sometimes struggle to get a table. The ale selection was Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharps Doom Bar, Upham Fields of Gold, Ringwood Old Thumper & Loddon Forbury Lion. The cider was Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. Visited just in time to use the last Wetherspoon's vouchers.

2 Jul 2017 13:57

J J Moons, Ruislip Manor

Was here last night to try to use up a couple of Wetherspoons vouchers. But that went spectacularly wrong when we got free pints with our meals and were then thrown out at 8pm as we had our boy with us. But JJ Moon's in Ruislip is a branch of 'spoons that I haven't been to for several years. So it was about a time I paid it another visit, especially as it is usually my local CAMRA pub of the year. The ale selection does put most other branches to shame. Last night they had Upham Fields Of Gold, Caledonian Island Inspired Blonde Ale, Vale Black Swan Mild & Gravitas, Dorset Brewing Company Flashman's Clout, Twickenham Gothic Dark, Brewsters Aromantica, Greene King Abbot & IPA, Sharps Doom Bar, Courage Directors & Fullers London Pride. The cider was Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. The interior is quite dark. But it is certainly popular. The vast majority of tables were taken on a Wednesday evening. Meals were ok, without being anything special. But you do get what you pay for. Handy for the Ruislip Manor tube station and was close enough for my other reason for visiting Ruislip - the Hop & Vine, a micropub on the High Street which is not yet listed on here, but well worth a visit. I'll seek to get it added. But returning to JJ Moon's, this is certainly one of the better Wetherspoon's.

29 Jun 2017 19:45

The Turks Head, St Margarets

The Turk's Head was my final pub of the day. It's a Fuller's pub situated on a corner plot in a residential area of St Margaret's. The interior felt large and airy and there were plenty of staff available to serve. There appeared to be a function room at the back. The ale selection was lacking though. Fuller's London Pride & Oliver's Island were supplemented by Butcombe Haka. Probably an above-average Fuller's establishment.

26 Jun 2017 20:32

The Marble Hill, St Margarets

Since the last review, the name has changed again. This place is now called the Alba. The food is still Italian-inspired. Ales were Oakham Citra & Truman's Runner. I also told a lie on my earlier review of the William Webb Ellis when I said it was the only new pub I'd found real cider in. The Alba had Weston's Rosie's Pig. There are also a number of craft beers served from the rear of the bar. This pub was much quieter than others in this area. But that made for a better atmosphere.

26 Jun 2017 20:27

The Crown, St Margarets

This is an upmarket pub with an upmarket clientele. It was busy on my Sunday afternoon visit with local elite and their mutts and brats visiting. Had a decent selection of ales - Oakham Citra, Surrey Hills Shere Drop, Harveys Sussex Best Bitter & Siren Yulu. The interior is very nice. The toilets are also unusual. There was one gents for standing and one for sitting. But the prices are steep and bartenders appear to spend much of their time preparing cocktails or taking food orders. Not so much pretentious, as what is clearly designed for the local community. Probably nicer at quieter times. It was too busy on a warm summer's day.

26 Jun 2017 20:22

The Old Anchor, Twickenham

Now a thriving convenience store.

26 Jun 2017 20:15

The Cabbage Patch, Twickenham

The Cabbage Patch is clearly a very popular pub on matchdays and also when teenage girl bands are playing! Given the previous reviews, I was pleasantly surprised by this place. Whilst it is a Fuller's pub, there were only 2 of their ales - London Pride & Oliver's Island. Guests were Long Arm Lucky Penny, York Guzzler & Wychwood Drophead. The interior was nicely decorated with seating over a couple of rooms and customers spilling over into the garden at the rear. Better than I had expected.

26 Jun 2017 20:02

The Misty Moon, Twickenham

The Misty Moon is a former Wetherspoon's pub that is now privately-owned. This must have been one of 'spoon's smaller pubs and given the popularity of the William Webb Ellis over the road, I can see why they chose to re-locate. I've yet to find a decent takeover of a Wetherspoon's establishment and this one was no exception. Despite its small size, the Misty Moon was dead compared with its counterpart. There are still a couple of ales - Pride & Bombardier. The barmaid didn't know off hand how much my Pride was. So they clearly don't sell much of it. Disappointing.

26 Jun 2017 19:56

The William Web Ellis, Twickenham

This is a large Wetherspoons in the centre of Twickenham. Despite several staff serving, it took ages to get served with it being a really busy Sunday afternoon. Ales were Bingham's Viennese Whirl, Twickenham Naked Ladies, Redemption Hotspur, Exmoor Gold, Harviestoun Schiehallion, Oakham Scarlet Macaw, Tillingbourne Falls Gold, Sharps Doom Bar & Greene King IPA & Abbot. Cider was Weston's Old Rosie. Finding a table was the next challenge. All were taken, apart from one with dozens of empty glasses on it. I resorted to a bench with a stool. Surveying the clientele, I soon realised that there was an extremely high proportion of female customers. It was only later that I worked out that a girl band called Little Mix were playing at the Stoop. Makes a change from a rugby crowd I guess. The only new pub I tried in Twickenham that served a real cider.

26 Jun 2017 19:51

The King's Arms, Twickenham

This pub is currently closed. It's boarded up with skips outside.

26 Jun 2017 19:40

The Roebuck, Hampton Hill

I had been looking forward to visiting this pub for some time. But I was possibly a little disappointed, as I'd expected something much better. This is undoubtedly a decent pub. The interior is fascinating, with plenty of things to admire on the walls and even more on the ceiling. It appears that Young's Bitter, Sambrook's Junction & St Austell Tribute are the regular ales. The two guests were Park Killcat Pale & Shepherd Neame No. 18 Yard Sun & Planet Steam Ale. It would have been nice to have had the option of a dark beer or a real cider. But neither were on offer. Still, I'd be happy to give this another go. But only a 6/10 for me from this visit.

26 Jun 2017 19:36

The Masons Arms, Teddington

The Mason's Arms was my favourite pub of the weekend. The location in a residential area does not look too promising. But this is a great community local. It has a single bar, with a corridor leading to the toilets and a small garden at the rear. Sambrook's Junction & Hopback Citra are the regular ales. Guests were Robinsons Robohop & Coastal Handliner. They also had a real cider - Gwynt y Ddraig Ancient Warrior. The barmaid was very friendly. One thing that stands out is the sheer amount of beer ephemera around the pub. It fills absolutely every single nook and cranny. Well worth a visit.

26 Jun 2017 19:29

The Queen Dowager, Teddington

Now flats.

26 Jun 2017 19:24

The Adelaide, Teddington

Shepherd Neame pub located just out of the centre of Teddington. The barmaid appeared to be quite young and inexperienced. On asking for a half, she started pouring a pint. When I clarified that I only wanted a half, she carried on and poured a pint and a half! Luckily the landlord was on hand to assist. The pub was quite busy with its usual Sunday lunch trade being boosted by participants in a Teddington Pram race. Lots of women dressed as men and vice versa. Ales were all from Shepherd Neame - Spitfire, Spitfire Gold, Master Brew & Whitstable Pale Ale. The interior has a very cosy feel to it and my Spitfire was decent too. The exterior looks very nice, with some hanging baskets.

26 Jun 2017 19:23

The Hare and Hounds, Greenford

The Hare & Hounds is a Marstons pub in an area where there are few real ale pubs. It was open on my Sunday morning visit and was quite busy for the time of day. There are two main rooms, with a large garden at the rear. Two handpulls can be found in the room at the rear. They had Marstons Pedigree & Wychwood Drophead. I opted for the latter, which wasn't very good. But it was most likely the first one out. The owners seem to be Irish. Televised motor cycling was showing on the TVs. I got the feeling this was a place popular with people wanting to watch sport. A fairly comfortable place. But I wouldn't go out of my way to return.

26 Jun 2017 19:16

The Grey Horse, Sunbury on Thames

The Grey Horse is a far cry from the other pubs we visited in Lower Sunbury on Saturday. I was here for a function. It's a typical locals' boozer, most likely with a loyal clientele. The small bar is well worn. Carpets could certainly do with replacing. But there is a large outdoor area with a garden at the rear. Pride & Doom Bar were the real ales.

26 Jun 2017 19:07

The Phoenix, Sunbury on Thames

The Phoenix was probably the second best pub we tried in Sunbury on Saturday. Similar to the Magpie, it has a riverside location with an outdoor area at the rear overlooking the river. There is even an outdoor bar. The interior has a number of small rooms, giving it some character. Some are laid out for diners. But there are some more traditional drinkers' bars too. As a Marstons pub, it had 3 ales from them - Brakspear Bitter & Hooray Henley & Wychwood Hobgoblin. However they also had Twickenham Naked Ladies as a guest. Quite a pleasant pub. There are plenty of board games in the window of the bar and it's another place that is seemingly popular with families. Decent place.

26 Jun 2017 19:02

The Magpie, Sunbury on Thames

The Magpie was probably just about the best pub we tried in Sunbury on Saturday. It is split over two levels. But only the lower level was open on a Saturday afternoon. It's a Greene King pub and they had their IPA & Magpie Best Bitter. But they also have some interesting guests - Star & Blonde from Portobello and Supernova from the Aylesbury Brewhouse Company. The indoor area is nice enough. But the highlight is the riverside terrace, which is a lovely spot for a relaxing drink. Seems a popular place for families.

26 Jun 2017 18:56

The Flower Pot Hotel, Sunbury on Thames

The Flower Pot was our first stop on a short crawl of Sunbury pubs. Situated opposite the river, it's a Marstons (formerly Brakspear) pub. The interior is quite light and airy. But despite it being quiet, it took an eternity to get served. We were offered a table when we walked in and it would probably have been quicker to have accepted. Nevertheless we waited patiently at the bar whilst another couple deliberated about what food they wanted to order and then the barman went to get some meals to take to another table. Could probably do with more staff. The 2 ales on were Brakspear Honey Bee & Wychwood Hobgoblin. I opted for the Garden Cider Plum & Ginger. Pretty average pub.

26 Jun 2017 18:50

The Five Horseshoes, Barholm

The Five Horseshoes was our final pub of the night in Lincolnshire. As the previous reviewer said, albeit 7 years ago, it's an unpretentious village local with friendly staff and customers. The interior has a nice, traditional feel. Outdoor drinking is on tables near the entrance or in the large garden at the side, complete with children's play area. Ales were Oakham JHB, Abbeydale Absolution, Stoney Ford Welland Wyvern, Bass & Adnams Bitter. Cider was Old Rosie. Although there are also bottles from the local Watergull Orchards. Recommended.

19 Jun 2017 20:22

Vine, Market Deeping

The Vine had a modern feel to it and was certainly busy with primarily younger drinkers on our Sunday evening visit. It has a light and airy bar, with a compact garden at the rear. Ales on were Sharps Doom Bar & Sea Fury, Hopshackle Vine Ale & Jaramillo & Exmoor Gold. The cider was Aspall's Temple Moon. Friendly barmaid and customers. I'd never seen a gents toilet seat with glitter until coming here.

19 Jun 2017 20:12

Bull Hotel, Market Deeping

The Bull is an Everard's pub in the centre of this small town. It has two bars, with one in an unusual sunken room at the rear. An upstairs room has a pool table. There is also a nice paved courtyard out the back, with a large garden with children's play equipment beyond that. Ales were all from Everard's. The standard ones are Tiger & Original. The seasonal beer was Sunchaser. There was no real cider on this visit.

19 Jun 2017 20:08

Goat, Frognall

The Goat was our next stop after the pubs of Spalding. It's a country pub that does a roaring trade in meals. We chose to eat here too. But it did disappoint in that respect. Where it didn't disappoint was with the ale and cider selection. The choice was Grainstore Nip & Lord Minimus, Ringwood Boon Doggle & Forty Niner, Shipyard Summer Ale & Marstons Old Empire. Ciders were Weston's Rosie's Pig, Grainstore Lady In Pink & Rutland Cider Company Bushberry Cider & Mango Cider. The interior has a number of rooms, whilst we sat in the spacious garden which has 2 separate kids' play areas. Decent pub. But I wouldn't rave about the food.

19 Jun 2017 19:56

The Priors Oven, Spalding

The Prior's Oven was our last stop of 7 in Spalding and we'd certainly saved the best until last. This is a fabulous, small micropub run by the brewer from Austendyke Ales, who was present with his partner and dog. Along with the barman and other regulars, conversation rules, making for a really friendly atmosphere. Ales are served on gravity from the central bar. 3 were on yesterday - Tydd Steam Barn Ale, Magpie Thieving Rogue & Austendyke Barbecue 67. Ciders are in the fridge at the rear, along with a few scattered either side. They had Churchill Spalding Scrumpy & Fenland Gold, Rutland Cider Company Bushberry Cider, Grainstore Cider & Lady In Pink, Severn Farmhouse Cider & Watergull Orchards Rhubarb & Ginger Cider - a great local selection. The building itself is full of character. The bar has a fantastic vaulted ceiling and there is a much larger than anticipated lounge room upstairs, with a toilet halfway up. Best new pub I've been to a while and easily the best on this trip to Lincolnshire. A 9/10 from me.

19 Jun 2017 19:48

Ye Olde White Horse, Spalding

Contrary to the last review, the Olde White Horse was in the Good Beer Guide in 2008! Whilst it is a Samuel Smith's pub, it does have their Old Brewery Bitter on handpull. So don't rule it out from making another appearance. The pub is a landmark thatched building next to the town's main bridge. It's an impressive sight when viewed from across the river. Ayscoughfee Hall is also nearby and worth a visit. Inside the pub, there are a number of rooms and there is also a garden at the back. Whilst you'll only get the one ale in here, the price is cheap and it's a nice place for a drink. Moved on from here to the Lincoln Arms, the Lincolnshire Poacher and the Red Lion Hotel. But none are listed on the site.

19 Jun 2017 19:38

The Birds, Spalding

Hungry Horse pub located on a roundabout in a residential area of Spalding. On arrival, we were asked if we wanted to eat. A second staff member at the bar asked us if we'd reserved. I'd expect that in a top class restaurant, but not in a cheap and tacky local pub! Not believing I required to make a reservation to drink in a pub, I ordered a half a pint of coke for my son. But apparently soft drinks only come in pints - a very strange policy. So we shared a pint. Abbot was the only real ale on. Tables were sticky. You'd probably want paying to eat in here, let along making a reservation. Would anybody seriously do that? Worst pub in Spalding by far.

19 Jun 2017 19:28

The Ivy Wall, Spalding

First stop in Spalding yesterday was this branch of Wetherspoons. It stretches back a fair way from the road, with a separate, small room and a tiny outdoor smoking patio at the rear. 4 of their regular ales were on - Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharps Doom Bar & Wychwood Hobgoblin. In addition there was Hobgoblin Gold, Ascot Posh Pooch & Vale Gravitas. The cider was Old Rosie. Breakfast was good value as usual. Spalding isn't that well endowed with decent pubs, apart from one exception. So this was the best of the rest in the town.

19 Jun 2017 19:15

The White Hart, Harlington

The White Hart was the last remaining pub in Harlington for me to visit and it's in the current Good Beer Guide. Situated to the north not too far from the M4, it's a reasonably large Fullers pub where drinkers appear to be catered for as well as diners. It was quiet on my Thursday evening visit. There was background music playing, but no other entertainment. Ales were Pride, ESB & Oliver's Island. My ESB appeared to be a little past its best. But not bad enough to return. Not overly impressed.

16 Jun 2017 19:12

The Pheasant, Harlington

Last night was my first visit to the Pheasant in quite a few years. I've only previously been to the restaurant area, which is the large barn-like building. The bar itself is also quite sprawling, with outdoor drinking spilling out to an undercover marquee, to the front and towards the car park. London Pride, Doom Bar & 6X were the ales. So I wouldn't return for those. But the attraction here is the meals. They have a varied menu with two separate special boards. Portions are large and it's quite good value for money, considering its location near Heathrow's hotels and its captive audience. You order at a small server after queuing for up to 20-30 minutes. But food comes much quicker. Decent option if you're looking for food (and a real ale) in the Heathrow area.

16 Jun 2017 19:08

The Joiners Arms, South Norwood

The Joiners' Arms was my final pub of the day. A karaoke was in progress, which I always find off-putting. Most of the customers appeared to be congregated around the bar, presumably to get as far from the crooning as possible. But that made getting the barmaid's attention all the more difficult. The choice of just Wherry or Doom Bar was also uninspiring. Has a cosy interior. But I wouldn't venture back.

12 Jun 2017 21:08

The Catford Bridge Tavern, Catford

The Catford Bridge Tavern is situated just outside Catford Bridge station and has now re-opened. The new owners seem keen to give this venture a good go and they also seem to be encouraging real ale. The interior has two large rooms. I sat at the bar in the front room. 3 ales were on. I opted for the Southwark Maltby Street Mild. Sadly the beer was well past its best and undrinkable. So I returned it. The barmaid called over the manager to check that I was correct and one sniff of the beer was all he needed! On the positive side, it was then replaced with Brockley Red Ale without any fuss and the manager was quick to prepare another dark beer to replace the mild. The third option was Hop Stuff Fusilier. Whilst I was not impressed with my initial choice, beer can often go off and I was encouraged by the service recovery. The pub is advertising a beer festival and may well need to up its game to make that a success. But I sincerely hope they succeed, as I'll certainly be back for another visit one day.

12 Jun 2017 21:04

Catford Constitutional Club, Catford

You approach this pub along an alleyway on one of Catford's main roads. This was my 4th and final Antic pub of the day in South East London. Food had stopped being served for the day. But Yorkshire Puddings were available on the bar, which I thought was a nice touch. The interior is spacious and typically cluttered. Similar to the Baring Hall Hotel I had been to before, this place does not look finished. A couple of well-oiled ladies on the table next to me were enjoying a boogie whilst also commenting on the disgusting nature of the pub and they had apparently spotted mould. So similar to the Baring Hall Hotel, this may not be everybody's cup of tea. But staff were friendly and families are made welcome. Ales were Volden Session Ale, Hackney Kapow, Crate Session IPA & Kent Cobnut. Again there was no real cider. There is a table football game near the entrance. The last poster describes this place as quirky. I quite agree and would happily return.

12 Jun 2017 20:58

The Baring Hall Hotel, Grove Park

This pub is situated opposite Grove Park station (no I'd never heard of it before either) in a bit of a real ale desert. It was my third Antic pub of the day and whilst they are intended to look a bit scruffy, this one was beyond that. Apparently the building had suffered fire damage and is still to be fully restored. But I think Antic like it that way. The 3 ales on were Volden Session Ale, St Austell Tribute & Marble Pint. There was no real cider. Business seemed a little quiet. Kitchen staff looked very bored. The name of the place conjures up a posh establishment. But you'll need to lower your expectations somewhat. I actually quite liked the unfinished look. But it may be a step too far for some.

12 Jun 2017 20:51

The Prince Albert (Rose's), Woolwich

I was last here almost 5 years ago, when the pub was unexpectedly closed on a bank holiday Monday. This time it was open. Entering felt like entering a timewharp. You pass through what I can only describe as coloured streamers in the doorway, reminiscent of 1970s greasy spoon cafes. But the welcome was warm and the locals seemed like a friendly bunch, albeit a little wary of a stranger amongst their midst. The juke box was being well utilised and the large lizard (not sure if it was Ronnie or Reggie) was motionless in its tank at the rear. This is an unspoiled boozer that would probably look exactly the same in 10 years time, including the same customers in the same places. I gave this a 0/10 in 2012. But I'm not entering a more realistic score of 6/10 as I did enjoy my visit. The ales were Caledonian First Dawn, Cotleigh Seahawk & Rosie's Best Bitter. No real cider was available.

12 Jun 2017 20:46

Dial Arch, Woolwich

This is a busy Youngs pub at Woolwich Arsenal. It has a nice location overlooking a grassy area. Many people were taking advantage of the afternoon sunshine with alfresco drinking and dining. The interior was very spacious and nicely furnished too. TVs were showing live French Open tennis. But unfortunately the positives end there. I arrived at the bar to find an orderly queue. I also find this practice quite amusing and wanted to go straight to the bar. But I also hate queue jumpers! So I joined the back as any polite British person would. However after a few minutes, one member of staff asked people to come to the bar if they wanted serving. Cue chaos, with the solitary barman left having no clue who was next to be served. The woman in front of me ordered a banquet and bottles of wine that all had to be placed in buckets after they had been filled with ice and topped up with cold water. This was a very tedious process for a drinker waiting to be served. I persevered and when it was my turn, the barman turned to somebody who had been behind me in the queue. Luckily that person said I was next - always nice to see others with manners. So I ordered from a selection of 7 ales. Hop Stuff Fusilier was my choice. The barman tried to pour it. But alas it had run out. Ok, I'll have a Hogsback TEA instead. But wait, that's gone too. Two down 5 to go. Luckily my third choice - Young's Waggle Dance was actually on. The other 4 on were Youngs Bitter & Special, Sharps Doom Bar & Adnams Lighthouse. But whether they were actually available is another matter. The process of trying each ale to no avail cost the barman even more time. If the pumpclip had have been turned round, he would not need to have bothered. Quite a queue had built up at the bar, with more meal orders ready to be placed. Other staff seemed to walk backwards and forwards trying to sort out problems with food ordered. An altogether frustrating experience in a very poorly managed establishment. My advice would be to avoid, until they have got their act sorted.

12 Jun 2017 20:38

Woolwich Equitable, Woolwich

The Woolwich Equitable is another Antic pub. This one is an impressive building in the main pedestrian square. The interior is even more impressive with high ceilings and a balcony. There is a large amount of seating on the ground floor and you can apparently get to the balcony too. As the previous reviewer has said, the ale selection is poor. Volden Session Ale & Pale Ale & Belleville Commonside Pale Ale were the 3 on. But I was happy, as they did have real cider - Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon & Westons Family Reserve. Meals were being served and it seems a popular place for families too. The best of the 4 Antic pubs I tried yesterday.

12 Jun 2017 20:20

The Star Inn, Plumstead

This pub near to Plumstead Common is a predominantly locals' boozer. But it has a nice interior spread over 3 rooms. The only real ale was Landlord, as most people here appear to be lager drinkers. There are TVs showing sport and the middle room has a pool table in the corner. Serves a purpose. But not worth making a special visit.

12 Jun 2017 19:58

The Long Pond, Eltham

This micropub is well off the beaten path. But it's also worth seeking out. Beware the limited opening hours, especially on a Sunday when it closes at 2:30. It seems to have a fairly loyal local following and was fairly busy at lunchtime yesterday. Complimentary biscuits were put on each table. Ales and ciders are dispensed from a cool room behind the bar and the selection did not disappoint. The house beer is Tonbridge Pond Life. Guests were Hop Fuzz Yellow Zinger, Whitstable East India Pale, Rockin' Robin Reckless Robin, Kent Brewer's Reserve & Bexkey Odo's Cat Porter. Ciders were Dudda's Tun Disco, Kentish Spice, Pear O'Dudda & Cheery Old Dudda, in addition to the local Eltham Gold. I can easily see why CAMRA voted this the local pub of the year for 2017. It was also my favourite pub of the day in South East London.

12 Jun 2017 19:55

Job Centre, Lewisham

Antic pub close to Deptford station and not too far from New Cross either. I visited here yesterday lunchtime. I was the only customer during my visit, along with a couple of friendly bar staff and others in the open kitchen towards the rear. This is a fairly large pub in typical Antic style and it had a fairly decent range of ales - Volden Session Ale, Hawkshead Bitter, London Beer Factory Chelsea Blonde, Marble Pint & Saltaire Bavarian Gold. Sadly there was no real cider. But I did try their keg George Arthur cider. I assume this is made for the chain, as I saw it in a couple of other Antic pubs later in the day. Without customers, the pub was not completely devoid of atmosphere, as music was playing. Couldn't see any TVs. Menus with fairly adventurous dishes were on each table. Free wifi helped to pass the time. Decent pub.

12 Jun 2017 19:48

Upminster Taproom, Upminster

The Upminster Taproom was my last stop of the night yesterday and I'd certainly saved the best until last. It can be quite confusing when you first arrive, as what I thought was the bar was actually just a glass window overlooking the cool room where the multiple ales and ciders are kept. But clearly seeing my confused look, one of the staff approached me to take my order. Apparently this is the norm. Ales were Crouch Vale Essex Blonde, Mighty Oak Cascade IPA & Gemini, Dark Star Hophead, Wantsum Fortitude & Colchester Oatmeal Dark Mild. There were also 15 ciders and mead from Lyme Bay. Westons ciders were Old Rosie, Rosie's Pig, Country Perry, Family Reserve, Flat Tyre & Hand Brake. Other ciders were just listed by their fruit content. I believe the selection was Lilley's Rum Cider, Mango Cider, Strawberry Cider & Lemon & Lime, Dudda's Tun Cheery Old Dudda, Blackcurrant Cider & Salted Caramel Cider. Mobile phone noises or conversations are banned. A number of phones are smashed and screwed to the wall as a warning! There are a few high tables inside and a seating area outdoors at the front. This is clearly a very popular place. But I'd definitely recommend a visit. A 9/10 from me.

27 May 2017 20:13

The Ship, Gidea Park

The Ship is situated about 9 or 10 minutes on the bus outside Romford. It's an East End locals pub that was fairly lively on a Friday evening. There are 2 main rooms - 1 is more for dining. There is also a smaller room just behind the bar. All have fairly low, beamed ceilings. Ales were fairly mainstream - Morland Old Speckled Hen, Courage Best, Crouch Vale Brewer's Gold, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Sharps Doom Bar. Good as a local. But a bit too far off the beaten track to recommend, unless passing.

27 May 2017 19:49

The Kings Arms, Bethnal Green

Situated just off the Bethnal Green Road, this craft beer pub had a good selection of ales. There were 4 cask ales - Purity Bunny Hop, Salopian Fair Side, Ilkley Spring & One Mile End Docker's Delight. Ciders were Once Upon A Tree Tumpy Ground & Turner's Pear Cider. None of the handpulls or keg options have pumpclips, with all beers and ciders listed on a blackboard. The craft beer selection was much larger than the cask. My Fair Side was not the best. But I quite liked this place. There is a central bar and a pleasant wood and tiled drinking area. Scotch eggs appear to be a speciality. Decent place.

27 May 2017 19:44

The Phoenix, City Of London

Spacious Greene King pub that used to be a Hogshead next to the Stock Exchange. Despite the crowds of people in the street outside, the interior had plenty of tables free on Friday evening. The two Greene King ales were IPA & Broad Street Brew. But they also had 2 guests - Sambrook's Junction & Bedlam Golden Ale. Despite its location, the pub didn't have the feel of a City pub. Most people were dressed casually and there was no air of pretentiousness. Blondie was playing. The downstairs gents toilets were a bit small though. I wasn't expecting to queue! Not a bad option in the City.

27 May 2017 19:31

The Hoop and Grapes, City Of London

Shepherd Neame pub a short walk down from Farringdon Station and not too far from Fleet Street either. The front bar is small. Although mirrors make it look larger than it actually is. Getting access to the bar can be difficult when busy. Bu service was surprisingly efficient. There are tables further back and a garden beyond. In addition, there is an upstairs bar too. Ales were Shepherd Neame Spitfire & Whitstable Bay Pale Ale. The guest was Black Sheep Best Bitter. CAMRA card holders get 50p off on pints or bottles only. Menus were on tables. But I didn't see anybody eating. Fairly standard city boozer.

27 May 2017 19:25

The Stags Head, Fitzrovia

The Stag's Head is located on New Cavendish Street, just off Great Portland Street. It's situated in an art deco building. It has a single, small room with more standing room than seating. The bar is even extended outwards to ensure more drinking space. But more people were outside than in on my Friday afternoon visit. Service wasn't the friendliest and the ale range was not the best - Fullers London Price & Tring Side Pocket For A Toad & Colley's Dog. The TV was off. But music was playing. A fairly average affair.

27 May 2017 19:10

The Thornbury Castle, Marylebone

I can't say I've ever noticed this pub before. It's tucked down a fairly narrow side street to the south side of the Marylebone Road. The interior feels a bit dark. But it's decked out with a fair bit of rugby memorabilia, as this is apparently a rugby pub. There was an impressive range of 6 ales on - Three Brewers Golden English Ale, Three Sods Mon Cheri, Rebellion Zebedee & Angel, Dorking Pilcrow Pale & Vale Fork Handles. After I'd ordered, I then noticed a sign stating they also had Mr Whitehead's Rum Cask. So I ordered one of those too. There was no food being served during my afternoon visit. More people were enjoying the tables outside in the sunshine, than were inside. A TV was on with the sound low in one corner and music was playing. I'm told this pub used to be a bit of a dive. But it's certainly worth a visit these days.

27 May 2017 19:02

The Prince of Wales, East Barnet

The Prince of Wales was my last pub of the night and was also the last pub I hadn't previously visited in the North London area from the last 15 editions of the Good Beer Guide. It hasn't been reviewed for over 6 years and I'd say it has improved substantially since then. There was a mixed clientele with some lager swillers at the bar, a younger group near me and a couple playing what looked like a very complicated board game in the corner. The ale range wasn't bad - Hobsons Old Prickly, Caledonian Deuchars IPA, Fuller's London Pride & Sharp's Doom Bar. But I plumped for the Lilley's Mango Cider. I quite liked this pub. But it's a bit off the beaten path.

22 May 2017 21:16

The George, Enfield

I wasn't expecting too much from the George. But it did marginally exceed my expectations. The interior is open-plan and fairly large. There is also an outdoor drinking area at the front, where you can get accosted by drunks and you can admire the local motor racing up Enfield's version of Talladega. Tables inside were all wet and sticky from previous incumbents. But they did have 3 ales - Sharps Doom Bar, Purity Pure Gold & Timothy Taylor Dark Mild. I don't see the latter too often in these parts and it was in fairly good condition. The price was reasonable too. So swings and roundabouts here.

22 May 2017 21:11

The Old Wheatsheaf, Enfield

The Old Wheatsheaf is another Enfield local, with a traditional two-room layout. Sport was being shown on a few TVs for the all-male clientele. 3 ales were being consumed - Wadworth 6X, Sharps Atlantic & Courage Best. I had the Best, which was fairly ordinary. Nothing too much to recommend.

22 May 2017 21:06

Moon Under Water, Enfield

The Moon Under Water seemed like another older branch of Wetherspoon. Apparently it used to be a dairy, which certainly makes it a bit different from others. Service was good. Ales were Greene King Abbot & Abbot Reserve, Ruddles Best, Sharps Doom Bar, Peerless Red Rocks, Shepherd Neame Spitfire & Nethergate Old Growler. Ciders were Westons Old Rosie & Thistly Cross Whisky Cask. Above average Wetherspoons.

22 May 2017 21:03

The Wonder, Enfield

After another lengthy walk across a golf course from the King & Tinker, I came across this backstreet McMullens house. I thought there was a karaoke going on initially. But I walked into a packed bar to find loads of old folk all having a sing-song on the piano. Feeling a little out of place there, I left them to "We'll Meet Again" and retreated to the lounge. McMullen's Cask Ale, Country Bitter & AK were on, as well as their new Rivertown Brewery's Citra. My AK was well priced. I seem to recall it was £3.20 for a pint. A good example of a thriving community local.

22 May 2017 20:55

The King and Tinker, Enfield

I believe this pub is classed as within London. But it's in one of the most remote parts of the capital I've been to. In fact, it's good half an hour walk from the nearest bus route, past Tottenham's brand new training ground, through woodland and past golf courses. Beers were better than I had expected - Fullers London Pride, Greene King IPA, Oakham JHB, St Austell Tribute & Adnams Ghost Ship. There is a small, cosy bar area with a table reserved for dog owners and to the side is a separate dining area. The pub garden had a bouncy castle in operation yesterday. I'm not sure it's worth the slog from the Great Cambridge Road. But it's still a very nice pub.

22 May 2017 20:49

Brewhouse and Kitchen, Islington

Following a recent visit to the Brewhouse & Kitchen in Dorchester, I headed to this branch yesterday before a visit to the Emirates Stadium. Unfortunately, I'm still to be impressed by this chain. 5 of their ales were on - Arc Angel, Spandau B, Watchmaker, Chaplin & Triple AAA. But as with the Dorchester branch, there is no real cider - only fizz. The atmosphere was ok. But I get the feeling this chain struggles for an identity. I'm not sure whether it is supposed to be a restaurant or a pub. It seems to be trying to be both, but doesn't do either very well. Disappointing.

22 May 2017 20:44

The Duke's Head, Highgate

The Duke's Head was my favourite pub of 11 I tried in North London yesterday. It's situated at the top of the hill in Highgate village and is an old coaching inn. Nowadays, it has a modern appearance with a good selection of real ales, real ciders and craft beers on keg. Ales on were Magic Rock High Wire, Electric Bear Werrrd!, Uley Bitter, Siren Yulu & Liquid Mistress, Stroud OPA & Five Points Railway Porter. Ciders were Seacider Marmalade & Kentish Pip Craftsman. Craft beers were from breweries such as Brew By Numbers, Siren, Lost & Grounded, Burning Sky, Bristol Beer Factory & Anspach & Hobday. The only surprise to me was that there weren't more people in. Possibly the best pub in Highgate.

22 May 2017 20:36

The Bell House, Camden

The Constitution has a nice position next to the canal. I arrived on Sunday lunchtime as they were opening. But seemingly one staff member hadn't turned up and the owner seemed a bit peeved. The ground floor is fairly basic. But there is a nice outdoor area overlooking the canal on the lower level. Ales were Dark Star Hophead, Sambrook's Junction & Gloucester Gold.

22 May 2017 20:25

The Camden Eye, Camden

I wasn't planning to try this place. But I was a little too early for my planned pub in Camden. The Camden Eye enjoys a strategic place on the corner of Kentish Town Road and Camden Road, directly across from the tube station. Sitting in here is a good place for people watching. All manners of life stroll past and some of them stroll into the pub itself. It certainly has a varied clientele. Ales on were Watney's Pale Ale, St Austell Tribute, Wadworth Horizon & Camden Ale, which is actually Caledonian Edinburgh Castle re-badged and far from local!

22 May 2017 20:15

JJ Moon's, Kingsbury

Paid my first visit to this branch of Wetherspoons yesterday morning for a breakfast and a pint. As others have said, this is one of the more traditional 'spoons and presumably one of the older ones. Service was efficient and friendly. Not all ales clipped were on. Those that appeared to be on were Sambrook's Battersea Rise, Sharps Doom Bar, Greene King Abbot & IPA, Dartmoor Jail Ale & Caledonian First Dawn. The cider was Old Rosie. Plastic glasses were in use as there was a game at Wembley. Easily the best pub in the area.

22 May 2017 19:54

The Ship and Mitre, Liverpool

For the first time this morning, I had the pleasure of trying the breakfast here. You get a decent sized plate for £6 and they're open from 9am. Whilst I had a coffee, I also managed a few ciders too. It was strange to see the place so quiet. But by the time we left around 11:30, it was starting to fill up a little. With few customers, service was good. Today's ale selection was Ship & Mitre Sublime, Level & Silhouette, Stamps Blond Moment & Rum Porter, Sandstone Sandstone Edge, Kendrick's Victoria, Martland Mill Lancashire Loom, Wychwood Hobgoblin, Nethergate Essex Border, JW Lee's Monnraker & Banks & Taylor Shefford Dark Mild. The one thing I really like about the Ship & Mitre is the fact there are different ciders every time I visit. All 3 on today were new ones for me - Waulkmill Crabbit & Cider Cyser & Rocquette Fauxguette Valley. Still the best pub in Liverpool, in my opinion.

13 May 2017 16:55

The Grapes, Liverpool

I agree that the Grapes has improved further, with the new extension. It still maintains its traditional feel, whilst simply allowing more customers. This is one of the late night establishments in this area. So it was busy when we arrived in the early hours of Saturday morning. The atmosphere was lively and bar staff were friendly and efficient. Ales were Neptune Riptide & Aegir, Salopian Bulletproof & Far Side, Hopcraft Dead Man Calling & Heavy Industry Pigeon Toed Orange Peel. They also had Seacider Medium Dry on handpull. Now possibly my third favourite pub in Liverpool after the Ship & Mitre and the Dispensary.

13 May 2017 16:48

Thomas Rigby's, Liverpool

Rigby's was one of 4 pubs we visited yesterday afternoon, along with the Lion, Ranelagh's Tavern and the Sanctuary. The latter two are not listed on here. It's been a while since I've been in here. But little has changed. It was packed on our Friday visit, with little space to manoeuvre in the bar area. The courtyard at the rear was also busy. However for the first time, we sat in the room at the back, where there were spare tables and where it actually feels quite quiet, compared with the rest of the pub. The ale selection wasn't the best. Okell's Bitter & IPA are the 2 regular ales. They also had Castletown Ale from Okell's and 3 other guests - Kirkstall Pale Ale, Lancaster English Pale Ale & Exit 33 Thirst Aid. With no dark beers or ciders, there was nothing particular to suit me. So I resorted to a Thistly Cross cider from a bottle. Still fails to hit the spot.

13 May 2017 16:41

The Augustus John, University of Liverpool

Managed to visit the AJ again last night, as I was in the city on a weekday. Usually I am there at weekends when the pub is still closed. This was a late Friday night visit and its popularity made me wonder why it no longer opens on a Saturday at the very least. All tables were taken and people had spilled outside onto the tables there. I agree with the previous reviewer that there is little atmosphere there. It doesn't really feel like a pub. But the ales and the ciders in particular are still decent. Last night it was Great Orme Woolly Jumper, Peerless Knee-Buckler IPA, Neptune Big Sur & Mobberley Brewhouse Elysium. Ciders were Cotswold Cider Company No Brainer, Gwynt y Ddraig Happy Daze, Lyme Bay Eventide, Purbeck Cider Company Muddy Scamp, Orchard Pig Navel Gazer, Broadoak Perry, Abrahalls Lily The Pink & Weston's Family Reserve. Still worth a trip up the hill, in my opinion. But then again I'm biased due to the cider selection.

13 May 2017 16:35

The Bree Louise, Euston

Now that the Cider Tap has closed, this is the best place in the Euston area for cider. For beer, the Euston Tap is probably preferable with beer quality better. But the range of ales here is impressive. On a visit yesterday, they had Banks's Sunbeam, Art Brew Unfined Orange IPA, Milestone Magna Carta, Southwark Harvard American Pale Ale, Downton Roman Imperial Stout, Brains The Rev James Bitter & Gold, Dorset Brewing Company Tom Brown's Bitter & Chesil, XT Pi Mild & Xperimental CF 127, Nottingham Mild, Dorking Black Noise Porter, Dark Star Hophead, Bree Louise Session Pale Ale, Titanic Plum Porter, Windsor & Eton Kohinoor IPA & Knight Of The Garter, Stod Fold Blonde & Portobello Spring Ale & Westway Pale Ale. I was back today and a few different ales had appeared - Wimbledon Quartermaine IPA, Downton Four-Leaf Porter, Wychwood Hobgoblin & Rebellion Zebedee. Ciders on both visits were Millwhites Apples & Pears, Rum Cask & Bree Louise House Cider, Harry's No. 8, Kentish Pip Craftsman, Sandford Orchards Pear Shaped, Farmer Jim's Farmyard Fruits, Blaengawney Hallet's Perry, Scoundrel Dry Scrumpy & Westons Old Rosie. I still find the pub itself pretty unwelcoming and staff are far from friendly. But it's still a great choice for a decent ale/cider selection in the Euston area.

13 May 2017 16:24

The Corner House, Windsor

First visit to the 5th pub of this small chain of pubs on Sunday evening. The pub has a nice, traditional ground floor bar with a dining room upstairs and also an outdoor roof terrace. It was quiet on our visit. They share the same buy 9 pints, get the 10th free offer on real ale and real cider as in the other pubs (Sussex Arms in Twickenham, Antelope in Surbiton, Express in Brentford and the other whose name escapes me in Kingston). I'd only got 8 stamps. But the barman gave me a free drink. The only problem was that he only gave me a free half and charged me for the other one! The ale selection was quite decent - Black Swan Mild, Milestone Honey Porter, Triple fff Hunky Dory, Twickenham Redhead, Hammerpot HPA & Shooting Star, Bass, Windsor & Eton Knight Of The Garter, Big Smoke Solaris & Ascot Alley Cat Ale. All of the ciders were a bit too 'samey' for my liking! There was Lilley's Gladiator, Strawberry Cider & Pickled Parrot Perry, Sandford Orchards Devon Red & Harrys's Prince Harry Ginger Cider. Could have done with some more traditional ones. Nevertheless this is a really good addition to Windsor's pubs and possibly the best in town right now. It's not too far from the castle, but far enough to ensure it doesn't get too crowded or touristy.

9 May 2017 19:52

Swan Inn, Morriston

Paid a swift visit here after the Duke's Inn over the road (not listed on here). The interior of this place is comfortable enough and there were 2 or 3 other customers. There are no real ales. The keg selection was Guinness, Carling, Fosters, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruit, Orchard Pig Reveller, John Smiths, Kronenbourg & Heineken. At £2 a pint, my Reveller was good value and this place is certainly a better option than the Duke's Inn. But I'm struggling to find many more positives.

9 May 2017 19:43

Five Bells Inn, Bridgend

After a visit to the Old Castle, our fourth pub in Bridgend was the Five Bells Inn. This was the third best pub in Bridgend in my opinion. We sat in the front bar, which had a few other customers. I believe there was another bar to the rear. 3 ales were on. Bass & Hancock's HB appear to be the regulars. Timothy Taylor Landlord was the guest ale. We had the HB, which was fine from me. But my drinking partner was not too keen. Moved on from here to Cabo Roche (disappointing) and the Coach Inn (easily the best pub in the town in my opinion). Neither are listed on the site.

9 May 2017 19:36

Wyndham Arms, Bridgend

The Wyndham Arms is a Wetherspoons establishment situated in the town centre of Bridgend. It was the busiest of the 6 pubs we tried and was doing a decent trade in food, with most tables taken. It has a corner location and seems smaller than most other Wetherspoons. The ale selection was decent - Nethergate Stour Valley Gold, Bullmastiff Welsh Red, Rhymney Golden Ale, Brecon Red Beacons, Boss Blonde & Greene King IPA & Abbot. Unfortunately there was no real cider. Probably the second best pub in Bridgend after the Coach Inn (not listed on here).

9 May 2017 19:30

The Railway, Bridgend

The Railway was the first stop of a short Bridgend crawl on Saturday. It is quite large inside. But it felt a little dark during the daytime. Only a handful of other customers were in. Old Speckled Hen was the only real ale. Disappointing start.

9 May 2017 19:23

The Hop Pole Inn, Bromsgrove

After the chaos of the nearby Guild, it was refreshing to return to normality in the Hop Pole. This is a pub specialising in live music, which clearly has a strong, local following on any night. We opted to sit in the reasonably-sized garden in the rear. Ales were Worfield OBJ (O Be Joyful), Wells Bombardier Burning Gold, Robinsons Pint of Thrones, Sharps Doom Bar & Wye Valley HPA. My last pub of the weekend was also the first I'd visited to have more than a single real cider. 3 were in boxes on the bar - Westons Old Rosie & Aspalls Cyderkyn & Temple Moon. Both Aspalls ciders were good. Nice boozer.

2 May 2017 21:45

The Guild, Bromsgrove

Came in here for a bite to eat after visiting nearby Avoncroft. It took almost 2 hours to get any food after we entered. Food quality was poor. Waiting staff are scruffy. The only ale is Doom Bar. If you like places where there are more kids than adults (it even has its own play area), you'll be at home here. Felt like being in a live episode of Jeremy Kyle. Sadly we can only give a minimum of 1/10 now. I think that may be over-egging it.

2 May 2017 21:41

The Navigation Inn, Stoke Prior

The Navigation has been refurbished and re-opened under new management (a seemingly enthusiastic young couple). We arrived at opening time yesterday. There are two rooms. We chose the public bar. But whilst it was fairly comfortable, I felt it lacked character. There are 4 handpulls and I think they're gradually building up the range. Two ales were on yesterday - Butty Bach & 6X. Ok. But could be better.

2 May 2017 21:36

The Railway Hotel, Parbold

You can probably guess where the Railway is situated in Parbold. It's actually right next to the level crossing. Of the 4 pubs in Parbold, it was my favourite, mainly because it was the least pretentious. It was a simple, no frills locals' boozer with a friendly landlord and locals who crack pretty poor jokes - "What's the darkest ale you have" - cue the retort "Guinness". It was of course true. But it's not helpful! The "real" ale selection was Tetleys Cask, Thwaites Wainwright & Lancaster Bomber, Black Edge Ginger & Martland Mill Clogmaker. Handy for..... you guessed it..... Parbold station.

2 May 2017 21:31

The Windmill Hotel, Parbold

Apparently the Windmill was an old grain store. It's an impressive building outside and inside. I entered to find a group exiting and telling me not to bother as they were fully booked. But I was after liquid refreshment, not food. Ales were from the local Windmill brewery - Anderson's Pale Ale & Deckhand. But there were also guests - Southport Golden Sands, Tetley Cask, Slaters Ultra & Black Sheep Best Bitter. This place is pricy and appears focused on diners. But at least the ale range is decent. Toilets are downstairs where there is also a small outdoor drinking area and access to the car park.

2 May 2017 21:27

Stocks Tavern, Parbold

The Stocks Tavern was the worst of the 4 pubs tried in Parbold. As the previous reviewer states, the interior feels whitewashed and very bland. Some tables were set out for diners, with few others available and no standing room. The best spot appeared to be outside overlooking the car park. I was also overcharged by a pound for my drink. I was then refunded the pound in 10p pieces. Wainwright, Pedigree & Sneck Lifter were the ales. But try anywhere else in Parbold and you'll have a better time.

2 May 2017 21:22

The Wayfarer, Parbold

The Wayfarer was my first stop in Parbold on Sunday evening. It was packed with a rather large car park that was full with cars queuing for spaces. Inside was just as busy and uncomfortably so. Whilst this is the home of the Problem Child brewery, the pub is primarily for diners with drinkers only having the space around the bar. With the bar area full, I stood near the diners. Ales from Problem Child were Child Rascal & Scoundrel. Guests were also a decent range - Dark Star American Brown Ale & Southport Carousel. The real cider was Seacider Strawberry, a new one for me. Has some very good points. But on the reverse side, it was too busy and uncomfortable to enjoy.

2 May 2017 21:19

The Dog and Gun Inn, Aughton

The Dog & Gun was my final pub in the Aughton area. All eyes were on the TV screen, which had the North London derby on when I walked in. This is a Marstons pub with only ales from the Marstons range - Thwaites Wainwright, Banks's Bitter & Marstons Pedigree. There are two fairly small rooms. Locals were packed into the bar, whilst there was an unoccupied lounge. There are better pubs in the area.

2 May 2017 21:14

Town Green Inn, Aughton

Now the Town Green Brasserie with an emphasis on food and wine. Wainwright was the real ale option. Expensive. Don't bother, unless you want to eat.

2 May 2017 21:10

The Derby Arms, Aughton

This was the second pub in the Aughton area I visited after the Stanley Arms (not listed on here). But the Derby Arms was my favourite pub of 12 I tried in Lancashire either side of the football on Sunday. It's only a small place. But there are a few intimate corners. Ale drinkers are well served by a small but varied selection - Rat Hai Karate & Pet Rat, Rudgate Ruby Mild, Tetleys Cask & Salopian Oracle. Diners also seem well catered for, with the pub doing a roaring trade for food. There is a children's play area in the garden to keep the little ones occupied and to top it all, both staff and customers are friendly. Probably an 8/10, which is an unusual score for me for a pub without a real cider.

2 May 2017 21:08

Beacon Inn, Skelmersdale

I thoroughly agree with the last review. This place was a bit of a let down. Whilst it looks promising from the outside, it has been modernised on the inside and has a wine bar feel to it. The only ale on was Wells Bombardier Glorious English. There were a number of people in and most were there for food. However there are a large number of TV screens showing live football. There is no escaping it. I was amused when one elderly fellow walked in and specifically asked if there was a table without a view of the football. The waitress shook her head and laughed. I could see one table out of sight of the football. But it was directly under the speakers which were blasting out the commentary at an unacceptable volume. I'm all for having a TV for football or other sporting events in pubs. But people should be able to have the option of avoiding it if they want. Is this a sports bar, a pub or a restaurant? Poor.

2 May 2017 20:58

Prince William Inn, Dalton

Lovely Robinsons pub situated high up in the hills near Ashurst Beacon. It's a large affair inside. Staff were very friendly. But its main priority appears to be food. Unicorn & Wizard were the 2 ales. But I was happy to find Rosie's Pig cider. The better of the two pubs at the top of this hill. Appears popular with cyclists.

2 May 2017 20:52

Old Dog Inn, Skelmersdale

There's no sign of this pub any longer. Apparently it has been converted to residential use.

2 May 2017 20:47

White Lion, Skelmersdale

Thwaites pub situated on the main road through Up Holland. There are a couple of rooms at the front and a larger room at the rear, where the bar is located. Wainwright is the regular ale. They also had Hop To It from Thwaites and Brakspear Oxford Gold. Football was showing on the big screen.

2 May 2017 20:46

Delph Tavern, Orrell

Beware the opening times of this pub. It shows as open at 11:30 on some websites. But it doesn't actually open until midday. So I waited in the car park for half an hour. The ale selection was better than I anticipated. But all were pale ales - Allgates Tontine Tipple, Thwaites Wainwright, Salopian Lemon Dream, Atlas Wayfarer & Bristol Beer Factory 12 Apostles. Could have done with a dark beer. Seems to have a strong focus on food.

2 May 2017 20:43

William Wygston, Wigston

The William Wygston was the better of two Wetherspoons I visited over the weekend. It was also packed. There are plenty of tables. But I think we nabbed the last one, right at the rear. Service was quick though. Ales were Marstons Old Empire, Ringwood Forty Niner, Sharps Doom Bar, Ruddles Best, Adnams Broadside, Exmoor Gold & Grainstore Triple B. The cider was also from Grainstore - Hornet, which I'd had before but was quite pleasant. Preferred the Star & Garter up the road, as it has more character. But it's worth trying both if in Wigston.

2 May 2017 20:35

Star and Garter, Wigston

The Star & Garter was my favourite pub of 10 tried in Leicestershire on Saturday. It is a traditional two room local, which was busy during the early evening. It also stocks a decent range of ales - Everards Tiger, Ascalon & Beacon, Batemans XXXB & Shefford Plum Mild. The cider was Lilleys Merry Monkey. The only drawback was the service. One of the young barmaids stood doing nothing and ignored me on two separate visits to the bar. Luckily one of the older barmaids did spot me. Recommended.

2 May 2017 20:31

The Black Dog, Oadby

The Black Dog appears to be an Indian-owned pub, with some Indian dishes on the menu. But I didn't see anyone eating. Most of the clientele were drinkers and the ale selection was better than the local Wetherspoons - Brunswick Steam Forever, Merry Miner Pit Pony & Everards Tiger & Original. There is a large, covered patio area at the rear that is probably quite a nice place to while away a few hours in the summer. Good pub. Moved on from here to the Wheel (not listed on here), just up the road.

2 May 2017 20:24

Lord Keeper Of The Great Seal, Oadby

Fairly compact Wetherspoons branch on what I guess is Oadby's main street. We visited on Saturday afternoon shortly before the horse racing finished. It was fairly busy with diners and families on the lower level and drinkers nearer the entrance. By the time we left, there were bouncers on the door. Service was decent. Ales were Morland Old Speckled Hen, Sharps Doom Bar, Greene King Abbot & IPA, Theakston Best Bitter & Ramsbury Chalk Steam. The cider was Black Dragon. Not the best branch in the chain. But unlike elsewhere, at least they had a real cider.

2 May 2017 20:18

The Cow and Plough, Oadby

The Cow & Plough is situated in a barn outside of the centre of Oadby. It belongs to the Steamin' Billy brewery. The two rooms inside have plenty of character. Steamin' Billy beers on were Bitter, Billy, Skydiver & Vardy's Volley. Fullers London Pride is supposedly always on. Guests were Abbeydale Moonshine & Black Sheep Golden Sheep. Another nice pub. But would have been better with a dark ale or a cider.

2 May 2017 20:12

Fox and Goose, Illston On The Hill

Cosy village pub tucked away on the village's main street with a field full of sheep opposite. It's an Everards pub with two of their ales - Beacon & Tiger. There is a small bar and another small lounge. We sat outdoors on the patio area. You're guaranteed a warm welcome here from the local farming community. But it could have done with a better selection of ales and maybe a real cider. Still a nice pub though.

2 May 2017 20:07

The New Greyhound, Market Place

The New Greyhound is tucked away at the centre of this quiet Leicestershire village. It's a Marstons pub and two of their ales were on - Pedigree & Saddle Tank. The landlord was talkative and seemed genuinely interested in his customers. Seating is spread over a couple of rooms either side of the central bar, with a garden at the rear. It was fairly quiet on our Saturday lunchtime visit.

2 May 2017 19:59

The White Horse, Hedgerley

Still a great pub. It had a beer festival over the Easter weekend. Of the 3 annual festivals, the one at the end of May is the biggest with generally over 100 ales on throughout the weekend. The pub is a 2 room village local with a basic bar and a cosy lounge. There is an undercover patio at the rear with heaters and a garden beyond that for finer weather. Ales are served on gravity. Yesterday there was Rebellion IPA & The Bard, Mallinsons Calypso Cascade, Pebblefish Admiral Hopper, Brightside Amarillo, Mitchell's Hop House Dennis, Blue Square Abyss Porter & Mill Valley Duke's Perry. The two ciders were Salt Hill Ginger Spice & Broadoak Pheasant Plucker and there was also a perry from Stockmoor. There was also a craft beer - Boundary Push & Pull. Well worth a visit.

24 Apr 2017 19:29

The Pembury Tavern, Hackney

Our final pub of the day was the ever-reliable Pembury Tavern. It had the usual range of Milton ales - Mammon, Minotaur, Nero, Sparta, Medusa, Irene & Justinian. Guests were Slaters Haka & Vog Dark Matter. Ciders were Twisted Misty & Springfield Old Barn. The pizzas looked very tempting. I must try one next time I'm here. My previous reviews were slightly negative, on reflection. So I'm upgrading my score to a 8/10.

23 Apr 2017 12:25

The Victoria Park, London

This place is now called the People's Park Tavern. It's situated on the edge of Victoria Park. The outdoor seating areas at the rear were packed when we arrived yesterday, with many families. There is even a crazy golf course in the garden for kids. There was seating available inside, with some people having meals. I believe there was further seating upstairs. Getting served was a bit of a chore though. There were plenty of staff, just too many customers. Ales are brewed on the premises by Laines. But there were only 3 of them - Doubloon, Single Hop Series Summit & Red Empire. There was no real cider either. A bit disappointing and too busy to enjoy. I got the feeling there were normally more ales and possibly cider. But on this visit, this place was distinctly average.

23 Apr 2017 12:22

The Cock Tavern, Hackney

Another decent visit to the Cock yesterday. In fact, we returned later in the day. It was quieter than on previous visits. But that made the experience a bit more relaxing. Ales on during our first visit were Maregade Vanilla Milk Stout & Amber, Moor Nor'Hop, Howling Hops Pale & Thornbridge Jaipur. By the time we arrived later, Moor Amoor, Gipsy Hill Hepcat & Salopian Free Fall were all on. Ciders on the first visit were Turners Apple Pie & Elderflower, London Glider Dry, Burrow Hill Cider, Seacider Medium Dry & Millwhites Super 8 Number 1. On our return, there was Turners Medium & Millwhites Somer Gold. Still the best pub in Hackney.

23 Apr 2017 12:15

The Old Ship, Hackney

The Old Ship is not a pub I had visited before. The entrance up a narrow alley from Mare Street did not look too appealing. But we gave it a try yesterday. The interior is quite appealing. Although it does have the feel more of a gastropub - not quite what I was expecting. The ale range was Dark Star Hophead, Windsor & Eton Windsor Knot & Hammerton N7. Better than I had expected. But not a patch on the Cock Tavern.

23 Apr 2017 12:08

Kings Stores, Bishopsgate

Greene King pub on a street corner in an area of narrow streets. Despite being a Greene King pub, only their IPA was on. So there is a decent range of guests - Aylesbury Brewhouse Company Supersymmetry, Bedlam Porter, Trumans Swift & G2 Orion. Only a stone's throw from Liverpool Street station. So it may be quieter than other local pubs. Worth knowing about.

23 Apr 2017 11:59

Woodins Shades, Liverpool Street

A return visit to the Woodins Shades yesterday morning. I was hesitant after my last visit. But this time, it was much better. Sat towards the rear of the pub and enjoyed a much better quality ale than last time. The selection this time around was Youngs Hummingbird, St Austell Tribute & Nicholson's Pale Ale, Sharps Doom Bar & Two Tides, Black Wolf Florida Black, Windsor & Eton Knight of the Garter & Fullers London Pride. Better.

23 Apr 2017 11:53

The Moon on the Square, Feltham

Busy and boisterous Wetherspoon pub. I'd just missed a bus and had 16 minutes - just time for a swift half. But I spent most of my time waiting to be served. The 3 male staff members all seemed to be busy, until two of them disappeared. But I was about to give up after waiting 6 or 7 minutes, especially when a regular approached the bar and was being served before he'd even reached the bar! It was at that point that the solitary remaining barman asked me if I had been served. He then realised that I'd been ignored for some while. Ales were Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharps Doom Bar, Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold, Shepherd Neame Bishop's Finger & Spitfire Gold, Wells Bombardier Glorious English, Ascot Ascalon, Wimbledon Copper Leaf, Youngs Special, Sambrooks Pumphouse Pale & Twickenham Naked Ladies. Ciders were Old Rosie & Black Dragon. Still the best pub in Feltham. But bar staff need to be more attentive.

23 Apr 2017 11:49

Jagz Bar, Ascot

Now called the Station Inn. I dropped in as my train was a few minutes late. It has a fairly modern interior, with plenty of seating. Ales were Bombardier & Doom Bar. Serves a purpose.

23 Apr 2017 11:43

The Funky End, Aldershot

Corner bar with bouncers on a Friday evening. But it's convenient for the station. Wells Bombardier Burning Gold was the real ale. Service was quick and the atmosphere seemed better than most other Aldershot town centre pubs. A DJ was playing.

23 Apr 2017 11:40

The Goose, Aldershot

I was surprised to see bouncers on the door here. But it soon became apparent that this was more of a nightclub than a pub. It has a large and open interior with a little seating around the edges. The drinks selection was John Smiths Extra Smooth, Guinness, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruit, Fosters, Carlsberg, Carling, Amstel, Stella Artois & San Miguel. Your choice is dispensed in a plastic glass. In short, don't bother.

23 Apr 2017 11:37

The Queen Victoria, Aldershot

Greene King pub that is now simply called the Victoria. It has a fairly cosy, carpeted interior. But seemingly in common with most other pubs in Aldershot, it does get its fair share of delinquents. Hogsback TEA was the solitary real ale.

23 Apr 2017 11:33

The Trafalgar, Aldershot

The Trafalgar looks like a traditional boozer from the inside. But the interior is quite plain, with 2 rooms and limited seating. One room has a pool table. As a military town, there is plenty of military-related items on the walls. Music was on a touch too loud and the ale was Tribute. Not the best.

23 Apr 2017 11:29

The Queen Hotel, Aldershot

The Queen Hotel is a Wetherspoon pub and is probably the best pub in Aldershot town centre, which is a very disappointing town for real ale drinkers. The building is quite impressive and the interior is divided into a number of rooms, unlike many other Wetherspoon pubs. It was fairly busy on Friday evening. Ales were Sharps Doom Bar, Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Weltons Churchwillian & Hogs Back HBB. There were also 4 ciders - Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon, Westons Old Rosie & Marcle Hill & Orchard Pig The Hogfather. Decent pub.

23 Apr 2017 11:26

Imperial Standard, Aldershot

The Imperial Standard is a wedge-shaped building in Aldershot's West End. It was populated with an after-work crowd of a more mature age. Wadworth Bishop's Tipple was the solitary real ale. It's a fair trek from the station (mainly uphill) to get here and it was the one Aldershot pub in the Good Beer Guide I hadn't done. But in all honesty, it was not worth heading out this far. A little disappointing.

23 Apr 2017 11:19

The Crispin Inn, Sandwich

The Crispin stands right next to the Barbican. There were only 3 other people in plus the barman when I arrived. But the landlord and landlady soon returned. Ales were Sharps Doom Bar, Adnams Ghost Ship & Mad Cat Crispin Pale Ale. This was the only pub in Sandwich to stock a real cider, which was Friels. The pub has a cosy feel and serves Jamaican food. Although it looked a little pricey. One of the best pubs in the town, if not a little quiet on my visit. I moved on from here to the King's Arms Hotel (not listed on the site), which was another one of those pubs that falls silent when I entered. The "Can I help you" opening gambit there might as well have been "What are you doing here? I hope you're not here to cause trouble"! At least the welcome in the Crispin was more civilised.

19 Apr 2017 21:01

The Admiral Owen, Sandwich

The Admiral Owen enjoys a lovely location near to the town's toll bridge. To my surprise, there were 2 unusual ales on handpull - Ripple Steam Best Bitter & Canterbury Ales The Wife Of Bath's Ale. I read that they also should have had some key keg ales too. But I didn't notice them. The building is 15th century. But the interior is a touch more modern. It had a younger crowd than many of the other pubs in the town. Not too bad and it was open on this Easter Monday evening.

19 Apr 2017 20:56

George and Dragon, Sandwich

The George & Dragon was my favourite pub in Sandwich. It is tucked way out of the way in one of the maze of narrow, residential streets and it had plenty of character. There were only a few in. But these soon included the landlord and landlady of the Crispin Inn, which I was still to visit. Ales on were Butcombe Bitter, Otter Amber & Mad Cat Mild Disobedience. I chose the mild, which was a decent drink. Worth seeking out.

19 Apr 2017 20:52

The Fleur de Lis Hotel, Sandwich

Having literally having passed through the Market Inn (we walked in one side and out the other), we found the Fleur de Lis directly opposite. It was getting late on Easter Monday evening and with a few pubs still to do, I was looking for a swift visit. With a child in tow, the only way we could be let in was if we sit in the restaurant area. But when I said we only wanted drinks, we were told they couldn't serve us. We ordered a plate of chips. Staff were friendly apart from this and were probably just doing their job. But the ale selection was pretty ordinary - Sharps Doom Bar, Fullers London Pride & Harveys Sussex Best Bitter. A large pub with plenty of seating. But you need to be local to enjoy, unless you want to eat.

19 Apr 2017 20:49

Market Inn, Sandwich

The Market Inn was difficult to identify, as the exterior was covered in scaffolding. It enjoys a nice, central location. It was one of the friendlier of pubs in the town. But only one real ale was offered - Shepherd Neame Master Brew.

19 Apr 2017 20:44

Red Cow, Sandwich

The Red Cow was my first stop in Sandwich. The town itself is lovely with some characterful, narrow streets. It feels like a maze in places. The Red Cow is situated in one of the more open streets, next to a supermarket. In truth it was one of the better pubs in a town was far from friendly. Many of the local folk seemed insular and the bar staff weren't very cheery either. There was an eerie silence around the bar when I was getting served in the Red Cow. Ales were Sharps Doom Bar, Camerons Ahopalypse Now, Nelson Powder Monkey & Timothy Taylor Boltmaker. No real cider was available on this visit. The interior has 3 different rooms - a dining area at the front to the left, a small room with a bar billiards table to the right and the main bar area beyond. There is also a reasonable sized garden at the rear. Could be better.

19 Apr 2017 20:41

Five Bells, Eastry

This pub is right at the centre of a Kent village. It seemed a popular place and was hosting a beer festival over the Easter weekend. There are two rooms - a public bar to the left as you enter and a lounge/dining room to the right. At the rear was a courtyard and garden with an outbuilding housing the beer festival. Ales in the bar were Greene King IPA, Wells Bombardier Burning Gold & Wantsum Black Prince. After waiting a few minutes at the bar and being completely ignored, I decided to see what was on as part of the beer festival. They were literally closing the doors and only had Tryst Carronade remaining. Luckily for me, they also had Millwhites Strawberry Cider and I helped them finish the box. Could be a decent pub if they could only manage to at least acknowledge their customers.

19 Apr 2017 20:31

The Plough and Harrow, Tilmanstone

This roadside pub has a lovely location overlooking pastures grazed by sheep. But unfortunately it's closed at present and up for sale.

19 Apr 2017 20:23

The Wrong Turn, Barfrestone

After a visit to the Bell Inn in Minster (not listed on here) and a brief trip to the seaside at Margate, I moved onto another micropub - the Wrong Turn. This was my favourite pub of the day in Kent. Situated in a rural, wooded area this is a fabulous, small building with outdoor seating on a veranda at the front and a small garden. Inside feels like a log cabin. But the people are really friendly. Ales were Dark Star Hophead, Goody Ales Good Heaven & Wantsum Black Prince. The cider and perry selection was Kentish Pip Forager & Elderflower, Westons Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig With Raspberry, Damson & Rhubarb, Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon & Two Trees Perry & Abrahalls Thundering Molly & Ruby Tuesday. As we were leaving, a vintage car was rolling into the car park. It's well worth going out of your way to visit this place.

19 Apr 2017 20:21

The Hair of the Dog, Minster

The Hair of the Dog is a fantastic micropub on Minster's main street. It's a tiny, single room that was packed on an Easter Monday lunchtime. But the welcome was warm and the ale and cider selection was great. On during my visit were Mobberley 1924, Portobello Delovetot Straw Ale, Tickety Brew Golden Bitter, Westons Rosie's Pig & Family Reserve, Kentish Pip Forager Hedgerow Berry, Dudda's Tun Kentish Spice & Cheery Old Dudda & Kings Wood Tropical Cider. The micropubs in this area of Kent are well worth a visit, including this one.

19 Apr 2017 20:12

The New Inn, Minster

After a visit to the nearby Minster & Monkton Royal British Legion Club, the New Inn was my second port of call in this Thanet village. The New Inn appears to be a food-dominated pub, situated on a corner. It has a fairly large garden with children's play equipment. 4 ales were on - Sharps Coaster, Gadds No. 7, Hogs Back Tea & Shepherd Neame Master Brew. The second best place in the village. But still pretty ordinary.

19 Apr 2017 20:08

Cask, West Derby

Well it's been a long time coming and I finally got around to visiting Merseyside CAMRA's pub of the year for 2016 and now 2017. It was busy early on a Saturday evening. As you'd expect from a micropub, it has limited seating. But locals are friendly. The landlord didn't smile much. But the barmaid was slightly better. 5 ales were on when I entered - Salopian Propaganda, Hawkshead Red, Coastal Angelina, North Riding Cascade Pale & Skinners Penny Come Quick Stout. During my visit some of these were replaced with Coastal Pier Porter, London Brewing Beer Street, Salopian Free Fall & Black Jack Dead Man's Hand. Ciders were Abrahalls Ruby Tuesday & Snails Bank Apply Dapply and there was also Hallets Perry. As with most micropubs, there is a single room with further space for drinking in the corridor to the toilets. The main room has a selection of small casks on the wall and there is a model railway on a ledge near the ceiling. A popular place that is well worth the recognition it gets and scores a very good 9/10 from me. I just wish it was in a more convenient location.

19 Apr 2017 20:00

The Old Bank, Aigburth

I wasn't expecting much from this place. But I was pleasantly surprised. Situated on a corner where (you guessed it), there used to be an old bank, the building seems made for a pub. Inside, you wouldn't actually guess that it was not originally a pub. Locals and the barmaid were friendly and to my surprise there were two real ales from the Big Bog brewery - Spring Bog & Jack O'Lantern. Having had the Spring Bog earlier in Love & Rockets on Lark Lane, I plumped for the Jack O'Lantern which was in good condition. Recommended if you are ever in this area of Liverpool.

19 Apr 2017 19:50

The Fulwood Arms, Aigburth

The Fulwood Arms appears to be situated in a bit of a real ale desert and you'll no longer find any in this place. Nevertheless the interior is much nicer than I had anticipated and the barmaid was friendly. The pub is split over two levels with modern furnishings and fake brickwork wallpaper. The keg selection was Coors Light, Guinness & Guinness Golden Ale, Carling, San Miguel, Heineken, Somersby Cider, Blue Moon & Tetleys Extra Cold. Shame there were no ales.

19 Apr 2017 19:46

The Albert, Liverpool

The Albert was my third of four pubs I tried on Lark Lane on Easter Saturday lunchtime. The Lodge, Rhubarb and Love & Rockets are not listed on here. Lark Lane has become a fairly trendy place to wine and dine, with dozens of bars and cafes. The Albert remains the only real traditional pub. It does look a little dated from the outside. But the interior is still worth seeing. The ale range appears to have gone downhill since my last visit over 7 years ago though. Only Black Sheep Best & Courage Best were on. I was the only customer.

19 Apr 2017 19:40

The White Hart, East Cowes

After a visit to Cedars in Wootton, we concluded our Isle of Wight jaunt at the White Hart, which is conveniently located opposite the ferry port. In fact you can pop in for a drink whilst waiting to board. It's a corner pub that looks quite dilapidated from the outside. The inside is much the same. There was a motley crew inside, with the pool table and jukebox seemingly the centres of attention. The gents' toilets seemed to have a minor flood. The solitary ale was Dartmoor Jail Ale, which was ok. We'd saved the worst pub until last on this occasion.

19 Apr 2017 19:23

The Ship and Castle, East Cowes

This pub is very close to the Red Funnel ferry terminal. But it is currently closed down.

19 Apr 2017 19:18

The Taverners, Godshill

Godshill is a lovely, small village towards the south of the island. It has some quaint cottages, a number of pubs and a few touristy shops. There is also a model village. The Taverners appears to be the best pub in the village. It has a small car park, which is full with just 4 cars. But there is a public car park further down the road. The pub has a traditional seating area at the front, with the bar, more modern seating areas and a shop at the rear. We were hoping to eat and soon realised how popular this place can get. Nearly every table had a reserved notice on it, despite the pub being fairly quiet. Maybe not so much of a drinkers' pub, as the only space for them was at the bar. We were offered a small table in the shop, which we gratefully accepted. The food was decent and some of the products in the shop were interesting too, with plenty of locally-made produce available. Ales were Sharps Doom Bar, Goddard's Ale Of Wight & Yates' Taverner's Ale. They also stocked the only real cider I found on this visit - Rumpy Pumpy Scrumpy from the local Godshill producer, who also have a shop in the village. Food-oriented. But a decent pub.

19 Apr 2017 19:15

The Dairymans Daughter, Arreton

The Dairyman's Daughter is situated in the Arreton Barn complex, a collection of touristy shops. The pub is certainly aimed towards visitors and appears to do a good business in food. Prices were set accordingly. Ales were Goddards Fuggle Dee-Dum, Ringwood Arreton Old Village Ale, Best Bitter & Forty Niner & Yates' Islander. Whilst not strictly a real cider, I was quite happy with Addlestones. The inside is quite large. There is a conservatory area near the entrance and more seating areas nearer the bar. There are old penny arcade machines between the entrance and the toilets. A decent place to try.

19 Apr 2017 19:07

The Lake Huron, Ryde

There's no sign of a pub here anymore. Appears to have been demolished.

19 Apr 2017 19:03

The Railway, Ryde

After a visit to the High Park Tavern (not listed on here), we moved onto our last of 6 pubs in Ryde. The Railway was easily the best pub in town. Although it helped that a festival was on. There are 2 pleasant rooms, a main bar area and a smaller room which had a pool table. There is an outdoor yard area at the rear. The festival didn't have any ciders. But the ales were Blue Monkey Funky Gibbon, Mad Dog Deputy Dawg, 8 Sail Windy Miller, Black Sheep Special Ale, Newby Wyke Bismarck, Horncastle Satan's Fury, Hopback Summer Lightning, Ringwood Razor Back, Burton Bridge Stairway To Heaven, Island Earl's RDA & Yachtsman, Exmoor Gold, Heritage Masterpiece & Shepherd Neame No. 18 Yard Hog Island. This place is convenient for the train station just opposite, where you can get to Ryde or Shanklin. The Bus & Coach Museum is also nearby and occupied half an hour of our time. One of the best pubs on the Isle of Wight.

19 Apr 2017 19:01

Simeon Arms, Ryde

I thought this was one of the better pubs in Ryde. It's tucked away on a residential street in a position you would not expect. The interior felt a bit dark. But it has a traditional feel and it appears that sport is popular here, with plenty of live sport shown on the TVs and some locals playing dominoes. The 3 ales are Courage Directors & Goddards Fuggle Dee-Dum & Ale Of Wight.

19 Apr 2017 18:48

The Solent Inn, Ryde

The Solent is tucked away from the seafront. It is a two-room local that was quiet on our visit. But the welcome was warm. The 3 ales were Greene King IPA, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold.

19 Apr 2017 18:42

Castle Inn, Ryde

This Fullers pub is a corner local at the top end of the High Street, not too far from the landmark All Saints church. The pub has some nice etched windows. But the ale range was limited to HSB, ESB & London Pride plus a guest also from Fullers - Spring Sprinter. A bit of a hike from the Esplanade. But a fairly friendly place.

19 Apr 2017 18:37

Fowlers, Ryde

I see that S Fowler & Co was recently voted the runner up in the Isle of Wight CAMRA pub of the year. But I thought it was a distinctly below average Wetherspoons. The location at the top of a street looking down towards the pier is nice. The interior has at least 2 floors, with a family/dining area upstairs. There were stairs going further. But I didn't venture any higher. The ale choice was disappointing - Sharps Doom Bar, Greene King IPA & Abbot, Adnams Broadside, Wickwar BOB, Goddards Fuggle Dee-Dum & Courage Directors. There were no dark ales and no real cider. It was fairly busy on our Good Friday morning visit though and it had a lively atmosphere. Breakfast was also fine. I think there are several better pubs on the island though.

19 Apr 2017 18:30

Billabong, Wimbledon

With time to kill before meeting friends in the Prince of Wales yesterday, I thought I'd give this place (Old Frizzle) a try. I'm not sure what market this business is after. But there weren't many people in. The front room appears to be mainly for diners. A room at the rear was a sports bar. Bar staff were a bit condescending. Maybe trendy young Wimbledon folk like being called pal. But it feels a bit too familiar to me. Wimbledon Tower Special Pale Ale was the solitary real ale. I opted for Stowford Press, which was at least 55p a pint cheaper than the Aspalls in the Prince of Wales. Not a place I'd head back to though.

10 Apr 2017 19:28

The Wibbas Down Inn, Wimbledon

I'd read that this was a particularly large Wetherspoons. But on entering, it felt pretty small. It was only after being there about 20 minutes that I guessed there must be more to it. Following the room round, I soon worked out that the pub is actually a z-shape and there are bars at both the front and rear entrances. The place is very large. But its size and shape makes the middle section particularly dark. Ales were Surrey Hills Collusion, Adnams Bitter, Twickenham Champion's Ale & Black Eel, Thornbridge Jaipur, Windsor & Eton Windsor Knot, Dark Star Hophead, Greene King Abbot & IPA, Oakham Enough Rope, Wimbledon Common Pale Ale & Whistable Bay Red IPA. Unusually for a Wetherspoons, there was no real cider. Probably a decent option for Wimbledon, as real ale choice appears to be limited in the town. But there are better 'spoons than this.

10 Apr 2017 19:21

The Elephant and Castle, Amwell

Apologies. I've got the ales wrong below. The only Tring ale was Side Pocket For A Toad and there was also the local Three Brewers Classic.

6 Apr 2017 20:52

The Woodman, Ware

Small pub with a couple of small rooms. There were more people in the garden at the front than inside. But the welcome was friendly and the location is lovely. The 4 ales were Greene King IPA & Abbot & Tring White Hawk & Apache. Decent place.

6 Apr 2017 20:49

The Star, Standon

The Star appears to be a firm locals' pub. Everybody seemed to know one another and I appeared to be the only outsider. The language was choice, even in the lounge. The bar looked packed late on a Sunday afternoon. 4 ales were on - Greene King Abbot & IPA, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Crouch Vale Yakima Gold.

6 Apr 2017 20:46

The Beehive, Buntingford

The Beehive is a bit like a tardis. It looks quite big from the outside and has a large car park for the size of the pub. However, the single bar interior is tiny. A live Premier League football game was just finishing. Seating is limited and even space around the bar was at a premium. Standing by the door was a bit uncomfortable. The 2 ales were uninspiring too - Greene King IPA & McMullen AK. A touch disappointing.

6 Apr 2017 20:41

The Brown Bear, Braughling

The Brown Bear didn't look particularly promising from the outside. I wasn't even sure it was open. But the interior oozes character with a slate floor and plenty of beams. The bar is small, but each table still allows a fair bit of privacy. The 2 ales were from far afield - St Austell Trelawney & Purple Moose Madog's Ale. The better of the 2 pubs I tried in Braughing.

6 Apr 2017 20:38

The Golden Fleece, Braughing

The Golden Fleece was my first of 2 pubs in Braughing. It looks as if its speciality is food. But there were a couple of ales served by a friendly landlord - Adnams Bitter & Colchester Old Mortality. There is a particularly large and impressive fireplace near the entrance.

6 Apr 2017 20:35

White Hart, Puckeridge

McMullens pub with their AK & Country, as well as Defiant from their new craft brewery offshoot - Rivertown. This felt the slightly more posher of Puckeridge's pubs, with some enjoying Sunday roasts and others outside in the sunshine. The pub has a large garden with play equipment. The interior itself is quite compact. The Crown & Falcon did seem the slightly better pub in the village though.

6 Apr 2017 20:32

Crown and Falcon, Puckeridge

The Crown & Falcon was the first of 2 pubs I tried in Puckeridge. This was more of a locals pub who all appeared fairly friendly. The barmaid seemed over the moon that I'd given her two of the new pound coins. They were paraded around the pub. I hadn't even noticed I'd had them. 3 ales were on - Adnams Bitter & Mosaic & Wychwood Hobgoblin. I sat next to a note from Samuel Pepys who reputedly visited the pub.

6 Apr 2017 20:29

The Horse and Groom, Hatfield

The Horse & Groom was the best pub I tried in Hertfordshire on Sunday. It's situated in an older area of the town, near to a viaduct. Whilst it was quiet, there was a good selection of ales and a couple of ciders. Greene King Abbot & Mighty Moose IPA, Butcombe Heathcliff, Woodfordes Reedlighter, Oakham JHB & Black Sheep Best Bitter were all on. The ciders were Lilleys Crazy Goat & Abrahalls Slack Alice. The only pub I've ever visited in Hatfield and I'm told by others who have that it is the best.

6 Apr 2017 20:24

The Nelson, Wheathampstead

Still an Italian restaurant.

6 Apr 2017 20:20

The Swan, Wheathampstead

The Swan was my second consecutive Greene King pub. But I must say that I preferred the nearby Elephant & Castle. It has an l-shaped room with dining at one end and sports TV at the other. Locals congregated at the bar in between. Ales were Greene King IPA & Swan Best Bitter, with 3 other national brands - St Austell Tribute, Timothy Taylor Boltmaker & Robinsons Trooper. Seemed to be a locals pub. The car park is too small.

6 Apr 2017 20:19

The Elephant and Castle, Amwell

Nice rural pub with a dining room at the right as you enter and more of a drinking area to the left. The bar itself is at the rear beyond the pub's well. There is a garden at the rear and a larger one to the front. It's a Greene King pub. IPA, Abbot and the house Elephant Brew were on, alongside White Hawk & Apache from Tring.

6 Apr 2017 20:16

The Malvern Hills Hotel, Great Malvern

The Malvern Hills Hotel is situated quite high up and its more of a hotel than a pub. 4 real ales were on though - Wye Valley Butty Bach & HPA, Ringwood Boon Doggle & Thwaites Wainwright. Seems to be popular for food too.

6 Apr 2017 20:06

The Wellington Inn, Colwall

Roadside pub in the Malvern Hills. It was fairly quiet on my Saturday evening visit. Some diners were lingering and the only other people in were a couple of drinkers at the bar. But the landlord was an affable guy and so were the locals. An open fire was providing plenty of heat. 2 ales were on - Goffs Tournament & Three Shires Hafren. Both had recently been put on and were served from a jug. Nice place.

6 Apr 2017 20:02

The Farmers Arms, Wellington Heath

The Farmers Arms was packed on my Saturday evening visit. The large car park was full, the bar was packed and there was some kind of function going on. Many had spilled outdoors onto the patio overlooking the car park. Had it not been so busy, it would probably have been my favourite pub on this visit to Herefordshire. But it was too busy to enjoy. The ale selection was Siren Mortimer Ale, Gloucester Cascade, Navigation New Dawn Pale & Wye Valley Butty Bach, Daisy Duke & HPA. 4 ciders from Abrahalls were also available - Thundering Molly, Slack Alice, Nell Gwynne & Cuckoo Penny. Worth a visit when quieter.

6 Apr 2017 19:56

The Horseshoe Inn, Ledbury

The Horseshoe looks like a lovely building from the outside. The interior feels more like a restaurant than a pub and it specialises in pizzas, cooked from an oven at the rear of the single room. Wye Valley HPA & Butty Bach are the 2 ales. Service wasn't particularly attentive or friendly. Stocking the fridge with bottles appeared to be more of a priority. Looks to have great potential from the outside. But doesn't quite live up to it inside. There are better pubs in the town.

6 Apr 2017 19:52

The Moon Inn, Mordiford

Fairly pleasant country pub at a road junction. I couldn't get to the bar initially as a couple of women were playing darts and blocking access. When leaving the pub, they'd stretched a dog lead across the pub, creating a tripping hazard. Staff seemed friendly enough. But there are clearly some inconsiderate patrons. Ales were Timothy Taylor Landlord, Otter Amber, St Austell Proper Job & Wells Bombardier Glorious English.

6 Apr 2017 19:46

Plough Inn, Little Dewchurch

Quiet village pub with a main bar and a dining room. Only 4 or 5 other people were in. Wye Valley Bitter & Partners Hero. Following the sat nav here was about to take me down a very narrow lane, suitable only for a horse and cart. So be careful unless you know where you are going!

6 Apr 2017 19:39

The Volunteer Inn, Hereford

Backstreet pub in Hereford opposite an army base. The pub was fairly busy on a Saturday evening. But most people were congregated around the bar. So seating was still available. It has a fairly cosy atmosphere. 4 ales were on - Wye Valley HPA & Butty Bach, Otter Ale & Greene King Abbot.

6 Apr 2017 19:35

Beer in Hand, Hereford

The Beer In Hand bills itself as a micropub. But it's more of a 'macropub' and is bigger than any micropub I have been in before. Whilst it looks fairly small from the outside, it does stretch back quite a way. There is a table football game near the entrance. The bar itself is at the rear. Ales are in a glass chiller behind the bar. 4 were on during my Saturday evening visit - Odyssey Pocket Nuke, The Cult & Oatmeal Stout & Titanic Steerage. Ciders are kept in a fridge and were Olivers Showdown, Gold Rush, Traditional Cider & Perry, Henneys Traditional & Abrahalls Medium Sweet. There were also a selection of craft beers and a number of bottles too. Different styles of seating are available throughout the pub and there is an outdoor area to the side. A decent addition to the Hereford pub scene.

6 Apr 2017 19:32

The Bell Inn, Tillington

Another food-dominated pub, which has a small dining area with diners spilling over to an ever smaller bar area, leaving drinkers crowded around the bar itself. 3 real ales are served. These were Wye Valley Bitter, Otter Amber & Hobsons Town Crier. I was hoping for a real cider. But the best option appeared to be a keg one I hadn't tried before, which I was offered instead. However that was soon revealed to have gone and Stowford Press was the only alternative. Plenty of families with kids here early on a Saturday evening.

2 Apr 2017 22:48

The Nags Head Inn, Canon Pyon

The Nags Head is a roadside hostelry north of Hereford. The welcome is warm. But this appears to be more of a foodie pub. 2 ales were on - Sharps Doom Bar & Hobsons Old Prickly. The garden appears to be particularly child friendly. Fairly average.

2 Apr 2017 22:37

The Wellington, Wellington

Almost 5 years after my previous attempted visit, I tried the Wellington again. There is now a notice on the door stating that the owners couldn't make the business work and it is now closed for good. I can't say I'm surprised, as it never appears to open.

2 Apr 2017 22:32

The Prince Regent, Whitchurch

The Prince Regent is situated out of town up a hill from the centre. Looking at the previous review, I did drop in at the Red House (not listed on here) on the way here from the White Hart and actually found the Red House to be the best pub in town (3 ales from Andwell). The Prince Regent was much quieter with only 3 customers and the landlord. The ale selection was also limited to Summer Lightning & London Gold. Friendly enough though with everybody watching motor cycling on multiple TVs. Moved on from here to the Whitchurch Sports & Social Club, which is also missing from the website.

27 Mar 2017 19:34

The White Hart Hotel, Whitchurch

The White Hart is right at the centre of this small town. It still has accommodation and there is a nice lounge area near the hotel's reception. The public bar is where most people go though and it has more of a pub feel. Although the music seemed a touch too loud for a Sunday evening. The barman was welcoming. 3 ales were on - Arkells 3B & Wiltshire Gold & Donnington On The Nose.

27 Mar 2017 19:30

The Bell Inn, Whitchurch

The Bell was our first stop in Whitchurch. First impressions were of a friendly small town local. It has two bars, one at the front and another at the rear. Old maps line the walls heading towards a pretty, if not slightly overgrown and cluttered garden area, which tends to be used by smokers. Be careful not to get too near the end of the garden as the rather rude landlady will tell you off, advising that it is private property. The barmaid was friendly though and locals were nice enough, but had clearly been smoking something other than cigarettes. Pride, Seafarers & Doom Bar are the ales.

27 Mar 2017 19:26

The Coronation Arms, St Mary Bourne

Still closed. But the signs are still there. So hopefully re-opening as a pub again?

27 Mar 2017 19:21

Wyke Down Country Pub & Restaurant, Andover

This large and popular rural pub has a rambling interior with a number of large rooms. One is primarily a dining area and another has a couple of pool tables. There is a garden at the rear with climbing frames. Fullers London Pride is the regular ale. The guest yesterday was Weltons Horsham Pale. They also had Cornish Orchards Farmhouse Cider, which I was not expecting. Clearly aimed at families and diners, it has a holiday camp feel. You can actually camp or pitch your caravan at the rear.

27 Mar 2017 19:19

Lardicake, Andover

The Lardicake is situated in a residential area outside of the town centre. My hopes were raised by a sign on the exterior advertising real ales and craft beers. Alas, the choice was Doom Bar or Landlord. The pub has 2 small rooms. The rear room was being used for a live singer. The England football game was being shown on TVs. This place had a fairly rough and ready feel to it. It had no character at all. Disappointing.

27 Mar 2017 19:15

John Russell Fox, Andover

This Wetherspoons is certainly the best pub in Andover. But it has little competition. It is situated on the town's main shopping street. The interior is the usual bland Wetherspoons. Service was reasonably quick. But as usual, tables were full of glasses and general mess. With a festival currently on, the ale range was probably better than usual - Everards Midland Red, Hook Norton Mind The Gap, Black Sheep Pathmaker, Butcombe Union, Caledonian Brouwerij'Tij Flink, Sharps Doom Bar, Ruddles Best, Greene King Abbot & Oakham Enough Rope. Ciders were Thistly Cross Whisky Cask & Westons Rosie's Pig.

27 Mar 2017 19:11

The Lamb Inn, Andover

This place is now called the Owl's Nest and is now some kind of café. Certainly not a pub anymore.

27 Mar 2017 19:07

The Town Mills, Andover

Large Wadworths house situated in the town's former mill. The watermill is still working and can be seen inside. The interior is split over two levels and there is an outdoor area overlooking the river and a multi-storey car par at the rear. Although it was a little overgrown. The 4 ales were all from Wadworth - 6X, IPA, Swordfish & Horizon. A disappointing selection in a disappointing town for real ale pubs.

27 Mar 2017 19:06

The Railway Tavern, Andover

This pub was trading as the Lunar Hare and I thought I would pay it a visit as it is in the current Good Beer Guide. However it apparently closed again a few months ago. It is due to open again next month as the Malt House, but is currently closed.

27 Mar 2017 19:01

The White Lion, Wherwell

I was reasonably impressed by this village pub. The village itself is picturesque and is apparently famous for its trout fishing. The White Lion is a good size with 2 or 3 different rooms and a large outdoor drinking area, including a marquee. There were 3 ales - Landlord, Doom Bar & Atlantic. But surprisingly there were also 2 real ciders from Orchard Pig - Philosopher & Maverick. Service felt a little blunt and I suspect the pub relies more on its food trade than for drinks. But better than I had expected.

27 Mar 2017 18:59

The Wonston Arms, Sutton Scotney

The Wonston Arms was probably my favourite pub of 13 visited in Hampshire yesterday. It's set in a lovely English village. Parking is limited. But we found a spot just down the lane. The pub was lively and had live entertainment from a female singer. The pub itself is quite small. But on a warm day like yesterday, the doors can be opened to make the patio area an extension. Quite a few locals were enjoying the sunshine and entertainment and the pub seem to attract its fair share of eccentrics, providing additional entertainment. The landlord was a really affable guy who had only started in the pub trade a couple of years ago. He clearly takes a keen interest in his customers. 4 changing ales are served. It can be difficult to see what is on offer when locals are at the bar. But the landlord was happy to advise. The selection yesterday was Goffs Lancer, Hopback Summer Lightning, Goddards Starboard & Bowman Wallops Wood. A decent, well-run pub.

27 Mar 2017 18:04

Rack and Manger, Crawley

Still closed and now a rather large private house.

27 Mar 2017 17:55

Alfies, Winchester

Alfie's is situated just opposite the Guildhall in Winchester. It was the one Good Beer Guide pub I hadn't previously visited in the city. The pub has a fairly dark interior. But there is quite a large outdoor area to the rear, including a pool table. Food is served in this area at times. The pub has 4 real ales. Yesterday, these were Upham Last Suspect, West Berkshire Good Old Boy, Flack Manor Flack's Double Drop & Flowerpots Goodens Gold. Sadly there was no real cider. Nice enough pub. But there are better in Winchester.

27 Mar 2017 17:54

The Horse and Groom, Alresford

The Horse & Groom is located in the centre of Alresford, a nice town. It's a Fullers pub with an emphasis on dining. Seating is arranged around a central bar, with some more secluded seating areas. There is an outdoor courtyard at the rear. All of the 4 ales were from the Fullers range, with London Pride, Oliver's Island & HSB supplemented by Front Row.

27 Mar 2017 17:47

Willow Grove, Southport

After a visit to the Phoenix (not listed on here) on Saturday morning, I was looking for one more pub to visit. Both of the Wetherspoons were open. I walked in the Sir Henry Segrave first. But the ale and cider selection was disappointing. So I opted for the Willow Grove, which certainly seems to be the better of the two. For a Saturday morning it was packed. I really struggled to find a spare table. Before that, it took 10 minutes to get served with breakfasts and plenty of coffees being ordered. Ales were Sharps Doom Bar, Thwaites Wainwright, Lytham St Patrick's Stout, Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Adnams Irish Red, Ringwood Mauler & Wychwood Pinehead Oatmeal Stout. Ciders were Old Rosie & Black Dragon. Some of the locals here are a bit strange. They will certainly keep you amused. A couple of drunks singing Irish songs seemed quite appropriate for the morning after St Patrick's Day.

20 Mar 2017 21:09

Broomfield Tavern, Coventry

It's rare these days that I walk into a pub and get the wow factor that I did here. I'd say this is one of the 10 best pubs I have visited in the UK. Of around 3,000 pubs I've rated on the site, I've only ever given 5 pubs a 10/10. This one is the 6th. It has a rather unassuming location up a dead-end street next to a park and Coventry's rugby stadium. It has the feel of a village local. The interior is a single bar, with a real fire near the door. There were 10 ales, 12 ciders and a perry on my visit yesterday afternoon. The ales were Highgate Dark Mild, Hobsons Twisted Spire, Froth Blowers Piffle Stonker & Gollop With Zest, Framework Equinox Rye, Church End Vanilla Jack, Spontastic & Stout Coffin, Rowton Area 51 & Potbelly SOS. The ciders were Hogans Hazy Daisy & Panking Pole, Snails Bank Pineapple & Pink Grapefruit, Gwatkin No Bull & Stoke Red, Original Somerset Cider Company Apple Jack, Circle Roundabout, Thatchers Cheddar Valley, Handmade Crazy Diamond, Ross-on-Wye Oak Cask , Perrys Pathfinder & Turners Russet. These were supplemented by Broadoak Perry. The atmosphere was good and despite being reasonably busy, I could still get a table. Both dogs and families are welcome. The cider I had (Roundabout) was in good condition. But sadly I was driving on this occasion. I definitely need to come back to sample the rest!

20 Mar 2017 21:03

Hearsall Inn, Coventry

Another backstreet freehouse in the Churchfields area of the city. This pub was packed. Many were watching the live football. Others had clearly been there a little too long - my wife watched one woman having to be carried out of the ladies. Bar service is from the main room, with a serving hatch in the corridor by the front door. Ales were Byatts Brewhouse Best & Glorious, Church End Goats Milk & Bass. Despite being packed, this place did seem like quite a nice place. Perhaps best to return on a quieter evening.

20 Mar 2017 20:46

The Nursery Tavern, Coventry

Another backstreet pub in the Chapelfields area of the city. It has 3 small rooms that each have their own character. The landlord/barman didn't appear particularly cheerful. But the ale range was good - Otter Bitter, Fullers London Pride, Wickwar Shanakee Stout, Butcombe Bitter & Courage Best. Cider was Old Rosie. Quite a cosy place that is worth a visit if in the area.

20 Mar 2017 20:41

The Craven Arms, Coventry

The Craven Arms is situated on the corner of a couple of backstreets. There are a few other pubs within sight that are better options. This one did have Marstons Pedigree New World. But the interior could do with a makeover, with seating falling apart and a gents toilet you had to wade through to get to pee. Although that's probably more of a reflection of the regulars' aim than the quality of the pub. Friendly landlord though.

20 Mar 2017 20:37

The Farmhouse, Coventry

The Farmhouse is more of a restaurant these days. It is a large place that serves Indian food, alongside Sunday roasts. There were actually two Greene King Ales - IPA & Abbot. But drinks were quite expensive. I have to say that the Indian food smelt really nice. But this is not really a place you'd want to come regularly just for a drink. There is a large car park and a children's play area outside.

20 Mar 2017 20:34

The Royal Oak, Earlsdon

The Royal Oak doesn't look much from the outside. But the interior has been modernised and it had a fairly friendly atmosphere, with a number of different drinking areas. The modern interior seems to work for once. Ales were fairly standard national ales - Black Sheep Golden Sheep, Greene King IPA, Sharps Doom Bar & Bass. But I was quite happy with the Westons Family Reserve.

20 Mar 2017 20:31

The City Arms, Coventry

The City Arms is a large Wetherspoons in a prominent position on a busy roundabout. Unlike most branches of Wetherspoons, it looks it was already a pub before they took it over. It even has its own small car park at the front. But it is pay and display and you'll be lucky to get a space. Luckily we got served before quite a few others arrived at the bar. So service was quick. Ales were Sadlers Mud City Stout, Byatts Blackfriars Porter, Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharps Doom Bar, Quantock Plastered Pheasant, Loddon Hullabaloo, Marstons Old Empire, Jennings Sneck Lifter & Grainstore Rutland Beast. Cider was Black Dragon. The pub has a few little nooks and crannies, giving it a little more character than most. Better than average.

20 Mar 2017 20:27

The Cornerpost, Crosby

The Corner Post was my third micropub of the day on Saturday and it was the best. The landlady was very friendly and chatty and was explaining how they had taken over this former post office, which had also been a shop, into a micropub. There were 4 ales and 1 cider - Salopian Hop Twister, Peerless Langton Spin, Purple Moos Calon Lan, Neptune Undercurrent & Westons Family Reserve. It's about a 7 or 8 minute walk from Blundellsands & Crosby station. But there are other decent micropubs, including the Liverpool Pigeon and another opening near Waterloo station tomorrow, in addition to regular pubs near Waterloo. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit here and will be back.

20 Mar 2017 20:13

Beer Station, Formby

The Beer Station was the third pub and the second micropub on my mini crawl from Southport to Crosby on Saturday. It's really handy for the station. You walk off the platform and it's straight opposite. You could combine a visit to the Freshfield while here too. The Beer Station is a typical micropub with conversation dominating and 3 real ales. These were Windmill Deckhand, Liverpool Organic Mork & Parker Saxon Red Ale. The landlord was bemoaning the fact that they are so close to the station and the trains are so regular, as people rush out the door. I'd probably have stayed for another one if there'd been a real cider. But the only options were bottled ones. Nevertheless, I'm sure this place will gain far more trade from its location than it will lose.

20 Mar 2017 20:08

The 23 Club, Liverpool

It surprises me that the Clove Hitch still seems to be lacking in customers. There is a great selection of craft beers on keg and 3 real ales. Yesterday these were all from Hawkshead - Iti, Jantar & NZPA. The interior still has the feel of a wine bar though. The courtyard at the rear is nice in the summer. Maybe it is more popular in the evenings. Still a decent place. But could do with more atmosphere during the daytime.

12 Mar 2017 11:40

Pen Factory, Liverpool

The Pen Factory is a reasonably new place not far from the Everyman Theatre on Hope Street. I believe it was opened up by the previous owners of the bar in the Everyman before its refurbishment. Despite being below street level, it's quite a light and airy place with a focus on dining. But they do have 4 ales and 2 ciders. Yesterday these were Liverpool Organic Cascade & 24 Carat Gold, Brimstage Trappers Hat, Copper Dragon Best Bitter, Abrahalls Thundering Molly & Orchard Pig Philospher. A good addition to the city's pub scene.

12 Mar 2017 11:34

The Fox, Hanwell

After a visit to the new micropub nearby (not yet listed on the site), I headed to the Fox. It was fairly quiet late on a Tuesday evening. But the ale range was better than I remember and they now have a cider on handpull. Ales were Three Daggers Blonde, St Austell Proper Job & Trelawny, Green Duck Duck Under, Fullers London Pride & Timothy Taylor Landlord. The cider was Lilleys Merry Monkey. Another pub I should get to more often.

8 Mar 2017 20:00

The Grosvenor, Hanwell

Made my third visit to the Grosvenor last night. Each time I seem to forget to ask for a CAMRA discount. The price had just been rung into the till by the time I remembered this time. It has been voted local pub of the year again and it's not surprising to see why, with the ale range - XT 15, Weird Beard Fade To Black & Kentish Town Beard, East London Night Watchman & Southwark Centennial. They have also extended their cider range. The 3 from Westons were Hand Brake, No Brainer & Family Reserve. The craft beer selection is also fairly decent. I tried a Terri's Chocolate Orange Brown Ale from Mondo. This is still a friendly community pub. We tried the food too. This was ok, without being exceptional and it wasn't exactly cheap. The Grosvenor is growing on me and hopefully I'll get a discount one day.

8 Mar 2017 19:53

The Forester, West Ealing

Paid a return visit to the Forester last night, after sampling the Owl & The Pussycat, a new micropub nearby that is not yet listed on here. We sat in the middle room of 3 this time. The bar at the front was reserved for a private function, whilst some were taking advantage of the Thai food served in the room at the rear. The ale range was Fullers London Pride & ESB, Gales Seafarers, St Austell Tribute, Black Sheep Holy Grail & Castle Rock Preservation. They have now stopped serving a real cider. Has gone down in my estimation. But there is more competition locally now.

8 Mar 2017 19:46

The Stapleton Tavern, Finsbury Park

Whilst I hadn't planned to visit this pub, it was on my way to Finsbury Park tube station and I had a bit of spare time. So I thought I'd give it a go. The pub is situated at a busy road junction and it is fairly spacious inside with a large open-plan area either side of the bar. As an Antic pub, it has the usual mix of oddities scattered around. Toilets can be found either side of the bar and apparently can be differentiated by the colour of their tiles! Ales were Morland Old Golden Hen, Redemption Pale Ale, Purity Ubu & Greene King IPA. Sadly they don't stock a real cider. But they did have Aspalls on keg. Better than I had expected.

8 Mar 2017 19:35

The Shaftesbury, Holloway

I arrived here about 15 minutes before opening on Sunday lunchtime. But it was almost 25 minutes before a door was opened. Apparently the staff would rather set out all the tables with menus and the like, before welcoming anybody in. I very nearly gave up. But eventually I managed to get through the side door and found a reasonably large pub with a couple of rooms. The rear bar is now used for dining. The Dragonfly beers previously mentioned are no longer stocked. The 3 ales on were Sambrooks Junction, Fullers London Pride & Hammerton N7. Cider was Rosie's Pig. There doesn't seem much competition in the vicinity. So maybe that's why they can afford to ignore customers sitting outside. I doubt I'd make a return visit to this area any time soon.

8 Mar 2017 19:30

Crown, Liverpool

The Crown is still a really handy pub for the station. But because of that, it always seems to be busy. It's one of the few buildings on this side of Lime Street to have survived the bulldozers. The interior is nice and there are generally 8 ales on, mostly national brands. Yesterday, they had Jennings Cumberland Ale, Black Sheep Best Bitter, Greene King Abbot & IPA, Orkney Dark Island, Sharps Doom Bar, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Everards Sly Fox.

26 Feb 2017 18:31

The Pelican Inn, Gloucester

I hadn't planned to visit the Pelican. But I had time to fit in a visit. Until this point, my favourite Gloucester pub had been Tank, owned and run by Gloucester Brewery in the Docks, but not listed on here. But the Pelican soon trumped that. It has a nice location tucked away in a quiet street to the rear of the cathedral and the interior (2 small rooms) has a cosy atmosphere. There is an outdoor patio at the rear. Run by Wye Valley, it had a good selection of their ales - HPA, Butty Bach, Bitter, The Hopfather, Golden Ale & Same Again. In addition, there were 2 guests - Skinners Porthleven & Tiny Rebel Fubar. But my attention was immediately drawn to the 10 ciders - Ross-on-Wye Medium Dry & Medium Sweet, Harry Taylor's Crooked Branch, Orchard Pig Maverick & Dark Cider The Moon, Sandford Orchards Devon Red & Devon Mist & Westons Old Rosie With Rhubarb, Rosie's Pig & Country Perry. I was spoilt for choice! If I'm ever back in Gloucester, I hope to come back here. Very good.

21 Feb 2017 20:53

The Imperial Inn, Gloucester

My visit to this place was fairly similar to the last reviewer, except my drink was in good condition. The exterior tiling makes it look very impressive indeed. The interior is more down-at-heel, with a dozen or more locals. Ales were Doom Bar, Atlantic & Bass. But to my surprise, there was a handpull with Thatchers Dry, which I took full advantage of. There had been a party held earlier in the day and there was plenty of leftover food, which was also really welcome since I hadn't had any lunch. The ale selection won't bowl you over here. But I quite enjoyed my visit here and it's rare that I see Thatchers Dry anywhere. So I'm plumping for a 7/10.

21 Feb 2017 20:47

The New Inn, Gloucester

The New Inn is not exactly very new. It is one of the oldest pubs in the country with a fair amount of history. It's a fantastic coaching inn situated in a secluded, but photogenic courtyard. It's not immediately obvious which door is the bar. But just look out for other customers. The interior felt a bit basic. But it still holds a bit of character with its beamed ceilings and uneven floors. The ale range is disappointing - Doom Bar, Atlantic, Bombardier & Hobgoblin. But they did also have Old Rosie cider. Don't come for the beer. But come to see a fabulous building and setting.

21 Feb 2017 20:43

Fountain Inn, Gloucester

The Fountain, like a number of other local pub is situated in a courtyard off a main street in the centre of the city. It had a surprisingly decent range of real ales - Wickwar Bob, Butcombe Bitter, Bristol Beer Factory Independence, St Austell Tribute, Dartmoor Jail Ale, Hillside Legless Cow & Timothy Taylor Landlord. Unfortunately there were no dark ales and no real cider either. Despite this, it I definitely one of the better pubs in the city.

21 Feb 2017 20:36

The Cross Keys Inn, Gloucester

The Cross Keys is tucked away down an alleyway near the main shopping streets. I'd read that it closed on a Sunday daytime. So I was expecting a locked door. To my surprise it was open and there was music playing inside. Unfortunately it was just a musician practicing and the pub was indeed closed. Disappointing. I will hopefully return and find it open one day.

21 Feb 2017 20:33

The Water Poet, Gloucester

This place is no longer a Wetherspoons. But looking online, it appeared to have re-opened as a sports bar. So I thought I'd give it a go. It's now called Doctors. My experiences of former Wetherspoons premises tends to be fairy negative, as new owners struggle to cope with such large properties and the real ale tends to disappear. I was surprised to see 2 ales in this place - Pedigree & Hobgoblin. The interior has been refurbished quite nicely and it was actually doing quite a decent trade, with plenty of TVs showing both English and Scottish football. Not as good as a Wetherspoons. But a worthy replacement, in this instance.

21 Feb 2017 20:30

Linden Tree, Gloucester

On my first ever visit to Gloucester's pubs, this Wadworth pub on the southern outskirts of the city was my first port of call. It's quite an imposing building on the outside. But it felt a little dull inside and there were only a couple of other customers. Ales are all from Wadworth - IPA, Horizon, Bishop's Tipple & 6X. FA Cup football was on the TV. There is a bowling alley at the rear. The landlord was a friendly guy. Deserves more customer, to create a better atmosphere.

21 Feb 2017 20:23

The Little Thatch, Quedgeley

This place looked like a lovely building from the outside. But on a Sunday lunchtime, all doors were locked. One guy did come out baring his chest, with an unbuttoned shirt and asked if I wanted a room. But I got the feeling he was just a resident, as this is a hotel too. I later found out that it would open at 7pm. But I wasn't about to hang around. So 0/10 for a pub that doesn't open in what should be some of its peak hours.

21 Feb 2017 20:18

The Weavers Arms, Quedgeley

Large, modern pub on the edge of a retail development that has pretty much nil character. Food appears to predominate. But there were still a few drinkers standing at the bar. As you'd expect, beers are all from the Marstons range - Banks's Bitter, Ringwood Forty Niner, Marstons Pedigree & Wychwood Hobgoblin. Not a lot to recommend it.

21 Feb 2017 20:15

The Red Lion Inn, Arlingham

The Red Lion looked promising from the outside and on entering the ale selection was reasonably good - Sharps Doom Bar, Hook Norton Nice Try, Uley Bitter & Fullers London Pride. The only problem with the pub was that all tables were set out for diners, which left nowhere to sit down to have a drink. Feels more of a restaurant than a pub on a Sunday lunchtime. But maybe there is a better set up in the evenings outside of food hours. Disappointing on my visit though.

21 Feb 2017 20:10

The Three Horseshoes, Frampton on Severn

The Three Horseshoes is the smaller, but the better of Frampton's two pubs. It's located at the opposite end of the village green from the Bell, about 10 minutes walk away. You're assured of a warm welcome here. The landlady gave me some books to read all about the village. The 4 ales are Timothy Taylor Landlord & Boltmaker, Sharps Doom Bar & Uley Bitter. The real cider was from Black Rat. Some of the locals seemed slightly eccentric and the pub dog came and lay down beside me in the front bar. But this adds to the character of the place. There is a further room at the rear. A really good pub.

21 Feb 2017 20:03

The Bell Inn, Frampton on Severn

The Bell is a large pub located at one end of England's largest village green. The pub itself is a large stone building with a number of rooms. There are a number of outhouses too, some featuring farm animals. Whilst a nice place, the ale range was limited to Exmoor Gold, Wye Valley HPA & Otter Bitter. There were 2 ciders from Westons - Old Rosie & Family Reserve. Seems like a place aimed at diners and families.

21 Feb 2017 19:07

Battesford Court, Witham

The Battesford Court is a former hotel, now a Wetherspoons on Witham's main shopping street. I'd arrived here after visiting the Wheatsheaf in Hatfield Peverel (not listed on the site). The Battesford Court is a typical 'spoons - packed, devoid of character, but with a good selection of ales and this one had 4 ciders. Ales were Sharps Doom Bar, Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Flack Manor Black Jack, Shepherd Neame Spitfire & Wibblers Gold. As with the previous review, I think there were 3 ales "coming soon". Ciders were Westons Old Rosie & Wyld Wood, Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon & Thistly Cross Whisky Cask.

18 Feb 2017 13:36

Woolpack, Witham

The Woolpack was my first of two Witham pubs. It is situated in a conservation area in the north of the town. Parking is a bit of a problem. Nevertheless once inside, I found a two room local with a good selection of ales - Greene King IPA, Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde, Nethergate Rugby Ruck & Witham No Name. They also had Rosie's Pig cider. Oscar Wilde has always been a favourite for me and I enjoyed a swift half. Surprised nobody has reviewed this pub before. I certainly enjoyed it and it was my favourite of 2 pubs in the town.

18 Feb 2017 13:30

Vine Inn, Black Notley

The Vine is a food-dominated pub situated in a small village south of Braintree. On arrival, there was only one family in the pub and they soon left. There are quite a few tables, but all seemed to be made up for diners. When the family left, the table they had been sitting at was also set with cutlery. I elected to sit at the bar. Ales were Bishop Nick Heresy & Adnams Bitter & Ghost Ship. I moved on from here to White Notley where the Cross Keys (not listed on here) has started closing during the day. I eventually visited that later in the evening.

18 Feb 2017 13:25

The King William IV, Braintree

The King William IV is situated to the south of Braintree near the main A120. Whilst it is a fair trek from the town centre as Snarling Mallard says, it appears to be Braintree's best pub and my favourite of 10 Essex pubs tried yesterday. The interior is quite compact, with 2 small rooms. You approach the pub from the car park through the garden. I got the feeling that I was probably being discussed as I headed towards the pub, as silence descended when I walked in! This certainly occurred for subsequent customers too. Nevertheless, the landlord seemed like a nice chap and the regulars were quite friendly. The real strength is the ale & cider selection, with 4 of each available. Yesterday, they were Maldon Farmer's Cutty Sark, Mighty Oak Captain Bob, Moody Goose (the in-house brewery) Mystery Mild & Tring Brock Bitter. Ciders were Cetic Marches Lily The Pink & Nell Gwynne & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. I went for the Duddas Tun Pear O'Dudda which was quite sweet, but nice. Recommended.

18 Feb 2017 13:21

The Picture Palace, Braintree

The Picture Palace was my first of 3 pubs in Braintree. It's a large Wetherspoons in an old cinema building. Most tables were taken on my Friday lunchtime visit. But it is half term and there were many families present. A strange feature was an orderly queue at the bar, which I don't see too often. It seems more of a trend in pubs in the north, not something I've noticed in the south too often. I avoided the queue to peruse the ale selection - Wibblers Hop Black, Bishop Nick 1555, Morland Old Speckled Hen, Kelham Island Pale Rider, Conwy Welsh Pride, Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharps Doom Bar. Cider was Old Rosie. I rejoined the queue, only to find a couple of girls walk straight up to the bar. All credit to the bar staff, they served the queue first. I was slightly worried that the Hop Black would be a little too hoppy for me. But it was a decent ale. I did also try the Wagon & Horses nearby. That was a Greene King pub not listed on here. But the Picture Palace was the better pub.

18 Feb 2017 13:11

The Bell Inn Panfield, Panfield

Quite why there are 17 different entries for this pub, God only knows. But I paid it a visit after the Milli Bar at nearby Andrewsfield Airfield yesterday lunchtime. It's a Greene King in a nice village to the north of Braintree. Entering from the car park, you'll first arrive in the lounge. There is also a bar at the other end of the pub. A few other tables were taken with people enjoying lunch. Families are welcome. Ales were all from Greene King - IPA, Abbot & Yardbird. The local football team appears to play on an adjacent pitch.

18 Feb 2017 13:04

The Crown Inn, Puncknowle

The Crown in Puncknowle was a late addition to my Dorset crawl and was a decent last minute supplement. Leaving the coastal hill mist behind, the road drops into a very nice village and to a pub that also serves as the local shop. There were no other customers, just staff. But the barmaid was very friendly and chatty. I believe she was the landlord's daughter. Ales are all from Palmers - Best Bitter, Copper Ale & Tally Ho! The cider was Dorset Orchards First Press. There are a couple of large rooms. But they probably appeared larger than they really were due to the lack of customers. A pub that deserves more trade and probably my second favourite of the day, simply due to the friendliness of the lady behind the bar.

17 Feb 2017 09:16

The Swan, Abbotsbury

My penultimate pub of the day was this coastal hostelry west of Weymouth. It's in the current Good Beer Guide, which quite frankly surprises me. The solitary real ale was branded as Swan Ale, but is actually a Scottish beer - Caledonian Flying Scotsman. A pub on the south coast of England with no English ales seemed a bit odd. Nevertheless service was friendly and the pub was undergoing a bit of a refurb, with a large room containing a pool table being painted. The pub appeared to be popular with families and diners (probably as it was half term). Had to fight my way through dogs to exit. Not my favourite pub of the day.

17 Feb 2017 09:10

Brewhouse and Kitchen, Dorchester

It's taken me a while. But this finally my first visit to one of the Brewhouse & Kitchen pubs, where the ales are brewed on site, with the brewing equipment on display. Apparently it was the old stationmaster's office for the adjacent station. The positives were that they had a decent selection of their own ales - Mayor of Casterbridge Porter, Cerne Abbas Giant, Hopster, Judge Jeffreys, Nine Stones, Crickmay & Stationmaster's Ale. The drinking environment was pleasant. But from a negative perspective, it didn't feel much like a pub - more like a bar that serves food, similar to American bars. The solitary cider was off and the porter was nothing special. I was also a bit perturbed by the service. There are two sets of handpulls either side of a pillar. I'd only had chance to peruse the one set when I was approached to order. After telling the bar manager that I would just take a look at the other ales, I was expecting him to follow me the other side of the pillar. But he unexpectedly disappeared out of sight! I won't rule out this chain and I'm sure I'll visit another branch soon. But the whole concept does feel like a bit of a gimmick.

17 Feb 2017 09:05

Royal Oak, Dorchester

Slightly above average Wetherspoons. The interior is more compact than most. But that means you still have to go on a trek to find the toilets. Ales were the usual Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharps Doom Bar. But they also had 4 guests (none from Dorset) - Saltaire Cascade, Goodards Ducks Folly, Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold & Cotleigh Seahawk. Two ciders were also in the fridge and at least one of these was from the county - Purbeck Cider Company Joe's Dry, in addition to Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. The entrance to the pub resembled a crèche, with plenty of families. But the rear was more drinkers. There is a patio outdoor at the rear.

17 Feb 2017 08:58

The Kings Arms Hotel, Dorchester

Looks like it used to be an impressive building. But it's currently closed down and derelict. A ghost walk meets outside the entrance though!

17 Feb 2017 08:55

Tom Browns, Dorchester

Tom Browns is the brewery tap for the Dorset Brewing Company (DBC). All 6 ales were from the brewery - Jurassic, Dorset Knob, Great Expectations, Durdle Door, Tom Browns & Flashmans Clout. There was also a handpull for Lilleys Bee Sting Perry. The interior is basic and bare boarded. It's a nice enough drinking environment. But it felt like it attracts a young and fairly trendy crowd. The gents toilets were out of order. So the ladies had become unisex! CAMRA discount offered for ales, but unfortunately not the perry. Could be better with guest ales and a recognition of real cider and perry. Still a reasonable option if in Dorchester though.

17 Feb 2017 08:53

The Blue Raddle, Dorchester

The Blue Raddle was my second stop in Dorchester after the Colliton Club (not listed on the site). It was easily the best pub in the town and by far the best pub I visited in Dorset this time around. It has a single bar and whilst they serve food, it's predominantly a drinkers' pub. Dogs are welcome. But children aren't. I was greeted by a friendly barmaid and having enquired about ciders and then asked whether I wanted fizzy or traditional (nice to be asked, as so many places immediately direct you to commercial options on keg and in bottles), I was directed to the far end of the bar, where they had Fosseway Somerset Glory & Ham Hill Early Glory. I opted for the latter and it was very pleasant. Ales were Cerne Abbas Coconut Rum Stout, Bath Gem, Butcombe Adam Henson's Rare Breed & Eight Arch Session. If I hadn't been driving, I would have tried the stout. A few people were offered tasters and appeared to like it. A decent pub all round and a rare 8/10 from me.

17 Feb 2017 08:48

The Saxon Arms, Stratton

The Saxon Arms has a strange location in a newly-built part of this village north-west of Dorchester. But the juxtaposition of old and new works well. The pub was extremely busy on my weekday lunchtime visit. Most people were there for lunch and there was a 45 minute wait for tables. There was a fair wait for bar service too. Ales were mainly national brands - Butcombe Bitter, Greene King Abbot, Sharps Doom Bar & Timothy Taylor Landlord. But they did also have Orchard Pig Philospher on a handpull.

17 Feb 2017 08:40

The Thimble Inn, Piddlehinton

I got the opposite impression of this place from the previous reviewer, in that the Thimble appears to focus more on food than drink. The location is idyllic with a stream running through the garden. But the interior feels fairly modern. There is a bar area at the front, with plenty more seating for diners to the rear. Toilets and the pub's well are located around the back of the bar. It's a Palmers establishment that was serving their Best Bitter, Copper Ale, Dorset Gold & Tally Ho! The cider was Dorset Orchards First Press. I believe this is a cider exclusive to Palmers' pubs, as I found it later on in a second pub. I gave it a go, as I'd never tried it before and it was reasonable. Dogs are welcomed here.

17 Feb 2017 08:33

Gaggle of Geese, Dorchester

Another closed pub. A shame, as this looks like a nice setting in a tranquil village. But that's probably the reason it has shut down.

17 Feb 2017 08:21

The Halsey Arms, Pulham

The Halsey Arms appears to have closed down. The pub is advertised on websites as opening at 11:30 on a weekday. But I waited until after midday and there was no sign of life. Another tell tale sign is the lack of any telephone line any more and I later found an article on the internet looking for people to run the pub.

17 Feb 2017 08:18

The Green Man, Kings Stag

The Green Man is situated at the southern end of the small village of Kings Stag. It's a nice brick building with a large car park. The interior has a number of rooms, with the bar in the central room. Only 2 ales were on yesterday during my visit - Butcombe Bitter & Exmoor Ale. I was the first person in. So it was difficult to judge atmosphere and any food offerings. But the dessert menu looked tempting.

17 Feb 2017 08:16

The Coach and Horses, Draycott

My last port of call in Derbyshire this afternoon was the Coach & Horses. I was the first customer in, as it does not open until 4pm. There is a large bar area and a smaller lounge. An outdoor patio area at the rear is for much warmer weather than today. 4 ales are served - Blue Monkey BG Sips & Infinity, Sharps Doom Bar & Greene King Abbot. There seemed to be a large number of snacks, including flavoured scratchings and Pringles. I was sorely tempted, but decided to head home for dinner instead! Surprised nobody has reviewed this one before.

14 Feb 2017 21:46

The White Swan, Ockbrook

The White Swan was my third pub in Ockbrook after the Royal Oak and the Cross Keys. The latter is not yet listed on the site. The White Swan was probably the poorest of the three. But that doesn't make it a bad pub. The other two simply had better ale choices. The White Swan had Marstons Pedigree, Shepherd Neame Spitfire, Portobello Market Porter & Adnams Ghost Ship. Only a couple of other customers were in. But it doesn't open until 4pm on weekdays. There are 3 rooms. The smallest room in the middle is the bar. The other two appear to be for food. Not a bad pub and certainly worth trying in combination with the other pubs in this village.

14 Feb 2017 21:42

The Royal Oak, Ockbrook

The Royal Oak was the first of three pubs I tried in this village. Not only was it the best pub in the village, in my opinion, it was my favourite of 10 in Derbyshire. Be careful with the opening hours, as it does close in the afternoon during the week. I managed to get there just before it was due to close. There are a number of rooms, some set up for dining. Service was friendly and there was a good ale selection - Burton Bridge High Spy, Bass, Falstaff Slender Man, Cottage MM Norman's Conquest & Derby The Maltster. There was a real cider in a jug in the fridge, which was from Three Cats. Recommended.

14 Feb 2017 21:37

The Bell and Castle Inn, Derby

Large pub outside of the centre. This place has a number of large rooms. I sat in the main bar area where there are large tables. There is also a kitchen visible from this room. I believe they are now doing food. Although nobody was eating. Toilets are in a separate outhouse at the rear. Ales were Hook Norton Nice Try, Salopian Oracle & Pogo & Sharps Doom Bar. However there is no real cider. A CAMRA discount of 5p off per half is offered. Seemed to lack a bit of atmosphere. But maybe it just needed more customers!

14 Feb 2017 21:32

The Falstaff, Derby

The Falstaff is situated in the southern backstreets of Derby, in what appears to be a multi-ethnic area. Its 3 rooms ooze character. Most people were in the main bar area. You got the feeling that you could leave and come back here in 5 years time and exactly the same people would be sat there! But they were friendly. The room at the rear holds a pool table and there is a smaller lounge. The 4 ales are all brewed on site - Slender Man, Fistful Of Hops, Phoenix & Smiling Assassin. I had the Phoenix, which was a bit too hoppy for my liking. No real cider is served. Worth the trip out of the city centre though.

14 Feb 2017 21:29

Malt Shovel, Spondon

The Malt Shovel is a Marstons pub hidden away in Spondon. But the interior is well worth seeing with plenty of rooms and lots of nooks and crannies, creating a cosy atmosphere. I arrived as the lunchtime rush was subsiding. But staff were still busy with diners. There was also a large function taking place (possibly a wake?) in one room. 5 ales are generally on. 3 are on handpull and 2 are dispensed by gravity. Be sure to check the blackboard to see the full range of ales (all from Marstons) and ciders. Today there was Marstons Pedigree & 61 Deep, Brakspear Bitter, Wychwood Hobgolin, Banks's Sunbeam & Westons Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig. Bar service was efficient. Toilets are outside at the rear. Decent pub, despite only stocking Marstons ales.

14 Feb 2017 21:23

The Harrington Arms, Thulston

The Harrington Arms appears to be a food-dominated pub, with a number of rooms given over to dining. I sat in the main bar area on possibly the only table not made up for eating. 3 ales are served. Bass is the regular. But today they also had Castle Rock Harvest Pale & Blue Monkey Funky Gibbon. When I asked the barmaid what cider they served, I was told Strongbow and some bottled varieties in the fridge. It was only when I specifically asked if they had Old Rosie (I'd read they normally stocked it) that I was offered that. With no signs anywhere to say that it is available, I assume it's only drunk by locals in the know. It's a shame when pubs stock real cider, but do nothing to promote it, instead choosing to encourage fizzy rubbish.

14 Feb 2017 21:16

Malt Shovel Inn, Aston Upon Trent

The Malt as it is known now is situated just off the main road of this Derbyshire village. It's a nice building with a pleasant interior. 6 ales are served. Today, these were Bass, Sharps Doom Bar & Atlantic, Shiny Affinity, Dancing Duck Dcuk & Titanic Iceberg. I didn't stay long. But I could see it was better than average.

14 Feb 2017 21:08

The Shakespeare Inn, Shardlow

Today's midweek visit to Derbyshire began at the rather quiet Shakespeare in Shardlow. I was the first customer of the day and I left the pub empty apart from the friendly landlord, who is apparently moving on in a couple of weeks time. The pub has two or three rooms and 2 ales were on when I arrived - Pedigree & Bass. Elsie Mo was pulled through whilst I was there.

14 Feb 2017 21:04

Stork Hotel, Rowrah

After a visit to the Duke of Cumberland in Bridgefoot (not listed on here), the Stork at Rowrah was my penultimate pub of my day in Cumbria. My last pub (the Hound at Arlecdon) is not listed on here either. The Stork is situated at the junction of 3 roads in what was a very windswept location yesterday evening. It is a friendly local with two small drinking areas and a separate dining area. All of the locals were congregated in the room with the bar. I sat alone in the second room, with music playing from the TV. 2 ales were on - Jennings Bitter & Hesket Newmarket Red Pike. I plumped for the latter which was very enjoyable. Another pub that was much better than I had expected.

13 Feb 2017 21:49

The Black Bull, Cockermouth

The Black Bull was my last pub in Cockermouth and the worst of the lot. There is a handpull. But there was no real on. The choice was Fosters, Worthingtons, John Smiths, Coors Light, Guinness, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruit, Kronenbourg or Carling. The bar area is dark and a reasonable drinking environment. There is a pool table at the back. I sat at the bar and had a soft drink, listening to conversations about a local missing person. Lo and behold, the said missing person walked through the door. Cue the barmaid to let the mother know and cue some other guy (older brother, stepdad who knows!) to head towards the pub. Sensing there wasn't going to be a happy end, I decided to drink up, spend a penny and leave. But before I could get from the gents to the exit, the unhappy relation arrives, storms past me giving me a whack on the shoulder in the process, making a beeline for the 'missing' youth. The older guy landed the first punch. The whole pub then got involved and after hesitating to view this impromptu live entertainment, I decided I was time for me to walk out the door for good. A poor pub. But at least there was a talking point!

13 Feb 2017 21:43

1761, Cockermouth

This place is now called Seth's Bar and it was closed when I initially walked past yesterday. I later found out it does not open until 4 on weekdays and 3 on weekends. Its focus appears to be cocktails, with some kind of flavoured mojito promoted. But there are 3 ales too. These were Great Corby Blonde, Tractor Shed Mowdy & Thwaites Wainwright on this visit. The place was freezing. One other couple were in one corner. Maybe better when there are more people in and it is warmer. But it certainly lacked any kind of atmosphere.

13 Feb 2017 21:29

The Castle Bar, Cockermouth

The Castle Bar appears to be the best pub in Cockermouth. I didn't venture much further than the front bar (apart from a visit to the gents). The bar area feels quite traditional. But apparently there are separate dining areas beyond and on upper levels. With a table going begging in the bar, I didn't feel the need to explore further. Ales are more adventurous than most other Cockermouth pubs - Titanic Plum Porter, Cumbrian Legendary Ales Loweswater Gold & Esthwaite Bitter, Lancaster Sorachi & Jennings Bitter & Cumberland Ale. Unlike the other 6 pubs I tried in the town, this one also had a real cider - Westons Family Reserve. Locals were watching live football. So I joined in.

13 Feb 2017 21:25

The Bitter End, Cockermouth

With a name like the Bitter End, I was expecting a traditional drinkers' boozer. But the place has more of a bistro feel to it, with food dominating. The front room is more appropriate for drinkers, whilst the rear one is reserved for diners. Dogs are allowed in the front room. But people were eating there too. The whole place has a cosy feel to it. Service took a while, as staff were prioritising meal orders. There were 4 ales - Ennerdale English Pride, Jennings Bitter & Cumberland Ale & Bitter End Lakeland Golden (brewed for the bar). Keg options on the rear bar included ales from Thornbridge & Brew Dog. Not what I had expected. But may be a good option, especially if you want to eat.

13 Feb 2017 21:22

The Swan Inn, Cockermouth

The Swan is a likeable Jennings pub that also dispenses a few guests. Their Bitter, Cumberland Ale & Cocker Hoop was supplemented by 3 other ales - Thwaites Wainwright, Barngates Cracker & Bowness Bay Swan Blonde. I sat on the street side of the bar. But there is another seating area to the rear and what looked like a dining area to the side. Families are welcome and there are board games to keep them amused. One of the better pubs in Cockermouth.

13 Feb 2017 21:17

Tithe Barn Hotel, Cockermouth

The Tithe Barn had a Jennings sign on the outside. But the 3 ales on were all from different breweries - Wells Bombardier Glorious English, Leeds Gingerbread Stout & Thwaites Wainwright. The entrance corridor is impressive with nice tiling and stained glass. The bar itself is much more ordinary and it was quiet on my Sunday lunchtime visit. The Scottish barmaid was keeping one eye on the Edinburgh derby football match, which was showing on the TV in the corner. But she only had one other customer when I walked in. I was pleasantly surprised to see a stout on. So I had to sample it. I'm not convinced about the gingerbread flavour though. A much better pub than I had anticipated.

13 Feb 2017 21:12

The Bush, Cockermouth

My first stop in the home town of Jennings was appropriately a Jennings pub on the Main Street. I chose to sit in the front bar, with its real fire. Music was playing. Ales were all from Jennings - Bitter, Cumberland Ale & Sneck Lifter. In hindsight, I should have had a half of Sneck Lifter. I resisted, as I was driving. But it was the only pub I was to see it in during my Cumbrian crawl.

13 Feb 2017 21:07

The Punchbowl, Great Broughton

Of 26 new pubs I tried in the West Midlands, Durham & Cumbria over the weekend, I have to say that this one was my favourite. It's a fabulous single bar local pub in a pretty Cumbrian village, well off the tourist trail. I had picked the weekend of the annual beer festival. A chilly February weekend seemed like an odd time for a festival. But it suited me just fine. 21 ales had been sourced from North East breweries. But the pub has only 3 handpulls. So only 3 were on at any one time. These were turning over quickly though. One guy came in and noted that 2 of the 3 had changed since his visit late the previous evening. The 3 on during my visit were Errant Tusk, Wylam Jakehead IPA & Allendale Wolf. But as I was leaving, the landlord was pulling through another. My half of Wolf was very enjoyable - a very smooth drink. Locals were clearly knowledgeable about their beer and also the local pubs. They were also happy to chat to somebody from out of town. Dogs are welcome. The one I fussed had just been walked up a mountain and back down by his owner - apparently the most exercised dog in Cumbria! Friendly place that is well worth a visit.

13 Feb 2017 21:00

Henry Bessemer, Workington

My Sunday morning took me to this Wetherspoons hostelry in Workington, seemingly the only Workington establishment to make any of the last 13 editions of the Good Beer Guide! I remember trying a pub in the town around 10 years ago. But I don't recall which one. The town seems slightly improved on what it was then. But that's not saying much. The Henry Bessemer is an old cinema and was fairly busy with locals tucking into breakfasts yesterday. The ale selection was Hawkshead Red, Windermere Pale & Dry Stone Stout, Ennerdale Darkest, Yates Golden, Sharps Doom Bar, Greene King Abbot & Ruddles Best. The cider was Old Rosie. I sampled the Darkest, which ironically was not the darkest ale you'll ever see. It was more of a dark ruby colour. Probably the best Workington has to offer.

13 Feb 2017 20:51

The Water House, Durham

The Water House is part of the Wetherspoons chain which has a rambling interior spread over a few different levels. It had a predominantly young crowd on Saturday evening. But I suspect (as with most 'spoons) that it is different during the day. The ale selection was good - Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharps Doom Bar, Sonnet 43 Impressment & The Raven, Daleside Pride of England & Yard Of Ale One Yard Beyond. Ciders were Old Rosie & Black Dragon. As my last pub of 13, I finished on a pint of the latter and it sent me back to my B & B in decent spirits.

13 Feb 2017 20:45

Ye Old Elm Tree, Durham

The Old Elm Tree is a traditional city centre boozer in Durham. It had a crowd of mixed ages. There is an L-shaped bar area and a raised area with further seating and a dartboard, which was in use. TVs were showing Match of the Day whilst I was there. 5 ales were on - Wychwood Hobgoblin, Durham White Amarillo, Errant Comanche Porter, Rudgate Jerusalem & Marstons EPA. Cider was Old Rosie. Had a nice atmosphere. The only drawback was the cleanliness. Glasses and rubbish were strewn everywhere, whilst the bar staff didn't exactly look rushed off their feet. As I was leaving, they were all doing some kind of dance behind the bar. Leave that to the customers and collect some glasses! Still a decent pub though.

13 Feb 2017 20:40

The Colpitts Hotel, Durham

Colpitts Hotel is a wedge-shaped building on a street corner. It is a Sam Smiths pub and has their Old Brewery Bitter on handpull. The real draw here is the unadorned interior, which is a real throwback. The pub was fairly busy with a crowd that seemed to be mainly students and lecturers. The ale selection may be pretty ordinary. But it's worth going here to see how pubs used to be.

13 Feb 2017 20:36

Bridge Hotel, Durham

After a visit to the Garden House Inn and prior to a visit to the Kingslodge Inn (neither listed on here), I tried the Bridge Hotel, which is located underneath Durham's impressive viaduct. The interior is fairly unremarkable and so was the ale selection - Theakston XB, St Austell Proper Job & Holts Two Hoots. Football highlights were being shown on the TV. There are better pubs in Durham.

13 Feb 2017 20:32

Tap and Spile, Framwellgate Moor

The Tap & Spile was my 7th pub of the day in County Durham on Saturday. None of the previous 6 were listed on the site. I've requested most of these to be added. But only the Lambton Worm in Chester-Le-Street and the Newfield Inn in Newfield were of note. The Tap & Spile however was my favourite pub of the day in the county. It's a traditional two-roomed local in the Framwellgate Moor area. 8 ales are split across handpulls in both rooms. The selection on Saturday evening was Salopian Shropshire Gold, Pennine Hair Of The Dog, Maxim Ward's Best Bitter, Roosters YPA, Rudgate Battle Axe, Ossett Clearwater, Anarchy Hard Times & Tyne Bank Motueka Dollar. The cider was Old Rosie. Both rooms were busy and it had a cosy atmosphere. Dogs are welcomed.

13 Feb 2017 20:26

Moon Under Water, Cradley Heath

Had a Friday evening visit to this branch of Wetherspoons, prior to a curry. It's situated on the High Street, nowadays no longer the main thoroughfare through the town. But it was busy on my visit with nearly all tables taken. The interior is open-plan and as with most Wetherspoons, it lacks atmosphere. The ale selection was still fairly decent though - Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Exmoor Beast, Backyard Blonde, Sadlers Hop Bomb, Hook Norton Old Hooky & Springhead Fallen Angel. Ciders were Westons Old Rosie & Thistly Cross Whisky Cask. Service wasn't the quickest. But was reasonable, given how busy it was.

13 Feb 2017 20:08

The Dispensary, Liverpool

Dave was in usual form yesterday. With Everton winning, Liverpool losing and me and my mates having visited other hostelries in the city, he was in a typically sarcastic mood. But you have to take him with a pinch of salt. This is his boozer and his pride and joy. The pub is always packed with people that appreciate the quality of his well-kept and well-sourced ales. So it makes a decent drinking environment. Yesterday's selection was Titanic First Class & Plum Porter, George Wright Mark's Mild, Riverhead Liquorice Latte Stout, Fyne Jagnarok Imperial Jarl, Oakham Citra & Rat White Rat. Still our go to pub in Liverpool, despite the lack of a real cider for me. The dark ales generally make up for it. Still thoroughly recommended.

5 Feb 2017 18:34

Ye Cracke, Liverpool

Almost a month after trying to visit on a Saturday lunchtime and finding it closed, I tried a visit on a Saturday early evening and found it open. The positives stop there. With 3 bar staff, I was fully expecting to get served quickly. The landlady was struggling to deal with an extremely frothy pint, a barmaid was messing with glasses and the barman was texting or doing something similar on his mobile phone. After a minute or two, I thought I would get served by the barmaid. But she instead decided to serve somebody she knew who had just walked in. Never mind, I thought. I'm sure I'll be served soon. But after serving the guy she knew, she started messing with glasses again with the landlady still dealing with the same problem and the barman still texting. Getting a little impatient by now, I had to shout across to see if anybody was serving. The barmaid came over and said I couldn't have been waiting long and that she had just been serving somebody else, whilst the barman had just finished his shift (fair enough). But I pointed out that I had been waiting a couple of minutes before her previous customer. She said she hadn't seen me and that it was my fault for not shouting her. She also said that anybody who had ever worked behind a bar would understand the need to shout for attention. Well, I worked behind a bar for quite a few years and fully understand that good bar staff will clock the order people have come to the bar. Failing that, a quick 'Who's next' will generally bring out the best in people. But after failing to agree, I ordered a half of mild. The barmaid then proved that she was not only oblivious of customers waiting to be served, she was also unable to listen properly and poured a pint. When serving me the pint, I said I'd asked for a half and she wondered off towards the landlady muttering something. The landlady then shouted across asking me if I was being rude. I've no idea if this was a serious comment or some attempt at a joke. But at this point I was not amused. Surely shouting across a bar would be considered rude, rather than enquiring why nobody was serving me and then stating that I had ordered a half when a pint had been poured. If everybody were to shout across a bar, pubs would feel like meat markets. This really does seem a strange way of having to get served and one I have not seen anywhere else across the country. Maybe Ye Cracke should invest in signs to inform people that they have to shout, so as not to be ignored. With a bitter taste in my mouth, I wasted no time in downing my half of Titanic Mild, safe in the knowledge that I won't be venturing back into a pub that lacks any kind of customer service skills any time in the near future. For the record, the other ales were Thwaites Original, Cottage Resolution, Heavy Industry 77 & Bass. Old Rose was the cider. After all, I had plenty of time to note down all of the beers during my extended wait. No longer worthy of a visit, especially when there are so many other decent pubs in this area. I'd just been to the Hard Times & Misery (which I've just requested to be added) and found excellent and knowledgeable service. Don't waste your time or money here, as it's not wanted unless your known by the staff.

5 Feb 2017 18:27

Black Lodge Brewing, Liverpool

After a visit to the always decent Baltic Fleet, I made a return to Black Lodge Brewing in the Baltic Triangle. I didn't review it last time I was here as I had to get it added to the site. But it's a brewery and bar based in a warehouse. There are no cask ales. All beers are the craft variety, dispensed from taps on the back wall. Beers brewed on site were Three Owls, #333, Smoked Porter, Exotic Garden Pale, This Machine, Farmhouse Pale, El Dorado IPA & Amos The Nipper. They also had Love Lane Pale & Craft Lager from Liverpool Craft. There's not much atmosphere in here. Although maybe it gets packed in an evening. Seating is along bench tables. Toilets are unisex. Since the last time I was here, the brewery equipment has moved from the side of the bar to the rear, spparently to allow space for live bands to perform. This place is a fair jaunt out of the city centre. But the Baltic Triangle is an increasingly trendy area of the city and Black Lodge Brewing is easy to combine with a visit to the Baltic Fleet and it's not far from the Albert Dock either.

5 Feb 2017 18:08

The Ma Boyles Oyster Bar, Liverpool

Ma Boyles is another pub I haven't been in for several years. It has closed and re-opened under new ownership in that time. Whilst it now has even more of a bistro feel and there is clearly a focus on food, it was much busier than I remember it last time. 3 ales were on - Weetwood Cheshire Cat & Mad Hatter & Box Steam Piston Broke. The Mad Hatter was ok, but perhaps not the ideal ale for me.

5 Feb 2017 17:54

The Cornmarket, Liverpool

I hadn't been in the Cornmarket for 8 or 9 years. But it's much as I remember it, with a lower bar area that was empty and a larger upper area with space for standing and a few stools around the bar and a larger adjacent seating area. 4 ales were on - Thwaites Wainwright, Purity Pure Gold, Black Sheep Holy Grail & Greene King IPA. All were similar sorts of beers. A dark one would have been nice. Nevertheless, this an atmospheric and comfortable place that is well hidden.

5 Feb 2017 17:51

The Liverpool, Liverpool

The Liverpool is a pub I'd never been to before until yesterday. It's located nextdoor to James St station. I'd heard some fairly negative reports about the place. So I found it much better than I had expected. Whilst there's no real ales here, the keg selection was reasonable, including a couple of beers from Caledonian - Three Hop & Rare Breed. The interior is fairly dark with a nautical theme. There were a couple of TVs showing live football. Staff were fairly friendly too. I probably won't return, with so many decent pubs in Liverpool.

5 Feb 2017 17:47

The Cobweb Inn, Boscastle

Last pub of the night for us in Cornwall was the Cobweb, which is an imposing building at the bottom of the town, opposite the public car park. It has two bars with flagstone floors. One has a pool table. Ales were Tintagel Cornwall's Pride, Harbour Special & Merlin's Muddle & St Austell Tribute. Ciders are Healeys Cornish Rattler & Addlestones.

30 Jan 2017 21:33

Napoleon Inn, Boscastle

The Napoleon is at the top end of Boscombe and was our favourite out of the two we tried. It's in a quiet area. But the pub has three rooms with lots of character. Toilets are outdoors in the corridor that separates the rooms. It's a St Austell house. So Tribute, Cornish Best & HSD were the ales. We decided to have dinner here, which was ok and reasonably priced. Dogs are welcomed and one nearly manage to get to my Sunday roast. But it was just a few centimetres beyond the end of his/her leash! A traditional boozer that is worth seeking out.

30 Jan 2017 21:30

King Arthurs Arms, Tintagel

I'm probably one of the few people to visit Tintagel without visiting the castle or any of the Arthurian tourist hotspots. But we emerged from the winter fog to try the King Arthur Arms. It's a fairly large pub that was populated by locals out of the tourist season. There are plenty of tables and some were being used by diners, eating from a fairly basic menu. A pool table appeared to be the centre of attention. Ales were Tintagel Cornwall's Pride, Harbour Special & Merlin's Muddle, Sharps Doom Bar & St Austell Tribute. I was hoping for a real cider. But when I enquired, I was told all of them were real! You can't win them all! My wife did enjoy the draught Rekorderlig Strawberry & Lime, which was certainly 'real' in one sense.

30 Jan 2017 21:26

The Masons Arms, Camelford

The Masons Arms is a fascinating St Austell pub in the small town of Camelford. It took a while to get the landlady's attention. But she was very apologetic and turned out to be one of the friendliest hosts you could meet. The pub has two rooms. Most of the locals were in the public bar, where there was a pool table. But the highlight is the second room, which is packed with all kinds of paraphernalia. Tribute, Proper Job & HSD were the ales. At least one of these was dispensed by gravity from a cask on the bar in the lounge. A family and dog friendly pub with a very friendly landlady, who gave us a couple of bar towels some plastic dominoes and the local CAMRA magazine, apparently delivered by a very affable gent who travels for miles just to deliver the mag. Well worth a visit. If only the brewery would let her stock some different ales!

30 Jan 2017 21:18

The Cornish Arms, St Tudy

This pub has been renamed the St Tudy Inn. It's in a lovely village. But it appears to have gone upmarket and the focus appears to be on food, with nearly all tables made up for diners. There is however a small bar area with a number of barrels for stools. More staff than customers were present. But it looked like it had been busier earlier in the afternoon. There were 2 ales - Sharps Doom Bar & Padstow St Tudy Ale. Not the best.

30 Jan 2017 21:12

The St Mabyn Inn, St Mabyn

I really liked this local pub, next to the church in a small, agricultural village. There is a main bar area with a cosy area of seating around the fire and a couple of smaller rooms where there was a pool table and a number of families. The ale selection was better than most other pubs I went to. Doom Bar still seemed to be popular. But they did also have two non-Sharps ales - Tintagel Cornwall's Pride & Skinners Lushingtons. For me, there was also the bonus of the local Haywood Farm Cider, which I hadn't had for some time. This was my favourite pub of the day in Cornwall.

30 Jan 2017 21:09

The Ship Inn, Wadebridge

I was slightly disappointed with this pub. There is a public bar in two sections and a separate restaurant area. The Sunday lunch trade was just wrapping up on our visit. Only one of my first 4 pubs had stocked anything other than Sharps and that was the Wetherspoons. Doom Bar & Sea Fury were the two Sharps beers in this pub. There was no real cider either. Not as good as I'd hoped.

30 Jan 2017 21:04

Chapel an Gansblydhen, Bodmin

The last time I was in Bodmin, just over 7 years ago, I'm not convinced this Wetherspoons was open. As its name suggests, it's located in a former chapel and looks like a large Wetherspoons from the outside. But it's actually quite compact and unlike most 'spoons, I felt is did have more of an atmosphere. The ale selection was Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharps Doom Bar, Caledonian Edinburgh Castle, Saltaire Cascade & Tintagel Gwaf Tan (Winter Fire). I was impressed with the range of 4 ciders too - Thistly Cross Whisky Cask, Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon, Orchard Pig The Hogfather & Polgoon Mounts Bay. The Mounts Bay was very palatable indeed. It's probably now between this pub and the Hole In The Wall for Bodmin's best pub. The town itself appears to have gone downhill and part of it appears to be one giant construction site, which provides chaos on the roads.

30 Jan 2017 20:59

The Ship, Lerryn

Lerryn is a lovely village on the River Fowey. There are stepping stones to cross the river. The village local is the Ship, which seems to be popular with diners. The interior is no frills. But the landlord and landlady were friendly. Doom Bar & Cornish Coaster made up the predictable ale choice. Worth visiting for the location.

30 Jan 2017 20:51

The Old Ferry Inn, Bodinnick

The Old Ferry Inn was my first stop of the day in Cornwall. It has the advantage of opening in the morning. The pub is situated next to the car ferry over to Fowey at the bottom of the village and a very steep hill. My car struggled to get back up the 1 in 6 incline! A couple of other people were there when we arrived. They were enjoying coffee and tea. Ales are all from Sharps - Own, Atlantic & Cornish Coaster. No real cider was served. The bar is decorated with lots of nautical pictures and memorabilia. There is a separate dining area. But the pub is quite compact, in all. A lovely pub in a handy and picturesque setting. The only drawback is the lack of ale choice and a real cider.

30 Jan 2017 20:47

The Albert Inn, Totnes

With time for one more pub in Totnes, I chose the Albert. This is the home of the Bridgewater Brewery. But it only had one of their beers on. This was Albert Ale. Two guests were Teignworthy Old Moggie & Keltec Magic. The cider was Old Rosie. This was actually my favourite pub in Totnes. It had a lively atmosphere in the front bar, with a cover band playing rock classics. I retreated to the slightly quieter rear bar. The pub has a really traditional feel and locals were friendly. So was the landlord. Toilets are in the yard at the rear, where there is also a disused bar billiard table. I'm surprised this is not in the Good Beer Guide.

30 Jan 2017 20:42

Totnes Brewing Company, Totnes

After the madness of the Bull, seeing bar staff with eye patches and customers dressed in sailor costumes all seemed quite sensible to me. This two-roomed bar was packed and was noisy. But it has a good selection of real ales, craft beers and ciders dispensed from its two bars. On this visit, ales from Totnes Brewing Company were Breakfast Bitter, Woodsman IPA & Tropango. Guests were Springhead Outlawed & Thornbridge Peveril. Ciders were Thistly Cross Jaggy Thistle & Ashridge Traditional. With no seats available, I was forced to prop up the bar. But I'd imagine this could be a much better experience on anything other than a Saturday evening. Worth a try though.

30 Jan 2017 20:36

The Bull Inn, Totnes

With time to spare, I decided to try the Bull. The real ale here is Bays Devon Dumpling. There is also a Traditional Cider from Ashridge. Not really a place I'd like to dwell. But the entertainment was provided by the clientele. From talk about vibrators to a part of the bar known as the erection section to the seemingly high on cocaine German girls and the tabby cat sat on the bar, all of the people and animals here seemed a bit eccentric. Or maybe it was just the cider!

30 Jan 2017 20:32

The Bay Horse Inn, Totnes

The Bay Horse was certainly one of the best pubs in this town. It's right at the top end and was popular with people and dogs on my Saturday evening visit. It also has one of the better ale ranges in town - Noss Beer Works Church Ledge, New Lion Pandit IPA, Mane Event & Totnes Stout. It serves as the brewery tap for the New Lion brewery. There are also a couple of ciders - Ashridge Devon Bloom & Sandford Orchards Vintage. My Devon Bloom (Elderflower) was enjoyable. There are 3 rooms, which are all quite basic. But they an array of different seating. There is accommodation available here too.

30 Jan 2017 20:29

Rumour, Totnes

The Rumour Wine Bar is towards the top end of the hill. It's not really a pub. It's more of a wine bar/restaurant. But they do have 2 regular real ale - St Austell Tribute & New Lion Pandit IPA. There is also a third handpull, which was taken with Westons Rosie's Pig. All of the tables appeared to be made out for diners. So I took a seat at the bar. Ok. But there are better places further up the hill.

30 Jan 2017 20:24

The Steam Packet Inn, Totnes

The Steam Packet Inn was my first port of call in Totnes on Saturday evening. A visit here saves you having to climb up the hill, as it's by the riverside. Some kind of fun run with torches was being held nearby. But I opted for the more sensible option of the pub, which appeared more focused towards diners than drinkers. Doom Bar is the regular ale. But they also had two guests fro Salcombe - Seahorse & Devon Amber. In addition, I was pleased to see a sign for medium dry and medium sweet ciders from Ashridge. So I opted for one of those, whilst admiring the comings and goings. There are better places in Totnes though.

30 Jan 2017 20:20

The Tally Ho Inn, Totnes

The Tally Ho is a great example of a thriving community pub. We're were hoping to eat here, but looked set to be disappointed when we saw all of the reserved signs when we walked in. Luckily there were 2 spare tables. So we enjoyed a nice meal. Not the cheapest, but decent quality. The landlady, staff and locals were all fairly friendly. Dartmoor Legend is the regular ale. There were also two guests - Exmoor Gold & South Hams Wild Blonde. I was also pleased to see a couple of ciders dispensed from the back wall of the bar. These were Hunts Mary Maud's & Yarde Cider. My Yarde was enjoyable. Certainly recommended.

30 Jan 2017 20:14

The Maltsters Arms, Tuckenhay

Whilst I wasn't planning to visit the Maltsters Arms originally, I decided to head here after hearing that one of the pubs I was planning to visit in Totnes later in the evening had closed. The Maltsters was apparently run by Keith Floyd until fairly recently. So it appears fairly popular with diners. It enjoys a lovely riverside location. But the interior felt a bit too modern for my liking. Salcombe Sea Horse is the regular ale. But they also had 3 guests, which were Sharps Doom Bar, New Lion Pandit IPA & South Hams Devon Pride.

30 Jan 2017 20:09

The Durant Arms, Ashprington

This pub is at the centre of the small village of Ashprington, next to the war memorial, which serves as a roundabout. There is a nice bar area and a raised dining area. We sat in the bar area where the local shooters were due in. Noss Beer Works Church Ledge is the regular ale. There are 2 other handpulls. One had Otter Amber and the other had Friels Cider, which was very nice. I gather this pub has recently been selected for the latest Good Beer Guide and it is well worth its entry.

30 Jan 2017 20:05

Teign Cellars, Newton Abbot

I must have walked past this pub on my way from the Dartmouth Inn to Ye Olde Cider bar, the last time I was in Newton Abbot, over 7 years ago. But I doubt it stocked as good a selection of ales and ciders the last time I came. So my visit to the town this time was solely to try the Teign Cellars. You enter the split-level bar from the side. But you'll find the bar in front of you. Four ales are dispensed by handpull. On my visit, these were Arbor Motueka, North Riding Cascade Pale, Mallinsons Dana & Hanlons Winter Wobble. There was also a decent selection of craft beers and in the lower level of the bar, there are a couple of fridges with a large bottle range, which effectively forms a bottle shop. Ciders were Hunts Mary Maud's, Medium & Sweet, Green Valley Sweet, Yarde Cider, Westons Hand Brake & Flat Tyre & Reddaways Medium Dry. With Ye Olde Cider Pub within easy staggering distance, I hope to be back in Newton Abbot again soon!

30 Jan 2017 20:01

The Sandygate Inn, Sandygate

After a visit to the wonderful Royal Oak Inn in Ideford (not listed on here), we moved onto the Sandygate Inn. The interior of this pub is quite basic, with one large room at the front and another couple of rooms to the back. There were 3 ales - Dartmoor Jail Ale & Legend & St Austell Tribute. It appears these do not change. Unfortunately, there was no real cider.

30 Jan 2017 19:53

The Bishop Lacey, Chudleigh

The village of Chudleigh is just off the main A38 and the Bishop Lacy appears to be the best pub in the village. There are 2 rooms. One is the public bar, with a large screen which was showing the football on our visit. The other is a saloon. All of the locals were in the bar and the saloon was empty. Pumpclips for the ales are however in the saloon, with a blackboard displaying those available in the bar. The 2 ales available were Duchess from Cottage & Tor Ale from Black Tor.

30 Jan 2017 19:46

The Maypole, Cambridge

Our final pub in Cambridge was the Maypole and it was a fitting end to our day. It's a little hidden away from the main action. But a total of 13 ales were on - Tiny Rebel Hank, Grain Lignum Vitae, Humpty Dumpty Shaltai Baltai & Red Mill, Three Blind Mice Pirate Hop & Uncle Buckthorn, Shortts Farm Strummer, Tring Black Hawk, Wiper & True Milk Stout, Milton Justinian, St Austell Proper Job & Adnams Bitter & Broadside. Ciders and perry were Cromwells Oliver's Session, Lilleys Pear & Raspberry & Gladiator, Seacider Medium & Westons Old Rosie. The pub has two rooms. I seem to remember the rear one being larger. But most people were in the smaller front bar. I need to come back when I'm a little more sober. But my first impressions were very positive.

27 Jan 2017 20:21

Cambridge Brew House, Cambridge

The Cambridge Brew House felt like it had more of a focus on food than beer. But it is a large building spread over 2 floors. There is a large dining area upstairs that was not in use during our visit. Their own beers on cask were King's Parade, Brewhouse IPA, Night Porter & Misty River. They had others on keg. Guest cask ales were Brewsters Hophead & Colchester Metropolis. They also had a real cider - Side-R Elderflower from Glebe Farm. I did quite like the place though.

27 Jan 2017 20:13

The Champion of the Thames, Cambridge

The Champion of the Thames is another Cambridge pub with lots of character. There is a main room and a smaller side room, where we sat. As a Greene King pub, Abbot & IPA are the regular beers. Guests were Westerham British Bulldog, Moorhouses Premier Bitter & Hadrian Border Tyneside Blonde. You can still do a decent crawl along this street.

27 Jan 2017 20:09

The St Radegund, Cambridge

The St Radegund is a small pub with limited opening hours. I know from my last visit to Cambridge that it closes on a Sunday and during the week, it does not open until 5pm. So we arrived just on opening. I can imagine that the single bar could get very crowded with any more than about a dozen people in. So the limited opening hours probably suit it. In reply to the last reviewer, the refurb has not destroyed the pub's character. Despite its size, the pub was supporting 6 ales - Fullers London Pride, Milestone Black Pearl & Cathedral Gold, Woodfordes Wherry, Reunion Ales Beard Tongue & Colchester Anne Downes. Pride & Wherry appear to be the regular ales. No real cider is stocked. Forgot to ask for the CAMRA discount.

27 Jan 2017 19:52

The Hopbine, Cambridge

The Hopbine was probably the most disappointing of the 10 Cambridge pubs we visited yesterday. But in every other town, this would be an above average pub. It's just that Cambridge pubs are very good. Only 5 ales were on (God forbid!)- Stod Fold Red, Red Squirrel Mister Squirrel, Colchester Brass Monkey, Oakham Bishop's Farewell & Tring Side Pocket For A Toad. Cider was Abrahalls AM. A CAMRA discount I offered and there is also a happy hour from 5pm (I assume on weekdays only). But we were still slightly too early for the happy hour. Friendly service and generally a nice pub.

27 Jan 2017 19:47

Elm Tree, Cambridge

The Elm Tree is a Charles Wells/Banks & Taylor pub which had a decent range of guest ales in addition to their own selection. The full range was Charles Wells A Good Stuffing & Bombardier, Youngs Winter Warmer, Caledonian Edinburgh Castle, Roosters Red State, Yeovil Stout Hearted, Black Sheep Holy Grail & Banks & Taylor Shefford Bitter, Dragon Slayer & Extra Stout. They also had a real cider - Abrahalls Slack Alice. In addition, Belgian beers appear to be a speciality. The pub is a cosy, single room with a step leading down to the larger seating area. Whilst we were there, we were entertained by a guy walking off the street looking for a job. His pre-prepared speech was certainly well practiced. But it didn't really win anybody over! Another very good Cambridge pub.

27 Jan 2017 19:42

The Free Press, Cambridge

A lovely little backstreet boozer in Cambridge, that is a Greene King pub. There was nobody in when we arrived on a weekday afternoon. The pub has 3 small rooms. The snug is tiny. IPA, Abbot & XX Mild are the 3 regular GK beers. Guests were Hook Norton Grey Goose, Wimbledon Windmill Pale, Sadlers Peaky Blinder & Hadrian Border Tyneside Blonde. Old Rosie was the cider. We were soon joined by a couple of younger drinkers who were on the Sambuca! Tempting, but the mild sufficed for me on this occasion. Worth seeking out.

27 Jan 2017 19:36

The Cambridge Blue, Cambridge

I was last here several years ago when I spent a little too long supping the various ciders. Ever since, it has been in my mind as the best pub in Cambridge. My visit yesterday only served to confirm that suspicion and the only question mark in my mind was whether to score it a 9/10 or a 10/10. 9 ales were on - Dark Star Hophead & American Pale Ale, Norfolk Brewhouse Moon Gazer, Three Blind Mice Half Wit & Juice Rocket, Mighty Oak Yellow Snow, Colchester London Porter & Woodfordes Wherry & Ruby Red. One local customer walked in and was also offered Incognito from the Crafty brewery, which wasn't officially on. Ciders and perry were Udders Orchard Luddite, Cromwells Oliver's Downfall, Hallets PX, Millwhites Rum Cask, Snails Bank Fruit Bat & Simons Sweet Barton Perry. The pub appears to have changed a little since I was there last. You are immediately greeted by fridges displaying a large bottle selection. To the right-hand side of the bar, you can see the cellar from where all ales and ciders were being dispensed direct from the cask. To the left is another small drinking area, with a larger extension beyond. I don't recall this area last time I was here. But I did have a few. There is also a large outdoor area, that was even in use yesterday. I think they had patio heaters. My conclusion is to rate this pub a 9/10, as there were a few vacant handpulls. Although this is hardly surprising for this time of year. It's certainly the best of many decent pubs in Cambridge and also one of the best pubs in the country.

27 Jan 2017 19:28

The Kingston Arms, Cambridge

It's been several years since I was last in the Kingston Arms and I didn't review it then. I was also quite inebriated the last time I was in. So with this being only my third pub of the day, I got a much better impression. This is a backstreet pub that has an L-shaped room and what looks like it might be a pleasant outdoor courtyard in the summer - not so pleasant on a freezing January day. The pub was busy with plenty of diners and the menu looked very tempting. The ale range was equally good, with the 6 regular beers - Jaipur, Brewers Gold, Summer Lightning, JHB, Wherry & Landlord supplemented by Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde, Green Duck Duck Dastardly, Tydd Steam Armageddon & Great Heck Chopper. Ciders were Lilleys Pear & Raspberry & Pickled Pig Porkers Snout. A far better pub than I remembered it.

27 Jan 2017 19:17

The Devonshire Arms, Cambridge

Paid a return visit to the Devonshire yesterday on arrival to Cambridge. Whilst I really rated it the last time I came, I wasn't quite so impressed this time around. The ale selection was still decent - Milton Pegasus, Dionysus, Nero & Minerva, Slaters Arctic, Acorn Gorlovka & Brewshed Golden Wolf. There were also 2 unusual ciders - Cromwells Oliver's Choice & Potton Press Happy Medium. I opted for the latter, which was a new one for me. But the real let down was the service. I was eventually served by a woman, who looked as if she had just been told she had been sacked! She seemed much happier dealing with the regulars, of which there were quite a few despite my visit being on a weekday lunchtime. I like the pub and the beers. But judging on my experience and some of the other reviews on here, service is lacking. So I'm downgrading my score slightly.

27 Jan 2017 19:12

The Hamilton Hall, Liverpool Street

A handy place to head for when your train is cancelled, as mine was yesterday. It's just up the escalators from the main concourse. A decent selection of ales were on yesterday morning - Exmoor Gold, Greene King Abbot, Green Jack Mahseer, Ringwood Forty Niner, Cotleigh Seahawk, Strathaven Winter Glow, Caledonian Edinburgh Castle & Great Newsome Frothingham Best. Cider was Old Rosie. An earlier start than I had anticipated and this place still had a few other drinkers at 11am on a weekday.

27 Jan 2017 19:06

Beer Rebellion, Peckham

I'd been to the Beer Rebellion in Gipsy Hill before. But I believe this was the first of their three pubs. So I've been looking forward to coming here, despite the demise of Late Knights brewery. The bar has the look of a micropub. Although there is live music and it can get quite noisy. So it doesn't quite fit the definition. Ales were Siren Broken Dream Breakfast Stout, Gipsy Hill Anorak Plum Mild, East London Brewery Cowcatcher & Arbor Blue Sky Drinking. Ciders were Orchard Pig Reveller & Cock Eyed Devon Jasper. They also had craft beers from Fourpure, Wiper & True, Little Beer Corporation & Gipsy Hill. Possibly the best pub in Peckham. Note that there is another similar pub called Beer Shop London, about 15 minutes walk away that is worth a visit in combination with Beer Rebellion. I'll request for it to be added here.

23 Jan 2017 00:07

Kentish Drovers, Peckham

The Kentish Drovers is a Wetherspoons pub in the heart of Peckham. It's full of all sorts of characters of all nationalities and cultures. As a pub and an example of a 'spoons, it's pretty poor. The ale selection was Ruddles Best, Caledonian Edinburgh Castle & Sambrooks Junction. The cider was Old Rosie. I had a swift half of Edinburgh Castle before moving on. Believe it or not, there are better places in Peckham.

23 Jan 2017 00:02

Funky Munky, Camberwell

The Stormbird was the better of the 2 Camberwell pubs I tried last night. I visited the Hermit's Cave across the road back in 2010. Whilst they are related, they are worlds apart. The Hermits Cave has the better atmosphere. The Stormbird has the better beers. The latter has limited seating. I ended up propping up the bar. Only 3 real ales were on - Five Points Railway Porter, Hawshead Windermere Pale & Siren Liquid Mistress. Ciders were Sandford Orchards Devon Mist & Thistly Cross Whisky Cask. Another key draw is the craft beer selection, which included brews from Beavertown, Magic Rock, Left Hand Brewing, Mikkeler, Moor & Siren. There was also a decent bottle selection. Pub of the day in South East London for me and the Railway Porter was divine!

22 Jan 2017 23:59

The Tiger, Denmark Hill

I wasn't intending to do an Antic pub crawl, but this was the third in a row of the chain's pubs for me. Another trendy place that was packed on a Saturday night, with all kinds of people. Some were watching the live football, some were dining, others were just there for the conversation. The beers were Butcombe Bitter, Moles The Tunneler & Castle Rock Snowhite. Ok, but not the best Antic pub I've been to.

22 Jan 2017 23:54

The Old Red Lion, Kennington

The Old Red Lion is situated next to Oakham's London pub (Oaka). I'd been there before, but somehow missed the Old Red Lion. It's now an Antic pub, with a fairly trendy (eclectic) interior. Although the building itself is ancient. Ales were Vim Volden, Hawkshead Bitter & Dark Star American Pale Ale & Revelation. They also had a cider - Blaengawney Hallets Blindfold and a perry, also from Hallets, one of my favourite producers. With lots of nooks and crannies and a convenient location near to Kennington tube, I can definitely recommend it.

22 Jan 2017 23:51

Westow House, Crystal Palace

We retreated from the Grape & Grain across the other side of the traffic lights to the much livelier Westow House. I quite like Antic pubs and this one is no exception. Although no dark beers or real cider means it will stay as a 6/10 after this visit. The ale choice was Volden Pale & Session, Brighton Bier South Coast IPA, Redwell Julol, But The Horns Stiff Upper Lip, Adnams Ghost Ship & Dark Star Hophead. Many people were eating food and most tables were taken. If you're in the area, give it a try.

22 Jan 2017 23:47

The Grape and Grain, Crystal Palace

Yesterday was a return visit to the Grape & Grain for me. Whilst I've heard people raving about the place, I've never been won over. The beer selection is good for the area. But there's countless better pubs across South-East London, let alone London as a whole. Whilst up to 12 beers can be served, yesterday there was 8 - Rudgate Brew No. 1 Vanilla Mild, East London Brewery Night Watchman, Dark Star Hophead & Original, St Peters Ruby Red Ale, Adnams Bitter, Hogsback Tea & Brewsters Sarah Guppy. There were 2 real ciders - Westons Old Rosie & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. Gents toilets were out of order, meaning a queue for the solitary disabled toilet. Disappointing.

22 Jan 2017 23:44

The River Bar, Tower Bridge

I believe this is the 4th of the Draft Houses I have visited. Here at opening on Saturday lunchtime, I was greeted with 4 ales - Burning Sky Plateau & Porter, Siren Vermont Tea Party & Sambrooks Four Chimneys Chocolate Stout. I had half of the porter and the stout and both were in good condition. I don't recall the pricing being too excessive, especially with a CAMRA discount. It is food-oriented and quite modern inside. There's a few decent pubs on this stretch of Tower Bridge Road and this is one of them.

22 Jan 2017 23:40

The Quayside, Newcastle

The Quayside was my final pub of 36 over 4 days in Newcastle. It's one of Wetherspoons' Lloyds bars and has a modern feel to it. Being quite late in the evening, it was attracting a younger crowd. Ale selection was limited to Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharps Doom Bar, Sonnet 43 Abolition & Seraphim & Arundel Winter Knights. But a pint of Thistly Cross Whisky Cask rounded my evening off quite nicely.

22 Jan 2017 23:35

The Red House, Newcastle

I'd been nextdoor to here in the Hop & Cleaver 3 nights previous. But back in the area, I decided to give the Redhouse a try. It has what feels like an ancient interior, with exposed brickwork. The ale selection was better than I was expecting - Hop & Cleaver Devil's Pale, Cullercoats Tyne, Allendale Ruby Columbus, Anarchy Blonde Star, Great North Eastern Rivet Catcher & Mordue Five Bridges. No real cider though. Quite an atmospheric place that I will not pass by in a hurry next time.

22 Jan 2017 23:32

Eye on the Tyne, Newcastle

After a visit to the Head Of Steam near Central station earlier in the evening, I ended up at this branch of the chain much later in the night. The Quayside site is a much brighter, upmarket version. It is larger and busier than the one in the city centre. Popular with couples, rather than singles. If anything, the ale range is also better - Anarchy Sublime Chaos, Box Social Slay Bell, Consett Steel Town, Sonnet 43 Miss Scarlet's Revolver, Leeds Reindeer Porter & Camerons Ahopalypse Now & Inglenoon. Cider was Gwynt y Ddraig Farmhouse Scrumpy. A guitarist was in action in one corner. Another place to add to the list of Newcastle pubs to visit.

22 Jan 2017 23:28

The Pitcher and Piano, Newcastle

I needed somewhere to eat late at night. So this place suited me fine at 9pm, as I just caught last orders for food. It's a large building, set right on the Quayside with a good view of the Tyne. Popular with a younger crowd. But 2 ales were being served - Marstons EPA & Wychwood Hobgoblin. My Hobgoblin and meal were just what the doctor ordered. But not normally my kind of establishment.

22 Jan 2017 23:22

The Free Trade Inn, Byker

I made a swift visit to the plush Hotel Du Vin (not listed on here), before moving down to the Free Trade. I last visited here in 2010 and remember leaving in a bit of a state. That day it was my 9th pub of the day and they had a cider festival on. This time, luckily it was only my 8th and the cider selection was much more limited - Dawsons 100, Pure North Valley Gold, Worleys Beatnik Billy & Kentish Pip Firespice. Ales were Thornbridge Jaipur, Allendale Gluten Free IPA, Roosters High Tea, Almasty Centennial Simcoe, Fyne Ales Jarl & Hawkshead Windermere Pale. It feels a lot more spit and sawdust than I remember it. Although last time I was drunk and it was packed. This time, my visit was much more relaxing. Upgrading my rating to 8/10. A really good boozer.

22 Jan 2017 23:18

The Cumberland Arms, Ouseburn

I gave the Cumberland Arms a 9/10 the last time I visited here in 2010. I don't normally bestow such a high mark and I very often mark a pub down when making a return visit. Not so here. The Cumberland Arms is still my favourite pub in Newcastle. It feels like a little bit of rural England slapped bang in the middle of a big city. The two rooms are just as atmospheric as last time. The one was being occupied by some musicians and singers. So I headed for the room on the left. Ales were North Prototype, Allendale Mosaic, Thirst Class Hoppy Couple IPA, Magic Rock Common Grounds Coffee Porter & Wylam Rapper. Ciders were Cock Eyed Copper Beech, Gibbet Oak Russet & Sampford Courtenay. I had the Courtenay, which was extremely dry albeit nice. A great pub and one of the finest in the country, in my opinion.

22 Jan 2017 23:14

The Cluny, Ouseburn

The Cluny has been on my list of pubs to visit for years now. For some reason, I failed to make it here the last time I was in the area. But as is often the case with pubs I have been waiting to visit, I was somewhat underwhelmed. It did not help that the bar staff decided to serve people who had walked in after me first. The bar is L-shaped and there is a large beam at the corner. I had moved round the corner to try to get somebody's attention. So others got served first. The ale range was good - Consett Stout, Anarchy Boot Boys, Leeds Midnight Bell, Camerons Ahopalypse Now, Out There Cassini & Sonnet 43 The Raven Bourbon Milk Stout. Ciders were Orchard Pig Maverick Ginger & Chilli & Abrahalls Ruby Tuesday & Down Down. Live music is clearly a feature here and a band was warming up. But as with the previous reviewer, I feel the Cumberland Arms and Free Trade are better pubs in this area of town. Still decent though.

22 Jan 2017 23:09

Ship Inn, Newcastle

The Ship was my second pub in Byker last Thursday evening, following the Tanners Arms (not listed on here). The Ship is sat opposite the Cluny. But it is a much more compact place. 5 ales were on. They were Consett White Hot, Allendale Wolf, Adnams Broadside & Ghost Ship & Cullercoats Forth. They also had 2 ciders from Orchard Pig - Philosopher & Explorer. I fancied some food in here. But they've switched everything to vegan. So I opted against it. One local thought it was hilarious telling visitors that the place was haunted, whilst pushing one of the low-hanging light bulbs. He proceeded to do this both on the way to the toilet and on his return. Each to their own! There's better pubs nearby. But certainly add this as part of a crawl.

22 Jan 2017 23:04

The Head of Steam, Newcastle

It's been several years since I last visited the Head Of Steam and I don't believe I've reviewed it on here previously. So I paid it a return visit on Thursday. The pub is directly opposite Central station. It is on the first floor of the building. I felt it always had a rough feel to it. But it felt decidedly less edgy on this visit and it may have had a refurb. The ale range was decent - Leeds Pale, Exit 33 Nicaraguan Rum Stout & Light Weight, Brinkburn Canny Sculler & Camerons Blue Mountain Jamaican Coffee & Rum Ale. The cider was Woodhall's Wizard's Sleeve. I enjoyed a swift half of the Camerons beer before moving on. I'm sure I'll be back much sooner.

22 Jan 2017 22:57

The Telegraph, Newcastle

I was staying in the nearby Crowne Plaza hotel. So I thought I'd give the Telegraph a try on Thursday evening. It's just over the rear of Central station. Signs on the doorway state that toilets are for customers only, or a 50p charge otherwise. They suggest coming in for a coffee or tea for just £1! 4 ales are served. They were Mordue Workie Ticket & Five Bridges & Great North Eastern Rivet Catcher & Westoe IPA. The interior was dark, with little atmosphere. There are much better pubs around. Try the Box Social, just down the road in the railway arches.

22 Jan 2017 22:44

Northumberland Hussar, Newcastle

The Northumberland Hussar is not the easiest pub to get to. It's a good 20 minute walk from Chillingham Road metro station. But I was encouraged by reviews I'd read and decided to finish off my Wednesday night here. The location is fairly unassuming. On approach to it, you think you're entering a council estate-type pub with keg beers only. But they had 5 fairly unusual ales - Hunters January, Brinkburn Geordie Pagoda, Firebrick Trade Star, Out There Angara Baltic Porter & Roosters Weekender. I ordered a half of the Porter, only to be told that I could only order a two thirds. I find this a very strange concept and one I'd seen before in the Brandling Villa in South Gosforth. What is wrong with the traditional half pint? Selling ales in thirds or two thirds does not make the place any trendier. I can't quite understand it. The Porter was vile and the worst beer I had during my visit to Newcastle. If you end up in Chillingham Road, my advice would be to go no further than the Chillingham itself near the metro station. Despite the promising ale selection, this place is pretentious and does not know how to keep its beer.

22 Jan 2017 22:40

The County, Gosforth

The County was my final port of call in Gosforth. It was reasonably busy inside and has a traditional feel to it. It is a John Barras pub with more ales than I've previously seen in their establishments. They had a County Gosforth Best Bitter, Anarchy Urban Assault, Ossett Clearwater, Three Kings Billy Mill, Great North Eastern Rivet Catcher, Wylam Angel & Gold Tankard, Wells Bombardier, Greene King IPA & Caledonian Deuchars IPA. Thatchers Cheddar Valley cider was also stocked. Nice pub. But my only gripe would be the price. £2.05 for a half of cider is more expensive than in London. But I suppose Cheddar Valley is rarely seen in these parts. No CAMRA discount on cider either (but there was on ales).

22 Jan 2017 22:34

The Job Bullman, Gosforth

The Job Bulman is a Wetherspoons on a side street just off Gosforth's High Street. In my opinion, it is Gosforth's best pub. It has the usual decent range of ales - Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sonnet 43 The Raven Bourbon Milk Stout, Maxim Maximus & Andersons Best Scotch & Sharps Doom Bar and in addition, they also had Old Rosie cider. I enjoyed a chicken meal here on what was Wetherspoons' chicken night. That was fine too. The interior is fairly modern, with an outdoor courtyard looking as if it might be quite pleasant in the summer. In the winter, it was handy for smokers. Decent pub.

22 Jan 2017 22:30

Brandling Arms, Gosforth

The Brandling Arms is set back a little from the High Street and therefore enjoys a pleasant green area at the front. It's fairly large and the interior is modern and airy. But there appears to be a focus on food. Durham White Gold is the regular ale. 2 guests were Woodfordes Tundra & Harbour Breakfast Pale. None of these took my fancy. So I opted for an Aspalls cider. Nice building. But a little disappointing as a pub.

22 Jan 2017 22:26

The Queen Victoria, Gosforth

The Queen Victoria was pretty dead on my Wednesday evening visit. The one other customer left soon after I arrived, leaving me with just 2 bar staff and the landlord. The interior is nice enough. It is fairly traditional. 3 ales and a cider were on - Sharps Doom Bar, Copper Dragon Golden Pippin, Rudgate Jorvik Blonde & Westons Old Rosie. I drank my Old Rosie swiftly and moved on to busier pubs.

22 Jan 2017 22:19

The Gosforth Hotel, Gosforth

My first stop in Gosforth was the Gosforth Hotel, on the corner at a set of traffic lights. It's very much a locals pub and was busy on my Wednesday evening visit. Sky Sports News was showing on the TV. 6 ales were on. The 2 regulars are Allendale Pennine Pale & Mordue Workie Ticket. Guests were Sonnet 43 Aurora, Sharps Doom Bar, Hadrian Border Grainger Ale & Adnams Ghost Ship. A CAMRA discount is promoted. It turned out to be one of Gosforth's better pubs.

22 Jan 2017 22:16

The Twin Farms, Kenton Bank Foot

Wednesday's tour of Newcastle pubs took me out to Kenton Bank Foot and the Twin Farms, which is a Fitzgeralds establishment within easy walk of Bank Foot metro station. I was a little disappointed though. It's predominantly a foodie place. But they did have 4 ales. Anarchy Blonde Star is the regular beer. There was another guest from Anarchy - Citrastar, in addition to Sonnet 43 Abolition & Great North Eastern Red Ellen. Not worth the trek from the city centre. But I'm told the food is good.

22 Jan 2017 22:11

The Old George, Newcastle

The Old George is tucked away up a side passage just off the Bigg Market and High Bridge. But it's a really old pub with low ceilings and plenty of character. The ale selection is also decent - Bass supplemented by 4 guests - Cullercoats Shuggy Boat Blonde & Jack The Devil, Sonnet 43 The Raven Bourbon Milk Stout & Anarchy Blonde Star. I had the Raven, which went down very nicely, despite it being my final stop for the night. Another place to add to future Newcastle itineraries.

22 Jan 2017 22:07

The Lane, Newcastle

The Pleased To Meet You is somewhere I hadn't noticed on my previous ramblings around Newcastle, despite it being on the same street as my favourite Newcastle city centre pub - Bacchus. This place feels quite upmarket and similar to a cocktail bar, with a young clientele. Mordue Five Bridges is the resident ale. There were also 4 guests on my visit - Fyne Ale Crystal Highlander, Roosters Howl Rum Barrel Imperial Stout, Black Hill Hartley Stone & Dark Star Crème Brulee. The whole place feels a bit pretentious. But it's clearly popular and with this range of ales, I'll definitely be back.

22 Jan 2017 22:03

Stepps, Newcastle

The City Tavern is located on a side street, just off one of Newcastle's main shopping drags. It opens up to a large bar area with a lengthy table in the middle. Two of the beers are house beers - City Tavern Ale (Caledonian Edinburgh Castle) & City Tavern Bar Hound (Theakston Lightfoot). Guests were Hopback Crop Circle, Marstons 61 Deep, Wychwood Dryneck, Leeds Gingerbread Stout, Brains SA & Shepherd Neame Spitfire. The cider was also house branded as Hectors. I was told by the barman that it was a local cider. But I soon realised it was Westons Old Rosie in another guise. I must admit I hadn't realised that Herefordshire and Tyne & Wear were so close. This place is worth calling in though.

22 Jan 2017 21:55

The Five Swans, Newcastle upon Tyne

The Five Swans is another cavernous Wetherspoons in Newcastle. It is tucked away from the busier streets, near the Civic Centre. But it was still packed on my Tuesday evening visit. It was my favourite of the city centre 'spoons. With several different rooms, you're sure to find a table even if it is packed. Service took a while. But I seemed to have walked in during a rush. Ales were Titanic Full Steam Ahead, White Horse Village Idiot, Dukeries Farmers Branch, Strathaven Winter Glow, Vog Dark Matter Blackcurrant Porter, Clock House Post Horn Pale Ale, Sharps Doom Bar, Ruddles Best & Greene King Abbot. Ciders were both from Thistly Cross - Ginger & Whisky Cask. A very good branch of this chain.

22 Jan 2017 21:50

The Hotspur, Newcastle

The Hotspur is conveniently situated for Haymarket metro station. It's a small, but basic city centre pub with a nice atmosphere and a decent selection of 5 ales and 2 ciders. The ales were Cullercoats Jack The Devil, Wylam Cascade & Galaxia, Anarchy Strait Jacket and a house beer - Warden of the East Hotspur Bitter. The 2 ciders were both from Westons - Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig. A pleasant place to enjoy a swift one or a longer session.

22 Jan 2017 21:45

The Trent House, Newcastle

The Trent House is a pub favoured by students, not far from St James' Park. On my Tuesday evening visit, it was fairly busy. But I managed to find a small table. The ground floor bar is small. But I gather there is another upstairs. The 4 ales on were Harviestoun Bitter And Twisted, Caledonian Golden XPA, Copper Dragon Serendipity & Firebrick Blaydon Brick. The number of pumpclips on the ceiling indicated that they've had a fair few decent beers in here in the past.

22 Jan 2017 21:41

The Strawberry, Newcastle

The Strawberry is a rather down at heel pub situated right next to St James' Park stadium. Some of the clientele were quite rowdy, but not in an overly-threatening manner. 5 ales were on. The regulars are Caledonian Deuchars IPA & Mordue Northumbrian Blonde. Guests were High House Farm Matfen Magic, Tops Jack Tar & Great North Eastern Rivet Catcher. I had the Jack Tar, which was in good condition. I'd also entered during happy hour and had the opportunity to hit a big red button to get a discount. I managed to get 25% off, which made the ale taste that much better. Not a bad place for a visit. But I think I'd avoid on matchdays.

22 Jan 2017 21:37

Tilleys Bar, Newcastle

Tilley's was my final stop on my Monday evening crawl of Newcastle pubs and it was a fitting finale. How on earth has this pub not been in the Good Beer Guide since 2010? Tilley's is part of the Head Of Steam group of pubs. I'm amazed I've never been in here before. But if in this part of town, we often end up in the Bodega instead. I was suitably impressed. The single bar has sufficient seating and is a nice drinking environment. The ale selection was good - 7 were on - Camerons Apocalypse Now & Blue Mountain Jamaican Coffee and Rum Porter, Credence Coffee Porter, Mordue Workie Ticket, Leeds Yorkshire Gold & Midnight Bell & Tyne Bank Mocha Milk Stout. The cider was Old Rosie. Quiet when I initially walked in, it soon got much noisier when a loud and clearly quite inebriated group walked in. No trouble though. I will definitely be back here.

22 Jan 2017 21:32

The Forth Hotel, Newcastle

My penultimate stop of the night was the Forth. It's located up an alleyway leading down towards Central station. I've passed it many times, but never ventured in. Monday evening was quiz night, with a rather amusing hostess. There are 2 main rooms and a smaller and much darker back room, where I sat to try to get a bit more peace and quiet and to have a meal with my drink. Doom Bar is the regular ale. But they also had 4 guests - Roosters Little Bird, Ilkley Mary Jane, Durham White Gold & Adnams Longboat. I opted for the latter, which was cloudy and the worst drink of the evening. The burger I had was ok though.

22 Jan 2017 21:26

The Union Rooms, Newcastle

The Union Rooms is one of a couple of large Wetherspoons located just across from Newcastle Central station. It is surprising to have two so close together. But I heard that the Union Rooms may soon be closing. The other pub is the Mile Castle, which I will request to be added. The Union Rooms is a fairly grand building though. The upstairs was closed for a private party, which was just as well as I saw a couple of people getting lost in the maze of rooms downstairs alone. The interior echoes a fair amount. So it does quite noisy in here. For the full selection of ales, you are best checking both the main bar at the front and the smaller bar at the rear. Although on this occasion, the ale selection was poor - just the usual Wetherspoons staples - Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharps Doom Bar, supplemented by Ringwood Boon Doggle. Two ciders could be found at the rear bar - Westons Old Rosie & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. Whilst the Union Rooms is the more impressive building, you're likely to find a better selection of ales in the massive Mile Castle just up the street.

22 Jan 2017 21:19

The Bridge Tavern, Newcastle

My next stop in Newcastle was the Bridge Tavern. It doesn't look much from the outside. But inside, there is another good selection of ales. On my visit, they had 7 ales - Bridge House Casual Guise (brewed on site), Siren Under Current, Clouded Minds Clout Stout, Wylam #3000 Cream Porter, Magic Rock Common Grounds Coffee Porter, Harbour Red And White & Almasty NZ Pale. They also had a real cider - Pulp Apple. I sat in the large bare-boarded room where the bar is located. But there may well have been other rooms. As with other Newcastle pubs, it was reasonably busy for a Monday evening. Yet another pub in this area of the city that is definitely worthy of a return visit.

22 Jan 2017 21:12

Hop and Cleaver, Newcastle

This place seemed very dark when I first entered. Whilst it does have its own brewery, it also has a heavy focus on food with waitresses ready to approach you when you walk through the door. There is a seating area as you first walk in and another dining room to the right. The bar is up a few stairs towards the rear, beyond which there is another large room, with an outdoor courtyard just off the bar and seemingly another maze of rooms that link with adjoining properties. I was only on my second pub. But despite being relatively sober, I managed to get lost twice on the way to the gents! The ale selection was impressive. From their on site brewery, they had Devil's Pale, Robin (Christmas Pudding Spices), Flanders Folly & Cappuccino Porter. Also on were Errant & Stubrew Heavy Is The Crown Espresso Stout, Atom Fission IPA (Orange & Chilli), Fyne Ales Highlander & Rudgate York Chocolate Stout. I opted for two of these. But neither were as good as I'd hoped. This place is still definitely worth a visit though, if you find yourself in the Quayside area.

22 Jan 2017 21:06

The Cooperage, Newcastle

This building is currently sat derelict. It looks like it has been closed a number of years. A shame, considering the Quayside area is now booming.

22 Jan 2017 20:59

The Split Chimp, Newcastle

4 nights in Newcastle last week was started in this micropub, close to Newcastle Central station and in one of the railway arches. As previous reviews say, they have moved venues. The old venue, also under a railway arch is now occupied by Box Social, another micropub, which I visited later in the week and will request to be added to the site. The new larger premises for the Split Chimp, means the upstairs fits a bowling alley. That must be a first for a micropub. The ground floor section has plenty of seating. The regular ale is Errant Clever Chimp. There were 3 guests - Titanic Cherry Dark, Strathaven Timorous Beastie & Bank Top Flat Cap. There are a number of craft beers on keg too and two real ciders in the fridge. These were Strawberry Moon & Rhubarb Bob, both from Farmer Jims. The barman (owner?) was saying how much CAMRA like the place. But it's annoying that discounts are only offered on pints. Nevertheless, this is a really welcome addition to the Newcastle pub scene and one I will return to next time I am in the city.

22 Jan 2017 20:57

The Lodge Inn, Alsager

The Lodge was my last stop of the night in Cheshire and was one of the better pubs of the day. A total of 8 ales were on - Pictish Sorachi, Ilkley Mary Jane, Dark Star American Pale Ale & Original, Oakham Inferno, Black Sheep Golden Sheep, Neptune Fugu & Marstons Burton Bitter. There were also 4 ciders. 2 were definitely Orchard Pig The Hogfather & Westons Rosie's Pig. They also had another from Westons, which was possibly Family Reserve. I opted for one from Farmer Jims, which was I believe their medium cider. But there is no cider list anywhere and you can't see the names on the boxes which are in the right-hand room as you enter. That room is the main public bar and there was an incident involving an irate local when I entered. But this soon appeared to be resolved. The room to the left as you enter is slightly smaller. But both have a traditional feel and most locals were much more friendly and were engaging in polite conversation. Recommended.

22 Jan 2017 20:48

The Mere Inn, Alsager

Joules pub that was closed on my Sunday evening visit. I later read somewhere that it closes at 6pm on a Sunday evening. But their own website and others are out of date. No beerintheevening on this occasion. So a 0/10 for now. But I will try to hit lucky again.

22 Jan 2017 20:41

The Borough Arms, Crewe

I've changed trains many times at Crewe and have contemplated walking here many times before. But it's a fair walk from the station and tucked away just to the east of Crewe's town centre. I'd heard good reviews about the pub and was expecting good things. But to be honest, I was slightly disappointed and I didn't think the Borough Arms was as good as Hops. This is a typical local boozer, with an L-shaped bar and another side room. Conversation rules. The ale selection is also good. On this visit, they had 9 ales - Abbeydale Dam Good Stuffing, Coastal Ocean Sunset, Oakham New World Order & Inferno, Cairngorm Trade Winds, Idle Valley Jaded Pioneer, Wadworth Dray Bells, Fyne Ales Crystal Highlander & Thornbridge Jaipur. They also had 2 ciders - Westons Old Rosie & Cotswold Cider Company Yellow Hammer. I opted for the latter, which was perfectly fine. But I was short-changed by the young barman, who seemed completely confused by what I had given him. It was eventually resolved. But I don't think he had a clue what he was doing! My review may feel a little negative. But my score reflects the average that the pub currently has. This is a really good pub. But I was somehow expecting something even better.

22 Jan 2017 20:37

The Crown, Crewe

This pub appears to be one of the roughest in Crewe. There were certainly a few characters in on my Sunday evening visit. It's a Robinsons house that seemed to have two ales - Unicorn & Dizzy Blonde. Although one of the pumpclips was half turned (I don't recall which) and may have been off. Looks promising from the outside. But not worth venturing in.

22 Jan 2017 20:29

Gaffers Row, Crewe

I'd intended to visit the Gaffers Row much earlier last Sunday. But on arrival shortly after 10am, I found it closed. This was apparently something to do with some blocked pipes. presumably as a result of the cold weather. I returned much later in the evening and rather amusingly, I was followed through the door by a happy landlord from another local pub who had been taking all of Wetherspoons' customers throughout the day. Apparently they had not been able to open until 6pm. Nevertheless, it was back open. But it wasn't really worth the wait. Bar staff were friendly and offered a taster of one of the ales. They had the usual Greene King Abbot & Ruddles Best, along with 2 guests from Lymestone - Stone Faced & Ein Stein and an Everards collaboration brew - Kawasaki Red Ale. Cider was Old Rosie. Feels like it has a lighter, more modern décor than many other branches and is convenient for the town bus station, which is just behind the building.

22 Jan 2017 20:23

Hops, Crewe

As you approach this place, it feels like it is going to be similar to a wine bar or a restaurant. But the interior has the feel of a micro pub. Although it is slightly larger than most micro pubs and it certainly pre-dates the micro pub scene. 6 ales and 6 ciders or perrys were on (although looking at the last review, I may have missed the 2 ales on gravity) - Townhouse Barney's Stout, Raw Grey Ghost IPA, Hopcraft Queen Anne's Revenge, Cwrw Ial Kia Kaha, Red Willow Stateless & Seamless, Ross-on-Wye Broome Farm Perry, Snails Bank Tumbledown & Very Perry, Lilleys Merry Monkey & Abrahalls Lily The Pink & Slack Alice. There were a fair few customers in and it had got much busier as I left to continue my Sunday evening jaunt around the town. My favourite pub in Crewe, on this evidence.

22 Jan 2017 20:18

The Hop Pole, Crewe

The Hop Pole was my first port of call in Crewe last Sunday evening. It's a lively pub with several separate drinking areas, tucked away in a residential area to the south of the centre. There were 3 ales on - Doom Bar, Hooky & Shropshire Gold. Locals were playing pool in one section. But there was a separate bar area and other rooms too.

22 Jan 2017 20:10

The Egerton Arms, Tarporley

I was very impressed by this pub. I was expecting a dining pub. But on entering, there was no sign of any diners, just a fair number of drinkers. Thwaites Original is the regular ale. But they also had 3 guests - Woodlands Midnight Stout, Tatton Gyle 66 & Pennine Amber Necker. There was also a few craft beers on keg dispensed from the back of the bar. These included Titanic Plum Porter. I went for the Gyle 66, a 12% Imperial Russian Stout, which was very nice indeed. No real cider is sold. Definitely worth seeking out though. Moved on from here to the Little Man at Wettenhall (not listed on the site, but I'll request for it to be added).

22 Jan 2017 20:04

Rising Sun, Wistaston

With all pubs in Crewe closed last Sunday morning, I took a drive out to this fairly large Greene King pub to the west of town. Lo and behold, it did open at 11am. The pubs primary focus appears to be dining. But there is certainly a following of drinkers too. Greene King IPA & Abbot are the regular ales. But they also had an ale called Joey The Swan, also from Greene King along with 3 other guests - Batemans XB, Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted & Sadlers Peaky Blinder. I opted for the Abbot which was in good condition. The interior of the pub is fairly cosy. Drinkers seems to congregate around the bar, where there were a couple of small tables. But most of the pub is set aside for food. It has a large car park outside. At least it was a real ale pub in the Crewe area that actually opened before midday.

22 Jan 2017 19:57

The Angel, Crewe

This is a pub located in a shopping arcade in the centre of Crewe. I called here last Sunday morning on the off chance that it might be open. But it seems that opening hours are fairly limited. Not even the Wetherspoons in the town was open.

22 Jan 2017 19:50

The Wheatsheaf, Harlington

Tried this pub on Tuesday night. It's a local pub not far from Heathrow. There are 2 separate rooms. Service was fine and there was a real ale on (Doom Bar). Otherwise, I can't really recommend a visit

12 Jan 2017 20:26

Belvedere, Liverpool

There was nobody in when we arrived here yesterday. But the 6 of us managed to pretty much fill the bar. 4 ales were on - Brimstage IPA, Big Bog Hinky Punk, Copper Dragon Golden Pippin & Greyhawk Casey Jones. All of the ales were pale and most of our party were happy. The cider was Old Rosie. Still a fantastic little pub that is well worth seeking out.

8 Jan 2017 15:52

Ye Cracke, Liverpool

Tried visiting here yesterday afternoon. But it was closed. I hope it isn't closed for good, as it is has been one of the city's better pubs. I don't believe it is, as there was a light on inside. But the front door was locked and the side door still had a shutter down. Disappointing. 0/10 based on this visit.

8 Jan 2017 15:49

The Pilgrim, Liverpool

This pub used to be open for breakfast at weekends. But it no longer opens until midday. Nevertheless, the ale range was fairly decent - Stamps Winter Warmer, Phoenix Spotland Gold & Wychwood Hobgoblin. The cider was Rosie's Black Bart. I went for the Winter Warmer, which was a chocolate and mandarin porter and very enjoyable too. The interior always feels quite grungy and it's a popular place for music, with a free juke box. There are long bench tables and seating with further tables and seating at the side. It's a fairly dark place, as it is underground.

8 Jan 2017 15:47

The Flute and Firkin, Liverpool

We visited the Flute yesterday (Saturday) morning as it is one of the few pubs in this part of town that opens in the morning. It had 3 ales on - Banks's Sunbeam, Tetleys Christmas Cracker & Sharps Doom Bar. Most of our part opted for the Sunbeam, whilst I (probably stupidly) plumped for the Christmas beer, even though Christmas was a couple of weeks ago. The taste was vile and it didn't take much to work out that the beer was off. I exchanged it for a Sunbeam, which was marginally better. The pub was also far too hot. Disappointing experience.

8 Jan 2017 15:42

The Osprey, Glasgow

Closed and now converted to a Miller & Carte steakhouse.

5 Jan 2017 23:19

The Swan Inn, Eaglesham

With its other pub across the green (the Cross Keys) now being a private house, this appears to be the only real ale pub left in this village. The pub has a real country pub feel to it. It serves food. But most people appeared to be there for the ales, of which there were 2 - Timothy Taylor Landlord & Inveralmond Santa's Swallie. Another half decent pub in Lanarkshire.

5 Jan 2017 23:18

The Auldhouse Arms, Auldhouse

After visiting two town pubs not listed on here (the George Bar in Hamilton and Hudson's in East Kilbride), I ventured out to the Scottish countryside to this quaint pub in a very small village. The bar area has lots of character. There were more customers in there than you'd expect for its location and time of the week. In fact, I'm surprised it was open at all. A great little pub. But sadly its single handpull was unused. Keg options were Guinness, Harviestoun Schiehallion. Belhaven Best, Carling, Tennents Ice Cold, Stella Artois & Blackthorn Gold. A welcoming place that could be worth a few more points with some decent ales.

5 Jan 2017 23:15

The Rowan Tree Inn, Uddingston

The Rowan Tree is a small pub located in a back street of this small town. It is nextdoor to the Tunnocks factory, manufacturer of the famous tea cakes. The interior is worth venturing in for. It has a long bar, with real fires at either end and a couple of side rooms. It was very sparsely populated on my midweek lunchtime visit. Doom Bar was the real ale. Come here to marvel at the unspoiled interior, not for the beer.

5 Jan 2017 23:07

Vulcan, Coatbridge

After a visit to the very disappointing Wetherspoons in Airdrie, my faith in the chain was restored with a visit to the Vulcan in Coatbridge. It stands next to a rather ugly block of flats. You wouldn't think it was an ideal location for a 'spoons. But I was greeted on entry by a friendly and professional barman who quickly went behind the bar and instantly told me which of the ales on handpull were still available - Adnams Het Anker Belgian Blonde, Everards Kawasaki Red Ale & Kelburn Dark Matter. I went for the latter, which the barman recommended and it was the best beer I had during the day. This was a busier place than the Robert Hamilton in Airdrie. Yet the bar staff here were keeping a much tighter ship. My favourite pub during my this day's visit to Lanarkshire. I continued from here to the smaller, more intimate St Andrew's Bar. This is the other side of town and not listed on here. It's still worth a visit and also stocks a real ale.

5 Jan 2017 23:02

Robert Hamilton, Airdrie

The Robert Hamilton appears to be the only pub in this town dispensing real ales. Maybe there's not much demand, as most people appear to swill out of cans on the streets. But this is a Wetherspoons and a poor one at that. Alcohol is not served until 11am. It was not too much of a surprise to me that there was a queue at the bar as the clock struck 11. One woman was serving food, whilst the other was behind the bar. As the clock struck 11, both decided that their job was to serve food, leaving some frustrated customers. The guy next to me gave up and walked out. When I was eventually served, it transpired that they only had 2 ales - Atlas Nimbus & Everards Kawasaki Red Ale. Amongst the numerous "coming soon" signs, there was a pumpclip for Orkney Dark Island. But attempts to order this were futile, as apparently it was off. It's possible there was only one ale by the time I left, as the Nimbus appeared to have run out too. I enquired about real cider and was met with a quizzical look from the bar manager. I pointed at the bag in the box lying on the floor. But she shrugged her shoulders and I guessed there was no replacement forthcoming. A pretty poor excuse for a Wetherspoons. I also tried the Cellar Bar around the corner. There's no real ale there and it's not listed on this site. But you're more likely to get served their quicker by a manager who is friendly and eager to please, rather than a corporate chain who at times could not give a monkeys.

5 Jan 2017 22:53

Volunteers Arms, Musselburgh

The Volunteer Arms is CAMRA's pub of the year for Scotland and Northern Ireland. So I had really high hopes and had booked accommodation in Musselburgh to take full advantage. This is undoubtedly a good pub. But I wonder if I'd built this up in my mind too much, as I wasn't as overwhelmed as I'd expected. I'd visited the Grey Horse in Balerno earlier and whilst it would be difficult to chose between the two, I thought the Grey Horse was marginally the better. Nevertheless, this pub is certainly worth of a 7/10. The ale range is mostly pale ales, which was part of my disappointment - Oakham JHB, Bishop's Farewell & Green Devil IPA, Fyne Ales Jarl & Stewarts Crossfire. The availability of Moles Black Rat cider tempered my disappointment. Whisky also appears to be a speciality. I sat in the main bar area which has lots of wood panelling and is a perfect environment for conversation. TVs normally detract from conversation. But the live football showing on 2 TVs was actually a talking point of many conversations and complemented the bar without detracting from the convivial atmosphere. This is without doubt the best pub in Musselburgh and worth seeking out. Apparently it was CAMRA's national pub of the year in 1997.

5 Jan 2017 22:44

The David Macbeth Moir, Musselburgh

The David MacBeth Moir is another Wetherspoons cinema conversion, with some impressive art deco features and some large film posters. I chose to eat here on what was the Tuesday grill night. So a gammon and a pint of 6.5% Black Cork from the Knops brewery for £8. Other ales were Caledonian Deuchars IPA, Greene King Abbot & Stewarts 80/-. The cider was Orchard Pig Juggler. Staff were fairly jolly. But service was out of turn. The gents toilets were a disgrace. 3 cubicles - one with no toilet paper, one out of service and another absolutely smeared with excrement. I'm glad I attempted to go after my dinner. A decent enough 'spoons let down by the lack of cleanliness in the toilets.

5 Jan 2017 22:36

The Levenhall Arms, Musselburgh

The Levenhall Arms is located at the far eastern end of the racecourse in Musselburgh. There are a couple of small rooms for drinking and a bistro where Indian food is served. I fancied a biryani. But apparently the chef had just started a 4 week holiday! The regular ale is Ossian from Inveralmond. But there were 2 guests from Strathaven - Duchess Anne & Claverhouse. One of a trio of decent pubs in this town.

5 Jan 2017 22:31

Johnsburn House, Balerno

Closed and now appears to be a large private house.

5 Jan 2017 22:28

The Grey Horse, Balerno

The Grey Horse was my favourite pub on my visit to the Lothians on Tuesday. Its situated on a pedestrianized street in Balerno and has a single small public bar, along with a lounge occupied by a Chinese restaurant. The ale selection was better than other pubs I tried - Morland Old Speckled Hen, Alechemy Up And Atom, Strathaven Duchess Anne & Cragmill Gold & Loch Lomond White Out Blonde Stout. There is a friendly bunch of locals. Well worth a visit.

5 Jan 2017 22:27

The Prestoungrange Gothenburg, Prestonpans

After a visit to the Ducks Inn in Aberlady (not listed on here), I tried to visit this place, nicknamed the Goth. It was a pub I was looking forward to visiting. But I arrived too late. The place had closed by 2:55pm on a Tuesday afternoon and the door was locked. A quick call to their telephone number revealed that they wouldn't re-open until midday the following afternoon and they wouldn't consider allowing me in for a swift half. I'll try to visit again some time later in my life and I should really have come here first before the Ducks Inn. But this is not a place you can get a beer in the evening (or even in the afternoon) at this current time. 0/10.

5 Jan 2017 22:23

The Blacksmiths Forge, Dalkeith

The Blacksmith' Forge is a fairly large Wetherspoons pub that looks like it is in a new building. But I may be wrong. The ale selection was better than some of the other 'spoons I visited on this Scotland trip - Titanic Full Steam Ahead, Adnams Het Anker Belgian Blonde, Harviestoun Schiehallion, Everards Kawasaki Red Ale, Windswept Weizen, Sharps Doom Bar, Greene King Abbot & Caledonian Deuchars IPA. Cider was Black Dragon. Appears to be the better of the 2 real ale pubs in Dalkeith. But the Buccleuch nearby doe not provide much competition.

5 Jan 2017 22:19

The Black Bull, Dalkeith

The Black Bull is a corner pub near the centre of Dalkeith that satisfies a predominantly local clientele. The main bar has narrow bench-type tables around its edge, making it feel like a courtroom. Everybody was quite happily watching the barmaid remove the Christmas decorations from the large wooden casks above the bar. The surroundings are quite pleasing on the eye. But sadly there are no real ales. Keg options were Guinness, Strongbow, Tennents & Tennents Ice Cold, Carling, Belhaven Best & McEwans 80/- & Tartan Special. The nearby Blacksmith's Forge is the place to go for real ales. But this place is a good option for those who prefer traditional pubs. Alternatively you could go and abuse the locals and enjoy a can of strong lager in the local shopping parade, which a couple of local drunks had elected to do!

5 Jan 2017 22:14

Laird and Dog, Lasswade

The Laird & Dog has a nice roadside location in the dip of the main road through the village. There are a number of different areas in which to drink and dogs are welcomed. The ale selection was a little different compared with other local pubs and the pub appears to be in favour with CAMRA currently. Two of the 3 ales were from Isle of Arran - Red Squirrel & Fireside. The third was Oregon IPA from Clockwork. I sampled the Fireside which tasted as if it should have been quite a nice ale. But it was certainly on its last legs. Certainly one of the better pubs in this area.

5 Jan 2017 22:09

The Steading, Hillend

The Steading is a rather unusual looking pub that was much busier than I'd expected on a Tuesday lunchtime. Most people were in for the food. But the pub does have 3 ales. The regular Caledonian Deuchars IPA & Timothy Taylor Landlord were supplemented by Jack Back, a guest ale from Stewart. Not a bad option just outside Edinburgh.

5 Jan 2017 22:05

Riccarton Arms, Edinburgh

A midweek trip to Scotland saw me start my exploits in this roadside pub to the south of Edinburgh. I was here for opening at 11am. Although they may have been serving breakfast before then. I was first in and appeared to startle the barmaid. Caledonian Deuchars IPA is the regular ale. But guests were Fullers London Pride, Theakston XB & Wells Bombardier Glorious English. The bar is quite a nice environment to drink in. But the pub is otherwise unexceptional.

5 Jan 2017 22:01

Ned Kellys, Liverpool

I very often walk by here and take a quick glance at the ale selection. It has certainly improved of late. So 4 of us stopped here for a quick half on Monday. It was much quieter than I've seen it and we managed to get a seat. The 3 ales on were Big Bog Peat Bog Porter, Southport Sandgrounder Bitter & Liverpool Organic Honey Blonde. We had two halves of 2 of the ales. A CAMRA discount is offered, but only on pints. Apparently 2 halves don't equate to a pint where the discount is concerned though. Not the best way of winning custom. But I'll increase my rating to a 5/10. There are far more welcoming pubs not too far from here.

5 Jan 2017 21:37

The Poste House, Liverpool

It's been over 7 years since I last set foot in here. But after a visit to the nearby Molly Malone's (not listed on here), I thought I'd give it a go. It's a tiny back street boozer in Liverpool's small gay quarter. Whilst it has a cosy feel, the real ale choice is limited to Greene King IPA. So I settled with a Guinness. Could be so much better.

5 Jan 2017 21:31

Hardys, Liverpool

Tried visiting this place early on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon. Despite most other places around being open, this one was closed. 0/10 from me.

5 Jan 2017 21:28

Lime Kiln, Liverpool

The Lime Kiln was fairly quiet on my Bank Holiday Monday lunchtime visit. But I still rate this as the best Wetherspoons in Liverpool city centre. It feels a little on a limb during the daytime. But when this area is liveliest at night, its location becomes apparent. Ales on this visit were Hawkshead Red, Loddon Hullabalo, Black Sheep Riggwelter, Three B's Shuttle Ale, Coach House Cheshire Gold, Brecon Six Beacons, Salopian Darwin's Origin, Exmoor Gold, Peerless Triple Blond, Greene King Abbot & Ruddles Best. Ciders were Westons Old Rosie & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. For a less crowded experience than the North Western, the Richard John Blackler, the Welkin and the Fall Well, this is the best Wetherspoons pub for a quiet daytime drink in the centre of Liverpool.

5 Jan 2017 21:26

The Crown, Ashley

I'd tried to visit the Crown earlier on in the day. But it wasn't opening until evening on New Year's Day. So we decided to give it another go. It has a main bar area, with a smaller area at the back that was not in use. There was a smattering of locals and a large dog sprawled across 2 large seats near the fire. Ales were Mighty Oak IPA & Bingle Jells & XT 2. Ciders were Woodalls Wizard's Sleeve, Westons Flat Tyre & Burnards Oakey Dokey. I went for the Wizard's Sleeve, which was a new one on me and very pleasant too. Locals seemed quite amused with the name. I'm glad we made the journey back, as this was possibly my favourite pub in Cambridgeshire on the day.

5 Jan 2017 21:13

Queen Edith, Cambridge

My last Cambridge pub of the day on New Year's Day was this Milton Brewery establishment on the southern outskirts of the city, amidst a modern housing development. It was quiet inside. But there were 5 or 6 customers in the larger of the 2 bars. Ales were mostly from Milton - Pegasus, Medusa, Sparta, Justinian & Mammon. There were also guests from Milk Street - Zig Zag Stout & Session Ale & Banks & Taylor Santa's Slayer. The cider was Abrahalls Thundering Molly. A bit out of the way. But worth the trek out of town.

5 Jan 2017 21:06

The Regal, Cambridge

With several more Cambridge pubs found closed on New Year's Day (Portland Arms, Elm Tree, Free Press, Pint Shop & Mill), you can always rely on a Wetherspoons to be open. This is an old cinema, as the name suggests. The interior is fairly spacious, with plenty of spare seating. The gents toilets were particularly large with urinals on a couple of levels! Despite it being fairly quiet, the age-old problem of getting served was in evidence, with few staff available. Ales were Long Man Old Man, City Of Cambridge Boathouse Bitter & Hobsons Choice, Sharps Doom Bar, Greene King IPA & Abbot, Woodfordes Nog, Burton Bridge Santi Freeze, Wolf Lupus Lupus & Wychwood Hobgoblin. No real cider is served. Not the best Wetherspoons. A fairly average branch.

5 Jan 2017 21:01

The Carlton Arms, Cambridge

The Carlton Arms looks like a bit of a dive from the outside. But at least it was open, unlike most pubs in Cambridge when we visited. It turned out to be a really good pub with a decent ale selection and an even better cider selection. I'm not sure if the pub is West Indian-owned. But many of the clientele were certainly of West Indian descent and speciality foods included jerk chicken and curried goat. The interior has some strange decorations. But it's clearly a popular place and the locals seemed a fairly friendly bunch, if not a little inebriated. There was even a couple of complimentary cheeses we were invited to sample. Ales were Oakham JHB, Adnams Broadside, Hook Norton Hooky & Sharps Doom Bar. Ciders were Cornish Orchards Farmhouse, Hogans Panking Pole, Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon, Fiery Fox, Happy Daze & Two Trees Perry, Westons Old Rosie & Orchard Pig Philosopher & The Hogfather. I was spoilt for choice. As you can see from my first sentence, this is an unassuming place that exceeded all of my expectations.

5 Jan 2017 20:54

The Grapes, Cambridge

As we were struggling to find any open pubs in Cambridge, we headed towards the outskirts where presumably even without the students and tourists, there would be enough locals to warrant pubs being open. We thought our luck was in here, with the signs up outside, the lights on inside and about a dozen customers when we walked in. Sadly the barman didn't seem to like the look of us and stated they were closed. Strange that when most of the customers had full or almost full pints and a game of pool was in full progress. Whilst I haven't reviewed most of the pubs we found closed in Cambridge, as New Year's Day does mean pubs have strange opening hours, a pub with such a poor welcome does deserve a special mention and a rating of 0/10, as the casual customer cannot get a beer in the evening here.

5 Jan 2017 20:47

The Pickerel Inn, Cambridge

The Pickerel was like an oasis in the real desert that is Cambridge on New Year's Day. With the Hopbine, St Radegund, the Champion of the Thames, the Cambridge Brew House, the Maypole, the Mitre and the Castle Inn all closed, I was well onto my list of reserve pubs for the day when arriving here. Unsurprisingly, it was rather busy. There are 2 small rooms with access to the bar, with a larger interconnecting room and another smaller area at the rear with a real fire. This is a Taylor Walker pub, which had a decent selection of ales - Taylor Walker 1730 Special Pale Ale, Oakham Pickerel & Citra, Tring Pale Four, Woodfordes Nelson's Revenge & Wherry, Greene King IPA Reserve & Timothy Taylor Boltmaker. There were also 2 real ciders - Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig from Westons. Be sure to check both rooms with access to the bar to see the full selection. Bar staff are knowledgeable. A welcome sight on New Year's Day.

5 Jan 2017 20:42

The Bird In Hand, Cambridge

Now an upmarket Indian restaurant called Navadhanya.

5 Jan 2017 20:35

The White Swan, Stow-cum-Quy

The White Swan was fairly quiet on our New Year's Day visit. There were just 3 other drinkers present. But the main bar area is quite cosy. The 2 regular ales are Adnams Ghost Ship & Tring Side Pocket For A Toad. 2 guests were Turpins Meditation & Crafty Beers Sauvignon Blonde. They also had 2 ciders from Franklins - Fuddle & Gasper. Recommended.

5 Jan 2017 20:34

The Boot, Dullingham

The Boot was only the second pub we found open in Cambridgeshire on New Year's Day, following aborted attempts to visit the Carpenters Arms at Great Wilbraham, the Hole In The Wall at Little Wilbraham and the Crown Inn at Ashley. The other open pub was the fantastic Reindeer at Saxon Street, which I have requested to be added. The Boot seemed a friendly enough place, populated mainly by locals, many of whom seemed to have had quite a few. There was a single room with a TV showing live football. The regular ales are Adnams Bitter & Greene King IPA. Guests on this occasion were Woodfordes Once Bittern & Mighty Oak Pixie. Decent pub.

5 Jan 2017 20:26

The Prince Blucher, Twickenham

Fullers pub with a couple of TV screens showing live football and rugby last night. The interior is nice enough. But the Fullers ales - London Pride, ESB, Oliver's Island, Wise Men & Seafarers (Gales) were a little underwhelming. There is no real cider either. I was only here to watch the football. So it served a purpose. But if in the area, I'd otherwise choose to spend my time in the Sussex Arms opposite instead.

31 Dec 2016 19:40

The Sussex Arms, Twickenham

I was in the Sussex Arms last night after visiting a couple of times during the last year. It was rather busy, with very limited seating. But the ale and cider range were as good as ever. Ales were Saltaire Blonde, Atom Pale Ale, Icknield Malt, Tiny Rebel Cwtch, Allendale Tar Bar'l, Hop Stuff Oatmeal Stout, Big Smoke Maple & Pecan Brown Ale, Harbour Amber Ale & White Horse Black Beauty. Park Brewery Killcat Pale came on whilst I was there. Ciders were Orchard Pig Juggler, Thistly Cross Whisky Cask, Biddenden Dry, Medium & Red Love & Celtic Marches Abrahalls AM. Service was good, despite it being a struggle to get to the bar. I noted that in relation to the previous comment, the food hygiene rating is now 4. I also overheard a conversation between a group of regulars, who were saying that the Albert in Kingston is the 4th pub in this small chain. So I'll have to get back there soon. The Sussex Arms is still one of the best pubs in London.

31 Dec 2016 19:37

Huntsman, Leicester

Ironically I used this pub as a toilet stop en route to the football. The pub was too busy to spot anybody using it for a toilet. Although for a pub just 15 minutes walk from the ground, it was quieter than I would have expected. On the way out, I spotted a few people I knew and with time to spare, elected to stay for a drink. The pub does have a handpull. But no real ale was on and some of the keg beers were off too. The options were Stella, Strongbow, Carling, Fosters, John Smiths & Heineken. I opted for a bottle of imported Guinness which went down quite nicely. Another pub ticked off and who knows, I may need the toilet again some day when passing!

28 Dec 2016 21:57

Rutland Arms, Bottesford

My last stop in Bottesford was the Rutland Arms. In common with the other 2 pubs, you'll probably find yourself climbing over dogs to get to the bar. There are 2 main rooms, 1 with a pool table that was in use. Fairly busy, but not quite as busy as the other 2 pubs in the village. There was also a large dining room, which was closed. Ales were national brands - Wells Bombardier, Sharps Doom Bar, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Tetleys Cask. Moved on from here to the Gas Gorilla Bar & Grill in Barkestone-le-Vale which was closed, despite advertising as open on Bank Holidays on its website and my favourite pub of the day, the Anchor at Plungar. I will request for it to be added.

28 Dec 2016 21:50

Bull Inn, Bottesford

The Bull seemed to be the best and most popular out of Bottesford's 3 pubs. It was packed and standing room only on Boxing Day. Service took a while. There are 2 rooms. I ventured into the one on the right as you enter, which stretches back a fair way. But there was still no spare space. Live football was on the TV and I believe there was a pool table at the back. The Bull certainly seems to have the most adventurous ale selection in the village - Theakston Best, Fullers London Pride & Castle Rock Harvest Pale.

28 Dec 2016 21:47

Red Lion, Bottesford

The Red Lion was my first stop in Bottesford on Boxing Day lunchtime. My initial assumption was that it was closed. Signs lead you to a locked door at the rear. But I happened to look inside and saw a handful of other people. Hoping it wasn't a private party, I ventured to the front entrance where the door was open. The pub has 3 rooms - a down-to-earth public bar with a couple of dogs and several loclas, a larger lounge bar and a small interconnecting room. I chose the middle room. It was much busier than I had expected and the barman was rushed off his feet. As a Greene King pub, their IPA was on with Nottingham Extra Pale Ale also available.

28 Dec 2016 21:43

The Two Brewers, Thornborough

The Two Brewers was my last pub of the night in Buckinghamshire. My penultimate was the Bell Inn at Beachampton, which is not listed on this site. I'd saved the Two Brewers until last as the pub was supposed to have been closed between 2-6. However I arrived shortly after 6 to find it packed to the rafters. It clearly hadn't been shut and it was easily the busiest pub I'd been to all day. I just about managed to get served and retreated to the porch between the two main rooms. It did feel as if I'd intruded onto the villagers private party, as everybody knew one another and who knows, maybe it was a private party that I'd gatecrashed. The only obvious ale was Doom Bar. But locals were ordering an IPA from an unclipped handpull. My guess was that this was Greene King. Was far too busy to enjoy.

28 Dec 2016 21:33

The Shoulder of Mutton, Little Horwood

This pub is currently closed. I read in the local CAMRA magazine that the new owners wanted to re-open it as a pizza restaurant. But this is being contested. So its future is uncertain.

28 Dec 2016 21:28

Nags Head, Winslow

The Nag's Head is just outside of the centre of this small market town. But it is a welcoming and cosy place. Tetley Cask, Fullers London Pride & Sharps Doom Bar was the rather uninspiring ale selection. But this small pub with its L-shaped room had a nice atmosphere to it and seems a good hub for conversation. There was a pool table at the rear and a smoking area also out the back.

28 Dec 2016 21:27

The George Inn, Winslow

The George is now a Vale Brewery pub and it was much busier than other pubs I had visited. There is a large front room, with a smaller room at the rear. With all tables taken in the front bar, I retreated to the back room where a family with several young charges had taken residence and created a right mess. On arriving, the landlord seemed a bit flustered. He was trying to refuse service to a young lad he had barred the previous night, until he realised it was a case of mistaken identity - rather amusing. The Vale beers were Gravitas & Best. Guests were Dukeries Red Nose & Santa's Beer's, Bewdley Sir Keith Park & Aylesbury Brewhouse Australis. Old Rosie was the cider. The George has the better ales in the town. But I actually preferred the Nag's Head.

28 Dec 2016 21:23

The Bell, North Marston

The Pilgrim was another pub that exceeded my expectations. Although the interior felt a little cold in both atmosphere and temperature. The bar is at the centre of an open-plan room that spreads out either side, with toilets at the rear. It seems popular with dog owners. 3 ales were on - XT4 appears to be the regular ale, with Chiltern Beechwood Bitter & Animal Heron the guests. They also had Millwhites Apples & Pears - not one of my favourite producers, but still a welcome sight.

28 Dec 2016 21:17

The Black Boy, Oving

The Black Boy feels like a really remote place. Yet it is not too far off the beaten track. Situated in a small farming village, you can certainly smell the countryside! But the views across the fields are nice. The pub itself has an attractive exterior. The interior has an atmospheric bar area and a dining area round the corner. The owner appears to be Italian and food is clearly popular here. 3 ales were served - XT4 & 25 & Chiltern Beechwood Bitter. There was no real cider. I tried the XT25, which was a Christmas ale and reasonably good. Worth a visit.

28 Dec 2016 21:11

The White Swan, Whitchurch

The White Swan is on a main road north out of Aylesbury. Aesthetically pleasing from the outside, the welcome inside was warm too. Being a Fullers pub, the ale range was limited to London Pride, Bengal Lancer & Seafarers. But this is a cosy place with 2 rooms at the front of the pub and a separate dining area off to the side. Clearly popular with locals who seemed a friendly enough bunch.

28 Dec 2016 21:06

The Millwrights, Aylesbury

The Old Millwrights Arms is a Greene King pub and with fairly low expectations, I was pleasantly surprised by this place. It was fairly quiet on Christmas Eve lunchtime. Despite a couple of the handpulls being unclipped, there was still a decent selection. Greene King IPA & Milly's Ale & Morland Old Speckled Hen were the Greene King ales. But there was also Skinners Christmas Fairy & Hillfire 3C. They also had 3 ciders - Westons Rosie's Pig, Cornwall Cider Company Mango, Lime and Ginger & Cornish Orchards Pear Cider. There were few customers inside. But the interior had a nice feel to it and the barmaid was friendly. I even got a CAMRA discount for my cider. Not quite as good as the Hop Pole at the other end of town. But possibly the second best pub in Aylesbury and it was my favourite from this tour of Bucks.

28 Dec 2016 21:03

The Bricklayers Arms, Aylesbury

The Bricklayers is situated on a busy road. Be careful if driving here. There is a pay and display car park opposite and next to the Aristocrat. But the Bricklayers does have its own car park at the rear of the building. The pub is situated over a few different levels, giving it character. It also has a fairly large garden at the rear. Being a Fullers pub it had London Pride & ESB. But there was also a guest - Adnams Shingle Bells. Fairly welcoming place. But there are better pubs in the town.

28 Dec 2016 20:56

Bull, Aylesbury

The Bull was my first stop of a crawl of Buckinghamshire pubs. I'd just been to the nearby Chiltern Brewery shop nearby for some last minute Christmas shopping. The pub was not as good as I was hoping. There is a bar area at the front and a lounge at the rear. Greene King IPA & Sharps Doom Bar were supplemented by Brains Firking Good. Nothing special to recommend it.

28 Dec 2016 20:51

The Greyfriar, Reading

I reviewed the Greyfriar under its former name back in September last year. I really enjoyed my visit and wrote that it was handy for the station. Last night with 20 minutes to spare between trains, I had the bright idea to pop in for a swift half. Sadly, a group of 4 people just beat me to the entrance door and embarked on ordering the most obscure items and then paying with a card. After they were finally served, I was left with only 5-10 minutes before my train and guess what - the young barmaid decided to serve somebody else who had just come to the bar. I cut my losses at this point, used the facilities and left. It would appear that it is not so handy for the station, the ale range has been reduced to just two ales, service is poor, you will be lucky to get a beer on the same evening you walked in. But the toilets were clean and served a purpose. So the place does therefore merit a 1/10.

21 Dec 2016 20:31

The Berkshire Arms, Newbury

Chef & Brewer establishment on the main A4 east of Newbury. It's a typical chain pub that is aimed at diners. Although there is a small area for drinkers and they had 3 ales - Greene King IPA, Berkshire Arms Best Bitter & Hardy and Hansons Rocking Rudolph. We opted to eat here. The food was ok, but expensive for what it was.

21 Dec 2016 20:12

Castle Inn, Cold Ash

I had high hopes for this village pub, which uniquely sits right nextdoor to the Spotted Dog. They're literally a stone's throw from one another. I'd read that a real cider is sometimes on offer. But on asking the young bar staff if they had a real cider, I was met with a "it depends what you mean by real cider". A few fizzy options were offered to me, which I politely declined. I asked what dark ales they had on and one female customer shouted out Guinness. With such ignorance, I knew I was on my own. I eventually opted for the Westons Mulled Cider. Ales were Courage Best, Fullers London Pride, Sharps Atlantic, Wells A Good Stuffing, Hardy and Hansons Rocking Rudolph & West Berkshire Good Old Boy. So no real dark ales anyway. The interior is fairly nice, with a few secluded spots. The only annoyance were the flies, which isn't a good sign. A decent pub. But could be better with more knowledgeable staff.

21 Dec 2016 20:10

The Diamond Tap, Newbury

After a visit to the King Charles Tavern just down the street (not listed on here), I finished off at this branch of Wetherspoons. It feels like a typical branch of the chain. But it was the worst selection of real ales I've seen in any of their branches. Just their staples Sharps Doom Bar, Ruddles Best & Greene King Abbot were on. If it's a Wetherspoons you're after, head to the Hatchet Inn instead.

21 Dec 2016 20:03

The Catherine Wheel, Newbury

I hadn't planned on coming here. But I was drawn by a mention of the place in the local CAMRA magazine, where it mentioned that there were 12 ciders. There were a fair few ciders polycasks and boxes behind the bar. But only 2 had any cider in them - Westons Hand Brake & Orchard Pig Philosopher. The ale range was better - Loddon Hullabaloo, Hook Norton Hooky, West Berkshire Good Old Boy, Binghams The Warmer & Wild Weather Hubcap Halo. The place was fairly packed and it was lively. So despite the false hope for ciders, it's clearly a popular place and one to look out for.

21 Dec 2016 19:58

Berkshire Tavern, Newbury

The Hatchet was the only one of the town's Wetherspoons I was planning to visit. But in the end, I visited both and this was easily the better one. It has a fairly cramped bar area. But there was sufficient seating, despite it being fairly busy last night. The ales were Greene King Abbot, Wild Weather Christmas At The Weathers, Lymestone Stone Cold, Exmoor Exmas, Adnams Yuletide & Ruddles Best. Ciders were Orchard Pig Juggler & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. I tried the Wild Weather beer which was a disappointing mild. Lively place though.

21 Dec 2016 19:52

Hog's Head, Newbury

This place is now a Slug & Lettuce. I don't think I've ever been in a decent pub from this chain. The one in Leicester is probably closest to average. This branch has no real ales at all. The keg selection was Peroni, Thatchers Gold, Guinness, Amstel, Estrella Damm, Hop House 13 Lager, Rekorderlig Strawberry & Lime, Westons Mortimers Orchard, Meantime London Pale & Heineken. At £5.10 a pint, I wasn't about to stick around for a session. The gents toilets were one of the worst I've ever seen. You had to literally wade through whatever was on the floor to do your business. The barman that had served me had just come out of there when I entered. I'm surprised he hadn't closed them until they were cleaned. Appalling.

21 Dec 2016 19:47

Purple Lounge, Newbury

This place is now called the Newbury. It had obviously been busy during the day yesterday, as there were glasses strewn everywhere. There is a bar area to the left as you enter and a larger dining area to the right. The clientele appeared to be mainly local office workers, many of whom had obviously had a few too many. Ales on were Ramsbury Gold & Bitter, Greene King The Newbury Best Bitter, Upham Punter & Timothy Taylor Landlord.

21 Dec 2016 19:41

Cow and Cask, Newbury

I was back in Newbury last night and the Cow & Cask was my first stop. It's easily the town's best pub in my opinion. It's a typical micropub, located in what was presumably a shop previously. There is no music, TV or fruit machines. Conversation is encouraged. Ales are served on stillage behind the bar, with 2 boxes of cider on the bar itself. The 4 ales on during my visit were Andwell Porter, Arkells Sir Noel, Hermitage Frost Bite & Indigenous Double Wharp. Ciders were Lilleys Strawberry Cider & Tutts Clump Berkshire Diamond. The landlord is fairly friendly and joins in the conversation. A CAMRA discount of 10p per half or 20p per pint is offered. All 4 halves I sampled were in good condition. The blackboard records how many ales have been served since the place opened. It currently reads 299 and locals were looking forward to the 300th cask, which should be on tomorrow. Well worth a visit and not too far to walk from the station. Note it is closed on Sunday and Monday.

21 Dec 2016 19:37

The Lock Stock and Barrel, Newbury

Fullers pub in Newbury town centre. It feels fairly comfortable inside and stretches back a fair way, with plenty of seating. Ales were all from Fullers - Pride, ESB, Oliver's Island & Bengal Lancer. My ESB was ok. But the prices in here are certainly higher than average for Newbury.

21 Dec 2016 19:17

The Monument Public House, Newbury

The Monument is a fairly basic town centre boozer just to the north of the town centre. It's a fairly small space, with a few different drinking areas, including a games room with pool table and dartboard. Judging by the number of trophies, they must be well used. Bombardier Burning Gold & Hobgoblin were the ales. The Hobgoblin wasn't the best.

21 Dec 2016 19:13

The Blackbird, Bagnor

The Blackbird was our first stop on Sunday afternoon in the Newbury area. It was probably the best of the 5 pubs we went to. Locals, bar staff and the landlord were welcoming. There's a main bar area and a separate, smaller dining area off to the side. There were 3 handpulls with 2 ales on - West Berkshire Good Old Boy & Indigenous Nosey Parker. I had the Nosey Parker, which was good. A selection of board games are available. We were asked if we'd been to the nearby Watermill Theatre. But sadly we're not that cultured!

21 Dec 2016 19:08

The Knife and Cleaver, Houghton Conquest

This was my penultimate pub for me to visit in Bedfordshire last night. It is now a very popular restaurant. The last review over 7 years ago mentions Greek food. But I don't believe it is now Greek food. There were plenty of tables. But most were set out for diners. I sat down at one with my drink and that clearly confused the waiting staff, one of whom came over and said "Can I help you" and "will you be eating with us this evening?". I politely declined the offer of any help and said I'd just like to enjoy my drink! As a Wells & Youngs pub, the ale range was disappointing too with just Wells Eagle IPA & Bombardier Glorious English & Youngs London Gold. I moved on from here to the Chequers in Wootton, which is not listed on here, but was much more of a traditional pub.

11 Dec 2016 18:28

The Cock, Broom

This was my favourite pub of the day in Bedfordshire. There were only a couple of customers in when I arrived. But there were many more by the time I left. It's a fairly unusual place in that it doesn't actually have a bar. Beers are dispensed from casks from a separate room, whilst ciders are fetched from the cellar outside. The pub has several different rooms with lots of character. There were no TVs that I could see. But there was still Christmas music being played. Ales were Sharps Doom Bar, Adnams Ghost Ship, Woodfordes Wherry, Greene King Abbot & Brains Bread of Heaven. The two ciders were both from Franklins - Dunton & Gasper. A third cider was off. Locals and staff congregate near the entrance to the room with the casks. They are certainly friendly. But it's difficult to know who is a customer and who might be serving with no bar! Nevertheless, this is a classic English village pub that is not to be missed.

11 Dec 2016 18:21

The White Horse, Broom

Still closed. The pub sign is still there. But it is now a private residence.

11 Dec 2016 18:15

The New Inn, Biggleswade

I made a return visit to Biggleswade last night as I wasn't aware of this pub the last time I was in the town in February, 2015. After a number of foodie-type pubs in North Bedfordshire, this was much more to my liking. There is one room which is quite narrow, but stretches back a fair way. The bar area was packed with drinkers and parties, making the task of getting served more arduous than it should have been. The rear area of the room is a small area for dining with a carvery. Ales were Brentwood Chocwork Orange, Greene King IPA, XX Mild & London Glory, Sadlers One Hop Stop, Nobbys Guilsborough Gold, Wells Eagle IPA & Mighty Oak Maldon Gold. Ciders were Aspalls Cyderkyn & Westons Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig. I think I still prefer the Golden Pheasant across the road. But this is certainly another good option in Biggleswade and would have possible have got a higher rating me from me if it had not been so crowded.

11 Dec 2016 18:14

The Plough at Bolnhurst, Bolnhurst

The Plough is an upmarket dining establishment that serves real ale. It certainly seems a popular place with a rather large car park that was filling up rapidly. I believe I was the only customer only in there for a drink. So this is another North Bedfordshire pub that is actually more a restaurant than a pub. Nevertheless I was made to feel quite welcome, with complimentary homemade crisps given to me to accompany my ale. Staff were friendly and professional. There were plenty of them too. 3 ales were on - Woodfordes Wherry, Adnams Bitter & Phipps NBC Beckett's Ale. Looks like the sort of place you'd head to for a special occasion. But I quite liked it.

11 Dec 2016 18:06

The Horse and Jockey, Ravensden

I initially tried to visit this pub late Saturday afternoon and it was closed. I returned after 6pm to find it open. There is a bar area and a dining area to the side. The place is certainly more focused on diners than drinkers. Although the latter are catered for by 4 real ales - Adnams Bitter, Courage Best & Cottage Up And Under & Sentimental Journey. This just doesn't feel like a pub anymore though and it feels a little uncomfortable just going in for a drink. Its opening hours centred around meal times confirm that food is the priority.

11 Dec 2016 18:01

Five Bells, Cople

Seemed like a friendly enough local establishment. It's another Greene King pub, that was serving their IPA & Rocking Rudolph from Hardy & Hansons. A few of the clientele were a little rowdy and were getting ready for an evening on the town. Live football was on the TV.

11 Dec 2016 17:57

The Polhill Arms, Renhold

Almost 2 years on, I returned to the Polhill Arms to find it open, unlike the Jackal at Thurleigh, the Plough at Bolnhurst and the Horse & Jockey at Ravensden which were all closed on my Saturday afternoon visit. I did however managed to fit in the Victoria at Wilden (not listed on the site) in between. But the Polhill Arms has been voted CAMRA cider pub of the year 2016 for North Bedfordshire. So I was keen to visit. It's a Greene King pub that had Hardy & Hansons Kimberley Bitter, Belhaven IPA & Westgate Fireside as ales. Ciders were Westons Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig & Thatchers Heritage. Locals were watching live Premier League football. Certainly a decent pub and I can now enter a more realistic rating of 7/10.

11 Dec 2016 17:54

Jackal, Thurleigh

This pub was closed when I passed by yesterday afternoon. I'd heard it was closed. But to all intents and purposes, it still looks like a pub with the pub sign still present and notices on the door. Although the notices may have said it was closed for good, which it may well be as I returned later in the evening after 7pm and there was still no sign of life.

11 Dec 2016 17:49

Falcon Inn, Bletsoe

Coaching inn on the A6. It has a bar area at the front, with separate dining areas and function rooms to the side. As a Charles Wells pub, the ale range wasn't the best. Wells Bombardier & Eagle IPA were on, alongside Courage Directors & Black Sheep Special Ale. It took a while to get served, despite there being lots of staff seemingly doing nothing. I read that the garden can be nice. But probably not in the driving rain! Disappointing.

11 Dec 2016 17:45

The Why Not Inn, Halesowen

I'm surprised there's no reviews for this place. With its painted side wall, it's not too difficult to find. Parking is a bit trickier though. The pub is located on a dead-end street with cars either side. You may be lucky to find a space along the street. But if you don't, there's nowhere to turn at the end and you'll have to reverse the whole length of the street. Inside there are 2 or 3 rooms. The front room is a public bar, whilst the rear rooms seem to be reserved for diners, of which there were plenty. Prices seemed reasonable. 2 ales were on - Enville Ale & Holdens Golden Glow. A Thatchers Heritage pumpclip was present. But they did not actually have any. So I plumped for a keg Banks's Mild, which was fine. Not a pub I'd ever considered going to before. But I'd certainly consider a return visit.

11 Dec 2016 17:38

The Old Hare and Hounds, Rednal

I paid the Old Hare & Hounds a visit on Thursday evening as it was the only Birmingham pub in the Good Beer Guide I hadn't yet tried. However it was somewhat disappointing. This is an Ember Inns establishment and this chain has pretty much identikit interiors with a fake cosy feel to it. Whilst they are aimed at diners, they do generally have a few real ales and offer a CAMRA discount too. The ale range was Black Sheep Ember Pale Ale & Snow Place Like Home, Adnams Longboat, Purity Ubu & Brakspear Bitter. It's possible the best pub in Rednal, but not somewhere I'd head back to.

11 Dec 2016 17:32

The Railway Tavern, Richmond

I hadn't been here since it was owned by O'Neills. Now it is a Nicholsons establishment. Not a lot has changed inside, except the ale range is much better. On my Thursday lunchtime visit, there was St Austell Nicholson's Pale Ale, Cotleigh Tawny Owl, Ilkley Mary Jane, Thornbridge Wild Holly, Bays Gold, Great Heck Dave & Harbour Breakfast Ale. Service was efficient. But prices seemed a bit steep. Better than it used to be and I'd say it's now one of Richmond's better pubs.

11 Dec 2016 17:26

The North Western, Liverpool

I was here after the match on Sunday. I'd just been to the Richard John Blackler. So this was my 5th Wetherspoons of the day. I don't normally do that many in a month. As Wirraldrinker says, this is a big improvement on the former Head of Steam that was really struggling in its later years. The major drawback with this place now is its popularity. Whilst there is plenty of seating in multiple areas, access to the bar is limited and it always seems to be a fight to get served. The toilets were a disgrace. One cubicle had no lock and another had no toilet paper. The one with no paper was flooded and one of the hand driers was out of service. For a fairly new Wetherspoons establishment, this place certainly needs looking at again. You'll get a far better experience trying one of the other city centre 'spoons - the Richard John Blackler, The Lime Kiln, The Fall Well or the Welkin. For the record, the ales were Phoenix Big Bang, Coach House Innkeepers Special Reserve & Blunderbus Old Porter, Orkney Clootie Dumpling, Beartown Brown Bear, Greene King Abbot, Woods Wonderful & JW Lees Christmas Plum Pudding.

6 Dec 2016 21:42

Black Horse, Liverpool

The Black Horse is a popular pub on matchdays, being near Goodison Park. But I had never set foot in here until Sunday. Just like my previous pub, the Black Bull, many people were enjoying watching the Bournemouth v Liverpool game. But in here it was for different reasons, as the score had switched from 1-3 to 4-3! The place was packed and this is a place with plenty of space. It's a Greene King pub with 3 handpulls. But real ale is no longer served. The keg choice was Coors Light, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruit, Guinness & Guinness Extra Cold, Carling, Stella, Greene King IPA, Hardy & Hansons Mild & John Smiths. Not really my kind of pub. But serves a purpose on matchdays and presumably for the community on non-matchdays.

6 Dec 2016 21:34

The Black Bull, Walton Vale

After a visit to the Bootle Arms, Melling (not listed on here), I returned to Walton and decided to make an unplanned stop at this landmark pub that is situated on a busy traffic intersection near the Raven where I had been previously. Ironically the two young lads who were being refused alcohol were in here, still hanging round several hours later. Real ale is not served here. Keg options are Carling, Somersby Cider, Somersby Strawberry & Rhubarb, John Smiths, Carlsberg & Carlsberg Export, San Miguel, Guinness & Tuborg. Quite a number of Liverpool fans were enjoying watching their team beating Bournemouth 1-3. I left them too it!

6 Dec 2016 21:29

The Scotch Piper Inn, Lydiate

The Scotch Piper is one of those pubs on Merseyside that I've always looked forward to visiting. It's tucked a bit out of the way, not making it too accessible. But this place is a real gem that was my favourite pub of the day. I just wished I'd have had longer here. But with my bus arriving late and more pubs to visit in the area, it was a swift visit. The pub is an ancient thatched building with character aplenty. The gents toilets are outside. 2 handpulls were clipped - Marstons Pedigree New World & Moorhouses White Witch. I opted for the latter, only to be told after that the third handpull also had the Piper 1320 Ale, also brewed by Marstons. But the clip had fallen off. The landlord was very friendly and interested in hearing about the pubs I'd been to on the Isle of Man the previous day, as he was a fan of the TT racing. A classic car rally was to be held there later in the day and his car was already taking pride of place on the car park. A roaring log fire was burning in the bar area and the place was begging me to stay longer. But time waits for no man and I made the decision to leave to get my next bus. I hope to be back though, as this is one of those special pubs that is not to be missed. I read in the local MerseyAle that the brewer wants to introduce food. I hope enough people protest. Leave this place alone to do what it does best.

6 Dec 2016 21:23

The Frank Hornby, Maghull

I believe the Frank Hornby was the runner up in Merseyside CAMRA's recent pub of the year competition. This seemed surprising to me, as it's another Wetherspoons. But I agree with them. This is certainly one of the best Wetherspoons I have been to. Well above average. The pub is situated outside of the main shopping area in Maghull on a suburban street, I assume this was always a pub rather than a shop/cinema/theatre conversion as many normally are. The interior was different to the standard 'spoons layout and with plenty of windows, it is bright and cosy. Service was surprisingly efficient and the ale range was good - Phoenix Wobbly Bob & Double Gold, Red Star Formby IPA & Weissbier, Weetwood Old Dog & Ambush, Lytham Royal, Brightside Identity Crisis & Polaris & Banks's Barley Brown's Tumble Off Pale Ale. Real cider is not promoted. But I asked and found they had Old Rosie. The pub was fairly busy with people enjoying late breakfasts or early lunches. But staff were fairly efficient clearing tables of detritus, which is often a bug bear of mine in Wetherspoons. Model trains and other Frank Hornby items decorate some of the walls. It's not very often I'd give a Wetherspoons an 8/10. But this is well deserved.

6 Dec 2016 21:17

The Hare and Hounds, Maghull

The Hare & Hounds is an Ember Inns establishment that was just next to where my bus stopped. It opens at 11am on a Sunday morning and there were already a few in for lunch and drinks. The ale range was a little disappointing with all beers being pale ones - Wells Bombardier, Liverpool Organic 24 Carat Gold, Robinsons Dizzy Blonde & Black Sheep Ember Pale Ale & Snow Place Like Home. Despite preferring darker beers, I took my chance with the Bombardier and enjoyed a CAMRA discount. The young barmaid knew nothing about this. But the cash till said yes and I was 20p better off after my half!

6 Dec 2016 21:10

Gold Balance, Kirkby

My first ever visit to Kirkby. I wasn't too impressed. But at least this Wetherspoons was doing a good trade on a Sunday morning. There were plenty enjoying breakfasts. It's in the main shopping area and not far from the bus station. It feels quite light and airy, especially compared to the Raven in Walton where I had been previously. Ales were Banks's Barley Brown's Tumble Off Pale Ale, Peerless Chill Factor & Moorhouses Blonde Witch. Unusually for a 'spoons, there were only the 4 handpulls. The 4th was unused. I opted for the mulled cider, as it was a cold morning. Service was friendly.

6 Dec 2016 21:04

Raven, Liverpool

I paid an early Sunday morning visit to the Raven on a visit to some of the pubs in North Liverpool that I had yet to try. This is a Wetherspoons that serves alcohol from 9am on a Sunday with food served from 8am. I arrived a little too early for a drink, but didn't have too long to wait. A few other hardy souls were watching the clock tick to 9! The place is a typical open-plan Wetherspoons. But it feels dark inside. The barmaid was friendly. But she was good in dealing with a couple of young drinkers who had clearly been out all night. She continually refused to serve them any more alcohol. Ales were Hawkshead Bitter & Lakeland Gold, Jennings Bitter & Sneck Lifter, Peerless Red Rocks, Banks's Barley Brown's Tumble Off Pale Ale, Exmoor Gold & Coach House Cranberry. Not a Ruddles Best, Abbot or Doom Bar in sight. I'm not sure if this is a change in policy from 'spoons. But it certainly made for a more interesting ale selection. No real cider is available here. But they did have Orchard Pig Juggler as a mulled cider.

6 Dec 2016 21:00

The Bridge Inn, Laxey

The Bridge has 3 real ales. On this visit, they had Bushys Manx Bitter & Humbug & Ruddles Best. But they are also one of the few spots on the island where you can get a real cider. Rosie's Pig was available from a box behind the bar. Locals were all congregated in the public bar, where there is limited seating. But they appeared a friendly bunch. I preferred the Shore Hotel though.

6 Dec 2016 20:49

The New Inn, Laxey

Closed and unlikely to re-open as a pub.

6 Dec 2016 20:46

The Shore Hotel, Laxey

I was quite taken by this place. The Old Laxey Bosun's Bitter brewed on site is the only ale. But I really enjoyed it. The pub has a nice situation next to a bridge over the river. There is currently no vehicle access over the bridge. But pedestrians can cross. A nice drinking environment and the barmaid was friendly. The landlord/brewer seemed a little grumpy though. Still well worth a visit.

6 Dec 2016 20:45

The Stanley Hotel, Ramsey

The Stanley is situated on a street corner overlooking the quay. It was very quiet compared with the Plough round the corner. There is a small public bar, where there were 3 customers and there is a larger and more comfortable lounge where there was another couple. The real ale was Okells Bitter. Disappointing.

6 Dec 2016 20:41

The Plough Hotel, Ramsey

The Plough was the busiest pub I visited on the Isle of Man on Saturday. There are 2 rooms, with one handpull in one and a second in the other room. It was a struggle to get to the bar with an after-work crowd playing darts and watching the rugby. Okells Bitter & Moorhouses Pride of Pendle were the 2 ales. The barmaid/landlady was friendly despite clearly being busy. Possibly the best pub in Ramsey. But it's been over 7 years since I've been here.

6 Dec 2016 20:39

The Baltic Inn, Foxdale

The Baltic was one of my favourite pubs on the Isle of Man on this visit. I was the only customer. But the landlady was very friendly and took an interest in this visitor to the island. The pub itself is a 2 room place with plenty of character. Okells Bitter & MPA were the 2 ales. The pub seems to be suffering from a major road closure to fit a storm drain in the village. I was sent on a diversion and ended up on a forestry track, before eventually reaching the pub. Still worth a visit though.

6 Dec 2016 20:36

The Hawthorn, Greeba

The Hawthorn is a roadside establishment that has a reputation for good food. In fact, it is now more of a restaurant than a pub with all tables laid out for diners. Nevertheless, they did have Westgate Fireside which was pleasant. Better than I had expected and they don't mind people going in just for a drink.

6 Dec 2016 20:30

The Crosby Hotel, Crosby

The Crosby Hotel is a large establishment that again appears to focus on diners, rather than drinkers. The lunchtime rush was clearly over and the place felt dead. There is a large dining area and a separate bar. Okells Bitter & Morland Old Speckled Hen was the uninspiring ale selection.

6 Dec 2016 20:26

The Railway Inn, Union Mills

I'm not sure what the reference to a railway is here, as there didn't seem to be one around. This is a traditional pub that was in the process of a refurbishment. I'm not sure if the gents is normally outside. Locals and staff didn't appear that welcoming though. Ales were Coach House Dick Turpin, Robinsons Trooper, Brains Open Casket & Okells Bitter, an above average selection for the island. Might be worth another try.

6 Dec 2016 20:23

The Haven, Port Erin

Looks a bit of a hovel, rather than a haven from the outside. But the landlord and locals were friendly. TVs were showing live Premier League football. Okells Bitter is the real ale. Situated next to the station. But there are better pubs in Port Erin.

6 Dec 2016 20:15

The Station Hotel, Port Erin

The Station Hotel is a nicely decorated place. But there seems to be a focus on food here. Okells Bitter & IPA were on. The guest was Sharps Doom Bar. Food looked decent. But this did not feel like a drinkers' pub.

6 Dec 2016 20:12

The Station Hotel, Port St Mary

The Railway Station Hotel is unsurprisingly situated nextdoor to Port St Mary station. It was quiet on my Saturday lunchtime visit. In fact, I was the only customer. But the friendly landlady was expecting a crowd in to watch the rugby. There are 4 ales on, 2 in each room. On this visit, they were Okells Bitter & MPA & Bushy's Best Bitter & Helmsman. Judging by the last review, I guess this place has had a refurbishment. There is a public bar where the sport was to be shown and a lounge bar with a real fire and music playing. Reasonable place that could have done with more customers to create an atmosphere. But this was an off-season visit.

6 Dec 2016 20:07

The Glen Helen Lodge, St Johns

This pub has a nice location in the countryside on the TT course. But unfortunately it is currently closed and for sale.

6 Dec 2016 19:52

Two Rivers, Staines

This was the first of 3 pubs I visited in Staines on Thursday night. It was the only remaining pub in Staines that I hadn't been to that served real ale. But London Pride was the only ale. The pub is now Indian-owned and they appear to serve Indian meals. Locals provide the entertainment here. The sight of middle-aged women trying to do the splits in the centre of the bar was mildly amusing. Disappointing though. Moved onto the London Stone and the George which were far better.

6 Dec 2016 19:48

The Platform Tavern, Southampton

The Platform Tavern was my last stop in Southampton. In fact, I had intended to try to fit one more in. But the Platform turned out to be my favourite pub of the day. It's quite convenient if you have a ferry to catch or if you've just stepped off one. The interior has plenty of artwork to admire. There are 2 rooms - a main bar area, with a mix of seating and a dining room with more tables crammed in. Fullers London Pride & Gales Seafarers are the standard ales. Guests on my visit were Burning Sky Plateau, Bristol Beer Factory Kiwi & Siren Ryesing Tides IPA. Initially when asked what real ciders they had, the barman only mentioned Westons Old Rosie. But I later discovered Westons Country Perry, JJ's Perry-Letic, Cock Eyed Strawberry Blonde & Chilli Ginger & Cornish Orchards Farmhouse. Complimentary roast potatoes were on the bar. I could have spent a lot longer in here. But I had a coach to catch. I'll definitely be back though.

28 Nov 2016 19:02

The Dancing Man, Southampton

The Dancing Man is home to the Dancing Man brewery and the equipment is on display. The building is certainly an old one. But the interior feels a bit too modern. It's quite a large space with plenty of seating and also plenty of room for upright drinking too. It was fairly quiet on my Sunday evening visit. So it felt like it was lacking in atmosphere. Most of the real ales were from the in-house brewery - Vagrant, Bone Dry, Snake Oil Porter, Jack 'O' Diamonds, Big Casino & Fiddler's Jig. There were also 2 guests from Broken Bridge - It's Five O'clock Somewhere & No Chaff. In addition, there is also a selection of craft beers on keg. I opted for the Porter, which was ok. I'm sure I'll be back. But I was somehow expecting better.

28 Nov 2016 18:57

Duke of Wellington, Southampton

The Duke of Wellington oozes character. A visit feels like stepping back in time. It was fairly busy on my Sunday evening visit. In fact it was the busiest of 4 pubs I sampled in this area. An impromptu folk music session was underway in one corner. It's a Wadworth's house. I had the Swordfish. But there was also Horizon, Dray Bells & Nectar. A guest was Nipper from the Island Brewery. Recommended.

28 Nov 2016 18:51

The Titanic, Southampton

The Titanic is in an area of Southampton where I haven't previously drunk, near the Docks. It's a fairly old-fashioned local where you're assumed of a warm welcome. But it was fairly quiet on my Sunday evening visit. Titanic Lifeboat & Morland Old Speckled Hen were the 2 ales. The Lifeboat wasn't really to my liking. Plenty of Titanic memorabilia, as you'd expect. This place feels a little off the beaten track. But it's actually fairly close to the centre of Southampton and I may well be back as there are some other decent pubs in this area that can be combined with this one.

28 Nov 2016 18:48

The Park Inn, Southampton

The Park Inn was our 5th stop in Southampton (the Fremantle Arms was our 4th and is not listed on here). Another fairly friendly pub that is clearly well looked after. Apparently the landlord and landlady ran the pub many years ago and they have since returned to revive the place. It's a Wadworth house with their IPA, 6X & Swordfish. Guests were Castle Rock Elsie Mo & Yeovil Ruby. Luckily for me, Thatchers Heritage was on too. A fair way out of town. We moved on from here to a new craft ale type place called Overdraft, which I'll request to be added.

28 Nov 2016 18:42

The Waterloo Arms, Freemantle

The Waterloo Arms was the third stop of our Southampton crawl (the second stop, the Key & Anchor) is not listed on here). The Waterloo is a Hopback pub. This is possibly only the second Hopback pub I have visited, having previously been to the Sultan in London. This one felt similar in character. It's fairly cosy inside and many were enjoying Sunday lunches. The ale range was mostly Hopback - Crop Circle, Red Amber, Winter Lightning, Summer Lightning, Entire Stout & GFB. Other ales were Downton New Forest Ale, Daleside Stout & Oldershaw Old Boy. One of a few decent pubs in the area.

28 Nov 2016 18:36

The Wellington Arms, Southampton

The Wellington Arms was our first stop of a Sunday crawl of Southampton pubs. It's a backstreet corner boozer that feels a little worn around the edges. But it has a decent range of ales and some friendly locals. Ales on our visit were Triple fff Alton's Pride, Red Cat Mrs M's Porter, Brewhouse & Kitchen Double Tide Stout & The Wellie Gull & Fullers London Pride & ESB. Bowman Amerigo was pulled through whilst we were there. I believe there were more ales in the other room. There is no real cider though. Worth the effort to find.

28 Nov 2016 18:31

Ye Olde Talbot Inn, Cymau

After a brief visit to Ffrwd in nearby Cefn-y-Bedd (not listed on here), our final stop of the night on our Sunday tour of North East Wales was the Olde Talbot. This is a fairly basic locals boozer in a lovely location. Lighting in the bar area was very harsh on the eye. But locals were very friendly and happy to indulge in conversation with a couple of non-locals. Black Sheep Best Bitter is the solitary real ale. But come here for the location and the conversation. One of our best 3 pubs of the day.

21 Nov 2016 17:49

The Acton Park, Wrexham

The Acton Park is situated on the northern outskirts of Wrexham. But it seems to be the place where middle class local real ale drinkers and their families congregate. It's an Ember Inns place. So you know what to expect, a cosy but identikit interior with plenty of tables, mainly populated by diners. But Ember Inns do have a fairly decent range of ales. On this visit, it was Titanic Plum Porter, Adnams Ghost Ship & Broadside, Black Sheep Ember Pale, Thwaites Wainwright, Moles Mole Catcher & Marstons Pedigree. Don't forget to ask for a CAMRA discount, if you're a member. Comfortable place that is good by Wrexham standards.

21 Nov 2016 17:43

Royal Oak, Wrexham

Joules pub which as the previous reviewer said was very quiet on our visit. Only 2 other customers were present. It has a long narrow room with an imposing antelope's head near the entrance. There are mirrors on either side to make the place look bigger. But it all feels a bit fake. In addition to the Joules beers - Blonde, Pale Ale, Slumbering Monk & Moon Madness, they also had Salopian Oracle. It was also the only pub on this visit to Wales that stocked a real cider (Rosie's Pig). For some reason, I asked if they offered a CAMRA discount. The barmaid asked what CAMRA was and was enlightened by one of the two customers. Unfortunately his description wasn't too complimentary. A strange kind of place. But as the previous reviewer has said, if I did find myself drinking in Wrexham town centre again, I'd probably gravitate here.

21 Nov 2016 17:38

Albion Vaults, Wrexham

Tried visiting this pub again yesterday (another Sunday). It's now called the Soul Suite. But it was still closed.

21 Nov 2016 17:33

Colliers Arms, Ponciau

The Colliers was the local CAMRA branch's pub of the year for 2016. So it's surprising nobody has reviewed it. But as with the previous 2 pubs I visited, it's situated up a residential side road and can't attract any passing trade. The interior looks as if it has previously been done up, with a large main bar, a tiny snug opposite the bar and a further room at the rear. The garden looked like it might be appealing in better weather too. Toilets were spotless. For a rural pub, the ale range is really good, with so many old pumpclips on the ceiling. My only criticisms were the lack of a dark beer or a cider and also the lack of any real atmosphere on our Sunday afternoon visit. The ales were Purple Moose Glaslyn & Snowdonia Ale, Salopian Oracle & Facers Flintshire Bitter. Recommended.

21 Nov 2016 17:31

Black Lion, Wrexham

Another pub tucked away up a narrow lane. You'd need to know it was here to ever find it. Locals were friendly and happy to recommend the real ale, which was JW Lees Tan Y Ddraig. Watch your head on the low beams though!

21 Nov 2016 17:26

Mill Inn, Cefn Mawr

The Mill Inn feels like it is living in the land that time forgot. It's located up a narrow lane in a quiet Welsh village. By the look of it, you could be forgiven if you approached and assumed it had closed down (as we did). But inside there are 3 small rooms and the place is obviously popular with locals. Most beverages appeared to be from cans. But there was a real ale on - Facers Abbey Red, which was certainly drinkable. Certainly a good pub to try for the curious.

21 Nov 2016 17:24

The Aqueduct Inn, Froncysyllte

Of the 10 pubs we tried in the Wrexham area yesterday, this was certainly one of the best 3. The Aqueduct enjoys a splendid location on a steep bank overlooking the Pontcysylltye Aqueduct and is also alongside the main A5. There are 3 choices of rooms on entry. To the left is a dining area, to the right is a games room where darts is played and live sport is shown on TV and in the middle is perhaps the smallest room, where locals congregate. The ale range was better than I had anticipated - Hafod Clwydian Bronze, Titanic Steerage & Slaters Top Totty. Parking is a bit tricky. But if you're passing by on the A5, give it a try.

21 Nov 2016 17:20

The Hand Hotel, Chirk

The Hand Hotel looks quite a grand pub from the outside and is located in the centre of this town/village, just a stone's throw from the English border. Much of the interior now appears to be given away to function rooms and accommodation. The 2 main bar areas are very basic and populated by locals. No real ales are currently served. The keg selection was Wrexham Lager, Guinness, Strongbow, Carlsberg, Fosters, Tetleys Smoothflow, Shropshire Lager, Stella Artois 4 & Crystal Lager. Disappointing to be honest. For real ales, try the Boat House at Chirk Marina, just outside of town. Unfortunately it's not listed on the site.

21 Nov 2016 17:15

The White House, Coseley

Another pub that is now closed. It is still standing, but looking a bit forlorn.

21 Nov 2016 17:10

The Old Chainyard, Coseley

The Old Chainyard was the first of 2 pubs I decided to try in Coseley on Saturday evening. The other (the New Inn - a Bathams house) is not listed on here. The Old Chainyard seemed to have a reasonably friendly bunch of locals. Although I didn't particularly appreciate the guy next to me taking his shoes off. The interior is cosy. A band or perhaps a karaoke was being set up in the one corner. The barmaid was too busy chatting with friends to realise I'd only asked for a half! 2 ales were on - Oakham Bishop's Farewell & Salopian Lemon Dream. This is certainly the only place in the area you're likely to find anything out of the ordinary, when it comes to ales.

21 Nov 2016 17:10

The Painters Arms, Bilston

This pub is now closed. I walked past without even noticing it on Saturday evening. It may even have been demolished. But there is certainly no sign of a pub.

21 Nov 2016 17:06

The Lion Tavern, Liverpool

I just had time for a quick one here before catching a train from the nearby Moorfields station. The Lion is back open again. I didn't recognise the people behind the bar. So I'm not sure if they're new owners or not. The ale selection didn't seem quite as good - Conwy Welsh Pride, JW Lees MPA, Robinsons Wizard, Adnams Broadside, Moorhouses Pride of Pendle & Youngs Bitter. The cider was Rosie's Pig. But if they're trying to build trade back up again, the more limited range than normal is understandable. This is still a good pub even by Liverpool pubs' standards and of course it's always worth coming to see the fantastic interior alone. For the first time ever, I managed to get a seat in the bar.

21 Nov 2016 17:02

The James Monro, Liverpool

After a visit to the new Ranelagh's Tavern, I decided to head across town to see how the James Monro is nowadays. After briefly being excellent, it closed and the new landlord appears to be tied to Marstons again. Just EPA & Pedigree were on. A few people were in watching live Premier League football. Nowhere near as good as it used to be.

21 Nov 2016 16:58

The Perseverance, Wraysbury

Was in here on Friday night to sample the wares of their beer festival and also to have a meal. It's a pub that stretches round from a cosy seating area at one end to a dining area at the other, with an L-shaped bar. The pub had hosted a Meet The Brewer event with Binghams on the Monday and had a few of their ales on. In addition, they had a number of former champion beer of Britain medallists. The selection was Binghams Vanilla Stout, Twyford Tipple, Brickworks Bitter, Space Hoppy & V Old Ale, Thornbridge Jaipur, Tiny Rebel Cwtch & Pheasantry Best Bitter. Ciders and Perries were Westons Country Perry, Hand Brake, Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig, Sandford Orchards Devon Red, Orchard Pig Philospher & Explorer, Hogans Hazy Daisy & Panking Pole & Cornish Orchards Farmhouse & Blush. The meals we had were ok. But the highlight was the beer. I'm not sure how many ales and ciders they have outside of festivals though.

21 Nov 2016 16:53

The Glengower Hotel, Aberystwyth

I'd saved the Glengower until last, as I was expecting a decent cider selection and it was the closest drinking establishment to our B & B. Whilst I rated the Ship & Castle as the best pub in the town centre, the Glengower is the best pub near the seafront. There's little to choose between them. The Ship & Castle had the slightly better ale selection and felt more like a pub. The Glengower is a seafront hotel that has converted its downstairs rooms to a bar with a view. The ale selection was almost on a par with the Ship & Castle and the cider selection was the best in town. Ales are to the left of the bar as you walk in. Ciders are to the right and also on handpulls. The selection was Purple Moose Dark Side of the Moose, Wye Valley Butty Bach & HPA, Salopian Shropshire Gold, Mantle Rock Steady, Lilleys Lemon and Lime & Bee Sting Perry & Gwynt y Ddraig Ancient Warrior, Farmhouse Scrumpy & Happy Daze. There is plenty of seating and TVs were showing live international football. Food was still being served, despite it being late in the evening. I later discovered they should offer a CAMRA discount. But you obviously have to be in the know. Still a really good bar though.

14 Nov 2016 20:00

Yr Hen Orsaf, Aberystwyth

Yr Hen Orsaf is Aberystwyth's Wetherspoons. It is located at the main railway station, with seating on the station itself. The interior was much quieter than I had anticipated. But it still took a while to be served, with people seemingly confused about who was next to be served, plus there was the age-old 'spoons issue of lengthy food and coffee orders. The ale selection was Evan Evans Welsh Pale Ale & Cwrw, Brewsters Hop Quest, Coach House Hoptober, Bluestone Elderflower Blonde, Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharps Doom Bar. Cider was Old Rosie. Customers were mostly students, who were dining. I suppose this is as good a place as any for those on a budget. Toilets were upstairs. The gents was rather large. I've been to better Wetherspoons.

14 Nov 2016 19:54

Downies Vaults, Aberystwyth

I was expecting this place to be closed. But it was open. Although despite the town centre being busy, I was the only customer in here alongside the 2 staff. The interior is fairly impressive with large booth-type seating. But it felt a little dilapidated. The solitary real ale was Felinfoel Double Dragon, which was ok. With nobody in, the place lacked atmosphere. Not quite sure how or why the gents toilets were in such a state. Disappointing.

14 Nov 2016 19:48

The Ship and Castle, Aberystwyth

This is the best pub in the town centre. Despite being tucked away on the High Street (a fairly quiet back street), it was busy on my Saturday evening visit with all tables taken. Most people appeared to be in for the rugby. But there was also a pool table in use at one corner. The ale selection is probably the best in town. They had Marble Pint, Wye Valley HPA & Butty Bach, North Riding Ice Cream Porter & Sadlers Thin Ice. Cider was Black Dragon. I went for the Ice Cream Porter, which was delicious. Just could have done with a seat!

14 Nov 2016 19:43

The Nags Head, Aberystwyth

Closed and now a shop.

14 Nov 2016 19:39

Mill Inn, Aberystwyth

The Mill is no longer a real ale pub. It is a corner pub that was playing loud music and showing the rugby on my Saturday evening visit. The uninspiring keg choice was Carling, Carling Cider, Worthingtons, Kronenbourg, Strongbow, Staropramen, Coors Light & Guinness. Has little to recommend it. Even the wifi failed to work.

14 Nov 2016 19:39

The Fountain, Aberystwyth

The Fountain was my first stop in Aberystwyth. It is in fact on the opposite side of the river from the town centre in an area known a Trefechan. The exterior has been painted a bright red/pink colour and the building adjacent to it has been knocked down. There are two entrances. One leads to a small dining area, whilst the other is a public bar with a pool table in the middle. Beyond that was another tiny room. I chose the bar, where the solitary handpull can be found. Locals were there watching the rugby and tucking into complimentary sausages and chips that were on the bar. The real ale was Felinfoel Cambrian Bitter.

14 Nov 2016 19:34

Rhos Yr Hafod Inn, Cross Inn

Most websites state that the Rhos Yr Hafod does not open until 5pm. So we intentionally delayed our arrival. However we did reach here a little earlier than planned and found the pub was open with locals having watched the international rugby. After a few attempts at getting in the front door and assuming there was some kind of 'lock in', one guy finally opened the door for us. This is a fairly friendly place that serves a couple of ales. On this visit, they had Cottage Saxon & Mantle Cwrw Teifi. I tried the latter, which wasn't really my kind of beer. But it was well kept.

14 Nov 2016 19:18

The Kings Head, Lampeter

After trying the 2 Brains houses - the Black Lion and the Castle, I was hoping this would be the best of 3 pubs in Lampeter. But unfortunately it's closed down and boarded up. This university town is a bit of a beer desert.

14 Nov 2016 19:11

The Kings Head, Lampeter

After trying the 2 Brains houses - the Black Lion and the Castle, I was hoping this would be the best of 3 pubs in Lampeter. But unfortunately it's closed down and boarded up. This university town is a bit of a beer desert.

14 Nov 2016 19:11

Black Lion Hotel, Lampeter

The Black Lion is probably the best pub in Lampeter. It looks like it used to be a coaching inn, with a parking area at the rear of the building. It is a touch commercialised today though and is owned by Brains. There is a large central bar, with seating all round. Locals were congregated to the left-hand side if you enter from the street, or in front of you if you enter from the passageway to the side. It seems that service is only from this side too, as we witnessed a few people walk in, stand at the bar for a while, before giving up and leaving. Ales were Brains The Rev James Gold & The Rev James Original & Wychwood Hobgoblin.

14 Nov 2016 19:09

Queens Hotel, New Quay

We came to New Quay last just about 5 years and I didn't get around to visit this pub. A shame, as it's now closed down.

14 Nov 2016 19:02

The Penrhiwgaled Arms, Llandysul

The Penrhiwgaled Arms was our second pub on a crawl of the west coast of Wales. We'd stopped at the Ship Inn at Aberporth first. But that pub is not listed on here. The Penrhiwgaled is situated in the small village of Cross Inn on the road to Newquay. It is a friendy and reasonable size pub, which had the one solitary real ale on our visit. This was Evan Evans Welsh Pale Ale. There is a large area for a pool table at one end of the bar and there is a children's play area in the garden at the rear.

14 Nov 2016 19:00

The Victoria, Surbiton

The Victoria was my final new pub of the day, before concluding my wanderings in the nearby Antelope. The Victoria is another Youngs pub, which appeared to be popular with families. It is a busy place, with a number of different rooms. Whilst it may have been refurbished, it still retains a nice character. Youngs Bitter & London Gold were the standard ales. But they also had Twickenham Grandstand and Trumans Hoptoberfest was pulled through whilst I was there. A reasonable enough place. But with the Antelope waiting, I soon moved on.

6 Nov 2016 16:23

The Black Lion, Surbiton

The Black Lion is a seemingly popular Youngs pub at a set of traffic lights. It was busy with locals watching 2 different football matches on the TVs. Youngs Bitter & Special were the regular beers. But there were also 2 guests - Twickenham Sundancer & Island Yachtsman's Ale. Ok. But nothing special.

6 Nov 2016 16:19

The Lamb, Surbiton

I paid a return visit to this pub yesterday. Summer Lightning & Ranmore Ale are still on. The guests yesterday were Oakham Inferno & Black Sheep Best Bitter. Aspalls has been replaced by Stowford Press. But still no real cider. Still a nice pub. But I think I may have overrated it with a 7 on my last visit.

6 Nov 2016 16:16

The Queens Head, Kingston Upon Thames

My final pub in Kingston was the Queens Head. It's a fairly commercialised Fullers pub on the main road out of the town towards Richmond. It feels aimed towards diners and also offers accommodation. There were 4 handpulls, which were dispensing 3 Fullers beers - London Pride, Oliver's Island & Red Fox, in addition to Seacider Medium. I was really surprised to see Seacider in this place. I'm really hoping that Fullers have some kind of agreement with them, as it's one of my favourite ciders. Of the 6 pubs in Kingston I'd been to, this was only the second to have stocked a real cider. So at least I left happy!

6 Nov 2016 16:12

The Richmond Park, Kingston Upon Thames

This place is now a Co-Op.

6 Nov 2016 16:08

The Park Tavern, Kingston Upon Thames

The Park Tavern was my fifth stop on my Kingston crawl. It has a lovely location in a terraced street that leads to Richmond Park. The exterior is covered with plenty of foliage, giving it a cosy feel. There are a number of tables on the patio at the front. Inside is just as cosy and there was a decent selection of ales. Fullers London Pride & Youngs Bitter are the permanent ales. There were also 4 guests - Gales Fire Cracker, Twickenham Naked Ladies, Caledonian Trick Or Treat & Binghams Twyford Tipple. There are a huge number of pumpclips on the ceiling, attesting to the decent ale selection they've had over the years. Most of the customers appealed to be regulars. This appears to be a thriving community pub and ended up being my favourite pub of the day in Kingston.

6 Nov 2016 16:05

The Spring Grove, Kingston Upon Thames

The Spring Grove is a Youngs pub situated in a residential area to the south of the centre in Kingston. I entered with quite a low expectation. But I was actually reasonably impressed. Youngs Bitter, Special & London Gold were the permanent beers. But they had 3 guests too - Wimbledon Phoenix Smoked Porter, Sharps Coaster & Trumans Hoptoberfest. The interior is large, with a front bar area and 2 large rooms devoted to diners. Toilets are upstairs. The hand driers in the gents are quite unique. My Porter was nice enough. But drinks prices are on the high side. You'll pay 60p more for a pint here than in the town centre. So I wasn't surprised to see it virtually empty.

6 Nov 2016 15:59

Woody's, Kingston Upon Thames

Woody's is a café-style bar on Kingston's riverfront, not far from the shopping area. It was quite a pleasant place to while away a little time watching the comings and goings on the river. Yesterday there were countless rowing boats going by. On the ale front, there are only 2. Autumn Red from Portobello & Little Nipper from Brightwater were on. There are also craft beers and various bottles. I was the first customer in. But another couple came in. A fourth person arrived. But she gave up waiting for service, as bar staff were too busy fulfilling other tasks. The furniture is quite unique. There are better pubs in Kingston. But if you're in this neck of the woods, it's probably worth popping in to see what they have.

6 Nov 2016 15:53

The Druid's Head, Kingston Upon Thames

I was the first customer in here yesterday morning. It's quite a large pub with a number of different seating area. I chose to watch the world go by in the front window. This is supposed to be the oldest pub in the town. But it does now have a modern feel. As previous reviewers have said, there is a decent range of ales despite this being a Greene King pub. IPA & Abbot are the regular beers. But there were also 6 guests - Twickenham Autumn Red, Cottage Red and Ruth & Honey Bunny, Ascot Alligator Ale, Everards Tiger & Red Squirrel Hopfest. My only criticism would be that there were no milds, stouts or porters. I tried the Red and Ruth, which was a ruby ale, but too hoppy for my palate.

6 Nov 2016 15:46

The Kings Tun, Kingston Upon Thames

The King's Tun was my first stop a Kingston crawl yesterday. I was here for breakfast and a quick pint. As Lezford says, it's near the train station. It's also just round the corner from the bus station on Cromwell Road. Getting across the road isn't easy though. Next time I'll use the lights! As with most Wetherspoons, this one has 2 banks of handpulls and unlike many, there are different ales on each bank. Yesterday morning they had 11 ales - Greene King Abbot & IPA, Oakham Citra & Sharps Doom Bar are the regulars. Guests were Twickenham Grandstand, Strange Brew & Redhead, Arundel Sussex Craft Coffee Milk Stout, Dark Star Green Hopped IPA, Kissingate Toffee Cog & Surrey Hills Collusion. There were also 2 real ciders from Westons - Old Rosie & Marcle Hill, in addition to a mulled cider from them too. The interior is quite spacious. Apparently there are 2 floors. But I stayed on the ground and enjoyed a nicer than normal breakfast. Service from both the bar and the kitchen was quick and efficient. Certainly one of the better Wetherspoons I've been in.

6 Nov 2016 15:39

The Beehive, Tottenham

We've always wondered up and down the High Road on the way to White Hart Lane and never found a decent pub to visit. I'd noticed that the Beehive was in the current Good Beer Guide. So I thought I'd give it a try whilst in the area on Friday evening. It's certainly impressive from the outside and the interior is quite spacious with more than enough tables. Although I could imagine it could get quite busy on a match day. There is also a garden area at the rear for any overspill. A small room to the side has a pool table and a football table. We chose to sit in the main room where the bar is situated and enjoyed a couple of burgers and a kid's meal. I was a little disappointed with the ale range though, with only 3 being available - Hackney Best Bitter & Beehive Brew (presumably a house beer) & Redemption Pale Ale. The real cider appeared to have been replaced by a mulled cherry cider. But that was fairly pleasant. It's not cheap in here. But the clientele are the trendy type that suggest that this area could be up and coming within the next several years. Stepping out onto the High Road, you wouldn't think so though!

6 Nov 2016 15:30

The Ramsden Arms, Blackpool

The Ramsden Arms is not far from Blackpool North station. But it feels on a bit of a limb away from the town centre. It has a large interior with a couple of rooms. 2 ales were on - Wainwright & The Rev James. I went for the latter, which was ok. Very quiet on my Saturday afternoon visit with only a couple of others plus the barmaid in. Live football had just been on when I arrived.

31 Oct 2016 19:11

Washington, Blackpool

Popular Greene King pub well in the main shopping area and well away from the touristy bars near the Promenade. The ale selection was fairly decent for a Greene King pub with Greene King IPA, Black Edge American Pale Ale, Phoenix Spotland Gold, Heavy Industry Collaborator, Bowland Buster IPA, Morland Old Speckled Hen & Hawkshead Dry Stone Stout. The stout was nice. CAMRA discounts are offered.

31 Oct 2016 19:08

The Pump and Truncheon, Blackpool

The Pump & Truncheon was my favourite pub I tried in Blackpool this weekend. I arrived quite late on Saturday evening and was the last to be served before they shut up shop for the evening. The pub has a fairly basic interior that was decked out for Halloween. Being at the rear of the main buildings of the Promenade, it was quiet enough to enjoy a couple of swift halves, but busy enough to have an atmosphere. The barmaid was friendly. 6 ales were on - Pig Iron EPA, Cottage Red Fang, Bristol Beer Factory Enigma, Sharps Doom Bar, Cross Bar Witching Hour & Fuggle Bunny Brew House Cotton Tail. Ciders and perries were Aspalls Waddlegoose Lane Blueberry, Lilleys Sunset Cider, Snails Bank Tumbledown Perry & Very Perry, Cock Eyed Mad Jack, Cotswold Cider Company Yellow Hammer & No Brainer & Orchard Pig Maverick. Recommended.

31 Oct 2016 19:05

Churchills Bar, Blackpool

Churchills is a traditional pub that was quite lively on my Friday evening visit. Karaoke was in full swing in my visit, with a drag queen seemingly finding it popular. There was certainly a mixed bunch in here. But the atmosphere was friendly. The 4 ales were Castle Rock Harvest Pale, Wells Bombardier Glorious English, Shepherd Neame Spitfire & Morland Old Speckled Hen. I like a pub with characters. One of the better pubs I tried in Blackpool.

31 Oct 2016 18:59

Gillespies, Blackpool

Greene King pub that is currently closed awaiting a new tenant.

31 Oct 2016 18:56

Blue Room, Blackpool

Still closed. But I believe there are plans to re-open it.

31 Oct 2016 18:54

The Layton Rakes, Blackpool

The Layton Rakes is one of 3 Wetherspoons in a small area between the town centre and the Promenade. There's enough space to accommodate the mixture of drinkers - old folks, stag & hen parties and me! A number of bouncers were on the door, primarily to deter underage drinkers. The ale choice was typical of the chain - Coach House Raspberry, Moorhouses White Witch & Pendle Witches Brew, Greene King Abbot, Swannay Dark Monro, Ruddles Best & Sharps Doom Bar. Ciders were Old Rosie & Black Dragon. I didn't visit the roof terrace. But it looked quite a nice space when I saw it from the top of Blackpool Tower.

31 Oct 2016 18:54

Rose and Crown, Blackpool

Fairly bland corner pub in the centre of Blackpool. Both ales were from Charles Wells - Bombardier & Golden Cauldron. It was still reasonably busy on Friday evening. But there were tables available. It has an outdoor area with tables too. Beer is served in plastic if you're planning on sitting outside. Disappointing.

31 Oct 2016 18:49

The Rifle Volunteer, Burnley

The Rifle Volunteer is a little away from the town centre. But it is not too far of a diversion if you're heading from Turf Moor to Manchester Road station, as we were. You can at least start making your way uphill here and there is also a chippy on the way back to the station! We weren't too inspired by the ale selection here though and were surprised that it makes the current Good Beer Guide. 3 ales were on - Reedley Hallows No Nay Never & Filly Close Blonde & Bass. Whilst the pub is a fairly decent local, albeit surprisingly quiet with the football on, there are better ale selections in many other pubs across Burnley. I guess it depends whether you want variety of ales or just a quiet place for a pint.

25 Oct 2016 18:33

The Talbot, Burnley

The Talbot is uphill out of the town centre. But I thought it was worth the climb. As with the Bridge, the Talbot was packed with Burnley FC matchday fans. But getting served here was much easier. Head to the right-hand bar for the real ale selection. Naylors NYB, Rossendale Halo Pale, Moorhouses Premiership, Reedley Hallows Pendleside & New Laund Dark, JW Lees MPA, Copper Dragon Golden Pippin & Timothy Taylor Boltmaker were all on. Cider was Thatchers Heritage. TVs were showing live football and there was a small stage in one corner. With the Bridge Beer Huis being so difficult to judge, with it being unpleasantly crowded, I ended up rating the Talbot as my favourite pub of the day. By the way, if you're heading to the football ground, it's also worth stopping off at the KSC 110 Club. They charge 20p to get in. But they have a half decent selection of ales there too.

25 Oct 2016 18:27

The Bridge Bier Huis, Burnley

Situated just across a car park from the town centre, this place is probably deservedly Burnley's best known real ale pub. We could tell when we arrived that it was going to be busy, judging by the dozens of people standing outside. I was eternally optimistic would be empty! But it was 4-5 deep at the bar. We persevered and I even managed to establish all of the ales - St Austell Proper Job, Reedley Hallows Filly Close Blonde, Vog Dark Matter Blackcurrant Porter & Moorhouses Blonde Witch & Premiership. The cider was Celtic Marches Abrahalls Slack Alice. Certainly a decent selection. But it was very difficult to judge this place as it was simply too busy to enjoy. I'll need to come back when there is no football on.

25 Oct 2016 18:22

The Boot Inn, Burnley

After a visit to the lively Bootleggers Music Bar (not listed on here), we moved onto our third Wetherspoons of the day, the second one we'd tried in Burnley. Luckily their festival was on. So there was a decent enough selection for us to try something different - Moorhouses Pendle Witches Brew, Saltaire Stateside IPA, Ruddles Best, Worsthorne Golden Boot, Theakston Vanilla Stout, Caledonian Recreation Ale & Deuchars IPA, Everards Hop Session, & Wadworth Epic Brew. Cider was Old Rosie. This place had a bit more character to it than the nearby Brun Lea. As Lezford mentions, the split levels makes it slightly more 'interesting' than the bog standard open-plan layout. It's as interesting as the vast majority of Wetherspoons get anyway!

25 Oct 2016 18:17

Brun Lea, Burnley

The Brun Lea was the first of 2 Wetherspoons we visited in our whistlestop tour of the town. This place felt fairly small. There was an upstairs. But I'm not sure if there was any seating. It took a while to get served. Ales were Ruddles Best, Maxim Northern Knight, Shepherd Neame Hot Night At The Village, Camerons Press Gang, Caledonian Recreation Ale, Cotleigh Hip Hop Hooray & Wadworth Bentspoke Braddon Bitter. The cider was Barbourne Sweet Kernel, which I had not sampled previously. I recommend both branches of 'spoons in this town.

25 Oct 2016 18:11

New Brew-m, Burnley

I gather this is Burnley's first micropub. It was doing a good trade on our Saturday lunchtime visit. Pendleside was the only ale from Reedley Hallows, who apparently own the place. But there were 4 guests - York Yorkshire Terrier & Centurion's Ghost Ale, Slaters Original & Bank Top Flat Cap. There are several tables despite the pub's small size. We secured the last table and on each one there was complimentary nibbles. I must admit to being a fan of micropubs and whilst we found better pubs in Burnley, I quite liked this place.

25 Oct 2016 18:07

The Garden Bar, Burnley

This is now called Baltic Homeland and is a restaurant. Although there was a keg beer selection. I gather it used to be a JW Lees house. I may try to visit next time I am back in Burnley.

25 Oct 2016 18:03

The Cross Keys Hotel, Burnley

The Cross Keys is a fairly large pub at the end of St James St. There is plenty of seating inside and an open fire was blazing. There are big screens showing live football and a stage presumably for bands and/or karaoke. 3 ales are dispensed. On this occasion, two were from the local Reedley Hallows brewery - Pendleside & Griffin IPA. The third ale was Copper Dragon Golden Pippin. Locals were willing to engage in conversation.

25 Oct 2016 18:02

The Ministry of Ale, Burnley

The Ministry Of Ale is the first pub you'll see if you arrive into Manchester Road station. Despite spotting it, it was always planned to be my first port of call in Burnley on Saturday. I believe it normally opens at midday. But on a matchday, it opens at 11:30, which suited us fine as our train arrived shortly before midday. This is a decent old-fashioned boozer, that I'd imagine is frequented by a loyal group of locals during the week. It has a brewery that you can view on entry. The main seating area can be cramped when there are a few in. 4 ales were on. But they were all pale ales - Prospect Silver Tally, Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted, Deeply Vale Golden Vale & Phoenix Pale Moonlight. Unfortunately the previous reviewer may have jinxed my visit as none of the house-brewed Moonstone ales were on. Still a decent pub though.

25 Oct 2016 17:59

The Manchester and County, Manchester

I'd passed this Wetherspoons several times before. But I'd never before ventured in. Saturday morning was an opportunity to do this, whilst passing through Manchester city centre. It's convenient for both Piccadilly station and the main shopping area. With few other pubs open before 11am, it was predictably busy. Ales were Sharps Doom Bar, Everards Pitch Black, JW Lees Autumn Ale, Wadworth Bentspoke Braddon Bitter, RCH Return From The Ashes & Greene King Abbot. There was no real cider. The interior is typically characterless Wetherspoons. A handy place to visit when no other pubs are open. But Manchester has too many decent pubs to make this a destination in its own right.

25 Oct 2016 17:53

The Toby Carvery, Langley

Was back here on Sunday evening for a carvery. It was packed as usual. Ales have deteriorated since the last visit. Only Doom Bar was available. The best cider choice I could see was Thatchers Old Rascal in bottles. The furniture could do with an update, unless you like holes in your seats. Not a place I would head for a beer. But it's ok for a cheap roast dinner.

18 Oct 2016 21:30

Pie and Ale, Manchester

The Pie & Ale was my last stop before heading to the football. But this was my favourite pub of the day in Manchester. It doesn't look like a pub from the outside and it doesn't feel like one inside. But there is plenty of seating space over 2 floors with a fairly trendy drinking/eating environment. If you turn right as you enter, you'll find a good selection of ales. On Saturday, these were Siren Under Current, Hawkshead Cumbrian 5 Hop, Black Jack American Amber & Gold Coast Pale Specials & Thirst Class Porter In A Storm. The cider was Hogans Wild Elder. The number of pumpclips on the walls, suggest they have stocked many decent ales. They presumably sell pies too. Although I didn't see any. They offer a CAMRA discount too. So good, I returned after the game for more.

18 Oct 2016 21:27

Soup Kitchen, Manchester

A Soup Kitchen is a good way to describe this Northern Quarter establishment. If you've ever been to Wagamama's, you'd feel at home here, as seating is on rows of long benches, apart from some extremely high stools against the windows. Queues form along a food counter, eventually leading to a till where you pay for your meal. However, there is a separate bar which was dispensing an eclectic range of ales - Sonnet 43 Impressment, North Riding Mosaic Pale, Totally Brewed Punch In The Face IPA, North Brewing Company Prototype & Redbush Tea & Vanilla Mild. When I asked the barmaid about ciders, I got a list of the basic fizzy stuff, plus mass marketed bottles. But whilst she was reeling the list off, I spotted a box in the fridge. So I ended up with a Red Bank Autumn Magic. Whoever knew cider was produced in Bolton?!! In fairness, I have tried it before. But it was still very nice. There are so many decent bars around this area and this is certainly one of them.

18 Oct 2016 21:22

The Hare and Hounds, Manchester

Spit and sawdust describes this pub fairly well. It's a no frills place that could probably do with a lick of paint. But the 3 rooms do have character and the place was heaving early on our Saturday afternoon visit. We had to fight to get in the door. Ales were Holts Bitter, Sharps Doom Bar & Robinsons Dizzy Blonde. We played safe and went for the Holts, as it was clearly the most popular. It was far better than I had anticipated. Traditional pub that is well worth a visit, if you like this kind of pub.

18 Oct 2016 21:16

Micro Bar, Manchester

I've passed the Micro Bar before. You can see it as you walk along the street next to the Arndale Centre. But this time, I ventured in. I'm told it has recently changed hands, having previously belonged to Boggart. But I'm not sure how true this is. 2 ales were on. They were Dancing Duck Ay Up & Phoenix Navy. The cider was Lilleys Sunset. I had the last, before it was replaced with Bee Sting Perry. There's also a few keg options, which included Elland 1872 Porter. They also have a good bottle selection in fridges. Seating is café style. So it doesn't really feel like a pub/bar. But I guess they have a good turnover of ales and ciders here. So it's got to be worth a visit.

18 Oct 2016 21:12

The Old Wellington Inn, Manchester

Having been in the Sinclairs Oysters Bar almost 8 years ago, I returned to try the other pub in this historic building - the Old Wellington. It's a Nicholsons establishment with a fairly small interior. Its draw on this sunny Saturday afternoon was the outdoor courtyard at the front. But this meant that all drinks were served in plastic glasses. The ale selection was Moles Mole Catcher, Moorhouses White Witch, Black Wolf Big Red, Purity Ubu & St Austell Nicholson's Pale Ale. Whilst we were there London Beer Factory Chelsea Blonde & Fullers London Pride were pulled through. A reasonable range of ales. But I've just come from London, how is it there are 2 adjacent pubs both serving Pride?! We stood at the bar and witnessed a couple of incidents of where the customer is clearly never right! One person was told they ordered a pint of Peroni and not a bottle. So a pint was what they were getting. Another was told that there was nothing wrong with the cider. Luckily my patience wasn't tested. So I didn't have to vote with my feet. Nice pub. But customer service requires improvement.

18 Oct 2016 21:08

The Crown and Anchor, Manchester

Holts pub in a fairly lively area near to the Arndale Centre. The pub seems to focus on food. But there are 6 ales. On Saturday lunchtime, these were Holts Bitter, IPA & Two Hoots, Booteg Racketeer & Twisted Grove & Fullers London Pride. So no dark ales and no ciders either. There's plenty of seating. But it was fairly popular. So finding a perch wasn't easy. The interior is fairly bland. There are better pubs nearby.

18 Oct 2016 21:02

Piccadilly Tap, Manchester

The Piccadilly Tap was my first of 7 new pubs visited in Manchester city centre on Saturday. It's on the pedestrian ramp leading up to Piccadilly station. I assume it's in a former retail premises. But I don't recall what was there previously. It's certainly a very handy place to use up any spare minutes you may have before catching a train. As described previously, the interior feels vintage/retro. There are a few tables on the ground floor and a reasonably sized drinking area outdoors at the front. A bouncer was on the door. I was expecting more real ales. But 6 still isn't bad - Redemption Trinity, Northern Monk New World IPA, Heavy Industry 77, Adnams Bitter & Cashmere IPA & Torrside Late To The Party. There are more craft ales available. The cider selection is disappointing. Feels a bit too fake for my liking. But as I say, it's handy.

18 Oct 2016 20:57

Belle Vue, High Wycombe

The Belle Vue is a 5-10 minute walk from the railway station and is on a backstreet next to the railway line. From the outside it looked closed and I was on the verge of passing by. But then I noticed a light, tried a door and lo and behold, it was open. This is a proper boozer with a good selection of ales and ciders. It turned out to be my favourite pub in High Wycombe. Ales were Adnams Broadside & Ghost Ship, Greene King Golden Breeze, Sharps Atlantic & Rebellion IPA. Ciders were Thatchers Heritage & Cheddar Valley, Aspalls Cyderkyn, Westons Rosie's Pig & Old Rosie & Radnage Dry. The interior is a fairly basic inverted L-shaped room, whilst there is a very pleasant garden to the side. The landlord and customers were friendly. It looked like a band was about to set up. I love this sort of pub. Whilst you may get a better ale selection in other Wycombe pubs, the cider selection was certainly the best and this was by far the most authentic pub I found in the town.

9 Oct 2016 17:12

The Flint Cottage, High Wycombe

The Bootlegger is conveniently located opposite the station. I'm not sure what I was expecting. But it was a surprise to find such a decent pub here. 9 real ales were on - Tring Mansion Mild & Sea Vixen, Rebellion Mild, Smuggler & Victory, Hardy & Hansons Olde Trip, Leighton Buzzard Cuckoo, XT1 & Thornbridge Hopton. At the rear of the bar there is a list of craft beers from brewers such as Tool, Siren, Brewdog, Wiper & True & Meantime. There were no real ciders that I could see. But fridges to the one end of the room contain many different ales and ciders in bottles. The barmaid was friendly too and there is plenty of space to sit. A good pub.

9 Oct 2016 17:06

The Bell, High Wycombe

Fullers pub in a historic building. This place appears to be focused on its Thai food, rather than its beer. London Pride was the solitary real ale. The staff are Thai and the food did look good. But the lady behind the bar got my order wrong and the interior felt a bit dark and dingy. The worst of 6 Wycombe pubs I tried earlier today.

9 Oct 2016 16:59

Falcon, High Wycombe

The Falcon is the nicer of the two Wetherspoons in High Wycombe. This one is located in the main shopping area and is slightly larger than the William Robert Loosley. Ales were Loddon Ferryman's Gold, Windsor & Eton Kohinoor IPA & Canberra, Ringwood Old Thumper, Binghams Twyford Tipple, Sharps Doom Bar, Ruddles Best & Greene King Abbot. This branch had no real cider either. But the big problem here was service. Whilst there were 2 people stood doing nothing in the William Robert Loosley, the one barman here was absolutely rushed off his feet. As I left, he had about 10-15 people waiting to be served, with people ordering coffees and breakfasts. I went across the road to the Red Squirrel Brewery Shop Emporium where there were more staff than customers. But at least there was a far better range of beers and ciders. I'm sure this place will be added in due course. But it was a far better choice than either of the Wetherspoons.

9 Oct 2016 16:54

The Robert William Loosley, High Wycombe

There's not much to chose between the two Wetherspoons in High Wycombe. But I think this is marginally the worst. This one is just outside the centre on the A40. As you can see from the picture above, it's called the William Robert Loosley as opposed to Robert William. Greene KIng Abbot is the permanent ale and they had 4 guests - Binghams Sussex Extra Pale Ale, Sharps Doom Bar, Eagle Air Reet & Loddon Forbury Lion. But 5 ales is a poor selection by Wetherspoons standards. There was no real cider either. The two bar staff didn't seem too keen to want to serve, despite stood chatting at the end of the bar. There are much better pubs in High Wycombe.

9 Oct 2016 16:47

The Hare and Hounds, Sunbury on Thames

I was in Sunbury yesterday and thought I'd give one of the local pubs a go. The Hare & Hounds is a Fullers pub. There are 3 rooms - a bar, a restaurant and a small area in between. Pride & ESB were the two predictable ales. Although it does appear that they have occasional guests. Cambridge Bitter was "coming soon". Seemed a friendly enough place. But nothing to encourage me to come back as there are Fullers pubs with the same qualities nearer to me.

8 Oct 2016 11:07

The George and Dragon, Yiewsley

Was in here again 8 days ago. Just Greene King IPA & Morland Old Golden Hen on for real ale drinkers. Aspalls Waddlegoose Lane in a bottle was my choice. One TV was showing football and the others had Ryder Cup golf on. Bar staff were friendly. Have never tried the food in here. But I'm told its good value. Food is served until 9pm. Always a mixture of clientele in here. Still just about the best pub in West Drayton/Yiewsley. But that's saying something!

8 Oct 2016 11:03

The Bell, Waltham St Lawrence

After a 7 year absence, we recalled how much we enjoyed this pub on our last visit and made a point of booking a table for a Saturday evening meal. The pub, the ales and the ciders/perries were just as good as we remembered. But the food was a bit of a let down. We remembered seeing a decent blackboard of options in the bar. But now there is a very limited standard menu. Food was ok, without being anything special. I will downgrade my rating from a 9 to an 8, as this is still a great place for a drink. Ales yesterday were Loddon Hoppit, West Berkshire Screaming Eagle, Church End Red Shirt Blues & Butts Traditional & Organic Jester. Ciders and perries were Westons Old Rosie, Gwynt y Ddraig Happy Daze, Lilleys Bee Sting & Crazy Goat, Crazy Dave's Wessex Apple & Berkshire Apple, Broadoak Moonshine, Millwhites Apples & Pears & Abrahalls Cracklin' Rosie.

2 Oct 2016 20:20

The Star Inn, Waltham St Lawrence

This pub appears to be closed again. The pub sign has gone and the closure looks permanent this time.

2 Oct 2016 20:14

The Beehive, White Waltham

Wasn't overly impressed with this place. It does feel a bit upmarket and has prices to match. Most people appear to be in there for the food. Drinks prices were high (£8.25 for a half of cider and 2 soft drinks). But most people are probably focused on the food prices and don't notice the added extras. Two ales were on - Rebellion IPA & Sharps Doom Bar. Nice location. But could be much better.

2 Oct 2016 20:12

The Junction, Clapham Junction

I haven't been here since it was called the Windsor Castle. I was thoroughly expecting to walk in and back out again after having seen the drinks range. But it was tempting enough to stay. It's a Taylor Walker pub a short distance from Clapham Junction railway station. It was reasonably busy yesterday evening. Bar staff were serving people out of order, which is always annoying. I nearly dropped on the floor when told the price for a half was £2.75!! Inflation is clearly rampant here. Ales were Greene King IPA, Plain Innspiration & Sheep Dip & Taylor Walker 1730 Special Pale Ale. There were 2 ciders from Lilleys - Mango and Apples & Pears. Not a place I'd return to with these prices.

25 Sep 2016 13:26

The Brewhouse, Poole

The Brewhouse was our 4th and final stop in Poole early yesterday afternoon. It was the best of the 4 too. Whilst this is a Milk Street pub, only one of the beers was on - Beer Blonde. Guests were Dark Star Hophead, Great Heck Voodoo Mild & Roosters Eighty Eight. Ciders were Orchard Pig Maverick & Philosopher, Worley's Mendip Hills & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. Whilst the Maverick was visible in a box behind the bar, others are fetched from the cellar and are listed on a small blackboard on the bar. It was fairly quiet inside, with just a handful of locals, despite its busy High Street location. But the atmosphere was fine. Worth a visit.

25 Sep 2016 13:18

Cranberries, Poole

Wadworth establishment now called the Rope & Anchor that was doing a reasonable trade (in both food and drink) yesterday lunchtime. Ales from Wadworth were Horizon, Farmer's Glory, 6X & Swordfish. Nethergate Old Growler was a guest. There are 4 handpulls and 2 casks served by gravity from behind the bar. Service was friendly.

25 Sep 2016 13:13

The King Charles Inn, Poole

The King Charles was our second pub in Poole yesterday lunchtime after the Drift (not listed on the site). It has quite a dark interior and live football was being shown. But only a couple of people were watching and the place had very little atmosphere. The ale range was fairly poor too - Sharps Doom Bar, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Youngs Bitter. Worst of the 4 Poole pubs we tried.

25 Sep 2016 13:09

Ye Olde Bulls Head Inn, Beaumaris

The Olde Bull's Head was the second of our Beaumaris pubs. There is a view of the castle at the end of the street. This is a fully functioning hotel. The reception and a lounge are to the right as you enter. There is a bar with a main room and a smaller side room with access to the toilets on the left. The toilet door is one of the smallest I've ever seen. These 2 rooms are very traditional in their nature. But to the rear is a large and modern function/dining room. We were surprised to see a selection of 6 real ales. Some are fetched from this rear function room. The ale selection was Hancocks HB, Bass, Muirhouse Malibrew, Conwy Welsh Pride & Beachcomber Blonde & Lleu Celtic Brew. They also have a rather large collection of gins. The clientele here seemed to be drunk and a touch eccentric. Recommended.

22 Sep 2016 19:51

The George and Dragon, Beaumaris

After finding yet another Anglesey pub closed (the Owain Glyndwr at Llandona), I arrived into Beaumaris for the first time in over 30 years. First port of call was this Robinsons pub. It feels like a little decoration could be in order, with the carpets in particular being well worn. But this is a very old building (with low ceilings in places - watch your head) that promotes its 16th century wall paintings. The 2 ales were George & Dragon Ale & Hop Gun. Worth a visit. But the ale quality doesn't seem too reliable.

22 Sep 2016 19:46

Ship Inn, Tynygongl, Pentraeth

The Ship Inn at Red Wharf Bay was our favourite pub during our visit to Anglesey. It enjoys a fine location overlooking a bay, with plenty of small boats to admire. Most people were sat outside enjoying the views. But there are a few different rooms indoors, all with lots of character. 3 ales were on - Timothy Taylor Landlord, Conwy Kenneally's Bitter & Facers Bulkeley Bitter. I believe the Kenneally's are the family that have owned this place for years. I'm not sure what the Bulkeley refers to. But we did later see a Bulkeley Hotel in Beaumaris. The Ship is well worth the detour off the main road. The beer choice isn't too bad. But the views are definitely worth it.

22 Sep 2016 19:36

The Pilot Boat Inn, Dulas

After an unsuccessful drive to the north of Anglesey, where the Bull Bay Hotel has recently been sold, the Adelphi Vault wasn't open until 3pm (we later returned to find it open and seemingly the only pub on the island to sell a real cider and a local one at that) and the Bedol was boarded up (none of these 3 are listed on here), we were glad to find the oasis that is the PIlot Boat Inn. As you enter, the first thing you'll notice is an old double decker bus. This is a soft play area for kids. I assume you ask at the bar for entrance. There is also a garden with swings on the other side. The pub itself is Robinsons. Unicorn & Trooper were their 2 ales. They were doing a good trade in food and there are plenty of tables available. Not too sure about the music being played though. I assume it was a collection of sea shanties, which was a tad annoying. Views up the hills to the rear are impressive.

22 Sep 2016 19:24

The Victoria Hotel, Menai Bridge

The Victoria Hotel is a rather nice hotel which does a couple of real ales. The main bar is to the left just after the reception and the receptionist came to serve us. She was very welcoming. There is a large function room with another bar to a rear and a conservatory that was packed with OAPs enjoying lunch. But the lady recommended we tried the garden at the rear with views down to the Menai Strait. There are plenty of tables there and it was actually warm enough to eat too. Bass is the regular ale and they also have a guest, which was Black Sheep Holy Grail. Best of the 3 pubs listed on here for Menai Bridge. However the Liverpool Arms just down the steps from the garden was a better option, albeit not listed on here. Beware the opening times of the nearby Auckland Arms. This does not open until 3pm.

22 Sep 2016 19:18

The Bridge Inn, Menai Bridge

This is a Marstons pub on the roundabout on the Anglesey side of the Menai Bridge. Beware of opening times. Their website advertises that it opens at 11am. But at 11:30 it still wasn't open. This wasn't too much of a problem, as the Anglesey Arms is just opposite and was open. The interior has a few different small rooms, with an outdoor area at the rear. The specials menu looked tempting, with plenty of fish dishes. Ales were Ringwood Boon Doggle & Old Thumber & Brakspear Varsity Pale. Marginally better than the Anglesey Arms. But nothing particularly exciting.

22 Sep 2016 19:10

The Anglesey Arms, Menai Bridge

The Anglesey Arms is a modern-looking pub that is much older than it looks. It is situated on the roundabout at the Anglesey end of the Menai Bridge. It opens at 11 in the morning. The main bar is spacious. There was a function room to the rear, with accommodation on the upper floors. Ales are all from JW Lees. On this occasion, there was MPA, Bitter, Jumbo Star & Tan Y Ddraig. It all felt a bit too sanitised to me.

22 Sep 2016 19:04

The Roscoe Head, Liverpool

After a visit to one of Liverpool's newest bars (Hard Times & Misery), I dropped into one Liverpool's best pubs. It was quite on this Saturday afternoon. But there were a few people in the room to the right as you enter and a couple more in the rear room. Ales were Settle Earl Grey IPA, Tetley Cask, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Ossett North/South Divide & Rock The Boat Liverpool Light. Old Rosie is on a pump these days, after they did try selling other real ciders last summer. But the Old Rosie was off on this visit. The pub has received a lot of publicity about its sell off. It would be a devastating blow if this place was to close.

19 Sep 2016 21:08

The Wine Vault, Hay-on-wye

We were tempted by this Indian. But the Blue Boar is just opposite.

19 Sep 2016 20:55

The Kilvert's Hotel, Hay on Wye

Kilverts has a nice position in the centre of this town. It's quite a large place inside and there are also a couple of tables at the front. The ale selection was a bit limited with more pumpclips turned round than in use. But they did have Brecon Welsh Beacons & Wye Valley Butty Bach. More importantly for me, Gwynt y Ddraig Farmhouse Scrumpy was being sold from a box at the back of the bar. Staff are friendly. But it does feel a bit touristy.

19 Sep 2016 20:37

Blue Boar, Hay On Wye

I wasn't intending to visit Hay-on-Wye. But with 2 of my planned pubs closed, we had the opportunity to try 2 in this touristy town, with a nice castle. The Blue Boar was fairly quiet. The landlord/chef was at the bar conversing with a local. He seemed to know what he was talking about in regards to food. 4 ales were on - Timothy Taylor Landlord, Sharps Doom Bar, Greene King IPA & Brains The Rev James. Dunkertons Organic cider was available too. A good pub.

19 Sep 2016 20:34

Hollybush Inn, Glasbury

After a visit to the very nice Three Horseshoes in Velindre, we attempted a visit to the Holly Bush Inn. Well at least it used to be the Holly Bush. It is now advertised as a Nepalese & Thai restaurant. The interior looks basic and peering through the windows, I could still see a Wye Valley pumpclip. We didn't get the chance to enter to see how welcome we'd be as drinkers, as the place doesn't open on a Sunday apart from lunchtime. There was a cat sat in the car park and a peacock in the garden. The car park also had a huge (thousands) collection of empty bottles - not sure why! It's another 0/10 from me, as no beer was forthcoming.

19 Sep 2016 20:30

The Tower Hotel, Talgarth

The Tower Hotel is an imposing building. But I'm really not sure if it is open or not. The pathway to the bar entrance was overgrown and didn't look as if it had been used for a few months. A notice on the door stated that the pub was closed. However lights were on at the side of the building near the Carvery entrance. But the door was locked. I was told by another licensee that the place now only opens on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Their website confirms it is open on these days. But this was around 4pm on a Sunday and it was already closed, despite the website saying it closed at 6! I tried calling. But the telephone just rang and rang. A shame. But it's a 0/10 from me.

19 Sep 2016 20:26

The Castle of Brecon Hotel, Brecon

It's been almost 7 years since our last visit to Brecon and we were back to try 3 of more recent entries to the Good Beer Guide. The Brecon Rugby Club was our first stop. But that is not listed on here. The Castle of Brecon Hotel is sat on top of a hill and it does feel more like a hotel than a drinking establishment, with a rather pretentious feel, including such things as display cabinets selling jewellery and a separate bar serving coffees. Service was efficient. But a smile would have been nice. Ales were Brains The Rev James, Otter Ale & Wye Valley Butty Bach. Assuming things are still the same in Brecon, there are better pubs in the town.

19 Sep 2016 20:21

The Old Cognac, Brecon

The sign for this pub is still there. It was an Indian restaurant. But now it appears that it will re-open as a Thai.

19 Sep 2016 20:19

The Three Horseshoes, Groesffordd

The Three Horseshoes is tucked away in a cul-de-sac on a hill in this small village. It has a modern interior, with a raised area for dining. In fact, most people appeared to be having Sunday lunch with several staff delivering many meals and vegetables past our table. The 3 ales were Glamorgan Welsh Pale, Brains The Rev James & St Austell Tribute. The cider was Dog Dancer. Felt a bit too modern for my liking. But a better than average pub.

19 Sep 2016 20:18

The Old Ford Inn, Lanhamlack

The Old Ford Inn is a roadside pub on the A40 in lovely countryside. The car park was packed and it was clear why when we got inside to see many people tucking into the obviously-popular Sunday lunches. The Rev James was the solitary real ale. With no tables to be had inside, we chose to enjoy some rare Welsh sunshine in the narrow beer garden overlooking fields and the Brecon Beacons beyond. Nice pub despite the lack of ale choice.

19 Sep 2016 20:09

The Star Inn, Talybont on Usk

The Star was our third pub of the day (the New Inn at Bwlch is not listed on here). It also turned out to be the best of the day. Situated in a very nice village with a canal running behind it, this is a deservedly popular pub with a decent range of ales. A selection of 6 is seemingly good for this area - Malt Starry Nights, Dark Star American Pale Ale, Roosters Eighty Eight, Orkney Red Macgregor, Thwaites Lancaster Bomber & Oakham Inferno. The number of pumpclips on the walls show just how many ales this pub has got through. They also had a cider (Gwynt y Ddraig Happy Daze) and a perry (Lilleys Crazy Goat). There seemed to be quite a few from Yorkshire. There is plenty of seating in different areas inside and there is a garden to the rear too, with steps leading up to the canal. Lots of people were enquiring about food. So the pub clearly has a very good reputation. Dogs are welcome. But it currently has a for sale notice up. So hopefully it won't be lost. Parking in the village is difficult.

19 Sep 2016 20:05

The Harp Inn, Glasbury

The Harp was our first Welsh pub of the day yesterday. It's a two room local with a car park at the rear which looks over fields full of sheep and a river valley. The young barmaid seemed new to the job. She charged for a pint, when we only had a half. But the landlord was on hand to assist. The 2 ales were Wye Valley Butty Bach & Cottage Honey Bunny. Fairly average place. Locals were friendly.

19 Sep 2016 19:52

The Prince of Wales, Wimbledon

Paid a return visit to the Prince of Wales on Monday. Prices haven't improved. £4.55 for a pint of Old Rosie cider, with the 10% CAMRA discount. Ales were Old Speckled Hen, Wandle & Lion. Mad Goose had run out shortly before we arrived. The presence of Old Rosie was a decent surprise though. This is a spacious pub that shows live football. In an era when even Sky are pricing out pubs and I tried several near to me who can no longer afford their subscription, it can be relied on if you want to watch the football. There always seems to be plenty of available seats when I've been. Convenient for the station.

14 Sep 2016 20:59

The Nags Head Inn, Usk

The Nag's Head clearly displays opening times of 9:15-2:30 & 5-10:30 on a Sunday on their own website. So imagine my surprise to turn up on a Sunday evening at 9:45 to be told they are closed. This despite all of the lights being on. The one guy (presumably the landlord) presumably didn't like the look of me. When I told him I'd driven from London to visit his pub (albeit in addition to 10 others!), he repeated that the pub was closed and that he had to "do something upstairs". When I asked if I could just have a half, this request was also denied. This doesn't seem much of a way to run a pub, especially as they weren't supposed to close for another 45 minutes. It's no wonder that other pubs in Usk had plenty of trade, but this one didn't. This one gets a big fat zero out of ten for me as you cannot rely on them to sell you a beer in the evening. Note the Usk Conservative Club was also closed on this Sunday evening, again despite some websites (not their own) showing it as open. If you're looking for somewhere to drink in Usk, I recommend the New Court Hotel (not listed on here). It does actually open at its advertised times and it serves an excellent range of both ales and ciders. It wasn't particularly busy and those there were predominantly young. But at least it is reliable.

14 Sep 2016 20:32

Royal Hotel, Usk

The Royal Hotel is an impressive building in a nice corner of Usk. But it is sadly closed at present.

14 Sep 2016 20:19

The Kings Head Hotel, Usk

The King's Head Hotel was the busiest of the Usk pubs we tried. It is a hotel with on main comfortable bar which appears to be popular amongst middle-aged and elderly locals. Ales were London Pride, Landlord & Butty Bach. A welcoming and nicely-decorated pub. But not the best pub in Usk in my opinion.

14 Sep 2016 20:18

Coach and Horses, Abergavenney

It's been almost 8 years since I was last drinking in Abergavenny. But I returned on Sunday to try the Coach & Horses. But we returned on Sunday lunchtime to find this pub closed. A call to the pub revealed that it would be opening later on at 7pm. So we duly returned later in the day. We found a pub that was not too welcoming and had just 2 ales - SA & 6X. Clientele all appeared to know each other. So I assume they were all locals. Toilets are to the rear. There are much better pubs in Abergavenny, or at least there were.

14 Sep 2016 20:15

The Star Inn, Mamhilad

The Star was a short drive down the road from the Horseshoe. At first glance, it looked like a foodie pub. But on entering, it transpired that it was primarily drinkers. The ale range was a little disappointing, with little adventure - Bass, Wadworth 6X, Greene King Abbot & Wye Valley Butty Bach. The barmaid appeared to be worked off her feet. But the garden is large and has things for kids, including a sandpit.

14 Sep 2016 20:10

The Horseshoe Inn, Mamhilad

After a visit to the remote Goose & Cuckoo in Upper Llanover, we moved on to the first of two pubs in Mamhilad. The Horseshoe was my favourite pub of the day in Wales. It is a fairly small place that has friendly and professional service. The barman, chef and landlord took a keen interest. Ales were Mad Dog Y Ffoledd, Goffs Camelot & Tiny Rebel Cwtch. Then I noticed the selection of 6 ciders - Westons Old Rosie & Family Reserve, Gwynt y Ddraig Ancient Warrior & Farmhouse Scrumpy and Hallets Oak Aged & Blindfold. Hallets is one of my favourite producers and apparently they are based nearby here. We stayed for a late Sunday lunch, which was also very enjoyable. Recommended.

14 Sep 2016 20:07

Cendl Inn, Beaufort

After a visit to the very impressive Lamb & Fox at Pwll Du near Blaenavon (not currently listed on here), we moved onto this locals' pub in Beaufort. It didn't look particularly welcoming from the outside. But locals were friendly enough. Only 1 ale is served - Rhymney Export. The handpull is in the lounge, which was set out for a party. Locals were in the bar, which has plenty of references to Welsh rugby. I went to better pubs on my visit to South Wales. But don't rule this one out.

14 Sep 2016 20:01

The Bridgend Inn, Govilon

This pub is now the Tafarn y Bont (Bridge Inn) and is situated off the main road in the village next to a stream. We sat on the patio at the back, next to the stream. I wasn't expecting much in the ale range and I certainly wasn't expecting a cider. Ales were Sharps Doom Bar, Tudor IPA & Cwm Rhondda Boyo Pale Ale. Just before ordering, I spotted the Bragdy Brodyr's Black Beauty Craft Cider in a box on the bar, only dispensed in half pints. That was one I'd not tried before and it was quite dry, but enjoyed in the sunshine. Another decent pub that was much better than I'd anticipated.

14 Sep 2016 19:57

The Bridge Inn, Llanfoist

Our first pub of the day on Sunday was the Bridge Inn. It's situated next to a bridge over the River Usk, where there is a weir. Plenty of bench-type seating outdoors at the rear and overlooking the river was quite a welcome sight on a warm autumn day. The ale range was mostly local - Twt Lol Horny Goat Ale, Tudor Skirrid Welsh Bitter, Hancocks HB & Glamorgan Jemima's Pitchfork. Cider was Rosie's Pig. The car park at the side is very small and street parking is limited. A decent pub.

14 Sep 2016 19:51

BrewDog Liverpool, Liverpool

Paid my second or third visit to BrewDog Liverpool yesterday. So I suppose I ought to give it a review. If you've been to one BrewDog, you've really been to them all, as they follow the same formula. Whilst this place seemed fairly busy when it first opened, it does appear to be much quieter now, with only a handful of punters in yesterday lunchtime. Beers are all keg here and with some fairly strong ones on offer, they're expensive, even for thirds. So it's not necessarily somewhere you'd stay for a session. BrewDog beers yesterday were Punk IPA, Dead Pony Club Live, 5AM Saint, Vagabond, Kingpin, Hmni Ingrid, Crew Brew, Doodlebug, Hop Fiction, Jack Hammer, Proto Helles, Nanny State, Proto Red, Ace of Citra & Ace of Chinook. From other breweries, there were Against The Grain Coq de la Marche, Tool Velvets Are Blue & Mr Pink, Beavertown Clausenii, Stone Mocha IPA, Americano Stout & Points Unknown, Weihenstephan 1516, Oskar Blues Dagga, Logsdon Farmhouse Straffe Drieling, Lindemans Framboise & Alphabet A To The K. The bar is quite nice inside with central bench seating, booths and other tables. There is an area with pinball machines in one corner near the toilets. It's located a little away from the main pub/bar action. So I doubt it attracts much passing grade. But it's still a good option if you like craft beers and are touring around the local pubs.

28 Aug 2016 10:34

The Baltic Fleet, Liverpool

The Baltic Fleet is currently only brewing its Summer Ale on the premises. So that is pretty much a permanent beer. But what is nice now is that the remaining 8 handpulls have guest ales and a couple of ciders. Yesterday's selection was Liverpool Organic Harbour, Brimstage Trappers Hat, Facers Clwyd Gold, Melwood Derby Stout, Big Bog Blonde Bach, Spitting Feathers Thirst Quencher, Malvern Magic Kingston Black & Westons Old Banger. So the selection is now much more varied. My only gripe would be the cost. Two halves of cider now costs £4. But the barman seemed to be quite knowledgeable and a wider range of food now appears to be served - scouse, burgers etc. The pub still feels a bit out on a limb. But it's undoubtedly one of the best 5 or 6 in Liverpool.

28 Aug 2016 10:26

Pen and Wig, Liverpool

I thought I would pay this pub a visit, as I heard it is now dispensing real ale. But Doom Bar was the only ale available, with an Atlantic pumpclip turned round. I went for the M & B Mild, not bad value for £2. The pub does have a very seedy feel with glass mirrors all round promoting the lap dancing bar (Aphrodite) downstairs. There were quite a lot of flies. Not the best pub I've been to in the city centre.

28 Aug 2016 10:20

The Crown, West Derby

The Crown was the first of three stops in West Derby for us yesterday. This was the only one without any real ale. The options were Carling, Fosters, John Smiths, Strongbow, Gunness, Black Sheep Best Bitter (keg) & Tetleys Dark Mild. It's quite an impressive pub inside and out. But it could do with a bit of investment. The bowling green at the rear is immaculate though. The Royal Standard is just opposite here, if you fancy a real ale and something more modern, whilst the Halton Castle is not too far away either for more ale. Neither are listed on here.

24 Aug 2016 21:16

Barkers Brewery, Huyton

This is possibly the only place worth drinking in when in Huyton. It's a Wetherspoons on a dual carriageway. The place certainly provided us with some entertainment. I've seen DVD's being traded in pubs many times, but not cheese. One guy was quite happily selling blocks of cheese, that had apparently come direct from the wholesaler. Bar staff were standing for no messing though and soon ushered him out. Ales were Peerless IPA, Triple Blond & Gold, Banks's Sunbeam, Titanic First Class, Oakham JHB, Coach House Dick Turpin, Marstons Empire IPA & Ruddles Best. Ciders were Garden Cider Vintage & Mr Whiteheads Midnight Special.

24 Aug 2016 21:11

The Kings Head, Llantwit Major

Two room Brains house. I sat in the bar, which is basically-furnished. A pool table stands at one end with a dart board. Locals congregated around the bar, discussing football. Brains Bitter & Opening Ceremony were the 2 ales on offer. I was somehow expecting better for my final pub of the day.

22 Aug 2016 20:35

The Old White Hart Inn, Llantwit Major

The Old White Hart is one of 5 pubs in the centre of this lovely village. All are in a very short walking distance. So the town makes a great place for a pub crawl. The Old White Hart is another historic building and it felt like quite a sedate place, with more of a middle-aged crowd. Landlord, Old Speckled Hen & Rev James were the 3 ales on offer. I only found the small bar. There is a corridor leading to the toilets. No toilet paper in the gents. Still a nice village local.

22 Aug 2016 20:31

Old Swan Inn, Llantwit Major

After a visit to the Llantwit Major Rugby Club to the east of the centre, I moved on to the centre of the village and started my 3 pub crawl with the Old Swan Inn. It turned out to be the best of the 3. Initial thoughts were that this was going to be a disappointing visit, with all handpulls unclipped. The old interior was impressive though. One of the rooms being used as a crèche was less impressive. Underterred, I enquired about ales only to be told there was a beer festival in the garden. Ales were Wadworth IPA & Bishop's Tipple, Wantsum 1381, Muirhouse Something Hoppy, Naylors Velvet, Black Country Fireside & Great Heck Proverbs 31.6. 3 ciders and a perry were all from Gwynt y Ddraig - Happy Daze, Black Dragon, Dog Dancer & Two Trees. I was the only person outside in the driving rain. But at least it was undercover. Drinks were dispensed in plastic glasses - maybe they were expecting me to riot, or maybe the local constabulary is over-zealous. Nevertheless, a very good pub. Watch your step as you exit the front door. You'll walk straight out into the road. I chose the rear door, mainly because I didn't fancy negotiating the screaming babies and their prams.

22 Aug 2016 20:26

The Boverton Castle, Boverton

After a visit to the recently re-opened Blacksmith's Arms at Llanfaes, I moved onto the Boverton Castle. This pub is situated just outside the small town of Llantwit Major and overlooks the castle itself. It is a traditional 2 room pub, with modern rooms. I chose to sit in the busier bar, where locals were watching the Olympics on two televisions. They were welcoming and even asked me what I wanted to watch on the TV. The ale choice was a little underwhelming though, with Old Speckled Hen, Rev James & Landlord being the 3 ales. I guess I'm just too spoilt! The pork roll I had was nice though.

22 Aug 2016 20:17

The Blue Anchor, East Aberthaw

What a lovely country pub. It's got a fabulous village location and a nice thatched exterior. The interior is even better, with lots of small, dark rooms, with flagstone floors and low doorways. The front bar has a large open fireplace. The only drawback here is that this place is more of a restaurant than a pub. Ales were Theakston Old Peculier, Wye Valley HPA, Wadworth 6X, Brains Bitter & Mumbles Summer Sin. They also had Happy Daze cider from Gwynt y Ddraig. Not the cheapest place around for a drink. But worth a visit. Dogs are welcome in the front bar.

22 Aug 2016 20:11

Sir Samuel Romilly, Barry

Disappointing Wetherspoons pub in Barry town centre. It was reasonably busy on my early Sunday afternoon visit. Ales were Mumbles Gold, Trumans Ipanema, Wychwood Hobgoblin, Brains SA, Rhymney King's Ale & Export, Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharps Doom Bar. My disappointment was the fact that this branch does not stock real cider. Service was friendly though. I'm sure I've seen the barmaid that served me somewhere before! The building is nice, if not dark inside. I didn't try the lower level, that was apparently this former bank's vaults. That looked a bit brighter. I moved on quickly to get my cider fix at the excellent Barry West End Club (sadly not listed on here, but the highlight of my trip to South Wales).

22 Aug 2016 19:58

Castle Hotel, Barry

The Castle Hotel is situated at the top of a hill, outside the centre of Barry. It's a large building. But only part of it appears to be in use right now. In fact, I initially thought it was closed. But an open door was the only invitation I needed. The bar area has a real faded elegance to it, with a grand wooden staircase and plenty of features to occupy your gaze. Sadly the pub has long had its heyday. There were 3 locals and the landlord present. The language was choice. But there were 2 ales - Abbot & SA. Pay it a visit before it closes for good.

22 Aug 2016 19:51

The Horse & Jockey, West Bromwich

The Horse & Jockey is a corner Marstons pub with two rooms and a conservatory at the rear. I sat in the quiet room at the front. Ales were all from the Marstons group - Jennings Cocker Hoop, Marstons Old Empire, Thwaites Wainwright & Banks's Bitter. I quite enjoyed my Cheese & Pickle roll. This is the last West Bromwich pub I can review as neither the Royal Oak nor the Greets Green Sports & Social Club are listed on here.

22 Aug 2016 19:45

The Crown and Cushion, West Bromwich

I quite liked this pub. It's situated in a prominent position where two roads converge. The interior is reasonably small. But it felt quite homely. A cat was sat in the middle of the room washing its backside, whilst the place clearly welcomes people from all cultures - it's rare I see elderly Indian couples in pubs. The barmaid was friendly and ales were different to most local pubs. They had Greene King Golden Breeze, Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted & Castle Rock Harvest Pale. Gents toilets are outdoors. A good pub that I'm surprised hasn't been reviewed previously.

22 Aug 2016 19:41

The Old Crown, West Bromwich

This is a backstreet, Jamaican-owned pub in a God-forsaken area. There are some modern developments nearby. So it's a miracle it hasn't been knocked down. It appears to be hanging on by a thread. There was one customer in, when I arrived. But he soon jumped in a taxi. No real ale is available. Keg options were Carling, Carling Extra Cold, Stella Artois, Strongbow, M & B Mild, Guinness, Coors Light & Worthingtons. The bottles of Dragon Stout very nearly tempted me. Not recommended and I doubt it will be open for long.

22 Aug 2016 19:35

The Old Hop Pole, West Bromwich

Small, but lively pub with a central bar and a couple of hidden corners. It was busy after the West Brom game with one fan insisting on singing football songs and trying to wind up some Villa fans. Ales were Robinsons Dizzy Blonde, Wye Valley HPA & Goffs White Knight. Whilst I preferred the Wheatsheaf over the road, the Old Hop Pole did at least have a more varied ale selection.

22 Aug 2016 19:29

The Wheatsheaf, West Bromwich

West Bromwich's HIgh Street is a bit run down. But the Wheatsheaf points to better times in days gone by. It has a nice, traditional interior and is clearly a much-loved locals boozer where conversation rules. I chose to sit in the front bar with mostly elderly regulars. There appeared to be a rear room with nobody in to. This is a Holdens house that had 3 ales - Bitter, Special & Golden Glow. Live Premier League football was showing on the TV in the corner. Probably the highlight of my trip to West Bromwich.

22 Aug 2016 19:24

The Billiard Hall, West Bromwich

The Billiard Hall is well located next to the town's bus station and not too far from the tram stop. It's an impressive building from the outside and it looks fairly small. But as with most Wetherspoons, it's much larger than you expect. I do agree with the previous reviewer that the interior is a bit bland. Service was efficient though, despite it being busy following West Brom's home game. A few fans were in. Ales on were Ruddles Best, Greene King Abbot, Trumans Ipanema, Exmoor Gold, Lymestone Stone The Crows & Ringwood Old Thumper. Ciders were Bottle Kicking Cider Company Fullback, Abrahalls Status Quo Down Down & Westons Old Rosie. Big screens were showing the Olympics and horse racing. Better than I had anticipated.

22 Aug 2016 19:19

Vernon Arms, Liverpool

The Vernon was one of 6 pubs visited yesterday in Liverpool. Still a fairly reliable place that does an interesting selection of ales. Yesterday, there was Black Edge Zinc, Stamps Penny Black, Cottage Sticky Wicket, Brains The Rev James, Coastal Summer Bloom & Sandiway Hop Schism. My Penny Black was nice enough. But a few in our party questioned the quality of their choices. Cider is still Black Dragon. But I note the Rum Porter is now longer a permanent ale. Scottish football was being shown on the TVs in both rooms. Probably in my favourite 7 or 8 pubs in Liverpool. But there are better.

14 Aug 2016 10:41

The Cadeby Inn, Cadeby

The Cadeby Pub & Restaurant seems to be a fairly trendy, upmarket establishment. The interior has a number of rooms and there is a garden at the front, which was very peaceful. Bar staff are friendly. They offer professional service. But unfortunately food service had just stopped for the day. So we were destined to stay hungry. Ales were Black Sheep Best Bitter, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Acorn Blonde. The toilets were impressive. They are nicely decorated and actually had display cabinets advertising the pub's events and wares within. The whole thing felt a bit pretentious. But it can be forgiven, as the location and peacefulness was a welcome change from other pubs we tried in South Yorkshire. From here, we moved onto the George & Dragon, Imperial Brewery Tap, Falcon & Concertina Band Club, all in Mexborough. But it appears BITE hasn't reached Mexborough yet!

10 Aug 2016 19:58

The Boat Inn, Doncaster

The Boat Inn was very popular with the local middle classes. It has a nice setting next to the canal. Although the courtyard seating between various old buildings has no canal view. Service at the bar was slow, with customers forming an orderly queue. Bar staff didn't seem to know much about their products. But they were smartly dressed. Wells Bombardier, Black Sheep Best Bitter, Sharps Doom Bar & Leeds Pale were the 4 ales. We managed to find a table in the courtyard. But the table was filthy and the leftovers from other peoples' meals were on the floor. We noticed other customers using the staff's cleaning equipment to clean the food detritus off the table before their meals. Glasses were strewn across most tables. Whilst we were looking for food, the lack of cleanliness, the likely wait to be served and the generic-looking chain pub menu didn't fill us with confidence. So we moved on. Lovely setting. But looks as if it bites off a bit more than it can chew.

10 Aug 2016 19:53

The Ivanhoe, Sprotbrough

The Ivanhoe is a large Sam Smiths pub that looks very impressive from the outside. But the interior feels very worn. Most of the clientele were out watching a cricket match on the pitch immediately behind the pub. Others were drinking on a raised area to the front of the pub, overlooking the car park. As you'd expect, the only real ale was Old Brewery Bitter.

10 Aug 2016 19:44

Glasshouse, Kirk Sandall

The Glasshouse is situated near the Pilkington Glass plant. It is an impressive building both inside and out and it was busy on our Sunday afternoon visit. Many were sat outside on a large patio area. Inside was a little quieter and there are numerous TVs that were showing Scottish football. Staff were nice. But the ale selection was disappointing - Tetleys Cask & Robinsons Trooper. Not overly impressed. We moved onto the far superior Doncaster Brewery Tap (not listed on here, but our favourite pub of the day).

10 Aug 2016 19:34

Eden Arms, Edenthorpe

The Eden Arms is a modern purpose-built pub and is part of the Ember Inns chain. It is next to a Tesco supermarket and a housing estate. There is plenty of space inside. But it also has a patio at the front, that was popular on our sunny Sunday afternoon visit. The ale selection was Brakspear Bitter, Black Sheep Ember Pale Ale, Abbeydale Moonshine, St Austell Cornish Best & Harviestoun Summer Legend. If you've been to one of these pubs before, you'll know exactly what you're getting.

10 Aug 2016 19:29

The Beverley Inn, Edenthorpe

The Beverley Inn was our third stop on Sunday's tour of Yorkshire, following the Star at Sancton and the Wheatsheaf at Armthorpe. Neither are listed on here. The Beverley Inn has the feel of an estate pub and we were surprised to find it very quiet on a Sunday lunchtime. TVs were showing a Leeds Championship game and there were just 2 or 3 other customers. Although a few others arrived after us. The 2 ales were Hadrian Border Tyneside Blonde & Black Sheep Best Bitter. There is a small garden area at the front, next to the car park.

10 Aug 2016 19:25

The Cornerhouse, Beverley

The Cornerhouse is the antithesis of the White Horse opposite. It has next to no character. But it does have a great selection of ales. On my late Saturday evening visit, they had Black Sheep Best Bitter, Adnams Broadside, White Horse Black Horse Porter, Abbeydale Deception, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Greene King IPA, Knots of May Light Mild, Cross Bay Zenith & Sunset, St Peter's Mild, Stonehenge Heel Stone & Exmoor Fox. The cider was Westons Old Banger. Service was friendly and professional. The good choice of beers makes this a recommendation. I moved on from here to the recently re-opened Durham Ox and also the Moulders Arms. Neither are listed on here.

8 Aug 2016 21:35

The White Horse Inn, Beverley

After the Dog & Duck (not listed on here, although its picture is!), I moved onto the highlight of my Beverley trip. The White Horse is a Sam Smiths pub. So you know what you're getting in terms of the beer. Old Brewery Bitter is on handpull. But it's the fabulous historic interior, lit entirely with gaslamps that it the real draw. It truly is like stepping back in time. There are lots of small rooms, with tables aplenty. I had a room to myself on a Saturday evening. Drinks were a little pricy though, especially soft drinks. Don't come here expecting good beer. But do come to marvel at the inside.

8 Aug 2016 21:31

Hodgsons, Beverley

This place is currently closed and having a major refurbishment.

8 Aug 2016 21:27

Chequers, Beverley

Chequers is a fantastic micropub tucked away in an alleyway. It has 5 ales, which were Atom IPA & Dark Matter, Vocation Chop & Change, Half Moon Phoebe & Yorkshire Brewing Company Mosaic on my visit. The sheer number of pumpclips on the walls shows how many ales they get through. In addition, there were 8 ciders and perries - Abrahalls Ruby Tuesday, Sandford Orchards Devon Scrumpy, Blaengawney Hallets Rum Cask, Westcroft Janet's Jungle Juice, Farmer Jims Farmyard Perry, Moorlands Farm Rhubarb Cider & Westons Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig. My only criticism is that locals crowd around the bar, making service and choice extremely difficult. They also look at you as if you are a major convenience when you try to get to the bar. The irony being that all the tables were free. There's a couple of tables outside too. A great pub, only spoilt by bar access issues.

8 Aug 2016 21:24

The Monks Walk, Beverley

The Monk's Walk was undoubtedly one of my favourite pubs in Beverley. It's an attractive building on a street leading towards the Minster. I'm told the landlord used to work at the Minster and has recently taken ownership. He was quite a friendly chap. There are 2 bars - a small bar to the left of the central alleyway and a larger bar on the right-hand side. 5 ales were on in all - York Yorkshire Terrier & Missouri Gold & Great Newsome Jem's Stout, Frothingham Best & Sleck Dust. The latter two were served by gravity from the smaller bar, whilst the first 3 were on handpull in the main bar. Another handpull in the smaller bar was dispensing Atom Camomile, whilst Colemans Cider Company Dry was also in that room. The landlord was keen to light candles to get everybody in the mood and the pub does have a kind of medieval feel. A CAMRA discount is available on request, which I only discovered on my second round.

8 Aug 2016 21:19

The Oddfellows Arms, Beverley

This corner pub is now closed and seemingly being converted to residential use.

8 Aug 2016 21:12

The Sun Inn, Beverley

The Sun is situated in a great location next to the Minster and not far from the railway crossing. It has a main bar area where a band was setting up, a conservatory area to the rear and an outdoor drinking space beyond that. There is also a small separate seating area to the right as you enter. Furniture is minimal. Ales were York Guzzler, Morland Old Speckled Hen, Black Sheep Best Bitter, Greene King Doosra & Timothy Taylor Landlord. Ok, but certainly not the best pub in Beverley by a long shot.

8 Aug 2016 21:10

The Tiger Inn, Beverley

The Tiger Inn was very quiet when we first stepped in on Saturday evening. We were the first diners. But it soon filled up with both drinkers and diners. The former are catered for in a bar at the front, with the latter accommodated in a side room the other side of the corridor. The corridor itself has a serving hatch to the bar. The ale choice was a little disappointing - Golden Sheep, Hobgoblin & Landlord. Rosie's Pig was the cider. Old Rosie was advertised everywhere. But I couldn't see any. We enjoyed a well-priced meal, with friendly service. The pub has a nice location too.

8 Aug 2016 21:06

The Woolpack Inn, Beverley

The Woolpack was our second stop in Beverley. It is situated on a residential street at the western end of town on a road that leads to the Westwood. It's an old property with a number of different rooms. We were looking for food. But they couldn't accommodate us and most tables were reserved, with people spilling out onto the street. We found an unreserved table in the small snug at the front, which is the place for dog owners to go. Ales are all from Marstons - Wychwood Hoptathlon & Hobgoblin, Jennings Bitter, Cocker Hoop & Sneck Lifter, Banks's Sunbeam & Marstons EPA. There is no real cider. Lovely little pub. But I think there are better pubs in the town.

8 Aug 2016 21:02

Green Dragon, Beverley

The Green Dragon was our first stop in Beverley. It initially looks like a small pub in the Market Place. But it stretches back a fair way, with an outdoor courtyard/corridor area to the side. The interior is fairly non-descript and it's fairly dark. Ales were Inveralmond Frisco Steamy, Morland Old Speckled Hen, Rudgate Ruby Mild, Timothy Taylor Golden Best, Orkney Dark Island, Molson Coors New Season Pale Ale, Black Sheep Best Bitter & Greene King IPA. Cider was Old Rosie. Food was available. But it didn't look the best quality. Staff were friendly enough though.

8 Aug 2016 21:01

Goodmanham Arms, Goodmanham

The Goodmanham Arms was our fourth pub of the day in Yorkshire after the Marketplace Alehouse & Deli in Doncaster, the Black Swan in Asselby and the now closed Carpenters Arms in Market Weighton. The Goodmanham Arms is a lovely small village pub situated on a bend in the lane. It has a nice interior with a couple of tiny rooms, an outdoor courtyard with plenty of seating and the toilets and a garden area to the side and rear, with a children's play area. The All Hallows brewery is on site and they had No Notion Porter, Ragged Robyn, Wold's Way IPA & Peg Fyfe Dark Mild. Guests were St Austell Tribute, Theakston Best, Nick Stafford's Hambleton Ales Stallion & Ossett Yorkshire Blonde. Ciders were Orchard Pig Maverick, Cock Eyed Mad Jack, Westons Old Rosie & Purbeck Cheeky Cherry. Dogs and children are welcomed. There is a tiny parking area. But be careful not to run over anybody in the courtyard. A really good pub that is worth seeking out.

8 Aug 2016 20:51

The Rising Sun, Berkhamsted

Always on the lookout for a new pub, our original plan before a Tuesday night visit to the MK Arena was a trip to the Red Lion in Fenny Stratford. But we received reports that it was closed for a funeral. So instead we paid an impromptu return to the Rising Sun. Rather disappointingly (at first), nearly all the ciders appeared to have sold out. But one guy returned from a stock take to find 20 boxes in the cellar. The evening suddenly got better. The 6 I tried were Millwhites Riser Cider (on handpull), Ventons Sweet, Lyme Bay Chapel Rock, Wrights Scrumpy & Tutts Clump Blackberry & Jazz. Amongst others on were Tutts Clump Perry, Nempnetts Piglets Choice, Westcroft Dry & Westons Family Reserve. The 5 ales were Red Willow Wreckless, Whitstable East India Pale Ale, By The Horns Stiff Upper Lip & Tring Riser Bitter & Drop Bar. There is also an impressive array of craft beers in the fridges, many in cans. The Rising Sun has knowledgeable staff and is a very pleasant place to spend a summer's evening either in the airy bar area or outside watching canal boat owners and pedestrians navigating the locks. I'm glad I've finally made a return visit. Improving my rating to 9/10.

27 Jul 2016 21:07

Woolly Sheep Inn, Skipton

My final pub in Skipton was the Woolly Sheep, a Timothy Taylor pub. Entrance is along a corridor. There are three similar sized rooms, one behind the other with the bar itself split between the front two. Not all ales are available in the front room. There is also an outdoor seating area to the rear. TT ales were Landlord, Boltmaker, Golden Best, Ram Tam & Dark Mild. In addition, they had Reedley Hallows Filly Close Blonde & Moorhouses Witches Cauldron as guests. Traditional place that is one of the better options in the town. Seemingly popular with diners.

27 Jul 2016 20:58

Devonshire Inn, Skipton

The Devonshire is located in a rather imposing building and has plenty of space for seating over two large rooms and some smaller side rooms. Ales were Rudgate Ruby Mild, Daleside Bitter, Settle No. 3 Nine Standards Porter, Ruddles Best, Greene King Abbot, Naylors Yorkshire Ale & Sharps Doom Bar. It was the last day of the Wetherspoons cider festival and they still had Celtic Marches Status Quo Down Down, Hecks 1841 & Cornish Orchards Pear Cider. Clientele were the usual for Wetherspoons. It took one woman well over half an hour to collect all the dead glasses and plates and it wasn't that busy. It's always difficult finding a clean table in these establishments. But you know what you get.

27 Jul 2016 20:54

The Albion Inn, Skipton

The Albion is tucked away up a back street and as such, it was quieter than many other local options on Sunday evening. But it still had its fair share of locals. 4 ales are on - Butcombe Bitter, Caledonian Golden XPA & Theakston Best are the regulars. JW Lees Manchester Pale Ale was the guest. I went for the Theakstons despite seeing a note in the Castle that all their beer had been recalled! It tasted fine to me.

27 Jul 2016 20:47

Red Lion, Skipton

The Red Lion Hotel is on the High Street. I'd just visited the Bistro des Amis, around the corner and not listed on here. The Red Lion itself is a Greene King establishment that obviously gets fairly busy at times. The number of empty glasses on tables reminded me of a Wetherspoons. Being a Greene King pub, it had Abbot & IPA. But there was also Bank Top Bad To The Bone, Ossett Silver King, Kirkby Lonsdale Monumental & Moorhouses Blond Witch. As luck would have it, the barman let me try a sample of the Bank Top beer. It was in a very poor condition. So I opted for an Old Rosie instead. I'm sure this pub gets very busy on market days. Food is served. But again, that looked a similar quality to 'spoons. One of the better Greene King pubs though.

27 Jul 2016 20:42

The Castle Inn, Skipton

The Castle is probably the nearest pub to Skipton's castle. But I don't believe the castle itself is visible from here. The interior is sub-divided into different sections and has character. Food is served. But the young waitresses seemed a bit hapless. Ale choice was poor - Caledonian Deuchars IPA, Fullers Quintessential Pale Ale & Banks's Bitter. Old Peculier was off due to some kind of problem with all Theakson ales?? Nice enough pub. But could do with a better beer selection.

27 Jul 2016 20:37

The Commercial Inn, Skipton

Now a Chinese restaurant called Kong's.

27 Jul 2016 20:34

The Narrow Boat, Skipton

I quite liked the Narrow Boat. It would easily be the best pub in Skipton if it wasn't for the exorbitant pricing. £5.70 for a pint of real cider is really taking the mickey. I paid it as there were 2 ciders I hadn't tried before. But that's well above the going rate. Ales appeared to be much cheaper. It was almost as if they were trying to link real cider to the overpriced craft beer scene. Ales on offer were Ilkley Mary Jane, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Black Sheep Golden Sheep, Okells Bitter, Bristol Beer Factory Nova, Kirkstall Slightly Sworded & Anarchy Hard Times. Portobello Star was being pulled through. The 2 ciders were Lyme Bay Sundown Apricot & Pulp Rhubarb. They also had Gwynt y Ddraig Two Trees Perry, which was cheaper. Normally my type of pub and probably still the second best in the town. Just a shame about the pricing.

27 Jul 2016 20:33

The Beer Engine, Skipton

The Beer Engine was my favourite pub in Skipton. It's a micropub, easily missed as it's tucked away in an alleyway. It was fairly busy on my Sunday evening visit. But luckily I secured a table before too many arrived. Ales and ciders are dispensed from barrels in a refrigerated cabinet behind the bar. The ale selection was Mallinsons Motueka, Springhead Outlawed, Dark Horse Craven Bitter, Roosters The Accomplice & Stockport Stock Porter. Ciders were Westons Cider Twist Raspberry & Gwynt y Ddraig Farmhouse Scrumpy. Friendly staff. Recommended.

27 Jul 2016 20:26

Cock and Bottle, Skipton

The Cock & Bottle was fairly quiet on my Sunday evening visit. The landlord was quite friendly. He was serving some particularly hot pork scratchings to one guy seemingly taking a challenge that he could eat the lot. The main bar area is quite large. There is a snug at the front and an outdoor area at the side that stretches to the rear. Ale selection was reasonably good - Black Sheep Best Bitter, Elland Beyond The Pale, Settle No. 1 Nine Standards & Wychwood Hobgoblin. A fairly decent start to my Skipton crawl.

27 Jul 2016 20:22

The Railway Inn, Skipton

Still standing. But now closed. Looks as if it hasn't long been shut though.

27 Jul 2016 20:19

The Masons Arms, Gargrave

The Masons Arms seemed like quite a nice village pub. It's clearly a locals' pub. Whilst there was plenty of available seating, locals were intent on crowding around the bar area, making it very difficult to get served. After waiting 10 minutes to get served, the landlord finally appeared and asked bluntly if I was waiting. No, I'm standing here for the hell of it!! The whole feeling was that we were interrupting a clique. Ales were Thwaites Wainwright, Tetleys Cask, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Brains SA. No real cider was available. Food smelt lovely. But we didn't stay long, as the welcome was poor and the much better pubs of Skipton beckoned.

27 Jul 2016 20:17

The Fountaine Inn, Linton

After the Clarendon Hotel at Hebden (not listed on here), this was our 5th pub of the day in the Dales. It was the busiest of the lot, with what seemed like a party on in one room. But it was spilling out into the main bar area and the lovely outside area to the front. Looks like it has a bit of character. But it was too busy to really enjoy. Ales were Thwaites Original, John Smiths Cask, Tetleys Cask, Morland Old Speckled Hen, Wharfedale Blonde & Fountaine Inn IPA. Plenty of families were visiting.

27 Jul 2016 20:13

The Foresters Arms, Grassington

The Foresters Arms is situated on Grassington's main drag, which was thronged with tourists on my Sunday lunchtime visit. It feels like a fairly traditional pub, that is obviously popular with locals and tourists alike. There is a main bar area, a pool table at one end and further seating at the end nearest the kitchens. Ales were Tetleys Cask & Mild, Black Sheep Best Bitter & Riggwelter, Wharfedale Blonde & Timothy Taylor Landlord. I initially chose the Mild. But luckily the barmaid was having a few issues and I ended up with a Riggwelter, which was quite a decent ale. Better than I had expected.

27 Jul 2016 20:06

The Kings Head, Kettlewell

The King's Head is situated in the fairly touristy village of Kettlewell, which has plenty to attract you here. The pub itself felt a little commercialised and there is a clear focus on food. Nevertheless, the interior does maintain a nice character. There are a few tables outside at the front. Ales were Dark Horse Hetton Pale, Wharfedale Blonde & Tetleys Cask.

27 Jul 2016 20:01

The Falcon Inn, Arncliffe

This pub is set in a fantastic Dales location. It's off some of the main tourist drags. So it was considerably quieter than other Dales pubs we visited. It overlooks the village green and there are a number of tables on the edge of the green to enjoy the views and the peace and quiet. The interior has a narrow bar and a number of small rooms. Landlord & Boltmaker were the 2 ales on handpull. There was no sign of a jug. So maybe the landlord has stopped serving direct from the jug now.

27 Jul 2016 19:58

The Grove Inn, Huddersfield

The Grove is situated just behind the town's new leisure centre. It was my final pub of the day in Huddersfield and I'd saved the best until last. I'd read that there were 19 real ales and didn't think for one minute they'd all be on. But sure enough, they were - Oakham Citra, Thronbridge Jaipur & Handsome, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Vocation Bread and Butter, Atom Schrodinger's Cat, Durham White Velvet, Hawkshead Cumbrian Shop, Mallinsons Azacca, Adnams Samba City, Shiny Wrench, Brass Castle Dream Time, Sadlers Hop Bomb, Beer Ink Flagship, Fallen Chew Chew, London Beer Lab Bramling End, Green Jack Summer Dream, Brodies Shoreditch Sunshine & Northern Monk Grove Birthday Beer. There were also 3 ciders - Cornish Orchards Gold, La Cantina Yesterday's Dream & Westons Old Rosie. All of these, along with craft beers were listed on blackboards. A most impressive selection and the 2 I had were good quality. I believe there were 2 rooms, served by the central bar. But I'd had a few by this time. Whilst I have scored this a 9/10, the same as the Rat & Ratchet, this pub was a toss up between a 9 or a 10, whereas the Rat & Ratchet was more at the 8 end of the 9's! They're both excellent pubs that aren't too far away from them. The Grove was slightly nearer the bus station, enabling me to catch the last bus of the night back to my hotel. Certainly the best pub in Huddersfield I tried and probably in my top 10 for the country.

25 Jul 2016 21:05

The Rat and Ratchet, Huddersfield

An Ossett pub and home to the Rat brewery. It's situated just outside the town centre and has several different nicely decorated drinking areas in a pub similar to other Ossett establishments I have visited. There's a good selection of ales and one cider on handpull. However look out for the cider list, as there are other ciders in boxes at the side of the bar. Ales on during my visit were Goose Eye Bitter, Ossett Silver King & Yorkshire Blonder, Rat King Rat, White Rat, Dubbel & Soratchi Ace, Saltaire Triple Chocoholic & Butcombe Chinook APA. Ciders were Pulp Damson, Whin Hill Dry, Chant Singing Cider, Once Upon A Tree Tumpy Ground & Dorothy's Orchard & Twisted Desert Dry. I tried the Whin Hill and the Triple Chocoholic. Both were in good condition. It was fairly busy on my Saturday evening visit. But there were still tables to be had. Another Huddersfield highlight. Very impressed. A 9/10 from me.

25 Jul 2016 20:56

The Star Inn, Lockwood

The Star is situated on a side street that runs parallel to a main road. The interior is a large, single bar. There's a good selection of real ales - Timothy Taylor Landlord, Pictish Brewers Gold, Mallinsons Azacca, U235 & Columbus, Amber Ales Parisian Dream, Thornbridge Wye, Pentrich Soma & Sentinel Orange Stout. The real cider was Udders Orchard Lindley Gold. The cider was very nice. But the Orange Stout was on the turn. A very friendly place that is certainly one of the best of a good selection of hostelries in Huddersfield.

25 Jul 2016 20:49

Shoulder of Mutton, Lockwood

The Shoulder of Mutton is situated at the end of a small cobbled side street. But just round the corner is the car park and what looks like quite a rough area. The car park was full of broken glass where presumably a few windows had been smashed. The pub itself is very nice inside. The highlights are the two rooms either side near the entrance. But all the locals were congregated in the main bar. I believe there was a pool room upstairs. Ales were Tetleys Cask, Grey Hawk Blonde Obsession, Bradfield Farmer's Blonde, Small World Arncliffe Bitter & Mallinsons Lockwood. There was no real cider. Nice interior. Shame about the area.

25 Jul 2016 20:44

The Railway, Huddersfield

We visited the Railway after a trip to the Armitage Bridge Monkey Club (not listed on here). The Railway is situated near the station and overlooks a large valley. This appears to be a locals' pub, with a friendly landlord. The main room has a pool table at one end, whilst there is a smaller snug. It has tables out the front and a garden to the side. There's a good selection of ales - Geeves Clear Cut & Topaz, Small World Spikes Gold & Barncliffe Bitter, Greene King The Rum Runner & Empire Minute Man. There was no real cider. Another good pub in the Huddersfield area. We moved on from here to the equally friendly Berry Brow Liberal Club (also not listed on here).

25 Jul 2016 20:40

The King's Head, Huddersfield

The King's Head is at the other end of the station from the Head of Steam. The tiled interior of this place is much simpler than the Head Of Steam. But the ale and cider range is good. There are craft beers too. Drinkers spill out onto the large square in front of the station. The ale range on Saturday was Yorkshire Dales Fors Abbaye, Small World Thunderbridge Stout, Golcar Dark Mild, Abbeydale Red, Wit and Blue, JW Lees Kaleidoscope, Church End Goat's Milk, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Golden Best & Bradfield Farmer's Blonde. Ciders were Burnards Oakey Dokey & Pulp Damson Cider. Needless to say, it's handy when catching a train. Although you may just miss it!

25 Jul 2016 20:33

The Head of Steam, Huddersfield

This pub is at the one end of the station at Huddersfield (the King's Head is at the other end). I was quite impressed with this place. The bar extends from one room to another. Craft beers are dispensed from the bar on the left as you enter, with real ales and ciders dispensed from the room on the right. Both have further rooms at the rear, which adjoin the platform. The rooms feel like typical railway station waiting rooms and there is lots of railway memorabilia to admire. Ales were Camerons Haze & Gold Bullion, Black Sheep Golden Sheep, Little Valley Hebden's Wheat, Anarchy Blonde Star & Boot Boys, Small World Secret & Thunderbridge Stout, Stancill Porter, Fell Robust Porter & Sonnet 43 Abolition. The three ciders in fridges behind the bar were Lilleys Crazy Goat, Bottle Kicking Cider Company Pineapple, Peach & Passion Fruit & Westons Cider Twist Raspberry. The pub soon got packed with large groups, possibly those doing the Ale Trail, or possibly just stag parties. As many were drinking cans of Red Stripe, they were more likely the latter. Very impressed with this pub.

25 Jul 2016 20:28

Wood Street Craft Beer House, Huddersfield

Small bar up a side street in Huddersfield, but quite close to the station. There are 2 rooms inside, with the bar accessed only from the room on the right. 4 ales are on offer. These were Great Heck Patrick, Beer Ink Pin Up Pale Ale & Flagship IPA & Brightside Boston Vienna Lager. There was no real cider. The barman said this was due to the high temperatures. But there are craft beers on draught and a good selection of bottles too. Plenty of board games are available to play. Food is pizza with varied toppings. This was the first of many decent pubs in Huddersfield.

25 Jul 2016 20:17

The Bulls Head, Two Gates

After a visit to Corey's Sports Bar in Tamworth town centre, we moved on to the Bull's Head which is a Marstons pub situated on a busy cross roads, with one road being Watling Street. It didn't look too promising from the outside. The outdoor tables were full of people smoking. Inside was much nicer though, with a bar and a lounge over two levels. Locals were preparing for a quiz that involved making shapes with play dough! Pedigree & Hobgoblin Gold were the ales. Locals and staff were friendly.

18 Jul 2016 19:25

The Red Man, Kidderminster

Modern pub that appears to be popular with a younger crowd. The bar area is light and airy and there is a raised section with a pool table. TV screens were showing the Open golf tournament and music was being played. At the rear is a large paved garden area. Marstons Red Man & Wye Valley Butty Bach & HPA were the 3 ales. There was no real cider. Fairly average.

18 Jul 2016 19:17

Ye Olde Seven Stars, Kidderminster

The Olde Seven Stars was my second favourite pub in Kidderminster following Saturday afternoon's tour of 6 of the town's pubs. This pub is right in the town centre. It has a small front bar, with a much larger rear room and an outside drinking area to the side, where you can also find the toilets. I didn't see it. But apparently there is a large garden to the rear too. The many pumpclips on the walls show the variety of ales this place has stocked. On this visit, there were Three Tuns Rantipole & Stout, Holdens Golden Glow, Moorhouses Blond Witch, Wells Bombardier Burning Gold & Woods Shropshire Lad. Cider was Thatcher Heritage. Friendly staff and customers also.

18 Jul 2016 18:31

Swan, Kidderminster

The Swan is situated in a pedestrianised area of the town centre opposite the town hall. It is open early for breakfast. The single bar is nice to relax a while in. Three Bewdley beers were on - Worcestershire Sway, Worcestershire Way & Sir Keith Park, in addition to Jennings Cumerland Ale & Sharps Atlantic. Cider was Cheddar Valley. A good option if touring the town's pubs.

18 Jul 2016 18:24

Boar's Head, Kidderminster

You wouldn't think it from the outside. But the Boar's Head is a rockers pub situated near the town centre. It has two rooms, which give way to a semi-outdoor performance area and a garden beyond. There is also a corridor providing more drinking space. Plenty of skulls and the like, in addition to some rather large speakers give a clue as to what this place is like in the evening. During the day, it was much more genteel. Hobgoblin & Hobgoblin Gold were the 2 ales. No real cider was available.

18 Jul 2016 18:19

The Weavers Real Ale House, Kidderminster

Weavers seems to be Kidderminster's highlight. It's situated within easy distance of the station, just down the hill towards the town centre. There is a table outside. But there is adequate room indoors for people to sample the range of ales, ciders and craft beers. The selection on Saturday afternoon was Three Tuns XXX, Wye Valley Daisy Duke, RCH Phoenix Gold, Pig Iron Unbeweavable, Corvedale Dark & Delicious & Fownes Upper Gornal Bitter. Ciders were Thatchers Heritage, Abrahalls Lily The Pink, Westons Wyld Wood & Barbourne Golden Drop. 3 KeyKeg beers were Fixed Wheel Pope of Dope & Blackheath Stout & Green Duck Fat Neck. There was also a Belgian beer selection in bottles. Staff and customers all seemed to be knowledgeable. They were relieved that the rush before the Kidderminster Harriers match had subsided. A friendly place that is Kidderminster's best pub in my opinion. Whilst no CAMRA discount was offered, they do appear to have a loyalty card you can get stamped.

18 Jul 2016 18:16

The Railway Train Inn, Kidderminster

The Railway Train is a backstreet locals' pub overlooking the railway line between Blakedown and Kidderminster. You get a nice view of the track from the gents. Inside is an l-shaped bar, seemingly more popular with lager drinkers than ale drinkers. But there were 2 ales - EPA & Wainwright. Clearly popular with the local community though and a group were playing dominoes. There is a small seating area at the front overlooking the street.

18 Jul 2016 18:08

Old Waggon and Horses, Ismere

The Old Waggon & Horses is a Marstons pub on the main road between Stourbridge and Kidderminster. A few people were sat outside when we arrived and there were plenty of cars. But other than the two bar staff, there was nobody else indoors. The interior is fairly modern, but still cosy. I'm sure I've been here before many years ago. But I doubt I'd recognise it anymore. Ales were Marstons Pedigree, Banks's Lion Roar & Thwaites Magic Sponge, which actually had a real sponge on each pumpclip. It was a darker beer. But I wasn't too impressed by it. Ok, but nothing special.

18 Jul 2016 18:04

The French Hen, Clent

The French Hen was a far better option than any of the places I went to in nearby Belbroughton. It looks impressive from the outside and the interior is certainly French-themed with a couple of rooms filled with references to France. The ale selection was reasonable too - Wye Valley Butty Bach & Woodsman Pale Ale (the pub used to be called the Woodman), Enville Ale & Wells Bombardier. No real cider was served. Didn't see anybody trying the food. Nice place.

18 Jul 2016 17:59

The Talbot, Belbroughton

The Talbot is situated just up the road from the Queens. It is slightly nicer inside. But this is also a Marstons pub and is another place primarily for diners. Ales were slightly more adventurous than the Queens - Thwaites Wainwright, Marstons Revisionist Red IPA & Jennings Cocker Hoop. A few people appeared to be taking advantage of the nice weather, sitting outside to the rear. From here, I walked back down to the Belbroughton Club (not listed on here) which was the best of the 3 establishments I tried in the village.

18 Jul 2016 17:55

The Queens Hotel, Belbroughton

The Queens has a nice setting next to a stream in the pleasant village of Belbroughton. But the interior is fairly soulless. It's mainly a dining establishment. The ale selection isn't too inspiring either, as it's a Marstons place - Marstons EPA & Ringwood Boon Doggle & Forty Niner. Only 2 other groups of customers were in on a Saturday lunchtime. I thought the price for a half of Forty Niner was reasonable and I'm fairly sure the glass I was given was more of a schooner than a half pint.

18 Jul 2016 17:52

The Prince Of Wales, Brownhills

The Prince of Wales is on the busy A5 Watling Street. It is a fairly small pub, which stretches back a way from the entrance and is slightly larger than it first seems. No real ale is served. Although there was one handpull with a Doom Bar clip turned round. The keg options were Banks's Original, John Smiths Extra Smooth, Strongbow & Strongbow Dark Fruits, Guinness, Carling, San Miguel & Worthingtons. Only one other customer was in on this weekday visit. Not really worth a return visit.

13 Jul 2016 21:50

The Pear Tree Cottage, Brownhills

Now demolished.

13 Jul 2016 21:47

The Royal Oak, Brownhills

Large pub set back from a busy roadside. But unfortunately its now closed. Try the Swan (not listed on here) instead. That was the best pub I tried in Brownhills.

13 Jul 2016 21:47

The Wheatsheaf, Walsall

The Wheatsheaf is situated a little way out of town next to two schools. It doesn't open until 4pm during the week. I arrived to find just two other customers and a cat in the centre of the bar. One turned out to be the landlord (not the cat). The ale range is fairly decent - Oakham Citra, Holdens Golden Glow & Wye Valley Butty Bach were the regular ales. 2 guests were also on - AJ's Stuck In the Mud & Beowulf Dark Raven. I quite enjoyed my Stuck In The Mud. But unfortunately there was no real cider. No CAMRA discount was offered either. The interior is L-shaped, creating two separate drinking areas. A fairly decent option when in Walsall.

13 Jul 2016 21:45

The Walsall Arms, Walsall

The Walsall Arms is situated in an old industrial street to the east of the town centre. It doesn't look promising at all. The interior has the feeling of a club and there is a skittles alley at the rear. Just the landlord and two local gents were in. They were soon replaced by two younger ladies on the wine. Timothy Taylor Landlord, Wye Valley Bitter & HPA, Ludlow Gold & Holdens Golden Glow were the ales.

13 Jul 2016 20:45

The Victoria, Walsall

I note that the Victoria has not been in the Good Beer Guide since the 2005 edition. But I really can't see why not. It's a great little traditional boozer with a good selection of real ales and a real cider too. There are 2 rooms at ground level - a small and cosy front bar and a larger rear bar. There is a further room upstairs with a pool table. Toilets are upstairs too. The ale range was Wye Valley HPA, Backyard Bitter, Cottage North Western Pale Ale, Morland Old Speckled Hen & Greene King Abbot. The cider was Thistly Cross Whisky Cask. Recommended.

13 Jul 2016 20:41

Arbor Lights, Walsall

The Arbor Lights looked the most promising of all the pubs I visited. But once inside, it soon proved to be the worst. Real ales are no longer available. In fact unless you wanted a bottle, the only draught options were Carling or Leffe. The Spanish barman was friendly enough though and the interior is large and modern. Everything felt very clean. It just needs some decent beers.

13 Jul 2016 20:38

Fountain, Walsall

The Fountain is situated just outside the town centre and in common with many pubs in this area, it doesn't look much from the outside. But it is the ale range that sets it apart. All but one of the ales were from Backyard - The Hoard, Blonde, Bostin, Gold, East India Pale Ale, Summer & Chinook IPA. The one guest was the sublime Derventio Lucretius, a very sweet cherry stout. I also sampled Backyard's own cider. The interior is two rooms either side of a central bar. There were about 5 customers in when I arrived. But soon after I arrived, only 2 were left. So it felt very quiet. Nevertheless, the ale range made this the best of 10 pubs I visited yesterday. Shuts during the afternoon in the week.

13 Jul 2016 20:36

Butts Tavern, Walsall

The Butts is a locals pub situated in a residential area to the north of Walsall, not far from the Arboretum. It was busier than many of the other pubs I visited. All the other customers were men. The barmaid was the only woman. Conversation was involving everybody and clearly everybody knew one another. There are 2 rooms - a main bar and another fairly large room that served as a games room. Ales were Wye Valley Butty Back, Holdens Golden Glow, Jennings Cocker Hoop & Church End Fallen Angel. A friendly community pub.

13 Jul 2016 20:31

The Manor Arms, Rushall

The Manor Arms was my second stop of the day during my midweek visit to the West Midlands. My first pub had been the Four Crosses at Shelfield which is not listed on here. The Manor Arms didn't look too welcoming from the outside and its car park was empty, whereas the Boathouse at the end of the road looked busy. The Banks's sign outside didn't make it too appealing either. But inside felt like another world. The main bar area, without a bar counter makes the place feel very old and it is indeed one of the oldest pubs in the country. There are at least two other traditional rooms. As the Banks's sign suggested, the ale range is all from Marstons - Thwaites Wainwright, Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold, Banks's Bitter & Sunbeam & Jennings Cocker Hoop. Rolls and pork pies are available at £1.20 each. This is a fabulously well preserved and historic pub that deserves much more custom than it had during my Tuesday afternoon visit.

13 Jul 2016 20:26

Old Bush Inn, Pelsall

The Old Bush Inn is situated in front of Pelsall Villa's football ground. It is currently closed and looking very run down.

13 Jul 2016 20:14

Silk Mercer, Devizes

The Silk Mercer is Devizes' branch of Wetherspoons. It's a typical 'spoons open-plan layout that stretches back a long way with space maximised by having toilets upstairs. As usual many people were using the disabled. There is an outdoor area at the rear. The standard Wetherspoons ales - Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharps Doom Bar were supplemented by 2 guests - Prescott Track Record & Hook Norton Yeastie Boys, in addition to a couple "coming soon". As it's currently their cider festival, they had 5 real ciders in boxes in the fridges - Cock Eyed Monkey Mango, Westons Rosie's Pig Hand Brake, Cornish Orchards "Pear Cider", Hunts Percy's Pride & Aspalls Waddlegoose Lane Bullhead Cyder. As with most Wetherspoons, the clientele is fairly rowdy. It's most likely the cheapest place in town and this reflects in the standard of customers. It was busy, with staff seemingly unable to clear the glasses from tables. If I look behind the unusually good cider choice (due to the festival), this is a very ordinary Wetherspoons.

10 Jul 2016 14:42

The Vaults, Devizes

The Vaults looks a small unassuming place in the centre of Devizes. I'd parked outside it and hadn't even noticed it at first. Parking is free here after 6pm. The interior is long and narrow with very little seating. Ales are amongst the most unusual in Devizes. On this occasion there was Kennet & Avon Devizes Dark & Deep Lock, First Chop Manchester Bitter & Arbor 456. There were also 3 ciders from Worleys - Mendip Hills, Red Hen & Beatnik Billy. In addition, there is a good selection of craft beers and an even better bottled range with a bottle shop in the cellar. Prices for some of these can be steep. But the real cider pricing was reasonable. Pies are available from a heated cabinet behind the bar. Staff were friendly and knowledgeable about the beers. Not a pub in the strictest sense. But a bar dispensing probably the best range of drinks in Devizes. Therefore one of the three best pubs in Devizes.

10 Jul 2016 14:34

Lamb Inn, Devizes

The Lamb is in my opinion one of the best 3 pubs in Devizes. I'm undecided which one is the best. This place scores highly due to its wonderful, quirky interior. The single bar has plenty of wood panelling and furniture with a unique feature being a small peephole enabling punters to check out what is happening in the corridor outside. On this occasion, there seemed to be a minor disturbance involving somebody shouting the odds! The corridor itself through which you enter, leads to the toilets and an enclosed courtyard that appeared quite popular. Where the pub disappoints is that it is yet another Wadworth establishment with only their ales served - 6X, IPA, Swordfish & Misplaced Optimism. I opted for a cranberry juice as driving. £2.60! This would be the stand out pub in Devizes if it wasn't for the poor ale selection and the exorbitant prices. Customers are in the most part friendly. But the barmaid seemed a bit standoffish.

10 Jul 2016 14:25

The Fox and Hounds, Devizes

The Fox & Hounds is a thatched building set in the countryside just outside of Devizes. The bar/dining area was fairly dark and is lit with candles. It had an overwhelming smell of damp dogs. Food appears to be its prime concern. There are a couple of tables at the front overlooking the car park and fields, with a garden housing an old stagecoach at the rear, along a skittles alley. It's a Wadworth establishment. So the ale choice was IPA, 6X & Swordfish. To my surprise, there were also 2 real ciders - Westons Old Rosie & Lilleys Sunset. The young barmaid/waitress required hope in pouring them and mistakenly rung through a pint on the till, when I'd only ordered a half. The cider choice had clearly flustered her! Nevertheless, I was much more impressed with this pub than I'd initially expected.

10 Jul 2016 14:18

The Cavalier, Devizes

The Cavalier is a community Wadworth pub on a housing estate at the edge of Devizes. It has a single room with a pool table and TVs (showing Wimbledon) where you enter from the large car park and a dartboard at the other end. Most locals were congregated around the bar which was dispensing 6X and IPA. There is also a garden, which seemed to be popular with the kids and a skittle alley at the back. Very much a functional kind of place that serves a good purpose. But not worth a special journey here from the town centre.

10 Jul 2016 14:12

The Southgate, Devizes

A country-type pub on the edge of Devizes. I'd hoped to be able to use the car park. But it's so small that even with only one car in it, there was no room to turn! The interior is a single room around the bar, with a couple of more secluded areas. There is an outdoor patio area next to the car park. Ales were Hopback GFB, Downton New Forest Ale & Great Western Maiden Voyage. There is no real cider available. Although Old Rosie can be purchased in bottles. Cosy place.

10 Jul 2016 14:08

The Hare & Hounds, Devizes

The Waggon & Horses was to be my third stop in Devizes. It's a building situated in a residential area not far from the town centre. It was a Wadworth's pub. But it's currently closed. Research online suggests it closed in spring this year.

10 Jul 2016 14:03

The Bear Hotel, Devizes

The Bear Hotel is a nice looking building from the outside. But it is primarily a hotel and the interior is very bland and uninspiring. Although there may have been other rooms I didn't try. There is a small courtyard at the back, which seemed quite popular with families. A wedding reception appeared to be taking place somewhere in the hotel. The car park is clearly in high demand. The £10 cost for it seemed a bit excessive. Ales are from Wadworth - IPA, 6X & Swordfish. Service from the young barmaids was good. But compared with the other pubs in the town, this was the worst I visited.

10 Jul 2016 14:00

The British Lion, Devizes

The British Lion was my first stop on my first ever visit to Devizes. It's on a busy road at the edge of the town centre. A local street festival appeared to be in progress in the nearby Sidmouth Street where I was later to purchase a Chinese takeaway from! The British Lion is a typical market town boozer with friendly staff and customers, mostly of the ageing variety but with a few youngsters. It's clearly been a real ale haunt for many years. Moles Tap Bitter is the regular beer and there are 3 guests - Church End Fallen Angel, Holsworthy Muck 'n' Straw & Otter Summer Light. Cider is dispensed from a cask in the corner and this was Black Rat. Apparently this alternates with Cheddar Valley. Most people sit in the main bar area at the front. But there is an area with a pool table at the back near the toilets. Definitely worth a visit and one of the best 3 pubs I found in the town.

10 Jul 2016 13:34

Waggon & Horses, Beckhampton

The Waggon & Horses is a thatched pub in a picturesque location near to Avebury. It's on the main A4. So it probably doesn't have to try too hard to secure business. The interior is dark and has a couple of separate areas. There seems to be a focus on food. At the rear on the bank behind the pub is a lovely garden area, which was popular with a group of cyclists on a summer Saturday afternoon. Glasses were building up on most of the tables in the garden, with staff too busy talking at the bar. This is a Wadworth house. So 6X was on, alongside Swordfish & (Misplaced) Optimism, a seasonal beer for the European Championship football competition. The word 'Misplaced' appears to have been added after England's exit! A bonus I wasn't expecting was Old Rosie cider. There is a car park at the rear and another parking area on the opposite side of the A4.

10 Jul 2016 13:26

The Welington Arms, Marlborough

It's been quite a few years since I was last in Marlborough. I made a return visit on market day and tried a third pub on the High Street. This one is at the southern end. It's clearly an old building (18th century apparently). Doom Bar & 6X were the regular ales with Ramsbury Gold available as a guest. No real cider was available. Service was friendly. A TV was showing the Wimbledon ladies' final. I can't remember what the Marlborough and the Green Dragon were like. But you can do a half decent crawl along the length of the High Street here.

10 Jul 2016 13:20

The Crown and Anchor, Marlborough

A quiet rural pub with just the landlord, chef and one other couple present. Both the staff and customers were friendly and were wondering where all their customers were! The interior has 3 rooms and a small garden next to the car park. Wickwar Brand Oak Bitter is the regular ale. There was also a pumpclip for Crafty Cr'Anchor which I assume was a house beer. 2 guest were Hook Norton Hooky & the local Ramsbury Sun Splash. Nice pub.

10 Jul 2016 13:12

The Crown at Aldbourne, Aldbourne

I'm struggling to see how this is the pub represented by Aldbourne in the Good Beer Guide. It did have one unusual beer from a brewery not normally seen in these parts (Bank Top Gold Digger). But the other ales were all national ones - Landlord, Doom Bar & Spitfire. Service provided was the bare minimum with a distinct lack of communication - one of those moments where you're expected to hand cash over without being informed of the price. Nevertheless, this is a nicely located pub that feels more like a dining one that a drinkers pub. A dog was present in the bar and appeared to be the source of a few unpleasant smells. Nice pub in a nice location. But seemingly taking its status for granted.

10 Jul 2016 13:06

The Blue Boar, Aldbourne

Aldbourne was my second stop on a tour of Wiltshire pubs yesterday. I've request my first stop (the Red Lion at nearby Baydon) to be added to the site. The Blue Boar was the better of the two Aldbourne pubs. It's located overlooking the village green and impressive church in this tranquil village. There is a cosy bar area and a number of tables at the front, which were popular on a sunny summer Saturday lunchtime. Families were able to watch their kids use the full expanse of the village green. A separate entrance leads to a restaurant. This is a Wadworth pub. So IPA & 6X were on alongside a guest from Youngs - Hummingbird. The pub was also having a mini cider "festival" with 5 different boxes at the end of the bar containing Bottle Kicking Cider Company Scrambler, Sheppys Orchard Dew, Barbourne Painted Lady Perry, Westons Rosie's Pig & Thatchers Heritage. Recommended.

10 Jul 2016 13:01

The Jug and Jester, Leamington Spa

I returned to Leamington on Sunday to visit the Jug & Jester, the town's second Wetherspoons. Similar to the Benjamin Satchwell, at first sight this appears to be a small branch of the chain. But they're both tardis-like. This one has 4 interlinking rooms on different levels with some rather gaudy furniture. But it works and feels different from many of the identikit Wetherspoons. Ales are spread across the top 2 rooms - Backyard Jigger Stout, Banks's Alpha 5, Titanic Iceberg, Roosters Cream, Sharps Doom Bar, Ruddles Best, White Horse Blowing Stone, Greene King Abbot and a couple more 'coming soon'. Cider was Old Rosie. Spent a while here watching Sky Sports News before moving on. The better of the 2 Leamington Wetherspoons.

4 Jul 2016 21:49

The Cricketers Arms, Leamington Spa

The Cricketers has a nice leafy location, overlooking a bowling green. It seems a fairly trendy place to go to and on Saturday evening, people were settling down for the live football. Food was still being served. With very little room inside, we retreated to the patio at the rear. Service was quick and ales were Timothy Taylor Landlord, Slaughterhouse Saddleback & Twickenham Naked Ladies. Cider was Rosie's Pig. After resisting the local tipple all day long, I finally gave in and tried the rather nice Saddleback. A decent option in Leamington.

4 Jul 2016 21:46

Green Man, Leamington Spa

The Green Man is a lively estate pub in an area where there seemed like few other options. Music was blasting out, boxing was being shown on the big screens and the place was very busy. The solitary ale was Bishop's Finger. Not really a place to linger unless you live nearby and it has to be your local.

4 Jul 2016 21:43

The Talbot, Leamington Spa

This looks like it might have been the sort of pub I'd have liked. But sadly it is no more. The mural on the side is still impressive though.

4 Jul 2016 21:41

The Red House, Leamington Spa

Now subdivided into 2 houses/flats.

4 Jul 2016 21:40

Bowling Green, Leamington Spa

This place is currently closed. The sign is still up and the garden at the rear looks as if somebody has tended to it fairly recently. But it's all locked up and the upstairs windows were broken. The first of 3 closed pubs in a row! The area south of the river in Leamington feels like a real ale ghost town.

4 Jul 2016 21:39

The Somerville Arms, Leamington Spa

The Somerville Arms ended up being my favourite pub in Leamington Spa. We had arrived earlier in the afternoon to find it closed, despite opening times on the doors suggesting it should have been open. All the lights were on too. But the doors were locked. A quick call and the landlord confirmed that he would be opening at 5:30, i.e. the same time it opens during the week. But please get the signs changed! This is an Everards pub with most of their ales - Tiger, Sunchaser, Original & Beacon all with original pumpclips. They also have 2 Adnams ales - Southwold Bitter & Broadside, in addition to Ossett Big Red. Westons Old Rosie & Country Perry are dispensed (rather lively in our case) from some fake barrels at the end of the bar. The main room has plenty of wood and some tables hidden away in alcoves. Locals were sat at the bar passing the time of day. There is a smaller room to the rear, also with access to the bar. Plenty of character and worth the trek out of town, assuming you know it's open.

4 Jul 2016 21:37

Woodland Tavern, Leamington Spa

The Woodland is a nice local pub, just far enough away from the town centre to maintain a quiet feel. It is a proper boozer where conversation dominates, despite a couple of TVs that were showing the tennis. A friendly pub dog completes the picture. I was somehow expecting a better range of ales though. There were 3 - Slaughterhouse Saddleback, Caledonian Kick Off & Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold. Ciders were Thatchers Cheddar Valley & Westons Rosie's Pig. Has a cuckoo clock on the wall and it works!

4 Jul 2016 21:32

The Benjamin Satchwell, Leamington Spa

The Benjamin Satchwell is located on Leamington's showcase street (The Parade). It has a really narrow frontage and I thought I was entering the country's smallest Wetherspoons. But appearances can be deceptive. This place stretches back all the way to the next street and has a long bar. Ales were Warwickshire Beer Co. Kingmaker, Sharps Doom Bar, Ruddles Best, Greene King Abbot, Davenports Imperial, Banks's Alpha 5 & Backyard Lionheart. Cider was Rosie's Pig. The interior is typical 'spoons. So are some of the characters that can be found here. Nevertheless I was left a little disappointed with Leamington's pub offering and this was one of the better pubs in the town.

4 Jul 2016 21:28

The Copper Pot, Leamington Spa

The Copper Pot is a busy Greene King pub in the town centre. It seems to be a fairly cheap place that attracts a mixed clientele during the day and clubgoers and the like in the evenings. 2 ales were on - Abbot & Back of the Net. Multiple TVs were showing live coverage of Wimbledon. The interior is modern. Not particularly my cup of tea.

4 Jul 2016 21:24

The Newbold Comyn Arms, Leamington Spa

The Newbold Comyn Arms is situated on the edge of Leamington. We struggled to find it at first. It's located in a park next to a leisure centre. In fact, its location is very nice. The large building in the picture appears to be a function room. Drinks service is from the adjacent Stables Bar. On entry to the bar area, one could have forgiven to have thought you were in a crèche. I'm sure the number of children outnumbered the number of adults. This status continued outside where there is a large grassy area ideal for playing ball games and a kids' playground. Drinks choice was surprisingly good - Warwickshire Beer Co. Darling Buds, Church Farm IPA, Purity Mad Goose & Teignworthy Spring Tide. Ciders were Thatchers Heritage & Cheddar Valley. Recommended.

4 Jul 2016 21:20

The Stag's Head, Offchurch

The Stag at Offchurch is a picturesque thatched village pub that was only spoiled by some unsightly roadworks outside. The interior was pleasant enough. But service felt a touch pretentious. Adverts in the toilets for gift vouchers to use in the restaurant revealed that it's part of a small chain of 3 pubs. Despite the external appearance, this is very much a restaurant, as opposed to a pub. Although they did have 3 ales - Tribute, Ubu & Hooky and its one other redeeming feature for me - Henneys Traditional Cider, not something I've seen on handpull before.

4 Jul 2016 21:15

The White Hart Inn, Ufton

The White Hart has a nice setting overlooking the Warwickshire countryside. But this is another place that appears to be largely for diners. There was an overwhelming smell of fish when we arrived. But the place does seem to specialise in seafood. The room is fairly cosy and many tables had reserved signs on them. Ales were St Austell Tribute, Greene King IPA & Slaughterhouse Saddleback. They also had a real cider - Thatchers Heritage. Nice place. But it didn't really feel like a pub. This was the only pub we visited that shuts on weekend afternoons. So check the opening times.

4 Jul 2016 21:07

The Gamecock, Harbury

The Gamecock was the final pub we sampled in Harbury. There was literally nobody around when we arrived - no customers and no staff. After a few minutes wait, I located what I assume to be the landlord in the garden. The pub itself has a modern feel. There were 2 ales - Black Sheep Best Bitter & Byatts Phoenix Gold. The landlord turned out to be fairly amiable. But I preferred the Old New Inn and the Shakespeare.

4 Jul 2016 21:03

The Shakespeare, Harbury

The Shakespeare was the second of our pubs in the village of Harbury. Unfortunately the best of 3 pubs in the village we tried appears to be the one not listed on here - the Old New Inn. Walking into the Shakespeare, I thought at first that I'd wondered into the village shop, as there was a decent range of sauces, jams and chutneys. But just beyond was the bar. Sharps Doom Bar, Purity Mad Goose & Slaughterhouse Saddleback were the 3 ales. We sat in a nice little table in the window. But this does seem to be predominantly a diners pub.

4 Jul 2016 21:01

The Cottage Tavern, Ashorne

Quiet village pub on the western side of the M40. There was one other local sat at the bar when we arrived on a Saturday lunchtime. Good job we didn't want food as the cook hadn't turned up. She did later on after a few people had been turned away. 4 real ales were on - 2 were from the Froth Blowers brewery - Piffle Snonker & Thornswoggle, whilst there was also Greene King IPA & Abbot.

4 Jul 2016 20:56

The Hollist Arms, Lodsworth

The Hollist Arms was our last stop of the day in Sussex. It was also probably the third best pub. The village is the home of Langham's Brewery and 2 of their ales were on - Jester & Best Bitter. I believe it may have been the brewer who was giving us the taster notes. Other ales were Hophead, Doom Bar & Landlord. Another nice village pub with a small bar area and a separate dining room. The garden is also a lovely spot and toilets are outside. A little off the beaten track. But worth locating.

27 Jun 2016 20:23

The Three Moles Inn, Selham

The Three Moles is tucked away around a mile off the main road. From what I've seen of Sussex so far, the best pubs tend to be those away from the main drags and the Three Moles was no exception. It was one of the two standout pubs we visited yesterday. The pub is reached via steps. A car park is opposite. It has the feel of a typical railway establishment, as it's situated near to an old railway station. Only 2 ales were on - Bowman Swift One & Skinners Betty Stogs. There was also Sandford Orchards Devon Scrumpy. A beer festival had been held in a tent to the side of the pub the previous weekend.

27 Jun 2016 20:19

The Halfway Bridge Inn, Lodsworth

The Halfway Bridge has a nice location on the main A272 and looks an old building from the outside. The inside has been modernised and feels a little out of character. Food appears to be the main attraction. There is a small garden to the side. Ales were Langham Sundowner, Sharps Doom Bar & Arundel Sussex Gold. Nothing particularly special.

27 Jun 2016 20:13

Horse Guards Inn, Petworth

After some fairly mediocre pubs in West Sussex, our 7th pub was a vast improvement. This is a lovely little pub situated on a bank in the village of Tillington. It's off the main road. So I doubt it gets much passing business. The interior is cosy. But the highlight is the garden, with lots of different seating options, including hay bales and a hammock. There are chickens at the rear, but no sign of the cats that are mentioned on signs. Only 2 ales were on - Dark Star Hophead & Harveys Sussex Best Bitter. Old Rosie cider is also available. But it's not advertised and is hidden away underneath the counter. The village was hosting an open garden day and the pub's garden was one of the set. Well worth a visit.

27 Jun 2016 20:07

The Stonemason's Inn, Petworth

The Stonemasons is situated to the northern end of the lovely village of Petworth. It's a nice enough small pub with 3 real ales - Harveys Sussex Best Bitter, Dark Star Hophead & Skinners Betty Stogs. The landlady appeared fairly friendly. We sat in the pleasant garden which has numerous tables. Probably not the best pub in Petworth. We preferred the Angel on our last visit.

27 Jun 2016 20:00

The Cricketers Arms, Wisborough Green

Felt more like a proper pub than the Three Crowns on the main road. This pub is the other side of the village green and tables at the front have a good view of the green. We sat outside. But the interior looked fairly nice too. Live football was on the TV. Ales were Dark Star Hophead, Harveys Sussex Best Bitter, St Austell Tribute & Fullers London Pride.

27 Jun 2016 19:55

The Three Crowns, Wisborough Green

The Three Crowns is a pub cum restaurant that appears to be popular with the local hoi polloi. Many of them were dining inside with their charges. We chose to sit in the large rear garden, access to which is through a narrow area to the side of the bar. But first you need to negotiate the teenage waiters and waitresses discussing their jobs. They are fairly oblivious to the fact that customers might want to get through to the garden which is the pub's biggest draw. It's a very pleasant space with plenty of tables, chickens to one side and a couple of swings at the back. Ales were Weltons English Pride, Shepherd Neame Spitfire Gold, Harveys Sussex Best Bitter & Hammerpot Red Hunter.

27 Jun 2016 19:51

The Railway Inn, Billingshurst

The Railway is situated (unsurprisingly) right next to the level crossing and railway station in Billingshurst. It has a nice cosy bar area at the front and a quieter dining area to the rear where one solitary person was enjoying Sunday lunch. Locals congregate around the bar itself making it difficult to get served. Beyond that is a small garden and car park. Ales were Harveys Sussex Best Bitter, Shepherd Neame Spitfire, Sharps Doom Bar, Fullers London Pride & Firebird Paleface American Pale Ale. There was a cask at the end of the bar. But I couldn't tell if it contained anything different. The nearby Billingshurst Carnival was fairly enjoyable. That had a beer tent. But real ale drinkers were nipping into the Railway for their refreshment.

27 Jun 2016 19:45

The Kings Arms, Billingshurst

Two room locals pub in this small town. One was a lively bar, whilst the other was a quieter lounge-type room. Both customers and staff were friendly. A couple of ales had gone off as we arrived. But there was still Ringwood Razor Back, Banks's Lion Roar, Youngs Special & Courage Best. They also had Scrumpy Wasp Nice Pear left over from a recent festival, which was a new one for me. The car park and garden is reached from the street through a passageway. But the garden was a little overgrown. Nice enough town pub.

27 Jun 2016 19:40

The Queens Head, Horsham

Fairly nice country pub. Although the welcome was slightly suspect. I'm never too impressed when the first greeting is "can I help you?". It suggests you're maybe in the wrong place or perhaps you might like to rob the place. An alternative could be "what is somebody like you doing in a place like this?". Nevertheless after necessary 'pleasantries' were exchanged, I did finally get served. The interior is fairly small, with a number of different partitioned areas. The garden is nice, with plenty of tables and a children's play area. Ales all on handpull were Downlands √13 Pale Ale, Long Man Best Bitter, St Austell Proper Job, Fullers London Pride and the ubiquitous Harveys Sussex Best Bitter.

27 Jun 2016 19:30

The Good Yarn, Uxbridge

Made a return visit to the Good Yarn today. I felt it had a better ale selection than on previous visits - Weltons Come On England, Binghams Admiral & Doodle Stout, Hook Norton Yeastie Boys, Greene King Abbot, Sharps Doom Bar & Ruddles Best. Cider was Black Dragon. It was fairly busy with its usual fair share of shoppers. We grabbed a booth in the family area at the rear. One of the better pubs in Uxbridge.

25 Jun 2016 21:02

The Ferry Inn, Reedham

The Ferry is situated away from the rest of the village of Reedham and is next to the car ferry over the River Yare. We stopped here for Sunday dinner and a swift half. Ales were Woodfordes Wherry, Lacons Encore & the local Humpty Dumpty Swallowtail & Ferryman. We had earlier visited the Humpty Dumpty brewery shop in the village itself. Food was nice, if not a little expensive. Has plenty of seating indoors and some overlooking the river itself on a raised area. Nice location.

21 Jun 2016 21:50

The Lord Nelson, Reedham

Currently closed. Still looks like a pub. But not sure if it will re-open or not.

21 Jun 2016 21:46

The Ship, Reedham

The Ship enjoys a lovely location next to the River Yare, which is clearly popular with boaters on the Norfolk Broads. The garden overlooks the river and the railway swing bridge, which is interesting to watch open and close. The interior is nice too, with a small games room and a larger bar. Ales were Steam Box Golden Bolt, Wolf Edith Cavell & Adnams Bitter & Broadside.

21 Jun 2016 21:45

The St. John's Head, Great Yarmouth

The St John's Head was another good Yarmouth pub. Although the clientele did feel a little cliquey. The cosy interior has an old juke box playing rock music. Ale choice was good - Elgoods Cambridge Bitter & Double Swan, Adnams Tally-Ho & Mauldons Cuckoo. Cider was Addlestones. We moved on from here to the Tombstone Saloon, brewery tap for the Tombstone Brewery and with 10 ciders too. That was easily our favourite pub in Great Yarmouth, but is sadly not listed on here.

21 Jun 2016 21:41

The Talbot, Great Yarmouth

There was no longer any sign of a pub on this spot. I believe I identified the building. But it's no longer a pub anymore.

21 Jun 2016 21:36

Mariners Tavern, Great Yarmouth

Next up for us was the Mariners. I had high hopes and it didn't disappoint. There are 2 rooms - a popular front bar with loud music and a much quieter rear room with horse racing being shown. A selection of guitars suggested this is where live music possibly occurs. The barman was very friendly and knowledgeable. He was on his own, but doing a good job. Ales were Triple fff Goldfffinger, Saltaire Raspberry Blonde, Harveys Sussex Dark Mild, Mauldons Silver Adder, Greene King Abbot, Shepherd Neame Spitfire, Skinners Cornish Trawler, Woodfordes Nelson's Revenge, Oakham Bishop's Farewell & Acorn Barnsley Bitter. Ciders and perries are in the fridge behind the rear bar. But there are pumpclips in the rear bar. On Saturday afternoon, they had Westons Rosie's Pig Hand Brake (a very nice damson cider), Sandford Orchards Old Kirton & Mr Whiteheads Midnight Special, Novo Pyrus & Newton's Discovery. Recommended. But we were later to find an even better pub.

21 Jun 2016 21:33

Red Herring, Great Yarmouth

Backstreet pub that had no other customers when we arrived on a wet Saturday lunchtime. It was so wet that the roof between the bar and separate games room was leaking. Buckets were in situ. The small garden at the front is a little strange. You wouldn't fit too many people into it. But it wasn't quite the weather for outdoor drinking. Ales were Butcombe Bitter, Lacons Encore & Dark Star Hophead. Cider was Old Rosie. Pumpclips on the walls pointed to a good range of ales having been stocked. One other customer had entered by the time we arrived. A nice pub. But it probably feels very different when busier.

21 Jun 2016 21:26

Gallon Pot, Great Yarmouth

The Gallon Pot was the second of the Great Yarmouth pubs we visited. It re-opened around 6 months ago and is situated at the end of the Market Place. But we were surprised by how quiet it was on a Saturday evening. Nevertheless it ensured we had a quiet meal, which was good value for money and the diane sauce on the steak was sublime. Ales were less inspiring, with Marstons Pedigree, Lacons Hoptrick & Woodfordes Wherry on. Staff were friendly but under-worked. Deserves more custom. We moved on from here to the Oliver Twist, which was my favourite pub of our first day in the town. Whilst it's not listed on here, I will request it and it's well worth a visit for a great selection of ales and cider and a very strange clientele with lots of missing teeth!

21 Jun 2016 21:18

The Barking Smack, Great Yarmouth

The Barking Smack is on the seafront at Great Yarmouth. It is a single room with a large outdoor terrace at the front. Meals are served. But the options didn't seem too tempting. So we moved on elsewhere for food. Plenty of barstaff were available for serving. Three ales from Grain were on - Oak, Redwood & ThreeOneSix. They also stock a real cider from a box at the side of the bar. This was Kingfisher Farm Cider and went down very nicely. Not a bad pub. But I was surprised as to how good Great Yarmouth pubs were and there were better options.

21 Jun 2016 21:12

The Prince Albert, Twickenham

Fullers pub with a very convenient bus stop directly outside. On entering, there was a very tempting smell of oriental food. I initially thought it was Chinese. But it was in fact Thai. Ales are all from Fullers - Olivers Island, Pride, ESB & Ninety. Bar staff were friendly. European Championship football was on the TV. Not bad for a Fullers pub. But I did move on to the superior Sussex Arms after not too long.

15 Jun 2016 21:48

The Prince of Wales, Twickenham

Fairly pleasant locals pub with one large bar and what seemed like a smaller room at the rear to one side. There is a nice garden at the same side. The landlord appears to be Northern Irish. 4 ales were on - Weltons English Pride, Adnams Bitter, Timothy Taylor Golden Best & Twickenham Summer Sun. I tried the Weltons, which wasn't up to much. European Championship football was being shown on the TV. Makes a change from some of the local Fullers pub and I thought the ale range was similar to the nearby Riflemans. But for the best selection, head to the Sussex Arms.

15 Jun 2016 21:45

The Snowdrop, Lewes

The Snowdrop was my last and favourite pub of the day. It is situated in a residential area of Cliffe with a fairly dramatic chalk cliff backdrop. It's also next to a lengthy tunnel that leads to the other end of Lewes. The interior feels cosy. But there are plenty of tables crammed in. There are also 2 outdoor areas either side of the pub. Both have several tables too. The ale selection was good and was complemented by a good range of craft beers on keg. Yesterday they had Harveys Sussex Best Bitter, Burning Sky Aurora & Plateau, Downlands Twent Six Strong Pale Ale & Thirteen Pale Ale & 360 Degrees Pale Ale on cask. Cider was Seacider Medium. The best pub we tried in Lewes.

13 Jun 2016 19:41

The John Harvey Tavern, Lewes

The John Harvey Tavern is situated up a side street opposite the Harveys brewery and alongside the River Ouse. It's a fairly large place with a large bar area and an equally large dining area to the left as you walk in. There are a small number of tables just outside by the entrance door. Around 6 casks were behind the bar, all labelled with Harveys Sussex Best Bitter. On handpull there was also Armada Ale, Copperwheat Beer & Olympia Golden Ale. Unlike the Gardeners Arms, service here was with a smile.

13 Jun 2016 19:36

The Gardeners Arms, Lewes

I had high hopes for the Gardeners Arms. But it somehow failed to live up to expectations. It's a fairly small, single room bar that had a fairly sullen barmaid on my visit. Whilst she was smiling and laughing with locals, she adopted a fairly miserable attitude with me. When asked if they offered a CAMRA discount (as stated by their website), she said she didn't think so. So I've no idea if I got one. The ale range was impressive though - Oakham Bishop's Farewell, Burning Sky Aurora, Devil's Dyke Porter, Harveys Sussex Best Bitter, Crouch Vale Amarillo & Thornbridge 6 Weeks. Cider was Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. This seems a lovely little pub and it's just the kind of pub I normally love. But on this occasion, service appeared to be lacking. A good pub, but not the best in Lewes.

13 Jun 2016 19:33

Dorset Arms, Lewes

The Dorset is a Harveys pub overlooking the main parking area in Lewes, with the Harveys brewery also just across the car park. It had 4 of their ales on - Sussex Best Bitter, Sussex Dark Mils, Copper Wheat Beer & Olympia Golden Ale. The interior is centred around the bar. But there is another room in one corner at the front. This was empty on my visit. Most people were sat outside at the front admiring the car park. There is both covered and open air seating there. The least impressive of the Lewes pubs we visited.

13 Jun 2016 19:26

The Laughing Fish, Isfield

Greene King pub situated next to the Lavender Line, with its old preserved trains. Whilst some of the Greene King standards were on - Greene King IPA, Morland Old Golden Hen & Hardy and Hansons Olde Trip, there were also some guests - Isfield Imperial, Black Cat Hopsmack & Dark Star American Pale Ale. They also had 2 ciders - Westons Old Rosie & Seacider Medium. The interior is primarily set across 2 rooms. Although there is a third, smaller room next to the toilets, with a bar billiards table. To the side of the pub is a garden with a children's play area. Another good pub.

13 Jun 2016 19:22

The Alma, Uckfield

The Alma Arms is a really nice community pub located just to the south east of the lengthy High Street. It has a couple of rooms, with a function room and small garden at the rear. The function room was hosting a celebration for the Queen's birthday and the garden was full of kids using the play equipment. Ales were all from Harveys - Sussex Best Bitter, Sussex Dark Mild & Olympia Golden Ale. Finally I had also found a place with a real cider - Westons Rosie's Pig. A really friendly pub. Easily the best pub in the first half of my Sussex crawl.

13 Jun 2016 19:17

The Pig and Butcher, Five Ash Down

Harveys village pub. The room on the right is a games room with a pool table. The room on the left is a bar area, that leads into a separate dining section beyond. The 2 Harveys ales were Sussex Best Bitter & Sussex Champion. The interior is fairly non-descript. Some of the staff were tucking into Sunday lunches. Arguably the most disappointing of the 10 pubs we tried in East Sussex yesterday.

13 Jun 2016 19:12

The Hatch Inn, Colemans Hatch

After a game of Pooh sticks in Ashdown Forest (I kid you not), we traversed a ford and arrived at the very nicely located Hatch Inn. This place is tiny in all aspects. Getting through the door was a challenge, let alone getting to the bar. However there was a small room at the rear that was completely unoccupied. Tables were set up for diners. But there were none. The garden looked quite pleasant. But it wasn't quite the weather for outdoor drinking early yesterday afternoon. Inside, most of the locals (with their dogs) seemed upper class. Ales were Larkins Traditional, Harveys Sussex Best Bitter & Youngs Bitter. Not the best ale range. But the location scores this pub an extra point.

13 Jun 2016 19:08

The Hay Waggon Inn, Hartfield

This place is still intact. But it is no longer a pub. The Anchor is just opposite and still open.

13 Jun 2016 19:03

The Anchor Inn, Hartfield

A pleasant country pub with an unusual verandah in Winnie the Pooh country. The pub seemed a little geared to tourists with a table full of promotional leaflets for various attractions being the centre of attention. Ales were Larkins Traditional, Sambrooks Junction & Harveys Sussex Best Bitter. I was expecting real cider. But alas there was none. A few people were eating and there were locals drinking at the bar too. A slight improvement on the nearby Dorset Arms.

13 Jun 2016 19:02

The Dorset Arms, Withyham Hartfield

The Dorset Arms is quite an impressive building inside and out. It feels like an old manor house. But there is currently scaffolding and it wasn't immediately obvious whether or not it was open. But the barmaid was quite welcoming when we did go in. It's clearly popular for food, as we were immediately asked if we had booked a table. There is bar to the left as you walk in and a dining area to the right. The 3 ales were Harveys Sussex Best Bitter, Long Man Long Blonde & Adnams Bitter. Nice pub. But the ale selection was a little lacking.

13 Jun 2016 18:58

The Reckless Engineer, Bristol

We saw the Reckless Engineer when we had arrived at Temple Meads station earlier in the day. It looked like a bit of a dive. On our return and with 10-15 minutes before our train departure, it seemed a good idea to slip in a swift half. Two ales were Otter Ale & Wells Bombardier Burning Gold. The best cider I could see was Addlestones on keg. The interior was pretty basic, with not much in the way of decoration. There were few other customers in either, considering its prime location opposite the station. Pretty poor, but handy.

5 Jun 2016 18:52

The Seven Stars, Bristol

Please ignore my previous review - that should have been for the Three Tuns. The Seven Stars was quite a lively place quite close to the station. It was packed and a local band was in full swing, with plenty of songs about cider, which went down a treat. The ale choice was Prescott Hill Climb & Super 6, Yeovil Summerset, Plain Ales Bitter, Boss Six & Black Yeovil Stout Hearted. I know I had Ben Crossman Dry. But I believe there was probably a much larger selection. But by this point I was too drunk to care. Possibly the best pub I went to in Bristol yesterday. I certainly remember enjoying myself here. But I must endeavour to go back when much more sober.

5 Jun 2016 18:47

The Three Tuns, Hotwells

The Three Tuns was closed until 4pm yesterday, as it was close to the central riot zone and all of the police baracades. But I made the journey back here before starting my way towards the station. This is a larger pubs than it looks from the outside and has a courtyard garden. The ale range was mostly golden type beers - Vibrant Forest Vienna Rye Pale, Dorset Piddle Piddle, Arbor Motueka & Hoploader, Beerd Gambit, Black Flag El Dorado & Firebrand Graffiti IPA. Ciders were Westons Rosie's Pig & Worleys Mendip Hills. The latter cider was enjoyable. Another place offering CAMRA discounts and another good Bristol pub.

5 Jun 2016 18:42

The Famous Royal Navy Volunteer, Bristol

Another establishment where it is difficult to work out what is cask and what is keg. The interior was quite dark and dingy. But there is plenty of space and it stretches back a long way. I quite liked the beer barrel urinals in the gents. The full beer selection was Wiper & True Milk Shake, Brew By Numbers 11/15, The Kernel IPA, Hammerton Life On Mars, Gloucester Saison 2, Crafty Devil White Riot, Mondo May The Schwartz Be With You, Purity Lawless, Pure Gold & Mad Goose, Electric Bear Edison & Red, Boss Blaze & Buzz, Hawkshead Red, Vibrant Forest Black Forest & Siren Broken Dream. Ciders and perries were Hogans Pickers Passion, Soured Cider & Poachers Perry & Lilleys Stargazer. Wasn't overly impressed.

5 Jun 2016 18:39

Sublime, Bristol

I'm not quite sure what to make of the Small Bar. It's one of these modern craft beer places that dispense expensively-priced beers in third and two third glasses. There's a large beer menu behind the bar and there's no indication of which beers were cask and which were keg. Nevertheless the full selection was Left Handed Giant/Verdant Headlamp Stillwater Saison, Magic Rock Salty Kiss & Hire Wire Grapefruit, Cloudwater Old Garde Red Wine BA, Custard Porter & Clauseni Imperial Stout, Left Handed Giant Pilsner, Pale, USPA, Lactose Tolerant & Kolsssh, Northern Monk True North, Vocation Chop & Change, Tool Reparationsbajer, Rogue 7 Hop & Dead Hop Ale, Vibrant Forest Nova Foresta, Left Handed Giant/Wylam Ctr-Alt-Del & Kernel Dry Stout. Ciders were St Paul's Cidery Lucifer Dry & Sandford Orchards Devon Mist. The interior has a number of rooms spread over 2 floors. It's certainly not small. This was our first stop in the Beermuda Triangle.

5 Jun 2016 18:32

The Seven Stars, Bristol

The Seven Stars was closed until 4pm yesterday, as it was close to the central riot zone and all of the police baracades. But I made the journey back here before starting my way towards the station. This is a larger pubs than it looks from the outside and has a courtyard garden. The ale range was mostly golden type beers - Vibrant Forest Vienna Rye Pale, Dorset Piddle Piddle, Arbor Motueka & Hoploader, Beerd Gambit, Black Flag El Dorado & Firebrand Graffiti IPA. Ciders were Westons Rosie's Pig & Worleys Mendip Hills. The latter cider was enjoyable. Another place offering CAMRA discounts and another good Bristol pub.

5 Jun 2016 18:23

The River, Bristol

I struggled to find No. 1 Harbourside initially. It is part of a modern quayside development with many cafes and bars. This place is a modern bar too, with tables outside which were all occupied on this sunny afternoon. The ale range was good - Bristol Beer Factory It's Mild, Seven & Sorachi, Arbor Summit & New Bristol Brewery Super Natural. Cleeve Orchard Medium was the cider. Doesn't really have the atmosphere of a pub. But nevertheless this is a decent place to know about next to one of the ferry stops.

5 Jun 2016 18:17

The Bunch of Grapes, Bristol

After a visit to the Gryphon (rockers pub), I moved on to Smoke & Mirrors. This place has a quaint frontage and stretches back a fair way from the street. It's a pub that focuses on magic. But on this day, it appeared all of its customers had done a disappearing act. Not willing to join them, I drank up swiftly. 3 ales were on - Caledonian Deuchars IPA & Edinburgh Castle & St Austell Tribute. Disappointing.

5 Jun 2016 18:09

The Horse and Groom, Bristol

This place is now the Lime Kiln. It's another small, single bar Bristol pub with just a couple of other customers in. Luckily some of the anarchist protesters attempted to enter as we arrived. But I don't think their lager of choice was available. We were happy enough with the ale selection though - Staggeringly Good Veloci Rapture, Byatts American Brown Ale, Yeovil Star Gazer, Vibrant Forest Vienna Pale Ale, Church End EU & Fat Cat Porter. Cider was Sandford Orchards Devon Mist. A CAMRA discount is offered.

5 Jun 2016 18:03

The Hope and Anchor, Bristol

With some local hostelries closed due to some anarchist demonstrations, we decided to head up the hill to the Hope & Anchor where a beer festival was in progress. The interior is quite nice and at the rear is a garden on a hill where the beer festival beers (and ciders) were being served. The garden was very pleasant indeed in the early afternoon sunshine. Ales available were Alechemy Starhopper, Dark Star Hophead, Black Iris Bajan Breaskfast & Rise and Shine, Saltaire Trio, Bad Co. Honey Hi, Dorset Piddle Slasher, Red Squirrel Mad Squirrel IPA, Crate Rye, Bristol Beer Factory Bristol Export, Good Chemistry Big Bang, New Bristol Brewery Supernatural, Gloucester Mosaic & Glamorgan Welsh Pale. Ciders and perries were Brislington Brain Twister, Hecks Vintage Dry, Thistly Cross Whisky Cask, Sandford Orchards Devon Red, Original Cider Company Pheasant, Westons Family Reserve, Lilleys Red Rabbit & Somerset Scrumpy & Worleys Red Hen. CAMRA discounts can be had. Although the barman at the festival counter was struggling to add up the price as it was and ended up a bit flummoxed. Another excellent Bristol hostelry.

5 Jun 2016 17:57

The Bag O' Nails, Bristol

The Bag Of Nails is a small place with not much room to swing a cat. In fact, the first thing you notice when you walk in is the smell of cat urine and you'll soon see the moggies asleep in their beds on the bar. As a cat owner, I wasn't too bothered. But I could imagine it being a bit off-putting for some. Nevertheless this is a fantastic little pub with a good ale selection - Tapstone Kush Kingdom, Three Daggers Dagger Edge, Flying Monk Habit, Fixed Wheel Blackheath Stout, Bad Co Wild Gravity, Crate Brewer's Tap & Vibrant Forest Session IPA. The cider was Ashridge Elderflower Cider dispensed from a handpull with a Babycham pumpclip. Music is played from a record player. The décor is fairly gaudy. Recommended.

5 Jun 2016 17:48

The Orchard Inn, Bristol

The Orchard was the first stop on a crawl of Bristol. It's a backstreet boozer located on a side street on Spike Island, near to the SS Great Britain and just a short ferry ride away from Hotwells and Clifton. A number of ales are served on gravity - Prescott Chequered Flag, Bath Gem, Box Steam Piston Broke, Otter Bitter & St Austell Tribute & Proper Job. But the real draw are the ciders and perries. Some are on handpull. But the majority are fetched directly from the cellar. There is a blackboard at the side of the bar displaying the full list, which comprised Westons Old Rosie, Thatchers Traditional & Cheddar Valley, Orchards Cider, Cornish Orchards Mulled Cider, Severn Cider Hendre Huffcap Perry, Dry Cider & Sweet Cider, Hecks Yarlington Mill & Blakeney Red Perry, Hancocks Dry & Sweet, Handmade Fire Starter & Springtime Surprise, Thistly Cross Whisky Cask, Wessex Medium & Dry, Beard And Sabre Cider, Haywood Farm Dry & Sweet, Gloucestershire Chisel Jersey, Dorset Nectar Medium, New Forest Dry & Sweet, Ham Hill Medium, Countryman Medium & Ventons Dry. With a long crawl ahead, I only had the chance to try two. But I'm sure I'll be back one day to get through some more. The bar itself is fairly simple. It is a single room, with a couple of tables out the front. It is clearly a music pub too. The landlord and barmaid were friendly and knowledgeable. A number of bar snacks are served, such as Scotch Eggs, which were very nice. Situated on a bit of a limb, being away from the main Bristol pub areas. But well worth seeking out.

5 Jun 2016 17:37

RSVP, Camberley

This place has reverted to being called The Cambridge Hotel. It is at the northern end of the High Street at its junction with the A30. Whilst I still think it has accommodation, I think this is the last place I would choose to stay at. The barman was quite brash and the rowdy locals appeared to take great delight in ringing a bell each time somebody broke wind. Tables were filthy. Toilets were slightly cleaner. Ales were Ghost Ship & Doom Bar. It now bills itself as a nightclub, which I doubt helps those in the accommodation. On the plus side, prices are cheap.

31 May 2016 20:33

The Claude Du Vall, Camberley

Camberley has one long High Street with a number of pubs. I think I did the two pubs at the furthest ends. The Claude du Vall is a Wetherspoons at the southern end, nextdoor to and opposite what looked like a couple of rough establishments, judging by the clientele outside. This pub is fairly small by 'spoons standards. The windows at the front open completely to make it a little nicer during the summer months. I believe there was also an outdoor courtyard to the side. Ales were Greene King Abbot, Sharps Doom Bar, Ruddles Best, Dark Star Revelation, Oakham JHB, Twickenham Summer Sun, Surrey Hills Greensand IPA & Ascot Aureole Ale. Cider was Old Rosie. Service was friendly and for once they accepted a CAMRA voucher for a pint of cider. A better than average Wetherspoons and probably the best pub in the town.

31 May 2016 20:29

The Rose and Thistle, Frimley Green

The Rose & Thistle looks like the best pub in a town I'd only really ever heard of due to the darts. True to my perceptions, there was a guy playing darts. A fairly busy pub with more people outside than inside. But it did have a good selection of ales and excellent service by a barmaid who was patient and clearly knowledgeable about the ales. The selection on cask was Celt Experience Otherworld Batch II: Pale, Rudgate Dick Firkin & Sharps Doom Bar. Tasting notes were on a blackboard. They also had some interesting keg options. The interior is plain and simple. Nice place.

31 May 2016 20:22

The Swan, Ash Vale

The Swan is a Chef & Brewer establishment hidden away along the canal, a little way off the main road through Ash Vale. With its location, it was predictably popular on a nice bank holiday Sunday, especially the outdoor area. Not everybody was there for their meals. Drinks were expensive and I've been to Chef & Brewer pubs with better selections. Nevertheless, they did have Courage Directors, Greene King IPA & Mucky Duck & Hop Art Hoppy Blonde. I later discovered a handpull with Westons Old Rosie just around the side. Service was very slow. One barmaid who was serving walked off after I had been waiting for 5 minutes. She obviously something more important to do. But then at least she could have at least apologised for having to walk away. Perhaps a little training is in order. Nice enough chain pub spoiled by poor service and high prices.

31 May 2016 20:14

Napiers, Ash Vale

Napiers is a real local establishment. The small bar is L-shaped. There is a pool table in a separate room at one end. Forty Niner was the real ale option. The car park is a little strange. If it was full, there would be at least a couple of cars completely boxed in. There's nothing particularly special about this pub. But the barmaid was friendly and bubbly.

31 May 2016 20:08

The Dover Arms, Ash

Now a used car lot.

31 May 2016 20:04

The Good Intent, Puttenham

The Good Intent is situated in another lovely Surrey village. I was expecting to find a beer festival here, as they normally have one over the late bank holiday weekend. But a sign on the blackboard revealed that it had been postponed due to a fire in an outbuilding. The ale selection was disappointing with all but one being national brands - Sharps Doom Bar, Courage Directors, Otter Bitter, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Black Sheep Best Bitter & Hogs Back TEA. Most people seemed to be drinking in the garden at the rear. I was the only person left inside. A little disappointing.

31 May 2016 20:03

The Royal Oak, Wood Street

The Royal Oak was my favourite pub of 11 I sampled in Guildford on Sunday. Although I think the presence of a cider festival influenced my decision! Whilst there were only 4 real ciders, it was good to see what seemed to be a locals pub promoting the real stuff and also to see the locals fully engaging and trying each of them. The 4 available were also rarely seen in these parts - Cornwall Cider Company Mango, Lime & Ginger Fruit Cider, Cornish Orchards Vintage, Lyme Bay Eventide & Hogans Panking Pole. I went for the one I hadn't previously tried - the Eventide, which was nice. Ales were not quite so adventurous, with just Ringwood Razor Back & Forty Niner & Marstons Pedigree available. What looks like a small garden at the side opens up into a large space with a children's play house. A barbecue was very popular. But a 10 minute wait for a burger put me off. The interior is small, but cosy. Lovely pub with hospitable hosts.

31 May 2016 19:55

Rodboro Buildings, Guildford

The Rodboro Buildings is a landmark Guildford building at a busy traffic junction near the centre of the town. Inside, is a rambling Wetherspoons with a few distinct drinking areas over 2 floors. The effect is modern, with exposed ducting. With so much space and even with plenty of customers, it didn't feel busy. Bar staff do a good job of serving people quickly. The ale selection was Sharps Doom Bar, Greene King IPA & Abbot, Firebird American Pale Ale, Hogs Back TEA, Everards/Mad Fox Defender, Gold Mark Liquid Gold, Triple fff Alton's Pride & Little Beer Corporation Little Haka. Ciders were Orchard Pig The Hogfather & Westons Old Rosie. Certainly one of the better pubs in Guildford.

31 May 2016 19:46

The Stoke, Guildford

Moving away from the Surrey Hills and its over-inflated prices, I arrived at a couple of better priced pubs in Guildford. The Stoke is on the outskirts. But that doesn't stop the car park filling up with shoppers. It's a pay and display affair. But it was clear that not all of the owners were in the pub. The Stoke doubles up as a pizza place. But I wouldn't class it as a gastropub. It certainly has a good selection of ales. On Sunday, it was Plain Ales Mayday, Innocence & Sheep Dip, Red Squirrel Hopfest, Slaters Queen Bee, Little Beer Corporation Little S.O.B. & Greene King IPA. On closer inspection, this is part of the Greene King chain. But you wouldn't know. I was hoping for real cider. But none were available. When I asked, the foreign barman offered me Aspalls or Kopparberg. I went for the Mayday instead, which was good. I think this could be my favourite pub in Guildford so far.

31 May 2016 19:41

The Onslow Arms, West Clandon

The Onslow Arms looked like a fairly unassuming roadside pub at first glance. But then I entered the car park and found an area with around 100 cars parked and an overspill area with countless more. The pub itself is a rambling affair with a number of rooms. It's clearly another place that is more of a restaurant than a pub. But there was a pleasant patio area at the rear which seemed more popular for drinkers. Unfortunately I was driving and drivers appear to be penalised here. £4 for a cranberry juice makes this one of the most expensive places I have ever been to. Ales were Caledonian Onslow Arms Ale, Surrey Hills Shere Drop, Little Beer Corporation & Sharps Cornish Coaster. There were also some posh-type lagers seemingly available. But I did watch one toff try to order one which was not available. His second choice was unavailable too. At that point it was easier for the barman to inform him of what was actually available! Nice pub. But I can only award a 4/10 for the completely unrealistic pricing. I wish I had declined to pay and walked out as £4 for a fruit juice is lunacy, Surrey or not.

31 May 2016 19:33

The Abinger Hatch, Abinger Common

The Abinger Hatch is set deep in the Surrey Hills. You pass through a wooded area to get here and at the summit of a hill, you find a small village with the pub opposite the church. It seems to be primarily a dining pub for the wealthy local residents. But there were 4 real ales and a nice beer garden in which to sup them. Ringwood Razor Back, Hop Art IPA, Langham LSD & Cottage Conquest was the choice. No real cider was on offer, to clear up previous comments. But maybe availability is seasonal. Popular with the huge number of cyclists in the area. Worth a visit for the setting alone.

31 May 2016 19:26

The Old Cannon Brewery, Bury St Edmunds

This was our final pub of the night and another brewpub. The brewing equipment is near the entrance at the side of the bar. Staff are very professional and know their stuff. This is an old building. But the interior feels very clinical and lacks atmosphere. There is accommodation just across the courtyard. Ales from Old Cannon were Best Bitter, Gunner's Daughter & Rusty Gun. I wasn't overly impressed with my Gunner's Daughter. Guest ales were Woodfordes Reedlighter & Adnams Broadside.

23 May 2016 20:39

The Beerhouse, Bury St Edmunds

The Beerhouse was the first of two pubs for us in Bury St Edmunds. It has a fairly modern interior and appears to be the tap room for the Brewshed Brewery, which is just opposite. From them, there was Best Bitter, American Blonde & Pale Ale. Guests were Corvedale Norman's Pride, Wolf Golden Jackal, Raw Blonde Pale Ale & Humpty Dumpty Little Sharpie. Ciders were Abrahalls Lily The Pink & Thundering Molly & Harry Taylor's Crooked Branch