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BITE user comments - blue_scrumpy

Comments by blue_scrumpy

The Imperial, Exeter

Having just criticised Wetherspoon's in my last review, the roles seemed to be reversed in Exeter. This was a very enjoyable visit to this branch of the chain. The Imperial is huge. I thought I'd found the main bar, only to find a much bigger bar in the so-called orangery. The full ale range across the 2 bars was Hanlon's Yellow Hammer, Kirkstall Dissolution IPA, Greene King IPA & Abbot, Sharp's Doom Bar, Milestone Fletchers, Morland Old Speckled Hen, Walker White Gold, Bowman's Wallops Wood, Hunter's Black Jack, Otter Ale & Exmoor Beast. The real cider range was very impressive - Snail's Bank Yuzu, Mango Cider, Black Forest, Raspberry Ripple, Orchard Dry, Banoffee Pie & Appley Dappley, Barbourne Tangerine Dream, Thatcher's Stan's Cheddar Valley, Hunt's Hazy Dazy & Elf's Tipple, Thistly Cross Whisky Cask & Purbeck Cider Company Katy Perry. The place was absolutely packed with students from the nearby Exeter University. They all seemed to be having a final hurrah before vacating the university due to the coronavirus fears. This was a very good example of a Wetherspoon's and was a fitting last pub before what I presume will be a hiatus of a few months. Adieu for now.

17 Mar 2020 21:31

The Great Western Hotel, Exeter

With just time to take in a couple of pubs in Exeter, before leaving Devon and with the Thatched House Inn closed on a Sunday evening, my first stop was the Great Western Hotel, next to Exeter St David's station. There's a good range of ales here. But, they were all pale ales - Thirst Class Magnum Pale, Exeter Avocet Ale, Orkney Northern Light, Skinner's Chapel Rock, Salcombe Devon Amber, Quantock Nice Try & Dartmoor Jail Ale. Locals were crowded around the bar. Others seemed a bit uncouth. I followed one guy out of the gents who was not interested in washing his hands. He then proceeded to use some fairly flowery language whilst criticising various politicians. Seemingly an outstanding model of the community! I didn't quite take to this pub. Whilst, it has a good range of interesting beers, there was a lack of differing styles and the clientele were more like the ones you'd find in a Wetherspoon's.

17 Mar 2020 21:24

The Poacher's Inn, Ide

Friendly village pub, with a lovely, cosy interior. Locals were having a philosophical debate about the short-term future of the country, given the arrival of coronavirus. They were interested to hear from somebody who was out of town and trying to visit every pub in the country. Sadly, I think my quest may become too easy soon. But I really hope that village locals like this survive the current crisis, as they are integral to our heritage. The ale range was good - Branscombe Vale Branoc, Exeter Tomahawk & Darkness, Salcombe Lifesaver & South Hams Eddystone. The Darkness was the first dark beer I'd seen all weekend in what was my 23rd pub!

17 Mar 2020 21:17

The Manor Inn, Exeter

Rural pub where it appears that you cannot get a beer in the evening. Despite it being only around 7pm on a Sunday evening, the pub was in darkness. My best guess is that it still opens. Although the opening hours are clearly unpredictable. As we arrived, a vehicle was pulling away. I'm not sure if this was the owners or whether it was the last customer who had just left. Either way, we'll have to try to come back here one day to see what it is like, assuming it is open.

17 Mar 2020 21:12

Palk Arms, Hennock

What a wonderful out of the way village Hennock is and the village pub is probably the jewel in its crown. We appeared to be the first visitors of the evening. But the young barman offered a friendly welcome. Just the 2 real ales were on - Dartmoor Dragon's Breath & Teignworthy Lifesaver. They also had Hunt's Hazy Dazy as the real cider. Apparently there are lovely views from the rear. But it was too dark to enjoy these. Still a really atmospheric pub though.

17 Mar 2020 21:09

The Victoria Inn, Ashburton

The last time we were in Ashburton in 2012, we missed this pub. But seeing it is now in the Good Beer Guide, we were eager to pay it a visit this time. The Victoria has a lovely location with the River Ashburn running directly behind the rear door. A bridge crosses the river to the garden and car park. The welcome was warm. Dartmoor Jail Ale is the regular beer. Black Sheep Best Bitter was the guest. A real cider occupies the third handpull. This was Sandford Orchards Devon Mist. We enjoyed a complimentary jacket potato with our drink, whilst listening to live music. Very nice place.

17 Mar 2020 21:03

Abbey Inn, Buckfast

St Austell pub situated just above the River Dart, which was flowing with some ferocity on Sunday afternoon. From the terrace, you can see Buckfast Abbey. Inside, there was a live band in the small bar area. There is a larger room beyond that, where a few were seeking a quieter drinking experience. But even that was too noisy. So, we took to the terrace. Ordering a drink was a particular problem, given the noise. But the ale selection was limited to Tribute, Proper Job & Abbey Best.

17 Mar 2020 20:59

The White Hart, Buckfastleigh

Buckfastleigh is a lovely small town, with a handful of pubs. The White Hart appears to be one of the better ones. But it was quiet on our late Sunday afternoon visit and the solitary real ale was Hunter's Half Bore. But they did also have Winkleigh Sam's Medium cider, which I availed myself of. Gents toilets are outside at the rear.

17 Mar 2020 20:55

The Royal Oak, South Brent

This place has recently re-opened as the Station House Hotel. It feels like more of a café than a pub/bar. But they still serve a couple of ales from the Dartmoor brewery - IPA & Jail Ale. A third handpull had Sandford Orchards Devon Red. We enjoyed some nice cake with our drinks - very civilised! Staff were friendly and offer table service.

17 Mar 2020 20:51

The Turtley Corn Mill, Avonwick

More of a dining pub than a drinkers' pub, our only choice was to sit at the bar, as all tables were laid out for diners and there were people waiting for them. This is a fairly large place with a large waterwheel outside, in addition to at least one peacock wandering around and several other interesting features. It did all feel a little pretentious though and prices weren't cheap. Staff were mostly friendly though. 4 ales were on - Otter Ale, St Austell Tribute, Dartmoor Best & Salcombe Gold.

17 Mar 2020 20:48

Avon Inn, South Brent

First stop of a Sunday tour through Devon was this village pub. We fancied a Sunday roast and whilst the lounge/restaurant was full, we were invited to eat in the traditional bar. The 3 real ales were Bass & Dartmoor Legend & Jail Ale. There were also 4ciders - Sandford Orchards The General, Devon Red & Devon Scrumpy & Hunt's Wobbler, in addition to Black Rat Perry. Lunch was nice and it was washed down nicely by the perry. Good, busy place.

17 Mar 2020 20:43

The Crab and Ale House, Truro

My final stop of the night in Truro was this pub, which is now called the White Hart. I'd passed earlier on and decided to give it a miss, as it was so noisy. People had spilled into a yard at the rear. By the time I decided to give it a try sometime after midnight, the outside area was closed, presumably part of its licensing agreement. Nevertheless, it was still noisy, if not noisier still. The atmosphere couldn't have been further from that described in the last review. Once past the bouncer, I had to fight my way to the bar to find the uninspiring selection of Proper Job, Sea Fury & London Pride. I ended up with a Thatcher's Haze. With nowhere to sit, I was thrust into the middle of the pub, where there was much jostling, lots of drunkenness and plenty of dancing too. People seemed to spilling more of their drinks than they were consuming. The clientele appeared to be mainly in the 40's and 50's. Despite this being my 15th pub of the day, I seemed to be the only sober customer. This was far too noisy for me. But it clearly serves a purpose for some.

17 Mar 2020 20:25

Try Dowr, Truro

Despite being quite late at night, I was expecting this Wetherspoon's to be much busier. With a nearby cocktail bar reportedly testing customers for the coronavirus, this wasn't a normal Saturday evening though. I had my choice of seating in here. Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharp's Doom Bar were supplemented by Skinner's Betty Stogs, Porthleven & Lushington's, as well as Ringwood Boon Doggle. Ciders were Weston's Old Rosie, Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon & Cornwall Cider Company Apple Slayer. Nice to enjoy a quieter drink in a 'spoon' than normal.

17 Mar 2020 20:17

The William IV, Truro

Another quiet St Austell pub in Truro city centre. But that may have been due to it being almost midnight. Nevertheless, bouncers had no problem letting me in. Service was friendly. The 3 ales were Tribute, Proper Job & Hicks. Not having tried the Hicks before, I gave that a go and it quickly became my favourite St Austell brew. It is a pity it is seldom found outside of Cornwall. Decent place.

17 Mar 2020 20:13

The Bunters Bar, Truro

Busy and noisy bar that is more of a nightclub than a pub/bar. Nevertheless, with most people on a dancefloor, I soon managed to get served and quickly secured a table. There are many screens to show live sport. But with coronavirus decimating the sporting programme, there was only UFC on the TVs. Service was pleasant and there were 4 real ales on offer - St Austell Tribute & Cornish Best & Bath Gem & March Hare. I had the latter, which was hoppy, but good. Not really my kind of place. But not too bad at all.

17 Mar 2020 20:09

The Wig and Pen, Truro

St Austell Brewery pub in what was a much quieter part of the city. Only a couple of other groups were in, leaving the barmaid looking quite bored. On the plus side, it was the only pub of 6 I tried in the city without a bouncer or two on the door. Tribute & Proper Job are the 2 ales. I ignored these and went for a Rattler.

17 Mar 2020 20:05

The Old Ale House, Truro

My first stop in Truro was the Old Ale House. It was my favourite pub of the day, having sampled 15 in Cornwall over the course of Saturday. The pub was heaving and a coronavirus expert's worst nightmare. It was hot and noisy, with a live band playing. People were packed in elbow to elbow. The bare boards are littered with disposed nut shells, as complimentary monkey nuts are offered. With the bar so packed and noisy, it was difficult to see what was available and also difficult to make yourself heard. The pub is owned and operated by Skinner's. So, the ale range was exclusively from the brewery - Betty Stogs, Lushington's, Porthleven, Hops 'n' Honey, Sennen, Cornish Knocker & Chapel Rock. Real ciders were available from the Cornwall Cider Company - Apple Slayer, MLG, Rhubarb & Custard Cider, Lyonesse & Spisa Mor. All real ciders were priced as £4.70 a pint. But, with a 10% CAMRA discount, it was only £4.23. I stopped for 3, before I finally decided to leave before I overheated and other pubs closed. I'd very much like to return on a much quieter evening.

17 Mar 2020 19:59

The Falmouth Arms, Truro

The Falmouth Arms is now more of a restaurant than a pub. But it still caters for local drinkers. I believe the chef has a Michelin star. It's not the sort of place I'd normally choose to eat in. But having perused the menu and secured a table (you normally have to book), we chose to stay and eat. The food was very enjoyable. But as I say, it was all fairly quiet. The resident bird was creating the most noise. The interior was well appointed and staff were friendly. Legend is the regular ale. Tribute was the guest. Opening times are limited to evenings only, apart from afternoon opening on a Sunday. It is located in a tranquil village, not too far from Truro. Definitely worth a visit.

17 Mar 2020 19:50

The Western Inn, St Austell

Quiet St Austell Brewery pub downhill from and outside of the town centre. The kitchen was closed on our Saturday evening visit, which may have been the reason why it was so quiet. Tribute & Cornish Best were their solitary real ales. Fairly average place.

17 Mar 2020 19:45

The Rann Wartha, St Austell

Busy Wetherspoon's hidden away in the deserted town centre of St Austell. It was a struggle to find a table. The standard 'spoon's selection of Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharp's Doom Bar were on. As the previous review states, there are also 2 guests. On my visit, these were Great Newsome Prickly Back Otchan & Brains The Rev James. There were also 3 real ciders - Weston's Old Rosie, Thistly Cross Whisky Cask & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. There is a pay and display car park close by. Probably the best option in St Austell.

17 Mar 2020 19:41

The Royal Inn, Par

Nice pub with a fairly modern interior directly opposite Par railway station. Sharp's Doom Bar is the regular ale here. The guest was St Ives Boiler's. It is fairly open-plan and seemingly attracts a fairly wide-range of customers, including local workers, travellers and families. It was fairly busy, especially compared to our next stop, which was the Packhorse Inn at St Blazey (another not listed on BITE).

17 Mar 2020 19:36

Par Inn, Par

Apologies. Have just realised that I've posted for the wrong pub. This review was meant for the Royal Inn.

17 Mar 2020 19:36

Par Inn, Par

Nice pub with a fairly modern interior directly opposite Par railway station. Sharp's Doom Bar is the regular ale here. The guest was St Ives Boiler's. It is fairly open-plan and seemingly attracts a fairly wide-range of customers, including local workers, travellers and families. It was fairly busy, especially compared to our next stop, which was the Packhorse Inn at St Blazey (another not listed on BITE).

17 Mar 2020 19:35

The New Inn, Tywardreath

The New Inn was my 4th pub of 25 in Devon & Cornwall over the weekend. None of the first 3 (Rising Sun Inn at Botus Fleming, Bull's Head at Callington and Cheesewring Hotel at Minions) are listed on BITE and seemingly cannot be added. I quite liked the New Inn. It's a prominent village local with a cosy interior with a couple of rooms. The 4 regular ales are Bass & St Austell Tribute, Proper Job & Trelawny. A guest beer on gravity was Keltek Lance. The big drawback for me was that the Lance was fairly undrinkable. In fact, it was the worst drink I had over the weekend. Whilst I should have returned it, we were already running late to our B & B. So, there simply wasn't the time to get another. I'm sure I was just unlucky, as the pub itself was nice and service was also good.

17 Mar 2020 19:28

Bulls Head Inn, Fordington

Situated in the village-like part of Dorchester known as Fordington, the Bull's Head was occupied by a typical post-work group of drinkers who were either congregated around the bar or playing pool. Tribute & Trelawny were the real ales, with Lilley's Sunset cider occupying another handpull. I later noticed three more Lilley's ciders listed on a board behind the bar - Rhubarb Cider, Pineapple Cider & Elderflower Cider. These would presumably have been fetched from boxes in the cellar. The interior of this pub is very basic. But it is certainly a lively place. I imagine that it gets busy when sporting events are being shown on the TV. Items behind the bar suggest that the landlord/landlady is an Arsenal fan.

12 Mar 2020 20:23

Bakers Arms, Dorchester

Marston's pub in a residential area next to the railway station. Ringwood Best Bitter was on. But the ale range was slightly more varied than most Marston's pubs with Ringwood Best, Courage Directors, Young's Bitter & Wychwood Dirty Tackle also on. They also had Cheddar Valley cider. The pub is fairly cosy and is split over a couple of levels. Near the bar are some old baker's ovens left over from the premises use as a bakehouse. It was quiet, with just a couple of customers. But it hadn't long opened (only open at evenings during the week). Not a bad pub at all.

12 Mar 2020 20:19

Convivial Rabbit, Dorchester

The Convivial Rabbit is Dorchester's micropub. It's hidden down an alleyway. It had a good selection of ales and ciders. But it didn't offer the warmest of welcomes. Ales are dispensed by gravity from behind the bar. There was a Norfolk bias to the beers - Lacon's Norfolk Gem, Stealth Double Crosser, Elmtree Best, Twisted Fly Half & Wold Woild Moild. Ciders and perries are dispensed from boxes on the bar. They had Cranborne Chase Dry, Bridge Farm Medium Dry, Dorset Star Sunset & West Milton Pear Necessity. I would certainly visit again. But from my last visit to Dorchester 3 years ago, I would say that the Blue Raddle is the better pub. Ironically, I think it was the landlord of the Raddle who was drinking in the Convivial Rabbit on my midweek afternoon visit.

12 Mar 2020 20:11

Duchess of Cornwall, Poundbury

Poundbury is a model town developed to the west of Dorchester itself. It's a strangely artificial kind of place. But it does at least have a pub to encourage a community feel. I don't think I could afford to live here though. Just a soft drink for me, as I was driving. But £3.10 for a soft drink seemed excessive. Service from the young staff was pretty much take it or leave it. The interior is fairly grand and is situated over 2 floors with a central staircase. There are lots of armchairs. Being a Hall & Woodhouse pub, the ale range was limited to Badger Best Bitter, Fursty Ferret & Tanglefoot, in addition to a seasonal ale - From The Forager. An experience. But probably not one that I would repeat.

12 Mar 2020 20:04

The Crown Inn, Bridport

The Crown is another Palmer's pub, on a busy roundabout at the southern edge of Bridport. 4 of their ales were on - Dorset Gold, Copper Ale, IPA & 200. Real cider was lacking. Locals seemed like a jovial bunch. Although, some of them appeared to have been there for a while. The single room was fairly large, whilst maintaining a cosy feel.

12 Mar 2020 19:59

Pursuit of Hoppiness, Bridport

Micropub on the main shopping street and probably Bridport's best pub. Although, it's been a while since I've been in some of the others. Ales are dispensed by handpull, with casks being visible through the window behind the bar. Ales were The Brew Shack 8 Grain Porter & Bill's Bitter, Brighton Bier South Coast, Siren Suspended In Equanot, Top Rope Sweet Beans Are Made of These & Quantock SLO. In addition, there was a good range of ciders - Dorset Nectar Wildcat, Old Harry Rocks & Sweet Maiden, West Milton Midnight Stumbler, Dorset Sunrise & Dorset Twilight & Bollhayes Half A-Sec. I'd not seen the Bollhayes cider before. So, I opted for that. It was the strongest and probably the driest. A CAMRA discount made it even more palateable. Staff were friendly. This is another decent micropub.

12 Mar 2020 19:55

The Ropemakers, Bridport

It's been over 12 years since I was last in Bridport and I'd forgotten how Palmer's dominate the pub scene. The Ropemakers Arms is situated on the town's main street and is probably one of the better Palmer's pubs. Almost the full range of their ales was on - Copper Ale, Dorset Gold, IPA & Tally Ho! The 200 was being pulled through. Their Dorset Orchards First Press was also on. The pub is fairly dark inside and there are tables in a number of different seating areas. There was a good mix of both drinkers and diners.

12 Mar 2020 19:48

Oddfellows Arms, Bridport

The Oddfellows is a real locals' pub situated uphill to the north of Bridport. The barmaid was accompanied by 3 local men at the bar. It felt like a scene out of Last of the Summer Wine, albeit at the wrong end of the country. All of them had a fairly dry sense of humour and were discussing the daily news that was being shown on the TV at the end of the bar. Discussion items involved coronavirus, the budget and the Cheltenham festival. The barmaid was pulling pints in between pealing potatoes and doing the vacuuming. The 2 Palmer's ales were Copper Ale & IPA. They also had Dorset Orchards First Press, which she appeared to be fetching from a cellar for the one guy. The single room has table skittles near the window. A really down-to-earth local that is a good example of a bygone era.

12 Mar 2020 19:23

The Anchor Inn, Burton Bradstock

There was no talk about coronavirus in this village pub. All of the clientele except myself were there for the food. They were all more interested in what the day's catch from the English Channel was, i.e. what would shortly be on their plates. Doom Bar & Jail Ale were the 2 real ales. But I was drawn to the Cheddar Valley, which was an unexpected bonus. Another nice Dorset pub.

12 Mar 2020 19:16

The Three Horseshoes, Burton Bradstock

The village of Burton Bradstock was somewhat busier than normal on my Wednesday lunchtime visit. With the nearby A35 closed, nearly all traffic was passing through what is normally a picturesque village near the south coast. The pub itself is thatched. I arrived at this Palmer's pub at midday in time for its opening. 5 Palmer's ales were on - 200, Copper Ale, Dorset Gold, Tally Ho! & IPA. In addition, their real cider Dorset Orchards First Press was on. Staff were bright and cheerful. Whilst I was there, a number of groups arrived, some just for drinks, with some looking to dine. The better of the 2 pubs in the village.

12 Mar 2020 19:11

East Putney Tavern, Putney

The East Putney Tavern was our final stop of the night. We'd just been to the fairly new Ghost Whale bottle shop and bar. Whilst not listed on BITE, it was excellent. The East Putney Tavern has a modern feel. It is set on different levels and had 2 real ales - Oakham Citra & West Berkshire Good Old Boy. My companions finished off the Citra, whilst I opted for the Good Old Boy. Handy for East Putney tube, I wouldn't rule this place out for a future visit.

9 Mar 2020 19:28

The Boathouse, Putney

Young's pub that has a nice location on the banks of the river. I'd imagine location is its main selling point. Young's Bitter & Cityscape was supplemented by St Austell Proper Job. My Cityscape was nothing special. Probably best visited in the summer.

9 Mar 2020 19:21

The Rocket , Putney

I used to like this branch of Wetherspoon's. It was the better of the two in Putney, until the Railway closed. Yesterday evening's visit was however disappointing. The place is about to close for a refurbishment. As such, they were running down the real ale stock. There were just 2 ales on - Nelson Shipwrecked & Nottingham Legend. We later discovered Thistly Cross Whisky Cask cider in the fridge. The pub was still fairly busy. The Shipwrecked was nice enough.

9 Mar 2020 19:19

The Larrik, Putney Bridge

Once again, this is called the King's Arms. We initially went into the Temperance on the other side of the junction. In hindsight, we should have stayed there, instead of walking out and trying the King's Arms. This is a Wadworth pub serving 6X, Henry's IPA, Horizon & Swordfish. They also had St Austell Proper Job. I went for the Swordfish and instantly regretted it. Vinegar wasn't the word. Rather than argue the toss, I drank what I could before we moved on. The pub itself had some watching the football, some dining and others like us just drinking. I'm sure Wadworth ales would be better appreciated in Wiltshire.

9 Mar 2020 18:56

Aragon House, Parsons Green

I'm not sure what to make of this place. With bouncers on the door, a children's birthday party, a few football fans and a clientele that were clearly quiet monied, there was a strange mix of people. Drinks were being served in plastic glasses and also in short measures. Fuller's London Pride, Sambrook's Wandle & Adnams Ghost Ship were on, alongside something called Parson's Pale Ale (possibly Sambrook's Pumphouse Pale). The interior is well appointed. But there was nothing that would possibly encourage me back.

9 Mar 2020 18:51

The White Horse, Parsons Green

My last stops before a match at Stamford Bridge were the Blue Boat and the Craft Beer Co in Hammersmith. The former is not listed on BITE and the latter won't accept new reviews. Our next stop was the White Horse. It was packed with the post-football crowd, in addition to plenty of people in to watch the Six Nations rugby match between Scotland and France. We retreated to the outdoor patio, complete with heaters. Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter & Oakham JHB are the regular ales. Guests were Marble Pint, Great Heck Dave, Five Points Brick Field Brown, Redemption Kazbek & Burning Sky Plateau. There is still no real cider.

9 Mar 2020 18:45

The Hop Poles, Hammersmith

The Hop Poles was my first new pub of the day. With Doom Bar, Atlantic & London Pride on, I went instead for a keg cider. The interior has a large, central bar and high ceilings. Large windows look out over King Street and there is some nice glasswork. Not a place I'd target in future, it was at least open on a Sunday morning.

9 Mar 2020 18:23

The Swan, Hammersmith

The Swan appears to have gone downhill since my last visit. The pub still has a nice interior. But the ale range is diminished and didn't encourage me to linger long. Sharp's Doom Bar is a fixture alongside St Austell Nicholson's Pale Ale. Guests were St Austell Trelawny, Black Sheep Best Bitter, Adnams Ghost Ship & Camden On-Sea & Brew York Turtle Eclipse of the Heart. There were no dark beers on offer. A little disappointing.

9 Mar 2020 18:20

The William Morris, Hammersmith

I made a return visit to the William Morris yesterday morning for a breakfast and a pint. There were a number of Welsh rugby fans in, amidst a typical Wetherspoon's morning crowd. Service was reasonably quick, despite only one barman. The choice was reasonable - Greene King Abbot, Sharp's Doom Bar, Sambrook's Powerhouse Porter, Fuller's London Pride, Shepherd Neame Bishop's Finger, Wimbledon Pitbull, Yeovil Posh IPA, Morland Old Speckled Hen & Kirkstall Dissolution. There was no real cider. It's a bit dark inside. But my visit fulfilled a purpose.

9 Mar 2020 18:15

The Jolly Gardeners, Earlsfield

The Jolly Gardeners was my final new pub of the night, before heading to Richmond for a leaving party. It's almost 10 minutes walk from Earlsfield station, but it is also accessible on bus routes. With the Sambrook's Wandle clip turned round, there was just one solitary real ale. Granted, my By The Horns Hopadelic was very nice. But at £5 per pint, it was not cheap and service wasn't the best. The pub is cosy. But how on earth did this place make it into the Good Beer Guide?

7 Mar 2020 11:28

Hagen and Hyde, Balham

The Hagen & Hyde is very handy for Balham station and tube, situated just a couple of minutes walk away. The interior is dark and it is a typical Antic pub. There are 3 different levels. The area downstairs beyond the bar is primarily for drinkers, whilst the other 2 levels are for diners. 4 ales were being dispensed - Volden Session & Spring, Thornbridge Jaipur & Sambrook's Scrumdown. I went for the Spring, which was nice enough for a pale ale. There was no real cider and no keg cider. Instead, I was offered Bulmers, Magners or some other fizzy stuff from the fridge. The barman seemed to struggle with basic mathematic skills. After what seemed like an eternity at the till, he ended up asking me how much change he owed me! I normally like Antic pubs. But this one was below par.

7 Mar 2020 11:22

Nonsuch Inn, North Cheam

Fairly average Wetherspoon's branch that was the best pub of four I visited in a wide-ranging Friday evening visit to South West London. The usual Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharp's Doom Bar were all on. They appeared to have had a Meet The Brewer event with the East London Brewery, probably last weekend. So, a few of their beers remained - Pale Ale, Foundation, Templar & Table Beer. Other guests were Exmoor Gold, Dorking DB One & Twickenham Redhead. There were also a couple of ciders in boxes in the fridge - Weston's Old Rosie & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. It was the only real cider I saw during the night. So, I took advantage. The pub was busy and very noisy. One particular lady managed to be much louder than anybody else and was causing quite a stir, with several complaints made to the bar staff. Her group had clearly been there for most of the afternoon and had almost certainly outstayed their welcome.

7 Mar 2020 11:15

The Earl Beatty, Motspur Park

Large Greene King pub set next to Motspur Park station. It has a number of different rooms, albeit with an open-plan feel. The first thing that struck me was that it was definitely more of a working class work. Having arrived straight from work, I felt a little overdressed. It was also extremely noisy and there were few tables available. Greene King IPA & Abbot are the regular ales. Guests were Twickenham Grandstand & Windsor & Eton Knight of the Garter. I chose the Knight of the Garter, which was ok, without being anything special. This was my first visit to this part of London. It appears to be the only pub of any note in the vicinity. So, I suspect it will be my last.

7 Mar 2020 11:10

The Cross Daggers, Coal Aston

The Cross Daggers was my penultimate pub of the day in Derbyshire, sandwiched between the Traveller's Rest in Apperknowle (my favourite pub of the visit) and the Dronfield Arms. Neither of those are listed on BITE. The Cross Daggers is situated in a village on the outskirts of Dronfield. It has a nice location and a friendly, cosy atmosphere. 4 ales were on - Tetley Bitter, Bradfield's Farmer's Blonde & Black Sheep Best Bitter & Holy Grail.

5 Mar 2020 19:20

The Three Tuns, Dronfield

The Three Tuns is a large pub next to a roundabout. It's currently closed. But if you head a short distance towards town along Chesterfield Road, you'll find the Underdog and the Dronfield Arms (neither are listed on BITE).

5 Mar 2020 19:16

Coach and Horses, Dronfield

Thornbridge pub sited right next to Sheffield FC's football ground. When I walked in, there were no other customers. Several others had arrived by the time I departed. Jaipur & Lord Marples are the regular Thornbridge beers. They also had Pollard's & Twin Peaks. Guests from other breweries were Saltaire Café Culture & Drone Valley Ella. They also had Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon cider on handpull. There's a few decent keg options too, including St Petersburg Imperial Stout. I was torn between the Pollard's and the Café Culture and eventually opted for the latter. A nice beer, but a very strong coffee taste. This was my favourite pub in Dronfield.

5 Mar 2020 19:13

The Jolly Farmer, Dronfield

After leaving the Peak District National Park, the quality of my Derbyshire pub crawl improved, firstly with the Rutland Arms at Holmesfield (not listed on BITE) and then with the Jolly Farmer at Dronfield Woodhouse. The surroundings aren't quite as nice as the Peak District (this pub is located in a local shopping arcade). But the ale range wasn't bad, despite a lack of darker ales. The 4 ales were Brains The Rev James, Drone Valley Gosforth Gold, Little Critters Blonde Bear & Marston's 61 Deep. Luckily, I enquired about real cider. I was initially offered Weston's Old Rosie. But it then transpired that they also had Thatcher's Stan's Big Apple & Garden Cider Company Plum & Ginger Cider. They offer CAMRA discounts, but only on pints. I also opted for a ham and cheese toasted sandwich, which was good value. The interior has a number of different areas, including a small bar area for drinkers. Most is set out for diners. I sat in a rather dark area not far from the entrance. Worth a visit though. I was surprised that the Jolly Farmer hasn't been in the Good Beer Guide since 2013.

5 Mar 2020 19:05

Millstone Inn, Hathersage

The Millstone was my favourite of the 3 pubs I tried in Hathersage. It's located just outside the town to the east. Black Sheep Best Bitter & Peak Ales Millstone Best appear to be the regular beers. Guests were Abbeydale Deception & Bradfield Farmer's Blonde. There is no real cider. The pub has a nice location, with a car park opposite on the other side of the main road. A number of diners were arriving as I was leaving.

5 Mar 2020 18:55

Scotsmans Pack Inn, Hathersage

The Scotsman's Pack is situated a little off the main drag, next to a local school. The interior is nicely appointed. Quite a few people were arriving for food. Most of the tables were also laid out for diners. Being a Marston's establishment, the ale choice was limited to their range. Pedigree is the regular ale. It was accompanied by Wainwright, Cumberland Ale, Saddle Tank & Dirty Tackle. Service was friendly.

5 Mar 2020 18:51

Little John Hotel, Hathersage

My first stop in Hathersage on a midweek visit was the Little John Hotel. It is quite a large place. But I was the only customer. There were certainly more staff. Just the 2 ales from Welbeck Abbey were on - Red Feather and their new creation Men In Sheds. There was no sign of a real cider. Parking is limited and you need to enter your registration plate into an iPad at the bar. There is also accommodation.

5 Mar 2020 18:47

The Anglers Rest, Bamford

Community pub in a nice village. The café was busiest on my Wednesday morning visit. I was the only customer in the pub itself, which is much larger than it initially appears. 5 real ales were on - Marston's Pedigree, Thwaite's Wainwright, Stancill Stainless, Peak Ales Black Stag & Kelham Island Easy Rider. My Black Stag was very nice. Although the barmaid was struggling, as it was a bit lively. Somebody from the Peak Ales Brewery happened to visit whilst I was there. Apparently the Black Stag is a popular beer. Nice place.

5 Mar 2020 18:42

The Turks Head, St Helens

The Turks Head used to be known as the best destination for real ales in St Helens. So, I've been a few times before. However, it's been a good few years since my last visit and the Cricketers Arms now gets many of the plaudits, having been CAMRA's Pub of the Year in 2017 and reaching the final 4 in 2018. However, being in the area on Sunday, I decided to take the opportunity for another visit. The Turks Head is improved on my last visit. There were 14 real ales on - Ulverston Lonesome Pine & Bad Medicine, Kelham Island Riders On The Storm & Pride of Sheffield, Bank Top Port O'Call, Fernandes Black Voodoo, Rooster's Little Changes, Wychwood Hobgoblin, Abbeydale Doctor Morton's Ship's Biscuit, Oakham Green Devil, Saltaire Cascade, Thwaite's Lancaster Bomber, Kirby Lonsdale Monumental & Well's Bombardier. In addition, there were 8 ciders and perries - Weston's Old Rosie, Thistly Cross Whisky Cask, Farmer Jim's Apple Red, Broadoak Moonshine Rum & Raisin, Gwynt y Ddraig Fiery Fox & Black Dragon & Lilley's Tropical Cider & Bee Sting Perry. I thought this was a fantastic selection and chose the Black Voodoo, as opposed to any of the ciders. There are 2 large rooms. The main bar area was showing the football and there was no seating. However, a raised area offered a welcome respite. I have to say that I think the Turks Head is currently every much as good as the Cricketers. A very pleasant surprise and a solid 9/10 from me, based on this visit.

3 Mar 2020 19:53

Cowley Vaults, St Helens

I must have passed this pub a number of times whilst visiting the nearby Turks Head. It's now in the Good Beer Guide. Although, apparently it is a recent convert to real ale. On my Sunday afternoon visit, it was very busy with all tables taken, people all around the bar and with pool being played. The League Cup final was being shown on multiple TV screens. The real ale choice was Wychwood Hobgoblin, Daleside Old Legover, Slater's Amarillo, Oakham Inferno, Kelham Island Easy Rider & Moorhouse's White Witch. Ciders were Weston's Rosie's Pig Raspberry & Cucumber Cider & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. I'd definitely recommend a visit here and it's extremely easy to pair it with a visit to the Turks Head, a few doors away.

3 Mar 2020 19:43

Meadows, Maghull

I visited this Hungry Horse establishment whilst waiting for the excellent Maghull Cask Café to open. Sadly, Maghull Cask is not listed on BITE. There were just as many handpulls in the Meadows as in the Maghull Cask. But Greene King IPA was the only real ale. The pub is a large establishment that focuses on diners, drinkers and sports fans. There are numerous TVs showing live sport. There is also a pool table. I didn't stay long and it's unlikely I'll return. The Maghull Cask Café on the other hand definitely warrants another visit some day. Their beer quality was superb.

3 Mar 2020 19:35

The Waters Green Tavern, Macclesfield

I remember trying to get in here back in January 2009, after getting off a train with quite a few other football fans. Back then, away fans were not being welcomed. 11 years on and I wasn't here for the football. This was my last pub of the night in Cheshire and as often happens, I'd saved the best until last. This was a friendly and simple drinking house, serving a decent selection of all types of ales and a real cider, whilst playing decent music. I could have stayed here for much longer, had a bed not been calling. The 5 ales were Abbeydale Deception, Titanic Plum Porter, Whim Hartington Bitter, Townhouse Centennial & Rat White Rat, whilst the cider was SiDa Holmes Chapel Apple. A nice way to round off the day.

2 Mar 2020 21:45

The Society Rooms, Macclesfield

The Society Rooms is Macclesfield's branch of Wetherspoon's. Bouncers were on the door on my Saturday night visit. There was a mix of both young and older drinkers. The key attraction here is the drinks range and the prices. The usual 'spoon's mainstays were all on - Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharp's Doom Bar. Guests were Marston's Old Empire, Oakham Inferno, Exmoor Gold & Beast, Titanic White Star, Ringwood Forty Niner & Evan Evans Wrecker. I was suitably impressed by the cider range - Orchard Pig The Hogfather, Weston's Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig, Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon, Thistly Cross Whisky Cask & Broadoak Moonshine. I opted for the Moonshine having not had that for a while. The table was sticky. In fact, the whole place had a bit of a grubby feel to it. As usual, toilets were up a rather large staircase. You know what you get with this chain.

2 Mar 2020 21:39

RedWillow Bar, Macclesfield

The RedWillow Bar is one I have wanted to visit for some time. We often pass the brewery itself on the train line. But their bar is situated nearer Macclesfield town centre. It was very busy on my Saturday evening visit, with a mixture of age groups, even including some children. Ales are displayed on the screen behind the bar. There is a good cask choice, with even more craft beers. The cask selection from RedWillow was Smokeless, Cascade Nelson Amarillo Pale, Sleepless, Headless & Wreckless. A guest was Pale from Pomona Island, whilst the real cider was Oliver's Oak Cask Dabinett, a new one for me and on the dry side.

2 Mar 2020 21:35

The Treacle Tap, Macclesfield

Small bar on seemingly Macclesfield's main street for nightlife. It has the feel of a micropub, but doesn't classify itself as such. There are 3 real ales. These were Shiny Disco Balls & Golden Best & Black Iris Snake Eyes. However, there is a bigger craft beer selection from pumps on the back wall, in addition to a good selection of bottles. Staff are knowledgeable about their beers. It was busy, without being too crowded. A worthwhile stop, but probably not quite Macclesfield's best pub.

2 Mar 2020 21:29

The Boar Hound, Macclesfield

Now called the Silk Trader, this reasonably large pub just outside Macclesfield's centre is owned by Robinson's. Unicorn is the regular ale. Trooper was the guest. In this my 6th Cheshire pub of the day, it was the first with a real cider. Rosie's Pig was being dispensed from a box behind the bar. The pub was crowded and quite noisy. There were a few families in and the football had been on. A nice community pub.

2 Mar 2020 21:25

Bulls Head, Macclesfield

My first stop in Macclesfield on a windy and wet Saturday evening was this pub on the western outskirts. It's in the current Good Beer Guide. Whilst it was quite busy, it didn't stand out above the rest. 4 real ales are served. On my visit, these were Bass, Robinson's Unicorn, Sharp's Doom Bar & Exmoor Gold. I had the Exmoor Gold, which was much nicer than I expected. The chip shop opposite is worth a visit.

2 Mar 2020 21:21

The Sutton Hall, Sutton

Large Brunning & Price pub/restaurant that despite its focus on food maintains a good ale selection. Brunning & Price Original is served. There were also a couple of ales from Wincle - Lord Lucan & Rookery Wood. In addition, they had Sharp's Doom Bar, Poynton Chinook Pale & Rooster's Mind Games. I'm not sure the barmaid knew quite what she was doing. But I ended up having one of the last servings of the Rookery Wood from the cask. However, I wouldn't have know the barrel was on its final legs. Nicely appointed, as with all branches of this chain, it was difficult to find a table not laid out for dining.

2 Mar 2020 21:16

Church House, Sutton

The Church House was the first of two stops I was making in the village of Sutton, on the outskirts of Macclesfield. This appeared to be the main village local, catering mainly for drinkers. Robinson's Unicorn & Banks's Bitter are the 2 regular ales. Guests were Storm Pale Gale Ale, Timothy Taylor Boltmaker & Moorhouse's Blond Witch. All were too pale for my liking. But the Pale Gale Ale was in a decent condition.

2 Mar 2020 21:12

The Hanging Gate, Sutton

The Hanging Gate is closed, I'm afraid to report. It enjoys a fabulous location high on the hills. There was snow on the ground and sheep in the road. But alas there was no beer.

2 Mar 2020 21:08

The Rose and Crown Inn, Allgreave

Situated in a fairly barren and windswept location high on the moors. It was a perfect place to go to during Storm Jorge. With just 2 other couples (both diners) in, it was quiet. But the atmosphere was cosy. Service took a while. There was a choice of 3 ales - Wincle Waller, RedWillow Feckless & Jenning's Cumberland Ale. I opted for the Waller. But I would have preferred a dark beer or a cider. Still a decent place though.

2 Mar 2020 21:06

The Ship Inn, Wincle

The Ship Inn is set in beautiful countryside. It's prime territory for walkers. Just down the hill is the Wincle Brewery. But this is a JW Lees pub. The focus appears to be on diners. Almost all tables in each section are laid out with cutlery. Nevertheless, there were a few drinkers at the bar. The 3 regular ales were Dragon Fire, Founders & MPA. They also had JW Lees Dark & The Boilerhouse Craft Pale. Slightly above average due to its fabulous setting.

2 Mar 2020 21:01

The Prince Albert, Twickenham

Final stop in Twickenham last night was the Prince Albert. Our main reason for a visit was to try the Thai food, which was very tasty. Fuller's ales were London Pride, ESB & Oliver's Island. I opted for the guest ale, which was Big Smoke Cosmic Dawn. A few were in watching the Manchester City Champion's League game. Our meal was spicy, but nice. The only disappointment was that we never received any change from the bill. The Thai kitchen and waiting staff seemed more intent on closing up the kitchen and finishing for the night. I'd probably give it another try though.

27 Feb 2020 19:00

The Sussex Arms, Twickenham

The Sussex Arms is still one of my favourite pubs in London. It was busy as usual on our Wednesday evening visit. Quiz night was on. So, a number of tables were reserved. Once the quiz people arrived, we were relegated to the garden. But there are patio heaters to keep you warm. The loyalty card offered by this chain is still a good feature. Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter is a regular. So is their own Big Smoke Underworld. Other Big Smoke ales were Cosmic Dawn & Western Sun. Guests were Five Points Railway Porter, Gloucester Dockside Dark, Buxton Low Tor, Flying Monk Hoptimistic Monk, Fuller's Last Drop, Caveman Strawberry Milkshake IPA, Mad Squirrel Revolution, Ascot Gold Cup & Manchester Brewing Company Christopher Columbus Pale. There are also still 6 real ciders on handpull - Lilley's Mango Cider, Seacider Ginger Bread Infused Cider & Lemon Meringue Pie, Thistly Cross Whisky Cask, Barbourne Major Jane & Ross-on-Wye Michelin/Dabinett. Still a decent pub. But I may avoid quiz night next time.

27 Feb 2020 18:56

The Rifleman, Twickenham

The Rifleman was closed for a while. But it has re-opened and now stocks a good range of Twickenham Brewery beers. Young's Ordinary & Butcombe Original are regulars, alongside Twickenham Naked Ladies. The other 3 ales were also from Twickenham - Redhead, Winter Star & American Nut Brown. We had to wait for the latter to be changed. But it wasn't too long a wait. There was no sign of a real cider. The interior of the pub is unchanged. It's a single, cosy room. Sport is still shown on the TV. Cricket was on yesterday. Still a fairly decent stop.

27 Feb 2020 18:48

The Old Goat, Fulwell

Our first stop of a short crawl around this part of Twickenham started at Brouge. This is a gastropub on a fairly busy junction. Seating spreads right around the bar. The permanent ale is Sharp's Doom Bar. There is also a guest from Twickenham. Yesterday, it was Honey Dark. A third handpull has a real cider, which was Lilley's Crazy Goat. The bar has a good selection of Belgian beers, some on tap and some in bottles.

27 Feb 2020 18:41

The Ferry Inn, Pembroke Dock

With Storm Ciaran battering West Wales, we ventured across the Cleddau Bridge to the Jolly Sailor at Burton, before returning to the Ferry Inn on the Pembroke Dock side. The Jolly Sailor is not listed on BITE, but is in the current Good Beer Guide. Meanwhile, the Ferry Inn has not been in the Good Beer Guide since 2005. Despite this, we preferred the Ferry. It's a fabulous and cosy pub with views of the river. Most of the clientele were there for the Sunday lunches. Felinfoel IPA & Double Dragon are the ales. In addition to the Double Dragon, I sampled the local Pembrokeshire Cider Company Henry VII from the bottle selection, whilst Mrs Scrumpy tried a strong lemon gin, also from Wales. Probably my favourite pub of this visit to Wales.

10 Feb 2020 21:26

Flying Boat, Pembroke Dock

The Flying Boat is a corner pub painted in a fetching blue colour in an area of terraced housing. There are a few other pubs in the surrounding streets, including the Swan Inn just opposite. This may be the reason why it is now closed and looking in quite a dilapidated state.

10 Feb 2020 21:19

The Station Inn, Pembroke Dock

There's quite a few pubs in Pembroke Dock. Of the 4 I visited on a very blustery Saturday evening, only this one is listed on BITE. In fairness, it was probably the best of the 4. The pub is situated in the main station building. I arrived shortly after 8pm when the last train of the night was pulling in from Manchester. Inside, there were a small group of locals at the bar, with a few others scattered around the room. More arrived, presumably to see a band that was setting up. The 3 ales were Brew Monster Leviathan, Templeton Welsh Beest & Gower Up 'N' Under. The Up 'N' Under was decent enough. But those at the bar were moaning about the Welsh Beest. No real cider is served at this time of the year. Other pubs tried in Pembroke were the First & Last, Red Rose Inn and the Charlton Hotel.

10 Feb 2020 21:16

St Govans Country Inn, Bosherston

This pub is situated in the Pembrokeshire National Park, approximately one mile from Broadhaven Beach and also the chapel of St Govan, the other side of a military area. The pub is located in a nice village. But it is fairly plan pub inside. With plenty of tables, both drinkers and diners are welcome. Rugby was being shown on a big screen. 2 real ales were on. They were Butcombe Original & Sadler's Peaky Blinders. The pub was at least a welcome escape from the first knockings of Storm Ciaran, which was bringing very strong winds to what is quite a remote location. I'm sure this gets packed in the summer, when visitors flock to the nearby coastline.

10 Feb 2020 21:10

The Royal George, Pembroke

Our second stop in Pembroke was the Royal George, tucked below the castle walls. This is a locals' pub, which was showing the Six Nations rugby match between Ireland and Wales. Complimentary cawl was available in one corner. Locals and staff were friendly and accommodating. Being a Marston's pub, the regular beers are Pedigree & Hobgoblin. The guest was Wainwright. We moved on from here to the Royal Oak at the far end of Main Street. Sadly that is not listed on here.

10 Feb 2020 21:04

Old King Arms, Pembroke

The Old King's Arms is a centrally located hotel/bar on Pembroke's Main Street. It is also quite close to Pembroke Castle, which was to be our next stop. Parking is at the rear. There are 2 small and cosy rooms for drinking. Diners are also accommodated in these rooms. A few locals were also congregated around the bar. Felinfoel Double Dragon is the regular ale. The guest was Brain's Brawn. We opted to try a Welsh cider, called Wild Cider from Redhog, available in bottles. Probably the best pub in Pembroke, with a nice atmosphere.

10 Feb 2020 21:00

Fox and Hounds Inn, Bancyfelin

Almost 3 months on from our last aborted visit, we returned to the Fox & Hounds on a Saturday morning. There are two rooms. The largest room is for diners, whilst there is a small public bar. Just one other customer was present in the bar. The TV was on. There is also a dartboard in the bar. As out-of-towners we were expected to be dining. But we declined this offer. Real ales are no longer served here. But the keg selection was Carling, Carling Black Fruits, Worthington's Creamflow, Stella Artois, Strongbow & Guinness. Disappointing.

10 Feb 2020 20:55

West Herts Sports and Social Club, Watford

Almost 4 years on from my last visit, our last stop before heading to the football was the West Herts Sports Club. Being later in the afternoon, it was much busier than on my last visit. Nevertheless, we managed to find a seat. Service was also quick. The two regular ales were Tring Side Pocket For A Toad & Young's Bitter. The 2 guests were both from Paradigm - Heads Up & Back Burner. There was also a perry in the fridge - Apple Cottage Perry Coma, which was a new one for me. Probably one of the best places for decent ales and cider in Watford these days.

1 Feb 2020 22:14

The Sportsman, Croxley Green

The Sportsman appears to be the best pub in Croxley Green. So, we'd saved the best until last. It seems to have a loyal band of regulars. The ale selection is certainly the best in the area. Sharp's Doom Bar & Oakham JHB are the regular beers. Guests were Paradigm Juxtaposition, Mad Squirrel De La Crème, Mauldon's Eatanswill Old & Branscombe Branoc. There was also a real cider, which was Lilley's Rhubarb Cider and a full range of Saxby's bottled ciders in the fridge. Decent pub.

1 Feb 2020 22:08

The Artichoke, Croxley Green

The Artichoke is one of a number of pubs along The Green. I was expecting a Marston's pub. But in fact, the ale choice was Wherry or Landlord. We took up residence at a table, but were told promptly that it was reserved. Almost all tables were reserved for diners. Luckily, we weren't staying around for long. This is certainly a food-dominated pub.

1 Feb 2020 22:02

Coach and Horses, Croxley Green

Third stop in Croxley Green was the Coach & Horses. A few people were arriving for meals. But we were just here for the beer. 3 real ales were on - Fuller's London Pride, Young's Bitter & Paradigm FYI. We both opted for the FYI. But it was past its best. Looks nice from the outside and the inside has been kept fairly traditional too. There is a children's play area in the garden.

1 Feb 2020 21:56

The Fox and Hounds, Croxley Green

The Fox & Hounds was our first stop on a visit to Croxley Green today. We decided to skip the Red House, another Greene King nearer the station to make this Greene King our first hostelry. 3 real ales were on. Greene King Abbot is a regular. The two guests were New River London Tap & Blind Poet. We tried one of each and both were on decent form. With a CAMRA discount given, they were even more palatable. With plenty of flags for each country playing in the Six Nations, there is clearly an emphasis on sports TV. Decent start to our crawl. We moved on from here to the Croxley Guild of Sport & Social Club (not listed on BITE).

1 Feb 2020 21:51

The Moon on the Square, Feltham

On a Friday evening visit to Feltham, I was hoping to visit the nearby Reunion Ales. But alas, it was not open. The Moon in the Square was the best alternate we could find and it did actually have a Reunion ale on, as part of a London beer festival. Ales were Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Wells Bombardier Glorious English, Sharp's Doom Bar, Wychwood Hobgoblin, Portobello Hedgerow Pale, Hadrian Border Farne Island, Signal Solo, Reunion Mosaic & Park Isabella. The cider was Black Dragon. The Moon on the Square was as busy as always. But we did manage to grab a table. Quite a few people were dining. There was also the usual scattering of people who had clearly had one too many. Not the worst Wetherspoon's in the country.

1 Feb 2020 21:41

The Hobgoblin, Staines

The London Stone is another pub that has improved since my last visit. Service wasn't the most friendly. But it was prompt. Wild Beer Millionaire & Hogs Back TEA were the 2 ales. Lilley's Pineapple Cider was also on handpull. There was an interesting selection of cans and bottles in the fridges. A band was being set up at the one end. At the same end, the gents' toilets were in a fairly poor condition. A much better visit though, before we moved onto our main destination of the evening, the Thames Side Brewery & Tap Room and before finishing at the Staines Riverside Club (neither are listed on BITE).

30 Jan 2020 18:48

The George, Staines

After an initial stop in the nearby Caffe Gusto (not listed on BITE), we continued a short midweek crawl in Staines at the George. I don't think I've ever seen the George empty. It also seems to be busy, without getting overcrowded. The ale selection on this Wednesday evening visit was Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharp's Doom Bar, Park Isabella, Cronx Kitchen, Windsor & Eton Sloe Stout, Portobello Hedgerow Pale, Three Sods Session IPA, Redemption EXPA & Hogs Back TEA. There appeared to be some kind of London beer festival on. Ciders were Weston's Old Rosie & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. On this occasion, CAMRA vouchers were accepted in this branch and service was quick and with a smile. A much better visit than previous ones. Probably still the best place for a decent ale selection in Staines.

30 Jan 2020 18:44

The Free Press, Cambridge

I hadn't planned to pay a return visit to the Free Press yesterday afternoon. But I was hanging around in the area waiting for the Blue Moon (not listed on BITE) to open its doors and rejected the chance of a swift one in the Duke of Cambridge (formerly Bakers) just around the corner, as Abbot was the only choice. Whilst the Free Press is also a Greene King house and a much more comfortable one at that, the selection is much better here - Greene King IPA & Abbot, Morland Old Golden Hen, St Austell Tribute, Black Sheep Best Bitter, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Otter Amber. They also have Weston's Old Rosie cider. Sadly, I read an article in the local CAMRA magazine that Greene King have stopped producing their XX Mild on a regular basis. So, the pub no longer appears to have a dark beer.

27 Jan 2020 21:39

The Doblers Inn, Cambridge

Another new Cambridge pub visited yesterday. This one has much more of a local feel than many of the others. FA Cup football was on the TV. Eagle IPA, Black Sheep Bitter & Marston's 61 Deep were the ales. But I was also pleasantly surprised to see 3 Weston's ciders - Old Rosie, Rosie's Pig & Flat Tyre. It was all quite rowdy inside, with the pool table keeping younger drinkers happy at one end.

27 Jan 2020 21:30

The Geldart, Cambridge

I made a return visit to the Geldart yesterday afternoon. It was much quieter than on my previous visit. But little else has changed. The ale selection this time was Oakham Citra, St Austell Tribute, Adnams Ghost Ship & Mosaic, Jenning's Cumberland Ale, Castle Rock Harvest Pale & Laine's Small Boi.

27 Jan 2020 21:21

The Cambridge Blue, Cambridge

I last reviewed the Cambridge Blue 3 years ago to the day and have always rated this as the best pub in Cambridge. However, I was a little disappointed by yesterday's visit. The ale selection is still good. But the cider selection has been halved since 2017. Previously I've found 2 or 3 new ciders to try. But this time, there was nothing unusual. The pub was also a little quieter than on previous visits. The ale selection was XT Animal Hop Kitty, Church End Stout Coffin, Three Blind Mice Juice Rocket & Lonely Snake, Ramsgate Gadd's No 5, Adnams Bitter, Nene Valley New Age Chestnut, Release The Chimps & Bible Black & Mighty Oak Buster Keaton. I opted for the Stout Coffin. But in hindsight, I should probably have tried the much stronger Bible Black. Ciders were Gwynt y Ddraig Dog Dancer & Lilley's Rhubarb Cider & Pineapple Cider. Incidentally, it's sister pub is the Blue Moon. Their website (and CAMRA's) advertised a 2pm opening time. Checking with the barman here, he revealed it was in fact 5pm and he promptly amended the website! That still left me with almost 2 hours to kill before the Blue Moon opened.

27 Jan 2020 21:16

The Alexandra Arms, Cambridge

The Alexandra Arms was one of a couple of pubs that was closing early on my Sunday afternoon visit for the staff's Christmas Party! I'm not sure whether that was for Christmas 2019 or Christmas 2020. But luckily I beat the 5pm curfew. I've been to a few pubs in the terraced residential streets of this part of Cambridge. But this is one that I had missed previously. It's a Greene King pub with a small bar area and steps leading down to further seating and an open kitchen. There is also outdoor seating. Ales were Greene King London Glory, Black Sheep Best Bitter, Oakham Citra, Bishop Nick Ridley's Rite & Mad Squirrel De La Crème. The latter was a nice milk stout. Another decent pub in this part of Cambridge.

27 Jan 2020 20:49

The Tram Depot, Cambridge

The Tram Depot was not on my original hitlist of Cambridge pubs. But I decided to pay it a visit whilst nearby. I was very pleased that I did and am surprised that it has not yet made a Good Beer Guide. It's an Everard's pub that is away from the touristy areas of Cambridge and is therefore frequented more by locals. Everard's Old Original & Tiger was supplemented by their Small Beer No. 1, Lacon's Charter, Lincoln Green Marion & Titanic Cherry Dark. A selection of 4 ciders are dispensed from taps behind the bar. I plumped for the one that I didn't recognise, which dispensed as water. The 3 remaining ciders were Weston's Old Rosie, Orchard Pig Ginger & Chilli & Friel's Apple & Spiced Plum Cider. I went for the Friel's, thinking it was their standard cider with a strength of 7% or more. So, the Plum cider was a pleasant surprise. The drinking environment is quite dark. But with friendly staff and plenty of available seating, I really liked this place.

27 Jan 2020 20:43

The Portland Arms, Cambridge

Roadside Greene King pub with two decent-sized rooms, possessing character. Sunday lunches were being served on my visit. Greene King ales were IPA, London Glory & Abbot Reserve. Guests were Caledonian Deuchars IPA, Rocket Titan IPE & Mighty Oak Winter Wonder. The cider was Lilley's Cherries & Berries. I believe they offer a CAMRA discount. But I forgot to ask for it. Nice pub that is a fair walk away from the centre. But that does help to reduce the crowds.

27 Jan 2020 20:36

The Castle Inn, Cambridge

The Castle was much quieter than the city centre pubs. Situated up a hill, it's an Adnams house with a limited selection of their ales plus a guest. Adnams Bitter, Broadside, Ghost Ship, Lighthouse & Old Ale were joined by Fuller's London Pride. A few people were wandering in for food and were being served fairly quickly. I was expecting a little better from this pub which has been in the Good Beer Guide regularly over the last 15 years or so. But in comparison with the wealth of decent pubs in this city, I was left a little disappointed.

27 Jan 2020 20:30

The Mitre, Cambridge

Nicholson's pub in the main tourist area of Cambridge, not far from the River Cam. It was predictably busy. There is a front and a rear bar, with a dining room further beyond down a couple of steps. Diners were occupying tables throughout the pub. St Austell Nicholson's Pale Ale & Adnams Bitter are the regular ales. Guests were St Austell January Blues, Adnams Broadside & Ghost Ship, Sharp's Doom Bar, Inveralmond Fionnar & Hogs Back TEA. I opted for the Fionnar, a coffee stout. I've certainly had better and am not sure that was the beer itself, or just its condition.

27 Jan 2020 20:25

Pint Shop, Cambridge

The Pint Shop is worth visiting for its huge range of both real ales and craft beers. With ciders as well, the number was almost 30. Real ales were Adnams Bitter & Broadside & Oakham JHB. Siren Yulu was also listed. But I couldn't see it. Real ciders were Heck's Kingston Black & Snail's Bank Gooseberry Fool. Craft beers came from brewers such as Camden, Adnams, Salopian, Brew York, Gipsy Hill, Bone Machine, Almasty, Signature Brew, Yorkshire Dales, Siren, Magic Rock, Omnipollo, Lervig, Half Acre & Chorlton. An 11% Pecan Mud Cake imperial stout looked intriguing. But at £6 a third, I decided not to try it. A few were requesting samples though. The interior has a number of different rooms off a corridor, all with lots of wood. There is a dining room upstairs, with toilets on a third floor. It seemed to be doing a roaring trade in Sunday lunches. Well worth a visit. Just the Oxford branch of this small chain left for me to try now. I like the concept.

27 Jan 2020 20:19

The Mill, Cambridge

It's a fairly long walk from the railway station to the Mill. But luckily I'd stopped for liquid refreshment at the Old Ticket Office in the station building itself. Being fairly new the OTO is not listed on BITE. The Mill however, has been around for much longer and is a better pub. It enjoys a location that will always make it a magnet for tourists. Finding a table not reserved for diners was tricky. Although, when I did, I vacated it so that a Japanese family who wanted to dine could do so - just doing my little bit for the Cambridge economy. Tourists had created a nice orderly queue at the bar for drinks. I awaited my turn and had the selection of Adnams Bitter, Lighthouse & Old Ale, Grain Slate & Black Spruce & Nene Valley New Age Chestnut. Instead I chose the Lilley's Elderflower Cider from the end handpull. CAMRA discounts are offered. But not to cider drinkers. Even the barman seemed surprised by that. The interior has lots of wood and a few different seating areas. Very pleasant pub in which I could have happily stopped for much longer, had I not had such a lengthy list of new (and old) pubs to try.

27 Jan 2020 20:12

The Grapes, Cambridge

Just over 3 years on and this time I managed to get a drink in the Grapes, my penultimate stop in Cambridgeshire. This is a Greene King pub. Greene King IPA & Abbot are dispensed. The guest beer was Belhaven Grand Slam. The Six Nations must be getting closer. A game of pool was in action again and the pub was just about as busy as my last visit when we were denied service. Nothing really to write home about. But at least I can know award a more accurate score. I moved on from here to Calverley's Brewery Tap. Whilst not listed on here, it was my favourite venue of the day.

25 Jan 2020 21:02

The Unicorn, Trumpington

The Lord Byron was my last stop before hitting Cambridge. It was also my first sighting of real cider in Cambridgeshire, with not just one, but three ciders on. The interior lacks atmosphere. There were very few customers. Although, it does offer accommodation and there were a lot of people coming and going without stopping for a drink. Three real ales were Turpin's Mozart & Cambridge Black & Mauldon's Silver Adder. The ciders were Weston's Old Rosie & Simon's Cox & Vice Versa. Easily the best pub I visited today outside of Cambridge.

25 Jan 2020 20:56

The Green Man of Grantchester, Grantchester

Notices in the window state that this pub is now closed. Apparently it only closed a couple of weeks ago.

25 Jan 2020 20:50

The Blue Ball Inn, Grantchester

Another unspoiled Cambridgeshire village pub. Although, with its TV series and its proximity to Cambridge, this pub attracts a different clientele to my previous stop (the Hoops at Barton). In fact, it did feel a little pretentious. Drinks were certainly more expensive here. Adnams Bitter is the regular ale. Guests were Adnams Ghost Ship & Woodforde's Wherry. The interior has 2 or 3 small cosy rooms. But tables are hard to come by and I noticed some hardy souls having lunch delivered to a table outside.

25 Jan 2020 20:48

The Hoops, Barton

Traditional local that survives without selling food. The small bar is unspoiled and is a haven for conversation. Abbot is the regular ale. Guests were Tribute & Landlord. Staff were friendly. There is a separate lounge, which I didn't try.

25 Jan 2020 20:44

The Hare and Hounds, Harlton

Friendly pub that is now community-owned. There is a single room, which a large TV screen at one end. A live FA Cup game was being shown. A few people were having lunch. Others had their dogs, whilst most stood around the bar. London Pride & Wherry were the real ale offering.

25 Jan 2020 20:40

The Royal Oak, Barrington

Thatched pub overlooking a rather large green. A few people were arriving for lunch on my midday visit today. But I was here only for a swift drink. Greene King IPA is the regular ale. There were also 3 other ales on - Greene King Toadrage, Ruddles County & Adnams Ghost Ship. Drinks were definitely on the expensive side.

25 Jan 2020 20:37

The Cock Tavern, Hackney

After the usual excellent visit to the Pembury Tavern, our evening concluded at the Cock Tavern yesterday. It was busy as usual with a couple of Howling Hops ales, a few guests and a number of real ciders and craft beers. The Howling Hops ales were Pale XX & Tropical Deluxe. Guests were Three Sods Dark Magus, Beatnikz Republic Crimson Flare & 2am Poet, Five Points Brick Field Brown & Brick Peckham Pale. Ciders were Snail's Bank Apply Dappley, Pig Squeal, Tumbledown & Apple & Ginger, Turner's Apple Pie, Upper House Farm Medium, Thistly Cross Whisky Cask & Pulpt Flare. Another good visit. Although no new ciders for me on this occasion.

19 Jan 2020 13:16

Neighbourhood, East Village

Last stop before a visit to the London Stadium was this modern bar/café in the heart of what was the athletes' village for the Olympics. Just the solitary real ale was on, which was Westerham Godswallop. The place was fairly busy. But it is large enough to handle the crowds, with both home and away fans inside. There was a table football game near the entrance and there is an open kitchen at the rear. Certainly a different kind of place, that I would try again if passing.

19 Jan 2020 13:07

Leyton Star, Leyton

Another pub that I tried yesterday lunchtime, that I'd not previously visited. It's a fairly typical London boozer. But apparently it's part of a chain. I don't believe I've been in any of the others in the chain. Five Points Pale & Best were the 2 real ales. I opted for the Best. Live Premier League football was showing on the TVs. Bar staff were friendly.

19 Jan 2020 13:02

Leyton Technical, Leyton

With the Leyton Orient Supporters Club closed yesterday as they were playing away, I decided to pay the Leyton Technical another visit. It appears to have gone downhill since my last visit. Just 2 real ales were on and they have stopped selling real cider. The ales were Long Man Long Blonde & Reunion Frost Fair, a nice spiced porter. The interior is certainly interesting. But, I'd heard from others that it had gone downhill, which I can now confirm.

19 Jan 2020 12:57

The Coach and Horses, Leyton

Corner pub on the High Road which stretches much further back than you'd expect. With 3 real ales and a real cider on handpump, this was the best of the new pubs I visited yesterday. Five Points Best, Park Isabella & Sharp's Sea Fury were the ales. Lilley's First Draught was the cider. This is a comfortable place that could easily be added to a decent crawl of pubs in this area.

19 Jan 2020 12:52

The Golden Fleece, Manor Park

Greene King pub overlooking Wanstead Flats, where what appeared to be several hundred kids were playing football yesterday morning. We were the only visitors, as it was shortly after opening. The pub is nicely appointed. But the ale range was disappointing - Old Golden Hen, Tribute & Harvest Pale. I did at least get a CAMRA discount. But it was disappointing in all.

19 Jan 2020 12:46

The Red Lion Inn, Doune

This was our penultimate stop on this visit to Scotland, before we returned to the airport. It's a single bar pub, that was quite busy on our visit. As strangers coming in during the winter months, we were seemingly treated with suspicion at first. But despite being busy, it soon became apparent that the barmaid/landlady and the locals were all reasonably friendly. Live Premier League football was showing on a TV in the corner. The solitary real ale was Schiehallion. We moved on from here to the Gargunnock Inn, not listed on BITE, but in the current Good Beer Guide.

14 Jan 2020 21:44

The Tappit Hen, Dunblane

I thoroughly agree with the previous reviewer. This is easily the best pub in town. It enjoys a pleasant location overlooking the cathedral and the interior is a lovely, cosy, single room that was quite busy on our late Sunday afternoon visit. Live Premier League football was being shown on the TV. Ales were Greene King IPA, Ruddles Best, Williams Brothers Seven Giraffes, Broughton Greenmantle 70/- & Strathaven Clydesdale IPA. The barman was friendly and knowledgeable. I opted for the Greenmantle and without prompting, he asked if I was a CAMRA member and then gave me a discount off my ale. A very nice touch indeed. One of the best pubs on this visit to Scotland.

14 Jan 2020 21:38

Dunblane Hotel, Dunblane

The Dunblane as it is now known was to be our first stop in Dunblane. But we were met with a rather abrupt no children policy. So, I had to go this one alone. The reason was that the lounge was being refurbished. Unfortunately, real ales are also dispensed from the lounge and stock has been discontinued during the refurb. Whilst I did eventually get to chat with the barman and some of the locals in the nice, traditional bar, the experience wasn't the best. Keg beers were Guinness, Belhaven Best, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruit, Birra Moretti, Carling & Tennent's. We moved on to the nearby Riverside, which wasn't much better.

14 Jan 2020 21:33

The Old Bridge Inn, Bridge of Allan

This has now become a steakhouse. It was closed on our Sunday afternoon visit and may actually have shut completely.

14 Jan 2020 21:28

Allanwater Brewhouse, Bridge of Allan

The Allanwater Brewhouse was easily my favourite of 23 new pubs visited in Scotland this weekend. Tucked away in an outbuilding behind the main road, it possesses plenty of character. Although it could probably do with a good dust. The owner/brewer was friendly and very knowledgeable. The bar itself stocks several of his ales (Tinpot). He had 70/-, Wee Guinea 90/-, Procrastination, Pot Of Gold, Cranberry Pot & Winter Spice. I was also pleasant surprised to see that he produces his own ciders too - Farmhouse Cider, Mango Cider, Ginger Cider, Cranberry Cider, Raspberry Cider & Berry Cider. It was the first time I'd had a cranberry cider and it was very nice indeed. I'd love to spend more time in here and may just do that one day. Excellent pub. We moved on to the nearby Crook Bar, which was a great disappointment in comparison.

14 Jan 2020 21:28

The Cross Keys Inn, Alva

Alva is one of those villages which you can drive through without noticing it. The Cross Keys is certainly one that most people will pass. It seems to have built a reputation for food. But we were here just for a drink. With the kitchen closed on our visit, the barmaid opened the lounge for us, as kids are not allowed in the bar. Locals were playing pool in the bar. There's no real ales in here anymore. In fact, it hasn't been in the Good Beer Guide since 2006! The keg selection was John Smith's, Coors Light, Fosters, Strongbow, Tennent's, Stella Artois & Guinness.

14 Jan 2020 21:18

Mansfield Arms, Sauchie

This is the home of the Devon Brewery. 2 of their ales were on - Original 70/- & Pride 90/-. Whilst there is a busy public bar, we sat in the quieter lounge and I enjoyed a nice half of the Pride. The lounge was much quieter, with a few enjoying an early Sunday lunch. The pub is nicely appointed and is well worth a visit.

14 Jan 2020 21:14

The Bobbing John, Alloa

The Bobbing John is a Wetherspoon's in the centre of Alloa and it was our first stop for breakfast and a quick drink on our way to other more exotic places. The usual Scottish 'spoon's choices of Greene King Abbot, Sharp's Doom Bar & Caledonian Deuchars IPA were on. Guests were Adnams Broadside, Kelburn Cart Blanche & Jaguar & Wooha Blonde. They don't serve a real cider. But at least the Scottish breakfast was nice and we were served in turn for a change. Probably the best choice in Alloa.

14 Jan 2020 21:11

The Waverly Bar, Dumfries

The Waverley Bar is the only pub that I could see in the immediate vicinity of the railway station. It's a little outside of the centre and they no longer serve real ale. The keg choice was Fosters, Guinness, Caledonia Best, John Smith's, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruits, Heineken, San Miguel & Tennent's. It has a nice, traditional interior, typical of a station pub. Service was friendly. But a few of the customers were a little inebriated. Moved on from here for a last real ale of the night at Pleuchie's Howff on the Annan Road, where the landlady was really friendly.

14 Jan 2020 21:05

Robert The Bruce, Dumfries

This Wetherspoon's outlet enjoys a fairly central location in Dumfries. It was as busy as you'd expect on a Saturday evening. As such, it was quite noisy. I was looking forward to a visit, as it is the only place in the town that serves real cider. Both Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon and Thistly Cross Elderflower Cider were on. Ales were Greene King Abbot, Sharp's Doom Bar, Caledonian Deuchars IPA, Kelburn Jaguar, Orkney Red MacGregor, Sulwath Galloway Gold & Nelson Shipwrecked. Service was out of order, as is the norm for a Wetherspoon's (when will they employ observant bar staff?). They also refused my CAMRA voucher for a real cider. When challenged, they tried it on the till and to the barman's surprise, the till accepted it. It was nice to have a cider though.

14 Jan 2020 20:59

The Cavens Arms, Dumfries

I'd been advised that this was the best pub in town. So, I was left a little disappointed by the Cavens Arms. It certainly has a good selection of ales. But there was nothing too unusual for me to try. The selection was Fyne Jarl, Greene King Abbot & Yardbird, Morland Old Speckled Hen, Hardy & Hanson's Rocking Rudolph, Black Sheep Blitzen, Titanic Plum Porter & Orkney Swannay IPA. I went against my usual choice of a dark ale to try the Swannay IPA, which was very pleasant indeed. The interior is very nice, with carpets all round and a cosy feel. The bar area felt a little cliquey. But most of the venue is geared towards dining. So, I sat at a table laid out for diners. None of the staff seemed too bothered with this. Undoubtedly a good pub. But not quite the best in town, in my opinion.

14 Jan 2020 20:53

The Douglas Arms, Dumfries

Small corner pub with a small bar and an even smaller snug that looked a bit too red for my liking. The bar itself was packed. So I propped myself up in the corner. The solitary real ale was Broughton Hopopotamus. But be careful - they also serve this on keg and having ordered it, I was immediately poured the keg version. The barmaid did change it for the cask version. But if you're fussy (like me), it's worth specifying which you want. The gents' toilets in the corner are tiny. I didn't stay too long, given the lack of available seating. But I did stay just long enough for a massive Jenga tower to topple over. Nice, traditional place that was an unplanned but worthy stop on my Saturday evening Dumfries crawl.

14 Jan 2020 20:47

The Tam O'Shanter, Dumfries

The Tam O'Shanter was my second stop on Queensbury Street, following the extremely busy and extremely cheap Imperial just down the road. The Tam O'Shanter was much quieter and whilst it felt a little bit worn and possibly dirty (the gents toilets absolutely stank), I really enjoyed my visit to what felt like a real unpretentious traditional boozer. It was my favourite pub in Dumfries. Ales were Broughton No. 5 Proper IPA & Wee Jock & Sulwath Criffel, Cuil Hill & THe Grace. There are 3 rooms - a front bar, a rear games room and a third side room. The front bar was populated by a few local characters, whilst a group were enjoying a game of pool in the games room. Service was friendly. Although, I may have missed out on a CAMRA discount.

14 Jan 2020 20:41

The Granary, Dumfries

Greene King pub that serves keg beers only. These were Belhaven Best, Carling, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruits, Stella Artois, Estrella Damm, Coors Light, Tennents, Guinness, Heineken, Peroni & Brewdog Punk IPA. It's a spacious place with plenty of seating options. It has a late license. But I was in just after the football had been shown on the several screens and it was still fairly quiet. Disappointing and not particularly welcoming.

14 Jan 2020 20:34

The Globe Inn, Dumfries

Apparently this is the oldest pub in town. You can certainly sense the character and history of this place, which is tucked down a narrow passageway off the High Street. There is a lovely small snug with its own access to the bar. We had decided to eat here. Food was really nice. Although, it does come at a price. There are also 3 real ales from the Lowland Brewery in Lockerbie. These were Dryfe Blonde, Twa Dugs & Santa's Little Belter. I was a bit dubious about sampling a Christmas beer during the second week in January. But it was very enjoyable. Decent pub that is well worth a visit.

14 Jan 2020 20:30

The New Bazaar, Dumfries

Typical traditional Scottish boozer that should be separated by a car park and a road from the river. But the river seemed a bit too close for comfort, having already crossed the road, on our Saturday evening visit. It is a lively pub with a bar area and a slightly quieter lounge with a nice fire. Although, both are one large room in reality. Live English women's football was showing in the bar. Theakston XB is the regular ale. Guests were Greene King IPA & Well's Bombardier. I opted for the XB, which was the first decent ale I'd had by this point.

14 Jan 2020 20:23

The Coach and Horses, Dumfries

Another Dumfries pub which is currently closed. Apparently it was damaged by fire and water from the sprinklers just prior to Christmas. I'll be back one day to see if it re-opens and remains open.

14 Jan 2020 20:19

The Ship Inn, Dumfries

This was due to be our second stop in Dumfries. But sadly it has closed down. Our first stop, the Riverside Bar, was just up the road and was a decent alternative that is in the current Good Beer Guide.

14 Jan 2020 20:18

The Farmers Inn, Clarencefield

Cosy village pub to the south east of Dumfries. There are 2 rooms. Everybody seemed to be in the bar/lounge area, with drinkers congregated at the bar itself and another couple dining. The real ale was Yardbird. I've managed to swerve that until now. But I gave it a try here and whilst it was in good condition, it wasn't my kind of ale.

14 Jan 2020 20:12

The Blue Bell, Annan

The Blue Bell was our first stop on a rather wet and windy day in Scotland. The local river had burst its banks somewhat. But it was warm inside, despite an indifferent welcome. Caledonian Deuchars IPA is the regular ale. Guests were Orkney Andrew's Ale & Jenning's Night Vision. They also have an ale from their own in-house brewery. This was Mott & Bailey Blonde Ale. There was no real cider. With the lack of a cider or a dark beer, I gave the local beer a try. The single large room has many nice, traditional features. Nice enough pub that is apparently the only real ale pub in town.

14 Jan 2020 20:04

Windlesora, Windsor

This has to be one of the worst Wetherspoon's I've ever been to. I much prefer the King & Castle nearer the Castle. Just 4 ales were on - Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharp's Doom Bar & Windsor & Eton Guardsman. I've come to expect a much better choice in a 'spoon's. The interior was as bland as the rest of them. We moved on from here to the much better Windsor & Eton Brewery Taproom, which was far better, but not listed on BITE.

6 Jan 2020 21:26

The Trooper, Windsor

The WIndsor Trooper is a pub that hasn't been in the Good Beer Guide since 2008. But I get the feeling that it won't be long before it is back in. Situated on the fairly trendy St Leonards Road, the Trooper has a nice cosy feel and it has a good ale selection and an ever better cider selection. Ales were Adnams Bitter, Oakham Citra, Branscombe Festive Frolic & Yo Ho Ho & Nethergate Suffolk County. Ciders were Gwynt y Ddraig Happy Daze & Two Trees Perry, Lilley's Apple & Blackberry Cider, Rhubarb Cider, Cherries & Berries & Pickled Parrot Perry, Ashridge Devon Blush, Dudda's Tun Bone Dry, Sandford Orchards Devon Mist, Rich's Legbender, Gwatkin Squel Pig & Heck's Farmhouse Perry. An excellent selection. The only drawback was the service. The barmaid was extremely slow. Although, she seemed to be trying to sort out some kind of accommodation issue. Incidentally, you can pair this pub with A Hoppy Place, just down the road. The latter is a bottle shop and despite high prices, it is a good place if you like craft beers, with some real ale too.

6 Jan 2020 21:21

The Windsor Castle, Windsor

This pub is on the outskirts of Windsor overlooking the Long Walk, with the real castle in the distance. Almost the same list of "Great real ales" on as Mappiman's visit - Brakspear Bitter, Courage Directors & Young's Bitter. The main bar is still quite traditional, whilst there is a conservatory for dining, which presumably becomes a suntrap in clement weather. One of the more disappointing pubs in Windsor overall.

6 Jan 2020 21:10

Queen Charlotte, Windsor

First stop on a Saturday afternoon stroll around Windsor was the Queen Charlotte, a backstreet pub that is one of a number in this area near the Castle and just off the main drag. There were just the 2 real ales on - Windsor & Eton Mandarin & Bingham's Xmas Cake. They also had Weston's Old Rosie cider on handpull. I chose the Xmas Cake, which was a typical slightly spicy seasonal brew. Bar staff were friendly. But this seems more one for the tourists than the locals.

6 Jan 2020 21:03

The Angel, Manchester

Our last stop of the day in Manchester was the Angel. I hadn't been here for more than 8 years. It has certainly gone downhill in that time. Gone are the real ciders and with no dark beers, the choice was disappointing - Howard Angel, Saltaire Blonde & Olympus, Bowness Bay Swan Blonde, Hawkshead Blonde, Waen St Clements & Yeovil Posh IPA. I had the St Clements, which tasted off. Billed as Orange & Lemon Cake, it may have supposed to taste sour. The barman assured me that was the case. But I couldn't actually finish it. The one good point was that the pub was one of the few that were open.

2 Jan 2020 21:30

The Crown and Kettle, Ancoats

Almost 7 years since I was last in here, I returned yesterday afternoon. It's better than I remember it. The ale and cider selection is excellent. With 6 real ciders on offer, there were 5 I'd never previously tried. So, I had to work my way through each of them. The ceiling appears to have been restored on one side of the bar. But there's still netting to stop any falling down! The ale choice was Anarchy Meltdown Expected, Neptune Shifting Sands, Bristol Beer Factory White Milk Stout, Wilde Child Excessive Behaviour & Over Indulgence, Mallinson's Taiheke & Cwrw Ial Atlantic 252. The ciders were Ascension Dabinett & Wrath, Nightingale Discovery, Kniveton Wynsum & Bartestree Moorcroft Blend Perry & Fiona Cider. I think I now have to classify this as my favourite pub in Manchester. I need to get back here much more often.

2 Jan 2020 21:16

Pie and Ale, Manchester

With many pubs in Manchester closed on New Year's Day, we ended up in a rather poor bar called the Crafty Pig. But then we found the Pie & Ale open. It was doing a busy trade of both food and drink. Whilst they have stopped selling a real cider, they still have a good ale range - Black Edge Black & Cascade, Rooster's Wild Mule, Cwrw Ial Call Em As Icy Em, Pig & Porter Lilac Time & Great Heck Trafalgar. Bar staff were cheery and the mince pies were complimentary. Certainly one of the best bars in the Northern Quarter.

2 Jan 2020 21:06

The Sir Ralph Abercrombie, Manchester

With many pubs in Manchester closed on New Year's Day, we were pleased to find the Sir Ralph Abercromby open. Although with only one other customer and the barman, it was fairly dead. BT Sport football matches were showing on several TVs. The interior was fairly dark, with a large bar in the middle. Timothy Taylor Landlord is the regular ale. The 5 guests were Sharp's Doom Bar, Moorhouse's White Witch, Stockport Snow Angel & West Coast IPA & Brightside Polaris Express. Two of the ales were being sold at £3 per pint. But surprisingly, it was the full price White Witch that tasted past its best. Tucked away in a back street, at least it was open.

2 Jan 2020 20:40

The Garibaldi, Bourne End

I can only echo the previous review. This is a nice community-owned pub at the eastern end of Bourne End. There is a single bar and on my visit there was a good mixture of customers. A friendly dog made himself next to me, whilst I supped my half (I was driving) of the seasonal Rebellion Top Gun. The other 2 ales were Rebellion IPA & Greene King Abbot Reserve. That concludes my year of pub reviewing. It wasn't quite my final pub. I saved the best of this visit to Bucks until last, with a visit to the fabulous KEG Craft Beer Tasting Bar in the centre of Bourne End. It's not listed on here (surprise surprise). But, I thoroughly recommend it. Wishing all BITE reviewers/readers a Happy New Year....

31 Dec 2019 20:13

The Kings Head, Little Marlow

I initially tried to visit the King's Head on my Monday evening visit to Bourne End. But apparently it closes early on Monday's. I returned today to find a nice village pub with a clear emphasis on food. A number of groups were finishing what must have been late lunches. Nicely appointed inside, they had 2 Rebellion ales on - IPA & Roasted Nuts. A third handpull had a Zebedee pumpclip turned round. My Roasted Nuts was adequate. In fact, I nearly had them in more ways than one, sitting in front of the roaring fire. Overall, more of a dining establishment than a drinkers' pub.

31 Dec 2019 20:08

The Black Lion, Bourne End

The Black Lion was my final stop on an 8 pub Bucks crawl. I arrived as the fog was descending quickly. But, the interior was a cosy retreat, with a number of rooms scattered around the central bar. The owners and regulars seemed quite jovial. The ale selection was decent and varied - Vale Good King & Brill Gold, Black Sheep Blitzen & Cotleigh Hoppy Xmas. A decent end to my Monday evening in one of the best pubs in Bourne End.

31 Dec 2019 20:03

The Queens Head, Little Marlow

Having just visited a modern craft beer bar in the centre of High Wycombe called Heidrun (not listed on BITE), the Queen's Head could not have been more different. This pub is tucked away at the end of a lane in an idyllic location next to a very old church. The interior has clearly been refurbished somewhat and the focus in on dining. Nevertheless, there is a small drinking area near the bar. The 2 regular real ales are Fuller's London Pride & Rebellion IPA. The guest was rather unadventurous - Sharp's Doom Bar.

31 Dec 2019 19:59

Le De Spencers Arms, High Wycombe

The De Spencer Arms is situated a long way uphill from High Wycombe and down a very rutted lane. With just a single room and many customers, it was fairly crowded on my Monday evening visit. A group who had been shooting locally had clearly been downing a fair few. Other customers seemed a little more friendly. Whilst it's a Fuller's pub, the ale range was slightly more diverse than usual with a selection of London Pride, HSB, Partridge & Tribute. Lovely location. Shame about some of the clientele.

31 Dec 2019 19:54

George and Dragon, West Wycombe

West Wycombe is a lovely little area just outside High Wycombe. The George & Dragon is an old coaching inn that is one of a number of pubs on the High Street. It was busy on my Monday evening visit, with a mixture of drinkers and diners. I think I took the last table. The interior had a nice festive feel. St Austell Tribute & Rebellion IPA are the 2 regular ales. Rebellion Roasted Nuts was the guest beer.

31 Dec 2019 19:50

Bird in Hand, Princes Risborough

The Bird In Hand was my second stop in Buckinghamshire on a Monday evening, following the Stable Bar at the Three Crowns in nearby Askett (not listed on BITE). The Bird In Hand is now longer under Greene King ownership. It is part of the Oak Taverns chain of several pubs, with their own breweries. The interior is cosy and relaxing. 4 real ales were on, with no Greene King beer in sight. Chiltern Beechwood Bitter is the regular ale. Bird In Hand Red Breast, St Austell Proper Cracker & Portobello Stiff Lip IPA were the guests. Certainly one of the better pubs of 8 I visited in the area. From here, I moved on to the Golden Cross in Saunderton, another not listed on BITE.

31 Dec 2019 19:45

The Punchbowl, Newcastle

The Punch Bowl re-opened this summer and now offers a much larger selection of real ales. The interior has a nice, fresh feel to it. There are a couple of rooms. One appeared more suite to diners. But handpulls are spread across both rooms. Yesterday, the selection was Almasty Punch Bowl Session IPA, Oakham JHB & Citra, Dark Star Hophead, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted, Errant Games Without Frontiers, Ossett Yorkshire Blonde, Frank & Stein Overkill, Titanic Plum Porter & Out There Alpha Sirius. The real cider was Perry's Grey Heron. Certainly a nice pub. My only criticism was their inability to dispense half pints. Beer is only available in thirds, two thirds or pints. My preference is for halves. But they won't serve them here. The Punch Bowl is an easy bus ride to Haymarket, where we later continued our drinking in a micropub called the Mean-Eyed Cat, which once again cannot be added to BITE.

29 Dec 2019 14:52

Blue Bell, Newcastle

The Blue Bell was our third stop on our Christmas Saturday visit to Byker and Jesmond. As usual, the best bars (the Brinkburn Street Brewery Bar & Kitchen and the Tyne Bank Tap Room) are not listed on the website. The Blue Bell enjoys a lovely location next to a river and a wooded park. The pub has a cosy interior and Premier League football was showing on the TV. However, the real ale choice was limited to Lightfoot, badged as Blue Bell. Fairly poor.

29 Dec 2019 14:44

The Star, Ruthin

I returned to Denbighshire last night to give this pub and the Red Lion Hotel in Cyffyliog another try. They were both open this time. Unlike the Red Lion, the Star was certainly not worth returning for. Real ale has long since disappeared from here. The offering was Guinness, Carling, John Smith's, Carlsberg, San Miguel, Shipyard or Thatcher's Gold. A disco was being set up. Local youths were sat at the bar. This may be the oldest pub in Ruthin. But, it's also the worst of the ones I've visited.

22 Dec 2019 13:50

The Hand Inn, Denbigh

The Hand Inn was my final stop in Denbigh. They don't have real ales here. The keg choice was San Miguel, 61 Deep, Jenning's Cumberland Cream, Carlsberg Pilsner, Fosters, Strongbow, Warsteiner & Guinness. This was a suitable place for a soft drink, given I was driving. At £1.80 for a small coke, prices here are clearly extortionate. A central bar is surrounded by 3 different areas, each with TVs for sporting events. A live football match was about to start, which I wasn't about to sit around for. Clearly a youngsters' place that fails to deliver for those seeking something that little bit extra in a pub/bar.

22 Dec 2019 13:26

The Old Vaults, Denbigh

Currently closed.

22 Dec 2019 13:22

Guildhall Tavern, Denbigh

After a visit to Y Goron Fach, an excellent micropub not listed on BITE, my third stop in Denbigh was the Guildhall. This is quite an upmarket place and has accommodation too. Prices were too expensive when we enquired about staying in the town in December, whilst the Hope & Anchor offered as a room, but then let us down. With only 2 other customers on my early Saturday evening visit, it wasn't very lively in the Guildhall. But the surroundings make for a cosy drinking environment. Facer's Abbey Red is the real ale. They also had a couple of Gwynt y Ddraig ciders - Farmhouse Scrumpy & Happy Daze. That was certainly a plus point.

22 Dec 2019 13:21

The Railway, Denbigh

The Railway is at the bottom end of town. There are multiple small rooms. One has a pool table, whilst another was classed as a "darts room". Ironically, most customers were in another room watching the darts on the TV. The real ale was Glaslyn, with Doom Bar having gone off. Friendly, but fairly average kind of place.

22 Dec 2019 13:00

The Roscoe Head, Liverpool

After visits to several pubs not listed on here (when can we add any), namely Only Fools, Kazimier Garden, Bundobust & the Sanctuary, our penultimate stop in Liverpool on Wednesday evening was the ever-reliable Roscoe Head. Open until midnight, it was fairly quiet after 11pm. Tetley Bitter & Timothy Taylor Landlord are the regular ales. Guests on were Scarborough Red Sky Night, RedWillow Chevalier Mild & Abbeydale Heathen. Old Rosie cider is also still available. I love the small rooms and friendly atmosphere in this pub. Still one of the best in the city.

20 Dec 2019 20:48

The Hub Alehouse and Kitchen, Liverpool

The Hub has changed hands and is now called Albert's Schenke. It's a German-themed bar, where the emphasis is still very much on food. 2 real ales were on - Mobberley Brewhouse Concept #35 English IPA & Liverpool Brewing 24 Carat Gold. But there is a much larger selection of craft beers and plenty of bottles and cans in the fridges. Service was slow and prices are sufficient to deter a return visit. £11+ for a schooner and a can seemed excessive.

20 Dec 2019 20:32

Liverpool One Bridewell, Liverpool

The Bridewell closed down and has re-opened again under new ownership. The owners used to run or be involved in Rigby's and the Fly In The Loaf. Little appears to have changed inside. You can still sit in the old cells. Ales were Kirkstall Pale Ale & Dexter, Banks's Amber, Thwaite's Wainwright & Wylam I Blame The Daylight. Worth a visit if passing.

20 Dec 2019 20:28

The Exmouth Arms, Euston

Came here on Wednesday lunchtime. It was my first visit for just over 8 years. The Exmouth Arms is now much improved. It even opens early for breakfast now and has survived the construction works around Euston, unlike the Bree Louise. Titanic Plum Porter is a regular ale. Guests were Sambrook's Pale Ale, Twickenham Yakima Valley ABA, Truman's Roll Out The Barrel & Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter. There's normally a real cider on handpull. But sadly the Seacider Blood Orange pumpclip was turned round on my visit. One I will probably return to sooner.

20 Dec 2019 20:21

The Brink, Manchester

The last time I tried to visit Brink was just over a year ago and I believe it was closed on a Sunday. Nowadays, it does open 7 days a week and it was busy late yesterday afternoon. The beer and cider range is impressive, with a good selection of cask, keg, bottles and cans. The cask offering was Strata Drumlin, Nightjar Lost In Ikea, Squawk Pavo, RedWillow Imperial XXX Mild & Limitless & Brewsmith/Strata NZ IPA. Ciders were Dunham Press Sawput, Sawpit and Black & Apple and Rhubarb & Moss Cider Project All In Hand. There was just enough time to get through each of the Dunham Press ciders and the very strong (9.2%) mild, before heading back to Piccadilly. The Brink is certainly one of the best bars for beer and cider in the city centre at the present time.

16 Dec 2019 21:13

Sandbar, Manchester

The Sandbar is a bar that I've been meaning to get to for some time. Yesterday, I finally managed to get there in spite of the late arrival of my train. I was greeted by an empty pub, but a decent selection of ales and a cider I'd not previously had. Real ales were Facer's Clwyd Gold & Winter Pale, Phoenix Arizona & Christmas Kiss, Silver Street Saison & Porter & Brass Castle Bad Kitty. The cider was Moss Cider Project All In Hand. With just time for a couple of swift halves, I opted for the cider and the porter. Both were good, especially the porter. A few more people did come in during my visit. But I guess the pub gets busiest when the students are in town. Payment is by card only. At almost 15 minutes walk from Piccadilly, it seems a bit off the beaten track. But there's a good chance that I'll be back one day.

16 Dec 2019 21:04

The Greyhound, Eton WIck

I returned to the Greyhound this evening. There were a few customers in this time and a choice of 3 real ales - Windsor & Eton Knight of the Garter, Fuller's London Pride & Rebellion Smuggler. I had the latter, which was perfectly acceptable.

11 Dec 2019 19:37

The Bear, Maidenhead

My penultimate stop of the night in Maidenhead was this branch of Wetherspoon's. The last time I was here, the Greyhound was the town's branch. The Bear is a large place spread over two floors. But they really need more staff. Waiting 10-15 minutes to get served on a Monday evening is really not clever. And why on earth can Wetherspoon's staff never work out who is next, or even ask who is next. I arrived when there was just one other couple at the bar ordering food. By the time they had finished, there were a couple more groups. Naturally, they were all served before me. At least 3 or 4 more groups arrived at the bar and got served before me, with others who had arrived well after me also getting frustrated at the lengthy waits. With just a single barmaid trying to keep everybody happy, it's simply not good enough. Maybe Mr Martin's announcement today that he is taking on more staff can't come soon enough. At the same time, please give them basic training as to how to serve people in turn. For the record, ales were Sharp's Doom Bar, Greene King IPA & Abbot, Lancaster Chestnut Red, Stardust Optic Pale Ale & Kansas Avenue Wise Donkey. Black Dragon was the cider. Unfortunately, my visit was soured by the awful service.

10 Dec 2019 19:51

The Hobgoblin, Maidenhead

The last time I was here was when it was called the Hobgoblin. Now called the Maiden's Head, it is significantly improved. The lighting was much better and despite it being a Monday evening, there were a few in. One group were eating. It looks like they regularly have Rebellion beers. On my visit, they had both Roasted Nuts & Zebedee. Guests were Mill Valley Panther & Stardust Curve Ball. I tried the Panther. Whilst drinking, I noticed several Lilley's ciders listed behind the bar. But these all turned out to be bottles. Otherwise, I would have stayed for another. Nevertheless, this place is much improved.

10 Dec 2019 19:44

Maidenhead Conservative Club, Maidenhead

The last time I was out drinking in Maidenhead in 2010, I was refused entry to the Conservative Club. This time I was much luckier. The Club is fairly cosy inside, with a small room at the front and a much larger one at the rear. All regulars were at the rear. 5 real ales are dispensed. Although, all were national staples - London Pride,Doom Bar, Directors, Southwold Bitter & Boltmaker. The steward behind the bar was friendly and happy to chat about the ales served. My Boltmaker was fine. Although, none of the selection was really to my taste. As did BoehmBawerk, I also visited the Grenfell Arms (still not on the site). It was a slight improvement on the Conservative Club, but not really worth the extra walk out of town. No sign of Theresa at the Club, by the way.

10 Dec 2019 19:39

The Corner House, Maidenhead

Now called Gordon's on Queen Street, this is a welcoming street corner pub serving a couple of real ales. These were Fuller's London Pride & Rebellion Roasted Nuts. Within minutes of sitting down, I was offered complimentary sausage rolls - a really nice touch. My Roasted Nuts was in a good condition.

10 Dec 2019 19:31

The White Horse, Maidenhead

This place is now called Off The Tap and despite not being on my hitlist for my Monday evening visit to Maidenhead, it was my favourite pub. Whilst it was fairly quiet during my visit, there is plenty of seating. A pool table and darts board is situated to the right of the bar. On the real ale front, there was Siren Suspended in Loral, Electric Bear Comet & Marston's Pedigree. There were also a couple of Lilley's fruit ciders - Mango & Tropical and a selection of craft beers. With a CAMRA discount offered, my Tropical Cider was reasonably priced. Pizzas are served. Looks like it has only recently opened. But Off The Tap is well worth a visit.

10 Dec 2019 19:27

The Rose, Maidenhead

Corner pub a few minutes walk north of the train station. The barman looked at me with a little suspicion as I entered. Others in were clearly locals. Just the solitary real ale was on. This was Rebellion Top Gun, a pale ale. A guy sat at the bar was sat with a pint of what looked very much like a real cider. But I couldn't see any sign of one. So, I stuck with the Top Gun. Fairly average pub.

10 Dec 2019 19:22

The Greyhound, Eton WIck

The Greyhound was to be our final stop of the day on a short crawl of 6 Berkshire pubs. Sadly, there was no chance of a beerintheevening today, as it was a private Christmas party for the staff. Hopefully I'll have better luck next time.

8 Dec 2019 21:44

The Swan, Clewer Village

The Swan re-opened during the summer after a period of closure. It is now a community-run pub with 3 Windsor & Eton ales on handpull. Guardsman is the regular. The other 2 on our visit were Conqueror & Vote Beer. My Conqueror was well-kept. Nice interior, albeit a bit quiet. Whilst we were the only customers on entry, another 3 had appeared before we departed. A decent local that is well worth supporting.

8 Dec 2019 21:42

The Old Swan Uppers, Cookham

Today was my first ever visit to Cookham. The Old Swan Uppers was the solitary pub we tried in the village itself. It's a nice old building in a village that is full of character. The bar is at the front, with a dining room at the rear. Tapas appears to be a speciality. Fuller's London Pride & Brain's The Rev James are the regular ales. Guests were Butcombe Original & Black Sheep Best Bitter. Moved on from here to the Jolly Farmer at nearby Cookham Dean, which was slightly better, albeit not listed on BITE.

8 Dec 2019 21:33

The Bounty, Bourne End

Second stop in Berkshire today after a visit to the Barleycorn in Cippenham was this very unusual pub on the banks of the Thames. Getting here can be tricky. I approached from Bourne End, crossed the river using the railway bridge and wandered up the muddy towpath. I wasn't expecting to find it open, especially as TripAdvisor records it as closed. But notices on the railway bridge displayed its winter hours (3 hours on a Friday) and 6½ hours on a Saturday and on a Sunday. The building seemed like a large shack from the inside. There are flags on the ceiling. There are 2 separate rooms, with the bar in the front one. It smelt overwhelmingly of wet dogs and whilst there were around 20 or so customers, I seemed to be the only one not being accompanied by a canine. There were a number of kids too. Given its position, most of the clientele were in Wellington boots. The 3 real ales were all from Rebellion. They were Grumpy Cow, Mutiny At The Bounty & Winter Roy. They also had Old Rosie cider. Certainly one of the harder to get to pubs I have visited across the country. But nevertheless, I think it was worth the effort.

8 Dec 2019 21:27

The Cheshire Cheese, Tower Hill

With just time to try 1 more pub before heading home with the commuters, I chose this pub tucked underneath the railway arches of Fenchurch Street station. There was nothing particularly special about the pub. A private function was being held upstairs. All seats were also taken downstairs, where live football was about to be shown on multiple screens. Fuller's London Pride & Sharp's Doom Bar are the regular ales here. Guests were Black Sheep Best Bitter & Hardy & Hanson's Rocking Rudolph. I was hoping for a real cider. But, they no longer serve it. Disappointing.

6 Dec 2019 22:09

The Hoop and Grapes, Aldgate

My second stop on a Thursday evening visit to the City was this Nicholson's establishment near to Aldgate tube station. I'd just come from the Craft Beer Company's nearby branch (not listed on BITE). Not venturing into the City too often, I never failed to be surprised as to just how busy these pubs get. Even with it being only a Thursday, nearly all pubs in the area were packed. Fuller's London Pride is the regular ale here. Guests were Marston's Pedigree, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Sharp's Sunset Red & St Austell Jolly Holly. I was impressed that they had a real cider. This was Devon Mist. It's clearly an old pub and whilst there was no realistic change of me getting a seat, it was quite a nice drinking environment. Not as good as the Craft. But certainly above average.

6 Dec 2019 22:03

Roscoe Arms, Liverpool

After a visit to the ever-reliable Grapes, we decided to finish in this newly re-opened pub. As the Roscoe Arms, this place was nothing out of the ordinary and I must have walked past it hundreds of times. As the Butterfly & Grasshopper, it is now something very much out of the ordinary. The interior has been nicely done out. Whilst there is a focus on attracting a more upmarket clientele, there are still a couple of real ales. These were Sharp's Atlantic & Laine's Doubloon. Cocktails and sprits seem to be a mainstay though. We were the only customers. The 3 members of staff outnumbered the 2 of us. On heading up the stairs, one of the owners politely informed me that I was a grasshopper. All became apparent at the top of the stairs.

6 Dec 2019 21:44

Peter Kavanaghs, Liverpool

Peter Kavanagh's is the current Liverpool CAMRA Pub of the Year. We haven't visited for almost 4 years. So, we thought it about time that we paid another visit. As you'd expect, it's completely unchanged. Always quiet during the daytime, it had a reasonable ale selection. Greene King Abbot is always on. Guests were Big Bog Stog & Swampy, Rock The Boat Waterloo Sunset & Mobberley Brewhouse Concept #35 English IPA. I'm not convinced it is the best pub in the city. But despite being a fair walk from the centre, I'd always recommend a visit here for any pub/beer tourist.

6 Dec 2019 21:37

The Caledonia, Liverpool

This is a pub that we don't visit often enough. Whilst only fairly small, there is always a nice atmosphere in here and there is generally a decent choice of real ales, with the added advantage of a real cider. Slater's 1 Hop, Republic Of Liverpool Northern Powerhouse, Melwood Dark Matter & Cross Bay Zenith were the 4 ales. Black Bart was the cider. One of Liverpool's best pubs, in my opinion.

6 Dec 2019 21:32

The Augustus John, University of Liverpool

The Augustus John is still only open between the hours of 12-11 on weekdays. I try to make a point of visiting when we're in Liverpool midweek, despite it being away from most decent Liverpool pubs. Ales on our Thursday lunchtime social were Rock The Boat Fab Four, Green Duck Smooth Criminal & Millstone Tiger Rut. As usual, there were a few real ciders - Barbourne Crimson King, Pulp Apple Cider, Abrahall's Cracklin' Rosie & Orchard Pig Navel Gazer. There's still many pumpclips to admire on the ceiling. I hear they may be knocking it down soon. Hopefully there will be a suitable replacement.

6 Dec 2019 21:28

The Font, Liverpool

The Font is another Liverpool pub that opens in the morning during the week. There were already a few students in. The 2 real ales were Big Bog Hunky Punk & Mobberley Brewhouse Solstice, whilst the cider was Rosie's Triple D. There's a good selection of craft beers in bottles and cans. The interior remains pretty much unchanged.

6 Dec 2019 21:23

Lime Kiln, Liverpool

First stop on a Thursday morning/lunchtime visit to Liverpool pubs was the Lime Kiln. It wasn't as busy as usual. Maybe the area outside cordoned off by the police (presumably after the previous night's revelries) had something to do with that. But the ale selection is still one of the best for Liverpool's Wetherspoon branches. On this occasion, the regular Ruddles Best was supplemented by Peerless Pool Street Porter, Coach House Postlethwaites & Blonde Ale, Bell's Light Hearted Ale, Cotleigh Red Nose Reinbeer, Vale Good King, Parker Barbarian Bitter & Saxon Red Ale, Wolf Santa Paws & Elgood's A Christmoose Carol. Ciders were Old Rosie & Black Dragon. A decent start to the morning.

6 Dec 2019 21:19

Perch Rock Hotel, Wallasey

With most of New Brighton devoid of life late at night, this was the only place open after midnight for a nightcap. It was fairly lively inside, with regulars packed around the bar. Doom Bar & Landlord are now the 2 real ales. Possibly not as good as the Harbour and the James Atherton opposite and not a patch on the Bow-Legged Beagle or the Homebrew Tap, the Perch Rock was still a decent place for a nightcap on our midweek visit to New Brighton.

6 Dec 2019 21:13

Welkin, Liverpool

We had another disappointing visit to the Welkin on Wednesday night. As Wetherspoon's go, this is poorer than average. But it always seems to be busy. The ale selection was dominated by Christmas ales. Sharp's Doom Bar, Ruddles Best & Greene King Abbot are the regular ales. Guests were Greene King Abbot Reserve, Inveralmond Bheira, Otter Claus, Daleside Santa's Progress, Bateman's Rosey Nosey & Cotleigh Red Nose Reinbeer. Staff seemed a bit too keen to point out that they were closing soon.

6 Dec 2019 21:09

King Harry, Anfield

We ventured into this hostelry on Wednesday evening. It was very busy, as you would expect, being so close to the football stadium. The keg selection was Carlsberg, Brooklyn Lager, Somersby, Tetley's Extra Cold, Guinness, San Miguel & Angelo Moretti. Plenty of Liverpool memorabilia as you'd expect. But certainly not my cup of tea!

6 Dec 2019 21:03

Commercial, New Brighton

The Harbour is now one of several pubs in the Victoria quarter of New Brighton. You can have quite a decent crawl. The interior of this pub feels quite cosy. Although the music was a bit too loud for my liking. Big Bog Padi was the real ale on offer on this visit.

6 Dec 2019 21:00

Peggy Gadflys, Wallasey

This is now the New Brighton Hotel. After the delights of the Bow-Legged Beagle micropub and the Homebrew Tap (both opposite and not listed on BITE), this was a massive disappointment. It's a large place where a band appeared to be setting up. Although there was only one other customer. Gents toilets had no lights. Although I was directed to another gents with lighting. Whilst there are handpulls, they no longer serve real ale. The keg selection was Stella Artois, Carling, Estrella Damm, Fosters, Coors Light, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruit, Open Gate Citra IPA, Marston's 61 Deep, Heineken, John Smith's Gold, Guinness & Peroni. Worst pub I tried in New Brighton. I moved on to the James Atherton (another pub missing from the site).

6 Dec 2019 20:52

The Seahorse, Wirral

We were stopping overnight in New Brighton and this was the nearest pub selling real ale to our hotel. IPA, Abbot & Fireside was the choice. It's a large, soulless where you can no doubt eat cheap food. I didn't stick around too long, as there are far better establishments to drink in whilst in the town.

6 Dec 2019 20:47

Corner Bar, Crewe

The Corner Bar seems a bit darker than I remember. It's a handy place to head to if you've got spare time whilst changing trains at Crewe. With just enough time for a very swift half, we arrived to find a selection of Timothy Taylor Landlord, Theakston Atlantic Red, Otter Bitter & Fuller's Boardwalk. Service was quick.

6 Dec 2019 20:38

The Crown and Anchor, Euston

It was fairly busy in here on a Wednesday lunchtime visit. Most people seemed to be in for the food. Sharp's Doom Bar is the regular beer. Guests were Rudgate Hop For Heroes, Five Points Citrus Pale & Pheasantry Blue Steel. There were also a number of craft beer options, including bottles and cans in the fridges. Ok for a swift one.

6 Dec 2019 20:33

Kings, Leicester

Over 5 years since our last visit, our final stop in Leicester on Sunday evening was the Kings Head. It remains pretty much unchanged from our last visit. There are entrances at either end of the pub. On this visit, the ale range was Black Country Ales BFG, Fireside, Pig On The Wall & Plum Pig, Quantock Ralehead, Leatherbritches Bad Boy, Springhead Drop O' The Black Stuff, Bluestone Hammer Stone & Frothblowers Gollop With Zest. Ciders were Gwynt y Ddraig Farmer's Pride & Pulp Mango & Lime. Still a reliable place and the best in this area, now that Broood has closed.

3 Dec 2019 21:23

The Real Ale Classroom, Leicester

I've been meaning to try this micropub to the South East of Leicester city centre for a while. We finally managed to get there on Sunday lunchtime. Run by a couple of ex-teachers, the pub is themed as a classroom. The blackboard (or should it be chalkboard these days?) listed a number of real ales and also craft beers. Not all of the real ales were on. But they appeared to have Titanic Plum Porter, Magic Rock High Wire, Mobberley Brewhouse Sidekick, Faversham Red Ale & Siren Suspended In Lemondrop. Craft beers were Almastic Mosaic x Nelson, Wylam Economic Growth Of Geek & Shiny/Vibrant Cherry Truffle. The latter was a delicious, but very heavy beer at a hefty 8.2%. There were also a couple of real ciders from Saxby's in the chiller - Original & Blackcurrant, with their 3.9 also available on keg. This is a very pleasant drinking environment spread over 2 rooms. Locals were friendly and eager to chat, whilst the sheer number of pumpclips on the approach to the toilets signify that ale turnover has been extremely good. We sought advice for our next stops in the Real Ale Classroom and moved onto another micropub (the Queens Road Tap) and a beer festival at the Knighton & Clarendon Park Conservative Club. Neither are listed on here.

3 Dec 2019 21:12

William White, Nuneaton

This place is now called the Silk Mill. We did think that it had the appearance of a Wetherspoon's. As an unscheduled stop, courtesy of Cross Country trains cancelling our train, it wasn't too shabby. It served our hour of need on Sunday morning with a warm drinking environment and friendly service. Ales were all fairly bog standard - Sharp's Doom Bar, Greene King IPA & Abbot, Morland Old Golden Hen, Fuller's London Pride & Timothy Taylor Landlord. But we also noticed the selection of Lilley's ciders in the fridge - Lemon & Ginger, Firedancer, Gladiator, Merry Monkey & Bee Sting. The latter was soon replaced by a Mango Cider & Santa Cider. There's plenty of seating and multiple TVs showing Caribbean cricket. After a few swift halves, we returned to the station only to find our next train was cancelled too. Seems like this place changes hands quite regularly. But I'll try it again the next time I'm stranded in Nuneaton.

3 Dec 2019 21:03

Plough Inn, Wingfield

The Plough was my final stop in Bedfordshire on a cold Saturday night. Surprisingly, it was my first Fuller's pub of the trip. HSB & London Pride are the regular ales. Oliver's Island & Ghost Ship were the guests. The pub was fairly quiet, with just a couple of drinkers at the bar, a group finishing off a meal, the barmaid and myself. The interior is however, nicely appointed. With very low beams, its clearly a fairly old building. Parking is opposite and across the road.

3 Dec 2019 20:55

The Oddfellows Arms, Toddington

The Oddfellows Arms was easily the busier of the pubs I tried in Toddington on Saturday evening. But the ales were only southern English staples - Fuller's London Pride, Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter & Butcombe Original. A nice and lively drinking environment. But I preferred the solitude of the Cuckoo.

3 Dec 2019 20:51

The Cuckoo, Toddington

The Cuckoo is a rather strange pub. It has the feel of a residential dwelling, with a corridor from the front door leading to 2 large rooms. The one on the right houses the bar and some fairly unusual seating. I didn't enter the other room. But it clearly had a pool table. 3 ales were on - Leighton Buzzard Cuckoo, Tring Codey & Crouch Vale Sputnik. A nice drinking environment with no music.

3 Dec 2019 20:48

The Old Ale House, Woburn

This bar is now called the Woburn Ale House. It is situated on Woburn's main street. Not having been to this town/village before, I was impressed by its character. The street was well lit and it had a real festive feel. Congratulations to all of the residents and businesses for making it look so attractive on what was a cold and foggy November evening. The bar was quiet when I first entered. But I got the impression that this was just a lull in proceedings and it soon filled up. On the negative side, the owner appeared to be having a few technical issues. There were just 3 real ales on - Leighton Buzzard Restoration Ale, Hornes Black Antler & Mad Squirrel Mister Squirrel. There was no real cider either, apart from a mulled option from Cornish Orchards. Nevertheless, the Black Antler was perfectly palatable. With a better range of beers and/or ciders, this could well have been the best pub of my visit to Bedfordshire. But on this occasion, it fell just short.

3 Dec 2019 20:43

The Wheatsheaf, Aspley Guise

Aspley Guise is a very nice village. But, this pub and the whole street it sat in have been converted to flats/houses.

3 Dec 2019 20:36

The Red Lion, Salford

Another pub that is now closed. Whilst it was dark, the pub sign still appeared to be present. Somebody seemed to be moving furniture indoors from what is or used to be the car park. I'm not sure whether the pub will re-open or whether it has now become a private dwelling.

3 Dec 2019 20:35

The Carpenters Arms, Cranfield

It looks like nobody heeded the advice in the last post. Long since closed, it is now a private house. There were other options nearby. But, I moved on.

3 Dec 2019 20:33

The Greyhound, Haynes

The Greyhound is another Greene King pub. But unlike other GK pubs I visited in Bedfordshire on Saturday, it had a good selection of guest ales. The full selection was Greene King IPA, Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter, Tring Side Pocket For A Toad, Oakham Citra & Butcombe Chris Moose. Choosing beers was difficult as you had to peer between the local bar hoggers, who in turn seemed to think I wanted to fight. There is a large restaurant area that was being used by a number of kids as an adventure playground. The staff didn't seem to be much older.

3 Dec 2019 20:30

The Admiral, Clifton

The Admiral was much better than I had expected. Situated near the village duckpond, it's a traditional locals pub with patrons all sat around the bar. Some of the language was a bit choice. But, all were friendly. Unusual for this part of the country, they stock Robinson's beers. Both Cumbria Way & Double Hop were on. In addition, there was 3 Brewers Mild & Porter & Dark Star Hophead. A 6th handpull had Saxby's Blackcurrant Cider, which was a decent surprise.

3 Dec 2019 20:14

The Old Transporter Ale House, Henlow

The Old Transporter Ale House is a micropub on a parade of shops just off a roundabout near the RAF base. It's quite a large premises for a micropub. But seating is well spaced out. Ales are all served by gravity from casks behind the bar. The selection was Potbelly Ground Hog, Tring Pale Four, Wychwood Hobgoblin & Young's Winter Warmer. Ciders can be found in the fridge. There was Lilley's Gladiator, Crazy Goat & Apple & Blackberry & Broadway Press Original & Elderflower, both iced ciders. The latter were both fairly pleasant. This is a friendly drinking environment where families are welcome until 7pm. CAMRA discounts are only on the ales. My favourite new pub in Bedfordshire on Saturday. But unless anything has changed, the Engineers Arms remains the best pub in Henlow.

3 Dec 2019 20:07

The Musgrave Arms, Shillington

To complete my hat trick of Greene King pubs, I visited the Musgrave Arms. Being more in the sticks, this was far more of a traditional locals pub than the previous two. There were a couple of rooms, with a family (possibly the owners) eating in one and a group playing dominoes in the other. Greene King IPA & Abbot are the regular ales. Morland Old Speckled Hen was the third ale. Not bad. But, Greene King seem to be overtaking Charles Wells in Bedfordshire these days.

3 Dec 2019 20:00

The Chequers, Luton

Another Greene King pub located in the village of Streatley. This one seemed to be more of a locals pub than the Star at Chalton. A group of what I believe were Spaniards didn't seem to be enjoying the spicy chicken wings and sent them back. I'm not sure if they thought it was tapas. But, they clearly weren't impressed. A couple of others had been eating. But there were people there just for drinks too. 5 ales were on - Morland Old Speckled Hen, Greene King IPA, Abbot & Abbot Reserve & St Austell Tribute. The pub is in a nice location. But, my visit was on an icy and foggy Saturday. So, it was difficult to appreciate. The Sharpenhoe Clappers and the Pegsdon Hills Nature Reserve are both nearby.

3 Dec 2019 19:54

The Star, Chalton

Chef & Brewer (Greene King) pub/restaurant that is close to the M1. IPA & Abbot were the only real ales. On my Saturday visit, most people were in for the food. I was one of only two drinkers. Families are welcomed. But, drinks are very expensive. This was a poor start to a tour of Bedfordshire hostelries.

3 Dec 2019 19:47

Ma Egertons, Liverpool

After enduring the traffic chaos that is Liverpool right now, I only had time for a swift one near the station before heading home last night. We stepped into Ma Egerton's. It was my first visit for almost 6 years. Far too packed to be enjoyable and with just Butcombe Original & Wadworth 6X on offer, I know why I don't go in more often. We sat outside just opposite the theatre, making it a good spot for people watching. I would rather be drinking decent beer though!

24 Nov 2019 10:22

The Grapes, Liverpool

The Grapes is just about the best pub in this part of town at present. They often offer a real cider, which gets my vote. Although having said that, there was none on our visit yesterday. The ale selection was Melwood Moon Dance & Big River, Parker Barbarian Bitter, Ad Hop Endeavour & Liverpool Pale, Beatnikz Republic Smash Mosaic, Neptune Devil's Hole & Salt Velveteen Cocoa Porte. Gibberish Pineapple Upside Down was one of the craft beer offerings. The drinking environment is quite pleasant with a number of different drinking areas and it always seems friendly.

24 Nov 2019 10:14

The Glan Aber Hotel, Betws-y-Coed

I'll clarify that the cannabis smell was in the car park of the hotel. Judging by the local youths' actions, they were clearly the culprits. But, they weren't customers of the hotel. The hotel/bar's clientele was perfectly respectable.

18 Nov 2019 18:38

Fox and Hounds Inn, Bancyfelin

The Fox & Hounds was due to be our final pub of the night in West Wales. Brown signs direct people off the A40 into the village of Bancyfelin. But, unfortunately they now close early in the evening. At 9:30pm last night, there was no sign of life. According to their website, they have new winter opening hours. No Beerinthevening available here.

18 Nov 2019 18:35

Boncath Inn, Boncath

The Boncath Inn is now closed. Although the building still stands. Apparently local residents have been trying to turn it back into a pub. We did manage to do a few other pubs in this neck of the woods that are not listed on BITE. I will seek to add the Butchers Arms at Tegryn, the Ffynnone Arms at Newchapel, the Tafarn Yr Oen at Blaenwaun, the White Lion at Pwlltrap and the Corvus Hotel at St Clears.

18 Nov 2019 18:23

The Black Lion, New Quay

After a gap of almost 9 years, we were back in New Quay to try the Black Lion. It's on a steep hill down towards the sea. The interior has a modern and fairly clinical feel. For a pub in the current Good Beer Guide, the ale range was also disappointing - Glaslyn Ale & Doom Bar. The garden overlooks the bay. It has a children's play area. But, it was all a bit muddy and cold for my 7 year old to enjoy. Not as good as I'd hoped.

18 Nov 2019 18:17

The Black Lion, Llanbadarn

Locals Marston's establishment on the corner of the one-way system and main square in Llanbadarn Fawr. About a dozen locals were in the front bar, whilst there was a Sunday carvery in the rear room. Banks's Amber Bitter & Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold are the regular ales. The guest was Directors. A basic pub, that appears to be the best locally.

18 Nov 2019 18:13

Friendship Inn, Borth

This is a family-owned local pub that has lots of character. Apparently there is an antique shop upstairs. But, the downstairs bar also has plenty to admire. Welsh Pride was the only real ale. But what the pub lacks in ale choice, it more than makes up for with its character. Worth a visit.

18 Nov 2019 18:09

The Victoria Inn, Borth

The Victoria was our first stop in Borth late on Sunday lunchtime. It has been nicely refurbished and seemed to be doing a good trade in Sunday lunches. There are nice sea views at the rear. Mantle Moho & Wye Valley HPA are the regular ales. Guests were Glamorgan Cwrw Gorslas & Three Tuns XXX. Staff are friendly.

18 Nov 2019 18:07

Min y Mor, Barmouth

My final stop of the night in Barmouth and 15th pub in North West Wales on Friday was the Min-Y-Mor Hotel at the northern end of Marine Parade. Karaoke was on during my visit. The clientele looked they were regulars at the karaoke. Each had their favourite songs. But, a few sounded as if they needed a few more years of practice. Abbot is the only real ale.

18 Nov 2019 18:02

The Last Inn, Barmouth

My fourth port of call in Barmouth on Saturday night, was another Marston's establishment near the famous railway bridge over the Mawddach Estuary. You can tell that the interior has a nice, traditional interior. But, it was rather spoiled by a disco with flashing lights. Pedigree is a regular here. Guests were Directors, Wainwright & Sunbeam. There was a mixed set of age groups here and most people seemed to be having a good time, especially the guy dancing away to the music, in front of the DJ's booth. Looks like it would be much nicer on a quieter day.

18 Nov 2019 17:59

Tal Y Don, Barmouth

After a visit to the Ty Mawr Hotel in Llanbedr (not listed on BITE), we arrived in Barmouth and decided to have dinner in the Tal-Y-Don, a Marston's establishment. Ales were Banks's Amber Ale & Sunbeam & Ringwood Forty Niner. Staff were friendly and the food was reasonable. From here, I moved onto the Royal Hotel which had appalling service and a Robbie Williams tribute act, followed by the best pub/bar in town - the Tilman. Neither are listed on BITE.

18 Nov 2019 17:53

Y Branwen, Harlech

As the previous reviewer says, Y Branwen feels more like a restaurant/hotel than a pub/bar. Nevertheless, they do have Purple Moose Snowdonia Ale and there were a couple of guests from Sharp's - Doom Bar & Atlantic. Staff are friendly and there's a nice slate floor. Otherwise, it was fairly underwhelming.

18 Nov 2019 17:42

Lion Hotel, Harlech

Has a nice location at the top of the hill near the castle. But, this place is now closed.

18 Nov 2019 17:39

The Glan Aber Hotel, Betws-y-Coed

The Glan Aber is a hotel with a cosy interior in this busy, tourist town. There are a couple of regular beers - Conwy Welsh Pride & Nant Chwaden Aur. There was also a guest ale, which was Purple Moose Madog's Ale. A few were eating, whilst a big party of drinkers arrived shortly before we left. There is a car park at the rear. But, there was a distinct smell of cannabis from the local youths. We moved on from here to the Pont-y-Pair, at the other end of town, before moving on to Gwesty Ty Gorsaf in Blaeneau Ffestiniog, Y Pengwern in Llan Ffestiniog and the Ship Aground in Talsarnau. None of those are listed in here. I will request the 2 best to be added. In fact, I thoroughly recommend Y Pengwern.

18 Nov 2019 17:29

The New Inn, Llanrwst

After a visit to the Pen-y-Bryn (not listed on here) and a brief walk around the town, our last stop in Llanrwst was the New Inn. Saddle Tank was the solitary real ale and we were the solitary customers. The landlord appears to be a Liverpool fan. Another disappointment.

18 Nov 2019 17:22

The Eagles Hotel, Llanrwst

The Eagles Hotel was the first stop on a Saturday lunchtime visit to Llanrwst. It's a fairly upmarket hotel, with a couple of large rooms for drinking. Dogs are welcome. It took a while to get served. But, there were a couple of ales from the Nant Brewery - Eryr Aur & Prop Hop. Nice surroundings and probably the best choice for a real ale in the town.

18 Nov 2019 17:17

The Good Yarn, Uxbridge

Service has gone downhill here, with staff that don't know what they're doing. It was busy on our Thursday evening visit. Ales were Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharp's Doom Bar, Bell's Light Hearted Ale, Cotleigh Red Nose Reinbeer, Redemption Urban Dusk & Rock The Kasbek, Oakham Below Zero & Twickenham Naked Ladies. The cider was Old Rosie. But, it soon ran out before the barman could even get a half out of it. Black Dragon was apparently waiting to come on. But, he wouldn't change it. I chose an ale instead. But, the barman didn't reduce the price. Mind you, it was only my honesty that meant I paid at all, as he wandered off to talk to other customers without taking any payment. It took a good 5-10 minutes to get his attention again. The single barmaid didn't have the best command of the English language and had problems with drink orders and use of the till. We had the curry, which was ok. But, it's not the best value meal.

18 Nov 2019 17:12

The Castle Tap, Reading

Whilst changing trains in Reading, we took the opportunity to try the Castle Tap out. It's a good walk of almost 15 minutes from the station and is a fairly small establishment. With a live band on, entry is from a side entrance in an alleyway. The pub was absolutely packed and the band seemed good too. Although we only got to hear their last 2 or 3 tracks. As we were leaving, another band was setting up. Just 3 real ales were on - West Berkshire Good Old Boy, Bingham's Junga Chinook & Tring Tea Kettle. In addition to a number of craft beers, there were also 4 ciders/perrys - Pang Valley Midway, Orchard Cottage Hitchcox Dry, Cleeve Hill Perry & Venton's Sweet Maid. Whilst it was too busy to fully appreciate (even the bar staff had run out of glasses), I thought this seemed like a really good pub and I will return one day.

10 Nov 2019 14:15

The Bookshop Alehouse, Southampton

The Bookshop Alehouse was the first of 3 micropubs we tried in Southampton yesterday. We also visited Olaf's Tun & Caskaway. But neither of those are listed on here. In my opinion, the Bookshop was the best of the 3. It had a lively atmosphere with a fair few football fans in prior to the game at St Mary's. which is a walk of just over 20 minutes away. The interior has plenty to keep you occupied, with the books, various signage and a wall devoted to adverts for local gigs and other performances. On the ale front, the cask choice was Vibrant Forest Cacaophony, Elusive Punchout, Red Cat Tomcat & Harbour Daymer Extra Pale. There was also an interesting craft beer selection, including a rather unusual sour porter. 4 real ciders were also on, including one I'd never previously had. The selection was Orchard Pig Maverick, Pulp Rhubarb Cider, Dorset Nectar Dabinett & Big Nose Beardy Little Shepherd. Just a single toilet was causing queues. But, with friendly owners and customers, I really liked this micropub.

10 Nov 2019 13:59

The Gordon Arms, Portswood

The Gordon Arms was a welcome break from the heavy rain in Portswood yesterday lunchtime. It's a fairly basic corner pub, that was showing a Premier League football match on one screen and a Championship one on another. 2 real ales were Doom Bar & 6X. But, a nice surprise was Lilley's Somerset Scrumpy on a third handpull. The cider was extremely cloudy and the taste wasn't the best. But, I've not had any ill effects yet! Better pub than I had expected.

10 Nov 2019 13:51

The Highfield, Portswood

I've never been a particular fan of the Brewhouse & Kitchen chain. But, I still tend to give them an occasional try. This branch seemed very well appointed at first sight. There appears to be a focus on dining. 4 of their ales are on - On Le Tiss, Speedwell, Walk The Line & Wondership. There was no real cider, just 2 keg options. Service was fairly abysmal. A round for 5 of us came to £26.45 We didn't dare ask the young barmaid for a CAMRA discount, as she was already in a Tiss (excuse the pun). One of my options was a keg stout - Double Tide 8am Craft Stout. Somebody else had ordered a half and another had ordered a pint. The second half poured looked more like a chocolate milkshake. The barmaid had to confirm with us that we didn't want it and that we also no longer wanted a further pint! After waiting what seemed like an eternity for the half to be voided from the till by a manager, we settled up and sat down, only to contemplate that £26.45 for 5 pints sounded very expensive by Southampton standards. My colleague went to the bar to query it and discovered that the pint of stout had been charged and another half had been charged as a pint. So, we'd effectively been charged for 6½ pints instead of 5. Very poor service and the pub is a fair way from any public transport at weekends. So, all in all, I doubt we'll ever be back. A big disappointment.

10 Nov 2019 13:45

Orange Tree, Richmond

I too ate in McDonald's before my final stop of the night. The Orange Tree was the venue for a work's leaving party. So, I stopped by for a couple (most unlike me)! Just the 2 Young's ales were on this time - Ordinary & Special. Guests were St Austell Proper Job & Wimbledon Pitbull. Little has changed since my last visit, possibly apart from an upward movement of prices.

10 Nov 2019 13:35

The Richmond Arms, Richmond

I broke my vow not to return to the Tap Tavern on Friday. This visit was a far cry from my last one. It was absolutely rammed inside. Getting to the bar was a challenge in itself. Just the 2 ales were on again. These were Turning Point Zeus & Charnwood Carousel. Craft beer options included beers from Work Shy, Weird Beard, Wiper & True, Wild Beer, Siren, Bone Machine, London Beer Factory, Moncada, Wild Horse, Belleville & Buxton. I opted for the Moncada Big Ole Beer, a double imperial stout. At 8.5%, it was delicious. But, at £4.80 a half, I made sure to savour every last drop. I'll upgrade my score to a 6/10 and I may still be back as the craft beer quality and choice is good. But, I could never have a session in here, with these prices.

10 Nov 2019 13:30

The Duke, Richmond

The Duke was somewhat of a disappointment. It's 2 rooms were packed on my Friday evening visit. Bar staff were serving people out of order, after long waits. Drinks were overpriced and the selection was poor. The solitary real ale was Doom Bar. I opted for a fizzy keg cider also from Sharp's. Poor.

10 Nov 2019 13:23

The White Swan, Richmond

Another pub that I've passed before on the way to the river, but had not previously set foot into. The White Swan is tucked away from the town centre, just off the Green. It's more of a gastropub and is obviously used by the well-heeled, as a former Top Gear presenter was dining. Nevertheless, at £4.30 a pint, it was the cheapest drink I had in the town. 4 ales are on. Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter, Otter Bitter & St Austell Proper Job. A guest beer was Surrey Hills Shere Drop, which I chose. Dining is over 2 floors and ensures that most tables are occupied or reserved. But, you may be able to find a spare table as a drinker in the bar area. I grabbed a stool at the bar. Best of the new pubs I tried in Richmond on Friday.

10 Nov 2019 13:20

The Victoria Inn, Richmond

I've passed this pub many times on the way up the hill to Richmond Park or to the Roebuck. But, aiming to try a few previously unvisited pubs in the town on Friday evening, it was top of my list to visit. The pub is a single, simple bar. The welcome is warm and whilst it was busy and noisy, it was still a pleasant enough drinking environment. A group of what appeared to be electricians were particularly noisy. But, they weren't unfriendly. 3 real ales were on. They have a house beer - Victoria Inn Pale Ale, in addition to Young's Bitter & Well's Bombardier. I enquired about the origins of the house beer and was told it was brewed at the same brewery as the Bombardier. As it was 4%, my best guess is that this was Courage Best rebadged.

10 Nov 2019 13:10

Pigs Ears, Richmond

Paid a return visit to this cellar bar in the centre of Richmond on Friday evening. It's now called the Richmond Vault Beer Cellar & Restaurant. I believe the layout has changed since I was last here. The bar is on the left-hand side and is set back from the entrance. A separate dining area is beyond and on another lower level. 3 ales were on handpull. They were Northern Monk Faith & Neapolitan & Roosters Capability Brown. A fourth handpull was clipped with a cider - Sandford Orchards Devon Scrumpy, which was fetched from a cool room to the side of the bar. Being a Friday evening, it was busy. Happy hour was advertised from 5-6pm. It was 5:45pm. So, I thought I was in luck. However, if it's £5.60 a pint for the real cider during happy hour, I dread to think how much it is when things aren't so happy! Certainly one of the better pubs in Richmond, if you can stand the pricing. But then, Richmond itself is expensive in general.

10 Nov 2019 13:03

The Blue Lion Hotel, Cynwyd

After a stop at the excellent King's Head Inn at Bwlchgwyn, my final stop of the evening was the Blue Lion. It was very quiet. In fact, I was probably lucky to find it open. I was the only customer. Facer's DHB was the solitary real ale. Live French football was being shown on the TVs, whilst Halloween decorations were still in the fireplace.

4 Nov 2019 20:00

The Drovers Arms, Rhewl

Food-dominated pub on the main road between Ruthin and Denbigh. There were plenty of people eating Sunday lunches at the rear. At the front, there were a couple of empty rooms, one with the bar and another with a pool table. Local drinkers were congregated around the bar. JW Lees Bitter was the solitary real ale. A little disappointing. Moved on from here to the King's Head in Llanrhaedr and the Brookhouse Mill on the outskirts of Denbigh. Neither are listed on BITE.

4 Nov 2019 19:50

The Farmers Arms, Ruthin

The Farmers Arms was my final stop of a short pub crawl in Ruthin, before I headed to the Red Lion Hotel in Cyffyliog, only to find that closed on a Sunday lunchtime. The Farmers Arms was very quiet, with seemingly just one customer, a cyclist ordering apple pie. The real ale was Big Hand Senen.

4 Nov 2019 19:45

The Star, Ruthin

There was no sign of life at this pub on Sunday lunchtime. There was a board outside advertising a Halloween party and a notice on the door stating to deliver any post to the rear. I asked in one of the other town pubs what the opening hours. But, apparently it depends if the owner has been out the previous night or not. I returned later in the evening to find it still closed. No chance of a beer in the evening here and judging by the reviews on Trip Advisor, if you book a room here, you'll have little chance of ever getting that either.

4 Nov 2019 19:43

Boars Head, Ruthin

Marston's pub just down the hill from the main square. Another friendly local was received. 61 Deep & Hobgoblin were the 2 real ales. It was quiet on Sunday lunchtime, with just another young couple playing pool on a raised area. Beyond the pool table was a fairly large outdoor area.

4 Nov 2019 19:39

Wine Vaults, Ruthin

Situated just off the main square, this pub is listed as a Robinson's pub. But the regular ale is Brain's The Rev James. The guest ale was Big Hand Senen. Locals seemed friendly and were chatting football. Complimentary snacks were available on the bar.

4 Nov 2019 19:35

The Castle Hotel, Ruthin

The Castle Hotel is a Wetherspoon's pub/hotel in the main square at the top of the hill in Ruthin. I was here for a Sunday morning breakfast. There are multiple rooms on different levels. The front rooms have quite a grandiose feel. But, as you descend to the bar area, it gets a little dingy. Many tables were covered in plates, mugs and glasses, presumably where previous customers had eaten breakfast and hopefully not from the night before. Finding a clear table was difficult. Ruddles Best & Sharp's Doom Bar were on, as you'd expect. Guests were Bishop Nick Divine, Arkell's 3B, Milestone Lock Prop & Barrel & Banks's Short Fuse IPA. Ciders were Old Rosie & Black Dragon. For £2 a pint, the Black Dragon was good value. Popular with families (the pub, not the Black Dragon)!

4 Nov 2019 19:31

Egham United Services Club, Egham

We had another good visit to Egham last night, for the latest festival. Two or three of the ales had already run out by 5pm on a Thursday evening. We managed to sample the Cerne Abbas Gurt's Coconut Rum Stout before that followed suit less than 2 hours later. With 10 ciders and almost 100 ales, it's a great place for the real ale ticker!

1 Nov 2019 18:39

Fall Well, Liverpool

The Fall Well feels like the most worn and downtrodden of Liverpool's various branches of Wetherspoon's. However, the ale range was at least marginally better than their newest offering (the Captain Alexander). The regular ales are Greene King Abbot & Ruddles Best. But, they had 3 guest ales from Big Bog - Will O The Wisp, Quagmire & Swampy, in addition to Oakham Bishop's Farewell. The real cider was Black Dragon. Toilets are very poor. How they can be in such a state at 10:15 on a weekday is beyond me. Not the best branch in the city centre. But it's handy for shoppers.

30 Oct 2019 20:23

The Richmond, Liverpool

Tried visiting here today at opening time (10am). The lights were on and there was a guy behind the bar with headphones on. We tried getting his attention, to no avail. After 5 minutes, we gave up and moved on elsewhere, as we had a train to catch. It seems opening times are unreliable here.

30 Oct 2019 20:18

The Dispensary, Liverpool

Paid our first visit to the Dispensary last night since Dave unexpectedly sold out last night. A similar range of real ales is still served. But, the quality of the beer is not quite as good as it was previously. Rat White Rate & Titanic Plum Porter & First Class are still on. Guests were Oakham Citra, Ossett Yorkshire Blonde, Rat King Rat & Fernandes Malt Shovel Mild. There is still no real cider and the decent bottled cider has also disappeared from the fridges. The atmosphere felt somewhat lifeless and the clientele was certainly different from previously. But, there were still a fair few in for a Tuesday evening. Not quite what it was. But, I'll certainly be giving it another chance. We moved on from here to a new gastropub on Hope Street called Papillon. I will request that to be added to BITE.

30 Oct 2019 20:11

Yates, Liverpool

We stopped by here last night. I was expecting to walk in and walk out again after having been disappointed by the ale selection. However, things seems to have improved. Whilst there were just a couple of real ales - Sharp's Doom Bar & Mission Creep Everybody's Happy Nowadays. But, in addition, they had Lilley's Collider & Chocolate Apple Cider. This was the last place I was expecting to see a cider. We stopped for a swift half, before crossing Bold Street to try the excellent new Bundobust bar/restaurant.

30 Oct 2019 20:01

The Abbey, Liverpool

The Head of Steam is still a reliable port of call in Liverpool city centre. This was our third stop yesterday after the new Wetherspoon's (the Captain Alexander) and the new Cosy Club. Unusually, there were no Cameron's ales on during this visit. The ale selection was Small World Long Moor Pale, Black Lodge Duel of the Iron Mic & What Once Was, Theakston Bitter, Titanic Plum Porter, Abbeydale Damnation & Wilde Child Centennial. The cider was Lilley's Firedancer. It was quite busy for a Tuesday evening. But we were served quickly and we managed to grab a large table at the back. Nice place.

30 Oct 2019 19:55

The Worlds End, Brighton

After visits to the nearby New Unity Pub and the Unbarred Brewery & Taproom (neither listed on BITE), our last stop of the night in Brighton was the World's End. The main entrance is on London Road. But, we entered from Elder Place at the rear. The bar felt more like a nightclub late in the evening, with very loud music. The clientele were mostly youngsters. A large upstairs room appeared to have all kind of games. Just 2 cask ales were on - Laine's Breaker & Tiny Rebel Cwtch. Craft beers were Laine's Ripper & Source, Rodie All Night IPA, Siren Calypso, Loud Shirt Insomnia & Abyss Superfuzz. There was no real cider. Not bad on the beer front. But, not really my kind of pub/bar.

27 Oct 2019 10:55

Caroline of Brunswick, Brighton

This pub was a rather strange place with some strange characters to match. I'm not sure if this was because Halloween is approaching or whether it's always like that. Wychwood Hobgoblin is generally on. They also had the Hobgoblin Gold & Dark Star Hophead. The real cider is Old Rosie. Gents toilets are at the rear, where there was also an outdoor drinking area. The gents themselves are rather cramped. Unusual pub. But, not unlikeable.

27 Oct 2019 10:42

The Cornerstone, Brighton

The Admiral appears to have gone downhill since my last visit. A band was setting up on our Saturday evening. But, otherwise it was very quiet. Just 2 real ales were on, which was disappointing for a Saturday night. They were Kissingate Sussex & Bedlam Boneshaker. The latter was a brown ale, which was acceptable. But, this is now longer anywhere near as it used to be.

27 Oct 2019 10:37

The Reservoir, Brighton

Returned to this establishment early on a Saturday evening. It is now called the Free Haus and is owned by the Brighton Bier Company. 4 cask ales were on - Brighton Bier West Pier & South Coast IPA, Franklin's Eclipse & Harbour Cornish Bitter. There is also a much-improved craft beer range and they now stock many ciders. The cider selection was Kentish Pip Skylark, Vintage Pip & Craftsman, Purbeck Muddy Scamp, Heck's Farmhouse Dry & Ascension Can I Play With Mangoes, Whispers In The Shadows & Prodigal Son. The interior has not changed much from my last visit. But, the drinks range certainly has improved. One to return to again one day.

27 Oct 2019 10:27

The Dolphin, Eastbourne

The Dolphin was the last of a trio of pubs we visited on South Street yesterday lunchtime. Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter is the regular ale. Guests were Brakspear Oxford Gold, Long Man Marzen & Long Man Best Bitter. Comfortable enough place. But, not the best pub on the street. Our last stop before heading to the station was a new bottle shop just around the corner from here and where you could drink inside. I'll request that to be added to BITE.

27 Oct 2019 10:19

Dewdrop Inn, Eastbourne

Greene King pub on South Street with a cosy interior. An unusual feature is a photo booth to the left-hand side of the bar as you enter. It was in use and was reasonably priced. Hardy & Hanson's Olde Trip is the regular beer. Guests were Greene King Heritage, Redemption Hotspur & Timothy Taylor Landlord. Handpulls for both Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig ciders were hidden away at the side. Has a fair bit of character and was quite likeable.

27 Oct 2019 10:15

The Eagle, Eastbourne

This is a decent corner pub in the Little Chelsea area of the town. There are two distinct areas - a main bar area and a slightly larger area for seating. But, the pub is relatively small. 4 TV screens were showing live football, with 2 showing a Premier League match and a further 2 showing a Championship match. Staff and customers were friendly and happy to recommend their beers of choice. Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter was on. The 3 guests were Long Man American Pale Ale, Gun Extra Pale & Exmoor Exile Apollo. Ciders were Weston's Old Rosie & Thatcher's Stan's Big Apple. Nice community local.

27 Oct 2019 10:10

London and County, Eastbourne

The London & County is a branch of Wetherspoon's, situated on a corner just opposite the railway station. It made a convenient first port of call in Eastbourne yesterday lunchtime. It was quite busy, with most tables taken and the pub was doing a roaring trade in food sales. There was the usual Wetherspoon's selection of Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharp's Doom Bar. Guests were Long Man Best Bitter, Wood's Shropshire Lad & Lacon's Affinity. The 3 real ciders were Weston's Old Rosie, Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon & Thistly Cross Whisky Cask. It wasn't my round. So, no idea on pricing. Otherwise, not a bad start for a short crawl of the town.

27 Oct 2019 10:04

One over the Ait, Brentford

Having been to the Stable a few times before, last night was my first visit to One Over The Ait, which is in the same housing development. It is a Fuller's pub with a fairly nice feel inside. 3 real ales were on - Pride, Seafarers & Hophead. I opted for the Seafarers. Apparently there are views of the river. But, it was too dark to notice. Not one I'd return to and we swiftly moved on to the Stable and the Express.

24 Oct 2019 21:32

O'Riordans, Brentford

After visits to the Black Dog Beer House (I won't review this again) and the Royal Horse Guardsman (not listed on BITE), our next stop was due to be O'Riordan's. But, the pub is now closed. Apparently, it is due to be converted into flats.

24 Oct 2019 21:27

Beer Station, Formby

Stopped off at Freshfield for a quick one here yesterday. This micropub was much busier than on my previous visit. But, it felt much more cliquey than on my previous visit. Locals seem to know one another, but weren't particularly friendly or welcoming to a stranger. Ales were 3 Piers Endeavour, Lancaster Red & Mithril Flower Power. They also had Hartland Farmhouse Perry. It's extremely handy for the station. But, there are many better micropubs in the wider area. Moved on from here to the Trap & Hatch in Waterloo, another micropub not listed on here, which was better.

21 Oct 2019 21:25

Grasshopper, Southport

Another visit to the Grasshopper yesterday. This has to be one of Merseyside's best pubs, if not its best. Staff are always friendly and knowledgeable, whilst customers are also friendly. Both children and dogs are welcome. Yesterday's ale selection was Moorhouse's Pendle Witches Brew, Salopian Oracle, Heritage Masterpiece & Oatmeal Stout, Slater's Haka, George Wright Oktoberfest Kapf & Bowness Bay Lakeland Blonde. Ciders & perrys were Heck's Hendre Huffcap Perry, Lilley's Rhubarb Cider & Crazy Goat, Abrahall's Thundering Molly, Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon & Rich's Legbender. Great micropub.

21 Oct 2019 21:19

Tap and Bottles, Southport

Took a trip to Southport yesterday (Sunday) and had a good hour or so in the Tap & Bottles, to escape the rain. Cask ales were Northern Morn 5.07 & Bristol Beer Factory Milk Stout & Low Rider. Bristol Beer Factory Subtropic was later poured through. There were also 3 boxed ciders - Seacider Sticky Toffee Pudding, Thistly Cross Elderflower & Hogan's Lonely Partridge Perry. Still the best pub in Southport itself.

21 Oct 2019 21:13

The Thomas Frost, Kirkdale

It's rare that we drink near Goodison Park on matchdays. But, with an early kick-off, we decided to have a pre-match pint here. Service wasn't particularly quick and the ale range was poor. The 3 regular ales were Sharp's Doom Bar, Greene King Abbot & Ruddles Best. The guest ale was Arkell's 3B. I was hoping that the pub was taking part in the Wetherspoon's festival, but clearly not. There was no real cider either. Pretty poor. It will be at least 10 years before I'm back.

21 Oct 2019 21:06

Black Lodge Brewing, Liverpool

The Black Lodge have now moved a short distance to King's Dock Street. They were initially closed when we first arrived, as they were conducting a brewery tour. But, I returned later to find much more spacious premises than their old warehouse on Kitchen Street. They also have a cask ale now and they had held a recent beer festival, meaning they had a few extra casks around the corner. I had a 9.2% No Apology Necessary and a Duel Of The Iron Mic, which was a bit more respectable at 5%. Managed to play a massive game of Connect 4 on one table. But, it was all fairly quiet, with a couple walking out as I walked in and one other guy coming and going, drinking a tasting paddle during his short visit. Staff were friendly. This does seem an improvement on the previous premises.

21 Oct 2019 19:37

The Baltic Fleet, Liverpool

The Baltic is still a fairly reliable place for a visit. It was very busy on our Saturday afternoon visit, with both bars full. Ales were Red Star Denley Moor (went off before I could try it), Robinson's Trooper Day Of The Dead, Big Bog Hinky Punk, Melwood Franklin's Tower, Brimstage Trapper's Hat & Parker Barbarian Bitter. The cider was Rosie's Pig.

21 Oct 2019 19:30

Cherry Reds, Birmingham

After a visit to the excellent Pint Shop (not listed on BITE), my final new pub in Birmingham City Centre was this café in a lively area next to New Street station. Three real ales are served - Birmingham Brewing Company Pale Brummie, Kinver Noble/Over The Edge & Fowne's Guendoline's Guile. There are also a number of craft beers on draught and in bottles. The cakes also looked tempting. Whilst downstairs looks like a café, there is another room upstairs where a band appeared to be setting up. Worthy of a stop if in this neck of the woods.

15 Oct 2019 19:25

The Gunmakers Arms, Birmingham

Sunday was my first visit to this place on the edge of the city centre. It has a run-down feel (in a good way, if that is possible). There were only 3 other customers and a large dog hanging around the bar. Ales were all from the Two Towers brewery - Complete Muppetry, Hockley Gold, Chamberlain Pale Ale, Baskerville Bitter, Rennaissance & Ringbearer. I opted for the Ringbearer, an 8% barley wine. I normally enjoy a barley wine. But, this seemed a long way off its best. Certainly a pub with plenty of character though.

15 Oct 2019 18:58

The Wynnstay Arms Hotel, Machynlleth

The Wynnstay Arms Hotel is a complete contrast to the town's other pubs. It is a fairly plush hotel/restaurant. The only drawback was that other than another couple, we were the only customers. Despite this, neither of us could get service when we arrived. The bar area is tiny with one large table. But, at the front is a much larger area with all tables made up for dining. Cader Gold & Red Bandit are the two real ales. A major plus point for me was Gwynt y Ddraig Happy Daze & Black Dragon ciders. This appears to be the only place in town serving real cider. Probably the second best place for a beer in the evening in Machynlleth. We moved on from here to the nearby White Horse and then the Tafarn Dwynant in Ceinws and the Dovey Valley Hotel in Cenmaes Road. None of these are listed on BITE. But, I will try to get them added.

14 Oct 2019 19:50

The White Lion Hotel, Machynlleth

The White Lion was my favourite pub of the day in Powys and certainly seems to be the best pub in town. It's conveniently located slap bang in the middle and it has a good selection of 6 real ales - Evan Evans Go Reds, Conwy Black Witch, Big Bog Bayou, Sharp's Sea Fury, Fuller's London Pride & Robinson's Trooper. There were plenty of people in, including a few in a small smoking shelter at the rear and overlooking the car park. International football was on the TV. My Black Witch was also very enjoyable.

14 Oct 2019 19:46

The Skinners Arms, Machynlleth

The Skinners Arms was our second stop in Machynlleth. After a visit to the very basic Dyfi Forester (not listed on BITE), the Skinners Arms felt much more civilised. That is not to downplay the Dyfi Forester. It certainly had its own charm. The Skinners Arms has a public bar where the pool table takes up much of the space and a much more cosy lounge. Toilets were fairly disgusting. As a Marston's pub, the ale range was limited. The regular ale is Banks's Amber Ale and the guest was Thwaite's Wainwright.

14 Oct 2019 19:43

The Kerry Lamb, Newtown

The Kerry Lamb was slightly disappointing. It's nicely appointed with a dining area at the front with a public bar and games room at the rear. Butty Bach is the regular ale. Tribute was the guest. Horse racing was on the TV and locals were certainly smoking something out of the norm.

14 Oct 2019 19:35

The Dragon Hotel, Montgomery

The Dragon Hotel is situated at the top end of the town's market place, next to the church. It definitely feels more like a hotel bar than a traditional pub. But, the ale range appears to be on the more adventurous side for the town. Ales were Monty's Old Jailhouse, Salopian Oracle & Edin Brew Citra Pale. Inside is all very nicely decorated. But, it feels a little too clinical. Lovely building on the outside though.

14 Oct 2019 19:31

Crown Inn, Montgomery

First of two ports of call in Montgomery was the Crown, a cosy locals' pub. A few regulars were in and the rugby was on the TV. Wye Valley Butty Bach is the regular ale. Guests were Three Tuns XXX and Sharp's Doom Bar. Mrs S enjoyed the lemon sherbet gin and duly polished off the bottle.

14 Oct 2019 18:51

The Horse and Jockey, Churchstoke

Our first stop on a trip to Powys was this pub on the border with England. Tucked away just off the main road, I'm not sure how much passing trade this pub gets. But, we were the only customers, as the landlord was doing his ironing, whilst watching the rugby World Cup. Just the one real ale was on. This was Brakspear Oxford Gold. Apparently turnover had been slow of late. But the 11 real ciders easily made up for that. The selection was Lilley's Rhubarb Cider, Pineapple Cider, Cherries & Berries & Crazy Goat, Dudda's Tun Elderflower Cider & Apricot Cider, Gwynt y Ddraig Autumn Magic & Farmer's Pride, Abrahall's Clementine Perry, Harry's Prince Harry's Ginger Cider & Sandford Orchards Hangy Down. Two new ones for me here. So, I had both. The pub lacked atmosphere on our visit. But, I was more than happy with the ciders.

14 Oct 2019 18:46

Brun Lea, Burnley

Was back in here yesterday after a 3 year gap. Waited 10 minutes to get served, before giving up and slogging up the hill to the station. There was easily enough time to note down the ale selection - Moorhouse's Pendle Witches Brew, Brains SA, Reedley Hallows Pendleside & Milestone Lock Prop & Barrel. They also had Black Dragon cider, which would have been my choice. However, with only 2 staff serving and with them serving people out of sequence, we weren't the only customers to give up waiting. Downgrading my score to 1/10, as they are understaffed and unable to deal with demand.

6 Oct 2019 11:47

The Bridge Bier Huis, Burnley

The Bridge still appears to be Burnley's best pub. It was busy as usual on a match day, with crowds spilling out onto the pavement at the front. Ales were Moorhouse's Premiership & Belisha, Kirkby Lonsdale Single Track, Northern Whisper Fine Fettle & Reunion Opening Gambit. The cider was Slack Alice.

6 Oct 2019 11:43

Swan Hotel, Burnley

Thwaite's pub that is in a central location. The building is old. But, you would never guess it from the modern and characterless interior. Gold, Amber & IPA were the 3 real ales. It was quite busy with the post-match crowd. But, it soon thinned out. A disappointment.

6 Oct 2019 11:39

The Ministry of Ale, Burnley

The Ministry of Ale always seems to be popular with away fans visiting Turf Moor. It's very convenient for Manchester Road station. The small interior is very traditional. My only criticism would be the lack of any darker beers. The ale selection was Moonstone Nelson's Ale, MIlestone Lock Prop & Barrel, Reunion Talwar & Firebrand Pale. One of Burnley's better pubs.

6 Oct 2019 11:36

Ale Emporium, Preston

Now called the Speakeasy and easy to overlook, as it's hidden away at the rear of the Ferret. But, this was best of the 3 pubs we visited in Preston yesterday lunchtime. Neither the Vinyl Tap nor the Plug & Taps (the other 2 we tried) are listed on BITE. But, they were decent too. The Speakeasy felt quite dark inside. There were 3 other customers at the bar and the Rugby World Cup was on the TV. The ale range was good - Donkeystone Ferris Miler, Rivington Downdays, Escape Virgil Hilts, Hophurst Wolf & Porteresque, Crankshaft Tiger Club & Speakeasy House Pale (not sure who the brewer was). They also had a cider - Lilley's Cherries & Berries.

6 Oct 2019 11:28

The Kings Arms, Hanwell

Tuesday night was a first visit for me to this pub on the main Uxbridge Road. It now stocks a range of craft beers, in addition to a solitary real ale, which was Sambrook's APA. It's a fairly spacious pub, with a number of screens showing live football. There's several better pubs in the area.

6 Oct 2019 11:10

The Dodo, Hanwell

I was back in the Dodo on a miserable Tuesday evening. This micropub is still as good as ever and rates as one of London's best pubs in my opinion. The ale range was Beatnikz Republic Leather Sole, Bristol Beer Factory Lost In Belgium, Howling Hops House IPA & Tiny Rebel Ice Cream Stay Puft. Ciders were Seacider Blood Orange & White Peach, Abrahall's AM, Severn Kingston Black, Bollhayes Dry & Oliver's Dry. We had a very enjoyable session here.

6 Oct 2019 11:06

The Albion Inn, Greengates

Of the 5 pubs in this area that we visited before heading back down south yesterday, the Albion is the only one listed on the site. I've requested for the Rodley Barge and the Owl Inn at Rodley and for the Thornhill Arms at Calverley to be added. The Albion is a no-nonsense locals' boozer. Everybody seemed to know one another. Football was shown on the TV and a raffle was drawn whilst we were in. As outsiders, we didn't feel inclined to join in the raffle, in case we won! Tetley Bitter & Acorn Barnsley Bitter are the regular ales here. The guest was Copper Dragon Scott's 1816. I had the latter. Incidentally, if you're in Greengates, make sure you try the Cracker Barrel. That is a decent micropub that turned out to be my favourite pub of the weekend (not listed on BITE of course).

30 Sep 2019 21:17

The Balloon and Basket, Idle

Final stop of the night for me in Idle was the Highfield. This was where we were staying. I didn't think it was listed on the site, but eventually found it! There were quite a few youngsters in on my late Saturday evening visit. It's a large pub with a couple of rooms. The house real ale is Naylor's Highfield Blonde. Probably the worst of the 6 places I visited in Idle. But, there's not many pubs in this part of town.

30 Sep 2019 21:05

The New Inn, Idle

My 5th port of call in Idle was this locals' place at the top of town. It was very busy on my late Saturday evening visit, with quite a few who were well oiled. A karaoke was in full swing. Tetley Bitter is the regular ale. I had the guest, which was Wadworth Horizon. Not the greatest of pubs. But, I ended up getting a good spec to watch the goings on, before heading a little further uphill to the Highfield Hotel (not listed on BITE) for a nightcap.

30 Sep 2019 21:01

The Brewery Tap, Idle

The Brewery Tap is a lively place, where live music is clearly popular. Quite a few were in to watch what appeared to be a rock band. Despite it being busy, I managed to grab a seat. The ale range was disappointing - Timothy Taylor Landlord & Golden Best, Thwaite's Lancaster Bomber & St Austell Proper Job. They no longer stock a real cider. A bit too busy for my liking. I retreated up the hill to the fabulously named Idle Working Men's Club (not listed on BITE).

30 Sep 2019 20:53

Symposium Ale and Wine Bar, Idle

The Idle Beerhouse was my second stop in Idle. The Idle Draper just opposite would have been more enjoyable had it not been so packed. The Saltaire Triple Chocaholic I had there was lovely. The selection in the Idle Beerhouse was not quite so good. But, the drinking environment was much more comfortable. There were 3 real ales - Timothy Taylor Landlord, Goose Eye Whitaker's Golden Revenge & Stod Fold Calypso. There were a few craft beers, but no real cider, despite having had Hogan's visiting for a sampling session earlier in the week. No CAMRA discount was given on halves. The interior is modern, with a drinking/dining area on entry and a raised bar beyond.

30 Sep 2019 20:50

Coopers Bar and Brasserie, Guiseley

Coopers was our final stop in Guiseley. We'd planned to eat here. But, they don't allow kids in after 5pm. I stayed for a quick half, as the ale range was probably the best in town. Timothy Taylor Landlord is the regular ale. Guests were Anarchy Buckfire, Black Sheep Brian, Elland Cherry Stout, Daleside Bitter, Settle Blonde & Wilde Child Centennial. There are a few craft beers too. As with all pubs we visited over the weekend, there is no real cider. It was a shame we couldn't stay longer here.

30 Sep 2019 20:41

The Drop Inn, Guiseley

The Drop Inn has long since been demolished and replaced by housing. I can recommend the Guiseley Factory Workers Club on the same road. We had also visited the Ings Hotel and moved on to the Red Lion in the town. I have requested all to be added to BITE.

30 Sep 2019 20:34

The Junction, Baildon

Saturday was a return visit to Yorkshire. My first stop (the Barnsley Conservative Club) is not listed on here. But, the Junction was our first pub in West Yorkshire. It's home to the Junction Brewery. But, they had run out of beers brewed by themselves. There were only 4 ales that I could see - Tetley Bitter, Wadworth Rising Sun, Salopian Oracle & Bedlam Benchmark. We sat in the cosy snug, which was nicely decorated. Locals were watching horse racing in the bar on our Saturday afternoon visit. Adverts in the local CAMRA magazine suggest that they serve real cider. But, there was no sign of any on my visit. Moved on from here to the Bull's Head Inn in Baildon town centre. It's not listed on here. But, I found it slightly better than the Junction.

30 Sep 2019 20:24

The Dove Inn, Barnsley

I saved the Dove Inn until last on my visit to Barnsley, having been unsure about their opening times. I'd been earlier in the afternoon and found it closed. For reference, the landlord informed me that they'd been opening at 4pm for as long as he'd been there. This is an Old Mill pub and their Traditional Bitter is the real ale. It was a decent ale. Nice and cosy interior. But, there were no other customers.

25 Sep 2019 21:10

The Crown and Anchor, Barnsley

Traffic in Barnsley was heavy. So, I elected to head out of town to this foodie pub run by the True North Brewery. I opted for their Best Bitter. The Pale Ale was also on. Guests were Acorn Janus IPA, Bad Seed Session IPA & Abbeydale Doctor Morton's Bag O'Nuts. The Bitter certainly wasn't the best I'd ever tasted. Diners were arriving as I was leaving to head back to Barnsley.

25 Sep 2019 21:05

The George and Dragon, Barnsley

I waited and waited for this pub to open. Signs on the outside say it is under new management. Apparently it was bought by somebody who has failed to re-open it. So, I'm not sure if the new management was the old management or whether the new management have pulled a fast one and have other uses in mind for it. Instead, head to the Commercial just up the road. I had a nice Abbeydale Moonshine in there.

25 Sep 2019 20:58

The Moulders Arms, Barnsley

The Moulders Arms is one of 3 pubs in close on Summer Lane or just off it. I was in shortly after opening time at 4pm yesterday. There were just 1 other customer in. He was watching Tipping Point. The interior is very plain and basic. It's a simple no-nonsense boozer. The real ale is Old Peculier.

25 Sep 2019 20:54

Shaw Inn, Barnsley

As with most pubs in Barnsley, I wasn't expecting this pub to open until later in the afternoon. But, driving into Barnsley, I'd noticed the doors open. My quest to find a real ale in the town drew another blank here. John Smith's, Carlsberg Export, Fosters, Guinness, Heineken, Birra Moretti, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruits, Theakston Best & Amstel were the draught options. The owners seemed friendly. But, the customers obviously seemed it strange to see somebody from out of town in. I moved on from here to the Shaw Lane Sports Club, where my search for a real ale finally struck lucky. They even opened up specially for me. But, they're not listed on BITE.

25 Sep 2019 20:42

The Keel Inn, Barnsley

Nice pub next to a supermarket where I chose to have lunch on my midweek visit to Barnsley. The restaurant appears to be separately owned. I was pointed in the direction of a small dining room to order food, after first ordering a drink at the bar. They no longer serve real ale here. On keg, there was Guinness, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruits, Stella Artois, Fosters, Sam Smith's Sovereign Bitter, John Smith's, Carling & Coors Light. The interior is quite nice. The food was good value. But the barman/landlord seemed a bit miserable.

25 Sep 2019 20:37

The Courthouse Station, Barnsley

Impressive building near to Barnsley Interchange. It is spacious inside and as the previous reviewer states, it's similar to a Wetherspoon's and is even complete with upstairs toilets. Customers were of the older variety on my visit too. There are only keg options available - Carling, Carling Black Fruits, Stowford Press, Fosters, John Smith's Extra Smooth, Guinness, Caffrey's, Pravha, Coors Light & Stella Artois. Not the best start to a crawl of Barnsley pubs and clubs that I had not previously visited. If in the area, I would recommend a visit to the Jolly Tap Real Ale Café in a shopping arcade not too far from the Courthouse. It's certainly one of the best, if not the best choice in the town.

25 Sep 2019 20:30

Pepper Saint Ontiod, Isle of Dogs

This Antic pub in the Docklands enjoys a nice location in the middle of the docks, with water pretty in close proximity. Many were enjoying the outdoor seating. I elected to stay indoors, where there were still a fair few. Strangely, there was a bouncer on the door. There's the usual mish-mash of furniture and 2 of the ales were from Volden - Session & Autumn. The guest was Adnams Ghost Ship. A visit upstairs to the toilets revealed another large room, with a further solitary drinker. Not, the best Antic pub I've been to. But, probably the best place for a pint in the area. My Autumn was fairly nice.

22 Sep 2019 13:49

The Morden Arms, Greenwich

Corner pub in a residential area close to Greenwich station. I tried the corner doors at first and then a door at the back, which took me into a storage corridor. There was noise inside and I started to think there was a lock-in! Undeterred, I tried the final door and gained entry. The picture above makes it look obvious which doors to use. But, the doors must have been closed as there was a live band inside. A fair few were in and some seemed quite merry. It was hot inside, with the doors closed. Bar staff were very good and answered my enquiries about the ales with professionalism. 3 of the 4 ales were from Truman's - Runner, Swift & Zephyr. The 4th was Wells Bombardier. Decent community pub.

22 Sep 2019 13:45

The Crown, Eltham

This place now bills itself as a micropub and is called the Rusty Bucket. It seems to specialise in craft beers. But, there were 4 real ales fetched from a cool room just behind the bar. They were Kent KGB & Session Pale, Empire Moonraker & Kirkstall Out of Focus. Real ciders were from Dudda's Tun - Disco, Greenhorn & Blackcurrant Cider. Craft beers were from Moor, Tempest, BBNO, Beatnikz Republic, Villages, Anspach & Hobday, Verdant, Polly's Brew Co, Tiny Rebel, Omnipollo, Blackened Sun, Northern Monk, Boxcar, Mikkeller & Emperor's/Steel City. The latter was a Sour Cherry Red Wine Stout! There also appeared to be a good range of bottles and cans in the fridge. The pub was fairly busy and the young barman was struggling to cope. The craft beer taps seemed to have a mind of their own, the till had frozen and I was served out of order. But, apparently it was his first night. It was also quite crowded inside. Many of the tables are designed for larger groups. But, with single drinkers occupying many of these due to a lack of smaller tables, many were having to stand. Glasses remained uncollected. Music was playing fairly loudly. I don't mind this. But, it's not normally something you would associate with a micropub. The toilet had a faulty sink. Although, hand gel was provided. I've painted a fairly negative picture. But in all honesty, this was probably the best pub I visited in South East London yesterday. It certainly had a lively atmosphere and the drinks range was good. Probably now the best pub in Eltham.

22 Sep 2019 13:38

The Market Tavern, Lewisham

This is now an Antic pub called Suttons Radio. It's fairly typical of Antic pubs, with a mish-mash of furniture, but an overall pleasant drinking environment. Volden Session is the regular ale. Guests were East London Vienna Pale & Nene Valley Egyptian Cream. I chose the real cider, which was Thatcher's Cheddar Valley. There's lots of things to admire on the walls and the pub seems to host plenty of events. Being very central in Lewisham, this is a decent addition to the area.

22 Sep 2019 13:27

Oceans Apart, Norwood

This premises is now the Portland Arms. It is about a 15 minute downhill walk from Norwood Junction station. On my late Saturday afternoon visit, it was quite busy. Service was a bit disorganised. One guy beat me to the bar and got served quite quickly. As soon as he walked away, the barmaid wandered off to deliver food for somebody before coming back to the bar with said food, only to work out it was for a large group who had been keeping the second barmaid busy with whatever they were ordering. Portland Arms Best Bitter is the house beer, brewed by Sambrook's. Guests were Bexley's Own & Truman's Zephyr. It seems to be very much a community pub. Customers were spilling out into the garden at the rear and there were many families. I'm not averse to kids in pubs. But, the screeching from one particular child was too much to bear. So, I supped up and left as soon as possible.

22 Sep 2019 13:22

London Beer Dispensary, Brockley

This was one of the highlights of my tour around South East London pubs added to the latest 2020 Good Beer Guide. It's now owned by the Southey Brewery (formerly Late Knights). Their Sephina was on cask, in addition to Marble Pint & Nene Valley Australian Pale Ale. It was also the first pub where I'd found a real cider. This was Sandford Orchards Devon Mist. A number of Southey beers were on keg - Ursus III Oatmeal Stout, Hazy Jesus & Lazy Jesus. There was also Thornbridge Satsuma & Wild Beer Bibble & Sleeping Lemons. There were only 2 other customers inside. But, I believe there was a larger group in the outdoor courtyard at the rear. The barman was friendly and professional. Decent place.

22 Sep 2019 13:15

The Libertine, Borough

The Libertine is roughly halfway between London Bride and Elephant and Castle stations. It was fairly quiet on my Saturday afternoon visit, with a couple of blokes playing darts and a few watching football scores on a TV. Sharp's Doom Bar is the regular ale. Guests were Redemption Hotspur & Watney's Starlight. There was no real cider and nobody was eating. Wifi worked well. Ok, but I wouldn't make a special journey here and it's a bit off the beaten track to make it part of a crawl.

22 Sep 2019 13:07

Kings Arms, Borough

The King's Head is tucked away just off Borough High Street, far enough from the tourist throngs in Borough Market and near London Bridge station, to have an air of calm. The interior is traditionally decorated. 5 real ales are dispensed. Truman's Swift, Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter, Purity Mad Goose & Timothy Taylor Landlord are the regular ales. I opted for the guest, which was the rugby-themed Old Dairy Up & Udder. Customers were mostly drinkers. But, there were a handful of tourists eating. Service was prompt and friendly, with reasonable prices for the area.

22 Sep 2019 13:02

The Old Jail, Cudham

Part of the fun of visiting this rural pub is getting there. I took the R8 TFL bus that winds its way through narrow lanes and quaint villages, occasionally having problems with cars coming the other way. The bus even had to stop for cyclists, given how narrow the lanes are. The pub is quaint inside and out. Locals who weren't particularly friendly congregated around the bar, whilst there were diners scattered around. All tables were laid out for dining. However, most customers were in the large garden at the rear and side. One solitary ale was on during my Saturday visit. That was Westerham Summer Perle. I had just over 15 minutes before the return bus back to civilisation. Otherwise, it was another 90 minute wait for the next. But, the bus does drop off and picks up directly outside the pub. Worth a visit, but probably not for the beer or service.

22 Sep 2019 12:55

The Two Doves, Bromley

This was the better of Bromley Common's two pubs. It is the only pub in the area stocking real ale. Although, it is still a Young's pub. In addition to the Bitter & Special, there was St Austell Tribute & Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter. There were a few in on my Saturday lunchtime visit, with a few individuals and a couple of groups. Some were sat outside at the front in the sunshine. World Cup rugby was on the TV. Seemed friendly enough and the interior is quite cosy.

22 Sep 2019 12:49

The Bird In Hand, Bromley

The Bird In Hand is located in a nice residential area. But, it no longer stocks any real ale. Keg options were Guinness, Strongbow, Fosters, Birra Moretti & Kronenbourg. Although, I'm not sure if these options were actually available as the ownership appears to have either changed recently or is about to change. Stock levels seemed to be at a minimum. The interior extends to a conservatory overlooking the garden at the rear. But, the 3 locals were all in the bar area at the front, where they were watching live Premier League football. Nice location, but disappointing pub.

22 Sep 2019 12:44

The Firkin Shed, Bournemouth

No trip to Bournemouth would be complete without a visit to the Firkin Shed. The post-match atmosphere was as good as ever. The ale and cider range feels as if it has diminished a little. I could only find 2 ciders I hadn't previously tried on this visit and I ended up drinking mead. Drinking space was also limited. So, we retreated to the tiny garden area at the rear. Ales were Arbor Mosaic, Stonehenge Heelstone, Neepsend Callisto, Eight Arch Cocoberry & Electric Bear Whirlybird. Ciders were Dorset Sunshine Strawberry Sunshine, Blackcurrant & Summer Sunshine, Farmer Jim's Rhubarb Bob, Gwynt y Ddraig Two Trees Perry, Cranborne Chase Dry, Medium & Sweet, My'N'Ers Dry, Medium & Sweet, Heck's Farmhouse Perry & Purbeck Joe's Dry. Still just about clinging out to a 10/10 in my scoring.

16 Sep 2019 21:44

The Saxon Bear Ale House, Christchurch

A Sunday trip to the Dorset coast started for us at the Saxon Bar, a micropub in Christchurch. We were the only people in over lunchtime. It's a fairly typical micropub where all ales, cask beers and ciders are displayed on blackboards and the barman will fetch your drinks from the cold room and bring them to your table. The cask ale selection was Wylam Wasn't Born To Follow, Bowman Lapwing, Wantsum Black Pig & Barefaced Peacocks Bitter. Keykeg options were Time & Tide Double Stout, Boutillers & Tom's Tap Swim Until You Can't & Track Reflex. Ciders were Dorset Sunshine Strawberry Sunshine, Big Ginger, Summer Sunshine & Purple Rain, Meon Valley Brown Trout & Dragonfly, Seacider Blood Orange, Thistly Cross Whisky Cask, Pulp Rhubarb & Snail's Bank Raspberry Ripple. I went through each of the Dorset Sunshine ciders, as I'd not had any of them before, in what was quite a rushed visit. Probably the best pub in Christchurch. Although it did lack customers and therefore atmosphere.

16 Sep 2019 21:37

The Clytha Arms, Clytha

Our final stop of the day in Monmouthshire and once again we'd saved the best until last. The Clytha Arms is set in nice countryside between Abergavenny and Raglan. It has plenty of outdoor space, including some nice garden areas at the rear, with a children's play area and a boules pitch, along with a lovely pear tree. The gardens look across fields with goats, horses and rabbits. Inside was reasonably quiet when we arrived. By the time we left, they were doing a roaring trade with their speciality tapas dishes. All tables were taken and you could hardly move in the bar area. Ales were Felinfoel Double Dragon, Untapped Whoosh & UPA, Purple Moose Madog's Ale, Dark Star Hophead & Uley Bitter. Ciders were Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon & Haymaker, Ty Gwyn Perry, Weston's Rosie's Pig Strawberry & Elderflower and a Yarlington Mill cider from a local guy named Jim Bevan! I was all set to go for the perry, until I noticed the battered Yarlington Mill box on the bar. At 9%, it wasn't for the faint hearted. But, it was very nice indeed. Great pub.

16 Sep 2019 21:30

The Ship Inn, Raglan

The Ship Inn was the better of the two pubs we visited in Raglan. There are a number of different rooms. Locals appeared to be congregated in one area watching the cricket. London Pride & Atlantic were the 2 real ales. At the last moment, we spotted Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon & Dabinett. The latter went down quite nicely, before we stopped at the Raglan Frier fish and chip shop next door. Raglan is a bit congested and I wouldn't make it a destination for pubs. But, the Ship was the best pub.

16 Sep 2019 21:20

The Beaufort Arms, Raglan

After a visit to the Star On The Hill at Llanfihangel Tor-y-Mynydd (I've requested that to be added to BITE), our first stop in Raglan was the Beaufort Arms. The car park was packed. Most people seemed to be enjoying the sunshine on outdoor seating overlooking the car park. We ventured inside, where there is small bar and a number of other rooms set aside for dining. We only saw one family eating. Although is was still quite early. Both real ales were from the Untapped Brewery - Border & UPA. Nice looking place. But, it felt more like a hotel bar, than a proper pub.

16 Sep 2019 21:17

Queen's Head, Chepstow

My final stop in Chepstow ended up being the best pub in Chepstow. We managed to get in before it closed for the afternoon on Saturday. The owner and the other customer were friendly. There is a good selection of ales - Evan Evans Cwrw, Grey Trees Mosaic Pale Ale, Lucky 7 Hop Store Cowboy, Mumbles Gold, Gower Gold & Tenby Black Flag Rum Porter. Ciders were Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon & Farmhouse Scrumpy, Seb's Medium & Dee Cider. Has a basic interior, where conversation is clearly encouraged. Another really decent micropub.

16 Sep 2019 21:09

The Beaufort Hotel, Chepstow

The Beaufort Hotel is one of 3 pubs in the current Good Beer Guide in Chepstow. But, I fail to see why. Yes, it has a nice plush interior. But, the real ale selection was a disappointment. The regular beer is Butcombe Adam Henson's Rare Breed. The guest was St Austell Tribute. Having the Liverpool v Newcastle game blasting down my ear didn't particularly help my enjoyment.

16 Sep 2019 21:04

The Five Alls, Chepstow

The Five Alls is probably the second best pub in Chepstow. It has a no frills interior with bare boards and the music is no nonsense rock. The solitary real ale was Baa Brewing Baa IPA. But, there were 3 real ciders from Gwynt y Ddraig - Happy Daze, Haymaker & Welsh Warrior. The barmaid was friendly. But, it was quiet on our early Saturday afternoon visit. Had the feel of a proper boozer though.

16 Sep 2019 21:02

The Boat Inn, Chepstow

The Boat Inn looks across the River Wye to England. The interior has a nice olde worlde feel. But, on a summer (or in this case early Autumn) day, most people flock to the outdoor tables overlooking the river. It took quite a while to get served. Doom Bar is the regular ale. Butty Bach & HPA were the guests.

16 Sep 2019 20:57

Castle View Hotel, Chepstow

This place is just opposite the castle and is now called the Woodfield Arms. It's more of a restaurant than a hotel. But, they do stock beers from Baa Brewing. Their Baa IPA was on handpull. But, apparently it is not a real ale. The barman failed to get our order correct. Mrs S ordered a gin with lemonade (not everybody likes tonic water)! There is a pleasant garden at the rear. Disappointing otherwise.

16 Sep 2019 20:53

The Chepstow Castle, Chepstow

Directly opposite Chepstow Castle which we had just visited. But, it's currently closed. Recently purchased in auction, it looks like the new owners will seek a change of use.

16 Sep 2019 20:49

The Bell Hanger, Chepstow

First stop in Chepstow on Saturday morning was this rather busy Wetherspoon's. It's a long, thin affair, with plenty of seating. The regular ales are Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharp's Doom Bar. In addition, there are 4 guests. These were Boss Blaze, Three Castles Vale Ale, Great Western Alpha Centauri & Green Jack Waxwing. The real cider was Old Rosie. There were plenty of families and also plenty of people having breakfasts. Ours took quite a while to arrive and when it did, it was cold. Although, it was replaced. Typical 'spoon's.

16 Sep 2019 20:47

The Red Lion, Bonvilston

The Red Lion was our final pub of the night. I bumped into the chef in the car park, who informed me that he had finished for the night. Inside, there were a couple of customers finishing off their meals and a rather bored looking barmaid reading a book at another table. It appears that the pub is a Brain's tied house. Brain's Bitter is served. The guest was Sharp's Atlantic and they also had Old Rosie cider. Lacked any kind of atmosphere.

8 Sep 2019 12:17

The Bush, St Hilary

It took us a while to find this gorgeous-looking village pub. We'd been in the village and then ended up on the A48 through some roadworks where there was no way of turning round. By the time, we finally located it, they had no more space left for us to eat. Whilst there were plenty of tables and food is supposed to be served until 9:30, the kitchen was obviously already up to full capacity by 8:00. Get some more staff! Abbot is the regular ale. Two guests were HPA & Betty Stogs. They also had Old Rosie cider, which was quite welcome. There are 3 or 4 rooms inside, mostly given over to dining. We sat in the small bar area, which appears to be set aside for drinkers. Nice pub, but a shame they do not serve food after 8pm.

8 Sep 2019 12:14

Edmondes Arms, Cowbridge

Over 5 years since my last visit to Cowbridge, I returned to try a new bar (1 Town Hall Square), which is not listed on BITE and probably the best pub/bar in the town, along with the Edmondes Arms, which I missed last time. It's a traditional corner boozer on a busy crossroads just out of the centre. There are 3 rooms, a public bar, a games room and a cosy snug/lounge at the rear. I had my boy tacking along. The barman warned me that "the boys" were in the bar. But, he's seen it all before! The boys were a bit loud and there was a little swearing. But, it was a decent atmosphere in a well-decorated pub. Hancock's HB is the regular ale. Guests were Glamorgan Jemima's Pitchfork & Tomos a Lilford OPA. I opted for the latter, an Orange Pale Ale, which didn't seem to be in the best condition. Although, that may just have been the slightly sour taste. Nice pub overall though.

8 Sep 2019 11:49

Blaengarw Hotel, Blaengarw

First stop on a 10-pub crawl of South Wales was this village at the head of a valley. From what I could see, the Blaengarw Hotel was the only pub in this former mining village. The pub has two fairly large rooms. There is a main bar area and a slightly larger lounge/function room area which is probably used as an overspill in the evenings. There are a couple of handpulls, one in each room. But, only one appears to be in use. This was occupied by Boss Blaze. I swerved this and opted for a bottle of Gwynt y Ddraig Old Crow. The gents toilets weren't very private. Ladies will get a full side-on view of gents at the urinals, as they head to their conveniences. But then again, there were no other women in the pub. The next 6 pubs we visited are not listed on BITE (the Britannia and the Little Penybont Arms at Pencoed, the Mountain Hare at Brynnau Gwynion, the Turberville at Llanharan, the Fox & Hounds at Llanharry and 1 Town Hall Square in Cowbridge). I will request the better ones to be added.

8 Sep 2019 11:25

The Macintosh Arms, Goole

After another stop at the Boot & Shoe at Ellerton (not listed on BITE), our final stop in Yorkshire this week was the Macintosh Arms, back in Goole. The area in which it is located looks a little seedy and the police were certainly doing regular patrols. I agree with Snarling Mallard. It is certainly rough and ready. There are a couple of rooms. One had lots of flashing lights with Ace of Spades playing quite loud. But, there was nobody in that room. A few locals could be found in the other marginally quieter room. There were 3 handpulls. But, only 2 of them were clipped. Both clips were turned. On enquiry, it seemed somebody had questioned the smell and quality of the beer earlier in the day. They had taken the ales off, despite somebody else being happy with the beer. The barmaid offered me a sample of Old Mill Fall Over, which tasted and smelled fine to me. So, I had a half. I also sampled the Old Mill Old Curiosity for them. Not my kind of beer, but definitely not off. Chatting to the locals, it seems that this used to be a good pub for ale. But, the current landlord does not appear to be a fan of it. So, the choice and availability has gone downhill. Could be better.

31 Aug 2019 13:38

Black Swan, Pickering

Everybody I'd spoken to in Pickering had recommended the Black Swan. So, we decided to head here yesterday afternoon on our return from Whitby. It is home to the town's only microbrewery - Great British Breworks. 3 of their ales are always on - Coal Porter, Great Scot & Istanbul Pale Ale. 2 guests were Yorkshire Heart Silverheart & Half Moon Dark Masquerade. I opted for the Porter, which definitely had a hint of charcoal to it. The pub has a couple of rooms. There is a carpeted dining room as you enter and the main bar is further to your right. At the rear is an outdoor area. It was worth the stop.

31 Aug 2019 13:29

Waiting Room, Whitby

My trip top Whitby was primarily for sightseeing. But, I did manage to get to the Waiting Room at the station for a swift couple of halves before boarding the North Yorks Moor Railway train back to Pickering. This micropub on the platform has limited opening hours and wasn't opening until 4 yesterday. It's a fairly tiny place that is clearly very popular. I arrived at 4pm to find it already quite full. Customers must have been queuing at the doors. The ale range was Durham Maltstar, North Riding Sticky Toffee Porter, Revolutions The Final Countdown, Great Yorkshire Flying Herbert, Lords Maid of Orleans & Bad Company 02_19. I was drawn to the Porter. But, I decided to go for cider instead, with a couple I hadn't had on the list of 14. The full list was Gwynt y Ddraig Haymaker, Sandford Orchards Fanny's Bramble, Thistly Cross Whisky Cask, Orchard Revival Heritage, Dudda's Tun Bone Dry, Mayfayre Cider & Perry, Lilley's Bee Sting Perry, Cherries & Berries, Mango Cider & Lemon and Ginger Cider, Weston's Rosie's Pig & Rhubarb Cider, Abrahall's Lily The Pink & Snail's Bank Very Perry. Most of the customers seemed to be regulars and the owner was certainly very knowledgeable. No children are allowed inside. The walls have railway memorabilia, whilst there were many pumpclips to peruse. A good conclusion to my first trip to Whitby. I will be back!

31 Aug 2019 13:23

The Little Angel, Whitby

The Little Angel was my first of just two stops on my first ever visit to Whitby. It's located up the hill in the main shopping area. The in-house brewery is Crafty Monkey. They had New Gold Dream, New Era, Lady Luck Dream Catcher, German Style Pale Ale &Black Cat Porter from themselves. Guests were Roundhill Billy Town Brown, Bluestone Rockhopper & Saints Roar/Orchard Road Big Bears Brown. The cider was Old Rosie. There are 3 small seating sections around a central bar. Toilets have a very worn feel. Live music appears to be a theme. I could imagine it getting quite cramped with a band/singer on. But, a pub with character during the day.

31 Aug 2019 13:13

The Sun, Pickering

My plans to tick off a few more Pickering pubs ended at the Sun. Handpulls on the bar were dispensing Helmsley Yorkshire Legend, Hadrian Border Tyneside Blonde, Theakston Best Bitter, Copper Dragon Hop Stepper, Sonnet 43 The Raven & Rat Rat Bag. I was more interested in the range of real ciders and on enquiry was directed to a board to the left of the bar. 14 ciders were on, half of which I hadn't previously tried - Thatcher's Stan's Traditional, Pulp Raspberry Cider, Hawkes Urban Orchard Berry, Tree Top Press Tabular Hills, Tiny Rebel Protaropia & Peariscope, Skidbrook General Ludd, Ascension Gardenia, Kentish Pip Summer Session, Seacider Ginger Bread, Magpie Orchard Fruits & Dragonfly Salted Caramel & Fruity and Floral. I had just over an hour to get through them. But after that it was curtains. The pub has a main bar and an overflow room. There is a courtyard at the rear. What later turned out to be the landlady was running a small pub quiz in one corner. A few locals were a bit inebriated, whilst the pub also attracts its share of visitors, including a rather drunk couple from Cleethorpes. The young student barmaid was very patient in getting me through the 7 ciders. Although I swear the Dragonfly cider she gave me was not the one I ordered. But, my taste buds may well have been mangled by them. A superb pub that was easily the highlight of my overnight stay in Pickering.

31 Aug 2019 13:01

Rose, Pickering

The Rose was my second stop in the town of Pickering. It's right next to the river and prone to flooding. But, it was busy both inside and out. 3 real ales were on. Tetley Cask & Black Sheep Best Bitter are the regulars. The third one was Black Sheep Pale Ale, which I'd never seen before and decided to sample. Not really my kind of beer. But, in perfectly good condition. The interior was quite bright and the barmaid was friendly despite giving me a bit of a short measure.

31 Aug 2019 12:52

The Bay Horse, Pickering

My first stop in Pickering on Thursday night was the Bay Horse. There is a quiet lounge area on the left as you enter and a larger bar to the right, with a raised area where a group of women were playing a darts match. There are 4 real ales are on and they don't change - Bradfield Farmer's Blonde, Cameron's Strongarm, Tetley Cask & Greene King Abbot. A little disappointing. Surprised to see this in the current Good Beer Guide 2019.

31 Aug 2019 12:49

The Royal Oak, Pickering

Now closed and being converted to housing.

31 Aug 2019 12:46

The Moors Inn, Appleton-le-Moors

The Moors Inn is a world away from where we had started our day to the west of York. It's located in a delightful village on the moors, which seems to have a much larger population of sheep than people. They graze on the verges in front of the houses on the main street. It's unsurprising that the pub sign features sheep. We ate here and continued the sheep theme by ordering the Trio of Lamb, which was very enjoyable. There is clearly a focus on dining and we were lucky that they managed to squeeze us in. There are 3 rooms and they are all used for diners. But, there were some drinkers at the bar and real ale is clearly popular with locals discussing what was coming next with the barman. The regular ale is Bradfield Farmer's Blonde. Guests were Thwaite's Wainwright & Lincolnshire Craft Best Bitter. I opted for the latter. A delightful pub in lovely surroundings.

31 Aug 2019 12:45

Crown and Cushion, York

Gradually heading north from York into more and more rural areas, our next stop was the Crown & Cushion. We were concerned that it might be closing at 3 or 3:30pm on our Thursday afternoon visit. But, we were assured to find a family leaving as we arrived and were soon told that the pub now opens all day. The pub was very quiet though and with most websites showing the pub as closed during the afternoon, you have to wonder if the two are connected. The two regular ales are Black Sheep Best Bitter & York Guzzler. The guest was Theakston Best Bitter. Surroundings are comfortable and it appears that there is a focus on food, with dining areas to the rear. There is also a large outdoor terrace beyond overlooking open fields. We continued our very own Tour de Yorkshire with a drive through the pretty and enormous Castle Howard estate before hitting the Brass Castle Brewery Tap House in Malton (not listed on here).

31 Aug 2019 12:31

The Ship Inn, Strensall

An unassuming village local. Our early Thursday afternoon visit here was a little bit rushed, due to concerns over opening hours at our next planned stop. Timothy Taylor Landlord is the regular ale. Guests were Sharp's Doom Bar, Marston's 61 Deep & Leeds Pale. I was just ordering a Leeds Pale when my wife spotted the boxed real ciders behind the bar. Weston's Old Rosie & Friel's Cider were both on. So, I availed myself of the latter. It was quiet inside with just two pairs of drinkers. At the rear is a small beer garden with children's play area overlooking the car park. The ale range was not very inspiring. But, I quite liked this place as it was nice to see some real cider.

31 Aug 2019 12:25

The Tiger Inn, Haxby

Well, we couldn't visit Yorkshire without trying a Sam Smith's pub. So, the Tiger Inn at Haxby was the one. I agree with the previous reviewer. Little has changed in the 6+ years since that review. It's certainly a strange place. All customers were middle/old aged males. They each had a table and conversed across the room with one another in the bar, about whatever the hot topic of the day was. Mobile phones and other electronic devices are banned. There is also a lounge which we didn't venture into and the car park at the rear is massive. Nice village location. OBB is on handpull.

31 Aug 2019 12:20

The Nags Head, Askham Bryan

Walked into this pub from the rear entrance, after an argument with the dog in the garden! Timothy Taylor Landlord is the chosen ale here. A guest was Ossett Yorkshire Blonde. We decided to return to the garden, with said dog removed. There is also a rather large rabbit that didn't move much except to eat a slice of cabbage. The interior looked fairly cosy, albeit a bit dark. It was quiet on our Thursday lunchtime visit. Staff were friendly. Moved on from here to the Lysander Arms in Rawcliffe, which is not worth adding to BITE.

31 Aug 2019 12:13

City and County, Goole

Goole seems a bit of a God-forsaken town. It's the sort of place where a Wetherspoon's will thrive. Although I did later find out that there is one other decent real ale bar in town, which I will save for a return visit. The City & County is fairly central and was a short drive from our overnight stop on a services on the M18! It was also a decent choice for a cooked breakfast. The place was busy with plenty of other people with the same idea, including large noisy families. Ales were Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharp's Doom Bar, Lincolnshire Craft Lincoln Gold, Wold Top Athena & Jenning's Sneck Lifter. The real cider was Old Rosie. Perfectly acceptable.

31 Aug 2019 12:07

Best Western The Bell, Driffield

The Bell Hotel was my fourth stop in Driffield on Wednesday. My previous two (the Mariners Arms and the Tiger Inn) are not listed on BITE. I'll request them to be added. These two very traditional boozers, in complete contrast to the micropub (the Butcher's Dog) I had been in earlier. The Bell was another contrast. It's quite a plush hotel owned by the Best Western chain. I followed my nose to find the bar, where there were no staff and no customers. Ringing the bell had no effect either! I returned to the hotel reception to find that unmanned. But ringing the bell there had the desired effect and somebody who had been serving afternoon tea came out to assist! The 2 ales were both from Wold Top - Headland Red & Anglers Reward. The hotel is certainly very nicely decorated. The toilets when located behind a grand piano were also luxurious. But, I'm not sure it's a place I'd choose to have a beer, due to the lack of atmosphere. Maybe it's different in an evening, if the bar area gets busier.

31 Aug 2019 11:59

The Butchers Dog, Driffield

We were back in Driffield on Wednesday after an 8 year hiatus. Our first port of call was the Butcher's Dog, a micropub that wouldn't have been here on our last visit. It is now easily the best pub in the town in my opinion. We were glad to get out of the rain into this hostelry. The ale choice was instantly visible - George Wright Plum Porter, Poachers Black Crow Stout, Hop Kettle North Wall, Great Heck Mercy & Great Newsome Harvests Gold. Ciders were listed on a blackboard to the right-hand side of the bar - Seacider Hardcore, Blood Orange, Mango, Bourbon Barrel & Black Cherry, Farmer Jim's Sweet, Copper Top & Farmyard Perry, White Rose Batch #1 & Honey Cider, Snail's Bank Winder & Lilley's Darkcider. There were 4 I hadn't previously had. So, I worked my way through those. The barmaid and customers were all friendly and the atmosphere was convivial. There's a CAMRA discount too, which we discovered on our second round. Great pub.

31 Aug 2019 11:52

The Ship Inn, Dunswell

Rural pub on a main road north of Hull. It has a sizeable garden with chickens roaming around. The interior is dark and cosy with plenty of nautical memorabilia. A few were just finishing their midweek lunches. Others were checking out from their accommodation. With no real cider, Great Newsome Jem's Stout was my drink of choice. A fairly decent beer. Other ales available were Greene King IPA & Sharp's Doom Bar. Nice place.

31 Aug 2019 11:41

The Railway, Cottingham

This pub is situated a little way out of the centre of Cottingham. But, it is now closed with railings around it.

31 Aug 2019 11:37

The King William IV, Cottingham

The King William IV was our first of 3 pubs in Cottingham on a midweek visit. It was also the best in Cottingham with the other 2 pubs (the Duke of Cumberland and the Blue Bell not listed on BITE). Although, we didn't try the village's new micropub. It was still morning when we arrived at the King William IV. So, it was fairly quiet. But, it did start to fill up gradually. There are 2 decent size rooms and an outdoor courtyard towards the rear. As with the other 2 pubs we tried, this is a Marston's pub. Ales from their range were Wainwright, Cumberland Ale, Old Empire, Hobgoblin & Sunbeam. What made this pub stand out for me was the 3 real ciders from Weston's - Rosie's Pig Rhubarb, Rosie's Pig Strawberry & Elderflower & Old Rosie. Although, these were not advertised and we were only made aware of them when we asked.

31 Aug 2019 11:33

The Plough and Harrow, Cradley Heath

With just time to visit one more West Midlands pub on Saturday lunchtime, I chose what is Dudley & South Staffordshire CAMRA's current Pub of the Year. To be honest, I find it hard to believe that there is nothing better. The location is a little outside of Cradley Heath's town centre and the pub itself has a fairly cosy interior. However, they seem to focus on paler ales, with the exception of Banks's Mild, which I'm not a fan of in any case. Wye Valley HPA & Butty Bach are regular ales. Guests were Elland Lucky Dip, Bristol Beer Factory All Things Equal & Neepsend Mosaic. Granted, the guests were ones that are seldom seen in the West Midlands. But, with none of the beers really appealing and with no real cider, my Lucky Dip was disappointing. This also seems very much of a locals pub where we weren't made to feel particularly welcome. We said goodbye individually to both the landlord and landlady. But, there was no response, which I find a little offputting. A simple goodbye is not too difficult, unless they were both hard of hearing.

25 Aug 2019 20:14

Waggon and Horses, Oldbury

My wife assures me that I've been in here before. There was something about the place that rang a few bells. But, I'm still not 100% convinced. Nevertheless, this is a lovely old fashioned local in the centre of Oldbury with some fabulous tiling. The front bar was busy with customers who appeared to have had a few. There is then a nice serving corridor connecting the front room with a similar sized room at the rear. No longer owned by Brains, the ales were AJ's Best Bitter & Stuck On Blondes & Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby Mild. To my surprise, they also stocked Weston's Old Rosie. I swerved the cider to go for the Mild. Very enjoyable this was too. The Wetherspoon's (Court of Requests) nextdoor may hold all of the cards when it comes to dining and range of beers. But, the Waggon & Horses wins the prize for more authentic pub hands down. Sure enough, I finished off my Friday visit to the West Midlands at the Court of Requests, which I will request to be added to BITE.

25 Aug 2019 20:06

The Jolly Collier, Oldbury

This pub is hidden away in a side street, in a slightly unassuming location. Nevertheless, it was reasonably busy on my early Friday evening visit. The cricket was on the TV and most locals were either congregated around the bar, or in the garden at the rear. HPA is the regular ale here. The guest ale was Golden Glow. I ordered a pork and stuffing cob to go with my HPA, whilst keeping a close eye on the bus times!

25 Aug 2019 19:59

The Port n' Ale, Tipton

After a visit to the nearby Tame Bridge (not listed on here), I thought I would try the Port 'n' Ale Bar & Grill. It was one of the busier establishments I visited all day in the West Midlands. But, real ale is no longer served. The pub appears to be Indian-owned. Although, I didn't see anybody eating. The keg selection was Guinness, Carling, Carling Black Fruits, Stella Artois, Cobra, Coors Light, Thatcher's Gold, Worthington's Creamflow & Strongbow. Would have tried the food, if I'd have had more time available. Disappointing, as expected.

25 Aug 2019 19:53

Waggon and Horses, Tipton

This is the brewery tap for the Toll End Brewery. Holden's Golden Glow is a permanent fixture and luckily for me, so was the Toll End Charlie Blackout Stout. It can be hard to find dark beers this time of the year. So, I was pleased to see this. My pleasure was short-lived however as I suspect the ale was just about on the turn. It was drinkable, but disappointing. Other Toll End ales on were Tipton Pride, Ocker Ale & Meet Ya Maker. 2 guests were Oakham White Dwarf & Exmoor Silver Stallion. There was no real cider. The main room has limited seating with a large open space in the middle. I couldn't work out if this was for standing drinking or fighting. But, locals seemed a fairly amiable bunch (at least at this time of day). So, I suspect the former. A decent place with a little character.

25 Aug 2019 19:46

Ye Olde Leathern Bottel, Wednesbury

A lot of websites, including CAMRA's, list this pub opening at midday. But at 2:30 on Friday, there was no sign of life. Luckily, the current opening times are listed on the window (why can't all pubs do this?). So, I knew to come back at 3:00. I returned to find it still closed. But, in the meantime, a local had put a window through. Seemingly a nice area! Inside is quite dark. There are 4 rooms. I couldn't quite work out how to get to the one at the front that seemingly had the most character. The 3 real ales were Butty Bach, Directors & Proper Job. None really appealed. But, I chose the Directors. Am surprised to see this pub in the current Good Beer Guide.

25 Aug 2019 19:39

The Rosehill Tavern, Wednesbury

With the nearby Olde Leathern Bottel no longer opening early in the afternoon, I walked slightly uphill to the recently re-opened Rosehill Tavern. New owners are trying to drum up trade having spruced the place up and planning various community events. There are a couple of handpulls. But unfortunately, they are not dispensing real ale for now. The keg selection was Carling, Guinness, Stowford Press, Coors Light & Worthington's Creamflow. A little disappointing. But, I wish them well.

25 Aug 2019 19:34

The Queens Head, Wednesbury

The Queen's Head was the most upmarket of the 6 pubs I visited in Wednesbury. It has a cosy interior, where food appeared to be popular. A number of drinkers were sat outside at the front enjoying the sunny weather. The house beer is Backyard Royal Gold. They also have Wye Valley HPA on regularly. The guest beer was Inferno from Oakham, which I had. As with most pubs in this neck of the woods, real cider is not sold.

25 Aug 2019 19:30

The Cottage Spring, Wednesbury

Holden's backstreet pub that had just one customer and the landlord when I arrived on Friday lunchtime. All 4 ales were from Holden's - Black Country Bitter, Mild & Special & Golden Glow. The Mild was a nice enough drink. Two other punters arrived and all sat at the bar whilst I was there. A bit of an old man's pub! There's an old telephone box in the bar. There's also a quieter lounge at the rear.

25 Aug 2019 19:26

The Bell Wether, Wednesbury

First stop of the day on a Friday visit to the West Midlands was this Wetherspoon's branch in Wednesbury's town centre. Just time for a breakfast and a pint before setting about visiting a dozen new pubs for me. Fairly typical 'spoons with an open-plan layout, including a raised area for family dining. Service was quick and friendly. Greene King Abbot & Ruddles Best are the regular ales. Guests were Brentwood Blonde, Sadler's Peaky Blinder, The Beer Studio Heatwave & Backyard Blonde. Ciders were Weston's Old Rosie & Thistly Cross Whisky Cask. Not a bad start to the day. Moved on from here to the Old Blue Ball, a fabulous unspoiled backstreet local that is not listed on BITE. A perfect contrast to the Bellwether.

25 Aug 2019 19:19

The Barley Mow, Tividale

The Barley Mow has long since been demolished and replaced by housing.

20 Aug 2019 21:37

The Golden Cross Hotel, Bromsgrove

Our last pub of the weekend in Worcestershire was this Wetherspoon's branch in Bromsgrove. It was as busy as you would expect all 'spoon's to be. There was a good selection of ales - Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Redemption Hotspur, Banks's Yazoo Hop Perfect IPA, Wood's Shropshire Lass, The Hop Shed Sultan Worcestershire Gold, Purity Gold, Brentwood Blonde, Prescott Summer Season's Best, Beowulf Mercian Shine & Brewster's Aromantica. The cider was Weston's Old Rosie, whilst the chain's gin festival had commenced and seemed to be quite popular amongst the clientele. The interior is the usual open-plan drinking hall with a number of booths and gents' toilets upstairs. When there is a decent micropub a short distance away, this will always come a second best. But, second best in the town centre it is.

20 Aug 2019 21:35

The Red Lion, Bromsgrove

Marston's pub in the main pedestrianized shopping area of the High Street in Bromsgrove. It was fairly quiet, as all of the shops had shut on our early Sunday evening visit, apart from a bookmakers. The regular beers are Banks's Mild & Bitter. Guests were Marston's 61 Deep & Old Empire, Ringwood Boon Doggle & Brakspear Oxford Gold. No real cider is available. There is a small outdoor courtyard at the rear.

20 Aug 2019 21:29

The Park Gate Inn, Dodford

Returning to the outskirts of Bromsgrove on Sunday afternoon, the Park Gate was our first port of call. The main bar area is at the front and there is another room with a pool table at the rear. The garden at the back has children's play equipment. But, it is a little unkempt. There are nice views across the fields though. Ales were Hobson's Twisted Spire, Davenport's Pale Ale, Bewdley Worcestershire Sway & The Gorgeous Beer Company Best & Blonde Ale. I opted for the Best, which I was not particularly impressed with. Real cider is no longer served.

20 Aug 2019 21:24

The Little Ale House, Bromsgrove

Our final stop of the day in Worcestershire was the Little Ale House, a busy micropub in Bromsgrove town centre. A blackboard displays all of the ales and ciders. Although, be careful not to choose any of the keg options, unless that is your thing. There is a house beer called Half Cut, which is from Woodcote Manor. Other ales were Hobson's Mandarin, Shiny Rocky & Three Tuns Solstice. Ciders were Thistly Cross Whisky Cask, Lilley's Bee Sting Perry, Strawberry Cider, Mango Cider & Lemon & Lime Cider, Farmer Jim's Farmyard Fruits, Copper Top & Rhubarb Bob, Thatcher's Traditional & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. We were greeted by the local dog, who apparently breaks wind and creates a foul smell when excited. I say apparently, but it was more than apparent after we gave it a fuss. Nice place. But, then I rarely find a bad micropub.

20 Aug 2019 21:20

The Greyhound Inn, Bromsgrove

Has now suffered what is believed to be an arson attack. With plenty of land surrounding it, I can see why the greedy housing developers are eager to capitalise.

20 Aug 2019 21:14

The Ladybird Inn, Aston Fields

The Ladybird is a very lively pub next to Bromsgrove railway station and a hotel. It's handy for the station, which is actually nowhere near the town centre. The car park requires tokens to exit, which can be obtained from the bar. The main bar area was packed with people watching live football. Another room around the corner had a number of slightly quieter areas, including space for diners. Regular ales are Wye Valley HPA & Butty Bach, Batham's Best Bitter & Sharp's Doom Bar. Guests were Three Tuns XXX & Steam Box Golden Bolt. A bit too lively for my liking.

20 Aug 2019 21:12

The Marlbank, Welland

Fairly busy country pub where the welcome didn't feel quite as warm as other local pubs. Sky Sports News was showing on the TVs, with a number of locals keen on viewing the final football scores. Wye Valley HPA is the regular ale. Also on was their Butty Bach, Thwaite's Lancaster Bomber, Malvern Hills Black Pear & Pershore Solstice Gold. The cider was Weston's Old Rosie. The interior was nicely decorated.

20 Aug 2019 21:07

Plume of Feathers, Great Malvern

The pub has a fairly basic 2-room interior. Everybody seemed to know one another. But, they were friendly. Wye Valley Butty Bach is the regular ale. Guests were Hook Norton Hooky & Ludlow Best. They also had a real cider, which I was not expecting. This was the locally produced Schralf's Run Wild, apparently named after the producer's dog. It was a rather dry affair, but a nice find.

20 Aug 2019 21:03

Farmers Arms, Birtsmorton

Lovely old village pub tucked well away from civilisation. Low beams and plenty of seating can be found inside, whilst there are a number of tables at the front in the garden. Customers were friendly. Regular beers are Hook Norton Hooky & Old Hooky. Guests were Church End Brewer's Truth & Otter Amber. The real cider is Hogan's Hazy Rays. At a very respectable 3.7%, it's quite an easy drinking cider. Decent place that I am surprised has never been reviewed before.

20 Aug 2019 20:59

The Three Kings Inn, Hanley Castle

The Three Kings was my favourite pub in Worcestershire over the weekend. Yes, it has a dirty and worn feel to it and there is an strong smell of damp. But, it also feels very lived in and is as traditional a country pub as you will find anywhere. We entered through the left-hand entrance as you approach the pub. The small room was empty, with no sign of any life. We wandered through what felt like a store cupboard and eventually found the main room where we found the owner and a few other customers. Handpulls dispensing the ales and Old Rosie cider are hidden away amongst the clutter. But, ales are listed on a small blackboard. On our visit, they were Butcombe Original, Hobson's Twisted Spire, Church End Silver Jubilee, Parkway Session IPA & Bullen Tawny. I sampled the latter, which was certainly to my taste. A number of jars of pickled items were on sale near the doorway. A fabulous pub where conversation reigns. Just my sort of pub and a decent 9/10 from me. I'd love to have this as my local.

20 Aug 2019 20:54

White Lion Hotel, Upton on Severn

Fairly old-fashioned, but upmarket hotel on the High Street in Upton-upon-Severn. A few people were eating and there were a few others drinking at the bar. 3 fairly standard ales were on - Sharp's Doom Bar, Butcombe Original & Otter Ale. A welcoming enough place. But, a bit dark inside.

20 Aug 2019 20:46

Swan Inn, Birlingham

Food-dominated pub in a nice village setting. The speciality appeared to be fish. Most tables were taken and many were eating outdoors on our Saturday lunchtime visit. Just a couple of real ales were on. Although, they were not the standard fare. In this instance, it was Goff's Cheltenham Gold & Clavell & Hind Wicked Lady. There were also a number of craft beers, including one from Tiny Rebel.

20 Aug 2019 20:41

Walter de Cantelupe, Kempsey

First pub on a visit to Worcestershire was this pub south of Worcester. It had been open for breakfast and the barman was still serving a meal to the only other customers. So, it was a fairly lengthy wait for service. 3 real ales were on - Wye Valley Bitter, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Cotleigh Tawny Owl. Slightly disappointing.

20 Aug 2019 20:36

Savoy, Swindon

The Savoy was my final stop on my Monday evening visit to Swindon. It's a large Wetherspoon's, the town's oldest. It's an old cinema set on various levels with plenty of space. Being quite old, it does have a more worn feel than most branches. 15 handpulls serve a good range of ales. Yesterday, these were Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharp's Doom Bar, Adnams Broadside, Cairngorm Trade Winds, Original Whitstable Brewery Pearl Of Kent, Titanic Captain Smith's, Salopian Darwin's Origin, Jenning's Sneck Lifter, Exmoor Stag, Battledown Saison & White Horse Stable #4. By the time I was leaving, Purple Moose Dark Side of the Moose was also on. As part of the cider festival, they had Weston's Old Rosie, Purbeck Katy Perry & Dandy Dab, Thatcher's Stan's Big Apple, Sandford Orchards Merry Legs, Hunt's Barn Screecher, Malvern Cider Company Malvern Gold, Rich's Farmhouse Cider & Venton's Apple Vice. A decent end to the evening.

14 Aug 2019 21:28

The Duke of Wellington, Swindon

Passed this former pub on the way down the hill. The fabulous exterior can still be admired despite its current incarnation.

14 Aug 2019 21:22

Hop Inn, Swindon

The Hop Inn was easily the best pub I found in Swindon's Old Town. I'm not sure when it moved. But, it is now in slightly bigger premises at 8 Devizes Road. The furniture is quite eclectic and there was a mixed crowd, some of whom seemed quite inebriated for a Monday! The ale range was impressive and varied - Ramsbury Hop Inn Ale is the house beer. Others were Ramsbury Mango IPA, Settle Castleberg Pale Ale, Lincoln Green Gin & Beer It, Hop Kettle Old Town Best, New Bristol Grateful Red, Frome Brown Cow & Bristol Beer Factory Milk Stout. Ciders were both on the strong side - Friel's & Lilley's Gladiator. That may have explained the condition of some of the punters. I remained sensible (for once) and sampled the Brown Cow, which had plenty of flavour for a brown ale. One of Swindon's best pubs.

14 Aug 2019 21:20

The Plough, Swindon

Another Swindon pub that I was hoping to visit on Monday evening. This one did actually have a sign on the door apologising for their closure. Some works were apparently ongoing. I will return one day.

14 Aug 2019 21:15

The Wheatsheaf, Swindon

The Wheatsheaf is a cosy Wadworth's pub in Swindon's Old Town. It features a number of old wooden casks behind the bar. But, they do not hold any beer. The normal range of Wadworth ales was on - 6X, IPA, Horizon & Swordfish. They also had Severn Brewing Golden IPA as a guest and 3 real ciders from Weston's - Old Rosie, Rosie's Pig & Rosie's Pig Rhubarb. With no music, conversation was the only noise. But, with only a handful of customers, that did make it a little quiet. I quite liked it though.

14 Aug 2019 21:14

Steam Railway Co, Swindon

The Steam Railway is deceptively large. It has one large room on the right and a more cavernous room to the left. Both rooms have bars, with real ale being dispensed from the smaller bar. There is also a large outdoor patio to the side. Inside is dark, but nicely decorated. As the previous reviewer said, there are many screens for live sport. Apart from the bar staff, I was the only person in on a Monday evening. Doom Bar & 6X are the regular ales. The guest ale was The Rev James. Nice place. Pity about the ale choice and the lack of atmosphere. But, it was a Monday. I would give it a second chance.

14 Aug 2019 21:10

The Kings, Swindon

Upmarket hotel with a nice bar area serving Arkell's beer. 3 of their ales are generally on - 3B, Wiltshire Gold & Hoperation IPA. They no longer serve real cider. Apart from the pleasant drinking environment, it was disappointing.

14 Aug 2019 21:05

The Roaring Donkey, Swindon

The Roaring Donkey looked like an interesting small pub. But, unfortunately it now closes on a Monday. Sadly, no beer in the evening for me here.

14 Aug 2019 21:02

The Dockle Farmhouse, Swindon

After a swift visit to an Arkell's pub called the Fox & Hounds in Haydon Wick (not on BITE), my last stop in Wiltshire on Sunday turned out to be the Dockle Farmhouse. This Wetherspoon's on the eastern outskirts of Swindon was on its final day of a cider festival. 'Spoon's used to do these nationwide. But, it appears that they are now restricted to the West Country, as its presence was a complete surprise for me. Aside from my usual argument with the bar staff as to why I couldn't use my CAMRA vouchers for the real cider (apparently there is a difference between a festival cider and a real cider - who would have known?!), I enjoyed a couple of ciders that I hadn't previously had and made the decision to return the following day for more. The usual ales were on - Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharp's Doom Bar. The two guests were Cairngorm Trade Winds & Titanic Captain Smiths. Ciders were Abrahall's Neapolitan Cider, Farmer Jim's Grape Escape, Sandford Orchards Merry Legs, Weston's Old Rosie, Malvern Cider Company Malvern Gold, Purbeck Cider Company Dandy Dab, Mr Whitehead's Henry's Orchard Perry, Saxby's Original, Hunt's Barn Screecher & Dorest Nectar Old Harry Rocks. There's loads of seating and there were also plenty of staff available at the bar and out on the floor serving food. Quite a decent branch of Wetherspoon's. I returned on Monday evening to exactly the same ale and cider list.

14 Aug 2019 20:59

The Blundston Arms, Swindon

The Blunsdon Arms is a fairly typical Ember Inn establishment. Late on a Sunday lunchtime, there was a mixture of diners, drinkers and families. St Austell Tribute is the regular ale here. Guests were Dark Star American Pale Ale, Thwaite's Wainwright, Butcombe Original, Fuller's London Pride, Thornbridge Jaipur, Bath Gem & Laine's Mango-licious. Ciders were Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig. So, a better than average drinks range for an Ember Inn. As previous reviewers state though, the interior is characterless and the location is neither here nor there.

14 Aug 2019 20:48

Heart In Hand, Blunsdon

Friendly local pub tucked away off the main roads in a village north of Swindon. Football was on the TV, whilst the local pooch was the centre of attention. Butcombe Original is the regular ale. The guest was Sharp's Doom Bar.

14 Aug 2019 20:43

The Red Lion, Cricklade

Cricklade is a lovely large village with a characterful High Street. The Red Lion also has plenty of character and is situated at one end of the High Street. Whilst Hop Kettle are still based here, the pub is now strangely owned by St Austell. So, both breweries beers are represented. In fact, there seemed to be more St Austell beers than in most of their Cornish pubs. The selection was Hop Kettle Element, COB & North Wall, St Austell Hicks, Hi Ho Silver Lining & Tribute, Bath Lansdown & Gem & Dartmoor Legend & Jail Ale. They no longer stock real cider. Still a nice pub though.

14 Aug 2019 20:40

The White Hart Inn, Ashton Keynes

My first stop in Wiltshire on a Sunday lunchtime was this busy pub in a picturesque village famous for its 4 stone crosses. The pub was heaving with drinkers combining with families enjoying Sunday lunches. The only seat I could find was at the bar. The house beer is Stroud White Hart Bitter. Another regular is Ramsbury Gold. They also had Ramsbury Ekuanot & Timothy Taylor Knowle Spring. I was surprised to see a range of ciders - Cotswold Cider Company Yellow Hammer, Muscle Mary, Shape Shifter & She Devil, plus Falling Wood Fallen Tree. Complimentary snacks were on the bar and the atmosphere was friendly. An excellent start to my Wiltshire pub crawl.

14 Aug 2019 20:34

The Broken Drum, Blackfen

The Broken Drum couldn't have been a bigger contrast from the nearby George Staple. But, I liked it just as much, if not more. It's a fairly typical micropub on a parade of shops to the side of a busy road. The barman (owner?) was friendly and efficient. Just 3 real ales were on - Brockley IPA & Pale Ale & Old Dairy UBER. There were also a couple of ciders from Woolly Pig - Medium & Dry. I'd never had anything from them before. So I sampled both, with the Dry being my favourite. All tables were taken with mainly a middle age crowd. The average age increased marginally when a large group of ale drinkers arrived back from a day out in Broadstairs. The fact that they came here for a nightcap speaks volumes. Another decent micropub.

14 Aug 2019 20:22

The George Staples, Blackfen

After a mad dash across South East London to Selhurst Park, including a stop at the Craft Beer Cabin in South Norwood (not listed on BITE), I returned to the Sidcup area after the game to try a couple of pubs in Blackfen. The George Staples is a lively corner pub that was reasonably busy on a Saturday evening. The late football game had just finished and had clearly been on the screens. The ale range was better than I had expected. The regular ales are Sharp's Doom Bar & Fuller's London Pride. Other Fuller's beers were Hop Tropic & Sticky Wicket, whilst there was also Gun Extra Pale & Bexley May Place. Of more interest to me was the range of 14 Lilley's ciders in small boxes behind the bar - Pickled Parrot, Pineapple Cider, Chocolate Apple Cider, Strawberry Cider, Rum Cider, Tropical Cider, Red Rabbit, Cherries & Berries, Peach Cider, Mango Cider, Lemon & Ginger Cider, Rhubarb Cider, Apple & Blackberry Cider & Pear & Raspberry Cider. Pineapple for me and as with most of them, it was fairly sweet. They were well priced though. I believe they were £3.80 a pint, despite no discount for CAMRA members on the ciders. Primarily a young drinkers' pub, it had bouncers on the door. But, I liked it.

14 Aug 2019 20:17

The Metro Bar, Sidcup

With time to spare before my train, I had time for one last drink in Sidcup and I selected the Iron Horse as it's immediately opposite the station. The 2 real ales were both from the Bexley Brewery - Bexley's Own & Golden Acre. I quite enjoyed the former when I was recently in Bexleyheath. But, I thought it would be remiss of me not to try the latter. As expected, Bexley's Own is more to my taste. The pub itself has minimal seating and it's primarily set out for live music with a very stripped back interior. Not a bad option though.

14 Aug 2019 20:01

The Hackney Carriage, Sidcup

I'm normally a great fan of micropubs. But, I wasn't wowed by this one compared with others. This may well have been due to the time I visited - early Saturday afternoon. It was empty when I arrived and I left one other customer inside when I moved on. Cask ales were all on the pale side - Wantsum Vacay In Cali, Fell Tinderbox IPA, Thornbridge Twin Peaks, Whitstable Winkle Picker, Kent Galena, Bexley Bob & Two By Two Session IPA. I was more interested in the ciders. The selection initially looked greater than it actually was. But, bottled ciders were included and so were the pub's own concoctions, created by mixing multiple ciders. The remainder was Broadoak Moonshine, Sloe Gin & Strawberry Cider, Lilley's Gladiator, Mr Whitehead's Equinox, Bumblebee Regatta, Snail's Bank Fruit Bat & Raspberry Ripple, Chant Badger's Spit, Thistly Cross Whisky Cask & Dudda's Tun Bone Dry. I stopped for half of the only one I hadn't previously had (the Regatta), before leaving for the station which is nearby. I think I've set myself a high expectation for micropubs. This is still a very solid 7 or 8/10 and easily the best pub in Sidcup.

14 Aug 2019 19:57

The Charcoal Burner, New Eltham

This pub is now simply called the Charcoal. After a long walk in the rain from the Hill Top Tap after the bus went early, I was happy to see the door open. But, with the landlady still hoovering, they weren't yet open. Another Sidcup pub with incorrect opening times on various websites. This place does not open until midday. I set off for the Alma and returned after. I wish I hadn't bothered. There's 2 rooms. The larger one was sparsely furnished and had no atmosphere at all. The toilets were well decorated though. Sharp's Doom Bar is once again the regular ale. The guest was Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter. Disappointing to say the least.

14 Aug 2019 19:49

The Alma, Sidcup

Backstreet boozer close to Sidcup station. There are two small rooms, with a much larger function room at the rear. 4 real ales were on. The regular ale is Sharp's Doom Bar. 3 guests were Adnams Ghost Ship, Courage Best & Otter Funk 'n' Soul Otterfest. Most of the punters were sat around the bar. A handful were in and most seemed to know each other. Friendly enough place.

14 Aug 2019 19:45

The Portrait, Sidcup

This place is now called the Hill Top Tap. The CAMRA website had the pub listed as a 9am opening. Google has it as 10:30. Guess what, at 10:40, it was still closed. The proprietor did come out to ask why I was standing in his entrance sheltering from the rain and all credit to him, he said he would try to get the times changed. Good luck with that. I've yet to find a website with reliable pub opening times. There may be a gap in the market. Needless to say, when they opened at 11am, I was the only customer. Sharp's Doom Bar is the regular beer. The guest was Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter. But to my surprise, they also had 5real ciders - Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon, Thistly Cross Whisky Cask, Rich's Legbender & Lilley's Mango Cider & Apple & Blackberry cider. Frustratingly they are billed as craft ciders and given an appropriate price mark-up. It is however a friendly place, where there is an emphasis on providing TVs for sport. I would return if ever in Sidcup again.

14 Aug 2019 19:40

The Tailor's Chalk, Sidcup

I arrived here at 9:30 on a Saturday morning and it was already quite busy. Unlike Lezford, I was not particularly impressed with the ale range. Wetherspoon's standards Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharp's Doom Bar were all on. But, the two guest beers were uninspiring - Adnams Broadside & Shepherd Neame Spitfire. I settled for the real cider, which was Old Rosie to accompany my breakfast. There's plenty of nooks and crannies to try and find a bit of solitude. But, with plenty of kids, this was always going to be unlikely. In fairness, most were being well behaved. Just one screaming brat was disturbing the peace. Service was quick and efficient. All in all, one of the better pubs in Sidcup.

14 Aug 2019 19:33

The Malt Shovel, Coventry

This is a lovely village pub in a nice location. I was glad to step inside from a passing thunderstorm early yesterday evening. The bar has a lovely traditional feeling. There are only 5 tables and a few families had been dining. I didn't set foot in the lounge. 4 ales were on. The regular is Greene King Abbot. They also had Courage Directors, Purity Ubu & Church End Fallen Angel. Finally after trawling around 10 Warwickshire pubs without finding any sign of a local beer, I'd not only found one, but two beers actually brewed in the county. I opted for the Fallen Angel, which was a bit hoppy for my tastebuds. But, this is certainly a pub that I would recommend. No sign of any real cider these days though....

4 Aug 2019 11:12

Fox Inn, Nuneaton

The Fox is a Marston's pub and it felt a little more cosy and welcoming than the nearby Royal Oak. There are two rooms, with a small outdoor courtyard at the rear. Only 2 ales were available - Pedigree & 61 Deep. I'm afraid there's much to recommend in Attleborough for the pub/ale enthusiast.

4 Aug 2019 11:06

Royal Oak, Attleborough

Small pub in the village area of Attleborough. I found a seat in the small bar at the front, not venturing to the lounge at the rear. But, I think everybody was either in the bar or outside on the pavement. The real ale was Bass and it was a nice drop.

4 Aug 2019 11:04

The Attleborough Arms, Nuneaton

This pub doesn't seem to have improved much since Snarling Mallard's visit. Somehow, it made the 2018 Good Beer Guide. A large and busy open-plan pub with an equally large car park. Taxis were hanging around outside awaiting the end of Nuneaton's opening football match of the season. That may have also explained the poor ale range - Marston's Pedigree, Banks's Amber & Well's Bombardier. Moved on quickly to avoid any post-football rush. Disappointing.

4 Aug 2019 11:01

Bilberries, Nuneaton

This place is now called the Black Swan In Hand and is a spacious pub that seems to specialise in sports TV. It lies just off the end of Nuneaton's main shopping street. 2 of the ales were fairly mainstream - Well's Bombardier & Marston's Pedigree. But they also had Bitter & Citra from the Cheadle Brewhouse. TVs were showing a mixture of sports - cricket, F1 and Sky Sports News football scores. A lively place that was certainly popular on my Saturday afternoon visit.

4 Aug 2019 10:58

The Crown Inn, Nuneaton

Currently closed and available to let.

4 Aug 2019 10:54

The Hearty Goodfellow, Nuneaton

I returned to the western side of Nuneaton to try a couple of pubs that I couldn't get into on New Year's Eve 2017. My experience at the Hearty Goodfellow and the Horseshoes (not listed on BITE) couldn't have been much different. The Hearty Goodfellow may well be under temporary ownership. I remember walking in and seeing a couple of real ales in 2017. But, there are certainly none now. The keg choice consisted of Guinness, Banks's Mild, Coors Light, John Smith's, Shipyard Pale Ale, Stella Artois 4, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruits & Carling. I settled for a soft drink. Once again, they appeared to be preparing for a function. The music was far too loud, despite there being no customers. Poor place. I've requested for the Horseshoes to be added to BITE (I won't hold my breath). That was a decent Everard's pub not too far up the road and was my favourite pub of the day.

4 Aug 2019 10:52

Salutation Inn, Nuneaton

Tucked away down a side street, this is a really friendly community pub with an emphasis on sports. There were a couple of rooms (joined at the rear) with a central bar. The landlady was having problems getting cricket on one screen and Formula 1 on the other for the locals. 3 ales were available to choose from - Bass is the regular beer. Guests were Rat White Rat & Tiny Rebel Pango. I had the latter, which was certainly fruity. One of my favourite pubs of the day in Warwickshire.

4 Aug 2019 10:46

The Bulls Head, Polesworth

After a visit to the expensive Bird In Hand (not listed on BITE) in nearby Austrey, the Bull's Head was next on my tour of Warwickshire yesterday. It's a fairly basic two-room pub with a clinical interior and an Indian restaurant upstairs. Certainly a drinkers' pub, it had a bit of a rough feel to it. But, I was pleasantly surprised by the ale selection. All 3 were from Somerset - Pitchfork Birnbeck Bitter, Parkway Urban Myth & 3D Lunar Landing. In addition, there was Weston's Old Rosie on handpull. A decent option if in Polesworth.

4 Aug 2019 10:38

The White Lion Inn, Thakeham

Our final stop of the day in West Sussex was the White Lion. The car park at the rear is very tight and with the pub's popularity, you may not get a space. We ended up parking way down the lane. Although our consideration to not block others in was later to cost us, as others drove in afterwards, parked with a lack of consideration and got served before us. Ales on were Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter, St Austell Tribute & Langham Godiva & Arapaho. The real cider was Mole's Black Rat Dark Fruits. The interior is quite small, with the main room laid out for diners. However, there are a couple of tiny drinking areas. We enquired about food. But, the only tables they had were in the garden. We agreed to this, as it was a nice summer's evening. However, after over an hour waiting for 3 burgers, the sun had gone down and it was getting decidedly chilly. On going back to the car to get some jackets, I decided to get it back into the car park. Although getting back into the steep entrance of the car park from this direction proved to be a little more problematic and I ended up grounding the car! Bar/waiting staff were very apologetic about the wait, as it appeared that our order had gone into the kitchen after a large party of 8, who were most likely the ones who had arrived after us in the car park! They ended up refunding the price of one of the burgers, which was much appreciated. The food itself was good. Nice village pub overall, only let down by the parking problems!

21 Jul 2019 09:52

The Rising Sun, Nutbourne

We had to double back to the Rising Sun, as it is still one of the local pubs that closes in the afternoon. But, it was well worth the effort. Parking is on the lane next to the pub. The front of the pub is ivy-clad. Once inside, the wonder of the place emerges. With its bare boards in the main bar, the pub has maintained all of its traditional features, with no hint of modernisation. Passageways lead to smaller rooms, some for dining. There are some intriguing knick knacks, as you wander around. We eventually found the garden at the rear. It's another gorgeous area, with some parts undercover. A jeep can be seen in one corner. The owners were very friendly and keen to chat. The ale range was not the most inventive - Fuller's London Pride, Young's Bitter, Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter and I think the 4th was St Austell Tribute. But, my attention was drawn towards the Addlestones cider at the end of the bar. Despite my extensive travelling around pubs, I hadn't seen any Addlestones for a few years and assumed it was no longer made. But, apparently they keep it for a local female regular who drinks the stuff. Easily my favourite pub of the day. Not quite a 10/10. But, a firm 9/10 from me. A lovely discovery.

21 Jul 2019 09:42

The Queens Head, West Chiltington

You exit from a thick wooded area into the picturesque village area of West Chiltington. The pub has a number of inside areas that felt a little too modern. There are also some outdoor areas - a children's play garden next to the car park and a walled courtyard, where we sat. Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter is the regular ale. The guest beer was Sharp's Doom Bar. But, they did also have Weston's Old Rosie cider. The young barman was good enough to point out that it was 7%. Although, I did correct this statement to 7.3%, having consumed a fair amount previously! But, the bar staff were certainly friendly and chatty.

21 Jul 2019 09:32

The White Horse, Pulborough

Roadside Fuller's pub that has 3 or 4 rooms inside and a beautiful and peaceful garden at the rear. Ales were Fuller's London Pride, Gale's HSB & Seafarers & St Austell Proper Job. Nice setting.

21 Jul 2019 09:28

The White Hart, Pulborough

The White Hart has a gorgeous location next to an old 14th century bridge over the River Arun. The only spoiler is that the modern bridge belonging to the A283 creates a little noise. The pub itself seemed quite small and cosy. But, there is a large garden, seemingly popular with kids and another small drinking area at the end of the bridge. We had a nice time watching a family of geese and some canoeists. But, it can certainly get busy. 3 ales were on - Sharp's Doom Bar & Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter are the regulars. The guest ale was Langham Godiva. In reference to the previous review, I think that loud music is a thing of the past. Despite the number of people, it was quite tranquil on our Saturday afternoon visit. Nice place.

21 Jul 2019 09:23

The Bridge Inn, Amberley

The Bridge Inn has a lovely location next to the river. Although, that does make it popular on a nice, sunny day such as yesterday. We found car parking space easy enough. But the exit back onto the main road is quite perilous. There is a small outdoor area at the front, where there were a mixture of diners and drinkers. The ale range was a little disappointing - Harvey's Sussex Bitter, Long Man Long Blonde & St Austell Tribute. There was no real cider. Nice location. But, nothing more to recommend it for, in reality.

21 Jul 2019 09:16

The Wilkes Head, Eastergate

Another lovely West Sussex pub at the end of lane. There are 3 small rooms, with a large outdoor area, some of it undercover. The bar serves 2 of the rooms. Adnams Bitter is the regular ale and it was accompanied by Hanlon's Stormstay on that side of the bar. On the other side was Downlands Thirteen Pale Ale, Leeds Samba, Long Man Long Blonde & Oakham Scarlet Macaw. The cider was Cheddar Valley. It was quiet on our visit. But, locals were friendly.

21 Jul 2019 09:01

The Gribble Inn, Oving

Lovely thatched pub in a nice rural location, that is home to the Gribble Brewery. There is also a nice garden at the front. Inside is quite cosy and all of the ales are produced by themselves - Reg's Tipple, Woodpecker's Hole, Plucking Pheasant, Pig's Ear & Gribble Ale. Two more were being pulled through. There were also a couple of ciders - Lilley's Rhubarb Cider & Sandford Orchards Berry Lane. I'd not had the latter before. So, I had that instead of trying the local brews. Lovely pub. Although it did feel a little cliquey.

21 Jul 2019 08:55

The Alex, Bognor Regis

Our second stop in Bognor was the Alex, a small local pub in a fairly prominent location. Just the one real ale was available, which was Bath Ales Gem. There are just 2-3 rooms and there were already a handful of locals in on our Saturday morning visit. It is quite light and airy.

21 Jul 2019 08:49

Hatters Inn, Bognor Regis

Yesterday's fun started in Bognor Regis, a seaside resort I've not been to before. The Hatters Inn was a good place to start for a breakfast and a pint. Ales were Sharp's Doom Bar, Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Dorking Ryesing Sun & Lunar White, Welton's Congress, Flack Manor Romsey Gold, Irving Spinnaker & Jennings Sneck Lifter. The cider was Thistly Cross Whisky Cask. Service was a bit haphazard. I'm sure I was charged incorrectly and my breakfast came without 2 items, whilst another breakfast was not what we'd ordered. Nevertheless, there doesn't appear to be too much real ale in this town. So, the Wetherspoon's is an oasis for locals and visitors alike.

21 Jul 2019 08:46

The Ram Inn, Firle

The Ram was my favourite pub of the day in East Sussex. It is situated in a picturesque village that was hosting its annual village fair. In spite of this, there is extensive car parking. There are signs requesting drivers not to park in the village itself. The pub is a warren of different passageways and rooms. It serves drinkers, diners and those seeking accommodation too. Once I'd finally found the bar, there were 3 beers on offer. Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter is generally available. Guests were Long Man Sleeping Giant & Belhaven IPA. But, I was more impressed with a perry called Per from Ascension, which I had not before. I loved the character and the location of this place. Moved on from here to my last stop of the day - the Lewes Constitutional Club (not on BITE).

14 Jul 2019 11:07

The Roebuck Inn, Laughton

And I forgot to mention the gents' urinals! Very unusual and worth a look.

14 Jul 2019 11:00

The Roebuck Inn, Laughton

Lovely country pub which appears popular with a wide range of people, especially diners. The rear garden was packed with families and chickens wander round between the tables. I also noticed a pig, as I was heading back to the car park. Staff and customers take their ales seriously. All 4 ales were from Sussex. The 2 regular beers were Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter & Burning Sky Plateau. The 2 guest beers were Gun IPA & 360° West Coast Pale. They also had a not so local cider - Gwynt y Ddraig Happy Daze.

14 Jul 2019 10:59

George Hotel, Hailsham

Haven't previously visited the Grenadier and the KIng's Head in Hailsham, I would say that the George Hotel is probably the best the town has to offer. It's an above-average Wetherspoon's that has a nice, light feel. If there's any criticism, the ale range is more limited than most. As the previous review states, the regular ales are Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharp's Doom Bar. Yesterday's guests were Old Dairy Summer Top & Kent Breakfast Oatmeal Stout. Of more interest to me was the excellent cider range. It was my 7th pub of the day and the first one with any real cider. In fact, it has been voted the local cider pub of the year by the local CAMRA branch for the third consecutive year. Yesterday's selection was Purbeck Cider Company Devil's Leaf & Katy Perry, Cock Eyed Pear Mania & Monkey Mango, Thistly Cross Whisky Cask, Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon, Weston's Old Rosie, Snail's Bank Rhubarb & Broadoak Moonshine. Two guys were in the cubicles of the gents (at least I assume they were male). One was clearly struggling with no toilet paper! I did my good deed for the day and alerted the bar staff! Decent and a clearly popular place.

14 Jul 2019 10:52

Brewers Arms, Herstmonceux

Almost 6 years on and I was back in Herstmonceux to finally visit the Brewers Arms. It has a nicely-decorated interior. Locals were crowded around the bar, on which were what appeared to be complimentary cherries - a nice and unusual touch. There were only a couple of other drinkers away from the bar inside. But, there is also a garden area adjacent to the car park at the rear. There were only a couple of ales - Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter & Pig & Porter Light As A Leaf. Fairly ordinary pub in a nice village.

14 Jul 2019 10:40

The Bull Inn, Battle

It's been many years since I was last drinking in Battle. But I paid a return visit yesterday to visit the Bull Inn and also the Squirrel (just to the west of town and not listed on BITE). The Bull is on the High Street and has the feel of a café bar, which belies its history as a pub. There are two rooms. The one at the front was crowded with locals. The rear room had the Wimbledon Women's Tennis Final on and seemed to be more for diners. There also appeared to be a courtyard area at the side. The house beer is Top Bull from Old Dairy. They also regularly have the eponymous Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter. The guest beer was Fuller's London Pride. The entertainment was being provided by the landlady (or possibly barmaid), who was getting extremely excited about the prospect of Simona Halep winning the tennis!

14 Jul 2019 10:33

The Royal Oak, Whatlington

Lovely looking country pub which was very quiet on my early Saturday afternoon visit. It has a nice cosy feel and it seems to be more of a dining place than a drinkers' pub. The two real ales were Shepherd Neame Whitstable Bay Pale Ale & Long Man Best Bitter. There seemed to be plenty of staff.

14 Jul 2019 10:23

The Old Court House, Westfield

As per the previous review, this pub has re-opened as the New Inn. It was my second stop of a tour of East Sussex following the Three Legs Brewery Tap in Brede (not listed on BITE). It seems to be more of a restaurant than a pub, with most of the inside dedicated to diners and many of those outside on the rear patio also dining. There is a small bar area and there were also some drinkers outside. It was quite light and airy indoors. The house beer is New Inn House Brew from Long Man. There are also 3 guest beers, which were Battle NE IPA, Pig & Porter Pale & Greene King Yardbird.

14 Jul 2019 10:16

The Queen Adelaide, Kingsthorpe

The Queen Adelaide is well away from the centre of Northampton in the northern suburbs. It is a village-like location and was our favourite pub in the town out of 4 we visited on this Sunday lunchtime crawl. The ales were all national, with none from Northants - Adnams Bitter & Broadside, Greene King IPA, Fuller's London Pride & Oliver's Island , Sharp's Sea Fury, Castle Rock Harvest Pale & Cameron's Strongarm. I plumped for the Strongarm, which is rarely seen this far south. There are a couple of rooms. We sat in a traditional one, that had the feel of a village country pub.

8 Jul 2019 20:02

The White Elephant, Northampton

We weren't planning to visit this Greene King pub. But, after the disappointment of the Romany, we decided to give it a go. With a funfair ongoing on the former Northampton racecourse opposite, parking was a bit of a nightmare. The effort wasn't really worth it. Abbot & London Glory was the uninspiring choice. I went for the former and forgot to ask for the CAMRA discount, which they apparently do. Quite a large pub inside, with plenty of TVs for sport.

8 Jul 2019 19:57

The Romany, Northampton

Our second stop yesterday lunchtime after the Kingsley Park Working Men's Club (not listed on here) was the Romany. It looks a bit dodgy from the outside. It's car park is shared with a car wash company. Inside, was much more pleasant, with 2 large rooms. We walked into one half to find it being set up for a party. It didn't look like we would be welcomed in there. So, we moved onto the second room. It was nicely decorated and had a pool table (or possibly two - I can't remember). The only ale advertised was 61 Deep. But, I could only see this available on keg. Very disappointing.

8 Jul 2019 19:53

The Charles Bradlaugh, Northampton

After a swift stop at the Hopping Hare, in the Dallington area of the town, we moved back to the centre for a party at the Charles Bradlaugh. There is a large downstairs area and an equally large outdoor courtyard, some of which is covered. We were in the first floor function room. Two ales were on and both were available on either floor. Greene King IPA & Gun Dog American Red were both on. A disappointing ale selection. But, we had a good evening, nonetheless.

8 Jul 2019 19:46

Mailcoach, Northampton

Busy town centre pub with plenty of seating. But, only Tribute was on. I wouldn't bother with this place. The excellent St Giles Ale House is nearby and we'd just come from the Albion Brewery Bar, which was also good. Unfortunately, neither are listed on BITE.

8 Jul 2019 19:34

The Pomfret Arms, Northampton

The Pomfret Arms is to the south of the town centre, in an area with a number of different local hostelries. This was my favourite pub of the day. It is the brewery tap for Cotton End and I was hoping to sample their Coffee Porter. The ale range was a little disappointing, with just Cotton End Conker Classic & Great Oakley Wot's Occurring on. Although, whilst we were there, Great Oakley Abbey Stout & Tiffield Thunderbolt were poured through, along with Cotton End Goldings Pale. Of more interest for me was the ciders. There were 5 in all, 3 of which I'd never had before. Lilley's Mango Cider & Cherries & Berries, were on along with Dragonfly Oak-Aged Blackcurrant & Salted Caramel Cider & Harefield's Sliding Bevel. All were tasty. Whilst the pub was quiet on arrival, the landlord was a nice chap and several others wandered in. There was to be a party later on. I can imagine this place can get fairly packed. With the Malt Shovel nearby, I reckon I'll be back here again some day.

8 Jul 2019 19:30

The Road To Morocco, Northampton

Despite the pub's exotic-sounding name, this pub is a fairly ordinary boozer on a housing estate to the east of Northampton. It was mostly national beers again. Greene King Abbot & Theakston Old Peculier are regulars. Guests were Adnams Broadside, Well's Bombardier Burning Gold & Brains The Rev James. It was a surprisingly good selection, given the pub's location. So, it must have a decent local following. Not really worth the journey out of the centre though.

8 Jul 2019 19:22

The Bold Dragoon, Weston Favell

Not a bad pub now located in the east of Northampton, in a former village setting. There are two rooms. We sat in a small area adjacent to the dining area, which is in a conservatory. Ales are mostly national ones - Fuller's London Pride & ESB & Greene King IPA & Abbot are the regular beers. Guests were St Austell Tribute & Proper Job & Adnams Ghost Ship. I was about to order the Ghost Ship, until we spotted a box of Weston's Old Rosie.

8 Jul 2019 19:18

The Victoria Inn, Rugby

My last stop of 15 in Rugby yesterday was the Victoria Inn. It is a little out of the town centre. But, with it being only 10-11 minutes walk to the station, with a chip shop on the way, it made for a handy last beer. I'm normally quite appreciative of an old boozer. But, I'd maybe had one too many to be too appreciative of the Victoria. In fact, I left feeling a little underwhelmed, probably due to my choice of beer. Being an Atomic pub, I decided to try their Bomb. But, it seemed to be on the turn. Also from Atomic was Strike, with other ales being Hook Norton Hooky, Abbeydale Belfry, Titanic Plum Porter & Castle Rock Harvest Pale. There was no sign of a real cider or perry. But, it's possible that there was one in another room. By no means the worst pub I tried in Rugby. But, it felt distinctly average.

30 Jun 2019 18:27

Raglan Arms, Rugby

Black Country Ales have recently re-opened this pub and it was reasonably quiet on our visit. Well, at least it was until we arrived! It's fairly typical of their other pubs and judging by the previous review, it's probably received a bit of a lick of paint and a freshen up. The ale range was fairly typical of the chain - Black Country BFG, Fireside & Pig On The Wall, Baa Two Bridges, Beowulf Chase Pale, Twisted Oak Sheriff Farman, Kelham Island Kelham Best, Hophurst Debonair Stout, Milestone Lion's Pride & Coastal Cornish Cascade. The ciders were Thistly Cross Whisky Cask & Broadoak Sloe Gin. A decent pub and we moved on from here to another Rugby micropub - the Crafty Banker (not listed on BITE).

30 Jun 2019 18:20

The Half Moon, Rugby

Traditional local boozer with a friendly barmaid and friendly customers. My memory of this place is not the best, as it was our 12th stop. But, the 2 real ales were Morland Old Golden Hen & Black Sheep Best Bitter.

30 Jun 2019 18:12

The Litten Tree, Rugby

Since the last review just over 8 years ago, even the Wetherspoon's is now more. The new owners have kept the name The Lawrence Sheriff, but as with many former 'spoon's, it's a vast barn-like place with many handpulls that are no longer in use. There were however 4 ales - Greene King Abbo, Thwaite's Lancaster Bomber, Ringwood Circadian & McMullen's IPA. They also had Old Rosie cider. I'd be surprised to see this place stay open for too much longer, as it was very quiet. But, maybe it gets busy later in the night. We moved on from here to the much better Rugby Tap Room, a fairly new micropub that was quite a contrast to the Lawrence Sheriff.

30 Jun 2019 18:06

The Three Horse Shoes Hotel, Rugby

This is now simply called the Rugby Hotel. With our Rugby pub crawl starting to get more out of hand, we walked into what was an empty hotel bar. 2 of our party walked straight back out. But, I was one of those persevering with a Tetley's Cask, the solitary real ale. Others chose from the keg lager selection or the spirits! Disappointing.

30 Jun 2019 18:00

The Bull, Rugby

The Bull is a typical town centre pub, in the main shopping area. As soon as we entered, I overheard a couple at the bar suggesting that we might be entering to look for a fight. I offered them a fight if they wanted and they quietly moved out of the door! There were just 3 real ales here - Landlord, Abbot & Old Speckled Hen. But, I was happy to see 5 ciders from Lilley's - Pickled Parrot, Apples & Pears, Rhubarb, Cherries & Berries & Mango. A light and airy place. But, we didn't end up fighting!

30 Jun 2019 17:57

The Merchants Inn, Rugby

The Merchants was my favourite pub in Rugby. There were 9 real ales and 9 real ciders. The selection was Nethergate Venture & Masterpiece, Oakham Bishop's Farewell, Purity Mad Goose, Navigation NZ IPA, Lincoln Green Tuck, Severn Meadow Honey, Portobello Market Porter, 4T's Chocolate & Fudge Stout Detective, Broadoak Pheasant Plucker, Millwhite's Hedgelayer, Dry Scrumpy, Original Scrumpy, Medium Scrumpy, Rioja Cask & Rum Cask, Thatcher's Cheddar Valley & Cockeyed Copper Beach. The interior has a number of different sections, with TVs. It is clearly a rugby (the sport) pub. We exited to the outdoor area. But, be careful, as you'll have to cross a side road immediately on exiting. A great drinks selection and a nice environment in which to enjoy them. So, we stayed for a few.

30 Jun 2019 17:53

The Squirrel Inn, Rugby

This is a very small pub inside, with a cosy feel. But, there was a good selection of 4 ales and 5 ciders. Ales were Firebird Heritage XX, Ringwood Razor Back, Gun Dock American Red & Parkway Ruffled Feathers. All of the ciders were from Weston's - Old Rosie, Rosie's Pig, Rosie's Pig Strawberry, Rosie's Pig Rhubarb & Raspberry Roller. Dog friendly place - watch your step. But, a pub of much character.

30 Jun 2019 17:43

Seven Stars, Rugby

Next stop for us was the Seven Stars, a very short walk down a path through a residential area from the Alexandra Arms. The Seven Stars was my favourite pub so far in Rugby. It's an Everard's pub. But, only Tiger & Original were on from the brewery. There was also Oakham JHB, Potbelly Beijing Black, Bowland Buster IPA, Brunswick Sweet Marie & Rocket, Castle Rock Black Gold & Fuzzy Duck Pheasant Plucker. Ciders were Bottle Kicking Cider Company Pineapple, Peach & Passion Fruit & Orchard Pig The Hogfather. There are a couple of rooms and a nice outdoor drinking area at the rear.

30 Jun 2019 17:34

The Alexandra Arms, Rugby

The Alexandra Arms is home of the Atomic Brewery, which is based in an outbuilding in the pub garden. Being a nice sunny day yesterday, we retreated to the garden. Ales were Atomic Strike, Hook Norton Old Hooky, Abbeydale Rita & Oakham Citra. There was also Broadoak Moonshine cider. Inside there are two rooms. The better of the two Atomic pubs I tried yesterday.

30 Jun 2019 17:24

The Rupert Brooke, Rugby

Our second stop in Rugby was this branch of Wetherspoon's. There was the usual Greene King selection - Abbot, Morland Old Speckled Hen & Ruddles Best, along with Sharp's Doom Bar, Robinson's Trooper, Phoenix Wobbly Bob & Sarah Hughes' Dark Ruby Mild. The cider was Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. Exposed pipework give the place a modern feel. Not too bad. We moved on from here to the Town & County Club (not listed on BITE).

30 Jun 2019 16:54

London Calling, Rugby

Our first stop in Rugby yesterday was this busy café bar. There are a few tables on the street at the front, which we took advantage of. 3 real ales are served. Yesterday, these were Sharp's Doom Bar & Church End Goat's Milk & A Right Royal Occasion. There was a group of 10 of us, 5 of whom were in my round. Somehow I later realised that the barmaid had charged me for 6 ales, in addition to charging each of the other 5. But, at a cost of £10.20 for 5 ales, it still wasn't unreasonable. Plenty of other people were enjoying breakfast.

30 Jun 2019 16:46

Live and Let Live, Bromyard

We were back here yesterday for Sunday lunch, which was very nice. The Live & Let Live is still a lovely pub in a nice location. Wye Valley Butty Bach & Otter Bitter were still on. But, the third ale was Ledbury Gold. In the absence of any real cider (I certainly couldn't see any), I opted for the Gold. Sunday lunch was tasty. The portion size was good and the value was not too bad. Tables are spread over 2 levels and you can also dine in the pretty garden.

24 Jun 2019 20:21

The Talbot, Knightwick

As luck would have it, we visited the Talbot during one of its beer festivals yesterday. The pub itself is on a prominent corner at the bottom of a steep hill and just across the road from the River Teme. The main bar area looked very traditional and had a few locals in. All 3 of the main Teme Valley ales were on - This, That & T'Other. But, we ventured across the road to the beer tent. A fourth Teme Valley beer was on - Shepherd's Delight. Other unusual ales on were Artisan Ales BB/01 & BB/02, Beckstones Beer O'clock, Clun Green Man IPA, Corvedale Ale of Odin, Drfitwood Spars Blue Hills & Stocks Special, Foxfield Nick Of Time, Hobson's Black IPA, Lakehouse Amber Session, Ludlow Weissbier, Pershore Helles Lager & Salisbury & Jones Ernest. There were also a couple of ciders, which I had to sample - Barbourne Major Jane and the much more local Ankerdine Cider Shed Village Idiot. Both were quite dry. The Talbot is certainly an excellent place. It's a real pity I couldn't stay longer. My favourite pub of the weekend.

24 Jun 2019 20:17

Admiral Rodney Inn, Martley

We were passing this pub on Sunday lunchtime and encouraged by the review by Paul that it had re-opened, we ventured in. The pub is a large building with an equally large car park. There seems to be an emphasis on dining. But, there were very few people in. Although we had arrived shortly after opening at midday. Ales were Wye Valley HPA & Butty Bach, Ludlow Blonde & The Hop Shed Pekin. I tried the latter, which was in reasonable condition.

24 Jun 2019 20:11

The Old Swan, Netherton

After visits to two other local pubs (Turner's and the Bull's Head) on Saturday evening (neither are listed on here and neither are worth the effort of adding), I made a return visit to the Old Swan. There was a car accident here just over a year ago, which has changed the feel of the interior a little. Unless, I missed it somehow, I don't think the swan is still on the ceiling. Ales on were all from Pardoe's - Original, Dark Swan, Entire, Bumblehole & Netherton Pale Ale. Easily the best pub in the area. But, it feels like it has gone slightly downhill. It was also much quieter than the nearby Bull's Head.

24 Jun 2019 20:06

The Star Inn, Penkridge

My final stop of the day was the Star Inn, the only Penkridge pub in the current Good Beer Guide. But, of the 3 I tried, I have to say that this was easily the worst. The outdoor drinking area was packed with people enjoying the Saturday afternoon sunshine. Inside was busy too and there was an orderly queue for the bar, which I joined, only to find a local walking to the side of me and getting served straight away. It's always disappointing when bar staff (I'm fairly sure it was the landlord) serve people out of order. If unsure, just ask! The ale range was all from Marston's - Thwaite's Wainwright & Lancaster Bomber, Banks's Amber Ale, Jenning's Cocker Hoop & Brakspear Jericho Pale Ale. Poor service and below average ale selection makes this a pretty ordinary pub.

24 Jun 2019 19:56

Horse and Jockey, Penkridge

I wasn't sure that this pub was still open as I approached it. There was a large sign stating that it was available to run. But, open it was and I was suitably impressed. It's a no-frills backstreet boozer that is dark inside and feels a bit rough around the edges. But, the welcome is really warm and there was a small and decent ale selection - Wye Valley Butty Bach, Enville Ale & Sarah Hughes Sedgley Surprise. But, more importantly for me, there was also a real cider - Weston's Old Rosie. The Horse & Jockey shaded it as my favourite pub of the day in South Staffordshire.

24 Jun 2019 19:51

Littleton Arms, Penkridge

The Littleton Arms easily exceeded my expectations. Yes, it's an upmarket hotel, restaurant and bar. But, the ale range was varied. On cask were Ossett Yorkshire Blonde, Beowulf Dark Raven, Thwaite's Wainwright, Salopian Lemon Dream, Enville Ale & Jenning's Cumberland Ale. There are also craft beers and an interesting selection of craft beers in cans, that are well-priced. There were a fair few people in the bar area and many more drinking in the outdoor area. A good start to a trio of Penkridge pubs.

24 Jun 2019 19:45

Railway Inn, Penkridge

Closed and now a dental surgery.

24 Jun 2019 19:39

The Bull, Codsall

L-shaped corner pub in a prominent location. It's owned by Marston's and all of the ales were from their group - Banks's Amber Ale, Mild & Sunbeam, Thwaite's Wainwright & Wainwright Altitude (a chilled cask ale that I'd no seen before) & Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold. Felt more like a proper boozer than other places in town. But, the ale range disappoints.

24 Jun 2019 19:37

The Crown, Codsall

The Crown was the best of four places I visited in this small town. It has recently been refurbished and is under the ownership of Joule's. The ale range here was the best I saw in Staffordshire on this visit. The 4 Joule's ales were Pale Ale, Blonde, Slumbering Monk & Royal Ale. Guests were Brunswick The Usual, Purple Moose Glaslyn Ale, Magpie Jay IPA & Elgood's Black Dog. A 9th handpull was occupied by Lilley's Mango Cider. The surroundings are nice. But, it was surprisingly quiet compared with the other places I visited in the town.

24 Jun 2019 19:31

The Firs, Wolverhampton

The Firs is a private members' club that has quite a plush decoration. There is a large function room that is also very comfortably furnished and a lovely small garden. Locals were all congregated around the bar, which had 3 ales - Hobson's Town Crier, Wye Valley HPA & Backyard Blonde. Apparently, they brew their own beer. But, this was not evident on my visit.

24 Jun 2019 19:26

The Codsall Station, Codsall

My first stop in Codsall was the Codsall Station, another Holden's pub. Their Black Country Bitter, Special & Golden Glow are dispensed along with 3 guests. On Saturday, these were Wood's Born & Bred, Hopback Mayfly & Abbeydale Deception. Indoors, there are a couple of rooms in the old station waiting rooms, with plenty of railway memorabilia. At the rear is a fairly large patio area. Both overlook the railway line itself. This was make a good start or end to a short crawl through Codsall.

24 Jun 2019 19:20

The Hollybush, Trysull

The Hollybush is now more of an Indian restaurant than a pub. There is a large dining area and a smaller bar area. I was the only customer on a Saturday lunchtime. So, I'm not sure how they stay in business. Enville Ale & Holden's Golden Glow were both on handpull. Whilst the menu looked tempting, I wasn't about to stay for a meal. The bar area had a quite dilapidated appearance and the garden with children's play equipment didn't look much better. Not particularly recommended for a beer.

24 Jun 2019 19:12

The Bell Inn, Trysull

This Holden's pub in the pretty village of Trysull was my second stop of the day in Staffordshire, following the Red Lion at Bobbington (not listed on BITE). There are number of different rooms inside. It has two traditional rooms to the left as you enter from the car park, along with a more modern drinking area as you enter. Pass through there and you will find a large dining area. Holden's Black Country Bitter & Golden Glow were on. They also possibly had their Black Country Special. The pumpclip was turned in one bar, but showing as available in the other. There was also Batham's Best Bitter & Hopback Summer Lightning. The pub is right next to the village church, where a village fete was taking place. Certainly a nice setting.

24 Jun 2019 18:59

The Herbert Wells, Woking

The Herbert Wells was my last stop of the day in Surrey and without a doubt, I'd saved the best for last. In fact, it's unusual for me to say that a Wetherspoon's was my favourite pub of the day. This large and busy branch wedged between the town centre and the railway station had a nice atmosphere and more importantly an excellent range of ales and ciders. Real ales occupy 3 banks of handpulls. Regular ales are Courage Best, Sharp's Doom Bar, Greene King Abbot & Hogsback TEA. Guests were Arundel Pickled Mouse, Andwell Gold Muddler, Stonehenge Great Bustard, Elgood's Mamma Meerkat, Naylor's Velver, Hanlon's Stormstay & Bragdy Conwy San Francisco. Boxed ciders occupy one entire fridge. Today's selection was Cock Eyed Monkey Mango & Pear Mania, Weston's Old Rosie, Broadoak Moonshine, Mr Whitehead's Equinox & Garden Cider Company Vintage Cider. My pint of Monkey Mango went down very nicely and having toilets on the same floor was another unexpected bonus. The best pub I visited in Woking and probably the best in the town.

8 Jun 2019 20:51

The Sovereigns, Woking

The Sovereigns is situated on the edge of Woking town centre opposite a hospital. The tiled exterior is an indication of the age of this pub, which is now run by Ember Inns. This was my second Ember Inn of the day and I have to say that this one has much more character than most. It was also unusual in that a majority of its patrons were drinkers, as opposed to diners. In fact, the clientele were very similar to that of a Wetherspoon's. Although, it was fairly quiet. The interior had a bit of a downtrodden feel to it. But, I didn't mind that. The ale range wasn't too bad - Hogsback TEA & Surrey Nirvana, St Austell Tribute & Proper Job & Fyne Ales Jarl. A decent place to stop before I made my way to the very busy Woking Railway Athletic Club (not listed on here), just the other side of the rail tracks.

8 Jun 2019 20:42

The New Inn, Send

After visiting quite a few pretentious Surrey pubs prior to the New Inn, walking in here felt like re-entering normality. Staff and customers were much more down-to-earth and prices were much more reasonable. 5 ales were on. A friend of mine was here a few weeks back and it was the same selection - Marston's The New Inn @ Send Pale Ale, Sharp's Doom Bar, Fuller's London Pride, Adnams Ghost Ship & Hogsback TEA. Nice location and one of the better pubs of my trip to Surrey.

8 Jun 2019 20:35

Old Plough, Stoke D'Abernon

The Old Plough was packed on my visit this Saturday afternoon. Many were eating in the dining area at the rear. But, there were a fair number of drinkers in the bar at the front. Shere Drop, London Pride & Hophead were the 3 real ales. Prices were steep. I get the feeling that it is regularly this busy, as there were certainly plenty of staff to keep everybody served. Nice and cosy place.

8 Jun 2019 20:30

The Victoria, Oxshott

The Victoria was the better of Oxshott's two pubs. Although, it now refers to itself as a "bar and brasserie", very much designed to target a specific sub-section of society. It was quieter than the Bear just down the road. But, the ale range was marginally better - Sharp's Doom Bar & Atlantic, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Andwell King John. Not cheap. But, I think it was par for the course for this area.

8 Jun 2019 20:26

The Bear, Oxshott

Young's pub that is clearly aiming for an upmarket clientele. It's a large place with both drinking areas and dining areas, albeit more reserved for the latter. There's also an outdoor patio at the front, which quite a few were using despite the heavy showers this afternoon. Young's Bitter & Special were on along with a guest, which was Hogsback HBB. I was hoping that they would have a real cider. But, I was disappointed. Drinks are very expensive. Not my kind of pub.

8 Jun 2019 20:22

The Woodman, Ashtead

This is an Ember Inns establishment that was busy due to an event on the nearby common. As usual, it follows the identikit design of the chain's pubs. Ember Pale Ale was accompanied by London Pride, Tribute & Ghost Ship. There were plenty of families and quite a few diners. A little disappointing.

8 Jun 2019 20:17

The Running Horse, Leatherhead

The Running Horse is a Shepherd Neame pub next to the bridge over the River Mole. It has a lovely, cosy interior with a public bar and a lounge/dining area. Master Brew & Spitfire are the regular Shepherd Neame ales. A seasonal special was Bella Birra, seemingly a collaboration with an Italian brewery. As previously mentioned, Surrey Hills Ranmore is also a regular. I was the first in. But, shortly after, a group of Americans and another couple came in. Not too bad. But, I'm not a fan of Shepherd Neame.

8 Jun 2019 20:12

The Edmund Tylney, Leatherhead

I started a tour of Surrey in Leatherhead, a place I'd not been to previously. The Wetherspoon's appears to be the best of a fairly poor bunch. For real ale in the town, there's a Young's pub, a Greene King pub and a Shepherd Neame pub. So, the Edmund Tylney does at least offer a varying range, albeit nothing spectacular. Greene King IPA & Abbot & Sharp's Doom Bar are the regular ales. Guests were Twickenham Smiler's Ale, Dark Star Hophead, Fuller's London Pride & Marston's Old Empire. This place also appears to be the only place in town where you can order a real cider. The choice is Old Rosie or Black Dragon. I arrived late in the morning to grab a breakfast. Quite a few other people were doing the same and the pub was busy. Nevertheless, service was quick. Tables are laid out across a couple of levels and there is a balcony overlooking the middle of the pub.

8 Jun 2019 20:08

The Black Horse, Thorndon

The Black Horse was our final stop of the night in Suffolk. It was late in the evening and with all diners and kitchen/waiting staff having departed, there was just the landlord, one other customer at the bar and myself. 4 ales were on - Shortt's Strummer, Adnams Bitter & Ghost Ship & Greene King IPA. Shortt's is the local brewery. So, I had to try the Strummer, which was a good way to finish off the evening. Nice country pub, with a friendly landlord.

2 Jun 2019 18:10

The White Horse Inn, Stoke Ash

Roadside inn that seems more of a restaurant than a pub. I arrived late on a Saturday evening and with all dining complete, the pub was emptying out. Just a few stragglers having one for the road were present. The ale selection is Adnams Bitter, Greene King Abbot, Morland Old Speckled Hen & Woodforde's Wherry. My Adnams was ok. But, this didn't feel much like a pub.

2 Jun 2019 18:06

The Kings Arms, Stowmarket

The Kings Arms was our second favourite pub in Stowmarket after the Royal William. It's situated next to the station. But, with no trains running this weekend, the replacement buses weren't exactly flooding the pub with visitors. Inside, there is one large room with the bar and a couple of smaller rooms. Outside, there is a drinking area overlooking the car park and there is also a burger joint in a cabin. Menus for the burgers are on the tables. Ales were Woodforde's Wherry, Adnams Ghost Ship & St Peter's Off Ya Rocker & Cream Stout. Other than the Royal William, this was the only other pub on our Suffolk trip, where we found real cider. Old Rosie was available. Instead, I went for the Cream Stout, which was very nice indeed. We completed our Stowmarket on the other side of the tracks in the Little Wellington (not listed on here).

2 Jun 2019 18:00

The Royal William, Stowmarket

The Royal William was our favourite pub of the day. It was packed with people watching the football on a number of TVs inside and out. Unfortunately, we witnessed a goal, which rather spoilt our visit and the sheer number of people detracted from what looks like it might be a very enjoyable place to visit on quieter days. The ale selection is listed on slates to the side of the bar. Greene King IPA is the regular ale. Guests were Green Jack Albion Mild, Excelsior & Trawlerboys, Nethergate Masterpiece, Mauldon's Micawber's Mild & Mole Tap, Oakham JHB & Star Wing Stain Glass Blue. Ciders are listed on a separate board - Snail's Bank Orchard Dry, Fruit Bat, Strawberry & Lime Cider, Rhubarb Cider & Pig Squeal, Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon & Two Trees Perry & Burnard's Norfolk Scrumpy & Oaky Dokey. I'd loved to have had more. But, my Norfolk Scrumpy was enjoyable. In fact, these were the first real ciders I'd found in Suffolk on the day. A very good pub that warrants a return visit some time in the future.

2 Jun 2019 17:52

Stag Tavern, Stowmarket

Our first stop in Stowmarket was the Stag. From the outside, it has the appearance of a micropub. But, it predates micropubs. Inside, it was busy, with people arriving for the Champions League final. It's bigger than you first think, with a decent use of space. Also larger than life is the pub dog. It's more the size of a horse than a dog! But, it was very friendly, as were most of the locals. The 3 ales were Brewer's Gold, Wherry & Landlord. Not a bad start to our evening visit to Stowmarket.

2 Jun 2019 17:43

The Magpie, Stowmarket

I've been to the Gladstone Arms opposite before. I don't believe it was listed on the site previously. But, this time my visit to Combs Ford was to the Magpie. We'd read that the food is good here. But, having seen the garden area and the sports bar on one side, it didn't look too appealing. However, the dining area was much more cosy and despite nobody else eating, we decided to give it a go. We needn't have worried, as the dining room gradually filled up and it turned out we'd taken the last table. A few other groups were turned away. Food portions were ample and the menu offered a mixture of traditional pub dishes and oriental ones. We all enjoyed our food. The ale selection was also quite decent. Ales were Sharp's Doom Bar, Adnams Broadside, Greene King IPA & XX Mild & Crouch Vale Brewer's Gold. I later read that they offer a CAMRA discount. But, this is not very well advertised. So, I missed out. Nevertheless, this is a good pub.

2 Jun 2019 17:38

The Limes Hotel, Needham Market

The Limes is very close to the local parish church (St John the Baptist), which is worth popping in for quick view of its fine room. The Limes itself occupies two buildings on the High Street. There is a narrow passage at the side that leads to a large car park at the rear. It has recently been re-opened and there seems to be much work to do, especially to the exterior areas. Inside, it was very quiet. The place seems to continue serving as a hotel and there are a couple of large function rooms, in addition to the front bar and a lounge to the rear. The only other customer was in the lounge. Greene King IPA was the solitary real ale. The barman was chatty. But, this place has clearly seen better days. Hopefully the new owners will continue to revive it.

2 Jun 2019 17:30

The Gardeners Arms, Moats Tye

Tried looking for this pub. If I had the location correct, it was in the middle of nowhere and is now new-build housing.

2 Jun 2019 17:12

The Punch Bowl, Battisford

Country pub that is very much off the beaten track. Locals and the landlord appeared friendly and a group of women were arriving for a hen gathering. There are 2 rooms - a bar and a restaurant. There is also a nice garden at the rear. Adnams Bitter is the regular ale and guests were Pitchfork PG Steam & Mighty Oak Charcoal Burner. The latter was a very enjoyable porter. A decent start to a Saturday crawl of Suffolk pubs.

2 Jun 2019 17:09

The Railwaymans Arms, Bridgnorth

The Railwayman's Arms is a lovely little station bar entered off the platform at the Severn Valley Railway station. It was packed on our early Sunday evening visit. Although, a train had just arrived and emptied out. There were also quite a few who had clearly missed a few trains, or arrived on the first of the day and were still there. This was easily the busiest pub we had been to during the day and we had to sit outside with our plastic glasses (-1 for that). Ales were Hobson's Best, Champion Mild & Town Crier, Batham's Best Bitter, Bewdley Worcestershire Way, Worcestershire Sway & Station Porter, Exmoor Gold & St Austell Trelawney. The real cider was Woodhall's Whubarb, a new one for me. A 7/10 from me, only spoiled by the plastic glasses and drunken crowds.

20 May 2019 21:54

Hollyhead Inn, Bridgnorth

After a steep walk down the hill towards the station, our penultimate stop was the George. This was a pub that exceeded my expectations. It had a nice airy feel to it, with friendly locals and nice staff. There was plenty of interest to admire around the walls and a space was reserved in one corner for a band. The ale choice was good - Hobson's Town Crier, Wye Valley HPA, Salopian Divine Comedy, Ludlow Stairway & Wood's Born & Bred. One of Bridgnorth's better pubs.

20 May 2019 21:47

The Old Castle, Bridgnorth

Another of the current Bridgnorth pubs in the Good Beer Guide. But, this one was disappointing. Two girls were working behind the bar. But, one wasn't doing much and we had to wait a while before being served. The bar area is small, especially with people crowded around the TV for the Cup Final. There is also a dining area, which was unused on our visit. At the rear, is a conservatory with a pool table. Beyond that is a garden with tables overlooking a nice view. Ales do not change. They are Wye Valley HPA & Butty Bach, Hobson's Town Crier and Sharp's Doom Bar.

20 May 2019 21:43

The White Lion, Bridgnorth

The White Lion is the best pub in Bridgnorth, in my opinion. Hop & Stagger beers are brewed on the premises. They had Beckbury Bitter, Golden Wander, Shropshire Pale Ale & Gyle 311 from the brewery. Guests were Pardoe's Dark Swan, Castle Rock Sherwood Stout & Fuller's Botanist's Batch. In addition, there were 3 real ciders - Broadoak Moonshine, Thatcher's Stan's Big Apple & Cock Eyed Mad Jack. There are two rooms and an outdoor area. The front room had some nice murals on the walls. Service was friendly. A really decent pub, in which I would have happily spent much longer, if I didn't have others to go to!

20 May 2019 21:39

Friars Inn, Bridgnorth

The Friars is tucked away up an alleyway. Most people were either crowded at one end watching the start of the FA Cup final, or were outside in the alleyway/courtyard. So, we had the other end of the pub to ourselves. Wye Valley HPA & Banks's Sunbeam are the regular ales. Guests were Thwaite's Wainwright & Jenning's Cocker Hoop.

20 May 2019 21:35

Kings Head, Bridgnorth

Impressive-looking building tucked away along a side street. It was quite dark inside. Doors opened up at the rear to the neighbouring Stable Bar, which was much busier. One of a number of Bridgnorth pubs currently in the Good Beer Guide, I wasn't overly impressed. Regular ales are Hobson's Town Crier & Twisted Spire & Wye Valley HPA. 2 guests were Ludlow Stairway & Bristol Beer Factory Independence. A fairly small place. But, we managed to grab a table.

20 May 2019 21:31

The Golden Lion Inn, Bridgnorth

The Golden Lion is next to Bridgnorth's North Gate in High Town. It's now owned by Holden's. Their 4 ales were Black Country Bitter, Black Country Mild, Special & Golden Glow. They also had a couple of real ciders - Weston's Flat Tyre & Thatcher's Stan's Big Apple. There is a small bar and a lounge. We sat in the bar area, where the regulars were chatty and a few shoppers were present. Live rugby union was on the TV. A decent pub, that would benefit from a guest ale. Although, I appreciated the ciders.

20 May 2019 21:27

The Black Horse, Bridgnorth

The Black Horse is probably the best pub in Low Town, Bridgnorth. Although there are better pubs in High Town. There are 3 drinking areas, plus a conservatory and outdoor seating in a courtyard. We chose the conservatory, which was warm with the sun beating down. 6 ales were on - Batham's Best Bitter, Wye Valley HPA, Hobson's Town Crier, Three Tuns XXX, Enville Ale & Gorgeous Beer Company Blonde Ale. But, with no dark beers and no real cider, there was nothing particularly suited to my taste. It was quite busy on our Saturday afternoon visit. But, we were soon on the Cliff Railway heading to better places.

20 May 2019 21:22

The Hare and Hounds, Bridgnorth

Has now been sub-divided into flats.

20 May 2019 21:15

The Boyne Arms, Burwarton

It was difficult to find a parking spot in the car park of this roadside pub. But, there is extra car parking at the rear. There was a wake in progress in the front bar and restaurant. Everybody else was confined to the tiny bar at the rear. Wye Valley HPA & Ludlow Gold are the two regular ales. The guest was Hobson's Champion Mild.

20 May 2019 21:14

The Dog Inn and Davenport Arms, Worfield

After finding the Seven Stars at Beckbury closed, our first pub of the day in Shropshire was the Dog & Davenport, situated in a lovely village location. The owners were friendly and the pub had a fair trade on our Saturday lunchtime visit. Most people seemed to be in for the food, which smelt very nice. Hobson's Best & Town Crier are the two regular ales. On this occasion, the guest was AJ's Black Jack Mild, which was good. A decent country pub.

20 May 2019 21:09

The White Horse, Hedgerley

I try to review this pub at least once a year. It's still one of very few pubs I can say warrants a 10/10. My latest visit was on a Monday night, when it's always reasonably quiet. Although, there were a few in last night. The garden is looking particularly good this time of year. But, the forthcoming beer festival will no doubt put paid to that. Last night, the ales were Rebellion IPA, Stardust Curve Ball, Pig & Porter Souls Be Brave, Church End Rugby Ale & Coffee & Vanilla Porter, DBC Yachtsman, Froth Blowers Anthem & Buckland Mad March. Craft beers were Big Smoke Fruju & Bootleg American IPA. There is also a decent bottle/canned range. Real ciders were Winkleigh Sam's Traditional Dry, Broadoak Moonshine & Newton Court Islay Malt Cask Cider. Still a fantastic rural pub, not a million miles from junction 2 of the M40.

14 May 2019 21:38

The Prince Frederick, Bromley

I wandered through what seemed to be a rather dodgy residential area to get here. As previous reviews have stated, it's a Greene King pub well off the beaten track. IPA & Abbot are served. There was also Timothy Taylor Landlord. London Glory was "settling". Patrons were far from settled. They were a noisy bunch, enjoying tunes from the jukebox. A fine traditional interior and a good example of a thriving community local that may initially feel a little rough around the edges, but should be encouraged, as it is an altogether dying breed.

14 May 2019 21:03

The Red Lion, Bromley

As with Lezford, this was my planned to be my penultimate port of call in Bromley. But, the Freelands was not on my hitlist, although it is now open, as I passed it. The Red Lion is a decent backstreet Greene King boozer, with a couple of guest ales. It immediately reminded me of the Eagle Ale House in Clapham, albeit much quieter. This was another pub where the landlord looked at me with suspicion as I entered. Ales were Greene King IPA & Abbot, Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter, Salcombe Gold & Flying Monk Habit. I had the latter, which was ok. French football was on the TV and the pub got a little busier shortly after my arrival. But, it did lack a little atmosphere.

14 May 2019 20:59

The Star and Garter, Bromley

The CAMRA website and the latest Good Beer Guide have this pub opening at 12:30. But, I thought I was in luck when their website said they opened at 12:00. Alas, there was no sign of life at midday and still no life at 12:30 when I returned. I returned just before 8:30pm and it was finally open. After eventually deciding that I wasn't going to rob the place, the barmaid turned out to be quite friendly and revealed that the pub does not open until 1pm these days. Without these problems, I would probably have rated this as the best pub in Bromley. It has a fine range of cask ales and craft beers. The craft taps have the prime position at the front, with most handpulls on the left-hand side and a couple more on the right-hand side. One of those is usually used for a cider. But, on this visit, there was none available. Cask ales were Oakham Citra, Dark Star Hophead, Thornbridge Desert Sessions, Five Points Best & Railway Porter, Arbor Zero-Zero & Redemption Fellowship. The most interesting craft beer was an 11% "chocolate peanut butter toast spread imperial toast" from Omnipollo. But, I'd already had enough to be sampling that. A really nice drinking environment in a wonderful building with a fine drinks selection that is worthy of an 8/10, despite being yet another pub displaying incorrect opening times on the internet.

14 May 2019 20:52

The Shortlands Tavern, Shortlands

The Shortlands Tavern was one of those pubs that I walked into and instantly liked. The interior is cosy and traditional. Bar staff were friendly and customers looked like an amiable bunch too. The ale range was a little disappointing - St Austell Tribute, Sharp's Doom Bar, Young's Bitter, Courage Best, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Woodforde's Bure Gold. But, my attention was drawn to the cider at one end of the bar - Lilley's Chocolate Apple Cider. Nobody knew the price. But £2.50 seems the going rate for a half in this part of town and sure enough, the staff decided between them that it should be £2.50. Whilst there are better pubs up the hill in Bromley itself, don't rule this one out if you are ever passing through Shortlands.

14 May 2019 20:43

The Bricklayers Arms, Bromley

Comfortable Shepherd Neame pub. But, only Spitfire Gold & Master Brew were on. I didn't fancy either. So, I opted for a soft drink. £2.50 for a coke. I nearly fainted in shock. Do yourself a favour and visit the Bitter End Bar nextdoor instead. I've requested to be added to BITE. But it's an old off license that is now a micropub with a fine selection of cask ales that are gravity pulled and also the best real cider selection in Bromley. The Bitter End Bar was my favourite pub of the day and would have scored double what I will give the Bricklayers (4/10).

14 May 2019 20:35

The Anglesey Arms, Bromley

This backstreet Shepherd Neame pub was my final stop in Bromley, before heading to North London for a football match. Its website publishes an 11am opening time. I'd been here earlier, only to find the door locked. Despite hearing voices inside, my call to the telephone (which I could hear ringing) was unanswered and went to answer phone. So, I gave up and headed back into town. I arrived back at nearer 1pm to find the place really busy. I enquired about the opening times (midday apparently) and the website. But, no apology was given for the incorrect information. Spitfire Gold, Master Brew & Whitstable Bay Pale was the rather uninspiring choice. My Master Brew was poor. Could be a fairly decent pub, with better beers and a better level of service from proprietors who give a damn. But, sadly this only warrants a 3/10 based on this visit.

14 May 2019 20:27

The Partridge, Bromley

I was expecting this pub to be open at 11am. But, it no longer opens until midday. In fairness to its website, it has been updated and is correct, unlike a couple of the other local hostelries that I will come to later. The Partridge enjoys a prominent location on the corner of the Market Square. It used to be a bank. The interior is certainly quite impressive. Although, other early drinkers instead preferred the outdoor area. Ales were all from the Fuller's range - London Pride, ESB & Botanist's Batch, Gale's HSB & Dark Star Hophead & Session. Nice enough building. But, whilst my beer was well-kept, it wasn't my ideal choice. My next stop was a brand new micropub called the Lock & Barrel, which I will request to be added to BITE.

14 May 2019 20:20

The Tom Foolery, Bromley

With few other pubs opening ahead of midday on a Sunday, my third stop in Bromley was the Barrel & Horn. It was open early presumably to profit from the breakfast trade. But, whilst nobody was eating, there were a few drinkers. Fuller's Due South was the only cask ale, with Weston's Old Rosie the real cider. But, more importantly, there is an impressive range of craft beers. An 8.2% stout from Fyne Ales caught my eye. But, I didn't want anything particularly strong on a Sunday morning. So, I settled for the Old Rosie at 7.3%! There is a good range of bottled beers too. With a CAMRA discount, my half of Old Rosie was only £2. So, it's only the keg options that are pricy. A very pleasant place to while away some time whilst waiting for other local establishments to open.

14 May 2019 20:12

The Greyhound, Bromley

I agree with the previous reviewer. This was easily the better of the Wetherspoon's in Bromley. The interior felt far more cosy than the Richmal Crompton and the location was much more amenable for a pub crawl, with many other decent options on this part of the High Street. Ales were Greene King IPA & Abbot, Sharp's Doom Bar, Sambrook's Wandle, Elgood's Mamma Meerkat, Nelson Nelson's Blood, JW Lee's Cosmic Brew & Evan Evans Cwrw. Ciders were Old Rosie & Black Dragon. I wish I had chosen this place to have had my breakfast!

14 May 2019 20:05

The Richmal Crompton, Bromley

You normally know what to expect in branches of Wetherspoon's. But, this was one of the worst I have been in. I visited on Sunday morning. Despite the station over the road being closed for engineering works, there were already about a dozen people in at 10am. All were drinkers. I was the first to order a breakfast. I wish I hadn't. A burnt sausage, dried up beans and burnt bacon were on the plate, with hash browns missing. The rest was ok! Service at the bar was also poor. The solitary barmaid had no idea what a real cider was. I ordered a pint of Cotleigh Osprey. But, she soon advised that it had not been pulled through. So, I ended up with a pint of Hanlon's Stormstay. Again, I wish I hadn't bothered. Other ales were Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharp's Doom Bar, Stonehenge Great Bustard, Truman's Runner, Long Man Copper Hop & Oakham Citra. For a better 'spoon's experience, head to the Greyhound the other end of town instead.

14 May 2019 19:58

The Wookey Hole Inn, Wookey Hole

After a visit to the eponymous Wookey Hole directly opposite this village pub, we retreated to the hostelry for our final stop of a couple of days in Somerset. Despite Wookey Hole having thrown out, the pub was fairly quiet. It seems to thrive on the reputation of a gastropub. But, with food not being served until 6:30pm and prices that were a touch too steep, we didn't stick around for too long. Just enough time for a swift half - St Austell Tribute, Cheddar Ales Gorge Best & Yeovil Ruby was the choice. The cider was Wilkins Farmhouse. My Ruby was quite enjoyable and a fitting way to finish an enjoyable weekend in Somerset. Overall though, I doubt I would return to the Wookey Hole Inn, unless I was visiting the attraction across the road again.

8 May 2019 21:45

Hunters Lodge, Priddy

This is a pub that I have looked forward to visiting for some time. From the outside, it doesn't look appealing and it looks out of place in its out of the way location. But, as you enter, you can see why it has won so many plaudits. I was hoping to sit in the main bar (to the left as you enter). But, with a child in tow, we were directed to one of the other rooms. All of them possess character. Customers are a mix of locals, walkers and cavers. Conversation reigns. The staff are friendly. Mobile phones are frowned upon. Ales served from the cask were Butcombe Original, Cheddar Ales Potholer & Exmoor Ale. Wilkins Farmhouse Medium Dry was the cider. A good experience that just about lived up to my hopes. 7/10.

8 May 2019 21:40

Just Ales, Wells

Billed as Somerset's first micropub, this place was shut on my original Sunday evening visit. So, I returned on the Bank Holiday Monday lunchtime. It's quite unusual for a micropub. Most I have been in have a modern, clean feel. Many are a bit too clinical, if they can be criticised at all. The previous reviewer mentions the word "ramshackle" and I'd completely concur with that. It felt like we'd entered a hoarder's front room. Clutter abounds and the woman that served us seemed a bit of a character. The pub's title is also a little misleading. If it changed its name to Just 3 Ales, it would be more appropriate. There were many more ciders than ales. Nevertheless, the ales were of the lesser spotted variety - Severn Copper Ale, 3D Out Run & Yeovil Spring Forward. More of interest to me was the excellent cider selection - Heck's Dry, Medium & Sweet, Kingston Black & Brown's Apple, Rich's Legbender Dry, Medium, Sweet & Golden Harvest & Wilkins Dry, Medium & Sweet. We had three halves between us (the Golden Harvest was delicious). CAMRA members get a discount, but only on pints. Apparently a round of 2 halves does not count, despite it being the same cider. I found that a bit stingy. Nevertheless, a strange but amiable little place tucked up a side street. It appears to be the best pub in Wells.

8 May 2019 21:35

The Quarter Jack, Wells

The Quarter Jack is the Wells branch of Wetherspoon's. My last stop late on a Sunday evening and it was busy with mainly youngsters. Bouncers are on the doors. Typical 'spoon's open-plan interior, with an ale range of Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharp's Doom Bar, Exmoor Exile Apollo & Blindman's Golden Spring. Ciders were Mr Whitehead's Toffee Apple, Cock Eyed Bonobo Banana, Thatcher's Cheddar Valley, Hunt's Barn Screecher & Bull Walloper & Barbourne Cherry Bakewell. A good way to end my day's drinking in Somerset.

8 May 2019 21:26

The Rose and Crown, Wells

I second the previous review to mine. The Rose & Crown had large groups of youngsters at one end, with older patrons at the other. There was also a busy outdoor area at the rear, again with youngsters. The interior was bright and colourful, whilst the beer range was better than I'd expected - Courage Directors, Exmoor Gold, Cotleigh Albatross & Dark Star Hophead. One of the best pubs in the city.

8 May 2019 21:23

The Cheddar Valley, Wells

After a visit to the Globe, I didn't think its entertainment value could be exceeded. But the patrons of the Cheddar Valley Inn managed to surpass those of the Globe in the inebriation stakes. I feared for my half of St Austell Cornish Best as one young lady gyrated with an older gentlemen to something she had put on the jukebox. Finesse was not the order of the day in this dance routine. It had followed shortly after she dropped her money all over the pub floor, whilst being unable to pick it up. A few people came to her rescue. But, they also struggled to get their balance once on the floor. Just the one ale was on in here. The solitary cider - you guessed it - Cheddar Valley. I think you have to enter this pub slightly drunk in order to fully enjoy its finer points.

8 May 2019 21:19

The Globe Inn, Wells

With time for a few bonus pubs, I trotted off to this establishment next to St Cuthbert's Church. The congregation in the Globe didn't seem to be too religious however, with a proliferation of swear words. I was greeted by the offer of a shower from the leak in the roof. But, the staff were friendly and in truth, the pub was nice inside, apart from the leak and the inebriated clientele. The ale range was better than most pubs - Cheddar Ales Gorge Best, Box Steam Story Box & Blindman's Golden Spring. There was also a good cider selection - Wilkin's Dry & Sweet, Harry's Scrummage, Dirty Harry's Mango & Lime Cider & Raspberry & Blackcurrant Cider & Taunton Cider Company First Press Original. With free Sunday night entertainment, what's not to like?

8 May 2019 21:13

City Arms, Wells

Sunday evening in Wells and the City Arms was my second port of call after the Full Moon (not listed on the site). It has a fair amount of historical interest, given it was once the city jail. You can still see bars on some of the windows. The interior was fairly compact, with a small courtyard also part of the complex. Ales were Glastonbury Hedge Monkey, St Austell Tribute, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Dartmoor Jail Ale. Ciders were Weston's Raspberry Roller & Harry's Haymaker. Welcoming pub.

8 May 2019 21:06

The Queen Victoria Inn, Priddy

Country pub that was doing a roaring trade with both drinkers and diners on our Sunday evening visit. Being hungry, we decided to eat. The food was just what the doctor ordered, despite me not getting exactly what I'd asked and paid for. But, it was too busy to complain about the lack of a pineapple ring!! The pub has plenty of character, with real fires creating a cosy atmosphere. There are also tables outside and a beer garden with a children's playground over the road, next to the car park. Ales were Butcombe Original, Rare Breed & Hot Air. Ciders were Weston's Rosie's Pig, Hand Brake & Flat Tyre & Harry's Haymaker. A really nice pub.

8 May 2019 20:59

The Red Lion, Draycott

Whilst this place may be long gone, I can recommend the nearby Cider Barn just outside Draycott, for an altogether unique experience. Plenty of ciders, a couple of ales, a madcap live band and some interesting characters from the local area and beyond. My favourite pub of the day in Somerset. I'll request it to be added to the site.

8 May 2019 20:53

The White Hart, Cheddar

Our last stop in Cheddar was the White Hart. This is the pub that was closest to the tourist action of the Gorge. Although, its location tucked away from the main drag helps it avoid getting overcrowded with the masses. However, being a fairly small building, it was still busy. We managed to find a quieter corner with a spare table. This pub felt more like a local than the others in Cheddar. But, somehow I still preferred the Bath Arms. Butcombe Original, St Austell Tribute & Cheddar Ales Potholer were the 3 ales. Cheddar Valley was the cider.

8 May 2019 20:49

Riverside Inn and Restaurant, Cheddar

The Riverside Inn is at a major roundabout in the centre of Cheddar, just at the bottom of Cheddar Gorge. It was packed on our Bank Holiday weekend Sunday afternoon visit. Inside, a live football match was just finishing. Outside, the garden was absolutely packed with kids and their families. The car park was overflowing. Finding enjoyment in such chaotic surroundings was difficult. To answer the last review (albeit over 7 years ago), they had Cheddar Ales Potholer, along with Sharp's Doom Bar & Butcombe Original.

8 May 2019 20:44

Bath Arms Hotel, Cheddar

I was sceptical about visiting Cheddar on a bank holiday weekend and it transpired that I was right to be. After a quick visit to the Gorge, we retreated to the furthest of our 3 pub choices from the tourist hordes. The Bath Arms turned out to be the best of these 3 pubs. It seemed reasonably busy, without being too crowded. Service was quick and the place was tidy. Being a sunny day, a few were sat outside at the front too. Ales were Bath Ales Gem, Sharp's Doom Bar & Cheddar Ales Potholer. The real cider was Cheddar Valley.

8 May 2019 20:39

The Crown Inn, Axbridge

Our second and last stop in Axbridge was the Crown. It was much quieter than the Lamb, presumably because it was not serving food on a Sunday. It did however have a couple of real ales - St Austell Proper Job & Twisted Oak Bring 'um Home. The cider was Thatcher's Traditional. Lacked atmosphere, with it being so quiet. Be careful exiting, as the pavement is narrow and you'll be in the middle of the road before you know it.

8 May 2019 20:34

The Lamb Hotel, Axbridge

The Lamb can be found in Axbridge's square, directly opposite King John's Hunting Lodge. It seems a fairly old building, with a dark interior. Most people appeared to be there for Sunday roasts. But, there were a couple of drinkers. The real ale was Butcombe Original, with the ciders being Thatcher's Traditional & Ashton Press. Bar skittles takes pride of place in the centre of the front bar. Needless to say, we had to indulge.

8 May 2019 20:31

The Jug and Bottle, Heswell

The Jug & Bottle was the better of the two pubs we visited in Heswall that is listed on BITE. It is high on the hill overlooking the river. Despite being fairly early on a Saturday, it was already busy with drinkers and diners, both being represented in some fairly large groups. Ales were Brains The Rev James, Brimstage Trapper's Hat, Slater's Premium, Rock The Boat Bootle Bull, Big Bog WPA & Purple Moose Dark Side of the Moose. There is unfortunately no real cider. Decent place though. We moved on from here to the disappointing Blind Pig, the excellent Beer Lab (both in Heston) and ultimately the splendid Connoisseur Ales Tasting Room in St Helens. I'll request the latter two be added and will wait with baited breath.

8 May 2019 20:16

Black Horse Hotel, Heswall

Second pub of a Saturday visit to the Wirral following the Homebrew Tap in West Kirby, was this re-opened pub in lower Heswall. It was hosting a craft fair inside, with stalls spread across all but one room. There were plenty of canine visitors too, which made the place a bit smelly. Had we been there for the crafts, we may have been pleasantly surprised. But, sadly we were there for the beer. The selection was Sharp's Doom Bar & Atlantic & Theakston Best Bitter. So, we were disappointed. The pub has a nice location, with a rural feel. But, I wouldn't make a bee line for here again.

8 May 2019 20:09

Gallaghers, Birkenhead

Another overnight stop in Birkenhead and another late night visit to Gallagher's. The welcome was as good as ever and the ale and cider range was also good - Brimstage Trapper's Hat & Elderflower Wheat, Rat White Rat, Hopback Citra & Titanic Chocolate & Vanilla Stout & Iceberg. The cider and perry range was Lilley's Bee Sting, Abrahalls AM & Lily The Pink & Gwynt y Ddraig Farmhouse Scrumpy. With complimentary pizza, a very enjoyable conclusion to the evening was had, before we were eventually thrown out the door!

8 May 2019 20:04

Old Colonial, Birkenhead

After a visit to the Beer EnGin in Whiston (not listed on BITE) and a diversion to a football match, my penultimate stop of the night was this place that was closed the last time I tried to visit. It is still called Molly's Chambers Bar & Kitchen and it is located in a very unassuming location down a very dark and quiet street. The bar was busy with a ground level outdoor drinking area with its own bar and a busier cellar bar, where there was live music. Bouncers were on the door. No real ales were on offer. Although one of the three handpulls did have a Trooper pumpclip turned round. So, never say never. Definitely not my kind of place anymore. Far too noisy and crowded.

8 May 2019 19:55

The Four Ashes, Waterloo

After a visit to the Up Steps in Birkdale, my second stop in Merseyside on a Friday evening, was this micropub on a main road out of Waterloo towards Crosby. As the previous reviewer states, this is one of several micropubs that have sprung up in the area north of Liverpool. Opening times are limited to late afternoon/evenings. But, it was fairly busy not too long after opening and there was a good selection of ales - Wily Fox Crafty Fox, Parker Dark Spartan, Lancaster Cascade, Beermats Summat Blonde & Oakham Citra. Ciders were Snail's Bank Fruit Bat & Thatcher's Stan's Big Apple. I would certainly return here as part of a tour of local micropubs.

8 May 2019 19:48

The Royal Oak (Polly Clean Stairs), Bexleyheath

Not far from the A2, this pub in a residential street was a far cry from the nearby Robin Hood & Little John. I think my transaction with the barmaid (possibly the landlady) was made without her uttering a single word. The pub was fairly quiet, with only one other small group in. If the welcome I received was anything to go by, it doesn't surprise me how quiet it was. 3 ales on were Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter, Well's Bombardier & Butcombe Bitter. A disappointing end to my Bexleyheath visit.

28 Apr 2019 16:22

The Robin Hood and Little John, Bexleyheath

My bus here dropped me off on the nearby Broadway. I'd had the pleasure of seeing the Broadway in all of its different lights throughout the day, from ghost town early in the morning, to thriving shopping centre during the day and to a lively nightlife area at night. There's plenty of nightspots, with live music, bouncers and youngsters queuing to enter establishments, wearing very little. A walk down Lion Road revealed a further bar/nightclub. But persevere and you will find this fantastic backstreet local boozer that is a far cry from the happenings on the Broadway. Service is friendly and customers are friendly too. Most are simply here for decent beer and conversation. The ale range doesn't seem to change much. Regular ales are Adnams Bitter & Ghost Ship, Bexley's Own Beer, Fuller's London Pride, Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter & Sharp's Doom Bar. The guest beer was Bexley St George's Pale. Despite doing 9 Bexleyheath pubs on the day and 4 in Bexley a couple of weeks ago, this was the only sighting of a Bexley beer. My Bexley's Own was rather nice. A lovely unspoilt traditional pub.

28 Apr 2019 16:12

The Earl Haig, Bexleyheath

We originally visited here in the morning, expecting it to be open before 11am. But, it seems they have adjusted their opening hours. After a visit to the fantastic Kentish Belle micropub, next to Bexleyheath station, I returned to the Earl Haig. Incidentally, I've never awarded a 10/10 for any London pub. The Kentish Belle warrants that. But, unfortunately it's not listed on the site. But, the Earl Haig is an imposing estate pub that is now part of the Ember Inns chain. It was busy on my Saturday evening visit, with a mix of drinkers and diners. 3 ales were on - Black Sheep Ember Pale, St Austell Tribute & Purity Mad Goose. My attention was drawn to the real cider - Weston's Engine Warmer. Meant to be served mulled, it was an eye watering £2.99 for just a half and unlike on ales, there is no CAMRA discount. This is not the place to drink if you're hard up. At around the £2 make for a half in the Kentish Belle, I'd advise you not to bother heading here and instead stay near the station.

28 Apr 2019 16:02

The Rose, Bexleyheath

The Rose is on the Broadway, Bexleyheath's main street. As others have commented, the bar is immediately in front of you, as you enter. There is a choice of two doors, both next to each other. So, I was expected to find two rooms. But, they have been joined together. Nevertheless, the interior still feels very traditions. It was still fairly quiet on our Saturday morning visit. So, there was no problem getting served or finding a seat. 4 ales were Courage Best, Sharp's Doom Bar, St Austell Proper Job & Dorking Pilcrow Pale.

28 Apr 2019 15:45

The Yacht, Bexleyheath

With the nearby Earl Haig no longer opening until 11:30, we moved onto the Yacht, only to find that still closed at 11:10 too. But, it turned out that the landlord had forgot to unlock the door! This is a Greene King pub, with 3 of their ales - IPA, Abbot & London Glory, along with St Austell Tribute. The London Glory was ok. But, this wasn't the best selection. The landlord was friendly and talkative though. So much so that we missed our bus back into the town! The interior is bright and airy and is quite comfortable.

28 Apr 2019 15:39

The Furze Wren, Bexleyheath

More modern version of the Wetherspoon's chain than their other branch in Bexleyheath. There is much more light here and you can take a window seat watching the buses come and go, if that's your thing! This branch also had a better selection of ales - Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharp's Doom Bar, Nelson Dogwatch Stout & Spanker, Hopdaemon Session, Sambrook's Wandle, Reunion Opening Gambit, Twickenham Redhead & Portobello Star. However, there is no real cider. There's a strange queuing system here, with tensor barriers set up to form separate queues for drinkers and those ordering food (and presumably teas and coffees). I slightly preferred this branch to the Wrong 'Un, in spite of the lack of a cider.

28 Apr 2019 15:33

The Wrong 'Un, Bexleyheath

This is the older of Bexleyheath's two Wetherspoon's pubs, which are at either end of the town. Mine was an early morning visit, in a bid to fit in as many of the town's pubs. I indulged in a breakfast, as alcohol is not served until 9am. It's a fairly typical Wetherspoon's interior, being quite dark, with mainly open-plan seating and booths along one side wall. Service was pleasant. The usual Wetherspoon's ales were on here - Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharp's Doom Bar. There were also 3 guests - Nelson Admiral IPA & Nelson's Blood & Portobello Central Line Red. In addition, they also have Old Rosie as a real cider. Fairly average place. But, one of the better places in this town for a decent beer (or cider).

28 Apr 2019 15:26

The Tower Arms, Iver

Was in here to watch the football this afternoon. The pub is a nice old building in a prominent location. There are a number of different seating areas. 2 ales were on - Fuller's London Pride & Brakspear Bitter. The probable reason why this place was dead was the prices. £4.90 a pint seemed very steep. Very few people were in, whether to drink or to eat. I'm sure I've been here at some time in the dim and distant past. But, today was certainly my first visit in many years.

21 Apr 2019 16:26

The Egham Constitutional Club, Egham

Was back here for their Easter Beer Festival, the club's 32nd festival. As usual, the club was packed with people from near and far. The festival itself is a beer ticker's paradise, with many new or one off ales. Breweries represented were Almasty, Anomoly, Ascot, Bristol Beer Factory, Burning Sky, Buxton, Church Hanbrewery, Dark Revolution, Downlands, Fierce & Noble, Greyhound, Indigenous, Innformal, Intrepid, Kent, Moor, Neptune, Old Windsor, Park, Penton Park, Signal, Southwark, Stardust, Thames Side, Thurston's, Tiny Rebel, Top Out, Uprising, XT & Yeastie Boys. Most ales are on stillage in a yard at the rear, where there is also a BBQ area serving burgers and the like. There are also around 7-8 ales on at the bar inside, including the regular ales Rebellion IPA & Surrey Hills Shere Drop. 9 ciders were also on from Biddenden, Hallett's, Newton Court, Sandford Orchards, Tiny Rebel, West Milton & Wise Owl. Live music is held most days, although not on this Thursday night. Entry is free for club members, £2 for CAMRA members and £3 for all others. A glass deposit charge of £3 is also levied. A really good club, with an excellent festival.

19 Apr 2019 12:08

The Wheatsheaf Inn, Rutland

The Wheatsheaf was my final pub of the day in Rutland and it was quite a fitting finale. Similar to so many pubs in this area, the focus is on food. There is a small bar area and a couple of rooms serving food. With all tables in the bar area taken, I took a small table on the edge of the one dining area, only to be told that I needed to move for a food booking. I can see why pubs have to resort to concentrating on food, in order to survive. But, it's a bit annoying when they cannot provide enough space for drinkers to enjoy themselves too. More of a restaurant than a pub. Ales were Greene King Abbot, St Austell Proper Job, Theakston Lightfoot & Langton Inclined Plane.

15 Apr 2019 21:23

White Lion, Whissendine

Everard's village pub with Original, Tiger and a guest, which was Sufragette, also from Everard's. They did also have a real cider - Rosie's Pig. The bar area was quite busy. So, I retreated to the dining area where a family was being entertained by the landlord/chef who is also a magician. Went to the gents toilet, only for the lights to be switched off. Hopefully my aim was true. Nice village pub. But, I was a little disappointed by the ale range.

15 Apr 2019 21:19

The Black Bull Inn, Market Overton

The Black Bull appears to be the only pub in this village. It has a couple of rooms and was reasonably busy on my Sunday afternoon visit. Most were in for the food. But, there were some in just for the beer. Fuller's London Pride, Black Sheep Best Bitter & Sharp's Doom Bar was the fairly mainstream choice. It was unsurprising to see the one family instead ordering shots to round off their Sunday lunch.

15 Apr 2019 21:15

The Olive Branch and Beech House, Clipsham

Upmarket restaurant on quite a dangerous bend. A couple of real ales are served - Grainstore Olive Ale (believed to be Cooking) & Dancing Duck Dcuk were on. Food looked good and service was very professional. But, I think I was the only one drinking. Drinks are quite pricey.

15 Apr 2019 21:09

Jackson Stops Inn, Stretton

After a visit to the excellent Empingham Cricket & Social Club (not listed on here), my next stop was the Jackson Stops. Of all the pubs, I liked this one the most. Once again, it's very food focused. But, there is a tiny bar where diners wait for their tables to be prepared and drinkers squeeze in if they can. The two Grainstore ales are Cooking & Ten Fifty. But, they also had a couple of ciders from the Rutland Cider Company - Bushberry & Rhuberry. The former was very drinkable and a new one for me. Lovely place in an equally lovely Rutland village.

15 Apr 2019 21:05

Exeter Arms, Rutland

Made a return visit to the Exeter Arms on Sunday and found it open. The landlord was discussing trade with a visitor and apparently they are gradually getting more and more business. It's good to see a village pub thriving and this one seemingly without focusing quite so much on diners. The 3 real ales do not appear to change. They are Grainstore Rutland Bitter, Oakham JHB & Greene King Abbot.

15 Apr 2019 21:00

The Kings Arms Inn, Rutland

The King's Arms is the last remaining pub in the village of Wing. Most tables were reserved for food. Had to wait quite a while for a drink whilst the landlady made a decision whether to serve a young family and appeared under-aged. They claimed to be mid-late '20's. 3 ales were on - Grainstore Cooking, Oakham JHB & Black Sheep Best Bitter. Nicely decorated place. But more of a pub than a restaurant.

15 Apr 2019 20:56

The Cuckoo Inn, Rutland

Now a private residence.

15 Apr 2019 20:52

The Captain Noel Newton, Oakham

I paid a return visit to Oakham to start my day with a breakfast and a swift half in this Wetherspoon's establishment. It's the usual open-plan space that apparently used to be the local Royal British Legion. The 3 regular ales are Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharp's Doom Bar. 2 guests were Adnams Ghost Ship & Otter OPA and the cider was Old Rosie. Breakfast was a good value as always. Moved on from here to the Fox at North Luffenham, which is not listed on here. I'll request it to be added, but won't hold out much hope.

15 Apr 2019 20:48

The Bricklayers Arms, Putney

After a quick hike across London, we got to the Bricklayer's in time for a few swift halves before the football. This used to be a regular haunt for us. But, it seemed to go downhill for a while. It once again has a range of Timothy Taylor ales, along with some guests and a cider. The interior has not changed that much and it seems to be under the same management. I also noticed that we were served in proper glasses this time, as oppose to plastic. So, that is an improvement. The pub has the same pleasant atmosphere where like-minded home and away football fans can mix quite happily and it was standing room only. Timothy Taylor ales were Boltmaker, Dark Mild, Golden Best, Landlord & Ram Tam. Guests were Twickenham Grandstand & Naked Ladies, Wadworth Hop Stomper & IPA & Watney's Party Seven. The cider was Family Reserve. Still a decent pub.

14 Apr 2019 07:59

The Black Horse, Bexley

Our final stop in Bexley was supposed to open at midday. But, at a few minutes past, there was no sign of life. We weren't sure whether it was still open. Eventually, after a phone call, the landlord opened up. I'm not sure it was worth the short walk away from the centre though. Old Speckled Hen was the only real ale. We were the only people in. So, it was difficult to judge the pub. With a train to catch, we couldn't hang around. The pub has a well worn and traditional interior.

14 Apr 2019 07:51

The George, Bexley Village

Another Greene King pub that was not originally in my plans for Bexley. 5 handpulls offered just 2 ales - IPA & Abbot. The Abbot was drinkable and the CAMRA discount made it slightly more palatable. Only one other customer was in. We sat in the window, where several near misses at the town's tiny but manic roundabout provided a little entertainment.

14 Apr 2019 07:49

The Kings Head, Bexley

The Kings Head was the best of 4 pubs we visited in Bexley yesterday lunchtime. It's a Greene King pub that is clearly very old, with low beamed ceilings. It was telling that it was the busiest of pubs in the area, with around a dozen in yesterday morning. Greene King IPA & Abbot & Morland Old Golden Hen are the 3 real ales. The Old Golden Hen was in a good condition.

14 Apr 2019 07:46

The Railway Tavern, Bexley

The Railway is the nearest pub to the station at Bexley and it opens at 11am most days. So, we were here early yesterday morning. One other customer later joined us. The interior has a railway theme, as you might expect and it is fairly traditional. In common with all Bexley pubs, the ale range is poor - just Courage Best & Timothy Taylor Landlord.

14 Apr 2019 07:43

The Bookbinders Ale House, Oxford

Another pub that was busy on our Thursday evening visit and as the previous reviewer says, it's near to the canal, along which you can walk (in pitch darkness) to the station, if you're walking in a straight line (we were just about). The Old Bookbinders has a nice, cosy interior. I seem to recall most seats being taken, which must have been why we plonked ourselves at the bar. It's another Greene King pub. But, you wouldn't necessarily know it. Their house ale Bookies Best was on and they also had Belhaven/Saltaire CCC. But, they also had Skinner's Betty Stogs, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Black Sheep Baa Baa & St Austell Proper Job. All were a bit too pale/blonde for my liking. We both opted for the Baa Baa. But, it was clearly on the turn. I was about to call the bar staff over. But, the young barmaid was very perceptive and had noticed our discontent. She poured a sample herself, agreed with us and offered us another ale. Proper Job for me and I was very pleased with the service. All beers will eventually go off. But, to notice customers' disapproval was very encouraging. A good end to our day in Oxford.

13 Apr 2019 08:18

The Harcourt Arms, Oxford

Backstreet Fuller's pub where a quiz was taking place on our Thursday evening visit. I never feel particularly comfortable walking into a quiz, as you can't really enjoy a normal conversation whilst everybody is trying to listen to the questions. Nevertheless, we sat at the bar and I enjoyed a London Porter, which I rarely see on cask. London Pride was also on, along with Gale's Seafarers & Dark Star Hophead & Revelation. Decent place. But, I'd rather visit when there's no quiz!

13 Apr 2019 08:12

Jude The Obscure, Oxford

Returning to the Jericho area of Oxford and on our final leg of our city crawl, we reached another Greene King pub. Jericho felt like a lively area and this pub was no exception. A number of TVs were showing different Europa League games and I recall a few people eating. The beers were disappointing though - Greene King IPA & Abbot, Morland Original & Hardy & Hanson's Kimberley Bitter & Olde Trip. There are better pubs around.

13 Apr 2019 08:09

Chester Arms, Oxford

Gastropub tucked down a residential street. There were a few people in to eat on our early Thursday evening visit. This was one of the most limited selections of real ale we found in Oxford. But, the choice of 3 was varied and unusual. Loose Cannon Gunner's Gold & Abingdon Bridge were supplemented by Cloudwater Mild. The barman was happy to chat and despite being modernised, there are still some original features, such as stained glass and leaded windows in the entrance. Worth seeking out.

13 Apr 2019 08:05

The Fir Tree, Oxford

The Fir Tree does not open until 4pm on most days. So, we'd left this one until the end of our crawl. It's a Greene King pub with a strange layout on different levels. To get to the gents from the bar area, you have to go up some steps and then back down some more to get to them. The two sections of the pub are packed with items on the walls, with much of interest, especially if you're into Star Wars. I spotted a couple of items related to Everton (my football team, if you hadn't guessed). It turns out the landlord has similar tastes and it was only then I noticed he was sporting an Everton jacket! Ales were Yardbird & Heritage and Belhaven 1719 from the Greene King stable. Guests were Skinner's Betty Stogs & Kult Rebel. Nice and friendly place.

13 Apr 2019 08:01

The Hobgoblin, Oxford

A quick bus journey down the Cowley Road led us to this place. We weren't expecting much. But, we were pleasantly surprised. The interior feels like a large American diner, with booths and some different seating. But, if you can get over that, the beer range was fairly decent. We swerved the St Austell Tribute & Sharp's Doom Bar in favour of the XT 3 and their London Porter. Both were in good condition. There was a cider pumpclip. But, it was sadly off. Don't rule this one out, if you're in Oxford.

13 Apr 2019 07:55

The Chequers Inn, Oxford

Nicholson's pub tucked away down an alleyway off the High Street. This is the sort of place that will always attract the tourists. There are 2 rooms on different floors. The upper one has its own bar and appears to be primarily for dining. Although, it was closed seemingly for a refurbishment on our visit. You can also sit outside in the alleyway. Toilets are the other side of the alley and the gents were in a pretty poor state. Ales were St Austell Nicholson's Pale Ale, Thornbridge Jaipur, Sharp's Doom Bar, Thwaite's Wainwright & Black Isle 20 Hours Of Daylight. Ciders were Westons' Rosie's Pig & Thistly Cross Whisky Cask. £4.85 a pint was quite expensive, compared with other Oxford hostelries and whilst a 20% CAMRA discount would have been welcomed, apparently two halves does not equal a pint. Not a bad option, if shopping and you have money to burn though,

13 Apr 2019 07:52

The Castle Tavern, Oxford

Hook Norton pub spread over a couple of floors not far from the High Street. There is actually more seating downstairs than on the ground floor. But, on this visit, it was quiet enough for everybody to fit upstairs. The 4 Hook Norton ales were Hooky, Hooky Gold, Old Hooky & Black Out. A guest ale was Glutenus Maximus from Brew York and there were a couple of Weston's ciders - Rosie's Pig & Hand Brake. I'd not seen the Black Out before and it was fairly good.

13 Apr 2019 07:45

The Grapes, Oxford

The Grapes is located on one of Oxford's main shopping streets. But, it is currently closed for a refurbishment. A peak through the door revealed some West Berkshire keg fonts. But, we continued and replaced the Grapes with a visit to the Teardrop "nanopub" in Oxford's Covered Market. Run by the Church Hanbrewery, I recommend this whilst the Grapes remains closed.

13 Apr 2019 07:42

The White Rabbit, Oxford

Trendy city centre pub that specialises in pizzas. The food did look quite tempting. But, the ale range also offers something for everyone. The choice was Animal Wasp, North Cotswold Shagweaver, Churchhan Mat Black & Shakespeare Othello. The young bar staff were friendly, but a bit too over-familiar in their greetings of customers, for my liking. Customers were a mix of young and old. This is clearly a good stop in Oxford, if you're looking for a different ale. Unfortunately, they do not stock a real cider though.

13 Apr 2019 07:38

The Rose and Crown PH, Oxford

A swift hop and a jump over North Parade Avenue from the Gardener's Arms will leave you at the entrance of the Rose & Crown, the better of the two pubs on this narrow street of shops and cafes. It has low ceilings, dark rooms and an outdoor drinking area at the rear. The 3 regular ales are Adnams Bitter, Hook Norton Old Hooky & Shotover Scholar. Shotover Trinity. Plenty of character in this old pub, that actually had a fire going (in mid-April). A CAMRA discount is offered too.

13 Apr 2019 07:33

The Gardeners Arms, Oxford

After leaving the Gardener's Arms in Plantation Road, our next stop in Oxford was the Gardener's Arms in North Parade Avenue. Just 6 minutes walk separates them. So, they're most likely to be the two closest Gardener's Arms in the country! This particular one is a Greene King pub run by a couple of longstanding owners. It genuinely feels like stepping into somebody's house and also a step back in time. The downside was that the ale range was limited. Greene King The Gardener's Arms Finest Ale was supplemented by Belhaven/Saltaire CCC & Thwaite's Wainwright. Not as good as the previous Gardener's Arms.

13 Apr 2019 07:29

The Gardener's Arms, Oxford

The Gardener's Arms was the first stop of a tour of Oxford pubs on Thursday afternoon/evening. It is a backstreet pub that has plenty of character and a decent selection of ales. Animal Salamander, Shakespeare The Bard's Best, Loddon Hoppit & Flying Monk Habit were on, alongside Weston's Rosie's Pig cider. Pumpclips line the walls, indicating a varied selection of ales and ciders. Vegetarian food is served.

13 Apr 2019 07:24

The White Hart, Headington

The White Hart was my second Everard's pub of the weekend, following the excellent Crown Inn in Beeston (Notts). The White Hart doesn't quite live up to the Crown. But, it does have a nice village location opposite a church and both pubs had far more guest ales than Everard's ales. Tiger was the only brewery beer. Guests were White Horse Village Idiot, Brunswick Railway Porter, Shardlow Reverend Eaton's & Purity Ubu. Unlike the other pubs I tried in this area of Oxford, they also had a couple of real ciders - Weston's Rosie's Pig & Thatcher's Cheddar Valley. There is a small bar at the front and a larger room at the side. Nicely decorated.

8 Apr 2019 20:07

The Butchers Arms, Headington

Upmarket backstreet Fuller's pub in the Oxford suburb of Headington. London Pride was supplemented by a couple of season ales from Fuller's called Day Dreamer & Due South. Only saw one of the aforementioned felines. But, it was certainly quite vocal. This seems to be a hangout for young trendy types, possibly students. Board games and laptops were the order of the day. Not bad for a Fuller's pub though.

8 Apr 2019 20:02

Masons Arms, Headington

Local CAMRA City pub of the year and I was here to watch a live football game. Who'd have guessed that Oxford were competing in the Boat Race. Luckily, there are 3 TVs showing sport. So, when the rowing fans amongst the locals ordered the football off, I could crowd into the far room with the majority. Locals did seem a fairly friendly bunch though and the ale range was good - Oakham JHB, Timothy Taylor Boltmaker, Rebellion Smuggler, Pitchfork Puxton Cross & Titanic Chocolate & Vanilla Stout. Such a shame I was driving, as the stout would have been consumed in much greater quantity. Unfortunately, they do not serve a real cider. I'd be surprised if there aren't better pubs in Oxford. But, a good pub nonetheless.

8 Apr 2019 19:47

The Prince Of Wales, Iffley

Iffley is a village-like setting on the outskirts of Oxford. The Prince of Wales has very much the feel of an upmarket village pub. Plenty of families were enjoying Sunday lunches. It's a Wadworth house and 4 of the real ales were their own - 6X, IPA, Swordfish & Bishop's Tipple. Greene King London Glory was a guest. Couldn't have a beer here as I was driving. I opted for a juice, which was an eye-watering £3.35. Maybe the food is cheap and they get you with the drinks. Either way, I'm not sure I could afford to drink here regularly.

8 Apr 2019 19:35

The Abingdon Arms, Beckley

Country pub in an idyllic Oxfordshire village. Although with the toilets currently being refurbished, the portaloos in the car park don't quite fit the image. The pub was popular with those eating Sunday lunches on my visit yesterday. The only guy not eating other than myself turned out to be the landlord. 4 ales are served. Yesterday, they had Shotover Prospect & Porter, Chadlington Oxford Pale Ale & Fuller's London Pride. The Porter was nice. More a gastropub than a village local. But, the food did look good.

8 Apr 2019 19:32

The Sir Charles Napier, Nottingham

Confirmed closed.

8 Apr 2019 19:03

The Forest Tavern, Nottingham

Last stop of the night in Nottingham was this pub/music venue. It's clearly meant for a late night crowd, with very little seating. In fact, I think it hadn't long opened on my arrival at 6:30pm. A band was setting up in the rear room, at which I took a little peep on the way to the gents toilets, where trying to have a pee was extremely difficult in the pitch black. But, maybe that's all part of the rockers experience. Ales were Imperial Classic Bitter & Babbi (described as a chocolate fudge brownie stout) & Castle Rock Screech Owl. The cider was Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. Not the worst pub I'd been to during the day by far.

8 Apr 2019 19:02

Hotel Deux, Sherwood Rise

Closed and replaced with a new build.

8 Apr 2019 18:53

Doctors Orders, Nottingham

Micropub on one of the main roads leading out of Nottingham to the north. It was fairly busy on my early Saturday evening visit. But, I managed to squeeze onto a small table without treading on a sleeping dog. Service is at the table. Ales are at the end of what I can only describe as a short skittles alley, or that's how it seemed to me after a few too many. Ales and ciders are listed on a blackboard. The micropub is owned by the Magpie Brewery. So, expect to see one of their ales and/or ciders. The choice on Saturday was Magpie Two For Joy Pale, Nobby's Goldings & Northampton Red, Revolutions Marquee & Deeply Vale DV8. Ciders were Three Saints Nice Boys, Blue Barrel Clifton Beauty, Magpie Coppice, Thirsty Farmer Mango & Scrumpy Wasp Amnesia. Another two ciders I hadn't seen before, which didn't help my drunken state. CAMRA discounts are offered on the ales, but not on ciders. Prompt service though and a nice drinking environment, typical of most micropubs.

8 Apr 2019 18:50

The Gladstone, Nottingham

Comfortable two-room backstreet local served by a central bar. It has a nice garden at the rear too. Six ales were on - Castle Rock Harvest Pale, Fuller's London Pride, Nottingham Extra Pale Ale, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Oakham Citra & Ruddles Best. The Extra Pale was ok, but not really my kind of beer. They were all fairly pale.

8 Apr 2019 18:43

The Chestnut Tree, Sherwood

This place was renamed the Fat Cat Sherwood. But, it is now closed and surrounded by fencing.

8 Apr 2019 18:36

The Lion, New Basford

I was probably in the Lion the same time as Ellisref. It's been almost 6 years since I was last in Basford and I enjoyed my visits to the Fox & Crown and the Horse & Groom. But, the Lion was on a different level. Service from the young lady was excellent. She was even happy to grant me a retrospective CAMRA discount on ordering a second half. It's 15p off per pint of ale or cider. The ale selection in itself was excellent - Castle Rock Harvest Pale, Bass, Pentrich Red Skies, Shiny Dr Dank, Blue Bee Triple Hop, Purity Longhorn IPA, Beartown Crème Brulee, Wilde Child Hedonistic Experience (described as a chocolate ganache stout), Beermats Charismatic, Magpie Belong To Earth & Bath Gem. But, my eyes were eventually drawn to a cider blackboard - Charnwood Dabinett, Bottle Kicking Cider Company Scrummage, Broadoak Purple Haze, Skidbrooke General Ludd, Heck's Porter's Perfection, Orchard Revival Putloe Pucker & Weston's Old Rosie. 4 ciders I'd never had before. So, I enjoyed a half of each. Staying inside, I managed to steer clear of any doggy doo. In fact, I spent a very pleasant hour or so here, leaving me well behind my planned schedule! Another great Nottingham pub.

8 Apr 2019 18:32

The Plough Inn, Radford

It was a bit of a trek to get to the Plough. But, this is the brewery tap for the Nottingham Brewery. As McRoyal states, it's a traditional local boozer with 2 bars. Everybody was crowded into the single room on my visit. But, it was reasonably quiet. The 4 Nottingham ales on offer were Extra Pale Ale, Legend, Rock Bitter & Rock Mild. There was also a guest - Red House, a ruby porter from Whim. The real cider was Broadoak Moonshine. Nice pub. But, difficult to reach on a crawl.

8 Apr 2019 18:23

The Johnson Arms, Nottingham

The Johnson Arms is situated next to the canal and very close to the local hospital and university. My first stop on the outskirts of Nottingham early on Saturday afternoon and I was the only customer in. The interior seemed nice enough. But, it was difficult to judge, given the lack of atmosphere. The 3 ales on when I arrived were Laine Breaker, St Austell Tribute & Nottingham Sooty Stout. But the landlord was busy pulling through Marston's Dr Johnson Pale Ale & Lincoln Green Strike. The cider was Thatcher's Cheddar Valley. It's location feels a bit out on a limb.

8 Apr 2019 18:18

Crown Inn, Beeston

Last of 4 pubs in Beeston on Saturday lunchtime and this was the best of the lot. I turned right on entry to find a tiny bar, with an even smaller snug. I had the two tiny rooms to myself. The only thing missing was somebody to serve me. There's a fine selection on the bar itself with Blue Monkey Infinity, Brewster's Hophead, Dancing Ducks Nice Weather For Ducks, Nottingham Rock Mild, Everard's Tiger & Sunchaser, Salopian Hop Twister, Full Mash Wheat Ear, Lenton Lane Citra Smash & Chequered Flag, Burton Bridge Bridge Bitter, Ashover Equanot & Abbeydale Doctor Morton's Clown Poison. But, outside there is a further bar with 7 further ales, all from Totally Brewed - 4 Hop Men Of The Apocalypse, Punch In The Face, Crazy Like A Fox, Amarillo, Papa Jangles Voodoo Stout, Slap In The Face & Ninja Shark. For cider drinkers, there was Worley's Mendip Hills, Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon, Broadoak Moonshine & Perry, Thatcher's Cheddar Valley & Lilley's Strawberry Cider & Cherries and Berries. There were at least 3 other atmospheric rooms and a large garden being enjoyed by a fair few. Apparently the outdoor bar only operates during the summer months. This pub is verging on a 10/10 for my rating. But, I'm very sparing where that's concerned and the slow service sways my decision for a 9/10. Great pub though.

8 Apr 2019 18:10

The Star Inn, Beeston

Situated opposite the Beeston tram and bus terminus, this is a multi-roomed pub with a good selection of ales and ciders. Totally Brewed Stargazer is the regular beer. Guests were Ringwood Razor Back, Dancing Duck Back Sack and Quack, Magpie Cherry Raven, Castle Rock Elsie Mo, Welbeck Abbey Red Feathers, Burton Bridge Golden Delicious, Whim Flower Power & Theakston XB. Ciders were Lilley's Mango, Thatcher's Stan's Big Apple & Cheddar Valley & Blue Barrels Smokin' Barrels. Pizzas looked very nice and the interior is very tidy, with a number of different drinking areas to suit tastes. Another good Beeston pub.

8 Apr 2019 18:02

The Malt Shovel, Beeston

Second stop on a short crawl of Beeston was the Malt Shovel. I was in late morning and shortly before I left, a few were coming in for food. Compared with other Beeston pubs, this was fairly unremarkable. The 4 real ales weren't really to my liking - Oakham Citra, Pentrich Soma, Lenton Lane Bluebird & Shipstone's IPA. It was the only pub I visited in the town not to stock a real cider.

8 Apr 2019 17:56

The Victoria Hotel, Beeston

The Victoria is open from 10:30 every day except Sunday. So, it was my first stop in Beeston on Saturday morning. As the previous reviewer says, it is right next to the station and it is a fine Victorian building. I chose to sit in the smaller public bar, with one other customer. We were soon joined by a third. A total of 12 ales were on - Castle Rock Harvest Pale, Fuller's London Pride, Full Mash Séance, Holden's Golden Glow, Bateman's XXXB, Kirkstall Pale Ale, Abbeydale Deception, Blue Monkey Junior Ape, Salopian Hop Twister, Dancing Duck Back Sack and Quack, Brewster's Aromatic Porter & Prospect Cascade Blonde. They also had a cider - Gwynt y Ddraig Fiery Fox and a perry - Lilley's Bee Sting. I had both dark beers, which were in good condition. Plenty of old breweriana lines the walls and the barmaid was clearly knowledgeable about beer. I thought my day was going to go downhill from here. But, far from it.

8 Apr 2019 17:48

The Ugly Duckling (Harvester), Tatling End

I was back here for a roast dinner yesterday almost 8 years since my last visit. Not much has changed. Although the 2 ales are Pride & Doom Bar. The carpet is much more worn and what felt like a fairly clean place on my last visit was much dirtier this time. Gents had to wade through a flooded floor in the gents, whilst trying to avoid the inconveniently placed wet floor sign. Food was the usual good value. But, this place has gone downhill.

1 Apr 2019 21:31

J J Moons, Ruislip Manor

Visited here yesterday to see how the current Wetherspoon's beer festival is going. This is probably one of the best branches of 'Spoon's that you will find. Every beer from their festival had been present, either at the bar or on stillage from the courtyard of the rear. Some of the casks had already sold out. I won't list all of the ales, as there were simply too many to mention. All 3 of the festival ciders were also on. Staff were friendly and the place was as busy as always with a wide mix of people.

1 Apr 2019 21:28

The Pembury Tavern, Hackney

After a visit to the Cock Tavern, our final port of call for the day, following a trip to the London Stadium, was the Pembury. Since I was last here, the pub has been taken over by the Five Points Brewery. I don't believe Milton are represented in the capital anymore. Five Points Pale, Brick Field Brown & Railway Porter were on, along with Timothy Taylor Landlord & Siren Yulu. The real cider was Haywood Farm Cornish Cider. The interior has been altered slightly. But, it was just as busy as ever late on a Saturday evening and they still serve pizzas. The Pembury seems none the worse for the takeover. Still a solid 8/10 from me.

31 Mar 2019 15:06

The Crown, Greenwich

The Crown is situated on the main road into Greenwich from the east. It has a nice, dark interior. The pizzas cooked in a wood-fired oven at the rear looked nice and they certainly smelt very nice. On the ale front, the range was ok, without being too inspiring. I went for the Crown Ale (Ringwood Boondoggle), whilst there was also St Austell Proper Job, Adnams Bitter & Twickenham Naked Ladies. Sadly, there is no real cider. For a far better ale and cider range, head further away from Greenwich to the River Ale House (not listed on here), which was easily my favourite new pub of the day.

31 Mar 2019 14:55

The Vanbrugh, Greenwich

The Vanbrugh is situated alongside the railway line and not too far from Maze Hill station. There are 3 changing ales. Yesterday, these were Brockley Red Ale & Sauvin IPA & Anspach & Hobday The Enigma Code IPA. Prices were on the steep side. There is a bar area at the front, with a couple of TVs that were showing live Premier League football. Beyond that, there is a further seating area, adjacent to a dining room. But, most people were taking advantage of some warm temperatures in the inviting rear garden.

31 Mar 2019 14:49

The Oakhill Tavern, Beckenham

The Chancery was the most upmarket of the 5 pubs I tried in Beckenham. One room is set up for dining and a family were taking advantage. There is a function room upstairs and an outdoor seating area at the front, overlooking a busy road. 3 real ales were on - Hooky Gold, Wherry & Coaster.

31 Mar 2019 14:44

The Jolly Woodman, Beckenham

After 3 swift halves in other Beckenham pubs, I arrived at the Jolly Woodman to find people queuing up outside just after midday. Luckily, they opened not long after I arrived. The pub is situated along what appears to be a mews street and it has the feel of a country pub. Even the toilets are outdoors at the rear. The ale range comprised of national ales - Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter & Sharp's Doom Bar were supplemented by 3 Yorkshire ales - Timothy Taylor Landlord & Knowle Spring & Black Sheep Best Bitter. A pub designed for conversation, with a basic interior and an outdoor drinking area at the rear. Bar snacks are served. My favourite Beckenham pub.

31 Mar 2019 14:40

The Coach and Horses, Beckenham

I didn't notice the aforementioned ceiling in this particular pub and it certainly wasn't very crowded on my Saturday morning visit. I was the only customer. It's a fairly small pub hidden away up a side street and away from the hustle and bustle of the High Street. The landlady seemed friendly. Just two real ales were on - Fuller's London Pride & Otter Springfest. The latter was hoppy, but fine considering I'm not a fan of hoppy beers. Sky Sports was being shown on the TV. A pub I hadn't originally planned to visit. But, not a bad one at all.

31 Mar 2019 14:35

The Goose, Beckenham

My second stop along Beckenham High Street was this fairly characterless, but large pub. There are multiple handpulls, all with Doom Bar. I opted for a fizzy cider. The windows are good for people watching, whilst there is at least one pool table further back. Probably worth walking on by this one.

31 Mar 2019 14:29

The Bricklayers Arms, Beckenham

The Bricklayers is the only current Good Beer Guide entry in Beckenham and supposedly being open at 11 on a Saturday seemed like a reasonable starting point for a few pubs in the town. In reality, the barmaid didn't arrive to open up until 10 past the hour, leaving a queue outside. The main feature inside is a large Spiderman above one of the tables. There is also a courtyard area to the side, which a couple of youngsters elected to use. I chose to sit under the large superhero. The ale range was fairly uninspiring. St Austell Tribute & Proper Job & Young's Special are served, alongside a guest, which was Shepherd Neame Spitfire. However, this appears to be the only pub in Beckenham serving a real cider - Rosie's Pig. Whilst CAMRA members receive a discount off ale, the same does not apply to the cider. BT Sports matches are shown. But, they don't appear to have Sky.

31 Mar 2019 14:26

The Keelman, Newburn

After a visit to the excellent Wig's Place in High Spen (not listed on here), our penultimate stop was the Keelman. This is the brewery tap for the Big Lamp brewery, housed in the middle of nowhere in a former pumping station. There were 4 ales, all from Big Lamp - Keelman Brown, Sunny Daze, Bitter & Prince Bishop's Ale. The Keelman Brown was ok, without being anything special. The place has a nice open interior, set over two floors. It's a nice setting, with the feel of a country home. Moved on from here to the Wylam Brewery in Newcastle, which is also missing from the site.

25 Mar 2019 21:07

The White Lad, Hebburn

This used to be called Dougie's Tavern and was then re-named White Lead. It's name has now reverted to Dougie's Tavern and it has recently re-opened. There is one large bar area and an equally large family/dining area, overlooking the garden with children's play equipment. It was busy on our visit and I hadn't even expected it to be open. Ales were Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold & Dirty Tackle & Dorset Brewing Company Blarney. The ales were being sold at £2.50 a pint, which suggests that they are not currently too popular.

25 Mar 2019 20:58

The Ben Lomond, Jarrow

Greene King pub that only serves IPA & Abbot. It's a corner pub that is difficult to spot at the moment, due to scaffolding. We sat in a galleried area, where I was hit by some kind of toy dropped from a christening party on the upper floor. Nice building, but bog-standard pub. On the other hand, I recommend the nearby Jarrow Gin & Ale House. It's not listed on here, but was easily the best pub in the Jarrow area.

25 Mar 2019 20:52

Robin Hood, Jarrow

I believe this place re-opened as the Robin. But, it's closed again currently.

25 Mar 2019 20:46

Lakeside Inn, Gateshead

The Lakeside was our second stop of the day after the One Eyed Stag in Whickham, near to where we had stayed the night. I have requested for that to be added to the site. But, the Lakeside was poor. It's a typical family mass dining establishment, which caters more for diners than drinkers. Doom Bar is the solitary real ale. The place was packed out and they were turning many people away as they could not cope. Moved on from here to the Greyhound, which is not listed on here and is not worth adding.

25 Mar 2019 20:44

The Red Lion, Newbrough

For other pubs in the area, there is also the Black Bull at Matfen, the Bowes Hotel at Bardon Mill, the Barrasford Arms, the Bird In Bush at Elsdon and the Swinburne Arms at Stamfordham. I'll request for them all to be added.

25 Mar 2019 20:24

The Red Lion, Newbrough

Very few of the rural pubs in this part of Northumberland appear to be listed on BITE. The Red Lion is a lovely country pub with a main bar and a separate dining area. There were plenty of locals and their dogs. Two real ales were from Twice Brewed - Gallia & Sycamore Gap. I had the Gallia, which was not really my type of beer. A nice place for a cosy pint though.

25 Mar 2019 20:22

The Office, Morpeth

This is easily the best pub in Morpeth, in my opinion. In fact, it was my favourite pub of 19 visited in the North East this weekend. It seems like a busy little micropub with plenty of ales and ciders and a knowledgeable barman. Ales were Almasty Session, Small World Secret & Thunderbridge Stout, Rigg & Furrow Owl Porter & Run Hop Run, Cullercoats Shuggy Boat Blonde, Credence Revolving Session Pale & Two By Two Session IPA. Ciders dispensed from a fridge opposite the bar were Thistly Cross Whisky Cask, Jaggy Thistle, Traditional & Ginger, Lilley's Elderflower & Gwynt y Ddraig Dog Dancer, Fiery Fox & Haymaker. Friendly customers and bar staff all seem happy to chat. Excellent little pub.

25 Mar 2019 20:14

The Electrical Wizard, Morpeth

This is a fairly poor Wetherspoon's establishment. It was very busy on our Saturday afternoon visit. But, tables were dirty with empty glasses all around. The ale selection was comparatively poor too - Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharp's Doom Bar & Firebrick Blaydon Brick & Stella Spark. Unfortunately, they don't stock a real cider. Although, the staff did say that if I came back the following week, they had a festival on. Unfortunately, it's a long way from London to pay another visit.

25 Mar 2019 20:06

Black Bull, Morpeth

Back in Morpeth after a gap of almost 6 years, my first calling point in the town was the Black Bull. It doesn't look much from the street. But, it goes a fair way back, with an outdoor patio area at the rear. There were just a couple of real ales from Anarchy - Blonde Star & Smash. But, there were also a couple of Weston's ciders - Old Rosie & Flat Tyre. Not too bad. But, there are better pubs in the town.

25 Mar 2019 20:01

The Masons Arms, Amble

Saturday was my first ever visit to Amble. After a walk around the town and also the nearby town of Warkworth, we arrived at the Masons Arms shortly after opening. It is the Brewery Tap for Credence Brewery. Two of their ales were on cask - Blonde & Revolving Session Pale. There were other Credence ales in bottles. Guests were Rigg & Furrow Run Hop Run & Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold. We were the only customers during our visit to the pub, which has two rooms. There is a traditional bar and another room with a pool table in the centre. I think there was a further room the other side of the bar. On the outskirts of town. But, appears to be a community local.

25 Mar 2019 19:48

The Three Kings, Twickenham

The Three Kings was my final stop of the night in Twickenham, before heading to an old favourite (the Sussex Arms). Of the 5 new places I'd visited, this was the best. The interior of this corner pub was cosy and a quiz was in full progress. Fuller's London Pride is the regular ale. Guests were Purity Pure Gold & Twickenham Naked Ladies. None of these were really my kind of beers. But, the Pure Gold was in good condition.

25 Mar 2019 19:38

The Twickenham Tup, Twickenham

After a visit to the Twickenham Club (not listed on BITE), my next stop was this Greene King pub, which is now called the Royal Oak. If you're thinking of coming here, don't! Greene King IPA was the solitary real ale. You get a 10% discount, if you're a CAMRA member. But £2.75 for a half of Greene King with a discount seemed very steep to me. That would make it £6.10 a pint. On querying it, the barmaid double checked and confirmed £2.75 was the correct amount. Although, she did state that Twickenham is quite an expensive place to drink! Given I'd paid £1.90 for a half in my previous establishment, this seemed hard to believe. My suspicion was that she pressed the Punk IPA button on the till. But either way, this is to be avoided due to exorbitant prices or incompetent bar staff.

25 Mar 2019 19:32

The Bear, Twickenham

Pretty poor bar on Twickenham's main drag. It no longer serves real ale, leaving the multiple handpulls looking forlorn. It was fairly quiet on our Thursday evening visit. We were greeted by the barman, who wanted to inform us that the kitchen was closed and that food was unavailable. No harm done, as we only wanted a drink anyway. Aspall's Cider was my choice, of a pretty poor keg only selection.

25 Mar 2019 19:13

The Albany, Twickenham

The Albany was my first stop on a Thursday night crawl of a few spots I hadn't been to previously in Twickenham. It's a Shepherd Neame pub next to the railway line and handy for the station. I only ventured as far as the bar at the front. But, there are seemingly other rooms. The two Shepherd Neame beers are Spitfire & Whitstable Pale Ale. There is a guest ale too. This was Wimbledon Pitbull on my visit. Unremarkable pub that will presumably do a good trade due to its proximity to the station.

25 Mar 2019 19:10

The Oak Tree, Hillingdon

Now a convenience store that looks very run down.

18 Mar 2019 21:19

The Wheatsheaf, Northampton

The Wheatsheaf is hidden away next to an old village church in the Dallington area of Northampton. It was my final stop in the county and it was just recovering from the exciting finish to the Six Nations rugby match. A few locals had clearly had a few, whilst a band was setting up in one corner. Service was slow, with barmaids more interested in sorting out TV channels and serving those who they knew or those who shouted loudest. But, I did eventually get served. It's an Everard's pub that was serving their Original, alongside Beermats Diplomat. Weston's Rosie's Pig was the cider. Lively place in a lovely location.

18 Mar 2019 21:18

Sun Inn, Northampton

After a visit to the very quiet Olde Red Lion in the same village, my next stop the Sun Inn was much busier. Locals were all watching the Six Nations rugby and it was standing room only. There had been plenty of seating in the Olde Red Lion with the same match on. St Austell Tribute is a regular ale. Greene King IPA & Abbot were also available. A dining room area was much quieter, with no TV. Neither pub in the village particularly inspired me.

18 Mar 2019 21:14

The New Inn, Buckby Wharf

Canalside Marston's pub on the A5. A few were in, mostly for drinks, some possibly for food. Marston's Pedigree & EPA & Brakspear Oxford Gold were the 3 real ales. Probably more of a summer pub and not really suited to a blustery March day.

18 Mar 2019 21:08

The Old Kings Head, Long Buckby

I had high hopes for this pub. It was good, but not quite as good as I'd hoped. There are a number of different rooms. Service was friendly and efficient. The barman (possibly the owner) was knowledgeable. 3 Everard's ales on were Beacon, Tiger & Session IPA. Beermats Diplomat & Shardlow Reverend Eaton were the guests. Weston's Family Reserve was the real cider. A 10% discount is offered to CAMRA members on both halves and pints. Six Nations Rugby was just starting on the TV.

18 Mar 2019 21:04

The Hare, Loddington

Next stop on my Northamptonshire crawl was the Hare at Loddington. A pub that is seemingly popular with locals and their dogs. A few younger guys at the bar had clearly already been imbibing a few too many. Morland Old Speckled Hen & Sharp's Doom Bar are the regular ales. But, there were also a couple of guests from Church End - Goat's Milk & Brewer's Truth. They also had Saxby's Strawberry Cider, which was very pleasant. A solid 6/10. Moved on from here to the Chequers at Ravensthorpe (not listed on BITE).

18 Mar 2019 20:55

Red Lion, Broughton

I suspect this place has gone downhill a little. It took a while to get served, with bar staff more pre-occupied with stacking the shelves with glasses than actually filling them. Two real ales from Nobby's were on - Mosaic & Plum Porter. Sadly, I was driving and saving myself for later pubs. But, in hindsight, I should have tried the Plum Porter. There seemed to be a lot of cars on the car park here. But, I'm not sure where all of the other customers were. A TV was playing a music channel and one end of the pub has a pool table. Nice building. But, a little disappointing overall.

18 Mar 2019 20:50

The White Horse, Old

The White Horse was my favourite pub of the day in Northamptonshire on Saturday. It's a village local with friendly staff. The interior is nice and modern. Ales on were Cotleigh Night Owl, Marston's Saddle Tank & Langton Inclined Plane. 3 real ciders from Bad Boy were also on - Original, Apple & Blackberry & Cherry. I had the latter, which was a new cider for me. Not an exceptional pub, by any means. But, I'd be very happy to have it as my local.

18 Mar 2019 20:46

The Coach and Horses, Brixworth

The Coach & Horses is one of two or three pubs in the village of Brixworth. But, it was the only one I tried. Set on a hill, there are two rooms at differing levels. There were a group of drinkers in one room and a group of diners having lunch in the other. Hobgoblin & Wainwright were the two real ales. A third handpull had a Pedigree clip turned round. Staff seemed pleasant. Average place.

18 Mar 2019 20:40

The White Hart Hotel, Hampton Wick

Our final stop of the night was the White Hart. This is a very impressive building opposite Kingston Bridge. The interior didn't quite live up to expectations. But service was friendly and unlike other places, they were happy to serve us with a bite to eat, despite it being after 9pm. Being a Fuller's pub, the ale range was a little limited. London Pride & Swing Low were accompanied by Dark Star Hophead. The food we had was tasty and well presented. Certainly the better of the two pubs we tried in Hampton Wick.

13 Mar 2019 20:24

Foresters, Hampton Wick

I had high hopes for this pub, given it's the only one in this area in the current Good Beer Guide. The interior is certainly different, with a dark and fairly bohemian theme. Food was popular. But, despite advertising that they serve food until 11pm, they weren't willing to accommodate us at 8:45pm. Caledonian Deuchars IPA & Fuller's London Pride are the regular ales. The guest last night was Wimbledon Pitbull, which I had. We also ordered a half of Leffe. The response was that they only serve it in 2/3 pints, as its so strong. I'm not sure the logic of buying more than you want to drink because the beer is too strong. But, at £4.45 for a 2/3, I think I get the real reason why this policy is in place. All in all, a bit of a disappointment.

13 Mar 2019 20:20

The Lion, Teddington

The Lion can be found in the backstreets between Teddington and Hampton Wick. There are drinking areas all around the central bar, which dispenses Doom Bar, Naked Ladies & Shere Drop. It was surprisingly busy for a Tuesday night, given its out of the way location. Food appeared to be fairly popular. The interior is fairly bright. But, it makes for a nice space for drinking or dining. One of the better pubs we tried in the area.

13 Mar 2019 20:14

The Tide End Cottage, Teddington

The Tide End Cottage can be found next to the river in Teddington. It was very quiet on a cold Tuesday evening. But, I believe it gets much busier during the warmer months. Greene King IPA & Abbot were accompanied by Dorking Pilcrow Pale & Reunion Tiger Hill. There are a number of different drinking areas in the pub, with seemingly a fair amount of space devoted to standing. There's plenty of wood and it's fairly dark. Ok, but as with all other Teddington pubs, it's nothing special.

13 Mar 2019 20:09

The Kings Head, Teddington

Gastropub on Teddington's High Street. The front room has the closest feel to a pub. There appears to be a larger dining area to the rear. We found a seat in a quieter area to the side of the bar. You can still eat in the bar area and food looked good. As for the real ales, there were Landlord, London Pride, Doom Bar & Atlantic. Has a fairly exclusive feel in all. But, drinkers still appear to be welcomed.

13 Mar 2019 20:05

The Clock House, Teddington

Another fairly average Teddington pub with some fairly standard beers - Fuller's London Pride, Young's Bitter, Sharp's Doom Bar & Atlantic & Twickenham Naked Ladies. There is a central bar with seating all round. An outside patio area was also in use, despite it being a fairly cold evening yesterday.

13 Mar 2019 20:00

The Teddington Arms, Teddington

My Tuesday evening visit here was a fairly quiet affair. There were a handful of youngsters at one end of the bar and a couple of other tables were occupied elsewhere. The Teddington Arms had the best selection of ales of all the pubs I visited on the night - Greene King IPA & Yardbird, Sambrook's Scrumdown & Dorset Brewing Company Flanker & Jurassic. The Scrumdown was a ruby ale. But, it was the darkest beer I managed to find all evening. There was no real cider. The interior of this pub has an impressive ceiling. But, otherwise it lacks too much character.

13 Mar 2019 19:55

The Builders Arms, Teddington

Backstreet community pub that has a cosy feel. I arrived as a big horse race was taking place. Most were watching it on their mobile phones. Food had been supplied. But, that may have been a part of some kind of function. Young's Bitter & St Austell Tribute were the two real ales. My Tribute was reasonably priced. There's a better selection of ales in other Teddington hostelries. But, this place clearly has a niche market.

13 Mar 2019 19:45

The Bodega, Newcastle

The Bodega was supposed to be our last pub of the day before the train home yesterday. But, with the train cancelled, we also managed to fit the Newcastle Tap in (not listed on here). The Bodega is always popular immediately after a football match and yesterday was no exception. Ales were Fyne Ales Jarl & Blunder, Big Lamp Prince Bishop, Almasty Creation & Citra IPA, Brass Castle Bad Kitty & Cliffhanger & Bristol Beer Factory Beam Me Up. Although it was almost impossible to select a beer on first arrival, due to the crowds around the bar. Luckily, it started to thin out a little and my choice (the Bad Kitty) was confirmed to be correct, as I'm always a fan of darker beers. Six Nations ruby was on the TVs. Still a decent boozer. But, I couldn't see any real cider on this visit.

10 Mar 2019 15:23

Crown Posada, Newcastle

After a visit to Colonel Porter's Emporium just up the street, I made a return visit to the Crown Posada. The pub has not changed at all. It still has the same historic interior and it still has a good ale selection - Allendale Pennine Pale, Hadrian Border Black Gate & Tyneside Blonde are the regular beers. Guests were McColl's Black Forest Stout, Two By Two Simcoe Citra Loralee & Citra Ekuanot Mosaic IPA. A vinyl record player is still used. Good Newcastle hostelry.

10 Mar 2019 15:16

The Split Chimp, Newcastle

Still the best of Newcastle's micropubs, in my opinion. My previous visit had been on a weekday evening. But, this time I was there on a Saturday lunchtime. It was much busier. The barman was knowledgeable about the beers and ciders. The house ale is Errant Clever Chimp. Guests were Errant It's OK I'm A Limo Driver, North Riding Mocha Porter, Crafty Monkey Telegraph & Beerblefish Pan-Galactic Pale. Ciders and perries were Farmer Jim's Rhubarb Bob, Down Side Perry, Newton Court Panting Partridge & Hunt's Bull Walloper. Whilst I ordered a cider and a perry, I did try the Mocha Porter, which was excellent. My favourite pub of the day on this visit to Newcastle.

10 Mar 2019 15:10

Box Social, Newcastle upon Tyne

Our first stop of the day on a return visit to Newcastle yesterday was Box Social. It's been over 2 years since my last visit here and not much appears to have changed. Two Box Social ales on cask were Hybrid Theory & New Trumpet, Joe? Two guests were Taylor Illingworth Beam Mill & Brass Castle Misfit. The Taylor Illingworth beer was replaced by Cloudwater Stout whilst we were there. There's a selection of 7 or 8 craft beers on tap and they also had Thistly Cross Whisky Cask. A good place to combine with Beer Street next door, which was our second stop.

10 Mar 2019 15:05

The Akenside Traders, Newcastle

After a quick trip across the High Bridge to the Station East (disappointing) and By The River Brew Company (expensive but good), I finished my night at this Quayside pub that I had passed by a number of times previously. Just 2 ales were on - Sharp's Doom Bar & Tyne Bank Coco Rouge Noir, a coconut and raspberry porter. The latter was quite pleasant. Live 20/20 cricket was on the TVs. It's clearly a popular place for sports fanatics. A nice place. But, there's plenty of other great pubs in this area.

6 Mar 2019 20:44

The Victoria Comet, Newcastle

After being refused entry here by an arrogant doorman on my last attempt to visit, I returned on a quiet Tuesday evening to a much better welcome. The Victoria Comet used to be an O'Neill's. But, it's now run by Nicholson's and it has a good number of real ales - St Austell Nicholson's Pale Ale, Great Yorkshire Turtle Pale, Ilkley Joshua Jane, Hadrian Border Tyneside Blonde, Leeds Pale, Brew York X-Panda & Rudgate Jorvik. My only concern was that there was a lack of dark beers. The Joshua Jane was the darkest. But, it still wasn't my type of beer. I also noticed Thistly Cross Whisky Cask, which I would have had, had I not drunk one two pubs earlier in the evening. The interior was cosy, with a number of different drinking areas and plenty of TVs showing the Tottenham European game. This isn't a bad choice for a last drink before catching the train, assuming there are no incompetent bouncers. If there are, try the Newcastle Tap or the Head of Steam. Avoid the Waiting Rooms at all cost - my worst pub of the night, with questionable beer dispensing techniques. An alternative locally is to head to Forth Street, where there are a couple of micropubs in the railway arches - Beer Street & Box Social. A bit further along is a further micropub, the Split Chimp.

6 Mar 2019 20:37

Keel Row Lloyds No 1, Newcastle

I really struggled to find this branch of Wetherspoon's. It's located in a shopping centre, next to Chinatown. I think I managed a full tour of the outside of the building, before eventually finding it. The interior is a typical open-plan rectangle. It was very busy, with few spare tables on a Tuesday night. It was even more difficult to find a table without dirty plates and glasses. The ale and cider choice was however better than I'd expected - Greene King Abbot & Ruddles Best, Sharp's Doom Bar, Tyne Bank Silver Dollar, Brains Bread of Heaven, Otter Bright, Weston's Old Rosie & Thistly Cross Whisky Cask. My pint of Thistly Cross went down quite nicely.

6 Mar 2019 20:24

Northumberland Arms, Newcastle

The Northumberland Arms is now called the Purple Bear. It bills itself as a smokehouse. I decided to try some of the food, which was disappointing. It did have a couple of real ales, though - Greene King Paws For Thought & Great North Eastern Rivet Catcher. I was also pleased to find Weston's Rosie's Pig. Being a cellar bar, there's little light. But, the interior is done out quite nicely. Not a bad pub. But, I wouldn't return for the food.

6 Mar 2019 20:19

Pacific Bar Cafe, Newcastle

Second stop on a midweek stroll around Newcastle pubs was the Pacific House (first stop was the Town Mouse Ale House, not listed on here). It has a couple of floors, with plenty of drinking space. I'd planned to eat here. But, it didn't look too inspiring. So, I gave it a miss. Just 2 real ales were on - Stu Brew Bald Eagle & Mordue Millenium Bridge. I had the Bald Eagle. In comparison with some of the beers I had later, it wasn't a bad drop. I was expecting real cider in here. But, unfortunately they no longer stock it. A touch disappointing.

6 Mar 2019 20:15

Urban Tap House, Cardiff

The Tiny Rebel was our final stop in Cardiff on Wednesday afternoon before heading to the station. We had high hopes and had saved it until last. But, to be honest, I was very disappointed. The décor is very shabby chic and works quite well. But, what disappointed me most was the ale selection. Tiny Rebel beers were Hank, Dutty, Juicy & Lush. Guests were Pomona Island APA, Hop Shed Frizzle & Bristol Beer Factory Independence & Boca 45. There was not a dark beer in sight. With lots of cans and bottles in the fridges, the only dark beer was a £7 imperial stout, which I decided was too extravagant for the journey home. Ciders were Tiny Rebel Protaropia & Snail's Bank Orchard Dry. Nice staff and nice drinking environment. But, I agree with previous reviewers that the City Arms, just across the alley, is the better option.

1 Mar 2019 22:27

The Hopbunker, Cardiff

I had high hopes for the Hopbunker. But, it was not as good as I'd anticipated. We left the sunny Cardiff streets to descend into a fairly cold and dark cellar bar. There was one other customer, who soon left. The barman seemed a bit miserable. The music selection did not help. I cannot fault the ale cider selection though. Cask ales were Grey Trees Caradog's Bitter, Hopcraft Temple Of Love, Mate Spawn and Die & We Come In Peace, Imperial Classical Bitter & Babbitt Chocolate Fudge Brownie Stout, Pixie Spring Galaxy & Prince Of Bengal IPA, Wye Valley Samurai, Abbeydale Voyager IPA & Bullmastiff Son Of A Bitch. Some handpulls were unclipped too, pointing to the fact that they often serve more when busier. There was a good selection of craft beers and ciders were Hallett's PX, Orchard Pig Navel Gazer, Apple County Yarlington Mill, Gwynt y Ddraig Dog Dancer, Welsh Warrior, Farmhouse Pyder, Dabinett & Two Trees Perry, Thatcher's Stan's Big Apple, Weston's Flat Tyre, Hand Brake & Rusted Wheel, Artisan Ciders Talking Horse, Llanblethian Orchards Breakwell's Seedling, Mole's Black Rat Cider & Snail's Bank Fruit Bat. I certainly can't argue with the drinks selection in this place. For that, it warrants an 8/10. But, the atmosphere is lacking.

1 Mar 2019 22:21

The Borough Arms, Cardiff

Old fashioned Brain's pub on the city's main shopping street. It has a long, thin interior, with a similarly long bar. Brain's Bitter & The Rev James were the 2 ales. A fair few blokes were in on Wednesday morning. But, the only women were the barmaids. We soon continued around the corner into Church Street for the newly-opened Head Of Steam and a craft beer bar called Beelzebubs with Crafty Devil beers. I'll ask for them both to be added.

1 Mar 2019 22:04

The Queens Vaults, Cardiff

Spacious city centre traditional pub that was our first visit on Wednesday morning. It was open at 10am and there were already a handful in, mostly older than us. But, there were a couple of kids too. 3 pool tables are at one end and there are many references to Welsh rugby. Sky Sports News was on one of the TVs. Others showed other channels. Ales were Box Steam Soul Train & Sin Bin, Brew Monster Leviathan IPA, Greene King IPA, Mumbles Red Dragon & Glamorgan Cwrw Gorslas. Ciders were Snail's Bank Spiced Rum, Gwynt y Ddraig Ancient Warrior & Celtic Warrior & Artisan Ciders Talking House Elderflower. There's plenty of good pubs in Cardiff city centre. But, this is one of them.

1 Mar 2019 21:59

The City Arms, Cardiff

Our final stop on Tuesday night in Cardiff after the micropub St Canna's Alehouse in Canton (a request to be added has been submitted) was what I still believe to be Cardiff's best pub - the City Arms. It was quieter than on our last visit. But, the ale range was still good. Brain's Bitter, SA, Rev James & Dark were on one side. On the other were guests - Weird Beard Five O'Clock Shadow, The Brew Foundation Pop, Milestone Welsh Dragons, Orkney Corncrake Ale, Turning Point Lucid Dream Cookie Cream Stout & Northern Monk Festive Star Spiced Mocha Porter. Ciders were Mole's Black Rat Cider, Colcombe House Willie Gunn, Gwynt y Ddraig Welsh Warrior & Snail's Bank Raspberry Ripple & Fruit Bat. The pub still has a nice atmosphere and staff know their beers.

1 Mar 2019 21:50

The Lansdowne Hotel, Canton

After visits to Crwys & Andrew Buchan in Roath (neither listed on here) and then a trip to the football ground, we moved to one of the closest decent pubs to the ground - the Lansdowne. There was a live singer in one room. We retreated to the other room. The pub was quieter than we had expected. Ales were Mantle Dark Heart, Brotherhood DDH, Cotleigh Dutch Courage & Wye Valley Butty Bach. The real cider was Lilley's Sunset. A good option if in the Canton area.

1 Mar 2019 21:32

The Pen and Wig, Cardiff

After a visit to the Flute & Tankard (not listed on here, but I've requested it to be added), our next stop was the Pen & Wig. Getting closer to the university area, there were a few students in and is was quite busy for late on a Tuesday afternoon. The interior was quite spacious. Ales were Bragdy Twt Lol Glo In The Dark & Cymryd y Pyst, Rhymney Golden Ale, Tenby Harbour Gatland's Lawm Gower Up 'n' Under & Bristol Beer Factory All Things Equal. The cider was Hallett's PX and the perry was from Ty Gwyn. Another decent Cardiff pub.

1 Mar 2019 21:10

The Traders Tavern, Cardiff

The Traders Tavern looks like a bit of a dump from the outside and is not much better inside. It has a dingy and grubby feel. Nevertheless, it is a good place to try Bullmastiff ales. They had Son Of A Bitch & Top Dog Pale Ale on for our visit. Pleasingly for me, they had a couple of Gwynt y Ddraig ciders - Dabinett & Welsh Warrior. A bit too basic for my liking though.

1 Mar 2019 20:57

The Cambrian Tap, Cardiff

The Cambrian Tap was our first stop on a midweek trip to the Welsh capital city. It was the nearest decent pub to the Central station I hadn't previously tried. Whilst it's a Brain's pub, it does have a good selection of craft beers and also real ciders. There were 2 Brain's Beers on cask - Dark & Ale Wyn. Guests were Timothy Taylor Landlord, Salopian Minds Eye & Gloucester Cascade. Ciders were Abrahall's Slack Alice, Broadoak KB, Mr Whitehead's Cirrus Minor, Dorset Nectar Sweet Maiden & Snail's Bank Rhubarb Cider. The interior is fairly small and narrow. But, there is lots of wood and it is traditional in character. I would certainly pay a repeat visit.

1 Mar 2019 20:53

The Greyfriar, Reading

Whilst changing trains at Reading, I decided to give this place another try after a bad experience a couple of years ago. On a quiet Tuesday afternoon, I can report that service was much better. The ale range is still good - Hogs Back TEA & England's Glory, Siren Yulu, Wild Weather Full Of Beans Chocolate & Coconut Coffee Stout, Tiny Rebel Dirty, Vale Red Kite & Hammerpot Red Hunter. There was also a good range of craft beers. But, they have stopped serving cider. A far better experience than last time.

1 Mar 2019 20:44

Shinner and Sudtone, Sutton

My final pub of the day and completing a hat-trick of Antic pubs was this one on Sutton's High Street. It was fairly quiet on my Sunday evening visit. But, finally I had located another real cider. Only the Gidea Park Micropub with its 20 real ciders stocked any cider at all in my previous 8 pubs. So, Lilley's Merry Monkey was well received. Volden Session Ale was accompanied by By The Horns Transatlantic Cowboy & Anarchy Strait Jacket. I've yet to find a really decent pub in Sutton. This is certainly amongst the best 5 in the town.

1 Mar 2019 20:36

Pratts and Payne, Streatham

Another half decent Antic pub, in what seemed to be a dodgy area of Streatham. There were lots of sirens everywhere and plenty of strange characters hanging around in the streets. But, inside was far more civilised and the barman was friendly. The bar has one large single room, with a kitchen at the rear. Toilets are upstairs. But, the barman said I should use the ground floor disabled toilet. Maybe he sensed, I was a little jaded, as it was my 8th pub of the day across the capital. As with my previous stop, the Balham Bowls Club, the permanent ale is their own Volden Session Ale. Two guests were from By The Horns - Arrows Of Desire & Transatlantic Cowboy. I opted for the latter and was disappointed. But, I wouldn't rule it out after just one visit. Another solid 6/10.

1 Mar 2019 20:31

Balham Bowls Club, Balham

This place is now an Antic pub. It was first of 3 Antic pubs in South West London I visited on Sunday evening. It is tucked away on a side street near Balham mainline station and Balham tube. The layout is certainly intriguing with a large entrance room and a few other large rooms, all with interesting decoration. One guy was playing the piano (not very well) in the main bar area. Volden Session Ale appears to be always on. Guests were Twickenham Winter Star & Grandstand & Saltaire Blonde. Probably the nicest of the 3 Antic pubs I tried, from an aesthetic point of view.

1 Mar 2019 20:25

The Roundhouse, Battersea

Gastropub on a corner of Wandsworth Common, a short walk from Clapham Junction station. There was an upmarket crowd with a few dogs. Wandle was the only real ale. A bit of a disappointment, in all. Apparently I came here 8½ years ago, as I reviewed it on here. But, I don't recall it. Downgrading my rating to a 4/10.

1 Mar 2019 20:18

The Sir Colin Campbell, Kilburn

I'd not been to any pubs in Kilburn before. So, the Sir Colin Campbell was a first. There are rooms either side of a central bar. It is nicely decorated with plenty of wood. There are 3 handpulls in each bar. But, the solitary real ale was Siren Under Current. Apparently, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Wild Beer Millionaire had just gone off. Not a bad place. Just a shame, there was only one ale on and that it wasn't really my type of beer.

1 Mar 2019 20:14

Chequers, Walthamstow

Busy pub on Walthamstow High Street. It's slightly on the upmarket side. Sunday lunches were being served on my mid-afternoon visit. Some were watching the League Cup football final. Ales are from London breweries - Southwark Amber Ale & Routemaster, Enefeld London Porter & Truman's Blindside. Not a bad choice in Walthamstow. But, there are better pubs in the area.

1 Mar 2019 20:08

Jono's, Ilford

Irish pub close to the station. It was very busy on my Sunday afternoon. Many were in watching the Ireland Six Nations game, whilst some were watching a Premier League game. There are multiple TVs for sports viewing. Staff and customers were friendly. The ales are Harvest Pale & Tribute. I'm surprised this place has had a couple of years in the last two Good Beer Guides. But, it was not a patch on my previous stop (the Gidea Park Micropub) and was also inferior to my subsequent stop (the Northcote Arms in Leytonstone). I will request for both of those to be added.

1 Mar 2019 19:55

The Victoria, Watford

Of the 4 Oxhey pubs we tried in the vicinity of Bushey station, I thought the Victoria was the worst. It has two rooms and served only Young's Bitter, which I didn't particularly fancy. After a long day of drinking, we ended up on wine and spirits! Finished our day in the nearby Railway Arms, a Greene King pub not listed on here.

10 Feb 2019 12:05

The Rifle Volunteer, Watford

Former Courage house on a backstreet with a couple of pubs. Courage Best is still served here. The guest ale was Twickenham Grandstand Bitter. This was another busy pub in this area. Locals were watching the cricket from the West Indies. The interior is fairly plain and in all honesty, I much preferred the Villiers Arms further along the street. It is not listed on here. So I will request it to be added.

10 Feb 2019 11:59

The Red Lion, Bushey

The Red Lion is a fairly large pub on Bushey's High Street. It had the Six Nations rugby on TV screens and it seems to cater for both drinkers and diners. Fuller's London Pride & Sharp's Doom Bar are the two regular ales. Guests were Brentwood Legacy, Windsor & Eton Last Drop & Tring Citra Session. I opted for the Last Drop, which wasn't that good. But, my drinking companions went for the Citra, which they were clearly enjoying. I read in the local CAMA magazine that the pub is under threat of closure.

10 Feb 2019 11:40

The Swan, Bushey

Nice and cosy backstreet pub in Bushey which was fairly busy on our Saturday evening visit. There is just one single, small room. But, it was somehow managing to show both live football and rugby without detracting from the atmosphere of a traditional pub. The clientele and the barmaid were all friendly. 4 ales are served - Young's Bitter, Greene King Abbot, Black Sheep Best Bitter & Timothy Taylor Landlord. We sample three of them. My preference was the Black Sheep. I quite liked this place.

10 Feb 2019 11:36

Tudor Arms, Watford

Greene King pub at a set of traffic lights. Only IPA & Abbot were available. The interior was light and airy and the football was being shown on a TV. Service was fairly incompetent though. The barmaid seemed to be getting stressed and didn't have a clue what she was doing. Requests to top up drinks were accepted, but just met with more froth. The Punk IPA seemed to be causing particular problems. They do offer a CAMRA discount though. We didn't stay long, preferring instead to head to a main destination - the nearby Watling Street Brewery Tap, our favourite pub of the day, but not listed on here.

10 Feb 2019 11:28

The Wishing Well, Watford

Irish-themed chain bar serving Doom Bar only on cask. It was busier than other pubs we tried on the St Albans Road. But, quite a few were in to watch the live football, which was showing on quite a few screens. Not one I'd particularly recommend.

10 Feb 2019 11:24

The Champions Bar, Watford

Continuing our stroll along St Albans Road, we reached the Prince George, which now bills itself as a Smokehouse. Seemingly geared more towards food than drink, we were greeted by the small pub dog. Staff were fairly friendly. But, there was only one solitary real ale - Fuller's Swing Low. Although, Tring Side Pocket For A Toad was being pulled through. Ok, but nothing special.

10 Feb 2019 11:20

The White Lion, Watford

First stop in Watford yesterday morning was the White Lion. I agree with the previous review. Although, the Woodforde's Wherry appeared to be on better form. There were also a couple of guest ales - Fuller's London Pride & Tring Moongazing. I had the latter, which was acceptable. The site of staff chopping up carrots and potatoes in the bar was a little strange. But, it was fairly friendly and we were offered some complimentary sandwiches. A reasonable option near Watford Junction station.

10 Feb 2019 11:16

Cross Keys, Stubshaw Cross

The Cross Keys appears to have been knocked down for modern housing. I went to the Caledonian Hotel in nearby Ashton instead. It's not listed on here and I won't bother requesting it to be added, as it was another disappointment.

8 Feb 2019 21:51

The Royal Oak, Worsley

Apologies. Just remembered that it was Holt's Bitter, not Lee's.

8 Feb 2019 21:50

The Royal Oak, Worsley

Penultimate pub for me on an early Wednesday evening crawl was the Royal Oak. It is another local pub that does not open until 4pm. So, I was doing a bit of travelling back and forth along the East Lancs Road. The Royal Oak is in the current Good Beer Guide. But, to be perfectly honest, it surprises me. With a selection of Lee's Bitter or Sharp's Doom Bar, I was not very spoilt for choice. The Lee's was in good form though. There are a couple of rooms. Both seem to have strange lighting. The gents toilets didn't have any lights. But, I think my aim was good. Nice noodle place opposite.

8 Feb 2019 21:49

Hare and Hounds, Billinge

Back in Billinge and following a visit to the Bispham Hall Recreation Club (not listed on here), my final pub in the town was the Hare & Hounds. I had to leave this until last as it doesn't open until 4pm on weekdays (2pm at weekends). There are two rooms. The one on the left as you enter from the street was the slightly larger of the two. The central bar serves both rooms. 3 ales were Wainwright, Bombardier & White Witch. The landlady was chatty and she was interested to know what I was doing in the area! They probably don't get too many strangers though. Nice pub. But, a shame that the demand for real ale is not better.

8 Feb 2019 21:45

Railway Hotel, Ashton in Makerfield

Genuine locals' pub very close to Garswood station. There were a handful of gents around the bar, with a further 2 rooms that were empty. The barmaid was humorous. 3 ales were on - Sharp's Doom Bar, St Austell Tribute & Laine's Breaker.

8 Feb 2019 21:38

The Masons Arms, Wigan

The Masons Arms was my favourite pub of the day. It's only competition was the Wetherspoon's in Walkden. The ale range may not be as good. But for this area, it was still well above average - Harvest Pale, Hophead, Dizzy Blonde, Tribute & Cumberland Ale. There were also a couple of ciders - Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig. The pub has a real cosy feel. It's similar to a country pub. Locals were friendly and chatty, with attention drawn to the pub's coal fire. Recommended, but well out of the centre of Billinge.

8 Feb 2019 21:35

The Billinge Arms, Billinge

More of a bar than a pub, I arrived here to find just one other group in on a Wednesday afternoon. They were just finishing off their lunch. This looks more like an evening establishment. They do have a real ale - Doom Bar. But, I decided not to bother with that. The décor was good. So, I assume it has been refurbished since the first review. Possibly better than I had expected. But I arrived with very low expectations. 3/10.

8 Feb 2019 21:32

The Holts Arms, Wigan

After a visit to the Queen Anne in Golborne, my third pub in this area was the Holts Arms. It's a Marston's pub on the outskirts of Billinge. But, I was the only customer on my early Wednesday afternoon visit. But whilst there, somebody else did come in just in time for lunch. Ales were all from the Marston's range - Jenning's Cumberland Ale, Young's London Gold, Banks's Sunbeam & Marston's 61 Deep. Most tables were reserved for diners in the evening, showing where the pubs priority lies. It does however open all day, apart from Monday, when it is closed altogether.

8 Feb 2019 21:28

The Bulls Head, Walkden

This branch of Wetherspoon's was my first stop on a 10 pub crawl of Greater Manchester. Say what you want about Spoon's. But, the ale choice was easier the best I found during the day - Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Coach House Innkeeper's Special Reserve & Cheshire Gold, Milk Street Funky Monkey & Banks's Young Henry's Stayer. In addition, there were 3 ciders - Weston's Old Rosie, Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon & Rich's Legbender. They also had Broadoak Perry. A few were in for lunch. But, there was plenty of available seating. The one thing that still marks Wetherspoon's down is the atmosphere. They tend to be one single noisy drinking hall. This is one of those that lacks character. Still a good option in this area.

8 Feb 2019 21:20

The Black Bull, Brigg

My final Brigg pub was the Black Bull. It is another pub in the town that has stopped serving real ale. The keg choice was Carling, Worthington's Creamflow, John Smith's, Strongbow, Stongbow Dark Fruit, Fosters, Coors Light, Grolsch, Stella Artois & Guinness. They offer drinks promotions and there are lots of TVs for sports viewing. It was busy on Sunday evening. Not quite sure what the damp patch was on the seat next to me. But, I made a conscious decision to keep away! Another disappointment.

8 Feb 2019 21:13

The Yarborough Hunt, Brigg

The Yarborough Hunt was my favourite pub in Brigg. It was also one of the busier establishments. There are a number of different small rooms. I counted at least 5. Cask ales were Lincolnshire Craft Beers Bomber County & Lincoln Gold, Charnwood Old School, Purity Pure Gold & Ringwood Razor Back. The real cider was Weston's Old Rosie. In addition, there was a good selection of craft beers on keg. Probably my favourite pub of the day in Lincolnshire.

8 Feb 2019 21:10

The White Hart, Brigg

Another Brigg pub that is currently closed. This one only appears to closed for a refurbishment though.

8 Feb 2019 21:06

The Nelthorpe Arms, Brigg

The Nelthorpe Arms is no more. It is now a private residence.

8 Feb 2019 21:05

Lord Nelson, Brigg

The Lord Nelson was a much better pub than I had anticipated. It's now owned and run by the Old Mill Brewery. 2 of their ales were on - Black Jack & Traditional Best. There are two large and comfortable rooms. But, apart from a small family party being held in one room, there were very few inn.

8 Feb 2019 21:04

The Dying Gladiator Inn, Brigg

Lively town local with live football on the TV. Customers were on the young side. There was a general lack of seating. No real ales on. The keg range was Guinness, Carling, San Miguel, Worthington's Creamflow, John Smith's Extra Smooth, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruit & Coors Light. A nice old building. But, otherwise poor.

8 Feb 2019 21:02

The White Horse Inn, Brigg

Wetherspoon's branch, which is one of the better pubs in this town. Situated at the eastern edge of town, it has a large, single room with a number of booths. As usual, Greene King Abbot & Ruddles Best are on. Guests were Sharp's Doom Bar, Acorn Old Moor Porter, Acorn Cashmere IPA & Brewster's Rutterkin. The cider was Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon.

8 Feb 2019 20:59

Jolly Miller, Wrawby

With the Black Horse now closed, the Jolly Miller is the only remaining pub in Wrawby. It's a simple enough place attracting the locals and their dogs. Ales were Greene King IPA & Fireside & Blue Monkey Funky Gibbon. My Fireside was good.

8 Feb 2019 20:54

Nags Head, Keelby

Two bar pub dispensing Greene King IPA & Abbot. A handful of locals seemed surprised that some strangers had ventured in. But, the welcome from the bar staff was warm. There is a handpull clipped with Weston's Old Rosie cider. But sadly, it was only available in bottles. At 7.3% and with me driving, I decided against having it. Nicely appointed. Again, I'm surprised that nobody has reviewed this pub before. In fact, none of the next 4 pubs we visited are listed on the site yet. I'll request for the Station Inn at Habrough, the Yarborough Arms at Ulceby Skitter, the Thornton Hunt Inn at Thornton Curtis and the Haven Inn at Barrow Haven to be added to the site.

8 Feb 2019 20:36

The Ship Inn, Barnoldby le Beck

The Ship was our first pub of 12 in Lincolnshire last Sunday. We arrived with Sunday lunch servings in full swing. The clientele were predominantly elderly. But, there were families too. It offered friendly service and a cosy carpeted interior. Black Sheep Best Bitter is the regular ale. But, they also had a couple of guests in Bateman's XB & Axholme Cleethorpes Pale. Seems a bit isolated. I'm still surprised that nobody has reviewed it before. Nice place.

8 Feb 2019 20:31

The Playhouse, Norwich

My final stop of the night in Norwich was this bar inside the Playhouse Theatre, which is clearly very popular with students. The interior is a simple rectangular shape. But, there are plenty of oddities to admire. There didn't appear to be anything on in the theatre itself. But, this place was still packed. 4 ales were on - Adnams Bitter, Wild Craft Wild Ride, Three Blind Mice Lonely Shake & Oakham Southern Cross. The beers were all pale. I went for the Wild Ride. But, it wasn't really my cup of tea. Very different from other Norwich pubs/bars I had visited during the evening. Each to their own.

7 Feb 2019 22:20

The Woolpack, Norwich

With it approaching 11pm on my Saturday evening trip around a few Norwich pubs, my penultimate stop was the Woolpack Yard. The landlord was about to close up when I arrived, as the pub was empty. Nevertheless, he was happy to serve me and I enjoyed a half of Blimey! Brewing Company Thirteen and good conversation. I also managed to stay out of a brief, but heavy snowstorm. Other ales were Three Blind Mice Juice Rocket & Casual Philip & Lacon's Infinity. It's a shame this pub was empty.

7 Feb 2019 22:15

The Plasterers Arms, Norwich

I thought I'd been to the best pubs that Norwich had to offer. But on Saturday night, I stumbled into the Plasterers Arms and found one of the best in this city with a great selection. Of 16 pubs I tried in Norfolk on this day, the Plasterers was the best. There is one L-shaped bar and another small snug behind the bar. But, you can pack quite a few in. Cask ales were All Day Stag Beetle, Totally Brewed Slap In The Face, Ampersand Sickle & Torpor, Three Blind Mice Casual Philip, Wylam Galatia, East London Brewery Night Watchman, Tapstone Opium Wars, Truman's Beer Nouveua (an 8.3% barley wine) & Roll Out The Barrel & Adnams Mosaic. I went for the Torpor, a 7% Baltic Porter. Very nice it was too. Although, prices are steep here. The real cider was Gwynt y Ddraig Ancient Warrior. Craft beers included 6 from Tool, including a 10.8% Imperial Stout and Damn Dead Gooseberry from Wild Weather. I dread to think what these were priced at. Definitely a place I want to return to. A firm 9/10 from me.

7 Feb 2019 22:11

The Leopard, Norwich

The Leopard was another new Norwich pub for me on this visit to the city. This corner pub has a bit of a sparse feel to it, with a lack of furniture. But, it is bright and colourful and has a good spread of real ales - Colchester Brazilian, Nene Valley Pulping On Your Stereo, Moon Gazer Hawkley Frolic & White Rose Ice Maiden. They also had Snail's Bank Fruit Bat cider. The customers and owner seemed a friendly bunch. In most towns, this would be the best pub. In Norwich, there are a few better ones. But, if you're doing a crawl, I'd definitely recommend it.

7 Feb 2019 22:04

The Cottage Freehouse, Norwich

I see I was the last person to put a review on for this place. Well, I finally got back to Norwich last weekend after a gap of just over 3 years. This time, the Cottage was open. It is owned by the Grain Brewery. There is a Bohemian feel inside that you wouldn't expect, judging by the exterior. Bar staff and other customers were friendly. Cask ales all come from Grain - Best Bitter, Winter IPA, Red Rye, Slate, Lignum Mitre & Tindalls Winter. There are more beers dispensed from keg taps on the back wall of the bar. I opted for the Slate in cask form, which was a good choice. Upgrading my score to a 7/10.

7 Feb 2019 22:00

The Jubilee, Norwich

The Jubilee is located in a Norwich backstreet. It is a corner pub close to the railway station, but a bit of a hike uphill. Given its location, I was surprised to see it really busy on Saturday evening. But, it's clearly got a good local reputation. There are a number of rooms and an outdoor area too. Ales were Woodforde's Wherry & Reed Lighter, Northern Powerhouse Porter, Manning Gingerbread Man & Music Man, Framework Fox Paw, Hopback Summer Lightning & Beartown Bluebeary. Ciders were Snail's Bank Mango Cider & Rhubarb Cider & Abrahall's Slack Alice & Thundering Molly. The Porter was nice. So many decent pubs in this city and the Jubilee is one of them.

7 Feb 2019 21:55

The Rosary Tavern, Norwich

The conversion to flats has been completed.

7 Feb 2019 21:51

The Cellar House, Eaton

The Cellar House is tucked away in the western suburb of Eaton. It is relatively close to the university. Predominantly a foodie pub, it did have 5 real ales - Adnams Bitter, Mosaic & Ghost Ship, Purity Ubu & Sharp's Sea Fury. We ate here too. I found the food reasonable, without being too wowed. Staff were friendly and professional.

7 Feb 2019 21:49

The Rose, Norwich

The Rose is a music venue/real ale pub in the southern part of the city. We visited early on a Saturday evening. There were a handful of people in. But, I was really impressed by the beer and cider selection. The 5 ales were Three Blind Mice Sweet Jesus, Thornbridge Rocky Road Lucaria, Sarah Hughes Dark Riby Mild, Clouded Minds 99 Steps, Nene Valley Manhattan Project. In addition, there were 6 ciders - Snail's Bank Elderflower Gin & Tonic, Thistly Cross Whisky Cask, Lilley's Cheeky Pig, Seacider Bakewell Tart, Gwatkin No Bull & Broadoak Moonshine. A number of musical instruments line the walls and there is a bar billiards table at the rear. Lacked a huge amount of atmosphere when we visited. But, the drinks selection more than made up for that.

7 Feb 2019 21:45

White Horse, Trowse

The White Horse is situated in a small village, just outside of Norwich. First impressions boded well. But, ultimately I was disappointed. A family friendly pub, a few locals were in watching the Ireland v England Six Nations game. Surroundings were nice enough. But, the ale range was a little disappointing - Adnams Bitter & Mosaic & Timothy Taylor Landlord. Ok, but nothing special.

7 Feb 2019 21:40

King's Head, Brooke

The King's Head is on the main road through Brooke. Of the two pubs in the village, it was the worst. The ale selections was Adnams Bitter & Greene King IPA. You'll get a far better selection in the White Lion, which I will request to be added. Nevertheless, I agree with the previous viewer - the King's Head does seem to aim for the higher end of the market and probably attracts much more passing trade.

7 Feb 2019 21:35

Queens Head, Bungay

The Queen's Head in Earsham is another great Norfolk village pub. It has a very traditional feel inside, with a flagstone floor. Locals congregate at the bar and some of their language left a bit to be desired. But, the barman was friendly and knowledgeable. They had a decent selection of beers too - Lightweight is brewed on the premises, where the Waveney Brewery operates. Guests were Sonnet 43 The Salty Squirrel, Bad Seed Dragon Water & Titanic Cherry Dark. Ciders were Abrahall's Thundering Molly & Lilley's Apples & Pears. Bottles from the local Ampersand Brewery are also sold. My favourite rural pub of the day. I hope to get back here at some point.

7 Feb 2019 21:30

The Bell, Wortwell

We arrived at this place to find an empty pub. But, by the time we left, it was much busier. A few had arrived to watch the rugby. I was impressed by the ale and cider range. Purity Pure Gold was accompanied by Adnams Bitter, Exmoor Ale & Exmoor Ram. Ciders were Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig from Weston's and perries were Lilley's Bee Sting & Abrahall's Cracklin' Rosie. There were some nice bar snacks and we ended up playing a garden Connect Four game, that was sat next to the bar. Has a slightly upmarket feel. But, it's clearly a village favourite too. Good pub.

7 Feb 2019 21:25

The Duke William, Harleston

This pub looks as if it has been closed for quite a while. It now appears to be a private dwelling. Harleston is a nice small town. Unfortunately, we didn't get to try any of its other pubs.

7 Feb 2019 21:19

The Red Lion, Needham

Another friendly Norfolk local. There are plenty of tables in different drinking areas in this pub. Only 4 others were in - 2 couples and a guy sat at the bar. The couples had been eating. But all seemed happy to engage in conversation. There was a nice open fire for what was a cold day. The two ales were Earl Soham Victoria Bitter & Morland Original. Lilley's Rhubarb Cider was on a pump.

7 Feb 2019 21:17

The Kings Head, Brockdish

This pub appears to a great community local. It has a café attached to the rear. Service was friendly and they had a wide drinks range, including an excellent gin selection. The regular ale is Adnams Bitter. Guests were Norfolk Brewhouse Fred's Check, Wolf Granny Wouldn't Like It & Calvors Suffolk Graduate. Whilst we were there, Calvors Smooth Hoperator was also pulled through. Surroundings are cosy. I'd be happy to have this pub as my local.

7 Feb 2019 21:13

The Horseshoes, Billingford

This pub's website states that it opens at 11:30 Monday-Saturday. But, we arrived shortly before midday last Saturday to find it still locked up. The landlord did soon come to the door to let us in. I suspect the opening times have changed, without the website being updated, as locals soon started arriving for a drink shortly after midday. Drinkers congregated around the bar, whilst a couple of groups arrived for food. Adnams Bitter can be found here. They also had a guest ale - Rare Gold from Elmstree. Not the friendliest of places. But, the waitress seemed ok.

7 Feb 2019 21:08

Wetherspoons, Leeds

With 30 minutes spare between trains in Leeds this morning, we elected to search out this Wetherspoon's branch in the station itself. It's tucked away next to a number of fast food outlets. You can also access it from the station's taxi rank. There is an alfresco drinking area overlooking said rank. Service was efficient and a screen shows train departure times. Ales were Greene King IPA & Abbot, Sharp's Doom Bar, Leeds Pale, Best & Mutiny, Goddard's Wight Squirrel, Ilkley Ruby Jane & Cairngorm Black Gold. The cider was Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. I chose the Mutiny, which was billed as a coconut stout. But the coconut taste was only very faint. Decent choice when changing trains. But, if in Leeds for a longer period of time, it is best to venture further afield.

30 Jan 2019 20:39

The Slubbers Arms, Huddersfield

With time for one pub for a post-match drink, we headed to the Slubbers Arms in the Hillhouse area of the town. This is very much a locals' pub, with a mature clientele. But, despite being away fans, we were welcomed. The main bar is cosy and the smaller snug similarly so, albeit much colder. The ale selection was Timothy Taylor Landlord & Boltmaker, Slater's 1 Hop, Stockport Jester, 3 Piers Mild & Fell Motueka Chinook. I opted for the mild, which was in good form. Recommended if in this part of town.

30 Jan 2019 20:34

The Vulcan, Huddersfield

Last stop in Huddersfield before a football game in the town, was the Vulcan. Being fairly close to the stadium, it was heaving with a predominantly football crowd. It was difficult to judge the pub. But, one comment I had was that all of the ales were on the pale side - Elland White Prussian & Marley's Ghost, Copper Dragon Golden Pippin & Westgate English Pale & Classic Blonde. We found a little room to stand near a pool table next to the entrance. But space was certainly at a premium. Would like to visit again when much quieter. But, seemed a pub that was only slightly above average in a town with many great pubs.

30 Jan 2019 20:29

The Albert Hotel, Huddersfield

The Albert has some nice traditional features. But, unfortunately the positives stop there. The two handpulls look rather forlorn, with real ale no longer available. The keg selection was Carling, Coors Light, John Smith's, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruits, Grolsch, Worthington's Creamflow & Guinness. Very disappointing.

30 Jan 2019 20:23

The Grove Inn, Huddersfield

The Grove has a snazzy new sign. But little has changed inside. We sat in a different bar to my last visit. If you turn left as you enter, you will find a full list of the pub's beer selection. Yesterday, it was Oakham Citra, JHB & Green Devil, Thornbridge Brother Rabbit & Sequoia, Marble American Amber, Hawkshead Five Hop, Mallinson's Oblivious, Northern Monk Strannik Eton Mess, Kirkstall Pale & Solitude, Okell's MPA, Moor Amoor, Campervan Leith Juice, Cloudwater AW18 Red Ale, Bristol Beer Factory Kazbek City Shuffle, Fallen Big Raspberry Dog Chew Chew & Pomona Island Simcoe & Mosaic. There only appeared to be the solitary real cider this time. It was La Cantina Strawberry Fields. I really do like this pub. There is a lot of competition for real ale pubs in this fabulous town. But, I think this trumps the others.

30 Jan 2019 20:20

The Corner, Huddersfield

I have a feeling that our party was in Huddersfield for exactly the same reason as the previous reviewer. We also had great difficulty finding this place and we were assisted by a stranger in the street. But what a fabulous find this place is. It's an upstairs bar, with a separate function room on another floor. Being the brewery tap for Mallinson's, their Wappy Nick appears to be the regular ale. But, on this occasion, the guests were from other breweries - Blue Bee Archimedes' Principle, Nightjar Cosmonaut, Beatniks Republic Beach Bum, Pomona Island Session IPA & Blackjack Poker Face. Ciders were Pure North Ginger Tom & Valley Zest, Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon, Udders Orchard Luddite & Tutt's Lane Redstreak. Food is also served. We nearly indulged. But, the Grove was calling...

30 Jan 2019 20:11

The King's Head, Huddersfield

The King's Head is the better of the two pubs at the train station, in my opinion. A very basic interior. But, a great place for the real ale and cider drinker. Yesterday's selection was Bradfield Farmer's Blonde, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Golden Best, Magic Rock Ringmaster & Hat Trick, Vocation Pride & Joy, Moorhouse's Vanilla Stout. Ilkley Ruby Jane, Goose Eye Chinook & North Riding Mosaic Pale. The cider was Broadoak Draught and the perry was Abrahall's Cracklin' Rosie. Without a doubt one of Huddersfield's best pubs.

30 Jan 2019 20:04

The Head of Steam, Huddersfield

Our first stop in Huddersfield yesterday was a return visit to this chain pub at the station itself. Ales on were Timothy Taylor Boltmaker, Titanic Plum Porter, Cameron's 3 Kings, Road Crew, Strongarm & Sanctuary, Sonnet 43 Abolition & Aurora, Merrie City Merrie Christmas & Small World Long Moor Pale. I could only see a single real cider, which was Orchard Pig The Hogfather. But I didn't have too close an inspection of the fridges. The much more limited range may well be due to the time of year. Otherwise, very little has changed since my last visit. Cameron's Ahopolypse Now was poured through whilst we were here. But my Strongarm was on the turn.

30 Jan 2019 20:00

Millers, Caledonian Road

Millers had a slightly more down-to-earth feel than the nearby Fellow. At £4 a pint, it was much more friendly on the pocket. This pub was also busier, with quite a few people ordering breakfasts. The pub seems to have an Irish theme to it. Service wasn't the quickest, as the barman was making coffees and delivering breakfasts to tables. The selection was also fairly bog standard - Pride, Doom Bar & Deuchars. I had the Deuchars, which was better than expected.

30 Jan 2019 19:53

The Fellow, Camden

With a little time to kill near King's Cross yesterday morning, I headed to this corner gastropub, a stone's throw from the station. It has a nice interior, with a square shape room. The majority of tables are set out for diners. But, 3 ales are dispensed. Young's Bitter is the staple. Guests were Purity Ubu & Hook Norton Old Hooky. I went for the Old Hooky, which was fine. But at £5 a pint, you may choose elsewhere to have a session.

30 Jan 2019 19:50

The Cranbrook, Deptford

This place has re-opened as the Brookmill. It's conveniently located a few minutes walk from St John's mainline station, where I headed home from. It was quite appropriate that I finished off at this place, as it is the sister pub of the Great North Wood in West Norwood, where my South East London crawl had commenced much earlier in the day. This is now a trendy gastropub with a fairly young-middle age crowd. It was quite dark inside and there were a number of different drinking areas. Ales are all from South London brewers - Wimbledon XXK, Twickenham Winter Warmer & Sambrook's Wandle. Unlike their sister pub, they don't appear to offer a CAMRA discount. Neither do they sell a real cider. The Great North Wood was the better of the two. But this was a nice enough place, with tempting-looking food.

27 Jan 2019 16:36

The Taproom, Woolwich

It's not obvious how to reach this bar, as much of this are is under construction. I seemed to take a bit of a detour around the back of the Dial Arch to get to it. But it's directly opposite the Woolwich Market bus stops. In truth, I was disappointed with this place, which is now branded as Taproom SE18. They only had one cask ale - Burning Sky Plateau. Most of the craft beers were from Hop Stuff themselves. But, only the stout stood out for me. There were also 2 from Villages and 1 from Moor. I opted for the Pavement Press English Cider, which was a new one for me. But I'd have preferred a real cider. Considering I came to Woolwich to visit this place especially, it was a major disappointment.

27 Jan 2019 16:30

The Elephant and Castle, Elephant and Castle

The Elephant & Castle is one of those places I've passed many times. But, it's never looked appealing enough for me to try it out. But, with it now in the Good Beer Guide, I made a point of visiting here yesterday before catching the bus to the football at Millwall. The pub has been re-opened by Antic. Volden Session & Winter, Reunion IPA & Midnight Runner & Adnams Old Ale were the 5 ales. This was one of the better places on my South East London crawl yesterday and I'm sure it's a big improvement on its previous in incarnation.

27 Jan 2019 16:24

The Half Moon, Herne HIll

Fuller's have indeed re-opened the Half Moon and it was very busy when I visited late on Saturday afternoon yesterday. The interior is very traditional with the main room separated into two distinct areas, in addition to a small snug and a dining room. All seating was taken. So, I was forced to stand at the bar. London Pride is the regular beer. But they also had Gale's Seafarers & HSB & Dark Star Hophead. A pub with plenty of character. But in all honesty, it was nothing special and there are better places to drink in Herne Hill.

27 Jan 2019 16:18

The Orchard, Shirley

It doesn't seem particularly easy to find real ale in this neck of the woods. The Orchard certainly didn't offer any. The keg choice was Carling, San Miguel, Aspall's Harry Sparrow, Craft Styles Ice Breaker, Estrella Dam, Fosters & Guinness. The pool table has pride of place in the centre of this pub, which is located in the middle of a housing estate. Probably the worst pub of the day that I visited.

27 Jan 2019 16:13

The Sandrock Hotel, Shirley

Corner pub that is currently closed. The furniture has been removed and most of the bar appears to have been stripped. There's no sign of it re-opening.

27 Jan 2019 16:10

The Cricketers, Croydon

The Cricketers now has different owners. It was probably the time of day I visited (early afternoon). But, the atmosphere felt a bit lifeless. The choice of real ale here is now restricted to Sharp's Doom Bar & Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter. A CAMRA discount is offered. But apparently this will be stopped at the end of the month, as local CAMRA members are not supporting the pub. I can't say I'm surprised, given the poor choice. FA Cup football was being shown on a couple of TVs and I had a large choice of seating. Another disappointment.

27 Jan 2019 16:07

The Oval Tavern, Croydon

I thought I'd stumbled upon a crèche when I walked through the front door of this pub, letting the cat inside in the process. There were more kids than adults and they were occupying all tables, apart from one other couple. Apparently Saturday afternoons host storytime for children. But, I think there was actually a party going on. The ale choice was fairly poor, with 3 mainstream beers - Trooper, Rev James & Proper Job. In addition, there was no real cider. The pub cat made him/herself at home on a cushion at the end of the bar, in spite of a lot of noise. I supped up quickly before visiting the toilets downstairs. The garden is also downstairs and does look quite inviting. Disappointing.

27 Jan 2019 16:01

The Builders Arms, Croydon

Backstreet Fuller's pub with a large lounge on the left as you enter and a public bar to the right. Staff seemed friendly. London Pride, ESB & Oliver's Island are the 3 ales. In addition, there was a guest. This was Dark Star Partridge. I was the only customer in the lounge. But there were a couple more in the lounge. Cosy place. But, I'm not a big fan of Fuller's pubs.

27 Jan 2019 15:55

The Claret Free House, Addiscombe

This small bar is now called the Claret & Ale. It's no longer related to the Claret Wine Bar in Cheam. But it's a very handy place to know about if you're passing by on the tram. I got here before opening. But I got chatting to the owner, who was outside smoking a cigarette. We spoke a bit about Cheam and also the local pubs in Addiscombe and Croydon. The barman was also friendly. Unusually for London, there were 3 ales from Palmer's - IPA, 200 & Tally Ho! Guests were Peerless Oatmeal Stout, Hammerpot Australian Pale & Signal Sticky Hoppy Pudding. Ciders were Weston's Rosie's Pig & Raspberry Roller & Thatcher's Cheddar Valley. A board displays what is on and what is coming next. The bar also has a couple of TVs for live football, rugby and selected other sports. Despite opting for the stout, this was only one of two pubs I tried in South East London that stocked real cider. So, all credit for that. Definitely a decent bar and my favourite of the day.

27 Jan 2019 15:49

Norwood Hotel, West Norwood

Gastropub next to West Norwood station. It opens at 10:30 at weekends for breakfast. So it made for a handy starting point for a tour around 10 pubs in South East London yesterday morning. One of the first things you notice as you walk in is a departure board for the station. This proved quite handy, especially when I decided to stop for a second half. Ales were Sambrook's Wandle & Truman's Arctic Ale & Lazarus. I later spotted a real cider - Ascension Shimmy. The Arctic Ale was £1.91 for a half with a CAMRA discount. The Shimmy was £2.60 for a half. I didn't dare ask for a discount the second time, as the barman hadn't got a clue how to pour a cider from a bag in the box and he certainly couldn't find it on the till. A couple managed to beat me through the door. They looked like they were there for breakfast. But they were drinking too. The resident cat sounded like it was waiting for breakfast too. A decent start to my day.

27 Jan 2019 15:39

The Butchers Hook, Southampton

WIth Bar Marina closed, our first port of call in Bitterne yesterday lunchtime ended up being this micropub. Apparently this was Southampton's first. There was a warm welcome and a decent beer list to welcome us too. Cask beers were Red Cat Prowler, Vibrant Forest Kick Start, Dark Revolution Sonic & Salopian Hop Twister. Craft beers were Magic Rock Bravado, Ska Modus Manderina, Brew By Numbers 05/33 Chinook & Mosaic, Unity Automne & Dark Revolution Velveteen. The cider was from Sandford Orchards. I believe it was Devon Red. Has a nice drinking environment with a number of tables set out in rows. There is no bar as such and the toilet is quite well hidden next to the bar. Has a good mix of customers too.

20 Jan 2019 14:32

O'Neills, Reading

With just time for a quick one whilst changing trains in Reading, I headed to a pub I hadn't been to before. O'Neill's was one of the few open yesterday morning. There were a couple of other customers. The TVs already had football channels on, in readiness for the day's viewing. London Pride was the solitary ale. More of a sports bar than a pub. Cosy place inside and I'm sure it serves a purpose. But not for me.

20 Jan 2019 14:25

The Northumberland Arms, Goodge Street

This place is now called the Queen Charlotte and is part of the Draft House chain of pubs. It was my last stop in Central London before heading out of town to the Sambrook's Brewery Tap Room in Battersea (not listed on the site). The Queen Charlotte is a small corner pub with limited seating. There are 3 handpulls for cask ales and a larger selection of craft beers. Only 2 of the handpulls were clipped - Weird Beard Black Perle & Siren Yulu were the options. It's quite dark inside and it has a fairly trendy feel to it. A decent last pub of the evening in the centre.

18 Jan 2019 22:15

The Marlborough Arms, Tottenham Court Road

After a first visit to the excellent Temple Brew House, we continued our journey across London to this Greene King house. It's close to University College London. So, there were a few students alongside the after-work crowd. It's a reasonably large place. But, all tables were taken. Away from the bar, there is a further large seating area that is hidden behind a wall. That seemed to be popular with diners. The ale range was good for a Greene King pub. Alongside their ubiquitous IPA & Abbot, there was Sambrook's Junction, Truman's Roll Out The Barrel, Itchen Valley Russian Winter, East London Brewery Three Kings, Wimbledon XXK & Reunion Midnight Runner. I couldn't decide between the Russian Winter or the Midnight Runner. I opted for the former, but later wished I'd gone for the latter. No real cider is served. But, you can get a CAMRA discount.

18 Jan 2019 22:10

The Sir John Hawkshaw, Cannon Street

I've been meaning to try this branch of Wetherspoon's in Cannon Street station for quite some time. I finally got to visit it during the busy Thursday commute out of the city. It's a very small place, for a 'spoon's. The bar is directly in front of you as you enter. But, it appears that at busy times, an orderly queue appears between the bar and the door. Fuller's London Pride & Greene King IPA were the ales you generally find in this chain. But, there were also 3 guests - Flack Manor Flack Catcher, Saltaire Cascade & Banks & Taylor SOS. An added bonus was Mr Whitehead's Toffee Apple Cider in the fridge. As was expected, it was very busy on this early weekday visit. Don't expect to find toilets in the premises. You have to fight your way across the station concourse to the public toilets on the other side of the platforms and downstairs, if you want to spend a penny. They are free, at least. Not a bad option if you're catching a train. But, if you've got slightly more time, I would recommend the Pelt Trader just around the corner instead.

18 Jan 2019 21:57

The Green Man, Bank

This Wetherspoon's is no longer open. The unit still appears to be vacant. No doubt it was a victim of high rental prices, given the prime location.

18 Jan 2019 21:50

Ship, Monument

Nicholson's pub that is one of many tucked away in the narrow streets and alleyways in this part of the city. As it was throwing out time from the various offices, the pub was in full swing with City gents (very few women). As it was my second Nicholson's pub of the day, the ale range was fairly familiar - St Austell Nicholson's Pale Ale & January Blues, Sharp's Doom Bar, Fuller's London Pride & Off Piste IPA, Dorset Brewing Company Frosted Jack, Butcombe Plough On, Ossett Yorkshire Blonde & Electric Bear Werrd. The interior has plenty of dark wood and feels quite cosy. There is an upstairs dining area. Unfortunately, the beer was the worst quality of the day. One of the many city pubs that closes all weekend.

18 Jan 2019 21:49

Commercial Tavern, Shoreditch

Semi-circular corner pub that looks like a traditional local from the outside. Once you've worked out which door gets you in, the interior feels very worn, but has plenty of strange modern features to keep you entertained. Very shabby chic. As Mappiman says, the selection of 4 ales is decent - Great Heck Navigator, Magic Rock Ringmaster, Oakham Citra & Harbour Cornish Bitter. The fridges behind the bar have an excellent selection of bottles. A rather strange place. But, I quite liked it.

18 Jan 2019 21:41

The Railway Tavern, Limehouse

We arrived here shortly before opening. After a swift half of Landlord in the nearby Old Ship (not listed on the site), we returned for the Craft's opening at 3:30. This is a pub on the corner of the busy Commercial Road. You could literally roll out of Limehouse DLR station straight into this establishment. The barman was welcoming and there was a good selection of beers, especially craft ones. Kent Craft Pale Ale is a regular ale on cask. In addition, there were 3 Thornbridge ales - Brother Rabbit, Cocoa Wonderland & Lord Marples, plus Totally Brewed 4 Hop Men of the Apocalypse. Nice traditional interior, with a couple of modern touches. There is a further room upstairs and an outdoor terrace also on the upper level. My second favourite pub of the day and the best of the ones listed on this site.

18 Jan 2019 21:35

The Ledger Building, Canary Wharf

A branch of Wetherspoon's in an original docks building. It was quiet on our Thursday afternoon visit. The ale selection was reasonable - Fuller's London Pride, Greene King IPA & Abbot, Sharp's Doom Bar, Truman's Fire Starter, Twickenham Winter Warmer, Sambrook's Pale Ale, Quantock Ralehead, Adnams Mosaic & Goddard's Wight Squirrel. But, there is no real cider. My pint of WInter Warmer wasn't the best. The interior is light and airy. Ok. But there are better 'spoons.

18 Jan 2019 21:10

Henry Addington, Canary Wharf

Nicholson's pub that is a short walk along the waterfront from Canary Wharf tube. Doesn't look much from the outside. But, inside it has a wide selection of ales. St Austell Nicholson's Pale Ale, Purity Mad Goose, Fuller's Off Piste IPA & London Pride, Brew York X-Panda, Long Man Old Man, Dorset Brewing Company Frosted Jack, Adnams Sloe Storm & Ossett Yorkshire Blonde. There were a few in. But there was still plenty of seating available. Staff behind the bar looked a little bored at times. There were plenty of them, suggesting it's normally much busier. Probably one of the best options for a beer in this area of the city.

18 Jan 2019 21:04

The Four Horseshoes, Whitstable

Has turned into some kind of health centre.

13 Jan 2019 22:03

The Black Dog, Whitstable

The Black Dog was my final stop in Kent and was a very good way to finish. The interior is quite dark and as the previous reviewer states, there are some strange things on the walls. I sat next to a poster depicting how various organs of the body look for a normal person and for an alcoholic! With 24 real ciders in here, I can imagine most visitors' organs would look more like the latter. Ales were Kent Session Pale, Burning Sky Plateau, Tonbridge Rustic, Thornbridge Tonttu & Goachers Mild. Ciders are listed on a small chalkboard on the bar. Most are fruit ciders and it's just their flavour that is listed. The owner/barman was very knowledgeable though and I established that there was Garden Cider Company Vintage, Dudda's Tun Bone Dry & Cheery Old Dudda, Biddenden Red Love & Sweet Cider, Turner's Apple Pie, Kent Cider Company Pear Cider,Mango Cider & Cloudy Rocket, Purbeck Devil's Leaf, Seacider White Peach & Snail's Bank Pineapple & Grapefruit Cider. Other varieties were Spiced Cider, Strawberry Cider, Apricot Cider (probably Dudda's Tun), 2 varieties of Rhubarb Cider, Elderflower Cider, Salted Caramel Cider, Toffee Apple Cider, Blackcurrant Cider, Passion Fruit Cider, Strawberry & Lime Cider, Ginger Cider & Medium Cider. This is easily the best pub in Whitstable. I could have quite happily had a session here. But alas, all good things have to come to an end. Maybe the next time I'm in town......

13 Jan 2019 22:01

Ship Centurion Arminius, Whitstable

Nicely appointed town centre boozer that was busy on our Sunday afternoon visit. Kids are welcomed, as long as they sit in a rear room. Sky Sports was on numerous TVs. This is a fairly cosy place that stocks a decent range of ales. Adnams Bitter is a regular. Guests were Adnams Broadside, Canterbury Friar's Ale, Box Steam Tunnel Vision & Young's Bitter. Ciders were Taunton Traditional & Biddenden's Bushels. A good option on the High Street.

13 Jan 2019 21:47

The Rose In Bloom, Whitstable

I expect that the view from this pub in the summer is much better than on a January day. But it does overlook the sea. Inside there is a bar area, scattered with pillars and a separate area for diners. Sunday lunch seems popular. Sports on Sky TV are shown in the bar area. The regular ales are now Shepherd Neame Master Brew & Sharp's Doom Bar. A guest was Whitstable Christmas Ale. Not really worth venturing west out of the town for.

13 Jan 2019 21:43

The Handsome Sam, Whitstable

Back in Whitstable, our first port of call was this micropub, apparently named after a cat. It's a rather strange place. There is some rather eclectic furniture and digital screens display the ciders, gins and spirits, whilst ales are displayed on blackboards. Rather annoyingly, the brewers and ale names were not listed - just the type of beer and strength. So I've no idea what was what. But I noted an America Session (3.8%), a Four Candles beer (4%), a Winter Bitter (4.2%) and a Cascade Blonde (6.2%). The latter was limited to 6 pints per session! Ciders were Lilley's Mango Cider, Rhubarb Cider, Lemon & Lime Cider & Elderflower Cider, Biddenden's Dry & Bushels, Weston's Old Rosie and a Vintage Cider procured from Morrison's of all places. The barman seemed friendly enough. But this all seemed a little weird. We then sauntered round the corner to the Whitstable Labour Club (not listed on here) for an altogether different experience.

13 Jan 2019 21:39

Copper Pottle, Beltinge

This was another very friendly micropub we visited during a weekend in Kent. Beltinge is just to the east of Herne Bay. The pub looked closed on first inspection. But a quick try of the door, revealed it not only to be open, but to be very busy with a largely elderly clientele. It's clearly a local favourite, as everybody seemed to know everybody else. Gadd's No. 5 is the regular ale. Guests were Dark Star Hophead, Mad Cat Red Ale & Mighty Oak Oak Oscar Wilde. Ciders were Lilley's Mango Cider, Rhubarb Cider & Darkcider, Core Salted Caramel Cider, Weston's Family Reserve & Purbeck Cider Company Joe's Dry. I'd never had the Salted Caramel Cider before and it wasn't quite as sickly as it sounds. The barman/owner fetches drinks from a cool room at the rear and brings it to your table. He also came round with complimentary sausage and bacon for customers. Having eaten the "Mega Breakfast" in Harry's Café in Herne Bay, I had no room for any more! Great place.

13 Jan 2019 21:31

The Bouncing Barrel, Herne Bay

I had two very different experiences in this micropub. I first tried to visit at 9:30pm on a Saturday evening. The guy in charge clearly didn't like the look at me and stated that they were closed. My initial impression was how can a pub that closes at 9:30pm on a Saturday continue to survive. Undeterred, I returned at midday on Sunday to a completely different welcome. A different man was on hand to welcome us in and immediately offered to explain the ale and cider selection. What a difference 14½ hours makes! Ales on were Robinson's Dizzy Blonde, Westerham British Bulldog, Sharp's Sea Fury & Oakham Southern Cross. Ciders were Weston's Old Rosie, Lilley's Apple & Blackberry Cider, Mulled Cider & Somerset Scrumpy. Two very different experiences here. But, in spite of the unpredictable opening hours, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

13 Jan 2019 21:25

Saxon Shore, Herne Bay

Wetherspoon's outlet that looks quite small from its entrance overlooking the sea. But in actual fact, it's much bigger than it initially looks. This was my last stop on Saturday evening and a few of the local reprobates had clearly ended up in here. The bar manager appeared to be considering throwing a few out, to the detriment of serving customers like me. Greene King Abbot & Ruddles Best were on, as you'd expect. They also had Sharp's Doom Bar & Westerham Godswallop. The real cider was Rosie's Pig. As Wetherspoon's go, this was pretty poor.

13 Jan 2019 21:18

The Firkin Frog, Herne Bay

After visits to the excellent Parkerville (best pub of the weekend) and the Prince of Wales (neither listed on here, but requests to be added sent), my third stop on a Saturday evening visit to Herne Bay was the Firkin Frog, a micropub tucked just off the main thoroughfare through the town. As with most Kent micropubs, there was a friendly bunch in here, with locals keen to know more about their visitors. Ales on were Goody's Firkin Good, 3 Piers Old Tram, Lincoln Green Marion & Milestone Will Scarlet. Ciders were Biddenden's Bushels & Red Love, Broomfield Farm Medium & Kentish Pip Vintage Pip. My Broomfield Farm was very enjoyable, albeit at 7%. This micropub is slightly different from many, as it actually has a couple of rooms. There is the main front room with the bar counter and a smaller snug at the rear. Decent place.

13 Jan 2019 21:15

Pearsons Arms, Crab And Oyster House, Whitstable

The Pearson's Arms is an upmarket pub/restaurant on 3 floors and overlooking the town's beach and a floodgate. 3 real ales were on - Pearson's Arms Whitstable Ale, Gadd's Gyle 1664 & Gale's Seafarers. Whilst the Gyle 1664 wasn't my kind of beer, it was still in good condition and went down fine. It accompanied a very enjoyable Beef Bourguignon, when the friendly staff managed to find us a table in the upstairs dining area. The nicest of 4 pubs we visited in Whitstable yesterday, the main bar area was very busy by the time we departed.

13 Jan 2019 21:00

The Prince Albert, Whitstable

I was expecting to find this corner pub closed. But, apparently it re-opened last April. The interior is quite cramped. But it has a little character and also manages to fit in a dartboard in one corner and a DJ booth at the far end. There weren't many people in. But, it can get seemingly difficult to move when busier. The only real ale is Doom Bar.

13 Jan 2019 20:54

The New Inn, Whitstable

Backstreet Shepherd Neame local. It has a long thin bar area, which opens up to a larger room with a pool table and dart board at the rear. Loud music was being played in that area. Spitfire Gold was the solitary ale. Another disappointment.

13 Jan 2019 20:52

The Whitstable Brewery Bar, Whitstable

This place is really difficult to find at night. It may be obvious from the beach, during the daytime. But approaching from the road, you have to wander through an industrial area. It's now called the Lobster Shack and specialises in seafood, especially lobster and oysters. I guess it still has some kind of link to the Whitstable Brewery. The solitary cask ale was their Christmas Spirit. Not wishing to try a Christmas beer in mid-January, I instead opted for a key Oyster Stout also from Whitstable. Most customers were families. Inside was a bit on the cold side. More of a restaurant than a bar.

13 Jan 2019 20:48

Tankerton Arms, Tankerton

The Tankerton Arms is a micropub just each of Whitstable. It's now moved a few doors up to larger premises at number 135. As with all of the micropubs we visited in Kent this weekend, it was busy, had a decent range of ales and ciders and felt friendly. Ales were Wantsum More's Head & Hurricane, Downlands Penguin & Cross Bay Zenith. Ciders were Kent Cider Company Mango Cider, Dudda's Tun Disco & Kentish Pip Vintage Pip & Fire Spiced.

13 Jan 2019 20:41

Huntsman and Horn, Herne Bay

After a visit to the nearby Reculver Towers, we headed to the small village of Broomfield to the Huntsman & Horn. It was quite busy on our Saturday afternoon visit. There is a narrow bar area at the front, a larger room at the rear and a side room with a dart board. Adnams Bitter is the regular ale. A guest was Marston's EPA. Nice setting. But, the pub itself was nothing special.

13 Jan 2019 20:35

Acorn, Birchington

This place has now been demolished and replaced with housing. The old pub sign is on somebody's house, a few doors up.

13 Jan 2019 20:32

The Wheel Alehouse, Birchington

First stop on a tour of Kent's pubs was this micropub on Birchington's main shopping street. The interior is typical micropub, albeit slightly on the worn side. Locals were friendly though and they were happy to engage in conversation. The Isla Vale Alesmiths Bosun's Bitter is the regular ale. Guests were Mighty Oak Kings & Ilkley Fireside. There were also 7 ciders - Biddenden's Bushels, Red Love & Monk's Delight & Dudda's Tun Pear O'Duddas, Cheery Old Dudda, Blackcurrant Cider & Apricot Cider. This was a good start to the day and we moved on from here to another micropub in the Minnis Bay area of town. That was the Old Bay Alehouse, which I request to be added to the site.

13 Jan 2019 20:27

BrewDog Liverpool, Liverpool

We decided to pop by the BrewDog on a visit to Liverpool yesterday. Service was slow and tables had not been cleared from previous occupants. This was in spite of the bar being relatively quiet. Whether it gets busier in the evenings or not, I don't know, as all of my visits have been during the daytime. But it does feel like it is tucked off the beaten track. BrewDog beers on were Punk IPA, Lost Lager, Indie, 5am Saint, Jet Black Heart, Dead Pony Club, Raspberry Blitz, Dogtoberfest, Elvis Juice, Vagabond, Coconut Yuzu, Get Out Claus, Paradox Grain & Born To Live. Guests were Northern Monk Sour IPA & Saesoner, To Ol Santa's Secret, Wild Beer Beyond Modus V, Bearded Iris Ever Clever, Gipsy Hill Koshu & People Like Us, Connectictut Trail Blazer & Stargazer, Kirkstall Framboise & La Calavera Crossover. I went for the Santa's Secret. This was a brown ale with a coffee taste and fairly flavoursome at 8%. But at £5 for a half, it's not a session beer!

6 Jan 2019 12:01

The St James, Cowley

Has changed names yet again. It's now called the Runway and is apparently food-driven. That was apparent today when it was actually closed. Presumably there's no call for food on New Year's Day. No chance of a beer here. So downgrading my score again.

1 Jan 2019 18:05

Coachmans Inn, Uxbridge

This is now called the Three Steps. It's a bit of a dive in truth, with a large circular bar area and a lower games room with a pool table. But it does dispense Rebellion IPA, which was in fairly decent form. Music was playing on a big screen. But there's clearly a big focus on football here, with scarves and shirts from multiple clubs displayed above the bar. Ok. But whilst I haven't been in the nearby Crown for a few years. I believe that is a better option.

1 Jan 2019 18:03

The Red Lion Hotel, Hillingdon

A Fuller's house that has remained open. The Red Lion is a landmark building which still offers accommodation and has an interesting history. There are numerous characterful rooms with low ceilings in the pub itself. There appears to be a focus on food. Pride was the solitary real ale. But a Fuller's Espresso Stout on keg caught my eye and was very nice. The barmaid suggested I may have been the first to try it. Another pub that was better than I had anticipated.

1 Jan 2019 17:58

Prince Of Wales, Uxbridge

Another pub discarded by Fuller's. I believe this had re-opened since the last review. The Prince of Wales signage still remains. But signage for a Mediterranean restaurant have now been added. Notices in the windows state that it is closed for refurbishment.

1 Jan 2019 17:55

The Star, Hillingdon Heath

Despite appeals, this place has now been demolished. Only the pub sign remains.

1 Jan 2019 17:53

The Carpenters Arms, Hayes

The Carpenters is a Greene King pub at a busy junction on the Uxbridge Road. I remember it when it was painted orange. It never looked particularly welcoming. But the new exterior colour scheme is much more palatable and I ventured in for the first time this afternoon. There may be 3 handpulls. But all of the 3 Greene King ales were off. On keg, there was Fosters, Carlsberg, Stella Artois, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruit, Coors Light, Peroni, John Smith's & Guinness. I decided to hit the bottles. The interior is nicely appointed. There is a large room at the rear with pool tables. The gents toilets weren't the best though.

1 Jan 2019 17:50

The Wishing Well, Hayes

I was pleasantly surprised by this former Wetherspoon's pub. It's long since been part of the chain. But they do now stock a few real ales. To choose from were Castle Rock Snowhite, West Berkshire Good Old Boy & Hardy & Hanson's Rocking Rudolph. The latter was as good can be expected. It has the feel of an Irish pub. There is clearly a focus on sports TV. A couple of screens had horse racing on and 3 others had the football on. Best new find of the day for me.

1 Jan 2019 17:46

The Angel, Hayes End

Another local Fuller's pub that has now closed. They seem to be closing everything in this part of West London.

1 Jan 2019 17:43

Flynn's, Hayes End

The Olde Crown is one of those pubs on the Uxbridge Road which I've passed many times, but not ventured in. It's a lot nicer inside than what I'd expected. There were a few handpulls, with only one clipped. Doom Bar was the clip. But it was turned round. So it was not clear whether it was on or not. But I didn't fancy it anyway. They'd also sold out of all bottled ciders. But the lady behind the bar (seemingly the landlady) was friendly. A few other locals appeared whilst I was in.

1 Jan 2019 17:42

Dew Drop Inn, Hathern

This was my final stop in Leicestershire yesterday evening. I hadn't planned to visit this place. But with quite a few pubs in this part of Leicestershire having closed down or having decided not to open, this was a last minute bonus! It's a Greene King pub with an unspoiled interior. Locals were congregated in one room. It was one of those places where everything stopped when a stranger walked in. Greene King The Dewdrop Bitter & XX Mild were on. But there were also a couple of guests - Ringwood Old Thumper & Hardy & Hanson's Rock On With Rudolph. The gents' toilets were quite impressive. A decent end to the day.

31 Dec 2018 19:44

The George and Dragon, Thringstone

Unlike many of the local pubs that were closed on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year, this one was open and doing a roaring trade, despite charging extortionate prices. I had to resort to a soft drink, as I was driving. But £2.50 for an apple juice is almost London prices. Groups were enjoying Sunday lunch. Others were watching live football. Ales were Timothy Taylor Landlord & Leatherbritches Santa's Little Helper & Bad Santa. Moved on from here to the Cross Keys in Newbold, the excellent Black Lion in Blackfordby and the Tap at No. 76 (also excellent) in Ashby de la Zouch. I'll request the latter two be added to the site.

31 Dec 2018 19:35

Birch Tree, Coalville

Large pub that specialises on good food, located at a busy roundabout. It's an Everard's place. Original & Tiger were both available. The guest ale was Salem Bridge Salem Porter, which was very enjoyable. They also had Old Rosie cider. I sat in the comfortable public bar. But they seem to have JLS's greatest hits (I'd not heard of any of them) playing at an unacceptable volume. This was eventually recognised by the bar staff, who turned it down. The lounge/dining area was much larger. A few parties were in for Sunday lunch. Moved on from here to the King's Arms in Coleorton. I'll request for that one to be added.

31 Dec 2018 19:28

The White Horse, Shepshed

On my first ever visit to Shepshed, the Horse was my first port of call on a Sunday lunchtime. You enter from the car park into the public bar. A second room is a dining room, where Sunday roasts were being served. Most people seemed to be having a drink in the bar, before being called to their table in the next room. Along with about 5 other people, I remained in the bar, where live football was being shown. Greene King Abbot is the regular ale. Guests were Bass, Leather Britches Santa's Little Helper & Nobby's Hoppy Snowman. Nice enough pub. But I preferred the Black Swan in Shepshed. For a real step back in time, you should also search out the Richmond Arms. The landlady is celebrating her 50th year there. Neither of these are listed on the site.

31 Dec 2018 19:21

The Hand In Hand, Brighton

Our final stop of the day turned out to be my favourite. Somewhat sozzled by now and finding myself in the ladies' toilets at one point, I still appreciated this cosy, but small pub with a hip feel to it. Ales were all from the Hand Brew Co. - Tickler, A-OK, Low Five & High Five. In addition, there were two real ciders from Ascension - Love Letter & Changing Dusk. The bar staff wanted to change the Love Letter, as it was very cloudy and clearly the end of the cask. But it tasted fine and stuck with it. Two new ciders for me to finish the day on. I will definitely be back here to try it when sober.

31 Dec 2018 19:12

The Royal Oak, Brighton

This place is now called Shortt's Bar. It looks as if it's a bit of a local nightspot. But we were maybe a little early for the "best" of the action. Worst pub of the day in terms of ale selection. Tribute was the only choice. So we ended up having shots in order to move on as quickly as possible. Not worth going to.

31 Dec 2018 19:07

The Jurys Out, Brighton

I noticed that this place had changed names to be the Brighton Bierhaus last time I was in Brighton. But I finally got around to visiting on this occasion. Unsurprisingly, it's owned by Brighton Bier. 5 of their cask ales are available - Grand Havana, No Name, South Coast IPA, West Pier Pale Ale & Alpha Bale. I seem to recall having the stout (No Name), which was nice. They also had Ascension Pilot cider and a very good range of craft beers dispensed from the rear of the bar. The beer selection is displayed on screens. Live football was just finishing when we arrived. There was a fairly handy Jamaican take-away nextdoor (or at least very close nearby). Another good option when in Brighton.

31 Dec 2018 19:03

The George, Brighton

Our final stop on Trafalgar Street was the Prince George. This pub had a much better ale selection than I had been anticipating and the interior has a number of different drinking areas. We came to rest in what seemed like a central drinking corridor. But we were getting a bit worse for wears at this point. Ales were Gun Extra Pale & Parabellum Milk Stout, Sharp's Sea Fury & Firebird Parody. Decent pub.

31 Dec 2018 18:57

The Lord Nelson, Brighton

Another Harvey's pub in Brighton, quite close to the station. We stayed in the front bar and ordered from the Sussex Best Bitter, IPA, Old Ale, Armada & Christmas Ale. I finally relented and went for the Best. There was no sign of a real cider.

31 Dec 2018 18:54

The Prince Albert, Brighton

The exterior of this pub has a Banksy painting on the outside. Inside, we were welcomed by a fairly busy bar area with a number of decent ales. Burning Sky Plateau, Cloudwater Bitter, Reunion Incredible Pale Ale, Siren Cold Blood & Rooster's Not Berry Blue were all on. In addition, they had Seacider Christmas Pudding Infused Cider, which was a new one on me. We retreated to a small rear room that was reserved for a band. But they never showed whilst we were there. One of my favourite pubs of the day in East Sussex.

31 Dec 2018 18:50

Lewes Arms, Lewes

We managed to squeeze into the tiny front bar of this Fuller's hostelry, which certainly possesses a bit of character. Our main intention was to see what ales were on. As everywhere else (seemingly) in Lewes, they had Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter on. There was also Fuller's London Pride & HSB & Seafarers from Gale's. Guests were Dark Star Hophead, Everard's Original & Adnams Ghost Ship. I thought that was a decent selection for a Fuller's pub. Nice place.

31 Dec 2018 18:43

The Elephant and Castle, Lewes

Next stop on our crawl of Lewes was the Elephant & Castle. It had clearly been busy by the time we arrived. Empty glasses were strewn everywhere. There was a delay ordering, whilst the solitary barmaid behind the bar decided to continue talking to a local instead of acknowledging us. Although she did at least spot that I was holding a CAMRA card and offered a discount. The ubiquitous Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter is available. 2 guests were Long Man Long Blonde & Langham Arapaho. An interesting looking stout had run out. None of the beers were really to my taste. Only a flying visit this. But not one I'd rush back to.

31 Dec 2018 18:39

The Black Horse Inn, Lewes

Second best of the Lewes pubs we visited on Saturday. As Lezford says, it's a Greene King pub, which you wouldn't initially guess. The front bar was light and airy. I believe there was another room beyond. But that appeared to be a dining area. Ales were Greene King Black Horse Bitter & Abbot, Morland Old Speckled Hen, Belhaven Smoke Stack Stout, Burning Sky Plateau, Kiln Session IPA & Gun Pale. The cider was Ascension Pilot.

31 Dec 2018 18:35

The Brewers Arms, Lewes

This was possibly the best of 6 Lewes pubs tried on Saturday. It has a couple of rooms. As mentioned, the front room is more traditional and seemed to be populated by an older clientele, many of whom were eating. The rear room had a much younger customer base, with a pool table and a TV showing the Old Firm football derby. We positioned ourselves next to the dart board and the Toad in the Hole game. Whilst there were instructions, it still wasn't clear about what serves as the 'toad'! Ales were Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter & Old Ale, Gun Extra Pale, Skinner's Betty Stogs & Tring Ridgeway. There were also a couple of real ciders - Biddenden's Dry & Thistly Cross Whisky Cask. A 5% CAMRA discount is offered.

31 Dec 2018 18:31

Rights of Man, Lewes

Harvey's pub with an olde worlde interior featuring some small booths with bench-type seating that you can really own rest against, rather than sitting on. There is a further room beyond. It was quite busy on our visit. Ales were all from Harvey's - Sussex Best Bitter, IPA, Old Ale, Christmas Ale, Armada Ale & Wild Hop. The Christmas Ale was quite nice, albeit 7.5%.

31 Dec 2018 18:14

The Lansdown Arms, Lewes

The Lansdown Arms is the first pub you see as you head up the hill from the station. The doors were wide open, which made it rather chilly. There is a small bar area as you enter and a slightly larger area just beyond, with a tree separating the two sections. Timothy Taylor Landlord is a regular ale. There was also Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter & Old Ale. The other guest beer was Gun Extra Pale. The real cider is Old Rosie. Makes for a fairly decent start to a tour of this town.

31 Dec 2018 18:10

The Gannow Wharf, Burnley

The Gannow Wharf was our final pub of the day. We'd been in Burnley earlier in the day and found that this place was not opening until 8pm. In fact, it's opening hours are very limited. It only opens 4 days a week for a few hours. But the pub ended up being one of my favourite of the day. Locals and staff were friendly and took a keen interest in us. I doubt they get many strange visitors. Only 2 ales were on. They were both from Reedley Hallows. I had the Old Laud Bitter and my drinking partner had the Pendleside. We both agreed that the Bitter was the better of the two and for me it was possibly my favourite beer of the day (competing with the Three B's Honey Stout that I'd had in the Drummers Arms, Blackburn). All of the locals were sat or stood at the bar. The rest of the pub was empty. But there is plenty of seating. Plenty of items to peruse on the walls too. The pub was advertising that it was closing for refurbishment from early January. But I would recommend a visit here, if you ever get the chance.

27 Dec 2018 22:27

The Hapton Inn, Hapton

We'd tried to visit the Hapton Inn earlier in the day. But we found it closed, as it was Boxing Day lunchtime. Luckily there was a notice in the window displaying the Christmas opening hours. So we knew it would open at 3pm. It's a massive place with a huge dining area. But it still maintains a cosy feel. However, the atmosphere was a bit muted, with just two other customers. Wainwright was the solitary real ale. A touch disappointing.

27 Dec 2018 22:20

The Black Bull Inn, Darwen

I was looking forward to trying the Black Bull on a Boxing Day visit to Blackburn. But whilst the lights were on inside, the curtains were drawn and the outside lights were off. The car park was also locked. Nothing on the website to suggest it would be closed. So ours was a wasted visit and it's tucked away in the countryside between Blackburn and Darwen. 1/10 for a pub where you can't get a beerintheevening. Maybe I'll be able to get back here one day.

27 Dec 2018 22:17

The Station Hotel, Cherry Tree

Thwaite's pub near to Cherry Tree station and next to a convenience store. It was packed on our Boxing Day evening visit. Most customers were youths. But there were a few older people too. The pool table seemed popular. But the floor was almost flooded from spilt beer. Apparently the gents toilets were worse! The solitary real ale was Thwaite's Original. But to my surprise, they did have a couple of fruit ciders from Weston's - Raspberry Roller & Rusted Wheel. Football was showing on a number of screens. But the atmosphere was extremely rowdy and the clientele had clearly consumed an excess of alcohol. Ok if that is your thing. But a bit too lively for us.

27 Dec 2018 22:15

The Hare and Hounds, Blackburn

We spent Boxing Day evening in Blackburn. The Hare & Hounds was our second stop after the Rising Sun (not listed on here, but I'll request it to be added). The Hare & Hounds is in the current Good Beer Guide. It's a fairly large single room that was busy on our visit. There are a number of screens showing live football, including one massive screen. With conversation fighting with music and the football commentary, it was very noisy. The real ales were Moorhouse's White Witch, Bowland Bumble & Hen Harrier, Lancaster Black and a house beer called Hare of the Dog (a pale ale, possible Moorhouse's Blond Witch). This was certainly a place with a lively atmosphere. We moved on from here to what proved to be our favourite pub of the day (the Drummers Arms, a micropub which I will request is added) and the St Mark's Conservative Club (I won't bother with that one).

27 Dec 2018 22:04

The Rifle Volunteer, Burnley

With a little time to spare before heading to a game at Turf Moor, we decided to head back to the Rifle Volunteer. Unlike our visit after a game 2 years ago, this time before the game, it was packed. Apparently a nearby social club had run out of beer, which probably explained the numbers. After eventually getting to the bar, we found a very similar selection to last time - Reedley Hallows No Nay Never & Festive Cheer & Bass. My drinking partner wasn't overly impressed with the Bass. We stood outside, where there was a little more space.

27 Dec 2018 21:57

The General Scarlett, Burnley

Closed and now trading as the Scarlett Tea Rooms. Moved on instead to the Ighten Leigh Social Club (large place with 3 Moorhouse's ales and 1 from Bowland), which I will request is added to the site.

27 Dec 2018 21:49

The Coal Clough Hotel, Burnley

The Coal Clough is situated some way out of Burnley town centre on a street corner in an area of terraced housing. 2 other customers were in and watching the early Premier League football game. The barmaid and a guy setting up for some kind of live music were the only other people in the bar area. A second room was in darkness. The solitary real ale was Reedley Hallows Clausing Time, which was nothing special.

27 Dec 2018 21:46

The Garden Bar, Burnley

Tried visiting this place again yesterday. It has changed hands yet again and is now a "tattoo and art gallery".

27 Dec 2018 21:39

The Crown, Bacup

The Crown is tucked away off the main road and away from the centre of Bacup. But it made for a reasonable start to a crawl of Lancashire pubs. We were there for opening at midday on Boxing Day. One other local/regular had also arrived in a taxi in time for the opening of the doors. He seemed a bit of a character, with a good sense of humour. The pub is nicely appointed with a couple of rooms. A buffet was being prepared in one room for later in the day. Pictish Brewer's Gold is the regular ale. But they also had 3 guests - Shefford Plum Mild, Reedley Hallows Clausing Time & Ilkley Mary Christmas.

27 Dec 2018 21:30

The Cross Inn, Kinver

The Cross is still the best pub in the village. Early Sunday evening was Rock 'n' Roll bingo night. I was there to watch the football, which was on a couple of TVs with no sound. The pub soon got packed by the time the bingo started. Ales were Black Country Bradley's Finest Golden, Fireside, Pig On the Wall & Plum Pig, Salopian Oracle, Downton Elderquad & Ascot 5/4 Favourite. There are now 3 ciders. They were Lilley's Wild Dog & Crazy Goat & Gwynt y Ddraig Dog Dancer. Snacks are pretty good value, especially the pork sandwich served on very thick bread for £2.50. The barmaid was friendly. Still recommended.

24 Dec 2018 18:36

Broomfield Tavern, Coventry

I promised to return to the Broomfield Tavern and on Saturday I had the perfect opportunity to finish here. I awarded it a 10/10 on my first and last visit. Many times a return visit doesn't seem as good as the first one. But on this occasion, it was every much as good, if not better. Customers are friendly and the welcome is warm. It's far enough from the centre for it not to get crowded. But it's clearly appreciated by the more discerning drinker. On this occasion, the ales were Church End Fallen Angel & Vanilla Jack, Froth Blowers Riverside Stout, Rat Jungle Rats, Shakespeare Bard's Best, S43 Seraphim & Burton Bridge Old Expensive. The cider list was Saxby's Cloudy Rhubarb & Original, Snail's Bank Raspberry, Lilley's Lemon & Lime, Merry Monkey, Somerset Scrumpy, Gladiator, Wild Dog & Bee Sting Perry, Hogan's Hazy Rays & Harvest Press, Dorset Nectar Organic, Gwatkin No Bull, Marches Appleshed, Friel's Vintage, Biddenden's Dry & Gwynt y Ddraig Farmhouse Pyder. Had another 3 pints here, despite being a touch sozzled. I don't recall getting back to the station. But I must have managed it somehow. One of my 5 favourite pubs in the land.

24 Dec 2018 18:29

The Malt Shovel, Coventry

Still not a pub.

24 Dec 2018 18:22

The Old Windmill, Coventry

It's been almost 10 years since I was last in here. But having completed all Coventry pubs I wanted to do, I had the opportunity to visit a couple of bonus establishments. The Old Windmill is very much as I remember it. In fact, I sat at the exact table I sat at in summer 2009! As others have said, the pub has plenty of character, with multiple rooms. It was certainly busy enough on my visit. Ales were Morland Old Speckled Hen, Theakston Old Peculier, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Purity Gold, Hogsback Yule Log& Goff's Black Knight. Ciders were Abrahall's AD & Cracklin' Rosie Perry, Orchard Pig Explorer, Weston's Old Rosie & Thatcher's Stan's Big Apple. I was getting a little tipsy by now. But I do recall having the perry!

24 Dec 2018 18:21

Town Crier, Coventry

This pub looks like a bus shelter from the outside. But it's a Marston's pub that is quite large inside. Nevertheless, it was busy with a mixture of drinkers and a few families enjoying a Christmas tipple. Marston's Saddle Tank and Jenning's Sneck Lifter are always on. Additional beers on my visit were Marston's Owd Rodger, Thwaite's Wainwright & Courage Directors. In addition, there were 4 ciders from Weston's - Old Rosie, Flat Tyre, Rusted Wheel & Raspberry Roller. I'd read in the local CAMRA magazine that this was a rare opportunity to sample the Owd Rodger in cask form. It's a barley wine and was very enjoyable indeed. Not bad at all given it's a Marston's pub.

24 Dec 2018 18:16

The Gatehouse Tavern, Coventry

The Gatehouse was much quieter than the other city centre pubs. But this was much appreciated. It's a pub where the clientele are clearly heavily into rugby. It's a bit dark inside and there were a few characters in. But the ale range was fairly decent. Bass is the regular ale. Guests were Church End Stocking Filler, Slater's 1 Hop, Nobby's Holdings, Wadsworth 6X & Hook Norton Old Hooky. The real cider was Saxby's Traditional. Recommended.

24 Dec 2018 18:11

The Town Wall Tavern, Coventry

The Town Wall Tavern is hidden away just behind the city centre shops. But enough people seemed to know about it to make it really busy on a late Saturday lunchtime. There is a bar area, a lounge area and the tiny 'Donkey Box'. I sat amongst the diners in the lounge. Ales are spread across handpulls in the main bar and the Donkey Box. Regulars are Adnams Bitter, Brain's The Rev James, Bass & Theakston Old Peculier. Guests were Goff's Lancer, Sharp's Winter Solstice, Woodforde's Tundra & Wye Valley HPA. The cider was Old Rosie. Certainly one of the better pubs in the centre.

24 Dec 2018 18:07

Flying Standard, Coventry

Impressive looking building right in the middle of the shopping area and providing a welcome respite from the throngs of Christmas shoppers. This was the poorer of the two Wetherspoon's branches I visited in the centre of Coventry. It is set over multiple levels. I had to retreat to an upper level to find a spare table. This area had its own bar. But the beer selection was more limited. Most people were dining. Ales were Greene King Abbot & Fireside, Ruddles Best, Sharp's Doom Bar, Well's Bombardier Glorious English, Wychwood Hobgoblin, Banks & Taylor Santa's Slayer & Burton Bridge Santi-Freeze. Ciders were Old Rosie & Black Dragon. Handy if you're shopping.

24 Dec 2018 18:02

The Golden Cross, Coventry

Medieval pub that has been updated inside. But it still maintains plenty of character. Having been to Drapers and the Earl of Mercia and then moving on to the Slug & Lettuce (an old courthouse, but no real ale and not listed on here) and the Flying Standard, this was the only pub in this part of Coventry city centre that actually had the atmosphere of a decent boozer. A few people seemed to be in for a pre-Christmas meet-up. Ales were Caledonian Golden Cross, Byatt's XXXmas, Wychwood Bah Humbug & Ossett Yorkshire Blonde. To my surprise, there were also a couple of Weston's ciders - Old Rosie & Flat Tyre. CAMRA discounts are offered. But for some reason, they were only offered on the Old Rosie and not the Flat Tyre - seemed a little odd. Not a bad little pub though.

24 Dec 2018 17:55

Earl of Mercia, Coventry

This Wetherspoon's enjoys a prominent location on a corner opposite the imposing city hall. It's much smaller than you expect on the inside and unusually toilets are on the ground floor. It was busy on a Saturday lunchtime. But I just about managed to find a spare table. They have the 'spoon's staples - Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharp's Doom Bar. But there were also 5 guests - Byatt's XXXmas, Grainstore Rutland Osprey, Purity Saddle Black, Wychwood Hobgoblin & Long Man Inn Keeper. Broadoak Perry was in a box in the fridge. The pub had the usual range of customers, from lunchtime alcoholics like myself to families with babies and ladies who lunch. The better of the two Wetherspoon's pubs in the city centre.

24 Dec 2018 17:49

Drapers, Coventry

My first stop of the day on a Saturday visit to Coventry city centre was this student bar. It feels similar to the Antic chain of pubs found in London, with various mismatched furniture. Purity Ubu & Bunny Hop were on, along with Arbor Piccolina. I opted for a fizzy cider - Pure Cider from Celtic Marches. Not sure what to make of the place. But it's certainly more of a bar than a pub.

24 Dec 2018 17:43

The Whitefriars Olde Ale House, Coventry

This place is currently closed and looking very run down from the outside. Nobody appears to know whether it will re-open.

24 Dec 2018 17:40

The Peeping Tom, Burton Green

This place is now part of the Hickory's Smokehouse chain. It was quite lively on a Friday evening with plenty in to eat, a live singer and football on the TV. My ribs were quite enjoyable and so was my Sadler's Christmas Pudding Stout. I assume this was keg. But they did have 2 cask ales from Purity - Mad Goose & Ubu. Walked out of here into what seemed like a monsoon, albeit a touch colder. The car park was flooded. Wellington boots were required. This was the first of this chain I had been to, and I wouldn't be averse from returning.

24 Dec 2018 17:37

The Sovereign, Coventry

After a visit to the Byatt's Brewhouse Bar in Foleshill, I moved on to this fairly nondescript pub in the Canley area of the city. You won't find any real ale here. The options were Carling, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruit, John Smith's, Coors Light, Guinness, Guinness Extra Cold or Magners. Strange to see a grabbing machine in one corner. Next to a shopping precinct in a residential area.

24 Dec 2018 17:33

The Victoria, Victoria

This pub is right next to one entrance to Victoria station. But it's not one I've ever noticed before. It's a Greene King pub and it had their IPA & Abbot. Guests were Wimbledon Copper Leaf & XXK & Welton's Wenceslegless. I went for the XXK, which was £2.50 for just under a half (short measure). Marginally better than the nearby St George's Tavern, in that it was a little more comfortable inside. But still very average.

16 Dec 2018 13:02

St. George's Tavern, Victoria

Very average Nicholson's pub close to Victoria station. It was reasonably busy on our Saturday evening visit. The ale choice was disappointing - Fuller's London Pride, Sharp's Doom Bar, Courage Directors, St Austell Proper Cracker & Butcombe Plough On. There are better options nearer the station.

16 Dec 2018 12:59

The Jolly Angler, Manchester

Turns into a private members' club on a matchday apparently. There's no admittance unless you're a member. No beer in the evening possible here. 1/10.

16 Dec 2018 12:54

Port Street Beer House, Manchester

Still probably one of the best bars for beer in Manchester. Although it's also very pricy. Packed as always after a Manchester City game yesterday, it has an excellent range of real ales and craft beers. Real ales on were Pomona Island APA, Five Points Brickfield Brown, Ilkley Mary Christmas, Magic Rock Common Grounds, Wylam Just About Midnight, Black Jack The Pokies & Squawk Fuska. The Wylam Imperial Macchiato was £7 a half. But at 10% it was very nice. Their other beer Just About Midnight was even nicer. Great bar.

16 Dec 2018 12:50

Common, Manchester

After a visit to the Terrace just opposite (quite decent and requested for addition to the site), we returned to the Common. Alcohol is now served in the mornings. Although Ilkley Mary Christmas was the only real ale available. Craft beer options were from breweries such as Beatnikz, Magic Rock, Stone, Track, Wild Beer Company, Lost & Grounded & Runaway. Still more of a café/eatery than a bar.

16 Dec 2018 12:46

Ye Hole in Ye Wall, Liverpool

There was a good atmosphere in here yesterday. It makes a good contrast to Rigby's and the Lady of Mann. Ye Hole In Ye Wall has a much more old fashioned interior. A singer/guitarist had taken up part of the one room and was performing a few classics. He was fairly good. The 6 ales on were Hafod Big Red, Conwy Hoppy Christmas & Beachcomber, Castle Rock Sheriff's Tipple, Lancaster Glacier & Heavy Industry Nos. Still a good boozer.

3 Dec 2018 20:43

The Lady of Mann, Liverpool

The Lady of Mann can be hit or miss. Yesterday it was more hit than miss. Much quieter than Rigby's or Ye Hole In Ye Wall, it had 3 real ales on - Okell's Bitter & Kirkstall Three Swords & Dexter Milk Chocolate Stout. There's also a fine selection of gins on offer.

3 Dec 2018 20:38

Thomas Rigby's, Liverpool

We visited 3 of the 4 pubs around the courtyard yesterday, starting with Rigby's. It was busy with people watching the North London football derby on TVs. There were also plenty of Red and Blue Santas who had been doing the annual Santa dash. Ales were Okell's Bitter & IPA, Fuller's London Pride, Pogue Mahone's Irish Bitter, Thornbridge Strawberry Lucaria & Ossett Yorkshire Blonde. Still a decent pub.

3 Dec 2018 20:35

The Ship and Mitre, Liverpool

Was here for the first time in a while yesterday. It's still the best pub in Liverpool in my opinion. But they now have a more limited range of guest ales. Three ales are from the pub's brewery Flagship - Sublime, Silhouette & Yonder. Guests yesterday were Titanic First Class, Elland White Prussian, Big Bog WPA, Peerless Langdon Spin, Mobberley Elysium, Wantsum Grim Reaper & JW Lees Stout. Ciders were Hunt's Red Head & Venton's Skippy's Scrumpy.

3 Dec 2018 20:29

Vernon Arms, Liverpool

I could pretty much copy my last review from August 2017. We came here after the Ship & Mitre and the Dead Crafty Beer Company. Ales were a similar choice too - Brains The Rev James, Stamps Rum Porter, Phoenix Rip-Rap, Big Bog Hinky Punk, Black Edge US Pale & Liverpool Brewing Bier Head. The cider is still Black Dragon. Reasonably busy as ever, without having the feel of being too overcrowded.

3 Dec 2018 19:19

The Philharmonic, Liverpool

The reviews below pretty much sum this place up. It's worth a visit once in a while to admire the architecture. But it very must rests on its laurels in terms of service and ale selection. I found myself in here again yesterday. St Austell Nicholson's Pale Ale is the regular beer. Guests were Sharp's Atlantic & Doom Bar, Fuller's London Pride, St Austell Proper Cracker, Exmoor Mild, Adnams Ghost Ship & Black Sheep Best Bitter. Fine for visitors to the city. But there are many better Nicholson's pubs alone around the country.

25 Nov 2018 11:11

Clove Hitch, Liverpool

The Clove Hitch has now become a restaurant called Bread and Butter. I have no idea what it's like now, as it only opens on selected evenings. But it's unlikely I'll ever find out.

25 Nov 2018 11:06

J J Moons, Wembley

Was here last night to see what ciders they had left over from the fairly recent beer festival. The answer was Mr Whitehead's Toffee Apple Cider & Purbeck Devil's Leaf. Ales were Sharp's Doom Bar, Greene King Abbot & IPA & Twickenham Yakima Valley APA. My pint of cider was £1.35 with a 50p off voucher. I tried to tell the barmaid that she had undercharged me. But she was a fairly characterful individual and didn't seemed too interested. She was far happier snapping at customers, leading to the manager ticking her off. The interior seems to have had a lick of paint. But the colour scheme makes it feel quite cold. Yesterday was the usual mix of drunkards and other waifs and strays. Handy for our regular curry spot and just about the only pub serving real ale and cider in this area.

20 Nov 2018 19:44

The Ship and Castle, East Cowes

The Ship & Castle has now re-opened. I just had time for a swift drink before the ferry back to the mainland. Entrance is through a side door. A few people were standing right next to the door singing, which made it difficult to open the door. Fuller's London Pride is the regular beer. The guest on yesterday was Milestone Rich Ruby. The barman was friendly. Most customers seemed to be enjoying a sing-a-long and it appeared that there had been a live singer earlier. Strange place but likeable in a way.

18 Nov 2018 14:29

The White Hart, East Cowes

The White Hart has now been closed by the Red Funnel ferry company. I'm not sure what their plans will be for the building. But I doubt they will be too constructive.

18 Nov 2018 14:26

The Man in the Moon, Newport

With time to spare before our ferry back to the mainland, I decided to pay this Wetherspoon's branch in Newport a visit. It's set in the town centre in an old church. This makes the large interior a little different from most branches. Bar staff repeated a trait that I had seen in another Isle of Wight pub earlier in the day. Standing at the bar, I've noticed that bar staff often summon you to their till as opposed to coming to the customer. That's not a practice I've seen too often before. The ale range was good for the island - Sharp's Doom Bar, Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Yates' Islander, Goddard's Fuggle Dee-Dum, Arundel Winter Knights & Titanic Plum Porter. They also had Broadoak Perry. I had not originally planned to come here. But it ended up being my favourite pub of the day on the island and I found it a big improvement on the Wetherspoon branch in Ryde.

18 Nov 2018 14:21

The Rookley Inn, Rookley

We tried to visit this place yesterday whilst in Rookley. It appears to have been located in Rookley Country Park which is currently closed for refurbishment. So we could not access the site. We could see the bar itself from the fences around the Park. But I believe it has now changed names. Looking at their website, it looks like they re-open next Spring. May try to visit on another occasion. But for now this is a 1/10.

18 Nov 2018 14:15

The Chequers Inn, Rookley

This place is massive. It's a food-led pub that also caters for drinkers. It also seems to cater for large functions. Ales were Thwaites Lancaster Bomber, Gale's HSB & Yates' Zigg Zagger. We elected to eat here. Most tables were reserved. But they could still accommodate us. I had the partridge from the specials board, which was very nice indeed. My wife was not as impressed with her burger. The small drinkers area in the centre was populated with a group who were quite rowdy and whose language was not the best. Fairly decent place.

18 Nov 2018 14:09

The Four Seasons Inn, Wroxall

This pub has reverted to its previous name The Star. It was disappointing. No real ales were on when we arrived. Apparently they had equipment problems and were struggling to dispense them. Whilst we were there, they did manage to pour Doom Bar through. It has a good reputation for food. But nobody was eating during our visit. There were no other customers when we arrived. But 2 men and 2 dogs frequented the front bar whilst we were there and there was somebody else in a rear dining area near the kitchens. The worst pub of 12 tried on this visit to the island.

18 Nov 2018 14:04

The Volunteer Inn, Ventnor

The Volunteer is tucked up a side street and is a traditional pub. It looks like it no longer opens until 4pm each day. I was there just before and was soon let in by the owner. He was a very friendly and chatty chap who clearly takes a nice interest in his customers. Ales were mostly from national breweries - Courage Best, Young's Special, Thwaites Lancaster Bomber & Marston's 61 Deep. As with Perks, where I had just come from, the real cider was Woodgate Amber Cider. It was dispensed by handpull here. Nice interior and it is adults only. I promised to return in several years time when my son is old enough to drink!

18 Nov 2018 14:00

Perks of Ventnor, Ventnor

Perks is named after its owner, who also owns the Volunteer nearby. As the previous reviewer states, it feels like a micropub. But it most likely pre-dates the micropub trend. Bass is the regular ale. The guest beer was Yates' Holy Joe. I was also delighted to see a real cider in a polycask on the bar. It is made for the pub and the Volunteer and was called Woodgate Amber Gold. Locals were congregated around the bar. Dogs are allowed in, but children are not. The barmaid was friendly and eager to tell me about the cider and she also gave me information on Ventnor's historic pubs. Luckily, she also informed me about the Volunteer not opening until 4pm. So I had a leisurely drink before continuing. I actually preferred Perks to the Volunteer.

18 Nov 2018 13:55

The Crab and Lobster Tap, Ventnor

The Crab & Lobster is not as foodie as its namesake in Bembridge. In fact, it seems far more of a drinkers' pub. On a Saturday afternoon, they were gearing up for live rugby union. It was on 5 different TV screens throughout the pub. Ales on were Timothy Taylor Landlord, Goddard's Wight Squirrel & St Austell Tribute. Can be found just around the corner from the Ventnor Heritage Museum. One of a few decent pubs in this town.

18 Nov 2018 13:46

The Spyglass Inn, Ventnor

Yesterday was our first ever visit to Ventnor. We started on the Esplanade with the pirate-themed Spyglass Inn. It was a dry day. But being by the sea was qite bracing. There are plenty of tables and benches outside for the hardy. Inside was busy with drinkers and diners. There are a number of small drinking areas, making it quite cosy. Plenty of nautical items to admire and live music on a Saturday afternoon too. Ringwood Best Bitter & Forty Niner are the regular ales. Fifth pub of the day and we finally found ales brewed on the island - Yates' Islander & Goddard's Starboard. I tried the latter. But it wasn't the best quality beer I'd ever tasted. I'd still say this pub is worth a visit though.

18 Nov 2018 13:41

The White Horse, Whitwell

The White Horse is a fairly large pub with 3 large rooms. Most people were in the central bar area. But there were a couple in the large dining area at the top and another small group in another room at the bottom. Children aren't allowed in the bar area. Dogs are not allowed in the dining areas. 3 ales on were Ghost Ship, Abbot & Lancaster Bomber. Bar staff seemed surprised that somebody who wasn't local would only be there for a drink. A touch disappointing.

18 Nov 2018 13:33

The Buddle Inn, Niton

The Buddle Inn was third and last pub we visited in Niton yesterday. After visits to Joe's Bar and the White Lion, the Buddle was the busiest of the three. It's a cosy pub which clearly specialises in food. Once at the bar, we were summoned to the till for our food order to be taken. Ordering drinks instead seemed to catch them by surprise. They have a house beer called Smugglers from Timothy Taylor, alongside Landlord and Sharp's Doom Bar. There was no real cider. Popular with families, there is a roaring open fire in winter. From the front, there is a nice view across the sea. Not really a drinkers' pub. For that, head to Joe's Bar in the village's post office.

18 Nov 2018 13:25

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 -