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BITE user comments - blue_scrumpy

Comments by blue_scrumpy

The Rising Sun, Bewdley

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

12 Feb 2018 21:24

The Waggon And Horses, Bewdley

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

12 Feb 2018 21:21

The Great Western, Bewdley

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

12 Feb 2018 21:14

The Cock and Magpie, Bewdley

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

12 Feb 2018 21:09

The Little Pack Horse, Bewdley

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

12 Feb 2018 21:04

The Woodcolliers Arms, Bewdley

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

12 Feb 2018 20:57

Black Boy, Bewdley

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

12 Feb 2018 20:55

Hop Pole Inn, Bewdley

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

12 Feb 2018 20:44

The Lion Tavern, Liverpool

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

12 Feb 2018 20:34

The Plough Inn, Far Forest

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

12 Feb 2018 20:28

Colliers Arms, Kidderminster

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

12 Feb 2018 20:19

The Rock Cross Inn, Rock

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

12 Feb 2018 20:14

The Bell, Pensax

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

12 Feb 2018 20:09

Admiral Rodney Inn, Martley

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

12 Feb 2018 19:58

The Elephant and Castle, Bury St Edmunds

Still closed.

4 Feb 2018 19:51

The Queens Head, Bury St Edmunds

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

4 Feb 2018 19:51

Langtrys, Stone

Was closed when we visited in November.

4 Feb 2018 19:49

The Duke of Wellington, Blythe Bridge

This Tesco Express had just been burgled when we passed.

4 Feb 2018 19:48

Dolphin & Anchor, Chichester

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

4 Feb 2018 19:45

The Bull Inn, Chichester

Still closed.

4 Feb 2018 19:41

The Seymore Arms, East Knoyle

Still closed.

4 Feb 2018 19:39

The Malt Shovel, Nuneaton

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

4 Feb 2018 19:35

The Taproom, Islington

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

4 Feb 2018 19:34

The Angel, Old Street

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

4 Feb 2018 19:28

The William Blake, Old Street

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

4 Feb 2018 19:24

The Trader, Old Street

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

4 Feb 2018 19:20

The Bull's Head, Clerkenwell

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

4 Feb 2018 19:17

The Bull's Head, Clerkenwell

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

4 Feb 2018 19:17

The Britannia, Clerkenwell

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

4 Feb 2018 19:14

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

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

4 Feb 2018 19:11

The Royal Star, Hoxton

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

4 Feb 2018 19:05

The Old Fountain, Old Street

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

4 Feb 2018 19:01

The Antwerp Arms, Tottenham

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

4 Feb 2018 18:55

The Mossy Well, Muswell Hill

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

4 Feb 2018 18:48

The Red Lion, Heytesbury

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

4 Feb 2018 18:09

The Post Office Vaults, Birmingham

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

4 Feb 2018 18:00

The Midland Hotel, Hendon

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

4 Feb 2018 17:55

Stag and Pheasant, Hartshill

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

4 Feb 2018 17:53

The Bell Inn, Chichester

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

4 Feb 2018 17:50

The Kings Arms, Waterloo

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

4 Feb 2018 17:46

Waterloo Tap, Waterloo

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

4 Feb 2018 17:42

The Fire Station, Waterloo

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

4 Feb 2018 17:38

The Hole In The Wall, Waterloo

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

4 Feb 2018 17:35

The One Legged Shunter, Blythe Bridge

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

4 Feb 2018 17:32

Crossways Micropub, Blythe Bridge

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

4 Feb 2018 17:31

Bushel, Bury St Edmunds

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

4 Feb 2018 17:26

The Battle of Trafalgar, Brighton

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

4 Feb 2018 17:23

The Regency Tavern, Brighton

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

4 Feb 2018 17:21

The Royal Oak, Nuneaton

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

4 Feb 2018 17:15

The Rake, London Bridge

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

4 Feb 2018 17:09

Kings Arms, Bury St Edmunds

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

4 Feb 2018 17:05

The Inn Beer Shop, Southport

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

4 Feb 2018 17:01

Richard John Blackler, Liverpool

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

4 Feb 2018 16:57

The West Quay, Brighton

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

4 Feb 2018 16:52

Dean Park Inn, Bournemouth

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

4 Feb 2018 16:46

The Guest House, Southport

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

4 Feb 2018 16:42

The Dove Inn, Corton

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

4 Feb 2018 16:37

The Bath Arms, Crockerton

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

4 Feb 2018 16:34

The Angel, Hindon

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

4 Feb 2018 16:29

The Queens Park Hotel, Bournemouth

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

4 Feb 2018 16:23

The Lark Rise, Winton

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

4 Feb 2018 16:20

The Bush Inn, Chichester

Still closed.

4 Feb 2018 16:18

Eastgate, Chichester

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

4 Feb 2018 16:17

The Arkles, Anfield

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

4 Feb 2018 16:14

The Waggon and Horses, Cradley Heath

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

4 Feb 2018 16:11

Star, Stone

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

4 Feb 2018 16:08

The Swan Inn, Stone

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

4 Feb 2018 16:05

Red Lion, Stone

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

4 Feb 2018 16:01

Post Of Stone, Stone

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

4 Feb 2018 15:58

The Pheasant Inn, Stone

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

4 Feb 2018 15:54

The Victory Inn, Brighton

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

4 Feb 2018 15:50

Gallaghers, Birkenhead

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

4 Feb 2018 15:44

The Parkstone and Heatherlands, Bournemouth

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

4 Feb 2018 15:36

Windsor, Birmingham

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

4 Feb 2018 15:29

The Fox and Hounds, East Knoyle

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

4 Feb 2018 15:24

Lady Greys, Newcastle upon Tyne

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

4 Feb 2018 15:19

The Southwark Tavern, London Bridge

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

4 Feb 2018 15:15

The Talbot Inn, Berwick St John

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

4 Feb 2018 15:10

The Anchor, Hartshill

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

4 Feb 2018 15:06

The Three Guineas, Reading

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

4 Feb 2018 15:00

Bell And Talbot, Bridgnorth

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

4 Feb 2018 14:49

The Woodberry Down, Bridgnorth

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

4 Feb 2018 14:46

The Dove, Bury St Edmunds

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

4 Feb 2018 14:42

The Greys, Brighton

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

4 Feb 2018 14:36

The Forester, Donhead St Andrew

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

2 Feb 2018 22:42

The Four Chestnuts, Chichester

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

2 Feb 2018 22:39

Queens Arms, Basingstoke

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

2 Feb 2018 22:36

Cabbage Hall, Anfield

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

2 Feb 2018 22:34

The Globe, London Bridge

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

2 Feb 2018 22:30

Black Cock Inn, Blythe Bridge

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

2 Feb 2018 22:28

The Huntsman, Cheadle

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

2 Feb 2018 22:26

The Alton Bridge Hotel, Alton

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

2 Feb 2018 22:24

The Crown and Castle, Risby

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

2 Feb 2018 22:21

The Excelsior, Liverpool

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

2 Feb 2018 22:19

The Royal George, Hersham

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

2 Feb 2018 22:11

William Stanley, South Norwood

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

2 Feb 2018 22:08

Tap and Bottles, Southport

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

2 Feb 2018 22:04

Brighton Beer Dispensary, Brighton

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

2 Feb 2018 22:01

Moon Under Water, Wolverhampton

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

2 Feb 2018 21:56

Felix Holt, Nuneaton

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

2 Feb 2018 21:52

Ashley Park Hotel, Walton on Thames

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

2 Feb 2018 21:49

The Bacchus, Newcastle

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

2 Feb 2018 21:46

Parcel Yard, Leicester

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

2 Feb 2018 21:40

Tilt, Birmingham

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

2 Feb 2018 21:38

Clove Hitch, Liverpool

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

2 Feb 2018 21:35

The Hop and Kilderkin, Winton

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

2 Feb 2018 21:28

The Southampton Arms, Gospel Oak

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

2 Feb 2018 21:19

The Bell Inn, Wylye

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

2 Feb 2018 21:14

Lord Hop, Nuneaton

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

2 Feb 2018 21:10

The Bear Hotel, Walton on Thames

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

2 Feb 2018 21:05

The Billiard Hall, West Bromwich

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

2 Feb 2018 21:03

The Anglesey Arms, Halnaker

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

2 Feb 2018 20:59

The Swan Inn, Midhurst

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

2 Feb 2018 20:56

The Cornerstone, Brighton

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

2 Feb 2018 20:55

The Bugle Inn, Brighton

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

2 Feb 2018 20:51

The Abbey, Liverpool

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

2 Feb 2018 20:47

The Old Kings Head, Borough

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

2 Feb 2018 20:40

The Olde Bull Inn, Barton Mills

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

2 Feb 2018 20:35

The Albion, Kingston Upon Thames

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

2 Feb 2018 20:32

Peaky Blinders, Southport

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

2 Feb 2018 20:25

Grasshopper, Southport

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

2 Feb 2018 20:20

Cricketers Arms, St Helens

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

2 Feb 2018 20:14

The Hat and Beaver Inn, Atherstone

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

2 Feb 2018 20:02

The Albert Arms, Esher

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

2 Feb 2018 19:59

The Wheatsheaf on the Green, Esher

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

2 Feb 2018 19:58

The Craft Beer Co, Brighton

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

2 Feb 2018 19:53

The Evening Star, Brighton

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

2 Feb 2018 19:49

The Pump House, Brighton

Sorry. Harveys's Sussex Best Bitter too.

2 Feb 2018 19:45

The Pump House, Brighton

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

2 Feb 2018 19:45

The Shakespeare's Head, Holborn

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

2 Feb 2018 19:42

The Prince Leopold, Upton Lovell

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

1 Feb 2018 21:38

Euston Tap, Euston

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

1 Feb 2018 21:36

The Brewery Tap, Liverpool

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

1 Feb 2018 21:32

The Firkin Shed, Bournemouth

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

1 Feb 2018 21:27

The Old Manor Inn, Walton on Thames

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

1 Feb 2018 21:23

Prestonville Arms, Brighton

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

1 Feb 2018 21:20

The Hanover, Brighton

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

1 Feb 2018 21:17

Goblets, Southampton

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

1 Feb 2018 21:11

The Nutshell, Bury St Edmunds

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

1 Feb 2018 21:08

Oakes Barn, Bury St Edmonds

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

1 Feb 2018 21:02

The North Laine, Brighton

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

1 Feb 2018 20:56

The Punch Bowl, Colnbrook

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

1 Feb 2018 20:50

The Benett Arms, Semley

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

1 Feb 2018 20:46

The Lych Gate Tavern, Wolverhampton

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

1 Feb 2018 20:42

The Hearty Goodfellow, Nuneaton

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

1 Feb 2018 20:37

Royal Oak, Nuneaton

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

1 Feb 2018 20:36

The Weir Hotel, Walton on Thames

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

1 Feb 2018 20:27

The Golden Grove, Chertsey

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

1 Feb 2018 20:22

The Olde Swan Hotel, Chertsey

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

1 Feb 2018 20:19

Kings Head, Ashford

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

1 Feb 2018 20:17

The Rising Sun, Stanwell

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

1 Feb 2018 20:15

The Vine, West Bromwich

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

1 Feb 2018 20:10

The Happy Medium, Chichester

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

1 Feb 2018 20:06

The Chichester Inn, Chichester

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

1 Feb 2018 19:55

The Star and Garter, East Dean

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

1 Feb 2018 19:50

The Fox Goes Free, Charlton

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

1 Feb 2018 19:47

The Greyhound, Cocking Causeway

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

1 Feb 2018 19:41

The Swan Inn, Midhurst

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

1 Feb 2018 19:37

Mitre Tavern, Brighton

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

1 Feb 2018 19:30

The Dover Castle, Brighton

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

1 Feb 2018 19:26

Sir Charles Napier, Brighton

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

1 Feb 2018 19:24

The Pub With No Name, Brighton

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

1 Feb 2018 19:19

The Constant Service, Brighton

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

1 Feb 2018 19:15

The Reservoir, Brighton

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

1 Feb 2018 19:10

The Black Boy Inn, Bridgnorth

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

1 Feb 2018 19:03

New Penny Farthing, Liverpool

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

1 Feb 2018 18:58

The George and Dragon, Yiewsley

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

1 Feb 2018 18:24

The Crown and Sceptre, Uxbridge

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

1 Feb 2018 18:20

The Harp, Covent Garden

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

1 Feb 2018 18:16

Wheatsheaf, Southwark

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

1 Feb 2018 18:09

The Royal Exchange, Stone

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

1 Feb 2018 18:04

The Borehole, Stone

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

1 Feb 2018 18:01

The Fox and Hounds, Thurston

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

1 Feb 2018 17:52

Rose and Crown, Bury St Edmunds

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

1 Feb 2018 17:40

The Spread Eagle, Bury St Edmunds

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

1 Feb 2018 17:28

The Lucky Rover, Hook

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

1 Feb 2018 17:20

Mackenzie's, Liverpool

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

1 Feb 2018 17:16

Skew Bridge Alehouse, Rainhill

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

1 Feb 2018 17:12

The Alwyne Castle, Islington

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

1 Feb 2018 17:02

Brewhouse and Kitchen, Highbury

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

1 Feb 2018 16:57

The North Western, Liverpool

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

1 Feb 2018 16:47

Hard Times and Misery, Liverpool

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

1 Feb 2018 16:27

Belvedere, Liverpool

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

1 Feb 2018 16:22

The Font, Liverpool

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

1 Feb 2018 16:17

The Cambridge, Liverpool

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

1 Feb 2018 16:14

The Graduate, Warwick University

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

30 Jan 2018 19:55

The Burnt Post, Coventry

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

30 Jan 2018 19:50

The Open Arms, Cheylesmore

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

30 Jan 2018 19:47

Hare and Hounds, Coventry

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

30 Jan 2018 19:42

The Greyhound Inn, Longford

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

30 Jan 2018 19:36

The Boat Inn, Potters Green

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

30 Jan 2018 19:31

Red Lion, Walsgrave

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

30 Jan 2018 19:26

Caludon Inn, Coventry

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

30 Jan 2018 19:20

Rose and Woodbine, Coventry

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

30 Jan 2018 19:18

Biggin Hall, Coventry

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

30 Jan 2018 19:13

The Beer Engine, Coventry

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

30 Jan 2018 19:04

The Inn on the Green, Hanwell

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

29 Jan 2018 22:09

The Dodo, Hanwell

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

29 Jan 2018 22:05

The Swan Inn, Liverpool

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

21 Jan 2018 17:07

The Roscoe Head, Liverpool

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

21 Jan 2018 17:02

Port Street Beer House, Manchester

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

19 Sep 2017 21:15

The City Arms, Manchester

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

19 Sep 2017 21:08

Cafe Beermoth, Manchester

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

19 Sep 2017 21:03

The Down Inn, The Down

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

11 Sep 2017 20:47

The Baltic Fleet, Liverpool

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

11 Sep 2017 20:40

The Elephant And Castle, Dawley

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

11 Sep 2017 20:33

Station Inn, Telford

Now a private house.

11 Sep 2017 20:28

Fighting Cocks, Oakengates

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

11 Sep 2017 20:28

The Compasses Inn, Ketley

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

11 Sep 2017 20:16

The Cock Hotel, Wellington

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

11 Sep 2017 20:09

Railway Inn, Wellington

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

11 Sep 2017 20:04

The Wrekin Inn, Telford

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

11 Sep 2017 19:59

Smithfield Inn, Wellington

Still appears to be a fish and chip place.

11 Sep 2017 19:55

The Pheasant Inn, Wellington

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

11 Sep 2017 19:54

The William Withering, Telford

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

11 Sep 2017 19:49

The Malt Shovel, Telford

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

11 Sep 2017 19:36

The Gate Inn, Telford

This place is still closed and boarded up.

11 Sep 2017 19:31

Brent Knoll Inn, East Brent

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

3 Sep 2017 11:12

The Coopers Arms, Highbridge

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

3 Sep 2017 11:06

Royal Artillery Arms, Highbridge

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

3 Sep 2017 11:00

The Crossways Inn, Highbridge

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

3 Sep 2017 10:59

The Maypole Inn, Thurloxton

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

3 Sep 2017 10:50

The Cherry Grove Inn, Taunton

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

3 Sep 2017 10:42

Ring of Bells, Taunton

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

3 Sep 2017 10:34

Greyhound Inn, Staple Fitzpaine

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

3 Sep 2017 10:22

The Square and Compass, Ashill

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

3 Sep 2017 10:15

The Antelope, Tooting

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

28 Aug 2017 10:35

The Wheatsheaf, Tooting Bec

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

28 Aug 2017 10:26

The White Horse, Parsons Green

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

28 Aug 2017 10:19

Port Street Beer House, Manchester

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

23 Aug 2017 18:10

The New Inn, Baschurch

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

23 Aug 2017 18:08

Vernon Arms, Liverpool

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

19 Aug 2017 10:40

The Fly in the Loaf, Liverpool

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

19 Aug 2017 10:34

The Plough, Greetham

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

14 Aug 2017 20:19

Sun Inn, Cottesmore

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

14 Aug 2017 20:15

The Old Buttercross, Barleythorpe

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

14 Aug 2017 20:10

The Old Plough, Braunston

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

14 Aug 2017 20:05

Blue Ball, Braunston

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

14 Aug 2017 19:59

The Sun Inn, Belton

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

14 Aug 2017 19:55

Crown Hotel, Uppingham

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

14 Aug 2017 19:49

The Old White Hart, Lyddington

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

14 Aug 2017 19:41

The Plough Inn, Caldecott

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

14 Aug 2017 19:36

The Castle Inn, Caldecott

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

14 Aug 2017 19:31

The Roaring Meg, Newark

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

7 Aug 2017 21:15

The Horse and Jockey, Newark

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

7 Aug 2017 21:12

The Castle and Falcon, Newark

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

7 Aug 2017 21:07

The Mail Coach, Newark

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

7 Aug 2017 21:03

The Organ Grinder, Newark

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

7 Aug 2017 21:00

The Fox and Crown, Newark

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

7 Aug 2017 20:57

Sir John Ardene, Newark

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

7 Aug 2017 20:52

The Prince Rupert, Newark

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

7 Aug 2017 20:48

The Flying Circus, Newark

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

7 Aug 2017 20:43

Just Beer, Newark

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

7 Aug 2017 20:38

The Muskham Ferry, Newark

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

7 Aug 2017 20:33

The Crown Inn, Bathley

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

7 Aug 2017 20:29

Castle Barge, Newark

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

7 Aug 2017 20:25

The Castle, Newark

Currently closed.

7 Aug 2017 20:20

The Vaults, Newark

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

7 Aug 2017 20:19

The Old Malt Shovel, Newark

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

7 Aug 2017 20:11

The White Swan, Newark

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

7 Aug 2017 20:06

The Red Lion, Brightwell-cum-Sotwell

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

7 Aug 2017 19:59

The Plough, Long Wittenham

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

7 Aug 2017 19:54

Nags Head On The Thames, Abingdon

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

7 Aug 2017 19:50

The Stocks Bar (Crown and Thistle Hotel), Abingdon

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

7 Aug 2017 19:46

The Kings Head and Bell, Abingdon

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

7 Aug 2017 19:41

The Wheatsheaf Inn, Drayton

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

7 Aug 2017 19:36

The Admiral Benbow, Milton

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

7 Aug 2017 19:32

The Boars Head, Ardington

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

7 Aug 2017 19:25

The North Star, Steventon

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

7 Aug 2017 18:58

Cherry Tree, Steventon

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

7 Aug 2017 18:52

The Shire horse, Kettering

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

31 Jul 2017 21:20

The Three Cocks, Kettering

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

31 Jul 2017 21:14

Sawyers, Kettering

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

31 Jul 2017 21:09

The Alexandra Arms, Kettering

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

31 Jul 2017 21:08

Beeswing, Kettering

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

31 Jul 2017 21:03

The Cherry Tree, Kettering

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

31 Jul 2017 21:00

The Piper, Kettering

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

31 Jul 2017 20:58

White Horse Inn, Woodford

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

31 Jul 2017 20:52

The Dog and Partridge, Titchmarsh

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

31 Jul 2017 20:45

Montagu Arms, Oundle

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

31 Jul 2017 20:44

The Forum, Hexham

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

31 Jul 2017 20:32

Tap & Spile, Hexham

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

31 Jul 2017 20:26

The Dipton Mill Inn, Hexham

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

31 Jul 2017 20:20

Dyvel's, Corbridge

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

31 Jul 2017 20:11

The Wellington, Riding Mill

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

31 Jul 2017 20:04

The Blackbird, Ponteland

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

31 Jul 2017 19:58

The Northumberland Arms, Bedlington

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

31 Jul 2017 19:52

Queens Head, Newbiggin by the Sea

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

31 Jul 2017 19:44

The Aletaster, Low Fell

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

31 Jul 2017 19:38

The Burn Hotel, Houghton le Spring

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

31 Jul 2017 19:28

The Copt Hill, Houghton le Spring

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

31 Jul 2017 19:24

The Shipwrights Hotel, North Hylton

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

31 Jul 2017 19:18

The Wheatsheaf, Gateshead

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

31 Jul 2017 19:11

The Old Fox, Gateshead

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

31 Jul 2017 19:06

Angel, Swanton Morley

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

23 Jul 2017 12:13

Darby's, Swanton Morley

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

23 Jul 2017 12:09

The Railway, North Elmham

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

23 Jul 2017 11:53

The Ploughshare, Beeston

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

23 Jul 2017 11:40

The Dabbling Duck, Great Massingham

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

23 Jul 2017 11:36

The Crown Inn, Kings Lynn

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

23 Jul 2017 11:29

J J Moons, Wembley

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

19 Jul 2017 20:09

The White House, Stockley Park

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

19 Jul 2017 20:01

The Mere Inn, Alsager

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

19 Jul 2017 19:56

The White Horse, Woolton

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

19 Jul 2017 19:47

The Gardeners Arms, Liverpool

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

19 Jul 2017 19:42

The Lazy Landlord, Wallasey

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

19 Jul 2017 19:33

Black Horse Hotel, Heswall

Currently closed for refurbishment.

19 Jul 2017 19:26

The Red Fox, Wirral

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

19 Jul 2017 19:25

Mardi Gras, Manchester

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

10 Jul 2017 21:43

The Waggon and Horses, Wigan

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

10 Jul 2017 21:37

The Thomas Burke, Leigh

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

10 Jul 2017 21:28

White Lion, Leigh

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

10 Jul 2017 21:17

Boars Head, Leigh

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

10 Jul 2017 21:10

The Musketeer, Leigh

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

10 Jul 2017 20:58

George & Dragon, Leigh

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

10 Jul 2017 20:50

The Waterside Inn, Leigh

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

10 Jul 2017 20:45

The Boathouse Inn, Astley

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

10 Jul 2017 20:32

The Bulls Head, Astley

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

10 Jul 2017 20:25

Cart and Horses, Tyldesley

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

10 Jul 2017 20:20

The Wrens, Leeds

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

3 Jul 2017 19:15

Templar Hotel, Leeds

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

3 Jul 2017 19:11

The North Bar, Leeds

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

3 Jul 2017 19:05

The Ship, Leeds

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

3 Jul 2017 18:56

Whitelocks, Leeds

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

3 Jul 2017 18:52

Friends of Ham, Leeds

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

3 Jul 2017 18:46

Tapped, Leeds

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

3 Jul 2017 18:40

Spencers, Leeds

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

2 Jul 2017 14:14

The Scarbrough Hotel, Leeds

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

2 Jul 2017 14:06

The Good Yarn, Uxbridge

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

2 Jul 2017 13:57

J J Moons, Ruislip Manor

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

29 Jun 2017 19:45

The Turks Head, St Margarets

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

26 Jun 2017 20:32

The Marble Hill, St Margarets

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

26 Jun 2017 20:27

The Crown, St Margarets

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

26 Jun 2017 20:22

The Old Anchor, Twickenham

Now a thriving convenience store.

26 Jun 2017 20:15

The Cabbage Patch, Twickenham

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

26 Jun 2017 20:02

The Misty Moon, Twickenham

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

26 Jun 2017 19:56

The William Web Ellis, Twickenham

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

26 Jun 2017 19:51

The King's Arms, Twickenham

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

26 Jun 2017 19:40

The Roebuck, Hampton Hill

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

26 Jun 2017 19:36

The Masons Arms, Teddington

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

26 Jun 2017 19:29

The Queen Dowager, Teddington

Now flats.

26 Jun 2017 19:24

The Adelaide, Teddington

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

26 Jun 2017 19:23

The Hare and Hounds, Greenford

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

26 Jun 2017 19:16

The Grey Horse, Sunbury on Thames

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

26 Jun 2017 19:07

The Phoenix, Sunbury on Thames

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

26 Jun 2017 19:02

The Magpie, Sunbury on Thames

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

26 Jun 2017 18:56

The Flower Pot Hotel, Sunbury on Thames

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

26 Jun 2017 18:50

The Five Horseshoes, Barholm

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

19 Jun 2017 20:22

Vine, Market Deeping

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

19 Jun 2017 20:12

Bull Hotel, Market Deeping

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

19 Jun 2017 20:08

Goat, Frognall

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

19 Jun 2017 19:56

The Priors Oven, Spalding

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

19 Jun 2017 19:48

Ye Olde White Horse, Spalding

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

19 Jun 2017 19:38

The Birds, Spalding

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

19 Jun 2017 19:28

The Ivy Wall, Spalding

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

19 Jun 2017 19:15

The White Hart, Harlington

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

16 Jun 2017 19:12

The Pheasant, Harlington

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

16 Jun 2017 19:08

The Joiners Arms, South Norwood

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

12 Jun 2017 21:08

The Catford Bridge Tavern, Catford

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

12 Jun 2017 21:04

Catford Constitutional Club, Catford

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

12 Jun 2017 20:58

The Baring Hall Hotel, Grove Park

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

12 Jun 2017 20:51

The Prince Albert (Rose's), Woolwich

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

12 Jun 2017 20:46

Dial Arch, Woolwich

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

12 Jun 2017 20:38

Woolwich Equitable, Woolwich

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

12 Jun 2017 20:20

The Star Inn, Plumstead

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

12 Jun 2017 19:58

The Long Pond, Eltham

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

12 Jun 2017 19:55

Job Centre, Lewisham

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

12 Jun 2017 19:48

Upminster Taproom, Upminster

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

27 May 2017 20:13

The Ship, Gidea Park

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

27 May 2017 19:49

The Kings Arms, Bethnal Green

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

27 May 2017 19:44

The Phoenix, City Of London

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

27 May 2017 19:31

The Hoop and Grapes, City Of London

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

27 May 2017 19:25

The Stags Head, Fitzrovia

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

27 May 2017 19:10

The Thornbury Castle, Marylebone

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

27 May 2017 19:02

The Prince of Wales, East Barnet

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

22 May 2017 21:16

The George, Enfield

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

22 May 2017 21:11

The Old Wheatsheaf, Enfield

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

22 May 2017 21:06

Moon Under Water, Enfield

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

22 May 2017 21:03

The Wonder, Enfield

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

22 May 2017 20:55

The King and Tinker, Enfield

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

22 May 2017 20:49

Brewhouse and Kitchen, Islington

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

22 May 2017 20:44

The Duke's Head, Highgate

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

22 May 2017 20:36

The Bell House, Camden

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

22 May 2017 20:25

The Camden Eye, Camden

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

22 May 2017 20:15

JJ Moon's, Kingsbury

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

22 May 2017 19:54

The Ship and Mitre, Liverpool

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

13 May 2017 16:55

The Grapes, Liverpool

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

13 May 2017 16:48

Thomas Rigby's, Liverpool

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

13 May 2017 16:41

The Augustus John, University of Liverpool

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

13 May 2017 16:35

The Bree Louise, Euston

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

13 May 2017 16:24

The Corner House, Windsor

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

9 May 2017 19:52

Swan Inn, Morriston

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

9 May 2017 19:43

Five Bells Inn, Bridgend

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

9 May 2017 19:36

Wyndham Arms, Bridgend

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

9 May 2017 19:30

The Railway, Bridgend

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

9 May 2017 19:23

The Hop Pole Inn, Bromsgrove

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

2 May 2017 21:45

The Guild, Bromsgrove

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

2 May 2017 21:41

The Navigation Inn, Stoke Prior

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

2 May 2017 21:36

The Railway Hotel, Parbold

You can probably guess where the Railway is situated in Parbold. It's actually right next to the level crossing. Of the 4 pubs in Parbold, it was my favourite, mainly because it was the least pretentious. It was a simple, no frills locals' boozer with a friendly landlord and locals who crack pretty poor jokes - "What's the darkest ale you have" - cue the retort "Guinness". It was of course true. But it's not helpful! The "real" ale selection was Tetleys Cask, Thwaites Wainwright & Lancaster Bomber, Black Edge Ginger & Martland Mill Clogmaker. Handy for..... you guessed it..... Parbold station.

2 May 2017 21:31

The Windmill Hotel, Parbold

Apparently the Windmill was an old grain store. It's an impressive building outside and inside. I entered to find a group exiting and telling me not to bother as they were fully booked. But I was after liquid refreshment, not food. Ales were from the local Windmill brewery - Anderson's Pale Ale & Deckhand. But there were also guests - Southport Golden Sands, Tetley Cask, Slaters Ultra & Black Sheep Best Bitter. This place is pricy and appears focused on diners. But at least the ale range is decent. Toilets are downstairs where there is also a small outdoor drinking area and access to the car park.

2 May 2017 21:27

Stocks Tavern, Parbold

The Stocks Tavern was the worst of the 4 pubs tried in Parbold. As the previous reviewer states, the interior feels whitewashed and very bland. Some tables were set out for diners, with few others available and no standing room. The best spot appeared to be outside overlooking the car park. I was also overcharged by a pound for my drink. I was then refunded the pound in 10p pieces. Wainwright, Pedigree & Sneck Lifter were the ales. But try anywhere else in Parbold and you'll have a better time.

2 May 2017 21:22

The Wayfarer, Parbold

The Wayfarer was my first stop in Parbold on Sunday evening. It was packed with a rather large car park that was full with cars queuing for spaces. Inside was just as busy and uncomfortably so. Whilst this is the home of the Problem Child brewery, the pub is primarily for diners with drinkers only having the space around the bar. With the bar area full, I stood near the diners. Ales from Problem Child were Child Rascal & Scoundrel. Guests were also a decent range - Dark Star American Brown Ale & Southport Carousel. The real cider was Seacider Strawberry, a new one for me. Has some very good points. But on the reverse side, it was too busy and uncomfortable to enjoy.

2 May 2017 21:19

The Dog and Gun Inn, Aughton

The Dog & Gun was my final pub in the Aughton area. All eyes were on the TV screen, which had the North London derby on when I walked in. This is a Marstons pub with only ales from the Marstons range - Thwaites Wainwright, Banks's Bitter & Marstons Pedigree. There are two fairly small rooms. Locals were packed into the bar, whilst there was an unoccupied lounge. There are better pubs in the area.

2 May 2017 21:14

Town Green Inn, Aughton

Now the Town Green Brasserie with an emphasis on food and wine. Wainwright was the real ale option. Expensive. Don't bother, unless you want to eat.

2 May 2017 21:10

The Derby Arms, Aughton

This was the second pub in the Aughton area I visited after the Stanley Arms (not listed on here). But the Derby Arms was my favourite pub of 12 I tried in Lancashire either side of the football on Sunday. It's only a small place. But there are a few intimate corners. Ale drinkers are well served by a small but varied selection - Rat Hai Karate & Pet Rat, Rudgate Ruby Mild, Tetleys Cask & Salopian Oracle. Diners also seem well catered for, with the pub doing a roaring trade for food. There is a children's play area in the garden to keep the little ones occupied and to top it all, both staff and customers are friendly. Probably an 8/10, which is an unusual score for me for a pub without a real cider.

2 May 2017 21:08

Beacon Inn, Skelmersdale

I thoroughly agree with the last review. This place was a bit of a let down. Whilst it looks promising from the outside, it has been modernised on the inside and has a wine bar feel to it. The only ale on was Wells Bombardier Glorious English. There were a number of people in and most were there for food. However there are a large number of TV screens showing live football. There is no escaping it. I was amused when one elderly fellow walked in and specifically asked if there was a table without a view of the football. The waitress shook her head and laughed. I could see one table out of sight of the football. But it was directly under the speakers which were blasting out the commentary at an unacceptable volume. I'm all for having a TV for football or other sporting events in pubs. But people should be able to have the option of avoiding it if they want. Is this a sports bar, a pub or a restaurant? Poor.

2 May 2017 20:58

Prince William Inn, Dalton

Lovely Robinsons pub situated high up in the hills near Ashurst Beacon. It's a large affair inside. Staff were very friendly. But its main priority appears to be food. Unicorn & Wizard were the 2 ales. But I was happy to find Rosie's Pig cider. The better of the two pubs at the top of this hill. Appears popular with cyclists.

2 May 2017 20:52

Old Dog Inn, Skelmersdale

There's no sign of this pub any longer. Apparently it has been converted to residential use.

2 May 2017 20:47

White Lion, Skelmersdale

Thwaites pub situated on the main road through Up Holland. There are a couple of rooms at the front and a larger room at the rear, where the bar is located. Wainwright is the regular ale. They also had Hop To It from Thwaites and Brakspear Oxford Gold. Football was showing on the big screen.

2 May 2017 20:46

Delph Tavern, Orrell

Beware the opening times of this pub. It shows as open at 11:30 on some websites. But it doesn't actually open until midday. So I waited in the car park for half an hour. The ale selection was better than I anticipated. But all were pale ales - Allgates Tontine Tipple, Thwaites Wainwright, Salopian Lemon Dream, Atlas Wayfarer & Bristol Beer Factory 12 Apostles. Could have done with a dark beer. Seems to have a strong focus on food.

2 May 2017 20:43

William Wygston, Wigston

The William Wygston was the better of two Wetherspoons I visited over the weekend. It was also packed. There are plenty of tables. But I think we nabbed the last one, right at the rear. Service was quick though. Ales were Marstons Old Empire, Ringwood Forty Niner, Sharps Doom Bar, Ruddles Best, Adnams Broadside, Exmoor Gold & Grainstore Triple B. The cider was also from Grainstore - Hornet, which I'd had before but was quite pleasant. Preferred the Star & Garter up the road, as it has more character. But it's worth trying both if in Wigston.

2 May 2017 20:35

Star and Garter, Wigston

The Star & Garter was my favourite pub of 10 tried in Leicestershire on Saturday. It is a traditional two room local, which was busy during the early evening. It also stocks a decent range of ales - Everards Tiger, Ascalon & Beacon, Batemans XXXB & Shefford Plum Mild. The cider was Lilleys Merry Monkey. The only drawback was the service. One of the young barmaids stood doing nothing and ignored me on two separate visits to the bar. Luckily one of the older barmaids did spot me. Recommended.

2 May 2017 20:31

The Black Dog, Oadby

The Black Dog appears to be an Indian-owned pub, with some Indian dishes on the menu. But I didn't see anyone eating. Most of the clientele were drinkers and the ale selection was better than the local Wetherspoons - Brunswick Steam Forever, Merry Miner Pit Pony & Everards Tiger & Original. There is a large, covered patio area at the rear that is probably quite a nice place to while away a few hours in the summer. Good pub. Moved on from here to the Wheel (not listed on here), just up the road.

2 May 2017 20:24

Lord Keeper Of The Great Seal, Oadby

Fairly compact Wetherspoons branch on what I guess is Oadby's main street. We visited on Saturday afternoon shortly before the horse racing finished. It was fairly busy with diners and families on the lower level and drinkers nearer the entrance. By the time we left, there were bouncers on the door. Service was decent. Ales were Morland Old Speckled Hen, Sharps Doom Bar, Greene King Abbot & IPA, Theakston Best Bitter & Ramsbury Chalk Steam. The cider was Black Dragon. Not the best branch in the chain. But unlike elsewhere, at least they had a real cider.

2 May 2017 20:18

The Cow and Plough, Oadby

The Cow & Plough is situated in a barn outside of the centre of Oadby. It belongs to the Steamin' Billy brewery. The two rooms inside have plenty of character. Steamin' Billy beers on were Bitter, Billy, Skydiver & Vardy's Volley. Fullers London Pride is supposedly always on. Guests were Abbeydale Moonshine & Black Sheep Golden Sheep. Another nice pub. But would have been better with a dark ale or a cider.

2 May 2017 20:12

Fox and Goose, Illston On The Hill

Cosy village pub tucked away on the village's main street with a field full of sheep opposite. It's an Everards pub with two of their ales - Beacon & Tiger. There is a small bar and another small lounge. We sat outdoors on the patio area. You're guaranteed a warm welcome here from the local farming community. But it could have done with a better selection of ales and maybe a real cider. Still a nice pub though.

2 May 2017 20:07

The New Greyhound, Market Place

The New Greyhound is tucked away at the centre of this quiet Leicestershire village. It's a Marstons pub and two of their ales were on - Pedigree & Saddle Tank. The landlord was talkative and seemed genuinely interested in his customers. Seating is spread over a couple of rooms either side of the central bar, with a garden at the rear. It was fairly quiet on our Saturday lunchtime visit.

2 May 2017 19:59

The White Horse, Hedgerley

Still a great pub. It had a beer festival over the Easter weekend. Of the 3 annual festivals, the one at the end of May is the biggest with generally over 100 ales on throughout the weekend. The pub is a 2 room village local with a basic bar and a cosy lounge. There is an undercover patio at the rear with heaters and a garden beyond that for finer weather. Ales are served on gravity. Yesterday there was Rebellion IPA & The Bard, Mallinsons Calypso Cascade, Pebblefish Admiral Hopper, Brightside Amarillo, Mitchell's Hop House Dennis, Blue Square Abyss Porter & Mill Valley Duke's Perry. The two ciders were Salt Hill Ginger Spice & Broadoak Pheasant Plucker and there was also a perry from Stockmoor. There was also a craft beer - Boundary Push & Pull. Well worth a visit.

24 Apr 2017 19:29

The Pembury Tavern, Hackney

Our final pub of the day was the ever-reliable Pembury Tavern. It had the usual range of Milton ales - Mammon, Minotaur, Nero, Sparta, Medusa, Irene & Justinian. Guests were Slaters Haka & Vog Dark Matter. Ciders were Twisted Misty & Springfield Old Barn. The pizzas looked very tempting. I must try one next time I'm here. My previous reviews were slightly negative, on reflection. So I'm upgrading my score to a 8/10.

23 Apr 2017 12:25

The Victoria Park, London

This place is now called the People's Park Tavern. It's situated on the edge of Victoria Park. The outdoor seating areas at the rear were packed when we arrived yesterday, with many families. There is even a crazy golf course in the garden for kids. There was seating available inside, with some people having meals. I believe there was further seating upstairs. Getting served was a bit of a chore though. There were plenty of staff, just too many customers. Ales are brewed on the premises by Laines. But there were only 3 of them - Doubloon, Single Hop Series Summit & Red Empire. There was no real cider either. A bit disappointing and too busy to enjoy. I got the feeling there were normally more ales and possibly cider. But on this visit, this place was distinctly average.

23 Apr 2017 12:22

The Cock Tavern, Hackney

Another decent visit to the Cock yesterday. In fact, we returned later in the day. It was quieter than on previous visits. But that made the experience a bit more relaxing. Ales on during our first visit were Maregade Vanilla Milk Stout & Amber, Moor Nor'Hop, Howling Hops Pale & Thornbridge Jaipur. By the time we arrived later, Moor Amoor, Gipsy Hill Hepcat & Salopian Free Fall were all on. Ciders on the first visit were Turners Apple Pie & Elderflower, London Glider Dry, Burrow Hill Cider, Seacider Medium Dry & Millwhites Super 8 Number 1. On our return, there was Turners Medium & Millwhites Somer Gold. Still the best pub in Hackney.

23 Apr 2017 12:15

The Old Ship, Hackney

The Old Ship is not a pub I had visited before. The entrance up a narrow alley from Mare Street did not look too appealing. But we gave it a try yesterday. The interior is quite appealing. Although it does have the feel more of a gastropub - not quite what I was expecting. The ale range was Dark Star Hophead, Windsor & Eton Windsor Knot & Hammerton N7. Better than I had expected. But not a patch on the Cock Tavern.

23 Apr 2017 12:08

Kings Stores, Bishopsgate

Greene King pub on a street corner in an area of narrow streets. Despite being a Greene King pub, only their IPA was on. So there is a decent range of guests - Aylesbury Brewhouse Company Supersymmetry, Bedlam Porter, Trumans Swift & G2 Orion. Only a stone's throw from Liverpool Street station. So it may be quieter than other local pubs. Worth knowing about.

23 Apr 2017 11:59

Woodins Shades, Liverpool Street

A return visit to the Woodins Shades yesterday morning. I was hesitant after my last visit. But this time, it was much better. Sat towards the rear of the pub and enjoyed a much better quality ale than last time. The selection this time around was Youngs Hummingbird, St Austell Tribute & Nicholson's Pale Ale, Sharps Doom Bar & Two Tides, Black Wolf Florida Black, Windsor & Eton Knight of the Garter & Fullers London Pride. Better.

23 Apr 2017 11:53

The Moon on the Square, Feltham

Busy and boisterous Wetherspoon pub. I'd just missed a bus and had 16 minutes - just time for a swift half. But I spent most of my time waiting to be served. The 3 male staff members all seemed to be busy, until two of them disappeared. But I was about to give up after waiting 6 or 7 minutes, especially when a regular approached the bar and was being served before he'd even reached the bar! It was at that point that the solitary remaining barman asked me if I had been served. He then realised that I'd been ignored for some while. Ales were Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharps Doom Bar, Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold, Shepherd Neame Bishop's Finger & Spitfire Gold, Wells Bombardier Glorious English, Ascot Ascalon, Wimbledon Copper Leaf, Youngs Special, Sambrooks Pumphouse Pale & Twickenham Naked Ladies. Ciders were Old Rosie & Black Dragon. Still the best pub in Feltham. But bar staff need to be more attentive.

23 Apr 2017 11:49

Jagz Bar, Ascot

Now called the Station Inn. I dropped in as my train was a few minutes late. It has a fairly modern interior, with plenty of seating. Ales were Bombardier & Doom Bar. Serves a purpose.

23 Apr 2017 11:43

The Funky End, Aldershot

Corner bar with bouncers on a Friday evening. But it's convenient for the station. Wells Bombardier Burning Gold was the real ale. Service was quick and the atmosphere seemed better than most other Aldershot town centre pubs. A DJ was playing.

23 Apr 2017 11:40

The Goose, Aldershot

I was surprised to see bouncers on the door here. But it soon became apparent that this was more of a nightclub than a pub. It has a large and open interior with a little seating around the edges. The drinks selection was John Smiths Extra Smooth, Guinness, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruit, Fosters, Carlsberg, Carling, Amstel, Stella Artois & San Miguel. Your choice is dispensed in a plastic glass. In short, don't bother.

23 Apr 2017 11:37

The Queen Victoria, Aldershot

Greene King pub that is now simply called the Victoria. It has a fairly cosy, carpeted interior. But seemingly in common with most other pubs in Aldershot, it does get its fair share of delinquents. Hogsback TEA was the solitary real ale.

23 Apr 2017 11:33

The Trafalgar, Aldershot

The Trafalgar looks like a traditional boozer from the inside. But the interior is quite plain, with 2 rooms and limited seating. One room has a pool table. As a military town, there is plenty of military-related items on the walls. Music was on a touch too loud and the ale was Tribute. Not the best.

23 Apr 2017 11:29

The Queen Hotel, Aldershot

The Queen Hotel is a Wetherspoon pub and is probably the best pub in Aldershot town centre, which is a very disappointing town for real ale drinkers. The building is quite impressive and the interior is divided into a number of rooms, unlike many other Wetherspoon pubs. It was fairly busy on Friday evening. Ales were Sharps Doom Bar, Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Weltons Churchwillian & Hogs Back HBB. There were also 4 ciders - Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon, Westons Old Rosie & Marcle Hill & Orchard Pig The Hogfather. Decent pub.

23 Apr 2017 11:26

Imperial Standard, Aldershot

The Imperial Standard is a wedge-shaped building in Aldershot's West End. It was populated with an after-work crowd of a more mature age. Wadworth Bishop's Tipple was the solitary real ale. It's a fair trek from the station (mainly uphill) to get here and it was the one Aldershot pub in the Good Beer Guide I hadn't done. But in all honesty, it was not worth heading out this far. A little disappointing.

23 Apr 2017 11:19

The Crispin Inn, Sandwich

The Crispin stands right next to the Barbican. There were only 3 other people in plus the barman when I arrived. But the landlord and landlady soon returned. Ales were Sharps Doom Bar, Adnams Ghost Ship & Mad Cat Crispin Pale Ale. This was the only pub in Sandwich to stock a real cider, which was Friels. The pub has a cosy feel and serves Jamaican food. Although it looked a little pricey. One of the best pubs in the town, if not a little quiet on my visit. I moved on from here to the King's Arms Hotel (not listed on the site), which was another one of those pubs that falls silent when I entered. The "Can I help you" opening gambit there might as well have been "What are you doing here? I hope you're not here to cause trouble"! At least the welcome in the Crispin was more civilised.

19 Apr 2017 21:01

The Admiral Owen, Sandwich

The Admiral Owen enjoys a lovely location near to the town's toll bridge. To my surprise, there were 2 unusual ales on handpull - Ripple Steam Best Bitter & Canterbury Ales The Wife Of Bath's Ale. I read that they also should have had some key keg ales too. But I didn't notice them. The building is 15th century. But the interior is a touch more modern. It had a younger crowd than many of the other pubs in the town. Not too bad and it was open on this Easter Monday evening.

19 Apr 2017 20:56

George and Dragon, Sandwich

The George & Dragon was my favourite pub in Sandwich. It is tucked way out of the way in one of the maze of narrow, residential streets and it had plenty of character. There were only a few in. But these soon included the landlord and landlady of the Crispin Inn, which I was still to visit. Ales on were Butcombe Bitter, Otter Amber & Mad Cat Mild Disobedience. I chose the mild, which was a decent drink. Worth seeking out.

19 Apr 2017 20:52

The Fleur de Lis Hotel, Sandwich

Having literally having passed through the Market Inn (we walked in one side and out the other), we found the Fleur de Lis directly opposite. It was getting late on Easter Monday evening and with a few pubs still to do, I was looking for a swift visit. With a child in tow, the only way we could be let in was if we sit in the restaurant area. But when I said we only wanted drinks, we were told they couldn't serve us. We ordered a plate of chips. Staff were friendly apart from this and were probably just doing their job. But the ale selection was pretty ordinary - Sharps Doom Bar, Fullers London Pride & Harveys Sussex Best Bitter. A large pub with plenty of seating. But you need to be local to enjoy, unless you want to eat.

19 Apr 2017 20:49

Market Inn, Sandwich

The Market Inn was difficult to identify, as the exterior was covered in scaffolding. It enjoys a nice, central location. It was one of the friendlier of pubs in the town. But only one real ale was offered - Shepherd Neame Master Brew.

19 Apr 2017 20:44

Red Cow, Sandwich

The Red Cow was my first stop in Sandwich. The town itself is lovely with some characterful, narrow streets. It feels like a maze in places. The Red Cow is situated in one of the more open streets, next to a supermarket. In truth it was one of the better pubs in a town was far from friendly. Many of the local folk seemed insular and the bar staff weren't very cheery either. There was an eerie silence around the bar when I was getting served in the Red Cow. Ales were Sharps Doom Bar, Camerons Ahopalypse Now, Nelson Powder Monkey & Timothy Taylor Boltmaker. No real cider was available on this visit. The interior has 3 different rooms - a dining area at the front to the left, a small room with a bar billiards table to the right and the main bar area beyond. There is also a reasonable sized garden at the rear. Could be better.

19 Apr 2017 20:41

Five Bells, Eastry

This pub is right at the centre of a Kent village. It seemed a popular place and was hosting a beer festival over the Easter weekend. There are two rooms - a public bar to the left as you enter and a lounge/dining room to the right. At the rear was a courtyard and garden with an outbuilding housing the beer festival. Ales in the bar were Greene King IPA, Wells Bombardier Burning Gold & Wantsum Black Prince. After waiting a few minutes at the bar and being completely ignored, I decided to see what was on as part of the beer festival. They were literally closing the doors and only had Tryst Carronade remaining. Luckily for me, they also had Millwhites Strawberry Cider and I helped them finish the box. Could be a decent pub if they could only manage to at least acknowledge their customers.

19 Apr 2017 20:31

The Plough and Harrow, Tilmanstone

This roadside pub has a lovely location overlooking pastures grazed by sheep. But unfortunately it's closed at present and up for sale.

19 Apr 2017 20:23

The Wrong Turn, Barfrestone

After a visit to the Bell Inn in Minster (not listed on here) and a brief trip to the seaside at Margate, I moved onto another micropub - the Wrong Turn. This was my favourite pub of the day in Kent. Situated in a rural, wooded area this is a fabulous, small building with outdoor seating on a veranda at the front and a small garden. Inside feels like a log cabin. But the people are really friendly. Ales were Dark Star Hophead, Goody Ales Good Heaven & Wantsum Black Prince. The cider and perry selection was Kentish Pip Forager & Elderflower, Westons Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig With Raspberry, Damson & Rhubarb, Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon & Two Trees Perry & Abrahalls Thundering Molly & Ruby Tuesday. As we were leaving, a vintage car was rolling into the car park. It's well worth going out of your way to visit this place.

19 Apr 2017 20:21

The Hair of the Dog, Minster

The Hair of the Dog is a fantastic micropub on Minster's main street. It's a tiny, single room that was packed on an Easter Monday lunchtime. But the welcome was warm and the ale and cider selection was great. On during my visit were Mobberley 1924, Portobello Delovetot Straw Ale, Tickety Brew Golden Bitter, Westons Rosie's Pig & Family Reserve, Kentish Pip Forager Hedgerow Berry, Dudda's Tun Kentish Spice & Cheery Old Dudda & Kings Wood Tropical Cider. The micropubs in this area of Kent are well worth a visit, including this one.

19 Apr 2017 20:12

The New Inn, Minster

After a visit to the nearby Minster & Monkton Royal British Legion Club, the New Inn was my second port of call in this Thanet village. The New Inn appears to be a food-dominated pub, situated on a corner. It has a fairly large garden with children's play equipment. 4 ales were on - Sharps Coaster, Gadds No. 7, Hogs Back Tea & Shepherd Neame Master Brew. The second best place in the village. But still pretty ordinary.

19 Apr 2017 20:08

Cask, West Derby

Well it's been a long time coming and I finally got around to visiting Merseyside CAMRA's pub of the year for 2016 and now 2017. It was busy early on a Saturday evening. As you'd expect from a micropub, it has limited seating. But locals are friendly. The landlord didn't smile much. But the barmaid was slightly better. 5 ales were on when I entered - Salopian Propaganda, Hawkshead Red, Coastal Angelina, North Riding Cascade Pale & Skinners Penny Come Quick Stout. During my visit some of these were replaced with Coastal Pier Porter, London Brewing Beer Street, Salopian Free Fall & Black Jack Dead Man's Hand. Ciders were Abrahalls Ruby Tuesday & Snails Bank Apply Dapply and there was also Hallets Perry. As with most micropubs, there is a single room with further space for drinking in the corridor to the toilets. The main room has a selection of small casks on the wall and there is a model railway on a ledge near the ceiling. A popular place that is well worth the recognition it gets and scores a very good 9/10 from me. I just wish it was in a more convenient location.

19 Apr 2017 20:00

The Old Bank, Aigburth

I wasn't expecting much from this place. But I was pleasantly surprised. Situated on a corner where (you guessed it), there used to be an old bank, the building seems made for a pub. Inside, you wouldn't actually guess that it was not originally a pub. Locals and the barmaid were friendly and to my surprise there were two real ales from the Big Bog brewery - Spring Bog & Jack O'Lantern. Having had the Spring Bog earlier in Love & Rockets on Lark Lane, I plumped for the Jack O'Lantern which was in good condition. Recommended if you are ever in this area of Liverpool.

19 Apr 2017 19:50

The Fulwood Arms, Aigburth

The Fulwood Arms appears to be situated in a bit of a real ale desert and you'll no longer find any in this place. Nevertheless the interior is much nicer than I had anticipated and the barmaid was friendly. The pub is split over two levels with modern furnishings and fake brickwork wallpaper. The keg selection was Coors Light, Guinness & Guinness Golden Ale, Carling, San Miguel, Heineken, Somersby Cider, Blue Moon & Tetleys Extra Cold. Shame there were no ales.

19 Apr 2017 19:46

The Albert, Liverpool

The Albert was my third of four pubs I tried on Lark Lane on Easter Saturday lunchtime. The Lodge, Rhubarb and Love & Rockets are not listed on here. Lark Lane has become a fairly trendy place to wine and dine, with dozens of bars and cafes. The Albert remains the only real traditional pub. It does look a little dated from the outside. But the interior is still worth seeing. The ale range appears to have gone downhill since my last visit over 7 years ago though. Only Black Sheep Best & Courage Best were on. I was the only customer.

19 Apr 2017 19:40

The White Hart, East Cowes

After a visit to Cedars in Wootton, we concluded our Isle of Wight jaunt at the White Hart, which is conveniently located opposite the ferry port. In fact you can pop in for a drink whilst waiting to board. It's a corner pub that looks quite dilapidated from the outside. The inside is much the same. There was a motley crew inside, with the pool table and jukebox seemingly the centres of attention. The gents' toilets seemed to have a minor flood. The solitary ale was Dartmoor Jail Ale, which was ok. We'd saved the worst pub until last on this occasion.

19 Apr 2017 19:23

The Ship and Castle, East Cowes

This pub is very close to the Red Funnel ferry terminal. But it is currently closed down.

19 Apr 2017 19:18

The Taverners, Godshill

Godshill is a lovely, small village towards the south of the island. It has some quaint cottages, a number of pubs and a few touristy shops. There is also a model village. The Taverners appears to be the best pub in the village. It has a small car park, which is full with just 4 cars. But there is a public car park further down the road. The pub has a traditional seating area at the front, with the bar, more modern seating areas and a shop at the rear. We were hoping to eat and soon realised how popular this place can get. Nearly every table had a reserved notice on it, despite the pub being fairly quiet. Maybe not so much of a drinkers' pub, as the only space for them was at the bar. We were offered a small table in the shop, which we gratefully accepted. The food was decent and some of the products in the shop were interesting too, with plenty of locally-made produce available. Ales were Sharps Doom Bar, Goddard's Ale Of Wight & Yates' Taverner's Ale. They also stocked the only real cider I found on this visit - Rumpy Pumpy Scrumpy from the local Godshill producer, who also have a shop in the village. Food-oriented. But a decent pub.

19 Apr 2017 19:15

The Dairymans Daughter, Arreton

The Dairyman's Daughter is situated in the Arreton Barn complex, a collection of touristy shops. The pub is certainly aimed towards visitors and appears to do a good business in food. Prices were set accordingly. Ales were Goddards Fuggle Dee-Dum, Ringwood Arreton Old Village Ale, Best Bitter & Forty Niner & Yates' Islander. Whilst not strictly a real cider, I was quite happy with Addlestones. The inside is quite large. There is a conservatory area near the entrance and more seating areas nearer the bar. There are old penny arcade machines between the entrance and the toilets. A decent place to try.

19 Apr 2017 19:07

The Lake Huron, Ryde

There's no sign of a pub here anymore. Appears to have been demolished.

19 Apr 2017 19:03

The Railway, Ryde

After a visit to the High Park Tavern (not listed on here), we moved onto our last of 6 pubs in Ryde. The Railway was easily the best pub in town. Although it helped that a festival was on. There are 2 pleasant rooms, a main bar area and a smaller room which had a pool table. There is an outdoor yard area at the rear. The festival didn't have any ciders. But the ales were Blue Monkey Funky Gibbon, Mad Dog Deputy Dawg, 8 Sail Windy Miller, Black Sheep Special Ale, Newby Wyke Bismarck, Horncastle Satan's Fury, Hopback Summer Lightning, Ringwood Razor Back, Burton Bridge Stairway To Heaven, Island Earl's RDA & Yachtsman, Exmoor Gold, Heritage Masterpiece & Shepherd Neame No. 18 Yard Hog Island. This place is convenient for the train station just opposite, where you can get to Ryde or Shanklin. The Bus & Coach Museum is also nearby and occupied half an hour of our time. One of the best pubs on the Isle of Wight.

19 Apr 2017 19:01

Simeon Arms, Ryde

I thought this was one of the better pubs in Ryde. It's tucked away on a residential street in a position you would not expect. The interior felt a bit dark. But it has a traditional feel and it appears that sport is popular here, with plenty of live sport shown on the TVs and some locals playing dominoes. The 3 ales are Courage Directors & Goddards Fuggle Dee-Dum & Ale Of Wight.

19 Apr 2017 18:48

The Solent Inn, Ryde

The Solent is tucked away from the seafront. It is a two-room local that was quiet on our visit. But the welcome was warm. The 3 ales were Greene King IPA, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold.

19 Apr 2017 18:42

Castle Inn, Ryde

This Fullers pub is a corner local at the top end of the High Street, not too far from the landmark All Saints church. The pub has some nice etched windows. But the ale range was limited to HSB, ESB & London Pride plus a guest also from Fullers - Spring Sprinter. A bit of a hike from the Esplanade. But a fairly friendly place.

19 Apr 2017 18:37

Fowlers, Ryde

I see that S Fowler & Co was recently voted the runner up in the Isle of Wight CAMRA pub of the year. But I thought it was a distinctly below average Wetherspoons. The location at the top of a street looking down towards the pier is nice. The interior has at least 2 floors, with a family/dining area upstairs. There were stairs going further. But I didn't venture any higher. The ale choice was disappointing - Sharps Doom Bar, Greene King IPA & Abbot, Adnams Broadside, Wickwar BOB, Goddards Fuggle Dee-Dum & Courage Directors. There were no dark ales and no real cider. It was fairly busy on our Good Friday morning visit though and it had a lively atmosphere. Breakfast was also fine. I think there are several better pubs on the island though.

19 Apr 2017 18:30

Billabong, Wimbledon

With time to kill before meeting friends in the Prince of Wales yesterday, I thought I'd give this place (Old Frizzle) a try. I'm not sure what market this business is after. But there weren't many people in. The front room appears to be mainly for diners. A room at the rear was a sports bar. Bar staff were a bit condescending. Maybe trendy young Wimbledon folk like being called pal. But it feels a bit too familiar to me. Wimbledon Tower Special Pale Ale was the solitary real ale. I opted for Stowford Press, which was at least 55p a pint cheaper than the Aspalls in the Prince of Wales. Not a place I'd head back to though.

10 Apr 2017 19:28

The Wibbas Down Inn, Wimbledon

I'd read that this was a particularly large Wetherspoons. But on entering, it felt pretty small. It was only after being there about 20 minutes that I guessed there must be more to it. Following the room round, I soon worked out that the pub is actually a z-shape and there are bars at both the front and rear entrances. The place is very large. But its size and shape makes the middle section particularly dark. Ales were Surrey Hills Collusion, Adnams Bitter, Twickenham Champion's Ale & Black Eel, Thornbridge Jaipur, Windsor & Eton Windsor Knot, Dark Star Hophead, Greene King Abbot & IPA, Oakham Enough Rope, Wimbledon Common Pale Ale & Whistable Bay Red IPA. Unusually for a Wetherspoons, there was no real cider. Probably a decent option for Wimbledon, as real ale choice appears to be limited in the town. But there are better 'spoons than this.

10 Apr 2017 19:21

The Elephant and Castle, Amwell

Apologies. I've got the ales wrong below. The only Tring ale was Side Pocket For A Toad and there was also the local Three Brewers Classic.

6 Apr 2017 20:52

The Woodman, Ware

Small pub with a couple of small rooms. There were more people in the garden at the front than inside. But the welcome was friendly and the location is lovely. The 4 ales were Greene King IPA & Abbot & Tring White Hawk & Apache. Decent place.

6 Apr 2017 20:49

The Star, Standon

The Star appears to be a firm locals' pub. Everybody seemed to know one another and I appeared to be the only outsider. The language was choice, even in the lounge. The bar looked packed late on a Sunday afternoon. 4 ales were on - Greene King Abbot & IPA, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Crouch Vale Yakima Gold.

6 Apr 2017 20:46

The Beehive, Buntingford

The Beehive is a bit like a tardis. It looks quite big from the outside and has a large car park for the size of the pub. However, the single bar interior is tiny. A live Premier League football game was just finishing. Seating is limited and even space around the bar was at a premium. Standing by the door was a bit uncomfortable. The 2 ales were uninspiring too - Greene King IPA & McMullen AK. A touch disappointing.

6 Apr 2017 20:41

The Brown Bear, Braughling

The Brown Bear didn't look particularly promising from the outside. I wasn't even sure it was open. But the interior oozes character with a slate floor and plenty of beams. The bar is small, but each table still allows a fair bit of privacy. The 2 ales were from far afield - St Austell Trelawney & Purple Moose Madog's Ale. The better of the 2 pubs I tried in Braughing.

6 Apr 2017 20:38

The Golden Fleece, Braughing

The Golden Fleece was my first of 2 pubs in Braughing. It looks as if its speciality is food. But there were a couple of ales served by a friendly landlord - Adnams Bitter & Colchester Old Mortality. There is a particularly large and impressive fireplace near the entrance.

6 Apr 2017 20:35

White Hart, Puckeridge

McMullens pub with their AK & Country, as well as Defiant from their new craft brewery offshoot - Rivertown. This felt the slightly more posher of Puckeridge's pubs, with some enjoying Sunday roasts and others outside in the sunshine. The pub has a large garden with play equipment. The interior itself is quite compact. The Crown & Falcon did seem the slightly better pub in the village though.

6 Apr 2017 20:32

Crown and Falcon, Puckeridge

The Crown & Falcon was the first of 2 pubs I tried in Puckeridge. This was more of a locals pub who all appeared fairly friendly. The barmaid seemed over the moon that I'd given her two of the new pound coins. They were paraded around the pub. I hadn't even noticed I'd had them. 3 ales were on - Adnams Bitter & Mosaic & Wychwood Hobgoblin. I sat next to a note from Samuel Pepys who reputedly visited the pub.

6 Apr 2017 20:29

The Horse and Groom, Hatfield

The Horse & Groom was the best pub I tried in Hertfordshire on Sunday. It's situated in an older area of the town, near to a viaduct. Whilst it was quiet, there was a good selection of ales and a couple of ciders. Greene King Abbot & Mighty Moose IPA, Butcombe Heathcliff, Woodfordes Reedlighter, Oakham JHB & Black Sheep Best Bitter were all on. The ciders were Lilleys Crazy Goat & Abrahalls Slack Alice. The only pub I've ever visited in Hatfield and I'm told by others who have that it is the best.

6 Apr 2017 20:24

The Nelson, Wheathampstead

Still an Italian restaurant.

6 Apr 2017 20:20

The Swan, Wheathampstead

The Swan was my second consecutive Greene King pub. But I must say that I preferred the nearby Elephant & Castle. It has an l-shaped room with dining at one end and sports TV at the other. Locals congregated at the bar in between. Ales were Greene King IPA & Swan Best Bitter, with 3 other national brands - St Austell Tribute, Timothy Taylor Boltmaker & Robinsons Trooper. Seemed to be a locals pub. The car park is too small.

6 Apr 2017 20:19

The Elephant and Castle, Amwell

Nice rural pub with a dining room at the right as you enter and more of a drinking area to the left. The bar itself is at the rear beyond the pub's well. There is a garden at the rear and a larger one to the front. It's a Greene King pub. IPA, Abbot and the house Elephant Brew were on, alongside White Hawk & Apache from Tring.

6 Apr 2017 20:16

The Malvern Hills Hotel, Great Malvern

The Malvern Hills Hotel is situated quite high up and its more of a hotel than a pub. 4 real ales were on though - Wye Valley Butty Bach & HPA, Ringwood Boon Doggle & Thwaites Wainwright. Seems to be popular for food too.

6 Apr 2017 20:06

The Wellington Inn, Colwall

Roadside pub in the Malvern Hills. It was fairly quiet on my Saturday evening visit. Some diners were lingering and the only other people in were a couple of drinkers at the bar. But the landlord was an affable guy and so were the locals. An open fire was providing plenty of heat. 2 ales were on - Goffs Tournament & Three Shires Hafren. Both had recently been put on and were served from a jug. Nice place.

6 Apr 2017 20:02

The Farmers Arms, Wellington Heath

The Farmers Arms was packed on my Saturday evening visit. The large car park was full, the bar was packed and there was some kind of function going on. Many had spilled outdoors onto the patio overlooking the car park. Had it not been so busy, it would probably have been my favourite pub on this visit to Herefordshire. But it was too busy to enjoy. The ale selection was Siren Mortimer Ale, Gloucester Cascade, Navigation New Dawn Pale & Wye Valley Butty Bach, Daisy Duke & HPA. 4 ciders from Abrahalls were also available - Thundering Molly, Slack Alice, Nell Gwynne & Cuckoo Penny. Worth a visit when quieter.

6 Apr 2017 19:56

The Horseshoe Inn, Ledbury

The Horseshoe looks like a lovely building from the outside. The interior feels more like a restaurant than a pub and it specialises in pizzas, cooked from an oven at the rear of the single room. Wye Valley HPA & Butty Bach are the 2 ales. Service wasn't particularly attentive or friendly. Stocking the fridge with bottles appeared to be more of a priority. Looks to have great potential from the outside. But doesn't quite live up to it inside. There are better pubs in the town.

6 Apr 2017 19:52

The Moon Inn, Mordiford

Fairly pleasant country pub at a road junction. I couldn't get to the bar initially as a couple of women were playing darts and blocking access. When leaving the pub, they'd stretched a dog lead across the pub, creating a tripping hazard. Staff seemed friendly enough. But there are clearly some inconsiderate patrons. Ales were Timothy Taylor Landlord, Otter Amber, St Austell Proper Job & Wells Bombardier Glorious English.

6 Apr 2017 19:46

Plough Inn, Little Dewchurch

Quiet village pub with a main bar and a dining room. Only 4 or 5 other people were in. Wye Valley Bitter & Partners Hero. Following the sat nav here was about to take me down a very narrow lane, suitable only for a horse and cart. So be careful unless you know where you are going!

6 Apr 2017 19:39

The Volunteer Inn, Hereford

Backstreet pub in Hereford opposite an army base. The pub was fairly busy on a Saturday evening. But most people were congregated around the bar. So seating was still available. It has a fairly cosy atmosphere. 4 ales were on - Wye Valley HPA & Butty Bach, Otter Ale & Greene King Abbot.

6 Apr 2017 19:35

Beer in Hand, Hereford

The Beer In Hand bills itself as a micropub. But it's more of a 'macropub' and is bigger than any micropub I have been in before. Whilst it looks fairly small from the outside, it does stretch back quite a way. There is a table football game near the entrance. The bar itself is at the rear. Ales are in a glass chiller behind the bar. 4 were on during my Saturday evening visit - Odyssey Pocket Nuke, The Cult & Oatmeal Stout & Titanic Steerage. Ciders are kept in a fridge and were Olivers Showdown, Gold Rush, Traditional Cider & Perry, Henneys Traditional & Abrahalls Medium Sweet. There were also a selection of craft beers and a number of bottles too. Different styles of seating are available throughout the pub and there is an outdoor area to the side. A decent addition to the Hereford pub scene.

6 Apr 2017 19:32

The Bell Inn, Tillington

Another food-dominated pub, which has a small dining area with diners spilling over to an ever smaller bar area, leaving drinkers crowded around the bar itself. 3 real ales are served. These were Wye Valley Bitter, Otter Amber & Hobsons Town Crier. I was hoping for a real cider. But the best option appeared to be a keg one I hadn't tried before, which I was offered instead. However that was soon revealed to have gone and Stowford Press was the only alternative. Plenty of families with kids here early on a Saturday evening.

2 Apr 2017 22:48

The Nags Head Inn, Canon Pyon

The Nags Head is a roadside hostelry north of Hereford. The welcome is warm. But this appears to be more of a foodie pub. 2 ales were on - Sharps Doom Bar & Hobsons Old Prickly. The garden appears to be particularly child friendly. Fairly average.

2 Apr 2017 22:37

The Wellington, Wellington

Almost 5 years after my previous attempted visit, I tried the Wellington again. There is now a notice on the door stating that the owners couldn't make the business work and it is now closed for good. I can't say I'm surprised, as it never appears to open.

2 Apr 2017 22:32

The Prince Regent, Whitchurch

The Prince Regent is situated out of town up a hill from the centre. Looking at the previous review, I did drop in at the Red House (not listed on here) on the way here from the White Hart and actually found the Red House to be the best pub in town (3 ales from Andwell). The Prince Regent was much quieter with only 3 customers and the landlord. The ale selection was also limited to Summer Lightning & London Gold. Friendly enough though with everybody watching motor cycling on multiple TVs. Moved on from here to the Whitchurch Sports & Social Club, which is also missing from the website.

27 Mar 2017 19:34

The White Hart Hotel, Whitchurch

The White Hart is right at the centre of this small town. It still has accommodation and there is a nice lounge area near the hotel's reception. The public bar is where most people go though and it has more of a pub feel. Although the music seemed a touch too loud for a Sunday evening. The barman was welcoming. 3 ales were on - Arkells 3B & Wiltshire Gold & Donnington On The Nose.

27 Mar 2017 19:30

The Bell Inn, Whitchurch

The Bell was our first stop in Whitchurch. First impressions were of a friendly small town local. It has two bars, one at the front and another at the rear. Old maps line the walls heading towards a pretty, if not slightly overgrown and cluttered garden area, which tends to be used by smokers. Be careful not to get too near the end of the garden as the rather rude landlady will tell you off, advising that it is private property. The barmaid was friendly though and locals were nice enough, but had clearly been smoking something other than cigarettes. Pride, Seafarers & Doom Bar are the ales.

27 Mar 2017 19:26

The Coronation Arms, St Mary Bourne

Still closed. But the signs are still there. So hopefully re-opening as a pub again?

27 Mar 2017 19:21

Wyke Down Country Pub & Restaurant, Andover

This large and popular rural pub has a rambling interior with a number of large rooms. One is primarily a dining area and another has a couple of pool tables. There is a garden at the rear with climbing frames. Fullers London Pride is the regular ale. The guest yesterday was Weltons Horsham Pale. They also had Cornish Orchards Farmhouse Cider, which I was not expecting. Clearly aimed at families and diners, it has a holiday camp feel. You can actually camp or pitch your caravan at the rear.

27 Mar 2017 19:19

Lardicake, Andover

The Lardicake is situated in a residential area outside of the town centre. My hopes were raised by a sign on the exterior advertising real ales and craft beers. Alas, the choice was Doom Bar or Landlord. The pub has 2 small rooms. The rear room was being used for a live singer. The England football game was being shown on TVs. This place had a fairly rough and ready feel to it. It had no character at all. Disappointing.

27 Mar 2017 19:15

John Russell Fox, Andover

This Wetherspoons is certainly the best pub in Andover. But it has little competition. It is situated on the town's main shopping street. The interior is the usual bland Wetherspoons. Service was reasonably quick. But as usual, tables were full of glasses and general mess. With a festival currently on, the ale range was probably better than usual - Everards Midland Red, Hook Norton Mind The Gap, Black Sheep Pathmaker, Butcombe Union, Caledonian Brouwerij'Tij Flink, Sharps Doom Bar, Ruddles Best, Greene King Abbot & Oakham Enough Rope. Ciders were Thistly Cross Whisky Cask & Westons Rosie's Pig.

27 Mar 2017 19:11

The Lamb Inn, Andover

This place is now called the Owl's Nest and is now some kind of café. Certainly not a pub anymore.

27 Mar 2017 19:07

The Town Mills, Andover

Large Wadworths house situated in the town's former mill. The watermill is still working and can be seen inside. The interior is split over two levels and there is an outdoor area overlooking the river and a multi-storey car par at the rear. Although it was a little overgrown. The 4 ales were all from Wadworth - 6X, IPA, Swordfish & Horizon. A disappointing selection in a disappointing town for real ale pubs.

27 Mar 2017 19:06

The Railway Tavern, Andover

This pub was trading as the Lunar Hare and I thought I would pay it a visit as it is in the current Good Beer Guide. However it apparently closed again a few months ago. It is due to open again next month as the Malt House, but is currently closed.

27 Mar 2017 19:01

The White Lion, Wherwell

I was reasonably impressed by this village pub. The village itself is picturesque and is apparently famous for its trout fishing. The White Lion is a good size with 2 or 3 different rooms and a large outdoor drinking area, including a marquee. There were 3 ales - Landlord, Doom Bar & Atlantic. But surprisingly there were also 2 real ciders from Orchard Pig - Philosopher & Maverick. Service felt a little blunt and I suspect the pub relies more on its food trade than for drinks. But better than I had expected.

27 Mar 2017 18:59

The Wonston Arms, Sutton Scotney

The Wonston Arms was probably my favourite pub of 13 visited in Hampshire yesterday. It's set in a lovely English village. Parking is limited. But we found a spot just down the lane. The pub was lively and had live entertainment from a female singer. The pub itself is quite small. But on a warm day like yesterday, the doors can be opened to make the patio area an extension. Quite a few locals were enjoying the sunshine and entertainment and the pub seem to attract its fair share of eccentrics, providing additional entertainment. The landlord was a really affable guy who had only started in the pub trade a couple of years ago. He clearly takes a keen interest in his customers. 4 changing ales are served. It can be difficult to see what is on offer when locals are at the bar. But the landlord was happy to advise. The selection yesterday was Goffs Lancer, Hopback Summer Lightning, Goddards Starboard & Bowman Wallops Wood. A decent, well-run pub.

27 Mar 2017 18:04

Rack and Manger, Crawley

Still closed and now a rather large private house.

27 Mar 2017 17:55

Alfies, Winchester

Alfie's is situated just opposite the Guildhall in Winchester. It was the one Good Beer Guide pub I hadn't previously visited in the city. The pub has a fairly dark interior. But there is quite a large outdoor area to the rear, including a pool table. Food is served in this area at times. The pub has 4 real ales. Yesterday, these were Upham Last Suspect, West Berkshire Good Old Boy, Flack Manor Flack's Double Drop & Flowerpots Goodens Gold. Sadly there was no real cider. Nice enough pub. But there are better in Winchester.

27 Mar 2017 17:54

The Horse and Groom, Alresford

The Horse & Groom is located in the centre of Alresford, a nice town. It's a Fullers pub with an emphasis on dining. Seating is arranged around a central bar, with some more secluded seating areas. There is an outdoor courtyard at the rear. All of the 4 ales were from the Fullers range, with London Pride, Oliver's Island & HSB supplemented by Front Row.

27 Mar 2017 17:47

Willow Grove, Southport

After a visit to the Phoenix (not listed on here) on Saturday morning, I was looking for one more pub to visit. Both of the Wetherspoons were open. I walked in the Sir Henry Segrave first. But the ale and cider selection was disappointing. So I opted for the Willow Grove, which certainly seems to be the better of the two. For a Saturday morning it was packed. I really struggled to find a spare table. Before that, it took 10 minutes to get served with breakfasts and plenty of coffees being ordered. Ales were Sharps Doom Bar, Thwaites Wainwright, Lytham St Patrick's Stout, Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Adnams Irish Red, Ringwood Mauler & Wychwood Pinehead Oatmeal Stout. Ciders were Old Rosie & Black Dragon. Some of the locals here are a bit strange. They will certainly keep you amused. A couple of drunks singing Irish songs seemed quite appropriate for the morning after St Patrick's Day.

20 Mar 2017 21:09

Broomfield Tavern, Coventry

It's rare these days that I walk into a pub and get the wow factor that I did here. I'd say this is one of the 10 best pubs I have visited in the UK. Of around 3,000 pubs I've rated on the site, I've only ever given 5 pubs a 10/10. This one is the 6th. It has a rather unassuming location up a dead-end street next to a park and Coventry's rugby stadium. It has the feel of a village local. The interior is a single bar, with a real fire near the door. There were 10 ales, 12 ciders and a perry on my visit yesterday afternoon. The ales were Highgate Dark Mild, Hobsons Twisted Spire, Froth Blowers Piffle Stonker & Gollop With Zest, Framework Equinox Rye, Church End Vanilla Jack, Spontastic & Stout Coffin, Rowton Area 51 & Potbelly SOS. The ciders were Hogans Hazy Daisy & Panking Pole, Snails Bank Pineapple & Pink Grapefruit, Gwatkin No Bull & Stoke Red, Original Somerset Cider Company Apple Jack, Circle Roundabout, Thatchers Cheddar Valley, Handmade Crazy Diamond, Ross-on-Wye Oak Cask , Perrys Pathfinder & Turners Russet. These were supplemented by Broadoak Perry. The atmosphere was good and despite being reasonably busy, I could still get a table. Both dogs and families are welcome. The cider I had (Roundabout) was in good condition. But sadly I was driving on this occasion. I definitely need to come back to sample the rest!

20 Mar 2017 21:03

Hearsall Inn, Coventry

Another backstreet freehouse in the Churchfields area of the city. This pub was packed. Many were watching the live football. Others had clearly been there a little too long - my wife watched one woman having to be carried out of the ladies. Bar service is from the main room, with a serving hatch in the corridor by the front door. Ales were Byatts Brewhouse Best & Glorious, Church End Goats Milk & Bass. Despite being packed, this place did seem like quite a nice place. Perhaps best to return on a quieter evening.

20 Mar 2017 20:46

The Nursery Tavern, Coventry

Another backstreet pub in the Chapelfields area of the city. It has 3 small rooms that each have their own character. The landlord/barman didn't appear particularly cheerful. But the ale range was good - Otter Bitter, Fullers London Pride, Wickwar Shanakee Stout, Butcombe Bitter & Courage Best. Cider was Old Rosie. Quite a cosy place that is worth a visit if in the area.

20 Mar 2017 20:41

The Craven Arms, Coventry

The Craven Arms is situated on the corner of a couple of backstreets. There are a few other pubs within sight that are better options. This one did have Marstons Pedigree New World. But the interior could do with a makeover, with seating falling apart and a gents toilet you had to wade through to get to pee. Although that's probably more of a reflection of the regulars' aim than the quality of the pub. Friendly landlord though.

20 Mar 2017 20:37

The Farmhouse, Coventry

The Farmhouse is more of a restaurant these days. It is a large place that serves Indian food, alongside Sunday roasts. There were actually two Greene King Ales - IPA & Abbot. But drinks were quite expensive. I have to say that the Indian food smelt really nice. But this is not really a place you'd want to come regularly just for a drink. There is a large car park and a children's play area outside.

20 Mar 2017 20:34

The Royal Oak, Earlsdon

The Royal Oak doesn't look much from the outside. But the interior has been modernised and it had a fairly friendly atmosphere, with a number of different drinking areas. The modern interior seems to work for once. Ales were fairly standard national ales - Black Sheep Golden Sheep, Greene King IPA, Sharps Doom Bar & Bass. But I was quite happy with the Westons Family Reserve.

20 Mar 2017 20:31

The City Arms, Coventry

The City Arms is a large Wetherspoons in a prominent position on a busy roundabout. Unlike most branches of Wetherspoons, it looks it was already a pub before they took it over. It even has its own small car park at the front. But it is pay and display and you'll be lucky to get a space. Luckily we got served before quite a few others arrived at the bar. So service was quick. Ales were Sadlers Mud City Stout, Byatts Blackfriars Porter, Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharps Doom Bar, Quantock Plastered Pheasant, Loddon Hullabaloo, Marstons Old Empire, Jennings Sneck Lifter & Grainstore Rutland Beast. Cider was Black Dragon. The pub has a few little nooks and crannies, giving it a little more character than most. Better than average.

20 Mar 2017 20:27

The Cornerpost, Crosby

The Corner Post was my third micropub of the day on Saturday and it was the best. The landlady was very friendly and chatty and was explaining how they had taken over this former post office, which had also been a shop, into a micropub. There were 4 ales and 1 cider - Salopian Hop Twister, Peerless Langton Spin, Purple Moos Calon Lan, Neptune Undercurrent & Westons Family Reserve. It's about a 7 or 8 minute walk from Blundellsands & Crosby station. But there are other decent micropubs, including the Liverpool Pigeon and another opening near Waterloo station tomorrow, in addition to regular pubs near Waterloo. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit here and will be back.

20 Mar 2017 20:13

Beer Station, Formby

The Beer Station was the third pub and the second micropub on my mini crawl from Southport to Crosby on Saturday. It's really handy for the station. You walk off the platform and it's straight opposite. You could combine a visit to the Freshfield while here too. The Beer Station is a typical micropub with conversation dominating and 3 real ales. These were Windmill Deckhand, Liverpool Organic Mork & Parker Saxon Red Ale. The landlord was bemoaning the fact that they are so close to the station and the trains are so regular, as people rush out the door. I'd probably have stayed for another one if there'd been a real cider. But the only options were bottled ones. Nevertheless, I'm sure this place will gain far more trade from its location than it will lose.

20 Mar 2017 20:08

The 23 Club, Liverpool

It surprises me that the Clove Hitch still seems to be lacking in customers. There is a great selection of craft beers on keg and 3 real ales. Yesterday these were all from Hawkshead - Iti, Jantar & NZPA. The interior still has the feel of a wine bar though. The courtyard at the rear is nice in the summer. Maybe it is more popular in the evenings. Still a decent place. But could do with more atmosphere during the daytime.

12 Mar 2017 11:40

Pen Factory, Liverpool

The Pen Factory is a reasonably new place not far from the Everyman Theatre on Hope Street. I believe it was opened up by the previous owners of the bar in the Everyman before its refurbishment. Despite being below street level, it's quite a light and airy place with a focus on dining. But they do have 4 ales and 2 ciders. Yesterday these were Liverpool Organic Cascade & 24 Carat Gold, Brimstage Trappers Hat, Copper Dragon Best Bitter, Abrahalls Thundering Molly & Orchard Pig Philospher. A good addition to the city's pub scene.

12 Mar 2017 11:34

The Fox, Hanwell

After a visit to the new micropub nearby (not yet listed on the site), I headed to the Fox. It was fairly quiet late on a Tuesday evening. But the ale range was better than I remember and they now have a cider on handpull. Ales were Three Daggers Blonde, St Austell Proper Job & Trelawny, Green Duck Duck Under, Fullers London Pride & Timothy Taylor Landlord. The cider was Lilleys Merry Monkey. Another pub I should get to more often.

8 Mar 2017 20:00

The Grosvenor, Hanwell

Made my third visit to the Grosvenor last night. Each time I seem to forget to ask for a CAMRA discount. The price had just been rung into the till by the time I remembered this time. It has been voted local pub of the year again and it's not surprising to see why, with the ale range - XT 15, Weird Beard Fade To Black & Kentish Town Beard, East London Night Watchman & Southwark Centennial. They have also extended their cider range. The 3 from Westons were Hand Brake, No Brainer & Family Reserve. The craft beer selection is also fairly decent. I tried a Terri's Chocolate Orange Brown Ale from Mondo. This is still a friendly community pub. We tried the food too. This was ok, without being exceptional and it wasn't exactly cheap. The Grosvenor is growing on me and hopefully I'll get a discount one day.

8 Mar 2017 19:53

The Forester, West Ealing

Paid a return visit to the Forester last night, after sampling the Owl & The Pussycat, a new micropub nearby that is not yet listed on here. We sat in the middle room of 3 this time. The bar at the front was reserved for a private function, whilst some were taking advantage of the Thai food served in the room at the rear. The ale range was Fullers London Pride & ESB, Gales Seafarers, St Austell Tribute, Black Sheep Holy Grail & Castle Rock Preservation. They have now stopped serving a real cider. Has gone down in my estimation. But there is more competition locally now.

8 Mar 2017 19:46

The Stapleton Tavern, Finsbury Park

Whilst I hadn't planned to visit this pub, it was on my way to Finsbury Park tube station and I had a bit of spare time. So I thought I'd give it a go. The pub is situated at a busy road junction and it is fairly spacious inside with a large open-plan area either side of the bar. As an Antic pub, it has the usual mix of oddities scattered around. Toilets can be found either side of the bar and apparently can be differentiated by the colour of their tiles! Ales were Morland Old Golden Hen, Redemption Pale Ale, Purity Ubu & Greene King IPA. Sadly they don't stock a real cider. But they did have Aspalls on keg. Better than I had expected.

8 Mar 2017 19:35

The Shaftesbury, Holloway

I arrived here about 15 minutes before opening on Sunday lunchtime. But it was almost 25 minutes before a door was opened. Apparently the staff would rather set out all the tables with menus and the like, before welcoming anybody in. I very nearly gave up. But eventually I managed to get through the side door and found a reasonably large pub with a couple of rooms. The rear bar is now used for dining. The Dragonfly beers previously mentioned are no longer stocked. The 3 ales on were Sambrooks Junction, Fullers London Pride & Hammerton N7. Cider was Rosie's Pig. There doesn't seem much competition in the vicinity. So maybe that's why they can afford to ignore customers sitting outside. I doubt I'd make a return visit to this area any time soon.

8 Mar 2017 19:30

Crown, Liverpool

The Crown is still a really handy pub for the station. But because of that, it always seems to be busy. It's one of the few buildings on this side of Lime Street to have survived the bulldozers. The interior is nice and there are generally 8 ales on, mostly national brands. Yesterday, they had Jennings Cumberland Ale, Black Sheep Best Bitter, Greene King Abbot & IPA, Orkney Dark Island, Sharps Doom Bar, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Everards Sly Fox.

26 Feb 2017 18:31

The Pelican Inn, Gloucester

I hadn't planned to visit the Pelican. But I had time to fit in a visit. Until this point, my favourite Gloucester pub had been Tank, owned and run by Gloucester Brewery in the Docks, but not listed on here. But the Pelican soon trumped that. It has a nice location tucked away in a quiet street to the rear of the cathedral and the interior (2 small rooms) has a cosy atmosphere. There is an outdoor patio at the rear. Run by Wye Valley, it had a good selection of their ales - HPA, Butty Bach, Bitter, The Hopfather, Golden Ale & Same Again. In addition, there were 2 guests - Skinners Porthleven & Tiny Rebel Fubar. But my attention was immediately drawn to the 10 ciders - Ross-on-Wye Medium Dry & Medium Sweet, Harry Taylor's Crooked Branch, Orchard Pig Maverick & Dark Cider The Moon, Sandford Orchards Devon Red & Devon Mist & Westons Old Rosie With Rhubarb, Rosie's Pig & Country Perry. I was spoilt for choice! If I'm ever back in Gloucester, I hope to come back here. Very good.

21 Feb 2017 20:53

The Imperial Inn, Gloucester

My visit to this place was fairly similar to the last reviewer, except my drink was in good condition. The exterior tiling makes it look very impressive indeed. The interior is more down-at-heel, with a dozen or more locals. Ales were Doom Bar, Atlantic & Bass. But to my surprise, there was a handpull with Thatchers Dry, which I took full advantage of. There had been a party held earlier in the day and there was plenty of leftover food, which was also really welcome since I hadn't had any lunch. The ale selection won't bowl you over here. But I quite enjoyed my visit here and it's rare that I see Thatchers Dry anywhere. So I'm plumping for a 7/10.

21 Feb 2017 20:47

The New Inn, Gloucester

The New Inn is not exactly very new. It is one of the oldest pubs in the country with a fair amount of history. It's a fantastic coaching inn situated in a secluded, but photogenic courtyard. It's not immediately obvious which door is the bar. But just look out for other customers. The interior felt a bit basic. But it still holds a bit of character with its beamed ceilings and uneven floors. The ale range is disappointing - Doom Bar, Atlantic, Bombardier & Hobgoblin. But they did also have Old Rosie cider. Don't come for the beer. But come to see a fabulous building and setting.

21 Feb 2017 20:43

Fountain Inn, Gloucester

The Fountain, like a number of other local pub is situated in a courtyard off a main street in the centre of the city. It had a surprisingly decent range of real ales - Wickwar Bob, Butcombe Bitter, Bristol Beer Factory Independence, St Austell Tribute, Dartmoor Jail Ale, Hillside Legless Cow & Timothy Taylor Landlord. Unfortunately there were no dark ales and no real cider either. Despite this, it I definitely one of the better pubs in the city.

21 Feb 2017 20:36

The Cross Keys Inn, Gloucester

The Cross Keys is tucked away down an alleyway near the main shopping streets. I'd read that it closed on a Sunday daytime. So I was expecting a locked door. To my surprise it was open and there was music playing inside. Unfortunately it was just a musician practicing and the pub was indeed closed. Disappointing. I will hopefully return and find it open one day.

21 Feb 2017 20:33

The Water Poet, Gloucester

This place is no longer a Wetherspoons. But looking online, it appeared to have re-opened as a sports bar. So I thought I'd give it a go. It's now called Doctors. My experiences of former Wetherspoons premises tends to be fairy negative, as new owners struggle to cope with such large properties and the real ale tends to disappear. I was surprised to see 2 ales in this place - Pedigree & Hobgoblin. The interior has been refurbished quite nicely and it was actually doing quite a decent trade, with plenty of TVs showing both English and Scottish football. Not as good as a Wetherspoons. But a worthy replacement, in this instance.

21 Feb 2017 20:30

Linden Tree, Gloucester

On my first ever visit to Gloucester's pubs, this Wadworth pub on the southern outskirts of the city was my first port of call. It's quite an imposing building on the outside. But it felt a little dull inside and there were only a couple of other customers. Ales are all from Wadworth - IPA, Horizon, Bishop's Tipple & 6X. FA Cup football was on the TV. There is a bowling alley at the rear. The landlord was a friendly guy. Deserves more customer, to create a better atmosphere.

21 Feb 2017 20:23

The Little Thatch, Quedgeley

This place looked like a lovely building from the outside. But on a Sunday lunchtime, all doors were locked. One guy did come out baring his chest, with an unbuttoned shirt and asked if I wanted a room. But I got the feeling he was just a resident, as this is a hotel too. I later found out that it would open at 7pm. But I wasn't about to hang around. So 0/10 for a pub that doesn't open in what should be some of its peak hours.

21 Feb 2017 20:18

The Weavers Arms, Quedgeley

Large, modern pub on the edge of a retail development that has pretty much nil character. Food appears to predominate. But there were still a few drinkers standing at the bar. As you'd expect, beers are all from the Marstons range - Banks's Bitter, Ringwood Forty Niner, Marstons Pedigree & Wychwood Hobgoblin. Not a lot to recommend it.

21 Feb 2017 20:15

The Red Lion Inn, Arlingham

The Red Lion looked promising from the outside and on entering the ale selection was reasonably good - Sharps Doom Bar, Hook Norton Nice Try, Uley Bitter & Fullers London Pride. The only problem with the pub was that all tables were set out for diners, which left nowhere to sit down to have a drink. Feels more of a restaurant than a pub on a Sunday lunchtime. But maybe there is a better set up in the evenings outside of food hours. Disappointing on my visit though.

21 Feb 2017 20:10

The Three Horseshoes, Frampton on Severn

The Three Horseshoes is the smaller, but the better of Frampton's two pubs. It's located at the opposite end of the village green from the Bell, about 10 minutes walk away. You're assured of a warm welcome here. The landlady gave me some books to read all about the village. The 4 ales are Timothy Taylor Landlord & Boltmaker, Sharps Doom Bar & Uley Bitter. The real cider was from Black Rat. Some of the locals seemed slightly eccentric and the pub dog came and lay down beside me in the front bar. But this adds to the character of the place. There is a further room at the rear. A really good pub.

21 Feb 2017 20:03

The Bell Inn, Frampton on Severn

The Bell is a large pub located at one end of England's largest village green. The pub itself is a large stone building with a number of rooms. There are a number of outhouses too, some featuring farm animals. Whilst a nice place, the ale range was limited to Exmoor Gold, Wye Valley HPA & Otter Bitter. There were 2 ciders from Westons - Old Rosie & Family Reserve. Seems like a place aimed at diners and families.

21 Feb 2017 19:07

Battesford Court, Witham

The Battesford Court is a former hotel, now a Wetherspoons on Witham's main shopping street. I'd arrived here after visiting the Wheatsheaf in Hatfield Peverel (not listed on the site). The Battesford Court is a typical 'spoons - packed, devoid of character, but with a good selection of ales and this one had 4 ciders. Ales were Sharps Doom Bar, Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Flack Manor Black Jack, Shepherd Neame Spitfire & Wibblers Gold. As with the previous review, I think there were 3 ales "coming soon". Ciders were Westons Old Rosie & Wyld Wood, Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon & Thistly Cross Whisky Cask.

18 Feb 2017 13:36

Woolpack, Witham

The Woolpack was my first of two Witham pubs. It is situated in a conservation area in the north of the town. Parking is a bit of a problem. Nevertheless once inside, I found a two room local with a good selection of ales - Greene King IPA, Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde, Nethergate Rugby Ruck & Witham No Name. They also had Rosie's Pig cider. Oscar Wilde has always been a favourite for me and I enjoyed a swift half. Surprised nobody has reviewed this pub before. I certainly enjoyed it and it was my favourite of 2 pubs in the town.

18 Feb 2017 13:30

Vine Inn, Black Notley

The Vine is a food-dominated pub situated in a small village south of Braintree. On arrival, there was only one family in the pub and they soon left. There are quite a few tables, but all seemed to be made up for diners. When the family left, the table they had been sitting at was also set with cutlery. I elected to sit at the bar. Ales were Bishop Nick Heresy & Adnams Bitter & Ghost Ship. I moved on from here to White Notley where the Cross Keys (not listed on here) has started closing during the day. I eventually visited that later in the evening.

18 Feb 2017 13:25

The King William IV, Braintree

The King William IV is situated to the south of Braintree near the main A120. Whilst it is a fair trek from the town centre as Snarling Mallard says, it appears to be Braintree's best pub and my favourite of 10 Essex pubs tried yesterday. The interior is quite compact, with 2 small rooms. You approach the pub from the car park through the garden. I got the feeling that I was probably being discussed as I headed towards the pub, as silence descended when I walked in! This certainly occurred for subsequent customers too. Nevertheless, the landlord seemed like a nice chap and the regulars were quite friendly. The real strength is the ale & cider selection, with 4 of each available. Yesterday, they were Maldon Farmer's Cutty Sark, Mighty Oak Captain Bob, Moody Goose (the in-house brewery) Mystery Mild & Tring Brock Bitter. Ciders were Cetic Marches Lily The Pink & Nell Gwynne & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. I went for the Duddas Tun Pear O'Dudda which was quite sweet, but nice. Recommended.

18 Feb 2017 13:21

The Picture Palace, Braintree

The Picture Palace was my first of 3 pubs in Braintree. It's a large Wetherspoons in an old cinema building. Most tables were taken on my Friday lunchtime visit. But it is half term and there were many families present. A strange feature was an orderly queue at the bar, which I don't see too often. It seems more of a trend in pubs in the north, not something I've noticed in the south too often. I avoided the queue to peruse the ale selection - Wibblers Hop Black, Bishop Nick 1555, Morland Old Speckled Hen, Kelham Island Pale Rider, Conwy Welsh Pride, Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharps Doom Bar. Cider was Old Rosie. I rejoined the queue, only to find a couple of girls walk straight up to the bar. All credit to the bar staff, they served the queue first. I was slightly worried that the Hop Black would be a little too hoppy for me. But it was a decent ale. I did also try the Wagon & Horses nearby. That was a Greene King pub not listed on here. But the Picture Palace was the better pub.

18 Feb 2017 13:11

The Bell Inn Panfield, Panfield

Quite why there are 17 different entries for this pub, God only knows. But I paid it a visit after the Milli Bar at nearby Andrewsfield Airfield yesterday lunchtime. It's a Greene King in a nice village to the north of Braintree. Entering from the car park, you'll first arrive in the lounge. There is also a bar at the other end of the pub. A few other tables were taken with people enjoying lunch. Families are welcome. Ales were all from Greene King - IPA, Abbot & Yardbird. The local football team appears to play on an adjacent pitch.

18 Feb 2017 13:04

The Crown Inn, Puncknowle

The Crown in Puncknowle was a late addition to my Dorset crawl and was a decent last minute supplement. Leaving the coastal hill mist behind, the road drops into a very nice village and to a pub that also serves as the local shop. There were no other customers, just staff. But the barmaid was very friendly and chatty. I believe she was the landlord's daughter. Ales are all from Palmers - Best Bitter, Copper Ale & Tally Ho! The cider was Dorset Orchards First Press. There are a couple of large rooms. But they probably appeared larger than they really were due to the lack of customers. A pub that deserves more trade and probably my second favourite of the day, simply due to the friendliness of the lady behind the bar.

17 Feb 2017 09:16

The Swan, Abbotsbury

My penultimate pub of the day was this coastal hostelry west of Weymouth. It's in the current Good Beer Guide, which quite frankly surprises me. The solitary real ale was branded as Swan Ale, but is actually a Scottish beer - Caledonian Flying Scotsman. A pub on the south coast of England with no English ales seemed a bit odd. Nevertheless service was friendly and the pub was undergoing a bit of a refurb, with a large room containing a pool table being painted. The pub appeared to be popular with families and diners (probably as it was half term). Had to fight my way through dogs to exit. Not my favourite pub of the day.

17 Feb 2017 09:10

Brewhouse and Kitchen, Dorchester

It's taken me a while. But this finally my first visit to one of the Brewhouse & Kitchen pubs, where the ales are brewed on site, with the brewing equipment on display. Apparently it was the old stationmaster's office for the adjacent station. The positives were that they had a decent selection of their own ales - Mayor of Casterbridge Porter, Cerne Abbas Giant, Hopster, Judge Jeffreys, Nine Stones, Crickmay & Stationmaster's Ale. The drinking environment was pleasant. But from a negative perspective, it didn't feel much like a pub - more like a bar that serves food, similar to American bars. The solitary cider was off and the porter was nothing special. I was also a bit perturbed by the service. There are two sets of handpulls either side of a pillar. I'd only had chance to peruse the one set when I was approached to order. After telling the bar manager that I would just take a look at the other ales, I was expecting him to follow me the other side of the pillar. But he unexpectedly disappeared out of sight! I won't rule out this chain and I'm sure I'll visit another branch soon. But the whole concept does feel like a bit of a gimmick.

17 Feb 2017 09:05

Royal Oak, Dorchester

Slightly above average Wetherspoons. The interior is more compact than most. But that means you still have to go on a trek to find the toilets. Ales were the usual Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharps Doom Bar. But they also had 4 guests (none from Dorset) - Saltaire Cascade, Goodards Ducks Folly, Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold & Cotleigh Seahawk. Two ciders were also in the fridge and at least one of these was from the county - Purbeck Cider Company Joe's Dry, in addition to Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. The entrance to the pub resembled a crèche, with plenty of families. But the rear was more drinkers. There is a patio outdoor at the rear.

17 Feb 2017 08:58

The Kings Arms Hotel, Dorchester

Looks like it used to be an impressive building. But it's currently closed down and derelict. A ghost walk meets outside the entrance though!

17 Feb 2017 08:55

Tom Browns, Dorchester

Tom Browns is the brewery tap for the Dorset Brewing Company (DBC). All 6 ales were from the brewery - Jurassic, Dorset Knob, Great Expectations, Durdle Door, Tom Browns & Flashmans Clout. There was also a handpull for Lilleys Bee Sting Perry. The interior is basic and bare boarded. It's a nice enough drinking environment. But it felt like it attracts a young and fairly trendy crowd. The gents toilets were out of order. So the ladies had become unisex! CAMRA discount offered for ales, but unfortunately not the perry. Could be better with guest ales and a recognition of real cider and perry. Still a reasonable option if in Dorchester though.

17 Feb 2017 08:53

The Blue Raddle, Dorchester

The Blue Raddle was my second stop in Dorchester after the Colliton Club (not listed on the site). It was easily the best pub in the town and by far the best pub I visited in Dorset this time around. It has a single bar and whilst they serve food, it's predominantly a drinkers' pub. Dogs are welcome. But children aren't. I was greeted by a friendly barmaid and having enquired about ciders and then asked whether I wanted fizzy or traditional (nice to be asked, as so many places immediately direct you to commercial options on keg and in bottles), I was directed to the far end of the bar, where they had Fosseway Somerset Glory & Ham Hill Early Glory. I opted for the latter and it was very pleasant. Ales were Cerne Abbas Coconut Rum Stout, Bath Gem, Butcombe Adam Henson's Rare Breed & Eight Arch Session. If I hadn't been driving, I would have tried the stout. A few people were offered tasters and appeared to like it. A decent pub all round and a rare 8/10 from me.

17 Feb 2017 08:48

The Saxon Arms, Stratton

The Saxon Arms has a strange location in a newly-built part of this village north-west of Dorchester. But the juxtaposition of old and new works well. The pub was extremely busy on my weekday lunchtime visit. Most people were there for lunch and there was a 45 minute wait for tables. There was a fair wait for bar service too. Ales were mainly national brands - Butcombe Bitter, Greene King Abbot, Sharps Doom Bar & Timothy Taylor Landlord. But they did also have Orchard Pig Philospher on a handpull.

17 Feb 2017 08:40

The Thimble Inn, Piddlehinton

I got the opposite impression of this place from the previous reviewer, in that the Thimble appears to focus more on food than drink. The location is idyllic with a stream running through the garden. But the interior feels fairly modern. There is a bar area at the front, with plenty more seating for diners to the rear. Toilets and the pub's well are located around the back of the bar. It's a Palmers establishment that was serving their Best Bitter, Copper Ale, Dorset Gold & Tally Ho! The cider was Dorset Orchards First Press. I believe this is a cider exclusive to Palmers' pubs, as I found it later on in a second pub. I gave it a go, as I'd never tried it before and it was reasonable. Dogs are welcomed here.

17 Feb 2017 08:33

Gaggle of Geese, Dorchester

Another closed pub. A shame, as this looks like a nice setting in a tranquil village. But that's probably the reason it has shut down.

17 Feb 2017 08:21

The Halsey Arms, Pulham

The Halsey Arms appears to have closed down. The pub is advertised on websites as opening at 11:30 on a weekday. But I waited until after midday and there was no sign of life. Another tell tale sign is the lack of any telephone line any more and I later found an article on the internet looking for people to run the pub.

17 Feb 2017 08:18

The Green Man, Kings Stag

The Green Man is situated at the southern end of the small village of Kings Stag. It's a nice brick building with a large car park. The interior has a number of rooms, with the bar in the central room. Only 2 ales were on yesterday during my visit - Butcombe Bitter & Exmoor Ale. I was the first person in. So it was difficult to judge atmosphere and any food offerings. But the dessert menu looked tempting.

17 Feb 2017 08:16

The Coach and Horses, Draycott

My last port of call in Derbyshire this afternoon was the Coach & Horses. I was the first customer in, as it does not open until 4pm. There is a large bar area and a smaller lounge. An outdoor patio area at the rear is for much warmer weather than today. 4 ales are served - Blue Monkey BG Sips & Infinity, Sharps Doom Bar & Greene King Abbot. There seemed to be a large number of snacks, including flavoured scratchings and Pringles. I was sorely tempted, but decided to head home for dinner instead! Surprised nobody has reviewed this one before.

14 Feb 2017 21:46

The White Swan, Ockbrook

The White Swan was my third pub in Ockbrook after the Royal Oak and the Cross Keys. The latter is not yet listed on the site. The White Swan was probably the poorest of the three. But that doesn't make it a bad pub. The other two simply had better ale choices. The White Swan had Marstons Pedigree, Shepherd Neame Spitfire, Portobello Market Porter & Adnams Ghost Ship. Only a couple of other customers were in. But it doesn't open until 4pm on weekdays. There are 3 rooms. The smallest room in the middle is the bar. The other two appear to be for food. Not a bad pub and certainly worth trying in combination with the other pubs in this village.

14 Feb 2017 21:42

The Royal Oak, Ockbrook

The Royal Oak was the first of three pubs I tried in this village. Not only was it the best pub in the village, in my opinion, it was my favourite of 10 in Derbyshire. Be careful with the opening hours, as it does close in the afternoon during the week. I managed to get there just before it was due to close. There are a number of rooms, some set up for dining. Service was friendly and there was a good ale selection - Burton Bridge High Spy, Bass, Falstaff Slender Man, Cottage MM Norman's Conquest & Derby The Maltster. There was a real cider in a jug in the fridge, which was from Three Cats. Recommended.

14 Feb 2017 21:37

The Bell and Castle Inn, Derby

Large pub outside of the centre. This place has a number of large rooms. I sat in the main bar area where there are large tables. There is also a kitchen visible from this room. I believe they are now doing food. Although nobody was eating. Toilets are in a separate outhouse at the rear. Ales were Hook Norton Nice Try, Salopian Oracle & Pogo & Sharps Doom Bar. However there is no real cider. A CAMRA discount of 5p off per half is offered. Seemed to lack a bit of atmosphere. But maybe it just needed more customers!

14 Feb 2017 21:32

The Falstaff, Derby

The Falstaff is situated in the southern backstreets of Derby, in what appears to be a multi-ethnic area. Its 3 rooms ooze character. Most people were in the main bar area. You got the feeling that you could leave and come back here in 5 years time and exactly the same people would be sat there! But they were friendly. The room at the rear holds a pool table and there is a smaller lounge. The 4 ales are all brewed on site - Slender Man, Fistful Of Hops, Phoenix & Smiling Assassin. I had the Phoenix, which was a bit too hoppy for my liking. No real cider is served. Worth the trip out of the city centre though.

14 Feb 2017 21:29

Malt Shovel, Spondon

The Malt Shovel is a Marstons pub hidden away in Spondon. But the interior is well worth seeing with plenty of rooms and lots of nooks and crannies, creating a cosy atmosphere. I arrived as the lunchtime rush was subsiding. But staff were still busy with diners. There was also a large function taking place (possibly a wake?) in one room. 5 ales are generally on. 3 are on handpull and 2 are dispensed by gravity. Be sure to check the blackboard to see the full range of ales (all from Marstons) and ciders. Today there was Marstons Pedigree & 61 Deep, Brakspear Bitter, Wychwood Hobgolin, Banks's Sunbeam & Westons Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig. Bar service was efficient. Toilets are outside at the rear. Decent pub, despite only stocking Marstons ales.

14 Feb 2017 21:23

The Harrington Arms, Thulston

The Harrington Arms appears to be a food-dominated pub, with a number of rooms given over to dining. I sat in the main bar area on possibly the only table not made up for eating. 3 ales are served. Bass is the regular. But today they also had Castle Rock Harvest Pale & Blue Monkey Funky Gibbon. When I asked the barmaid what cider they served, I was told Strongbow and some bottled varieties in the fridge. It was only when I specifically asked if they had Old Rosie (I'd read they normally stocked it) that I was offered that. With no signs anywhere to say that it is available, I assume it's only drunk by locals in the know. It's a shame when pubs stock real cider, but do nothing to promote it, instead choosing to encourage fizzy rubbish.

14 Feb 2017 21:16

Malt Shovel Inn, Aston Upon Trent

The Malt as it is known now is situated just off the main road of this Derbyshire village. It's a nice building with a pleasant interior. 6 ales are served. Today, these were Bass, Sharps Doom Bar & Atlantic, Shiny Affinity, Dancing Duck Dcuk & Titanic Iceberg. I didn't stay long. But I could see it was better than average.

14 Feb 2017 21:08

The Shakespeare Inn, Shardlow

Today's midweek visit to Derbyshire began at the rather quiet Shakespeare in Shardlow. I was the first customer of the day and I left the pub empty apart from the friendly landlord, who is apparently moving on in a couple of weeks time. The pub has two or three rooms and 2 ales were on when I arrived - Pedigree & Bass. Elsie Mo was pulled through whilst I was there.

14 Feb 2017 21:04

Stork Hotel, Rowrah

After a visit to the Duke of Cumberland in Bridgefoot (not listed on here), the Stork at Rowrah was my penultimate pub of my day in Cumbria. My last pub (the Hound at Arlecdon) is not listed on here either. The Stork is situated at the junction of 3 roads in what was a very windswept location yesterday evening. It is a friendly local with two small drinking areas and a separate dining area. All of the locals were congregated in the room with the bar. I sat alone in the second room, with music playing from the TV. 2 ales were on - Jennings Bitter & Hesket Newmarket Red Pike. I plumped for the latter which was very enjoyable. Another pub that was much better than I had expected.

13 Feb 2017 21:49

The Black Bull, Cockermouth

The Black Bull was my last pub in Cockermouth and the worst of the lot. There is a handpull. But there was no real on. The choice was Fosters, Worthingtons, John Smiths, Coors Light, Guinness, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruit, Kronenbourg or Carling. The bar area is dark and a reasonable drinking environment. There is a pool table at the back. I sat at the bar and had a soft drink, listening to conversations about a local missing person. Lo and behold, the said missing person walked through the door. Cue the barmaid to let the mother know and cue some other guy (older brother, stepdad who knows!) to head towards the pub. Sensing there wasn't going to be a happy end, I decided to drink up, spend a penny and leave. But before I could get from the gents to the exit, the unhappy relation arrives, storms past me giving me a whack on the shoulder in the process, making a beeline for the 'missing' youth. The older guy landed the first punch. The whole pub then got involved and after hesitating to view this impromptu live entertainment, I decided I was time for me to walk out the door for good. A poor pub. But at least there was a talking point!

13 Feb 2017 21:43

1761, Cockermouth

This place is now called Seth's Bar and it was closed when I initially walked past yesterday. I later found out it does not open until 4 on weekdays and 3 on weekends. Its focus appears to be cocktails, with some kind of flavoured mojito promoted. But there are 3 ales too. These were Great Corby Blonde, Tractor Shed Mowdy & Thwaites Wainwright on this visit. The place was freezing. One other couple were in one corner. Maybe better when there are more people in and it is warmer. But it certainly lacked any kind of atmosphere.

13 Feb 2017 21:29

The Castle Bar, Cockermouth

The Castle Bar appears to be the best pub in Cockermouth. I didn't venture much further than the front bar (apart from a visit to the gents). The bar area feels quite traditional. But apparently there are separate dining areas beyond and on upper levels. With a table going begging in the bar, I didn't feel the need to explore further. Ales are more adventurous than most other Cockermouth pubs - Titanic Plum Porter, Cumbrian Legendary Ales Loweswater Gold & Esthwaite Bitter, Lancaster Sorachi & Jennings Bitter & Cumberland Ale. Unlike the other 6 pubs I tried in the town, this one also had a real cider - Westons Family Reserve. Locals were watching live football. So I joined in.

13 Feb 2017 21:25

The Bitter End, Cockermouth

With a name like the Bitter End, I was expecting a traditional drinkers' boozer. But the place has more of a bistro feel to it, with food dominating. The front room is more appropriate for drinkers, whilst the rear one is reserved for diners. Dogs are allowed in the front room. But people were eating there too. The whole place has a cosy feel to it. Service took a while, as staff were prioritising meal orders. There were 4 ales - Ennerdale English Pride, Jennings Bitter & Cumberland Ale & Bitter End Lakeland Golden (brewed for the bar). Keg options on the rear bar included ales from Thornbridge & Brew Dog. Not what I had expected. But may be a good option, especially if you want to eat.

13 Feb 2017 21:22

The Swan Inn, Cockermouth

The Swan is a likeable Jennings pub that also dispenses a few guests. Their Bitter, Cumberland Ale & Cocker Hoop was supplemented by 3 other ales - Thwaites Wainwright, Barngates Cracker & Bowness Bay Swan Blonde. I sat on the street side of the bar. But there is another seating area to the rear and what looked like a dining area to the side. Families are welcome and there are board games to keep them amused. One of the better pubs in Cockermouth.

13 Feb 2017 21:17

Tithe Barn Hotel, Cockermouth

The Tithe Barn had a Jennings sign on the outside. But the 3 ales on were all from different breweries - Wells Bombardier Glorious English, Leeds Gingerbread Stout & Thwaites Wainwright. The entrance corridor is impressive with nice tiling and stained glass. The bar itself is much more ordinary and it was quiet on my Sunday lunchtime visit. The Scottish barmaid was keeping one eye on the Edinburgh derby football match, which was showing on the TV in the corner. But she only had one other customer when I walked in. I was pleasantly surprised to see a stout on. So I had to sample it. I'm not convinced about the gingerbread flavour though. A much better pub than I had anticipated.

13 Feb 2017 21:12

The Bush, Cockermouth

My first stop in the home town of Jennings was appropriately a Jennings pub on the Main Street. I chose to sit in the front bar, with its real fire. Music was playing. Ales were all from Jennings - Bitter, Cumberland Ale & Sneck Lifter. In hindsight, I should have had a half of Sneck Lifter. I resisted, as I was driving. But it was the only pub I was to see it in during my Cumbrian crawl.

13 Feb 2017 21:07

The Punchbowl, Great Broughton

Of 26 new pubs I tried in the West Midlands, Durham & Cumbria over the weekend, I have to say that this one was my favourite. It's a fabulous single bar local pub in a pretty Cumbrian village, well off the tourist trail. I had picked the weekend of the annual beer festival. A chilly February weekend seemed like an odd time for a festival. But it suited me just fine. 21 ales had been sourced from North East breweries. But the pub has only 3 handpulls. So only 3 were on at any one time. These were turning over quickly though. One guy came in and noted that 2 of the 3 had changed since his visit late the previous evening. The 3 on during my visit were Errant Tusk, Wylam Jakehead IPA & Allendale Wolf. But as I was leaving, the landlord was pulling through another. My half of Wolf was very enjoyable - a very smooth drink. Locals were clearly knowledgeable about their beer and also the local pubs. They were also happy to chat to somebody from out of town. Dogs are welcome. The one I fussed had just been walked up a mountain and back down by his owner - apparently the most exercised dog in Cumbria! Friendly place that is well worth a visit.

13 Feb 2017 21:00

Henry Bessemer, Workington

My Sunday morning took me to this Wetherspoons hostelry in Workington, seemingly the only Workington establishment to make any of the last 13 editions of the Good Beer Guide! I remember trying a pub in the town around 10 years ago. But I don't recall which one. The town seems slightly improved on what it was then. But that's not saying much. The Henry Bessemer is an old cinema and was fairly busy with locals tucking into breakfasts yesterday. The ale selection was Hawkshead Red, Windermere Pale & Dry Stone Stout, Ennerdale Darkest, Yates Golden, Sharps Doom Bar, Greene King Abbot & Ruddles Best. The cider was Old Rosie. I sampled the Darkest, which ironically was not the darkest ale you'll ever see. It was more of a dark ruby colour. Probably the best Workington has to offer.

13 Feb 2017 20:51

The Water House, Durham

The Water House is part of the Wetherspoons chain which has a rambling interior spread over a few different levels. It had a predominantly young crowd on Saturday evening. But I suspect (as with most 'spoons) that it is different during the day. The ale selection was good - Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharps Doom Bar, Sonnet 43 Impressment & The Raven, Daleside Pride of England & Yard Of Ale One Yard Beyond. Ciders were Old Rosie & Black Dragon. As my last pub of 13, I finished on a pint of the latter and it sent me back to my B & B in decent spirits.

13 Feb 2017 20:45

Ye Old Elm Tree, Durham

The Old Elm Tree is a traditional city centre boozer in Durham. It had a crowd of mixed ages. There is an L-shaped bar area and a raised area with further seating and a dartboard, which was in use. TVs were showing Match of the Day whilst I was there. 5 ales were on - Wychwood Hobgoblin, Durham White Amarillo, Errant Comanche Porter, Rudgate Jerusalem & Marstons EPA. Cider was Old Rosie. Had a nice atmosphere. The only drawback was the cleanliness. Glasses and rubbish were strewn everywhere, whilst the bar staff didn't exactly look rushed off their feet. As I was leaving, they were all doing some kind of dance behind the bar. Leave that to the customers and collect some glasses! Still a decent pub though.

13 Feb 2017 20:40

The Colpitts Hotel, Durham

Colpitts Hotel is a wedge-shaped building on a street corner. It is a Sam Smiths pub and has their Old Brewery Bitter on handpull. The real draw here is the unadorned interior, which is a real throwback. The pub was fairly busy with a crowd that seemed to be mainly students and lecturers. The ale selection may be pretty ordinary. But it's worth going here to see how pubs used to be.

13 Feb 2017 20:36

Bridge Hotel, Durham

After a visit to the Garden House Inn and prior to a visit to the Kingslodge Inn (neither listed on here), I tried the Bridge Hotel, which is located underneath Durham's impressive viaduct. The interior is fairly unremarkable and so was the ale selection - Theakston XB, St Austell Proper Job & Holts Two Hoots. Football highlights were being shown on the TV. There are better pubs in Durham.

13 Feb 2017 20:32

Tap and Spile, Framwellgate Moor

The Tap & Spile was my 7th pub of the day in County Durham on Saturday. None of the previous 6 were listed on the site. I've requested most of these to be added. But only the Lambton Worm in Chester-Le-Street and the Newfield Inn in Newfield were of note. The Tap & Spile however was my favourite pub of the day in the county. It's a traditional two-roomed local in the Framwellgate Moor area. 8 ales are split across handpulls in both rooms. The selection on Saturday evening was Salopian Shropshire Gold, Pennine Hair Of The Dog, Maxim Ward's Best Bitter, Roosters YPA, Rudgate Battle Axe, Ossett Clearwater, Anarchy Hard Times & Tyne Bank Motueka Dollar. The cider was Old Rosie. Both rooms were busy and it had a cosy atmosphere. Dogs are welcomed.

13 Feb 2017 20:26

Moon Under Water, Cradley Heath

Had a Friday evening visit to this branch of Wetherspoons, prior to a curry. It's situated on the High Street, nowadays no longer the main thoroughfare through the town. But it was busy on my visit with nearly all tables taken. The interior is open-plan and as with most Wetherspoons, it lacks atmosphere. The ale selection was still fairly decent though - Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Exmoor Beast, Backyard Blonde, Sadlers Hop Bomb, Hook Norton Old Hooky & Springhead Fallen Angel. Ciders were Westons Old Rosie & Thistly Cross Whisky Cask. Service wasn't the quickest. But was reasonable, given how busy it was.

13 Feb 2017 20:08

The Dispensary, Liverpool

Dave was in usual form yesterday. With Everton winning, Liverpool losing and me and my mates having visited other hostelries in the city, he was in a typically sarcastic mood. But you have to take him with a pinch of salt. This is his boozer and his pride and joy. The pub is always packed with people that appreciate the quality of his well-kept and well-sourced ales. So it makes a decent drinking environment. Yesterday's selection was Titanic First Class & Plum Porter, George Wright Mark's Mild, Riverhead Liquorice Latte Stout, Fyne Jagnarok Imperial Jarl, Oakham Citra & Rat White Rat. Still our go to pub in Liverpool, despite the lack of a real cider for me. The dark ales generally make up for it. Still thoroughly recommended.

5 Feb 2017 18:34

Ye Cracke, Liverpool

Almost a month after trying to visit on a Saturday lunchtime and finding it closed, I tried a visit on a Saturday early evening and found it open. The positives stop there. With 3 bar staff, I was fully expecting to get served quickly. The landlady was struggling to deal with an extremely frothy pint, a barmaid was messing with glasses and the barman was texting or doing something similar on his mobile phone. After a minute or two, I thought I would get served by the barmaid. But she instead decided to serve somebody she knew who had just walked in. Never mind, I thought. I'm sure I'll be served soon. But after serving the guy she knew, she started messing with glasses again with the landlady still dealing with the same problem and the barman still texting. Getting a little impatient by now, I had to shout across to see if anybody was serving. The barmaid came over and said I couldn't have been waiting long and that she had just been serving somebody else, whilst the barman had just finished his shift (fair enough). But I pointed out that I had been waiting a couple of minutes before her previous customer. She said she hadn't seen me and that it was my fault for not shouting her. She also said that anybody who had ever worked behind a bar would understand the need to shout for attention. Well, I worked behind a bar for quite a few years and fully understand that good bar staff will clock the order people have come to the bar. Failing that, a quick 'Who's next' will generally bring out the best in people. But after failing to agree, I ordered a half of mild. The barmaid then proved that she was not only oblivious of customers waiting to be served, she was also unable to listen properly and poured a pint. When serving me the pint, I said I'd asked for a half and she wondered off towards the landlady muttering something. The landlady then shouted across asking me if I was being rude. I've no idea if this was a serious comment or some attempt at a joke. But at this point I was not amused. Surely shouting across a bar would be considered rude, rather than enquiring why nobody was serving me and then stating that I had ordered a half when a pint had been poured. If everybody were to shout across a bar, pubs would feel like meat markets. This really does seem a strange way of having to get served and one I have not seen anywhere else across the country. Maybe Ye Cracke should invest in signs to inform people that they have to shout, so as not to be ignored. With a bitter taste in my mouth, I wasted no time in downing my half of Titanic Mild, safe in the knowledge that I won't be venturing back into a pub that lacks any kind of customer service skills any time in the near future. For the record, the other ales were Thwaites Original, Cottage Resolution, Heavy Industry 77 & Bass. Old Rose was the cider. After all, I had plenty of time to note down all of the beers during my extended wait. No longer worthy of a visit, especially when there are so many other decent pubs in this area. I'd just been to the Hard Times & Misery (which I've just requested to be added) and found excellent and knowledgeable service. Don't waste your time or money here, as it's not wanted unless your known by the staff.

5 Feb 2017 18:27

Black Lodge Brewing, Liverpool

After a visit to the always decent Baltic Fleet, I made a return to Black Lodge Brewing in the Baltic Triangle. I didn't review it last time I was here as I had to get it added to the site. But it's a brewery and bar based in a warehouse. There are no cask ales. All beers are the craft variety, dispensed from taps on the back wall. Beers brewed on site were Three Owls, #333, Smoked Porter, Exotic Garden Pale, This Machine, Farmhouse Pale, El Dorado IPA & Amos The Nipper. They also had Love Lane Pale & Craft Lager from Liverpool Craft. There's not much atmosphere in here. Although maybe it gets packed in an evening. Seating is along bench tables. Toilets are unisex. Since the last time I was here, the brewery equipment has moved from the side of the bar to the rear, spparently to allow space for live bands to perform. This place is a fair jaunt out of the city centre. But the Baltic Triangle is an increasingly trendy area of the city and Black Lodge Brewing is easy to combine with a visit to the Baltic Fleet and it's not far from the Albert Dock either.

5 Feb 2017 18:08

The Ma Boyles Oyster Bar, Liverpool

Ma Boyles is another pub I haven't been in for several years. It has closed and re-opened under new ownership in that time. Whilst it now has even more of a bistro feel and there is clearly a focus on food, it was much busier than I remember it last time. 3 ales were on - Weetwood Cheshire Cat & Mad Hatter & Box Steam Piston Broke. The Mad Hatter was ok, but perhaps not the ideal ale for me.

5 Feb 2017 17:54

The Cornmarket, Liverpool

I hadn't been in the Cornmarket for 8 or 9 years. But it's much as I remember it, with a lower bar area that was empty and a larger upper area with space for standing and a few stools around the bar and a larger adjacent seating area. 4 ales were on - Thwaites Wainwright, Purity Pure Gold, Black Sheep Holy Grail & Greene King IPA. All were similar sorts of beers. A dark one would have been nice. Nevertheless, this an atmospheric and comfortable place that is well hidden.

5 Feb 2017 17:51

The Liverpool, Liverpool

The Liverpool is a pub I'd never been to before until yesterday. It's located nextdoor to James St station. I'd heard some fairly negative reports about the place. So I found it much better than I had expected. Whilst there's no real ales here, the keg selection was reasonable, including a couple of beers from Caledonian - Three Hop & Rare Breed. The interior is fairly dark with a nautical theme. There were a couple of TVs showing live football. Staff were fairly friendly too. I probably won't return, with so many decent pubs in Liverpool.

5 Feb 2017 17:47

The Cobweb Inn, Boscastle

Last pub of the night for us in Cornwall was the Cobweb, which is an imposing building at the bottom of the town, opposite the public car park. It has two bars with flagstone floors. One has a pool table. Ales were Tintagel Cornwall's Pride, Harbour Special & Merlin's Muddle & St Austell Tribute. Ciders are Healeys Cornish Rattler & Addlestones.

30 Jan 2017 21:33

Napoleon Inn, Boscastle

The Napoleon is at the top end of Boscombe and was our favourite out of the two we tried. It's in a quiet area. But the pub has three rooms with lots of character. Toilets are outdoors in the corridor that separates the rooms. It's a St Austell house. So Tribute, Cornish Best & HSD were the ales. We decided to have dinner here, which was ok and reasonably priced. Dogs are welcomed and one nearly manage to get to my Sunday roast. But it was just a few centimetres beyond the end of his/her leash! A traditional boozer that is worth seeking out.

30 Jan 2017 21:30

King Arthurs Arms, Tintagel

I'm probably one of the few people to visit Tintagel without visiting the castle or any of the Arthurian tourist hotspots. But we emerged from the winter fog to try the King Arthur Arms. It's a fairly large pub that was populated by locals out of the tourist season. There are plenty of tables and some were being used by diners, eating from a fairly basic menu. A pool table appeared to be the centre of attention. Ales were Tintagel Cornwall's Pride, Harbour Special & Merlin's Muddle, Sharps Doom Bar & St Austell Tribute. I was hoping for a real cider. But when I enquired, I was told all of them were real! You can't win them all! My wife did enjoy the draught Rekorderlig Strawberry & Lime, which was certainly 'real' in one sense.

30 Jan 2017 21:26

The Masons Arms, Camelford

The Masons Arms is a fascinating St Austell pub in the small town of Camelford. It took a while to get the landlady's attention. But she was very apologetic and turned out to be one of the friendliest hosts you could meet. The pub has two rooms. Most of the locals were in the public bar, where there was a pool table. But the highlight is the second room, which is packed with all kinds of paraphernalia. Tribute, Proper Job & HSD were the ales. At least one of these was dispensed by gravity from a cask on the bar in the lounge. A family and dog friendly pub with a very friendly landlady, who gave us a couple of bar towels some plastic dominoes and the local CAMRA magazine, apparently delivered by a very affable gent who travels for miles just to deliver the mag. Well worth a visit. If only the brewery would let her stock some different ales!

30 Jan 2017 21:18

The Cornish Arms, St Tudy

This pub has been renamed the St Tudy Inn. It's in a lovely village. But it appears to have gone upmarket and the focus appears to be on food, with nearly all tables made up for diners. There is however a small bar area with a number of barrels for stools. More staff than customers were present. But it looked like it had been busier earlier in the afternoon. There were 2 ales - Sharps Doom Bar & Padstow St Tudy Ale. Not the best.

30 Jan 2017 21:12

The St Mabyn Inn, St Mabyn

I really liked this local pub, next to the church in a small, agricultural village. There is a main bar area with a cosy area of seating around the fire and a couple of smaller rooms where there was a pool table and a number of families. The ale selection was better than most other pubs I went to. Doom Bar still seemed to be popular. But they did also have two non-Sharps ales - Tintagel Cornwall's Pride & Skinners Lushingtons. For me, there was also the bonus of the local Haywood Farm Cider, which I hadn't had for some time. This was my favourite pub of the day in Cornwall.

30 Jan 2017 21:09

The Ship Inn, Wadebridge

I was slightly disappointed with this pub. There is a public bar in two sections and a separate restaurant area. The Sunday lunch trade was just wrapping up on our visit. Only one of my first 4 pubs had stocked anything other than Sharps and that was the Wetherspoons. Doom Bar & Sea Fury were the two Sharps beers in this pub. There was no real cider either. Not as good as I'd hoped.

30 Jan 2017 21:04

Chapel an Gansblydhen, Bodmin

The last time I was in Bodmin, just over 7 years ago, I'm not convinced this Wetherspoons was open. As its name suggests, it's located in a former chapel and looks like a large Wetherspoons from the outside. But it's actually quite compact and unlike most 'spoons, I felt is did have more of an atmosphere. The ale selection was Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharps Doom Bar, Caledonian Edinburgh Castle, Saltaire Cascade & Tintagel Gwaf Tan (Winter Fire). I was impressed with the range of 4 ciders too - Thistly Cross Whisky Cask, Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon, Orchard Pig The Hogfather & Polgoon Mounts Bay. The Mounts Bay was very palatable indeed. It's probably now between this pub and the Hole In The Wall for Bodmin's best pub. The town itself appears to have gone downhill and part of it appears to be one giant construction site, which provides chaos on the roads.

30 Jan 2017 20:59

The Ship, Lerryn

Lerryn is a lovely village on the River Fowey. There are stepping stones to cross the river. The village local is the Ship, which seems to be popular with diners. The interior is no frills. But the landlord and landlady were friendly. Doom Bar & Cornish Coaster made up the predictable ale choice. Worth visiting for the location.

30 Jan 2017 20:51

The Old Ferry Inn, Bodinnick

The Old Ferry Inn was my first stop of the day in Cornwall. It has the advantage of opening in the morning. The pub is situated next to the car ferry over to Fowey at the bottom of the village and a very steep hill. My car struggled to get back up the 1 in 6 incline! A couple of other people were there when we arrived. They were enjoying coffee and tea. Ales are all from Sharps - Own, Atlantic & Cornish Coaster. No real cider was served. The bar is decorated with lots of nautical pictures and memorabilia. There is a separate dining area. But the pub is quite compact, in all. A lovely pub in a handy and picturesque setting. The only drawback is the lack of ale choice and a real cider.

30 Jan 2017 20:47

The Albert Inn, Totnes

With time for one more pub in Totnes, I chose the Albert. This is the home of the Bridgewater Brewery. But it only had one of their beers on. This was Albert Ale. Two guests were Teignworthy Old Moggie & Keltec Magic. The cider was Old Rosie. This was actually my favourite pub in Totnes. It had a lively atmosphere in the front bar, with a cover band playing rock classics. I retreated to the slightly quieter rear bar. The pub has a really traditional feel and locals were friendly. So was the landlord. Toilets are in the yard at the rear, where there is also a disused bar billiard table. I'm surprised this is not in the Good Beer Guide.

30 Jan 2017 20:42

Totnes Brewing Company, Totnes

After the madness of the Bull, seeing bar staff with eye patches and customers dressed in sailor costumes all seemed quite sensible to me. This two-roomed bar was packed and was noisy. But it has a good selection of real ales, craft beers and ciders dispensed from its two bars. On this visit, ales from Totnes Brewing Company were Breakfast Bitter, Woodsman IPA & Tropango. Guests were Springhead Outlawed & Thornbridge Peveril. Ciders were Thistly Cross Jaggy Thistle & Ashridge Traditional. With no seats available, I was forced to prop up the bar. But I'd imagine this could be a much better experience on anything other than a Saturday evening. Worth a try though.

30 Jan 2017 20:36

The Bull Inn, Totnes

With time to spare, I decided to try the Bull. The real ale here is Bays Devon Dumpling. There is also a Traditional Cider from Ashridge. Not really a place I'd like to dwell. But the entertainment was provided by the clientele. From talk about vibrators to a part of the bar known as the erection section to the seemingly high on cocaine German girls and the tabby cat sat on the bar, all of the people and animals here seemed a bit eccentric. Or maybe it was just the cider!

30 Jan 2017 20:32

The Bay Horse Inn, Totnes

The Bay Horse was certainly one of the best pubs in this town. It's right at the top end and was popular with people and dogs on my Saturday evening visit. It also has one of the better ale ranges in town - Noss Beer Works Church Ledge, New Lion Pandit IPA, Mane Event & Totnes Stout. It serves as the brewery tap for the New Lion brewery. There are also a couple of ciders - Ashridge Devon Bloom & Sandford Orchards Vintage. My Devon Bloom (Elderflower) was enjoyable. There are 3 rooms, which are all quite basic. But they an array of different seating. There is accommodation available here too.

30 Jan 2017 20:29

Rumour, Totnes

The Rumour Wine Bar is towards the top end of the hill. It's not really a pub. It's more of a wine bar/restaurant. But they do have 2 regular real ale - St Austell Tribute & New Lion Pandit IPA. There is also a third handpull, which was taken with Westons Rosie's Pig. All of the tables appeared to be made out for diners. So I took a seat at the bar. Ok. But there are better places further up the hill.

30 Jan 2017 20:24

The Steam Packet Inn, Totnes

The Steam Packet Inn was my first port of call in Totnes on Saturday evening. A visit here saves you having to climb up the hill, as it's by the riverside. Some kind of fun run with torches was being held nearby. But I opted for the more sensible option of the pub, which appeared more focused towards diners than drinkers. Doom Bar is the regular ale. But they also had two guests fro Salcombe - Seahorse & Devon Amber. In addition, I was pleased to see a sign for medium dry and medium sweet ciders from Ashridge. So I opted for one of those, whilst admiring the comings and goings. There are better places in Totnes though.

30 Jan 2017 20:20

The Tally Ho Inn, Totnes

The Tally Ho is a great example of a thriving community pub. We're were hoping to eat here, but looked set to be disappointed when we saw all of the reserved signs when we walked in. Luckily there were 2 spare tables. So we enjoyed a nice meal. Not the cheapest, but decent quality. The landlady, staff and locals were all fairly friendly. Dartmoor Legend is the regular ale. There were also two guests - Exmoor Gold & South Hams Wild Blonde. I was also pleased to see a couple of ciders dispensed from the back wall of the bar. These were Hunts Mary Maud's & Yarde Cider. My Yarde was enjoyable. Certainly recommended.

30 Jan 2017 20:14

The Maltsters Arms, Tuckenhay

Whilst I wasn't planning to visit the Maltsters Arms originally, I decided to head here after hearing that one of the pubs I was planning to visit in Totnes later in the evening had closed. The Maltsters was apparently run by Keith Floyd until fairly recently. So it appears fairly popular with diners. It enjoys a lovely riverside location. But the interior felt a bit too modern for my liking. Salcombe Sea Horse is the regular ale. But they also had 3 guests, which were Sharps Doom Bar, New Lion Pandit IPA & South Hams Devon Pride.

30 Jan 2017 20:09

The Durant Arms, Ashprington

This pub is at the centre of the small village of Ashprington, next to the war memorial, which serves as a roundabout. There is a nice bar area and a raised dining area. We sat in the bar area where the local shooters were due in. Noss Beer Works Church Ledge is the regular ale. There are 2 other handpulls. One had Otter Amber and the other had Friels Cider, which was very nice. I gather this pub has recently been selected for the latest Good Beer Guide and it is well worth its entry.

30 Jan 2017 20:05

Teign Cellars, Newton Abbot

I must have walked past this pub on my way from the Dartmouth Inn to Ye Olde Cider bar, the last time I was in Newton Abbot, over 7 years ago. But I doubt it stocked as good a selection of ales and ciders the last time I came. So my visit to the town this time was solely to try the Teign Cellars. You enter the split-level bar from the side. But you'll find the bar in front of you. Four ales are dispensed by handpull. On my visit, these were Arbor Motueka, North Riding Cascade Pale, Mallinsons Dana & Hanlons Winter Wobble. There was also a decent selection of craft beers and in the lower level of the bar, there are a couple of fridges with a large bottle range, which effectively forms a bottle shop. Ciders were Hunts Mary Maud's, Medium & Sweet, Green Valley Sweet, Yarde Cider, Westons Hand Brake & Flat Tyre & Reddaways Medium Dry. With Ye Olde Cider Pub within easy staggering distance, I hope to be back in Newton Abbot again soon!

30 Jan 2017 20:01

The Sandygate Inn, Sandygate

After a visit to the wonderful Royal Oak Inn in Ideford (not listed on here), we moved onto the Sandygate Inn. The interior of this pub is quite basic, with one large room at the front and another couple of rooms to the back. There were 3 ales - Dartmoor Jail Ale & Legend & St Austell Tribute. It appears these do not change. Unfortunately, there was no real cider.

30 Jan 2017 19:53

The Bishop Lacey, Chudleigh

The village of Chudleigh is just off the main A38 and the Bishop Lacy appears to be the best pub in the village. There are 2 rooms. One is the public bar, with a large screen which was showing the football on our visit. The other is a saloon. All of the locals were in the bar and the saloon was empty. Pumpclips for the ales are however in the saloon, with a blackboard displaying those available in the bar. The 2 ales available were Duchess from Cottage & Tor Ale from Black Tor.

30 Jan 2017 19:46

The Maypole, Cambridge

Our final pub in Cambridge was the Maypole and it was a fitting end to our day. It's a little hidden away from the main action. But a total of 13 ales were on - Tiny Rebel Hank, Grain Lignum Vitae, Humpty Dumpty Shaltai Baltai & Red Mill, Three Blind Mice Pirate Hop & Uncle Buckthorn, Shortts Farm Strummer, Tring Black Hawk, Wiper & True Milk Stout, Milton Justinian, St Austell Proper Job & Adnams Bitter & Broadside. Ciders and perry were Cromwells Oliver's Session, Lilleys Pear & Raspberry & Gladiator, Seacider Medium & Westons Old Rosie. The pub has two rooms. I seem to remember the rear one being larger. But most people were in the smaller front bar. I need to come back when I'm a little more sober. But my first impressions were very positive.

27 Jan 2017 20:21

Cambridge Brew House, Cambridge

The Cambridge Brew House felt like it had more of a focus on food than beer. But it is a large building spread over 2 floors. There is a large dining area upstairs that was not in use during our visit. Their own beers on cask were King's Parade, Brewhouse IPA, Night Porter & Misty River. They had others on keg. Guest cask ales were Brewsters Hophead & Colchester Metropolis. They also had a real cider - Side-R Elderflower from Glebe Farm. I did quite like the place though.

27 Jan 2017 20:13

The Champion of the Thames, Cambridge

The Champion of the Thames is another Cambridge pub with lots of character. There is a main room and a smaller side room, where we sat. As a Greene King pub, Abbot & IPA are the regular beers. Guests were Westerham British Bulldog, Moorhouses Premier Bitter & Hadrian Border Tyneside Blonde. You can still do a decent crawl along this street.

27 Jan 2017 20:09

The St Radegund, Cambridge

The St Radegund is a small pub with limited opening hours. I know from my last visit to Cambridge that it closes on a Sunday and during the week, it does not open until 5pm. So we arrived just on opening. I can imagine that the single bar could get very crowded with any more than about a dozen people in. So the limited opening hours probably suit it. In reply to the last reviewer, the refurb has not destroyed the pub's character. Despite its size, the pub was supporting 6 ales - Fullers London Pride, Milestone Black Pearl & Cathedral Gold, Woodfordes Wherry, Reunion Ales Beard Tongue & Colchester Anne Downes. Pride & Wherry appear to be the regular ales. No real cider is stocked. Forgot to ask for the CAMRA discount.

27 Jan 2017 19:52

The Hopbine, Cambridge

The Hopbine was probably the most disappointing of the 10 Cambridge pubs we visited yesterday. But in every other town, this would be an above average pub. It's just that Cambridge pubs are very good. Only 5 ales were on (God forbid!)- Stod Fold Red, Red Squirrel Mister Squirrel, Colchester Brass Monkey, Oakham Bishop's Farewell & Tring Side Pocket For A Toad. Cider was Abrahalls AM. A CAMRA discount I offered and there is also a happy hour from 5pm (I assume on weekdays only). But we were still slightly too early for the happy hour. Friendly service and generally a nice pub.

27 Jan 2017 19:47

Elm Tree, Cambridge

The Elm Tree is a Charles Wells/Banks & Taylor pub which had a decent range of guest ales in addition to their own selection. The full range was Charles Wells A Good Stuffing & Bombardier, Youngs Winter Warmer, Caledonian Edinburgh Castle, Roosters Red State, Yeovil Stout Hearted, Black Sheep Holy Grail & Banks & Taylor Shefford Bitter, Dragon Slayer & Extra Stout. They also had a real cider - Abrahalls Slack Alice. In addition, Belgian beers appear to be a speciality. The pub is a cosy, single room with a step leading down to the larger seating area. Whilst we were there, we were entertained by a guy walking off the street looking for a job. His pre-prepared speech was certainly well practiced. But it didn't really win anybody over! Another very good Cambridge pub.

27 Jan 2017 19:42

The Free Press, Cambridge

A lovely little backstreet boozer in Cambridge, that is a Greene King pub. There was nobody in when we arrived on a weekday afternoon. The pub has 3 small rooms. The snug is tiny. IPA, Abbot & XX Mild are the 3 regular GK beers. Guests were Hook Norton Grey Goose, Wimbledon Windmill Pale, Sadlers Peaky Blinder & Hadrian Border Tyneside Blonde. Old Rosie was the cider. We were soon joined by a couple of younger drinkers who were on the Sambuca! Tempting, but the mild sufficed for me on this occasion. Worth seeking out.

27 Jan 2017 19:36

The Cambridge Blue, Cambridge

I was last here several years ago when I spent a little too long supping the various ciders. Ever since, it has been in my mind as the best pub in Cambridge. My visit yesterday only served to confirm that suspicion and the only question mark in my mind was whether to score it a 9/10 or a 10/10. 9 ales were on - Dark Star Hophead & American Pale Ale, Norfolk Brewhouse Moon Gazer, Three Blind Mice Half Wit & Juice Rocket, Mighty Oak Yellow Snow, Colchester London Porter & Woodfordes Wherry & Ruby Red. One local customer walked in and was also offered Incognito from the Crafty brewery, which wasn't officially on. Ciders and perry were Udders Orchard Luddite, Cromwells Oliver's Downfall, Hallets PX, Millwhites Rum Cask, Snails Bank Fruit Bat & Simons Sweet Barton Perry. The pub appears to have changed a little since I was there last. You are immediately greeted by fridges displaying a large bottle selection. To the right-hand side of the bar, you can see the cellar from where all ales and ciders were being dispensed direct from the cask. To the left is another small drinking area, with a larger extension beyond. I don't recall this area last time I was here. But I did have a few. There is also a large outdoor area, that was even in use yesterday. I think they had patio heaters. My conclusion is to rate this pub a 9/10, as there were a few vacant handpulls. Although this is hardly surprising for this time of year. It's certainly the best of many decent pubs in Cambridge and also one of the best pubs in the country.

27 Jan 2017 19:28

The Kingston Arms, Cambridge

It's been several years since I was last in the Kingston Arms and I didn't review it then. I was also quite inebriated the last time I was in. So with this being only my third pub of the day, I got a much better impression. This is a backstreet pub that has an L-shaped room and what looks like it might be a pleasant outdoor courtyard in the summer - not so pleasant on a freezing January day. The pub was busy with plenty of diners and the menu looked very tempting. The ale range was equally good, with the 6 regular beers - Jaipur, Brewers Gold, Summer Lightning, JHB, Wherry & Landlord supplemented by Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde, Green Duck Duck Dastardly, Tydd Steam Armageddon & Great Heck Chopper. Ciders were Lilleys Pear & Raspberry & Pickled Pig Porkers Snout. A far better pub than I remembered it.

27 Jan 2017 19:17

The Devonshire Arms, Cambridge

Paid a return visit to the Devonshire yesterday on arrival to Cambridge. Whilst I really rated it the last time I came, I wasn't quite so impressed this time around. The ale selection was still decent - Milton Pegasus, Dionysus, Nero & Minerva, Slaters Arctic, Acorn Gorlovka & Brewshed Golden Wolf. There were also 2 unusual ciders - Cromwells Oliver's Choice & Potton Press Happy Medium. I opted for the latter, which was a new one for me. But the real let down was the service. I was eventually served by a woman, who looked as if she had just been told she had been sacked! She seemed much happier dealing with the regulars, of which there were quite a few despite my visit being on a weekday lunchtime. I like the pub and the beers. But judging on my experience and some of the other reviews on here, service is lacking. So I'm downgrading my score slightly.

27 Jan 2017 19:12

The Hamilton Hall, Liverpool Street

A handy place to head for when your train is cancelled, as mine was yesterday. It's just up the escalators from the main concourse. A decent selection of ales were on yesterday morning - Exmoor Gold, Greene King Abbot, Green Jack Mahseer, Ringwood Forty Niner, Cotleigh Seahawk, Strathaven Winter Glow, Caledonian Edinburgh Castle & Great Newsome Frothingham Best. Cider was Old Rosie. An earlier start than I had anticipated and this place still had a few other drinkers at 11am on a weekday.

27 Jan 2017 19:06

Beer Rebellion, Peckham

I'd been to the Beer Rebellion in Gipsy Hill before. But I believe this was the first of their three pubs. So I've been looking forward to coming here, despite the demise of Late Knights brewery. The bar has the look of a micropub. Although there is live music and it can get quite noisy. So it doesn't quite fit the definition. Ales were Siren Broken Dream Breakfast Stout, Gipsy Hill Anorak Plum Mild, East London Brewery Cowcatcher & Arbor Blue Sky Drinking. Ciders were Orchard Pig Reveller & Cock Eyed Devon Jasper. They also had craft beers from Fourpure, Wiper & True, Little Beer Corporation & Gipsy Hill. Possibly the best pub in Peckham. Note that there is another similar pub called Beer Shop London, about 15 minutes walk away that is worth a visit in combination with Beer Rebellion. I'll request for it to be added here.

23 Jan 2017 00:07

Kentish Drovers, Peckham

The Kentish Drovers is a Wetherspoons pub in the heart of Peckham. It's full of all sorts of characters of all nationalities and cultures. As a pub and an example of a 'spoons, it's pretty poor. The ale selection was Ruddles Best, Caledonian Edinburgh Castle & Sambrooks Junction. The cider was Old Rosie. I had a swift half of Edinburgh Castle before moving on. Believe it or not, there are better places in Peckham.

23 Jan 2017 00:02

Funky Munky, Camberwell

The Stormbird was the better of the 2 Camberwell pubs I tried last night. I visited the Hermit's Cave across the road back in 2010. Whilst they are related, they are worlds apart. The Hermits Cave has the better atmosphere. The Stormbird has the better beers. The latter has limited seating. I ended up propping up the bar. Only 3 real ales were on - Five Points Railway Porter, Hawshead Windermere Pale & Siren Liquid Mistress. Ciders were Sandford Orchards Devon Mist & Thistly Cross Whisky Cask. Another key draw is the craft beer selection, which included brews from Beavertown, Magic Rock, Left Hand Brewing, Mikkeler, Moor & Siren. There was also a decent bottle selection. Pub of the day in South East London for me and the Railway Porter was divine!

22 Jan 2017 23:59

The Tiger, Denmark Hill

I wasn't intending to do an Antic pub crawl, but this was the third in a row of the chain's pubs for me. Another trendy place that was packed on a Saturday night, with all kinds of people. Some were watching the live football, some were dining, others were just there for the conversation. The beers were Butcombe Bitter, Moles The Tunneler & Castle Rock Snowhite. Ok, but not the best Antic pub I've been to.

22 Jan 2017 23:54

The Old Red Lion, Kennington

The Old Red Lion is situated next to Oakham's London pub (Oaka). I'd been there before, but somehow missed the Old Red Lion. It's now an Antic pub, with a fairly trendy (eclectic) interior. Although the building itself is ancient. Ales were Vim Volden, Hawkshead Bitter & Dark Star American Pale Ale & Revelation. They also had a cider - Blaengawney Hallets Blindfold and a perry, also from Hallets, one of my favourite producers. With lots of nooks and crannies and a convenient location near to Kennington tube, I can definitely recommend it.

22 Jan 2017 23:51

Westow House, Crystal Palace

We retreated from the Grape & Grain across the other side of the traffic lights to the much livelier Westow House. I quite like Antic pubs and this one is no exception. Although no dark beers or real cider means it will stay as a 6/10 after this visit. The ale choice was Volden Pale & Session, Brighton Bier South Coast IPA, Redwell Julol, But The Horns Stiff Upper Lip, Adnams Ghost Ship & Dark Star Hophead. Many people were eating food and most tables were taken. If you're in the area, give it a try.

22 Jan 2017 23:47

The Grape and Grain, Crystal Palace

Yesterday was a return visit to the Grape & Grain for me. Whilst I've heard people raving about the place, I've never been won over. The beer selection is good for the area. But there's countless better pubs across South-East London, let alone London as a whole. Whilst up to 12 beers can be served, yesterday there was 8 - Rudgate Brew No. 1 Vanilla Mild, East London Brewery Night Watchman, Dark Star Hophead & Original, St Peters Ruby Red Ale, Adnams Bitter, Hogsback Tea & Brewsters Sarah Guppy. There were 2 real ciders - Westons Old Rosie & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. Gents toilets were out of order, meaning a queue for the solitary disabled toilet. Disappointing.

22 Jan 2017 23:44

The River Bar, Tower Bridge

I believe this is the 4th of the Draft Houses I have visited. Here at opening on Saturday lunchtime, I was greeted with 4 ales - Burning Sky Plateau & Porter, Siren Vermont Tea Party & Sambrooks Four Chimneys Chocolate Stout. I had half of the porter and the stout and both were in good condition. I don't recall the pricing being too excessive, especially with a CAMRA discount. It is food-oriented and quite modern inside. There's a few decent pubs on this stretch of Tower Bridge Road and this is one of them.

22 Jan 2017 23:40

The Quayside, Newcastle

The Quayside was my final pub of 36 over 4 days in Newcastle. It's one of Wetherspoons' Lloyds bars and has a modern feel to it. Being quite late in the evening, it was attracting a younger crowd. Ale selection was limited to Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharps Doom Bar, Sonnet 43 Abolition & Seraphim & Arundel Winter Knights. But a pint of Thistly Cross Whisky Cask rounded my evening off quite nicely.

22 Jan 2017 23:35

The Red House, Newcastle

I'd been nextdoor to here in the Hop & Cleaver 3 nights previous. But back in the area, I decided to give the Redhouse a try. It has what feels like an ancient interior, with exposed brickwork. The ale selection was better than I was expecting - Hop & Cleaver Devil's Pale, Cullercoats Tyne, Allendale Ruby Columbus, Anarchy Blonde Star, Great North Eastern Rivet Catcher & Mordue Five Bridges. No real cider though. Quite an atmospheric place that I will not pass by in a hurry next time.

22 Jan 2017 23:32

Eye on the Tyne, Newcastle

After a visit to the Head Of Steam near Central station earlier in the evening, I ended up at this branch of the chain much later in the night. The Quayside site is a much brighter, upmarket version. It is larger and busier than the one in the city centre. Popular with couples, rather than singles. If anything, the ale range is also better - Anarchy Sublime Chaos, Box Social Slay Bell, Consett Steel Town, Sonnet 43 Miss Scarlet's Revolver, Leeds Reindeer Porter & Camerons Ahopalypse Now & Inglenoon. Cider was Gwynt y Ddraig Farmhouse Scrumpy. A guitarist was in action in one corner. Another place to add to the list of Newcastle pubs to visit.

22 Jan 2017 23:28

The Pitcher and Piano, Newcastle

I needed somewhere to eat late at night. So this place suited me fine at 9pm, as I just caught last orders for food. It's a large building, set right on the Quayside with a good view of the Tyne. Popular with a younger crowd. But 2 ales were being served - Marstons EPA & Wychwood Hobgoblin. My Hobgoblin and meal were just what the doctor ordered. But not normally my kind of establishment.

22 Jan 2017 23:22

The Free Trade Inn, Byker

I made a swift visit to the plush Hotel Du Vin (not listed on here), before moving down to the Free Trade. I last visited here in 2010 and remember leaving in a bit of a state. That day it was my 9th pub of the day and they had a cider festival on. This time, luckily it was only my 8th and the cider selection was much more limited - Dawsons 100, Pure North Valley Gold, Worleys Beatnik Billy & Kentish Pip Firespice. Ales were Thornbridge Jaipur, Allendale Gluten Free IPA, Roosters High Tea, Almasty Centennial Simcoe, Fyne Ales Jarl & Hawkshead Windermere Pale. It feels a lot more spit and sawdust than I remember it. Although last time I was drunk and it was packed. This time, my visit was much more relaxing. Upgrading my rating to 8/10. A really good boozer.

22 Jan 2017 23:18

The Cumberland Arms, Ouseburn

I gave the Cumberland Arms a 9/10 the last time I visited here in 2010. I don't normally bestow such a high mark and I very often mark a pub down when making a return visit. Not so here. The Cumberland Arms is still my favourite pub in Newcastle. It feels like a little bit of rural England slapped bang in the middle of a big city. The two rooms are just as atmospheric as last time. The one was being occupied by some musicians and singers. So I headed for the room on the left. Ales were North Prototype, Allendale Mosaic, Thirst Class Hoppy Couple IPA, Magic Rock Common Grounds Coffee Porter & Wylam Rapper. Ciders were Cock Eyed Copper Beech, Gibbet Oak Russet & Sampford Courtenay. I had the Courtenay, which was extremely dry albeit nice. A great pub and one of the finest in the country, in my opinion.

22 Jan 2017 23:14

The Cluny, Ouseburn

The Cluny has been on my list of pubs to visit for years now. For some reason, I failed to make it here the last time I was in the area. But as is often the case with pubs I have been waiting to visit, I was somewhat underwhelmed. It did not help that the bar staff decided to serve people who had walked in after me first. The bar is L-shaped and there is a large beam at the corner. I had moved round the corner to try to get somebody's attention. So others got served first. The ale range was good - Consett Stout, Anarchy Boot Boys, Leeds Midnight Bell, Camerons Ahopalypse Now, Out There Cassini & Sonnet 43 The Raven Bourbon Milk Stout. Ciders were Orchard Pig Maverick Ginger & Chilli & Abrahalls Ruby Tuesday & Down Down. Live music is clearly a feature here and a band was warming up. But as with the previous reviewer, I feel the Cumberland Arms and Free Trade are better pubs in this area of town. Still decent though.

22 Jan 2017 23:09

Ship Inn, Newcastle

The Ship was my second pub in Byker last Thursday evening, following the Tanners Arms (not listed on here). The Ship is sat opposite the Cluny. But it is a much more compact place. 5 ales were on. They were Consett White Hot, Allendale Wolf, Adnams Broadside & Ghost Ship & Cullercoats Forth. They also had 2 ciders from Orchard Pig - Philosopher & Explorer. I fancied some food in here. But they've switched everything to vegan. So I opted against it. One local thought it was hilarious telling visitors that the place was haunted, whilst pushing one of the low-hanging light bulbs. He proceeded to do this both on the way to the toilet and on his return. Each to their own! There's better pubs nearby. But certainly add this as part of a crawl.

22 Jan 2017 23:04

The Head of Steam, Newcastle

It's been several years since I last visited the Head Of Steam and I don't believe I've reviewed it on here previously. So I paid it a return visit on Thursday. The pub is directly opposite Central station. It is on the first floor of the building. I felt it always had a rough feel to it. But it felt decidedly less edgy on this visit and it may have had a refurb. The ale range was decent - Leeds Pale, Exit 33 Nicaraguan Rum Stout & Light Weight, Brinkburn Canny Sculler & Camerons Blue Mountain Jamaican Coffee & Rum Ale. The cider was Woodhall's Wizard's Sleeve. I enjoyed a swift half of the Camerons beer before moving on. I'm sure I'll be back much sooner.

22 Jan 2017 22:57

The Telegraph, Newcastle

I was staying in the nearby Crowne Plaza hotel. So I thought I'd give the Telegraph a try on Thursday evening. It's just over the rear of Central station. Signs on the doorway state that toilets are for customers only, or a 50p charge otherwise. They suggest coming in for a coffee or tea for just £1! 4 ales are served. They were Mordue Workie Ticket & Five Bridges & Great North Eastern Rivet Catcher & Westoe IPA. The interior was dark, with little atmosphere. There are much better pubs around. Try the Box Social, just down the road in the railway arches.

22 Jan 2017 22:44

Northumberland Hussar, Newcastle

The Northumberland Hussar is not the easiest pub to get to. It's a good 20 minute walk from Chillingham Road metro station. But I was encouraged by reviews I'd read and decided to finish off my Wednesday night here. The location is fairly unassuming. On approach to it, you think you're entering a council estate-type pub with keg beers only. But they had 5 fairly unusual ales - Hunters January, Brinkburn Geordie Pagoda, Firebrick Trade Star, Out There Angara Baltic Porter & Roosters Weekender. I ordered a half of the Porter, only to be told that I could only order a two thirds. I find this a very strange concept and one I'd seen before in the Brandling Villa in South Gosforth. What is wrong with the traditional half pint? Selling ales in thirds or two thirds does not make the place any trendier. I can't quite understand it. The Porter was vile and the worst beer I had during my visit to Newcastle. If you end up in Chillingham Road, my advice would be to go no further than the Chillingham itself near the metro station. Despite the promising ale selection, this place is pretentious and does not know how to keep its beer.

22 Jan 2017 22:40

The County, Gosforth

The County was my final port of call in Gosforth. It was reasonably busy inside and has a traditional feel to it. It is a John Barras pub with more ales than I've previously seen in their establishments. They had a County Gosforth Best Bitter, Anarchy Urban Assault, Ossett Clearwater, Three Kings Billy Mill, Great North Eastern Rivet Catcher, Wylam Angel & Gold Tankard, Wells Bombardier, Greene King IPA & Caledonian Deuchars IPA. Thatchers Cheddar Valley cider was also stocked. Nice pub. But my only gripe would be the price. £2.05 for a half of cider is more expensive than in London. But I suppose Cheddar Valley is rarely seen in these parts. No CAMRA discount on cider either (but there was on ales).

22 Jan 2017 22:34

The Job Bullman, Gosforth

The Job Bulman is a Wetherspoons on a side street just off Gosforth's High Street. In my opinion, it is Gosforth's best pub. It has the usual decent range of ales - Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sonnet 43 The Raven Bourbon Milk Stout, Maxim Maximus & Andersons Best Scotch & Sharps Doom Bar and in addition, they also had Old Rosie cider. I enjoyed a chicken meal here on what was Wetherspoons' chicken night. That was fine too. The interior is fairly modern, with an outdoor courtyard looking as if it might be quite pleasant in the summer. In the winter, it was handy for smokers. Decent pub.

22 Jan 2017 22:30

Brandling Arms, Gosforth

The Brandling Arms is set back a little from the High Street and therefore enjoys a pleasant green area at the front. It's fairly large and the interior is modern and airy. But there appears to be a focus on food. Durham White Gold is the regular ale. 2 guests were Woodfordes Tundra & Harbour Breakfast Pale. None of these took my fancy. So I opted for an Aspalls cider. Nice building. But a little disappointing as a pub.

22 Jan 2017 22:26

The Queen Victoria, Gosforth

The Queen Victoria was pretty dead on my Wednesday evening visit. The one other customer left soon after I arrived, leaving me with just 2 bar staff and the landlord. The interior is nice enough. It is fairly traditional. 3 ales and a cider were on - Sharps Doom Bar, Copper Dragon Golden Pippin, Rudgate Jorvik Blonde & Westons Old Rosie. I drank my Old Rosie swiftly and moved on to busier pubs.

22 Jan 2017 22:19

The Gosforth Hotel, Gosforth

My first stop in Gosforth was the Gosforth Hotel, on the corner at a set of traffic lights. It's very much a locals pub and was busy on my Wednesday evening visit. Sky Sports News was showing on the TV. 6 ales were on. The 2 regulars are Allendale Pennine Pale & Mordue Workie Ticket. Guests were Sonnet 43 Aurora, Sharps Doom Bar, Hadrian Border Grainger Ale & Adnams Ghost Ship. A CAMRA discount is promoted. It turned out to be one of Gosforth's better pubs.

22 Jan 2017 22:16

The Twin Farms, Kenton Bank Foot

Wednesday's tour of Newcastle pubs took me out to Kenton Bank Foot and the Twin Farms, which is a Fitzgeralds establishment within easy walk of Bank Foot metro station. I was a little disappointed though. It's predominantly a foodie place. But they did have 4 ales. Anarchy Blonde Star is the regular beer. There was another guest from Anarchy - Citrastar, in addition to Sonnet 43 Abolition & Great North Eastern Red Ellen. Not worth the trek from the city centre. But I'm told the food is good.

22 Jan 2017 22:11

The Old George, Newcastle

The Old George is tucked away up a side passage just off the Bigg Market and High Bridge. But it's a really old pub with low ceilings and plenty of character. The ale selection is also decent - Bass supplemented by 4 guests - Cullercoats Shuggy Boat Blonde & Jack The Devil, Sonnet 43 The Raven Bourbon Milk Stout & Anarchy Blonde Star. I had the Raven, which went down very nicely, despite it being my final stop for the night. Another place to add to future Newcastle itineraries.

22 Jan 2017 22:07

The Lane, Newcastle

The Pleased To Meet You is somewhere I hadn't noticed on my previous ramblings around Newcastle, despite it being on the same street as my favourite Newcastle city centre pub - Bacchus. This place feels quite upmarket and similar to a cocktail bar, with a young clientele. Mordue Five Bridges is the resident ale. There were also 4 guests on my visit - Fyne Ale Crystal Highlander, Roosters Howl Rum Barrel Imperial Stout, Black Hill Hartley Stone & Dark Star Crème Brulee. The whole place feels a bit pretentious. But it's clearly popular and with this range of ales, I'll definitely be back.

22 Jan 2017 22:03

Stepps, Newcastle

The City Tavern is located on a side street, just off one of Newcastle's main shopping drags. It opens up to a large bar area with a lengthy table in the middle. Two of the beers are house beers - City Tavern Ale (Caledonian Edinburgh Castle) & City Tavern Bar Hound (Theakston Lightfoot). Guests were Hopback Crop Circle, Marstons 61 Deep, Wychwood Dryneck, Leeds Gingerbread Stout, Brains SA & Shepherd Neame Spitfire. The cider was also house branded as Hectors. I was told by the barman that it was a local cider. But I soon realised it was Westons Old Rosie in another guise. I must admit I hadn't realised that Herefordshire and Tyne & Wear were so close. This place is worth calling in though.

22 Jan 2017 21:55

The Five Swans, Newcastle upon Tyne

The Five Swans is another cavernous Wetherspoons in Newcastle. It is tucked away from the busier streets, near the Civic Centre. But it was still packed on my Tuesday evening visit. It was my favourite of the city centre 'spoons. With several different rooms, you're sure to find a table even if it is packed. Service took a while. But I seemed to have walked in during a rush. Ales were Titanic Full Steam Ahead, White Horse Village Idiot, Dukeries Farmers Branch, Strathaven Winter Glow, Vog Dark Matter Blackcurrant Porter, Clock House Post Horn Pale Ale, Sharps Doom Bar, Ruddles Best & Greene King Abbot. Ciders were both from Thistly Cross - Ginger & Whisky Cask. A very good branch of this chain.

22 Jan 2017 21:50

The Hotspur, Newcastle

The Hotspur is conveniently situated for Haymarket metro station. It's a small, but basic city centre pub with a nice atmosphere and a decent selection of 5 ales and 2 ciders. The ales were Cullercoats Jack The Devil, Wylam Cascade & Galaxia, Anarchy Strait Jacket and a house beer - Warden of the East Hotspur Bitter. The 2 ciders were both from Westons - Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig. A pleasant place to enjoy a swift one or a longer session.

22 Jan 2017 21:45

The Trent House, Newcastle

The Trent House is a pub favoured by students, not far from St James' Park. On my Tuesday evening visit, it was fairly busy. But I managed to find a small table. The ground floor bar is small. But I gather there is another upstairs. The 4 ales on were Harviestoun Bitter And Twisted, Caledonian Golden XPA, Copper Dragon Serendipity & Firebrick Blaydon Brick. The number of pumpclips on the ceiling indicated that they've had a fair few decent beers in here in the past.

22 Jan 2017 21:41

The Strawberry, Newcastle

The Strawberry is a rather down at heel pub situated right next to St James' Park stadium. Some of the clientele were quite rowdy, but not in an overly-threatening manner. 5 ales were on. The regulars are Caledonian Deuchars IPA & Mordue Northumbrian Blonde. Guests were High House Farm Matfen Magic, Tops Jack Tar & Great North Eastern Rivet Catcher. I had the Jack Tar, which was in good condition. I'd also entered during happy hour and had the opportunity to hit a big red button to get a discount. I managed to get 25% off, which made the ale taste that much better. Not a bad place for a visit. But I think I'd avoid on matchdays.

22 Jan 2017 21:37

Tilleys Bar, Newcastle

Tilley's was my final stop on my Monday evening crawl of Newcastle pubs and it was a fitting finale. How on earth has this pub not been in the Good Beer Guide since 2010? Tilley's is part of the Head Of Steam group of pubs. I'm amazed I've never been in here before. But if in this part of town, we often end up in the Bodega instead. I was suitably impressed. The single bar has sufficient seating and is a nice drinking environment. The ale selection was good - 7 were on - Camerons Apocalypse Now & Blue Mountain Jamaican Coffee and Rum Porter, Credence Coffee Porter, Mordue Workie Ticket, Leeds Yorkshire Gold & Midnight Bell & Tyne Bank Mocha Milk Stout. The cider was Old Rosie. Quiet when I initially walked in, it soon got much noisier when a loud and clearly quite inebriated group walked in. No trouble though. I will definitely be back here.

22 Jan 2017 21:32

The Forth Hotel, Newcastle

My penultimate stop of the night was the Forth. It's located up an alleyway leading down towards Central station. I've passed it many times, but never ventured in. Monday evening was quiz night, with a rather amusing hostess. There are 2 main rooms and a smaller and much darker back room, where I sat to try to get a bit more peace and quiet and to have a meal with my drink. Doom Bar is the regular ale. But they also had 4 guests - Roosters Little Bird, Ilkley Mary Jane, Durham White Gold & Adnams Longboat. I opted for the latter, which was cloudy and the worst drink of the evening. The burger I had was ok though.

22 Jan 2017 21:26

The Union Rooms, Newcastle

The Union Rooms is one of a couple of large Wetherspoons located just across from Newcastle Central station. It is surprising to have two so close together. But I heard that the Union Rooms may soon be closing. The other pub is the Mile Castle, which I will request to be added. The Union Rooms is a fairly grand building though. The upstairs was closed for a private party, which was just as well as I saw a couple of people getting lost in the maze of rooms downstairs alone. The interior echoes a fair amount. So it does quite noisy in here. For the full selection of ales, you are best checking both the main bar at the front and the smaller bar at the rear. Although on this occasion, the ale selection was poor - just the usual Wetherspoons staples - Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharps Doom Bar, supplemented by Ringwood Boon Doggle. Two ciders could be found at the rear bar - Westons Old Rosie & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. Whilst the Union Rooms is the more impressive building, you're likely to find a better selection of ales in the massive Mile Castle just up the street.

22 Jan 2017 21:19

The Bridge Tavern, Newcastle

My next stop in Newcastle was the Bridge Tavern. It doesn't look much from the outside. But inside, there is another good selection of ales. On my visit, they had 7 ales - Bridge House Casual Guise (brewed on site), Siren Under Current, Clouded Minds Clout Stout, Wylam #3000 Cream Porter, Magic Rock Common Grounds Coffee Porter, Harbour Red And White & Almasty NZ Pale. They also had a real cider - Pulp Apple. I sat in the large bare-boarded room where the bar is located. But there may well have been other rooms. As with other Newcastle pubs, it was reasonably busy for a Monday evening. Yet another pub in this area of the city that is definitely worthy of a return visit.

22 Jan 2017 21:12

Hop and Cleaver, Newcastle

This place seemed very dark when I first entered. Whilst it does have its own brewery, it also has a heavy focus on food with waitresses ready to approach you when you walk through the door. There is a seating area as you first walk in and another dining room to the right. The bar is up a few stairs towards the rear, beyond which there is another large room, with an outdoor courtyard just off the bar and seemingly another maze of rooms that link with adjoining properties. I was only on my second pub. But despite being relatively sober, I managed to get lost twice on the way to the gents! The ale selection was impressive. From their on site brewery, they had Devil's Pale, Robin (Christmas Pudding Spices), Flanders Folly & Cappuccino Porter. Also on were Errant & Stubrew Heavy Is The Crown Espresso Stout, Atom Fission IPA (Orange & Chilli), Fyne Ales Highlander & Rudgate York Chocolate Stout. I opted for two of these. But neither were as good as I'd hoped. This place is still definitely worth a visit though, if you find yourself in the Quayside area.

22 Jan 2017 21:06

The Cooperage, Newcastle

This building is currently sat derelict. It looks like it has been closed a number of years. A shame, considering the Quayside area is now booming.

22 Jan 2017 20:59

The Split Chimp, Newcastle

4 nights in Newcastle last week was started in this micropub, close to Newcastle Central station and in one of the railway arches. As previous reviews say, they have moved venues. The old venue, also under a railway arch is now occupied by Box Social, another micropub, which I visited later in the week and will request to be added to the site. The new larger premises for the Split Chimp, means the upstairs fits a bowling alley. That must be a first for a micropub. The ground floor section has plenty of seating. The regular ale is Errant Clever Chimp. There were 3 guests - Titanic Cherry Dark, Strathaven Timorous Beastie & Bank Top Flat Cap. There are a number of craft beers on keg too and two real ciders in the fridge. These were Strawberry Moon & Rhubarb Bob, both from Farmer Jims. The barman (owner?) was saying how much CAMRA like the place. But it's annoying that discounts are only offered on pints. Nevertheless, this is a really welcome addition to the Newcastle pub scene and one I will return to next time I am in the city.

22 Jan 2017 20:57

The Lodge Inn, Alsager

The Lodge was my last stop of the night in Cheshire and was one of the better pubs of the day. A total of 8 ales were on - Pictish Sorachi, Ilkley Mary Jane, Dark Star American Pale Ale & Original, Oakham Inferno, Black Sheep Golden Sheep, Neptune Fugu & Marstons Burton Bitter. There were also 4 ciders. 2 were definitely Orchard Pig The Hogfather & Westons Rosie's Pig. They also had another from Westons, which was possibly Family Reserve. I opted for one from Farmer Jims, which was I believe their medium cider. But there is no cider list anywhere and you can't see the names on the boxes which are in the right-hand room as you enter. That room is the main public bar and there was an incident involving an irate local when I entered. But this soon appeared to be resolved. The room to the left as you enter is slightly smaller. But both have a traditional feel and most locals were much more friendly and were engaging in polite conversation. Recommended.

22 Jan 2017 20:48

The Mere Inn, Alsager

Joules pub that was closed on my Sunday evening visit. I later read somewhere that it closes at 6pm on a Sunday evening. But their own website and others are out of date. No beerintheevening on this occasion. So a 0/10 for now. But I will try to hit lucky again.

22 Jan 2017 20:41

The Borough Arms, Crewe

I've changed trains many times at Crewe and have contemplated walking here many times before. But it's a fair walk from the station and tucked away just to the east of Crewe's town centre. I'd heard good reviews about the pub and was expecting good things. But to be honest, I was slightly disappointed and I didn't think the Borough Arms was as good as Hops. This is a typical local boozer, with an L-shaped bar and another side room. Conversation rules. The ale selection is also good. On this visit, they had 9 ales - Abbeydale Dam Good Stuffing, Coastal Ocean Sunset, Oakham New World Order & Inferno, Cairngorm Trade Winds, Idle Valley Jaded Pioneer, Wadworth Dray Bells, Fyne Ales Crystal Highlander & Thornbridge Jaipur. They also had 2 ciders - Westons Old Rosie & Cotswold Cider Company Yellow Hammer. I opted for the latter, which was perfectly fine. But I was short-changed by the young barman, who seemed completely confused by what I had given him. It was eventually resolved. But I don't think he had a clue what he was doing! My review may feel a little negative. But my score reflects the average that the pub currently has. This is a really good pub. But I was somehow expecting something even better.

22 Jan 2017 20:37

The Crown, Crewe

This pub appears to be one of the roughest in Crewe. There were certainly a few characters in on my Sunday evening visit. It's a Robinsons house that seemed to have two ales - Unicorn & Dizzy Blonde. Although one of the pumpclips was half turned (I don't recall which) and may have been off. Looks promising from the outside. But not worth venturing in.

22 Jan 2017 20:29

Gaffers Row, Crewe

I'd intended to visit the Gaffers Row much earlier last Sunday. But on arrival shortly after 10am, I found it closed. This was apparently something to do with some blocked pipes. presumably as a result of the cold weather. I returned much later in the evening and rather amusingly, I was followed through the door by a happy landlord from another local pub who had been taking all of Wetherspoons' customers throughout the day. Apparently they had not been able to open until 6pm. Nevertheless, it was back open. But it wasn't really worth the wait. Bar staff were friendly and offered a taster of one of the ales. They had the usual Greene King Abbot & Ruddles Best, along with 2 guests from Lymestone - Stone Faced & Ein Stein and an Everards collaboration brew - Kawasaki Red Ale. Cider was Old Rosie. Feels like it has a lighter, more modern décor than many other branches and is convenient for the town bus station, which is just behind the building.

22 Jan 2017 20:23

Hops, Crewe

As you approach this place, it feels like it is going to be similar to a wine bar or a restaurant. But the interior has the feel of a micro pub. Although it is slightly larger than most micro pubs and it certainly pre-dates the micro pub scene. 6 ales and 6 ciders or perrys were on (although looking at the last review, I may have missed the 2 ales on gravity) - Townhouse Barney's Stout, Raw Grey Ghost IPA, Hopcraft Queen Anne's Revenge, Cwrw Ial Kia Kaha, Red Willow Stateless & Seamless, Ross-on-Wye Broome Farm Perry, Snails Bank Tumbledown & Very Perry, Lilleys Merry Monkey & Abrahalls Lily The Pink & Slack Alice. There were a fair few customers in and it had got much busier as I left to continue my Sunday evening jaunt around the town. My favourite pub in Crewe, on this evidence.

22 Jan 2017 20:18

The Hop Pole, Crewe

The Hop Pole was my first port of call in Crewe last Sunday evening. It's a lively pub with several separate drinking areas, tucked away in a residential area to the south of the centre. There were 3 ales on - Doom Bar, Hooky & Shropshire Gold. Locals were playing pool in one section. But there was a separate bar area and other rooms too.

22 Jan 2017 20:10

The Egerton Arms, Tarporley

I was very impressed by this pub. I was expecting a dining pub. But on entering, there was no sign of any diners, just a fair number of drinkers. Thwaites Original is the regular ale. But they also had 3 guests - Woodlands Midnight Stout, Tatton Gyle 66 & Pennine Amber Necker. There was also a few craft beers on keg dispensed from the back of the bar. These included Titanic Plum Porter. I went for the Gyle 66, a 12% Imperial Russian Stout, which was very nice indeed. No real cider is sold. Definitely worth seeking out though. Moved on from here to the Little Man at Wettenhall (not listed on the site, but I'll request for it to be added).

22 Jan 2017 20:04

Rising Sun, Wistaston

With all pubs in Crewe closed last Sunday morning, I took a drive out to this fairly large Greene King pub to the west of town. Lo and behold, it did open at 11am. The pubs primary focus appears to be dining. But there is certainly a following of drinkers too. Greene King IPA & Abbot are the regular ales. But they also had an ale called Joey The Swan, also from Greene King along with 3 other guests - Batemans XB, Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted & Sadlers Peaky Blinder. I opted for the Abbot which was in good condition. The interior of the pub is fairly cosy. Drinkers seems to congregate around the bar, where there were a couple of small tables. But most of the pub is set aside for food. It has a large car park outside. At least it was a real ale pub in the Crewe area that actually opened before midday.

22 Jan 2017 19:57

The Angel, Crewe

This is a pub located in a shopping arcade in the centre of Crewe. I called here last Sunday morning on the off chance that it might be open. But it seems that opening hours are fairly limited. Not even the Wetherspoons in the town was open.

22 Jan 2017 19:50

The Wheatsheaf, Harlington

Tried this pub on Tuesday night. It's a local pub not far from Heathrow. There are 2 separate rooms. Service was fine and there was a real ale on (Doom Bar). Otherwise, I can't really recommend a visit

12 Jan 2017 20:26

Belvedere, Liverpool

There was nobody in when we arrived here yesterday. But the 6 of us managed to pretty much fill the bar. 4 ales were on - Brimstage IPA, Big Bog Hinky Punk, Copper Dragon Golden Pippin & Greyhawk Casey Jones. All of the ales were pale and most of our party were happy. The cider was Old Rosie. Still a fantastic little pub that is well worth seeking out.

8 Jan 2017 15:52

Ye Cracke, Liverpool

Tried visiting here yesterday afternoon. But it was closed. I hope it isn't closed for good, as it is has been one of the city's better pubs. I don't believe it is, as there was a light on inside. But the front door was locked and the side door still had a shutter down. Disappointing. 0/10 based on this visit.

8 Jan 2017 15:49

The Pilgrim, Liverpool

This pub used to be open for breakfast at weekends. But it no longer opens until midday. Nevertheless, the ale range was fairly decent - Stamps Winter Warmer, Phoenix Spotland Gold & Wychwood Hobgoblin. The cider was Rosie's Black Bart. I went for the Winter Warmer, which was a chocolate and mandarin porter and very enjoyable too. The interior always feels quite grungy and it's a popular place for music, with a free juke box. There are long bench tables and seating with further tables and seating at the side. It's a fairly dark place, as it is underground.

8 Jan 2017 15:47

The Flute and Firkin, Liverpool

We visited the Flute yesterday (Saturday) morning as it is one of the few pubs in this part of town that opens in the morning. It had 3 ales on - Banks's Sunbeam, Tetleys Christmas Cracker & Sharps Doom Bar. Most of our part opted for the Sunbeam, whilst I (probably stupidly) plumped for the Christmas beer, even though Christmas was a couple of weeks ago. The taste was vile and it didn't take much to work out that the beer was off. I exchanged it for a Sunbeam, which was marginally better. The pub was also far too hot. Disappointing experience.

8 Jan 2017 15:42

The Osprey, Glasgow

Closed and now converted to a Miller & Carte steakhouse.

5 Jan 2017 23:19

The Swan Inn, Eaglesham

With its other pub across the green (the Cross Keys) now being a private house, this appears to be the only real ale pub left in this village. The pub has a real country pub feel to it. It serves food. But most people appeared to be there for the ales, of which there were 2 - Timothy Taylor Landlord & Inveralmond Santa's Swallie. Another half decent pub in Lanarkshire.

5 Jan 2017 23:18

The Auldhouse Arms, Auldhouse

After visiting two town pubs not listed on here (the George Bar in Hamilton and Hudson's in East Kilbride), I ventured out to the Scottish countryside to this quaint pub in a very small village. The bar area has lots of character. There were more customers in there than you'd expect for its location and time of the week. In fact, I'm surprised it was open at all. A great little pub. But sadly its single handpull was unused. Keg options were Guinness, Harviestoun Schiehallion. Belhaven Best, Carling, Tennents Ice Cold, Stella Artois & Blackthorn Gold. A welcoming place that could be worth a few more points with some decent ales.

5 Jan 2017 23:15

The Rowan Tree Inn, Uddingston

The Rowan Tree is a small pub located in a back street of this small town. It is nextdoor to the Tunnocks factory, manufacturer of the famous tea cakes. The interior is worth venturing in for. It has a long bar, with real fires at either end and a couple of side rooms. It was very sparsely populated on my midweek lunchtime visit. Doom Bar was the real ale. Come here to marvel at the unspoiled interior, not for the beer.

5 Jan 2017 23:07

Vulcan, Coatbridge

After a visit to the very disappointing Wetherspoons in Airdrie, my faith in the chain was restored with a visit to the Vulcan in Coatbridge. It stands next to a rather ugly block of flats. You wouldn't think it was an ideal location for a 'spoons. But I was greeted on entry by a friendly and professional barman who quickly went behind the bar and instantly told me which of the ales on handpull were still available - Adnams Het Anker Belgian Blonde, Everards Kawasaki Red Ale & Kelburn Dark Matter. I went for the latter, which the barman recommended and it was the best beer I had during the day. This was a busier place than the Robert Hamilton in Airdrie. Yet the bar staff here were keeping a much tighter ship. My favourite pub during my this day's visit to Lanarkshire. I continued from here to the smaller, more intimate St Andrew's Bar. This is the other side of town and not listed on here. It's still worth a visit and also stocks a real ale.

5 Jan 2017 23:02

Robert Hamilton, Airdrie

The Robert Hamilton appears to be the only pub in this town dispensing real ales. Maybe there's not much demand, as most people appear to swill out of cans on the streets. But this is a Wetherspoons and a poor one at that. Alcohol is not served until 11am. It was not too much of a surprise to me that there was a queue at the bar as the clock struck 11. One woman was serving food, whilst the other was behind the bar. As the clock struck 11, both decided that their job was to serve food, leaving some frustrated customers. The guy next to me gave up and walked out. When I was eventually served, it transpired that they only had 2 ales - Atlas Nimbus & Everards Kawasaki Red Ale. Amongst the numerous "coming soon" signs, there was a pumpclip for Orkney Dark Island. But attempts to order this were futile, as apparently it was off. It's possible there was only one ale by the time I left, as the Nimbus appeared to have run out too. I enquired about real cider and was met with a quizzical look from the bar manager. I pointed at the bag in the box lying on the floor. But she shrugged her shoulders and I guessed there was no replacement forthcoming. A pretty poor excuse for a Wetherspoons. I also tried the Cellar Bar around the corner. There's no real ale there and it's not listed on this site. But you're more likely to get served their quicker by a manager who is friendly and eager to please, rather than a corporate chain who at times could not give a monkeys.

5 Jan 2017 22:53

Volunteers Arms, Musselburgh

The Volunteer Arms is CAMRA's pub of the year for Scotland and Northern Ireland. So I had really high hopes and had booked accommodation in Musselburgh to take full advantage. This is undoubtedly a good pub. But I wonder if I'd built this up in my mind too much, as I wasn't as overwhelmed as I'd expected. I'd visited the Grey Horse in Balerno earlier and whilst it would be difficult to chose between the two, I thought the Grey Horse was marginally the better. Nevertheless, this pub is certainly worth of a 7/10. The ale range is mostly pale ales, which was part of my disappointment - Oakham JHB, Bishop's Farewell & Green Devil IPA, Fyne Ales Jarl & Stewarts Crossfire. The availability of Moles Black Rat cider tempered my disappointment. Whisky also appears to be a speciality. I sat in the main bar area which has lots of wood panelling and is a perfect environment for conversation. TVs normally detract from conversation. But the live football showing on 2 TVs was actually a talking point of many conversations and complemented the bar without detracting from the convivial atmosphere. This is without doubt the best pub in Musselburgh and worth seeking out. Apparently it was CAMRA's national pub of the year in 1997.

5 Jan 2017 22:44

The David Macbeth Moir, Musselburgh

The David MacBeth Moir is another Wetherspoons cinema conversion, with some impressive art deco features and some large film posters. I chose to eat here on what was the Tuesday grill night. So a gammon and a pint of 6.5% Black Cork from the Knops brewery for £8. Other ales were Caledonian Deuchars IPA, Greene King Abbot & Stewarts 80/-. The cider was Orchard Pig Juggler. Staff were fairly jolly. But service was out of turn. The gents toilets were a disgrace. 3 cubicles - one with no toilet paper, one out of service and another absolutely smeared with excrement. I'm glad I attempted to go after my dinner. A decent enough 'spoons let down by the lack of cleanliness in the toilets.

5 Jan 2017 22:36

The Levenhall Arms, Musselburgh

The Levenhall Arms is located at the far eastern end of the racecourse in Musselburgh. There are a couple of small rooms for drinking and a bistro where Indian food is served. I fancied a biryani. But apparently the chef had just started a 4 week holiday! The regular ale is Ossian from Inveralmond. But there were 2 guests from Strathaven - Duchess Anne & Claverhouse. One of a trio of decent pubs in this town.

5 Jan 2017 22:31

Johnsburn House, Balerno

Closed and now appears to be a large private house.

5 Jan 2017 22:28

The Grey Horse, Balerno

The Grey Horse was my favourite pub on my visit to the Lothians on Tuesday. Its situated on a pedestrianized street in Balerno and has a single small public bar, along with a lounge occupied by a Chinese restaurant. The ale selection was better than other pubs I tried - Morland Old Speckled Hen, Alechemy Up And Atom, Strathaven Duchess Anne & Cragmill Gold & Loch Lomond White Out Blonde Stout. There is a friendly bunch of locals. Well worth a visit.

5 Jan 2017 22:27

The Prestoungrange Gothenburg, Prestonpans

After a visit to the Ducks Inn in Aberlady (not listed on here), I tried to visit this place, nicknamed the Goth. It was a pub I was looking forward to visiting. But I arrived too late. The place had closed by 2:55pm on a Tuesday afternoon and the door was locked. A quick call to their telephone number revealed that they wouldn't re-open until midday the following afternoon and they wouldn't consider allowing me in for a swift half. I'll try to visit again some time later in my life and I should really have come here first before the Ducks Inn. But this is not a place you can get a beer in the evening (or even in the afternoon) at this current time. 0/10.

5 Jan 2017 22:23

The Blacksmiths Forge, Dalkeith

The Blacksmith' Forge is a fairly large Wetherspoons pub that looks like it is in a new building. But I may be wrong. The ale selection was better than some of the other 'spoons I visited on this Scotland trip - Titanic Full Steam Ahead, Adnams Het Anker Belgian Blonde, Harviestoun Schiehallion, Everards Kawasaki Red Ale, Windswept Weizen, Sharps Doom Bar, Greene King Abbot & Caledonian Deuchars IPA. Cider was Black Dragon. Appears to be the better of the 2 real ale pubs in Dalkeith. But the Buccleuch nearby doe not provide much competition.

5 Jan 2017 22:19

The Black Bull, Dalkeith

The Black Bull is a corner pub near the centre of Dalkeith that satisfies a predominantly local clientele. The main bar has narrow bench-type tables around its edge, making it feel like a courtroom. Everybody was quite happily watching the barmaid remove the Christmas decorations from the large wooden casks above the bar. The surroundings are quite pleasing on the eye. But sadly there are no real ales. Keg options were Guinness, Strongbow, Tennents & Tennents Ice Cold, Carling, Belhaven Best & McEwans 80/- & Tartan Special. The nearby Blacksmith's Forge is the place to go for real ales. But this place is a good option for those who prefer traditional pubs. Alternatively you could go and abuse the locals and enjoy a can of strong lager in the local shopping parade, which a couple of local drunks had elected to do!

5 Jan 2017 22:14

Laird and Dog, Lasswade

The Laird & Dog has a nice roadside location in the dip of the main road through the village. There are a number of different areas in which to drink and dogs are welcomed. The ale selection was a little different compared with other local pubs and the pub appears to be in favour with CAMRA currently. Two of the 3 ales were from Isle of Arran - Red Squirrel & Fireside. The third was Oregon IPA from Clockwork. I sampled the Fireside which tasted as if it should have been quite a nice ale. But it was certainly on its last legs. Certainly one of the better pubs in this area.

5 Jan 2017 22:09

The Steading, Hillend

The Steading is a rather unusual looking pub that was much busier than I'd expected on a Tuesday lunchtime. Most people were in for the food. But the pub does have 3 ales. The regular Caledonian Deuchars IPA & Timothy Taylor Landlord were supplemented by Jack Back, a guest ale from Stewart. Not a bad option just outside Edinburgh.

5 Jan 2017 22:05

Riccarton Arms, Edinburgh

A midweek trip to Scotland saw me start my exploits in this roadside pub to the south of Edinburgh. I was here for opening at 11am. Although they may have been serving breakfast before then. I was first in and appeared to startle the barmaid. Caledonian Deuchars IPA is the regular ale. But guests were Fullers London Pride, Theakston XB & Wells Bombardier Glorious English. The bar is quite a nice environment to drink in. But the pub is otherwise unexceptional.

5 Jan 2017 22:01

Ned Kellys, Liverpool

I very often walk by here and take a quick glance at the ale selection. It has certainly improved of late. So 4 of us stopped here for a quick half on Monday. It was much quieter than I've seen it and we managed to get a seat. The 3 ales on were Big Bog Peat Bog Porter, Southport Sandgrounder Bitter & Liverpool Organic Honey Blonde. We had two halves of 2 of the ales. A CAMRA discount is offered, but only on pints. Apparently 2 halves don't equate to a pint where the discount is concerned though. Not the best way of winning custom. But I'll increase my rating to a 5/10. There are far more welcoming pubs not too far from here.

5 Jan 2017 21:37

The Poste House, Liverpool

It's been over 7 years since I last set foot in here. But after a visit to the nearby Molly Malone's (not listed on here), I thought I'd give it a go. It's a tiny back street boozer in Liverpool's small gay quarter. Whilst it has a cosy feel, the real ale choice is limited to Greene King IPA. So I settled with a Guinness. Could be so much better.

5 Jan 2017 21:31

Hardys, Liverpool

Tried visiting this place early on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon. Despite most other places around being open, this one was closed. 0/10 from me.

5 Jan 2017 21:28

Lime Kiln, Liverpool

The Lime Kiln was fairly quiet on my Bank Holiday Monday lunchtime visit. But I still rate this as the best Wetherspoons in Liverpool city centre. It feels a little on a limb during the daytime. But when this area is liveliest at night, its location becomes apparent. Ales on this visit were Hawkshead Red, Loddon Hullabalo, Black Sheep Riggwelter, Three B's Shuttle Ale, Coach House Cheshire Gold, Brecon Six Beacons, Salopian Darwin's Origin, Exmoor Gold, Peerless Triple Blond, Greene King Abbot & Ruddles Best. Ciders were Westons Old Rosie & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. For a less crowded experience than the North Western, the Richard John Blackler, the Welkin and the Fall Well, this is the best Wetherspoons pub for a quiet daytime drink in the centre of Liverpool.

5 Jan 2017 21:26

The Crown, Ashley

I'd tried to visit the Crown earlier on in the day. But it wasn't opening until evening on New Year's Day. So we decided to give it another go. It has a main bar area, with a smaller area at the back that was not in use. There was a smattering of locals and a large dog sprawled across 2 large seats near the fire. Ales were Mighty Oak IPA & Bingle Jells & XT 2. Ciders were Woodalls Wizard's Sleeve, Westons Flat Tyre & Burnards Oakey Dokey. I went for the Wizard's Sleeve, which was a new one on me and very pleasant too. Locals seemed quite amused with the name. I'm glad we made the journey back, as this was possibly my favourite pub in Cambridgeshire on the day.

5 Jan 2017 21:13

Queen Edith, Cambridge

My last Cambridge pub of the day on New Year's Day was this Milton Brewery establishment on the southern outskirts of the city, amidst a modern housing development. It was quiet inside. But there were 5 or 6 customers in the larger of the 2 bars. Ales were mostly from Milton - Pegasus, Medusa, Sparta, Justinian & Mammon. There were also guests from Milk Street - Zig Zag Stout & Session Ale & Banks & Taylor Santa's Slayer. The cider was Abrahalls Thundering Molly. A bit out of the way. But worth the trek out of town.

5 Jan 2017 21:06

The Regal, Cambridge

With several more Cambridge pubs found closed on New Year's Day (Portland Arms, Elm Tree, Free Press, Pint Shop & Mill), you can always rely on a Wetherspoons to be open. This is an old cinema, as the name suggests. The interior is fairly spacious, with plenty of spare seating. The gents toilets were particularly large with urinals on a couple of levels! Despite it being fairly quiet, the age-old problem of getting served was in evidence, with few staff available. Ales were Long Man Old Man, City Of Cambridge Boathouse Bitter & Hobsons Choice, Sharps Doom Bar, Greene King IPA & Abbot, Woodfordes Nog, Burton Bridge Santi Freeze, Wolf Lupus Lupus & Wychwood Hobgoblin. No real cider is served. Not the best Wetherspoons. A fairly average branch.

5 Jan 2017 21:01

The Carlton Arms, Cambridge

The Carlton Arms looks like a bit of a dive from the outside. But at least it was open, unlike most pubs in Cambridge when we visited. It turned out to be a really good pub with a decent ale selection and an even better cider selection. I'm not sure if the pub is West Indian-owned. But many of the clientele were certainly of West Indian descent and speciality foods included jerk chicken and curried goat. The interior has some strange decorations. But it's clearly a popular place and the locals seemed a fairly friendly bunch, if not a little inebriated. There was even a couple of complimentary cheeses we were invited to sample. Ales were Oakham JHB, Adnams Broadside, Hook Norton Hooky & Sharps Doom Bar. Ciders were Cornish Orchards Farmhouse, Hogans Panking Pole, Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon, Fiery Fox, Happy Daze & Two Trees Perry, Westons Old Rosie & Orchard Pig Philosopher & The Hogfather. I was spoilt for choice. As you can see from my first sentence, this is an unassuming place that exceeded all of my expectations.

5 Jan 2017 20:54

The Grapes, Cambridge

As we were struggling to find any open pubs in Cambridge, we headed towards the outskirts where presumably even without the students and tourists, there would be enough locals to warrant pubs being open. We thought our luck was in here, with the signs up outside, the lights on inside and about a dozen customers when we walked in. Sadly the barman didn't seem to like the look of us and stated they were closed. Strange that when most of the customers had full or almost full pints and a game of pool was in full progress. Whilst I haven't reviewed most of the pubs we found closed in Cambridge, as New Year's Day does mean pubs have strange opening hours, a pub with such a poor welcome does deserve a special mention and a rating of 0/10, as the casual customer cannot get a beer in the evening here.

5 Jan 2017 20:47

The Pickerel Inn, Cambridge

The Pickerel was like an oasis in the real desert that is Cambridge on New Year's Day. With the Hopbine, St Radegund, the Champion of the Thames, the Cambridge Brew House, the Maypole, the Mitre and the Castle Inn all closed, I was well onto my list of reserve pubs for the day when arriving here. Unsurprisingly, it was rather busy. There are 2 small rooms with access to the bar, with a larger interconnecting room and another smaller area at the rear with a real fire. This is a Taylor Walker pub, which had a decent selection of ales - Taylor Walker 1730 Special Pale Ale, Oakham Pickerel & Citra, Tring Pale Four, Woodfordes Nelson's Revenge & Wherry, Greene King IPA Reserve & Timothy Taylor Boltmaker. There were also 2 real ciders - Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig from Westons. Be sure to check both rooms with access to the bar to see the full selection. Bar staff are knowledgeable. A welcome sight on New Year's Day.

5 Jan 2017 20:42

The Bird In Hand, Cambridge

Now an upmarket Indian restaurant called Navadhanya.

5 Jan 2017 20:35

The White Swan, Stow-cum-Quy

The White Swan was fairly quiet on our New Year's Day visit. There were just 3 other drinkers present. But the main bar area is quite cosy. The 2 regular ales are Adnams Ghost Ship & Tring Side Pocket For A Toad. 2 guests were Turpins Meditation & Crafty Beers Sauvignon Blonde. They also had 2 ciders from Franklins - Fuddle & Gasper. Recommended.

5 Jan 2017 20:34

The Boot, Dullingham

The Boot was only the second pub we found open in Cambridgeshire on New Year's Day, following aborted attempts to visit the Carpenters Arms at Great Wilbraham, the Hole In The Wall at Little Wilbraham and the Crown Inn at Ashley. The other open pub was the fantastic Reindeer at Saxon Street, which I have requested to be added. The Boot seemed a friendly enough place, populated mainly by locals, many of whom seemed to have had quite a few. There was a single room with a TV showing live football. The regular ales are Adnams Bitter & Greene King IPA. Guests on this occasion were Woodfordes Once Bittern & Mighty Oak Pixie. Decent pub.

5 Jan 2017 20:26

The Prince Blucher, Twickenham

Fullers pub with a couple of TV screens showing live football and rugby last night. The interior is nice enough. But the Fullers ales - London Pride, ESB, Oliver's Island, Wise Men & Seafarers (Gales) were a little underwhelming. There is no real cider either. I was only here to watch the football. So it served a purpose. But if in the area, I'd otherwise choose to spend my time in the Sussex Arms opposite instead.

31 Dec 2016 19:40

The Sussex Arms, Twickenham

I was in the Sussex Arms last night after visiting a couple of times during the last year. It was rather busy, with very limited seating. But the ale and cider range were as good as ever. Ales were Saltaire Blonde, Atom Pale Ale, Icknield Malt, Tiny Rebel Cwtch, Allendale Tar Bar'l, Hop Stuff Oatmeal Stout, Big Smoke Maple & Pecan Brown Ale, Harbour Amber Ale & White Horse Black Beauty. Park Brewery Killcat Pale came on whilst I was there. Ciders were Orchard Pig Juggler, Thistly Cross Whisky Cask, Biddenden Dry, Medium & Red Love & Celtic Marches Abrahalls AM. Service was good, despite it being a struggle to get to the bar. I noted that in relation to the previous comment, the food hygiene rating is now 4. I also overheard a conversation between a group of regulars, who were saying that the Albert in Kingston is the 4th pub in this small chain. So I'll have to get back there soon. The Sussex Arms is still one of the best pubs in London.

31 Dec 2016 19:37

Huntsman, Leicester

Ironically I used this pub as a toilet stop en route to the football. The pub was too busy to spot anybody using it for a toilet. Although for a pub just 15 minutes walk from the ground, it was quieter than I would have expected. On the way out, I spotted a few people I knew and with time to spare, elected to stay for a drink. The pub does have a handpull. But no real ale was on and some of the keg beers were off too. The options were Stella, Strongbow, Carling, Fosters, John Smiths & Heineken. I opted for a bottle of imported Guinness which went down quite nicely. Another pub ticked off and who knows, I may need the toilet again some day when passing!

28 Dec 2016 21:57

Rutland Arms, Bottesford

My last stop in Bottesford was the Rutland Arms. In common with the other 2 pubs, you'll probably find yourself climbing over dogs to get to the bar. There are 2 main rooms, 1 with a pool table that was in use. Fairly busy, but not quite as busy as the other 2 pubs in the village. There was also a large dining room, which was closed. Ales were national brands - Wells Bombardier, Sharps Doom Bar, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Tetleys Cask. Moved on from here to the Gas Gorilla Bar & Grill in Barkestone-le-Vale which was closed, despite advertising as open on Bank Holidays on its website and my favourite pub of the day, the Anchor at Plungar. I will request for it to be added.

28 Dec 2016 21:50

Bull Inn, Bottesford

The Bull seemed to be the best and most popular out of Bottesford's 3 pubs. It was packed and standing room only on Boxing Day. Service took a while. There are 2 rooms. I ventured into the one on the right as you enter, which stretches back a fair way. But there was still no spare space. Live football was on the TV and I believe there was a pool table at the back. The Bull certainly seems to have the most adventurous ale selection in the village - Theakston Best, Fullers London Pride & Castle Rock Harvest Pale.

28 Dec 2016 21:47

Red Lion, Bottesford

The Red Lion was my first stop in Bottesford on Boxing Day lunchtime. My initial assumption was that it was closed. Signs lead you to a locked door at the rear. But I happened to look inside and saw a handful of other people. Hoping it wasn't a private party, I ventured to the front entrance where the door was open. The pub has 3 rooms - a down-to-earth public bar with a couple of dogs and several loclas, a larger lounge bar and a small interconnecting room. I chose the middle room. It was much busier than I had expected and the barman was rushed off his feet. As a Greene King pub, their IPA was on with Nottingham Extra Pale Ale also available.

28 Dec 2016 21:43

The Two Brewers, Thornborough

The Two Brewers was my last pub of the night in Buckinghamshire. My penultimate was the Bell Inn at Beachampton, which is not listed on this site. I'd saved the Two Brewers until last as the pub was supposed to have been closed between 2-6. However I arrived shortly after 6 to find it packed to the rafters. It clearly hadn't been shut and it was easily the busiest pub I'd been to all day. I just about managed to get served and retreated to the porch between the two main rooms. It did feel as if I'd intruded onto the villagers private party, as everybody knew one another and who knows, maybe it was a private party that I'd gatecrashed. The only obvious ale was Doom Bar. But locals were ordering an IPA from an unclipped handpull. My guess was that this was Greene King. Was far too busy to enjoy.

28 Dec 2016 21:33

The Shoulder of Mutton, Little Horwood

This pub is currently closed. I read in the local CAMRA magazine that the new owners wanted to re-open it as a pizza restaurant. But this is being contested. So its future is uncertain.

28 Dec 2016 21:28

Nags Head, Winslow

The Nag's Head is just outside of the centre of this small market town. But it is a welcoming and cosy place. Tetley Cask, Fullers London Pride & Sharps Doom Bar was the rather uninspiring ale selection. But this small pub with its L-shaped room had a nice atmosphere to it and seems a good hub for conversation. There was a pool table at the rear and a smoking area also out the back.

28 Dec 2016 21:27

The George Inn, Winslow

The George is now a Vale Brewery pub and it was much busier than other pubs I had visited. There is a large front room, with a smaller room at the rear. With all tables taken in the front bar, I retreated to the back room where a family with several young charges had taken residence and created a right mess. On arriving, the landlord seemed a bit flustered. He was trying to refuse service to a young lad he had barred the previous night, until he realised it was a case of mistaken identity - rather amusing. The Vale beers were Gravitas & Best. Guests were Dukeries Red Nose & Santa's Beer's, Bewdley Sir Keith Park & Aylesbury Brewhouse Australis. Old Rosie was the cider. The George has the better ales in the town. But I actually preferred the Nag's Head.

28 Dec 2016 21:23

The Bell, North Marston

The Pilgrim was another pub that exceeded my expectations. Although the interior felt a little cold in both atmosphere and temperature. The bar is at the centre of an open-plan room that spreads out either side, with toilets at the rear. It seems popular with dog owners. 3 ales were on - XT4 appears to be the regular ale, with Chiltern Beechwood Bitter & Animal Heron the guests. They also had Millwhites Apples & Pears - not one of my favourite producers, but still a welcome sight.

28 Dec 2016 21:17

The Black Boy, Oving

The Black Boy feels like a really remote place. Yet it is not too far off the beaten track. Situated in a small farming village, you can certainly smell the countryside! But the views across the fields are nice. The pub itself has an attractive exterior. The interior has an atmospheric bar area and a dining area round the corner. The owner appears to be Italian and food is clearly popular here. 3 ales were served - XT4 & 25 & Chiltern Beechwood Bitter. There was no real cider. I tried the XT25, which was a Christmas ale and reasonably good. Worth a visit.

28 Dec 2016 21:11

The White Swan, Whitchurch

The White Swan is on a main road north out of Aylesbury. Aesthetically pleasing from the outside, the welcome inside was warm too. Being a Fullers pub, the ale range was limited to London Pride, Bengal Lancer & Seafarers. But this is a cosy place with 2 rooms at the front of the pub and a separate dining area off to the side. Clearly popular with locals who seemed a friendly enough bunch.

28 Dec 2016 21:06

The Millwrights, Aylesbury

The Old Millwrights Arms is a Greene King pub and with fairly low expectations, I was pleasantly surprised by this place. It was fairly quiet on Christmas Eve lunchtime. Despite a couple of the handpulls being unclipped, there was still a decent selection. Greene King IPA & Milly's Ale & Morland Old Speckled Hen were the Greene King ales. But there was also Skinners Christmas Fairy & Hillfire 3C. They also had 3 ciders - Westons Rosie's Pig, Cornwall Cider Company Mango, Lime and Ginger & Cornish Orchards Pear Cider. There were few customers inside. But the interior had a nice feel to it and the barmaid was friendly. I even got a CAMRA discount for my cider. Not quite as good as the Hop Pole at the other end of town. But possibly the second best pub in Aylesbury and it was my favourite from this tour of Bucks.

28 Dec 2016 21:03

The Bricklayers Arms, Aylesbury

The Bricklayers is situated on a busy road. Be careful if driving here. There is a pay and display car park opposite and next to the Aristocrat. But the Bricklayers does have its own car park at the rear of the building. The pub is situated over a few different levels, giving it character. It also has a fairly large garden at the rear. Being a Fullers pub it had London Pride & ESB. But there was also a guest - Adnams Shingle Bells. Fairly welcoming place. But there are better pubs in the town.

28 Dec 2016 20:56

Bull, Aylesbury

The Bull was my first stop of a crawl of Buckinghamshire pubs. I'd just been to the nearby Chiltern Brewery shop nearby for some last minute Christmas shopping. The pub was not as good as I was hoping. There is a bar area at the front and a lounge at the rear. Greene King IPA & Sharps Doom Bar were supplemented by Brains Firking Good. Nothing special to recommend it.

28 Dec 2016 20:51

The Greyfriar, Reading

I reviewed the Greyfriar under its former name back in September last year. I really enjoyed my visit and wrote that it was handy for the station. Last night with 20 minutes to spare between trains, I had the bright idea to pop in for a swift half. Sadly, a group of 4 people just beat me to the entrance door and embarked on ordering the most obscure items and then paying with a card. After they were finally served, I was left with only 5-10 minutes before my train and guess what - the young barmaid decided to serve somebody else who had just come to the bar. I cut my losses at this point, used the facilities and left. It would appear that it is not so handy for the station, the ale range has been reduced to just two ales, service is poor, you will be lucky to get a beer on the same evening you walked in. But the toilets were clean and served a purpose. So the place does therefore merit a 1/10.

21 Dec 2016 20:31

The Berkshire Arms, Newbury

Chef & Brewer establishment on the main A4 east of Newbury. It's a typical chain pub that is aimed at diners. Although there is a small area for drinkers and they had 3 ales - Greene King IPA, Berkshire Arms Best Bitter & Hardy and Hansons Rocking Rudolph. We opted to eat here. The food was ok, but expensive for what it was.

21 Dec 2016 20:12

Castle Inn, Cold Ash

I had high hopes for this village pub, which uniquely sits right nextdoor to the Spotted Dog. They're literally a stone's throw from one another. I'd read that a real cider is sometimes on offer. But on asking the young bar staff if they had a real cider, I was met with a "it depends what you mean by real cider". A few fizzy options were offered to me, which I politely declined. I asked what dark ales they had on and one female customer shouted out Guinness. With such ignorance, I knew I was on my own. I eventually opted for the Westons Mulled Cider. Ales were Courage Best, Fullers London Pride, Sharps Atlantic, Wells A Good Stuffing, Hardy and Hansons Rocking Rudolph & West Berkshire Good Old Boy. So no real dark ales anyway. The interior is fairly nice, with a few secluded spots. The only annoyance were the flies, which isn't a good sign. A decent pub. But could be better with more knowledgeable staff.

21 Dec 2016 20:10

The Diamond Tap, Newbury

After a visit to the King Charles Tavern just down the street (not listed on here), I finished off at this branch of Wetherspoons. It feels like a typical branch of the chain. But it was the worst selection of real ales I've seen in any of their branches. Just their staples Sharps Doom Bar, Ruddles Best & Greene King Abbot were on. If it's a Wetherspoons you're after, head to the Hatchet Inn instead.

21 Dec 2016 20:03

The Catherine Wheel, Newbury

I hadn't planned on coming here. But I was drawn by a mention of the place in the local CAMRA magazine, where it mentioned that there were 12 ciders. There were a fair few ciders polycasks and boxes behind the bar. But only 2 had any cider in them - Westons Hand Brake & Orchard Pig Philosopher. The ale range was better - Loddon Hullabaloo, Hook Norton Hooky, West Berkshire Good Old Boy, Binghams The Warmer & Wild Weather Hubcap Halo. The place was fairly packed and it was lively. So despite the false hope for ciders, it's clearly a popular place and one to look out for.

21 Dec 2016 19:58

Berkshire Tavern, Newbury

The Hatchet was the only one of the town's Wetherspoons I was planning to visit. But in the end, I visited both and this was easily the better one. It has a fairly cramped bar area. But there was sufficient seating, despite it being fairly busy last night. The ales were Greene King Abbot, Wild Weather Christmas At The Weathers, Lymestone Stone Cold, Exmoor Exmas, Adnams Yuletide & Ruddles Best. Ciders were Orchard Pig Juggler & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. I tried the Wild Weather beer which was a disappointing mild. Lively place though.

21 Dec 2016 19:52

Hog's Head, Newbury

This place is now a Slug & Lettuce. I don't think I've ever been in a decent pub from this chain. The one in Leicester is probably closest to average. This branch has no real ales at all. The keg selection was Peroni, Thatchers Gold, Guinness, Amstel, Estrella Damm, Hop House 13 Lager, Rekorderlig Strawberry & Lime, Westons Mortimers Orchard, Meantime London Pale & Heineken. At £5.10 a pint, I wasn't about to stick around for a session. The gents toilets were one of the worst I've ever seen. You had to literally wade through whatever was on the floor to do your business. The barman that had served me had just come out of there when I entered. I'm surprised he hadn't closed them until they were cleaned. Appalling.

21 Dec 2016 19:47

Purple Lounge, Newbury

This place is now called the Newbury. It had obviously been busy during the day yesterday, as there were glasses strewn everywhere. There is a bar area to the left as you enter and a larger dining area to the right. The clientele appeared to be mainly local office workers, many of whom had obviously had a few too many. Ales on were Ramsbury Gold & Bitter, Greene King The Newbury Best Bitter, Upham Punter & Timothy Taylor Landlord.

21 Dec 2016 19:41

Cow and Cask, Newbury

I was back in Newbury last night and the Cow & Cask was my first stop. It's easily the town's best pub in my opinion. It's a typical micropub, located in what was presumably a shop previously. There is no music, TV or fruit machines. Conversation is encouraged. Ales are served on stillage behind the bar, with 2 boxes of cider on the bar itself. The 4 ales on during my visit were Andwell Porter, Arkells Sir Noel, Hermitage Frost Bite & Indigenous Double Wharp. Ciders were Lilleys Strawberry Cider & Tutts Clump Berkshire Diamond. The landlord is fairly friendly and joins in the conversation. A CAMRA discount of 10p per half or 20p per pint is offered. All 4 halves I sampled were in good condition. The blackboard records how many ales have been served since the place opened. It currently reads 299 and locals were looking forward to the 300th cask, which should be on tomorrow. Well worth a visit and not too far to walk from the station. Note it is closed on Sunday and Monday.

21 Dec 2016 19:37

The Lock Stock and Barrel, Newbury

Fullers pub in Newbury town centre. It feels fairly comfortable inside and stretches back a fair way, with plenty of seating. Ales were all from Fullers - Pride, ESB, Oliver's Island & Bengal Lancer. My ESB was ok. But the prices in here are certainly higher than average for Newbury.

21 Dec 2016 19:17

The Monument Public House, Newbury

The Monument is a fairly basic town centre boozer just to the north of the town centre. It's a fairly small space, with a few different drinking areas, including a games room with pool table and dartboard. Judging by the number of trophies, they must be well used. Bombardier Burning Gold & Hobgoblin were the ales. The Hobgoblin wasn't the best.

21 Dec 2016 19:13

The Blackbird, Bagnor

The Blackbird was our first stop on Sunday afternoon in the Newbury area. It was probably the best of the 5 pubs we went to. Locals, bar staff and the landlord were welcoming. There's a main bar area and a separate, smaller dining area off to the side. There were 3 handpulls with 2 ales on - West Berkshire Good Old Boy & Indigenous Nosey Parker. I had the Nosey Parker, which was good. A selection of board games are available. We were asked if we'd been to the nearby Watermill Theatre. But sadly we're not that cultured!

21 Dec 2016 19:08

The Knife and Cleaver, Houghton Conquest

This was my penultimate pub for me to visit in Bedfordshire last night. It is now a very popular restaurant. The last review over 7 years ago mentions Greek food. But I don't believe it is now Greek food. There were plenty of tables. But most were set out for diners. I sat down at one with my drink and that clearly confused the waiting staff, one of whom came over and said "Can I help you" and "will you be eating with us this evening?". I politely declined the offer of any help and said I'd just like to enjoy my drink! As a Wells & Youngs pub, the ale range was disappointing too with just Wells Eagle IPA & Bombardier Glorious English & Youngs London Gold. I moved on from here to the Chequers in Wootton, which is not listed on here, but was much more of a traditional pub.

11 Dec 2016 18:28

The Cock, Broom

This was my favourite pub of the day in Bedfordshire. There were only a couple of customers in when I arrived. But there were many more by the time I left. It's a fairly unusual place in that it doesn't actually have a bar. Beers are dispensed from casks from a separate room, whilst ciders are fetched from the cellar outside. The pub has several different rooms with lots of character. There were no TVs that I could see. But there was still Christmas music being played. Ales were Sharps Doom Bar, Adnams Ghost Ship, Woodfordes Wherry, Greene King Abbot & Brains Bread of Heaven. The two ciders were both from Franklins - Dunton & Gasper. A third cider was off. Locals and staff congregate near the entrance to the room with the casks. They are certainly friendly. But it's difficult to know who is a customer and who might be serving with no bar! Nevertheless, this is a classic English village pub that is not to be missed.

11 Dec 2016 18:21

The White Horse, Broom

Still closed. The pub sign is still there. But it is now a private residence.

11 Dec 2016 18:15

The New Inn, Biggleswade

I made a return visit to Biggleswade last night as I wasn't aware of this pub the last time I was in the town in February, 2015. After a number of foodie-type pubs in North Bedfordshire, this was much more to my liking. There is one room which is quite narrow, but stretches back a fair way. The bar area was packed with drinkers and parties, making the task of getting served more arduous than it should have been. The rear area of the room is a small area for dining with a carvery. Ales were Brentwood Chocwork Orange, Greene King IPA, XX Mild & London Glory, Sadlers One Hop Stop, Nobbys Guilsborough Gold, Wells Eagle IPA & Mighty Oak Maldon Gold. Ciders were Aspalls Cyderkyn & Westons Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig. I think I still prefer the Golden Pheasant across the road. But this is certainly another good option in Biggleswade and would have possible have got a higher rating me from me if it had not been so crowded.

11 Dec 2016 18:14

The Plough at Bolnhurst, Bolnhurst

The Plough is an upmarket dining establishment that serves real ale. It certainly seems a popular place with a rather large car park that was filling up rapidly. I believe I was the only customer only in there for a drink. So this is another North Bedfordshire pub that is actually more a restaurant than a pub. Nevertheless I was made to feel quite welcome, with complimentary homemade crisps given to me to accompany my ale. Staff were friendly and professional. There were plenty of them too. 3 ales were on - Woodfordes Wherry, Adnams Bitter & Phipps NBC Beckett's Ale. Looks like the sort of place you'd head to for a special occasion. But I quite liked it.

11 Dec 2016 18:06

The Horse and Jockey, Ravensden

I initially tried to visit this pub late Saturday afternoon and it was closed. I returned after 6pm to find it open. There is a bar area and a dining area to the side. The place is certainly more focused on diners than drinkers. Although the latter are catered for by 4 real ales - Adnams Bitter, Courage Best & Cottage Up And Under & Sentimental Journey. This just doesn't feel like a pub anymore though and it feels a little uncomfortable just going in for a drink. Its opening hours centred around meal times confirm that food is the priority.

11 Dec 2016 18:01

Five Bells, Cople

Seemed like a friendly enough local establishment. It's another Greene King pub, that was serving their IPA & Rocking Rudolph from Hardy & Hansons. A few of the clientele were a little rowdy and were getting ready for an evening on the town. Live football was on the TV.

11 Dec 2016 17:57

The Polhill Arms, Renhold

Almost 2 years on, I returned to the Polhill Arms to find it open, unlike the Jackal at Thurleigh, the Plough at Bolnhurst and the Horse & Jockey at Ravensden which were all closed on my Saturday afternoon visit. I did however managed to fit in the Victoria at Wilden (not listed on the site) in between. But the Polhill Arms has been voted CAMRA cider pub of the year 2016 for North Bedfordshire. So I was keen to visit. It's a Greene King pub that had Hardy & Hansons Kimberley Bitter, Belhaven IPA & Westgate Fireside as ales. Ciders were Westons Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig & Thatchers Heritage. Locals were watching live Premier League football. Certainly a decent pub and I can now enter a more realistic rating of 7/10.

11 Dec 2016 17:54

Jackal, Thurleigh

This pub was closed when I passed by yesterday afternoon. I'd heard it was closed. But to all intents and purposes, it still looks like a pub with the pub sign still present and notices on the door. Although the notices may have said it was closed for good, which it may well be as I returned later in the evening after 7pm and there was still no sign of life.

11 Dec 2016 17:49

Falcon Inn, Bletsoe

Coaching inn on the A6. It has a bar area at the front, with separate dining areas and function rooms to the side. As a Charles Wells pub, the ale range wasn't the best. Wells Bombardier & Eagle IPA were on, alongside Courage Directors & Black Sheep Special Ale. It took a while to get served, despite there being lots of staff seemingly doing nothing. I read that the garden can be nice. But probably not in the driving rain! Disappointing.

11 Dec 2016 17:45

The Why Not Inn, Halesowen

I'm surprised there's no reviews for this place. With its painted side wall, it's not too difficult to find. Parking is a bit trickier though. The pub is located on a dead-end street with cars either side. You may be lucky to find a space along the street. But if you don't, there's nowhere to turn at the end and you'll have to reverse the whole length of the street. Inside there are 2 or 3 rooms. The front room is a public bar, whilst the rear rooms seem to be reserved for diners, of which there were plenty. Prices seemed reasonable. 2 ales were on - Enville Ale & Holdens Golden Glow. A Thatchers Heritage pumpclip was present. But they did not actually have any. So I plumped for a keg Banks's Mild, which was fine. Not a pub I'd ever considered going to before. But I'd certainly consider a return visit.

11 Dec 2016 17:38

The Old Hare and Hounds, Rednal

I paid the Old Hare & Hounds a visit on Thursday evening as it was the only Birmingham pub in the Good Beer Guide I hadn't yet tried. However it was somewhat disappointing. This is an Ember Inns establishment and this chain has pretty much identikit interiors with a fake cosy feel to it. Whilst they are aimed at diners, they do generally have a few real ales and offer a CAMRA discount too. The ale range was Black Sheep Ember Pale Ale & Snow Place Like Home, Adnams Longboat, Purity Ubu & Brakspear Bitter. It's possible the best pub in Rednal, but not somewhere I'd head back to.

11 Dec 2016 17:32

The Railway Tavern, Richmond

I hadn't been here since it was owned by O'Neills. Now it is a Nicholsons establishment. Not a lot has changed inside, except the ale range is much better. On my Thursday lunchtime visit, there was St Austell Nicholson's Pale Ale, Cotleigh Tawny Owl, Ilkley Mary Jane, Thornbridge Wild Holly, Bays Gold, Great Heck Dave & Harbour Breakfast Ale. Service was efficient. But prices seemed a bit steep. Better than it used to be and I'd say it's now one of Richmond's better pubs.

11 Dec 2016 17:26

The North Western, Liverpool

I was here after the match on Sunday. I'd just been to the Richard John Blackler. So this was my 5th Wetherspoons of the day. I don't normally do that many in a month. As Wirraldrinker says, this is a big improvement on the former Head of Steam that was really struggling in its later years. The major drawback with this place now is its popularity. Whilst there is plenty of seating in multiple areas, access to the bar is limited and it always seems to be a fight to get served. The toilets were a disgrace. One cubicle had no lock and another had no toilet paper. The one with no paper was flooded and one of the hand driers was out of service. For a fairly new Wetherspoons establishment, this place certainly needs looking at again. You'll get a far better experience trying one of the other city centre 'spoons - the Richard John Blackler, The Lime Kiln, The Fall Well or the Welkin. For the record, the ales were Phoenix Big Bang, Coach House Innkeepers Special Reserve & Blunderbus Old Porter, Orkney Clootie Dumpling, Beartown Brown Bear, Greene King Abbot, Woods Wonderful & JW Lees Christmas Plum Pudding.

6 Dec 2016 21:42

Black Horse, Liverpool

The Black Horse is a popular pub on matchdays, being near Goodison Park. But I had never set foot in here until Sunday. Just like my previous pub, the Black Bull, many people were enjoying watching the Bournemouth v Liverpool game. But in here it was for different reasons, as the score had switched from 1-3 to 4-3! The place was packed and this is a place with plenty of space. It's a Greene King pub with 3 handpulls. But real ale is no longer served. The keg choice was Coors Light, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruit, Guinness & Guinness Extra Cold, Carling, Stella, Greene King IPA, Hardy & Hansons Mild & John Smiths. Not really my kind of pub. But serves a purpose on matchdays and presumably for the community on non-matchdays.

6 Dec 2016 21:34

The Black Bull, Walton Vale

After a visit to the Bootle Arms, Melling (not listed on here), I returned to Walton and decided to make an unplanned stop at this landmark pub that is situated on a busy traffic intersection near the Raven where I had been previously. Ironically the two young lads who were being refused alcohol were in here, still hanging round several hours later. Real ale is not served here. Keg options are Carling, Somersby Cider, Somersby Strawberry & Rhubarb, John Smiths, Carlsberg & Carlsberg Export, San Miguel, Guinness & Tuborg. Quite a number of Liverpool fans were enjoying watching their team beating Bournemouth 1-3. I left them too it!

6 Dec 2016 21:29

The Scotch Piper Inn, Lydiate

The Scotch Piper is one of those pubs on Merseyside that I've always looked forward to visiting. It's tucked a bit out of the way, not making it too accessible. But this place is a real gem that was my favourite pub of the day. I just wished I'd have had longer here. But with my bus arriving late and more pubs to visit in the area, it was a swift visit. The pub is an ancient thatched building with character aplenty. The gents toilets are outside. 2 handpulls were clipped - Marstons Pedigree New World & Moorhouses White Witch. I opted for the latter, only to be told after that the third handpull also had the Piper 1320 Ale, also brewed by Marstons. But the clip had fallen off. The landlord was very friendly and interested in hearing about the pubs I'd been to on the Isle of Man the previous day, as he was a fan of the TT racing. A classic car rally was to be held there later in the day and his car was already taking pride of place on the car park. A roaring log fire was burning in the bar area and the place was begging me to stay longer. But time waits for no man and I made the decision to leave to get my next bus. I hope to be back though, as this is one of those special pubs that is not to be missed. I read in the local MerseyAle that the brewer wants to introduce food. I hope enough people protest. Leave this place alone to do what it does best.

6 Dec 2016 21:23

The Frank Hornby, Maghull

I believe the Frank Hornby was the runner up in Merseyside CAMRA's recent pub of the year competition. This seemed surprising to me, as it's another Wetherspoons. But I agree with them. This is certainly one of the best Wetherspoons I have been to. Well above average. The pub is situated outside of the main shopping area in Maghull on a suburban street, I assume this was always a pub rather than a shop/cinema/theatre conversion as many normally are. The interior was different to the standard 'spoons layout and with plenty of windows, it is bright and cosy. Service was surprisingly efficient and the ale range was good - Phoenix Wobbly Bob & Double Gold, Red Star Formby IPA & Weissbier, Weetwood Old Dog & Ambush, Lytham Royal, Brightside Identity Crisis & Polaris & Banks's Barley Brown's Tumble Off Pale Ale. Real cider is not promoted. But I asked and found they had Old Rosie. The pub was fairly busy with people enjoying late breakfasts or early lunches. But staff were fairly efficient clearing tables of detritus, which is often a bug bear of mine in Wetherspoons. Model trains and other Frank Hornby items decorate some of the walls. It's not very often I'd give a Wetherspoons an 8/10. But this is well deserved.

6 Dec 2016 21:17

The Hare and Hounds, Maghull

The Hare & Hounds is an Ember Inns establishment that was just next to where my bus stopped. It opens at 11am on a Sunday morning and there were already a few in for lunch and drinks. The ale range was a little disappointing with all beers being pale ones - Wells Bombardier, Liverpool Organic 24 Carat Gold, Robinsons Dizzy Blonde & Black Sheep Ember Pale Ale & Snow Place Like Home. Despite preferring darker beers, I took my chance with the Bombardier and enjoyed a CAMRA discount. The young barmaid knew nothing about this. But the cash till said yes and I was 20p better off after my half!

6 Dec 2016 21:10

Gold Balance, Kirkby

My first ever visit to Kirkby. I wasn't too impressed. But at least this Wetherspoons was doing a good trade on a Sunday morning. There were plenty enjoying breakfasts. It's in the main shopping area and not far from the bus station. It feels quite light and airy, especially compared to the Raven in Walton where I had been previously. Ales were Banks's Barley Brown's Tumble Off Pale Ale, Peerless Chill Factor & Moorhouses Blonde Witch. Unusually for a 'spoons, there were only the 4 handpulls. The 4th was unused. I opted for the mulled cider, as it was a cold morning. Service was friendly.

6 Dec 2016 21:04

Raven, Liverpool

I paid an early Sunday morning visit to the Raven on a visit to some of the pubs in North Liverpool that I had yet to try. This is a Wetherspoons that serves alcohol from 9am on a Sunday with food served from 8am. I arrived a little too early for a drink, but didn't have too long to wait. A few other hardy souls were watching the clock tick to 9! The place is a typical open-plan Wetherspoons. But it feels dark inside. The barmaid was friendly. But she was good in dealing with a couple of young drinkers who had clearly been out all night. She continually refused to serve them any more alcohol. Ales were Hawkshead Bitter & Lakeland Gold, Jennings Bitter & Sneck Lifter, Peerless Red Rocks, Banks's Barley Brown's Tumble Off Pale Ale, Exmoor Gold & Coach House Cranberry. Not a Ruddles Best, Abbot or Doom Bar in sight. I'm not sure if this is a change in policy from 'spoons. But it certainly made for a more interesting ale selection. No real cider is available here. But they did have Orchard Pig Juggler as a mulled cider.

6 Dec 2016 21:00

The Bridge Inn, Laxey

The Bridge has 3 real ales. On this visit, they had Bushys Manx Bitter & Humbug & Ruddles Best. But they are also one of the few spots on the island where you can get a real cider. Rosie's Pig was available from a box behind the bar. Locals were all congregated in the public bar, where there is limited seating. But they appeared a friendly bunch. I preferred the Shore Hotel though.

6 Dec 2016 20:49

The New Inn, Laxey

Closed and unlikely to re-open as a pub.

6 Dec 2016 20:46

The Shore Hotel, Laxey

I was quite taken by this place. The Old Laxey Bosun's Bitter brewed on site is the only ale. But I really enjoyed it. The pub has a nice situation next to a bridge over the river. There is currently no vehicle access over the bridge. But pedestrians can cross. A nice drinking environment and the barmaid was friendly. The landlord/brewer seemed a little grumpy though. Still well worth a visit.

6 Dec 2016 20:45

The Stanley Hotel, Ramsey

The Stanley is situated on a street corner overlooking the quay. It was very quiet compared with the Plough round the corner. There is a small public bar, where there were 3 customers and there is a larger and more comfortable lounge where there was another couple. The real ale was Okells Bitter. Disappointing.

6 Dec 2016 20:41

The Plough Hotel, Ramsey

The Plough was the busiest pub I visited on the Isle of Man on Saturday. There are 2 rooms, with one handpull in one and a second in the other room. It was a struggle to get to the bar with an after-work crowd playing darts and watching the rugby. Okells Bitter & Moorhouses Pride of Pendle were the 2 ales. The barmaid/landlady was friendly despite clearly being busy. Possibly the best pub in Ramsey. But it's been over 7 years since I've been here.

6 Dec 2016 20:39

The Baltic Inn, Foxdale

The Baltic was one of my favourite pubs on the Isle of Man on this visit. I was the only customer. But the landlady was very friendly and took an interest in this visitor to the island. The pub itself is a 2 room place with plenty of character. Okells Bitter & MPA were the 2 ales. The pub seems to be suffering from a major road closure to fit a storm drain in the village. I was sent on a diversion and ended up on a forestry track, before eventually reaching the pub. Still worth a visit though.

6 Dec 2016 20:36

The Hawthorn, Greeba

The Hawthorn is a roadside establishment that has a reputation for good food. In fact, it is now more of a restaurant than a pub with all tables laid out for diners. Nevertheless, they did have Westgate Fireside which was pleasant. Better than I had expected and they don't mind people going in just for a drink.

6 Dec 2016 20:30

The Crosby Hotel, Crosby

The Crosby Hotel is a large establishment that again appears to focus on diners, rather than drinkers. The lunchtime rush was clearly over and the place felt dead. There is a large dining area and a separate bar. Okells Bitter & Morland Old Speckled Hen was the uninspiring ale selection.

6 Dec 2016 20:26

The Railway Inn, Union Mills

I'm not sure what the reference to a railway is here, as there didn't seem to be one around. This is a traditional pub that was in the process of a refurbishment. I'm not sure if the gents is normally outside. Locals and staff didn't appear that welcoming though. Ales were Coach House Dick Turpin, Robinsons Trooper, Brains Open Casket & Okells Bitter, an above average selection for the island. Might be worth another try.

6 Dec 2016 20:23

The Haven, Port Erin

Looks a bit of a hovel, rather than a haven from the outside. But the landlord and locals were friendly. TVs were showing live Premier League football. Okells Bitter is the real ale. Situated next to the station. But there are better pubs in Port Erin.

6 Dec 2016 20:15

The Station Hotel, Port Erin

The Station Hotel is a nicely decorated place. But there seems to be a focus on food here. Okells Bitter & IPA were on. The guest was Sharps Doom Bar. Food looked decent. But this did not feel like a drinkers' pub.

6 Dec 2016 20:12

The Station Hotel, Port St Mary

The Railway Station Hotel is unsurprisingly situated nextdoor to Port St Mary station. It was quiet on my Saturday lunchtime visit. In fact, I was the only customer. But the friendly landlady was expecting a crowd in to watch the rugby. There are 4 ales on, 2 in each room. On this visit, they were Okells Bitter & MPA & Bushy's Best Bitter & Helmsman. Judging by the last review, I guess this place has had a refurbishment. There is a public bar where the sport was to be shown and a lounge bar with a real fire and music playing. Reasonable place that could have done with more customers to create an atmosphere. But this was an off-season visit.

6 Dec 2016 20:07

The Glen Helen Lodge, St Johns

This pub has a nice location in the countryside on the TT course. But unfortunately it is currently closed and for sale.

6 Dec 2016 19:52

Two Rivers, Staines

This was the first of 3 pubs I visited in Staines on Thursday night. It was the only remaining pub in Staines that I hadn't been to that served real ale. But London Pride was the only ale. The pub is now Indian-owned and they appear to serve Indian meals. Locals provide the entertainment here. The sight of middle-aged women trying to do the splits in the centre of the bar was mildly amusing. Disappointing though. Moved onto the London Stone and the George which were far better.

6 Dec 2016 19:48

The Platform Tavern, Southampton

The Platform Tavern was my last stop in Southampton. In fact, I had intended to try to fit one more in. But the Platform turned out to be my favourite pub of the day. It's quite convenient if you have a ferry to catch or if you've just stepped off one. The interior has plenty of artwork to admire. There are 2 rooms - a main bar area, with a mix of seating and a dining room with more tables crammed in. Fullers London Pride & Gales Seafarers are the standard ales. Guests on my visit were Burning Sky Plateau, Bristol Beer Factory Kiwi & Siren Ryesing Tides IPA. Initially when asked what real ciders they had, the barman only mentioned Westons Old Rosie. But I later discovered Westons Country Perry, JJ's Perry-Letic, Cock Eyed Strawberry Blonde & Chilli Ginger & Cornish Orchards Farmhouse. Complimentary roast potatoes were on the bar. I could have spent a lot longer in here. But I had a coach to catch. I'll definitely be back though.

28 Nov 2016 19:02

The Dancing Man, Southampton

The Dancing Man is home to the Dancing Man brewery and the equipment is on display. The building is certainly an old one. But the interior feels a bit too modern. It's quite a large space with plenty of seating and also plenty of room for upright drinking too. It was fairly quiet on my Sunday evening visit. So it felt like it was lacking in atmosphere. Most of the real ales were from the in-house brewery - Vagrant, Bone Dry, Snake Oil Porter, Jack 'O' Diamonds, Big Casino & Fiddler's Jig. There were also 2 guests from Broken Bridge - It's Five O'clock Somewhere & No Chaff. In addition, there is also a selection of craft beers on keg. I opted for the Porter, which was ok. I'm sure I'll be back. But I was somehow expecting better.

28 Nov 2016 18:57

Duke of Wellington, Southampton

The Duke of Wellington oozes character. A visit feels like stepping back in time. It was fairly busy on my Sunday evening visit. In fact it was the busiest of 4 pubs I sampled in this area. An impromptu folk music session was underway in one corner. It's a Wadworth's house. I had the Swordfish. But there was also Horizon, Dray Bells & Nectar. A guest was Nipper from the Island Brewery. Recommended.

28 Nov 2016 18:51

The Titanic, Southampton

The Titanic is in an area of Southampton where I haven't previously drunk, near the Docks. It's a fairly old-fashioned local where you're assumed of a warm welcome. But it was fairly quiet on my Sunday evening visit. Titanic Lifeboat & Morland Old Speckled Hen were the 2 ales. The Lifeboat wasn't really to my liking. Plenty of Titanic memorabilia, as you'd expect. This place feels a little off the beaten track. But it's actually fairly close to the centre of Southampton and I may well be back as there are some other decent pubs in this area that can be combined with this one.

28 Nov 2016 18:48

The Park Inn, Southampton

The Park Inn was our 5th stop in Southampton (the Fremantle Arms was our 4th and is not listed on here). Another fairly friendly pub that is clearly well looked after. Apparently the landlord and landlady ran the pub many years ago and they have since returned to revive the place. It's a Wadworth house with their IPA, 6X & Swordfish. Guests were Castle Rock Elsie Mo & Yeovil Ruby. Luckily for me, Thatchers Heritage was on too. A fair way out of town. We moved on from here to a new craft ale type place called Overdraft, which I'll request to be added.

28 Nov 2016 18:42

The Waterloo Arms, Freemantle

The Waterloo Arms was the third stop of our Southampton crawl (the second stop, the Key & Anchor) is not listed on here). The Waterloo is a Hopback pub. This is possibly only the second Hopback pub I have visited, having previously been to the Sultan in London. This one felt similar in character. It's fairly cosy inside and many were enjoying Sunday lunches. The ale range was mostly Hopback - Crop Circle, Red Amber, Winter Lightning, Summer Lightning, Entire Stout & GFB. Other ales were Downton New Forest Ale, Daleside Stout & Oldershaw Old Boy. One of a few decent pubs in the area.

28 Nov 2016 18:36

The Wellington Arms, Southampton

The Wellington Arms was our first stop of a Sunday crawl of Southampton pubs. It's a backstreet corner boozer that feels a little worn around the edges. But it has a decent range of ales and some friendly locals. Ales on our visit were Triple fff Alton's Pride, Red Cat Mrs M's Porter, Brewhouse & Kitchen Double Tide Stout & The Wellie Gull & Fullers London Pride & ESB. Bowman Amerigo was pulled through whilst we were there. I believe there were more ales in the other room. There is no real cider though. Worth the effort to find.

28 Nov 2016 18:31

Ye Olde Talbot Inn, Cymau

After a brief visit to Ffrwd in nearby Cefn-y-Bedd (not listed on here), our final stop of the night on our Sunday tour of North East Wales was the Olde Talbot. This is a fairly basic locals boozer in a lovely location. Lighting in the bar area was very harsh on the eye. But locals were very friendly and happy to indulge in conversation with a couple of non-locals. Black Sheep Best Bitter is the solitary real ale. But come here for the location and the conversation. One of our best 3 pubs of the day.

21 Nov 2016 17:49

The Acton Park, Wrexham

The Acton Park is situated on the northern outskirts of Wrexham. But it seems to be the place where middle class local real ale drinkers and their families congregate. It's an Ember Inns place. So you know what to expect, a cosy but identikit interior with plenty of tables, mainly populated by diners. But Ember Inns do have a fairly decent range of ales. On this visit, it was Titanic Plum Porter, Adnams Ghost Ship & Broadside, Black Sheep Ember Pale, Thwaites Wainwright, Moles Mole Catcher & Marstons Pedigree. Don't forget to ask for a CAMRA discount, if you're a member. Comfortable place that is good by Wrexham standards.

21 Nov 2016 17:43

Royal Oak, Wrexham

Joules pub which as the previous reviewer said was very quiet on our visit. Only 2 other customers were present. It has a long narrow room with an imposing antelope's head near the entrance. There are mirrors on either side to make the place look bigger. But it all feels a bit fake. In addition to the Joules beers - Blonde, Pale Ale, Slumbering Monk & Moon Madness, they also had Salopian Oracle. It was also the only pub on this visit to Wales that stocked a real cider (Rosie's Pig). For some reason, I asked if they offered a CAMRA discount. The barmaid asked what CAMRA was and was enlightened by one of the two customers. Unfortunately his description wasn't too complimentary. A strange kind of place. But as the previous reviewer has said, if I did find myself drinking in Wrexham town centre again, I'd probably gravitate here.

21 Nov 2016 17:38

Albion Vaults, Wrexham

Tried visiting this pub again yesterday (another Sunday). It's now called the Soul Suite. But it was still closed.

21 Nov 2016 17:33

Colliers Arms, Ponciau

The Colliers was the local CAMRA branch's pub of the year for 2016. So it's surprising nobody has reviewed it. But as with the previous 2 pubs I visited, it's situated up a residential side road and can't attract any passing trade. The interior looks as if it has previously been done up, with a large main bar, a tiny snug opposite the bar and a further room at the rear. The garden looked like it might be appealing in better weather too. Toilets were spotless. For a rural pub, the ale range is really good, with so many old pumpclips on the ceiling. My only criticisms were the lack of a dark beer or a cider and also the lack of any real atmosphere on our Sunday afternoon visit. The ales were Purple Moose Glaslyn & Snowdonia Ale, Salopian Oracle & Facers Flintshire Bitter. Recommended.

21 Nov 2016 17:31

Black Lion, Wrexham

Another pub tucked away up a narrow lane. You'd need to know it was here to ever find it. Locals were friendly and happy to recommend the real ale, which was JW Lees Tan Y Ddraig. Watch your head on the low beams though!

21 Nov 2016 17:26

Mill Inn, Cefn Mawr

The Mill Inn feels like it is living in the land that time forgot. It's located up a narrow lane in a quiet Welsh village. By the look of it, you could be forgiven if you approached and assumed it had closed down (as we did). But inside there are 3 small rooms and the place is obviously popular with locals. Most beverages appeared to be from cans. But there was a real ale on - Facers Abbey Red, which was certainly drinkable. Certainly a good pub to try for the curious.

21 Nov 2016 17:24

The Aqueduct Inn, Froncysyllte

Of the 10 pubs we tried in the Wrexham area yesterday, this was certainly one of the best 3. The Aqueduct enjoys a splendid location on a steep bank overlooking the Pontcysylltye Aqueduct and is also alongside the main A5. There are 3 choices of rooms on entry. To the left is a dining area, to the right is a games room where darts is played and live sport is shown on TV and in the middle is perhaps the smallest room, where locals congregate. The ale range was better than I had anticipated - Hafod Clwydian Bronze, Titanic Steerage & Slaters Top Totty. Parking is a bit tricky. But if you're passing by on the A5, give it a try.

21 Nov 2016 17:20

The Hand Hotel, Chirk

The Hand Hotel looks quite a grand pub from the outside and is located in the centre of this town/village, just a stone's throw from the English border. Much of the interior now appears to be given away to function rooms and accommodation. The 2 main bar areas are very basic and populated by locals. No real ales are currently served. The keg selection was Wrexham Lager, Guinness, Strongbow, Carlsberg, Fosters, Tetleys Smoothflow, Shropshire Lager, Stella Artois 4 & Crystal Lager. Disappointing to be honest. For real ales, try the Boat House at Chirk Marina, just outside of town. Unfortunately it's not listed on the site.

21 Nov 2016 17:15

The White House, Coseley

Another pub that is now closed. It is still standing, but looking a bit forlorn.

21 Nov 2016 17:10

The Old Chainyard, Coseley

The Old Chainyard was the first of 2 pubs I decided to try in Coseley on Saturday evening. The other (the New Inn - a Bathams house) is not listed on here. The Old Chainyard seemed to have a reasonably friendly bunch of locals. Although I didn't particularly appreciate the guy next to me taking his shoes off. The interior is cosy. A band or perhaps a karaoke was being set up in the one corner. The barmaid was too busy chatting with friends to realise I'd only asked for a half! 2 ales were on - Oakham Bishop's Farewell & Salopian Lemon Dream. This is certainly the only place in the area you're likely to find anything out of the ordinary, when it comes to ales.

21 Nov 2016 17:10

The Painters Arms, Bilston

This pub is now closed. I walked past without even noticing it on Saturday evening. It may even have been demolished. But there is certainly no sign of a pub.

21 Nov 2016 17:06

The Lion Tavern, Liverpool

I just had time for a quick one here before catching a train from the nearby Moorfields station. The Lion is back open again. I didn't recognise the people behind the bar. So I'm not sure if they're new owners or not. The ale selection didn't seem quite as good - Conwy Welsh Pride, JW Lees MPA, Robinsons Wizard, Adnams Broadside, Moorhouses Pride of Pendle & Youngs Bitter. The cider was Rosie's Pig. But if they're trying to build trade back up again, the more limited range than normal is understandable. This is still a good pub even by Liverpool pubs' standards and of course it's always worth coming to see the fantastic interior alone. For the first time ever, I managed to get a seat in the bar.

21 Nov 2016 17:02

The James Monro, Liverpool

After a visit to the new Ranelagh's Tavern, I decided to head across town to see how the James Monro is nowadays. After briefly being excellent, it closed and the new landlord appears to be tied to Marstons again. Just EPA & Pedigree were on. A few people were in watching live Premier League football. Nowhere near as good as it used to be.

21 Nov 2016 16:58

The Perseverance, Wraysbury

Was in here on Friday night to sample the wares of their beer festival and also to have a meal. It's a pub that stretches round from a cosy seating area at one end to a dining area at the other, with an L-shaped bar. The pub had hosted a Meet The Brewer event with Binghams on the Monday and had a few of their ales on. In addition, they had a number of former champion beer of Britain medallists. The selection was Binghams Vanilla Stout, Twyford Tipple, Brickworks Bitter, Space Hoppy & V Old Ale, Thornbridge Jaipur, Tiny Rebel Cwtch & Pheasantry Best Bitter. Ciders and Perries were Westons Country Perry, Hand Brake, Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig, Sandford Orchards Devon Red, Orchard Pig Philospher & Explorer, Hogans Hazy Daisy & Panking Pole & Cornish Orchards Farmhouse & Blush. The meals we had were ok. But the highlight was the beer. I'm not sure how many ales and ciders they have outside of festivals though.

21 Nov 2016 16:53

The Glengower Hotel, Aberystwyth

I'd saved the Glengower until last, as I was expecting a decent cider selection and it was the closest drinking establishment to our B & B. Whilst I rated the Ship & Castle as the best pub in the town centre, the Glengower is the best pub near the seafront. There's little to choose between them. The Ship & Castle had the slightly better ale selection and felt more like a pub. The Glengower is a seafront hotel that has converted its downstairs rooms to a bar with a view. The ale selection was almost on a par with the Ship & Castle and the cider selection was the best in town. Ales are to the left of the bar as you walk in. Ciders are to the right and also on handpulls. The selection was Purple Moose Dark Side of the Moose, Wye Valley Butty Bach & HPA, Salopian Shropshire Gold, Mantle Rock Steady, Lilleys Lemon and Lime & Bee Sting Perry & Gwynt y Ddraig Ancient Warrior, Farmhouse Scrumpy & Happy Daze. There is plenty of seating and TVs were showing live international football. Food was still being served, despite it being late in the evening. I later discovered they should offer a CAMRA discount. But you obviously have to be in the know. Still a really good bar though.

14 Nov 2016 20:00

Yr Hen Orsaf, Aberystwyth

Yr Hen Orsaf is Aberystwyth's Wetherspoons. It is located at the main railway station, with seating on the station itself. The interior was much quieter than I had anticipated. But it still took a while to be served, with people seemingly confused about who was next to be served, plus there was the age-old 'spoons issue of lengthy food and coffee orders. The ale selection was Evan Evans Welsh Pale Ale & Cwrw, Brewsters Hop Quest, Coach House Hoptober, Bluestone Elderflower Blonde, Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharps Doom Bar. Cider was Old Rosie. Customers were mostly students, who were dining. I suppose this is as good a place as any for those on a budget. Toilets were upstairs. The gents was rather large. I've been to better Wetherspoons.

14 Nov 2016 19:54

Downies Vaults, Aberystwyth

I was expecting this place to be closed. But it was open. Although despite the town centre being busy, I was the only customer in here alongside the 2 staff. The interior is fairly impressive with large booth-type seating. But it felt a little dilapidated. The solitary real ale was Felinfoel Double Dragon, which was ok. With nobody in, the place lacked atmosphere. Not quite sure how or why the gents toilets were in such a state. Disappointing.

14 Nov 2016 19:48

The Ship and Castle, Aberystwyth

This is the best pub in the town centre. Despite being tucked away on the High Street (a fairly quiet back street), it was busy on my Saturday evening visit with all tables taken. Most people appeared to be in for the rugby. But there was also a pool table in use at one corner. The ale selection is probably the best in town. They had Marble Pint, Wye Valley HPA & Butty Bach, North Riding Ice Cream Porter & Sadlers Thin Ice. Cider was Black Dragon. I went for the Ice Cream Porter, which was delicious. Just could have done with a seat!

14 Nov 2016 19:43

The Nags Head, Aberystwyth

Closed and now a shop.

14 Nov 2016 19:39

Mill Inn, Aberystwyth

The Mill is no longer a real ale pub. It is a corner pub that was playing loud music and showing the rugby on my Saturday evening visit. The uninspiring keg choice was Carling, Carling Cider, Worthingtons, Kronenbourg, Strongbow, Staropramen, Coors Light & Guinness. Has little to recommend it. Even the wifi failed to work.

14 Nov 2016 19:39

The Fountain, Aberystwyth

The Fountain was my first stop in Aberystwyth. It is in fact on the opposite side of the river from the town centre in an area known a Trefechan. The exterior has been painted a bright red/pink colour and the building adjacent to it has been knocked down. There are two entrances. One leads to a small dining area, whilst the other is a public bar with a pool table in the middle. Beyond that was another tiny room. I chose the bar, where the solitary handpull can be found. Locals were there watching the rugby and tucking into complimentary sausages and chips that were on the bar. The real ale was Felinfoel Cambrian Bitter.

14 Nov 2016 19:34

Rhos Yr Hafod Inn, Cross Inn

Most websites state that the Rhos Yr Hafod does not open until 5pm. So we intentionally delayed our arrival. However we did reach here a little earlier than planned and found the pub was open with locals having watched the international rugby. After a few attempts at getting in the front door and assuming there was some kind of 'lock in', one guy finally opened the door for us. This is a fairly friendly place that serves a couple of ales. On this visit, they had Cottage Saxon & Mantle Cwrw Teifi. I tried the latter, which wasn't really my kind of beer. But it was well kept.

14 Nov 2016 19:18

The Kings Head, Lampeter

After trying the 2 Brains houses - the Black Lion and the Castle, I was hoping this would be the best of 3 pubs in Lampeter. But unfortunately it's closed down and boarded up. This university town is a bit of a beer desert.

14 Nov 2016 19:11

The Kings Head, Lampeter

After trying the 2 Brains houses - the Black Lion and the Castle, I was hoping this would be the best of 3 pubs in Lampeter. But unfortunately it's closed down and boarded up. This university town is a bit of a beer desert.

14 Nov 2016 19:11

Black Lion Hotel, Lampeter

The Black Lion is probably the best pub in Lampeter. It looks like it used to be a coaching inn, with a parking area at the rear of the building. It is a touch commercialised today though and is owned by Brains. There is a large central bar, with seating all round. Locals were congregated to the left-hand side if you enter from the street, or in front of you if you enter from the passageway to the side. It seems that service is only from this side too, as we witnessed a few people walk in, stand at the bar for a while, before giving up and leaving. Ales were Brains The Rev James Gold & The Rev James Original & Wychwood Hobgoblin.

14 Nov 2016 19:09

Queens Hotel, New Quay

We came to New Quay last just about 5 years and I didn't get around to visit this pub. A shame, as it's now closed down.

14 Nov 2016 19:02

The Penrhiwgaled Arms, Llandysul

The Penrhiwgaled Arms was our second pub on a crawl of the west coast of Wales. We'd stopped at the Ship Inn at Aberporth first. But that pub is not listed on here. The Penrhiwgaled is situated in the small village of Cross Inn on the road to Newquay. It is a friendy and reasonable size pub, which had the one solitary real ale on our visit. This was Evan Evans Welsh Pale Ale. There is a large area for a pool table at one end of the bar and there is a children's play area in the garden at the rear.

14 Nov 2016 19:00

The Victoria, Surbiton

The Victoria was my final new pub of the day, before concluding my wanderings in the nearby Antelope. The Victoria is another Youngs pub, which appeared to be popular with families. It is a busy place, with a number of different rooms. Whilst it may have been refurbished, it still retains a nice character. Youngs Bitter & London Gold were the standard ales. But they also had Twickenham Grandstand and Trumans Hoptoberfest was pulled through whilst I was there. A reasonable enough place. But with the Antelope waiting, I soon moved on.

6 Nov 2016 16:23

The Black Lion, Surbiton

The Black Lion is a seemingly popular Youngs pub at a set of traffic lights. It was busy with locals watching 2 different football matches on the TVs. Youngs Bitter & Special were the regular beers. But there were also 2 guests - Twickenham Sundancer & Island Yachtsman's Ale. Ok. But nothing special.

6 Nov 2016 16:19

The Lamb, Surbiton

I paid a return visit to this pub yesterday. Summer Lightning & Ranmore Ale are still on. The guests yesterday were Oakham Inferno & Black Sheep Best Bitter. Aspalls has been replaced by Stowford Press. But still no real cider. Still a nice pub. But I think I may have overrated it with a 7 on my last visit.

6 Nov 2016 16:16

The Queens Head, Kingston Upon Thames

My final pub in Kingston was the Queens Head. It's a fairly commercialised Fullers pub on the main road out of the town towards Richmond. It feels aimed towards diners and also offers accommodation. There were 4 handpulls, which were dispensing 3 Fullers beers - London Pride, Oliver's Island & Red Fox, in addition to Seacider Medium. I was really surprised to see Seacider in this place. I'm really hoping that Fullers have some kind of agreement with them, as it's one of my favourite ciders. Of the 6 pubs in Kingston I'd been to, this was only the second to have stocked a real cider. So at least I left happy!

6 Nov 2016 16:12

The Richmond Park, Kingston Upon Thames

This place is now a Co-Op.

6 Nov 2016 16:08

The Park Tavern, Kingston Upon Thames

The Park Tavern was my fifth stop on my Kingston crawl. It has a lovely location in a terraced street that leads to Richmond Park. The exterior is covered with plenty of foliage, giving it a cosy feel. There are a number of tables on the patio at the front. Inside is just as cosy and there was a decent selection of ales. Fullers London Pride & Youngs Bitter are the permanent ales. There were also 4 guests - Gales Fire Cracker, Twickenham Naked Ladies, Caledonian Trick Or Treat & Binghams Twyford Tipple. There are a huge number of pumpclips on the ceiling, attesting to the decent ale selection they've had over the years. Most of the customers appealed to be regulars. This appears to be a thriving community pub and ended up being my favourite pub of the day in Kingston.

6 Nov 2016 16:05

The Spring Grove, Kingston Upon Thames

The Spring Grove is a Youngs pub situated in a residential area to the south of the centre in Kingston. I entered with quite a low expectation. But I was actually reasonably impressed. Youngs Bitter, Special & London Gold were the permanent beers. But they had 3 guests too - Wimbledon Phoenix Smoked Porter, Sharps Coaster & Trumans Hoptoberfest. The interior is large, with a front bar area and 2 large rooms devoted to diners. Toilets are upstairs. The hand driers in the gents are quite unique. My Porter was nice enough. But drinks prices are on the high side. You'll pay 60p more for a pint here than in the town centre. So I wasn't surprised to see it virtually empty.

6 Nov 2016 15:59

Woody's, Kingston Upon Thames

Woody's is a café-style bar on Kingston's riverfront, not far from the shopping area. It was quite a pleasant place to while away a little time watching the comings and goings on the river. Yesterday there were countless rowing boats going by. On the ale front, there are only 2. Autumn Red from Portobello & Little Nipper from Brightwater were on. There are also craft beers and various bottles. I was the first customer in. But another couple came in. A fourth person arrived. But she gave up waiting for service, as bar staff were too busy fulfilling other tasks. The furniture is quite unique. There are better pubs in Kingston. But if you're in this neck of the woods, it's probably worth popping in to see what they have.

6 Nov 2016 15:53

The Druid's Head, Kingston Upon Thames

I was the first customer in here yesterday morning. It's quite a large pub with a number of different seating area. I chose to watch the world go by in the front window. This is supposed to be the oldest pub in the town. But it does now have a modern feel. As previous reviewers have said, there is a decent range of ales despite this being a Greene King pub. IPA & Abbot are the regular beers. But there were also 6 guests - Twickenham Autumn Red, Cottage Red and Ruth & Honey Bunny, Ascot Alligator Ale, Everards Tiger & Red Squirrel Hopfest. My only criticism would be that there were no milds, stouts or porters. I tried the Red and Ruth, which was a ruby ale, but too hoppy for my palate.

6 Nov 2016 15:46

The Kings Tun, Kingston Upon Thames

The King's Tun was my first stop a Kingston crawl yesterday. I was here for breakfast and a quick pint. As Lezford says, it's near the train station. It's also just round the corner from the bus station on Cromwell Road. Getting across the road isn't easy though. Next time I'll use the lights! As with most Wetherspoons, this one has 2 banks of handpulls and unlike many, there are different ales on each bank. Yesterday morning they had 11 ales - Greene King Abbot & IPA, Oakham Citra & Sharps Doom Bar are the regulars. Guests were Twickenham Grandstand, Strange Brew & Redhead, Arundel Sussex Craft Coffee Milk Stout, Dark Star Green Hopped IPA, Kissingate Toffee Cog & Surrey Hills Collusion. There were also 2 real ciders from Westons - Old Rosie & Marcle Hill, in addition to a mulled cider from them too. The interior is quite spacious. Apparently there are 2 floors. But I stayed on the ground and enjoyed a nicer than normal breakfast. Service from both the bar and the kitchen was quick and efficient. Certainly one of the better Wetherspoons I've been in.

6 Nov 2016 15:39

The Beehive, Tottenham

We've always wondered up and down the High Road on the way to White Hart Lane and never found a decent pub to visit. I'd noticed that the Beehive was in the current Good Beer Guide. So I thought I'd give it a try whilst in the area on Friday evening. It's certainly impressive from the outside and the interior is quite spacious with more than enough tables. Although I could imagine it could get quite busy on a match day. There is also a garden area at the rear for any overspill. A small room to the side has a pool table and a football table. We chose to sit in the main room where the bar is situated and enjoyed a couple of burgers and a kid's meal. I was a little disappointed with the ale range though, with only 3 being available - Hackney Best Bitter & Beehive Brew (presumably a house beer) & Redemption Pale Ale. The real cider appeared to have been replaced by a mulled cherry cider. But that was fairly pleasant. It's not cheap in here. But the clientele are the trendy type that suggest that this area could be up and coming within the next several years. Stepping out onto the High Road, you wouldn't think so though!

6 Nov 2016 15:30

The Ramsden Arms, Blackpool

The Ramsden Arms is not far from Blackpool North station. But it feels on a bit of a limb away from the town centre. It has a large interior with a couple of rooms. 2 ales were on - Wainwright & The Rev James. I went for the latter, which was ok. Very quiet on my Saturday afternoon visit with only a couple of others plus the barmaid in. Live football had just been on when I arrived.

31 Oct 2016 19:11

Washington, Blackpool

Popular Greene King pub well in the main shopping area and well away from the touristy bars near the Promenade. The ale selection was fairly decent for a Greene King pub with Greene King IPA, Black Edge American Pale Ale, Phoenix Spotland Gold, Heavy Industry Collaborator, Bowland Buster IPA, Morland Old Speckled Hen & Hawkshead Dry Stone Stout. The stout was nice. CAMRA discounts are offered.

31 Oct 2016 19:08

The Pump and Truncheon, Blackpool

The Pump & Truncheon was my favourite pub I tried in Blackpool this weekend. I arrived quite late on Saturday evening and was the last to be served before they shut up shop for the evening. The pub has a fairly basic interior that was decked out for Halloween. Being at the rear of the main buildings of the Promenade, it was quiet enough to enjoy a couple of swift halves, but busy enough to have an atmosphere. The barmaid was friendly. 6 ales were on - Pig Iron EPA, Cottage Red Fang, Bristol Beer Factory Enigma, Sharps Doom Bar, Cross Bar Witching Hour & Fuggle Bunny Brew House Cotton Tail. Ciders and perries were Aspalls Waddlegoose Lane Blueberry, Lilleys Sunset Cider, Snails Bank Tumbledown Perry & Very Perry, Cock Eyed Mad Jack, Cotswold Cider Company Yellow Hammer & No Brainer & Orchard Pig Maverick. Recommended.

31 Oct 2016 19:05

Churchills Bar, Blackpool

Churchills is a traditional pub that was quite lively on my Friday evening visit. Karaoke was in full swing in my visit, with a drag queen seemingly finding it popular. There was certainly a mixed bunch in here. But the atmosphere was friendly. The 4 ales were Castle Rock Harvest Pale, Wells Bombardier Glorious English, Shepherd Neame Spitfire & Morland Old Speckled Hen. I like a pub with characters. One of the better pubs I tried in Blackpool.

31 Oct 2016 18:59

Gillespies, Blackpool

Greene King pub that is currently closed awaiting a new tenant.

31 Oct 2016 18:56

Blue Room, Blackpool

Still closed. But I believe there are plans to re-open it.

31 Oct 2016 18:54

The Layton Rakes, Blackpool

The Layton Rakes is one of 3 Wetherspoons in a small area between the town centre and the Promenade. There's enough space to accommodate the mixture of drinkers - old folks, stag & hen parties and me! A number of bouncers were on the door, primarily to deter underage drinkers. The ale choice was typical of the chain - Coach House Raspberry, Moorhouses White Witch & Pendle Witches Brew, Greene King Abbot, Swannay Dark Monro, Ruddles Best & Sharps Doom Bar. Ciders were Old Rosie & Black Dragon. I didn't visit the roof terrace. But it looked quite a nice space when I saw it from the top of Blackpool Tower.

31 Oct 2016 18:54

Rose and Crown, Blackpool

Fairly bland corner pub in the centre of Blackpool. Both ales were from Charles Wells - Bombardier & Golden Cauldron. It was still reasonably busy on Friday evening. But there were tables available. It has an outdoor area with tables too. Beer is served in plastic if you're planning on sitting outside. Disappointing.

31 Oct 2016 18:49

The Rifle Volunteer, Burnley

The Rifle Volunteer is a little away from the town centre. But it is not too far of a diversion if you're heading from Turf Moor to Manchester Road station, as we were. You can at least start making your way uphill here and there is also a chippy on the way back to the station! We weren't too inspired by the ale selection here though and were surprised that it makes the current Good Beer Guide. 3 ales were on - Reedley Hallows No Nay Never & Filly Close Blonde & Bass. Whilst the pub is a fairly decent local, albeit surprisingly quiet with the football on, there are better ale selections in many other pubs across Burnley. I guess it depends whether you want variety of ales or just a quiet place for a pint.

25 Oct 2016 18:33

The Talbot, Burnley

The Talbot is uphill out of the town centre. But I thought it was worth the climb. As with the Bridge, the Talbot was packed with Burnley FC matchday fans. But getting served here was much easier. Head to the right-hand bar for the real ale selection. Naylors NYB, Rossendale Halo Pale, Moorhouses Premiership, Reedley Hallows Pendleside & New Laund Dark, JW Lees MPA, Copper Dragon Golden Pippin & Timothy Taylor Boltmaker were all on. Cider was Thatchers Heritage. TVs were showing live football and there was a small stage in one corner. With the Bridge Beer Huis being so difficult to judge, with it being unpleasantly crowded, I ended up rating the Talbot as my favourite pub of the day. By the way, if you're heading to the football ground, it's also worth stopping off at the KSC 110 Club. They charge 20p to get in. But they have a half decent selection of ales there too.

25 Oct 2016 18:27

The Bridge Bier Huis, Burnley

Situated just across a car park from the town centre, this place is probably deservedly Burnley's best known real ale pub. We could tell when we arrived that it was going to be busy, judging by the dozens of people standing outside. I was eternally optimistic would be empty! But it was 4-5 deep at the bar. We persevered and I even managed to establish all of the ales - St Austell Proper Job, Reedley Hallows Filly Close Blonde, Vog Dark Matter Blackcurrant Porter & Moorhouses Blonde Witch & Premiership. The cider was Celtic Marches Abrahalls Slack Alice. Certainly a decent selection. But it was very difficult to judge this place as it was simply too busy to enjoy. I'll need to come back when there is no football on.

25 Oct 2016 18:22

The Boot Inn, Burnley

After a visit to the lively Bootleggers Music Bar (not listed on here), we moved onto our third Wetherspoons of the day, the second one we'd tried in Burnley. Luckily their festival was on. So there was a decent enough selection for us to try something different - Moorhouses Pendle Witches Brew, Saltaire Stateside IPA, Ruddles Best, Worsthorne Golden Boot, Theakston Vanilla Stout, Caledonian Recreation Ale & Deuchars IPA, Everards Hop Session, & Wadworth Epic Brew. Cider was Old Rosie. This place had a bit more character to it than the nearby Brun Lea. As Lezford mentions, the split levels makes it slightly more 'interesting' than the bog standard open-plan layout. It's as interesting as the vast majority of Wetherspoons get anyway!

25 Oct 2016 18:17

Brun Lea, Burnley

The Brun Lea was the first of 2 Wetherspoons we visited in our whistlestop tour of the town. This place felt fairly small. There was an upstairs. But I'm not sure if there was any seating. It took a while to get served. Ales were Ruddles Best, Maxim Northern Knight, Shepherd Neame Hot Night At The Village, Camerons Press Gang, Caledonian Recreation Ale, Cotleigh Hip Hop Hooray & Wadworth Bentspoke Braddon Bitter. The cider was Barbourne Sweet Kernel, which I had not sampled previously. I recommend both branches of 'spoons in this town.

25 Oct 2016 18:11

New Brew-m, Burnley

I gather this is Burnley's first micropub. It was doing a good trade on our Saturday lunchtime visit. Pendleside was the only ale from Reedley Hallows, who apparently own the place. But there were 4 guests - York Yorkshire Terrier & Centurion's Ghost Ale, Slaters Original & Bank Top Flat Cap. There are several tables despite the pub's small size. We secured the last table and on each one there was complimentary nibbles. I must admit to being a fan of micropubs and whilst we found better pubs in Burnley, I quite liked this place.

25 Oct 2016 18:07

The Garden Bar, Burnley

This is now called Baltic Homeland and is a restaurant. Although there was a keg beer selection. I gather it used to be a JW Lees house. I may try to visit next time I am back in Burnley.

25 Oct 2016 18:03

The Cross Keys Hotel, Burnley

The Cross Keys is a fairly large pub at the end of St James St. There is plenty of seating inside and an open fire was blazing. There are big screens showing live football and a stage presumably for bands and/or karaoke. 3 ales are dispensed. On this occasion, two were from the local Reedley Hallows brewery - Pendleside & Griffin IPA. The third ale was Copper Dragon Golden Pippin. Locals were willing to engage in conversation.

25 Oct 2016 18:02

The Ministry of Ale, Burnley

The Ministry Of Ale is the first pub you'll see if you arrive into Manchester Road station. Despite spotting it, it was always planned to be my first port of call in Burnley on Saturday. I believe it normally opens at midday. But on a matchday, it opens at 11:30, which suited us fine as our train arrived shortly before midday. This is a decent old-fashioned boozer, that I'd imagine is frequented by a loyal group of locals during the week. It has a brewery that you can view on entry. The main seating area can be cramped when there are a few in. 4 ales were on. But they were all pale ales - Prospect Silver Tally, Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted, Deeply Vale Golden Vale & Phoenix Pale Moonlight. Unfortunately the previous reviewer may have jinxed my visit as none of the house-brewed Moonstone ales were on. Still a decent pub though.

25 Oct 2016 17:59

The Manchester and County, Manchester

I'd passed this Wetherspoons several times before. But I'd never before ventured in. Saturday morning was an opportunity to do this, whilst passing through Manchester city centre. It's convenient for both Piccadilly station and the main shopping area. With few other pubs open before 11am, it was predictably busy. Ales were Sharps Doom Bar, Everards Pitch Black, JW Lees Autumn Ale, Wadworth Bentspoke Braddon Bitter, RCH Return From The Ashes & Greene King Abbot. There was no real cider. The interior is typically characterless Wetherspoons. A handy place to visit when no other pubs are open. But Manchester has too many decent pubs to make this a destination in its own right.

25 Oct 2016 17:53

The Toby Carvery, Langley

Was back here on Sunday evening for a carvery. It was packed as usual. Ales have deteriorated since the last visit. Only Doom Bar was available. The best cider choice I could see was Thatchers Old Rascal in bottles. The furniture could do with an update, unless you like holes in your seats. Not a place I would head for a beer. But it's ok for a cheap roast dinner.

18 Oct 2016 21:30

Pie and Ale, Manchester

The Pie & Ale was my last stop before heading to the football. But this was my favourite pub of the day in Manchester. It doesn't look like a pub from the outside and it doesn't feel like one inside. But there is plenty of seating space over 2 floors with a fairly trendy drinking/eating environment. If you turn right as you enter, you'll find a good selection of ales. On Saturday, these were Siren Under Current, Hawkshead Cumbrian 5 Hop, Black Jack American Amber & Gold Coast Pale Specials & Thirst Class Porter In A Storm. The cider was Hogans Wild Elder. The number of pumpclips on the walls, suggest they have stocked many decent ales. They presumably sell pies too. Although I didn't see any. They offer a CAMRA discount too. So good, I returned after the game for more.

18 Oct 2016 21:27

Soup Kitchen, Manchester

A Soup Kitchen is a good way to describe this Northern Quarter establishment. If you've ever been to Wagamama's, you'd feel at home here, as seating is on rows of long benches, apart from some extremely high stools against the windows. Queues form along a food counter, eventually leading to a till where you pay for your meal. However, there is a separate bar which was dispensing an eclectic range of ales - Sonnet 43 Impressment, North Riding Mosaic Pale, Totally Brewed Punch In The Face IPA, North Brewing Company Prototype & Redbush Tea & Vanilla Mild. When I asked the barmaid about ciders, I got a list of the basic fizzy stuff, plus mass marketed bottles. But whilst she was reeling the list off, I spotted a box in the fridge. So I ended up with a Red Bank Autumn Magic. Whoever knew cider was produced in Bolton?!! In fairness, I have tried it before. But it was still very nice. There are so many decent bars around this area and this is certainly one of them.

18 Oct 2016 21:22

The Hare and Hounds, Manchester

Spit and sawdust describes this pub fairly well. It's a no frills place that could probably do with a lick of paint. But the 3 rooms do have character and the place was heaving early on our Saturday afternoon visit. We had to fight to get in the door. Ales were Holts Bitter, Sharps Doom Bar & Robinsons Dizzy Blonde. We played safe and went for the Holts, as it was clearly the most popular. It was far better than I had anticipated. Traditional pub that is well worth a visit, if you like this kind of pub.

18 Oct 2016 21:16

Micro Bar, Manchester

I've passed the Micro Bar before. You can see it as you walk along the street next to the Arndale Centre. But this time, I ventured in. I'm told it has recently changed hands, having previously belonged to Boggart. But I'm not sure how true this is. 2 ales were on. They were Dancing Duck Ay Up & Phoenix Navy. The cider was Lilleys Sunset. I had the last, before it was replaced with Bee Sting Perry. There's also a few keg options, which included Elland 1872 Porter. They also have a good bottle selection in fridges. Seating is café style. So it doesn't really feel like a pub/bar. But I guess they have a good turnover of ales and ciders here. So it's got to be worth a visit.

18 Oct 2016 21:12

The Old Wellington Inn, Manchester

Having been in the Sinclairs Oysters Bar almost 8 years ago, I returned to try the other pub in this historic building - the Old Wellington. It's a Nicholsons establishment with a fairly small interior. Its draw on this sunny Saturday afternoon was the outdoor courtyard at the front. But this meant that all drinks were served in plastic glasses. The ale selection was Moles Mole Catcher, Moorhouses White Witch, Black Wolf Big Red, Purity Ubu & St Austell Nicholson's Pale Ale. Whilst we were there London Beer Factory Chelsea Blonde & Fullers London Pride were pulled through. A reasonable range of ales. But I've just come from London, how is it there are 2 adjacent pubs both serving Pride?! We stood at the bar and witnessed a couple of incidents of where the customer is clearly never right! One person was told they ordered a pint of Peroni and not a bottle. So a pint was what they were getting. Another was told that there was nothing wrong with the cider. Luckily my patience wasn't tested. So I didn't have to vote with my feet. Nice pub. But customer service requires improvement.

18 Oct 2016 21:08

The Crown and Anchor, Manchester

Holts pub in a fairly lively area near to the Arndale Centre. The pub seems to focus on food. But there are 6 ales. On Saturday lunchtime, these were Holts Bitter, IPA & Two Hoots, Booteg Racketeer & Twisted Grove & Fullers London Pride. So no dark ales and no ciders either. There's plenty of seating. But it was fairly popular. So finding a perch wasn't easy. The interior is fairly bland. There are better pubs nearby.

18 Oct 2016 21:02

Piccadilly Tap, Manchester

The Piccadilly Tap was my first of 7 new pubs visited in Manchester city centre on Saturday. It's on the pedestrian ramp leading up to Piccadilly station. I assume it's in a former retail premises. But I don't recall what was there previously. It's certainly a very handy place to use up any spare minutes you may have before catching a train. As described previously, the interior feels vintage/retro. There are a few tables on the ground floor and a reasonably sized drinking area outdoors at the front. A bouncer was on the door. I was expecting more real ales. But 6 still isn't bad - Redemption Trinity, Northern Monk New World IPA, Heavy Industry 77, Adnams Bitter & Cashmere IPA & Torrside Late To The Party. There are more craft ales available. The cider selection is disappointing. Feels a bit too fake for my liking. But as I say, it's handy.

18 Oct 2016 20:57

Belle Vue, High Wycombe

The Belle Vue is a 5-10 minute walk from the railway station and is on a backstreet next to the railway line. From the outside it looked closed and I was on the verge of passing by. But then I noticed a light, tried a door and lo and behold, it was open. This is a proper boozer with a good selection of ales and ciders. It turned out to be my favourite pub in High Wycombe. Ales were Adnams Broadside & Ghost Ship, Greene King Golden Breeze, Sharps Atlantic & Rebellion IPA. Ciders were Thatchers Heritage & Cheddar Valley, Aspalls Cyderkyn, Westons Rosie's Pig & Old Rosie & Radnage Dry. The interior is a fairly basic inverted L-shaped room, whilst there is a very pleasant garden to the side. The landlord and customers were friendly. It looked like a band was about to set up. I love this sort of pub. Whilst you may get a better ale selection in other Wycombe pubs, the cider selection was certainly the best and this was by far the most authentic pub I found in the town.

9 Oct 2016 17:12

The Flint Cottage, High Wycombe

The Bootlegger is conveniently located opposite the station. I'm not sure what I was expecting. But it was a surprise to find such a decent pub here. 9 real ales were on - Tring Mansion Mild & Sea Vixen, Rebellion Mild, Smuggler & Victory, Hardy & Hansons Olde Trip, Leighton Buzzard Cuckoo, XT1 & Thornbridge Hopton. At the rear of the bar there is a list of craft beers from brewers such as Tool, Siren, Brewdog, Wiper & True & Meantime. There were no real ciders that I could see. But fridges to the one end of the room contain many different ales and ciders in bottles. The barmaid was friendly too and there is plenty of space to sit. A good pub.

9 Oct 2016 17:06

The Bell, High Wycombe

Fullers pub in a historic building. This place appears to be focused on its Thai food, rather than its beer. London Pride was the solitary real ale. The staff are Thai and the food did look good. But the lady behind the bar got my order wrong and the interior felt a bit dark and dingy. The worst of 6 Wycombe pubs I tried earlier today.

9 Oct 2016 16:59

Falcon, High Wycombe

The Falcon is the nicer of the two Wetherspoons in High Wycombe. This one is located in the main shopping area and is slightly larger than the William Robert Loosley. Ales were Loddon Ferryman's Gold, Windsor & Eton Kohinoor IPA & Canberra, Ringwood Old Thumper, Binghams Twyford Tipple, Sharps Doom Bar, Ruddles Best & Greene King Abbot. This branch had no real cider either. But the big problem here was service. Whilst there were 2 people stood doing nothing in the William Robert Loosley, the one barman here was absolutely rushed off his feet. As I left, he had about 10-15 people waiting to be served, with people ordering coffees and breakfasts. I went across the road to the Red Squirrel Brewery Shop Emporium where there were more staff than customers. But at least there was a far better range of beers and ciders. I'm sure this place will be added in due course. But it was a far better choice than either of the Wetherspoons.

9 Oct 2016 16:54

The Robert William Loosley, High Wycombe

There's not much to chose between the two Wetherspoons in High Wycombe. But I think this is marginally the worst. This one is just outside the centre on the A40. As you can see from the picture above, it's called the William Robert Loosley as opposed to Robert William. Greene KIng Abbot is the permanent ale and they had 4 guests - Binghams Sussex Extra Pale Ale, Sharps Doom Bar, Eagle Air Reet & Loddon Forbury Lion. But 5 ales is a poor selection by Wetherspoons standards. There was no real cider either. The two bar staff didn't seem too keen to want to serve, despite stood chatting at the end of the bar. There are much better pubs in High Wycombe.

9 Oct 2016 16:47

The Hare and Hounds, Sunbury on Thames

I was in Sunbury yesterday and thought I'd give one of the local pubs a go. The Hare & Hounds is a Fullers pub. There are 3 rooms - a bar, a restaurant and a small area in between. Pride & ESB were the two predictable ales. Although it does appear that they have occasional guests. Cambridge Bitter was "coming soon". Seemed a friendly enough place. But nothing to encourage me to come back as there are Fullers pubs with the same qualities nearer to me.

8 Oct 2016 11:07

The George and Dragon, Yiewsley

Was in here again 8 days ago. Just Greene King IPA & Morland Old Golden Hen on for real ale drinkers. Aspalls Waddlegoose Lane in a bottle was my choice. One TV was showing football and the others had Ryder Cup golf on. Bar staff were friendly. Have never tried the food in here. But I'm told its good value. Food is served until 9pm. Always a mixture of clientele in here. Still just about the best pub in West Drayton/Yiewsley. But that's saying something!

8 Oct 2016 11:03

The Bell, Waltham St Lawrence

After a 7 year absence, we recalled how much we enjoyed this pub on our last visit and made a point of booking a table for a Saturday evening meal. The pub, the ales and the ciders/perries were just as good as we remembered. But the food was a bit of a let down. We remembered seeing a decent blackboard of options in the bar. But now there is a very limited standard menu. Food was ok, without being anything special. I will downgrade my rating from a 9 to an 8, as this is still a great place for a drink. Ales yesterday were Loddon Hoppit, West Berkshire Screaming Eagle, Church End Red Shirt Blues & Butts Traditional & Organic Jester. Ciders and perries were Westons Old Rosie, Gwynt y Ddraig Happy Daze, Lilleys Bee Sting & Crazy Goat, Crazy Dave's Wessex Apple & Berkshire Apple, Broadoak Moonshine, Millwhites Apples & Pears & Abrahalls Cracklin' Rosie.

2 Oct 2016 20:20

The Star Inn, Waltham St Lawrence

This pub appears to be closed again. The pub sign has gone and the closure looks permanent this time.

2 Oct 2016 20:14

The Beehive, White Waltham

Wasn't overly impressed with this place. It does feel a bit upmarket and has prices to match. Most people appear to be in there for the food. Drinks prices were high (£8.25 for a half of cider and 2 soft drinks). But most people are probably focused on the food prices and don't notice the added extras. Two ales were on - Rebellion IPA & Sharps Doom Bar. Nice location. But could be much better.

2 Oct 2016 20:12

The Junction, Clapham Junction

I haven't been here since it was called the Windsor Castle. I was thoroughly expecting to walk in and back out again after having seen the drinks range. But it was tempting enough to stay. It's a Taylor Walker pub a short distance from Clapham Junction railway station. It was reasonably busy yesterday evening. Bar staff were serving people out of order, which is always annoying. I nearly dropped on the floor when told the price for a half was £2.75!! Inflation is clearly rampant here. Ales were Greene King IPA, Plain Innspiration & Sheep Dip & Taylor Walker 1730 Special Pale Ale. There were 2 ciders from Lilleys - Mango and Apples & Pears. Not a place I'd return to with these prices.

25 Sep 2016 13:26

The Brewhouse, Poole

The Brewhouse was our 4th and final stop in Poole early yesterday afternoon. It was the best of the 4 too. Whilst this is a Milk Street pub, only one of the beers was on - Beer Blonde. Guests were Dark Star Hophead, Great Heck Voodoo Mild & Roosters Eighty Eight. Ciders were Orchard Pig Maverick & Philosopher, Worley's Mendip Hills & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. Whilst the Maverick was visible in a box behind the bar, others are fetched from the cellar and are listed on a small blackboard on the bar. It was fairly quiet inside, with just a handful of locals, despite its busy High Street location. But the atmosphere was fine. Worth a visit.

25 Sep 2016 13:18

Cranberries, Poole

Wadworth establishment now called the Rope & Anchor that was doing a reasonable trade (in both food and drink) yesterday lunchtime. Ales from Wadworth were Horizon, Farmer's Glory, 6X & Swordfish. Nethergate Old Growler was a guest. There are 4 handpulls and 2 casks served by gravity from behind the bar. Service was friendly.

25 Sep 2016 13:13

The King Charles Inn, Poole

The King Charles was our second pub in Poole yesterday lunchtime after the Drift (not listed on the site). It has quite a dark interior and live football was being shown. But only a couple of people were watching and the place had very little atmosphere. The ale range was fairly poor too - Sharps Doom Bar, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Youngs Bitter. Worst of the 4 Poole pubs we tried.

25 Sep 2016 13:09

Ye Olde Bulls Head Inn, Beaumaris

The Olde Bull's Head was the second of our Beaumaris pubs. There is a view of the castle at the end of the street. This is a fully functioning hotel. The reception and a lounge are to the right as you enter. There is a bar with a main room and a smaller side room with access to the toilets on the left. The toilet door is one of the smallest I've ever seen. These 2 rooms are very traditional in their nature. But to the rear is a large and modern function/dining room. We were surprised to see a selection of 6 real ales. Some are fetched from this rear function room. The ale selection was Hancocks HB, Bass, Muirhouse Malibrew, Conwy Welsh Pride & Beachcomber Blonde & Lleu Celtic Brew. They also have a rather large collection of gins. The clientele here seemed to be drunk and a touch eccentric. Recommended.

22 Sep 2016 19:51

The George and Dragon, Beaumaris

After finding yet another Anglesey pub closed (the Owain Glyndwr at Llandona), I arrived into Beaumaris for the first time in over 30 years. First port of call was this Robinsons pub. It feels like a little decoration could be in order, with the carpets in particular being well worn. But this is a very old building (with low ceilings in places - watch your head) that promotes its 16th century wall paintings. The 2 ales were George & Dragon Ale & Hop Gun. Worth a visit. But the ale quality doesn't seem too reliable.

22 Sep 2016 19:46

Ship Inn, Tynygongl, Pentraeth

The Ship Inn at Red Wharf Bay was our favourite pub during our visit to Anglesey. It enjoys a fine location overlooking a bay, with plenty of small boats to admire. Most people were sat outside enjoying the views. But there are a few different rooms indoors, all with lots of character. 3 ales were on - Timothy Taylor Landlord, Conwy Kenneally's Bitter & Facers Bulkeley Bitter. I believe the Kenneally's are the family that have owned this place for years. I'm not sure what the Bulkeley refers to. But we did later see a Bulkeley Hotel in Beaumaris. The Ship is well worth the detour off the main road. The beer choice isn't too bad. But the views are definitely worth it.

22 Sep 2016 19:36

The Pilot Boat Inn, Dulas

After an unsuccessful drive to the north of Anglesey, where the Bull Bay Hotel has recently been sold, the Adelphi Vault wasn't open until 3pm (we later returned to find it open and seemingly the only pub on the island to sell a real cider and a local one at that) and the Bedol was boarded up (none of these 3 are listed on here), we were glad to find the oasis that is the PIlot Boat Inn. As you enter, the first thing you'll notice is an old double decker bus. This is a soft play area for kids. I assume you ask at the bar for entrance. There is also a garden with swings on the other side. The pub itself is Robinsons. Unicorn & Trooper were their 2 ales. They were doing a good trade in food and there are plenty of tables available. Not too sure about the music being played though. I assume it was a collection of sea shanties, which was a tad annoying. Views up the hills to the rear are impressive.

22 Sep 2016 19:24

The Victoria Hotel, Menai Bridge

The Victoria Hotel is a rather nice hotel which does a couple of real ales. The main bar is to the left just after the reception and the receptionist came to serve us. She was very welcoming. There is a large function room with another bar to a rear and a conservatory that was packed with OAPs enjoying lunch. But the lady recommended we tried the garden at the rear with views down to the Menai Strait. There are plenty of tables there and it was actually warm enough to eat too. Bass is the regular ale and they also have a guest, which was Black Sheep Holy Grail. Best of the 3 pubs listed on here for Menai Bridge. However the Liverpool Arms just down the steps from the garden was a better option, albeit not listed on here. Beware the opening times of the nearby Auckland Arms. This does not open until 3pm.

22 Sep 2016 19:18

The Bridge Inn, Menai Bridge

This is a Marstons pub on the roundabout on the Anglesey side of the Menai Bridge. Beware of opening times. Their website advertises that it opens at 11am. But at 11:30 it still wasn't open. This wasn't too much of a problem, as the Anglesey Arms is just opposite and was open. The interior has a few different small rooms, with an outdoor area at the rear. The specials menu looked tempting, with plenty of fish dishes. Ales were Ringwood Boon Doggle & Old Thumber & Brakspear Varsity Pale. Marginally better than the Anglesey Arms. But nothing particularly exciting.

22 Sep 2016 19:10

The Anglesey Arms, Menai Bridge

The Anglesey Arms is a modern-looking pub that is much older than it looks. It is situated on the roundabout at the Anglesey end of the Menai Bridge. It opens at 11 in the morning. The main bar is spacious. There was a function room to the rear, with accommodation on the upper floors. Ales are all from JW Lees. On this occasion, there was MPA, Bitter, Jumbo Star & Tan Y Ddraig. It all felt a bit too sanitised to me.

22 Sep 2016 19:04

The Roscoe Head, Liverpool

After a visit to one of Liverpool's newest bars (Hard Times & Misery), I dropped into one Liverpool's best pubs. It was quite on this Saturday afternoon. But there were a few people in the room to the right as you enter and a couple more in the rear room. Ales were Settle Earl Grey IPA, Tetley Cask, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Ossett North/South Divide & Rock The Boat Liverpool Light. Old Rosie is on a pump these days, after they did try selling other real ciders last summer. But the Old Rosie was off on this visit. The pub has received a lot of publicity about its sell off. It would be a devastating blow if this place was to close.

19 Sep 2016 21:08

The Wine Vault, Hay-on-wye

We were tempted by this Indian. But the Blue Boar is just opposite.

19 Sep 2016 20:55

The Kilvert's Hotel, Hay on Wye

Kilverts has a nice position in the centre of this town. It's quite a large place inside and there are also a couple of tables at the front. The ale selection was a bit limited with more pumpclips turned round than in use. But they did have Brecon Welsh Beacons & Wye Valley Butty Bach. More importantly for me, Gwynt y Ddraig Farmhouse Scrumpy was being sold from a box at the back of the bar. Staff are friendly. But it does feel a bit touristy.

19 Sep 2016 20:37

Blue Boar, Hay On Wye

I wasn't intending to visit Hay-on-Wye. But with 2 of my planned pubs closed, we had the opportunity to try 2 in this touristy town, with a nice castle. The Blue Boar was fairly quiet. The landlord/chef was at the bar conversing with a local. He seemed to know what he was talking about in regards to food. 4 ales were on - Timothy Taylor Landlord, Sharps Doom Bar, Greene King IPA & Brains The Rev James. Dunkertons Organic cider was available too. A good pub.

19 Sep 2016 20:34

Hollybush Inn, Glasbury

After a visit to the very nice Three Horseshoes in Velindre, we attempted a visit to the Holly Bush Inn. Well at least it used to be the Holly Bush. It is now advertised as a Nepalese & Thai restaurant. The interior looks basic and peering through the windows, I could still see a Wye Valley pumpclip. We didn't get the chance to enter to see how welcome we'd be as drinkers, as the place doesn't open on a Sunday apart from lunchtime. There was a cat sat in the car park and a peacock in the garden. The car park also had a huge (thousands) collection of empty bottles - not sure why! It's another 0/10 from me, as no beer was forthcoming.

19 Sep 2016 20:30

The Tower Hotel, Talgarth

The Tower Hotel is an imposing building. But I'm really not sure if it is open or not. The pathway to the bar entrance was overgrown and didn't look as if it had been used for a few months. A notice on the door stated that the pub was closed. However lights were on at the side of the building near the Carvery entrance. But the door was locked. I was told by another licensee that the place now only opens on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Their website confirms it is open on these days. But this was around 4pm on a Sunday and it was already closed, despite the website saying it closed at 6! I tried calling. But the telephone just rang and rang. A shame. But it's a 0/10 from me.

19 Sep 2016 20:26

The Castle of Brecon Hotel, Brecon

It's been almost 7 years since our last visit to Brecon and we were back to try 3 of more recent entries to the Good Beer Guide. The Brecon Rugby Club was our first stop. But that is not listed on here. The Castle of Brecon Hotel is sat on top of a hill and it does feel more like a hotel than a drinking establishment, with a rather pretentious feel, including such things as display cabinets selling jewellery and a separate bar serving coffees. Service was efficient. But a smile would have been nice. Ales were Brains The Rev James, Otter Ale & Wye Valley Butty Bach. Assuming things are still the same in Brecon, there are better pubs in the town.

19 Sep 2016 20:21

The Old Cognac, Brecon

The sign for this pub is still there. It was an Indian restaurant. But now it appears that it will re-open as a Thai.

19 Sep 2016 20:19

The Three Horseshoes, Groesffordd

The Three Horseshoes is tucked away in a cul-de-sac on a hill in this small village. It has a modern interior, with a raised area for dining. In fact, most people appeared to be having Sunday lunch with several staff delivering many meals and vegetables past our table. The 3 ales were Glamorgan Welsh Pale, Brains The Rev James & St Austell Tribute. The cider was Dog Dancer. Felt a bit too modern for my liking. But a better than average pub.

19 Sep 2016 20:18

The Old Ford Inn, Lanhamlack

The Old Ford Inn is a roadside pub on the A40 in lovely countryside. The car park was packed and it was clear why when we got inside to see many people tucking into the obviously-popular Sunday lunches. The Rev James was the solitary real ale. With no tables to be had inside, we chose to enjoy some rare Welsh sunshine in the narrow beer garden overlooking fields and the Brecon Beacons beyond. Nice pub despite the lack of ale choice.

19 Sep 2016 20:09

The Star Inn, Talybont on Usk

The Star was our third pub of the day (the New Inn at Bwlch is not listed on here). It also turned out to be the best of the day. Situated in a very nice village with a canal running behind it, this is a deservedly popular pub with a decent range of ales. A selection of 6 is seemingly good for this area - Malt Starry Nights, Dark Star American Pale Ale, Roosters Eighty Eight, Orkney Red Macgregor, Thwaites Lancaster Bomber & Oakham Inferno. The number of pumpclips on the walls show just how many ales this pub has got through. They also had a cider (Gwynt y Ddraig Happy Daze) and a perry (Lilleys Crazy Goat). There seemed to be quite a few from Yorkshire. There is plenty of seating in different areas inside and there is a garden to the rear too, with steps leading up to the canal. Lots of people were enquiring about food. So the pub clearly has a very good reputation. Dogs are welcome. But it currently has a for sale notice up. So hopefully it won't be lost. Parking in the village is difficult.

19 Sep 2016 20:05

The Harp Inn, Glasbury

The Harp was our first Welsh pub of the day yesterday. It's a two room local with a car park at the rear which looks over fields full of sheep and a river valley. The young barmaid seemed new to the job. She charged for a pint, when we only had a half. But the landlord was on hand to assist. The 2 ales were Wye Valley Butty Bach & Cottage Honey Bunny. Fairly average place. Locals were friendly.

19 Sep 2016 19:52

The Prince of Wales, Wimbledon

Paid a return visit to the Prince of Wales on Monday. Prices haven't improved. £4.55 for a pint of Old Rosie cider, with the 10% CAMRA discount. Ales were Old Speckled Hen, Wandle & Lion. Mad Goose had run out shortly before we arrived. The presence of Old Rosie was a decent surprise though. This is a spacious pub that shows live football. In an era when even Sky are pricing out pubs and I tried several near to me who can no longer afford their subscription, it can be relied on if you want to watch the football. There always seems to be plenty of available seats when I've been. Convenient for the station.

14 Sep 2016 20:59

The Nags Head Inn, Usk

The Nag's Head clearly displays opening times of 9:15-2:30 & 5-10:30 on a Sunday on their own website. So imagine my surprise to turn up on a Sunday evening at 9:45 to be told they are closed. This despite all of the lights being on. The one guy (presumably the landlord) presumably didn't like the look of me. When I told him I'd driven from London to visit his pub (albeit in addition to 10 others!), he repeated that the pub was closed and that he had to "do something upstairs". When I asked if I could just have a half, this request was also denied. This doesn't seem much of a way to run a pub, especially as they weren't supposed to close for another 45 minutes. It's no wonder that other pubs in Usk had plenty of trade, but this one didn't. This one gets a big fat zero out of ten for me as you cannot rely on them to sell you a beer in the evening. Note the Usk Conservative Club was also closed on this Sunday evening, again despite some websites (not their own) showing it as open. If you're looking for somewhere to drink in Usk, I recommend the New Court Hotel (not listed on here). It does actually open at its advertised times and it serves an excellent range of both ales and ciders. It wasn't particularly busy and those there were predominantly young. But at least it is reliable.

14 Sep 2016 20:32

Royal Hotel, Usk

The Royal Hotel is an impressive building in a nice corner of Usk. But it is sadly closed at present.

14 Sep 2016 20:19

The Kings Head Hotel, Usk

The King's Head Hotel was the busiest of the Usk pubs we tried. It is a hotel with on main comfortable bar which appears to be popular amongst middle-aged and elderly locals. Ales were London Pride, Landlord & Butty Bach. A welcoming and nicely-decorated pub. But not the best pub in Usk in my opinion.

14 Sep 2016 20:18

Coach and Horses, Abergavenney

It's been almost 8 years since I was last drinking in Abergavenny. But I returned on Sunday to try the Coach & Horses. But we returned on Sunday lunchtime to find this pub closed. A call to the pub revealed that it would be opening later on at 7pm. So we duly returned later in the day. We found a pub that was not too welcoming and had just 2 ales - SA & 6X. Clientele all appeared to know each other. So I assume they were all locals. Toilets are to the rear. There are much better pubs in Abergavenny, or at least there were.

14 Sep 2016 20:15

The Star Inn, Mamhilad

The Star was a short drive down the road from the Horseshoe. At first glance, it looked like a foodie pub. But on entering, it transpired that it was primarily drinkers. The ale range was a little disappointing, with little adventure - Bass, Wadworth 6X, Greene King Abbot & Wye Valley Butty Bach. The barmaid appeared to be worked off her feet. But the garden is large and has things for kids, including a sandpit.

14 Sep 2016 20:10

The Horseshoe Inn, Mamhilad

After a visit to the remote Goose & Cuckoo in Upper Llanover, we moved on to the first of two pubs in Mamhilad. The Horseshoe was my favourite pub of the day in Wales. It is a fairly small place that has friendly and professional service. The barman, chef and landlord took a keen interest. Ales were Mad Dog Y Ffoledd, Goffs Camelot & Tiny Rebel Cwtch. Then I noticed the selection of 6 ciders - Westons Old Rosie & Family Reserve, Gwynt y Ddraig Ancient Warrior & Farmhouse Scrumpy and Hallets Oak Aged & Blindfold. Hallets is one of my favourite producers and apparently they are based nearby here. We stayed for a late Sunday lunch, which was also very enjoyable. Recommended.

14 Sep 2016 20:07

Cendl Inn, Beaufort

After a visit to the very impressive Lamb & Fox at Pwll Du near Blaenavon (not currently listed on here), we moved onto this locals' pub in Beaufort. It didn't look particularly welcoming from the outside. But locals were friendly enough. Only 1 ale is served - Rhymney Export. The handpull is in the lounge, which was set out for a party. Locals were in the bar, which has plenty of references to Welsh rugby. I went to better pubs on my visit to South Wales. But don't rule this one out.

14 Sep 2016 20:01

The Bridgend Inn, Govilon

This pub is now the Tafarn y Bont (Bridge Inn) and is situated off the main road in the village next to a stream. We sat on the patio at the back, next to the stream. I wasn't expecting much in the ale range and I certainly wasn't expecting a cider. Ales were Sharps Doom Bar, Tudor IPA & Cwm Rhondda Boyo Pale Ale. Just before ordering, I spotted the Bragdy Brodyr's Black Beauty Craft Cider in a box on the bar, only dispensed in half pints. That was one I'd not tried before and it was quite dry, but enjoyed in the sunshine. Another decent pub that was much better than I'd anticipated.

14 Sep 2016 19:57

The Bridge Inn, Llanfoist

Our first pub of the day on Sunday was the Bridge Inn. It's situated next to a bridge over the River Usk, where there is a weir. Plenty of bench-type seating outdoors at the rear and overlooking the river was quite a welcome sight on a warm autumn day. The ale range was mostly local - Twt Lol Horny Goat Ale, Tudor Skirrid Welsh Bitter, Hancocks HB & Glamorgan Jemima's Pitchfork. Cider was Rosie's Pig. The car park at the side is very small and street parking is limited. A decent pub.

14 Sep 2016 19:51

BrewDog Liverpool, Liverpool

Paid my second or third visit to BrewDog Liverpool yesterday. So I suppose I ought to give it a review. If you've been to one BrewDog, you've really been to them all, as they follow the same formula. Whilst this place seemed fairly busy when it first opened, it does appear to be much quieter now, with only a handful of punters in yesterday lunchtime. Beers are all keg here and with some fairly strong ones on offer, they're expensive, even for thirds. So it's not necessarily somewhere you'd stay for a session. BrewDog beers yesterday were Punk IPA, Dead Pony Club Live, 5AM Saint, Vagabond, Kingpin, Hmni Ingrid, Crew Brew, Doodlebug, Hop Fiction, Jack Hammer, Proto Helles, Nanny State, Proto Red, Ace of Citra & Ace of Chinook. From other breweries, there were Against The Grain Coq de la Marche, Tool Velvets Are Blue & Mr Pink, Beavertown Clausenii, Stone Mocha IPA, Americano Stout & Points Unknown, Weihenstephan 1516, Oskar Blues Dagga, Logsdon Farmhouse Straffe Drieling, Lindemans Framboise & Alphabet A To The K. The bar is quite nice inside with central bench seating, booths and other tables. There is an area with pinball machines in one corner near the toilets. It's located a little away from the main pub/bar action. So I doubt it attracts much passing grade. But it's still a good option if you like craft beers and are touring around the local pubs.

28 Aug 2016 10:34

The Baltic Fleet, Liverpool

The Baltic Fleet is currently only brewing its Summer Ale on the premises. So that is pretty much a permanent beer. But what is nice now is that the remaining 8 handpulls have guest ales and a couple of ciders. Yesterday's selection was Liverpool Organic Harbour, Brimstage Trappers Hat, Facers Clwyd Gold, Melwood Derby Stout, Big Bog Blonde Bach, Spitting Feathers Thirst Quencher, Malvern Magic Kingston Black & Westons Old Banger. So the selection is now much more varied. My only gripe would be the cost. Two halves of cider now costs £4. But the barman seemed to be quite knowledgeable and a wider range of food now appears to be served - scouse, burgers etc. The pub still feels a bit out on a limb. But it's undoubtedly one of the best 5 or 6 in Liverpool.

28 Aug 2016 10:26

Pen and Wig, Liverpool

I thought I would pay this pub a visit, as I heard it is now dispensing real ale. But Doom Bar was the only ale available, with an Atlantic pumpclip turned round. I went for the M & B Mild, not bad value for £2. The pub does have a very seedy feel with glass mirrors all round promoting the lap dancing bar (Aphrodite) downstairs. There were quite a lot of flies. Not the best pub I've been to in the city centre.

28 Aug 2016 10:20

The Crown, West Derby

The Crown was the first of three stops in West Derby for us yesterday. This was the only one without any real ale. The options were Carling, Fosters, John Smiths, Strongbow, Gunness, Black Sheep Best Bitter (keg) & Tetleys Dark Mild. It's quite an impressive pub inside and out. But it could do with a bit of investment. The bowling green at the rear is immaculate though. The Royal Standard is just opposite here, if you fancy a real ale and something more modern, whilst the Halton Castle is not too far away either for more ale. Neither are listed on here.

24 Aug 2016 21:16

Barkers Brewery, Huyton

This is possibly the only place worth drinking in when in Huyton. It's a Wetherspoons on a dual carriageway. The place certainly provided us with some entertainment. I've seen DVD's being traded in pubs many times, but not cheese. One guy was quite happily selling blocks of cheese, that had apparently come direct from the wholesaler. Bar staff were standing for no messing though and soon ushered him out. Ales were Peerless IPA, Triple Blond & Gold, Banks's Sunbeam, Titanic First Class, Oakham JHB, Coach House Dick Turpin, Marstons Empire IPA & Ruddles Best. Ciders were Garden Cider Vintage & Mr Whiteheads Midnight Special.

24 Aug 2016 21:11

The Kings Head, Llantwit Major

Two room Brains house. I sat in the bar, which is basically-furnished. A pool table stands at one end with a dart board. Locals congregated around the bar, discussing football. Brains Bitter & Opening Ceremony were the 2 ales on offer. I was somehow expecting better for my final pub of the day.

22 Aug 2016 20:35

The Old White Hart Inn, Llantwit Major

The Old White Hart is one of 5 pubs in the centre of this lovely village. All are in a very short walking distance. So the town makes a great place for a pub crawl. The Old White Hart is another historic building and it felt like quite a sedate place, with more of a middle-aged crowd. Landlord, Old Speckled Hen & Rev James were the 3 ales on offer. I only found the small bar. There is a corridor leading to the toilets. No toilet paper in the gents. Still a nice village local.

22 Aug 2016 20:31

Old Swan Inn, Llantwit Major

After a visit to the Llantwit Major Rugby Club to the east of the centre, I moved on to the centre of the village and started my 3 pub crawl with the Old Swan Inn. It turned out to be the best of the 3. Initial thoughts were that this was going to be a disappointing visit, with all handpulls unclipped. The old interior was impressive though. One of the rooms being used as a crèche was less impressive. Underterred, I enquired about ales only to be told there was a beer festival in the garden. Ales were Wadworth IPA & Bishop's Tipple, Wantsum 1381, Muirhouse Something Hoppy, Naylors Velvet, Black Country Fireside & Great Heck Proverbs 31.6. 3 ciders and a perry were all from Gwynt y Ddraig - Happy Daze, Black Dragon, Dog Dancer & Two Trees. I was the only person outside in the driving rain. But at least it was undercover. Drinks were dispensed in plastic glasses - maybe they were expecting me to riot, or maybe the local constabulary is over-zealous. Nevertheless, a very good pub. Watch your step as you exit the front door. You'll walk straight out into the road. I chose the rear door, mainly because I didn't fancy negotiating the screaming babies and their prams.

22 Aug 2016 20:26

The Boverton Castle, Boverton

After a visit to the recently re-opened Blacksmith's Arms at Llanfaes, I moved onto the Boverton Castle. This pub is situated just outside the small town of Llantwit Major and overlooks the castle itself. It is a traditional 2 room pub, with modern rooms. I chose to sit in the busier bar, where locals were watching the Olympics on two televisions. They were welcoming and even asked me what I wanted to watch on the TV. The ale choice was a little underwhelming though, with Old Speckled Hen, Rev James & Landlord being the 3 ales. I guess I'm just too spoilt! The pork roll I had was nice though.

22 Aug 2016 20:17

The Blue Anchor, East Aberthaw

What a lovely country pub. It's got a fabulous village location and a nice thatched exterior. The interior is even better, with lots of small, dark rooms, with flagstone floors and low doorways. The front bar has a large open fireplace. The only drawback here is that this place is more of a restaurant than a pub. Ales were Theakston Old Peculier, Wye Valley HPA, Wadworth 6X, Brains Bitter & Mumbles Summer Sin. They also had Happy Daze cider from Gwynt y Ddraig. Not the cheapest place around for a drink. But worth a visit. Dogs are welcome in the front bar.

22 Aug 2016 20:11

Sir Samuel Romilly, Barry

Disappointing Wetherspoons pub in Barry town centre. It was reasonably busy on my early Sunday afternoon visit. Ales were Mumbles Gold, Trumans Ipanema, Wychwood Hobgoblin, Brains SA, Rhymney King's Ale & Export, Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharps Doom Bar. My disappointment was the fact that this branch does not stock real cider. Service was friendly though. I'm sure I've seen the barmaid that served me somewhere before! The building is nice, if not dark inside. I didn't try the lower level, that was apparently this former bank's vaults. That looked a bit brighter. I moved on quickly to get my cider fix at the excellent Barry West End Club (sadly not listed on here, but the highlight of my trip to South Wales).

22 Aug 2016 19:58

Castle Hotel, Barry

The Castle Hotel is situated at the top of a hill, outside the centre of Barry. It's a large building. But only part of it appears to be in use right now. In fact, I initially thought it was closed. But an open door was the only invitation I needed. The bar area has a real faded elegance to it, with a grand wooden staircase and plenty of features to occupy your gaze. Sadly the pub has long had its heyday. There were 3 locals and the landlord present. The language was choice. But there were 2 ales - Abbot & SA. Pay it a visit before it closes for good.

22 Aug 2016 19:51

The Horse & Jockey, West Bromwich

The Horse & Jockey is a corner Marstons pub with two rooms and a conservatory at the rear. I sat in the quiet room at the front. Ales were all from the Marstons group - Jennings Cocker Hoop, Marstons Old Empire, Thwaites Wainwright & Banks's Bitter. I quite enjoyed my Cheese & Pickle roll. This is the last West Bromwich pub I can review as neither the Royal Oak nor the Greets Green Sports & Social Club are listed on here.

22 Aug 2016 19:45

The Crown and Cushion, West Bromwich

I quite liked this pub. It's situated in a prominent position where two roads converge. The interior is reasonably small. But it felt quite homely. A cat was sat in the middle of the room washing its backside, whilst the place clearly welcomes people from all cultures - it's rare I see elderly Indian couples in pubs. The barmaid was friendly and ales were different to most local pubs. They had Greene King Golden Breeze, Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted & Castle Rock Harvest Pale. Gents toilets are outdoors. A good pub that I'm surprised hasn't been reviewed previously.

22 Aug 2016 19:41

The Old Crown, West Bromwich

This is a backstreet, Jamaican-owned pub in a God-forsaken area. There are some modern developments nearby. So it's a miracle it hasn't been knocked down. It appears to be hanging on by a thread. There was one customer in, when I arrived. But he soon jumped in a taxi. No real ale is available. Keg options were Carling, Carling Extra Cold, Stella Artois, Strongbow, M & B Mild, Guinness, Coors Light & Worthingtons. The bottles of Dragon Stout very nearly tempted me. Not recommended and I doubt it will be open for long.

22 Aug 2016 19:35

The Old Hop Pole, West Bromwich

Small, but lively pub with a central bar and a couple of hidden corners. It was busy after the West Brom game with one fan insisting on singing football songs and trying to wind up some Villa fans. Ales were Robinsons Dizzy Blonde, Wye Valley HPA & Goffs White Knight. Whilst I preferred the Wheatsheaf over the road, the Old Hop Pole did at least have a more varied ale selection.

22 Aug 2016 19:29

The Wheatsheaf, West Bromwich

West Bromwich's HIgh Street is a bit run down. But the Wheatsheaf points to better times in days gone by. It has a nice, traditional interior and is clearly a much-loved locals boozer where conversation rules. I chose to sit in the front bar with mostly elderly regulars. There appeared to be a rear room with nobody in to. This is a Holdens house that had 3 ales - Bitter, Special & Golden Glow. Live Premier League football was showing on the TV in the corner. Probably the highlight of my trip to West Bromwich.

22 Aug 2016 19:24

The Billiard Hall, West Bromwich

The Billiard Hall is well located next to the town's bus station and not too far from the tram stop. It's an impressive building from the outside and it looks fairly small. But as with most Wetherspoons, it's much larger than you expect. I do agree with the previous reviewer that the interior is a bit bland. Service was efficient though, despite it being busy following West Brom's home game. A few fans were in. Ales on were Ruddles Best, Greene King Abbot, Trumans Ipanema, Exmoor Gold, Lymestone Stone The Crows & Ringwood Old Thumper. Ciders were Bottle Kicking Cider Company Fullback, Abrahalls Status Quo Down Down & Westons Old Rosie. Big screens were showing the Olympics and horse racing. Better than I had anticipated.

22 Aug 2016 19:19

Vernon Arms, Liverpool

The Vernon was one of 6 pubs visited yesterday in Liverpool. Still a fairly reliable place that does an interesting selection of ales. Yesterday, there was Black Edge Zinc, Stamps Penny Black, Cottage Sticky Wicket, Brains The Rev James, Coastal Summer Bloom & Sandiway Hop Schism. My Penny Black was nice enough. But a few in our party questioned the quality of their choices. Cider is still Black Dragon. But I note the Rum Porter is now longer a permanent ale. Scottish football was being shown on the TVs in both rooms. Probably in my favourite 7 or 8 pubs in Liverpool. But there are better.

14 Aug 2016 10:41

The Cadeby Inn, Cadeby

The Cadeby Pub & Restaurant seems to be a fairly trendy, upmarket establishment. The interior has a number of rooms and there is a garden at the front, which was very peaceful. Bar staff are friendly. They offer professional service. But unfortunately food service had just stopped for the day. So we were destined to stay hungry. Ales were Black Sheep Best Bitter, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Acorn Blonde. The toilets were impressive. They are nicely decorated and actually had display cabinets advertising the pub's events and wares within. The whole thing felt a bit pretentious. But it can be forgiven, as the location and peacefulness was a welcome change from other pubs we tried in South Yorkshire. From here, we moved onto the George & Dragon, Imperial Brewery Tap, Falcon & Concertina Band Club, all in Mexborough. But it appears BITE hasn't reached Mexborough yet!

10 Aug 2016 19:58

The Boat Inn, Doncaster

The Boat Inn was very popular with the local middle classes. It has a nice setting next to the canal. Although the courtyard seating between various old buildings has no canal view. Service at the bar was slow, with customers forming an orderly queue. Bar staff didn't seem to know much about their products. But they were smartly dressed. Wells Bombardier, Black Sheep Best Bitter, Sharps Doom Bar & Leeds Pale were the 4 ales. We managed to find a table in the courtyard. But the table was filthy and the leftovers from other peoples' meals were on the floor. We noticed other customers using the staff's cleaning equipment to clean the food detritus off the table before their meals. Glasses were strewn across most tables. Whilst we were looking for food, the lack of cleanliness, the likely wait to be served and the generic-looking chain pub menu didn't fill us with confidence. So we moved on. Lovely setting. But looks as if it bites off a bit more than it can chew.

10 Aug 2016 19:53

The Ivanhoe, Sprotbrough

The Ivanhoe is a large Sam Smiths pub that looks very impressive from the outside. But the interior feels very worn. Most of the clientele were out watching a cricket match on the pitch immediately behind the pub. Others were drinking on a raised area to the front of the pub, overlooking the car park. As you'd expect, the only real ale was Old Brewery Bitter.

10 Aug 2016 19:44

Glasshouse, Kirk Sandall

The Glasshouse is situated near the Pilkington Glass plant. It is an impressive building both inside and out and it was busy on our Sunday afternoon visit. Many were sat outside on a large patio area. Inside was a little quieter and there are numerous TVs that were showing Scottish football. Staff were nice. But the ale selection was disappointing - Tetleys Cask & Robinsons Trooper. Not overly impressed. We moved onto the far superior Doncaster Brewery Tap (not listed on here, but our favourite pub of the day).

10 Aug 2016 19:34

Eden Arms, Edenthorpe

The Eden Arms is a modern purpose-built pub and is part of the Ember Inns chain. It is next to a Tesco supermarket and a housing estate. There is plenty of space inside. But it also has a patio at the front, that was popular on our sunny Sunday afternoon visit. The ale selection was Brakspear Bitter, Black Sheep Ember Pale Ale, Abbeydale Moonshine, St Austell Cornish Best & Harviestoun Summer Legend. If you've been to one of these pubs before, you'll know exactly what you're getting.

10 Aug 2016 19:29

The Beverley Inn, Edenthorpe

The Beverley Inn was our third stop on Sunday's tour of Yorkshire, following the Star at Sancton and the Wheatsheaf at Armthorpe. Neither are listed on here. The Beverley Inn has the feel of an estate pub and we were surprised to find it very quiet on a Sunday lunchtime. TVs were showing a Leeds Championship game and there were just 2 or 3 other customers. Although a few others arrived after us. The 2 ales were Hadrian Border Tyneside Blonde & Black Sheep Best Bitter. There is a small garden area at the front, next to the car park.

10 Aug 2016 19:25

The Cornerhouse, Beverley

The Cornerhouse is the antithesis of the White Horse opposite. It has next to no character. But it does have a great selection of ales. On my late Saturday evening visit, they had Black Sheep Best Bitter, Adnams Broadside, White Horse Black Horse Porter, Abbeydale Deception, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Greene King IPA, Knots of May Light Mild, Cross Bay Zenith & Sunset, St Peter's Mild, Stonehenge Heel Stone & Exmoor Fox. The cider was Westons Old Banger. Service was friendly and professional. The good choice of beers makes this a recommendation. I moved on from here to the recently re-opened Durham Ox and also the Moulders Arms. Neither are listed on here.

8 Aug 2016 21:35

The White Horse Inn, Beverley

After the Dog & Duck (not listed on here, although its picture is!), I moved onto the highlight of my Beverley trip. The White Horse is a Sam Smiths pub. So you know what you're getting in terms of the beer. Old Brewery Bitter is on handpull. But it's the fabulous historic interior, lit entirely with gaslamps that it the real draw. It truly is like stepping back in time. There are lots of small rooms, with tables aplenty. I had a room to myself on a Saturday evening. Drinks were a little pricy though, especially soft drinks. Don't come here expecting good beer. But do come to marvel at the inside.

8 Aug 2016 21:31

Hodgsons, Beverley

This place is currently closed and having a major refurbishment.

8 Aug 2016 21:27

Chequers, Beverley

Chequers is a fantastic micropub tucked away in an alleyway. It has 5 ales, which were Atom IPA & Dark Matter, Vocation Chop & Change, Half Moon Phoebe & Yorkshire Brewing Company Mosaic on my visit. The sheer number of pumpclips on the walls shows how many ales they get through. In addition, there were 8 ciders and perries - Abrahalls Ruby Tuesday, Sandford Orchards Devon Scrumpy, Blaengawney Hallets Rum Cask, Westcroft Janet's Jungle Juice, Farmer Jims Farmyard Perry, Moorlands Farm Rhubarb Cider & Westons Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig. My only criticism is that locals crowd around the bar, making service and choice extremely difficult. They also look at you as if you are a major convenience when you try to get to the bar. The irony being that all the tables were free. There's a couple of tables outside too. A great pub, only spoilt by bar access issues.

8 Aug 2016 21:24

The Monks Walk, Beverley

The Monk's Walk was undoubtedly one of my favourite pubs in Beverley. It's an attractive building on a street leading towards the Minster. I'm told the landlord used to work at the Minster and has recently taken ownership. He was quite a friendly chap. There are 2 bars - a small bar to the left of the central alleyway and a larger bar on the right-hand side. 5 ales were on in all - York Yorkshire Terrier & Missouri Gold & Great Newsome Jem's Stout, Frothingham Best & Sleck Dust. The latter two were served by gravity from the smaller bar, whilst the first 3 were on handpull in the main bar. Another handpull in the smaller bar was dispensing Atom Camomile, whilst Colemans Cider Company Dry was also in that room. The landlord was keen to light candles to get everybody in the mood and the pub does have a kind of medieval feel. A CAMRA discount is available on request, which I only discovered on my second round.

8 Aug 2016 21:19

The Oddfellows Arms, Beverley

This corner pub is now closed and seemingly being converted to residential use.

8 Aug 2016 21:12

The Sun Inn, Beverley

The Sun is situated in a great location next to the Minster and not far from the railway crossing. It has a main bar area where a band was setting up, a conservatory area to the rear and an outdoor drinking space beyond that. There is also a small separate seating area to the right as you enter. Furniture is minimal. Ales were York Guzzler, Morland Old Speckled Hen, Black Sheep Best Bitter, Greene King Doosra & Timothy Taylor Landlord. Ok, but certainly not the best pub in Beverley by a long shot.

8 Aug 2016 21:10

The Tiger Inn, Beverley

The Tiger Inn was very quiet when we first stepped in on Saturday evening. We were the first diners. But it soon filled up with both drinkers and diners. The former are catered for in a bar at the front, with the latter accommodated in a side room the other side of the corridor. The corridor itself has a serving hatch to the bar. The ale choice was a little disappointing - Golden Sheep, Hobgoblin & Landlord. Rosie's Pig was the cider. Old Rosie was advertised everywhere. But I couldn't see any. We enjoyed a well-priced meal, with friendly service. The pub has a nice location too.

8 Aug 2016 21:06

The Woolpack Inn, Beverley

The Woolpack was our second stop in Beverley. It is situated on a residential street at the western end of town on a road that leads to the Westwood. It's an old property with a number of different rooms. We were looking for food. But they couldn't accommodate us and most tables were reserved, with people spilling out onto the street. We found an unreserved table in the small snug at the front, which is the place for dog owners to go. Ales are all from Marstons - Wychwood Hoptathlon & Hobgoblin, Jennings Bitter, Cocker Hoop & Sneck Lifter, Banks's Sunbeam & Marstons EPA. There is no real cider. Lovely little pub. But I think there are better pubs in the town.

8 Aug 2016 21:02

Green Dragon, Beverley

The Green Dragon was our first stop in Beverley. It initially looks like a small pub in the Market Place. But it stretches back a fair way, with an outdoor courtyard/corridor area to the side. The interior is fairly non-descript and it's fairly dark. Ales were Inveralmond Frisco Steamy, Morland Old Speckled Hen, Rudgate Ruby Mild, Timothy Taylor Golden Best, Orkney Dark Island, Molson Coors New Season Pale Ale, Black Sheep Best Bitter & Greene King IPA. Cider was Old Rosie. Food was available. But it didn't look the best quality. Staff were friendly enough though.

8 Aug 2016 21:01

Goodmanham Arms, Goodmanham

The Goodmanham Arms was our fourth pub of the day in Yorkshire after the Marketplace Alehouse & Deli in Doncaster, the Black Swan in Asselby and the now closed Carpenters Arms in Market Weighton. The Goodmanham Arms is a lovely small village pub situated on a bend in the lane. It has a nice interior with a couple of tiny rooms, an outdoor courtyard with plenty of seating and the toilets and a garden area to the side and rear, with a children's play area. The All Hallows brewery is on site and they had No Notion Porter, Ragged Robyn, Wold's Way IPA & Peg Fyfe Dark Mild. Guests were St Austell Tribute, Theakston Best, Nick Stafford's Hambleton Ales Stallion & Ossett Yorkshire Blonde. Ciders were Orchard Pig Maverick, Cock Eyed Mad Jack, Westons Old Rosie & Purbeck Cheeky Cherry. Dogs and children are welcomed. There is a tiny parking area. But be careful not to run over anybody in the courtyard. A really good pub that is worth seeking out.

8 Aug 2016 20:51

The Rising Sun, Berkhamsted

Always on the lookout for a new pub, our original plan before a Tuesday night visit to the MK Arena was a trip to the Red Lion in Fenny Stratford. But we received reports that it was closed for a funeral. So instead we paid an impromptu return to the Rising Sun. Rather disappointingly (at first), nearly all the ciders appeared to have sold out. But one guy returned from a stock take to find 20 boxes in the cellar. The evening suddenly got better. The 6 I tried were Millwhites Riser Cider (on handpull), Ventons Sweet, Lyme Bay Chapel Rock, Wrights Scrumpy & Tutts Clump Blackberry & Jazz. Amongst others on were Tutts Clump Perry, Nempnetts Piglets Choice, Westcroft Dry & Westons Family Reserve. The 5 ales were Red Willow Wreckless, Whitstable East India Pale Ale, By The Horns Stiff Upper Lip & Tring Riser Bitter & Drop Bar. There is also an impressive array of craft beers in the fridges, many in cans. The Rising Sun has knowledgeable staff and is a very pleasant place to spend a summer's evening either in the airy bar area or outside watching canal boat owners and pedestrians navigating the locks. I'm glad I've finally made a return visit. Improving my rating to 9/10.

27 Jul 2016 21:07

Woolly Sheep Inn, Skipton

My final pub in Skipton was the Woolly Sheep, a Timothy Taylor pub. Entrance is along a corridor. There are three similar sized rooms, one behind the other with the bar itself split between the front two. Not all ales are available in the front room. There is also an outdoor seating area to the rear. TT ales were Landlord, Boltmaker, Golden Best, Ram Tam & Dark Mild. In addition, they had Reedley Hallows Filly Close Blonde & Moorhouses Witches Cauldron as guests. Traditional place that is one of the better options in the town. Seemingly popular with diners.

27 Jul 2016 20:58

Devonshire Inn, Skipton

The Devonshire is located in a rather imposing building and has plenty of space for seating over two large rooms and some smaller side rooms. Ales were Rudgate Ruby Mild, Daleside Bitter, Settle No. 3 Nine Standards Porter, Ruddles Best, Greene King Abbot, Naylors Yorkshire Ale & Sharps Doom Bar. It was the last day of the Wetherspoons cider festival and they still had Celtic Marches Status Quo Down Down, Hecks 1841 & Cornish Orchards Pear Cider. Clientele were the usual for Wetherspoons. It took one woman well over half an hour to collect all the dead glasses and plates and it wasn't that busy. It's always difficult finding a clean table in these establishments. But you know what you get.

27 Jul 2016 20:54

The Albion Inn, Skipton

The Albion is tucked away up a back street and as such, it was quieter than many other local options on Sunday evening. But it still had its fair share of locals. 4 ales are on - Butcombe Bitter, Caledonian Golden XPA & Theakston Best are the regulars. JW Lees Manchester Pale Ale was the guest. I went for the Theakstons despite seeing a note in the Castle that all their beer had been recalled! It tasted fine to me.

27 Jul 2016 20:47

Red Lion, Skipton

The Red Lion Hotel is on the High Street. I'd just visited the Bistro des Amis, around the corner and not listed on here. The Red Lion itself is a Greene King establishment that obviously gets fairly busy at times. The number of empty glasses on tables reminded me of a Wetherspoons. Being a Greene King pub, it had Abbot & IPA. But there was also Bank Top Bad To The Bone, Ossett Silver King, Kirkby Lonsdale Monumental & Moorhouses Blond Witch. As luck would have it, the barman let me try a sample of the Bank Top beer. It was in a very poor condition. So I opted for an Old Rosie instead. I'm sure this pub gets very busy on market days. Food is served. But again, that looked a similar quality to 'spoons. One of the better Greene King pubs though.

27 Jul 2016 20:42

The Castle Inn, Skipton

The Castle is probably the nearest pub to Skipton's castle. But I don't believe the castle itself is visible from here. The interior is sub-divided into different sections and has character. Food is served. But the young waitresses seemed a bit hapless. Ale choice was poor - Caledonian Deuchars IPA, Fullers Quintessential Pale Ale & Banks's Bitter. Old Peculier was off due to some kind of problem with all Theakson ales?? Nice enough pub. But could do with a better beer selection.

27 Jul 2016 20:37

The Commercial Inn, Skipton

Now a Chinese restaurant called Kong's.

27 Jul 2016 20:34

The Narrow Boat, Skipton

I quite liked the Narrow Boat. It would easily be the best pub in Skipton if it wasn't for the exorbitant pricing. £5.70 for a pint of real cider is really taking the mickey. I paid it as there were 2 ciders I hadn't tried before. But that's well above the going rate. Ales appeared to be much cheaper. It was almost as if they were trying to link real cider to the overpriced craft beer scene. Ales on offer were Ilkley Mary Jane, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Black Sheep Golden Sheep, Okells Bitter, Bristol Beer Factory Nova, Kirkstall Slightly Sworded & Anarchy Hard Times. Portobello Star was being pulled through. The 2 ciders were Lyme Bay Sundown Apricot & Pulp Rhubarb. They also had Gwynt y Ddraig Two Trees Perry, which was cheaper. Normally my type of pub and probably still the second best in the town. Just a shame about the pricing.

27 Jul 2016 20:33

The Beer Engine, Skipton

The Beer Engine was my favourite pub in Skipton. It's a micropub, easily missed as it's tucked away in an alleyway. It was fairly busy on my Sunday evening visit. But luckily I secured a table before too many arrived. Ales and ciders are dispensed from barrels in a refrigerated cabinet behind the bar. The ale selection was Mallinsons Motueka, Springhead Outlawed, Dark Horse Craven Bitter, Roosters The Accomplice & Stockport Stock Porter. Ciders were Westons Cider Twist Raspberry & Gwynt y Ddraig Farmhouse Scrumpy. Friendly staff. Recommended.

27 Jul 2016 20:26

Cock and Bottle, Skipton

The Cock & Bottle was fairly quiet on my Sunday evening visit. The landlord was quite friendly. He was serving some particularly hot pork scratchings to one guy seemingly taking a challenge that he could eat the lot. The main bar area is quite large. There is a snug at the front and an outdoor area at the side that stretches to the rear. Ale selection was reasonably good - Black Sheep Best Bitter, Elland Beyond The Pale, Settle No. 1 Nine Standards & Wychwood Hobgoblin. A fairly decent start to my Skipton crawl.

27 Jul 2016 20:22

The Railway Inn, Skipton

Still standing. But now closed. Looks as if it hasn't long been shut though.

27 Jul 2016 20:19

The Masons Arms, Gargrave

The Masons Arms seemed like quite a nice village pub. It's clearly a locals' pub. Whilst there was plenty of available seating, locals were intent on crowding around the bar area, making it very difficult to get served. After waiting 10 minutes to get served, the landlord finally appeared and asked bluntly if I was waiting. No, I'm standing here for the hell of it!! The whole feeling was that we were interrupting a clique. Ales were Thwaites Wainwright, Tetleys Cask, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Brains SA. No real cider was available. Food smelt lovely. But we didn't stay long, as the welcome was poor and the much better pubs of Skipton beckoned.

27 Jul 2016 20:17

The Fountaine Inn, Linton

After the Clarendon Hotel at Hebden (not listed on here), this was our 5th pub of the day in the Dales. It was the busiest of the lot, with what seemed like a party on in one room. But it was spilling out into the main bar area and the lovely outside area to the front. Looks like it has a bit of character. But it was too busy to really enjoy. Ales were Thwaites Original, John Smiths Cask, Tetleys Cask, Morland Old Speckled Hen, Wharfedale Blonde & Fountaine Inn IPA. Plenty of families were visiting.

27 Jul 2016 20:13

The Foresters Arms, Grassington

The Foresters Arms is situated on Grassington's main drag, which was thronged with tourists on my Sunday lunchtime visit. It feels like a fairly traditional pub, that is obviously popular with locals and tourists alike. There is a main bar area, a pool table at one end and further seating at the end nearest the kitchens. Ales were Tetleys Cask & Mild, Black Sheep Best Bitter & Riggwelter, Wharfedale Blonde & Timothy Taylor Landlord. I initially chose the Mild. But luckily the barmaid was having a few issues and I ended up with a Riggwelter, which was quite a decent ale. Better than I had expected.

27 Jul 2016 20:06

The Kings Head, Kettlewell

The King's Head is situated in the fairly touristy village of Kettlewell, which has plenty to attract you here. The pub itself felt a little commercialised and there is a clear focus on food. Nevertheless, the interior does maintain a nice character. There are a few tables outside at the front. Ales were Dark Horse Hetton Pale, Wharfedale Blonde & Tetleys Cask.

27 Jul 2016 20:01

The Falcon Inn, Arncliffe

This pub is set in a fantastic Dales location. It's off some of the main tourist drags. So it was considerably quieter than other Dales pubs we visited. It overlooks the village green and there are a number of tables on the edge of the green to enjoy the views and the peace and quiet. The interior has a narrow bar and a number of small rooms. Landlord & Boltmaker were the 2 ales on handpull. There was no sign of a jug. So maybe the landlord has stopped serving direct from the jug now.

27 Jul 2016 19:58

The Grove Inn, Huddersfield

The Grove is situated just behind the town's new leisure centre. It was my final pub of the day in Huddersfield and I'd saved the best until last. I'd read that there were 19 real ales and didn't think for one minute they'd all be on. But sure enough, they were - Oakham Citra, Thronbridge Jaipur & Handsome, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Vocation Bread and Butter, Atom Schrodinger's Cat, Durham White Velvet, Hawkshead Cumbrian Shop, Mallinsons Azacca, Adnams Samba City, Shiny Wrench, Brass Castle Dream Time, Sadlers Hop Bomb, Beer Ink Flagship, Fallen Chew Chew, London Beer Lab Bramling End, Green Jack Summer Dream, Brodies Shoreditch Sunshine & Northern Monk Grove Birthday Beer. There were also 3 ciders - Cornish Orchards Gold, La Cantina Yesterday's Dream & Westons Old Rosie. All of these, along with craft beers were listed on blackboards. A most impressive selection and the 2 I had were good quality. I believe there were 2 rooms, served by the central bar. But I'd had a few by this time. Whilst I have scored this a 9/10, the same as the Rat & Ratchet, this pub was a toss up between a 9 or a 10, whereas the Rat & Ratchet was more at the 8 end of the 9's! They're both excellent pubs that aren't too far away from them. The Grove was slightly nearer the bus station, enabling me to catch the last bus of the night back to my hotel. Certainly the best pub in Huddersfield I tried and probably in my top 10 for the country.

25 Jul 2016 21:05

The Rat and Ratchet, Huddersfield

An Ossett pub and home to the Rat brewery. It's situated just outside the town centre and has several different nicely decorated drinking areas in a pub similar to other Ossett establishments I have visited. There's a good selection of ales and one cider on handpull. However look out for the cider list, as there are other ciders in boxes at the side of the bar. Ales on during my visit were Goose Eye Bitter, Ossett Silver King & Yorkshire Blonder, Rat King Rat, White Rat, Dubbel & Soratchi Ace, Saltaire Triple Chocoholic & Butcombe Chinook APA. Ciders were Pulp Damson, Whin Hill Dry, Chant Singing Cider, Once Upon A Tree Tumpy Ground & Dorothy's Orchard & Twisted Desert Dry. I tried the Whin Hill and the Triple Chocoholic. Both were in good condition. It was fairly busy on my Saturday evening visit. But there were still tables to be had. Another Huddersfield highlight. Very impressed. A 9/10 from me.

25 Jul 2016 20:56

The Star Inn, Lockwood

The Star is situated on a side street that runs parallel to a main road. The interior is a large, single bar. There's a good selection of real ales - Timothy Taylor Landlord, Pictish Brewers Gold, Mallinsons Azacca, U235 & Columbus, Amber Ales Parisian Dream, Thornbridge Wye, Pentrich Soma & Sentinel Orange Stout. The real cider was Udders Orchard Lindley Gold. The cider was very nice. But the Orange Stout was on the turn. A very friendly place that is certainly one of the best of a good selection of hostelries in Huddersfield.

25 Jul 2016 20:49

Shoulder of Mutton, Lockwood

The Shoulder of Mutton is situated at the end of a small cobbled side street. But just round the corner is the car park and what looks like quite a rough area. The car park was full of broken glass where presumably a few windows had been smashed. The pub itself is very nice inside. The highlights are the two rooms either side near the entrance. But all the locals were congregated in the main bar. I believe there was a pool room upstairs. Ales were Tetleys Cask, Grey Hawk Blonde Obsession, Bradfield Farmer's Blonde, Small World Arncliffe Bitter & Mallinsons Lockwood. There was no real cider. Nice interior. Shame about the area.

25 Jul 2016 20:44

The Railway, Huddersfield

We visited the Railway after a trip to the Armitage Bridge Monkey Club (not listed on here). The Railway is situated near the station and overlooks a large valley. This appears to be a locals' pub, with a friendly landlord. The main room has a pool table at one end, whilst there is a smaller snug. It has tables out the front and a garden to the side. There's a good selection of ales - Geeves Clear Cut & Topaz, Small World Spikes Gold & Barncliffe Bitter, Greene King The Rum Runner & Empire Minute Man. There was no real cider. Another good pub in the Huddersfield area. We moved on from here to the equally friendly Berry Brow Liberal Club (also not listed on here).

25 Jul 2016 20:40

The King's Head, Huddersfield

The King's Head is at the other end of the station from the Head of Steam. The tiled interior of this place is much simpler than the Head Of Steam. But the ale and cider range is good. There are craft beers too. Drinkers spill out onto the large square in front of the station. The ale range on Saturday was Yorkshire Dales Fors Abbaye, Small World Thunderbridge Stout, Golcar Dark Mild, Abbeydale Red, Wit and Blue, JW Lees Kaleidoscope, Church End Goat's Milk, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Golden Best & Bradfield Farmer's Blonde. Ciders were Burnards Oakey Dokey & Pulp Damson Cider. Needless to say, it's handy when catching a train. Although you may just miss it!

25 Jul 2016 20:33

The Head of Steam, Huddersfield

This pub is at the one end of the station at Huddersfield (the King's Head is at the other end). I was quite impressed with this place. The bar extends from one room to another. Craft beers are dispensed from the bar on the left as you enter, with real ales and ciders dispensed from the room on the right. Both have further rooms at the rear, which adjoin the platform. The rooms feel like typical railway station waiting rooms and there is lots of railway memorabilia to admire. Ales were Camerons Haze & Gold Bullion, Black Sheep Golden Sheep, Little Valley Hebden's Wheat, Anarchy Blonde Star & Boot Boys, Small World Secret & Thunderbridge Stout, Stancill Porter, Fell Robust Porter & Sonnet 43 Abolition. The three ciders in fridges behind the bar were Lilleys Crazy Goat, Bottle Kicking Cider Company Pineapple, Peach & Passion Fruit & Westons Cider Twist Raspberry. The pub soon got packed with large groups, possibly those doing the Ale Trail, or possibly just stag parties. As many were drinking cans of Red Stripe, they were more likely the latter. Very impressed with this pub.

25 Jul 2016 20:28

Wood Street Craft Beer House, Huddersfield

Small bar up a side street in Huddersfield, but quite close to the station. There are 2 rooms inside, with the bar accessed only from the room on the right. 4 ales are on offer. These were Great Heck Patrick, Beer Ink Pin Up Pale Ale & Flagship IPA & Brightside Boston Vienna Lager. There was no real cider. The barman said this was due to the high temperatures. But there are craft beers on draught and a good selection of bottles too. Plenty of board games are available to play. Food is pizza with varied toppings. This was the first of many decent pubs in Huddersfield.

25 Jul 2016 20:17

The Bulls Head, Two Gates

After a visit to Corey's Sports Bar in Tamworth town centre, we moved on to the Bull's Head which is a Marstons pub situated on a busy cross roads, with one road being Watling Street. It didn't look too promising from the outside. The outdoor tables were full of people smoking. Inside was much nicer though, with a bar and a lounge over two levels. Locals were preparing for a quiz that involved making shapes with play dough! Pedigree & Hobgoblin Gold were the ales. Locals and staff were friendly.

18 Jul 2016 19:25

The Red Man, Kidderminster

Modern pub that appears to be popular with a younger crowd. The bar area is light and airy and there is a raised section with a pool table. TV screens were showing the Open golf tournament and music was being played. At the rear is a large paved garden area. Marstons Red Man & Wye Valley Butty Bach & HPA were the 3 ales. There was no real cider. Fairly average.

18 Jul 2016 19:17

Ye Olde Seven Stars, Kidderminster

The Olde Seven Stars was my second favourite pub in Kidderminster following Saturday afternoon's tour of 6 of the town's pubs. This pub is right in the town centre. It has a small front bar, with a much larger rear room and an outside drinking area to the side, where you can also find the toilets. I didn't see it. But apparently there is a large garden to the rear too. The many pumpclips on the walls show the variety of ales this place has stocked. On this visit, there were Three Tuns Rantipole & Stout, Holdens Golden Glow, Moorhouses Blond Witch, Wells Bombardier Burning Gold & Woods Shropshire Lad. Cider was Thatcher Heritage. Friendly staff and customers also.

18 Jul 2016 18:31

Swan, Kidderminster

The Swan is situated in a pedestrianised area of the town centre opposite the town hall. It is open early for breakfast. The single bar is nice to relax a while in. Three Bewdley beers were on - Worcestershire Sway, Worcestershire Way & Sir Keith Park, in addition to Jennings Cumerland Ale & Sharps Atlantic. Cider was Cheddar Valley. A good option if touring the town's pubs.

18 Jul 2016 18:24

Boar's Head, Kidderminster

You wouldn't think it from the outside. But the Boar's Head is a rockers pub situated near the town centre. It has two rooms, which give way to a semi-outdoor performance area and a garden beyond. There is also a corridor providing more drinking space. Plenty of skulls and the like, in addition to some rather large speakers give a clue as to what this place is like in the evening. During the day, it was much more genteel. Hobgoblin & Hobgoblin Gold were the 2 ales. No real cider was available.

18 Jul 2016 18:19

The Weavers Real Ale House, Kidderminster

Weavers seems to be Kidderminster's highlight. It's situated within easy distance of the station, just down the hill towards the town centre. There is a table outside. But there is adequate room indoors for people to sample the range of ales, ciders and craft beers. The selection on Saturday afternoon was Three Tuns XXX, Wye Valley Daisy Duke, RCH Phoenix Gold, Pig Iron Unbeweavable, Corvedale Dark & Delicious & Fownes Upper Gornal Bitter. Ciders were Thatchers Heritage, Abrahalls Lily The Pink, Westons Wyld Wood & Barbourne Golden Drop. 3 KeyKeg beers were Fixed Wheel Pope of Dope & Blackheath Stout & Green Duck Fat Neck. There was also a Belgian beer selection in bottles. Staff and customers all seemed to be knowledgeable. They were relieved that the rush before the Kidderminster Harriers match had subsided. A friendly place that is Kidderminster's best pub in my opinion. Whilst no CAMRA discount was offered, they do appear to have a loyalty card you can get stamped.

18 Jul 2016 18:16

The Railway Train Inn, Kidderminster

The Railway Train is a backstreet locals' pub overlooking the railway line between Blakedown and Kidderminster. You get a nice view of the track from the gents. Inside is an l-shaped bar, seemingly more popular with lager drinkers than ale drinkers. But there were 2 ales - EPA & Wainwright. Clearly popular with the local community though and a group were playing dominoes. There is a small seating area at the front overlooking the street.

18 Jul 2016 18:08

Old Waggon and Horses, Ismere

The Old Waggon & Horses is a Marstons pub on the main road between Stourbridge and Kidderminster. A few people were sat outside when we arrived and there were plenty of cars. But other than the two bar staff, there was nobody else indoors. The interior is fairly modern, but still cosy. I'm sure I've been here before many years ago. But I doubt I'd recognise it anymore. Ales were Marstons Pedigree, Banks's Lion Roar & Thwaites Magic Sponge, which actually had a real sponge on each pumpclip. It was a darker beer. But I wasn't too impressed by it. Ok, but nothing special.

18 Jul 2016 18:04

The French Hen, Clent

The French Hen was a far better option than any of the places I went to in nearby Belbroughton. It looks impressive from the outside and the interior is certainly French-themed with a couple of rooms filled with references to France. The ale selection was reasonable too - Wye Valley Butty Bach & Woodsman Pale Ale (the pub used to be called the Woodman), Enville Ale & Wells Bombardier. No real cider was served. Didn't see anybody trying the food. Nice place.

18 Jul 2016 17:59

The Talbot, Belbroughton

The Talbot is situated just up the road from the Queens. It is slightly nicer inside. But this is also a Marstons pub and is another place primarily for diners. Ales were slightly more adventurous than the Queens - Thwaites Wainwright, Marstons Revisionist Red IPA & Jennings Cocker Hoop. A few people appeared to be taking advantage of the nice weather, sitting outside to the rear. From here, I walked back down to the Belbroughton Club (not listed on here) which was the best of the 3 establishments I tried in the village.

18 Jul 2016 17:55

The Queens Hotel, Belbroughton

The Queens has a nice setting next to a stream in the pleasant village of Belbroughton. But the interior is fairly soulless. It's mainly a dining establishment. The ale selection isn't too inspiring either, as it's a Marstons place - Marstons EPA & Ringwood Boon Doggle & Forty Niner. Only 2 other groups of customers were in on a Saturday lunchtime. I thought the price for a half of Forty Niner was reasonable and I'm fairly sure the glass I was given was more of a schooner than a half pint.

18 Jul 2016 17:52

The Prince Of Wales, Brownhills

The Prince of Wales is on the busy A5 Watling Street. It is a fairly small pub, which stretches back a way from the entrance and is slightly larger than it first seems. No real ale is served. Although there was one handpull with a Doom Bar clip turned round. The keg options were Banks's Original, John Smiths Extra Smooth, Strongbow & Strongbow Dark Fruits, Guinness, Carling, San Miguel & Worthingtons. Only one other customer was in on this weekday visit. Not really worth a return visit.

13 Jul 2016 21:50

The Pear Tree Cottage, Brownhills

Now demolished.

13 Jul 2016 21:47

The Royal Oak, Brownhills

Large pub set back from a busy roadside. But unfortunately its now closed. Try the Swan (not listed on here) instead. That was the best pub I tried in Brownhills.

13 Jul 2016 21:47

The Wheatsheaf, Walsall

The Wheatsheaf is situated a little way out of town next to two schools. It doesn't open until 4pm during the week. I arrived to find just two other customers and a cat in the centre of the bar. One turned out to be the landlord (not the cat). The ale range is fairly decent - Oakham Citra, Holdens Golden Glow & Wye Valley Butty Bach were the regular ales. 2 guests were also on - AJ's Stuck In the Mud & Beowulf Dark Raven. I quite enjoyed my Stuck In The Mud. But unfortunately there was no real cider. No CAMRA discount was offered either. The interior is L-shaped, creating two separate drinking areas. A fairly decent option when in Walsall.

13 Jul 2016 21:45

The Walsall Arms, Walsall

The Walsall Arms is situated in an old industrial street to the east of the town centre. It doesn't look promising at all. The interior has the feeling of a club and there is a skittles alley at the rear. Just the landlord and two local gents were in. They were soon replaced by two younger ladies on the wine. Timothy Taylor Landlord, Wye Valley Bitter & HPA, Ludlow Gold & Holdens Golden Glow were the ales.

13 Jul 2016 20:45

The Victoria, Walsall

I note that the Victoria has not been in the Good Beer Guide since the 2005 edition. But I really can't see why not. It's a great little traditional boozer with a good selection of real ales and a real cider too. There are 2 rooms at ground level - a small and cosy front bar and a larger rear bar. There is a further room upstairs with a pool table. Toilets are upstairs too. The ale range was Wye Valley HPA, Backyard Bitter, Cottage North Western Pale Ale, Morland Old Speckled Hen & Greene King Abbot. The cider was Thistly Cross Whisky Cask. Recommended.

13 Jul 2016 20:41

Arbor Lights, Walsall

The Arbor Lights looked the most promising of all the pubs I visited. But once inside, it soon proved to be the worst. Real ales are no longer available. In fact unless you wanted a bottle, the only draught options were Carling or Leffe. The Spanish barman was friendly enough though and the interior is large and modern. Everything felt very clean. It just needs some decent beers.

13 Jul 2016 20:38

Fountain, Walsall

The Fountain is situated just outside the town centre and in common with many pubs in this area, it doesn't look much from the outside. But it is the ale range that sets it apart. All but one of the ales were from Backyard - The Hoard, Blonde, Bostin, Gold, East India Pale Ale, Summer & Chinook IPA. The one guest was the sublime Derventio Lucretius, a very sweet cherry stout. I also sampled Backyard's own cider. The interior is two rooms either side of a central bar. There were about 5 customers in when I arrived. But soon after I arrived, only 2 were left. So it felt very quiet. Nevertheless, the ale range made this the best of 10 pubs I visited yesterday. Shuts during the afternoon in the week.

13 Jul 2016 20:36

Butts Tavern, Walsall

The Butts is a locals pub situated in a residential area to the north of Walsall, not far from the Arboretum. It was busier than many of the other pubs I visited. All the other customers were men. The barmaid was the only woman. Conversation was involving everybody and clearly everybody knew one another. There are 2 rooms - a main bar and another fairly large room that served as a games room. Ales were Wye Valley Butty Back, Holdens Golden Glow, Jennings Cocker Hoop & Church End Fallen Angel. A friendly community pub.

13 Jul 2016 20:31

The Manor Arms, Rushall

The Manor Arms was my second stop of the day during my midweek visit to the West Midlands. My first pub had been the Four Crosses at Shelfield which is not listed on here. The Manor Arms didn't look too welcoming from the outside and its car park was empty, whereas the Boathouse at the end of the road looked busy. The Banks's sign outside didn't make it too appealing either. But inside felt like another world. The main bar area, without a bar counter makes the place feel very old and it is indeed one of the oldest pubs in the country. There are at least two other traditional rooms. As the Banks's sign suggested, the ale range is all from Marstons - Thwaites Wainwright, Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold, Banks's Bitter & Sunbeam & Jennings Cocker Hoop. Rolls and pork pies are available at £1.20 each. This is a fabulously well preserved and historic pub that deserves much more custom than it had during my Tuesday afternoon visit.

13 Jul 2016 20:26

Old Bush Inn, Pelsall

The Old Bush Inn is situated in front of Pelsall Villa's football ground. It is currently closed and looking very run down.

13 Jul 2016 20:14

Silk Mercer, Devizes

The Silk Mercer is Devizes' branch of Wetherspoons. It's a typical 'spoons open-plan layout that stretches back a long way with space maximised by having toilets upstairs. As usual many people were using the disabled. There is an outdoor area at the rear. The standard Wetherspoons ales - Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharps Doom Bar were supplemented by 2 guests - Prescott Track Record & Hook Norton Yeastie Boys, in addition to a couple "coming soon". As it's currently their cider festival, they had 5 real ciders in boxes in the fridges - Cock Eyed Monkey Mango, Westons Rosie's Pig Hand Brake, Cornish Orchards "Pear Cider", Hunts Percy's Pride & Aspalls Waddlegoose Lane Bullhead Cyder. As with most Wetherspoons, the clientele is fairly rowdy. It's most likely the cheapest place in town and this reflects in the standard of customers. It was busy, with staff seemingly unable to clear the glasses from tables. If I look behind the unusually good cider choice (due to the festival), this is a very ordinary Wetherspoons.

10 Jul 2016 14:42

The Vaults, Devizes

The Vaults looks a small unassuming place in the centre of Devizes. I'd parked outside it and hadn't even noticed it at first. Parking is free here after 6pm. The interior is long and narrow with very little seating. Ales are amongst the most unusual in Devizes. On this occasion there was Kennet & Avon Devizes Dark & Deep Lock, First Chop Manchester Bitter & Arbor 456. There were also 3 ciders from Worleys - Mendip Hills, Red Hen & Beatnik Billy. In addition, there is a good selection of craft beers and an even better bottled range with a bottle shop in the cellar. Prices for some of these can be steep. But the real cider pricing was reasonable. Pies are available from a heated cabinet behind the bar. Staff were friendly and knowledgeable about the beers. Not a pub in the strictest sense. But a bar dispensing probably the best range of drinks in Devizes. Therefore one of the three best pubs in Devizes.

10 Jul 2016 14:34

Lamb Inn, Devizes

The Lamb is in my opinion one of the best 3 pubs in Devizes. I'm undecided which one is the best. This place scores highly due to its wonderful, quirky interior. The single bar has plenty of wood panelling and furniture with a unique feature being a small peephole enabling punters to check out what is happening in the corridor outside. On this occasion, there seemed to be a minor disturbance involving somebody shouting the odds! The corridor itself through which you enter, leads to the toilets and an enclosed courtyard that appeared quite popular. Where the pub disappoints is that it is yet another Wadworth establishment with only their ales served - 6X, IPA, Swordfish & Misplaced Optimism. I opted for a cranberry juice as driving. £2.60! This would be the stand out pub in Devizes if it wasn't for the poor ale selection and the exorbitant prices. Customers are in the most part friendly. But the barmaid seemed a bit standoffish.

10 Jul 2016 14:25

The Fox and Hounds, Devizes

The Fox & Hounds is a thatched building set in the countryside just outside of Devizes. The bar/dining area was fairly dark and is lit with candles. It had an overwhelming smell of damp dogs. Food appears to be its prime concern. There are a couple of tables at the front overlooking the car park and fields, with a garden housing an old stagecoach at the rear, along a skittles alley. It's a Wadworth establishment. So the ale choice was IPA, 6X & Swordfish. To my surprise, there were also 2 real ciders - Westons Old Rosie & Lilleys Sunset. The young barmaid/waitress required hope in pouring them and mistakenly rung through a pint on the till, when I'd only ordered a half. The cider choice had clearly flustered her! Nevertheless, I was much more impressed with this pub than I'd initially expected.

10 Jul 2016 14:18

The Cavalier, Devizes

The Cavalier is a community Wadworth pub on a housing estate at the edge of Devizes. It has a single room with a pool table and TVs (showing Wimbledon) where you enter from the large car park and a dartboard at the other end. Most locals were congregated around the bar which was dispensing 6X and IPA. There is also a garden, which seemed to be popular with the kids and a skittle alley at the back. Very much a functional kind of place that serves a good purpose. But not worth a special journey here from the town centre.

10 Jul 2016 14:12

The Southgate, Devizes

A country-type pub on the edge of Devizes. I'd hoped to be able to use the car park. But it's so small that even with only one car in it, there was no room to turn! The interior is a single room around the bar, with a couple of more secluded areas. There is an outdoor patio area next to the car park. Ales were Hopback GFB, Downton New Forest Ale & Great Western Maiden Voyage. There is no real cider available. Although Old Rosie can be purchased in bottles. Cosy place.

10 Jul 2016 14:08

The Hare & Hounds, Devizes

The Waggon & Horses was to be my third stop in Devizes. It's a building situated in a residential area not far from the town centre. It was a Wadworth's pub. But it's currently closed. Research online suggests it closed in spring this year.

10 Jul 2016 14:03

The Bear Hotel, Devizes

The Bear Hotel is a nice looking building from the outside. But it is primarily a hotel and the interior is very bland and uninspiring. Although there may have been other rooms I didn't try. There is a small courtyard at the back, which seemed quite popular with families. A wedding reception appeared to be taking place somewhere in the hotel. The car park is clearly in high demand. The £10 cost for it seemed a bit excessive. Ales are from Wadworth - IPA, 6X & Swordfish. Service from the young barmaids was good. But compared with the other pubs in the town, this was the worst I visited.

10 Jul 2016 14:00

The British Lion, Devizes

The British Lion was my first stop on my first ever visit to Devizes. It's on a busy road at the edge of the town centre. A local street festival appeared to be in progress in the nearby Sidmouth Street where I was later to purchase a Chinese takeaway from! The British Lion is a typical market town boozer with friendly staff and customers, mostly of the ageing variety but with a few youngsters. It's clearly been a real ale haunt for many years. Moles Tap Bitter is the regular beer and there are 3 guests - Church End Fallen Angel, Holsworthy Muck 'n' Straw & Otter Summer Light. Cider is dispensed from a cask in the corner and this was Black Rat. Apparently this alternates with Cheddar Valley. Most people sit in the main bar area at the front. But there is an area with a pool table at the back near the toilets. Definitely worth a visit and one of the best 3 pubs I found in the town.

10 Jul 2016 13:34

Waggon & Horses, Beckhampton

The Waggon & Horses is a thatched pub in a picturesque location near to Avebury. It's on the main A4. So it probably doesn't have to try too hard to secure business. The interior is dark and has a couple of separate areas. There seems to be a focus on food. At the rear on the bank behind the pub is a lovely garden area, which was popular with a group of cyclists on a summer Saturday afternoon. Glasses were building up on most of the tables in the garden, with staff too busy talking at the bar. This is a Wadworth house. So 6X was on, alongside Swordfish & (Misplaced) Optimism, a seasonal beer for the European Championship football competition. The word 'Misplaced' appears to have been added after England's exit! A bonus I wasn't expecting was Old Rosie cider. There is a car park at the rear and another parking area on the opposite side of the A4.

10 Jul 2016 13:26

The Welington Arms, Marlborough

It's been quite a few years since I was last in Marlborough. I made a return visit on market day and tried a third pub on the High Street. This one is at the southern end. It's clearly an old building (18th century apparently). Doom Bar & 6X were the regular ales with Ramsbury Gold available as a guest. No real cider was available. Service was friendly. A TV was showing the Wimbledon ladies' final. I can't remember what the Marlborough and the Green Dragon were like. But you can do a half decent crawl along the length of the High Street here.

10 Jul 2016 13:20

The Crown and Anchor, Marlborough

A quiet rural pub with just the landlord, chef and one other couple present. Both the staff and customers were friendly and were wondering where all their customers were! The interior has 3 rooms and a small garden next to the car park. Wickwar Brand Oak Bitter is the regular ale. There was also a pumpclip for Crafty Cr'Anchor which I assume was a house beer. 2 guest were Hook Norton Hooky & the local Ramsbury Sun Splash. Nice pub.

10 Jul 2016 13:12

The Crown at Aldbourne, Aldbourne

I'm struggling to see how this is the pub represented by Aldbourne in the Good Beer Guide. It did have one unusual beer from a brewery not normally seen in these parts (Bank Top Gold Digger). But the other ales were all national ones - Landlord, Doom Bar & Spitfire. Service provided was the bare minimum with a distinct lack of communication - one of those moments where you're expected to hand cash over without being informed of the price. Nevertheless, this is a nicely located pub that feels more like a dining one that a drinkers pub. A dog was present in the bar and appeared to be the source of a few unpleasant smells. Nice pub in a nice location. But seemingly taking its status for granted.

10 Jul 2016 13:06

The Blue Boar, Aldbourne

Aldbourne was my second stop on a tour of Wiltshire pubs yesterday. I've request my first stop (the Red Lion at nearby Baydon) to be added to the site. The Blue Boar was the better of the two Aldbourne pubs. It's located overlooking the village green and impressive church in this tranquil village. There is a cosy bar area and a number of tables at the front, which were popular on a sunny summer Saturday lunchtime. Families were able to watch their kids use the full expanse of the village green. A separate entrance leads to a restaurant. This is a Wadworth pub. So IPA & 6X were on alongside a guest from Youngs - Hummingbird. The pub was also having a mini cider "festival" with 5 different boxes at the end of the bar containing Bottle Kicking Cider Company Scrambler, Sheppys Orchard Dew, Barbourne Painted Lady Perry, Westons Rosie's Pig & Thatchers Heritage. Recommended.

10 Jul 2016 13:01

The Jug and Jester, Leamington Spa

I returned to Leamington on Sunday to visit the Jug & Jester, the town's second Wetherspoons. Similar to the Benjamin Satchwell, at first sight this appears to be a small branch of the chain. But they're both tardis-like. This one has 4 interlinking rooms on different levels with some rather gaudy furniture. But it works and feels different from many of the identikit Wetherspoons. Ales are spread across the top 2 rooms - Backyard Jigger Stout, Banks's Alpha 5, Titanic Iceberg, Roosters Cream, Sharps Doom Bar, Ruddles Best, White Horse Blowing Stone, Greene King Abbot and a couple more 'coming soon'. Cider was Old Rosie. Spent a while here watching Sky Sports News before moving on. The better of the 2 Leamington Wetherspoons.

4 Jul 2016 21:49

The Cricketers Arms, Leamington Spa

The Cricketers has a nice leafy location, overlooking a bowling green. It seems a fairly trendy place to go to and on Saturday evening, people were settling down for the live football. Food was still being served. With very little room inside, we retreated to the patio at the rear. Service was quick and ales were Timothy Taylor Landlord, Slaughterhouse Saddleback & Twickenham Naked Ladies. Cider was Rosie's Pig. After resisting the local tipple all day long, I finally gave in and tried the rather nice Saddleback. A decent option in Leamington.

4 Jul 2016 21:46

Green Man, Leamington Spa

The Green Man is a lively estate pub in an area where there seemed like few other options. Music was blasting out, boxing was being shown on the big screens and the place was very busy. The solitary ale was Bishop's Finger. Not really a place to linger unless you live nearby and it has to be your local.

4 Jul 2016 21:43

The Talbot, Leamington Spa

This looks like it might have been the sort of pub I'd have liked. But sadly it is no more. The mural on the side is still impressive though.

4 Jul 2016 21:41

The Red House, Leamington Spa

Now subdivided into 2 houses/flats.

4 Jul 2016 21:40

Bowling Green, Leamington Spa

This place is currently closed. The sign is still up and the garden at the rear looks as if somebody has tended to it fairly recently. But it's all locked up and the upstairs windows were broken. The first of 3 closed pubs in a row! The area south of the river in Leamington feels like a real ale ghost town.

4 Jul 2016 21:39

The Somerville Arms, Leamington Spa

The Somerville Arms ended up being my favourite pub in Leamington Spa. We had arrived earlier in the afternoon to find it closed, despite opening times on the doors suggesting it should have been open. All the lights were on too. But the doors were locked. A quick call and the landlord confirmed that he would be opening at 5:30, i.e. the same time it opens during the week. But please get the signs changed! This is an Everards pub with most of their ales - Tiger, Sunchaser, Original & Beacon all with original pumpclips. They also have 2 Adnams ales - Southwold Bitter & Broadside, in addition to Ossett Big Red. Westons Old Rosie & Country Perry are dispensed (rather lively in our case) from some fake barrels at the end of the bar. The main room has plenty of wood and some tables hidden away in alcoves. Locals were sat at the bar passing the time of day. There is a smaller room to the rear, also with access to the bar. Plenty of character and worth the trek out of town, assuming you know it's open.

4 Jul 2016 21:37

Woodland Tavern, Leamington Spa

The Woodland is a nice local pub, just far enough away from the town centre to maintain a quiet feel. It is a proper boozer where conversation dominates, despite a couple of TVs that were showing the tennis. A friendly pub dog completes the picture. I was somehow expecting a better range of ales though. There were 3 - Slaughterhouse Saddleback, Caledonian Kick Off & Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold. Ciders were Thatchers Cheddar Valley & Westons Rosie's Pig. Has a cuckoo clock on the wall and it works!

4 Jul 2016 21:32

The Benjamin Satchwell, Leamington Spa

The Benjamin Satchwell is located on Leamington's showcase street (The Parade). It has a really narrow frontage and I thought I was entering the country's smallest Wetherspoons. But appearances can be deceptive. This place stretches back all the way to the next street and has a long bar. Ales were Warwickshire Beer Co. Kingmaker, Sharps Doom Bar, Ruddles Best, Greene King Abbot, Davenports Imperial, Banks's Alpha 5 & Backyard Lionheart. Cider was Rosie's Pig. The interior is typical 'spoons. So are some of the characters that can be found here. Nevertheless I was left a little disappointed with Leamington's pub offering and this was one of the better pubs in the town.

4 Jul 2016 21:28

The Copper Pot, Leamington Spa

The Copper Pot is a busy Greene King pub in the town centre. It seems to be a fairly cheap place that attracts a mixed clientele during the day and clubgoers and the like in the evenings. 2 ales were on - Abbot & Back of the Net. Multiple TVs were showing live coverage of Wimbledon. The interior is modern. Not particularly my cup of tea.

4 Jul 2016 21:24

The Newbold Comyn Arms, Leamington Spa

The Newbold Comyn Arms is situated on the edge of Leamington. We struggled to find it at first. It's located in a park next to a leisure centre. In fact, its location is very nice. The large building in the picture appears to be a function room. Drinks service is from the adjacent Stables Bar. On entry to the bar area, one could have forgiven to have thought you were in a crèche. I'm sure the number of children outnumbered the number of adults. This status continued outside where there is a large grassy area ideal for playing ball games and a kids' playground. Drinks choice was surprisingly good - Warwickshire Beer Co. Darling Buds, Church Farm IPA, Purity Mad Goose & Teignworthy Spring Tide. Ciders were Thatchers Heritage & Cheddar Valley. Recommended.

4 Jul 2016 21:20

The Stag's Head, Offchurch

The Stag at Offchurch is a picturesque thatched village pub that was only spoiled by some unsightly roadworks outside. The interior was pleasant enough. But service felt a touch pretentious. Adverts in the toilets for gift vouchers to use in the restaurant revealed that it's part of a small chain of 3 pubs. Despite the external appearance, this is very much a restaurant, as opposed to a pub. Although they did have 3 ales - Tribute, Ubu & Hooky and its one other redeeming feature for me - Henneys Traditional Cider, not something I've seen on handpull before.

4 Jul 2016 21:15

The White Hart Inn, Ufton

The White Hart has a nice setting overlooking the Warwickshire countryside. But this is another place that appears to be largely for diners. There was an overwhelming smell of fish when we arrived. But the place does seem to specialise in seafood. The room is fairly cosy and many tables had reserved signs on them. Ales were St Austell Tribute, Greene King IPA & Slaughterhouse Saddleback. They also had a real cider - Thatchers Heritage. Nice place. But it didn't really feel like a pub. This was the only pub we visited that shuts on weekend afternoons. So check the opening times.

4 Jul 2016 21:07

The Gamecock, Harbury

The Gamecock was the final pub we sampled in Harbury. There was literally nobody around when we arrived - no customers and no staff. After a few minutes wait, I located what I assume to be the landlord in the garden. The pub itself has a modern feel. There were 2 ales - Black Sheep Best Bitter & Byatts Phoenix Gold. The landlord turned out to be fairly amiable. But I preferred the Old New Inn and the Shakespeare.

4 Jul 2016 21:03

The Shakespeare, Harbury

The Shakespeare was the second of our pubs in the village of Harbury. Unfortunately the best of 3 pubs in the village we tried appears to be the one not listed on here - the Old New Inn. Walking into the Shakespeare, I thought at first that I'd wondered into the village shop, as there was a decent range of sauces, jams and chutneys. But just beyond was the bar. Sharps Doom Bar, Purity Mad Goose & Slaughterhouse Saddleback were the 3 ales. We sat in a nice little table in the window. But this does seem to be predominantly a diners pub.

4 Jul 2016 21:01

The Cottage Tavern, Ashorne

Quiet village pub on the western side of the M40. There was one other local sat at the bar when we arrived on a Saturday lunchtime. Good job we didn't want food as the cook hadn't turned up. She did later on after a few people had been turned away. 4 real ales were on - 2 were from the Froth Blowers brewery - Piffle Snonker & Thornswoggle, whilst there was also Greene King IPA & Abbot.

4 Jul 2016 20:56

The Hollist Arms, Lodsworth

The Hollist Arms was our last stop of the day in Sussex. It was also probably the third best pub. The village is the home of Langham's Brewery and 2 of their ales were on - Jester & Best Bitter. I believe it may have been the brewer who was giving us the taster notes. Other ales were Hophead, Doom Bar & Landlord. Another nice village pub with a small bar area and a separate dining room. The garden is also a lovely spot and toilets are outside. A little off the beaten track. But worth locating.

27 Jun 2016 20:23

The Three Moles Inn, Selham

The Three Moles is tucked away around a mile off the main road. From what I've seen of Sussex so far, the best pubs tend to be those away from the main drags and the Three Moles was no exception. It was one of the two standout pubs we visited yesterday. The pub is reached via steps. A car park is opposite. It has the feel of a typical railway establishment, as it's situated near to an old railway station. Only 2 ales were on - Bowman Swift One & Skinners Betty Stogs. There was also Sandford Orchards Devon Scrumpy. A beer festival had been held in a tent to the side of the pub the previous weekend.

27 Jun 2016 20:19

The Halfway Bridge Inn, Lodsworth

The Halfway Bridge has a nice location on the main A272 and looks an old building from the outside. The inside has been modernised and feels a little out of character. Food appears to be the main attraction. There is a small garden to the side. Ales were Langham Sundowner, Sharps Doom Bar & Arundel Sussex Gold. Nothing particularly special.

27 Jun 2016 20:13

Horse Guards Inn, Petworth

After some fairly mediocre pubs in West Sussex, our 7th pub was a vast improvement. This is a lovely little pub situated on a bank in the village of Tillington. It's off the main road. So I doubt it gets much passing business. The interior is cosy. But the highlight is the garden, with lots of different seating options, including hay bales and a hammock. There are chickens at the rear, but no sign of the cats that are mentioned on signs. Only 2 ales were on - Dark Star Hophead & Harveys Sussex Best Bitter. Old Rosie cider is also available. But it's not advertised and is hidden away underneath the counter. The village was hosting an open garden day and the pub's garden was one of the set. Well worth a visit.

27 Jun 2016 20:07

The Stonemason's Inn, Petworth

The Stonemasons is situated to the northern end of the lovely village of Petworth. It's a nice enough small pub with 3 real ales - Harveys Sussex Best Bitter, Dark Star Hophead & Skinners Betty Stogs. The landlady appeared fairly friendly. We sat in the pleasant garden which has numerous tables. Probably not the best pub in Petworth. We preferred the Angel on our last visit.

27 Jun 2016 20:00

The Cricketers Arms, Wisborough Green

Felt more like a proper pub than the Three Crowns on the main road. This pub is the other side of the village green and tables at the front have a good view of the green. We sat outside. But the interior looked fairly nice too. Live football was on the TV. Ales were Dark Star Hophead, Harveys Sussex Best Bitter, St Austell Tribute & Fullers London Pride.

27 Jun 2016 19:55

The Three Crowns, Wisborough Green

The Three Crowns is a pub cum restaurant that appears to be popular with the local hoi polloi. Many of them were dining inside with their charges. We chose to sit in the large rear garden, access to which is through a narrow area to the side of the bar. But first you need to negotiate the teenage waiters and waitresses discussing their jobs. They are fairly oblivious to the fact that customers might want to get through to the garden which is the pub's biggest draw. It's a very pleasant space with plenty of tables, chickens to one side and a couple of swings at the back. Ales were Weltons English Pride, Shepherd Neame Spitfire Gold, Harveys Sussex Best Bitter & Hammerpot Red Hunter.

27 Jun 2016 19:51

The Railway Inn, Billingshurst

The Railway is situated (unsurprisingly) right next to the level crossing and railway station in Billingshurst. It has a nice cosy bar area at the front and a quieter dining area to the rear where one solitary person was enjoying Sunday lunch. Locals congregate around the bar itself making it difficult to get served. Beyond that is a small garden and car park. Ales were Harveys Sussex Best Bitter, Shepherd Neame Spitfire, Sharps Doom Bar, Fullers London Pride & Firebird Paleface American Pale Ale. There was a cask at the end of the bar. But I couldn't tell if it contained anything different. The nearby Billingshurst Carnival was fairly enjoyable. That had a beer tent. But real ale drinkers were nipping into the Railway for their refreshment.

27 Jun 2016 19:45

The Kings Arms, Billingshurst

Two room locals pub in this small town. One was a lively bar, whilst the other was a quieter lounge-type room. Both customers and staff were friendly. A couple of ales had gone off as we arrived. But there was still Ringwood Razor Back, Banks's Lion Roar, Youngs Special & Courage Best. They also had Scrumpy Wasp Nice Pear left over from a recent festival, which was a new one for me. The car park and garden is reached from the street through a passageway. But the garden was a little overgrown. Nice enough town pub.

27 Jun 2016 19:40

The Queens Head, Horsham

Fairly nice country pub. Although the welcome was slightly suspect. I'm never too impressed when the first greeting is "can I help you?". It suggests you're maybe in the wrong place or perhaps you might like to rob the place. An alternative could be "what is somebody like you doing in a place like this?". Nevertheless after necessary 'pleasantries' were exchanged, I did finally get served. The interior is fairly small, with a number of different partitioned areas. The garden is nice, with plenty of tables and a children's play area. Ales all on handpull were Downlands √13 Pale Ale, Long Man Best Bitter, St Austell Proper Job, Fullers London Pride and the ubiquitous Harveys Sussex Best Bitter.

27 Jun 2016 19:30

The Good Yarn, Uxbridge

Made a return visit to the Good Yarn today. I felt it had a better ale selection than on previous visits - Weltons Come On England, Binghams Admiral & Doodle Stout, Hook Norton Yeastie Boys, Greene King Abbot, Sharps Doom Bar & Ruddles Best. Cider was Black Dragon. It was fairly busy with its usual fair share of shoppers. We grabbed a booth in the family area at the rear. One of the better pubs in Uxbridge.

25 Jun 2016 21:02

The Ferry Inn, Reedham

The Ferry is situated away from the rest of the village of Reedham and is next to the car ferry over the River Yare. We stopped here for Sunday dinner and a swift half. Ales were Woodfordes Wherry, Lacons Encore & the local Humpty Dumpty Swallowtail & Ferryman. We had earlier visited the Humpty Dumpty brewery shop in the village itself. Food was nice, if not a little expensive. Has plenty of seating indoors and some overlooking the river itself on a raised area. Nice location.

21 Jun 2016 21:50

The Lord Nelson, Reedham

Currently closed. Still looks like a pub. But not sure if it will re-open or not.

21 Jun 2016 21:46

The Ship, Reedham

The Ship enjoys a lovely location next to the River Yare, which is clearly popular with boaters on the Norfolk Broads. The garden overlooks the river and the railway swing bridge, which is interesting to watch open and close. The interior is nice too, with a small games room and a larger bar. Ales were Steam Box Golden Bolt, Wolf Edith Cavell & Adnams Bitter & Broadside.

21 Jun 2016 21:45

The St. John's Head, Great Yarmouth

The St John's Head was another good Yarmouth pub. Although the clientele did feel a little cliquey. The cosy interior has an old juke box playing rock music. Ale choice was good - Elgoods Cambridge Bitter & Double Swan, Adnams Tally-Ho & Mauldons Cuckoo. Cider was Addlestones. We moved on from here to the Tombstone Saloon, brewery tap for the Tombstone Brewery and with 10 ciders too. That was easily our favourite pub in Great Yarmouth, but is sadly not listed on here.

21 Jun 2016 21:41

The Talbot, Great Yarmouth

There was no longer any sign of a pub on this spot. I believe I identified the building. But it's no longer a pub anymore.

21 Jun 2016 21:36

Mariners Tavern, Great Yarmouth

Next up for us was the Mariners. I had high hopes and it didn't disappoint. There are 2 rooms - a popular front bar with loud music and a much quieter rear room with horse racing being shown. A selection of guitars suggested this is where live music possibly occurs. The barman was very friendly and knowledgeable. He was on his own, but doing a good job. Ales were Triple fff Goldfffinger, Saltaire Raspberry Blonde, Harveys Sussex Dark Mild, Mauldons Silver Adder, Greene King Abbot, Shepherd Neame Spitfire, Skinners Cornish Trawler, Woodfordes Nelson's Revenge, Oakham Bishop's Farewell & Acorn Barnsley Bitter. Ciders and perries are in the fridge behind the rear bar. But there are pumpclips in the rear bar. On Saturday afternoon, they had Westons Rosie's Pig Hand Brake (a very nice damson cider), Sandford Orchards Old Kirton & Mr Whiteheads Midnight Special, Novo Pyrus & Newton's Discovery. Recommended. But we were later to find an even better pub.

21 Jun 2016 21:33

Red Herring, Great Yarmouth

Backstreet pub that had no other customers when we arrived on a wet Saturday lunchtime. It was so wet that the roof between the bar and separate games room was leaking. Buckets were in situ. The small garden at the front is a little strange. You wouldn't fit too many people into it. But it wasn't quite the weather for outdoor drinking. Ales were Butcombe Bitter, Lacons Encore & Dark Star Hophead. Cider was Old Rosie. Pumpclips on the walls pointed to a good range of ales having been stocked. One other customer had entered by the time we arrived. A nice pub. But it probably feels very different when busier.

21 Jun 2016 21:26

Gallon Pot, Great Yarmouth

The Gallon Pot was the second of the Great Yarmouth pubs we visited. It re-opened around 6 months ago and is situated at the end of the Market Place. But we were surprised by how quiet it was on a Saturday evening. Nevertheless it ensured we had a quiet meal, which was good value for money and the diane sauce on the steak was sublime. Ales were less inspiring, with Marstons Pedigree, Lacons Hoptrick & Woodfordes Wherry on. Staff were friendly but under-worked. Deserves more custom. We moved on from here to the Oliver Twist, which was my favourite pub of our first day in the town. Whilst it's not listed on here, I will request it and it's well worth a visit for a great selection of ales and cider and a very strange clientele with lots of missing teeth!

21 Jun 2016 21:18

The Barking Smack, Great Yarmouth

The Barking Smack is on the seafront at Great Yarmouth. It is a single room with a large outdoor terrace at the front. Meals are served. But the options didn't seem too tempting. So we moved on elsewhere for food. Plenty of barstaff were available for serving. Three ales from Grain were on - Oak, Redwood & ThreeOneSix. They also stock a real cider from a box at the side of the bar. This was Kingfisher Farm Cider and went down very nicely. Not a bad pub. But I was surprised as to how good Great Yarmouth pubs were and there were better options.

21 Jun 2016 21:12

The Prince Albert, Twickenham

Fullers pub with a very convenient bus stop directly outside. On entering, there was a very tempting smell of oriental food. I initially thought it was Chinese. But it was in fact Thai. Ales are all from Fullers - Olivers Island, Pride, ESB & Ninety. Bar staff were friendly. European Championship football was on the TV. Not bad for a Fullers pub. But I did move on to the superior Sussex Arms after not too long.

15 Jun 2016 21:48

The Prince of Wales, Twickenham

Fairly pleasant locals pub with one large bar and what seemed like a smaller room at the rear to one side. There is a nice garden at the same side. The landlord appears to be Northern Irish. 4 ales were on - Weltons English Pride, Adnams Bitter, Timothy Taylor Golden Best & Twickenham Summer Sun. I tried the Weltons, which wasn't up to much. European Championship football was being shown on the TV. Makes a change from some of the local Fullers pub and I thought the ale range was similar to the nearby Riflemans. But for the best selection, head to the Sussex Arms.

15 Jun 2016 21:45

The Snowdrop, Lewes

The Snowdrop was my last and favourite pub of the day. It is situated in a residential area of Cliffe with a fairly dramatic chalk cliff backdrop. It's also next to a lengthy tunnel that leads to the other end of Lewes. The interior feels cosy. But there are plenty of tables crammed in. There are also 2 outdoor areas either side of the pub. Both have several tables too. The ale selection was good and was complemented by a good range of craft beers on keg. Yesterday they had Harveys Sussex Best Bitter, Burning Sky Aurora & Plateau, Downlands Twent Six Strong Pale Ale & Thirteen Pale Ale & 360 Degrees Pale Ale on cask. Cider was Seacider Medium. The best pub we tried in Lewes.

13 Jun 2016 19:41

The John Harvey Tavern, Lewes

The John Harvey Tavern is situated up a side street opposite the Harveys brewery and alongside the River Ouse. It's a fairly large place with a large bar area and an equally large dining area to the left as you walk in. There are a small number of tables just outside by the entrance door. Around 6 casks were behind the bar, all labelled with Harveys Sussex Best Bitter. On handpull there was also Armada Ale, Copperwheat Beer & Olympia Golden Ale. Unlike the Gardeners Arms, service here was with a smile.

13 Jun 2016 19:36

The Gardeners Arms, Lewes

I had high hopes for the Gardeners Arms. But it somehow failed to live up to expectations. It's a fairly small, single room bar that had a fairly sullen barmaid on my visit. Whilst she was smiling and laughing with locals, she adopted a fairly miserable attitude with me. When asked if they offered a CAMRA discount (as stated by their website), she said she didn't think so. So I've no idea if I got one. The ale range was impressive though - Oakham Bishop's Farewell, Burning Sky Aurora, Devil's Dyke Porter, Harveys Sussex Best Bitter, Crouch Vale Amarillo & Thornbridge 6 Weeks. Cider was Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. This seems a lovely little pub and it's just the kind of pub I normally love. But on this occasion, service appeared to be lacking. A good pub, but not the best in Lewes.

13 Jun 2016 19:33

Dorset Arms, Lewes

The Dorset is a Harveys pub overlooking the main parking area in Lewes, with the Harveys brewery also just across the car park. It had 4 of their ales on - Sussex Best Bitter, Sussex Dark Mils, Copper Wheat Beer & Olympia Golden Ale. The interior is centred around the bar. But there is another room in one corner at the front. This was empty on my visit. Most people were sat outside at the front admiring the car park. There is both covered and open air seating there. The least impressive of the Lewes pubs we visited.

13 Jun 2016 19:26

The Laughing Fish, Isfield

Greene King pub situated next to the Lavender Line, with its old preserved trains. Whilst some of the Greene King standards were on - Greene King IPA, Morland Old Golden Hen & Hardy and Hansons Olde Trip, there were also some guests - Isfield Imperial, Black Cat Hopsmack & Dark Star American Pale Ale. They also had 2 ciders - Westons Old Rosie & Seacider Medium. The interior is primarily set across 2 rooms. Although there is a third, smaller room next to the toilets, with a bar billiards table. To the side of the pub is a garden with a children's play area. Another good pub.

13 Jun 2016 19:22

The Alma, Uckfield

The Alma Arms is a really nice community pub located just to the south east of the lengthy High Street. It has a couple of rooms, with a function room and small garden at the rear. The function room was hosting a celebration for the Queen's birthday and the garden was full of kids using the play equipment. Ales were all from Harveys - Sussex Best Bitter, Sussex Dark Mild & Olympia Golden Ale. Finally I had also found a place with a real cider - Westons Rosie's Pig. A really friendly pub. Easily the best pub in the first half of my Sussex crawl.

13 Jun 2016 19:17

The Pig and Butcher, Five Ash Down

Harveys village pub. The room on the right is a games room with a pool table. The room on the left is a bar area, that leads into a separate dining section beyond. The 2 Harveys ales were Sussex Best Bitter & Sussex Champion. The interior is fairly non-descript. Some of the staff were tucking into Sunday lunches. Arguably the most disappointing of the 10 pubs we tried in East Sussex yesterday.

13 Jun 2016 19:12

The Hatch Inn, Colemans Hatch

After a game of Pooh sticks in Ashdown Forest (I kid you not), we traversed a ford and arrived at the very nicely located Hatch Inn. This place is tiny in all aspects. Getting through the door was a challenge, let alone getting to the bar. However there was a small room at the rear that was completely unoccupied. Tables were set up for diners. But there were none. The garden looked quite pleasant. But it wasn't quite the weather for outdoor drinking early yesterday afternoon. Inside, most of the locals (with their dogs) seemed upper class. Ales were Larkins Traditional, Harveys Sussex Best Bitter & Youngs Bitter. Not the best ale range. But the location scores this pub an extra point.

13 Jun 2016 19:08

The Hay Waggon Inn, Hartfield

This place is still intact. But it is no longer a pub. The Anchor is just opposite and still open.

13 Jun 2016 19:03

The Anchor Inn, Hartfield

A pleasant country pub with an unusual verandah in Winnie the Pooh country. The pub seemed a little geared to tourists with a table full of promotional leaflets for various attractions being the centre of attention. Ales were Larkins Traditional, Sambrooks Junction & Harveys Sussex Best Bitter. I was expecting real cider. But alas there was none. A few people were eating and there were locals drinking at the bar too. A slight improvement on the nearby Dorset Arms.

13 Jun 2016 19:02

The Dorset Arms, Withyham Hartfield

The Dorset Arms is quite an impressive building inside and out. It feels like an old manor house. But there is currently scaffolding and it wasn't immediately obvious whether or not it was open. But the barmaid was quite welcoming when we did go in. It's clearly popular for food, as we were immediately asked if we had booked a table. There is bar to the left as you walk in and a dining area to the right. The 3 ales were Harveys Sussex Best Bitter, Long Man Long Blonde & Adnams Bitter. Nice pub. But the ale selection was a little lacking.

13 Jun 2016 18:58

The Reckless Engineer, Bristol

We saw the Reckless Engineer when we had arrived at Temple Meads station earlier in the day. It looked like a bit of a dive. On our return and with 10-15 minutes before our train departure, it seemed a good idea to slip in a swift half. Two ales were Otter Ale & Wells Bombardier Burning Gold. The best cider I could see was Addlestones on keg. The interior was pretty basic, with not much in the way of decoration. There were few other customers in either, considering its prime location opposite the station. Pretty poor, but handy.

5 Jun 2016 18:52

The Seven Stars, Bristol

Please ignore my previous review - that should have been for the Three Tuns. The Seven Stars was quite a lively place quite close to the station. It was packed and a local band was in full swing, with plenty of songs about cider, which went down a treat. The ale choice was Prescott Hill Climb & Super 6, Yeovil Summerset, Plain Ales Bitter, Boss Six & Black Yeovil Stout Hearted. I know I had Ben Crossman Dry. But I believe there was probably a much larger selection. But by this point I was too drunk to care. Possibly the best pub I went to in Bristol yesterday. I certainly remember enjoying myself here. But I must endeavour to go back when much more sober.

5 Jun 2016 18:47

The Three Tuns, Hotwells

The Three Tuns was closed until 4pm yesterday, as it was close to the central riot zone and all of the police baracades. But I made the journey back here before starting my way towards the station. This is a larger pubs than it looks from the outside and has a courtyard garden. The ale range was mostly golden type beers - Vibrant Forest Vienna Rye Pale, Dorset Piddle Piddle, Arbor Motueka & Hoploader, Beerd Gambit, Black Flag El Dorado & Firebrand Graffiti IPA. Ciders were Westons Rosie's Pig & Worleys Mendip Hills. The latter cider was enjoyable. Another place offering CAMRA discounts and another good Bristol pub.

5 Jun 2016 18:42

The Famous Royal Navy Volunteer, Bristol

Another establishment where it is difficult to work out what is cask and what is keg. The interior was quite dark and dingy. But there is plenty of space and it stretches back a long way. I quite liked the beer barrel urinals in the gents. The full beer selection was Wiper & True Milk Shake, Brew By Numbers 11/15, The Kernel IPA, Hammerton Life On Mars, Gloucester Saison 2, Crafty Devil White Riot, Mondo May The Schwartz Be With You, Purity Lawless, Pure Gold & Mad Goose, Electric Bear Edison & Red, Boss Blaze & Buzz, Hawkshead Red, Vibrant Forest Black Forest & Siren Broken Dream. Ciders and perries were Hogans Pickers Passion, Soured Cider & Poachers Perry & Lilleys Stargazer. Wasn't overly impressed.

5 Jun 2016 18:39

Sublime, Bristol

I'm not quite sure what to make of the Small Bar. It's one of these modern craft beer places that dispense expensively-priced beers in third and two third glasses. There's a large beer menu behind the bar and there's no indication of which beers were cask and which were keg. Nevertheless the full selection was Left Handed Giant/Verdant Headlamp Stillwater Saison, Magic Rock Salty Kiss & Hire Wire Grapefruit, Cloudwater Old Garde Red Wine BA, Custard Porter & Clauseni Imperial Stout, Left Handed Giant Pilsner, Pale, USPA, Lactose Tolerant & Kolsssh, Northern Monk True North, Vocation Chop & Change, Tool Reparationsbajer, Rogue 7 Hop & Dead Hop Ale, Vibrant Forest Nova Foresta, Left Handed Giant/Wylam Ctr-Alt-Del & Kernel Dry Stout. Ciders were St Paul's Cidery Lucifer Dry & Sandford Orchards Devon Mist. The interior has a number of rooms spread over 2 floors. It's certainly not small. This was our first stop in the Beermuda Triangle.

5 Jun 2016 18:32

The Seven Stars, Bristol

The Seven Stars was closed until 4pm yesterday, as it was close to the central riot zone and all of the police baracades. But I made the journey back here before starting my way towards the station. This is a larger pubs than it looks from the outside and has a courtyard garden. The ale range was mostly golden type beers - Vibrant Forest Vienna Rye Pale, Dorset Piddle Piddle, Arbor Motueka & Hoploader, Beerd Gambit, Black Flag El Dorado & Firebrand Graffiti IPA. Ciders were Westons Rosie's Pig & Worleys Mendip Hills. The latter cider was enjoyable. Another place offering CAMRA discounts and another good Bristol pub.

5 Jun 2016 18:23

The River, Bristol

I struggled to find No. 1 Harbourside initially. It is part of a modern quayside development with many cafes and bars. This place is a modern bar too, with tables outside which were all occupied on this sunny afternoon. The ale range was good - Bristol Beer Factory It's Mild, Seven & Sorachi, Arbor Summit & New Bristol Brewery Super Natural. Cleeve Orchard Medium was the cider. Doesn't really have the atmosphere of a pub. But nevertheless this is a decent place to know about next to one of the ferry stops.

5 Jun 2016 18:17

The Bunch of Grapes, Bristol

After a visit to the Gryphon (rockers pub), I moved on to Smoke & Mirrors. This place has a quaint frontage and stretches back a fair way from the street. It's a pub that focuses on magic. But on this day, it appeared all of its customers had done a disappearing act. Not willing to join them, I drank up swiftly. 3 ales were on - Caledonian Deuchars IPA & Edinburgh Castle & St Austell Tribute. Disappointing.

5 Jun 2016 18:09

The Horse and Groom, Bristol

This place is now the Lime Kiln. It's another small, single bar Bristol pub with just a couple of other customers in. Luckily some of the anarchist protesters attempted to enter as we arrived. But I don't think their lager of choice was available. We were happy enough with the ale selection though - Staggeringly Good Veloci Rapture, Byatts American Brown Ale, Yeovil Star Gazer, Vibrant Forest Vienna Pale Ale, Church End EU & Fat Cat Porter. Cider was Sandford Orchards Devon Mist. A CAMRA discount is offered.

5 Jun 2016 18:03

The Hope and Anchor, Bristol

With some local hostelries closed due to some anarchist demonstrations, we decided to head up the hill to the Hope & Anchor where a beer festival was in progress. The interior is quite nice and at the rear is a garden on a hill where the beer festival beers (and ciders) were being served. The garden was very pleasant indeed in the early afternoon sunshine. Ales available were Alechemy Starhopper, Dark Star Hophead, Black Iris Bajan Breaskfast & Rise and Shine, Saltaire Trio, Bad Co. Honey Hi, Dorset Piddle Slasher, Red Squirrel Mad Squirrel IPA, Crate Rye, Bristol Beer Factory Bristol Export, Good Chemistry Big Bang, New Bristol Brewery Supernatural, Gloucester Mosaic & Glamorgan Welsh Pale. Ciders and perries were Brislington Brain Twister, Hecks Vintage Dry, Thistly Cross Whisky Cask, Sandford Orchards Devon Red, Original Cider Company Pheasant, Westons Family Reserve, Lilleys Red Rabbit & Somerset Scrumpy & Worleys Red Hen. CAMRA discounts can be had. Although the barman at the festival counter was struggling to add up the price as it was and ended up a bit flummoxed. Another excellent Bristol hostelry.

5 Jun 2016 17:57

The Bag O' Nails, Bristol

The Bag Of Nails is a small place with not much room to swing a cat. In fact, the first thing you notice when you walk in is the smell of cat urine and you'll soon see the moggies asleep in their beds on the bar. As a cat owner, I wasn't too bothered. But I could imagine it being a bit off-putting for some. Nevertheless this is a fantastic little pub with a good ale selection - Tapstone Kush Kingdom, Three Daggers Dagger Edge, Flying Monk Habit, Fixed Wheel Blackheath Stout, Bad Co Wild Gravity, Crate Brewer's Tap & Vibrant Forest Session IPA. The cider was Ashridge Elderflower Cider dispensed from a handpull with a Babycham pumpclip. Music is played from a record player. The décor is fairly gaudy. Recommended.

5 Jun 2016 17:48

The Orchard Inn, Bristol

The Orchard was the first stop on a crawl of Bristol. It's a backstreet boozer located on a side street on Spike Island, near to the SS Great Britain and just a short ferry ride away from Hotwells and Clifton. A number of ales are served on gravity - Prescott Chequered Flag, Bath Gem, Box Steam Piston Broke, Otter Bitter & St Austell Tribute & Proper Job. But the real draw are the ciders and perries. Some are on handpull. But the majority are fetched directly from the cellar. There is a blackboard at the side of the bar displaying the full list, which comprised Westons Old Rosie, Thatchers Traditional & Cheddar Valley, Orchards Cider, Cornish Orchards Mulled Cider, Severn Cider Hendre Huffcap Perry, Dry Cider & Sweet Cider, Hecks Yarlington Mill & Blakeney Red Perry, Hancocks Dry & Sweet, Handmade Fire Starter & Springtime Surprise, Thistly Cross Whisky Cask, Wessex Medium & Dry, Beard And Sabre Cider, Haywood Farm Dry & Sweet, Gloucestershire Chisel Jersey, Dorset Nectar Medium, New Forest Dry & Sweet, Ham Hill Medium, Countryman Medium & Ventons Dry. With a long crawl ahead, I only had the chance to try two. But I'm sure I'll be back one day to get through some more. The bar itself is fairly simple. It is a single room, with a couple of tables out the front. It is clearly a music pub too. The landlord and barmaid were friendly and knowledgeable. A number of bar snacks are served, such as Scotch Eggs, which were very nice. Situated on a bit of a limb, being away from the main Bristol pub areas. But well worth seeking out.

5 Jun 2016 17:37

RSVP, Camberley

This place has reverted to being called The Cambridge Hotel. It is at the northern end of the High Street at its junction with the A30. Whilst I still think it has accommodation, I think this is the last place I would choose to stay at. The barman was quite brash and the rowdy locals appeared to take great delight in ringing a bell each time somebody broke wind. Tables were filthy. Toilets were slightly cleaner. Ales were Ghost Ship & Doom Bar. It now bills itself as a nightclub, which I doubt helps those in the accommodation. On the plus side, prices are cheap.

31 May 2016 20:33

The Claude Du Vall, Camberley

Camberley has one long High Street with a number of pubs. I think I did the two pubs at the furthest ends. The Claude du Vall is a Wetherspoons at the southern end, nextdoor to and opposite what looked like a couple of rough establishments, judging by the clientele outside. This pub is fairly small by 'spoons standards. The windows at the front open completely to make it a little nicer during the summer months. I believe there was also an outdoor courtyard to the side. Ales were Greene King Abbot, Sharps Doom Bar, Ruddles Best, Dark Star Revelation, Oakham JHB, Twickenham Summer Sun, Surrey Hills Greensand IPA & Ascot Aureole Ale. Cider was Old Rosie. Service was friendly and for once they accepted a CAMRA voucher for a pint of cider. A better than average Wetherspoons and probably the best pub in the town.

31 May 2016 20:29

The Rose and Thistle, Frimley Green

The Rose & Thistle looks like the best pub in a town I'd only really ever heard of due to the darts. True to my perceptions, there was a guy playing darts. A fairly busy pub with more people outside than inside. But it did have a good selection of ales and excellent service by a barmaid who was patient and clearly knowledgeable about the ales. The selection on cask was Celt Experience Otherworld Batch II: Pale, Rudgate Dick Firkin & Sharps Doom Bar. Tasting notes were on a blackboard. They also had some interesting keg options. The interior is plain and simple. Nice place.

31 May 2016 20:22

The Swan, Ash Vale

The Swan is a Chef & Brewer establishment hidden away along the canal, a little way off the main road through Ash Vale. With its location, it was predictably popular on a nice bank holiday Sunday, especially the outdoor area. Not everybody was there for their meals. Drinks were expensive and I've been to Chef & Brewer pubs with better selections. Nevertheless, they did have Courage Directors, Greene King IPA & Mucky Duck & Hop Art Hoppy Blonde. I later discovered a handpull with Westons Old Rosie just around the side. Service was very slow. One barmaid who was serving walked off after I had been waiting for 5 minutes. She obviously something more important to do. But then at least she could have at least apologised for having to walk away. Perhaps a little training is in order. Nice enough chain pub spoiled by poor service and high prices.

31 May 2016 20:14

Napiers, Ash Vale

Napiers is a real local establishment. The small bar is L-shaped. There is a pool table in a separate room at one end. Forty Niner was the real ale option. The car park is a little strange. If it was full, there would be at least a couple of cars completely boxed in. There's nothing particularly special about this pub. But the barmaid was friendly and bubbly.

31 May 2016 20:08

The Dover Arms, Ash

Now a used car lot.

31 May 2016 20:04

The Good Intent, Puttenham

The Good Intent is situated in another lovely Surrey village. I was expecting to find a beer festival here, as they normally have one over the late bank holiday weekend. But a sign on the blackboard revealed that it had been postponed due to a fire in an outbuilding. The ale selection was disappointing with all but one being national brands - Sharps Doom Bar, Courage Directors, Otter Bitter, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Black Sheep Best Bitter & Hogs Back TEA. Most people seemed to be drinking in the garden at the rear. I was the only person left inside. A little disappointing.

31 May 2016 20:03

The Royal Oak, Wood Street

The Royal Oak was my favourite pub of 11 I sampled in Guildford on Sunday. Although I think the presence of a cider festival influenced my decision! Whilst there were only 4 real ciders, it was good to see what seemed to be a locals pub promoting the real stuff and also to see the locals fully engaging and trying each of them. The 4 available were also rarely seen in these parts - Cornwall Cider Company Mango, Lime & Ginger Fruit Cider, Cornish Orchards Vintage, Lyme Bay Eventide & Hogans Panking Pole. I went for the one I hadn't previously tried - the Eventide, which was nice. Ales were not quite so adventurous, with just Ringwood Razor Back & Forty Niner & Marstons Pedigree available. What looks like a small garden at the side opens up into a large space with a children's play house. A barbecue was very popular. But a 10 minute wait for a burger put me off. The interior is small, but cosy. Lovely pub with hospitable hosts.

31 May 2016 19:55

Rodboro Buildings, Guildford

The Rodboro Buildings is a landmark Guildford building at a busy traffic junction near the centre of the town. Inside, is a rambling Wetherspoons with a few distinct drinking areas over 2 floors. The effect is modern, with exposed ducting. With so much space and even with plenty of customers, it didn't feel busy. Bar staff do a good job of serving people quickly. The ale selection was Sharps Doom Bar, Greene King IPA & Abbot, Firebird American Pale Ale, Hogs Back TEA, Everards/Mad Fox Defender, Gold Mark Liquid Gold, Triple fff Alton's Pride & Little Beer Corporation Little Haka. Ciders were Orchard Pig The Hogfather & Westons Old Rosie. Certainly one of the better pubs in Guildford.

31 May 2016 19:46

The Stoke, Guildford

Moving away from the Surrey Hills and its over-inflated prices, I arrived at a couple of better priced pubs in Guildford. The Stoke is on the outskirts. But that doesn't stop the car park filling up with shoppers. It's a pay and display affair. But it was clear that not all of the owners were in the pub. The Stoke doubles up as a pizza place. But I wouldn't class it as a gastropub. It certainly has a good selection of ales. On Sunday, it was Plain Ales Mayday, Innocence & Sheep Dip, Red Squirrel Hopfest, Slaters Queen Bee, Little Beer Corporation Little S.O.B. & Greene King IPA. On closer inspection, this is part of the Greene King chain. But you wouldn't know. I was hoping for real cider. But none were available. When I asked, the foreign barman offered me Aspalls or Kopparberg. I went for the Mayday instead, which was good. I think this could be my favourite pub in Guildford so far.

31 May 2016 19:41

The Onslow Arms, West Clandon

The Onslow Arms looked like a fairly unassuming roadside pub at first glance. But then I entered the car park and found an area with around 100 cars parked and an overspill area with countless more. The pub itself is a rambling affair with a number of rooms. It's clearly another place that is more of a restaurant than a pub. But there was a pleasant patio area at the rear which seemed more popular for drinkers. Unfortunately I was driving and drivers appear to be penalised here. £4 for a cranberry juice makes this one of the most expensive places I have ever been to. Ales were Caledonian Onslow Arms Ale, Surrey Hills Shere Drop, Little Beer Corporation & Sharps Cornish Coaster. There were also some posh-type lagers seemingly available. But I did watch one toff try to order one which was not available. His second choice was unavailable too. At that point it was easier for the barman to inform him of what was actually available! Nice pub. But I can only award a 4/10 for the completely unrealistic pricing. I wish I had declined to pay and walked out as £4 for a fruit juice is lunacy, Surrey or not.

31 May 2016 19:33

The Abinger Hatch, Abinger Common

The Abinger Hatch is set deep in the Surrey Hills. You pass through a wooded area to get here and at the summit of a hill, you find a small village with the pub opposite the church. It seems to be primarily a dining pub for the wealthy local residents. But there were 4 real ales and a nice beer garden in which to sup them. Ringwood Razor Back, Hop Art IPA, Langham LSD & Cottage Conquest was the choice. No real cider was on offer, to clear up previous comments. But maybe availability is seasonal. Popular with the huge number of cyclists in the area. Worth a visit for the setting alone.

31 May 2016 19:26

The Old Cannon Brewery, Bury St Edmunds

This was our final pub of the night and another brewpub. The brewing equipment is near the entrance at the side of the bar. Staff are very professional and know their stuff. This is an old building. But the interior feels very clinical and lacks atmosphere. There is accommodation just across the courtyard. Ales from Old Cannon were Best Bitter, Gunner's Daughter & Rusty Gun. I wasn't overly impressed with my Gunner's Daughter. Guest ales were Woodfordes Reedlighter & Adnams Broadside.

23 May 2016 20:39

The Beerhouse, Bury St Edmunds

The Beerhouse was the first of two pubs for us in Bury St Edmunds. It has a fairly modern interior and appears to be the tap room for the Brewshed Brewery, which is just opposite. From them, there was Best Bitter, American Blonde & Pale Ale. Guests were Corvedale Norman's Pride, Wolf Golden Jackal, Raw Blonde Pale Ale & Humpty Dumpty Little Sharpie. Ciders were Abrahalls Lily The Pink & Thundering Molly & Harry Taylor's Crooked Branch. A nice place. But at £4.10 a pint, it's a little pricey. There's a covered and an uncovered area outdoors at the rear.

23 May 2016 20:35

The Greyhound, Ixworth

The Greyhound was the only Greene King pub I tried in Suffolk yesterday. But I read that it won the local CAMRA branch's pub of the month award for February. The landlord seemed a friendly chap and the pub deserves merit for stocking XX Mild. In addition to the mild, they had IPA & Abbot, as well as Humpty Dumpty Little Sharpie & Butcombe Bitter. The interior is an L-shape with two rooms and apparently there is a snug in the middle. But we sat outdoors at the rear. Near the exit, there is a pool table.

23 May 2016 20:29

The Greyhound, Botesdale

Was desperate for a pee when arriving here. On following somebody in, I decided to use the conveniences first as it would be a few minutes before I could get served. By the time I came out, another guy had appeared and was buying a large round. By the time I got served, I needed the toilet again! Ales are situated on handpulls at the back of the bar. So they are not immediately obvious. On this visit, they were Woodfordes Wherry, Greene King IPA Reserve, Brains The Rev James & Earl Soham Gold. It consists of 2 rooms - an attractive bar area and a separate dining area to the right as you walk in. This pub is now open all day at weekends and you could tell that some of the locals had been taking full advantage. There's a very handy chip shop two doors up.

23 May 2016 19:33

De La Pole Arms, Wingfield

Wingfield looked like a very nice village. But this pub which is in the current Good Beer Guide is now closed and up for sale. It doesn't look as if it will become a pub again anytime soon.

23 May 2016 19:28

The Plough Inn, Wissett

Locals pub set in the Suffolk countryside. It's a fairly modern-looking interior. But this pub is clearly at the heart of the community. 4 ales were being dispensed - Greene King Abbot, Adnams Bitter & Broadside & Lacons Encore. International football was being shown on the TV and there is a darts board in one corner. There's an undercover smoking area outside to the side.

23 May 2016 19:26

St Peters Hall, St Peter South Elmham

The Brewery Tap for St Peter's brewery is located in the middle of nowhere. But it's a very impressive building. With only a couple of other people here on a Sunday afternoon, it was very quiet too. There is a small bar area and a larger dining area with a large fireplace and some impressive church pews for seating. There's some fantastic woodwork. Outdoor seating can be found at the rear overlooking the moat with a dead floating fish and cattle on the other side. 3 St Peter's ales were on draught - Best Bitter, Ruby Red Ale & Organic Ale. But I think that the only one remaining was the Organic. There is a full bottled selection of St Peter's ales and also their new cider, which we tried. Worth a visit to see this fabulous building. The brewery and shop are opposite.

23 May 2016 19:23

The Lord Nelson Inn, Holton

Still has the look of a pub and is nicely located. However, the owners have turned it into a bed and breakfast. So this place is now closed. I can recommend the Fox at Shadingfield instead. I'll request for it to be added onto this site. But it was one of the best 2 pubs we tried in Suffolk yesterday and has a wide ale selection.

23 May 2016 19:15

Swan Inn, Barnby

Having read about this pub, I'd imagined a restaurant that served a couple of ales, rather than a pub that does food. Whilst it has clearly won admirers for its seafood, it still has the look and feel of a pub and it had 4 ales - Adnams Bitter & Ghost Ship & Greene King IPA & Abbot. There are outdoor drinking areas at both the front and rear. The etched windows at the front point to a day when the bar area was divided. But I have to say that this pub exceeded my (rather low) expectations.

23 May 2016 19:10

The Rumburgh Buck, Rumburgh

The Buck was certainly one of the best pubs we tried in Suffolk yesterday. It has quite a characterful interior with 3 ales and 3 ciders. The ales were Barrell and Sellers Pale Ale, Mauldons Silver Adder & Lacons Dark Mild. Ciders were Burnards Oakey Dokey & Monty's Double & Westons Family Reserve. A perry was on the blackboard, but had run out. There are 2 or 3 small rooms inside and people were arriving for Sunday lunch. We sat in the small rear garden, which also has a patio area to relax in the sun (assuming it is shining).

23 May 2016 19:01

The Swan, Brome

Roadside pub on the main A140 south of Diss. We arrived here yesterday lunchtime upon opening. Ales were all local - Adnams Bitter & Broadside & Nethergate IPA. The landlord was friendly enough. Along with others who followed us, we chose to sit in the pleasant garden at the rear, which has a slide, swings and a couple of mole hills. Fairly old fashioned but comfortable pub.

23 May 2016 18:55

The Mad Bishop and Bear, Paddington

Fancying a drink after the train back to London, I initially tried the Cider Tap (soon to close) at Euston only to find they had stopped serving by 9pm (very strange for a weekend). So I grabbed the opportunity to have a swift half at the Mad Bishop & Bear. This is a Fullers pub, generally with a guest ale or two. It is situated in the retail development up a couple of escalators. But it is still fairly busy. Departure screens ensure you don't miss your train or you can at least check what time the next one is, if you do happen to stay for one too many. On my visit, they had Fullers London Pride, ESB & Olivers Island, Gales Seafarers & Redwood, St Austell Tribute & Tomos Watkins The Last Inch. I went for the Redwood, which I wasn't too keen on. Still a handy place to know about and certainly the best of the 2 pubs at Paddington station. I've just noticed that they offer a CAMRA discount too.

18 May 2016 17:58

The Fly in the Loaf, Liverpool

The Fly In The Loaf was the third of eight pubs we visited in Liverpool on Sunday. To save repeating myself, I won't review the others. But I will request for the Merchant to be added to the site. The Fly In the Loaf always seems to be busy. But the ale choice can be inconsistent. As an Okells pub, it always stocks one of their ales. On Sunday it was their Bitter. In addition, there was Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby Mild, Firebird Two Horses & Pacific Gem, Jennings Sneck Lifter, Robinsons Trooper & Salopian Oracle. Popular for those watching the football on the TV and generally has enough bar staff to ensure service is prompt. Has a decent bottle selection too. Still one of the city's best pubs.

18 May 2016 17:51

The John Bull Inn, Alnwick

The John Bull was my last stop of the evening last Thursday before the long trip back to London. It does not open until 7pm. So this had to be the last pub I had planned. Several other people entered at the same time as me and a few more entered soon after. So it took a while for the landlord to clear the initial rush. The pub has a musty smell to it on first entering. But it's a really old-fashioned (in a nice way) backstreet local, the likes of which have been vanishing all over the country. The single room is split into two by a central partition, whilst there is a small outdoor seating area to the side with tables made out of bottles. 3 ales were available - Acorn Blonde, Hadrian Border Bandwagon & Black Country BFG. There were 2 ciders - Westons Old Rosie & Broadoak Moonshine, in addition to Broadoak Perry. Probably the best pub in Alnwick. Although the Tanners Arms runs it close and would probably be many people's favourite. I'd advise everybody to try them both one evening.

18 May 2016 17:45

The Tanners Arms, Alnwick

After being in Alnwick earlier in the day, I returned to visit 2 pubs that had earlier been closed. Both were excellent. First stop was the Tanners Arms. This is a small, but popular one room local. It is brightly coloured inside and apparently hosts various live music events. There is a strange feature in the middle of the bar - a tree trunk. Toilets are through sliding doors as there'd be insufficient room for a swing door. Ales were Tempest Cascadian Blonde Ale, Wylam Galatia, Allendale Wagtail & Born In The Borders Dark Horse. Cider fetched from the cellar was Thistly Cross Original. I tried the Dark Horse and the Thistly Cross and both were good. Clientele were mostly getting on a little (including myself) and some appeared a little eccentric. A really good place for a drink.

18 May 2016 17:39

The Queens Head Inn, Great Whittington

Village pub that doubles as a Chinese restaurant. I had to wait until 5pm for it to open and I'd probably have ordered a meal, had they served food before 6pm. But I settled for the complimentary prawn crackers. 2 ales from the nearby High House Farm were on - Sundancer & Nel's Best. But having been to their brewery tap earlier, I settled for a Blaydon from Firebrick which wasn't too well kept. The Queen's Head is clearly a well-loved community local and therefore worthy of your custom, despite the slightly suspect beer quality. There is a garden at the front.

18 May 2016 08:09

The Rat Inn, Anick

With the Dyvels Inn at Corbridge closed, I found myself killing time waiting for pubs that only opened in the evening to open. But the Rat Inn at Anick was a great place to do just that. It has some marvellous views over the valley and is set in a small hamlet. Inside there is a clear focus on meals, with most food locally sourced. Outside, there is a very nice garden (at the front). Toilets are outside at the rear. Ales were Wylam Spring Thing, North Blyth Fuggles Gold, Cumberland Corby Fox & Allendale Wagtail. They also had a cider - Gwynt y Ddraig Happy Daze. My favourite pub of the day and well worth a visit.

18 May 2016 08:00

Dyvel's, Corbridge

The Dyvels Inn is on the station side of the river. But unfortunately it is currently closed for refurbishment. 0/10 as no beer available at present.

18 May 2016 07:56

The Black Bull, Corbridge

The second pub I tried in Corbridge was the Black Bull. It's a Greene King pub and at least the prices were more reasonable here than in the nearby Angel. Ales were Belhaven Golden Bay, Morland Old Golden Hen, Greene King IPA & Up The Wall Landlord's Choice. Had a mixture of local drinkers and diners. But was fairly quiet on this weekday afternoon. There is a tight car park at the rear, approached by an equally narrow passageway.

18 May 2016 07:54

The Angel, Corbridge

Following a visit to the High House Farm Brewery (not listed on here) in the middle of nowhere, I moved onto the riverside town of Corbridge. For some reason, I expected an industrial-type town. But this is quite a picturesque place. The Angel is a hotel with sky high prices. As I was driving, I had to settle for an apple juice and a pack of crisps. I nearly fell over when asked to pay £4.40. The front patio was very popular in the sunshine, whilst a few diners were finishing off their lunches in the modernised interior. Car parking is at the rear beyond a barrier, for which you need the code to get back out. Ales were Tyne Bank Silver Dollar, Wylam The Angel's Share (house beer), Cumberland Great Corby Ale, Mordue Workie Ticket & Hadrian Border Tyneside Blonde. But this place was far too expensive to linger.

18 May 2016 07:51

The Queens Head, Rothbury

After a visit to the Plough in Alnwick (not listed on here), I took a lovely drive in the sunshine over the moors to Rothbury where I located the Queen's Head. This was a quiet pub in the centre of this reasonably large village. I'm not sure if it's always this quiet. But this was a weekday lunchtime. Ales were Wharfebank Blood Orange IPA, St Austell Tribute, Maxim Double Maxim & Marstons Pedigree. The landlord was a friendly guy. The main bar was cosy and there is a small garden and car park at the rear. Worth a visit for the drive here alone.

18 May 2016 07:42

The Red Lion, Alnmouth

Coaching inn in the lovely port of Alnmouth. There are 2 rooms - 1 is a traditional bar and the other a dining area. At the rear is an outdoor terrace. I arrived on a Thursday morning and was the first customer. With no staff around, I had to ring bell for service. Ales were Black Sheep Best Bitter, Credence Blonde, Roosters Yankee & Cumberland Great Corby Stout. I chose the stout which was nice. A Thistly Cross cider was available on keg. Nice pub in a nice town.

18 May 2016 07:34

The Millstone Hotel, Gosforth

The Millstone was my final pub of the day in Tyne & Wear. It's a 2-roomed pub that is clearly popular with locals. Ales were Bass, Sharps Doom Bar, Hexhamshire Whapweasel, Wylam Bitter & Spring Thing, Anarchy Blonde Star & Allendale Pennine Pale & Force Majeure. My Wylam Bitter was somewhat cloudy and whilst not the worst drink of the day, it was worse than average. Still a reasonable pub though.

14 May 2016 18:13

The Brandling Villa, South Gosforth

I thought this was the best of the 3 South Gosforth pubs I tried. It certainly had the best ale range. But there's a strange way of dispensing things. When I ordered a half of one ale, the barmaid muttered something about third or two third pints. I politely declined that offer and asked for a half. When it came to £2.45, I thought I was back in London. But it soon became apparent that I'd been dispensed two thirds of a pint - very strange. The guy next to me seemed to indicate that this happens to most people who walk in for the first time. It's a shame that the barmaid couldn't have been more communicative. I also later found out that CAMRA discounts are offered. But none were advertised and I wasn't offered one. Ales were Ilkley Crossroads, Black Isle Goldeneye, Tickety Brew Cherry Berlinerweisse, Oakham Black Hole Porter, Bristol Beer Factory Southville Hop, Allendale Wolf, Tyne Bank Frank and Bird & Pacifica, Mordue Radgie Gadgie & Roosters Fort Smith. Ciders were Thatchers Heritage & Westons Old Rosie. Nice pub and decent beer. It was just the service issues and prices that mark it down.

14 May 2016 18:10

The Victory, South Gosforth

The Victory was the first of 3 South Gosforth establishments I sampled late on Wednesday evening. I didn't find it particularly welcoming. My arrival appeared to be a distraction for the barmaid, who was placing glasses on shelves. Without getting off the floor, she asked if she could help me, almost as if there was a faint possibility that I wouldn't need any help that would require her to get off the floor. Ales were Victory Ale (Caledonian Edinburgh Castle), Theakston Lightfoot & Thwaites Wainwright. Some kind of musical pub quiz was going on. So there was no chance of a quiet drink. Nice enough interior. But nothing else to recommend it.

14 May 2016 18:04

George Stephenson Inn, Newcastle

This pub was probably the worst of the day for me. On entering, I was ignored for a few minutes, until a regular walked in and I was finally acknowledged. Ales were Moles Six FIngers, Theakstons Locomotive Brew & Rocket Ale & Everards Ascalon. A number of other handpulls showed beers that were "coming soon". The Rocket Ale I had was the worst drink of the day and clearly on the turn. I'd have taken it back if I hadn't had a bus to catch. I later found out that CAMRA discounts are available. But there are no signs to promote this and it is not offered. Situated next to a railway bridge carrying the East Coast main line. Seemed popular. So maybe I was just unlucky.

14 May 2016 17:59

Shiremoor House Farm, North Shields

Shiremoor House Farm is another Fitzgerald's place. It's more of a restaurant than a pub. But there's a good selection of ales and ciders - Anarchy Blonde Star, Three Kings Dark Side of the Toon & Ring of Fire, Great North Eastern Rivet Catcher & Thistly Cross Strawberry Cider & Ginger Cider. The interior is spacious and seemed to have a vaguely medieval feel. This place was far better than I had expected. But it's a bit out of the way.

14 May 2016 17:54

The Beacon, Whitley Bay

The Beacon is an Ember Inns pub. So food is popular. The ale range was better than in other pubs - Caledonian Deuchars IPA, Navigation Britannia, Black Sheep Best Bitter & Ember Pale Ale, Ilkley Mary Jane, Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold & Marstons Pedigree. With nothing springing out, I plumped for the Britannia which happened to be 'on offer'. Typical branch of this chain.

14 May 2016 17:50

The Black Horse, Monkseaton

Fairly average pub a few minutes walk from Monkseaton metro station. There is a dining room on one side and a public bar to the other. Tables were all laid out in the dining room. But despite this no food was being served. There are 4 handpumps in all - 2 in each room, with no apparent notice stating what is in the other room. The 4 ales on my visit were Marstons Pedigree, Robinsons Beerdo, Wells Bombardier Burning Gold & Exmoor Hound Dog. They were all fairly pale ales. But the Beerdo was fine.

14 May 2016 17:47

Fat Ox, Whitley Bay

The Fat Ox was the final pub I tried in Whitley Bay, as it doesn't open until 3pm on weekdays. This is clearly a popular place for live music with bands advertised most nights. One real ale was on - Three Kings Billy Mill. They also had Old Rosie cider. Beer for dogs was advertised. Strangely this was the second pub I'd seen this in. Seems to be a popular trait for this area.

14 May 2016 17:42

Fitzgeralds Whitley Bay, Whitley Bay

Not as nice or as popular as Fitzgerald's pubs I've been to in Newcastle or Sunderland. But still a decent pub. 3 ales were on - Fyne Ales Jarl, Allendale Adder & Titanic Plum Porter. Cider was Thistly Cross Original. It's a spacious room with seating spread around the large central bar. It was very quiet on my Wednesday afternoon visit. It has competition from a Wetherspoons just round the corner. Best pub I tried in Whitley Bay.

14 May 2016 17:39

Rockcliffe Arms, Whitley Bay

The Rockcliffe Arms was my second pub of the day on Wednesday after the Beehive at Earsdon. It's a pleasant backstreet boozer near the station. It's part of the Fitzgeralds chain. The interior is quite dark. Sky Sports was showing on the TV. But the main form of entertainment appears to be conversation. Ales were Sonnet 43 Seraphim, Ossett Gold, Rat Rat Attack & Three Bridges The Rock (the house beer). Sadly no dark beers or real ciders.

14 May 2016 17:33

Parcel Yard, Leicester

This was our last stop of our Leicester crawl. Armed with a kebab, I remember seeing the Steamin' Billy sign and heading in for one last swift half. Steamin' Billy Bitter, Tipsy Fisherman & Vardy's Volley, as well as Belvoir Dark Horse were the ales. I don't remember too much more about it, apart from it feeling quite large, dark and fairly plush. I'll have to try this again when more sober.

8 May 2016 16:51

High Cross, Leicester

Busy city centre Wetherspoons with locals enjoying Leicester City's title celebrations. It's fairly typical of the chain with a large-open plan room and plenty of seating. Ales were Ruddles Best, Greene King Abbot, Grainstore Ten Fifty, Oakham Green Devil IPA, Lymestone Stonefish Mild, Nottingham Rock Mild, Sharps Doom Bar, Ascot Anastasia Exile Stout, Wild Weather Choppy Waters & Marstons One Is 90. Cider was Bottle Kicking Cider Company Traditional Medium. Decent branch.

8 May 2016 16:47

Sir Robert Peel, Leicester

Having left the game early, this was our first pub as we hit the town again. I don't recall too much about it. But the ales were Everards Tiger & Sunchaser, Tollgate Best Bitter, California Steam & High Street Bitter. A Westons Old Rosie pumpclip was present. But they had run out. Apparently a CAMRA discount is offered. But we certainly didn't get offered one! Ok pub. But there are many better in the city.

8 May 2016 16:41

Western, Leicester

Yet another decent Leicester pub. As we did last season, we arrived here after everybody else had already flooded out to the match. Just time for a swift half, as we still had 20 minutes before kick off. Ales were Steamin' Billy Tipsy Fisherman, Skydiver & Bitter & Everards Ascalon. Ciders were Broadoak Moonshine & Fynburys Rutland Cider.

8 May 2016 16:37

The Looking Glass, Leicester

This is now the West End Brewery. Despite being only around 15 minutes walk from Leicester City's football ground, it was fairly quiet. So perhaps word hasn't got round about this place yet. It brews its own beer on the premises and the barman was formerly at the Criterion. The ground floor is fairly spacious, with plenty of seating. Toilets were downstairs. Two of their own ales were on - Mild & IPA, in addition to Hart No. 3 Ruby, Tres Bien Parakeet & Gwynt y Ddraig Ancient Warrior was dispensed from a box on the bar. Well worth a visit.

8 May 2016 16:33

Swan and Rushes, Leicester

I last visited here almost 4 years ago. It was very quiet that time. This time it was quite the opposite with queues up to 4 deep at the bar. Punters were spilling outside. But the ale range was as good if not better - Milestone Dark Vader & Emperial Ale Strikes Back, Grainstore Ten Fifty, Oakham JHB & Bishop's Farewell, Batemans XB & Riyad Mahrez Mild (not sure which brewery), in addition to Farmer Fear Thirsty Farmer cider (another new one for me). Another good Leicester pub.

8 May 2016 16:29

The Charlotte, Leicester

I was most impressed with the Charlotte. I'm told that it's now run by the people that used to run The Pub. 6 ales were on, plus a cider - Rudgate Brew No. 1 Vanilla Mild, Elwoods Puff, Tring Side Pocket For A Toad, Salopian Pathfinder, Grafters Cascade & Buck Pendeen American Pale. The cider was Joe's Dry - not one I'd had before. The interior of this pub has been stripped back to a minimum. But the atmosphere was good, with plenty of singing from the Leicester fans. It's fairly small and has the feel of a micropub. A good option and easy to combine with the Criterion.

8 May 2016 16:20

The Criterion, Leicester

Paid a return visit to the Criterion yesterday. It didn't feel quite as good as my last visit. There were still plenty of ales on - The Pig Pub Pig Out, Kelham Island Pale Rider, 8 Sail Bard's Bitter, Nelson Midshipman Dark Mild, Tres Bien Parakeet, Market Harborough Hoppy Pale Ale, Salopian Darwin's Origin, Shardlow Slayed & Langton Bowler. Cider was Charnwood Appley 'Av Another & Rockingham Forest Dabinett. The ciders were farm. But the Mild was poor. The pub was also much busier than on our last visit. I think I'd still rate this as just about Leicester's best pub.

8 May 2016 16:15

The Rutland and Derby, Leicester

The Rutland & Derby was our third stop on yesterday's tour of Leicester. It's another Everards house. But this one had a few guests - in addition to Tiger & Sunchaser, they had Bath Golden Hare & Castle Rock Elsie Mo. Cider was Westons Rosie's Pig. The pub has more of an upmarket feel than other Everards pubs and there was a popular outdoor courtyard at the back which was very pleasant in the sunshine yesterday lunchtime. CAMRA discounts are offered.

8 May 2016 16:11

The Ale Wagon, Leicester

The Ale Wagon is still one of Leicester's best alehouses. Little has changed since my last visit. Ales on this time were Burton Bridge Draught Ale, Grainstore Steelback IPA, Hoskins Brothers Bitter, Green & Gold & IPA & Belvoir Dark Horse. Cider was Thistly Cross Whisky Cask. Most of the locals are friendly.

8 May 2016 16:05

Barley Mow, Leicester

After my failed attempt to visit 4 years ago , I made the Barley Mow our first stop yesterday. It's fairly close to the station. The interior doesn't have too many tables. I guess most people stand. But it was early enough to be able to grab one of the tables. The ale selection was not the best - Everards Tiger, Beacon & Original & Wood Farm (aka Kendricks) Webb Ellis & Mulligans. No real cider was stocked.

8 May 2016 16:02

The Bird in Hand, Bishop's Lydeard

There was just enough time for one more Somerset pub. So we headed here after getting off the steam railway. It's a locals pub with one main room, divided into different sections. Locals were watching a Championship game. We settled in a corner waiting to order dinner. Ales were Exmoor Gold, Cotleigh Tawny Bitter & Goffs Black Horse & Tournament. The Black Horse was very nice. There is a small garden and car park at the rear. Handy if visiting the railway. Although I noticed that the Quantock Brewery also has premises next to the station that had been open for ale consumption earlier in the day.

3 May 2016 20:10

Old Ship Aground, Minehead

It's been almost 3 years since my last visit, when I found it closed. But I was determined to get here whilst in Minehead this time. It's certainly been well refurbished and still enjoys a lovely location next to the harbour. The only drawback is the restrictive Marstons range - Ringwood Best, Boon Doggle & Old Thumber & Wychwood Hobgoblin. It's 10 minutes walk from the station along the seafront. Probably the best pub in the town.

3 May 2016 20:06

The Carnival Inn, Bridgwater

Came in here yesterday morning for a breakfast and a pint. It's a large Wetherspoons in the typical style of the chain. It was predictably busy, before other pubs had opened. Ales were Cotleigh Long-Eared Owl, Sharps Doom Bar, Redpoint IPA, Ruddles Best, Greene King Abbot, Quantock Nightjar & Blindmans Golden Spring. Ciders were Westons Old Rosie & Marcle Hill, Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon & Thistly Cross Whisky Cask. We sat near the Bridgwater Carnival photographs at the rear of the pub, that the previous reviewer refers to. Breakfast was adequate and well priced. Had my little one in tow and plenty of others had too. Fairly soulless, as usual. But serves a (good) purpose.

3 May 2016 19:58

Fountain Inn, Bridgwater

The Fountain was second Bridgwater pub and my last of the day in Somerset. It has a nice situation in the centre of the town next to the river. The ale range can probably only be bettered by the Wetherspoons (unless there was somewhere I was missing). But unlike the 'spoons, this was a proper pub. Neither did it have the local characters as in the Bristol & Exeter Inn. The pub is fairly small. But it was busy. I sat next to a group of people using sign language. Ales were Heritage Ales Victorian Porter, Moles Rucking Mole, Black Templar (apparently Landlord's Choice), Black Rat Cider (from a flask in the fridge) & Quantock Ginger Cockney & White Hind. Good pub with a traditional feel.

3 May 2016 19:53

Bristol and Exeter Inn, Bridgwater

I believe this used to be a cider house. It's not quite anymore, with only one real cider as such. It also has a real ale. The ale was Mole's Elmo's Fire. The cider was Rich's Farmhouse. I read the previous comments on here not knowing what to expect. But they're all pretty much spot on. This is a small one-room pub on a roundabout, near the station. It feels run-down. The customers are extremely down-to-earth. The barman (owner?) was Irish. I turned around from the bar and saw only one spare table. This just happened to be the one situated next to the extremely inebriated young lady who was dancing and singing incorrect words to songs from the jukebox and not quite in tune. She was well endowed and very nearly popping out of her red dress. Two equally inebriated young ladies were egging her on, as she danced around me. For a few brief moments, I thought I'd entered a strip club and was about to be smothered. Other locals, some missing a few teeth were also keen for the young lady to dance and were furnishing the jukebox with enough coins to keep her going, a bit like the laughing clown at the seaside. The décor feels very dated. But as previous reviews have said, this is what gives it character. One rather strange feature was around a dozen dummies and a baby's milk bottle tied together with a piece of string on the corner of the bar. You'll either love this pub or you'll hate it. But this is very much part of what makes England what it is today. I loved the place. I wouldn't want it as my local. But there's free entertainment to be had here in an unadorned traditional Somerset market town hostelry. If you find yourself in Bridgwater, give it a try. 7/10.

3 May 2016 19:42

The Ring O'Bells, Ashcott

With the King William at Catcott apparently closed for good, we had a longer wait than expected for the Ring O'Bells to open. A few others joined us as it neared the 7pm opening time. I was glad we waited though. This is another lovely Somerset hostelry with a couple of real ales, a real cider, a cosy lounge and a large room complete with a skittle alley. The 2 ales were Severn Vale Dursley Stem Bitter & RCH PG Steam. Cider was Wilkins Farmhouse. We also enjoyed a decent dinner here too. I opted for the Sunday roast deal, which included a dessert for £10.50. Was worth the wait.

3 May 2016 19:29

The King William, Catcott

Headed to this pub after a visit to the 37 Club in Puriton. Their website says they open at 6pm on a Sunday. A board outside proclaimed that they were open, with opening times also confirmed as from 6pm. A contradictory notice said they served roasts all day on a Sunday until 7pm. A note on the door suggested they'd be closed on Bank Holiday Monday. We waited and we waited. We called and we called again. But the pub never opened and nobody answered our calls. I'm not entirely sure if it's still trading, given all this uncertainty. But what is certain is that you can't get a beerintheevening here. So the only score I can give is 0/10.

3 May 2016 19:25

The Ring o' Bells, Moorlynch

Another nice Somerset village pub. But the drinks selection was not as good as others. 2 real ales were listed on a blackboard - Bays Gold & Cheddar Potholer. But there were no pumpclips on the handpulls either side of the bar. So I'm not convinced they were still available. I was driving. So I didn't actually enquire. But there was no real cider either. The bar area had a few locals present. They were watching the football. We sat in a small room adjoining the lounge, where there was one other customer when we arrived. Friendly enough staff. We moved on to do some birdwatching on the Levels after this, or rather bird-scaring with my son in tow! Not the best pub of the day.

3 May 2016 19:20

The George Inn, Middlezoy

After a brief visit to the Bere Cider Company, we dropped into this very pleasant village hostelry in an equally pleasant village. I'm fairly sure there were 2 rooms. But everybody appeared to be in the main bar area, which has a few nooks and crannies and a variety of seating. 3 ales were on - Thwaites Wainwright, Three Daggers Daggers Ale & St Austell Tribute. Two Farmer Jims ciders were also being served - Medium & Farmyard Fruits. Well worth a visit.

3 May 2016 19:14

The Old Custom House, Langport

Langport is a nice, small town. But this pub is now closed.

3 May 2016 19:10

The Rose and Crown, Huish Episcopi

The Rose & Crown was my favourite pub of the day. With its taproom in the centre of the pub, it feels fairly unique. There are several cosy rooms with flagstone floors. 3 ales were being served - Teignworthy Reel Ale, Butcombe Bitter & Goffs White Knight. Cider was Burrow Hill Farmhouse. Locals congregated in the tap room were friendly. Toilets are outdoors. There is also a small garden next to a stream. Fabulous pubs with lots of character.

3 May 2016 19:06

The Devonshire Arms, Long Sutton

Impressive stone building overlooking the village green. But the interior feels more like an upmarket restaurant, with prices to match. They do have a couple of real ales - Otter Bitter & Oakham JHB. No real cider was available on draught. Although they did have Ashton Press. There is a small car park at the back, which leads to a large garden spread over a couple of levels. The rear garden has vegetables growing. Felt a bit pretentious.

3 May 2016 19:02

The Bell Inn, Martock

The Bell Inn was our first stop on our Sunday crawl of Somerset. It's a village pub with a couple of rooms. Most people were there for Sunday lunch. One other guy was having a quite drink, whilst reading the newspaper. 3 ales were on - Exmoor Fox, Sharps Doom Bar & St Austell Tribute. Ciders were Westons Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig. Took a while to get served as we arrived just after a group of 3 who placed drinks and then food orders. But otherwise service was fine.

3 May 2016 18:05

The Grapes, Liverpool

After a visit to the unheralded Black Lodge Brewing in the Baltic Triangle (I have requested for it to be added), I moved on to the Grapes for a swift visit. The ale range wasn't quite as good as on previous visits. But The Grapes is still a place any ale lover should search out when in Liverpool. The outdoor courtyard at the rear is currently closed whilst works are undertaken. The gents toilets could do with a refresh too. But this small corner pub has plenty of charm and knowledgeable staff. They also serve Thai/Lao food. Ales on this visit were Red Star Lakota & Samba, Liverpool Organic Liverpool Pilsner, Robinsons Trooper, Sandiway Hop Schism & Hop Sepia & Rock The Boat Liverpool Light. The cider was Orchard Pig Explorer.

3 May 2016 17:57

Camp and Furnace, Liverpool

Paid a return visit here on Saturday after trying Constellations and before visiting the Baltic Social & Black Lodge Brewing, also in the Baltic Triangle. None of the others are listed on here. But the Camp & Furnace was the worst of the 4. We waited for almost 5 minutes with nobody else at the bar, only to be completely ignored. One girl was standing behind the bar counting pennies, whilst other staff appeared behind the bar only to walk off again. We did get a strange look from the penny counter when we decided to vote with our feet. But there was still a complete lack of interest in winning back our custom. 0/10.

3 May 2016 17:36

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

I visited the Wenlock last night for a session. The pub seems to be going for more of a trendy feel these days and the clientele is a bit more well heeled than previously. But it's more popular than ever and finding a table was difficult. The ale range was just as good as ever and there are still a few real ciders in addition to some craft/keg options. Real ales last night were Dark Star American Pale Ale, Hackney American Pale Ale, Marble Chocolate Marble, New River Riverbed Red & London Tap, Tyne Bank Sorachi Dollar, Windsor & Eton Guardsman, Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde & Thornbridge Jaipur. Ciders were Handmade Crazy Diamond & Browns, Seacider Hardcore & Thatchers Cheddar Valley. They also had Olivers Perry. Still an excellent pub that has survived the test of time.

24 Apr 2016 17:30

The Vine, Kentish Town

I've often wondered past the Vine on the way to the nearby Southampton Arms. There's very often people enjoying the patio at the front during summer months. With the Southampton Arms opening later than normal due to an oversleeping issue, we used the opportunity to try the Vine out. There were 4 ales, which was far more than I had expected - Greene King IPA, Trumans Runner, London Beer Factory Beyond The Pale & Sambrooks Pumphouse Pale. There is no real cider. But there a couple of interesting draught selections. The pub has the feel of a gastropub and was bigger than I had expected.

24 Apr 2016 17:26

The Cross Keys, Covent Garden

Was in the Cross Keys yesterday (Saturday) morning. It was quiet at first, but soon filled up. The barman was friendly. The interior felt less cluttered than on previous visits. But maybe that was simply because it was empty. 5 ales were on - 3 from Brodies - Jamaican Stout, London Fields Pale Ale & Shoreditch Sunshine. The guest ales were Windsor & Eton Guardsman & Redemption Pale Ale. The stout was a bit too hoppy for my taste.

24 Apr 2016 17:18

The Bird In Hand, Stafford

There was just enough time for me to try one last pub in Stafford town centre on Wednesday afternoon. I chose the Bird In Hand, but later wish I hadn't. Apparently this used to be a Joules pub and from experience, they tend to be well decorated, with the possible exception of the British Lion in Crewe. Other patrons were in a fairly characterless room at the front. This had doors open to a patio at the rear, with music playing. The front two rooms were much more traditional, but were unoccupied and looked as if they needed a little bit of attention. No cask ales were available. Just a keg selection of John Smiths Extra Smooth, Thatchers Gold, Carlsberg, Carling, Guinness, Strongbow & Tetleys Smoothflow. Locals seemed fairly friendly though. Disappointing.

22 Apr 2016 22:10

The Crown, Hyde Lea

The Crown was my penultimate pub on Wednesday afternoon in Staffordshire. This pub is situated fairly high up overlooking the town of Stafford. The front bar is fairly small and narrow, but was where all the locals were congregated. At least I guess they were local. But none were talking. Ales were Wye Valley HPA, Bass, Brains The Rev James & Holdens Black Country Bitter. Nice enough pub. But doesn't open until 4pm during the week though.

22 Apr 2016 22:02

Three Stirrups, Stafford

Was not overly impressed with this pub. Was supposed to open at 4pm. But it was nearer to 4:30 when it opened, as the guy running the place had fallen asleep! Other pubs in Brewood were already busy by then. So they are missing a trick. Although the Three Stirrups is a little way away from the village centre and doesn't have the canal next to it like the Bridge. Wye Valley HPA was the real ale. But they did at least do Addlestones. The bar didn't feel particularly welcoming. But there is a large garden adjacent to the car park. The pub was undergoing a refurbishment on my visit.

22 Apr 2016 21:57

Swan, Stafford

The Swan is a lovely old pub situated at the centre of this village. Car parking is at the rear underneath an archway. The pub was fairly busy inside and out, with people enjoying the weather in a seating area at the rear. Ales were Broughs Light Pale Ale, Weetwood Oregon Pale, Caledonian Deuchars IPA, Wye Valley HPA, Courage Directors & Theakston Black Bull. The best pub in Brewood.

22 Apr 2016 21:53

The Bridge Inn, Brewood

The first of 3 pubs sampled in Brewood. This one is a Marstons establishment and has a very nice canalside setting. With the spring sun out, many people were enjoying the tables outside. Inside there is a small bar area and a larger lounge, presumably for diners. Ales were Thwaites Wainwright, Wychwood Jester Jack, Marstons EPA & Banks's Sunbeam with Thwaites Lancaster Bomber being pulled through. No real cider was served.

22 Apr 2016 21:49

The Royal Oak, Bishops Wood

This pub is currently closed. It looks as if it was being refurbished. There were no signs and doors wouldn't open. I could still see cask ales on the bar and there were no signs to indicate when it was closed or indeed when it would open. The only person around was on the roof. I went in search of liquid refreshment elsewhere. 0/10.

22 Apr 2016 21:46

The Vaughan Arms, Lapley

Yes. This is definitely still closed. But it doesn't appear to be lived in at present. It still has the pub signs up.

22 Apr 2016 21:43

The Swan, Whiston

After the Bell Inn at Haughton, this was my 5th Staffordshire pub of the day on Wednesday and probably the best. It's a rural place with a decent selection of ales and ciders - Holdens Black Country Bitter, Hobsons Town Crier, Ludlow Gold, Westons Wyld Wood, Shepton Mallet Cider Mill Somerset Fruit Forager & Hurst View Jibber Jabber. A CAMRA discount is offered, but it's not well advertised. So make sure you ask - I didn't. The lounge was quite welcoming. There were a couple still finishing lunch. The bar did seem to have more people in and there was also a large garden at the rear of the car park with plenty of things to keep children occupied. Worth a look.

22 Apr 2016 21:42

The Sun, Stafford

Titanic pub almost in the centre of Stafford. But it does have its own car park to the rear. The interior feels similar to other Titanic pubs I've been to in the Stoke area. Lifeboat, Plum Porter, Steerage, Anchor, Iceberg, Capt Smiths & White Star were their ales. They also had Batemans XB & Silver Hare & Everards Tiger. Westons ciders were Family Reserve, Old Rosie & Cider Twist Raspberry. They are situated high up at one end of the bar and are not immediately obvious. Busier than other Stafford pubs I tried, this was probably the best one too.

22 Apr 2016 21:36

Star and Garter, Stafford

The Star & Garter was my second Stafford pub of the day on Wednesday. It's close enough to the town centre to be considered and far enough to ensure it's not busy. There is a central bar with plenty of seating, as well as outdoor seating at the front and in a rear garden. Ales were Timothy Taylor Landlord, Morland Old Speckled Hen, Black Sheep Best Bitter & Marstons England's Pride. The real cider was Westons Family Reserve. My attention was also diverted to an unusual wooden barrel on the bar, which contained a fizzy cider from South West Orchards, which I had not seen before. The barmaid was friendly. Far better than I had expected.

22 Apr 2016 21:27

The Spittal Brook, Stafford

Two room pub situated at the end of a cul-de-sac. I was in shortly after opening time on a weekday and there was only one other customer in the lounge at the rear. I sat in the small bar at the front. Ales were Sharps Doom Bar, Ludlow Gold, Bass, Everards Mad Hatter's Tea Party & Phipps NBC Red Star. The cider was Addlestones. It's difficult to judge a pub when it's so quiet. But this seemed a nice enough place.

22 Apr 2016 21:20

The Swan Inn, Aston Munslow

The Swan was our final port of call yesterday. Another roadside pub on a B road. Whilst I think they'd stopped serving food, this felt very much like a pub whose business is based around dining. It was busier than other pubs we'd been to and probably supports the local drinkers too. Ales were Ludlow Gold, Wye Valley Butty Bach & Hobsons Twisted Spire. A comfortable pub that is worth stopping at if passing by.

18 Apr 2016 20:52

The Sun Inn, Craven Arms

The Sun is the home of the Corvedale brewery. Ales from them were Dark & Delicious, Fuggles Gold, Pax Ale & Oatmeal Stout. Cider was Gwatkin Norman Cider. The landlord and brewer is an amiable and chatty guy originally from North London. We enjoyed a brief visit chatting with him. The pub is a 2-room local on what is a fairly main road for the area. One room has a pool table. Certainly one of the best pubs of the day for us. How is this pub not in the Good Beer Guide?

18 Apr 2016 20:49

The Waterdine, Llanfair Waterdine

The Waterdine is situated in the middle of nowhere. But it's sadly no longer a pub. I'd read that it was now a restaurant. But there was little sign of life on our Sunday evening visit.

18 Apr 2016 20:45

The Anchor Inn, Anchor

If we thought the village of Clun was remote, we were very much mistaken. From there we headed west towards the Welsh border and during the 20 minute drive, we did not see one other car. The Anchor seems to be the land that time forgot. We parked in the car park, which is surrounded by dilapidated buildings and went in search of the entrance. What looked like a disused doorway turned out to be the main entrance. What strikes you first about this place is its fairly dirty appearance. There is plenty of mould, the toilets look like a health hazard and the walls in the main bar are a shade of yellow from years of cigarette smoke. The place is in dire need of re-decoration. But to do so would probably destroy the character of this place. It's a real unspoiled gem that is sadly a dying breed. The landlord is a friendly guy. I can't see how this place makes money. So my guess is that he's in it to serve the local community and for the love of the pub. The main room has a pool table at one end, with church pew seating. There is a smaller room the other side of the bar. Situated quite high up, it can get quite cold in here. Ales were Clun Pale Ale, Hobsons Best & Six Bells Big Nev's. Cider was Westons Family Reserve. Whilst this won't be everybody's cup of tea, I love this kind of place and long may it last. Only opens in the evening. 8/10.

18 Apr 2016 20:43

White Horse Inn, Clun

The White Horse is home to the Clun brewery. Pale & Citadel were their 2 cask ales. Bottled beers and take aways were available. They also had Salopian Darwin's Origin & Hop Twister, Wye Valley Butty Bach & Hobsons Best. The cider was Farmer Jims Dry and they also had Farmer Jims Farmyard Perry. More of a community pub than the Sun. This place appeared more of a family pub whilst also accommodating for a younger crowd. Both pubs in Clun have their merits. I thought the White Horse had the edge.

18 Apr 2016 20:33

The Sun Inn, Clun

The Sun was the first of the two pubs we visited in Clun yesterday. The two were like chalk and cheese. The Sun was suffering from a power cut. But this only served to make for a great atmosphere. The wife wanted a Tia Maria. Unfortunately the last bottle was sat on the bar with a candle in it. The barmaid then used it as a makeshift lantern to go and retrieve another bottle. This place clearly has a few characters, some of whom had clearly consumed one too many. One was playing a harmonica. There are 2 small rooms around the bar and a deceivingly larger space for diners to the side of the room on the right. Nobody was dining on our visit, presumably because they couldn't cook any food! Ales were all from Three Tuns - Rantipole, XXX & 1642. Without any lights, I'm not sure our visit was the norm. But this felt like a real step back in time, which was quite enjoyable.

18 Apr 2016 20:29

The Crown Inn, Clunton

Situated in the centre of a small village in the heart of the Shropshire countryside, this is another community local. It has 2 rooms - the main bar at the front and what looked like a smaller room at the rear. A darts match was in progress during our visit in the rear room and was being keenly followed in both bars. Ales were Hobsons Best, Gloucester Gold & Stonehouse Station Bitter. They also stocked Westons Country Perry. Watch your step if you cross to/from the car park opposite. You'll hopefully hear the passing cars before you get knocked down!

18 Apr 2016 20:22

The Kangaroo, Aston-on-Clun

Community local on a B road to the west of Craven Arms. Seemed like a friendly place in a farming community. Ludlow Gold & St Austell Spring Fever were the ales. Has a nice garden, with a barbecue for the summer months. Quiet.

18 Apr 2016 20:15

The Bricklayers Arms, Copthorne

The Bricklayers Arms was our second Joules pub in Shrewsbury. We preferred the Dolphin. The Bricklayers is a bigger pub with 2 or 3 different rooms. Pale, Blonde & Slumbering Monk were the 3 Joules ales. There were no guests available (one Springhead pumpclip was turned) and no real cider either. Although I understand that one had recently run out. Features an older crowd than the Dolphin. Many were here for their Sunday lunch.

18 Apr 2016 20:11

The Vaults, Shrewsbury

The Vaults was the best of 3 new pubs I tried in Shrewsbury yesterday afternoon. It's a fairly small bar with an outdoor patio area over two levels at the rear. Ales were Battlefield 1066, Hobsons Town Crier & Stonehouse Off The Rails. They also had Stonehouse Sweeney Mountain cider which was quite pleasant. I understand this place can get quite busy in the evening. But it had a nice, quiet atmosphere during the daytime. Close to the station and the castle. The barman was a friendly guy who did a couple of runs to the cellar firstly to check what cider it was as again to serve me one! Recommended.

18 Apr 2016 20:07

The Dolphin Inn, Shrewsbury

The Dolphin was the first stop in Shrewsbury yesterday. It's a Joules pub on the edge of town that has a nice feel to it, with a couple of rooms and bare floorboards. Joules beers - No. 37, Slumbering Monk & Pale Ale are supplemented Bespoke Over A Barrel & Pennine Hair Of The Dog. Cider was Old Rosie. Nice pub.

18 Apr 2016 19:23

The George and Dragon, Much Wenlock

The George & Dragon was the first of 11 Shropshire pubs my wife and I trawled around yesterday. It's a nice olde worlde building on the High Street with a cosy front bar and a dining area at the rear. Ales were fairly mainstream - Morland Old Golden Hen, St Austell Tribute, Hobsons Best & Greene King Abbott. No real cider is served. The young barman overcharged me. But it wasn't deliberate. Clearly a place for locals and their dogs.

18 Apr 2016 19:19

The Ship and Mitre, Liverpool

The Ship & Mitre is back to being my favourite pub in Liverpool. With plenty of staff, it's much easier getting served than it used to be and for me, the range of ciders has also improved with some more unusual ones during my last few visits. Ales on Saturday were Marstons EPA, Abbeydale Daily Bread, Keltek Magic, Cross Bay Sunset, Titanic Iceberg & Cherry Dark, Herefordshire Celtic Gold, Wychwood Hobgoblin, Milestone Anniversary Ale, Ringwood Old Thumper, 4T's Rock The Stout & Roosters Londinium. Ciders were Twisted Misty, Orgasmic Top Cider & Sheppy's Orchard Dew. A new craft ale place with 20 ales has opened nearby recently (the Dead Crafty Beer Company) which should add to the attraction of this area.

18 Apr 2016 19:06

Mackenzie's, Liverpool

Saturday was my second visit to Mackenzie's. It's a corner pub situated in a good area for ales. It used to be HSBC Bank. Nicely decorated inside, we visited not long after it opened. I'd passed by a few times since. But they'd had no ales that took my fancy. This time though we did decide to stop for a drink, before heading down to the Dispensary. All 5 handpulls had ales - Sharps Doom Bar, Southport Golden Sands, Salopian Shropshire Gold, Liverpool Organic Kitty Wilkinson & Brimstage Trapper's Hat. The Kitty Wilkinson was very nice. The pub was very quiet. There were only a handful of customers watching the football. Although I'd imagine it gets busier in the evenings. Toilets are clean. Worth a look.

18 Apr 2016 18:57

The Philharmonic, Liverpool

Nice interior. But pretty rubbish beer I'm afraid. It's located amongst some of the best pubs in Liverpool and if you haven't been before, it's worth a visit to see the décor. But I very often find myself walking in and then straight back out again. On Saturday I vowed to stay and have a drink. Luckily for me, Nicholsons had a real ale festival on. Ales were Box Steam Tunnel Vision, Moorhouses Black Cat Reserve, St Austell Nicholsons Pale Ale, Portobello Triple Choc Stout, Arkells Tinge of Ginge, Inveralmond Marzenfest, Navigation Britannia, Celt Experience Galaxy Equinox, Glamorgan Dead Canary & Liverpool Organic 24 Carat Gold. The two halves I had were pretty poor. Walk on by if you've been here before. I also tried the brand new Refinery across the road. But despite having 3 ales on, that was no better.

18 Apr 2016 18:52

The George, Staines

After a poor experience in the London Stone, I didn't fair much better in the George. Apparently this branch of Wetherspoons is the only one in the country (to my knowledge) to only accept CAMRA vouchers when there is a festival on! Or was it the fact that the barman didn't know how to work the tills and was too arrogant to seek help. Either way, Wetherspoons need to decide whether they will offer discounts or not. Ales were Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharps Doom Bar, Hogsback Tea, Binghams Marynka, Adnams Oyster Stout, Reunion Opening Gambit & Weltons Equinox. Ciders were Old Rosie & The Hogfather. It was busy as usual in here, both upstairs and downstairs. But this really is a pretty average (or lower than average) 'spoons. Yet another complaint to Tim Martin forthcoming.

18 Apr 2016 18:46

The Hobgoblin, Staines

Now called the London Stone and offering a better selection of ales, I can't say I was impressed with this place. Waited almost 10 minutes to get served, despite two guys ignoring me. They definitely had the ability to dispense beer as I observed them later. When finally served by the overworked barmaid, it took an eternity to pour a half and I ended up with the last half from the box, which wasn't in the best of form. Only one table was remaining without a reserved sign. So I went for that, only to be informed by one of the two lazy barmen that I needed to move as that table (despite not having a notice) was reserved too. I informed him that I'd be delighted to vacate the premises! Poor welcome, poor service. A strange way to treat customers. Ales were Hop Art Hoppist, Windsor & Eton Kohinoor IPA & Hammerpot Australian Pale. The cider was Westons Cider Twist Raspberry.

18 Apr 2016 18:40

Beer Rebellion, Gipsy Hill

After 2 pubs and a bottle shop in East Dulwich, we moved onto Beer Rebellion at Gipsy Hill. It's one of 3 Late Knights establishments in the capital and this one is situated right opposite the station. It has a micropub feel with only a few tables and a tiny space. Although a large part is taken up by a semi-open kitchen. There was a good selection of cask ales - Late Knights Morning Glory, Wormcatcher, Crack of Dawn, Peckham Rye IPA & Penge Porter & Dark Star Hophead. They also had a read cider - Abrahalls AD. Craft beers were Late Knights American Pale & Hefeweizen, Siren Liquid Mistress, London Beer Factory Imperial Milk Stout & Orbit Neu. The milk stout was very nice indeed. This was easily our favourite pub of the day. I'll have to try the other branches in Peckham and Sydenham.

15 Apr 2016 18:24

Flying Pig, East Dulwich

Was back here on Wednesday evening for a second visit. As you'd expect it is much quieter during the week and the place takes on a different atmosphere. The ales were Moor Revival, Saltaire Long Day IPA, Brockley Red Ale & Gipsy Hill Bounder. They also had a cider (Harry Taylor's Crooked Branch) and a perry (Snails Bank Very Perry). There is a good selection of bottled beers and craft beers on keg. They have a happy hour from 5pm. Table seating on the pavement at the front is available. Incidentally, a few doors up there is a very decent bottle shop (Hop Burns & Black) which I visited and can also recommend.

15 Apr 2016 18:17

Horse and Jockey, Rutland

The Horse & Jockey in Manton was my final pub of the weekend. It is a small country pub with a bar area to the left as you enter and a dining area to the right. The car park is fairly large. It is situated next to Rutland Water and a couple of cyclists arrived the same time as me. I'd imagine it gets busy in summer months. Ales were Grainstore Cooking & Fall At The First & Greene King Marmalade On Toast. Clean toilets.

11 Apr 2016 21:19

The Grainstore Brewery, Oakham

I was hoping for better from the Grainstore. It certainly seemed popular. But I wasn't as impressed as I'd hoped. The brewery is situated right next to Oakham station. The single bar has a full range of Grainstore ales on, in addition to their 2 ciders - Ten Fifty, Cooking, Rutland Beast, Rutland Panther, Triple B, Apocalypse, Red Herring, Rutland Osprey, Lady In Pink & Hornet. It was quite noisy in here, with football on the TV and a few kids. A nice enough drinking atmosphere. But it would have been nice to have had some non-Grainstore ales on. I'm not sure if CAMRA members get a discount for halves (I believe they do for pints). But I certainly wasn't offered one.

11 Apr 2016 21:15

The Wheatsheaf, Oakham

The Wheatsheaf is a quiet Everards pub with a bar, a lounge and a nice conservatory area that connects the two. The garden at the rear looked as if it could make a pleasant spot for a beer on a summer's day. Everards ales on were Tiger, Sunchaser, Beacon & Original. They also had Adnams Bitter, Batemans XXXB & Westons Rosie's Pig. Nice pub, if not a bit too quiet. From here, I moved onto the Lord Nelson (not listed on here) and I have to agree with the two previous reviewers that it is the best pub in town. It was certainly my favourite pub of the day in Rutland. I will request for it to be added.

11 Apr 2016 21:09

The Griff Inn, Oakham

This is now the Three Crowns and was my second Oakham pub (the White Lion Hotel is not listed on here). It's a Steamin' Billy pub serving 4 of their ales - Tipsy Fisherman, Skydiver, Bitter & Vardy's Volley. Fynbury's Rutland Cider is also served. It was fairly quiet for a Sunday afternoon. Although the music was a bit loud. One guy was playing darts whilst a couple played on what I assume was a fruit machine. The environment was fine but the gents toilets left a lot to be desired. Dogs are welcome. What I assume was the pub's dog, was doing a dancing trick for biscuits!

11 Apr 2016 21:05

The Finch's Arms, Hambleton

Country pub on the peninsula of Rutland Water. My visit clearly coincided with a busy spell as there was no space on what is a quite large car park. Luckily I found a space down the road. The Finch's Arms feels more like a hotel/restaurant than a pub. But it does clearly cater for drinkers. I was offered a taster of one of the ales before deciding against choosing it. Ales were St Austell Tribute, Grainstore Rutland Osprey, Castle Rock Harvest Pale & Morland Old Speckled Hen. This is a family friendly pub and although I didn't see it, apparently one of the rooms has views over the Water.

11 Apr 2016 20:59

The Noel, Rutland

The Noel is situated close to Rutland Water. So it inevitably attracts its fair share of walkers and cyclists. Whilst it looks quite traditional on the outside, the interior is pretty characterless and has the feel of an Indian restaurant. However it seems to be a fairly upmarket eatery these days, advertising for functions and you can even get your own Noel card. I'm not sure what that gets you quite. 2 Grainstore beers were on - Cooking & Red Kite. Opening hours appear limited. Probably the worst pub of the day for me.

11 Apr 2016 20:52

The Green Dragon, Rutland

The Green Dragon is one of at least a couple of pubs in this pretty village. There is a public bar and a lounge area for diners. With the bar being busy and all tables set up for diners in the lounge, I sat at the bar in the lounge area. Ales were White Horse Village Idiot, Brewsters Hopticale Illusion, King's Cliffe 5C & Greene King IPA. There were a couple of benches on a small patio at the front and there also appeared to be at the garden at the rear. The landlady was friendly and chatty. Nice pub.

11 Apr 2016 20:48

Exeter Arms, Rutland

The Exeter Arms was my first stop of the day yesterday in Rutland. It's an imposing building overlooking the centre of the village. But sadly I never got to go inside. It appears to have closed within the last month or so. I waited patiently for it to open its doors, as there was no evidence that it was closed. Tried calling and got an unobtainable tone (never a good sign) and then finally noticed a review on tripadvisor stating it was closed. I moved onto the Blue Bell at Belmesthorpe instead (not listed on here but definitely open).

11 Apr 2016 20:43

The Southampton Arms, Gospel Oak

Over a year on from my last visit, I'm still rating the Southampton Arms as the best pub in London. It still has the same amount of ales and ciders. The ales are continually changing. On entry, they had Dark Star Partridge, Revelation & Espresso, Gyle 59 The Rye Saisonnier, Marble Lagonda IPA, Magic Rock Ringmaster, Gipsy Hill Beatnik, Triple fff Pressed Rat and Warthog, Dark Arts Stout & Howling Hops Ruby Red. By the time we'd left, Howling Hops Amber Dexter & Running Beer, Harbour IPA & Burning Sky Aurora had all been pulled through instead of 4 of the original options. I hadn't noticed it before, but there is a small cabinet by the entrance door with the pumpclips for forthcoming ales. Ciders and perries were Cider Bus, Burrow Hill Farmhouse, Olivers Making Hay, Newton Court Gasping Goose, Grenadier Medium (possibly Millwhites), Fosseway Somerset Glory, Millwhites Rum Cask & Sandford Orchard's Fanny's Bramble. The food is typical pub snacks such as Scotch Eggs and sausage rolls. Along with the pork joint for sandwiches, it always looks tempting. But the prices are less so. My only problems with the place are that it is generally packed (you're best advised to get here at opening time when you can enjoy the pub and get a table) and it feels a little too trendy to be a decent alehouse. Nevertheless, it still scores a solid 9/10 from me.

11 Apr 2016 19:50

Mangans, Watford

One of the closest bars to Vicarage Road football ground, Mangans was absolutely packed. Whilst it does have handpulls, no real ale was available - just Budweiser, Carlsberg, San Miguel, Thatchers Gold, Guinness, Fosters, Strongbow & John Smiths Extra Cold. Once through the busy bar area, the bar opens out a little at the back where there are more TV screens showing live sports and I believe there was a pool table amidst all the people. I eventually escaped through the fire exit at the rear, avoiding the bouncers at the front. This was a better option than the One Bell or the One Crown. But it was nothing particular to shout about.

11 Apr 2016 19:37

The One Bell, Watford

The One Bell appears to be a popular pub situated on the High Street opposite what is probably the town's main church. It's a basic L-shaped interior with only keg beers and ciders available - Stella, Carling, Guinness, Tetleys Extra Cold, Carlsberg, Carlsberg Export, San Miguel & Magners. Not the most inspiring selection. The pub is under threat of closure and is due to stop trading in May. It was busy inside and out, with many spilling onto the street. The clientele were mostly football fans, with a few kids around too. Nothing to recommend here. Although service was friendly.

11 Apr 2016 19:33

The One Crown, Watford

Busy Irish pub serving drinks in plastic glasses for the masses of football fans. The bar is central to it all, with pretty much standing room only around. But there was slightly more space at the rear. Beyond the toilets was an outdoor patio with plenty of space and a few smokers. Championship football was showing on multiple TVs. Bombardier was the only ale on. Very basic pub with little character and little to recommend it.

11 Apr 2016 19:30

The Estcourt Arms, Watford

The Estcourt Arms stands on a busy road junction and is just opposite the Wellington. I only had time to try the Estcourt. It is a two room locals pub, that was popular with Watford fans, pre-match. The main bar was fairly packed. So I retreated to the snug, which I had for myself until later being joined by a couple of others. With just 3 tables, it is tiny. A few were eating typical pub grub in the bar. London Pride & Side Pocket For A Toad were the two real ales. I opted for the Lilleys Apples & Pears keg option, which I have rarely seen. Service was quick. The snug also had a selection of board games for use. A pub that is not spectacular. But it is worth knowing about.

11 Apr 2016 19:25

The Nascot Arms, Watford

Backsteet Greene King pub that shares its premises with a Thai restaurant. Ales were not just from the Greene King range - Greene King IPA & Abbot, Morland Original, Westerham British Bulldog, Joules Slumbering Monk & Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted. The pub has a small bar area, which has a cosy feel and a larger area beyond for diners. Most of the customers were here for the football, including a fair few people I knew. Live football was showing. The Southern Cross is a short walk away. So this is probably the best area for drinking in Watford and not too far from Watford Junction station.

11 Apr 2016 19:20

Southern Cross, Watford

I wasn't sure what a Flaming Grill pub would actually be like. But it did feel more like a pub than a restaurant. There is a large amount of seating around a central bar. The bar staff were talkative and after they finally opened around 5 minutes late I could understand why, as they didn't have any of the normal keg offerings due to some kind of fault. That was no problem for me, as I was after the real ale. There was a better selection than I had anticipated - Windsor & Eton Guardsman, Tring Bring Me Sunshine, Moongazing & Side Pocket For A Toad & Vale Black Swan. The other people waiting had to settle for ales too - a good way of promoting ale. They also offer a CAMRA discount to those with a card or on this day to those who couldn't order keg! This was possibly the best range of real ales anywhere in the town. A board advertised events for every night of the week. Although I'm not sure that Monday Night Football really qualified. There are several TVs for sports fans and a cash machine for those who aren't prepared. Far better than I thought.

11 Apr 2016 19:17

West Herts Sports and Social Club, Watford

Sports club on the site of Watford's first football pitches. It was still fairly lively on my Saturday morning visit with several kids games going on. There are outdoor tables on a patio overlooking the fields. A smattering of people were present in the bar. But many were drinking tea and coffee. The barmaid was fairly bubbly. Shame she supported Liverpool. Ales on were Colchester No. 1 & Diesel, Burton Bridge Howelling Ale, Youngs Bitter & Shepherd Neame Spitfire Gold. CAMRA members are welcome and the chances are you won't have to show your card. TVs were showing Sky Sports News and all BT Sports matches were promoted. I'm told the annual Watford Beer Festival is held here. There is a fair amount of parking. But I believe it is members only on matchdays.

11 Apr 2016 19:09

The White Horse, Hedgerley

As I've done a review on April 8th for the last couple of years, I should probably add another. Still have a weekly visit here and nothing much has changed, apart from perhaps the price. Ales on Wednesday evening were Rebellion IPA & Waterloo, Mallinsons Bravo, Errant Knight, Green Duck Shaky Steven's American Stout, Bradford Odsal Top, Fixed Wheel Century Gold & Mighty Oak Saffron Gold. Ciders were Hecks Farmhouse, Winkeligh Sam's Autumn Scrumpy & Bridge Farm Perry. A craft beer was Lervig Lucky Jack. Still a favourite of mine.

8 Apr 2016 20:15

The Fox Inn, Souldern

The Fox is situated at the end of a lovely little village. I arrived into the tiny car park just in time as the barman was closing at around 10:30 on my Tuesday evening visit. Two other locals were the only other customers. It's a relatively small pub with outdoor gents toilets. Plenty of character and with 2 ales - Timothy Taylor Boltmaker & XT 3. Certainly worth a visit.

8 Apr 2016 20:11

The Duke Of Cumberlands Head, Clifton

Closed and now fenced off.

8 Apr 2016 20:08

The Plough Inn, Adderbury

This pub is now called the Pickled Ploughman. It is primarily an eating establishment these days. But it still do a couple of real ales. On my Tuesday evening visit, there was Sneck Lifter & Mad Goose. A few of the staff were gossiping at the end of the bar, whilst another group sat at a table were the only others in. But I suspect it was much busier earlier in the evening whilst dinner was being served. Has a thatched roof.

8 Apr 2016 20:07

The Plough Inn, Bodicote

The quiet village of Bodicote is situated on the edge of Banbury. But it feels a world away. The Plough is a two room pub - one for drinkers and one for diners. The dining room was unoccupied, whilst the bar had 3 people and the landlord. It's now a Wadworth pub with 3 ales. On my visit, they were St George & The Dragon, Henry's IPA & 6X.

8 Apr 2016 20:03

The Easington, Banbury

Modern chain pub (Ember Inns) heading out of Banbury. A couple of their beers were "coming soon". So the range was not as good as I was hoping - Brakspear Bitter, Bass, Navigation Britannia, Ember Inns Pale Ale, Hook Norton Lion & BRU Red Ale. Most other people were there for the food and were paying up as time was edging on. There are better pubs in Banbury.

8 Apr 2016 20:00

Exchange, Banbury

The Exchange is a typical old-school Wetherspoons. But it was actually my second favourite pub in Banbury. It was fairly busy for a Tuesday evening. It took a while to get served, despite me being the only person waiting. Ales were Marstons El Dorado, Hawkshead Vienna Lager, Wadworth Bibock, Batemans Dark Lord, Ruddles Best, Fullers London Pride, Hook Norton Hooky Mild, Brains The Rev James & Purity Saddle Black. The cider on tap was Westons Old Rosie. But they may also have had an Orchard Pig cider in a box in the fridge. Managed to get a booth, which generally seemed to be taken in most 'spoons.

8 Apr 2016 19:57

The Woolpack, Banbury

Now definitely flats.

8 Apr 2016 19:52

The White Horse, Banbury

I left the bar brawl at Ye Olde Reine Deer behind to find serenity in the White Horse. This is without a doubt Banbury's best pub. It's a large place with different drinking areas. But when a group of young lads departed, I was the only one in. Although I was later joined by another couple. The landlord was a chatty fellow and knowledgeable about his beers, ciders and wines. There are 5 ales on during the week and a couple of ciders. The ale range increases to 10 at weekends. My visit coincided with Green Duck Shaky Steven's American Stout, Orkney Northern Light, Everards Beacon & Tiger & Hales Free Heart. Ciders were Fynbury Rutland Cider & Westons Family Reserve. The cider sells so well here, that he's trying to get a third one on regularly. Well worth a visit and my favourite pub of the night.

8 Apr 2016 19:52

Ye Olde Reindeer, Banbury

Ye Olde Reine Deer is a historic pub on what appeared to be a semi-pedestrianised street in Banbury's town centre. It's a Hook Norton pub with a good range of their ales - Hooky, Old Hooky, Hooky Gold, Hooky Mild & Lion. In addition, I was to surprised to see Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig ciders. Nice enough pub and I was settling in for a quiet drink when the free Tuesday entertainment started. A guy who had apparently earlier being dealing with counterfeit notes was bundled through the door and surrounded by locals. He was trying to escape, but was prevented from doing so. Not quite what I was expecting when I first entered. But this was still the best pub on my crawl so far and who would have thought that you could get such free entertainment on a Tuesday night!

8 Apr 2016 19:46

The Bell Inn, Banbury

My second pub of a weekday evening in Banbury was an improvement on the first. This is more of a traditional two room boozer near the train station. Locals were congregated near the bar doing magic tricks! The 2 ales were both from Adnams - Bitter & Ghost Ship. Moved on from here to the nearby Mill Arts Centre (not listed on here).

8 Apr 2016 19:39

Hanwell Arms, Banbury

The Hanwell Arms is a modern Marstons pub on a new-build housing estate and next to a retail development. I visited on a Tuesday evening and there were a few people in after work, some ordering dinner. The pub is a fairly bland open-plan affair. The table I was sat didn't seem as if it had been cleaned for a while. Burton Bitter & Pedigree were the ales. I didn't bother with either. Loud music playing in the toilets, which were at least clean.

8 Apr 2016 19:35

No.1 Kew Road, Richmond

I'm not sure what made me finish off an evening in Richmond here last night. But I did and my fellow drinking partner and I consumed an Aspalls cider each! Pride was the real ale. A private party was in full swing in the upstairs bar, whilst the downstairs bar was fairly quiet. Not recommended.

4 Apr 2016 20:42

Orange Tree, Richmond

I'm surprised I've never reviewed this pub before, despite numerous visits. Although I hadn't been here for a few years. Situated very close to the station, it can get very busy. The area on the street at the front can also get crowded, especially in summer. This Saturday evening visit was fairy quiet. As it's a Youngs pub, they only had the Ordinary, Special & London Gold. Toilets appear to have moved downstairs, where there is a caged area with reserve supplies of spirits. Upstairs there now appears to be accommodation. The main room is much bigger than it initially looks with plenty of seating at the rear. A handy place for meeting friends.

4 Apr 2016 20:40

The Triple Crown Inn, Richmond

The Triple Crown has always been one of my favourite pubs in Richmond, primarily because I believe it is free of tie. So the ale range does vary. Yesterday it was Youngs Bitter, Sharps Doom Bar, Stonehenge Sign of Spring & Dorset Brewing Co Flashman's Clout. I seem to remember Twickenham beers being on the last time I came. But the pub was much quieter than my last visit and it seemed to have lost a little of its atmosphere. It also seemed a bit more grubby than I remember. Still a welcome change from the Youngs and Fullers pubs in town.

4 Apr 2016 20:36

The Hope, Richmond

The Hope is another Richmond pub that I was visiting for the first time yesterday. I was already a little bit drunk by the time I arrived yesterday. But my lasting impression of this place was a light and airy space around a central bar. There were 3 ales - Gales Seafarers, Youngs Bitter & By The Horns Stiff Upper Lip. This pub is also rather unusual in Richmond in serving a real cider. This was Orchard Pig Explorer. Better than the many Fullers & Youngs pubs in Richmond, despite serving 2 of their ales!

4 Apr 2016 20:33

The Sun, Richmond

I quite like the Sun. I hadn't been for a few years. But it's a very pleasant pub with a strong rugby following, located close enough to the station to be handy, whilst being far enough away from the main drag so as not to get too packed. There are a number of TVs. Some were showing the football. Others were showing the cricket. The only drawback is that it is a Fullers pub. Seafarers, Spring Sprinter, London Pride & ESB were the 4 ales from their range. I'll leave my score unchanged.

4 Apr 2016 20:29

The Mitre, Richmond

At last, Richmond has a decent real ale and cider pub. The Mitre is tucked away in a residential side street, but fairly close to North Sheen station. The drinks range is impressive - Marble Lagonda IPA, Summer Wine Diablo, 360 Degrees Mayflower, Wild Beer Co Bibble, Celt Experience Otherworld, Tickety Brew Double Hop Pale, Arbor Oz Bomb, Saltaire New World Red & Bad Co Dazed & Confused Milk Stout. Ciders and perries were Lilleys Gladiator, Apple & Blackberry & Bee Sting Perry, as well as Thistly Cross Whisky Cask. The bar is a small space and the decoration is quite plain. But this place will not get packed, due to its location, unless of course its reputation begins to grow (which it certainly deserves). Tasters are offered and there are also printed tasting notes at the corner of the bar. The landlord brought round small plates of roast potatoes that was a nice touch. There is also a patio area at the front with further seating. Whilst a fair way from Richmond town centre, I'll certainly be making every effort to persuade fellow drinkers to head here whenever in Richmond.

4 Apr 2016 20:25

The White Horse, Richmond

Whilst I'd been to the nearby Red Cow several years back, I'd not previously been aware of this Fullers gastropub up a back street. It certainly attracts a middle-upper class clientele, which is reflected in the prices. Fullers London Pride & Olivers Island & Gales Seafarers & Spring Sprinter were the ales. With all tables inside taken by diners, I retreated to the paved garden at the rear, where it was very pleasant in the sun. But it was soon taken over by Richmond's finest, complete with their young charges. Not somewhere I'd rush back to. But it's clearly got a captive market.

4 Apr 2016 20:19

The Crown, Richmond

The Crown is on a main road heading out of Richmond. I paid it a visit as I was passing. But this is a fairly basic boozer that dispensed 2 ales - Fullers London Pride & Youngs Bitter. There seemed to be a focus on sports on the TV and it was gearing up to the afternoon's 2 live football matches.

4 Apr 2016 20:15

The Railway, Kew Gardens

The Tap on the Line was the one pub in Kew I hadn't previously visited. So I popped in here yesterday lunchtime prior to meeting up with friends in Richmond. As others have said, the ale range is not too exciting, as it's Fullers. London Pride, Olivers Island & HSB were all on. But they did also have Windsor & Eton Kohinoor IPA. The building itself is impressive with a high ceiling in the main bar and a dining area similar to a conservatory with tall windows overlooking the City-bound platform. Outdoors there is a small courtyard where many were enjoying the Spring sun and listening to some kind of live music which appeared to be part of a small fair that was taking part. The area was certainly fairly lively.

4 Apr 2016 20:12

The Newcastle Arms, Southwell

The Final Whistle was the best pub in Southwell in my opinion. It has a strong railway theme and is situated in a residential area on the edge of town. The bar area is large with different rooms all with railway themes. At the rear and outdoors there is a courtyard designed to resemble a station. Ales were Final Whistle Gold & Pale Ale, Everards Tiger, Black Sheep Best Bitter, Rudgate Volsung, Batemans Salem Porter, Bass, Castle Rock Harvest Pale, Oakham Beermonster & Red Willow Seamless Pale Ale. Ciders were Lilleys Mango Cider & Strawberry Cider, Westons Rosie's Pig, Thistly Cross Traditional & Broadoak Moonshine. The ciders are dispensed from what look like mini barrels on the bar, which is quite neat. All ales and ciders are displayed on a blackboard with prices and ABV. Easily the best pub in Southwell. 8/10.

4 Apr 2016 20:07

The Bramley Apple, Southwell

The Bramley Apple is a Springhead pub that was quieter than the other local pubs. The landlord was on his own and was certainly being kept busy. Apparently the first Bramley Apple tree was grown nearby. The ale range was a little disappointing with Roaring Meg & Bramley Apple from Springhead, Light Headed from Vale of Glamorgan and Random Toss from Flipside. There were no real ciders that I could see. The interior is a single large room with a larger drinking area to the side as you enter. I wouldn't say this was a bad pub. But it felt the least welcoming of the 4 Southwell pubs I tried.

4 Apr 2016 20:01

The Hearty Goodfellow, Southwell

The Hearty Goodfellow was my second pub in Southwell. It has one large room with a number of separate drinking areas. A male singer was performing. Some of the clientele looked as if they had had a few. Service was friendly and there is a good range of ales and ciders - Welbeck Abbey The Hearty Blonde, Castle Rock Harvest Pale, Rudgate Viking Bitter, Everards Tiger, Dukeries Pale Ale, Westons Cider Twist Raspberry, Lilleys Mango Cider & Aspalls Waddlegoose Lane. Despite the good selection, I felt there was something missing here and it didn't quite have as good an atmosphere as the Old Coach House down the road. Still worthy of a solid 6/10 though.

4 Apr 2016 19:57

The Old Coach House, Southwell

The Old Coach House is either the first or last of 3 pubs you will find on Church Street. For me, it was the best of the 3. Rooms are spread around the central bar, with main bar area itself quite busy. But I still managed to find a table. The ale range was Rudgate Ostara, Sharps Doom Bar, Salopian Golden Thread, Cross Bay Sunset, Oakham Old Coach House Blonde & Newby Wyke Banquo. Another good pub.

4 Apr 2016 19:53

The Waggon and Horses, Bleasby

The Waggon & Horses was absolutely packed on my Saturday evening visit, with people spilling out of the front of the pub. There looked no possibility of fighting my way to the bar. Instead I headed into the empty dining area, where I easily got served. It appears there was a party on. The landlord was busy clearing the tables in the dining room to allow some of the revellers to spill into this room. He explained that the pub is a Blue Monkey house with some of their ales - BG Sips, Infinity & Funky Gibbon on. They also had Tribute & Doom Bar and as luck would have it, he had added Gwynt y Ddraig Happy Daze cider that day. A good pub.

4 Apr 2016 19:49

The Reindeer Inn, Hoveringham

The Reindeer is a quiet village pub set back from the main road. It was very quiet on my Saturday evening visit. I'm told it was about to close for a refurbishment. The 4 ales were Ringwood Mauler, Jennings Bitter, Marstons Pedigree & Thwaites Wainwright. Not a bad pub. But I'm struggling to work out how this pub makes the Good Beer Guide, when the Black Horse at Caythorpe is absent.

4 Apr 2016 19:45

The Black Horse, Caythorpe

The Black Horse was my favourite pub on my 12 pub crawl of Nottinghamshire. It's an unassuming building from the outside in a quiet village. It has 2 small rooms with a corridor connecting the two. I sat in a bar with one man and his dog, until another couple joined us. There were a few more locals in the other room. It has a typical country pub feel and you are assured of a warm welcome. It is also the home of the Caythorpe Brewery. They only had their Dover Beck Bitter on. But they also had Bass, Greene King Abbot & Castle Rock Harvest Pale. A place where you cannot avoid engaging in conversation with locals. The gents toilet can be found outside in the car park. Full of character, this pub is well worth a visit.

4 Apr 2016 19:41

The Old Ship Inn, Lowdham

The Old Ship Inn was marginally the best pub I tried in Lowdham. It has two rooms - a small bar and a larger lounge with an area set aside for diners. There is a covered outdoor seating area at the back used by smokers. The young staff were fairly pleasant. Ales were Timothy Taylor Landlord & Golden Best, Castle Rock Harvest Pale & Blue Monkey BG Sips.

4 Apr 2016 19:37

Worlds End Inn, Lowdham

The World's End was the first of 2 pubs for me in Lowdham. It's another Marstons pub located up a bumpy side road that doesn't initially appear to go anywhere. Three ales were Marstons Pedigree, Mansfield Cask Ale & Banks's Sunbeam. Service was friendly. The pub itself is a single room, which is fairly long. A band was setting up at one end. It was fairly busy.

4 Apr 2016 19:26

The Woodlark Inn, Lambley

The Woodlark is the better of the two pubs in Lambley. Similar to the Robin Hood, the Woodlark has a public bar and a separate dining area. The bar was packed. So I managed to find a table in the other room, which was also busy with diners. The pub has a fair range of Sam Smiths products, including Old Brewery Bitter on handpull. But it wasn't exclusively Sam Smiths, as they also had Harvest Pale, Landlord & Tiger. Felt more welcoming than the Robin Hood and also seems more popular.

4 Apr 2016 19:21

The Robin Hood and Little John, Lambley

The first of 2 pubs I visited in Lambley on Saturday. It is now named simply Robin Hood. I'm not sure what Little John did to get his name dropped. This is a Marstons pub with 2 rooms. I sat in the room used mainly for diners. It was fairly quiet. The public bar appeared much busier. Ales were Banks's Bitter, Ringwood Boon Doggle & Wychwood Hobgoblin Gold. Fairly average.

4 Apr 2016 19:17

The Robin Hood and Little John, Arnold

This pub was the first stop on my tour of Nottinghamshire pubs and to be honest, I hadn't noticed that it had been named CAMRA's National Cider Pub of the Year. Cider is dispensed from 8 taps on the wall. 7 were on offer for my visit - Dorset Nectar Sweet Maiden, Wildcat & Organic, Dorset Star Yarlington Mill & First Press & West Milton Golden Ball & Perry. Ales are mostly from Lincoln Green - Marion, Tuck, Hood, Little John, Daybrook Bitter, Indium & Tantalum. But they did also have 3 other ales from other breweries - Slaters Golden, Nethergate Old Growler & Everards Tiger. A 5% CAMRA discount is available on request. Unfortunately I missed out on this on my first 2 drinks. The pub itself is sited on a busy set of traffic lights. It has 2 rooms and I believe there was an outdoor courtyard at the rear. I can't say that I liked this pub as much as the previous pub of the year (Castle at West Lulworth). But it's certainly worthy of an 8/10. Staff were friendly and knowledgeable. I would have stayed here much longer if I hadn't planned a much longer crawl!

4 Apr 2016 19:09

The Inn, Greatworth

This is a strange place in another nice Northamptonshire village. I had been here earlier in the day shortly after lunchtime, only to find it closed. When you call up to find out opening times, you will speak to a Chinese lady. She runs a separate Chinese takeaway business from the pub. She was clearly good at saying 'sorry', but not much use when it comes to opening hours. I returned shortly before 6pm to find the doors open. But they were only open for the takeaway business. Nobody knew if the bar would be manned! Eventually shortly after 6pm, the landlord arrived. He was a really affable guy who has only recently taken over this village pub from Hook Norton. He plans to restore the pub to how it was 100 years ago. The Chinese business will disappear as pub grub is restored. Hooky was the only ale on offer. Apparently all of the others had been drunk over what had been a busy Easter weekend. Nowhere near the best pub I visited in Northamptonshire today. But I sincerely wish the landlord all the best with his venture.

28 Mar 2016 21:42

The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth

I visited the Royal Oak in Blisworth a few years back. But now I had returned to try the Walnut Tree. The latter is located alongside the railway tracks of the West Coast mainline. The focus appears to be on the hotel business and the bar does have the feel of a hotel bar, despite the presence of a number of locals. Ales were Towcester Mill Mill Race, Great Oakly Wagtail, Sharps Doom Bar & Phipps NBC India Pale Ale. A reasonable selection of ales. But the bar lacked atmosphere and just didn't do it for me.

28 Mar 2016 21:36

The George Inn, Towcester

After trying 4 town pubs in Brackley and Towcester, I returned to the countryside for my 8th pub, the George. Despite the overnight storms, the afternoon sunshine had attracted a number of people onto the garden outside. As luck would have it, a beer festival was in progress. This consisted of 6 casks in a room at the back, in addition to the usual range on the bar. The full selection was Great Oakley (the local brewery) Wot's Occurring & Tiffield Thunderbolt, Brentwood Lumberjack, Vale VPA, Mighty Oak Kings, Monty's Old Jailhouse & Masquerade, Craft Drink Company Codger, Aviator & Dursley Steam Bitter & 360 Degree Brewing IPA. No real cider was served. Although I think it had simply sold out. A fairly busy place. There is a side room where you can play Northamptonshire skittles, which has a number of sports shirts on the ceiling. The Aston Villa scarf wedged behind some iron bars on the windowsill may give an indication that the landlord is a Birmingham City fan!

28 Mar 2016 21:33

The Plough, Towcester

The Plough is a very friendly establishment on the town's main street with a convivial landlord. He has an interesting sense of humour which is used to keep the locals in check. The front bar was busiest. But there is also a larger, more comfortable lounge at the rear. I was disappointed with the ale choice. The number of pumpclips on the ceiling would suggest that it is generally much better. Today, the only options were Eagle IPA or Bombardier Burning Gold. There was no real cider either. Apparently this will be stocked from mid-April onwards. From here I moved onto the Towcester Mill Brewery Tap. Whilst it's not listed on here (I'll request it to be added), it can be found just around the corner from the Plough and was head and shoulders above all of the other 9 pubs I visited this afternoon.

28 Mar 2016 21:25

The Greyhound Inn, Brackley

The Greyhound was the better of the two Brackley pubs I sampled. It's a Greene King pub a little out of the town centre and it has a little bit of character, being divided up into different drinking and eating areas. The barmaid was friendly and offered a sampler of the Greene King Marmalade On Toast I had ordered. IPA and Abbot were the other choices. This was a fairly busy place and my Marmalade on Toast was certainly different. Although I'm not sure I'd choose it again.

28 Mar 2016 21:20

The Red Lion, Brackley

Brackley is a pretty little market town. But its pubs leave a lot to be desired. The Red Lion is a Charles Wells hostelry situated next to the town hall and near to the main public car park. Food seemed to be popular. Although kitchen staff set the fire alarm off at one point. The barmaid assured everybody that there was no need to evacuate. The large single room is fairly characterless. The ale choice was Bombardier, Eagle or Directors. Live music was advertised. Not particularly inspiring.

28 Mar 2016 21:17

Crewe Arms, Brackley

This pub is a little tricky to find. I ended up doing a circuit before finally finding the fairly cramped and busy car park. The pub has a number of different rooms and dispenses a couple of ales. Today there was Hooky & Side Pocket For A Toad. A Towcester Mill brew was coming soon. Service was friendly and a number of other tables appeared to have just finished their lunches during my visit. Certainly the best of the first few pubs I visited. But there were better to come later.

28 Mar 2016 21:13

The Marston Inn, Marston St Lawrence

Still closed.

28 Mar 2016 21:09

The Rose and Crown, Charlton

Greene King pub in a rather nice village. There appears to be only one room these days. Tables are set out rather strangely with one large circular one blocking access to the bar. There's a limited range of food. Ales were Landlord & Old Golden Hen. The landlady seemed friendly enough. But other than the location, I'm struggling to find too much to recommend this place.

28 Mar 2016 21:09

The Great Western Arms, Aynho

The Great Western Arms is located on the border between Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire, just west of the M40 and next to both a railway line and a canal. It's primarily a foodie pub. But it did have a range of Hook Norton ales - Hooky, Old Hooky, Lion & Curious Crane. I assume the latter is a new brew from this brewery. They also had Old Rosie cider and a good range of spirits. The pub is clearly popular for its food with several table loads arriving during my short visit. It consists of 2 rooms, with a small seating area outside at the front and a garden at the rear.

28 Mar 2016 21:06

Rose and Crown, Brierley Hill

Holdens pub outside of the centre of Brierley Hill and away from the Merry Hill shopping centre. 5 Holdens ales were on during our Sunday lunchtime visit - Black Country Mild, Black Country Bitter, Black Country Special, Golden Glow & Tara a It has 2 rooms and a nice conservatory where they were about to start serving Sunday lunch. I used to live not far from here over 30 years ago. But this was the first time I'd visited the Rose & Crown and it was better than I had expected.

27 Mar 2016 14:57

Wigan Central, Wigan

This place certainly rivals the Anvil for the best pub in Wigan award. It's located just under the railway line from Wigan North Western station in the railway arches. On my visit, ales were Prospect Totem & Nutty Slack, Colchester Cats Whiskers Cream Stout, Cumbrian Legendary Ales Loweswater Gold, Torrside Brewing Franconia, Pictish Amphora & Bad Seed Session IPA. Ciders were La Cantina Morning Glory & Amarena Perry, Sandford Orchards Bumbleberry & Ampleforth Abbey Cider. There is a bottled selection for carry outs. Unfortunately it was standing room only in here also. Being able to see the estimated train times is a great way of making the most of your drinking time. Another really good pub for Wigan.

27 Mar 2016 14:53

Docs Symposium, Wigan

With an hour to spare in Wigan whilst changing trains, I made the 10 minute walk to Doc's Symposium. Described as a micropub, it felt more like a continental café. It comes complete with a delicatessen counter. Ales were Weetwood Cheshire Cat & Eastgate, York Guzzler, Black Edge Hop & Prospect Silver Tally. It was busy late on a Saturday evening. There were more tables than your average micropub. But all were taken. So standing or sitting outside were the only options. Not as good as I was hoping. So I drank up swiftly and moved on.

27 Mar 2016 14:45

The Zetland, Southport

My A-Z of Southport ended appropriately at the Zetland. This is a fairly basic boozer located in the back streets of Southport. As a Marstons pub, the only 2 ales it dispensed was Cumberland Ale & Boon Doggle. But it is a large pub with both a bar with a large area for a pool table and a more comfortable lounge. Meols Cop station is not too far away.

27 Mar 2016 14:40

Tap and Bottles, Southport

This was the best pub/bar I tried in Southport last weekend. It is classed as a micropub and is situated at the end of an arcade, in an alleyway. There are only a few tables at ground floor level and the bar area can get very cramped. I retreated upstairs where there are tables with old arcade games. Although the space is even smaller and a little claustrophobic. Ales were Totally Brewed Sorachi Mango IPA, Cross Bay Rauch Bier, Hophurst Campfire & Salopian Bauhaus. There is also a good selection of craft beers on keg. These included Melwood Instant Karma, Salopian Kashmir & Mad Hatter Absence of Strawberries. In addition, there is a good bottle selection. Easily the best pub in Southport sampled on this visit and probably the best I've been to in the town so far. No CAMRA discount was offered, despite me later discovering it advertised by CAMRA. Nevertheless, I'd recommend it.

27 Mar 2016 14:36

The Sandgrounder, Southport

The Sandgrounder was the third of five pubs I was trying in the Southport area. The Sparrowhawk in Formby and the Barrel House in Birkdale are not listed on here. I'll request for them to be added. The Sandgrounder itself was the worst of these first three pubs. The ale range was decent - Neptune Brown Ale, Southport Sandgrounder & Peerless Red Nelson. But the bar itself feels more like a sports bar than a pub with a big open-plan room dominated by numerous TV screens showing different sports. It was busy and quite loud. CAMRA members are offered 30p off per pint. But there are no discounts for half pints. A bit too mainstream for my liking with no character whatsoever.

27 Mar 2016 14:23

The Marlingford Bell, Marlingford

The Bell was our last stop of the day. It's a fairly large, upmarket place, with a single, large bar. We arrived to find a first aid demonstration in full force, with a sizeable audience. A couple of other locals were at the bar. This appears to be another place that specialises in food. But it clearly has a community function too. Humpty Dumpty Red Mill & Woodfordes Wherry were the ales. I wasn't too impressed with the Red Mill. The barmaid was fairly friendly.

14 Mar 2016 20:20

The Cock, Barford

The Cock was my penultimate pub of the day and is another recommended hostelry. There was only one other small group in. But the young barman was friendly and another young local lad came in too and we discussed local pubs and breweries. The ales were Winters Storm Force & Sea Of Tranquility & Green Jack Drifter. Apparently Winters was brewed locally in the village previously. The Sea of Tranquility was quite a nice tipple, especially for £1.30 a half. Another nice Norfolk pub.

14 Mar 2016 20:17

The Feathers, Wymondham

The Feathers was our final pub in Wymondham. It closes in the afternoon. So we had to return a little later on. It was fairly busy. But there is plenty of seating available. Ales were Wentworth Gold, Growler Feathers Wymondham Tickler, Greene King Abbot, Adnams Ghost Ship & Fullers London Pride. It has a rather nice enclosed garden area at the rear.

14 Mar 2016 20:12

The Cherry Tree, Wicklewood

The Cherry Tree is situated in a rural area a couple of miles outside Wymondham. The lady that runs the place is extremely friendly. Her partner is the brewer for Buffy's. All 3 ales were from the brewery - Buffy's Ale, Norfolk Terrier & Polly's Folly. I tried the ale which was brought from the cellar. It was a little cloudy, but still very nice. We ordered food and it made a refreshing change to be able to order whatever we wanted, rather than be tied from a menu. Although they do have a blackboard with a list of their pies - I tried the lamb & rosemary which was very nice indeed. Meals came with chips or potatoes and either peas or beans. Good, basic pub grub. My only minor comment would be that the chips were a little on the crispy side. Locals were also friendly and happy to engage in conversation. This is clearly a good community pub. A good selection of board game was also available. It was mildly amusing to see the one local guy attempt to exit the pub with his Sunday lunch, only to completely miss the door and walk into the wall. But he'd clearly had an enjoyable afternoon in the pub. The landlady described this as a pub with food, as opposed to a restaurant with ales, as a lot of the local pubs have been forced to become. I would say that this pretty much sums the Cherry Tree up and it's the sort of pub I prefer - food should really be secondary in a pub. If in the area, give this pub a try. You'll be assured of a warm welcome. Our second favourite pub of the day, only beaten by the Banham Barrel due to the Barrel serving real cider!

14 Mar 2016 20:09

The Green Dragon, Wymondham

The Green Dragon is the oldest pub in Wymondham and one of the oldest in the country. It is also the best pub in the town and is a stone's throw from the Abbey. It's a lovely old building with 3 downstairs rooms and an upstairs room too. Unfortunately the place was so packed that there was no room to enjoy a drink. A few people were dining. But most people appeared to be there for the ales. A birthday part was in full swing upstairs. The ale choice was Brentwood Chocwork Orange, Oakham Scarlet Macaw and the Green Dragon house ale (I believe from Marstons). I retreated to the courtyard at the side of the pub to consume my half of Chocwork Orange. There is also a beer garden here. Very nice pub.

14 Mar 2016 19:58

Cross Keys Inn, Wymondham

The Cross Keys is a lovely old building overlooking the Market Place with its fabulous Market Cross structure. There's clearly been a reduction in the number of ales since the last review over 6 years ago. But 2 of the 3 were fairly original - Black Hole Cosmic II & St Peter's Hoppy T'Ale. They also had the omnipresent Woodfordes Wherry. Nice 2 room interior and more atmosphere than the 4 previous pubs we had visited.

14 Mar 2016 19:53

The Railway Hotel, Wymondham

Situated opposite Wymondham's impressive railway station, the Railway became the third pub of the day where we were the only people in. Once again, this is a food-dominated pub. Adnams Bitter & Ghost Ship were the ales. The barmaid was friendly enough. By the time we left, a few other people were arriving for dinner. A little disappointing.

14 Mar 2016 19:49

The Gamekeeper, Old Buckenham

After a trip to the King's Head in New Buckenham (not listed on this site), we headed to the Gamekeeper in Old Buckenham. We were expecting the pub to close at 5pm on a Sunday. But we were a touch surprised to find it already locked up at 4:30. They did see us trying to get in though and allowed us in for a drink, as we promised it would be a swift one. Landlord was the only real ale available. Whilst the interior of the building was quite impressive, with lots of wood, we weren't overly impressed. Apparently new owners have taken over recently. This is primarily a food pub. For drinkers it has little attraction. Worst pub of the day.

14 Mar 2016 19:45

The Barrel, Banham

After a visit to Banham Zoo, this was our first pub of the day in Norfolk. It's situated in a small retail complex called the Appleyard and is not immediately visible from the road. The Barrel is not your typical pub. We were the only visitors on arrival. But the lady behind the bar was very friendly and accommodating. This used to be a speciality cider bar and they still stock the local cider from Jonty's - Early Night Dry, Early Night Sweet & Red Sky. They also had Crones Organic. Ales were served by gravity from behind the bar with Elmtree Dark House Stout & Best Bitter & Adnams Bitter. This was the only pub of 10 to serve real cider. So I'm glad I had a couple. Unsurprisingly, it was my favourite pub of the day. Live music appears to be popular here too.

14 Mar 2016 19:40

Fall Well, Liverpool

The Fall Well is one of 5 Wetherspoons in Liverpool city centre. It's fairly large, but can often get missed unless you're a shopper. Yesterday evening had its usual mix of shoppers, those getting ready for an evening out and fans back from the football. I was one of the latter and came here after trying out the new Club House in Liverpool One Shopping Centre. As usual, it took a while to get served. But the ale range was worth the wait - Conwy Oatmeal Stout, Ruddles Best, Greene King Abbot, Ramsgate Gadds Dogbolter, Sharps Doom Bar & Orkney Dragonhead. Ciders were Old Rosie & Black Dragon. The latter seemed to be particularly popular. Busy as normal. But it somehow has a dingy feel inside.

6 Mar 2016 17:51

The 23 Club, Liverpool

The 23 Club is the downstairs cellar bar in the Clove Hitch. My review will cover both. The Clove Hitch is an upmarket bar/restaurant with 3 cask ales and around a dozen craft beers served from taps at the rear of the bar. The 23 Club downstairs has shorter opening hours. But it also has the same craft beer selection and a fantastic bottle shop. Yesterday's cask ales were Oakham Citra, Magic Rock Common Grounds Triple Coffee Porter & Liverpool Craft American Red. The craft beers included the excellent Pilot Moccachino Stout & Weird Beard Black Perle. The Clove Hitch and the 23 Club are one of Liverpool's best kept secrets and if you include the Pen Factory a couple of doors up, they make a great place to start a crawl heading past the Philharmonic and down Hardman Street. One of the best 5 pubs in Liverpool.

6 Mar 2016 17:47

The Font, Liverpool

Clearly students don't review on here, as mine are the only reviews for over 8 years. Was back here yesterday. Little has changed. Although there was only 1 ale - Liverpool Organic Bier Head. The cider was Rosie's Triple D. A fair few were in to watch the North London derby football game on one of several TV screens. Others were in for food. Moved on from here to the far superior Pen Factory (not listed on here).

6 Mar 2016 17:41

The Chapel, Broadstairs

The Chapel ended up being our final stop of the day. It's a wonderful little place and feels like you are drinking in a library. A bunch of schoolkids coming in and going upstairs gave even more weight to this. But we were here for the ales (and ciders). The ales were Whitstable Rennaissance, Tonbridge Blonde Ambition & G2 Crux Premium. But the piles of boxed ciders got my attention - East Stour Dry & Medium, Cherry, Blackcurrant & Lemon, Kingswood Raspberry & Mango, Brainbiter & Traditional, Kentish Pip Wild Summer, Firespice, Forager, Craftsman & Vintage Pip, Hendersons Toffee Apple, Dudda's Tun Dry, Sweet, Apricot Cider, Disco & Kentish Perry. The barmaid was a good laugh and we had a very good evening here, before making our way back to the station via a kebab house. Fantastic, atmospheric place.

6 Mar 2016 17:34

The Thirty-Nine Steps Alehouse, Broadstairs

I stand corrected - the Chapel is on here. But the postcode is incorrect. So it appears amongst the Margate pubs. I'll add a review.

6 Mar 2016 17:26

The Thirty-Nine Steps Alehouse, Broadstairs

Our proposed tour of Broadstairs micropubs started here, but was running a little behind schedule due to train problems. The Thirty-Nine Steps is fairly large for a micropub and is located just down the hill from the station. Wold Top Wold's Way, Portobello Triple Choc Stout, Charington IPA & Yates' Dark Side of the Wight were the ales. Ciders were all from Westons - Elderflower Old Rosie, Raspberry Twist, Country Perry, Family Reserve & Old Rosie. Locals seemed to find us quite amusing! We moved on from here to the Chapel (not listed on here), which was my favourite pub of the day. Sadly the amount of cider in there precluded our plans to move on to the Four Candles and the Yard of Ale. Maybe next time......!

6 Mar 2016 17:24

The Eight Bells, Canterbury

With our train cancelled, I had enough time to pay the Eight Bells a visit. It's a 7 or 8 minute walk from the station and it is a Youngs House. Ordinary & Special were on. After tripping through the door, I had a swift half of Special before moving on. The bar is fairly cosy. Toilets (or at least the gents) are outdoors at the rear. Ok pub. But typically bland Youngs beers.

6 Mar 2016 17:18

Unicorn Inn, Canterbury

With just enough time before our time, we headed to the Unicorn which is quite handy for the station. It seemed a fairly small pub. But I didn't have time to check it out in detail. Locals were friendly. Ales were Shepherd Neame Master Brew, Sharps Doom Bar, Wells Bombardier & Hopdaemon Golden Braid. Cider was Kentish Pip Craftsman. We moved on from here to the excellent Bottle Shop in a farmer's market next to the station.

6 Mar 2016 17:14

The Hobgoblin, Canterbury

As the previous review states, this is now the Black Griffin. It is on one of Canterbury's main shopping streets. But it was surprisingly quiet. 4 ales were on - Exmoor Antler, Goddards Fuddle-Dee-Dum, Moorhouses Pride of Pendle & Upper Punter. Cider was Old Rosie. We tried just about all the ales between us and were less than impressed with the quality. We stayed in the front bar. But there appeared to be further space behind.

6 Mar 2016 17:10

The Foundry, Canterbury

The best pub of our short crawl of Canterbury. Beers are mostly from the Canterbury Brewery - Street Light Porter, Foundry Red Rye, Foundry Man's Gold, Foundry Torpedo. There was also Tiny Rebel Dirty Stop Out. 3 ciders were also on from Canterbury - Pear Drop, Apple Oaked & Cloudy. The bar is laid out over 2 floors, with toilets upstairs. Many people were eating. But we were here just for the beers and everything we had was rather nice. Not quite sure why all the bar staff were wearing headsets though. But the Foundry was certainly better than the Old Brewery Tavern just round the corner, which had no ales on at all.

6 Mar 2016 17:06

Thomas Ingoldsby, Canterbury

One of 2 Wetherspoons in Canterbury. It may be big. But service was extremely slow. Typical interior with the usual decent selection of ales - Ruddles Best, Greene King Abbot, Sharps Doom Bar, Hopdaemon Green Daemon & Incubus, Titanic Stout, Shepherd Neame Spitfire, Burton Bridge XL Bitter & Old Dairy Up and Under. The cider was Old Rosie. The place was packed with most people having lunch.

6 Mar 2016 16:58

The New Inn, Canterbury

The New Inn was our first stop on a short crawl of Canterbury pubs. It's a back street pub on a terraced street to the east of town. 5 ales were on - Purity Pure Gold, Harveys Sussex Best Bitter, Oakham Citra, Adnams Ghost Ship & Thornbridge Jaipur. I was hoping they'd have a real cider. But sadly the best available was Aspalls Harry Sparrow on keg. The front bar is quite small and it leads into a conservatory. Nice enough pub. But would have preferred a dark beer or a cider.

6 Mar 2016 16:54

The Wellington, Birmingham

The Wellington is always worth a visit in Birmingham, if you're into real ale. There's plenty of them - Wye Valley HPA, Black Country BFG, Pig on the Wall & Fireside, Purity Mad Goose, Froth Blowers Piffle Snonker, Malvern Hills Radar Love, Burton Bridge Top Dog Stout, Kendricks Winter Warmer, Derby Penny's Porter, Abbeydale/Brewdog/Skull and Bones Boys Club Chockwork Orange, Elland White Prussian, Beowulf Dark Raven & Small World Long Moor Pale. Ciders were Springfield Wobbly Monk, Hairy Ferret Cherry & Farmer Jims Copper Top. The clientele was as varied as ever, with people gathering for a folk evening and mingling with football fans. It was busy for a Tuesday evening. Quality pub.

3 Mar 2016 22:40

The Post Office Vaults, Birmingham

The Post Office Vaults is always top of my list of pubs to visit in Birmingham City Centre and it has to be if you like real cider (and perry). 13 were on this time - Hogans Poachers Perry, Pickers Passion, Hazy Daisy, Panking Pole & Elderflower Power, Tricky Medium, Rich's Farmhouse, Penallt Capsy Wennet, Bartestree Katy, Williams & Hughes Orchard Blend Rioja Cask, Ventons Skippy's Scrumpy & Days Cottage Blakeney Red Perry. The ale range is more limited. But it's still sufficient to attract my fellow drinkers in - Salopian Oracle, Hobsons Champion Mild, Sperrin Annesley Mild, Acorn Hallertau Blanc IPA, Three Shire Hafren Ale, Beowulf Beorma & Finn's Hall & Animal Brewery Shark.

3 Mar 2016 22:35

Bacchus, Birmingham

Bacchus was the solitary remaining pub in Birmingham in the last 14 Good Beer Guides I'd yet to visit. So I put that right on Tuesday evening. It's an unusual Nicholsons pub situated in an arcade under a hotel. The décor is impressive. Sadly the beer range isn't - St Austell Nicholson's Pale Ale & Tribute, Sharps Doom Bar, Hook Norton Lion, Brains Phonics, Purity Ubu & Kelburn Goldihops. Nothing we tried was any good. So we only stayed for a half. Worth trying once to see the interior though.

3 Mar 2016 22:29

Victoria, Birmingham

There's something about the Victoria I really like. It looks a dump from the outside. But it's far from it inside. Situated almost at the bottom of the steps of New Street station's new southern exit, it's popularity can only increase. It was an unscheduled stop here, but worthwhile as we found our favourite beer of the day - Cocoa Wonderland from Thornbridge. Other options were Purity Mad Goose, Sadlers Sorachi Solo, Blackjack Royal Flush & Left Handed Giant Brewing USPA. Much quieter than on my previous visit and an older clientele. But I'll be back.

3 Mar 2016 22:26

The Craven Arms, Birmingham

I'd recommended this pub to a few other people and they liked it. So a return visit was planned for Tuesday afternoon this week. The place is clearly now a haunt for real ale enthusiasts, albeit not the easiest to find. Whilst it's a Black Country Ales pub, it appears to focus on specific breweries. On Tuesday, it was Cloudwater - Session IPA, Vermont ESB, US Light Ale, Black IPA, Pale & Smoked Porter. Black Country beers were Pig on the Wall, BFG & Fireside. Other guests were Pig & Porter Skylarking & Wishbone Rascal. Cider was Hogans Admiral Hopped, whilst the perry was Poachers Perry also from Hogans. One of Birmingham's better pubs.

3 Mar 2016 22:23

The Artful Dodger, York

The Artful Dodger was the final of 22 pubs sampled in York this time round and was on my route back to the station. It's a long, thin rockers bar with more ciders than ales. The 3 beers were Hop Studio Fire and Ice, Sonnet 43 Steam Beer Amber Ale & Anarchy Sublime Chaos Breakfast Stout. The ciders were Snails Bank Orchard Dry, Farmer Jims Sweet, Twisted Desert Dry & Pure North Have 'n' Apple. Two new ciders for me. I felt the place lacked a bit of atmosphere. Although this was Monday afternoon.

3 Mar 2016 22:17

The Maltings, York

What visit to York would be complete without a visit to the Maltings near the Lendal Bridge. This is still a decent real ale haunt where the choice on Monday lunchtime was Roosters Yankee, Wild Beer Millionaire, Brass Castle Annexation, Black Sheep Best Bitter & Golden Sheep, Bad Seed Smoked Maple Ale, York Guzzler & Hanlons Copper Glow. 4 ciders were Biddendens Dry, Westons Old Rosie, Millwhites Rum Cask & Original Somerset Cider Company Applejack Kingston Black. I attempted the large chip butty. I was warned that it really was large. But I think I gave it a really good stab until finally conceding defeat with around 6 of the very large chips to go. The chips are delicious and it was washed down with the 8.3% Annexation and the Applejack Kingston Black! Just what the doctor ordered after climbing the tower at York Minster before being evacuated for a fire alarm! One of the best 3 pubs in York, in my opinion.

3 Mar 2016 22:14

The Ackhorne, York

I had to pay the Ackhorne a return visit, as it was the nearest pub to the apartment we were staying in. Sunday night was quiz night. It was busy with a fair mix of characters. But it always feels a little uncomfortable walking into a quiz night half-way through with lots of uncomfortable silences and whispering. Nevertheless, this is still a surprising find tucked away on a narrow side street off the busy Micklegate. Ales were Roosters Yankee, Sonnet 43 Bourbon Milk Stout, Leeds Best, Partners JYB & Ringwood Boon Doggle. Cider was Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig. Surprised this hasn't been in the Good Beer Guide since 2007. But I'm sure I'll be back.

3 Mar 2016 22:09

Rumours, York

This pub has reverted to being called the Falcon, or rather the Falcon Tap. It has a small front room and a corridor leading to a larger rear bar where the real ales are located. These were Bad Co. Dazed and Confused, Arbor Monsoon Saison, Blue Bee Into The Void, Imperial Classical Bitter & Ramsgate Gadds Uberhop. Ciders are in the front bar and were Snails Bank Tumbledown Dry & Westons Old Rosie. There were 2 other customers in the rear bar on my Sunday evening visit. But they soon left, leaving just me and what looked like a very bored barman. The pub had looked much busier on the Saturday when I had passed by. But whilst the drinks range is good, maybe word of mouth hasn't been spread just yet. One to watch.

3 Mar 2016 22:05

The Swan, York

Whilst the Swan is a little off the beaten track, it's still a must visit in York. This is not only for the good selection of ales, ciders and perries, but also for the fabulous unspoiled traditional interior with its bar in the wide corridor. The selection on Sunday evening was Pennine Winter Warmer, Tetleys Cask, Sonnet 43 Steam Beer Amber Ale, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Bridgehouse Blonde, Treboom Swan Special Blonde, Broadoak Perry & Thistly Cross Whisky Cask cider. Staff are friendly. The back room was packed out. So I chose the front room, where I was the only person. But I'd recommend a visit here.

3 Mar 2016 22:01

The Slip Inn, York

The Slip Inn was the last of the new pubs in York I had vowed to visit. But I was left somewhat disappointed. It was quiet on Sunday evening with only 3 or 4 other people. The ales were Great Heck Treasure IPA, Abbeydale Moonshine, Timothy Taylor Boltmaker, Rudgate Ruby Mild & Leeds Pale. Unfortunately they have stopped dispensing real cider, as I prefer a dark beer if I'm on ale. But the Boltmaker was ok. Toilets are outside. This is a sister pub and just down a side street from the much better Swan.

3 Mar 2016 21:57

The Blue Bell, York

I had to fit in another visit to the Blue Bell during my visit to York and I managed to do this on Sunday evening. It was packed as always and this time, I forced my way into the front bar. The only drawback is that its popularity v size ratio is too high and it can feel a little uncomfortable. The beer range was Kelham Island Kelham Best, Bradfield Farmers Blonde, Rudgate Ruby Mild, Roosters Britannia, Treboom Hop Britannia & Timothy Taylor Landlord. Cider was Rosie's Pig. The Blue Bell looks so unassuming from the outside. But you just have to pay it a visit.

3 Mar 2016 21:53

The Hop, York

Following a visit to the House of Trembling Madness (a hidden gem that I will request to be added to the site), we moved on to the Hop. This is a real ale bar/pizza restaurant. I believe it used to be solely an Italian restaurant. But it has obviously diversified. The tiled front room gives way to a much larger rear area where most people eat and where the pizza oven is located. The pub is an Ossett pub. So you will find a typically good selection. On Saturday evening it was Brass Castle Mosaic, Treboom Yorkshire Sparkle, Allgates Gidlow Mash, Rat White Rat, Ossett Yorkshire Blonde, Big Red, Silver King & Excelsior & Burton Bridge Bramble Stout. Cider was Apple County Naughty Horsey & Glebe Farm Side-R with Elderflower. We stayed here for a few and tried the pizzas, which are very tasty. The pub is clearly popular with large groups who can congregate around the long tables. Toilets are upstairs. Recommended.

3 Mar 2016 21:49

Eagle and Child, York

Newly-opened Leeds brewery pub in York. Their Yorkshire Gold, Pale, Best & Midnight Bell were on. Guests were Ridgeside Black Night, Treboom Myricale & Marble Earl Grey IPA & Ginger. Despite it being new, the place had a fairly worn feel. I believe it used to be a restaurant. It stretches back further than you originally think and there is plenty of space upstairs too. One room is so tiny, it only just fits the one table. Board games are available to play. This is Leeds' second pub in York. Note the bar's height from the floor when you walk in. You feel like a child if trying to order from here.

3 Mar 2016 21:41

The Volunteer Arms, York

The Volunteer was very busy on my first visit here on Saturday evening, with many people here to see a live band. Tucked away up a side street from the main road, I hadn't noticed it when walking past to the Fox earlier. But I found it on my way back to town. The music was a bit too loud for my liking (I must be getting old). But the beer range was. Timothy Taylor Landlord, Brass Castle Cliffhanger & Tail Gunner, Saltaire Pride, Leeds Yorkshire Gold, Brown Cow Thriller In Vanilla, Great Newsome Liquorice Lads Stout & Ossett Inception was the ale choice. Thistly Cross Original cider was on keg. Another excellent York pub.

3 Mar 2016 21:37

The Fox, York

I agree that it's well worth the walk out to Holgate to get to this Ossett pub to the west of the city centre. It has a very traditional interior spread over several rooms and a good range of beers from Ossett and some of their associated breweries. It was also very busy on Saturday evening. Ales were Ossett Yorkshire Blonde, Big Red, Silver King & Excelsior, Shiny Wrench Stout, Tiny Rebel S.N.A.F.U, Bridestones Citra Red & Tetleys Cask. Cider was from Black Rat. Combine this with a visit to the Volunteer nearby.

3 Mar 2016 21:32

The Phoenix, York

Second visit to this pub - well third actually, but the first time it had closed down. I don't remember too much about my previous visit, apart from the fact it was very quiet. On Saturday evening, there were more people in and there was a much better atmosphere. We sat in the back room and chatted with both the locals and staff. The ale range is good - Hop Studio Mokaya, Copper Dragon Golden Pippin, Slaters Rye IPA & Wold Top Bitter. Cider was The Hogfather. The Mokaya was certainly very spicy. But all credit to the barmaid. She did warn me and offered a sample first. This pub is definitely growing on me.

3 Mar 2016 21:28

The Rook and Gaskill, York

I finally managed to pay a return visit to the Rook & Gaskill this time in York. This was my favourite pub in York last time I was here. I understand it went downhill for a while. But it is now run by the former licensee of the Waggon & Horses across the road. He is a fairly amiable chap and the Rook & Gaskill is back amongst the two or three best pubs in York. It retains the same single-room interior and a very good ale range from some more unusual breweries. Roosters Yankee, North Cotswold Fosseway Flanker, Yeovil Star Gazer, Empire The Italian Job, Intrepid Mother's Bruin, Ghost Brew Reaper, Raw Extreme No. 6 Hopspresso & Wild Beer Co. Stalker. Ciders were Broadoak Moonshine & Westcroft Cider. The Stalker at 7% was excellent and went down far too easily. The selection is now up on a TV screen. Worth the walk outside the walls.

3 Mar 2016 21:22

The Waggon and Horses, York

Return visit to the Waggon & Horses that I believed may have changed hands since my last visit. It's still owned by Batemans. So the ales are mainly from them - Salem Porter, Hooker, East Coast Screamer & XXXB. But they also had two guests - Brewsmith Anvil Ale & Oakham Citra. Ciders were Rosie's Pig & Cheddar Valley. Having been somewhat inebriated on my last visit and using the bar to prop myself up, I had a better chance to explore the interior this time round. There are 4 or 5 small rooms. One at the rear also has access to the bar and is quite cosy. The place was fairly busy with the rugby being shown in the main room. We ordered two of their burgers which were filling and quite tasty. Still a good pub. But it feels like Batemans have more of a hold over it now, making the ale range a touch more predictable.

3 Mar 2016 21:13

Meltons Too, York

After a visit to the new Pavement Vaults on Piccadilly (just requested for it to be added), we moved on to this place which is now called the Walmgate Ale House & Bistro. It still has a bistro-type feel. So I'm not sure if anything has been done to the interior since the previous reviews. It's a fairly dark and narrow interior. There are few tables due to the lack of space. Upright drinking appears to be the norm. I wasn't overly impressed with the ale range - York Walmgate Ale & Guzzler, Great Heck Dave, Copper Dragon Golden Pippin & Rudgate Viking Bitter. I plumped for the keg Great Yorkshire Yorkshire Cider - nothing special. In a city with such wonderful pubs, you're guaranteed to find a better selection and more traditional drinking environments elsewhere.

3 Mar 2016 21:07

York Beer and Wine Shop, York

I remembered visiting here over 7 years ago. So I popped in again to buy some beers for a forthcoming train journey. Has a good selection of ales and a rather smelly cheese counter. Old Rosie cider is dispensed from a box. There's quite a few other off licenses in York. But this must certainly be one of the best still.

3 Mar 2016 20:58

The Wellington, York

Unassuming Samuel Smiths pub on a terraced side street. The pub has a welcoming atmosphere in its two small rooms. One was being used for an evening of dominoes, whilst the other seemed to be where the local dogs hung out (the four-legged variety)! I was introduced to one friendly creature. Old Brewery Bitter is available on cask. I quite liked the atmosphere in here and would certainly pay another visit if around here.

3 Mar 2016 20:56

The Saddle Inn, Fulford

It's a fair walk south of the city centre to this Marstons local. I got a few strange looks when I walked in and the barmaid's "Can I help you?" comment suggested she was expecting me to be lost or ready to rob the place. But she soon became friendlier when I said I'd like to try a half of the house Saddle Sore Ale. Other options were Burton Bitter or Boon Doggle. Football and rugby were on different TVs. Not really worth the walk out of the city.

3 Mar 2016 20:53

Brigantes Bar and Brasserie, York

It's been several years since my first visit to Brigantes and I don't believe it was listed on here at the time. It was much busier than I remembered. But it still has a fine selection of ales. This time we also tried the food which was good. Service was attentive and friendly too. Ales on during our visit were Black Sheep Golden Sheep, Great Heck Chopper, York Nordic Fury, Elland 1872 Porter & Catch The Rainbow, Okells MPA, Brass Castle Vanaheim & Rams Head Bitter & Timothy Taylor Ram Tam. Cider was Orgasmic Sweet. The last time I came was before the York Tap opened and it is just about close enough to the station to allow for a fleeting visit whilst changing trains. But I'd stick at the station in the Tap if changing trains again. Nevertheless, Brigantes is worthy of a visit in its own right. Situated on the lively Micklegate strip, it can get quite busy at weekends.

3 Mar 2016 20:50

Pivo Cafe Bar, York

After the York Tap, we paid a visit to Pivni which is the second of the three York pubs in their small chain. There's a good range of cask, keg and bottled beers still. Friday's range was Thornbridge St Petersburg, Ilkley Pale, Dark Star Partridge, Arbor Summit & Durham Magus. Ciders were Cornish Orchards Farmhouse Dry & Westons Family Reserve. Incidentally we also tried their new Pavement Vaults pub on Piccadilly, which is also worth a visit but not listed on here.

3 Mar 2016 20:45

York Tap, York

On a long weekend in York, this was my first, last and favourite pub in the city. It's a great place if using the station as we where. The interior is divided into two halves by the bar and it was fairly busy on both weekday afternoon visits. It still has an excellent ale range. On Friday it was Vocation Divide and Conquer, Titanic Mild, Stout & Plum Porter, Brass Castle Bad Kitty, Anarchy Crime Scene & Warhead, Hardknott Continuum, Brighton Bier Freshman, Mino Bier & Bier, Hopcraft Juicy Fruits & Mate Spawn and Die, Camerons Ahopaclypse Now, Glastonbury Lady of the Lake, Ilkley Mary Jane and their own Tapped Brew Co. Stout. Ciders were Westons Single Orchard & Celtic Marches Cracklin' Rosie. By the time I returned 3 days later, new ales were Bad Seed Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, Glastonbury Mystery Tor, Allendale 11 Malt Porter, Simcoe, Golden Plover & Yakima Pale, Hop Studio Pale, Mordue Radgie Gadgie, Pig & Porter Skylarking & Ashburnham, Birghton Bier West Bier, Hopcraft Atlantico Sur, Arbor The Devil Made Me Brew It & Tapped Brew Co. Ale & Rodeo. Sandford Orchards Shaky Bridge was a new cider. Great place for a drink. My only concern would be some of the pricing. £6 for a pint of the Imperial Stout seemed a bit steep. Although I believe it was 8.3%.

3 Mar 2016 20:39

Half Moon, High Wycombe

Popped in here today whilst in the area. The real ale selection was Doom Bar or Doom Bar. It seems to be a bit of a community pub. But it did lack character and also ales. I'm sure there are better pubs in Wycombe.

21 Feb 2016 20:12

The Moon in the Square, Bournemouth

Overlooking the main square in Bournemouth is this large Wetherspoons split over two floors. There were some different ales upstairs to downstairs. Although you never can tell with Wetherspoons as some ales they have clips for are not always available. The overall selection was Ruddles Best, Vibrant Forest Cydonia, Dorset Brewing Co Jurassic Dark, Sharps Doom Bar, Gadds Dogbolter, Ringwood Forty Niner & Old Thumper & Greene King Abbot. The cider was Purbeck Joe's Sweet. The place was very busy with nearly all tables downstairs taken. The only one we can find still had the remains of somebody's meal on it. This was not cleared away by the time we left. So the staff on duty were clearly struggling to cope with the demand. Nice central location. But we moved on from here to the Firkin Shed, Chaplins and the Sir Percy Florence Shelley (a better 'spoons in my opinion), with a football match somewhere in between.

21 Feb 2016 20:06

The Nelson, Mudeford

The Nelson was my favourite new pub of the day. For ales it's not the best, with just Ringwood Best Bitter & Forty Niner & Sharps Doom Bar on. But I was encouraged by a blackboard with an impressive real cider list. Trying to order two halves met with some confused looks from behind the bar, until the landlord appeared and accompanied me with two empty half glasses to his secret stash of cider and perry. After wiping the dust off some of the boxes and slinging a couple of halves of rather cloudy samples over his shoulder, the final cider choice became apparent - Pennard Medium & Sweet, Hecks Port Wine of Glastonbury, Dry, Sweet, Brown Apples, Kingston Black, Morgan Sweet & Perry, Blackmore Vale Medium Farmhouse, Westons Old Rosie, Twinways Roger's Dry, Bridge Farm Dry & Sweet & Isle of Purbeck Muddy Scamp. A very impressive selection which I assumed to have been left over from a previous beer/cider festival. Needless to say, I stayed for a few halves before we moved on back to the centre of Bournemouth. Nearly all my favourite pubs appear to be in Dorset. This one is up there for me. Maybe I should retire to Dorset, if I make it that far. Oh, and the pub also serves Thai food.

21 Feb 2016 19:55

The Ship In Distress, Stanpit

Visited here yesterday lunchtime. We appeared to be the first customers. The pub appears to promote itself as more of a seafood restaurant than a pub. But it did have 2 ales - Dartmoor Jail Ale & Ringwood Best Bitter. The interior looks as if it was originally 2 rooms. But it has been opened up and doubtless some of the character has been lost. Disappointing.

21 Feb 2016 19:48

Ye Olde George Inn, Christchurch

Closed 2 weeks ago according to a notice on the window. Has a prominent position in Christchurch. So I would think it should re-open at some point soon.

21 Feb 2016 18:50

The Thomas Tripp, Christchurch

The Thomas Tripp was the first of 4 new pubs sampled in the Christchurch and Bournemouth area yesterday. It's a Marstons (formerly Ringwood) with their Best Bitter, Forty Niner & XXXX Porter on, in addition to a guest - Flack Manor Union Flack. The pub is fairly nice, with a cosy feel and the porter was in good condition. The only pub we got into in Christchurch. But worthy of a visit.

21 Feb 2016 18:49

The Longwood, Fazeley

The Longwood is a Marstons estate pub that is fairly large and appears to cater mainly for families and diners looking for a cheap meal. 4 ales were on - Thwaites Lancaster Bomber, Ringwood Boondoggle, Brakspear Oxford Gold & Marstons Help For Heroes. I was also pleasantly surprised to see Westons Old Rosie. This was a busy place with many tables reserved (presumably for Valentine's Day). I also decided to treat (!) my wife with a burger and chips, which was ok and value for money. Has a fairly bland interior, whilst the exterior has a large car park and over a dozen tables overlooking Watling Street and the side street it stands on.

14 Feb 2016 21:56

The Three Horseshoes, Fazeley

Locals pub not far from Drayton Manor. As the previous reviewer said, the 3 ales are Bass, Sharps Doom Bar & Marstons Pedigree and these don't appear to change. Locals were congregated around the bar and also in the various seating. The single room was fairly full. The jukebox was a little too loud. But this seemed a friendly enough place.

14 Feb 2016 21:52

All Bar One, Liverpool

I always try to fit in one new pub when visiting the city and the All Bar One was my new pub for the day. It was my last of 10 pubs in all. It was smaller than I'd anticipated. But the beer range and the clientele were what I was expected apart from one particularly drunk customer creating a scene. Peroni, Aspalls, Guinness, Pilsner Urquell, Purity Longhorn IPA & Lawless, Estrella Damm, Amstel & Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was the draught selection. Ok. But I won't be back.

14 Feb 2016 21:49

Central Commercial Hotel, Liverpool

Paid a return visit to the Central yesterday as the 2nd of 10 pubs. There are still 4 real ales on tap. Yesterday was Wells Bombardier Glorious English & Try Time, Red Star Lakota & Thwaites Wainwright. Opposite Central station and near the main shopping area of Liverpool, this is a fairly handy place to visit. The interior is also one of the best in Liverpool. But the beer range can be bettered in so many other Liverpool pubs.

14 Feb 2016 21:45

The Wheel, Naphill

The Wheel was my penultimate pub today (Sunday afternoon) and is a cosy Greene King pub. Although judging by the number of pumpclips on the ceiling, it has regular guests. Punters in the front bar were watching the rugby. So I retreated to the lounge at the rear. There was only one other customer when I entered, along with the 2 pub dogs who took a definite interest in my pork scratchings. This room soon filled up too. But no worry, as it's quite large and designed to accommodate diners. Ales were Ruddles Best, Greene King IPA Reserve, Malt Starry Nights & Cottage Try Me. Appears to have won multiple awards. Note there is one other pub in the village not listed on here (the Black Lion), which was to be my final destination of the day.

7 Feb 2016 22:04

The Black Horse, Lacey Green

The Black Horse was my third and final pub in Lacey Green. Mordue Workie Ticket, Holts Two Hoots, Brakspear Bitter & Marstons Revisionist Red IPA were the 4 ales. Addlestones was the keg cider. Roast potatoes and crackling were on the bar for consumption. The clientele all seemed to be locals. It's clearly a family friendly pub. Fairly small place, with some mildly amusing cartoons in the gents.

7 Feb 2016 21:59

The Whip Inn, Lacey Green

The Whip Inn was the best of 6 pubs I visited in the Chilterns today. It has a good range of ales and 4 ciders from Lilleys too. There are 2 main rooms - a bar area and a larger seating area at the rear that was being used by diners. The young bar staff were quite entertaining. Although the 'f' word was perhaps being used a bit too liberally by one. Ales were Malt Prestwood's Best, Stancill Barnsley Bitter, Slightly Foxed Brewing Company Slightly Foxed, Nottingham Rock Mild, Rebellion IPA & Burton Bridge Stairway To Heaven. Ciders were Cheeky Pig, Pear & Raspberry, Bittersweet & Gladiator. Chalkboards show the beers and ciders and I liked the idea of having the ales on display in third pint glasses high on the wall next to each ale on the blackboard. I've never seen it done this way before. I wasn't expecting to find a pub this good today. I'll probably make the effort to get back here one day.

7 Feb 2016 21:57

Pink and Lily, Princes Risborough

The Pink & Lily appears to be a largely food dominated pub. But it does have 4 real ales - Haresfoot White Label, Sharps Doom Bar, Chiltern Black & Malt Starry Nights were today's selection. Sunday roasts appeared to be popular and the place was fairly busy. The garden has some children's play equipment and two strange bubble-like contraptions containing tables. They appear to be a way to drink outside without having to endure wind and/or rain. One of them was occupied today.

7 Feb 2016 21:52

The Red Lion, Bradenham

Judging by the opening times on the door, I was lucky to find this pub open. It currently opens only on Friday evenings and weekend lunchtimes. But it's a lovely country pub with a bar area at the front and a dining area at the rear. Rebellion IPA & Roasted Nuts were the ales. Plenty of character and some nice countryside nearby. Glad it was open.

7 Feb 2016 21:48

London Road Ale House, Stoke on Trent

We'd heard about this new pub in Stoke after drinking at its sister pub, the Bridge Street Ale House in Newcastle-under-Lyme. If anything the staff in this place were even more friendly and the drinks range was better still. Ales were Weal Noir, Black Hole Cyborg, Stewart Edinburgh No. 3, Ramsgate Gadds No. 5 & Mobberley Road Runner. Ciders were Tumbledown Medium, Cornish Orchards Blush, Applejack Kingston Black, Cracklin Rosie Perry & Lilleys Lemon & Lime. The helpful guy in charge suggested a Caribbean take away just down the road and gave us their takeaway menu to allow us to order and have one more for the road. In fact, we took a 6 pint take out too! This place only opened in December (2015). So word has clearly not got round about its existence yet. Hopefully the people of Stoke will support this, as it's a really good addition to the town's pub scene.

7 Feb 2016 21:41

Duke Of York, Newcastle under Lyme

I assume this is the pub now called the Freebird. If so, it's a rock pub that opens later in the day than most. On Saturday it was due to open at 3. But as luck would have it, the doors were open for a private party in the other room. The landlord was happy to serve us. Whilst this is not a traditional pub, by any stretch of the imagination, it does have a good selection of ales - Revolutions Furry-Tail of Yorkshire, Wincle Waller, Boss Bliss, Springhead Outlawed, Castle Rock Attenborough Reserve, Goffs Tournament, Front Row Crouch Traditional Bitter & Revolutions Red Hand. All beers we had were enjoyed. Although sadly we didn't have much time here. The landlord seemed a fairly friendly chap and was clearly knowledgeable about ales and music. Incidentally, the Albert just down the road is worth a visit if you prefer a more traditional pub. But you won't get the same ale range as the Freebird.

7 Feb 2016 21:33

The Old Brown Jug, Newcastle under Lyme

We were warned that this Marstons pub was not what it used to be and the warning turned out to be correct. EPA & Pedigree were the ales. Old Rosie was the cider. Staff were friendly enough. But we were the only customers in and I'd say this is much more of a late night venue, with a stage (presumably for bands or karaoke) dominating the fairly characterless bar. Disappointing pub. The worst of 7 we sampled in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

7 Feb 2016 21:29

Bridge Street Ale House, Newcastle under Lyme

After a visit to the excellent Lymestone Vaults (not listed on here - I'll request it), we had been alerted by a friend to this larger than expected micropub, just off Newcastle's main drags. The barman was friendly and knowledgeable. All the casks of ales and boxes of ciders are in a glass cabinet in the window. They are listed on blackboards along with a list of what is coming soon. The front bar has a number of high tables with bench-type seating. This gives way to a more comfortable seating area and another room with tables at the rear. Ales were Woodlands General's Tipple, Ramsgate Beautiful British Beer, Walls Allerton Pale & Peakstones Black Hole. Ciders were Sandford Orchards Pear Shaped, Olivers Shezam, Original Somerset Cider Company Bootleg Moonshine & Cornish Orchards Blush. I suspect we'll be back here next time we are in Newcastle.

7 Feb 2016 21:26

The Ironmarket, Newcastle under Lyme

I think this pub may have been closed for a while. You can tell it was a bland chain pub in its previous incarnation. There were a number of handpulls. But only Cross Bay Nightfall was on. Most of the locals were drinking cans of Carling. We were suspicious of the Nightfall. But it was far better than we'd expected. Doubt I'd come here again, unless passing.

7 Feb 2016 21:16

Arnold MacHin, Newcastle under Lyme

This Wetherspoons was the first of 7 pubs we tried in Newcastle early on a Saturday afternoon. The interior feels a little smaller than most branches. But the ale and cider range was good - Ruddles Best, Exmoor Beast, Kelham Island Pale Rider, Conwy Scrum Down, Greene King Abbot, Springhead Spice of Life, Moorhouses Pride of Pendle & Sharps Doom Bar; ciders were Thistly Cross Whisky Cask, Orchard Pig The Hogfather & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. Usual daytime 'spoons clientele. Situated just at the end of what I assume to be the main shopping street and where the pedestrianized zone begins.

7 Feb 2016 21:13

The Shrewsbury Arms, Oxton

The Shrewsbury Arms was our last pub of the evening in Oxton. It's been several years since I was last in here. This time, it was reasonably busy. But last time I remember it as heaving. Ales were Wells Bombardier Glorious English, Morland Old Speckled Hen, Thwaites Wainwright & Greene King IPA - not the best of choice. Probably the worst of the 3 pubs we visited for the ales. But probably the best for atmosphere. Whilst the interior wasn't that inspiring, it did feel more lively. This is a more friendly pub than those others I've visited in Oxton. So for that alone, it deserves some credit.

4 Feb 2016 21:53

Oxton Bar and Terrace, Oxton Village

The Oxton Bar & Kitchen is right at the centre of the village. It initially seemed quite a nice place. But one of our party was soon reprimanded for wearing a football shirt and asked to cover up! Certainly a pretentious place - this is the Wirral, not Surrey! The 3 ales were Liverpool Organic 24 Carat Gold & South Pale & Spitting Feathers Thirst Quencher. Nice enough place. Shame about the staff's attitude.

4 Feb 2016 21:50

Caernarvon Castle, Birkenhead

The Caernarvon Castle was our first pub last night in Oxton. It's a Greene King pub with a large car park, that was almost full at 5:30 on a weekday evening. The pub was fairly busy with what were mainly diners. In addition to the Greene King ales, they do have some guest beers, with Peerless seemingly a common sight. They had Frodsham Buzzin', Peerless Triple Blond, Pale & Paxton Peculiar, Caernarvon Castle Landlord's Choice, Morland Old Speckled Hen & Greene King IPA & Abbot. The best choice of beers we found in our 3 pubs. But as the previous reviewer says, there's very little atmosphere.

4 Feb 2016 21:46

The Magpie, Botcherby

With time for just one more pub before the match, I had initially tried to visit Carlisle Rugby Club, which was severely damaged in the recent floods, along with dozens of local residences in the Warwick Road area. I was expecting the Magpie to have closed down. But a quick check found it open. Apparently it had re-opened on Friday last week. It's now a Sam Smiths pub. Whilst there is no real ale, it has their full range of keg options - Extra Stout, Cider Reserve, Light Mild, Double Four, Taddy Lager, Alpine Lager, Old Brewery Bitter, Sovereign Bitter & Pure Brewed Organic Lager. With some of the cheapest prices in the country, I was mildly amused to see one guy topping up his pint in the car park from a can of Strongbow - class! The pub has been nicely refurbished and has kept its character. There is a large area out the back, that looks like it once had a bowling green. A terrace overlooks it. The Magpie is just high enough up the hill to have escaped the flooding and is worthy of a visit. It did take a while to get served though, with plenty of people giving it a try.

2 Feb 2016 21:59

The Crown and Thistle Inn, Carlisle

Walked in here late on Sunday morning to find the place absolutely packed. It has two bars - the one on the left was the cosier one of the two and was extremely busy. The other bar was much quieter. Although I did find a seat in the busiest room. Sharps Atlantic & Charnwood Try Hopped were the 2 ales. But I went for a keg mild. Definitely the better (and more popular) of the 2 Stanwix pubs I tried.

2 Feb 2016 21:53

Crown Inn, Stanwix

It's a fair walk from the station in Carlisle out to Stanwix, through a flood-hit area. But Stanwix is up a steep hill and therefore untouched, or at least the two pubs I tried here were. Both were open before midday on a Sunday. The Crown Inn is a 2-bar community local, with friendly staff. Locals were gearing up for the FA Cup match. Greene King IPA & Thwaites Wainwright were the ales. I opted for a keg cider. Nice enough pub. But could do with a more adventurous ale on.

2 Feb 2016 21:51

The William Rufus, Carlisle

Returned here with a bit of a hangover on Sunday morning. Unlike the early hours the night before, there were no queues, no bouncers, entrance was free and there was no deafening music. It was still busy though with the pre-football crowd. Luckily they had a fair number of staff behind the bar. Ales were Greene King IPA, Hawkshead Windermere Pale, Sharps Doom Bar, Cumberland Corby Blonde, Morland Old Speckled Hen & Youngs Special. What better way to work off a hangover with a Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon cider! Not a bad option during the day. But I think the nearby Woodrow Wilson is better.

2 Feb 2016 21:47

Woodrow Wilsons, Carlisle

After declining to pay an entry fee to the Lloyds Number One bar, we finished the night in the William Rufus, a standard Wetherspoons just up the road. The only drawback was that we were thrown out at 1:30am, whereas the William Rufus opens later! Just as well really. Ales were Burton Bridge Burton XL Bitter, Settle Metropolitan Ruby Ale, Stonehenge Danish Dynamite, Hawkshead Bitter & Dry Stone Stout, Tring Colley's Dog, Cumberland Corby Ale & Blonde, Ruddles Best, Thwaites Wainwright, Greene King Abbot, Jennings Sneck Lifter & Thornbridge Jaipur. Cider was Old Rosie. A large enough pub that was much quieter than its counterparts up towards the station. The better of the two 'Spoons.

2 Feb 2016 21:44

The Cumberland Inn, Carlisle

The Cumberland Inn is at the heart of Carlisle's nightlife strip near the station. We opted for this after having to queue (!) to get into the nearby Lloyds Bar only to find bouncers charging £2 to get in (!!). Needless to say, I'm a bit too long in the tooth to pay for entry to a pub. The Cumberland had its own bouncer and was every bit as noisy as the William Rufus. But we didn't have to queue and we didn't have to pay to get in. Inside was a sea of people enjoying 1990s/2000s dance classics. There were both young and old. It was quite a spectacle, reminding me of my clubbing days. There's a nice tiled error around the bar. But it's probably much nicer when clean, as we were sticking firmly to the floor with every attempted step. There's a vacant handpull here, showing it why it made the Good Beer Guide in 2006. But our choice was Guinness, Guinness Extra Cold, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruit, Fosters, John Smiths Extra Smooth or Stella. I could have quite happily stayed longer admiring the sights and listening to the music. But my drinking partner removed his earplugs to signal his desire to move on somewhere a little more civilised!

2 Feb 2016 21:40

The Griffin, Carlisle

After 7 fairly relaxing pubs, I hit the centre of Carlisle's late night drinking circuit with the Griffin on the edge of it, just outside the railway station. It's quite a grand building inside and out. There is plenty of seating space both upstairs and downstairs. I believe the upstairs room had its own bar too. But I was getting a little merry by now. I do remember that most tables were littered with glasses, either indicating it had been a very busy evening, or they simply didn't have enough staff. I'll opt for the former reason, as another friend had described the action earlier in the evening as 'cabaret'. Whilst this is a Greene King establishment, it's not limited to just their own beers. Hardy & Hansons Rocked Out, Robinsons Trooper, Greene King IPA & Copper Dragon Golden Pippin were the ales. The Rocked Out was ok, but nothing special. A CAMRA discount was offered. I'd imagine the Griffin would make for a pleasant drink during the day. But it was just a bit too lively to enjoy during my visit.

2 Feb 2016 21:33

Moo Bar, Carlisle

I was supposed to be meeting a friend here. But at first I walked into another local bar (Eaten By Monsters - not listed on here). Whilst that bar did have 3 ales, it wasn't the Moo Bar. I think I was fooled by what looked like a cow symbol on the front window! Eaten By Monsters was very busy and on two levels and I was tempted to stay with the 'quality' of the sights inside! But I pinched myself, exited and moved a few doors along to the much quieter Moo Bar. This has a huge array of handpulls. But you get the feeling that Carlisle is not quite ready for this kind of establishment. There were only around a dozen customers in on a Saturday night and not all of the handpulls had beers. It was much busier on the Sunday afternoon after the football. Ales on were Carlisle Brewing Company Oatmeal Stout, Flaxen, Carlisle Pale Ale & Spun Gold, Arbor The Devil Made Me Brew It & Boomtown Brown, Cross Bay Sunset, Allendale Pennine Pale & Golden Plover & Hawkshead Windermere Pale & Bitter. No real ciders are dispensed. But they do also have a good range of craft beers and also bottles. Ilkley The Mayan (a chilli stout) was very enjoyable from the keg. Other keg options included Saltaire Stateside IPA, Tirril Pennine Pilsner, Tickety Brew IPA & Hammertown Baron H. The bar staff were very knowledgeable. All in all, the best pub in Carlisle for ale drinkers.

2 Feb 2016 21:24

The Howard Arms, Carlisle

Another town centre pub, on the edge of the Lanes shopping centre and with a splendid exterior and interior. This pub has 2 separate rooms, which are both small and cosy, especially when busy as it was late on Saturday evening. The barmaid was very friendly. Ales on were Theakston Best Bitter, Robinsons Dizzy Blonde & Weetwood Cheshire Cat. I had the latter. But I'd have much preferred a darker beer. The real ale range may not be mind-blowing. But it's worth a visit to sample a very traditional interior.

2 Feb 2016 21:15

The Kings Head Inn, Carlisle

Pub number 5 for me was the King's Head back in the town centre. It is situated in a nice street within the main shopping area. With all the shops closed, the pub still had plenty of punters and was the best pub I'd visited thus far. Ales were Yates's Golden Ale & Bitter, Arbor Oz Bomb & Ilkley Fireside Porter. Unusually for Carlisle pubs, it also had a cider - Rosie's Pig. I later found that the pub has just started offering a CAMRA discount. But it wasn't offered to this CAMRA member. Neverthless, the interior has plenty of character with plenty of old beams. There's no mobile phone reception - probably a good thing. Not the best pub in Carlisle. But it's up there.

2 Feb 2016 21:11

The Globe, Caldewgate

I think the building is still here. But there's certainly no open pub any more. The Maltsters Arms opposite is no more too.

2 Feb 2016 21:06

The Jovial Sailor, Carlisle

The Jovial Sailor was my fourth stop in Carlisle (the Milbourne Arms is not listed on here but is in the 2016 Good Beer Guide - Lord knows why). Similar to the Milbourne, the Jovial Sailor had only one ale on - Theakston Best. A pigeon fanciers club was being promoted, whilst locals were drinking blue WKD mixed with double measures of brandy. Seems very much like a locals pub. But I did seem to follow a group of foreign lads that could hardly speak a word of English in - my guess would be Ukrainian seamen, but who knows! A pub with character and characters.

2 Feb 2016 21:05

The Linton Holme Inn, Carlisle

The Linton Holme has re-opened in the last year and according to the locals we spoke to, few people manage to find it. It's a very nice corner pub deep in a residential area. There is some very impressive tiling inside. There are 2 or 3 rooms and 2 ales - Yates's Bitter & Sun Goddess. Locals seemed very friendly and there was a female singer performing. Worth seeking out.

2 Feb 2016 20:58

The Spinners Arms, Cummersdale

Arrived into Carlisle by train and took the last bus of the weekend to Cummersdale at 18:07 on a Saturday evening! This is the home of the Carlisle Brewing Company, even though they have now located to a larger brewery on an industrial estate. Three of their ales were on - Spun Gold, Best Bitter & Oatmeal Stout. I had the Stout, whilst my drinking partner had the Bitter. The Bitter was definitely the better option and it was very nice. Reports from elsewhere in Carlisle suggested that the Spun Gold was not too brilliant. But we certainly enjoyed the Bitter. The Spinners Arms is a fairly small single-bar pub that appears to be mainly used by locals. It was a reasonably long walk up the lane and into a housing estate for another bus back to the centre of Carlisle - not the best option when it's snowing and there's a biting wind! But I was on a mission to get through as many pubs in Carlisle as possible.

2 Feb 2016 20:54

The Bree Louise, Euston

Saturday lunchtime was my first visit to the Bree Louise in a good while. With just over half an hour before my train, I calculated there was time for a swift half. My best plans were scuppered when the barman served me a pint instead. He gave it me for the price of a half. So I didn't have the nerve to ask for a CAMRA discount (25p per half). It was fairly busy with a mix of typical real ale buffs and a few football fans. Ales were Bree Louise Session Pale Ale, Brains Bitter, First Gold, Cambrian Pale, Rev Jame Gold, Rev James Rye & Rev James Original, Caledonian Double Dark, Tring Colley's Dog, Jennings Cockle Warmer, Plain Ales Best Bitter, Celt Experience Horse Cranium Chocolate Lime Milk Porter, Titanic Plum Porter, Banks's Sunbeam, Milestone 9 Gallons, Redemption Big Chief IPA, & Downton Elderquad. Ciders and perries were Millwhites Blackberry Blush, Apples & Pears, Bree Louise House Cider, Vintage, Somer Gold & Single Variety Grenadier, Westons Old Rosie & Rosie's Pig, Wilkins Farmhouse Sweet & Abrahalls Thundering Molly. Still a good pub for drinks selection. But I still think it lacks atmosphere. The no frills description is fairly apt.

2 Feb 2016 20:47

The British Lion (the Pig), Crewe

I had 40 minutes whilst changing trains in Crewe. I walked in and out of the very quiet Corner Bar, which has seemingly gone downhill. Only a Greene King ale was on. I continued to the British Lion and was surprised to see that this is now a Joules pub. It's unlike any other Joules pub I have visited, with a much more down at heel feel. The jukebox was on very loud and Dutch football was on the TV. It had an edgy feel. Slumbering Monk, Blonde & Old No. 6 were the 3 ales on. I had the latter, which served a purpose before I had to leave to catch my next train.

25 Jan 2016 19:18

The Dispensary, Liverpool

The Dispensary is still our regular haunt in Liverpool. But as you can guess, I'm very often touring around Liverpool's other establishments. Despite this, I always make the effort to get here for at least one. The ale quality is always good. But the ale range can sometimes seem a little predictable, with the same breweries featuring - typically Titanic, Rat, Fernandes & Ossett. Yesterday's selection was George Wright Mark's Mild, Titanic First Class & Plum Porter, Fyne Ragnarok Imperial Jarl, Rat Mother Rat Milk Stout, King Rat & White Rat & Mallinsons Ella. The Milk Stout was very enjoyable last night. The Addlestones cider is no longer served. Aspalls is the only cider on draught now. Also missed is the Titanic Cappuccino, which used to be a regular beer. But we have not seen this for a couple of years now. The landlord is a staunch red. A big screen comes down and the blinds/curtains are drawn when they're playing on the TV! Woe be tied anybody who puts their coats on the seats! But he is a nice enough guy with a dry sense of humour when you get to know him and he clearly has a love for good beer. The Dispensary is always popular and definitely worth a visit for anybody sampling Liverpool's pubs. My personal favourite in Liverpool has to be the Ship & Mitre these days. But I know my friends would disagree and for me the Dispensary runs it very close. Go to the Ship & Mitre for the best range. But go to the Dispensary for the best quality.

25 Jan 2016 19:13

The Caledonia, Liverpool

The Caledonia was much busier than on our last visit and was seemingly more popular on a Sunday evening than many city centre pubs. This was no doubt helped by a jazz band performing. Live music seems to be a feature on most days know and this is obviously a big draw for the large student crowd. The ales were Plassey New World Pale, Empire Mad Dogs and Englishmen & Burscough Hold Your Plums. Cider was Orchard Pig Explorer. There were also some craft beers. I tried the Tickety Brew Coffee Anise Porter, which was quite frankly awful - the first craft beer I have tried that was off, despite being served at a cold temperature. An unusual feature was a vending machine selling cans of 3 kinds of Heavy Industry beers. At £3.80 each, we decided not to partake. I'll give the pub the benefit of the doubt, despite the poor quality beer. This is still a pub I should probably visit more often.

25 Jan 2016 19:03

Peter Kavanaghs, Liverpool

Peter Kavanagh's is well out of the city centre. So I don't get to go here too often. It's also in a backstreet. So you don't tend to notice it in passing. Nevertheless it's still one of Liverpool's pub gems, with 3 different rooms that are all impressive. The ale range is good, but not quite good enough to tempt us here any more often. Yesterday it was Cottage Nemesis & Golden Arrow, Greene King Abbot, George Wright Cheeky Pheasant & Ossett Columbia Creek. All the beers we tried were well kept.

25 Jan 2016 18:58

The Country Girl, Selly Oak

In addition to the below, Wadworth 6X, Marstons Pedigree & Wychwood Hobgoblin were also on.

25 Jan 2016 18:52

The Black Horse Hotel, Northfield

The Black Horse is a landmark building on a busy junction of the Bristol Road. It is impressive, both inside and out. Although it feels much smaller when inside, despite its grandeur from the roadside. It feels somewhat different from most Wetherspoons I've been in. Bouncers were on the door on our Saturday evening visit. Service at the bar was quick and there were plenty of tables for seating. Ales were Derventio Cleopatra, Elland Nettle Thrasher, White Horse Wayland Smithy, Titanic Route 10 IPA, Green Jack Waxwing, Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best, Sharps Doom Bar & Fullers London Pride. They also had Westons Country Perry & Orchard Pig Maverick. Nice place.

25 Jan 2016 18:51

The Country Girl, Selly Oak

This was my second consecutive Ember Inns pub, following the Selly Park Tavern. In my opinion, this was the better of the two. The man who served me appeared to be the manager and he was friendly and knowledgeable. Service was quick, despite the pub being fairly busy. The pub has a disabled parking area at the front, with a larger car park at the rear. There is also a patio at the rear, seemingly popular with smokers. Ales were Adnams Broadside, St Austell Tribute, Thwaites Wainwright, Conwy California & Brakspear Bitter. They also had Thatchers Cheddar Valley cider. The only drawback was the strong smell of cleaning fluid in the bar area. Nicer than the usual Ember Inns pub.

25 Jan 2016 18:45

The Selly Park Tavern, Selly Oak

Nice enough pub. But there was quite a wait to be served on Saturday evening and most tables had empty glasses on them. Unsurprisingly they were running out of glasses behind the bar. It certainly seems like they need a few more staff. Ales were Harviestoun Old Engine Oil, Purity Ubu, Brakspear Bitter, Cotleigh Uncle Sam & Sharps Doom Bar. The interior is a typical Ember Inns one. It's one large room with standard décor. Although a number of beams and partitions help create separate drinking environments. The pub has a large car park with a bowling green at the rear and a separate skittle alley that appeared to be in use during our visit.

25 Jan 2016 18:39

The Eagle Ale House, Clapham

I see that it's been over 4 years since I'd last been here. It's appeared on the front cover of the Good Beer Guide since I was last here! So we finished our evening tour of Clapham & Battersea here yesterday. The Eagle is pretty much unchanged from what I remember. It's a cosy backstreet local that can get busy at times. But the ale selection has diminished since my last visit, with only 5 on during this visit - Surrey Hills Greensand IPA & Shere Drop, Trumans Attaboy, Brodies Bethnal Green Bitter & Downton Four Corners. There were 3 or 4 vacant handpulls. That surprised me considering how busy it was. Ciders are still keg or bottle only. I may have over-rated this pub last time I was here. It's good. But London has so many better pubs.

17 Jan 2016 17:34

The Draft House, Battersea

After a visit to the BrewDog pub 5-10 minutes walk away, we continued to this Draft House pub. This is the third pub from this chain that I have visited and they follow a similar formula. 3 ales were on - Belleville Tie Die Rye, Sambrooks Four Chimneys Chocolate Stout & Dark Star Revelation. They also have a good craft beer selection and bottled beers too. Although the craft beers can be fairly pricy. There's a discount for CAMRA members. Another place with a predominantly young (but friendly) crowd. I may have been here when it was the Pitcher & Piano. The Draft House chain is a big improvement on Pitcher & Piano.

17 Jan 2016 17:28

The Rise, Clapham Junction

After a brief trip to the Finborough Arms, we ventured out to Clapham to try a few new pubs yesterday evening. The Four Thieves is a large venue with several different drinking areas. The one at the front was patronised by young families. The main bar area seemed to be the local youth and there was another large side room, an outdoor patio and further space upstairs, which we didn't try. Whilst this place brews its own beer, it seems to be more of a hip and trendy place than most other brewpubs. But they had a large selection of their own ales - School Of Hops Citra, Light Ale of Year Edition, Cuddle Me Buff, Pink Grapefruit Sour, Black IPA & London Porter. Apparently they distil their own gin too and I opted for a sloe gin! I have it noted down that I came here many years ago when it was Bar Risa. But I certainly don't remember it. A decent addition to the Battersea/Clapham scene. But it may be better to visit during the day when I would imagine it is quieter.

17 Jan 2016 17:18

The Antelope, Surbiton

Paid a return visit to the Antelope yesterday. It's a short 5 minute walk from the station. Yesterday there was a small market set up on the pavement outside, which I hadn't seen before. The ale and cider range still doesn't disappoint. Yesterday lunchtime it was Big Smoke (the resident brewery) Dark Wave Porter, Electric Eye Pale Ale & Underworld Vanilla Stout, Ascot Alley Cat Ale, Hardy & Hansons Rocking Rudolph, Vale Hornbrook & Brill Gold, Roosters YPA, Red Willow Mirthless & Belhaven Smoke Stack Stout. Ciders & perries can be found on handpull around the side of the bar - Gwatkin Squeal Pig Perry, Lilleys Mulled Cider, Hallets Heartbreaker & Millwhites Rioja Cask & Hedgelayer. We were here early enough to secure a table. But it can soon get busy. I think this was my third or fourth visit here and it's hasn't failed to disappoint as yet.

17 Jan 2016 17:09

The Manor, Old Malden

As per the previous review, this is now a Co-Op. The blue sign you can see on the picture is still there and gives false hope as you exit the station. But then you notice the green Co-Op signs.

17 Jan 2016 17:00

Woodies, New Malden

This former cricket pavilion is a little off the beaten track. But it's worth going just to admire all of the sports memorabilia covering every inch of wall and ceiling space. Much of it centres around local teams such as Wimbledon and Fulham. The ale range is reasonably good and you can check what is available on their website. Yesterday there was Twickenham Naked Ladies & Sundancer, Weltons Heat Was In The Very Sod, Fullers London Pride & ESB, Adnams Broadside & Youngs Bitter. Cider was Wyld Wood. Food is served from a counter and is probably fairly popular, given the counter has its own staff. But there was a strong smell of fish. We weren't sure this place was open on arriving shortly after 11am yesterday. The door to the veranda was open. But the door to the bar was not. The veranda was nice and warm anyway! I'm not sure I'd hurry back here as it's a good 15-20 minute walk from either Malden Manor or Berrylands stations where trains are also fairly infrequent. In addition there's no other pubs nearby. The nearest place listed on here is the Manor, which is now a Co-Op!

17 Jan 2016 16:55

Allotment, Manchester

Tried visiting this place last night. It is advertised as open to midnight. But at 11pm last night, they were not serving any more. The barman claimed it was too quiet and they were closing early. There were still several groups in. So we didn't quite buy this. 0/10 for a place that you can't rely on to be open.

14 Jan 2016 22:28

Port Street Beer House, Manchester

The Port Street Beer House was my final pub of the day. It's been on my hit list for some time. But I finally ended up here late last night. It was better than I had anticipated. The interior is fairly modern and it felt a little cramped with the volume of drinkers. Real ales were Hammerton Pentonville Oyster Stout, Celt Experience Pre-Prohibition IPA, Track Mazama, Magic Rock Common Grounds Coffee Porter, Wylam Puffing Billy, Cloudwater Bitter & Summer Wine Resistance Dark Mild. The Coffee Porter was nice. This bar also has a great selection of bottles and also craft beers, lagers and ciders - Magic Rock Dancing Bear Pils, Odell IPA, Mad Hatter Felicia (white chocolate & raspberry), Firestone Walker Easy Jack, Real Time Saison Partizan & Prairie, Hawkshead & Wild Beer BA Oat Wine, Hawkshead Brodie's Prime Export, Redchurch Shoreditch Blonde, Flensburger Lager, Mars Atom, Liefmans Cuvee Brut, Sandford Orchards Devon Mist, Mein Grunes Schneider Weisse, Veltins Pilsner, Orbit Laika Dunkelweisse, Brooklyn Lord Sarachi, Magic Rock/Lervig Redolent Rye & Mad Hatter Penny Lane Pale. If you know where you're going, it is very convenient for Piccadiily station. So I'd like to bet I'll be back here in the none too distant future.

14 Jan 2016 22:10

The Art Picture House, Bury

The Art Picture House is the prominent building you see when entering Bury by tram or bus. It is a Wetherspoons outlet with a central bar and the preserved former cinema interior. Ales were Caledonian Rising Sun Pale Ale, Butcombe Moxee IPA, JW Lees The Governor, Wells Bombardier Glorious English, Phoenix Wobbly Bob, Moorhouses Blond Witch, Ruddles Best & Sharps Doom Bar. Ciders were Westons The Collaborators & Black Rat. Very handy place and one of two good Wetherspoons in the town.

14 Jan 2016 22:02

Automatic, Bury

This place has a vaguely art deco feel to it. It appears to be mainly a dining establishment. But drinkers are taken care of and I imagine it becomes more of a bar later in the evening. Silver Street Ruby & Old J Spiced Rum Porter, Pennine Yule Pride & Timothy Taylor Landlord were the 4 ales. The Porter was excellent. I was warned off this place. But I'm glad I didn't heed the warning, as this is another decent town centre bar in Bury.

14 Jan 2016 21:59

The Clarence Hotel, Bury

The Clarence is the brewery tap for the Silver Street brewery. Their ales are brewed on the premises. I was surprised to see that it is a fairly trendy place. It was seemingly popular with the after work white collar crowd. The interior is nice, with the original tiled floor preserved and lots of wood. Three Silver Street ales - 103, Session & Heavy were supplemented by Lytham Stout & Redhawk American Red Ale & Mobberley Brewhouse 1924. There were several craft beers too. Well worth a visit and probably the second best pub in town.

14 Jan 2016 21:55

Wyldes, Bury

Wyldes is a busy bar on a main intersection in Bury town centre. It has a number of large seating areas. The upper levels were closed. But downstairs was still busy. There are plenty of TV screens. But the ale selection was limited. This is a Joseph Holts house and only their Bitter & Two Hoots were on. Worst pub I tried in Bury.

14 Jan 2016 21:51

The Robert Peel, Bury

Has the usual Wetherspoons large, single room. It was fairly busy on my late weekday afternoon visit. Plenty of staff. But none of them were in a hurry to serve. Ales were Old Tom Strong Ale, JW Lees Bitter, Phoenix White Monk, Caledonian Rising Sun Pale Ale, Bridgehouse Cherry Choc Stout, Ruddles Best, Greene King Abbot & Sharps Doom Bar. Ciders were Westons Old Rosie, Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon & Thistly Whisky Cask. A pint of the latter went down very nicely. Both Wetherspoons in Bury are above average.

14 Jan 2016 21:49

The Two Tubs Inn, Bury

Another Thwaites pub, tucked away opposite a church, but nextdoor to one of Bury's two Wetherspoon joints, the Two Tubs has a fair amount of character. All of the ales were from Thwaites. Some were their experimental beers. Wainwright, Original, 13 Guns, Lancaster Bomber, Columbus Brown & Yule Love It was the choice. The fact that a Christmas beer was on means the beers probably don't turn over that quickly. Cider was Old Rosie. Locals in the front bar were fairly friendly. There is a lot of seating in the rooms beyond, with another separate bar. Was offered a free half of the Original as they'd had to pour half a pint of each ale for their Cask Marque inspection.

14 Jan 2016 21:45

The Trackside, Bury

This place was easily my favourite pub of the day. It's the original station refreshment rooms and is situated on the platform at the atmospheric Bolton Street Station. 10 ales, 6 ciders and a perry were being dispensed by a knowledgeable barman. Locals also seemed well up on their beers. The 10 on handpull yesterday were Beartown Wojtek, Saltaire Amarillo Gold, Silver Street 103, Green Mill Talisman, Greenfield Vanilla Stout, Riverhead Gingerbread Mild, Cottage Flying Scotsman, Wentworth Challenge & Outstanding Ultra Pale & Piston Broke. The latter is the session ale that is a permanent fixture. Ciders are brought from somewhere behind the bar. The selection was Broadoak Perry, Thatchers Cheddar Valley, Westons Old Rosie, Biddendens Bushells, Bartestree Katy, Hurst View Jibber Jabber & Tardebigge Cider. Two of these were new ciders for me and I also had the mild and the stout. The stout was very nice indeed. There are hundreds of pumpclips on the ceiling and walls. They've clearly had a lot of beers on at various times here. I also echo the previous reviewers comments about the prices. £3 for a pint of cider was good value. The ales were cheaper still. A well deserved 9/10 from me and a must for any visitor to Bury.

14 Jan 2016 21:41

The Black Bull Hotel, Bury

Thwaites pub on a crossroads west of Bury. It appears to have a good reputation for food. But there was at least one other person here just for the ales. Thwaites beers were Original, Nutty Black, Black Bull Bitter & Wainwright. They also had Jennings Cumberland Ale. I'm not sure this was worth the trip out of town. But a reasonably good pub.

14 Jan 2016 21:30

The Arthur Inn, Bury

Another pub I had on my shortlist that I passed on a bus. You can't really tell that this was ever a pub.

14 Jan 2016 21:27

The Dusty Miller, Bury

I noticed this place on the way to the Brown Cow. The exterior of the building is still intact and it currently looks like it is being used as offices.

14 Jan 2016 21:26

The Brown Cow Inn, Bury

This was the first pub on a midweek trip to Bury. A word of warning though, the footpath from the bus route on Brandlesholme Road is like a mudbath at this time of year. But it does have nice views over the Irwell. The Brown Cow, situated in a country park feels a million miles away from the centre of Bury. It was almost 2 o'clock when I arrived. But there were still a few in finishing their lunches. 3 ales were on - Wells Bombardier Burning Gold, Elland Blonde & Cottage EPA. I had the Elland, which was ok. But all of the ales were a similar style and not exactly my cup of tea. The interior is fairly cosy and I can imagine this is a lovely spot in the summer. It wasn't too bad in the mid winter either. Fairly close to the East Lancs. Railway.

14 Jan 2016 21:24

The Willowbank, Liverpool

The Willowbank was another Wavertree pub I haven't been to for over 20 years. It was my favourite of the 3 pubs we tried. There is a circular bar with different ales on both sides. Most of the seating was at the rear. The gents toilets were impressively clean. Ales were Tetleys Cask, Robinsons Trooper, Greene King IPA, Brains The Rev James, Copper Dragon Golden Pippin & Morland Old Speckled Hen. Adnams Ghost Ship was supposed to be on. But I couldn't see any sign of it. Addlestones cider was on handpull. A much better pub than I remember.

10 Jan 2016 14:32

Edinburgh, Liverpool

This is a very nice backstreet local, just off Wavertree High Street. Whilst other pubs have a better range of ales, you'll go a fair way to beat the character of this place, with its 2 small rooms. On arrival yesterday lunchtime, we weren't sure it was open. But when the moment of truth arrived, the door opened! There were only 3 other customers in when we arrived and just 2 by the time we left. The 4 ales were St Austell Proper Job, Morland Original, Liverpool Organic Cascade & Timothy Taylor Landlord. Addlestones cider was available on keg. The Cains sign is still up outside. But obviously the Cains has long since gone. There's a few other pubs on the High Street I haven't tried. But this is a bit out of the way to become a regular haunt.

10 Jan 2016 14:26

The Richmond Tavern, Wavertree

After a visit to Pi in Mossley Hill, we headed alongside the railway and along Penny Lane to the Richmond. I haven't been here for 22 years and to be honest I don't recognise it from the pub I used to frequent. It's now an Ember Inns establishment with a warm family-friendly environment more suited to diners than drinkers. They did however have 7 ales - Black Sheep Best Bitter, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Kelburn Goldihops, St Austell Tribute, Liverpool Organic 24 Carat Gold, Thwaites Wainwright & Brakspear Bitter. A CAMRA discount is offered for each person who has a card in your part. The worst of 3 pubs we tried in Wavertree. Whilst the drinking environment is pleasant, it doesn't feel like a real pub.

10 Jan 2016 14:21

The Railway Arms, West Drayton

Came in here last night to watch the football. It's been a while since I last visited. The place is much as it was last time I was here and they still have a real ale. Last night it was Windsor & Eton Windsor Knot. Mainly filled with people from the North, perhaps working on the Crossrail extension. But a reasonably friendly crowd. I'll stick with a 4/10. But it's verging on a 5.

7 Jan 2016 22:31

The Brickmakers Arms, Yiewsley

It's been quite a few years since I was here last. I tried visiting the Brickmakers last night, only to find it closed. The building is still there and all the signs are too. But I know it was for sale not long ago. So I'm not sure whether it actually sold or whether it was withdrawn from the market.

7 Jan 2016 22:28

The Phoenix Inn, St Helens

I'd stood outside this pub shortly after midday in the pouring rain waiting for this pub to open, with no answer on the pub's telephone. I eventually gave up and returned much later in the evening to finally find it open. This is a fairly large corner pub with 2 bars. There were 3 or 4 people in one room watching the darts and another person in the other room. The ale choice was good - Roosters Yankee, Thornbridge Jaipur & Ilkley Fireside Porter. Another enjoyable St Helens pub, when it finally opened! I continued on to the Brown Edge (not listed on here), another pub that had earlier been closed.

7 Jan 2016 21:50

The Olde England, St Helens

The Olde England was another of the pubs I'd found closed on a Sunday afternoon. It wasn't much livelier on a Sunday evening, with 2 other customers who soon disappeared. However, I thought this place had a real charm. There are 2 bars which are dimly lit and have plenty of character. Ales on were Robinsons Trooper, Dizzy Blonde, Unicorn & Wizard & Facers Landslide. In addition, there were 3 ciders - Westons Old Rosie & Wyld Wood & Abrahalls Nell Gwynne. I had the Nell Gwynne, which was a new one for me. A loyalty card was advertised, where you could buy 9 pints and get your 10th free. Unfortunately, I wasn't having that much of a session. Well worth a visit.

7 Jan 2016 21:46

The Duke of Cambridge, St Helens

I'd been to Duke Street earlier in the day on Sunday and of 4 pubs tried in this area, only the Sportsman's was open. On my return later in the evening, I visited the News Room, a small and modern bar not listed on here and then moved on here to the Duke of Cambridge. This is certainly a down at heel pub. There only appeared to be 2 other people here - the barmaid and what appeared to be a DJ who was controlling the music being shown on a huge screen. Perhaps impromptu dancing sessions start here some nights in the huge open area with very little setting. But this was a pub with very little atmosphere. Cocktails such as Purple People Eater were advertised. But they did have 2 respectable ales - Salopian Shropshire Gold & Moorhouses Blond Witch and apparently it was local CAMRA pub of the year not too long ago. So maybe I visited on an off night. But I didn't think too much of this place.

7 Jan 2016 21:41

The Junction, Rainford

Situated right next to Rainford station, this pub is rather unusual in that it has a set of traffic lights in its car park as the entrance is narrow and pulls out onto a busy junction. Live music appears to be a big thing here and a group were playing in one room. There are however places to escape. 3 George Wright ales were on - Cheeky Pheasant, Up The Junction! and Mild. There was also Robinsons Trooper & Gwynt y Ddraig Happy Daze cider. I quite liked this pub.

7 Jan 2016 21:35

Star Inn, Rainford

I was here on Sunday evening. This seemed like a locals pub. There is a bar area as you enter and a larger room beyond, which appears to be popular with diners. Brains The Rev James, Coach House Postlethwaite's, Thwaites Wainwright, Facers Midwinter Minstrel, Oceanic Steam White Star & George Wright Pipe Dream. I had the White Star which was good. I was hoping for a dark ale. But none were forthcoming. Still a decent option locally though.

7 Jan 2016 21:31

Colliers Arms, Kings Moss

Another foodie pub in the lovely rural village of Kings Moss. I think I was the only person there just for a drink and there were no tables available. So I didn't hang around for long. But they do have 3 ales which were Black Sheep Best Bitter, Greene King London Glory & West Berkshire Good Old Boy. Food smelt nice. Nice pub. But more of a restaurant than a drinkers' place.

7 Jan 2016 21:27

The Red Cat, St Helens

I made a return visit to this pub on Sunday. It has now re-opened. Whilst primarily a gastropub now, there are still 3 rooms, one main dining area and two smaller bars. I sat in the front bar and enjoyed a pack of black pudding flavour pork scratchings. Ales were Greene King Abbot, Black Sheep Best Bitter & Weetwood Cheshire Cat. There were plenty of staff. I'm now able to update my rating. Nice rural location overlooking fields, assuming you don't get off an hourly bus to find it closed!

7 Jan 2016 21:23

Griffin, Eccleston

A quick trip out to Eccleston and I found this large roadside pub that feels much smaller when you're inside. It was also very quiet with only one other drinker and one or two families there for Sunday lunch. Live football was being shown. 3 ales were on - Jennings Cumberland Ale, Thwaites Wainwright & George Wright Jack Frost. Service was friendly.

7 Jan 2016 21:20

The Sportsmans Inn, St Helens

Finally a pub that was open on Sunday lunchtime in St Helens (I managed to find 7 closed or demolished)! Not only was it open. But this was the pub of the day. There are 2 comfortable rooms, a knowledgeable landlord and a good selection of ales - Greenfield Thirst Born, George Wright Blonde Moment, Purple Moose Snowdonia, Oakham Raucous Reindeer & JHB, Vibrant Forest Black Forest, Ilkley Mary Christmas & Heavy Industry Nelson's Eye. I went for the Lilleys Strawberry Cider.

7 Jan 2016 21:15

Sutton Oak, St Helens

This pub now appears to be flats. I went to the nearby Red Lion Hotel instead, which was probably the worst pub of 14 I tried in the area on Sunday. It's not listed on here and not worth adding.

7 Jan 2016 21:08

Glass House, St Helens

The Glass House was my second Wetherspoons in St Helens on Sunday morning. I'd previously been to the Running Horses nearby and is not listed on here. The Glass House was the better of the two. It's the usual open-plan pub with a lower level that seemed to be more popular with those eating breakfasts. Service was prompt. Ales were Bath Ales Festivity, Banks's Driftwood Pale Ale, Burton Bridge Burton XL Bitter, Weetwood Oast House, Sharps Doom Bar, Ruddles Best, The Glass House Big Jugs, Greene King Abbot & Heritage Empire IPA. Ciders were Westons Old Rosie & Mulled Cider & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. They also had Sandford Orchards Pear Shaped.

7 Jan 2016 21:06

The Mute Swan, Hampton Court

Directly opposite Hampton Court and adjacent to the river, this is a popular Brunning & Price pub/eatery. I normally like the Brunning & Price formula, which combines good food with a decent selection of ales. Late on a Saturday evening, most tables were being occupied by diners. So it felt uncomfortable taking a table just to drink. It is spread over two floors with a spiral staircase in the middle of the room. Ales were Timothy Taylor Landlord, Hop Art Hoppy Blonde, Sambrooks Pumphouse Pale, Phoenix Brunning & Price Original Bitter, Oakham Citra & Hogsback Tea. So no dark ales, which I prefer. One of the worst pubs I've been to in this chain. But the location of this one ensures it will always be busy.

4 Jan 2016 23:10

The Jolly Coopers, Hampton

The best of 3 pubs I tried in Hampton on Saturday evening and the best of 10 altogether in West London. This is a busy community pub with a separate restaurant at the back, which was equally popular. Ales were Hopback Summer Lightning, Caledonian Deuchars IPA, Triple fff Winter Oatmeal Stout & Hardy & Hansons Rocking Rudolph. The Stout was very enjoyable. Another pub with live football being shown. Well worth a visit.

4 Jan 2016 23:04

The Worlds End, Hampton

The World's End seemed a nice locals pub. Many were watching the live football. But there were a number of families still in as kids can stay until 7pm. There is a pool table one side of the bar. Ales were Hogsback HBB, Windsor & Eton Guardsman & Greene King Abbot & Fireside. I tried the Fireside, which a very nice tipple. Much better than I had expected for some reason.

4 Jan 2016 23:01

The Railway Bell, Hampton

This was my first of 3 pubs in Hampton on Saturday evening. The other two were better, in my opinion. This place has 2 rooms. The main bar was busy, with all tables taken. It looked quite nice. I retreated to the side room which is presumably used more for diners. A sign showed that the kitchen had just re-opened that day. But nobody was dining. This second room felt very cold in comparison to the other. The lighting made it feel quite stark. Ales were Otter Bitter, Skinners Betty Stogs, Courage Best & Hogsback Tea.

4 Jan 2016 22:58

The Queens Head, Cranford

Another new Fullers pub I visited on Saturday. I understand this is a listed building. It's certainly an old pub. The ale range (Pride & ESB) was uninspiring. But the small bar area is pleasant enough and apparently there is a separate restaurant. Locals were mainly watching the football scores coming in on the TV. Not the cheapest of pubs. A place I've been past so many times. But I don't remember ever venturing in and I won't be in too much of a hurry to return.

4 Jan 2016 22:49

The Plough, Norwood Green

A visit to the Plough feels like a visit to a country pub, despite it being in London. This was my second Fullers pub of the day and another surprise. It's a good 10-15 minute walk from the nearest bus route. But this is a very pleasant inn. Pride, Seafarers & Rosey Nosey were the 3 ales. But to my surprise there were 2 Cornish Orchards ciders - Farmhouse & Vintage. The pub seems to attract its fair share of characters though and some of the language was a bit choice. But I still quite liked this pub.

4 Jan 2016 22:45

The Red Lion, Southall

This pub was last in the Good Beer Guide in 2006. It's now keg only with Fosters, Stella, Kronenbourg, Strongbow, Guinness & Carling. The interior is also very worn with ripped upholstery. Has clearly seen better days. Try the Southall Conservative & Unionist Club nearby.

4 Jan 2016 22:42

The Grosvenor, Hanwell

My first visit to the Grosvenor was on Saturday. It's been on my to do list for a while, as it was recently voted pub of the year by my local CAMRA branch. It's a refurbished corner pub in a heavily residential area. What used to be at least two large rooms has been opened out. But a partition remains where a door once was. There were 5 ales on - Trumans Gunboat Smith & Swift, Weird Beard Black Perle, Vale Gravitas & Siren Love of Work. Cider was Old Rosie. Got a slightly sarcastic response when I asked if there were any different ales on the other side of the bar (there were, so make sure you check). I was quickly informed that they sold 28 different ales! I also read later that a CAMRA discount is offered. But this is obviously kept a closely guarded secret, as it is not advertised anywhere and certainly wasn't offered. A good pub. But maybe my expectations were higher. I still prefer the Fox in Hanwell.

4 Jan 2016 22:38

The Grand Union, Westbourne Park

This is a canalside Fullers pub a short stroll from Westbourne Park tube. But it's unlike any Fullers pub I've been to previously with a good range of cask ales and also a large craft beer selection. Ales on handpull were Redemption Pale Ale & Rock The Kazbek, Mondo James Brown Ale, Fullers London Pride & Five Points Pale. The keg selection is served from taps at the back of the bar and included a couple of Fullers beers, plus others from Meantime, Camden, Trumans, Kernel, Uprising & Weird Beard. The interior is split over a couple of levels and is fairly modern. The clientele seem to be a fairly trendy bunch. One to recommend.

4 Jan 2016 22:32

The Elephant and Castle, Kensington

Nicholsons pub in a fairly quiet pub just north of High Street Kensington. I was in shortly after opening time on Saturday. So I was the first in. I was joined shortly later by a guy with a stick who looked vaguely like Doc from Back to the Future. I got the feeling I was sat at his usual table, as he chose to sit as close to me as possible, whilst the rest of the pub was empty. This is a fairly small one room corner pub. Music from a radio was being played. Ales were Sharps Doom Bar, Roosters Fort Smith, St Austell Nicholsons Pale Ale, Trumans Yule Star & Camerons Tontine. I opted for the Camerons beer. But it was on the turn and the worst beer of the day. The pub itself wasn't too bad though and is handy to know about.

4 Jan 2016 22:26

The Ealing Park Tavern, South Ealing

I finished off a 6 pub crawl here yesterday evening. I'd heard that they now brew their own beer under the name Long Arm Brewing. So it's an improvement on my last visit. They had 4 of their own ales on - OK IPA, Smoked Stout, Bridie Flipper & Lucky Penny, in addition to Adnams Bitter. The Smoked Stout was good. Still a food-oriented pub. But I'll have to give it another go, when I'm more sober!

1 Jan 2016 15:43

The Magpie and Crown, Brentford

The Magpie & Crown was very quiet on my early evening visit yesterday with only one other customer in when I arrived. The pub hasn't changed much though, with a good range of ales and a perry, along with some craft beers and a good selection of bottles. Yesterday they had Thwaites Yule Love It, Belleville Tie Die Rye, Weltons Thou & I, Hardknott Azimuth & Infrared IPA, Marble Pint & Sandford Orchards Pear Shaped. I also tried the Red Willow Heartless Chocolate Stout. I still like this place. But I have to say that I do now prefer the Express Ale & Cider House further up the road near Kew Bridge station, which was where I headed next.

1 Jan 2016 15:34

The O'Briens, Brentford

This place has now reverted to its original name, the Northumberland Arms. It's been 4 years since I was here last. But I'm sure it was the same guy behind the bar. Locals were friendly and the 3 ales are now supplemented by a cider. This time there was Cottage Scrooge, Sharps Nadelik & Doom Bar & Lilleys Pear & Raspberry Cider, which I hadn't had before. I thought I'd try this place again as I was passing and I was glad I did.

1 Jan 2016 15:26

The Red Lion, Isleworth

The Red Lion has recently changed hands and it was noticeably quieter than on previous visits. But there was a still a range of ales and ciders. Although the range appears to have reduced slightly. Yesterday they had Sharps Cornish Coaster, Twickenham Naked Ladies & Redhead, Ascot Winter Reserve, Belleville Commodore Pale Ale & Elgoods CXXX. Ciders were Snails Tumbledown Medium & Orchard Dry. Apparently the ciders will soon move to handpull. The pub itself is virtually unchanged. Although the seating in the one bar did seem to have changed since my last visit. Only one bartender made service a little slow, despite it being quiet. But he was friendly enough and doing a good job.

1 Jan 2016 15:21

The Moon Under Water, Hounslow

First pub of a short New Year's Eve crawl for me. With one CAMRA voucher remaining, it had to be a Wetherspoons. It's been almost 6 years since I was last here. But I'd still rate it as the only decent real ale pub in Hounslow. It was fairly busy yesterday afternoon and there was a reasonable range of ales - Caledonian Double Dark, Greene King Abbot, Upham Punter, Ruddles Best, The Celt Experience The Lost Antlers, Goddards Fuddle Dee-Dum, Marstons Empire IPA & Sharps Doom Bar. Cider was Westons Old Rosie & Mulled Cider. Staff were efficient.

1 Jan 2016 15:15

Richard John Blackler, Liverpool

The Richard John Blackler is one of 5 Wetherspoons in Liverpool city centre. It's very handy for Lime Street station. Although there is also the 'spoons in the station itself. Its location on the edge of the main shopping area is also a reason why this place always seems to be heaving. Yesterday evening was no different and despite a large number of bar staff, it took nearly 10-15 minutes to get served and was not helped with people getting served out of turn. The ale selection is reasonable. But it rarely inspires me. Yesterday it was Moorhouses Pendle Witches Brew, Coach House Raspberry, Greene King Abbot & Abbot Reserve, Peerless Knee-Buckler IPA, Hanlons Goodwill Festival Ale, Adnams Stone Amber Ale, Lytham Bailey's Blinder, Wychwood Hobgoblin, Sharps Doom Bar & Ruddles Best. Cider was Old Rosie. A decent enough pub. But far too busy for it to be considered as a regular haunt and with so many independent pubs in Liverpool, why go to a Wetherspoons?

29 Dec 2015 21:06

The Crocodile, Liverpool

I always try to visit a pub I haven't been to before when in Liverpool. But I'm really starting to struggle these days. The Crocodile was my new pub on yesterday's visit. It's tucked away on a side street only yards away from the Cavern Quarter and the city's main shopping area. But despite its location, it was fairly quiet. The interior is large and dark with the room stretching back a fair way. The décor is very traditional and service was friendly. There are no real ales here. The keg range was Tetleys Smooth & Mild, Guinness, Carling, Strongbow, San Miguel & Tuborg. There is a bar called Baby Croc just across the courtyard that seems more of a late night venue. But this pub was surprisingly better than I had expected. Liverpool pubs still have the knack of surprising me now and then.

29 Dec 2015 21:01

The Excelsior, Liverpool

The Excelsior is a pub I often try when in Liverpool, especially when visiting the Ship & Mitre a couple of doors up. But I tend to walk in one door and out the other. Yesterday however, I dwelt a little longer and actually had a drink. There are 6 ales in here these days and having two from Salopian signifies an improvement in the range of beers. The pub is slightly bigger than it first looks, with the space opening up at the back. It can get very busy when there is football on. But at other times it can provide a welcome respite from the crowds in the Ship & Mitre. Ales on during my visit were Brains The Rev James, Robinsons Dizzy Blonde, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Neptune King of the Sea & Salopian Choir Porter & Shropshire Gold.

29 Dec 2015 20:56

The Villa Tavern, Birmingham

Looks a bit of a dive from the outside. But the main bar has plenty of character. The corridor between has some original tiling and leads to a lounge area and another room with a pool table. But the vast majority of people were congregated in the bar. Two ales from Church End were on - Stocking Filler & Silent Night. The Stocking Filler was fine. But I'm not sure how much of this they actually sell. I certainly couldn't see anybody else drinking the ales.

27 Dec 2015 21:43

The Britannia Inn, Wollaston

Came here to watch the football yesterday. It bills itself as the Britannia Sports Bar and has multiple TV screens with the capability of showing at least three different sporting events at any one time. There are also different seating areas, allowing you to be able to have sound for your preferred game too. It had obviously been a very busy Boxing Day here, as glasses, bottles and food were strewn across pretty much every table and bar staff appeared to be struggling for glasses. It did quieten down a little, enabling them to clear up. But this is obviously a very busy pub on matchdays. Not a pub for real ale aficionados. Doom Bar was the only ale. But this place does serve a purpose.

27 Dec 2015 21:38

The Midland, Bearwood

Was here on 31st October, after also visiting the Bear Tavern in Bearwood too. This is an old Midland Bank and now a pub owned by Black Country Ales. It is not the biggest space and you can see through to the cellar at the rear. Bar staff were knowledgeable. The ale range was Derventio Gold, Coastal Cornish Cascade, Hydes Original, Backyard Blonde, Black Country Pig on the Wall, BFG & Fireside, Byatts Mighty Rose & Urban Red, The Beer Studio Spicy Santiam, Community Brewing Pothole Porter, Belhaven Howell At The Moon & Spitting Feathers Smoked Autumn. Ciders were Thistly Cross Whisky Cask & Kentish Pip Fire Spiced. Clientele were typical real ale drinking types (although I'm probably one too). A good pub. But I'm not sure if I'll find myself in Bearwood too often.

25 Dec 2015 18:35

Belvedere, Liverpool

Was back at the Belvedere early evening yesterday. It was packed and for anybody who has been here, you'll understand that it only takes about 15-20 customers to become packed. I managed to find a little corner of the bar to enjoy a pint. The 4 ales were Tickety Brew Stout, Brimstage IPA, Red Willow Seamless & Phoenix Christmass Kiss. The cider was Rosies Wicked Wasp. So I can correct my last review - the real ciders do change. A few people seemed to be drinking the Liverpool Gin too. I believe that is distilled here. The Belvedere is still a consistently good pub and tucked far enough out of the way to ensure it doesn't receive too much footfall. Any busier and you wouldn't be able to get through the door.

20 Dec 2015 14:46

The Lister Hotel, Fairfield

The Lister Hotel was the third of the five new pubs we tried yesterday in this area of poor pubs. In fact, this was marginally the best of these 5. But it probably only warrants a 4/10. It was fairly busy early on a Saturday afternoon. A Championship football match was on the TV. The bar is U-shaped with two rooms, one either side. No real ales and a typical keg range - Manns Chestnut, Worthingtons Creamflow, Carling, Guinness, Magners Golden Draught, Coors Light, Fosters & John Smiths Extra Smooth. The barmaid was efficient, without being particularly cheerful. We moved on from here to the Sheil Park and the Belmont. They weren't any better and neither are listed on here.

20 Dec 2015 14:40

Picture Drome, Liverpool

I assume this place used to be an old cinema. It's not as big as some of the Wetherspoons cinema conversions and in fact it's no longer a Wetherspoons, leaving Kensington as a real ale desert. 4 handpulls are still there. But real ale is no longer served. Keg options are San Miguel, Tuborg, Carlsberg, Staropramen, Carling & Carling Cider, Tetley's Mild & Extra Cold, Coors Light, Guinness & Guinness Golden Ale. You can still tell that this was a Wetherspoons and I'm surprised that anybody chose to re-open this as a pub. Some of the seating areas nearer the entrance are cordoned off. So there's clearly not the demand for this size of a pub in the area. Still probably one of the best options in Kensington though.

20 Dec 2015 14:33

Patrick O'Hanlon, Liverpool

This place is known as Paddy's Bar. We went in here yesterday lunchtime, as the Picture House opposite was shut. It is a typical Irish bar and the landlord really is named Harry. The bar looks like a right dive from the outside. But it is better inside and there were several people in, many watching horse racing channels. There's no real ale here. The keg options are Guinness, Carling, Fosters, John Smiths Extra Cold, Tetleys Extra Cold, Thwaites Dark Smooth & Strongbow.

20 Dec 2015 14:25

The Picture House, Liverpool

This pub is now closed. The shutters were down when I tried to visit yesterday. Looks as if it has been closed for some time.

20 Dec 2015 14:22

The Ribs of Beef, Norwich

Somehow we saved the best pub until last again on our 11 pub crawl of Norwich. This is a fantastic little pub situated next to the river. There was a good selection of ales and ciders - Lacons Saint Nick's, Adnams Ghost Ship, Partners Stout & About, Moon Gazer Winter Porter, Orkney Northern Light, Woodfordes Wherry, Sharps Doom Bar, Wolf For Fox Sake & Golden Jackal, Farmer Jims Dry & Kingfisher Farm Cider. We decided to finish with two halves. But I very nearly ended up with 2 pints. Whilst I could have happily stayed for more, we had a train to catch. I need to make a note to try this pub much earlier in the day next time. As it's worth spending a lot longer here. Norwich is a great city for pubs and whilst we didn't get to the Fat Cat on this visit, the Ribs of Beef did almost make up for it.

13 Dec 2015 16:22

Glasshouse, Norwich

I thought the Glasshouse was one of the worst Wetherspoons I've been in for some time. I'm surprised that in a city of so many real ale establishments that this place was packed late yesterday afternoon. Hanlons Goodwill Festival Ale, Coach House Christmas Ale, St Peter's The Merry Elf, Sharps Doom Bar & Greene King Abbot were the 5 ales. No ciders were on. There are a number of different drinking areas downstairs, with an upstairs area too. We didn't stay too long.

13 Dec 2015 16:15

Norwich Tap House, Norwich

The Norwich Tap House belongs to Redwell Brewery. There are no real ales and with the black and white board behind the bar listing the craft beers, it very much has the look and feel of a Brewdog bar. Beers were Redwell Starless, Steam Pale & Hells, Partisan & Prairie Real Time, Marble Earl Grey, Dark Star American Pale Ale, Wild Beer Millionaire, Mondo Up In Smoke, Magic Rock Rhubarbarella, Northern Alechemy Sour, Becks Vier, Great Yorkshire Blackout, Aspalls, Goose Island IPA & Liefmans Fruitesse. The Blackout was nice. But these beers can seem a little cold, especially at this time of the year.

13 Dec 2015 16:08

St Andrews Brew House, Norwich

Our next stop was the St Andrews Brewhouse. This was a good find. It has its own working brewery and was dispensing St Andrews Stout, Tombland Coffee Porter, Wensum Ale & Santa's Beer-d, alongside a guest - Grain ThreeOneSix. They have a good selection of craft beers in the fridges. Three real ciders from Westons were also on - Old Rosie, Rosie's Pig & Family Reserve. A function appeared to be going on upstairs, whilst the ground floor was busy. Not too happy about one of our drinks being poured from a pint glass that had clearly been standing there for a while though.

13 Dec 2015 16:03

The Rumsey Wells, Norwich

Don't confuse this pub with the St Andrew's Brewhouse up the road (like I did). Whilst it used to be called St Andrew's Tavern), it is now an Adnams pub. Their Bitter, Broadside & Shingle Shells were all on. There was also a guest - Castle Rock Snowhite. Come to think of it, I think they had Purity Mad Goose too. A nice enough place and it was busy too.

13 Dec 2015 15:59

The Vine, Norwich

The Vine is a very strange place. It is tiny and primarily a Thai restaurant. But it also serves some interesting ales. On our visit yesterday, there was Oakham JHB & Car Thief & Baird Beer Maris Otter 50. The latter was a Japanese ale brewed to commemorate the 50th harvest of Maris Otter barley. Nethergate Red Santa was being pulled through. The Thai owners certainly don't seem to mind the real ale drinkers. In fact, they appear to positively encourage it. Whilst this can't make for a romantic atmosphere for those who are there for the food, I understand there is a downstairs too. Worth a visit.

13 Dec 2015 15:55

Sir Garnet Wolseley, Norwich

After a very disappointing visit to Number 12, we moved onto the Sir Garnet. This is a pub overlooking the very interesting market. We wandered through the market afterwards and the food selection looked very enticing. The pub itself has a number of different levels for seating, with toilets downstairs. 3 ales were on - Adnams Old Ale, Lacons Saint Nicks & Joc's Norfolk Kiwi. A busy place where it was not possible to get comfortable. We only noticed the third level of seating as we were about to leave, after having stood.

13 Dec 2015 15:50

Take 5, Norwich

Take 5 was the third stop on our Norwich crawl. But unfortunately we only had around 15 minutes before we needed to head off towards the football ground. The building is listed and the bar is fairly nice inside with artwork for sale on the walls. There was only one other customer inside. Ales were Green Jack Ole Cock, Humpty Dumpty Swallowtail, Wolf Golden Jackal & Golden Triangle Mosaic. Ciders were Crones & Addlestones. A good option in Norwich.

13 Dec 2015 15:43

The Wig and Pen, Norwich

With the Cottage and the Plasterers Arms not yet open, we moved onto the Wig & Pen. Yesterday was my first visit to this pub, which is close to Norwich Cathedral. It's fairly small inside. A number of people were dining. 6 ales were on - St Austell Tribute, Humpty Dumpty Little Sharpie, Wolf Sirius Dog Star, Lacons Saint Nick's, Woodfordes Bure Gold & Adnams Bitter.

13 Dec 2015 15:35

The Cottage Freehouse, Norwich

Tried visiting here yesterday morning at around 11:40. The CAMRA website shows the pub opening at 11am. But this is clearly incorrect. Their own website does not work. Hopefully we'll have another visit to Norwich within the next 18 months and we can have another go. 0/10 for a closed pub for now.

13 Dec 2015 15:27

The Cottage, Norwich

Correction - my review should have been for the Cottage in Silver Road. Haven't tried this one yet.

13 Dec 2015 15:26

The Cottage, Norwich

Tried visiting here yesterday morning at around 11:40. The CAMRA website shows the pub opening at 11am. But this is clearly incorrect. Their own website does not work. Hopefully we'll have another visit to Norwich within the next 18 months and we can have another go. 0/10 for a closed pub for now.

13 Dec 2015 15:25

The Red Lion, Norwich

The Red Lion was our first stop in Norwich yesterday. It's a corner pub with a nice situation next to the River Wensum. There were plenty of people in when we arrived at 11am yesterday. We believed that opening time was 11. But the number of customers would indicate it had been open earlier than that. 6 ales were on - Woodfordes Bure Gold, Elmtree Winter Solstice, Oldershaw Autumn Hue, Adnams Ghost Ship, Hardy & Hansons Rocking Rudolph & Green Jack Waxwing. The Winter Solstice was very nice indeed. A bridge next to the pub is Norwich's oldest and from it, you could see a number of people making full use of the river in various boats, even on a December morning. A good pub.

13 Dec 2015 15:03

The Hamilton Hall, Liverpool Street

Not a bad Wetherspoons. It's certainly an impressive interior and it's very handy if you're catching a train. But it's always busy. Even at 8am yesterday, the main bar area was busy. But there is a much smaller quiet room at the back and an upstairs seating area too. Service at the bar was indifferent on my latest visit. Ales were Banks's Driftwood, Daleside Santa's Progress, Everards Nutcracker, Jennings Red Breast, Nethergate Old Growler, Black Country Fireside, Titanic Eight Bells, Marstons Revisionist Sardinian Bock & Elgoods Hickathrift. Cider was Westons Wyld Wood. We ordered breakfasts before our train journey to East Anglia and these all came very quickly.

13 Dec 2015 14:54

The Acre, Windsor

I seem to have tread the same route as Lezford from the Two Brewers to the Acre. I couldn't visit Windsor without visiting a new pub and the Acre was my new pub. Being the former Liberal Club, it does lack the atmosphere of a pub. But the drinks are still fairly cheap and there were 3 fairly decent ales - Windsor & Eton Guardsman & Mandarin Ale & Wychwood Santa's Goliath Sack. I was offered samples of 2 of them and chose the Wychwood beer. Whilst ok, it wasn't my cup of tea. The place was fairly busy, with a group of lads playing darts and some elder customers tucking into food, which smelt very nice. Sky Sports was on the TV and music was being played. It's only a 6-7 minute walk from here to the Central station.

11 Dec 2015 20:52

The Two Brewers, Windsor

Made a return visit to the Two Brewers on Wednesday evening and managed to get a table this time. It always seems to be packed. Still full of character, especially when it's dark. There were plenty of people for meals. The only disappointment for me is that the 3 ales remain the same all the time - Pride, Doom Bar & Tribute.

11 Dec 2015 20:45

The Carpenters Arms, Windsor

I've often thought that the Carpenters Arms is the best pub in Windsor. So I suggested it for our office Christmas meal and it was chosen. It is a Nicholsons pub hidden away in an alleyway near the Castle and the Guildhall. The alleyway is on the beaten path for tourists. But it is also popular with the local trade, making it a popular place. 8 ales were on - Fullers London Pride, Wadworth 6X, St Austell Nicholson's Pale Ale, Trumans Yule Star & Three Wise Hops, Cotleigh Uncle Sam, Roosters Fort Smith & Sharps Doom Bar. I had a couple of pints of the Yule Star which was fine. The meal itself was not the best quality. But it still represented good value and there was plenty of it. Staff were friendly and our party seemed satisfied. Still a good pub.

11 Dec 2015 20:41

The Slug and Lettuce, Windsor

I think I've been here before when it was the Slug & Lettuce. Now it is a fairly upmarket McMullens pub with prices to match the clientele it is trying to attract. 3 of their ales were on - Duchess, County & IPA. The Duchess was reasonable. Décor is ok. But you could hardly describe it as traditional. In an ideal location, opposite the castle, this pub served as a good meeting place.

11 Dec 2015 20:34

The Victoria, Aspull

The Victoria was my final pub on Monday evening and I'd saved the best until last. It's an Allgates pub, with very friendly owners and staff. The 2 small rooms are both served from the central bar. Allgates ales were Wigan Junction & Blue Sky Tea (Napoleon's Retreat was possibly on in the other room). Guests were Buntingford Hurricane & Lincoln Green Archer. The cider was Sandford Orchards Vintage. The landlady was keen to discuss cider with me. She has recently opened a micropub in Wigan. I'd heard people talking about it in an earlier pub and saying how busy it was. So I'll have to search that one out next time I am in Wigan. Apparently the Victoria was Allgates' first pub. It's worth a visit.

8 Dec 2015 21:15

The New Inn, Aspull

Had a quick look for this pub. But I couldn't locate it. There certainly wasn't an open pub here any longer.

8 Dec 2015 21:06

The Gerrard Arms, Aspull

The Gerrard Arms was pub number 9 for me. It's a little more modern than you might expect when you enter, with a long bar and seating at either end. The barman was friendly. Ales were Thwaites Wainwright, Tetleys Cask & Dark Mild & Prospect Silver Tally. The most expensive pub of my visit to Greater Manchester.

8 Dec 2015 21:04

Crown Hotel, Wigan

This pub was closed on my visit yesterday evening. There are no opening times on the door and despite lots of searching for a telephone number to check the times, I never managed to contact them. 0/10 for a closed pub.

8 Dec 2015 21:01

Hare and Hounds, Wigan

The Hare & Hounds was the second and better of the pubs I tried in Hindley. This is a traditional Allgates pub just down the hill from the station, towards the town centre. A group of elderly customers with dry senses of humour were congregated around the bar. The barman was younger, but certainly knowledgeable. Allgates ales were Wigan Junction & Meadow Pit. Guests were Stockport Brewing Co Cascade, Cheshire Brewhouse Cheshire Set & Burton Bridge Damson Porter. This was my second favourite pub of the day. A fine local.

8 Dec 2015 20:59

The Eddington Arms, Hindley

The Edington Arms was the nicest of 3 Holts pubs I tried on my Monday afternoon visit to this area of Greater Manchester. This one has a nice cosy atmosphere, with seating situated around a central bar. It's right next to Hindley station. Ales were all from Holts - Bitter, Two Hoots and the seasonal Bah Humbrew, which wasn't too bad. Locals were engaged in conversation and appeared quite friendly. The barmaid was also nice and offered me a sample, before buying. Sport was being shown on the TV.

8 Dec 2015 20:49

The Rosehill Tavern, Westhoughton

Another Holts pub for me to visit. This one is next to Daisy Hill station. Seems to be primarily a locals pub. Holts Bitter was the real ale. The interior is fairly tradition, with 3 separate high-ceilinged rooms. Most people appear to congregate around the bar. The tiling in the entrance porch is impressive.

8 Dec 2015 20:45

The Pendle Witch, Atherton

The Pendle Witch is tucked away down an alleyway just off the main street in Atherton and near the town's car parks. You wouldn't know it was here, unless you'd been told about it. I first arrived at this Moorhouses pub at lunchtime, only to find it doesn't open until 3pm. You enter through a conservatory. But that gives way to a large, dark bar area. An excellent range of Moorhouses ales was on offer - Pendle Porter, Premier Bitter, Blond Witch, Pendle Witches Brew, Pride of Pendle & White Witch. They also had Wychwood The Dog's Boll*cks & Old Mill Liquid Gold. Lilleys Bee Sting Perry & Westons Old Rosie were keg cider options. Customers were friendly and so were the staff. Receiving more change than I'd actually paid for my drink was quite entertaining, as was another young lady managing to drop the contents of the float for the till across the bar! A nice pub though and well worth a visit if you're ever in Atherton.

8 Dec 2015 20:41

The Masons Arms, Atherton

The Masons Arms is situated on a busy crossroads to the west of Atherton. I appeared to be the first visitor early on a Monday afternoon. 2 ales were selling - Thwaites Wainwright & Copper Dragon Best Bitter. Fairly cosy place that I'm sure gets much busier in the evenings.

8 Dec 2015 20:36

Old Isaacs, Atherton

The sign for Old Isaacs is still there. But this has now been re-branded as the Pound Pub. No real ales are served. Cask options are Carlsberg, Tetleys Extra Cold, Guinness, Budweiser, Stella Artois 4 & Cidre, Becks Vier & Boddingtons. Halves were £1 and pints were £1.50. The interior was fairly traditional. The place was busy with the kind of customers you'd normally find in a Wetherspoons. I guess this pub fills a gap in the market as there is no 'spoons in Atherton, to my knowledge.

8 Dec 2015 20:33

Atherton Arms, Atherton

Large Holts pub on the edge of Atherton town centre. It doesn't look much from the outside. But at 95p for a half, my Mild was certainly very good value. They also had the Bitter & Two Hoots, as well as Wells Bombardier. Typical community pub with 2 spacious rooms and numerous TVs showing different programmes.

8 Dec 2015 20:30

The Jolly Nailor, Atherton

The Jolly Nailor was my first stop in Atherton yesterday and was my favourite pub in the town. There are 3 rooms, each with different characters. Staff are friendly and the ale choice is good. On my visit they had Dark Star Winter Meltdown, Scarborough Citra, Cross Bay Comet, Allgates Mad Monk & Thornbridge Brother Rabbit. They also had Sandford Orchards Pear Shaped. I went for the Mad Monk, which was a 7.1% Imperial Russian Stout and a fine way to start the day. The jukebox was popular, seemingly with fans of the Smiths and Metallica. No CAMRA discount was offered to me. But still a very good pub.

8 Dec 2015 20:26

The Station Inn, Kidderminster

The Station is a short walk from Kidderminster station, but hidden away up a side street. It's firmly a locals pubs and I got quite a few strange looks from them, as I appeared to be sitting at their usual table. The pub seems quite small at first sight. But there are a number of different areas and rooms as you head further back. Staff were friendly. Ales were Enville Ale & Ginger, Wye Valley Butty Bach & HPA & Holdens Golden Glow. CAMRA members receive a discount off real ale. No real cider is served.

8 Dec 2015 20:22

The King and Castle, Kidderminster

After a trip on the Severn Valley Railway, I thought it would be appropriate to give the King & Castle a try. It is part of the railway station and feels like an old waiting room. It doesn't really feel like a pub. 6 ales were on - Hobsons Mild, Exmoor Gold, Wye Valley Butty Bach & Santa Special, Pennine Jingle Bell Rock & Salopian Firkin Freezing. No real cider is served. Was slightly disappointed with this place.

8 Dec 2015 20:18

The George Hotel, Bewdley

Large Wetherspoons on the main street leading up from the bridge. It stretches back a fair way from the road. There is a small seating error at the front, with the bar beyond that. At the side is a conservatory and there is more seating at the rear. Toilets are upstairs. I'm told that floor was the old ballroom. It was a busy Sunday prior to Christmas on our visit, with every table taken, mostly with diners. Although there were still a fair number of drinkers in. Ales were Ruddles Best, Morland Old Speckled Hen, Sharps Doom Bar, Greene King Abbot, Everards Sudwerk, Hook Norton AFO, Bath Ales Festivity & Tetleys Christmas Cracker. Ciders were Westons Old Rosie & Mr Whiteheads Apples & Pears. A busy, fairly chaotic place. Typical Wetherspoons really. Plenty of staff meant that service was quick.

8 Dec 2015 20:13

The Rifleman, Twickenham

Nice, little pub down a residential back street. We came here to watch the football, whilst still looking for some decent ales. The Rifleman appeared to fit the bill. It is the current Richmond & Hounslow CAMRA pub of the year. But I was actually a little disappointed. 5 of the ales are on permanently and there is a 6th ale, which is a guest. The guest was Twickenham Naked Ladies. The 5 regulars were Timothy Taylor Landlord, Dark Star Hophead, Twickenham Redhead, Youngs Bitter & Butcombe Bitter. I had the Redhead which was ok. But I do prefer a real cider or a dark beer. So the drinks range felt a bit limited to me, especially after just coming from the Sussex Arms with its fabulous ale and cider selection. So overall a nice pub, that suited our needs. But not as good as I was hoping.

4 Dec 2015 21:02

The Sussex Arms, Twickenham

I still like the Sussex Arms and its sister pubs the Antelope and the Express Tavern. I hadn't been to the Sussex Arms for almost 3 years and nothing much has changed, apart from maybe the food prices. We were planning to have one of the pies. But at £14, we elected not to. Beer prices were still reasonable though. On venturing early on a Tuesday evening, it was fairly busy. A small group were having what looked like an office party in the back room, whilst the main bar was reasonably busy too. I chose a table next to the pub's little kitten, who was on a shelf! Not all handpulls were in use on arrival. The ale selection was Big Smoke Electric Eye, Saltaire Challenger Special & Raspberry Blonde, Twickenham Sundancer, Grandstand, Milk Stout & Vanilla Stout & Mondo James Brown Ale. Before long, 5 new beers were pulled through - Big Smoke IPA & Underworld Milk Stout, Thames Side White Swan Pale, Triple fff Comfortably Numb & Vale GMT. There appeared to be many more local brewers than I remember from previous visits. There are some interesting keg options too. Ciders were Millwhites Apples & Pears & Hedgelayer, Abrahalls Dry, Lilleys Mango Cider, Vachery Farm Guildford Dancing Juice & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. Bar staff (all male) were friendly enough and were serving people in order. They still do the deal where you buy 9 pints and get the 10th one free. Still one of London's best pubs.

4 Dec 2015 20:57

The Firkin Shed, Bournemouth

I thought I'd done all of the best pubs Bournemouth has to offer. But this is by far the best. In fact it's easily the best micropub I have been to and is now amongst my 5 favourite pubs in the country. It's reasonably large by micropub standards. There were enough tables and seats for everybody, despite it being a matchday at the nearby Bournemouth football ground. The interior is nicely decorated with plenty to keep your attention. Although the figure standing by the door was a bit off-putting. I kept thinking he was one of our party! There is no TV and a ban on the use of mobile phones, punishable with a fine for charity. Music is played from a record player. Beers are listed on a blackboard. There is also a large selection of ciders. As you head to the toilets, you can see the selection of ciders in boxes. I counted 32. Needless to say this was not a pub I wanted to leave! Beyond the toilets is an outdoor area. But yesterday wasn't a day for outdoor drinking. The landlord is a fairly amiable chap and has a blue goatee beard. Everybody enjoyed the ales - Oakham Tranquility IPA, Stonehenge Danish Dynamite, Burning Sky Plateau, Vibrant Forest Black Oktober, Tiny Rebel Dirty Stop Out & Gyle 59 Freedom Hiker. I believe other ales came on during the day. So turnover is good. Ciders that I could see on were King Harry Medium, Broadoak Perry, Mr Whiteheads Devil's Device, Farmer Jims Farmyard Fruits, Courtenay Traditional Devon Cider, Once Upon A Tree Dorothy's Orchard, Abrahalls Slack Alice, Orchard Pig Maverick, Farm Scrumpy (not sure who from), Dorset Sunshine Medium, Sherborne Medium, Purbeck Muddy Scamp & King Brain Sweet. The landlord also offered me a half of a sample cider from the Original Cider Company. This is a pub well worth visiting if you are in Bournemouth. Although the opening hours seem fairly limited. I hope that Bournemouth stay in the Premiership next season, as this is definitely a place I'll return to. 10/10 and only the 5th pub I've awarded this score.

29 Nov 2015 13:45

The Christopher Creeke , Bournemouth

Fairly typical Wetherspoons pub not too far from Bournemouth railway station. It was reasonably busy with all tables taken yesterday lunchtime. 8 ales and 2 ciders were on - Ringwood Forty Niner & Old Thumper, Marstons Burton Bitter, Dorset Brewing Company Smokin' Rock, Sharps Doom Bar, Wickwar Cotswold Way, Vibrant Forest Cydonia, Greene King Abbot, Hogans Hazy Daisy & Westons Old Rosie with Rhubarb. Better than I had expected.

29 Nov 2015 13:29

Rat and Parrot, Liverpool

Seemingly about to re-open as a "Five Guys" burger restaurant.

22 Nov 2015 20:19

Euston Tap, Euston

When arriving into Euston these days, if I'm still in need of further refreshment, I tend to go to the Cider Tap opposite. But as I hadn't ventured into the Euston Tap itself for quite a while, I thought I'd give it another try. The Euston Tap was a rather novel place when it first opened a few years ago. Looking at these two old gatehouses at the entrance to the station, you'd never have thought they would be large enough for bars and the Euston Tap can still get very crowded due to its size. It's still one of the best places for craft beer in the capital. But I prefer the Craft Beer Co outlets. The downstairs layout at the Tap is designed for vertical drinking around the bar. I've never been a fan of the upstairs seating area, that feels a little claustrophobic. The Cider Tap has a much better design downstairs. Although it's clearly not as popular. Last night the Euston Tap had a smell of urine in one corner, that was quite off-putting. The cask ale selection was Arbor/Moor Double Dark Alliance, Moor Smokey Horizon & Raw, Burning Sky Aurora, Siren Undercurrent & Broken Dream & Tiny Rebel One Inch Punch. I'll be back at the Cider Tap next time!

22 Nov 2015 19:49

Ye Cracke, Liverpool

I thought I'd better give this pub another visit yesterday, having not been there for a few months. It preceded another small crawl of the area including the Fly In The Loaf, the Roscoe Head (hopefully not my last visit there) and the Dispensary. There are so many decent real ale places in this area now, that anybody who visits Liverpool for its ale should make their way to this part of Liverpool. Although you won't stumble upon this pub in passing. It's situated up a narrow side street. I often consider the Cracke as one of my favourite pubs in Liverpool. But yesterday's visit wasn't the best. The ale range seemed a little reduced - Thwaites Original, Plassey Midnight Mild, Slaters Autumn Red & Black Country Chain Ale. The cider was Old Rosie. There were only 4 other customers and the barmaid present. But this is often a pub that gets busiest in the evening. I'm reducing my score slightly. But this is still one of the best 5/6 pubs in Liverpool in my opinion.

22 Nov 2015 19:31

Kozys, Liverpool

This was one of two Liverpool bars I tried for the first time yesterday (the Dough Bar was the other, but is not listed on here). Having seen the previous review and score, I wasn't expecting much. It's a busy enough place with most people sat at the bar or stood/sat at various tall tables. There is a DJ booth with another section that is presumably used for events that was closed. The keg selection was M & B Mild, Grolsch, Strongbow, John Smiths Extra Cold, Fosters, Carling, Guinness, Thwaites Dark, Coors Light & Strongbow Dark Fruits. There are lots of drinks offers, including shots for 60p! I've been to many worse pubs/bars in Liverpool than this one. So I'll increase it's average score by giving it a 3/10.

22 Nov 2015 19:25

Egham United Services Club, Egham

Was in here today for the latest Egham Beer Festival. The festival is always worth a visit. 60 ales were on this time, alongside a range of ciders and perries. This is always one of my favourite clubs in the country. It has a large central room with a full-size snooker table and a stage area for regular live music. Around 7 or 8 ales are on at the bar with an outdoor patio used for festivals at the back. There is a small snug area to the side of the bar. Well worth seeking out if in Egham.

15 Nov 2015 18:24

The Railway Hotel, Cheam

The Railway was our last pub of the day in South London and the best of 3 we tried in Cheam. Ales were Courage Best & Directors, Greene King Abbot, Sharps Atlantic & Windsor & Eton Parklife. The Abbot was fine and for some reason we rounded off the day with sambucas. This is a nice and cosy pub, albeit quite small and standing room only. Being next to the station makes it well located.

15 Nov 2015 18:19

The Claret Wine Bar, Cheam Village

The Claret Wine Bar had a better ale selection than the Prince of Wales, just up the road. But there was still nothing exciting - Shepherd Neame Bishop's Finger & Master Brew, Palmers Copper Ale & Sharps Doom Bar. A singer was on in the corner next to a staircase that presumably led to more seating on an upper level. Not bad. But for some reason I was expecting better.

15 Nov 2015 18:16

The Prince Of Wales, Cheam

The first of 3 pubs in Cheam. None of them impressed me greatly. The interior was fine. A few appeared to be in for meals. 2 ales were on - Doom Bar & Hobgoblin. New tills appeared to be giving staff some problems. £5.70 seemed to be far too expensive for halves of Hobgoblin & Guinness. But the computer said no when it was queried. The young barmaid didn't see anything wrong either. But couldn't tell me how much each half was! I was eventually refunded £2. God knows how I managed to pick up on it after 10 pubs!

15 Nov 2015 18:14

The Grapes, Sutton

The Grapes was a smaller and far less crowded Wetherspoons than the Moon on the Hill. Service was much more efficient. My only criticism was a couple of the frustrating "Coming Soon" labels being present. The "available" selection was Batemans Young Henry's, Dark Star Hophead, Adnams Bengali, Twickenham Naked Ladies, Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best & Sharps Doom Bar. They also had a couple of real ciders - Perry's Somerset Redstreak & Hunts Mary Maud's Medium. The better of Sutton's 2 Wetherspoons.

15 Nov 2015 18:09

The Moon on the Hill, Sutton

I was expecting this to be the best of the 2 Wetherspoons in Sutton. But I much preferred the Grapes further along the High Street. The Moon on the Hill is the larger of the two and was also the busiest on our Saturday evening visit. I'm never too keen with pubs having bouncers on the door. But this one had a couple. Waiting over 10 minutes for a drink is fairly unacceptable, especially when staff are serving everybody out of turn. There were plenty of ales. But there were no dark ones and real cider is not served either. The ale choice was Ruddles Best, Sharps Doom Bar, Kings Red River, Oakham Scarlet Macaw & Asylum, Kelham Island Pale Rider, Ringwood Forty Niner, Thornbridge Jaipur & Twickenham Naked Ladies. A lot of people were in for food. Others were clearly in for a session, with wine and shots helping people run up bills of almost £100. Disappointing Wetherspoons.

15 Nov 2015 18:03

Wallington Arms, Wallington

Whilst I'd been to the Whispering Moon across the road in Spring 2013, I returned to Wallington to give the Wallington Arms a go. It's an Antic pub and was one of my favourite 3 pubs of the day. There is a large, single room with plenty of seating. Food is served. But it still feels more like a pub. 4 ales and 2 ciders were on - Vim Volden, Thornbridge Jaipur, King Beer Poacher's Moon, Sambrooks Wandle, Lilleys Merry Monkey & Gwynt y Ddraig Happy Daze. It was a long train journey here. But well worth it.

15 Nov 2015 17:56

The Royal Standard, Wandsworth

The Royal Standard is situated a stone's throw from Wandsworth Town station. It's a corner pub at the bottom of a terraced street. It had quite a modern feel. But it's only a small affair with toilets upstairs. There are 2 handpulls. But only 1 was in use - Reigate Pilgrim Progress. A couple of South Africans were in and were dispelling the merits of English pubs but were not as impressed with the English weather!

15 Nov 2015 17:51

The Prince of Wales, Clapham

The first of 2 Prince of Wales pubs I was to visit yesterday. This one is in Clapham on one side of the Common. It looks quite trendy from the outside. But I wasn't quite prepared for the interior, which is absolutely crammed full of bric-a-brac hanging from the walls and ceiling. Ales were Longman American Pale Ale, Sambrooks Pumphous Pale & Harveys Sussex Best Bitter. Ciders were both from Millwhites - Rum Cask & Blackberry Blush. Certainly one of the best 3 pubs of the day. I think it's the first time I've visited 2 pubs in a row that both had working sets of traffic lights in (I'm fairly sure there was one in my previous pub -the Craft, Brixton too)! Well worth a visit.

15 Nov 2015 17:36

The Craft Beer Co, Brixton

I've just noticed that I seem to have done pretty much the same route as lezford, but one week later. We both went to the Constitution in Pimlico and then the Craft in Brixton on Saturday afternoons! This was the 5th of the Craft pubs I've been to, with only Clapham, Aldgate and Brighton to do (I think). It pretty much follows the same formula as the Cask in Pimlico and the Craft pubs in Clerkenwell, Holborn and Islington, offering a range of cask ales (often focusing on specific breweries), an interesting craft beer selection and a fair few bottled beers. Situated next to the market at Brixton and next to the railway arches, this is a small café-type bar. The bar itself it fairly small and I can imagine the queues to get served in here could be horrific at times. There are a small number of tables and stools downstairs with more seating upstairs, similar to the Euston Tap but without the death-defying spiral staircase. The real ale selection yesterday was Kent Clerkenwell Pale, Porter, Beyond the Pale & Brewers Reserve, Saltaire Citra, Challenger Special, Stateside IPA & Saltaire Pride & Summer Wine Teleporter. Cider was Millwhites Strawberry Cider. The craft beer/cider options were Pheasant Plucker, Lilleys Bee Sting Perry, Cigar City Invasion & Jai Alai, Evil Twin Hipster Ale, Sahtipaja Ich Bin Ein Berliner, Magic Rock Villainous, Brixton Electric IPA, B Nektar Meadery The Dude's Rug Hard Cider, Hammerton Pentonville, Thornbridge Tzara & Chiron, Harbour Pilsner, Rothaus Wheat Beer & Siren Baby Wheel. The bottles are in fridges underneath the bar. Whilst I quite like the variety of ales this place offers, it lacks the atmosphere of a pub. I still prefer the Clerkenwell branch. Just about my favourite pub of the day.

15 Nov 2015 17:30

The Constitution, Pimlico

I'd been to the Chimes Wine Bar (also on Churton Street) previously as this used to be one of the more reliable cider places in London. When visiting, I'd often noticed this pub further up the street, but never set foot in it. Yesterday afternoon I finally made it in to what is a very cosy backstreet local with what seems like a fairly loyal clientele. Whilst it doesn't have the beer range of the nearby Cask, it is a much nicer drinking environment with lots of nautical memorabilia. A couple of TVs were showing football and horse racing. Ales were Greene King IPA, Sharps Doom Bar & Wadworth 6X. To my surprise, they also had Old Rosie cider - maybe because the Chimes is now no more and the locals needed somewhere else to get their cider fix. Worth popping into.

15 Nov 2015 17:17

The Hour Glass, South Kensington

I was quite impressed by the Hour Glass. It has recently re-opened after a refurbishment. In an area not too far from the Michelin Building with a few designer shops around, it was more down-at-heel than I was expecting. But even still, many of the patrons were supping on wine, rather than the ales. The selection was Fullers London Pride, Portobello Market Porter & Trumans Swift. A box of cider was on the bar, which contained Gwynt y Ddraig Autumn Magic. Some rather expensive bar snacks are available. For example, pork scratchings at £4.50. Samples of their other wares, such as Scotch Eggs can be seen on the bar. But I quite liked this pub and it's certainly one of the best in the area.

15 Nov 2015 17:09

The Durell, Fulham

The Durell Arms was our first stop of the day. We'd started in the posher end of this part of London. This place is a short hop from Parson's Green tube on the Fulham Road. Whilst it's a Greene King pub, you wouldn't particularly notice it. Plenty of tables were reserved for diners. So there's clearly a focus on food. But there were 4 ales and some craft-type beers too. Greene King IPA was supplemented by Adnams Old Ale, Windsor & Eton Zinzan's Ale and something called Squirrel Ale. Not too far from Chelsea's football ground. But not somewhere I'd rush back to.

15 Nov 2015 17:03

The Bull, Woolwich

The Bull was my final pub of the day and a little away from where I'd been drinking all day (Forest Hill & East Dulwich). But I was here to see a friend of mine play in a band. I'd promised to come for a while and finally made it yesterday. I also note the Bull has made the latest Good Beer Guide. It has 2 rooms served by a central bar. Each room has its own entrance from outside. So you have to briefly go out and back in again if you want to get to the toilets or the other bar. The place has a fairly worn feel to it. But it was busy and both staff and customers (plus their dogs) were friendly. Ales were Adnams Broadside, Moorhouses Pride Of Pendle, Sharps Doom Bar & Cornish Coaster & Charles Wells Poppy Ale. Not the easiest of pubs to get to, as it's well away from a station. But all in all, not too bad.

8 Nov 2015 17:57

The Clock House, East Dulwich

Youngs pub on a corner overlooking Peckham Rye. Unlike most East Dulwich pubs, it was fairly quiet yesterday evening. 3 Youngs ales (Bitter, Special & Winter Warmer) were supplemented by Portobello VPA. The décor is fairly bright. There are plenty of tables for diners and an outdoor heated patio at the front seemed reasonably popular. I wasn't overly taken with this pub. But as Youngs pubs go, it was ok.

8 Nov 2015 17:50

The Crystal Palace Tavern, East Dulwich

As has been said previously, this pub is now the Great Exhibition. It is tucked away on a street corner in the back streets of East Dulwich. I was slightly disappointed with the pub. It's a Laines pub and the only 2 ales on offer were both from Laine - 48 & Best Bitter. There was no real cider either. It was very noisy in there too, with some kind of entertainment that was more annoying than entertaining. The interior was also a little too dark for my liking. Seemed to have a fairly young, well-heeled crowd, with some dining. But there are far better pubs in East Dulwich in my opinion.

8 Nov 2015 17:47

The East Dulwich Tavern (EDT), Dulwich

After a visit to the excellent Flying Pig (not listed on here, but I have requested it to be added), not too far away from here on East Dulwich Road, I moved on to the East Dulwich Tavern. This place was packed with diners and those in to watch Chelsea play on the TV. However once I'd found a path to the bar, service was quick and the barman was very knowledgeable. There was a good selection of ales too. Although they had no real cider. Ales were Great Heck Washington Red, Brick Peckham Coal Line Porter, Revolutions Fireworks Smoked Pumpkin Porter, Clarkshaws Phoenix Rising, Volden Vim, Dark Star Hophead, Franklins English Garden & Sharps Atlantic. I had the 2 porters which were both enjoyable. Second best pub in East Dulwich after the Flying Pig.

8 Nov 2015 17:41

Herne Tavern, Forest Hill

I was slightly disappointed by the Herne Tavern. It seems to be a food-oriented pub and only 2 ales were on - St Austell Tribute & Shepherd Neame Spitfire Gold. There was no real cider either. So I had to be content with Aspalls. The interior was nice, with seating along a large, central island bar. But the focus does appear to be on the food and the place felt fairly soulless on a Saturday lunchtime/early afternoon. Although a few families were in.

8 Nov 2015 17:33

All Inn One, Forest Hill

All Inn One is a pub/bar on the eastern side of the train tracks in Forest Hill. This is a much quieter area than the other side of the station and this was reflected in the fact that I walked in to find only one other customer. Live football was being shown on the TV. 3 real ales were on - Caledonian Deuchars IPA, Burning Sky Plateau & Brains SA, with Gipsy Hill Bounder "coming soon", following the annoying Wetherspoons trait of displaying beers that aren't actually on yet! But I was quite happy to see Rich's Legbender cider on a 5th handpull. There is a larger room for dining at the back. But the bar area in 2 sections is reasonably large too.

8 Nov 2015 17:27

Sylvan Post, Forest Hill

I have to admit to quite liking Antic pubs. They are very individual in their interiors, yet follow a common theme that makes them feel welcoming and atmospheric. The Sylvan Post is a former post office with some very interesting tiny snugs. I sat in the main bar area, where there are some very basic tables anc chairs. A number of families were in and the food appeared to be popular. I was content with the ale range that was quite varied - Gipsy Hill Bounder, Ilkley Scary Spice, Twickenham Autumn Red, Volden Vim & Signature Session. I went for the only non-London beer - the Scary Spice, which was a rather nice pumpkin ale. A selection of board games was prominent. Well worth a visit if in Forest Hill and is just up the hill from the station.

8 Nov 2015 17:22

The Dartmouth Arms, Forest Hill

The Dartmouth Arms was probably the worst of the 5 pubs I tried in the Forest Hill area. Situated close to the station, I was the only customer in on a Saturday lunchtime. As the previous poster says, it has a retro feel with strange wallpaper and lighting. There are 3 sections, a front bar where I sat, a small middle bar where you get served and a larger section of the rear where the kitchens are located. Has very much a trendy feel, with music playing to match the ambience. 3 ales were on - Charles Wells Poppy Ale, Adnams Ghost Ship & St Austell Proper Job. I went for the Stowford Press cider. Not somewhere I was tempted to linger. I imagine this pub only really gets going in the evening when the diners come in.

8 Nov 2015 17:16

The Capitol, Forest Hill

This large Wetherspoons cinema conversion was my second pub of the day yesterday. It's a truly splendid building, similar to the Coronet in North London. There's a real sense of spaciousness in here. Seating is split over different levels and the bar occupies the old screen area. 10 ales and 1 cider were on - Ruddles Best, Greene King Abbot, Harviestoun Old Manor, Sharps Doom Bar, Morland Old Speckled Hen, Summerskills Westward Ho!, Southwark Harvard American Pale Ale, Oakham JHB, Shepherd Neame Bishop's Finger, Youngs Special & Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. There was a mixture of customers in here, from people in for coffees and breakfasts to people like me who were starting the day early. Service was efficient. One of the better Wetherspoons I have been to.

8 Nov 2015 17:12

The Blythe Hill Tavern, Forest Hill

I'm not sure what I was expecting of the Blythe Hill Tavern when I ventured in there yesterday. But I knew that it was currently rated number 3 in the UK on BITE. But having visited for the first time, I can see why it's rated so highly. I was the first in at 11am yesterday. I remained in the small bar at the front, which has a narrow passage between the bars through to the other room/rooms. It almost looks as if you're going behind the bar itself to get through. There were 3 guys working the bar. At least 2 were Irish and all were very friendly and seemingly keen to chat to this first time visitor. It's not often staff take such an interest. So top marks where welcome is concerned. The interior is very cosy. The front bar is decorated with a golf theme and there are plenty of mentions of Ireland. There is a small TV in the corner, where horse racing was showing. If I am to be critical, the ale range could be wider. Yesterday they had Dark Star Hophead, Brockley Red Ale, Courage Best, Sharps Doom Bar & Harveys Sussex Best. But being a cider drinker, I was very happy to see a good and varied selection - Millwhites Rum Cask & Hedgleyer, Lilleys Bee Sting Perry, Sandford Orchards Devon Mist, Turners Russet & Elderflower & Westons Old Rosie. What better way to start a long day of drinking than an 8.5% cider (the Russet). Whilst others came close, the Blythe Hill Tavern gets my vote for my favourite pub of the day in South East London yesterday. Thanks very much to the owner for giving me a copy of CAMRA's London's Best Beer Pubs & Bars book - plenty more ideas for places to visit now. If only this was my local......!

8 Nov 2015 17:04

The Raven Hotel, Wigan

The Raven must be another place that I have walked past many times and never set foot in. I noticed it was in the latest Good Beer Guide. So with time to kill, I thought it might be worth a try. A bouncer at the door didn't bode well as I passed initially. But on returning from the John Bull Chophouse, he appeared to have disappeared. One young lady on a bench outside looked rather ill and another guy inside at the bar looked as if he wanted a fight! 3 ales and a cider were on - Wychwood Hobgoblin, Moorhouses Blond Witch, Bank Top Old Slapper & Sandford Orchards Fanny's Bramble. Service was friendly and the interior is very nice, with a central corridor spanning the pub and drinking areas either side. Another establishment I'll probably drop into next time I'm in Wigan.

2 Nov 2015 17:53

John Bull Chophouse, Wigan

I had a bit of time to kill whilst changing trains in Wigan last night. So I walked the 5 minutes up the hill to this ancient place, that I've never noticed before. It's situated just off the main drag and overlooks a large square. But you wouldn't necessarily know it was here. It's actually just behind the Moon Under Water. The interior was seriously decked out for Halloween. Many of the customers were inebriated. The more sober ones appeared to be seeking solitude outside. I braved the interior and was rewarded with a decent selection of drinks for a Thwaites house. They did have 2 of their craft brews - Boo & Handsome Devil. In addition they had Hobgoblin. But they also had Westons Old Rosie and their Mulled Cider. Atmospheric place that is worth a try when in Wigan.

2 Nov 2015 17:48

The Counting House, St Helens

There's still some banners outside this bar. But it looks as if it closed some while ago.

2 Nov 2015 17:42

Market Tavern (Lincoln Square), St Helens

After a visit to the very quiet Sefton just round the corner, I finished my St Helens crawl in the Market Tavern. This was another reasonably busy pub. There is a small outdoor courtyard at the rear that seemed well populated. Not all of the handpulls were clipped. But they did have 3 ales - George Wright Cheeky Pheasant, Robinsons Trick or Treat & Hart of Preston Lord of the Glen. They also had Black Bart cider from Rosie's. A pub right in one of the main shopping areas. Yet it was still alive on a Sunday evening. Plenty of bar staff. But they didn't really have a clue in what order to serve people. Not as good as the Cricketers or the Turks Head. But a fairly decent option in the town centre.

2 Nov 2015 17:41

The Royal Tavern, St Helens

This place appears to be Irish owned. The music was booming as I entered last night. After fighting through the crowd of smokers at the entrance, I managed to enter a fairly busy and lively pub, full of middle aged people dancing to the music. There's still no real ales - just the standard keg range of Fosters, Tetleys, Carling, John Smiths, Strongbow, Guinness & Coors Light. There was a slight smell of stale urine at the bar. After sitting down for a while to soak it all in, I very swiftly moved on, safe in the knowledge that my short visit to the Royal at least allowed me to fit a couple more St Helens pubs in.

2 Nov 2015 17:35

Beechams Bar and Brewery, St Helens

Still says Beechams above the door. But still closed. Luckily since the last review, a few more decent real ale outlets appear to have opened up in St Helens.

2 Nov 2015 17:32

The Abbey, Dentons Green

Holts pub on the edge of St Helens with a couple of guest ales on too. The interior is reasonably impressive with multiple drinking areas. It was fairly busy too, with many locals watching Rugby League. The 2 Holts ales were their Bitter and Hat Trick. The other 3 ales were Bootleg Fools Gold, Wells Bombardier & Sharps Doom Bar. It was nice to find an open pub after my wasted trip to Crank. Moved on from here to the Cricketers Arms - seemingly St Helens' finest pub, but strangely not listed on here. I'll request it to be added.

2 Nov 2015 17:29

The Red Cat, St Helens

Took the trip out on the bus here yesterday only to find it closed. Unfortunately the buses are only once an hour and Crank isn't the most happening of places to entertain yourself for an hour. So 0/10 for this attempt.

2 Nov 2015 17:22

The Abbey, Wirral

Modern bar on the main drag through West Kirby. It was quiet with just 2 or 3 other people there on our damp Tuesday evening visit. Commodity Brewing Company Tail Whip, Liverpool Organic Cascade, Purple Moose Calon Lan, Thwaites Wainwright & Peerless Red Willow were the ales. Old Rosie was the cider. I preferred the West Kirby Tap. But this is not a bad pub/bar in its own right.

29 Oct 2015 17:11

West Kirby Tap, West Kirby

I finally made my first visit to the West Kirby Tap on Tuesday evening. With the Abbey a few doors up, the Dee Hotel and the White Lion, it makes West Kirby far more appealing. The interior has a large roof with a few leaks, as we soon found out. Ales were Potbelly SOS, Peerless Oatmeal Stout, Milestone Lock, Prop & Barrel, Spitting Feathers Thirst Quencher & Session Beer, Front Row 99 & Bowland Gold. They also had Westons Old Rosie with Rhubarb. Without a doubt one of the best 4 or 5 pubs on the Wirral right now.

29 Oct 2015 17:06

The Cock and Dragon, Cockfosters

This place has been re-opened as the Cock Inn. Cockfosters appears to be a real ale desert, apart from this place. We found it extremely disappointing. The interior is upmarket and it obviously fancies itself more as a restaurant than a pub/bar. Most staff were intent on waiting tables, washing glasses or stocking shelves and seemed too busy to serve us. Ales were Exmoor Silver Stallion, Caledonian Autumn Red & Adnams Broadside. When we finally did get served, the Silver Stallion turned out to be a truly dreadful beer, or rather it was way past its best. The barman didn't appear to understand at first when we passed comment. In fairness, he did eventually offer to exchange it. But we needed to get to the tube station fairly quickly. So we declined the offer. Notably he did not take the beer off. So somebody else would have been served a pint of vinegar. Worst pub of the day and a poor way to finish on.

25 Oct 2015 19:38

Railway Bell, New Barnet

The Railway Bell is a bright and airy Wetherspoons, which was quite refreshing. It was also very busy. The furniture layout can appear a bit cluttered in places. The ale range was Wickwar Cotswold Way, Shepherd Neame Low Blow, Three Castles Corn Dolly, Titanic 7C's, JW Lees Drayman's Reward, Liberation Sin Bin, Greene King Abbot, Sharps Doom Bar & Ruddles Best. Considering this was a beer festival, I was a bit disappointed that there were no darker beers on. The one cider was Old Rosie. Very handy for the station.

25 Oct 2015 19:31

The Builders Arms, New Barnet

I'm surprised this pub still survives. It's tucked away just behind a Wetherspoons and is sunk below the ground. Neverthless, it's a fairly good Greene King pub. There are two bars. The one had live football on the TV and a pool table in use at the centre. The other room was much quieter. In addition to Greene King IPA, Abbot & London Glory, they also had 2 guest ales - Woodfordes Wherry & Sadlers One Hop Stop. A fairly good pub.

25 Oct 2015 19:24

The Hadley Hotel, Barnet

Fairly imposing building in a residential area. The drinking area is divided into two by the bar. One side features a mural of the Battle of Barnet. It was fairly quiet on our Saturday afternoon visit with only around 4 other customers in. There were 4 ales on - Greene King IPA, St Austell Ruck & Roll, Fullers London Pride & Otter Bitter. That was better than we were expecting.

25 Oct 2015 19:19

Ye Olde Monken Holt, Barnet

This pub is now simply known as the Monk. The front bar is a little dark and features some high tables. It was decked out for Halloween, apart from one table that was ready for Christmas! The barman seemed a jovial kind of fellow. The ale range could have been better - Greene King Abbot & IPA, Morland Old Speckled Hen, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Skinners Betty Stogs. There is a brighter conservatory area at the rear, which appears to be used by diners. Beyond that was an outdoor area. Around 10-12 people were in.

25 Oct 2015 19:14

The Lord Nelson, Barnet

Despite the last few reviews, I quite liked this pub. It's a Youngs pub tucked away off the main road. The ale range was the worst of the day - Youngs Ordinary & Special. But the barmaid appeared friendly enough and the pub has a nice feel, with its collection of salt and pepper pots and model boats. Only 3 or 4 other solitary figures were in. A comedy moment occurred when the barmaid asked these regulars if the flat cap behind the bar was theirs. One punter took one look at the flat cap in his possession and decided he had the wrong one and that the one behind the bar was his. Cue an exchange of flat caps. Either some kind of Ann Summers party for flat caps goes on here or the locals are in such a state when they leave each evening that they take the wrong caps. Not being a connoisseur, they all looked the same to me! Not sure about the purple frontage. But this was certainly an interesting place.

25 Oct 2015 19:10

The Black Horse, Barnet

The brewery tap for the Barnet brewery is situated on a double roundabout just outside the town. Only one of their ales was on - Barnet Glory. But this was soon replaced by Barnet Best Bitter. Other ales were West Berkshire Blindside Flanker, Camerons Thirst Blood, Wychwood Hobgoblin, Springhead Maid Marian, Nottingham Legend, XT 13 & Colchester Red Diesel. The cider was Rosie's Pig. This seems to be popular with diners and families. Both were present yesterday lunchtime. Staff are mostly young. There were plenty of them. But they didn't seem the friendliest bunch.

25 Oct 2015 18:58

Ye Olde Mitre Inne, Barnet

Ye Olde Mitre was our favourite pub of the day. The word 'Olde' is quite appropriate as it feels quite olde worlde. There are a number of different rooms, with a corridor leading along the side of them. Apparently it is an old coaching inn. It had a cosy feel. The ale selection was good - East London Brewery Pale, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Colchester Brazilian Coffee & Vanilla Porter, Caledonian Deuchars IPA, Adnams Bitter, Tring Brock Bitter, Charles Wells Bombardier Burning Gold & Greene King Abbot. Cider was Old Rosie. Customers were mostly solitary figures reading their newspapers. Although there was also a wedding party. A great spot for a relaxing half or pint. The porter was very nice indeed. Well worth a visit and only a short way from the tube station.

25 Oct 2015 18:50

The Sebright Arms, Barnet

McMullens house situated in a residential area to the west of the town centre. Beware of the pub's website and also other websites such as WhatPub that show this pub opening early. The latter showed it opening as 8:30. But opening times on the door show that 11:30 is correct. The pub has a couple of rooms and appears to have diversified into dining, whilst still maintaining a community function. 3 McMullens ales were on - AK, Country Bitter & Hops & Glory. I went for the AK which wasn't the best I've ever tried. Staff were friendly enough. Only 2 other customers were in, shortly after opening.

25 Oct 2015 18:44

The Misty Moon, Barnet

This was the first stop of a swift 10 pub crawl of Barnet and Cockfosters yesterday daytime. It was the first pub we could find open in High Barnet at 11am. This used to be a Wetherspoons. But it now appears to be Irish-owned. Located on the High Street, the interior is long and narrow, with the bar situated around half way along. Lighting is dim, apart from a couple of skylights. Ales were mainly from St Austell - Tribute, Trelawney & Proper Job. But Adnams Broadside was also on. No real cider was available. As with many of the local pubs, it was decked out for Halloween. A reasonable start.

25 Oct 2015 18:40

The Liffey Bar, Liverpool

This is a pub that I've passed many times. But I finally ventured in yesterday to see if it had any real ale on, as it got a mention in the local CAMRA guide recently. There was one solitary handpull at the end of the bar. But alas it was unclipped. The keg range was Tetleys Dark Mild, Carling, Caffreys, Worthingtons, Coors Light, San Miguel and of course Guinness. As the name suggests, this is an Irish bar with quite an authentic feel. It's busy and boisterous with Irish music playing. There appears to be quite a few live acts. The bar area was very crowded. But there were enough staff to keep everybody reasonably happy. Tables were at a premium. I'm not sure I'd return. But it was at least better than I had anticipated.

18 Oct 2015 16:34

The White Hart, Holyport

The better of the two pubs we tried in the Holyport area. The White Hart has a large car park that was fairly busy. I only went into the bar area. But I presume there was a dining room too, given the amount of cars. We made use of the garden, which has a children's play area. Whilst this is a Greene King pub, the ale range is a bit more adventurous than most - My Generation Beer Company Session Pale Ale, Goffs Galahad, Skinners Betty Stogs & Greene King IPA. The Galahad wasn't too bad. Rugby was being shown on the TV and there is still a bar billiard table in one corner.

18 Oct 2015 16:29

The Belgian Arms, Holyport

Small village pub just off the main green and therefore a little quieter than the nearby George On The Green, with the Steam Fair on. The ale range was not too inspiring - Marstons Pedigree, Brakspear Bitter & Ringwood Boon Doggle. It seems to be primarily a foodie pub. Most were tucking into Sunday lunches. We considered it until seeing the price of £22.50 for 2 courses. Maybe that's the going rate locally. But it seemed steep. A handful of locals were congregated around the bar watching the rugby. The interior feels too modern.

18 Oct 2015