Category Archives: Beer

Time off

It already feels like a long time ago, but we closed the bar for 10 days, so we could have a break and do some work in the bar.

Beginning in Peterborough, we visited familiar places.

A walk along the river was quickly abandoned due to an insane amount of flooding.

We did find a new (to us) micropub though.

After two nights in Peterborough, there was a day/night in York (which was also flooded).

Then, after a day at home, we were off to Edinburgh. We met up with a brewery rep for a couple of drinks; he introduced us to The Guildford Arms, a lovely old pub.

Another discovery was the Fierce bar, which had opened since our last time in Edinburgh. Fortunate, since we’re quite fond of their beer (we’ve had a few kegs in the bar). Weirdly, the bar person had been in our bar.

We spent the following day mostly in Leith.

It was good to fit in a couple of brewery taps, as well as some bars we’ve previously visited.

Of course, we took the customary picture of the cool T3 in Leith.

Norfolk

It’s already fading away into the past, although it was only a couple of weeks ago.

The van coped really well with the distance, and the travelling between towns. Only a couple of things broke.

Our first stop, at Banham, involved a most pleasant afternoon with old friends (from the northeast).

Our stay in Banham was something of an accident; we’d not realised that we’d stayed at the same place a decade or so earlier. After a couple of days, we moved on.

I’d never been to Great Yarmouth before; I found, as I’d been advised, that it resembles Blackpool.

Gorleston was much nicer, although the dog enjoyed the beach at both places. We did manage to find some pretty cool bars, particularly the Tombstone brewery and Thirsty Crow.

On the return trip, there was the compulsory stay in Peterborough.

Bakewell

I’d never been to Bakewell before, or (until a couple of years ago) know about the Peakender beer festival. I really wanted to go last year, but knew it wouldn’t be wise to leave the bar for four days in our first year (I’d already done that for Glastonbury).

So, this year, we made the decision to go as a team and close the bar. We didn’t regret it for a second.

The festival was more than a beer thing, there was music and a lovely vibe about the place. It was dog friendly and we even found a nearby stream for the hound.

The Thornbridge brewery tap room was a must at the close of the festival, as was some time in the town itself.

And we were so pleased that the van only smoked a little bit and just one bit fell off.

Whitby

I’ve been a CAMRA member for a few years now, since before I became involved in bars, but I’d never taken part in activities or excursions.

Working in the current bar has changed that; a lot of guys who’re members come into the bar and we know a lot of them by name.

When an email popped up, mentioning a trip to Whitby, we agreed a team Microbus outing. This happened on Saturday and we all had a great day. The trip was so well organised, but, after a visit to Whitby Brewery, there wasn’t an agenda. The opposite was the case, since some of the bars couldn’t accommodate everyone at the same time.

This was the first time all of us have have had a day out together since opening the bar – we’re all rarely in the same place at the same time.

We realised that we can do more to promote future events. We’ve some ideas. We’ll certainly take part in another.

The bar

You know, while I’m only in this for the short term, I do love this place. We made this.

Socialism

Remember the Charlie Brown Christmas song? It goes, ‘Oh Christmas tree, oh …’.

I much prefer, ‘Then raise the scarlet standard high’.

Yes, I know there’s the old Labour Party version. It’s more current, more correct; but the old version is so cool. And, in the weird place we’re in right now, so relevant.

Anyway, a Christmas tree.

A walk in the sunshine

So, me, my beloved and the hound had a pleasant evening on Thursday in Peterborough.

We weren’t there for the best of reasons, a funeral.

Roadworks meant we arrived later than we’d have liked, but we still managed most of the bits that mattered: the Bumble Inn, the Ostrich, the Draper’s Arms, the College Arms (ok, so the last one’s awful).

We met a lovely guy in the Ostrich, from Cramlington originally, but he’s lived in Peterborough for a couple of decades. He’s a Gateshead supporter though.

This morning (yesterday really, I guess), I had a big decision to make. While my beloved was at the funeral, I could either fill in the pub gap from the previous night (just two), or go for a walk with the dog.

Surprisingly, I decided on the latter.

So, the hound and I walked along the Nene, ending up on the Green Wheel route. I’d cycled that way a few years ago, but it’s so much slower on foot, even with a two year old dog.

Anyway, we had a lovely walk this morning/afternoon.

And then it rained. And snowed (the hailstones we’re a killer).

The dog doesn’t like rain. So she didn’t like (or understand) hailstones. We were caught out in the open.

My usual plan in such circumstances would be to seek a pub. Unfortunately, this wasn’t an option, since I was on a bike path. That left me with a choice; continue on the path back to Peterborough, or seek shelter.

I decided on the latter, ending up in Stanground. That probably wasn’t my best decision.

With no shelter in Stanground, other than a leaky bus shelter, we waited to be rescued by my beloved. We were a bit wet at that point.

Proper wet.

The Holy GrAle

After hearing about a new micropub in Durham, we had to take a look. The Holy GrAle is definitely worth a visit; a really decent range of cask and keg.

And a pretty lovely Marble imperial stout, 10.5%.

Since we were in the area, we also called in the rather excellent Station House.

And the Waiting Room.

Unfortunately, the dog experienced her first delayed train (waiting for an ambulance).

After her ordeal, she needed gin in Newcastle.

Nottingham

I’ve only been to Nottingham a couple of times in the past, so our eBay purchase of a van front end created the opportunity for a third visit.

It made sense to drive down yesterday and pick up the rusty lump up today. That gave us a chance to fit in some decent pubs, starting with the Doctor’s Orders, a pretty cool micropub I’d found on Mansfield Road the last time we were there.

It’s everything a micropub should be; decent prices too. Also discovered last time was the Crafty Crow, also run by the Magpie Brewery.

Naturally, we had to visit Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem, allegedly the country’s oldest pub. I knew that the beer wasn’t going to be the best, but the building’s a real experience.

There were one or two other pubs, but I didn’t take pictures.

One minor negative was the £25 dog surcharge at the hotel, the highest of the three hotels accommodating the dog this year (£10 and £20 at the other two). So we made sure that the dog made the most of the facilities.

This morning, we collected the van front end. Fortunately, we managed to squeeze it in without resorting to the angle grinder I’d taken.

Yes, it has holes. But I love it. We’ll attempt to remove it from the van in the morning.

Dog friendly

Arch 2 in Ouseburn has a great approach to dogs. They’re very welcome and even have their pictures taken to add to a dog wall. Now, this didn’t work very well in Harriet’s case, since she doesn’t show up very well in any picture taken in a dark bar (three pictures and pretty much invisible). But the idea’s great.

The Cluny seem to have adopted the same idea. This evening, the dog is not only visible-ish, she’s posing in the background.