I feel like I'm groping around the pubs with a blindfold on at the moment. The 2015 Guide was published Thursday, I still haven't received one in the post, and neither Waterstones in Leeds or Oxford had any in stock yet. Luckily I found a local newspaper article to give me the lowdown on which pubs had been included this time around.
|A bit of pre-pub culture in Oxford|
I then decided to embrace the local market and got fleeced £5 for a tub of spicy olives. Well, I got a free taster of creamy feta so who's winning? Well not me, obviously.
|Top Uni parks action - taken from a bridge|
|Best hubbub of the day in the Lamb n Flag|
I then had the most eventful walk of the day, through the centre of Oxford's main shopping area on a busy Saturday afternoon, I saw a girl selling "life changing wooden spoons" and a student excitedly whispered to his friend that he'd just bought a lego Hans Solo frozen in Carbonite - only in Oxford.
530 - St Aldate's Tavern - The centre piece pub of the article about Oxford's 2015 GBG inclusions, this had really friendly staff and a nice light airy feel despite being an obviously old building. The beers were also interesting and the Animal brewery "hiss" I had to create myself on Untappd, which past some time. Sadly, with all that was good came the inevitable "popular with the locals" and the front bar designated for drinkers was totally full, so I had to perch in the back bit more geared for food, not that this felt like a gastro pub in any way. Overall, I'd probably make this my "pub of the day" and if I'd got a proper seat, it'd have won hands down and deserves it's guide place. This is exactly why I need the 2015 GBG now ... grrrr.
|Interesting beers, friendly staff - at St Aldate's Tav|
|Interview action at the Royal Blenheim|
532 - Chequers - I often find pubs suffer from being a bit too central and I couldn't help but compare this to Olde Starre Inne in York. Lovely old beamed 16th century, formerly a money-lenders, attentive staff but with that tourist trap feel and obviously very busy on a Saturday afternoon, especially when the weather was as nice as it had been, My Hook Norton Lion was nice enough, without being a real winner, and I reckon I found the nicest seat in the snuggest room so made the most of it. I reckon it'd be a cracker on a cold winter's evening.
|Chequers in the bustling city centre|
533 - Far From the Madding Crowd - My final pub of day had been wandering around in circles for half an hour, as it was hidden (well, "hidden" to an increasingly drunken me!) down a side street called Friars Entry. I'd heard of this pub before back from the days Hull City used to play at the Kassam, and it was near enough the station to makes sense to go to last. Again, I was expecting something dark, oaky, woody but was quite carpetted and furnished in parts. As soon as I saw a new Acorn beer (Helga), I had to have to as I have a weakness for this brewery. The locals seemed a lively and friendly bunch, I was tired out by this stage and wondered how anyone had any energy. When Hull City are back in league two in a few years, I'll gladly bring the Welly gang here.
|Far From the Madding Crowd, Friars Entry.|
So, another 6 pubs successfully ticked off and didn't even have to change trains. I'd originally planned to visit Abingdon but there was so much to go at in Oxford, I was happy to keep it simple. I'd say I preferred the beer in Cambridge, pub wise not a lot to choose between them, The city deserves a visit, and was glad to get some culture in as the Cambridge logistics meant that was never really possible.
Next week is York beer fest so no midweek BRAPA yet again, I am thinking of doing something north eastern on the Fri but haven't decided whether it will be North Shields, South Shields, Sunderland, Hartlepool, Morpeth or somewhere else (and of course, am in Newcastle the following day to watch Steve Bruce's Toon Army take on managerless Hull City). But I need that bloody 2015 GBG ASAP now, am getting frustrated. Book work is required.
See you all soon for another BRAPA update.