My New Years resolution is to make the first full calendar year of BRAPA ticking a good one, and achieve the 750 mark even allowing for September's 2016 GBG cross-ticking exercise which will no doubt slow me down. Last Sunday, I made my first ever BRAPA trip to East Yorkshire, here's the report .....
Despite telling Dad on several occasions I didn't want a ticket for today's home game v Leicester, he still got me one so the first part of my morning was spent worrying I'd be hijacked by him until he confessed he'd forgotten to bring the bloody ticket anyway!
540 - BLUE BELL, Cottingham - It wasn't even 12 noon when we arrived at the surprisingly picturesque outer Hull village of Cottingham, this pub was opposite a village green. Despite it being Sunday and early, this pub was very much open so bonus points for that, as two friendly young bar-babes (if that's not sexist) served ale from the always slightly dispiriting Marston's range. My seasonal Jennings Red Breast was good quality, a grower, but more than a bit bland. The pub area we sat in was warm and cosy, but the majority of the building was white-walled, food orientated, high brow well-to-do fodder, with some modern but tasteful Christmas decoration including strangely, an owl (not real). Dad was more impressed than me, the staff were very much gearing up for Sunday lunchtime rush, and the first dithering oldies started arriving just as we were leaving.
|Morning Marston's food-pub fun in Cottingham|
541 - RAILWAY, Cottingham - The bonus of the Blue Bell's early opening was we had time for a second Cottingham "tick" before going our separate ways. After the sedate, gentleness of the last pub, this one, near the station (obviously) was a real culture shock .... it was absolutely heaving. The back room was full, and the front room was also packed with plastic people watching Man Utd on a giant screen. And believe me, this was a very large pub. I wondered if there was some wedding party on at first, or stag or hen do, but no real evidence of it. The hard-working staff were whizzing around at a million miles an hour, and despite Dad and myself (notoriously impatient in bar situations) having to wait a while, you could not fault the excellent staff effort. The ale range was probably 4 or 5, none of which were too earth shattering but I had a perfectly nice Roosters Yankee though it isn't the beer it used to be, unless my tastebuds have been spoilt over the years. We sat behind the screen in a very sunny raised area which must be where live bands play. Despite the popularity, I can't say this pub will be winning any BRAPA awards, decent at best.
|Heaving pub at 12 noon on Sunday in Cottingham, what's going on?|
542 - WOOLPACK, Beverley - Having bid Dad farewell and a fruitless "good luck, please win" message as he went to meet the Welly gang at the excellent, rejuvenated Whalebone in Hull, I took the 13:02 to Beverley where after sorting out a little financial problem in the market place, I headed down to the Westwood area to this cracking little 1831 built pub, in my new heritage guide book. Unfortunately, I could not enjoy it at it's best as it was packed with Sunday lunchers and I thought back to my Sunday lunchtime Bedfordshire crawl last April (Flitton and Clophill) - NOT a good time to go pubbing, must make mental note! I perched on the one spare stool at the bar and chose from another Marston's range, this was better because Jennings Sneck Lifter is an excellent drink still, dark n wholesome on a chilly day. Sitting here, again you could see how hard the staff had to work, fielding ridiculous questions like "can my wife have an Earl Grey tea?" and "do you have colouring books to keep the kids entertained?". Honestly, this was an old fashioned pub doing lunches, not a Happy Harvester or a bloody tea rooms. I had to laugh as I booked a taxi out to Walkington.
|Woolpack : a nice pub but avoid Sunday lunchtimes|
543 - BARREL INN, Walkington - I could have walked but the road/lack of pavement situation concerned me a bit, I booked with a local chap cos I liked his webpage, though being teetotal for 28 years and hating football meant golf was all we had to discuss! As we arrived, I noticed to my horror that Hull City v Leicester was being screened live via a dodgy foreign satellite thing. Not a problem I thought, I'll be gone by kick off. Being a village pub, it had a nice rural feel and walkers and bikers replaced diners and boneheads. This was probably pub of the day, warm and comfortable, fire was in, staff and locals friendly, and despite being Thwaitesy owned, they had a few good guests on - my Castle Rock Elsie Mo-El being a stand out Christmas spiced classic. The ceiling height (so important in pubs) was nice n low, just right for me! A few irritating bearded biking hipsters in shorts came in and made an exhibition of themselves, so I went to catch my bus.
30 mins later, no bus, in need of loo, I returned to pub for pint two and was laughed at for expecting the bus to actually arrive! By now, the match was in full swing and with sound 15 secs ahead of the picture, it was even easier to predict Leicester would take the lead. My Hull City gene kicked in after this, and I had to see it out. Rang for a taxi to take me back to Beverley (the last bus was gone, if it existed) and at this point, we bombarded Leicester to no avail, taxi driver popped in to watch the last few mins/look for me (I thought he hated the sport).
|Down the East End! (Of Walkington that is)|
544 - TIGER INN, Beverley - Another beautiful looking old Tudor fronted beamed pub, this felt lovely, old, creaky traditional inside as well, 17th century building but 1930's design (love my new Heritage pub book!). The friendly barmaid thought I'd just finished work(!) such is the haggard look of someone who's had 5 pints and watched another useless Hull City display. Sadly, the beer range (which had promised Great Newsome amongst others) was particularly poor and a friend on Untappd confirmed this pub's beer range has gone downhill in the last year. I fittingly went for a Wells "Good Stuffing" but it was average beyond belief. I briefly stepped into the street to sober up in the freezing Beverley evening and rang Mum to rant about THAT performance. I'd probably describe this pub as Beverley's answer to York's Black Swan. Only longer, thinner and smaller. And friendlier. Hmmm.
|You'll have to trust me when I say there is a depressed looking tiger on the pub sign!|
545 - CHEQUERS MICROPUB, Beverley - I pushed myself to make one final pub tick, in the form of new guide entrant Chequers, highly recommended by all I know who know East Yorks pubs. Micropubs seem to be the new "big" thing, I went to an excellent one in Carnforth and another cracker in a Manchester shopping centre, and yes they are a bit "pop up" but they have a nice, demure clientele and a good pub hubbub even if the buildings leave a bit to be desired. For me, it was nice to get a really interesting beer range for the first time today, with local breweries like Atom, Great Newsome and Cropton (NOT Great Yorkshire!) all represented. I had a nice pint of Old Ebeneezer by the Yorkshire Brewing Co (whoever they are) and as a spiced porter, well kept, it was pint of the day and this may have been pub of the day had I been a bit more focussed and sober.
|My phone died pre-Chequers so here's where Dad was instead!|
I tried to get into York Tap but being Sunday, last orders had rung so it was home for a late supper before a painful Monday at work. For the love of pub ticking.