580 - NEW INN, Cliffe - Having tried our hand at being Cliffe's first tourists (a local shop, football match on a field, and train crossing were all we had to go on), we were relieved when the pub opened, albeit a few mins after the 12 noon specified time (a pet hate of mine not opening bang on time!) We were greeted by a two roomed pub, and entered the lounge on the left to be greeted by a friendly landlord (Ian) and a fine range of ales. My one from Mallinson's was top quality, grapefruit flavours, and as it turned out, pint of the day. We had to push the settee backs back into place, and the "fire" was more visual than offering any real warmth, but he put some top rock tunes on to add atmosphere and equally friendly wife (Adele) appeared. This was a very promising start to the day, little did we know that when we conducted our "Scottish voting" on the journey home, this would be crowned pub of the day. A very good effort from a pub previously described as a "no hoper" by CAMRA when tied to Enterprise scummers.
|Me arriving at the New Inn (not really on such a slope!)|
|Jig & Krzb about to encounter a warm welcome in Osgodby|
582 - WHEATSHEAF, Burn - A connecting bus back in Selby took us to this Pub of the Year, situated directly on the A19. This was the key pub of the day, both alphabetically and because it's reputation meant it was the most highly anticipated, but as so often happens on BRAPA days, these pubs limp towards something of an anti-climax. Krzb had suggested our "voting" would be impossible if the standard of staffing was maintained. Careful what you wish for, as "not very two dimensional sideways Helen" gave miserable service, the locals (including 'quick racing man off bus') were more starey and less friendly, and the beer range was rather underwhelming, with not enough micros for my liking, though the Brown Cow Dark Mild was rather gorgeous, second best pint of the day, it was the only ale of interest. It was such a shame because the pub was a beautiful olde worlde country village style inn, with nooks and crannies, bric-a-brac, 2nd world war memorabilia, and was very comfy. Sadly, the huge real fire had been prepared but not lit, I think this would have made it hard to move but our "surprise visitors" had arrived to taxi us onwards, in the form of Linda C and Mrs B (Krzb's sister and Mum out on a country walking afternoon).
|Wheatsheaf in Burn, didn't quite convince out there on the A19|
583 - BAY HORSE, Great Heck - It cannot be underestimated what a great turn Linda did us by driving us to this remote village. Hensall was the nearest train station but even the walk from here looked long & hairy(!), whilst a lack of signal or bus service meant other means of transport looked improbable too. Probably a good job we hadn't been forced to make too much effort as this was a disappointing experience. Firstly, I thought staff were again uncommunicative, til I realised the landlady's son was behind the bar on entry, and probably was about 11 years old, so we'll let that one slide. What we can't let slide is the beer range. One went off as we entered, so only Old Mill Bitter was available - had this been a CAMRA visit, I could see a guide deletion looming. Not good enough. Less to blame but totally illogical is why this village (famous not just for a train crash, but also a cracking brewery of the same name) has an Old Mill pub instead. Bizzare. The pub itself lacked any real atmosphere, but had some comfort with low ceilings, upholstered, and felt very old. Linda and Mrs B finished their walk to join us for a drink, their BRAPA debuts, they deserved better.
|Four BRAPA visitors, is this a new record?|
PRE-EMPTIVE - GIANT BELLFLOWER, Selby - We were dropped back in Selby to visit this JDW house, which keeps getting mentions in local real ale circles and I know for a fact it is under consideration for the 2016 GBG so definitely worthy of a visit. We knew it'd have the best beer range in Selby, but the quality was key and it was sadly lacking as mine became more vinegar and sour the further down the pint we went, so I was soon on a can of American Craft catastrophe "Sweet Action" from the trendy Sixpoint brewery who embrace the modern hipster trend, something that isn't likely to reach Selby for another few hundred years. The pub itself was a typical mixture of overly light and dimly lit areas, a few good snugs with Valentine's couples going for the cheap option. Jig n Krzb ordered food, and my beer was such that I had no qualms about brazenly eating my foiled pasties. Maybe this was why the staff seemed rather miserable too. Personally, I'd still not put it in the GBG but watch this space, as local CAMRA are eager to promote a supposedly burgeoning "scene" in this part of the world.
|I'd have to say the jury's still out on Selby's much celebrated JDW pub|
A bus back to York involving our "Scottish voting" ensued after a slight delay due to trouble at Escrick, and Jig and me settled down for a post-BRAPA pint in the always great GBG York pub, the Golden Ball where we people watched for the final hour.
See you all in a week's time for our bi-annual trip to the North East, all in the name of BRAPA.