Sunday, 1 March 2015

BRAPA - Stoke

An away day in Stoke might have ended in a lame defeat, but at least the final two pub ticks in Stoke itself provided some consolation, as I'd only been expecting one at the most.

589 - Wheatsheaf, Stoke 

Dad had us on early train tickets, so we were in the town (with Tom having found us at the station) well before the White Star's 11am opening time, so despite the scary locals and signs showing "no away fans, no colours, no caps, no tracksuits, no breathing etc. we pushed our way into the pub and thankfully found a fairly standard Wetherspoons, but with a good range of ales - sadly, the Lymestone was turned round but Titanic Plum Porter well kept like this is never exactly a bad second prize!  Most people were having breakfasts, there were a few typically bald thickset Stoke men but on the whole, a good standard pub tick of this nature. Plus, my "Pointless" style quiz went down well.

Me and Tom, about to brave entrance to this 'Spoons in Stoke.

590 - Glebe, Stoke

Some good post-match bussing from Tom & myself (Dad had gone in front) gave me ample time for a pint in my remaining "Stoke itself" tick, especially as the 17:48 to Manchester Picc seemed delayed by a couple of mins.  This was a really pleasant surprise.  I was familiar with Joule's brewery from last year's trip to Chester, and a pint of Slumbering Monk was dark & rich and exactly what I needed after 90 plus minutes of dross.  The pub was predictably full of Stoke fans, but they were a happy and friendly bunch, the likes of which I've not even encountered in the White Star (our pub of choice).  The staff were good and had to be as after I arrived, it soon became very busy indeed so I did well to get a stool seat towards the back of the building.  The pub was atmospheric, lots of dark wood and seemingly very old with great features like restored stained glass and those snob screens at the bar.  With candlelight being the main light source, it felt almost relaxing back here and you won't get too many close to train station pubs like this on a matchday.  

Restored stained glass & Joule's ales, a great Stoke pub
The journey back afforded two more real ale pubs, the Bull's Head in Manchester and the York Tap as I made the most of my evening.  Bad defeat, good day and it made me think Staffordshire is one of my more neglected counties.  I'd fancy doing Stoke's suburbs (Hanley, Longton etc) plus Stone and Newcastle-under-Lyme look interesting.  But I must focus on Bedfordshire for now.

Other BRAPA News

  • My sister's ankle pot is off, but recovery is slower than she was expecting so rescheduling my Elland trip for Tuesday 3rd March may have been a touch optimistic,  With Derby on 10th, I'm now looking at a 17th St Patrick's Day return for West Yorkshire Midweek fun.
  • I've been speaking to Dad about the possibility of him driving us out to Half Moon, Ellerton one day for that most difficult of forthcoming East Yorks ticks.  It'd have to be a weekend, but he seemed keen to maybe combine it with a Hull City or Hull Utd game in the coming months, probably post-match.
  • I was sad to read of the closure of the Cricketers Arms in Bedford last August.  This was one of my first official BRAPA ticks in April (probably around the 380-390 mark in real terms) and was notable for them laughing at me because I couldn't operate the latch to get into the pub.  It was called the Welsh Embassy by locals as it served lots of Brains beers.  Staff and locals were characterful and I guess it'll be a loss to the Bedford real ale scene but the landlord and landlady were apparently being screwed over by the evil pub company running it.  Sad.
  • On a happier note, we are now in March and after only 16 Feb ticks (made the best of a bad job I'd say), I've got my eyes on the magic 30 mark again!  Pub of month was Swan with Two Necks in Stockport, not just because I was drinking a pint of Old Tom.

See you soon, Si

No comments:

Post a Comment