Sunday, 12 April 2015

BRAPA - Sutton upon Derwent & Ellerton

You often hear 'quality over quantity' and over the past couple of months, I've realised how much this can apply to BRAPA trips aswell.  By which, I mean of that you can easily hop on a train and have visited seven pubs in Oxford before you know it, but a two or three pub day around more rural parts with no discernible bus or train routes is just as valuable.  After all, they all have to be done at some point.

Having said all that, it's easier when you have a chauffeur (sadly, a rarity!) and Dad was happy to drive us east out of York for a couple of new East Yorkshire pub ticks......

619 - St Vincent Arms, Sutton upon Derwent - We arrived at this pub that has been on my radar for long before BRAPA was in my mind, shortly after 2pm knowing that it is due to close from 3-6pm, as is still the case in some rural pubs, particularly noticeable in the Yorkshire region  The atmosphere was at a real lull, somewhere between that post-lunchtime winding down and that pre-last orders winding up.  There was also a sense of 'waiting', but what for, I can't be sure.  Judging by the regulars average age, 'death' could have been the answer.  Unusually for anywhere in the north, this was a Fullers pub but the ales were supplemented by local standards including Tim Taylor Landlord and York Terrier, resplendent with old style pump clip before York went all harsh, dark and angular.  Dad was particularly impressed with the quality of the ale, and cheap too at £2.60 a pint.  The food menu looked ridiculously outlandish with things like Lobster Thermidore and Guinea Fowl for prices that make the eyes bleed.  Because of this, it didn't quite feel pubby enough to be a classic, though when my phone rang, the locals glared as though I had no right to own such a device.  Perhaps they were right.  There was a rush to be bar about 2:55pm, so sensing last orders, I got a refreshingly northern tasting Fullers Chiswick in before the barman called 'time'.  The locals sat for a further 20 mins reading newspapers, totally unphased, refusing to even make eye contact with their spouses, so I spanned out my pint for as long as possible,

Arriving at the St Vincent, named after a Nelson battle, in S.O.D.
Grey Horse, Elvington - A good idea of Dad's this, a pub that in Good Beer Guide terms, has been in & out of it which much regularity (currently out).  We'd been kicked out of the St Vincent at 3pm, our Ellerton pub didn't open til 4pm, so we needed to fill in some time.  This was really a pub of two halves, a kind of downtrodden locals sports bar to the left and a modern but darkish lounge to the right.  Dad had apparently been here after a ten mile walk with Grandma on her 80th birthday, they'd stayed in the sports side and not been impressed.  The pub has since gentrified, selling off land that was once a beer garden and now a rather uninspiring new housing estate and car park are behind the pub.  Sad, but maybe the only way the pub could survive financially.  We entered into the sports bar side, which showed the full range of ales, it was a no-brainer for me, Bradfield Farmers Blonde which was well kept but not quite Bluebell York standards.  We thought we were watching the Grand National (it was the race before, oops) so when Dad exclaimed 30 of the runners must have fallen, no wonder the locals looked a bit confused!  Having embarrassed ourselves, we went to sit in the lounge side where for me, the highlight was a fine array of old GBG's dating from 1985.  Pub geek?  Me?  Never!  It was comfy enough, but lacked a bit of light and warmth of personality.  A decent pre-emptive tick if it gets 'listed' again, though I wouldn't bank on it this year.

Unusual and slightly pervy barstool in Elvington's Grey Horse
620 - Boot & Shoe, Ellerton - With it's 4pm opening time really reflecting how isolated the village of Ellerton is, I was just relieved to see this one open when we arrived about quarter past.  What I wasn't expecting was a genuine early contender for "2015 BRAPA pub of the year".  Why have I not heard people raving about this pub before?  Possibly, because it really is, to coin a phrase "a hidden gem".   We entered to find an ancient building, all creaking warped wood and beams, low ceilings and door-frames where even a short-arse like me had to duck.  After walking past many tiny rooms laid out for evening dining, we found the main bar.  A hive of activity with rattling old dominoes players, locals happily chatting and joking, and a bit beyond with a TV showing the football scores coming through, but initially, the result of the Grand National (the real one this time!) where my horse had come 4th.  So I was buoyed by this further!  A landlord behind a sunken bar saw us eyeing up the ales, and described them all.  Two Dark Horse ales are brewed for this pub and we had one of each, excellent quality, and then a half of a 'Half Moon' ale, the brewery is next door to the pub in Ellerton.  This really did feel like George Orwell's Moon Under Water, one of those where you have a stupid smile on your face throughout.   Friendly too.  When I came back from the loo, two locals were asking Dad if him and Mum were a "holding hands" couple or not!  'Not' was the answer.  Even seeing Hull City had lost (again) on the TV didn't spoil my mood.  I later heard there's a tree wrapped round the back of the pub forming part of it.  Another quirk I missed!  Amazing pub, you must visit.  

If I was smiling on the way in, I was ecstatic on the way out!
Other BRAPA News .....

Yesterday's two East Yorkshire pub ticks (now at 27) move it above South Yorks (25) in the 'pubs leaderboard' into 4th place, behind West Yorks (103), North Yorks (82) and Greater Manchester (33).

Dad enjoyed it so much, he's offered to drive us to tricky East Yorks pubs in Millington and Goodmanham in the summer, I'm penciling in 6th June for that one.

It'll be normal service resumed on Tuesday as I get back on the 'outer Halifax' trail with the trip to Hipperholme, providing I can get out of work bang on 4pm! 

Bedfordshire is next Saturday so a bit of planning around bus times, taxi numbers etc is needed at some point during the next week.

The business cards are here!  They look quite good,  Logo could be bigger, as could most of the text.  Should maybe have my Instagram and Twitter addresses on but that'd put pressure on me to keep them up to date at all times.  I'll have think between now and the last batch.  I left one in Ellerton yesterday but forgot about Sutton upon Derwent, but not sure they use computers.

See you for more archives and the midweek write up soon.




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