|In mi' Lancashire town - a typical street view of Accrington|
It's not often a cup draw is kind to Hull City (i.e. the fans), always ending up in an uninspiring Watford or Middlesbrough, usually at home. So, to get Accrington Stanley away was something of a coup - and as if the football aspect wasn't thrilling enough(!), the BRAPA element was also great with three new ticks in a town next in line for me alphabetically in one of my most neglected counties of 2015.
725. Peel Park Hotel, Accrington
A useful tip-off from Christine let me know this was today's S.S. (Southern Supports) designated pub so me and Dad made the most of driving and arriving early to get this one done before any suffocation might occur. My pre-conceived notion was a very basic hotel bar, but the reality was a much grander multi-roomed old skool Lancastrian pub. I agree with such luminaries as Dad and Clare Hoppett when they have told me Lancs is one of the friendliest counties in the land, and it was in evidence here with a warm welcome from dog, locals and barmaid. I ordered a pint of a 'cat nap' but with the dog having displayed early over-exuberance, it seemed wise to spell out C A T, barmaid and soon we were onto W A L K and V E T, other words that dogs don't like. Although the ale was brewed in Cumbria, I maintain it had the pure East Lancs "no frills" taste and as it turned out, was pint of the day. Dad described the surroundings as "homely, spacious, welcoming and comfortable" and typical of the "all-knowing" SS, they had picked the best pub. As the Wetherhill machine came in to do a pre-session reccy, we were just finishing our drinks - perfect timing!
|Dad worked hard to get both pub signs in on this pic as we arrived in Acc.|
726. Commercial Hotel, Accrington
A cross-town walk firstly made us realise that Accrington was the most Lancastrian town ever (quite an achievement when Burnley and Blackburn are considered) but we were soon at this Wetherspoons house having picked our way past a few peculiar inbreds. It felt like an older pub that had been converted, rather than the usual post office, bank etc. Dad, in an admirable display of responsibility, wanted a coffee but the machine was broken which might have been a blessing in disguise if the Lancastrian Water Parasite (LWP) had slithered eastwards, so a J20 was safer. I was struggling to choose a beer, the barmaid offered me a Moorhouses Bohemia as it was today's top seller, but being based on a Czech Pilsner, it was too sweet for my tastes. Despite her initial helpfulness, she complained that she had a bad shoulder and shouldn't be pulling real ale. I tried sympathy, but when I then passed her my 50p off voucher, she declared she had bad eyes and couldn't really read the small print. Possibly the best hypochondriac staff member this BRAPA year! The layout was standard Spoons, and soon Chris D and Chrissie A were on the scene, ordering two very plastic looking plates of chilli con carne whilst I tried to work out where this tribute to a local glass company was. Me and Dad let them finish their meals, and we moved on.
|Traditional style Spoons action at the Comm.|
Research had told both me and Ben (before he decided he was ill & lacking enthusiasm & saving himself up for horse racing) that this was going to be the pub of the day so the plan was to spend the majority of our time here. Oh dear! Well, it wasn't without it's good points. A large building, very modern so lacking some atmosphere but they'd obviously spent some money on it judging by the decor, including a few clocks. This is because it is home of the Big Clock brewery, and you could see the brewing equipment on-site and also smell the mash (not potato) throughout the pub. Staff and locals were very friendly, I spent ages sampling their beers at the bar and it almost became a competition to see who's recommendation I'd go with. Problem was, with the exception of the 7.5% Ghost stout, they all tasted the same! It was like Welly's dying days, or Whalebone ten years ago. Dad, Christine and Chris were even more critical than me and the latter two made a quick bee line for the Peel Park and who can blame them? I stayed loyal, well, made Dad sit with me as I nursed the Ghost very slowly. Ooof. But yes, what a disappointment cos it could have been great, or they could have at least put guest ales on like the GBG suggested.
|Dad needs the loo badly, but is still happy to pose for the sake of BRAPA.|
So then, the hilarious game, brilliant and terrible in equal measures - why do Hull City always make life as hard as possible? It'll still be a memorable moment of the season "come what May" I reckon!
|My fingernails are shredded as the penalty shootout commences.|
I'll be back on Friday to review the "bonus" pubs I am doing this week, those which are plagued by dodgy opening hours, dodgy transport, or both, and don't really work on either a Tuesday after-work night, OR as part of a weekend crawl.
And then join me on Sunday for a review of Wolverhampton's best 'outer' pubs which me, Dad and Tom will be visiting on Saturday. August is going well so far.