Sunday, 11 October 2015

BRAPA - Pollington & Asselby

Back on the East Yorkshire BRAPA trail with chauffeur and GBG pub lucky charm Bernard Ev on Saturday lunchtime.

I thought I'd 'finished' this county back in August after a celebratory trip to Hull's New Adelphi Club, but Mark Bainton and his EY CAMRA cronies stuck 5 new pubs in the 2016 GBG just to remind me how frustrating this 'cross-ticking' challenge can be.

As we drove out to Pollington, we passed places like Burn and Great Heck and hope my 'south of York' expert Krzb Britain wasn't too upset I was not consulting him on such a place.

707.  King's Head, Pollington

We parked up at 11:59am, pleased to see the pub already open and a jolly smoker with five smoking friends waved at me from a covered smoking area out the back - it looked like the piss-up had started admirably early!  We entered through the front to be greeted by one of those ultimate BRAPA turn offs, tables laid out with knives, forks and place mats.  4 ales were on, two from the very Locale Great Heck brewery and their 'blonde' ale was brilliant and easily the highlight of my experience here.  A woman (presumably from the smoking area) came in, and strewth, if there was a BRAPA award for "unnecessarily loud speaking person of the year", she'd have won by a country mile!!  This was felt even greater when two men joined her (including jolly smoker) and she screamed 2cm from their faces "HOW ARE YOU BOTH TODAY?!"  The gang soon returned to where they had come and Dad debated whether food was on, or was it all just laid out for the evening?  The barmaid who was a bit of a non-entity wasn't going to help us out, so it was left for old man with his Filipino mail-order bride (who spoke no English) to be presented with two menus.  It was too late for us anyway, my second Great Heck ale, the Navigator, wasn't well kept and it was time to move on.  I still had time to spy a strange pantry set-up selling everything from Bisto gravy to Gilette razors, but the jury is still out on this particular pub.

A bit of a mixed bag in Pollington.
We felt like we'd both heard of Asselby, and were imagining it to be out the back of Howden, somewhere Spaldington or Barnes Wallis type area.  So we were surprised when the turning was just along the road we always take towards Hull for home games, and have done for so many years!

708.  Whelans, Asselby

Sometimes you walk into a pub and you just know it is going to do well for you.  Ignoring their pretensions of being an "Irish Pub" would be a good place to start, to me, this is a synonym for 'shit hole' and does a pub as great as this no favours at all.  The landlord was a friendly chap with an air of the "reformed Gooligan" about him, he presided over great ales from 'Bird Brain' in Howden, 'Chantry' from Rotherham, 'Atom' Hull and most brilliantly, 'Half Moon' Ellerton's 100th brew which was citrus heaven and Dad declared (as he often does on a BRAPA day), his definitive beer of the year!  The pub had a great old wooden country pub feel, and we settled behind a pillar to some magnificent food (we made sure we asked outright if food was on this time!) and my chilli con carne was the best I've ever had in a pub, even better than the Greyhound in Riccall and that does good food.  I wasn't even that hungry and ate the whole thing!  As Dad paid the tab, we got talking to Mrs Whelan's too so I made sure got a customary BRAPA mention in, and gave them a Twitter shout out.

Another "Dad + Rural East Yorks pub = Success" equation


When cross-ticking every other county in the GBG, the decision making re what had been taken out and what had been left in made total sense.  But what 'Beefy' and co were playing at in EY, I just cannot comprehend.  

Dad's theory is that all CAMRA inspections took place in a drunken state and no-one had a hope of making a well judged informed decision.  This certainly supports the anecdote where they invaded and claimed the Goodmanham Arms as their own, and then wondered why the locals were peed off! 

How can you account for Ellerton's "Boot & Shoe" being taken out, certainly a strong candidate for my BRAPA pub of the year?

How can Beverley's Tiger Inn still be in?  I've never known such a tired beer effort, even if it was friendly & ancient, when they are de-guiding the Cornerhouse which seemed to me, impressive and buzzing with life.

Brid's Telegraph AND Marine Bar still going strong?  What's next, Seabirds?  Especially as nearby Skipsea's Board Inn has been ejected, despite being superior to both in every category from what I could tell from my visit.

Let's look at Cottingham.  Ok, maybe the Blue Bell is a bit namby pamby but beer was quality both times for a Marston's, it's clean and comfy,  and the Railway?  Well maybe we didn't catch at the right time, but it didn't scream GBG shoe-in at any point, though the staff were superbly fast workers.

And don't get me started on the de-listing of poor Great Kelk.  If any pub needs the encouragement that their hard work of establishing themselves deserves, it is here.  A real kick in the beer gut.  All the more galling when Hedon's Haven Arms with it's terrible pear flavoured vinegar remains in.

And Hull, oh dear?!  Admiral of the Humber?  Hop & Vine?  Larkins?  St John's Hotel?  Sailmakers?  Really?!  I think someone has quotas to fill.  You may as will give the Burlington's it's debut.  At least it's great to see all 3 Scale Laners in together.

And what about Driffield's cracking little micro pub, Butcher's Dog,  don't tell me it hasn't been opened long enough cos I know it has.  

Come on EY CAMRA, shape up! 




  1. Going against my prime but not yet fully confirmed suspect for a BRAPA gestapo operative. That is risky, even if it is through failure to consult.

    From my one trip to Ireland, I would comment that even the pubs there that try to be Irish are generally shit, and the ones that, well are a pub have a chance of being decent. I suppose it is the same to an extent in England, where you on occasion see pubs going overboard on being an English pub, generally inviting children in in the process.

    On the East Yorkshire quandry, I have a different theory. Many branches of CAMRA, as you will know, organise trips round different pubs. These trips are normally easy to find out about as they are advertised to differing extents. If a pub landlord finds out he is in an area covered by a trip, or even that a trip is going to his specific pub, then he can make an extra special effort for the pub to be brilliant on that day, thus appearing good to the CAMRA visitors. I do not know how many unannounced visits take place. As a CAMRA member you can of course exert influence via the beer scoring system.

    One thing I would say is that every town of any size should have a guide entry, if only to enable people who are visiting the town anyway to find, in some cases, the least bad pub.

  2. I think this might happen with other pub guides and maybe with "Cask Marque", but the GBG entries are visited on a regular basis throughout the year by lots of different people. I can only speak for York branch, but they don't tell the pub before (they are only really advertised through the local branch on 'confidential' emails, and the landlord's don't care enough to make a special effort anyway. In my experience, it's "well if CAMRA don't like us, tough". I need to start doing the beer scoring system, a new year's resolution perhaps!

    1. Please sit down, possibly with a pint before reading this, there is potentially a revolutionary suggesting contained within. And no, I don't mean revolution as in I'm staging a coup on BRAPA, that will never happen.

      Simon, I find it very reassuring that pubs get unannounced visits, hopefully in the vein of the Michelin restaurant inspections whereby even when they arrive the pub doesn't know that that the CAMRA people are there.

      Sit yourself down, because this is a revolutionary suggestion, but given that they presumably involve inserting the same or at least similar information, could the beer scoring system replace Untapped for you?

      I've never really liked new year's resolutions, the way I see it is if I realise I need to do something, I do it there and then. New year's resolutions are change for the sake of it. Although that said, aside from the bank holiday fixture which we don't get this season, I've never really understood the point of celebrating new year.

  3. Hi Tom, whilst I can see how your mind came to this revolutionary conclusion, it's not something I'd want to happen. What is great about Untappd as a form of social media is that it is fellow beer drinkers and generally pub enthusiasts so I get more useful feedback here than on Twitter or Instagram. I reckon it's quite valuable too, I've just learnt for example that a mutual friend of Mark Bainton has just had a poor quality pint in the New Adelphi but great ales in both Bridlington pubs, totally against what my Blog said yesterday! I've met lots of good people through it too, or have chatted to strangers. Mansfield Clare is even taking me round the Mansfield GBG pubs in the New Year cos of Untappd! And I find out about local beers and breweries which I can put on my 'wish list' for when BRAPA takes me to a certain part of the world. So for now, Untappd his here to stay!

    I know what you mean about NY Resolutions, but you know in BRAPA, my year is very much Jan-Dec for awards / numbers I'm up to etc.

    See you Sat for Sheffield fun! We're getting the 08:35. Pub idea = would it take pressure off our plan to get back to Sheff station after Hillsborough Hotel if we did a pub very near Sheffield station rather than one in the KIT area?

    1. Being able to see how my mind works would be very concerning to most. I however see that you are getting the gist of how to plan an awayday and that my educational courses must be working.

      Is the pub scoring system entirely private (apart obviously from the CAMRA elves who process such information) or can other CAMRA members see what you put? I still don't know what Instagram is, it is just a word to me. I suspect that:
      a) I don't want to know
      b) If somebody explained, I wouldn't understand

      We have seen ourselves having visited a pub twice that it is possible to be either very disappointed or indeed pleasantly surprised given its previous performance, so it is possible for you to get a pub when it is performing either above or below its normal, lets even call it average level of performance. There will be Dean Marneys of the pub world, whereby every once in every 6 visits it is tremendous, but the rest of the time it is average at best. It could be that Great Kelk is one of those. Similarly, it could be that the Pear vinegar in Haven Arms was the worst pint they'd served all season, like the one pint that had to be taken back when the Welly was really good.

      There is a comment I would previously make about your day out with Mansfield Clare, however the Code of Conduct prevents me from making it. I think you are in the clear if you want to guess what it is. One thing that I hope is allowed though, depending on the number of pubs you have to visit, is to suggest stopping off at Worksop on the way, subject to interchange time. The Mallard on the platform always used to be a cracker. Potential for Retford too I suppose, but I know you already have been to a couple in said position.

      Shall we play it by ear with regard pub choice between leaving Hillsrborough and 13:53, be it Kelham Island (required Wellington rather than the dud Kelham Island Tav surely) or your presumably new entry in the centre.

  4. Well as repayment for your so-called educational courses, in Mexbrough you will get a compulsory Instagram and Untappd course!

    I actually think your time for social media has come however much you like to distance yourself. Your match day 100 daily texts to me belong much more in a Twitter arena. Don't deny it! And just think how useful it'd be with project pig and choosing birthday beer buying locations? You could even open an "ask Tom your complex train queries" page, you are better than official routes.

    Wow, that's my revolutionary idea. I should have asked you to sit down with a blackcurrant first.

    I think you might be thinking 'but we will be playing Mansfield in three years anyway!"

    There are two central Sheff ticks I need and two in the Kelham Island area, so I'll decide in Hillsboro Hot.


  5. I look forward very much to your course. Do I need to bring anything? Will you have a red folder to write down the names of people who commit misdemeanours?

    I would point out that I do not possess the technology to operate social media whilst mobile although I am happy to be educated. You will be pleased to learn that project pig came to a happy conclusion the evening before Brighton without you conceding a single goal as a result of it, apart from the glut I was able to score on the morning of Brighton away as a result of not working on project Pig.

    For the train queries, I am active on the following message board and do make the occasional response to queries when I find them interesting:

    Given your fare evasion pedigree, you may prefer this area:

    I was actually thinking that we could be losing in the traditional embarrassing manner against Mansfield Town in the Third Division in 10 months time. That assumes that I am correct in thinking that they are currently in the Fourth Division. I hope by providing the answer that I won't become guilty of an offence under the Code of Conduct.

  6. Good for you Simon, slag off local CAMRA bod. At least then you'll find out he's been viewing your blog recently and if you're safe to get even more controversial.

    For comparison, from my notes (audited by AngstyYoung);

    Boot & Shoe was very good
    Tiger OK, Cornerhouse very good
    Brid's two both OK, Skipsea I did last August very good
    (Seabirds was v.good but no recollection)
    Cotty - Bluebell OK, Railway best(music night helped beer)
    Great Kelk OK, Haven Arms OK too
    Hull - generally good, Lion&Key, Adelphi, Walters, Pave, Whalebone, Hawkes very good

    That sounds like the shipping forecast, but point is most of those done on Sundays, which can be good or bad day to sample beer.

    I'm with you on the general point. CAMRA members struggle to get to rural pubs, apart from on branch bus trips, when they might well get a good pint (or remember a poorer one). Which is what Tom said.

    Things like friendly/comfy/clean/needs encouragement irrelevant, of course. And no-where deserve a Guide entry just so tourists have somewhere to go. North-west London has got what it deserves.

    Hull not using up it's allocation; it should have some of North London's !

    Presume you're still planning Mansfield ?

    1. That may be the first time I've ever seen somebody refer to Cottingham as Cotty. It's normally just Cott.

      A quiz question I got wrong in the Green Owl last night, but Albert irritatingly got:
      How many Friends are there in the telvision series Friends?
      I put 5, apparently there are 6. I've never watched it, but I was sure of my answer. Is there a dog or something as a trap or was I just plain wrong? I can't be bothered to research it, so I'm asking you two (and everybody else out in readerland for that matter). I'm sure Si will know, if only you, or Rachel or Emily were there. Martin having kids I'm sure will know also.

    2. It's definitely Cotty. Cott is Cottenham, down my way.

      I don't watch any TV Tom, unless there's a documentary about BRAPA on, but even I've watched it once and know there's six of the whingeing Yanks. Feel proud to be wrong though.

      While you're reading, when will Spurn Head disappear into the sea ?

    3. I don't own a television, thus have to go out of my way to watch something on the computer.

      Without human intervention, Spurn Head should have disappeared long ago. I understand that even with the clever reinforcements it is a struggle. I think it will go on Thursday.

    4. Yes, I should be careful criticising EY CAMRA too much as the lovely chap we know offers me his Hull City season pass 'away day' priority option when I need it!

      Quite agree with the AngstyYoung conclusions - I assume Seabirds has gone downhill and Great Kelk is improving, despite it's current GBG omission.

      I was talking to Tom's Dad on Thurs about the same issue of CAMRA visits to village pubs and was shocked to learn how true it is about them "ringing ahead". Now whilst I don't condone 12 CAMRA chaps descending on say, the Goodmanham Arms one Thursday lunchtime unannounced, I feel it is wrong to give the pub a chance to show itself in a false light.

      I'd say all visits should be unannounced, but groups should be a maximum of 6 people at a time.

      Mansfield is still pending, not been in touch with Clare for a while as she's not been drinking much ale on Untappd in 2016.

      Cottenham Hotspur could be Hull Utd's new name if they move back outside the city near their old ground as it isn't far.

      Tom, I'm reminded you need your latest lesson in social media soon! Whether you like it or not. You passed part 1 in Mexbrough.