It was almost as if bland pub chain Ember Inns had torn up their business model, and decided to add a bit of character, comfort and an additional exciting beer. True, the eye-watering, mismatched furniture unsuitable for pub use was on display, so was the pointless pile of logs and friendly young staff doing their best to impress. My brunette was on top form, and only missed out on an award nomination because it was a male! Abbeydale Moonshine (another Ember staple) was on, but I went for a Thornbridge Kipling and I doubt I've drunk a pint so quickly this year. Great stuff. The bar area had nice tiling too, quite quirky and green, just the way I like it. An unlikely business meeting was happening to my left, two young men agreed everyone else in their company were "fucking idiots", and could "only see what they want to see". Someone called Simon came in for serious criticism which seemed harsh, Simon's Union and all that. Little did they know I was taking the meeting minutes. They called time on the meeting after about 5 minutes, happy with their conclusions, and watched clips of cats playing with babies on YouTube and giggled hysterically. It was time to go!
|Strange outdoor seating at Saville Square|
|A lovely pint and some horrific chair patterns in Hoyland Common|
|Does this scene look familiar? It should do!|
I said 'hello' to my trusty picnic bench (the glasses had now gone!), and entered the left hand side as per 2016 BRAPA rules. This was immediately wrong with no pumps in sight, and a friendly young version of punk legend John Robb (complete with croaky voice) directed me all the way around. Mrs Birdwell decided I was going to be the guinea pig for her 13 year old daughter's first foray into pint pulling, and the young lass did a good job on a fine pint of Stancil Barnsley Bitter. Like all good South Yorkshire pubs, a group of jolly jokey men had gathered in the back right hand corner (which also happened in Barugh Green and Auckley and must be a local rule). The pub was just as I'd imagined last week, a wonderful old stone grotto of pump clips, strange decor, a bit like the Graziers in Stanley but with a slightly more country feel. Anyone worried about the future of real ale or proper pubs just needs to spend an hour here to be reassured. Of course, I had to ask about Monday opening, I owed it to us all! Landlady told me they hadn't opened on a Monday for at least a year now, but plan to start doing so shortly. I decided it would be harsh to tell her that I actually gave no shits about what they were planning to do on Monday's 'in the future", they seemed a lovely family. I think the local CAMRA need to get more on the ball re the GBG opening times and WhatPub, but there are worse crimes I suppose (i.e. why Sunderland CAMRA still haven't de-guided the inept Butcher's Arms) but anyway, I digress. This was a classic pub experience worth waiting for.
|Cosy pubbing at the Cock Inn|
And then, at the 11th hour, a freak injury to a family member is actually going to work in BRAPA's favour so see you all on Sunday for a full blown report, plus of course the review of March and preview of April.
p.s. oh, and good luck to the Tykes on Sunday!