Good evening from a grey, overcast and quite windy York on this Monday evening.
Here's Saturdays report.....
Nottingham had all the ingredients for a great day out. Excellent local beers (Castle Rock and Blue Monkey just to name two fairly local breweries), more intruging pubs than I could possibly hope to visit in one day, and daytime journeying which didn't need to involve one bus or taxi, simply a train and a bit of walking.
But it never really took off in the same way that my recent Darlington and Shropshire trips had, with that over-riding feel good factor. Whether it is simply the East Midlands (I've always thought Leicester was very unfriendly, not Derby so much), or I was seen as another cricket tourist (the Test Match was on at Trent Bridge) or maybe I wasn't on top form (had been worrying about work for little good reason), or the summer stifling heat had everyone hot n bothered, it never quite clicked as a great day out. Don't get me wrong, some great pubs were visited and some great beers drunk so not a total write off.
467 - Trent Bridge Inn - It all got off to a rocky start when, in trying to add a bit of excitement to proceedings and skirt with the hoards of cricketing fans 40 mins or so away from the end of the morning session, I took the mile walk down here only to realise it was a Wetherspoons, doh! Not so bad you might think, plenty of them need to be visited, but despite it's 9am opening, bouncers outside and always selling Abbots Ale policy, it was only when I got my local pint of Magpie 'Angry Bird' that it twigged! The Guide did not mention the fact, annoying. Not a bad pint in the Gary Sobers suite (as I called it) but compared with my imagined version of this pub where I joked with jovial staff about beer being less flat than this Trent Bridge wicket, it was a bit of a let down.
468 - Trent Navigation - As I'd made the effort to walk this far, I thought I'd visit another pub in the vicinity and found myself here, next to Notts County's ground (it still wasn't lunch as England's record breaking tenth wicket stand went on). This was pretty much a brewpub and my Navigation Stout, enjoyed outside where there was a decent sized group watching the cricket on a big screen, was a nice experience although the staff seemed to be a bit friendlier with foodies and locals but I kind of accept that's the way it is. Seemed a nice pub inside too but when I heard a barmaid telling some locals how busy it was going to get when the cricket lunch bell sounded (do people really leave the ground to come here for lunch and expect to get back for the afternoon session?), I necked my summer stout and walked back into town.
469 - Kean's Head - Possibly my pub experience of the day as I was still very sober, and the staff, gave me one of those Castle Rock loyalty cards and were friendly in explaining it. I'd come through the heaving centre to get here, suddenly it quietened down, became cobbled, some church bells rang and a waft of old fashioned scent drifted across me. It really felt like some surreal back in time experience and though I don't normally like one roomed pubs, I'd make an exception for this. My Castle Rock monthly guest (Red Admiral) was not really my type of beer but it all goes to show how little the beer influences pub experience.
470 - Lincolnshire Poacher - A long uphill walk in the heat followed next, I felt it was now or never. Buoyed by my last Castle Rock experience, I had one here too and used my loyalty card, had to have a Screech Owl which is one of the best, at 5.5% strong too. The barman was quirky, everyone seemed an inch away from very friendly but maybe I could've done more. It was out of town enough to feel locally, but it still had quite a central feel. Busy enough not to get a seat outside, but I had quite a sweat on by now as I headed back into town.
471 - Langtry's - Named after Victorian starlet Lillie Langtry, this was a lovely old building, felt the most town centre of all I went to, and had a cosmopolitan mix of tourists, people looking for food, so felt a bit like many of York's central crowd do. It was here thay it really hit me I was struggling beerwise only 4 pints in. The heat, the Screech Owl and the fact I'd not eaten a great deal all contributed. With hindsight, as I didn't get a train til 10am, I could've been up at 8 and had a big fried breakfast, with snacks along the way but despite my usual chunks of cheese and a sausage roll, I felt woozy. I drank this pint very slowly, a gorgeous Blue Monkey Infinity. So I was all to blame for my downfall.
472 - Hand & Heart - I felt a bit better by the time I'd walked slightly out of town west to my final pub of the day. And what a gem. 30's style music played, the decor was old fashioned but stylish, as was the look of the barmaids. Tried to get some banter going. Firstly I asked if my guest ale, called little weed had marijuana in. Joke went down like a lead balloon. Then I noticed the beer samples were tied up in little jam/honey jars, very quaint. I joked if it was honey. Lead balloon. Finally, another barmaid turned the fan away from me ('twas very warm in the pub), I did mock despair but she didn't get it and turned it back in my direction, apologising. Tried to insist she needed it more, she was working. Felt like a bastard. Then, first barmaid went to take 2 chaps food plates away and laughed like a drain at everything they said. I left with my head hanging low, kind of summed it all up in many ways! Amusing looking back.
So a mixed day and another real lack of social media recognition, particularly on Twitter made me feel a bit disillusioned with whole thing but was pissed by then, if I wasn't already! Still, I don't regret it and certainly a day I'll remember. They can't all be 100% nicey nicey can they? It'd be boring.
6 more pubs done and where next? Well, another busy week means West Yorkshire BRAPA is again in jeopardy. If Keighley/Oxenhope does go ahead on Saturday, I'll be looking to exploit for BRAPA advantages (Stanbury? Keighley? Goose Eye?) but if it doesn't, I'll do a North or West Yorkshire trip anyway, might even ask for some company ... now there's a novelty!