Monday 7 November 2022

BRAPA is ..... PITCHER PERFECT (Kenty was Plenty Part 10/11)

Sadly, this isn't a tale about the day I finally turned my back on boring real ale, ordered a pitcher of 'Woo Woo' and 'Sex on the Beach', and went 'oi oi, chug chug chug'.  I'm sure that day will come.  Five zillion new Central London ticks to do after all.

'Twas my final day in Kent (sad face), a six day holiday just isn't enough in a pub county like this. 

Selling your house, not shaving for a year, living in a cave or a tent on a diet of berries and small woodland mammals is the best way to crack Kent in an expedient manner.

This was pub two, and this is today's BRAPA and chauffeur, Faversham's favourite son, Richard Pitcher:

Sun, Bredgar (2410 / 3974) was quite shit, in nearly every way.  I could leave it there, but I best expand.  It was soulless but fairly busy, mainly due to a large group of elderly gents in lycra ignorantly blocking floor space and causing trip hazards with giant rucksacks, or with their faces in the nosebag.  The younger barmaid was a misery guts, making no effort on the facial muscle front, serving us from a misery guts range of Courage Directors or Shep Neame Master Brew.  I opted for the latter despite two recent bad experiences with it, and the one chink of light in this sorry tale is that the M.B. was excellent qual. - more like the beer that Kent folk keep telling me it should be.   The older barmaid almost returns Richard's smile.  But it comes so unnaturally, her face contorts into a twitchy sour grimace.  At least the village duck pond was nice.  I bet her ancestors got dunked in here 300 years ago.  I'd hardly been enthused by the Three Tuns at Lower Halstow despite its CAMRA award winning status, but compared with this, it was the Red Lion at Snargate.  And I've not even been to that one yet! 

Still in the GBG?  No.  Ha!  But I can't really crow about it cos any churn is unhelpful.

It wouldn't be the most 'end of the line vaguely nautical' pub of the day, but there was something quite 'end of line vaguely nautical' about our third pub today .......

Ship, Conyer (2411 / 3975) marked an upturn in fortunes today, although anything following the Sun in Bredgar would ..... unless perhaps you are a manic depressive who has the Bay Horse in Market Weighton as their local, or live in Maidstone and your limited mobility means you can only get as far as the Stag.  "All pubs called the Ship should be in the GBG" Daddy BRAPA exclaimed Saturday just gone, and on this evidence I'd agree.  Okay, so it was a bit bare boarded and sparse, but it had enough nautical nods to make it notable.  It was empty when we arrived, unsurprising given the location? But it had a genuine warmth as the barmaid reminded us that it is possible to be a rural North Kenter, jolly and wear an exciting t-shirt.  Canterbury Ales are fine,  not my favourites, but as they tend to be named after Chaucer's tales I like the challenge of 'collecting' them.  '3 Hop Pale' here, not one of better known works.  In the process, I'm told off for pronouncing 'Bath' in a northern way.  'Baaarth?'  Ugh!   The ale slips down well, the taps in the loos were a bit too powerful, a random pile of logs threaten to do something, and the 'tables' look a bit like crypts.  If Dracula wakes up, my pint spills everywhere.  Some customers finally arrived, most notably a lady at the bar brandishing a menu.  She orders custard, ice cream and steak.  In that order.

Still in the GBG?  It is, and I think it just about deserves it!

But if that was a vaguely nautical end of line step in the right direction, well, in the words of Bachman Turner Overdrive (who I only know about thanks to Smashie and Nicey), I ain't seen nothin' yet! 

Our final pub of Part 10 is listed under Faversham, but in reality, it is as remote as any Kentish pub, in a made up place called Hollowshore.  The roads soon become potholed dirt tracks leading nowhere, imagine a sort of 'Tandle-by-the-Sea'.  You can look out to Sheppey from a reassuringly safe distance.  It is magical.  It is bleak.  It is a throwback to a time I never experienced.  It is impossible to fully do it justice without visting.  

It closes mid afternoon, hence our haste to get this one 'out of the way'. The pub is like some weatherboarded hut, it is a bit like Round the Twist without being set in a lighthouse. 

Welcome to Shipwrights Arms, Faversham (2412 / 3976).  The enchanting, spellbinding atmosphere continues into the bowels of this dimly lit, rickety wooden old jewel, full of seafaring bygone bric-a-brac.  You can smell and hear the crackling woodburner, this pub needs it, the draught is permanent.  A winter night in here must be special.  Model ships dominate, but as I go to find the loo (rare sliding door not marked with 'gents' or 'ladies') a model pirate makes me jump, lurking behind some fishing nets.  Suddenly the Ship at Conyer efforts look a bit token.  The ales come directly from the barrel, I panic and go for a 4.8% Kent Prohibition.  Gorgeous as it is, I wish I'd gone Goachers Mild, it may've helped me last the pace a bit longer later on!  In an interesting juxtaposition to all that was encircling us, an American businessman stomped around, followed gingerly by the current owner, in what appeared to be a (not very) hostile takeover bid, uttering 'gee, ain't it swell?' every two minutes (probably).   When American flags and bald eagles are jutting from every pub orifice in a few months time, you know where you heard it first.  Visit while you can would be my advice, a beauty!  

Still in GBG?  You betcha! 

Join me on Wednesday for our final Kentish review.  I'd never have believed I'd enjoy a pub more than this one today .... but somehow, I would!  But which one?  Tune in to find out.

Thanks for reading / skimming / looking at the pictures cos you are a simpleton,



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