Pub of the month – April 2015

This is a totally Peak District dominated post, because almost all of our April 2015 pub trips were during our week in Hope, and we had quite a few pub visits during our holiday.

One of our first lunch stops during the week was The Norfolk Arms in Ringinglow, during a walk from Redmires reservoir to Ringinglow and back. Walkers welcome. Muddy boots welcome. Cyclists welcome. On an improving (weather wise) Easter  bank holiday weekend Saturday there were still a good few tables available inside, and loads outside.

Lots of choice on the menu too. The burgers were very tempting, but in the end I went for the staple that is the club sandwich. Simple, but easy to get wrong. No errors here though, a very good club with a simple side salad and some chips. I’d already eaten half of it before I remembered to take a photo for the blog!

And a good selection of ales and bottled beers too, a pint of Stancill Barnsley bitter for me (a classic bitter) and a Timmermans Framboise for Mrs MOFAD:-

A lovely pub for lunch.

Another lunch pub next, The Scotsman’s Pack in Hathersage is a pub that we have visited many times. Mrs MOFAD & I came here for many Easter Monday meals over the years, until it became an inconvenient venue due to some stair issues.

On another sunny April day, we were meeting a friend here before going climbing on Stanage Edge, which is just around the corner. Despite still being in school holiday territory, the pub was pretty quiet, which suited us just fine. We ordered some drinks and then some food including this lovely wild boar burger topped with a fried egg. A winning combination without a doubt. Mrs MOFAD ordered a steak and ale pie. We actually wanted just some sandwiches, or something a bit more “lunchy” but they just have a standard menu at all times.

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Good marks for presentation (very cheffy blobs of mustard mayo), although marks knocked off for slates not plates, but this was all about the content – a really good flavoured wild boar burger, a perfect fried egg on top. Quality chips and some watercress too. It was probably the best burger I’ve had so far this year. Mrs MOFAD enjoyed the pie too.

This was accompanied by a pint of Archer Single Hop Amber Ale. A new micro brewery? No, just another part of the Marston’s empire. A pleasant enough pint though.

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A dinner pub next. After an excellent walk up Grindsbrook Clough, over the Kinder plateau and down Jacob’s Ladder, it was time for a well-deserved dinner at The Cheshire Cheese. Like The Scotsman’s Pack, this has hosted our Easter Monday meal at least three times if my memory is working correctly. There was a pub quiz on for our visit, and we booked in advance, just to make sure that we didn’t miss out 🙂

To begin, a pint of Kelham Best from the excellent Kelham Island Brewery, who, like their nearby neighbours Abbeydale don’t appear to be capable of brewing a bad ale 🙂 A classic English bitter with malt, caramel and a hint of hop.

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For dinner, it just had to be the double pork win of pork chop with bacon, mash and a fantastic mustard sauce (heavy on the mustard which is exactly how I like it). This was fantastic, and probably the best thing we ate all month. And all four of our party achieved Triple Pork Nirvana today!

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Brains were kept lubricated for the pub quiz with another good local ale, the pale and hoppy Farmers Blonde by Bradfield Brewery:-

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It was another second place quiz finish for “My Pointless Friend Richard.”

In second place in this month’s pub of the month, we have The Peak Hotel in Castleton,  owned by Rick who also owns the Old Hall Hotel in Hope (more on that in a moment). To kick things off, a pint of Black Sheep, in a proper dimple pot. This is a classic Yorkshire bitter, with malty and caramel notes. Again, this is one of those pints that just has a little bit extra when it comes from a pump.

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To eat, a very nice highland chicken (which had run out at The Old Hall earlier in the same week), chicken breast stuffed with haggis, wrapped in bacon and served with a whisky cream sauce. Lots of my favourite ingredients all bundled on to a plate with some nice roast spuds and veg.

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This was accompanied by another pint of that rather good Abbeydale Moonshine:-

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A good match for that whisky sauce. Another pint was needed to lubricate the brain, and it was back to the Farmer’s Blonde again:-

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The quiz had some fiendish questions and a few rather obvious ones (in our humble opinions at least). With some pretty obscure answers plucked from dark recesses of our brains (like why Cardiff City are the only Welsh team to have triangular corner flags), we were reasonably confident. But then we were confident on the previous 2 nights. Tonight was the night! It was victory for “My Pointless Friend Richard.” Read more about our quiz exploits and winnings here…

The winner for April 2015 has to be The Old Hall Hotel. Five visits in five days, and we were willing to return on the fifth day even though there was no beer festival on 🙂

Easter Monday’s lunch was very pleasant, so we decided to pop down for dinner the next night. This proved to be a good decision, as there were plenty of different ales available (they always have a good selection, beer festival or not), and more very good food.

A burger is always a solid choice, and a good test of any pub. This was another test passed, the “gourmet steak burger”:-

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An excellent burger accompanied by brie and a good onion marmalade, as well as some great chips. Definitely MOFAD approved, although a bit more effort on presentation wouldn’t go amiss, plates are preferred to chopping boards, and silly little baskets should not be employed.

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And if all of that wasn’t enough, there was also a pub quiz, interspersed with some bingo. And free sandwiches for pub quiz entrants (this is a theme of pub quizzes round these parts). “My Pointless Friend Richard” came second in the quiz.

A worthy pub of the month, I suspect there will be more entries about it in April 2017 🙂

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