Beer of the month, August 2015 – Black Isle Scotch Ale

As with the pub of the month, a difficult choice this month, as I’ve had the chance to sample quite a few new ales in many new pubs. However, all of the top five beers were sampled at home this month. So let’s start the countdown…

In at number 5, and the winner of the weirdest beer (in a good way) is Harveys Battle of Lewes Priory Ale, with flavours of sweet herbs, rosemary and thyme, and caramel. Probably the sort of thing you could expect from a priory.


To number 4, where we find a beer from Manchester, a classic Belgian Dubbel from Ticketybrew, a combination of spicy, fruity, sweet and sour – it stood up to be counted against a Thai green curry.


In at number 3, Mr Predictable goes for an IPA, specifically the one from Hawkshead brewery – what it lacks in paleness, it makes up for in hops, with a classic hoppiness that smacks you in the mouth (again, in a good way). I do love an IPA. You’ve probably spotted that by now…


In many months, the beer at number 2 could have taken top spot. A brewery mash up between Adnams of Suffolk and Bodebrown. Of Brazil. It’s so obvious when you think about it, Brazillians and East Anglians are such natural bedfellows, with so much in common. What next? Twinning Rio de Janeiro with Bury St Edmunds? Whatever it is, as long as we keep getting hoppy golden ales like this one (Curitiba), I won’t be complaining.


And so, to our winner, perhaps a slightly odd choice for high summer, but the Scotch Ale from Black Isle brewery is dark and delicious. Very heavy roasted flavours and very very nice. A worthy winner, and in with a good chance of beer of the year. Oh, and it’s all organic too.


Pub of the month, August 2015 – The Talbot Arms, Settle

A tough month, in the sense of choosing a pub of the month. We’ve been away on a couple of extended breaks, which has included lots of pub visits.

Suffolk was our first port of call, which included trips to The Kings Head in Yoxford:-


The Crown in Westleton (a lovely piece of skate, and some nice ales):-


and The Bell Inn in Middleton (classic village pub, thatched roof, low beams, a flint church tower visible out of the window, and with a classic character for a landlord):-


A couple of other pubs in the middle of the month, and then we find ourselves in Yorkshire, where we found ourselves in four great pubs on four separate nights.

Our first stop was The Royal Oak in Settle (lovely burger and a pint of Tether Blond):-


followed by The Lion (roast quail and several good ales):-


Next up was The Harts Head in Giggleswick (not a made up name), a lovely piece of gammon, several ales and a fun pub quiz:-


Today, the final day of August, the Talbot Arms swoops in to steal the title. A friendly and welcoming pub, lovely landlord, six ales on tap and a great selection of food.


We had a lovely meal here, and sampled all of the ales available. A really lovely pub, and easily the pub of the month, despite stiff competition!


Talbot Arms, Settle

Our fourth night of our Yorkshire break, and our fourth different pub. We seem to have saved the best for last (#spoilers). All of the other pubs have been good, but tonight there was just something a bit extra at the Talbot Arms.

It was very busy when we arrived, but we managed to grab a nice little corner table, whilst the landlord was making us welcome by explaining all about the beers and ciders that were on, and offering tastings of all of them – very friendly and knowledgeable. Six different ales is a good sign. Four that you haven’t had before is even better.

First up a pint of California Common, an excellent session ale, even at 4.8% – the perfect start to the evening. Ideal for perusing the excellent menu.

Lots of different choices, and a specials board too. Once again the “take photo of the specials board trick” is deployed, which creates content for this post, as well as being handy for the other person at the table who wants to know what’s on without being parted from their pint 🙂

The eagle-eyed will have spotted the pork, sausage and apple pie. For anyone looking to achieve Triple Pork Nirvana, this is an obvious choice. As with any specials board, you should always seize the opportunity to try what’s on it, because it might be gone tomorrow.

If you wish to make your dinner arrive, a trip to the bar to order another drink will usually do the trick, and this was the case tonight. However, what is unusual is that the landlord sends you back to your table and brings your beer to you when it has been poured, so that your dinner doesn’t get cold while you wait.

A pint of Leeds Midnight Bell was the perfect pie accompaniment, a 4.8% mild with coffee and roasted malts coming through.

And here is that sausage, pork and apple pie in all its glory… It was fabulous.

Time for another drink or two, next on the list was Hair of the Dog from Pennine Brewing, a very flavoursome session ale.

And to round off this trip in style a Jorvik Flaxen Blonde from Rudgate Brewery, a very nice blonde ale to end the evening.

The Talbot Arms is most certainly MOFAD approved, and definitely in the running for pub of the year… I suspect it will be pub of the month for August… MOFAD card was left…

Ye Olde Naked Man Cafe, Settle

This will get some interesting page hits. If there’s one thing guaranteed to drive traffic to your web site/blog it’s anything related to words like naked/nudity etc. Oops, there’s another keyword. I’ll stop now. Back to the naked man in Settle.

Ye Olde Naked Man Cafe is a cafe and deli in a prime position opposite the market place in Settle. It has a lot of competition from all of the great local pubs such as the Talbot Arms, The Lion and the Royal Oak but it can stand up to them.

On our final full day in the area, we had abandoned a plan to walk around Malham Tarn due to potential inclement weather. However, we were apparently one of the few places in the entire country not to be on the receiving end of a rather large deluge.

So instead we had a wander around Settle, and eventually found ourselves here for lunch on a very busy Bank Holiday Monday. It was totally packed out, so we wandered around for a bit longer and then came back shortly afterwards and waited for a table.

We were greeted by a fairly extensive cafe menu and plenty of daily specials such as sweet potato & red pepper soup, leek & potato soup, jacket potato with beef chilli, chicken & ham pie or tomato & spring onion quiche.

My choice was a common one for me – the club sandwich. Although this one was quite a bit different. Half of a large sub roll, cut into three pieces, with chicken and salad and mayo in one part, and bacon and sliced boiled egg in the other part. Sliced boiled egg is a new one on me when it comes to club sandwiches (although it is quite common), but it definitely works.

It was a very tasty sandwich, and this particular Naked Man is definitely worth a visit. I can’t point you to their web site as they haven’t paid the renewal on their domain 😩

The Harts Head, Giggleswick

No, I haven’t made up that place name. Giggleswick is real, and it’s another neighbour of Settle. Tonight, we walked over from Langcliffe, partly to eat here, and partly to take part in the pub quiz. As you may be aware, we do like a pub quiz.

We ordered some drinks and settled down at our table. First up a pint of Hen Harrier by Bowland Beer, a fruity and hoppy golden ale.

For dinner, one of my tests of any pub, the gammon. Served with griddled pineapple (so many places just plop some cold slices out of a tin on the place) and really tasty home-made chips. A cracking piece of gammon.

Mrs MOFAD had garlic and herb chicken, and this was a pint of Singletrack by Kirby Lonsdale brewery, a very nice golden ale from “over there”…

We’d had a good walk today, around Malham Cove and Gordale Scar, so we had earnt some pudding. Can’t beat a chocolate brownie sundae on a Sunday…

After this, we retired to the bar and prepared to flex the brains. To ensure dehydration did not affect performance, a pint of Duchy by Lancaster brewery, a rich and malty ale.

Whilst we were preparing for the quiz, we spotted this, which must have been found at the back of a cupboard somewhere:-

Not a very good performance in the quiz tonight. We teamed up with 2 other couples who had travelled over from Northumberland via Carlisle. Spookily, they had friends who own Browns restaurant in town, and who live near MOFAD companions Gemma and Ian in Long Whatton. Despite all of our combined knowledge, we were not up to the challenge of the Blockbusters style quiz, and were not in the running to win the bar snacks during each round, or the jackpot prize at the end.

However, this does not affect the MOFAD outcome – approved and card left!

The Lion, Settle (again)

As promised yesterday, we are back tonight. After a brilliant day out at the Malham Show (a traditional country show that is the sort of thing you see on Countryfile at this time of year). It is great to see the show still thriving in this day and age.

After a great day out (and an interesting journey driving the Bongo over to Malham), it was time for more refreshment, so we wandered down to the Lion for dinner, after having established that there was plenty to eat and drink here.

First up tonight, a pint of Nine Standards Number 4 Amber Ale, an easy drinking amber ale with a touch of fruitiness and a touch of hoppiness.

Mrs MOFAD was also pleased to find a Vedett Extra White wheat beer.

Next up for me, a Revisionist West Coast IPA, another from the Marston’s empire, more caramel than IPA really, but perfectly pleasant, and a good accompaniment for dinner.

That dinner for me was a roast quail, from the specials board. Accompanied by potatoes and mushrooms, this was a very nice dinner, crossing towards autumn flavours even though we are technically still in summer time… Mrs MOFAD had roast rump of lamb with dauphinoise potatoes and honey roast veg, and this was also very nice.

We hung around for a bit longer, for a pint of Thwaites Lancaster Bomber, full of easy drinking maltiness. The Lion is most certainly MOFAD approved, and a MOFAD card was left. There’s free wi-fi for customers too, so if you have some blog posts to catch up with or similar, you can get on with that over a leisurely pint or two.

The Lion, Settle

After our dinner at the Royal Oak, we decided to pop over the road for another drink, which would also give us the opportunity to check out another local hostelry. The Lion is a Thwaites pub, and we’ve visited a few of these recently, including the MOFAD approved Royal Oak (in Keswick).

Continuing with the keeping it local theme, a Main Line from the Settle Brewing Company, a good fruity bitter. The Lion looks like a nice pub, and I think we’ll be back tomorrow night for dinner…

Royal Oak, Settle

August Bank Holiday weekend will often mean a trip away, this year we have taken a trip to Settle, to explore the Yorkshire Dales, which is somewhere we’ve not been to so far.

Our journey was not as smooth as it might have been, due to some motorway issues. This meant that we arrived a little later than planned, and set off on our afternoon walk later than planned. This all meant that we were rather hungry, and chose tonight’s pub purely on the basis of proximity, as it’s the first one that you get to when approaching Settle from Langcliffe, where we were staying.

Thirsty work, all this walking around, so a pint first, Tether Blond from Wharfe Bank brewery, keeping it local. A really good blonde ale that didn’t last long.

An impressive selection of burgers on the menu, including a Hawaiian burger (cheese & pineapple), Hunter’s chicken burger (chicken, cheese, BBQ sauce and bacon)  and the Johnny Cash (“ring of fire from our insane naga chilli sauce”). I decided against all of these, and went for the Dublin burger instead, with Jamesons BBQ sauce and Guinness mayo – that was a new one on me, but it had a subtle flavour that really worked.

There was only one thing missing, and that was a plate. You can see some BBQ sauce seepage there, and luckily the groove in the bread board on which it was served was up to the task, but this is one of the dangers of not using plates. We Want Plates have been informed. Aside from all that, it was very tasty, a cracking pub burger. Washed down with a Golden Sheep from Black Sheep brewery. I last had this in a bottle, and it wasn’t all that great, but this was much better, a good golden ale.

And if that wasn’t enough, it has a revolving door! A wooden revolving door! It’s like stepping back in time. A nice little pub.

Tomatina Festival

Today was the day for the 2015 Tomatina Festival. It’s been going on for many years now, and in 2012 around 50,000 people pelted each other with 125,000 kilos of ripe tomatoes in a tourist-friendly giant food fight. The food throwing feast is the focal point in a week long festival and celebration. La Tomatina is always held on the last Wednesday in August in the town of Buñol in the Valencia region in Spain. Now it is a ticketed affair, with participants limited to just 20,000.

At around 11 am, the first event of the Tomatina begins. A ham is placed upon a large, greased pole, and the tomato fight can begin only when someone is able to climb to the top and bring it down. People climb over each other, in order to be the one to pull down the ham. And then the tomato-throwing madness begins.

Those who partake are encouraged to wear safety goggles and gloves, and tomatoes should be “squished” before throwing. And after an hour or two, everyone gets cleaned up and life returns to normal after the streets are hosed down.


This all reminds me of a poem that I once saw scrawled on a desk:-

I went to the market with my brother Jim,
Somebody threw a tomato at him.
Now tomatoes are soft, and don’t break the skin,
But this one did, it was wrapped in a tin.

Anyway, here’s a video of the tomato based mentalism:-