First up, a special mention for my favourite local pub, The Needle & Pin, who brought our first ever local craft beer tasting night to life in June 2016. It’s the kind of thing that happens in big city craft bars/pubs a lot. It’s the kind of thing you see being advertised on Twitter all the time, especially from London based establishments such as places on the Bermondsey beer mile. To have such a thing in a sleepy little market town is not something you might expect, but it’s the kind of thing that our awesome new micropub is bringing to our midst. Our events organiser and regular MOFAD companion Alec had reserved places for a few of us, so off to town we went.
We made our way through a number of beers on this fab night, starting with Soar Head, a very classic English bitter from pub owner and craft beer guide Sean’s other local business, Wicked Hathern Brewery.
It was a long journey through beers, stopping off at places like Magic Rock with their High Wire Grapefruit, an updated version of their High Wire ale, now with added grapefruit. Massive fruity hop flavours.
And we finished with the coffee. In this case, Dark Star Espresso, a dark beer brewed with roasted barley malt and challenger hops. After that, freshly ground Arabica coffee beans, blended especially for Dark Star, are added for a few minutes to provide a rich and complementary coffee aroma which delivers delicious coffee bitterness.
One of the nights out of the year!
Off we go next to the Pack Horse Inn, Keswick, where it was quiz night and another outing for My Pointless Friend Richard. It’s a Robinsons pub, as with so many in the area, so you’ll know what you’re getting – a range of their good ales, and good food. And that’s what we got, starting with Hartley’s Cumbrian XB, a classic English bitter.
Dinner arrived next, after we watched it go back to the kitchen and then come back out because we had moved tables not long after ordering, as a nicer one by the window became available.
Mrs MOFAD and I had the same thing, chicken in wild mushroom and cream sauce, served with chips and salad. It was really nice, juicy chicken, a nice sauce and really good chips, along with a decent salad (you can see a tiny bit of it in the top left).
A couple more good pints fuelled the brain and the quiz got underway. When the specialist round arrived (computers), we were pretty confident of victory after scoring maximum points. Another victory for My Pointless Friend Richard, and enough money to pay for dinner Winner!
In third place this month, we have a previous winner, The Wainwright. A table became free within a minute of walking in, so we were soon settled in and ordering something to eat and drink.
Once again, it was something from Fell Brewery that tempted me first, a pint of Simcoe Wheat, full of hoppy bitter goodness alongside some wheaty earthiness. Any beer that decides to add more hops is good for me – this was very interesting and a tasty pint (and yes, it’s supposed to be cloudy). Mrs MOFAD had some Symonds cider, always reliable.
Food came next. Some familiar things on the menu from last year (I recommended the game pie to another customer who was ordering at the bar). My choice on this visit was the crispy supreme of chicken, with mashed potatoes, leeks and white wine cream sauce, absolutely delicious juicy chicken, good mash and a nice sauce.
Mrs MOFAD had a very tasty burger with absolutely enormous onion rings – look at the size of them! A very good portion of food.
It really is the best pub in Keswick right now. You may have to wait for a table, or wait for your food, but the best things come to those who wait. There are no shortcuts or microwaved curries in here, it’s good quality stuff in a great pub.
Another visit to BrewDog Edinburgh came this month, after not one, but two trips back in April, earning it third place in April’s pub of the month. It was high on the list for a return visit, particularly as there was some live music on.
The thing about BrewDog is that Mrs MOFAD, who has a very specific set of beers that she likes, will always find something interesting to drink, on this occasion that was “Berry White” (strong pun work) by To Øl from Denmark, a good mix of fruitiness and sourness, way better than any fruit beers currently around in UK supermarkets.
We ate pizza, one of the three reasons for being here tonight. Several Brewdog bars are now offering pizzas, which is a great move because they can be brilliant and go so well with beer. I always have pizza with beer.
My choice was the King of Pigs – gyula sausage, leeks, tomatoes, with mozzarella and watercress. This was delicous. Pizza done simply and done well is a thing to behold. This had tasty sausage, with the piquancy of leeks and great peppery watercress. I wouldn’t mind a few more slices of sausage and a bit more watercress.
More beer was required to accompany this, and since it was released on the night we visited (this is a BrewDog “thing”, releasing beers on a specific night) it had to be Black Hammer, a dark version of the popular Jack Hammer. A mix of burnt toffee and grapefruit flavours from the hops.
Whilst all of this was going on, we were enjoying music from “The Wandering Man” aka Peter Dyer, who was playing down by the pinball machine. An excellent selection of acoustic tunes including many interesting covers and medleys. A great night of live music, pizza and beer, it reminded us very much of our trip to Fat Monk back in March – the perfect combination of pizza, beer and tunes. As my dad’s old Musicians’ Union sticker said “Keep Music Live”.
Our winner this month is The Potting Shed in Edinburgh. We happened to be there on the night of our tenth wedding anniversary and celebrated with a very nice meal. It started off very well, with this awesome selection of beer to choose from:-
So much choice, so little time. My first choice was Findhorn Killer by Speyside Craft Brewery. I quickly christened this Hoppy McHopface, a deliciously balanced ale.
Mrs MOFAD opted for the slow cooked spicy lamb, with coriander, coconut milk, fragrant rice and “flat breed” (that’s Scotch for bread). This was spicy and delicious, walking that fine line between spice and flavour and just about getting it right in Mrs MOFAD’s eyes.
I opted for the half roast peri peri chicken, with red slaw and skinny fries. A simple chicken dish isn’t something I’ll often eat because it is something that can easily be done badly, but I had faith here as I’d heard good things about the Potting Shed.
This faith was well placed, juicy and delicious chicken, nice and spicy peri peri, good red slaw and crisp fries. This was accompanied by a Brave New World by Tempest Brewing Co. How to describe this? How about hops hops hops? You want more? How about hops? Piney goodness. It was lovely, and a perfect match with the peri peri.
As this was a special occasion, we both opted for pudding (we will often share). For me it was Potting Shed Windfall; fruit & nut “soil”, chocolate mousse and a medley of mixed berries. This was as delicious as it looks, and I’ll forgive the plant pot, since it is jokey and there is a plate to actually eat from.
Mrs MOFAD’s eyes were bigger than her belly – a sticky toffee pudding proved to be too much of a challenge – it was delicious though. Being a perfect gentleman, I had some in order to help out
A chocolately pudding needs the right kind of liquid accompaniment. I tried Fathom by Jaw Brew, full of chocolate, coffee and burnt treacle flavours, although it was very thin (they might have boiled the sugar out of the brew).
A lovely anniversary meal, probably one of my favourites. And I haven’t even mentioned that they also have a pizza called Boaty McBoatface:-
Great food and beer, a nice relaxed atmosphere and funky decor. The Potting Shed is a lovely place for a meal or even just a drink or two on a night out in Edinburgh. We were also hoping for some live music as advertised on their web site, but they have struggled to get acts in recently, so hopefully that’s something you’ll be able to enjoy again in the future.
A worthy winner of pub of the month!