The Needle & Pin, Loughborough, July 2016

You’ve probably worked out by now that The Needle & Pin is my new favourite Loughborough pub, so any excuse to go down there is always welcome. Today it was the return of former regular MOFAD drinking companion Bruce, who happened to be back in the area for the weekend. After a morning of DIY shenanigans, it was nice to escape to town on a lovely sunny summer afternoon.

There was a turn on in the pub, playing some good acoustic tunes. But you don’t want to hear about that. You want to hear about the latest beers in the fridges and on the taps.

Hops were needed first, and those lovely Magic Rock types always deliver the goods. They describe it as “unapologetically hop forward in character” and it certainly is that. Mango, lychee, grapefruit and hops hops hops. You couldn’t find a much better start to a gentle walking tour of Loughborough.

An international mash up next. New Zealand hops (motueka) made into a beer by North Riding Brewery in Scarborough. Sadly it needed loads more hops to bring out that distinctive hoppy goodness. Pleasant, but not a showcase for this hop. We did enjoy Alec trying to pronounce its name a few times though.

Should we stay for another in the pub that has the best beer selection in town? Of course we should. Back to the fridge and another reliable Magic Rock brew, this time Inhaler, their take on a session IPA. Let’s count the hops, Amarillo, Citra, Equinox, Galaxy, Mosaic, Simcoe. A total of 6. It could have had a few more chucked in there for my hophead tastes, but it was still a very decent session IPA.

At this point, the walking tour of Loughborough commenced. Inevitably, we returned here to finish off our walking tour. We concluded with a Wild Woods from Tapstone brewery in Somerset, desribed as a “succulent IPA”. It has decent bitterness, cloudiness from being unfined (fine by me) but it’s just not an IPA. Both of the Magic Rock ales described earlier had more hops, and neither of those called themselves an IPA. It was nice, but not an IPA.

Always a pleasure to be at The Needle & Pin, it’s just a great pub.

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