Beer of the month – September 2016 – Foreign Extra Stout by Dancing Cows

It’s another month featuring only bottled beers, and only one of them from a bar or pub. This is another “a few drinks at home” month, with a few others at a camp site with friends.

We start with a Spring + Summer Session IPA Simcoe Enigma by Cloudwater Brew Co.

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A very good gentle session IPA, full of happy hoppiness but it lacks the pleasing punch of the DIPA series such as DIPA v3

Another DIPA next (you’ll know that I do like some hoppy beasts). This one is Mr. President by BrewDog, described by them as “an All-American gung-ho of a beer, the first amendment in full on, full tilt flavour. A star spangled banner of big fruit. A Cadillac of chewy toffee malt rolls down the interstate and accelerates hard into relentless bitterness, with sniper bursts of apricot, mango and pine. The Defcon I of IPAs. An all-out bedrock patriot, hell-bent on global domination.”

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Piney, sweet and resinous but lacking the big hop hit you might expect from a BrewDog beast, particularly with all those big words to accompany it. Dare I say that it needs more hops?

We venture out for our next beer, a Spreadsheet Ninja Citra Pils by Weird Beard Brew Co. (who love a comedy beer name). Aromas of melon, peach and zesty citrus are met with bready malts and caramel. Similar flavours appear in this lightly sweet yet balanced lager.

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Hoppy pils! Yes please! This was very nice and further proof that lager can be good and not just associated with the F word.

We now take a trip to the camp site, for a couple of campfire beers with friends.First, an Imperial 15 by Red Cat Brewing, full of coffee, molasses, chocolate and dried fruit. The balance of flavours belies its strength.

This month’s winner is Foreign Extra Stout by Dancing Cows, a deep, complex and strong stout, perfect for sipping on a cool evening outside.

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Fruity flavours, roasty flavours, coffee flavours, smoothness. A very worthy winner of beer of the month. Delicious!

Pub of the month – September 2016 – The Globe, Alresford

Despite visits to the pub this month entering double figures, there are only four pubs on this month’s shortlist. Two of them are a couple of hundred yards from a camp site we stayed at (which also has 2 other pubs within walking distance), and the other two were also visited as part of another camping trip.

We start with Ye Olde Kings Head which is on the border between Gurnett and Sutton in Cheshire, which was marginally the closest to our camp site. An extensive menu to choose from and some good local ales to try, such as this session pale ale, Seamless from Redwillow Brewery.

The food was lovely too. With lots of things to choose from, like pie of the day (several of our party had this), lasagne, gammon, lamb casserole, steak, a burger, chicken, pork and more, you might have a hard time choosing. My choice was sea bass, pan fried with lemon, garlic and parsley butter.

Some more liquid accompaniment was required, and I had Feckless by Redwillow Brewery, a classic malty English bitter. Very nice indeed and the maltiness worked well with the garlic. Don’t get caught out by “Ye Olde Kings Head” ale though – GK House Ale by Greene King, which is often found in their pubs rebadged as “Insert Name of Pub Here” ale.

A lovely little village pub, well worth a visit, although they don’t take dogs, which is why we didn’t come back on our next trip to the village a few weeks later.

The following night, and a few weeks later, we visited the Church House Inn, Sutton. Three visits in total (although one was on 1st October). Much like Ye Olde Kings Head, this is a classic village pub with good food and local ales, such as this Concept #14 from Mobberley Brewhouse, a fruity red ale, heavy on the malt and very tasty.

Lots of good food to choose from, a standard menu and specials board. For me on our second visit, it was fish pie, something I make loads at home, but rarely have when out and about (for just that reason). This one was a good effort, served simply with peas and a few straggly bits of rocket.

This fish pie also contained boiled egg, which is a very classic addition, although it seems I was the only one of our party who was aware of this. You can catch a glimpse of this, as well as other dinners in the next photo. There’s also a pint of Bosley Cloud in the foreground, a good pale ale that went well with the fish pie.

As we had the Suzy the Ninja Hound in tow, we were squeezed into a little side room, but she was as well behaved as ever, and made a good impression on everyone, particularly the friendly staff. This led us to get “upgraded” in to the main room on our visit the following night. A lovely and friendly village pub.

On to another one, in Cheriton, Hampshire. The Flower Pots has the added advantage of having a brewery attached to it. No beer miles here, just beer yards as the barrels are transported across the car park from brewery to pub. Once again, we were camping down the road and given there were very few facilities on the camp site, pub dinners were in order.

I started our first visit with a pint of Perridge Pale, a light and hoppy delight to refresh the weary traveller.

As you might expect in Hampshire, there are also ciders available and Mrs MOFAD enjoyed a couple of these. This is an uncomplicated place, and that’s reflected in the menu. All food is freshly prepared and they will even stop taking orders for a bit if they can’t get them out in a reasonable time. Simple food done well isn’t something we see enough of in places like this, so it’s always nice when you encounter it. You’re not going to get people drinking out of jam jars with straws, or things served on slates, bread boards, skateboards or anything other than a sensible plate or bowl.

There were several stews on offer (so easy to do and so tasty when you get it right). Mrs MOFAD had one of those, and dining (& camping) companions Chris & Caroline also did. The stews were very tasty indeed, and the garlic bread accompaniment was also well endowed with garlic.

There was another option on the menu, which echoes my sentiment about simple things done well. Steak and chips. No messing around with trying to get you to pay another 2 pounds for a peppercorn sauce, onion rings, or some garnish. Just steak and chips. Meat from a local butcher. Uncomplicated, brilliant. It was delicious.

We stayed on to drink some more and play some card games. A pint of Goodens Gold was a good and hoppy golden ale. It was so good we came back the next night for another drink and some more gaming. Dog friendly too (we met several nice dogs).

The Globe in Alresford is this month’s winner. After a lovely day out at the Alresford show we had booked a table at The Globe for dinner. We ordered some food and drinks and relaxed. There was also some local cider for Mrs MOFAD, which we had sampled at the show a few hours earlier. Meon Valley Cider was lightly sparkling from the bottle, a classic cider with toffee apple flavours.

Lots of nice choices on the menu, and I was on a fishy quest again, pan fried fillet of hake, with watercress (if you don’t have it on your menu in Hampshire, something must be wrong), burnt pineapple puree (much nicer than the word burnt implies), roasted sweet potato, ginger, chilli & coriander dressing. This was absolutely delicious, a lovely piece of fish with great flavours to accompany it.

This was joined by the always reliable Bath Ales Gem, a balance of malt and hops that makes for a classic English bitter.

It would be rude not to have pudding. Sticky toffee pudding in this case, with salted caramel sauce and vanilla clotted cream. Sweet and tasty.

A really nice meal at a really nice pub. Nothing was rushed, everything was relaxed, and their was a friendly atmosphere. Lots of diners on a very busy Saturday night, but the team were able to cope with everyone. A worthy winner of pub of the month.

Church House pub, Sutton, September 2016 visit #2

As promised just a few weeks ago, we are back. The forecast for this weekend looks reasonable, with rain only likely to visit during the nights. As mentioned last time, Suzy the Ninja Hound is with us this weekend (now that Mark has returned from dancing on the sand in Rio), so we have to limit our pub options to dog friendly pubs…

If that dancing on the sand reference is too 80s for you…

So, how do you communicate a specials board to a room of 7 people and a dog? Take a photo and pass your phone round. Here’s what was on tonight…

Beer first, and a pint of Concept #14 from Mobberley Brewhouse, a fruity red ale, heavy on the malt and very tasty.

Much to catch up on, particularly Mark’s Rio adventures and brushes with royalty whilst working for the BBC at the Olympics and Paralympics. Whilst all that catching up was happening, food arrived. For me it was fish pie, something I make loads at home, but rarely have when out and about (for just that reason). This one was a good effort, served simply with peas and a few straggly bits of rocket.

This fish pie also contained boiled egg, which is a very classic addition, although it seems I was the only one who was aware of this. You can catch a glimpse of this, as well as other dinners in the next photo. There’s also a pint of Bosley Cloud in the foreground, a good pale ale that went well with the fish pie.

There was still more catching up to do, so time for another pint, this time Robinsons Unicorn, an ever reliable dark golden ale

As we had the Ninja Hound in tow, we were squeezed into a little side room, but she was as well behaved as ever, and made a good impression on everyone, particularly the friendly staff. We finished up our drinks and then booked our table for tomorrow night. We will be back once more. A lovely and friendly village pub.