The Crafty Baa, Windermere, December 2016

One final trip to the pub this year. There have been plenty of them, and lots of visits to new establishments. It’s been a great year for new beers and new pubs/bars. I think my end of year beer round up will reflect that (when I eventually get it finished off).

Appropriate then that our last trip this year (we never brave pubs during the evening of 31st December) is to a new bar in one of our favourite towns. After a spot of shopping at the Hawkshead Brewery, we drove back into Windermere and made our way down to The Crafty Baa.

The Crafty Baa opened in Windermere in August 2016, filling a much needed gap in the town’s “drink in” beer provision. The “drink at home” customer is well served by Booths, just up the hill from here.

It took them around 7 months to get themselves in a position to open, and within a month of opening they had over 90 different beers (and some ciders) available, with six on tap and loads more in bottles and cans. If you look at some of their photos of their beer board over the last few months, you’ll see strong representation of local breweries (Hawkshead, Hardknott, Fell et al), as well as others from across the UK (Thornbridge, Magic Rock, Roosters, Wild Beer Co et al). There’s also international representation, with many Belgians and Americans represented as well as Hitachino from Japan.

This is the kind of place that I just had to visit. So it was hastily lined up as today’s lunch stop. We grabbed a table and then stood for a number of minutes scratching our heads and looking up and down the board of almost 100 things to drink. It took a while, the delightful agony of choice.

In the end I kept it local with Fell Brewery’s Robust Porter, full of roasty and smoky flavours with a hint of chocolate. Very nice indeed.

Mrs MOFAD had a bottle of Sleeping Lemons by Wild Beer Co (that’s twice in three days) – it’s like a brewed cloudy lemonade – zesty and refreshing.

We were here for food too, and they keep it simple and tasty with various bar snack options (pork pies, scotch eggs, olives, breads, nachos etc.) as well as a cheese board (slate), a meat board (slate) or a combination of the two.

We had the combo sharing platter, with three cheeses, plus a whole baked camembert, four different meats, sun dried tomatoes, olives, chutneys, grapes, and several different breads.

It was utterly delicious. Lovely meats, interesting cheeses and the gooey camembert was unctious, warming and delightful. Dipping various different breads in it was like a 1970s fondue party without the pampas grass and car keys in a bowl. I’ve never been to a 1970s fondue party, but the mythology suggests that’s what they were like.

And if that wasn’t enough (in all honesty it probably was) we also had a bowl of nachos, with sour cream, salsa and guacamole. Because nachos.

The Crafty Baa has all of the ingredients needed for MOFAD approval. An awesome line up of beer (which is always changing). Simple, delicious food. Funky 1970s soul on the sound system. A crackling real fire. Lovely friendly staff and a great atmosphere. We could have stayed here all afternoon, but we had to drive back to Ambleside, so reluctantly left.

It is of course MOFAD approved!

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