The Hanging Gate, Higher Sutton, April 2017

We had a bit of a longer stay in this pub than we had planned. Today we had a linear walk, which started out just next to the Wincle Brewery, and finished here at The Hanging Gate. This was all carefully planned out. We had two cars. Mark parked his car here at the Hanging Gate (with permission from the lovely staff), and John drove Mark back to the start point for us to begin our walk.

We arrived here at the end of the walk as planned. However, the best laid plans don’t always work out. Mark had left his keys in John’s car, back at the start point. We ordered some drinks and then tried to order a taxi to go and retrieve the keys. That proved too tricky, so one of the lovely bar staff offered a lift back down to the starting point, and the keys and cars were retrieved. Above and beyond the call of duty, and most welcome!

Whilst we were waiting I was enjoying a pint of Yeaster from Hydes brewery, a bitter red ale.

We will be back tomorrow when we are doing the same thing in reverse, starting here and finishing down at Wincle. Let’s just hope there are no more key related issues.

A lovely little pub up on the moorland, well worth a visit if you are passing. There are fantastic views all around.

Wincle Brewery, April 2017

What’s the best way to start a walk? By visiting a brewery to sample some beer, and then buy some beer. It’s not every day that you manage to achieve this, but today we did. Our walk started just over the road from Wincle Brewery, and whilst we waited for some logistics to fall into place, we popped over the road to chat to John “the butcher” in the brewery.

I’ve encountered their beers before, at Bakewell market back in July 2015, enjoying Old Oak and Old Hag the most, but they have all been good.

We had a good chat with John, talking about beer, and then sampling some, as well as some cider (Mrs MOFAD particularly enjoyed that). The team were working away in the background, preparing some new beer. I departed with 4 bottles of beer that I’d not had before, and walking and drinking companion Mark also picked up some bottles to take away. Looking forward to sampling these soon.

Wincle open every day except Christmas day, from 10am until 4pm. Unfortunately we got back to the brewery too late the next day, so couldn’t do any more shopping. You can always buy online if you want to try some out.

The Lazy Trout, Meerbrook, April 2017 #1

The Lazy Trout in Meerbrook is our “home” for the next three nights. We are camping just down the road, on the outskirts of Leek. With Suzy the Ninja Hound joining us this weekend, we needed a dog friendly pub nearby. This was the closest and best one on our radar, so we decided to book in each night of our trip (it’s not the right time of year for BBQs, so pub trips are in order).

First up tonight, a Rye Pale Ale from Shipyard (another Marston’s empire brewery). How on earth can you call this a pale ale though? Barely a hint of hop inside this glass. That’s no surprise from Marston’s though…

An interesting cider option for Mrs MOFAD, a Fire Dancer from Lilley’s Cider (and their 1990s TFI Friday fonts). A lightly sparkling cloudy cider.

Dinner arrived soon afterwards, the Friday classic of fish’n’chips for me, a whale of a fish, lovely crispy batter, great chips and some nicely smashed up peas and home made tartare sauce. Pub poisson perfection.

Mrs MOFAD opted for one of several pies on offer and was not disappointed by this delicious pie with the same tasty chips and seasonal (ish) veg.

Another drink to accompany dinner, Burke’s Special from the very local Wincle Beer Co, a classic malty bitter.

No pudding tonight (we haven’t earned one yet), so we supped our drinks and played some card games for a while, enjoying the warmth of the fire.

When your first trip to this lovely little village pub is so good, it has to be a good omen for the rest of the long weekend…

Harvester Wilford, April 2017

“Have you ever been to a Harvester before?”

“Yeah, loads of times.”

Although not so much recently. We live just 300m away from one, and used to go there a bit in our younger days. Times move on, people move on. I can’t remember the last time we went there together, although I’ve been there once or twice for work lunches, as it is close by.

Tonight, someone else had organised a get together at a pub outside Nottingham, which happened to be a Harvester. We trotted off up the newly widened A453 and soon found ourselves at the Harvester in Wilford to meet friends and catch up on what’s been happening recently.

The evening opened with a shock, a Marston’s beer with an actual hop profile. I hope you were sitting down when you read that.

This was 61 Deep, their newest beer, named after the depth of the well at the Burton brewery. Five American and Australian hops were needed for this, but you can at least taste some of the hoppiness. It’s probably my favourite Marston’s, which isn’t saying much, but it is a pleasant pint. You’ll spot their new branding on the pint glass too, the result of a one million pound rebranding project at the end of last year. I’m not convinced by it.

On to eating. The most famous thing that most people know about Harvester is the free salad bar when you order any meal. You can return to serve yourself with as much salad as you like. It’s not just tired bits of iceberg either, a good selection of salad items to choose from. You can spot tomato, beetroot, sweetcorn, pineapple, olives, tomatoes and the always popular crispy onion bits and red devil sauce. Some things have not changed!

The main menu has loads to choose from, ribs, burgers, the famous rotisserie chicken (available in various combinations with other bits of chicken and ribs etc.), fish, steaks and vegetarian and vegan options.

My choice was the peri-peri chicken burger, a grilled chicken breast with peri-peri mayo, smashed avocado and Monterey Jack cheese. With a chilli on top. I crunched this first, and it was nicely spicy.

It was a decent pub chicken burger, not spicy enough to put off the average palate, but with just a hint of piquancy. You can always slap on some more spicy sauce from the sauce bar. Decent chips too, and it was actually served on a plate (hiding underneath that horrid wax paper stuff).

A quick and convenient chain pub/restaurant, ideal for catching up with friends.

The Old Horns Inn, High Bradfield, April 2017

A sunny Saturday lunchtime in South Yorkshire. Yes, we have sneaked over the border for today’s walk, enjoying a stroll around Low and High Bradfield, and putting this pub perfectly in the middle of our walk as a lunch stop. This lovely sunny day saw our first outdoor pub lunch of the year, although that does unfortunately mean you get to sit with lots of smokers puffing away…

A few different cask ales on at the bar and I thought this was a new one to me, but it turns out I’ve had Hen Harrier from Bowland Brewery before, and it was in better condition the previous time too.

Lots of things on the menu to choose from, classic pub dishes like Hunter’s chicken, steak pie, sandwiches, jacket potatoes and some amusingly named and intriguing dishes such as:-

Elvis’ Last Burger

6oz beef burger, melted cheddar cheese, peanut butter, pickle, crispy bacon & onion rings with “Frank’s hot sauce”

Today it was time for another fish finger sandwich, the “Giant Fish Finger” baguette:-

No false advertising here, that is certainly a giant fish finger. Nice bowl of chips and a few leaves on the side.

A good pub lunch enjoyed in the sunshine at a lovely village pub. Well worth a lunch stop if you’re in the area…

Ye Olde Nags Head, Castleton, April 2017

Friday night is quiz night? Well, that’s most unusual, but who are we to argue? Tonight we were joined by MOFAD companions Andy & Kerrie for an evening of a few beverages, some nosh and then some good quizzing action.

First to the bar, and a good local pint to begin. Thornbridge Crackendale is a delicious Citra pale ale. It’s one of my favourite hops, and makes for a good pint.

Kerrie and Mrs MOFAD were looking at the gin tasting boards. For a very reasonable price you get three gins, a carafe of tonic, a glass of fruity bits and a glass of ice. You can then mix your own G&Ts. Kerrie indulged in a board, Mrs MOFAD just had one as she was driving us home tonight.

Brain food next. When a pub has a pizza oven, you should have pizza. Pizza is great. All that lovely gluten, all that lovely tomato sauce, all that lovely cheese. And so many toppings to explore. Tonight, BBQ sauce, BBQ chicken, smoked bacon, onion and sweetcorn combined on the “Smoky Special”:-

It was accompanied by a Green Devil IPA from Oakham Ales, which was probably the best IPA that I’ve ever had on cask. If you look back on my beer of the month posts, you will spot a lot of IPAs. What you will not spot are any served from a cask in a pub. They are all in a bottle or a can (with the very occasional keg). I wish that I had a photo to capture this moment, but it was just too good to stop and photograph.

There was time for pudding before the quiz began. A sticky toffee pudding is always a good choice, and that proved to be the case again tonight. Sticky and unctuous.

A pudding needs a pudding beer (and further hydration for the brain in advance of the quiz getting started). McConnel’s from Thornbridge is a smooth and sweet vanilla stout with smoky notes, and very sessionable for a stout.

A lovely meal was then followed by a fun quiz. We did quite well, and certainly had a moral victory over the team behind us who were desperately Googling for a few answers. No prizes for “My Pointless Friend Richard” tonight, but we had a lot of fun.

A great pub, lovely good, good beer and a great gin selection. A good pub quiz too. Well worth a visit.