Pub of the month, May 2017

There isn’t one. For the first time since records began, I don’t feel able to award pub of the month this month.

A bland chain pub with no frills? Meh.

A quibble over an optional 10% service charge? Nope.

A dull pub paella? Narp.

So there is no pub of the month this month. This gives the other (probably) eleven pubs a statistically improved chance of taking the overall title at the end of the year.

Orange Tree, Loughborough, May 2017

A local post! It’s not often that such things appear here during the spring and summer months, but tonight there was a work birthday to celebrate, so we popped out to the Orange Tree in town. Adnams Ease Up IPA kicked things off, a tribute IPA which is better than the bottled version, but nothing to write home about.

Dinner next, an interesting take on a paella. Not something that you find in pubs very often (so hard to get right and easy to get wrong). This was kind of right and kind of wrong. Who puts a tuna steak on top of a paella? Who lobs some limp rocket on the top? It was not that bad, it’s just that my version is much better. That does sound like a bit of a humblebrag, but there you go.

This was accompanied by a Curious Brew lager, which is light and refreshing. Whilst they claim it is re-fermented with champagne yeast for a drier taste, it could be drier. It’s a little sweet, but that would go well with something spicier than this paella.

Not a bad town centre pub. It’s a bit battered around the edges (popular with students) but it does have a certain charm. Three cask lines with no cask ales on is not great though, particularly when there is a great choice not a few hundred yards away. Even the ‘spoons does better than this. Not bad, just not breathtaking.

Farndon Fields farm shop, Market Harborough, May 2017

As our Harborough exploration came to a close, we headed off to the final stop, Farndon Fields farm shop. We went by car as it was on our route back to the camp site. Sadly, they had run out of free samples (more bad planning as witnessed at our previous stop) so we had to make do with a wander round and a spot of shopping instead:-

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A classic modern farm shop this, blending produce that they have just harvested with lots of deli-style stuff, local meats, well known sauces, rubs and marinades and a good selection of local spirits, ales and ciders.

A lovely little farm shop, they even have their own loyalty card – no good to us as we live too far away!

The Oat Hill, Market Harborough, May 2017

A mini review. We visited as part of the Spirit of Harborough festival, so we didn’t sample the normal things at the pub, just the free beer (and vodka) tastings as part of the offering for the festival.

We arrived at the bar as the first festival visitors of the day, so the friendly bar staff cracked open four bottles of beer and shots of Bakewell Tart vodka for us to try. We took these out to the beer garden to sit and sip in the sunshine, ruminating on the beers and enjoying the surroundings.

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We tried a selection from The Langton Brewery, who are just down the road. You can see Bower, a decent session bitter, Bullseye Stout (probably better on cask), Welland Fox (some middle of the road refreshment) and Hop On, which delivered some pleasant fruity bitterness.

The pub itself looks lovely, with friendly staff, so I’m sure we’ll be back the next time that we are here. The beer garden is nice and secluded and would be perfect for a lazy lunch or summer evening meal – the food looks great too.

Wollaton Cricket Club – the sixth annual beer festival

A departure from the norm here. An advert. I am not for sale, but when Comrade Chairman (a former colleague) comes calling then the rules can be bent a little bit. Next weekend there is a beer festival occuring. I can’t be there, but maybe you can.

Wollaton Cricket Club would like to invite you to join them for their sixth annual beer festival, at the Wollaton Sports Association Ground from the evening of Thursday 25th May until Bank Holiday Monday 29th May.

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The festival will offer beer and cider drinkers a choice of up to 20 fantastic quality ales and ciders from a wide range of the country’s best breweries.

Prices start from under £3.00 a pint, with the bar open from 6.00pm until 11.00pm on Thursday 25th May, 12 noon until 11pm Friday-Sunday, and 12-6pm on Monday 28th May.

There is outdoor seating available, from where you will be able to enjoy your tasty beverage whilst watching the weekend’s cricket at one of the most picturesque grounds in the county.

You can also tuck into some food with your beer. There will be a BBQ on the Friday evening and other delicious snacks such as pasties and samosas, from local suppliers, available during the festival.

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The Wollaton Sports Association Ground is situated on Wollaton Road, NG8 2AN, and is only a two-minute walk away from the NCT 30 and Trent Barton Rainbow bus stops.

Enjoy cricket and beer, a match made in heaven.

Things that go bump in the night

[Update : after a few discussions, I’ve now found out that this has happened to lots of these cans, more details here :- http://wildweatherales.com/news/such-a-bore-cans-trials-tribulations/]

Sometimes things go bump in the night. Something falling off a shelf. A fox knocking a bin over. A squirrel scrabbling around on your roof.

In the early hours of this morning, this can had some kind of an incident where its top part expanded, and ejected a few other cans that were sat on top of it. This made a bit of a noise. We had no idea what had happened until we came down to the cupboard under the stairs to find several cans on the floor, and this one looking innocent still on the shelf.

It is now in quarantine outside, since an explosion in that confined space would have been unthinkable. It’s the first time I’ve seen a can do this!

I don’t think I dare open it now!

[Update : having been in touch with Wild Weather, they are sending out a couple of replacement cans (of something else).]

The Needle & Pin – May 2017 shopping spree

Another N&P post. And another shopping spree. A few of the items pictured appeared in craft beer club boxes, but most of these are “extras”, things that have turned up on the shelves at the Needle & Pin since the last time I was there. The awesome Sean is always happy to put things aside for you, but by the time I got round to collecting this lot it was getting a bit embarrassing. And before you try and stage an intervention, I should point out that they are not all for me. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights. Cans first.

Just look at that lovely lot. Canned beer is not something to be ashamed of. In those cans above are going to be some of the best beers that I will try this year. On the left we have some new offerings from Magic Rock, including this year’s Human Cannonball (Double IPA) and Unhuman Cannonball (that’s a Triple IPA) as well as Tap Type (American Pale) and Psychokinesis (American IPA).

Next to them are new Cloudwater offerings Bergamot Hopfen Weisse, IPA Mosaic Exp 431, Motueka Pilsner, Session IPA Chinook Mosaic and NW DIPA Citra, the next evolution of the Cloudwater DIPA experiments, featuring yeast from one of Manchester’s oldest family brewers and fresh 2016 harvest hops. Citra takes the lead backed up by Simcoe, and JW Lees 4792nd generation yeast.

There are also some cans from recent visitors to #craftbeerhour including Pig & Porter’s Whispering Bob and Erdant’s Light Bulb.

Let’s move on to the bottles next.

We start on the left with No Rest for Dancers, a red ale from Lost and Grounded, three from Gypsy Hill, Hop Candy, a Simcoe forward DIPA from Siren and Astley’s Northern Hop Lager (yes that’s Rick Astley’s first beer brewed by Mikkeller). And please, no more “never gonna give you hop” remarks. On the right hand side you can see Beavertown Tempus Project Brosé, brewed in collaboration with Forty Hall Vineyard, the first commercial scale vineyard in London since the middle ages.

Looking forward to sampling these in the coming weeks and months. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to report back on a few, but given that I’m four months behind on beer of the month and pub of the month posts, I’m making no promises.