Beerhouse, Market Harborough, May 2017

Our next stop on our walking tour of Market Harborough (as part of the Spirit of Harborough festival) took us to the rather marvellous Beerhouse, who were hosting Market Harborough Brewery for the day. They didn’t have far to travel, situated as they literally across the road from Beerhouse.

Down in the “back room”, we met Ivan from the brewery, who took us on a little tutored tasting of five of their bottled beers.

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We moved our way through some of their range, starting with Best Bitter, a decent session bitter with a good English hop flavour. After that we moved on to SuperHop Wai-iti, full of the Antipodean hoppiness you would hope for from a hop developed by the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research hop breeding programme and released in 2011.

The Summit Special Pale Ale was next, which was an interesting little pale ale. (Edit: it is now a Tres Bien beer, as they share brewing facilities with MH brewery).

The next stop on our tour was the very simply named IPA, which was a classic English IPA with proper hoppiness and an easy drinking strength. It’s the kind of English IPA that people seem to have forgotten how to make.

The final beer was Hibiscus Pale, which divided our group a bit. I liked it and Mrs MOFAD was also a big fan, but not everyone was quite so enamoured.

It was nice to drink some beers and have some beer chat in Beerhouse, which would definitely be our first stop on any drinking tour of Market Harborough, due to its great range of beers.

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Duncan Murray Wines, Market Harborough, May 2017

Our final stop was much better, Duncan Murray Wines. They hold regular tastings each Saturday, so they really knew what they were doing. We tasted Brynne Vineyard Phoenix, a white wine with “an English hedgerow and cutgrass nose, leading to a smooth, soft, citrus fruit finish.” We then had a couple more beers from Market Harborough Brewery, as well as some different ones from The Langton Brewery. There was also time for a bit more shopping…

My friend and former colleague Adrienne used to be a regular here when she lived in Harbs. She has since emigrated to Aberdeen and rather misses this place. It’s amazing that the granite city can have such an effect on a person that it would make them miss Market Harborough…

(Edit : three months on and I’ve only sampled one of these beers!)

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.

Emerson & Wests, Market Harborough, May 2017

Our next stop on the Harbs tour de food was Emerson & Wests, a delicatessen and bakery who had some sweet and savoury treats to sample, including the lesser known Harborough Cheesecake, a baked cake with a pastry base, curd and sultanas. I also stocked up on a few beers from Langton Brewery as well as a little something else for Mrs MOFAD 🙂

(Edit : sadly these beers were not as exciting as their excellent packaging might suggest)

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.

Jury’s Inn, Hinckley Island, May 2017

Going away at this time of year usually means a camping trip, but something a bit different here. A hotel stay for a friend’s wedding, just for one night, and just down the road off the A5 in Hinckley.

The place name “Hinckley Island” may confuse you, particularly if you know that Hinckley is in Leicestershire, famed for not being a county where islands are generally found. I think the island is a reference to the shape of the hotel, which is a five pointed palm shape (in the style of the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, but on a much smaller scale).

Our room was right at the back of the hotel, and there was an unpleasant smell upon arrival, which was soon dealt with by the use of the flushing mechanism. How do these things not get spotted by cleaners?

We booked this trip ages ago, and there was a special deal which included bed and breakfast and a free bottle of prosecco. It did take us 10 minutes to convince the hotel to give us our free bottle, eventually they relented. They even found us an ice bucket, as they hadn’t managed to chill enough bottles, forgetting perhaps that multple wedding guests might want to claim the offer that they had paid for…

It was just as well they did, otherwise it would have been Pedigree all night. A rebrand can’t hide what’s inside, unbalanced bitterness and a beer that has had its time.

The final thing to report on in any hotel, is the breakfast. Your usual self service buffet affair here, the bacon was a bit insipid and watery, the sausages were good, and the hash browns were crispy. A decent runny fried egg too.

Not the most amazing hotel stay in the world, functional and competent, but not much more. At least it only took 25 minutes to get home.

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).]