The Plank & Leggit, Sawley, July 2018

This is another of those occasions where we don’t get to choose the pub. We’d been out walking with friends around Shardlow and Castle Donington earlier in the day, and were due to meet more friends here early in the evening. We abandoned the second part of our walk due to the scorchio temperatures and headed to the pub early. Normally this is a cause for celebration. In the case of a Greene King “IPA” establishment, it’s a cause for lime and soda.

So we sat back with some refreshing not-beer, and planned some future walks whilst waiting for other friends to arrive. When they began to arrive, I headed to the bar to order food, and another tasty pint of lime and soda.

Tonight’s dinner was “Route 66”, a burger topped with cheese, BBQ pulled pork rib meat, 2 hash browns and a free-range fried egg. Reasonable fodder, nothing special. Enough to replace lost calories afer a warm walk in the heat of the day…

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Another of those pub visits where you know that all of the beer that you own has been looked after far better than the dull casks delivered here each week.

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The Wainwright, Keswick, December 2017

No trip to Keswick is complete without a visit to The Wainwright. So what better place to start our first winter trip to Keswick than my favourite Keswick pub.

First up a pint of Hügel by Fell Brewery, a winter warmer crossed with an ale and a lager. Lovely stuff in the classic dimple pot.

Mrs MOFAD opted for a twist on chicken’n’chips, a pub classic.

I went for another modern pub classic, the cajun chicken burger, with mahoosive onion rings and chips. It was really tasty, a lovely bit of pub grub.

The spiciness of it worked well with Darkest by Ennerdale Brewery, a gentle dark ale which was very easy drinking.

Another lovely visit to The Wainwright, still without doubt the best pub in Keswick. See you in June!

Poppy and Pint, West Bridgford, December 2017

We are back again. If only this pub wasn’t so far away (time as opposed to distance) then I’m sure we would come here a bit more. It’s just such a pain getting to West Bridgford in the early evening. The dark and winding A60 or the hell on earth that is the current situation around junction 24 of the M1. No thanks.

Enough logisitical lamentation, on to our visit. Here with walking friends as usual, for the standard mix of food, drink and chat. A drink first, in the form of this Sorachi Mango IPA from Totally Brewed, who hail from just a mile or two down the Trent. The mango is rather strangled by the Sorachi Ace hop, which is why Mrs MOFAD didn’t like this one, and I did. I love the Sorachi Ace, a definite Marmite amongst hops.

To dinner then. And with Christmas just around the corner, a festive twist on a standard menu item, in the form of this brie, bacon and cranberry topped burger.

It was lovely. I do like a tart cranberry (too many gloopy sugary sauces on the market for my liking), and this was a cracking burger, with decent thin fries, lovely crisp onion rings and a little pot of coleslaw. The bonus sweet chilli sauce was from Mrs MOFAD’s chicken burger, and I wasn’t going to turn down a sweet chilli hit for my chips.

Another nice meal at this lovely community hub that just happens to be a pub. Great local beer, good food and well worth a visit, particularly if you live a bit closer than we do!

Handmade Burger Company, Leicester, November 2017

I can haz cheezburger? Yes I can, and it’s not even my birthday. In fact it’s regular MOFAD supplier (and sister-in-law) Jo’s birthday, and this was her choice. Who am I to argue with such a wise choice?

When I arrived, Mrs MOFAD and Jo were already sitting in a booth at the back. My journey took a while as it involved walking to the bus stop, bus to station, train to Leicester and then walking from the station to Highcross.

Mrs MOFAD had already predicted my beer and burger order and got it spot on. Which goes to show that I can be quite predictable, but when pulled pork is in play, it’s always going to happen. The beer part didn’t happen though, as just like last week, the beer that I wanted was out of stock. It also confused the waitress, who seemed to be new and not particularly aware of what beer was, let alone what was on the menu. No matter, just soft drinks tonight. When you know there’s a can of Chubbles in the fridge at home, why drink bad beer when you’re out?

Another decent burger at HBC. They’ve made loads of changes to the menu since the last time we were here, but they are still knocking out decent burgers. When they sort out their beer stocks, then the great beer and burger combination will be found right here.

The Diner, Camden, November 2017

There are a lot of places to eat in Camden Town. Between this and the hotel I was staying in (just a couple of hundred yards away) there are 5 or 6 to choose from. Between this and the Underground, there must be around 30 or 40. The establishment that I left to come to this one (Brewdog) also does food.

Someone else was deciding tonight, a project team outing with the day job (this hobby blog has not been sufficiently monetised to make not having a day job an option). We settled on “The Diner”, a small chain that has a few London branches. It’s another of those Tex Mex style places that has proliferated our cities in recent years. The usual selection on the menu, dirty burgers, chilli dogs, nachos, burritos and the like.

I opted for a southern style chicken burger and some spiced fries, both of which hit the spot nicely.

There was a nice looking American IPA on the bottled beer menu, but that had sold out (this seems to happen a lot at the minute, where the most intresting beers are those with the lowest stock levels).

So I settled for this Pacifico Clara, the Corona that you’ve probably not heard of. Like its more common namesake, it comes with a lime in the top, even if you didn’t ask for it to be wedged in there. Hopless and largely flavourless, it’s not much more than some coloured water. Now you see the point of the lime – to add actual flavour.

It was a decent dinner, but nothing special, and with so much choice nearby, I wouldn’t choose this above anything else.

The King’s Arms, Hathern, November 2017

A second visit to The King’s Arms in the MOFAD era, although somewhere that we’ve been to a few times, usually for get togethers with walking friends. The same applied tonight, although we didn’t find out about tonight’s gathering until Saturday, as it had somehow slipped under our collective radar.

When you’ve got 30 odd people descending on a pub, you need a certain type of pub that can cope with such things. The posher chain pub wants everyone to be eating, the micropub doesn’t have quite enough room. So this is the level you settle for, a Marston’s chain pub, so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. A range of different food options and several beers from the Marston’s empire, including Ringwood and Jennings and a few others that look like they are not from the empire, but they are. With a permanent 2-4-1 deal on food, you need to go with a friend if you don’t want to pay twice as much as everyone else.

Tonight’s beer choice was this month’s seasonal offering from Jennings, Pie in the Sky. It is alleged to be “a robust full bodied beer with pale ale malt and the finest roasted malts combined with whole cone English Fuggle hops to deliver a robust flavour”.

It was just so bland. Before they were owned by the evil empire, I liked Jennings. Hops? Malts? Where? I’m not looking for Cloudwater levels of hoppiness in every pint, but just a decent pint of cask ale would do. It was just so meh.

The food was standard chain pub fodder, I opted for the pulled pork burger, which matched the beer because it was also surprisingly bland. The pulled pork was naked, no sauce, no flavourings, just nude pork (that will get some odd hits for this blog post). It was all ok, but just that. And look at that cheese, it hasn’t even melted in the slightest.

Mrs MOFAD opted for the curry (she does like a pub curry), which was more interesting, although the naan bread was more like a tiny saddle cover for a bicycle seat. Her cider was more interesting, which is not something I thought I would ever say about Bulmer’s.

This does come across as a bit snobby, and it’s not meant to, but this was another of those nights when the company was more important than the food and drink. Again, there was nothing bad, it was just fairly non-descript.

Poppy and Pint, West Bridgford – November 2017

A return visit to this lovely community pub. We are back for the same event that brought us here last year, a mini film festival. After a quick bit of chat, it was off to the bar to order food and drink.

Drink first, a pint of “Sweet Chin Music” (a boxing reference) from Shiny Brewing, a small brew pub in Derby. A decent IPA with a tasty mix of Mosaic and Citra hops, which leads to a good balance of sweet and bitter.

Mrs MOFAD had Liefmans Kriek Brut, absolutely stuffed full of sour cherries.

Food next. Mrs MOFAD opted for the chicken burger which was very tasty:-

I went for a burrito, which I haven’t seen in a “normal” pub for a while, possibly even since the Swan was in its heyday. My burrito was very nice (odd choice of chips and salad to go with it though). We didn’t have long to linger, and were soon heading up the stairs for our film festival.

A decent effort, and another lovely trip to the P&P.