The Swan Inn visit #2, Hanley Swan, Worcestershire, August 2018

I’ve said pretty much everything I need to about this pub with Saturday night’s post. We booked the table tonight whilst we were finishing our dinner on Saturday night, which pretty much sums things up. Before we have a quick gander at tonight’s dinner, a quick note on poncy menu pricing. I’ve mentioned this before, but if something costs £6.50, please display it on the menu as £6.50 not 6 1/2. I don’t want to be told that a pudding is 7 3/4, it is £7.75 – why the need for fractions? What does it achieve apart from annoying people?

Anyway, on to dinner, and another beautifully kept pint, this time Butty Bach from Wye Valley Brewery, a classic malty bitter. And in a proper dimple pot too.

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More amuse bouche crisps soon came our way…

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For main course, something a bit different for me, hot smoked salmon nicoise salad. After the glory of Saturday night’s steak, I had to make a hard decision not to have that again, but it was a good decision as this salad was also glorious. And that’s not something I often say about salads!

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Mrs MOFAD had rack of lamb with polenta (another first) and that was also delicious.

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Another pudding was in order after more exertions on bikes and on foot today, so this dark chocolate and seville orange fondant with walnut and hazelnut granola and grand marnier and orange ice cream was an indulgent delight, melting in the middle.

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A second great meal at this great village pub. If we’re ever in the area again we’ll come here again.

Brewdog Fanzine issue 10

I’m still in the club, but it’s getting to be something that needs reviewing on a regular basis, with Brewdog coming out with so many “stunts” that are really leaving a nasty taste in the mouth.

Interestingly, this selection didn’t have the usual tracking information, so it arrived slightly by surprise.

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The details haven’t been published online (edit: 2 weeks on and they still haven’t). So I’ve just quickly typed up what’s in the box.

Heist Monkey – 5.4% – American pale ale with Hallertau Taurus and Blanc, Mosaic, Simcoe and Columbus in the mix. That would suggest lovely hoppiness, but this one turned out to be very ordinary.

Coin-op Kaiser – 6% – dry-hopped “imperial” pils. This sounds like a remix of last year’s small batch imperial pilsner, which was a nice idea but didn’t quite work. It was actually better than that, but still nothing too special. More Hallertau Taurus in this one.

Choco Libre – 8.2% – nitro Mexican chocolate stout. A stout with cocoa nibs, cinnamon, chilli, coffee and vanilla. ark chocolate mixes with mocha, vanilla and spice, all layered over a smooth nitro-styling you never saw coming. This set-up finishes with a delicate habanero drop kick as the bell sounds. Should be interesting, it needs to be to make up for the other two.

Needle & Pin – Buxton x Omnipollo Ice Cream beer night, February 2018

Yes, it’s another night at The Needle & Pin. Tonight, it’s the turn of four bottles from two breweries (Buxton and Omnipollo) who teamed up in 2014 to produce “ice cream” beers, with flavours that reminded them of classic ice creams. They proved so popular, they are still producing them. Away we go with some tasting.

We start with Buxton x Omnipollo – Original Ice Cream Pale – 5.6%, described thus:-

“hop laden pale ale brewed with oats, wheat, lactose and 1000 fresh vanilla beans”.

I recall it (as I’ve had it before) as a smooth vanilla biscuit which wasn’t quite as hop laden as described, and I’ll tell you something. When it is paired with Cadbury chocolate buttons like it was tonight, it works so much better. A chocolate and vanilla biscuit delight.

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Next up we move to Buxton x Omnipollo – Lemon Meringue Ice Cream Pie – 6% – a beer that sits right between sour and sweet, the closest that the brewers say that they have ever come to balance. Kettle-soured and brewed with added lactose, it is then conditioned on buckets of lemon juice. Tonight it was paired with an individual lemon meringue pie, and was lovely as ever. It contains all the lemons, sour tartness, a festival of lemon. A really nice beer and not “proper rotten” as occasional MOFAD companion Kerrie would have it.

So, that’s the warm up over and done with. Here come the big beasts. And what beasts they are. Our penultimate beer tonight is Buxton x Omnipollo – Original Texas Pecan Ice Cream – 10% – a beast indeed. This is a pecan caramel porter brewed with caramel sauce, a heavy hand of vanilla and lactose sugar.

Tonight it was served with an individual pecan pie, and it was a sweet treat with big burnt sugar and a lot of power.

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This is the end, beautiful friend. And what a way to end, with Buxton x Omnipollo – Original Rocky Road Ice Cream – 10% – an imperial marshmallow porter brewed with cocoa nibs and lactose sugar. It was served with one of my favourite sweet treats, what else but rocky road?

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I struggled to place the nose on this one, the sweet maltiness hides the alcohol, it’s very smooth and the marshmallow is subtle, with roastiness and chocolate swirling around.

A lovely night of beer and puddings, this is my kind of pudding club. Texas Pecan was my favourite.

The Otter, Kegworth, December 2017

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Team Christmas lunch time. I’m not one to change a winning formula, so we are sticking with our venue of recent years, The Otter in Kegworth. A reliable member of the Vintage Inns chain, and once again they didn’t disappoint.

Beer first (it is Christmas after all), and a pint of Rudolph’s Reward from No. 18 Yard Brewhouse (who are a subsidiary of Kent’s Shepherd Neame). Another Xmas connection there, having a beer from a brewery called shepherd 🙂

On to the festive feast then. A very tasty pate starter, with snow pea tops (they are appearing more and more in this hemisphere now, very popular in the southern one), radish slices and a cheffy smear of a tart berry compote. It was very nice indeed.

Regular readers will know that when it comes to food, I love to try new things, but I also favour going for something tried and tested. This short rib of beef is the same thing that I’ve had every time we’ve been here. In the words of that 90s bard the Fresh Prince, “if it ain’t broke, then don’t try to fix it…”

Just as delicious as ever, and paired with some nice hot English mustard of course.

Pudding next (because Christmas) and once again I’m going for the tried and tested chocolate truffle brownie option, because chocolate is always the best pudding.

Once again this proved to be correct, and I think I was the only one who finished their chocolate deliciousness, as it was very rich. I question the need for massively out of season strawberries to be served with this, when the more in season clementine or cranberry would make more sense.

Another lovely lunch at The Otter. Same time next year please!

Quorn Country Hotel, December 2017

A Christmas party at a local hotel, one that we’ve not been to for about 15 years. A Christmas party is not rocket science. It’s really easy to get it right, and sadly all too easy to get it wrong. When you stump up a few extra quid for your party (compared to previous years at least), you expect extra quality, be that in food, drink, or service.

When you don’t get that, you feel a bit ripped off. When you get attitude and surliness in response to polite queries, it’s not a sign that you’re going to have a great evening. This is a time of year when those in the hospitality industry are working their hardest and are stressed so you should always cut them some slack, but this was at the start of the evening.

We booked way back in the summer, which gained us free bottles of wine for each table. This actually turned out to be a glass of sparkling wine which had been poured for over an hour, thereby losing fizz and warming up. Great start.

I was designated driver, so just had a bottle of Charnwood beer, with added hotel price mark up.

A salmon starter (I do like a bit of fish) and more fish for main course (did I mention that I like fish). Portions were not exactly huge, and we struggled with enough veg and gravy to go round the table. It was adequate at best, and no-one was blown away.

The chocolate pudding was the best part of it, with some candied physallis to cut through the richness.

Eventually some terrible burnt coffee arrived, and then a pretty rubbish disco ensued. If you’re thinking of having a Christmas party here, I’d look around at some other alternatives.

Filmore and Union, Skipton, September 2017

The walking tour of Skipton is drawing to a close. We’ve got a couple of pubs to visit later on, so for now a coffee and cake break. Filmore and Union are a small northern cafe chain, who started out in York in 2012 and have opened another ten sites since then.

There’s quite a lot of what might be termed “weird hippy food” on the menu in here, but this chocolate brownie and latte were very nice.

It’s the kind of place were you’d expect to find “smashed avocado on vegan toast”, “egg white omelette” and a bowl of granola for 7 quid. So yes, you’ll find all of those, but if you just want a decent coffee and a bit of cake, this will do nicely. Makes a nice change from Costa.

The Cake ‘Ole, Skipton, September 2017

Cake please!

After a gentle trundle around Skipton, we needed to stop off for tea and cake. There are plenty of options dotted around the town. We found ourselves in the Craven Court shopping centre and The Cake ‘Ole caught our eye (not least because it reminded us of Kerrie).

The wacky decor (sadly not pictured because we were too busy staring around the room and spotting things) certainly caught our eye so we grabbed a brightly covered table and ordered some tea, coffee and cake.

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Actually I was the only one who ordered the cake. Because chocolate orange cake.

Look at that dense deliciousness. It was lovely. A good cup of northern tea to go with it – proper loose leaves, none of this soft southern tea bag nonsense. Delightful mismatched crockery (this caused some uproar on Facebook) and all the mad decor. Lampshades without the shade (just the wire frame) with various birds perching on them, an upright cow, a crow watching suspiciously on. A selection of cuckoo clocks (and cuckoo clocks that made other noises). Pages of the Beano as wallpaper. A zebra.

Friendly and happy staff round things off nicely – a great place to pop in for tea and cake.