750th post!

It’s another milestone post. It won’t be long before the next one either, as I still have 61 posts in draft format. To say I’m a bit behind is an understatement, but the best things come to those who wait.

Since the last milestone in September, we’ve been busy, which is one of the reasons why there are so many draft posts needing attention. The 2017 walking tour of Skipton accounts for 9 of those posts, as we sampled lots of lovely ales and visited lots of nice pubs.

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October saw us encounter the evil that is seitan, on an otherwise pleasant trip to Portugal. Their ability to use hops when creating beer was rather in doubt until we finally managed to track down some actual beers in the hell hole that is Albufeira.

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There have been more selections from the Needle & Pin craft beer club too, with a few reviews dotted around, although I’m very behind on that too. A couple of trips to the Poppy & Pint in Nottingham (more good beers to try and good food). A new curry house (to us) just across the M1. An incredibly bland pint of cask ale accompanied the blandest pulled pork burger at the King’s Arms in Hathern. Just a few days later, a posh fish finger sandwich repaired the damage to the reputation of pub food caused by that burger.

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A November highlight was the American craft beer night at The Needle & Pin, all IPAs, from a couple of regions of the USA. We crossed from New York City to San Diego with some interesting variations on IPA. I had to take my Founders Redankulous DIPA home (due to having to get up for work), and it’s still sitting in the beer cupboard awaiting attention. Alongside a lot of others. I’m glad that 2018 is set to be the year of session as it is nice to have a couple of beers of an evening.

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An overnight stay in Camden Town produced four posts, the customary BrewDog visit, some coloured water in a Tex Mex place, a rebadged Caledonian 80/- (why?) and finally a London Pale Ale from Southwark Brewing Co, just south of the river.

A trip to Manchester saw a return visit to Kro Bar with good beer and food again, but the highlight was the real purpose of our visit, Hacienda Classical at the Apollo (where the alcohol situation was appalling and the queues for the bar equally so!)

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Another good burger at Handmade Burger in Leicester rounded out November, with the last day seeing the usual pilgrimage to the Good Food Show at the NEC. November’s beer of the month caused a bit of a stir on Twitter as I was drinking Chubbles very close to its best before date. Chubbles was a 10.9% triple IPA with 100% English malt, a ton of flaked oats, fermented with a specific English yeast, and hopped intensely with Galaxy, Citra, and El Dorado.

A couple more craft beer club selections appeared on the horizon, and there was the second Thornbridge night at the Needle & Pin. Also known as “the one where we wiped the floor with everyone else in the pub quiz and won beer”.

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That brings us almost up to date, with some of our recent Lakes adventures having already made it on the the blog, and also accounting for another 10 posts that still need to be finished off. So I should stop procrastinating by writing a navel-gazing milestone post and get back to writing about our food and drink adventures.

Happy 750, we’ll be at 800 before you know it. I just need time to write some more!

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700th post!

Another 4 months have passed and another 100 posts have been clocked up. There are about 30 or so that still need writing, and next weekend will see a lot of entries when we reprise the walking tour of Skipton from 2015.

A lot has happened in the last 4 months. We’ve experienced things that go bump in the night, and it happened a second time with a Cloudwater Make Apple Pie Great Again.

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The end of May saw the first month where a pub of the month award was not presented. A trip to Newcastle a week later soon ensured that June would not suffer such problems, with visits to Hop and Cleaver (an in house brewery and all the smoked meat goodness), the lovely Box Social (beautiful beers in a railway arch) and of course BrewDog. The weather was appalling but the beer was great.

The last week of June was consumed by holiday. Lots of lovely Cumbrian pubs, including good pub pizzas in The Crown in Coniston, an unplanned trip to the ODG, a curry and some fish’n’chips.

The sours night at The Needle & Pin was one of the highlights of the summer, lots of tasty and refreshing beers and some very interesting and rare items.

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There have been four visits to The Beehive in Combs, two in July, two in September. A really lovely village pub with great food and a decent cask ale always on. July is also the time for the new home made Hooky beer festival. After the let down of last year, we decided to hold our own. It was a big success, with lots of different beers sampled, and  Intensified Barrel Aged Coffee Porter from Brooklyn Brewery winning the festival.

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Some free beer arrived, and we made five trips to The Brotherswater Inn whilst we were camping at Sykeside in August. It was supposed to be summer, but we camped in a swamp due to incessant rain. Lovely pub though. We also had a 7 hour walk to get a pizza. Well, the walk came first, the pizza was an afterthought. We walked over from the campsite via Red Screes:-

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and tucked into a very hard earned pizza!

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Another quick shopping trip at the Hawkshead Beer Hall rounded off that little break in the Lakes and we were off to our other favourite national park a few weeks later for the Thornbridge beer festival. It had outgrown its home back in 2015 and it was a much improved (although still imperfect) experience this year.

September has been a busy month already, with that aforementioned trip to Combs followed by a trip to Liverpool which has produced 6 blog posts (and bit more publicity for the MOFAD).

A weekend off last weekend, Cloudwater night at the Needle & Pin last week, and we have just returned from cake camp, an annual event celebrating cake and beer and great laughs with friends. We’ve had four pub trips (four more blog posts to come, although the last one won’t be so effusive with its praise) and a trip to Stroud farmers’ market.

I just need some more hours in the day to write more posts. Maybe I can subcontract out to Kerrie, although she is very busy at the moment, working a whole 3 hours a month. It’s a hard life, but she’s worked hard to get it!

Lots more to come from The MOFAD. Will I get to 800 before Xmas? Possibly. Watch this space!

600th post!

Another 4 months have passed, and another milestone has arrived, in the form of the 600th post. The end of 2016 saw a load of round up posts, including beer of the year and brewery outlet of the year, which always bump up the numbers.

January began with Wainwrights’ Inn in Chapel Stile, swiftly followed by a visit to one of our Lakeland favourites, The Mortal Man in Troutbeck.

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There was also something new, a rant about a bus. How on earth can you justify a bus fare of £3.50 for a journey of 3 miles/6 minutes on the 555 alongside Thirlmere? After that, we had a couple of trips to the same pub, which lacked beer on both occasions. And those were followed by another pub lacking in beer.

You might have expected this lack of beer to have put a dent in #tryanuary but thankfully it didn’t. Over the course of the month I sampled 44 different beers, with Cloudwater Brew Co’s Autumn + Winter IPA Mosaic Exp 431 coming out as the beer of the month for January 2017.

February started with some shopping at the Needle & Pin, picking up the inaugural dark beer selection as well as some other things that I’d reserved since Xmas. I think there are three beers that I’ve not yet opened in this photo…

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We opted for a spot of culture with a trip to the King Richard III visitor centre in Leicester, and then a few trips to Leicester for the comedy festival and various pubs. Next up was the first dark beer night at the Needle & Pin. This one turned out to have a little twist on all of the previous beer tasting events. There was a little bit of food involved, pairing some little nibbles with a selection of 5 dark beers. It was another one that felt like one of those events that you expect to find in London bars and brewery taps, so it was really great to have it in our sleepy little market town.

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February ended with an underwhelming trip to Pizza Express. March soon cheered things up with the arrival of the next craft beer selection box. All of these (except for the Double Chin) have now been sampled.

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There was a special birthday trip up The Shard for a lovely afternoon tea, and then another Leicester trip saw another visit to The Lansdowne, and then there were two consecutive trips to The Needle & Pin. First up we held a “halfway between birthdays event” with some friends, and the following night saw the first Belgian beer night, which was brilliant. Sean handed over the reins for this one to the N&P’s resident Belgian beer expert Iain, who was to guide us through the landscape of Belgian brewing past and present.

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We took a journey through some delicious Belgian beers, with a brief stop for some hot and salty fries and mayonnaise.

There are still several outstanding posts for April, and it didn’t start brilliantly with “labelgate” at The Field Head. Things soon improved with our trip to York, which got off to a great start at the York Tap:-

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and saw visits to the Pavement Vaults, Walmgate Ale House, BrewDog, the Brew York 1st birthday party and a few more. The rest of April was dominated by our trip to Hope, and there are lots of posts from that trip still to write up, although Beer District in Buxton was just one of the many highlights:-

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There are also a few May posts to catch up with, but that has already brought us up to 600. As with all milestone posts, a quick stats peek shows new visitors from Romania, Puerto Rico and Taiwan, as well as plenty from the commonwealth as usual. There are another 33 posts still in draft, so I’ll be tapping away at this keyboard for a while yet 🙂

500th post!

It’s been just under three months since the 400th post appeared here, and quite a busy three months, which is why so many posts have appeared.

The month began with Danbert Nobacon, a cafe that ran out of bacon within 20 minutes of opening, and my Rainbow Project 2016 beer box arrived and there was a rather excellent evening of IPA at The Needle & Pin.

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Just a couple of days later we were in Southwold, ordering a very nice Chinese takeaway, organising our own mini beer festival, and then visiting a lot of Adnams pubs. A lot.

Later in October we paid our last ever visit to The Marquis Wellington, who failed to impress with 2 out of the 4 meals not turning up in time. We’re never going back.

November was a quieter month, with International Stout Day kicking things off, and the arrival of another Needle & Pin craft beer club selection box. We also paid our first visit to Centro Lounge, which has become our post cinema dining venue

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The annual Good Food Show pilgrimage saw some more new producers peddling their wares, with a few new breweries, loads of new cider producers and a plethora of gin stalls.

December started off with one of my favourite nights of the year, Thornbridge night at The Needle & Pin. To have such a brewery (who have their own pubs and also do regular tap takeovers around the country) hosting an event at our local micro pub is a great achievement for Sean and the patrons of the N&P.

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Much of the rest of the month has been taken up with my “Christmas beer ideas” posts, rounding up beers and breweries that I’ve enjoyed this year. There was also time for another trip to Centro Lounge and then the N&P once more. The beer ideas continued to flow, and then Christmas party season was soon upon us with a few Xmas meals to be enjoyed.

A busy few months, and with the festive period in full swing, plenty more posts still to come. The monthly round ups for December are in progress, and I’m deliberating on beer of the year, pub of the year and one or two other things.

Two hundred likes, like!

Another quick self-congratulatory post as we reach another small milestone. 200 WordPress “likes” where people “like” your post. I’m also approaching 500 posts and might even get there before the year is out if I catch up with some of the backlog.

I’ve now got reasonably up to date with my scribblings, but there are at least another 20 posts in the pipeline, plenty more to come from the ministry in 2017…

5,000 views!

Another quick self-congratulatory post! A quick glance at the stats reveals that today I passed 5,000 views on this blog, which seems like fairly good going for around 18 months of operation (I backdated some posts to reflect the correct dates, so post dates actually go back to August 2014 at the moment). Here are some New Zealand beers to celebrate!

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In the context of today’s internet traffic, 5,000 is not very much (one of my work sites regularly has that many people online at any moment) but in the context of some random bloke writing about things that he has eaten or drunk, it’s not bad… Here’s to the next 5,000!

400th post!

Another two months have passed since the 350th post, and once again a chance glance at the statistics tells me that this will be the 400th post.

Just one day after the 350th post, there was a little trip around town visiting a few local hostelries such as The Swan in the Rushes, The White Hart, The Organ Grinder and my favourite, The Needle & Pin. It was also time to say farewell to Moomba, celebrate IPAs on #IPAday and witness a Motown legend at Wicked Hathern Fest.

We then move on to one of my most popular posts, on the subject of Cloudwater and their IPA experiments. That also spawned a post about one of the beers from the batch, the V3.

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Quite a few posts about chains followed, including Wagamama, Vintage Inns and Wetherspoons and then a trip to Derbyshire resulted in several pub visits including the Royal Hotel and the George Hotel. August finished off with a quick trip to my most local brewery, Charnwood Brewery.

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There are still September posts to come, but I’ve already covered a Cheeky Nando’s, a chaotic trip to a pub named after the founder of Lord’s, an update from a brewery that I helped to crowdfund, a mushy pea travesty and a pub near an atypical henge.

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There are another 20 posts in draft with plenty more still to come.

August was the busiest month ever with over 500 views including visitors from Venezuela and the UAE (not looking for triple pork nirvana I guess), with September bringing Latvians and Romanians to the party. It’s looking like a busy autumn for the ministry!