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!

350th post!

Two months have passed since the 300th post, but it’s time for another milestone, which I’m mainly marking because I have just spotted that I was on 349…

Just a day after the 300th post, a return trip to The Alma in Wandsworth saw a very tasty steak and some tasty ales combine with a bitter tasting defeat for Liverpool in the Europa League final. An eventful (from a food point of view) camping trip to Oxfordshire followed soon afterwards, a relatively new camp site cafe that struggled with Bank Holiday weekend demands.

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Edinburgh was the first of June’s highlights, including a third trip to BrewDog – great beer, great pizza, great tunes from “The Wandering Man”. The Potting Shed was another food and drink fest, a perfect anniversary meal. The next afternoon saw us wandering on to a film set (Trainspotting 2) and then a visit to a pub with some history.

Another great night out at The Needle & Pin, with so many new beers sampled. Have just missed the next one, but there’s another one being planned in a month or two. Whilst this was going on, a new brewery were achieving their goals on Crowdfunder, and their beers will be on the way to all backers in September.

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A trip to the Lakes soon followed, with great meals out at the Royal Oak, The Wainwright and The Pack Horse Inn and a few takeaways thrown in for good measure. It was a lovely trip, with lots of great walks. The fun didn’t stop there, with a superb day out at Wimbledon following on just 2 days after we got back. It was an utterly fantastic day out, very highly recommended.

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We arrive in July, which opened with a cycle ride along the Cloud Trail to the Crewe & Harpur for a tasty lunch, and then the Hook Norton beer festival, followed up with a couple of recipes, for Gooseberry jam and creamy seafood pasta.

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There are 32 posts still in draft, including a few more from the New Zealand trip that I haven’t got round to finishing yet. Perhaps August will be a little quieter which will give me time to catch up 🙂

This week has also seen the most likes on posts, and over the last few months we have seen new visitors from Brazil, Poland and the British Virgin Islands. Whoever would have thunk it?

The MOFAD continues!

300th post!

It’s another milestone post and another double celebration. Only six weeks on from the 250th post, and we celebrate 300 posts as well as 3,000 tweets.

Since the last round up, there have been several visits to The Needle & Pin, in combination with trips to The Hog Stop. We’ve enjoyed Mrs MOFAD’s awesome birthday cake creation, the comedy of The Coffee Tavern in Pott Shrigley, as well as a few more triple pork nirvana celebrations.

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A trip to Edinburgh saw visits to BrewDog, Holyrood 9A and the fantastic Hanging Bat, amongst others.

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A return trip to Settle also saw a couple of return visits to the Talbot Arms, as well as new discoveries such as the New Inn and the Black Horse Hotel, as well as another trip to The Lion amongst others.

A quick takeaway from Peter Pizza and then the most recent post about Nethergate, the caring brewery brings us to this 300th post.

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There are still another 40 posts in draft form, with a few more from the New Zealand adventure still to come as well as some from Settle and the Bollington birthday weekend.

International visitors continue to accumulate. Who would have thought there would be visits from Hungary, Ethiopia, Taiwan and Tanzania?

The Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheMOFAD is still proving popular and you can find the Minister on Twitter @The_MOFAD, where over 3,000 tweets have now made their way out into the world.

Right, time to get back to writing those posts…