The Brotherswater Inn, Sykeside, Cumbria, August 2017 #4

Moist.

That has been the over-riding theme of today. The forecast was very specific. Rain coming in around lunchtime. And not leaving until late evening. So we were up and out, off to bag another Wainwright. Very much a “there and back” walk, get up, get back down, and get back under cover until the rain passes.

After an afternoon of unceasing rain, we wondered if it would ever be dry again. When we arrived on Thursday, we had to pitch our awning in a swamp. The swamp had started to recede, but as the afternoon wore on, the swamp was back and bigger than ever. Squelch squelch. The only sensible option is to retire to the pub.

We did just that. After a good effort at finishing it up, the Eden Valley had gone, and was replaced by Ullswater Blonde, also from Eden Brewery. I’ve had this beer every year for the last three, and the current batch seems lighter in colour than previous brews. An easy drinking golden ale.

Food next, and after a cool and wet afternoon (if only we’d brought our radiator in August!) a warming bowl of smoked haddock chowder was just what was needed. A lovely mini loaf of bread accompanied it, but I wasn’t convinced about the salad. It doesn’t seem to fit with the creamy chowder (which was very nice).

And after plenty of properly plated meals, we have a double whammy of disappointment. A slate set into a bread board. Why, cruel fate, why? Why not just a plate?

Luckily, the plate was around for the pudding (often a prime candidate for a slate). This dark chocolate delight with raspberry ripple ice cream and a few raspberries was a lovely end to the meal, the richness of the chocolate being cut through by the raspberries.

Mrs MOFAD opted for the Cumbrian classic of sticky toffee pudding, which was sticky and delicious.

We’ve had lots of lovely meals at The Brotherswater Inn. When you are a captive campsite audience, it’s always a worry in case it doesn’t turn out to be very good, or there’s a limited menu. This was not the case. A lovely pub with lovely food and beer. Perfect for a campsite.

Barn End Bar, Sykeside, Cumbria, August 2017

We came in for quiz night. The Barn End Bar only opens on Friday and Saturday nights, and nowadays it only serves drinks. They used to serve food also, but that has been stopped recently. It’s a nice old bar, although only 2 cask lines in operation out of 4. That’s probably not a bad idea, as it’s unlikely that they would get through 4 casks in 2 nights, even with me staying. Cask beer doesn’t keep well after a few days, so better to have fewer lines that get finished than loads that hang around unloved for 6 nights until someone comes in to drink them. There were plenty of people in to drink them tonight, it was nearly standing room only.

When we arrived there were just a few people in watching the athletics, but it soon filled up as the quiz start time arrived. I had a pint of 1823 from Tirril Brewery, which may have been on too long as I really couldn’t detect much flavour in it. Tirril produce consistently good beers, so it’s probably an age problem.

We came fourth in the pub quiz, just 2 points off the top, which was annoying as we could not remember Tom Hiddleston’s surname and mixed our Balearics up with our Canaries. A good fun quiz though, interspersed with the last ever race by Usain Bolt on the telly. Appropriate, given that we also watched London 2012’s super Saturday in a Lake District pub.

A nice camp site pub, just a shame that it only opens a couple of nights a week.

Triple Pork Nirvana 2017 #2

A very hard earned TPN today, and only the second one of the year. A full English at The Brotherswater Inn:-

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Followed by ham and cheese rolls on the way up to The Knott, one of four Wainwrights that we conquered today (the others being High Street, Thornthwaite Crag and Gray Crag). After we finished our descent, back to The Brotherswater Inn for a nice plate of gammon:-

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Tasty and rewarding!

Beer of the month, June 2017 – Spring + Summer IPA Mosaic Exp 431 by Cloudwater Brew Co

A holiday month often results in some difficult choices for beer of the month, as there have usually been many beer tasting opportunities. This month was no exception. These ones all came from the supermarket, but only one of them actually made it into the top ten or so. That shows what a good month it has been.

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Let’s start with that supermarket beer, which is not a derogatory term in this case. Shameless by Redwillow Brewery has a lovely hop profile, and is a cracking little IPA.

We’re off to Cheltenham next, for a Steady Rolling Man by DEYA Brewing Company, which was full of delicious tropical hoppiness. I didn’t have a copy of 461 Ocean Boulevard to hand, so I couldn’t accompany it with Eric Clapton’s cover of the Robert Johnson song.

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We stay with DEYA for Into the Haze, very chewy, soft and full of fruity hoppiness. Smooth and delicious.

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We stay with hops (as with most months) with a Tap Type APA by Magic Rock Brewing, also full of hoppy juiciness. You may spot a pattern of hops and juice – that’s the trend right now and it’s fine by me.

Psychokinesis by Magic Rock Brewing is next in the round up, very much a herby and fruity IPA with a hint of mint (and lime) in the finish. Very good this one.

A detour to Sours night for almost all of the rest of the best beers of the month.

Dark of Ages Past by Wild Weather Ales (featuring Calculon) was full of awesome blueberry flavours, one of the best sour fruit beers I’ve had for a while.

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Superluminal by Buxton Brewery was one that I was expecting to have massive hoppiness. In fact it was full of enormous grapefruit flavours but no hops. Pucker up buttercup! Mrs MOFAD loved it, the first for any beer labelled IPA.

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We take a quick trip to Newcastle for the next two. Knowledge by Rhinegeist Brewery was sampled at BrewDog Newcastle, and is made from peachy loveliness. The fruit takes over from the hops but it works so well. It took a while to work out what was going on, but it was really nice.

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Just down the road at Box Social I enjoyed this North Brewing and Het Uiltje Double IPA collaboration, full of grassy, hoppy, orangey sweetness. Yum yum!

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Back to sours night. A Vandervelden 135 Oude Geuze Vieille by Brouwerij Oud Beersel was one of our “bonus beers”. I’d already bought one of these, and after our tasting my bottle is going into storage for a large number of years. A wine amongst beers. It might just be rather special in a good few years.

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Once again we find ourselves travelling (metaphorically) to Cloudwater Brew Co. for our winner, the Spring + Summer IPA Mosaic Exp 431.

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Juicy tropical/stone fruit hoppiness is overflowing in this one. This is what a stone fruit IPA should be like. Take note BrewDog! It goes through to the end of year final.

 

Walkers’ Bar, The Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, June 2017

For the rest of this post, The Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel will be referred to as the ODG.

An unexpected pub visit! Today’s walk started out here at the ODG (in a very full National Trust car park) and involved a trip up The Band, to White Stones, along Earing Crag up to Bow Fell, down to Ore Gap, down again to Angle Tarn, back up a bit to Rossett Pike, then down Rossett Gill and Mickleden Beck and back to the ODG. That took us about 9 hours in total, so we arrived back at the ODG at about 8pm. We needed food.

Thankfully, the ODG isn’t one of those places that doesn’t do food on Sundays, or stops serving at 7pm or something ridiculous. They know their market. Their market is people who parked up in the car park 9 hours ago, walked 12 miles, ascended England’s 6th highest mountain (and some others) and now want something to eat. Food is served from 12-9pm every day.

On the most glorious day of the year so far, the beer garden was busy with walkers, and there were more in the bar too. There was a reasonable queue at the bar, food and drink orders were flying in thick and fast. The menu is full of simple home made dishes, like curry, a proper home made burger, and various things of the day, such as a chicken burger, fish of the day (salmon today), a vegetable lasagne, steak of the day (ribeye) and a pie of the day (steak and onion).

I needed some good protein, so it was the home made burger to me. A proper burger, more of a cricket ball in a bun, and way better than some grease-laden patty you find in your local grim burger van. Proper skin-on chips and a touch of coleslaw on the side.

For Mrs MOFAD, it was curry. She does love a curry. This was a proper home made pub curry too, plenty of chicken, rice and a popadom. And an odd bit of salad on the side.

There was also a pint of Bar Steward by Handsome brewery, which was a classic session pale ale, cool and refreshing after a long hot day. We also had some pints of lime and soda to rehydrate.

This was the perfect end to our walk. Inside, the ODG bar looks like it hasn’t changed in 50 years. If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.

Recommended.

The Hunting Lodge, Barrow upon Soar, June 2017

The photo you are about to see caused some uproar on Facebook. It is a standard picture of what we ate tonight, captured for the purposes of this blog, but posted to Facebook soon after it was taken. Two aspects of it concerned people. One, the size of the chicken breast (for that’s what it is, and not a slug as Ali and Chris suspected). Two, the lake of sauce that encroached on to the salad. This caused much consternation particularly from Hazel and Sharon, who were both quite offended by the contamination of the leaves by a warm sauce.

We shall return to all of that in a moment. Tonight, we were wandering around Barrow upon Soar, trying to win a treasure hunt, and reclaim our crown (we did not retain it last year). I say we, I had been on a train back from Newcastle for 4 hours, so I was only out on the trail for about 40 minutes.


After the hunt was over, all of the teams descended upon The Hunting Lodge where we had all pre-ordered from a small menu of items. All four of us on our table had ordered this Greek chicken dish, with chips and salad:-


As you can see, there is indeed a lake of garlic sauce, which takes up over half of the plate. And the chicken breast was rather on the small side. And the sauce does indeed encroach upon the salad. It was tasty, but a very tiny piece of chicken and the lack of a dam between salad and sauce did rather spoil things.

Pudding did make up for it in some way, hot chocolate fudge cake with chocolate sauce, but with squirty cream letting the side down.


I think the mass catering required had them off their game a bit, the food was better the last time I came here. And there was no decent beer on tonight either. We will be back again I’m sure.