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.

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The Lazy Trout, Meerbrook, May 2018

This was a hard earned dinner. We only just made it on time. We foolishly thought that we’d have plenty of time to get back to the camp site, have a cup of tea and some cake, and then have a shower and go to the pub. A 14 mile walk over 9 hours put paid to that idea. We just had enough time to get back to the car and drive back to The Lazy Trout, a pub we went to not one, not two, but three times in April 2017.

We fell into the little dining area at the back, exhausted, but glad that we had booked in advance (online, because it’s 2018!) A good start to the evening took the form of Indian Runner by Wincle Brewery, named after the comedy ducks, a decent pale ale with citrus hints. It didn’t last long!

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Mrs MOFAD had gone for the obvious curry choice and enjoyed it very much. I filled up on protein with this big beefy burger, which was absolutely gorgeous, I love a decent burger and this was definitely one of those, nice crisp bacon and big flavoured cheese added to the experience. Even the salad was more than the token limp iceberg found in other places.

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It’s fair to say that we had earned another beer and a pudding (or gin and a pudding if you are Karon or Mrs MOFAD). The beer was Black Grouse Stout by Staffordshire Brewery, smooth chocolate hints and very easy drinking. It matched well with the last bit of burger, and equally as well with the pudding.

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That pudding was this lovely pavlovian item, lots of lovely early season strawberries, perfectly whipped cream and crisp meringue nests.

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A delightful return to one of my pubs of the month from April last year (I still haven’t picked a winner as there were so many good ones). This is a fantastic pub with great food and drink and lovely people. Definitely worth a visit, even if you haven’t had a 14 mile walk beforehand!

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!

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.

The Beehive, Combs, Derbyshire, July 2017 #2

As foretold yesterday, we are back again. A little more tired today, as we have been doing one of our walks, and we have certainly earned some sustenance today. Not as hard earned as some of the dinners after the walks we have done as part of these circuits, but still a just reward for our efforts.

On to drinks, and if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it. Which is another way of saying that there were no new ales on (despite our efforts to empty the Mobberley cask yesterday) so it was more of the same.

Back to the specials board again, and it’s time for spot the difference from last night. There are 2 changes. A new soup, and the chicken special replaced by lamb.

The lamb was very tempting, but I was going fishy again, with the last of the char grilled marlin, with lemon and asparagus risotto.

This was not bad, but I always expect a risotto to be amazing, because of the amount of care and effort that should go into it. I find that making risotto is quite a therapeutic thing, you take your time and make a lovely dinner. It’s just stirring at the end of the day, but that process produces great results. So when you get one that’s just ok, it can feel like a bit of a let down.

The second matter in hand, is whether to flake the fish and distribute it throughout the dish, or plonk a lump on top. The flaked option can feel more like paella, but the plonked option does feel a bit like an afterthought. Mrs MOFAD had a pork stroganoff which was very nice.

It was soon time for pudding, with this ice cream sundae/knickerbocker glory concoction.

Sweet and delicious. Just like last night, another pint of that tasty Mobberley ale appeared to accompany proceedings. Yet another pleasant evening in the Beehive. Hopefully another walking weekend will bring us this way soon, lovely place.

The Beehive, Combs, Derbyshire, July 2017

Firstly, a note on pronunciation. Combs is pronounced “combs” like the thing that you use on your hair, as opposed to “coombs”, which many of us may have mistakenly called it. Maybe.

On to food and drink. We find ourselves back here again, finishing off a circuit of walking circuits that we started back in May 2014. We were last at the camp site up the road in September 2015, doing some of those walking circuits. On that occasion we came to The Beehive for dinner on both nights. It was good. So we are doing that again. Once again, we find ourselves in the bar area where dogs are welcome, as Suzy the ninja hound is with us as usual.

Tonight began as the previous nights began, a quick photograph of the specials board so everyone in our party could find out what was on it.

Whilst they perused, we were ordering some drinks. As well as some dull and predictable Marstons, there always seems to be a good guest ale or two. Tonight that guest ale was Route 97 from Mobberley brewhouse. It was a delicious hoppy pale ale. Refreshing and good Chinook hop profile.

Food next. Last time several of us had the seafood platter. We were pleased to see that it was still on the specials board, and several of us had it again. It wasn’t quite as good as last time, the bread seems to have been downgraded to a slice of Hovis Seed Sensations instead of a nice chunk of fresh granary, and the fishy offerings were less. Not as many leaves as last time, and more sliced peppers I think.

Mrs MOFAD opted for duck breast, with sweet potato and rosemary mash and a Cumberland sauce.

Although we hadn’t yet earned one, we had to have a pudding, having spotted the chocolate and candied lime tart on the specials board. This is an important lesson – if you see something on the specials board that you want, have it, because it might not be there the next time you come. This handy poem will help you to remember:-

Never put off what you can do today,
For it may lead to sorrow.
If you do it today and you like it,
You can do it again tomorrow.

The chocolate and lime choice was absolutely spot on. Lovely rich chocolate, reasonably crisp pastry and the candied lime was absolutely divine. As you may have already gathered, I love lime.

Somewhere in between courses, another pint of that tasty Mobberley ale appeared to accompany proceedings. We hung around for a while with drinks and a few games of Uno, as per. Another pleasant evening in the Beehive. Lovely people, lovely pub.