Ye Olde Nags Head, Castleton, April 2017

Friday night is quiz night? Well, that’s most unusual, but who are we to argue? Tonight we were joined by MOFAD companions Andy & Kerrie for an evening of a few beverages, some nosh and then some good quizzing action.

First to the bar, and a good local pint to begin. Thornbridge Crackendale is a delicious Citra pale ale. It’s one of my favourite hops, and makes for a good pint.

Kerrie and Mrs MOFAD were looking at the gin tasting boards. For a very reasonable price you get three gins, a carafe of tonic, a glass of fruity bits and a glass of ice. You can then mix your own G&Ts. Kerrie indulged in a board, Mrs MOFAD just had one as she was driving us home tonight.

Brain food next. When a pub has a pizza oven, you should have pizza. Pizza is great. All that lovely gluten, all that lovely tomato sauce, all that lovely cheese. And so many toppings to explore. Tonight, BBQ sauce, BBQ chicken, smoked bacon, onion and sweetcorn combined on the “Smoky Special”:-

It was accompanied by a Green Devil IPA from Oakham Ales, which was probably the best IPA that I’ve ever had on cask. If you look back on my beer of the month posts, you will spot a lot of IPAs. What you will not spot are any served from a cask in a pub. They are all in a bottle or a can (with the very occasional keg). I wish that I had a photo to capture this moment, but it was just too good to stop and photograph.

There was time for pudding before the quiz began. A sticky toffee pudding is always a good choice, and that proved to be the case again tonight. Sticky and unctuous.

A pudding needs a pudding beer (and further hydration for the brain in advance of the quiz getting started). McConnel’s from Thornbridge is a smooth and sweet vanilla stout with smoky notes, and very sessionable for a stout.

A lovely meal was then followed by a fun quiz. We did quite well, and certainly had a moral victory over the team behind us who were desperately Googling for a few answers. No prizes for “My Pointless Friend Richard” tonight, but we had a lot of fun.

A great pub, lovely good, good beer and a great gin selection. A good pub quiz too. Well worth a visit.

The Cheshire Cheese, Hope, April 2017

It’s another trip to The Cheshire Cheese. After last night’s disappointing lack of pub quiz at The Old Hall Hotel, tonight we had another chance of a pub quiz at one of our favourite pubs round these parts. We came second on our previous visit in 2015. Could we go one better tonight, despite “My Pointless Friend Richard” being halved in size?

Hydration for the brain first, a pint of New World Bitter from Intrepid Brewing, a classic caramel bitter, although I’m not sure what happened to the hops that are alleged to be contained within.

Brain food next. I’ve not seen cajun chicken in a pub for a while. Maybe not even since it was spotted on a menu listed as “cajan chicken”. It’s something that’s also easy to get really wrong. The seasoning can often just be just loads of cayenne pepper and random herbs which then get burnt and go really bitter.

No such worries here. Although it is described on the menu as “blackened”, they haven’t gone too far, and it’s just nicely roasted. The minted yoghurt sauce works really well with the gentle spice of the chicken, a really decent portion of salad, and a nice bowl of chips (not pictured). It was really nice and might encourage me to seek this out in pubs a bit more.

Mrs MOFAD had the venison haunch steak, served with a red wine gravy, dauphinoise potatoes and seasonal vegetables. This was also delicious.

This lovely food was being washed down with a pint of Bakewell Best from Peak Ales, another classic English bitter which had almost disappeared by the time I got round to photographing it.

Game on. The quiz began. We groaned when the picture round featured local breeds of sheep (because some local agricultural types had complained in previous weeks). We were doing pretty well as things moved on. A little more refreshment was needed, an Abbeydale Moonshine which is almost always on here. It is one of my favourite local pints.

Sadly we didn’t win, a few too many tricky questions tonight. It was great fun though, and we also got a go on Play Your Cards Right. You don’t get anything for a pair, not in this game. Although it did mean that this was going through my head for the rest of the week:-

Another great trip to the Cheshire Cheese, always a great night out.

The White Lion, Ambleside, December 2016

A two part story this one. Not for the first time, we arrived at The White Lion to find that we couldn’t have dinner. We have been here plenty of times before, but they do often seem to have problems with their kitchen or their chef. Tonight they were having kitchen issues, so were only able to honour existing bookings and couldn’t serve food to anyone else. So we wandered elsewhere for dinner and then returned.

Because there was a pub quiz on. Which is why we wanted to be here. It was time for another outing of the minimal version of My Pointless Friend Richard, which consists of me and Mrs MOFAD.

No pub quiz should be attempted without refreshement, and as the quiz had already started before we arrived (before its advertised start time), Mrs MOFAD rushed to the bar to grab some drinks, including a pint of Dave for me:-

This of course leads to much sketch quoting. Hello Dave! Is that Dave? Is Dave there?

Dave the beer is described as a dark, red bitter brewed with chocolate and Crystal malts and English hops. I found it to be more more mild than bitter, but malty and pleasant.

And it certainly helped with the quiz, as we were joint winners, winning a £10 gift card, which will pay for some of our dinner on another night I suspect!

Southwold, a MOFAD kind of town

We’ve been away for a week, staying in Reydon, just on the outskirts of Southwold in Suffolk (I have to mention the county since most people that I mentioned this to didn’t know where Southwold was). After our previous visit in August 2015 (part of the East Anglian Epic Adventure with regular MOFAD companions Hazel & Matt), we decided that we had to come back.

We’ve had a great time. A mini beer festival on Saturday (self curated by the three participants), a takeaway, a return visit to Adnams Cellar & Kitchen, the local pub, pubs with sea views, attempts to get in to the Lord Nelson for dinner, a quiet village pub, a pub quiz without a quiz, bird nerding at Minsmere again, a very strange pub, a posher hotel, another one by the coast, a fair bit of fish, triple pork nirvana, and several Adnams pubs (utterly unsurprisingly!)

I now have a total of 44 posts in draft, including 14 posts from the Suffolk stay. Lots to report on because Southwold has plenty of options to choose from, including lots of Adnams pubs, and also a few free houses in the surrounding area. There’s also a large haul of beer after a visit to the supermarket, a couple of visits to Adnams and also beer shopping at Snape Maltings.

If you like your food and drink, Southwold (and the surrounding area) is certainly worth a visit.

The Angel Inn, Wangford, Suffolk, October 2016

Pub quiz night! As you’ll know by now, we do like a pub quiz. We haven’t done very many this year so the opportunity to take on another one was most welcome. What is a holiday without a pub quiz after all? To be sure of our place we booked a table in advance so that we could eat first and ensure we were in tip top condition for quizzing.

Here comes the first shock of the night. The Angel Inn is not an Adnams pub. I repeat, not an Adnams pub. This is proof that there are a few pubs in Suffolk that the Adnams mafia haven’t got their claws into 🙂

This means that for the first time this week, I’ve been able to order a non-Adnams beer in a pub. This was an Otter Ale, from Devon, something I’ve had before, but in pre-Untappd days so not for a few years. It’s a classic malty English bitter with caramel notes. Very nice.

We ordered our dinners and sat back and waited for them to arrive. Their were a few other diners around too, all enjoying the relaxed atmosphere. Matt & I ordered steaks, Mrs MOFAD and Hazel chose chicken & mushroom pies. Two steaks arrived soon afterwards. This was mine.

Or so I thought! A mix up with our neighbours’ table meant that we got their steaks, and Matt had just sprinkled some salt on the chips before this was spotted and rectified, with the plates moving a few feet to our right. So around 5 minutes later, our dinner arrived. As you can see, presentation is pretty consistent:-

The taste was good too. I ordered rare as usual and it was cooked to perfection, although Matt’s medium-rare was very much on the medium side. Classic accompaniments of tomato, mushroom and peas and good home-made chips. A pub classic done well.

The pies were also good, a proper, complete pie, not just a dish with a lid of pastry. We did have to question Hazel’s alleged northern credentials though, as she was not putting gravy on her pie and chips.

As we were staying for the pub quiz, we decided to have some more food and drink. We cross over the border to Norwich for this Woodforde’s Wherry, another one that I’ve had before, a nice smooth session bitter.

As I keep on saying, a chocolate pudding is always the correct choice, and this was indeed the case tonight. A lovely dense chocolate mousse, rich and intense, complemented by the creamy white chocolate pieces, and offset by the tartness of the physalis (also known as the cape gooseberry, although it’s from the nightshade family). Tasty tasty chocolate.

All that was left was the pub quiz.

Except it wasn’t. Not enough people had turned up, so there was no pub quiz. Despondent, we trooped out and went home to drink beer instead. A good pub with good food and beer, certainly worth a visit.

The Pack Horse Inn, Keswick, June 2016 – quiz night

It’s quiz night! My Pointless Friend Richard ride again, after our last victory back in May. Tonight it’s just me and Mrs MOFAD representing.

First, let’s look back on today’s walk very briefly, a quick photo of Derwent Water as viewed from on our way up to Maiden Moor and then High Spy and back down to Little Town (where we had lunch on Monday).

A very nice walk on a lovely sunny day. So, to the pub (after a cup of tea and a shower of course).

At the Pack Horse Inn, dining areas are located on three terraces leading up the stairs and you can also eat in the bar area, which is where we grabbed a table on a busy evening.  It’s a Robinsons pub, as with so many in the area, so you’ll know what you’re getting – a range of their good ales, and good food (based on our experiences so far).

Tonight we begin with a pint of Hartley’s Cumbrian XB. Hartley’s were bought out by Robinsons in 1982, and continued to brew in Ulverston until 1991, when brewing was transferred to Stockport. The Cumbrian XB is a classic English bitter and a refreshing start to the evening.

Dinner arrived next, after we watched it go back to the kitchen and then come back out because we had moved tables not long after ordering, as a nicer one by the window became available.

Mrs MOFAD and I had the same thing tonight, this chicken in wild mushroom and cream sauce, served with chips and salad. It was really nice, juicy chicken, a nice sauce and really good chips, along with a decent salad (you can see a tiny bit of it in the top left).

A little more refreshment to accompany it, this time a Unicorn, a classic dark golden ale which I’ve had before. It used to be called Robinsons Best Bitter.

Dinner was done, time to limber up for the quiz. Important not to get dehyrdated during quiz activities, so it was time for something else, another familiar Robinsons ale in the form of Dizzy Blonde, full of happy hoppy hints.

This was very necessary as the quiz got underway. The “picture round” was about rabbits (identify cartoon rabbits such as Jessica Rabbit, Hazel from Watership Down, etc.) General knowledge next which got off to a deliberately easy start but then went more obscure. The music round was less fun, with some more obscure 1960s and 1970s tracks. I can recognise The Hollies, but not many of their songs. I think we were one of the few teams to recognise Aswad though 🙂

We were going really well, and then the specialist round arrived. Computers. Hello day job! Hello degree! Hello 30 plus years of computing experience! All of these things combined to give us maximum points in this round. A break next, and time to refresh the brain cells once again, this time with Robinsons Smooth, a cold and smooth pint, uncomplicated. This is what Boddingtons or John Smith’s should be, instead of the perfunctory liquids that they are.

This did the trick for the final general knowledge round, and helped us through. Then it was time for the marking and the scores. When you mark another team’s answer sheet, you begin to get an idea of how well (or otherwise you’ve done).

The top three arrives. We are in it. In fact, we are on top of it, another victory for My Pointless Friend Richard, and enough money to pay for dinner 🙂 Winner!

Talbot Arms, Settle, May 2016

My Pointless Friend Richard ride again.

Tonight was quiz night at the Talbot Arms, something we checked up on when we visited on Saturday night.

Fluid intake is important for brain activity. So first, a pint of Lancaster Citra, a delicious and hoppy pale ale. The citra hop is often found in many of my favourite ales, delivering a tropical hoppy hit.

Food is also important. Even more so when there’s a triple pork nirvana  at stake.

A lovely bacon cheeseburger, again home made by the lovely kitchen team at the Talbot Arms. It’s so easy to get something like this wrong, by using some cheap and nasty ingredients, but this is all quality stuff, put together with care and attention..

A pint of York Brewery Otherside IPA to go with dinner, very sadly not an IPA at all, just a pleasant bitter.

And then time for the main event, the quiz. This was a bingo style quiz, a variant on one we played last year at the Apple Tree in West Bridgford. The questions are read out in sequence. You have a blank grid, and can put the answers anywhere you like. The secret is to play with a strategy.

To win, you need to get any of the following:-

All four corners

A vertical line

A horizontal line

A diagonal line

Each of these gives you a shot at a prize. Pick a ticket from the hat, and that gives you your prize. An extra element of chance to spice things up a bit!

Before we get to the results, the final beer to accompany the quiz, the fruity bitterness of Main Line from Settle Brewery.

And so to the results. Another victory for My Pointless Friend Richard. And we took away all the prizes. All of them. In other pubs, this could be a bit embarrassing or awkward. But everyone is very friendly here, so it was fine. We got all four corners, a horizonal line, a vertical line and a diagonal. There were some answers that we were not sure about and some we got blatantly wrong. But careful placement won us all of these:-

We collected our free crisps straight away. The free beer can also be enjoyed in takeaway cartons, so our plan was to come back tomorrow to collect our winnings to have with a takeaway dinner.

Another enjoyable night out at the Talbot Arms. The best pub in Settle.