The Victoria Inn, Syston, January 2018

Another outing for “My Pointless Friend Richard” in the classic line up of me, Mrs MOFAD, Karon & John. As the quiz was on, the pub weren’t doing food so we had picked up emergency fish’n’chips and taunted other quiz teams by eating them in here.

The brain cogs need lubrication, so a pint of Black Dragonfly was in order, from up the A46 in Newark.

It is described as a black IPA. It is not that. A pleasant bitter with roasted malts is what it is. And it didn’t help, as “My Pointless Friend Richard” suffered another defeat at this venue.

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The Pack Horse Inn, Keswick, January 2018 – quiz night

We are back after a 6 month absence. Technically, we are reigning pub quiz champions, since when we were last here (22nd June 2016) we won, thanks in no small part to the specialist round on computing.

After conquering our second Wainwright this year (Great Crag) we needed food and drink. And luckily the pub quiz was on again, so we had to defend our crown. More on that story later. Let’s deal with the refuelling part first.

First up, the classic piece of false advertising from Robinsons, “Double Hop”. If there is normally just one hop in each pint, then perhaps it’s correct. This is a malty bitter, it’s not an IPA.

After a good walk, a good dinner was needed. You can’t go wrong with pie’n’chips and that turned out to be correct once more. A proper pie too, not just a bowl of stew with a pastry lid cooked nearby.

More refreshment required, in the form of Hawkshead Lager, nice and simple but far better than any Euro fizz that might be found elsewhere. Clean and crisp.

It was time to crack on with the pub quiz, and we were soon into the swing of things, picking up some easy points on the music round, and doing well in the other rounds. Apparently the couple opposite us had won the previous week, but given some of their appalling answers and their utterly terrible spelling, we couldn’t see how that would have been possible. This rather boosted our confidence and we were very happy to find ourselves in a winning position for the second time.

We celebrated with Blonde Tom from Robinsons, a tribute act to a Belgian blonde with a hint of honey. We shall have to come back again in the summer to defend our crown once more. Always a pleasure to come to this lovely pub, and even nicer when they give you money for winning 🙂

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.

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.