Thursday, 28 June 2018

The Boot Inn, Eskdale, Cumbria.

The people of Cumbria are blessed with some of the finest scenery in Britain. They also have some of the best breweries. The village of Boot in Eskdale has three cracking pubs, the best of which is the Boot Inn!
The village sits at the end of the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway and it is just 400 yards walk up to the Boot Inn. Just by coincidence my most recent visit was close to the 50th anniversary of my first  when I was a 14 year old boyscout.

The pub is a tied house belonging to Robinsons of Stockport who are now marketing themselves as a Cheshire family brewery. The pub was built in the sixteenth century and was formerley known as the Burnmoor Inn.

First impression when you walk into the bar is that there is a good choice of beers on the wickets. I was to sample most of them over my 3 day stay but I started with a pint of Hoppy Wan Kenobe which was much appreciated as it was a very hot day.
Other ales on offer included Dizzy Blonde , Cumbrian Way, Wizard, Trooper and Light Brigade. Prices

The day I ordered Dizzy Blonde was a particularly hot one. All the ales I sampled were appropriate for the unseasonally hot and dry weather. (No Old Tom on offer!)

The food on offer was excellent pub food priced for the wealthy hikers. There were two good veggie options, the falafel with pilaf (above) was £10.95. I had a voucher for a 10% discount which made it £9.85!

I tried the Cumberland sausage with cabbage and mash on my second visit.

The best veggie option, in my opinion, was the Thai green curry washed down with Hoppy Wan Kenobe
Eskdale is a lovely part of the Lake District with the high fells only 10 miles from the coast. Eskdale Mill, in Boot, just behind the pub, has a working waterwheel. There are many good pubs in the valley but it is just possible that the Boot Inn is the best of all.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

The Anchor Inn, Guisborough, North Yorks.

The market town of Guisborough lies nestled under the northern escarpment of the North Yorkshire Moors. We found a very good reason to tarry a while when we happened upon a delightful pub in Belmangate just outside the town centre. Belmangate leads directly up onto the moors and the Cleveland Way so the Anchor is well placed to serve thirsty hikers like us. However it is easy to miss as it is in a terrace of cottages with just the pub sign hinting at the delights inside.
The Anchor is a Sam Smiths tied pub which means that the normal protocols of drinking do not apply. If you want draught ale then it is Old Brewery bitter. No guest beers are served. If you want lager then it is Sam Smiths lager that you get. The upside of Sam Smiths pubs is the price. Bitter is £2 a pint, lager is £2.30. The result is that the pub is always busy.

The landlord is also very friendly and welcoming which must contribute to the popularity of the Anchor. The rooms are tiny with traditional seating round the walls and shelves packed with books. As with any good local pub we were soon engaged in conversation by the regulars including a retired steeplejack who claimed to be 81 but who looked as fit as a fiddle.

Anyone who is visiting Guisborough should seek out the Anchor Inn where they will find a warm welcome and cheap, well kept beer. The perfect combination.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Jubilee Refreshment Rooms, Sowerby Bridge.

 Calderdale is home to some mighty fine pubs and drinking establishments. It also has some great walks so it comes as no surprise that we managed to combine the two on a fine Wednesday in March. We started at the railway station in Todmorden and sauntered 10 miles down the Rochdale Canal to Sowerby Bridge which abounds with delightful watering holes. On this occasion we decided to try The Jubilee Refreshment Rooms on Sowerby Bridge Station as we would be heading north on the train after a session.

From the centre of town we followed signs down a narrow cobbled path to the station, crossing the tracks via a dark subway and into the light to find the JRR opposite the westbound platform.

My first impression , of a cafe, was reinforced by the "Whistle stop window" board by the door. I was re-assured by the six handpumps on the bar when we got inside

First up was a pint of Pale Eagle from Todmorden Brewery. This was just what I needed ! A pale well balanced beer reminiscent of Lancashire bitters of yore. Bullseye with the first pint. That would take some beating!

My second was a pint of Ribble Head. A perplexing pint as it came from the Don Valley Brewery and was billed as a "Pilsner-type ale". Despite the label it was a pale bitter which slipped down a treat. Another winner with my second pint.

My third sample was billed as a dark mild called Dark Masquerade from the Half Moon Brewery in Ellerton, East Yorkshire. It was indeed dark and had plenty of flavour from the black malt which also gave it the colouring. One quirky aspect of the JRR is the toilets which have a keycode which you have to obtain from the barman. If you time it right you can nip through when someone  who remembers the code goes to the loo.

As well as having a nice selection of beers the JRR also has a good view of the platforms so that reminded me that we had a train to catch. I had enjoyed our visit to the Jubilee Refreshment Rooms and I am sure that we will return when we are exploring the Calder Valley

This establishment is well worth a visit. It is warm and friendly . It also sells good interesting local beers. If you are in Sowerby Bridge seek it out.