Tuesday, 30 July 2013


Now then,

     its not all reopened pubs you know. Sometimes I can't stay away from those long and slightly less long established ones. Here's some details and news on that subject....

On Tuesday I set a new "high" bar for frankly preposterous excuses to go to the pub. I had left work and realised I needed to buy a bus pass on the way home. I went to the cash machine and drew out a tenner. The pass was £10.50 - but I only had £10.45. Of course, the only "rational" thing to do was go and get another tenner out and then somehow conceive of a mechanism for changing the troublesome little bugger.

I started by popping in DAda, to change a tenner (see "walk the dog", "see a man about a dog" and "research"). Behind the bar, loving the wall of heat created by the fridges, glass washer and bright lights, was Jamie, struggling to stay cool even in shorts and clearly near unconscious, with Steff sitting at the bar for company - these two things aren't linked, but they were the only people there....

I didn't anticipate swelling the numbers for long - after all, I was only going to have a half. Oh please....

I started on the right track, since a half of Chiron was my choice, largely influenced by some slightly grim cask options; the Pica Pica re-badge would have been my preference but it had "gone orf" so I stuck with a Chiron, which did the trick nicely. After an enlightening discussion about the Standardised English Swearing Usage Regulations, which we may well copyright, I opted for a half of Raven.

Raven, from the Thornbridge, hasn't been available on cask for a very long time. I first tried it on cask and really liked it, but its been Keykeg ever since. This is a good illustration of why not everything you put in Keykeg works, no matter how big your house is (or how many brewers you recruit each year).

Raven on Keykeg is incredibly bitter. Which is fine, since its a Black IPA - it is after all, black, and bitter, like an IPA. Except its bitter in a needlessly dry way and has precisely none of the finer points of a stout, (whether it should or shouldn't as a Black IPA). It needs more body and less edge, if that makes sense. Still, I'm glad I tried it, since I'd normally not bother, because I think there is merit in revisiting a beer now and again. And there was merit even if not joy, in doing so on this occasion.

Across the road at the Dog and Partridge I enjoyed a closed door so made my way slightly earlier than planned to Shakespeares. A Roosters Stars and Stripes was my starter, a slightly underwhelming Roosters beer once again, although better than their not-so Wild Mule, and scoring points for having an intriguing mix of flavours.

I finished this short wander on two pints of Wilson Potter "In Shreds". This was a gloriously well balanced hoppy beer that would have warranted a few more goes if I hadn't been behaving myself - or even if I had. I think I've tried four Wilson Potter beers in total, and I've liked them all - this one perhaps most of all. Whilst its easy to argue that there are numerous real ale micro brewers producing hoppy pale ales, Wilson Potter and similarly Cross Bay, though following that same path, are a good example of breweries doing it well. There's a pleasing subtlety to their brews which highlights the glorious facets of the hops used rather than simply using more of them. Brilliant.

A last bit of news features another pub reopening - this time in the middle of chuffing nowhere. Obviously, if you live in Woodsetts, sort of between North Anston and Worksop, this may be a phrase that you disagree with, but I'll perhaps beg to differ after what I expect will be a rather long trek back from the pub when I get round to visiting.

The Butchers Arms at Woodsetts has been taken on by Raw Brewing of Staveley. I understand that Enterprise own the pub and Raw are in essence tenants there. The upshot, above anything else, will be that there will be really good real ale available henceforth. I never made it to the Butchers previously but have a sneaking suspicion that Grey Ghost and the like weren't spotted on the bar.

The interweb is hardly awash with info (even Raw's own website for the pub isn't up yet!) despite its official reopening bash being on Friday 2nd August. However, you could always look at their Facebook page for updates. Its touch and go whether I'll make it Friday but any visit to a (barely) local new venue sounds worth a look. Hopefully, like the White Swan in Chesterfield, this will be another Raw Brewery success story.


Wee beefy

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