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Millay
17-02-2010, 21:15
The weather looks to be OK this weekend so I’ve got myself one of those ‘go anywhere for £10’ Great Escape tickets from London Midland and aim to be heading off early Saturday morning from Watford. Exactly how early remains to be seen as I have Friday off work and I may pay a visit to the Luton Beer Festival. :drinkup:

The rough plan is to head north to Birmingham, maybe have a pint or two in the Wellington, unless I get there before they open, and then get a train to Worcester. There it will be the Dragon Inn and the Plough plus maybe a look in at the Cardinals Hat and the JDW before getting a train back to Brum. I’m thinking of a stop off on the way in Kidderminster for the King & Castle. However this would mean getting the line that takes me in to Snow Hill or Moor Street and this is where I need some advice from someone who knows the city. Working on the basis that I need to get from one of these stations to New St and have a couple of beers on the way which one should it be. I reckon Snow Hill is best so I can take in the Joint Stock, the Wellington and the Briar Rose on the way but am open to suggestions.

From Brum it will be a train to Northampton and a couple at the Malt Shovel before making my way back to Watford with possibly a stop or two on the way. :cheers:

Sunday I will probably be recovering and trying to remember where I got to so that I can tell you good folks all about it - and try to work out that if the Pub Crawl tool works for long distance crawls :confused:

PaulOfHorsham
17-02-2010, 21:53
Sounds like you're a week behind me, Millay! I did Worcester, Brum & Lichfield. All a bit whistle-stop, but glad I went. It sounds like you can put away more ale than I can manage, though. :cheers:

Hope your trains are as good as mine were - just 1 5-minute delay all day.

Moor St is pretty close to New St so, if you're pushed for time, you're probably better off there. I don't think I know Birmingham any better than you, however. The PG maps show you all you need to know.

Millay
18-02-2010, 06:04
Thanks PoH, I really want to get to Worcester as Iíve not been there for years and want to check out The Plough again. As for the number of pubs, well itís all aspirational really, I think what I should do is pick a few of the quality pubs around and enjoy those rather than a mad dash around as many as I can make.

I may miss out Northampton as thereís only one decent pub I know near the station. Iíll definitely not be doing Bedford this time, that was too much time spent on the train. Iíll be checking out timetables over the next couple of days to try to make the train time/pub time ratio more in favour of the latter.

Cheers

hopwas
18-02-2010, 09:22
Hi Millay..

As Brummie born, there is rather frequent train that goes to Kidderminster from Moor Street and runs roughly every 10 - 15 mins. There is no train that goes to Kiddy at Snow Hill because it only goes to North, North East and East areas. From Welly to Moor St would take you around 10 mins walk via New Street.

Speaking of Worcester, you mentioned JDW but which JDW you are speaking of? There are two JDWs in City.

Good luck and hope you have a smashing time in lovely Brum.

Hoppy

hopwas
18-02-2010, 09:42
Sounds like you're a week behind me, Millay! I did Worcester, Brum & Lichfield.

You been to Lichfield? I wonder which pubs you gone to?

Hopefully Duke of York is one of them. Smashing little real ale pub.

Oggwyn Trench
18-02-2010, 12:13
If your in Worcester the Swan with two Nicks http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/42516/ is worth a look and its not that far from the Plough , its worth a visit for the 70s style upstairs bar , its also got a roof top beer garden . The Wheatsheaf on Henwick Road is good with great views over the Racecourse but is probally a bit far out for a flying visit

Millay
18-02-2010, 12:20
Hi Millay..

As Brummie born, there is rather frequent train that goes to Kidderminster from Moor Street and runs roughly every 10 - 15 mins. There is no train that goes to Kiddy at Snow Hill because it only goes to North, North East and East areas. From Welly to Moor St would take you around 10 mins walk via New Street.

Speaking of Worcester, you mentioned JDW but which JDW you are speaking of? There are two JDWs in City.

Good luck and hope you have a smashing time in lovely Brum.

Hoppy

Thanks for the info Hoppy. I only know one JDW in Worcester, the Standing Order or Postal Order near Foregate St Station. Where's the other one?

Millay
18-02-2010, 12:24
If your in Worcester the Swan with two Nicks http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/42516/ is worth a look and its not that far from the Plough , its worth a visit for the 70s style upstairs bar , its also got a roof top beer garden . The Wheatsheaf on Henwick Road is good with great views over the Racecourse but is probally a bit far out for a flying visit

I've been to the Swan with Two Nicks before, and may try it again, not sure the weather will be good enough for a roof top beer though!!. I've also been to the racecourse and recall it being reasonably close to the train station so might check out the Wheatsheafif I have time.

Millay
18-02-2010, 12:30
Hi Millay..

As Brummie born, there is rather frequent train that goes to Kidderminster from Moor Street and runs roughly every 10 - 15 mins. There is no train that goes to Kiddy at Snow Hill because it only goes to North, North East and East areas.

The London Midland timetable I'm looking at has trains from Moor St stopping at Snow Hill then Stourbridge and onwards to Kiddy.

I've also got some stupid idea in my head about getting the Severn Valley Railway from Kiddy to Bewdley and trying to find the JDW there, the George (?). Timetable not looking very convenient though and I'd have to pay extra. Looks like they have a special Classic car Day on with tickets at £13 so will probably forget that idea.

hopwas
18-02-2010, 12:35
Thanks for the info Hoppy. I only know one JDW in Worcester, the Standing Order or Postal Order near Foregate St Station. Where's the other one?

Yep Postal Order. I visited there in around 2004 and it is right next to Foregate station if I remember correctly. Other one is The Crown, Crown Passage. I never been there but I know where it is and it is next to one of main entrance to shopping mall in the City Centre. Check this out.. http://www.jdwetherspoon.co.uk/home/pubs/the-crown-worcester

Actually I am planning to visit Worcester sometime this spring to tick off The Crown plus few pubs.

Let me know how your pub crawl goes.

Hoppy

hopwas
18-02-2010, 12:43
The London Midland timetable I'm looking at has trains from Moor St stopping at Snow Hill then Stourbridge and onwards to Kiddy.

I've also got some stupid idea in my head about getting the Severn Valley Railway from Kiddy to Bewdley and trying to find the JDW there, the George (?). Timetable not looking very convenient though and I'd have to pay extra. Looks like they have a special Classic car Day on with tickets at £13 so will probably forget that idea.

Really? Moor St is south of Brum wile Snow Hill is north of Brum. I rarely uses Moor st and never Snow Hill. But Snow Hill is actually very good thing cos it is much closer than Moor St. As you exit Wellington's main entrance, go right up the hill then when you come to Colmore Row then turn right and Snow Hill is on left hand side at the other side of the road.

I just realised you can actually catch train from Snow Hill to Moor St as Snow Hill is the FIRST port of call then Moor St then Stourbridge then Kiddy. I got it now, sorry Millay!

Bewdley do have JDW there and it is called The George Hotel and Bewdley have incredibly high number of pubs in small town. Whats wrong with bus? It is only around 5 miles from Kiddy to Bewdley

Millay
18-02-2010, 13:03
Bewdley do have JDW there and it is called The George Hotel and Bewdley have incredibly high number of pubs in small town. Whats wrong with bus? It is only around 5 miles from Kiddy to Bewdley

I could try but I'm on a tight schedule, already spending too much time travelling and not enough time in the pubs

Speaking of tight schedules, must get back to work now

Oggwyn Trench
18-02-2010, 13:39
I've been to the Swan with Two Nicks before, and may try it again, not sure the weather will be good enough for a roof top beer though!!. I've also been to the racecourse and recall it being reasonably close to the train station so might check out the Wheatsheafif I have time.

The Wheatsheaf is acctually on the other side of the river so a bit of a trek

PaulOfHorsham
18-02-2010, 19:30
Evening all! To answer your questions in one hit:

hopwas:
You been to Lichfield? I wonder which pubs you gone to?

Hopefully Duke of York is one of them. Smashing little real ale pub.
'twas indeed the Duke of York (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/56639/) - excellent place; recommended, especially if you're en-route between City and Trent Valley stations.

I can confirm that trains between Brum & Worcester are fast ones (40 mins) from New Street and slow (and pretty crap) ones from Moor St, then Snow Hill via Kidderminster (I have recent experience of both!). Note that there's 2 stations in Worcester, so check the timetable carefully - Shrub Hill was a little tricky to find, I thought.

hopwas:
Yep Postal Order. I visited there in around 2004 and it is right next to Foregate station if I remember correctly. Pretty much correct - a few yards north of Foregate St - I passed it on my way to the Dragon (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/42426/)! After that (first of the day), I dashed down to the Cathedral for a few photos, then took in the Swan with 2 Nicks (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/42516/).

Enjoy your day out, Millay - hope the weather's ok for you!

Oggwyn Trench
18-02-2010, 21:12
Check the weather before heading to Worcester , they have had terrible problems today with snow with more forcast for Saturday

Millay
19-02-2010, 07:02
Check the weather before heading to Worcester , they have had terrible problems today with snow with more forcast for Saturday

Yes, I've heard reports of snow in Birmingham this morning, I'll need to keep an eye on the weather, maybe I should take a shovel.

Millay
19-02-2010, 07:05
The strategy that I have employed to prepare myself for this endeavour is to have a shed load of beer on Thursday so that I wonít even want to go near a beer on Friday :sick: and Iíll be fresh for the Saturday. So yesterday included,

:whistle:
Four Fortyniners
Three Pale Riders
Two London Prides
And a Partridge with a Biryani :whistle: (well actually it was a Kingfisher).

So the first part of the plan was executed perfectly :)

arwkrite
19-02-2010, 07:20
We had a fair bit of snow yesterday and the cold tempratures during the night made for icy roads. I should imagine Worcester City centre is ok but take care and don't go rushing about. Probably better to trim your itinery a bit. Enjoy your day out in Worcester, the chaps have given you more than enough pubs to be going with , certainly more than I could manage.:cheers:

Grailhunter
19-02-2010, 08:21
[QUOTE=Millay;7769]The strategy that I have employed to prepare myself for this endeavour is to have a shed load of beer on Thursday so that I won’t even want to go near a beer on Friday

Hang on a minute. I seem to remember you saying you were going to the Luton beer festival today.
I hope you're not going to be tempted !

trainman
19-02-2010, 08:36
The strategy that I have employed to prepare myself for this endeavour is to have a shed load of beer... and Iíll be fresh for the Saturday


Classic!

I fully understand the tactic, but sceptics less committed to the cause may argue that abstinence on Thurs AND Fri would produce an even fresher start on Sat!

Millay
19-02-2010, 09:55
Hang on a minute. I seem to remember you saying you were going to the Luton beer festival today.
I hope you're not going to be tempted !

That was the plan Grailhunter and I was still considering it this morning. However the bus journey is over an hour and I just know I'd stop off at Harpenden or St Albans on the way back and arrive home in a drunken mess. So I'm being sensible, for a change.

Millay
19-02-2010, 10:00
I fully understand the tactic, but sceptics less committed to the cause may argue that abstinence on Thurs AND Fri would produce an even fresher start on Sat!

Back-to-back days of abstinence, now that's a novel idea :twigs:

runningdog
19-02-2010, 10:50
Back-to-back days of abstinence, now that's a novel idea :twigs:

Makes no odds to me, I may or may not do pub crawls but I sure as hell don't do abstinence...:drinkup::drinkup:peculiar rules today, but that will change..........:drinkup:

Ps Acherley, I'm jealous

Millay
20-02-2010, 04:50
:whistle:It's four in the morning and once more the dawning just woke up the wanting in me:whistle:

Well itís a bit later than four in the morning but still bleeding early for a non-school day. The weather is not looking too good so I may just do Worcester, Birmingham and maybe Northampton.

I think Iím all set, Iíve just set up my fantasy football teams for the weekend, hoping Rooney gets a hatful against his old club and Ivanovic keeps the Wolves from the door for Chelsea.

Iíve got a plethora of timetables, notebook, pen, camera and a copy of Whatís Brewing for the train. Hopefully Iíll have time to pick up a McDonalds breakfast on the way to the station for the 06:41 train.

If you get another post from me today I doubt youíll be able to understand it :nishelypished:

See you at the other end of the tunnel

NB - just heard some story on the radio about a skeleton from Bath winning an Olympic gold, weird

Millay
21-02-2010, 12:26
Well I survived The Great Escape and successfully appeared at the end of the tunnel, looking somewhat bedraggled I suspect. Now comes the time to put the day’s events into print before I forget. I did keep a fairly good set of notes as I went along but it’s amazing how indecipherable these become as the day wears on. I’ll split the report up into different posts for ease of reading.

06:00 - I leave home and pop into McDonalds for one of those sausage & egg things before the walk to Watford Junction station. As I neared the station I found myself whistling the theme tune to The Great Escape and marching in time with it :whistle:. Good job there was no one around. On arrival I found that these special tickets don’t work in the automatic gates which is going to be a bit of a pain. At some stage I’m bound to get caught behind someone with two pushchairs and five kids arguing about the validity of a ticket with some jobsworth rail employee:mad:

06:41 and the first journey of the day begins with a trip of around an hour to Northampton. This gave me time to check maps, timetables etc. and formulate a plan of attack. There were still various ideas regarding routes and pubs going around in my mind but there was one certainty, the day would involve beer. It was quite a frosty morning which made for a pleasant journey seeing the fields with a light dusting of frost and waving to Milton Keynes’ concrete cows, to go with their concrete town. It was noticeable that as we neared Northampton the frost had turned to snow, it’s true what they say, It’s Grim up North ;)

07:56 and after a 15 minute stopover I’m on a train making it’s way through the snow covered countryside into the heart of the Midlands…..then on to Birmingham, infinity and beyond. We arrive Birmingham bang on time at 09:01.

Millay
21-02-2010, 12:31
09:10 at the Briar Rose with the first beer of the day :glass: Shardlow had brewed (or probably re-badged) four beers for the Six Nations, called imaginatively England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Of course I had the England, it was 4.9% which was a bit heavy for that time of the morning but I felt it was my patriotic duty. Quite liked the pub, think itís had a bit of a refurb recently, plenty of plasma TVís on mute, as is the JDW way, free newspapers and comfortable furnishings. I think it may be an old bank building as there is a large F Whitfield & Sons safe on the way down to the toilets. Supplemented my pint with a breakfast bloomer and felt set up for the day.

10:05 a little further up the hill and I got to The Wellington. Theyíd only just opened but there were already about half a dozen devotees in. You really are spoilt for choice in this pub, I was tempted by the Dorothy Goodbodyís Wholesome Stout but then I spotted a beer that could have been brewed especially for this trip. Something called Teckít Tí Ride :glass: from the Potbelly Brewery was so appropriate on two fronts :D. The DG stout would have to wait for the return leg (which didnít actually happen as youíll read later). Iím happy to report that Welly the pub cat still roams throughout in that superior indifferent way that cats do. Picked up a copy of the Derby Drinker for the next journey. Back to New Street for the 10:49

Millay
21-02-2010, 12:39
10:49 train from New Street to Worcester left a bit late and we arrived at Folgate St at 11:39. First port of call was the Horn & Trumpet where I had a decent if unremarkable pint of Banksís Bitter :glass: at a reasonable £2.15 (on offer at £1.80 Sun-Thur). Nice pub this, not been in before, looks like it may at one stage have been a multi-roomed pub but now knocked through. At the front are two drinking areas with a small serving counter whilst the area at the back has more of a lounge bar feel and houses the main counter.

Then I wasted valuable drinking time looking for that JDW called The Crown. Eventually found it and wished I hadnít bothered. It has a small frontage but goes back a long way. The long bar with two or three pillars makes the usual JDW staffing issues seem even worse and there were already a number of people getting hacked off with waiting when I entered. I only saw Ruddles and Abbott pumps and was about to leave when I spotted a Salopian Prohibition. However when I saw that that had run out I did the same. Sorry Hoppy.

12:30 having walked down the main street, avoiding some historical re-enactment characters putting on a show for the unimpressed locals, I turned into Fish Street and into the Farriers Arms - Iím not sure who was more surprised, me or the Farrier :D .Two bar pub with the larger one given over to food. Three ales, Bombardier, Pride and Doom Bar, the latter had just gone so I settled on an uninspiring London Pride :glass:.

Millay
21-02-2010, 12:45
This pub deserves a post of its own.

12:55 (moves into boxing ring announcer mode) "and now Ladies and Gentlemen we come to todayís main event, my raison díWorcester, The Plough public house, letís get ready to drink beer".

I was last here in 2007 about a year after it had been rescued from the developers and retained as not only a real ale pub but a damn good one, and Iím happy to say that it still is. Iím not sure which is the star attraction, the pub, the staff or the beer. The pub itself is a real throwback, two basic rooms either side of a small serving counter, plus an outside patio area that you need to cross to get to the toilets. One of the owners was behind the bar and if you are interested in the history of the pub, of Worcester or indeed the whole of civilisation this guy will talk to you for hours. He did however stop occasionally to pour beer.

Now you know how it is, you walk into an unfamiliar pub and are faced with four hand pumps all showing beers that youíve never had before. Excellent you think, you eyes flick quickly along the pumps and you make a snap decision. The decision I made was the Beowulf IPA :glass: and it was only as it was half way to being drawn that I saw it was 7.2% :eek: and damn good it was, a bit more exciting than the London Pride I had in the last place. Next was a more sedate Dark Knight :glass: from the Ludlow Brewery which I supplemented with a roast beef roll from a basket on the bar. What I hadnít realised, I really should be more observant, was that it was doused in enough wholegrain mustard to blow off two pairs of socks.

The old taste buds are certainly getting a workout here and I decided that as a palate cleanser Iíd try a cider. But as I suspected, this would be no ordinary cider, on enquiring the barman clearly thought that, having gone straight for the 7.2% IPA, I wouldnít be satisfied with any old cider and he pointed out a draught Barbourne Perry:glass: which was 8% and brewed by some bloke down the road in his garage I think. It did the trick though, very refreshing and I was sensible and just had a half. And that unsurprisingly finished off my stay at The Plough and a very enjoyable one it was. But, unlike time at The Plough, I had to move on.

Millay
21-02-2010, 12:50
14:15 and I arrive at the second of Worcesterís great real ale pubs The Dragon Inn. The first thing I spotted was a bloke at the bar who Iíd been chatting to in The Plough, he must have thought I was following him. I followed him in his beer choice though with a pint of Pictish Brewery Claymore :glass:. I saw they also had Cheddar Valley Cider which I've never tried. I've always been put off by the fluorescent orange colour, it looks like it should be used to paint road signs not sitting in a beer glass. Interesting toilets in this place, they are outside and for some reason have an old bus stop sign above the door. Back to the beer and, taking itís name as a cue, I had a half of Kinver Half Centurion :glass: before leaving. Called in at The Saracenís Head but as they didnít seem in much of a hurry to serve me, and as I was pushed for time I left and went to the Postal Order for a quick pint of Slaters Queen of Hearts :glass:.

15:22 train from Worcester arriving at Birmingham New Street at 16:11. I now had a decision to make, I wanted to go back to the Wellington and sample the DG Stout among others but I was behind schedule, having spent longer in Worcester than I had intended. Decided against the Welly and grabbed one of those top of the mouth burning pasties from the Pasty Shop and jumped on the 16:33 train heading for Northampton.

Millay
21-02-2010, 12:53
17:34 arrived at Northampton and after a 15 minute walk I entered another real ale mecca the Malt Shovel Tavern on Bridge St. I’d only been here once before and then it was full of rugby supporters so wanted to try it again. Around 10 hand pumps with some lesser known beers and a real cider. They also have an impressive array of Belgian and other European bottled beers. My first pint here was the Silverstone Chequered Flag :glass: and then I went for a Salamander Golden :glass:. I’m really impressed at how clear my notes still are at this stage. The pub itself is quite attractive with the walls adorned with old brewery signs, posters, mirrors etc. Made my way back to the station for the 18:50 train back to Watford.

Millay
21-02-2010, 13:01
19:29 arrived back in Watford and another decision to make, have I had enough beer? I think not!! :p Watford isnít great for real ale but the Southern Cross is one place where you will find some interesting beers and I went for the Roosters AprŤs Ski :glass:, a golden beer at a manageable 4.3%. I then spotted the 2009 Supreme Champion Rudgate Ruby Mild :glass: so had to have one of those before I left. My scrawled notes infer that I also stopped off on the way home at the Nascot Arms for an Old Hookey :glass: and then again at Champions for a Hobgoblin :glass:.

22:10 I arrive home poorer of pocket but richer of experience and with a Chinese takeaway of which, as is traditional, half was found uneaten in the kitchen this morning.


OK, now for the stats for those interested in that sort of thing.

Total door to door crawling time - 16 hours 10 minutes

Number of train journeys - Six

Total time on trains - 5 hours 21 minutes

Number of pubs - Eleven

Total time spent in pubs - 6 hours 50 minutes

Number of beers :glass: - 14 pints and two halves

hopwas
21-02-2010, 13:46
. Quite liked the pub, think itís had a bit of a refurb recently, plenty of plasma TVís on mute, as is the JDW way, free newspapers and comfortable furnishings. I think it may be an old bank building as there is a large F Whitfield & Sons safe on the way down to the toilets.

Briar Rose hasnt had major refurb since its opening in 2000. Free newspapers?! :eek: Thats new to me actually, unless you pinched it off shelves by the end of bar which you have to pay for it.

Oh yeah that safe by toliets.. Before Briar Rose came along, it was major bank (I think it was Lloyds) used occupy the site.

I see Welly still have that white cat roaming around in pub, Very rarely to see see cat roam cos I almost always see cat sleeping on stool or on bar. Bizarre thing is if Cat decide to sleep on stool then drinkers won't even dare to wake the cat up so they can seat on stool. Almost like sarced animal. :D

Anyway I am glad you enjoyed your time in Brum!

Hoppy

Millay
21-02-2010, 15:43
Free newspapers?! :eek: Thats new to me actually, unless you pinched it off shelves by the end of bar which you have to pay for it.


Oh dear, yes those were the ones, I didn't realise you had to pay for them :o . Still, I did at least put it back when I'd finished with it, along with all the inserts.

hopwas
21-02-2010, 16:11
Oh dear, yes those were the ones, I didn't realise you had to pay for them :o . Still, I did at least put it back when I'd finished with it, along with all the inserts.

:D

Naughty boy! I thought there is signage by newspaper shelf saying "Please pay at the bar". Still good thing you did put back to its rightful place.

oldboots
21-02-2010, 17:35
thanks for a good write up of what seems to have been a memorable crawl, reassuring that after seven o'clock pm seems to be a bit of an alcoholic blur, hope for us all :D

Did the train rides in between aid your stamina? I've found this in the past - as long as you don't stop drinking for too long, doing that's deadly and can stop you in your tracks (no pun intended).

Did you have the half chinky for breakfast?

Millay
21-02-2010, 18:47
Did you have the half chinky for breakfast?
Oh no, that would surely have made me :sick:



Did the train rides in between aid your stamina? I've found this in the past - as long as you don't stop drinking for too long, doing that's deadly and can stop you in your tracks (no pun intended).


I think you're right, with each train journey between 40-60 minutes it gave me enough time to have a little snooze between pubs and build up a thirst without feeling that I was starting a new session.

Oggwyn Trench
21-02-2010, 18:50
Sounds like a great , if tiring day out , wetted my appetite , now wheres that timetable:D