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Thread: Millay's Great Escape

  1. #21
    In Search of Ebriety Millay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grailhunter View Post
    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.

  2. #22
    In Search of Ebriety Millay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trainman View Post
    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

  3. #23
    I'll stay on me own runningdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Millay View Post
    Back-to-back days of abstinence, now that's a novel idea
    Makes no odds to me, I may or may not do pub crawls but I sure as hell don't do abstinence...peculiar rules today, but that will change..........

    Ps Acherley, I'm jealous
    Last edited by runningdog; 19-02-2010 at 11:52. Reason: Me fingers can't spell abstinence and me brain don't want to.....
    Pubs are a hobby, real ale is a passion. Oh, and like me dogs, fear no evil..........

  4. #24
    In Search of Ebriety Millay's Avatar
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    It's four in the morning and once more the dawning just woke up the wanting in me

    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

    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
    Last edited by Millay; 20-02-2010 at 05:58. Reason: That weird skeleton thing

  5. #25
    In Search of Ebriety Millay's Avatar
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    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 . 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

    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.
    Last edited by Millay; 21-02-2010 at 13:28.

  6. #26
    In Search of Ebriety Millay's Avatar
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    09:10 at the Briar Rose with the first beer of the day 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 from the Potbelly Brewery was so appropriate on two fronts . 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
    Last edited by Millay; 21-02-2010 at 13:34. Reason: Sodding around with those smiley thingys

  7. #27
    In Search of Ebriety Millay's Avatar
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    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 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 .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 .

  8. #28
    In Search of Ebriety Millay's Avatar
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    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 and it was only as it was half way to being drawn that I saw it was 7.2% 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 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 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.

  9. #29
    In Search of Ebriety Millay's Avatar
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    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 . 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 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 .

    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.

  10. #30
    In Search of Ebriety Millay's Avatar
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    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 and then I went for a Salamander Golden . 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.

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