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recently, during my self isolation here at home, I have been doing some long needed clearing up. This has revealed quite a lot of interesting stuff, not least finding my old Panasonic digital camera (which stopped working in late 2016, but temporarily at least, has been revived). I also found a lot of beer festival beer lists - I have been saving them since my first festival in 1994, and to the best of my knowledge I have never thrown any away. Recently I came across one from thew Hillsborough Hotel, AKA The Double H.

It was the end of February this year that myself and Tash last went in the Double H, after our regular trip for cheap scran from Aldi. We have always popped in for a couple of drinks post shop (and of course with shopping), but as we often shopped on Tuesday or Wednesday the Double H was often not open so that has reduced our visits, and now they have stopped due to the Lockdown measures. I heard a statement on Facebook that the pub had closed, and also that it had been up for sale for some time. I recall chatting to Tom on my last few visits and I was aware that the business wasn't doing particularly well, no doubt suffering from being too far from town and Kelham Island and also not perhaps attracting the large crowds of drinkers situated in Hillsborough. Either way, am not sure of it's current status.

The list I found was for the Hillsborough Hotel Scottish Beer Festival which took place in January or early February three or four years ago. I only made it once, with Matty, and although the sheet I have states that some beers were available outside, I honestly can't recall if they had a bar in the conservatory or under the covering right next to it. I do remember my personal favourite, Williams Brothers Joker IPA, being on the bar on Handpump. I also loved the Cromarty Kowabunga American Pale Ale at 4.6%, but as was often the case, am certain this is not my personal list of beers tried, since only one is marked as if tasted - am not a one beer festival trier I must admit.

Overall the range was good - I love Fyne Ales and am certain I had one of each of their two beers, am certain I tried the Loch Lomond Kessog Dark Ale at 5.2%, I now remember enjoying the Tempest Pale Armadillo , as its a cracking brew, and I hope I tried some from the Swannay, Fallen (am certain I did) and Pilot breweries.

The festival featured an address to, stabbing and serving of, the haggis, hence am a little nearer the date it took place. There was still scran available after service from the initial address so myself and Matty both paid for a haggis neeps and tatties each, which given his notorious hunger, I have to admit was quite filling. And I love haggis, so that was a treat as well.

The main reason I am writing this though is that this was one of the last times I saw Badges Andrew, or Badge Hat Andrew. As you may have heard me say previously, after many years of glugging, talking loudly, enthusing, and, alas, producing spittle, he had taken a few years away from the pub scene but made a surprise comeback for a short while, before sadly passing away.

At the fest, he made a memorable impression by, am not sure if drunkenly, performing a dance to the bagpipes pre or during the cutting of the haggis. I think most people knew about his condition, and I have to add - whatever it was, mainly because I never actually asked - and after some initial amusement I think it was actually quite appreciated. I do however remember that he went shortly after that. Myself and Marty meanwhile, had about four pints each and enjoyed them all, and am assuming that in line with normality we finished off in the Shakespeares for a last couple before heading home.

Checking the Hillsborough Hotel Friendache page Here I notice that up until the beginning (the 4th) of May they continued supplying beer for collection - but after that point nothing else has been posted. I tried to find out if the pub and hotel had been sold, using my usual carefulness in looking at a maximum of ten websites, but sadly am still not sure.

Lets hope that the horrendous delay in allowing pubs to reopen ends soon, and sees the Double H reopen, and people once again come through their doors in thirsty glee.


Wee Beefy