Years Back - England part 2

November 10 - December 13
More beer. So many beers, such a short winter. All these Real Ales went down my throat in the last month.
  • Abbey Ales Chorister
  • Ansell's Mild - Dark mild.
  • Archers Best - Creamy and bland.
  • Archer's Ghost Train - Black mild.
  • Badger Tanglefoot
  • Badger Festive Feasant. ESB 4.5%.
  • Bartrams Captain's Stout - 4.0%.
  • Draught Bass
  • Beowulf Finn's Hall Porter. Quite a smokey accent. 4.7%
  • Blackdown Ditch Water - Made special for the Canal Inn in Wrantage.
  • Black Sheep Special Ale - Last pint in cask. Was fruity and old. Barman resisted my suggestion that it was bad. Won't be back there.
  • Brakespear Bitter.
  • Branscome Vale Branoc
  • Burton Bridge Thomas Sykes - Barley wine. Alcoholic and sharp. Not matured. Still, it went down quickly. 10.0%
  • Butcombe Bitter - Quite bitter.
  • Butcombe Double Header - Was off and immediately replaced by another beer.
  • Caledonian Santa's Little Helper - Almost black. Malty start with balanced finish.
  • Cotleigh Barn Owl - "Premium ale". Caramel. Good balance to the malty side. 4.5%.
  • Cotleigh Tawny Bitter - 3.8%.
  • Courage Best
  • Courage Directors
  • Crouch Vale Brewers Gold - Champion Beer of Britain at the 2005 GBBF. This is simply an American IPA. They say "honey-toned golden ale with grapefruit sharpness offest by suggestions of melon and pineapple". 4.0%. (D)
  • Exe Valley Bitter - All-around light. 3.7%.
  • Exe Valley Devon Bitter - Rich, almost winey. Thick mouthfeel. Plenty of balancing hops. 4.7%.
  • Flowers IPA
  • Frankton Red Oak.
  • Fuller's Chiswick Ale
  • Fuller's London Pride
  • Gwatkin Blakeney Red Perry. Hazy, almost greenish. Very tart coating on teeth and tongue.
  • Gwatkin Stoke Red Cider.
  • Glastonbury Black As Yer At. Black roasty stout. 4.3%.
  • Glastonbury Hedgemonkey
  • Goffs Camelot - Malty sweet with plum notes. 4.9%.
  • Highgate Old Ale - Dark brown dark-fruity. Excellent.  5.3%
  • Hook Norton 303AD - Their new ordinary bitter. Short, clean aftertaste. 4.0%
  • Hook Norton Double Stout - Lighter body than many. Chocolatey.
  • Hook Norton Old Hooky - Made with crystal malt. 4.6%.
  • Hook Norton Treason Tipple - 5.0%.
  • Hook Norton Twelve Days - Dark, rich porter. Tending to the sweet end.
  • Hop Back Odyssey Best Bitter
  • Hop Back Pickled Santa - Best of show winter ale. Lots of ruit, malt, and alcohol. 6.0%.
  • Hydes' Inspiration - 4.7%.
  • Jenning's Sneck Lifter - Bitter coffee bean finish in back of throat. Not roasted. 5.1%. That's a sneck over there to the right. The bar that's lifted to open a latch.
  • Lamb & Flag 450th Anniversary Ale - Brewed by Palmers. Nice bitter. Slightly richer than Palmer's Bitter.
  • Loddon Ferryman's Gold - Styrian Goldings hops. Quite like an American IPA. Cascadey hoppiness.
  • Loddon Hocus Pocus - Almost black. Very malty. Too thin to be a stout though. 4.5%.
  • Marston Bitter
  • Marston Owd Rodger - Strong ale. Nicely married. Fully malty with lots of balance. 7.6%.
  • Marston Pedigree
  • Millstone Three Shires - 4.0%.
  • Mole's Rucking Mole - 4.5%.
  • North Cotswold Blitzen - Winter Warmer. "Everything that goes into a Christmas pudding is in this beer except eggs, flour, and a sixpence". Very complex. Sultanas, plums, spices. 6.0%.
  • North Cotswold Hung, Drawn, and Portered - Treacle porter. Very black. 5.0%.
  • North Cotswold Stour Stout
  • North Cotswold Winter Solstice - Very sweet. 4.5%.
  • O'Hanlon's Port Stout - Light taste and full body.
  • Old Swan Christmas Cracker - Very strong. Edges. Excellent barley wine normally sold only at their tap house on Christmas day but evidently some casks held back for festivals. 10.5%
  • Otter Bitter - 3.6%.
  • Otter Mason's Ale - Brewed special for Mason's Arms in Branscombe.
  • Oxford Ales Marshmellow - Off.
  • North Cotswold Winter Solstice
  • Palmer's Bitter.
  • RCH Santa Fe - Brown porty bittersweet winter warmer. 7.3%.
  • RCH Steming Santa. Golden Ale. 4.5%.
  • Ramsbury Bitter - 3.6%.
  • Ridley's Rumpus Thick, creamy, sweet, malty. 4.5%. Ridleys has been taken over by Greene King and the original brewery closed but this is still fine stuff.
  • Ridley's Old Bob - Caramelly and vineous. 5.1%.
  • Robinson's Robin - Watery. 4.5%.
  • Ruddles Orchard - Apple fruitiness. 4.2%.
  • Sharp's Doombar - First pull of the day. Decidedly sharp. 4.0%.
  • Sharp's Own - Smooth. A+ stuff.
  • Stanway Lords a Leaping - Seasonal. Dark roasty ESB. Served from a tight sparkler.
  • Stanway Superior
  • Teginworthy Old Moggie - "Under Brewer Ale" 4.4%.
  • Thatcher's Heritage Cider
  • Theakston Mild
  • Theakston Old Peculier - Ruby. Milder than in the bottle but the same flavor.
  • Thwaites Liberation.
  • Timothy Taylor Landlord
  • Titanic Last Porter Call - Effervescent. Black like a porter but very light. 4.9%
  • Titanic Wreckage - Incredibly complex fruity winter ale with citric and nut notes. 7.2%. (D).
  • Triple FFF Brewery Gilbert White - A bit smokey which was unexpected in a golden ale. 6.0%. (D).
  • Triple FFF Brewery Stairway to Heaven - Light color with lots of Styrian Goldings giving it a floral NW US style. 4.6%.
  • Uley Pigs Ear - Made with German lager malt.
  • Ushers Winter Storm - Not a winter warmer unfortunately. 4.4%
  • Vale Haddas Winter Solstice - Off. (W).
  • Wadworth 6X - "from the wood". Much longer finish than from aluminum.
  • White Horse Xmas Ale - Darkish red. Well done. Very flavorful ale. 4.8%. (W).
  • Wickwar Cotsold Way
  • Williams Red - Malty. 4.5%.
  • Wizard Apprentice - Creamy mouthfeel. Fresh wort taste. Light alcohol but not a mild. 3.6%.
  • Wizard Druids Fluid - Dark red. 5%.
  • Wizard Mother-in-law - 4.2%.
  • Wizard One for the Toad - Golden Ale. 4.0%
  • Wood's Bonfire Brew - Dark, sharp, caramel, sticky sweet, still hoppy.
  • Wye Valley Butty Bach - Nice ESB. 4.5%.
  • Wye Valley Bitter - Quite bitter.
  • Wye Valley Dorothy Goodbody's Golden Ale
  • Wye Valley Hereford Pale Ale - 4.0%
  • Young's Bitter
  • Young's Champion
  • Young's Christmas Pudding - Lots and lots of plum, raisin. Some cherry. Cakey. 5.5%.
  • Young's Kew Brew - Hops from Kew Gardens.
  • Young's Special London Ale - Very very good. Rich dark. 4.7%.
  • Young's St. George's English Ale - Stronger ale. 5.5%.
  • Young's Waggledance - Honey comes through. Golden ale.
  • Young's Winter Warmer - 5.0%.
  • Welstones Cloudy Cider - Made for 60 years.
  • Weston's Old Rosie Cider. Tongue and lip drying. A cloudy scrumpy. 7.3%.
  • Black Rat Cider - Didn't catch the producer's name though.
  • Julian Temply Cider Brandy - Distilled apple cider. Known as Calvados elsewhere. Very strong alcohol. Very little apple.

More pubs:
  • Alderton - Gloucestershire - Gardener's Arms
  • The Barringtons - Gloucestershire - Inn for All Seasons*- 16th century coaching inn. Beers from the wood (of course wood casks now imply plastic liners.
  • Beer - Devon (Yes, there's a town named Beer)
    - Dolphin Hotel
    - Anchor Inn
    - Barrel O' Beer
  • Bretforton - Worcestershire - Fleece* - National Historic Trust building.
  • Branscomb - Devon - Mason's Arms* - Deven CAMRA Food Pub of the year.
  • Broadway - Worcestershire
    - Crown & Trumpet* - North Gloucestershire Pub of the Year, 2004.
    - Lygon Arms
  • Broadwell - Gloucestershire- Fox Inn* - Donnington BB is £1.90, cheapest we've seen.
  • Brockhampton - Gloucestershire - Craven Arms (bad name).
  • Burdrop - Oxfordshire (unfortunate town name)
    - Bishop Blaize* - Came in just as a wake was starting.
  • Burford - Oxfordshire
    - Cotswold Arms - Jazz pub with music on Monday and Wednesday.
    - Royal Oak* - Wadworth pub that was out of beer on all four taps on a Monday.
  • Charlbury - Oxfordshire
    - Rose & Crown* - 6 real ales, 4 change every week.
  • Charleton - Oxfordshire
    - Tite Inn* - North Oxford CAMRA Pub of the year. £5 dinners on Wednesdays.
  • Chedworth - Gloucestershire - Seven Tuns*
  • Cheltenham - Gloucestershire
    - Kelham Brewery* (not a brewpub).
  • Chipping Norton - Oxfordshire
    - The Blue Boar
    - The Chequers*
    - Stones - Complete with wifi!
  • Churchill - Oxfordshire - The Chequers
  • Cirencester - 12 Bells* - 6 taps always with 6 guest ales.
  • Ford - Gloucestershire - The Plough*
  • Great Rissington - The Lamb
  • Great Tew - Oxfordshire - Falkland Arms.
  • Great Wolford - Oxfordshire
    - Fox and Hound* - Quiz nights on Wednesday. 100+ whiskies available.
  • Gretton - Goucestershire - Royal Oak - Free house full of yuppies.
  • Ilmington - Warwickshire
    - Howard Arms* - Food pub: quail, squid, hummus, honey poached figs.
  • Little Barrington - Gloucestershire - The Fox
  • Long Borrough - Gloucestershire - Coach & Horses.
  • Lower Oddington - Gloucestershire - The Fox
  • Moreton-in-Marsh - Gloucestershire - Bell Inn - Town center pub that was a 200 year old coaching in. 6 handpulls.
  • Northleach - Gloucestershire - Red Lion
  • Oxford - Oxfordshire
    - Angel & Greyhound* - Young's pub.
    - Eagle & Child - A hangout for J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.
    - Lamb & Flag*
  • Salford Hill - Oxfordshre - Cross Hands
  • Sedgeberrow - Worcestershire - Queen's Head - Renovated and all new inside.
  • Shilton - Oxfordshire - Rose & Crown
  • Shipton-under-Wychwood - Oxfordshire
    - The Shaven Crown* - 700 year old inn. Very busy on weekends.
    - Swan Inn
  • Stretton on Fosse - Warwickshire
  • Todenham - Worcestershire - Farriers Arms - New landlords a week ago.
  • Upper Oddington - Gloucestershire - Horse & Groom
  • Whichford - Oxfordshire
    - Norman Knight* - Home of Wizard Ales (below).
  • Winchcombe - Gloucestershire - The Corner Cupboard - Friendly laid back local.
  • Withington - Gloucestershire - Puesdown Inn - Came in just as a fox hunt was ending.
  • Woodstock - Oxfordshire
    - Bear Hotel
    - Star Inn - High street pub.
    - Woodstock Social Club
  • Wrantage - Somerset - Canal Inn* Somerset CAMRA Pub of the year.
* CAMRA Good Beer Guide pub.

The Barrel O-Beer - Beer, Devon.
Bad name. Good pub.

Fleece - Bretforton, Worcestershire.
National Historic Trust building. Low ceilings.
Ever-changing selection from 6 handpulls.

Keith has reportedly been at the bar at the Fleece since the building was built.

The Tite Inn- Charlington, Oxfordshire.
Tite is an old word for a spring (water coming from the ground).

Howard Arms - Ilmington, Warwickshire.
The home of the Morris Dancers.

The Plough - Ford, Gloucestershire.

Seven Tuns - Chedworth, Gloucestershire.

Moreton-in-Marsh - a Marston's pub.

Fox - Broadwell.

The Star Inn - Woodstock, Oxfordshire.

In November the powers that be in England decided to allow pubs to be open anytime they wanted. No more national closing time. The TV news went nuts. "There will be binge drinking. Rioting in the streets. Loutish behavior at 3am. The jails will be full." Of course that didn't happen. Local councils still had to approve extended opening times and in rural areas that just isn't going to happen.
A couple of hundred pubs applied for 24-hour openings and a few thousand for longer opening - many of them asked to open earlier than the 11am standard. Only one pub in this neck of the woods even asked for later closing - 1am (11pm is the norm).

Hook Norton brewery is picturesque - and smells good since they empty the used grain into the white tank in front of the building to be loaded onto a truck. Yum. It's a Victorian brewery run by a steam engine located in the middle of the ground floor. Pullys and belts run the paddles, pumps, etc. and the steam supplies all the heat. The steam below is coming through the ever-open cupola slats above the hot liquor tank.

Local deliveries by horse-drawn dray.

There's a small museum also but the maltings are gone.

This is a capping glove, used to screw on caps. A repetitive strain injury just waiting to happen.

For some reason I like taking pictures of wort chillers.

John Pilling owns another brewery in the area, the North Cotswold Brewery on the south border of Warwickshire, which he bought just a year ago. With a 10-bbl system, he produces Pig Brook session ale and a seasonal beer each month. In 2006 he hopes to market 20 different beers for the 50 pubs that carry his beers as guest ales on their hand-pulls.
NCB recently got permission for off-license sales (carryout) from his tasting room and Jon bottles some of each of his beers for this purpose.
Coming up are a lactose stout, a smoked maple porter, a nut brown, an American IPA with Chinook and Willamette hops, and Bumblebeer - a honey ale.
The 4.5% Winter Solstice is now on tap and is a almost black, quite sweet beer. Blitzen winter warmer at 6% is just out and Resolution at 4% which has a very raisiny aroma.
The hops he usually uses are dwarf varieties grown in Hereford that are so new they don't have names yet. Each batch is named after the person who picked them.

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