Yesterday I had one of the great half-hours in a pub in unsung Newtown. Until the Wi-Fi died I wrote it up in the new and very decent Wetherspoons, which is as far from the Railway Tavern in feel as it’s possible to get.
The Railway has an unprepossessing exterior straight from the Welsh Valleys, in contrast to the impressive buildings round the corner.
On my first visit on a busy Saturday afternoon three years ago something clicked with me, making this a place I’ve long wanted to return to. I thought I’d missed my chance today as I left the station after the 2pm the Beer Guide declared to be closing time.
The venerable Eileen, however, wasn’t turning down custom, or chat, and stayed open long enough for me to enjoy the beer of the year, a Salopian Bends (NBSS 4.5). Salopian have swiftly established themselves as one of my favourite brewers this year, though of course they rely on proper pubs like this to deliver their beer at its best.
Almost as good was the Worthington’s, the pub’s cask mainstay that I remembered with affection. It’s no Bass, but an easy drinking classic. On a busier lunchtime I’d have drunk it in the classic bench seating, but when you’re invited to chat you sit at the bar (yes I know what I said last week).
I won’t betray Eileen’s confidences, but she clearly adores good beer, likes the CAMRA folk (a rarity I’m finding !) and knows the importance of a clean public house. I coud have chatted to her all day.
This is a small pub, but there’s a lot going on, all of it good if often irreverent. I have no idea what on earth is on that second-from-top shelf below.
QUIZ TIME – Inevitably I have to ask, what is that ?
The red banquettes, “décor”, flowers and sensible beer range reminded me very much of Leighton Buzzard’s Red Lion, but the quality of the beer and the pubby chat just edge the Railway in front.
Newtown does at least retain it’s railway station, but a budget hotel of any variety could turn this into a genuine beery short break territory. Along with that good Spoons (Woods Parish NBSS 3) there’s Monty’s tap, the Sportsman. May Elileen and Dave never retire though.