Visiting the Good Beer Guide is a total joy, of course, but some of the pubs have been more keenly anticipated than others. That anticipation is rarely about the number of handpumps or the historic interior; weirdness and inaccessibility score much higher.
The Sixpenny Brewery Tap was one such place last year (see opening hours), and Frasers Bar on the Isle of Cumbrae is nagging away since Simon Everitt visited it last month. I think I went there on our visit to Millport years ago but can’t be sure…
Yesterday I got to Anchor, nearly two years after its eponymous pub appeared in the Beer Guide for the first time. It’s very beautiful.
If Clun is remote, I can’t do justice to Anchor. There seemed to be just the pub, a bridge, and the campsite. Wiki says “Two new houses were constructed in the early 2010s near the Anchor Inn, increasing the size of the settlement somewhat”.
I’ve been on the B4368 from Clun to Newtown, and the oddest thing is that the pub hasn’t featured in the Guide before. Either the long-term owners have only just discovered how to serve a pint or Shrewsbury CAMRA just assumed it was closed (joking). It’s a lot closer to Montgomeryshire CAMRA’s stronghold in Newtown, whose members are more likely visitors.
I’d phone ahead to check they were actually opening at 7pm, cross-referencing that to the Guide and WhatPub. Oddly, the Anchor survives without website, Facebook and Twitter “presence”. It does have a chalkboard at the entrance which details the marmalade.
The last time I’d been so nervous was on 13 May 2012. I tried the door at 7pm, walked round the block, talked to some sheep, and then noticed movement inside. Frankly, I was slightly terrified, and glad I was there in daylight.
It was wonderful, but I bet Mrs RM would have thought otherwise (she was safely at home eating pizza in our local Greene King pub). Rather skilfully I feel, WhatPub calls it “underinvested”.
I’m choosing my words here; anyone who visited and loved the Hop Pole in Risbury ,or the Horse & Trumpet in Medbourne in the ’90s would feel their spirit in the Anchor. I found it very homely and lived in, but I’m a man. I enjoyed Snowshill Manor too.
The only problem with homely pubs like this is that you’d feel daft sitting in the attractive bench seating when you’re the only person there, and with no casual food trade* you haven’t any real activity apart from chat. Which is fine.
This visit wasn’t really about the beer, but the Clun Pale looked and tasted immaculate (NBSS 3.5) despite questionable levels of turnover. The landlord was drinking that too and knew his beer. He was very good company, with an interesting life (in Sutton Coldfield !) before moving to the quietest place on earth.
I left after half an hour, passing a replacement customer outside the Gents, which are something to behold. And by that, I don’t mean they’re like the ones in the Philharmonic.
Time to hit the road.
*THE BIG QUESTION – “Meals may be prepared for groups of four”. Has anyone (ever) eaten here ?