DEEP SLADE DARK BY THE GOWER

We were on the home strait now, with a last Welsh stop in Gowerton on the edge of Swansea. Two minutes off the M4,unless you’ve got a tall campervan in which case it’s twenty minutes to avoid the railway bridge.

The bikes came off the back for the first time Caernarfen but oddly only I had no takers to accompany me to another pub high on my target list.

Follow the disused railway line

It was a perfect four mile route, magically flat for the most part and with an attractive rust coloured gulley of water on either side for company.

Proper flat cycle paths

 

NB On the return, I managed to do something for the first time ever, and felt pathetically proud of myself.  What was it ?

At 5pm the Railway was already packed with professional drinkers inside, and a fair few professional lycra wearers tying up their posh bikes outside.

It’s not a pub you’d take your Mum to for Sunday lunch perhaps (unless you were Simon Everitt), but somehow all the more welcoming for that.

Disused Railway line pubs No. 1

I saw plenty of traditional looking pubs on the Welsh tour, with good boozing atmosphere and a fair bit of local beer.  The  Railway Inn is just an exemplar of that formula.

Stick to the Swansea
Classic seating

 

The rooms are quite small, and the taproom already full, but I felt this was the place to enjoy a dark beer in the sun.  Deep Slade Dark is a favourite beer name, and this was almost as good (NBSS 3.5) as I remembered in the equally good Joiners Arms up the road.

Plastic seating and pot plants

The ride up the hill into Killay central was a bit tougher, and the Village Inn a slight anti-climax.  Pubs in 1970s suburban shopping precincts can be very good, but this felt a marginal Beer Guide entry with limited take-up of the Pride (not drinking well) and Landlord.  Pleasant 1980s interior though.

Not a Chinese takeaway either

 

I can’t vouch for beer quality, but it did surprise me to see so few Brains houses in the Beer Guide this year, especially west of Cardiff.  The two in Gowerton looked pretty decent, but perhaps like Batemans, Palmers, Arkells and Wadworths they’re taken for granted now.

 

58 thoughts on “DEEP SLADE DARK BY THE GOWER

  1. As you seem a jolly decent chap, and you were on your return journey, I am going to propose that you urinated on a public cycleway for the first time as my quiz answer. I truly hope I am right otherwise I may be stuffed.

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      1. I have often wondered whether some of the perpetrators in Grimsby think they are providing public entertainment.

        Did you pull a wheelie on your bicycle? I’m struggling to think of many plausible answers for what you could do on a cycle journey.

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      2. I don’t think you have actually said that you cycled back. Did you take your pushbike on an omnibus for the first time? I would have suggested a train, but Gowerton looks closer to Killay than Swansea does so that seems unlikely.

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      3. I haven’t been on a bicycle since I fell off as a small child and landed on a bee, which promptly stung me. I have considered happenings involving punctures, but given the good quality surface that seems unlikely. It would need to be quite late at night this time of year, but is it possibly something to do with riding in the dark without catapulting yourself by hitting a small obstacle?

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  2. Many CAMRA branches (not mine) really take against the family brewer tied houses nowadays, putting choice ahead of consistent quality.

    Having said that, a lot of Brains pubs now are *very* foody. They are deliberately buying up high-profile pubs with a strong food trade across South and Mid Wales.

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  3. Railway looks like a really nice pub. I know when I ride I track whether or not I am passed by other riders. I take a silly pride in not being passed. Was this your first ride completed without being over taken by a more aggressive biker?

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  4. As one who has been passed by a rollerblader, I also know what Dave means. RM, you did not by chance pedal the whole way without gliding?

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      1. You are definitely not the first to state that. It still gave me a quite a chuckle! But, was my answer in the right neighborhood?

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      2. One more kick to my own backside due to my participation in this conversation will be par for the course. I shall keep thinking.

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  5. I’m fairly certain the Railway at Killay, was a pub I visited whilst staying at a nearby caravan park. I wasn’t able to cycle there though, as my leg was in plaster following a motor-bike accident!

    This would have been back in the early 1980’s, when the pub belonged to Bass subsidiary, Welsh Brewers. From memory the Hancock’s HB was quite drinkable. The decor looks vaguely familiar, but shame about the faded pub sign, with the paint all peeling off!

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  6. On a completely different note, at least two of us are curious about two answers. The questions are: what are the views of Banks’s Mild? And in the Manchester area, especially Stockport, is one likely to find it?

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    1. I’d say it’s an easy drinking beer I often choose over the Bitter in high-volume Black Country pubs (especially Wolverhampton).

      Pub Curmudgeon can correct me, but I haven’t come across it in Stockport or the few Marstons pubs in central Manchester, perhaps more likely towards the Derbyshire Dark Peak.

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      1. I don’t think now you’re likely to find it anywhere outside the traditional Banks’s heartland. Probably Stafford is the nearest to Stockport.

        In the late 80s, Banks’s made an ill-fated foray into Manchester, and Mild was certainly available then, but those pubs have now mostly closed, or in some cases been rebranded as Marston’s. I vaguely remember the Station at Cheadle (now Cheshire Line Tavern) being a Banks’s pub, but apart from that I don’t think they ever had any pubs in Stockport.

        I can’t say I’ve drunk enough of it to be able to pass a definitive verdict – it’s not one of those beers like Draught Bass that leaps off the bar at you. Pleasant, easy-drinking and unremarkable is probably a fair verdict. The mid-brown colour is similar to the now-defunct Hydes “ordinary” Mild. My last tasting was (I think) in the Manor Arms at Rushall last year.

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  7. All previous milds I have had were quite dark. I had this at the London in Llandudno. The color and taste quite surprised me. I have asked Mr. Pattinson for his thoughts even though I may not understand them😄 I liked the beer and would like to try it again. As often happens the change surprised me enough that I really didn’t register things as well as I should have.

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    1. Robinsons’ now-defunct Hatters Mild/1892 was a light mild of normal “bitter” colour, and considerably paler than Banks’s. Hyde’s 1863 and Taylor’s Golden Best are two surviving examples of cask light milds, and Sam Smith’s brew a 2.8% keg light mild that is sold in some of their pubs at a bargain price. £1.40 a pint, I think, in the Boar’s Head in Stockport.

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      1. I have not seen the Hydes, but I have had Golden Best. Perhaps I should be embarrassed; I did not even realize it was a mild. I did look at their website and at a high level they describe it as a pale ale. In the details they refer to it as a mild. Quite a bit lighter than the Banks.

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    2. Dark Mild is a modern thing. All Mild was pale before about 1890, then some started turning darker, but not the dark brown of most Milds today. Betweeen the wars there were loads of Milds the colour of Banks. Barclay Perkins Milds as brewed were about that colour, but were also sometimes coloured darker at racking time. By the 1950’s, London Milds were dark brown but ones in most of the rest of the country were paler.. Sometimes a Baks-type colour, sometimes as pale as Bitter.

      I’ve posted a lot about Mild colour on my blog recently:

      http://barclayperkins.blogspot.nl/search/label/Mild

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      1. So, just to confirm, you do view the Banks’s Mild as a reminder of what milds were like from the mid war period? I did read your articles which were interesting. I wasn’t sure where the Banks Mild fit in with the history you wrote. Thanks for your comments.

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      2. Tetley Mild, which is still brewed by Banks’s, but which I haven’t see for ages, used to be a mid-brown beer of similar hue to Banks’s, or maybe just a little darker.

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  8. While Dave is asking for important details about Banks’s Mild for us, I will offer one more quiz answer. You maintained a rate of speed above 20 mph for the trip back. I think that must be your bike outside the Village Inn, a hybrid style. A road bike may have made my guess 25 mph.

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      1. I know well enough that you give clues in your responses, and I should have paid more attention to the word chain.

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    1. Wish you could have heard me laugh just then Richard ! Yes, Boring Brown Ditchwater.

      You’re from Yorkshire,you must wear cycle. What might I have done on my ride. Put Tom out of his misery.

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  9. I used to live just down the road from these two pubs, in Hendrefoilan Student Village (which I believe is now a housing estate). The Railway is an excellent pub, but one I sadly only discovered after I’d moved out of the area. As I recall, the rear room is packed full of old railway memorabilia, including lots relating to the old line that ran past the pub – now the excellent cycle path you followed.
    Bizarrely, I also have distinct memories of that stream in your second picture. It used to be bright orange in colour and as a student we were dragged down there by sadistic lecturers to do various tests on the water quality – I think the colour comes from nearby disused mines (copper?) and other such industry.
    As for the quiz question, I’m going to guess that your chain came off and you managed to get it back on without stopping/dismounting.

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    1. Copper makes sense. I can imagine I’d have been fascinated by muddy water like that as a boy.

      My chain did come off. I stopped behind the toilets half-way, had a good cry and put it back on by accident, the first chain I’ve ever put back on.

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      1. Please may I publicly thank Pubsignman for getting the quiz answer and putting me out of my misery. If I could transmit a pint through the comments section I would send you one. I would say though that I feel I was quite close in guessing puncture and just getting the wrong technical fault. I should have just said that you suffered technical difficulties.

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      2. Pubsignman guessed I changed the chain without stopping; I’d never changed the chain before. That’s like guessing I overtook Chris Froome when I actually overtook a stationery pensioner. I just paid a 15 year old in chocolate to fix it for me.

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  10. Re Tetley Mild, there were two milds brewed at Warrington 25 years ago. The eponymous product was light brown but in 1989/90 they launched a dark mild for the parts of the North West which wanted that sort of liquid.
    Confusingly they then had to produce a further mild when Greenalls exited brewing and Allied Breweries picked up the brewing contract for Greenalls brands.
    Back to Banks Mild, the distinguishing characteristic for me is the sweetness rather than the colour, a pretty horrible product IMHO.

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    1. It’s not a beer I regularly come across but I’ve never felt that bad about it Malcolm. I’m in Bewdley on Wednesday so will definitely have a pint of Mild in the Waggon & Horses and blog about it.

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      1. According to the Waggon and Horses website, Bewdley has a 2016 Olympic participant. There’s a conversation starter! Also, a bit down the road at the Rising Sun, Banks’s Mild is on electric dispense. I know there are many variables involved, but I cannot help but wonder how they would compare.

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      1. I’m a fairly traditional bitter man, or stout/porter in the Autumn and Winter, and the occasional citrus IPAs. Sweet and thin are anathema to me I’m afraid.

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      2. I, too am an English bitter man and can enjoy a porter/stout in any season. American overhopped IPAs are anathema to me, but I enjoy many IPAs brewed in the UK.

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  11. I have to have a beer multiple times to make a decision that it is a “bad” product. I only had this mild one time. I also like to factor in the type of beer it is purportedly trying to be. In this case I found RP’s comments interesting. I have never had a mid war mild prior to this one. Since I have only had one of this type, I can’t really make a style judgment about the beer. This fact is part of what makes this beer intriguing to me. I agree the beer is sweet. I like a lot of sweet beers: American Scotch Ales and Milk Stouts. Sweet for me does not equate to a bad product. I thought the beer had body, nice color and a distinct flavor. It was easy drinking. As someone who lives in heavy hops country I found it a nice change! I really look forward to your posting. I really look forward to trying the beer again sometime. Thanks for all the comments on this topic. I have had a lot of fun reading and learning from them.

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  12. I don’t wish to sound like I have a downer on Bank’s ( or Marstons, more accurately ) but to me it’s the combination of sweetness and lack of body which doesn’t work. Sweeter beers are characteristic of the Black Country and some authorities (not least Tandleman) swear by the likes of Bathams, but for me the sweetness needs to be balanced by body and potentially other flavours,moor example chocolate or coffee in stouts and porters.
    Examples which spring to mind are Titanic Capuccinno stout and Dark Star Espresso.

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    1. I did not take your comment as a downer on Banks. I was just curious on the details of why you thought what you wrote. I appreciate the extra detail as to what you think. I have fun with these opinions.

      To quote a what a wise beer lover once said to me, “it is a bit subjective at a certain point.” I tend to agree with this viewpoint. I know I can be subjective myself from day to day. I try not to be too doctrinaire in my views:) Not sure that always comes across in blog posts.

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