Exam results are out today, with my son’s Maths and Sciences results (well done James) reminding me of my own prowess. Physics CSE Grade 4 means I should know there’s water in beer, even if I don’t know whether the notation is h2o or co2.
As should be obvious by now, my lack of analytical powers extends to beers, and I’m slightly bemused my recent post was hijacked for an entertaining analysis of Banks’s Mild (thank you Dave).
My night out in Bewdley gave me the chance to test the Mild close to home territory, and as helpfully noted by Richard, compare handpump and electric pump side-by-side. That’s a challenge I couldn’t resist. As long as there was a curry at the end.
So it was that, after a five hour journey for Dereham in Norfolk, I made my friend Charles walk past a dozen exciting looking pubs to two basic looking locals on the eastern edge of town. The Waggon and Horses is an exemplar community local, with a really good mix of trade, though few takers for a giant bouncy castle.
The interior is typical unmodernised Black Country, but the pleasant garden was the place to be. You can’t underestimate the appeal of a pub garden without food detritus in it. Cobs in the day, carvery on Sunday is a winning formula.
The Mild was chestnut brown, refreshing but a little thin, and reminded me a bit of drinking Mann’s Brown Ale (NBSS 3). I might have felt slightly happier about it if Charles hadn’t been on the Bathams, the pick of a free house with the best from the Marston’s range. To be honest, it looked like half the punters, male and female, were on the Bathams (and no halves either).
The Rising Sun is two minutes away and cut from the same cloth, but daringly offers the Mild on electric pump. I assume the Original is the same as the Mild anyway, and can’t be bothered to research for you.
Served in a giant oversized glass, this looked fuller-bodied and tasted superb (NBSS 4). That suggests to me the brewery are doing their job even if some pubs can’t get the best out of it. I’d have been quite happy to drink this Mild again, though perhaps the lack of competition on the pumps is a factor.
Nothing wrong with Wye Valley, but I suspect the custom here is more loyal to the Mild when the option is Butty Bach than it might be if the option was Bathams.
The pub itself is a smaller version of the Waggon and Horses, only lacking that all-important bouncy castle. It does however add pork pies to the menu (and excellent they are too).
Two great little free houses, full of laughter and beer-drinking on a Wednesday evening, and attractive inside and out. No sign of the craft invasion here.
Two observations on Banks’s Mild. It’s a decent beer if enough people drink it, which of course is true of pretty much every beer nowadays. I bet it’s superb in the Combermere. Further, your perception of your beer is deeply affected by what other folk are enjoying.
We stopped for another Bathams at the Waggon and Horses. It was nectar.
More on Bewdley later.