When I retired I received one of those Red Letter vouchers with a choice of activities involving near brushes with death (go-carting, parachuting, prosecco tasting etc).   They should add some really scary things like “Taking your pint back in the Charlie Chaplin

Our power boating trip on the Thames was a highlight of the year so far, but Mrs RM thought the overnighter at Cropton’s New Inn with brewery tour was a bit tame.  She brightened up when I agreed not to make her walk 15 miles over the Moors to the other Beer Guide tick I was missing.

Cropton is just on the edge of the Moors, so sheep were only a few miles away.  The walk before the brewery tour started helped us decide on our evening meal anyway.

Lamb cutlets
New Inn, Cropton

The New Inn , home of Great Yorkshire Brewing, is a place that’s been just out of reach for many years.  Annoyingly, even my parents had been there.  It really is a classic all-rounder, managing to feel beery and pubby despite a fairly high quality food operation.

You may have noticed I rarely talk about beer itself on this blog. That’s because I have next to no interest in how the pint gets into my hand.  The section on how beer is made in each new Beer Guide is the first one I skip each year.

That lack of beery knowledge made the tour pretty much perfectly pitched for a group of us who could just about name two of the ingredients.

Great Yorkshire’s immaculate modern plant (9 million pints per annum) may disappoint anyone who sneaked into Hook Norton in the ’90s, but an engaging and humorous delivery made up for that.

“What’s the difference between bitter and lager  ?- 50p“.  The problems with London beer and the origins of Fubar, brewed for Tiny Rebel, were also colourfully explained.  That lady (below) knows her beer, and her hops.

Proper Northern pint coming up

After an hour Mrs RM was desperate for a tasting, so it’s just as well that’s how long it lasted. Other folk went for those beer paddles, while we went straight for pints of Pale and Gold (NBSS 4 each).  We tried to convert a lovely couple from Mawdesley to the One True Way, but they were sticking to their thirds.

Cask works best for me in a pint glass, and I also found their keg range improved when decanted from those little tumblers into proper glassware.  We quite enjoyed their keg range, the breadth of which was the major surprise.  Exports are a key part of their business model (Dubai a big customer), and that means keg.

A five mile walk failed to both tick the Blacksmiths Arms or clear the beer.  We did, however, feel it necessary before a rare 3 course tea at the New Inn. Some really excellent food (mussels, lamb, Eton Mess) in a really unfussy atmosphere, and only bettered by an even better breakfast.  Those Yorkies know how to live.

One other observation is that Great Yorkshire have rebranded their range to make it absolutely clear what their beers are like, with some of the clearest pump clips I’ve seen (Dark Star also stand out for this).


  1. I have found the English breakfast in the north, particularly Yorkshire, is generally really good. The sausage and bacon tend to better than in other parts of the country. Without the breakfast there is no way we could pub all day long. We would be in bed by 17:00.


    1. You’re probably right Dave. I rarely have a cooked breakfast anywhere; eggs benedict in a Wetherspoons is my limit.

      I really recommend the English breakfast in Automatic in Bury; you could even visit the Clarence pub that upset Simon Everitt so much over th road !


    2. You are in danger of unleashing some regional arguments here. A proper Cornish breakfast with hogs pudding is a thing of beauty, whilst despite living in the (almost) North for years,I still cannot deal with black pudding.
      In the States, meanwhile, proper corned beef hash in the morning is a constant delight.


    1. Actually it was the Board Inn at Lealholm, but I like your thinking. Have you been to the Birch ? A cast member from Heartbeat handed my Mum her sandwich in there and she still talks about it.


  2. Yes, Dave and I were there last October. We had a beautiful day. It was a great spot to have a pint. We did not visit the Board Inn. although we were in striking distance having traveled south from the A171 to Egton.


      1. Both Manchester and Liverpool were put off for too long. I think this came from our preference for smaller cities, towns and villages. Obviously we learned our preference is not complete after our great visit to Liverpool. We also assumed that Liverpool and Manchester would be similar to London. Boy was that a bad assumption.


      2. I can see why you’d have that though. Big cities with old bits, Victorian pubs, industrial/marine heritage, trendy bits etc. But you haven’t seen the UK till you’ve seen Manchester (and I’m no local).


  3. Yes, it is surprising. Dave has mentioned it many times. The area needs a lot of time dedicated to it. We found the time and are really looking forward to it.


  4. Great write up, always the most annoying person to have visited a GBG pub before me is my Mum, they think they are so clever!!

    I have a Board Inn Lealholm Postcard I can send you if that helps! You can photograph it and pretend you have gone. It has a railway station so you should be fine.

    People drinking thirds in a pub brewery tour or not should be murdered probably.


    1. I think an industrial accident, rather than murder, would go down better with our respective legal advisers Simon.

      As deathbed confessions go, admitting you pretended to go the Board Inn Lealholm is up there.


    2. I have only been on one brewery tour which was round Mansfield brewery on a Sunday morning,it finished at 11am when we were took into the bar,a very large room and it was full,we were given three vouchers for three pints of our choice,i went for Old Bailey and thought i would have to take my time as the bar closed at 12,but things improved when my mate said he only wanted one pint so two more for me,me and other pissheads then went round the room asking if there were any spare vouchers going which there were,i ended up knecking 10 pints of Old Bailey in an hour and a quarter and some other blokes who were lying on the floor said they had had 12 pints.
      I slept on the bus back then had a couple of pints of Shipstones bitter in my local,the wife was not that pleased when i staggered into the house just after 2pm.
      I bet they dont do brewery tours like that these days.


  5. You should get a unicycle or something so as to get pubs in 15 miles over the moors. My parents have also been to Cropton.

    Trackside breakfast does me, especially on early opening days. I dare not risk the influx of twilds or any other unsavoury happening in the Automatic theatre place.

    Dave, while you are in Bury get on a train to Rawtenstall and have a pie in the pub on the railway station. Proper Lancastrian fare. Note that the Metrofarce trams also pick up at a variety of stops in Manchester City centre to take you to Bury.

    Martin, industrial accidents will still get you a compulsory holiday at Her Majesty’s pleasure. The best bet is not to get caught as that way you won’t have to go to gaol at all.


    1. Tom I really think you should be Dick & Dave’s tour guide as you know your way round gastro North.

      I’ll wait to see who corrects “gaol” by the way. It won’t be me.

      Someone will beat me to an industrial pulp if I keep railing against tasters, jamjars and thirds in quiet pubs.


  6. Martin, my technophobia prevents me posting a link, but it is gratifying that Wikipedia has an entry for hogs’ pudding.
    The question of where to put the apostrophe in hog’s/hogs’ is, I will argue, moot.
    “Know”, however, deserves a penance of at least three pints of John Smiths before 10AM in a Spoons you’ve never previously visited.


    1. Martin, the location of the apostrophe will depend on how many hogs are used in the production of the pudding. If it is made from only one hog, then the apostrophe should be between the g and the s, if more than one hog then it should be after the s.

      I think the penance is suitable deterrent against myself committing such offences.


      1. Tom – as a teetotaller, what would be acceptable penance for you ? Are you aware of the Rawtenstall temperance bar ? Four pints of Dandelion and Burdock would be appropriate.


      2. I am aware of the temperance bar. It is difficult to rationally come up with a fair punishment for one’s self, however I’d possibly suggest something involving micropubs without soft drinks being available. Or being forced to watch York City and Grimsby Town videos. Simon is probably the best person to ask for sentencing guidance if ever I am found guilty of an offence.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. May I offer that there should be no apostrophe. It is Hog Pie no matter how many were used? The question I ask is: Are they in it or do they own it? Or maybe Hogs Pie.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. If Spoons sold cask I’d drink it. They served Bass in Ilkeston and it was excellent, as folk drank it in preference to stuff they’d never heard of it (hey, I don’t make the rules about what people drink).


  7. However you deserve one for using the much over-used “myself”, as in “myself and my good lady”.
    Martin, re your 8.42 post, I think in London they call those “artisan/craft breweries” operated by “passionate” people with beards and tattoos.


  8. Also I think it should be “oneself “, Tom. I would suggest you are forced to drink apple & rhubarb presse at £3 per bottle during the remaining hours of daylight.


    1. I deliberated that point with myself when I typed my response. My conclusion was that oneself is a contraction of one’s self and thus both are acceptable.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes Martn it was just after 2am when i staggered into our house and i missed my Sunday dinner,
        Was you one of the blokes lying on the floor after the 12 pints,it must have been a sight with over 300 people in one room and most well pissed and just after 12 Sunday dinner time if you were sober.
        I liked your last post it made me laugh.


      2. Probably not me Alan. Wife and I did spend a very cheap night in one of those market place Mansfield pubs in ’94 (£15 a double if I remember). Basic but the Bitter was one of our favourites back then.


  9. Sorry Martin i meant 2pm in my last post.
    They shut the bar at 12 so local pubs did not miss out on any business,i was on a private coach that was full and it did’nt not take that long to get from Mansfield to Stapleford on a Sunday in the early 90s.


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