Regular contributor Malcolm recently requested I do a penance (for questionable apostrophe usage) of three pints of John Smiths before 10am.
I’m sure Malcolm meant JS Smooth, as I’d be quite happy to accept that challenge if the cask was available in any Spoons. Johns cask is still a pint I’d go for given the choice. Unlike Bass, I’ve never seen the cask in Spoons.
Peterborough was historically the southern outpost of Johns in the ’90s, as just one page from Pubs Around ‘Ere (’94) will show. “Working-mens locals” would have been the term back then. Changes in pub ownership, the growth of the Smooth and no doubt other factors (cough,2007, cough) has seen availability of the cask dwindle to a figure close to zero.
The Hand & Heart, almost a southern Roscoe’s Head in terms of style and vulnerability, sadly gave up on their wonderful John Smiths a decade or so ago, which coincidentally is the last time I went in.
CAMRA locally has done a lot to promote the estate pubs where John Smiths used to thrive, and I applaud them for that. The GBG-regular Ploughman in Werrington is the better known for its 10 (ten !) regular beers, but even a pub like the nearby Dragon serving Directors and Bombardier is better than no pub at all.
My Aunt’s local in Stanground is the 18th Century Woolpack, 2016 branch pub of the year. If she wasn’t teetotal I’m sure she’d enjoy its LocAles, bants and riverside views.
I made for the 1950s Heron down the road. Beautiful JS insignia, but of couse no Johns. It’s like those houses that convert the last pub in a village into a home for Range Rovers but leave the old pub sign up in the drive.
This is a proper estate pub, with signs unchanged since the ’70s, music unchanged since the ’70s and children of the ’70s (that’s me). Shame the Ryder Cup was on really.
3pm opening for professional drinkers, of which there were none at 3.15, so I can’t really comment on the atmosphere. It’s a proper pub though, with all the CAMRA symbols except food, which is the best one for a pub not to have. The yellow curtains were not to Mrs RM’s taste, though the pub itself was spotless, and much to mine.
The Tydd Steam was cellar cool and clear as a bell, whatever that means. All of my Peterborough ticks have scored very similar marks for quality (NBSS 3.5 here).
Sadly, I was too early for the Gourmet Chinese takeaway on this dining occasion.