I was chatting to a lady in her ’80s (as opposed to most people I know who are stuck in the 1980s). She’d moved from Warsop to the Fens 40 years ago, and still missed the scenery there. I pretended to know the town well, but eventually it dawned on me I’d only actually driven through it on the way to the honeypots of Mansfield Woodhouse and Shirebrook. The good lady was staggered I’d stayed the night in Mansfield to be honest.
If the mining towns of North Notts have generally avoided the Beer Guide over the decades, the area east of Barnsley has been pretty much a real ale desert. Wetherspoons have got places like Wombwell and Mexborough into the Guide, but their investment stopped shy of Sir Geoffrey’s hometown as you enter Wakefield borough.
So I’d never been to Hemsworth. Now I’ve been twice in a month.
But luckily Wetherspoons have rescued the Blue Bell,
and you have to wonder where people went before it opened. It’s so full,perhaps they’ve walked from Grimethorpe.
A real “all human life is here” place, with the sort of banter you just don’t get in Spoons in St Neots or Stamford. This place is so new that it’s not in the Guide yet, but I bet Simon will also be trudging back to Hemsworth sometime in 2018.
That’s Mrs RM’s Abbot being poured below.
She rated it very good, and she knows her beers. She also had a fizzy craft beer just to rub in the fact I was driving. The prices here are some of Spoon’s cheapest, and 1,873 calories of rarebit burger cost about £4.
The real new Beer Guide entry was closed on our first foray, contrary to Beer Guide information. This was the eighth instance of that in January, so I was sanguine.
So I phoned up the folk at Hamelsworde Brewery Tap before attempting a return.
It’s a pleasant little tap, even with just the lone (strong) beer of their own on the bar. I went for the weakest from Derventio, which was OK but an acquired taste, so I bought one of their bottles for Mrs RM as well. She’s lucky to have me.
Pubs aren’t really about beer, of course.What stood out was the variety of customers on a Saturday afternoon. Couples drinking prosecco, girls dolled up for a hen night drinking prosecco, probably blokes in Featherstone Rovers tops on the dreaded Frizzante 1754.
Poached in a pleasant sofa, the only line of conversation I caught was;
“Nobody actually lives in Featherstone” which is very deep and full of hidden meaning.
The nice lady at the bar was happy for me to take photos, probably assuming they would be of handpumps, rather than prosecco glasses and knitted figures (What is it ?).
Towns like Hemsworth have been bastions of proper keg for years, but you only need a dozen or so regular punters to run a micro or Tap like this, so I may get an excuse to visit Fitzwilliam for you in the future.