I get to drink at some wonderful places and write about them on this blog; the King’s Head, Boar’s Head and North Riding are going to make June’s Pub of the Month selection as tough as the 1994 Matt le Tissier Goal of the Year contest.
They were all overdue revisits, and finding new GBG ticks gets harder as the Guide years wears on, as Pubmeister Duncan will confirm.
For fans of pink maps, this shows the counties I’ve completed in GBG17.
Kent, Hampshire, Worcs, Herefords and Salop only need a lone tick too, so the nearest batches of pubs that make an overnighter worthwhile are getting further and further away.
Which means I find myself doing a few “normal” pubs that “normal” people go to.
Folk who drink weirdly named beers from the bottle at home in their underpants will never know the joy of a weirdly tasting pint of Black Sheep in the corporatised shell that is “Table Table“, Whitbread’s apology for a pub attached to its Newark Premier Inn.
Our excuse for a visit, only the second ever by a beer blogger following Alan’s disappointing visit last year (here), was Mrs RM’s foot, which made a hop from our campervan site into Newark proper a hop too far.
The Roman Way, named after a 1960s Nottinghamshire dance craze, was once a Brewster where my eldest son was terrified by Brewster the Bear (he was 3).
Brewster sadly went the way of all fur, and the Roman Way is now an identikit family dining venue; the KCOM Stadium of modern pubs.
Hotel bar with TVs to the left, modern diner to the right.
Being attached to a budget hotel, you get the company you’d expect at 10pm.
- Two German businessmen drinking cooking lager and arguing
- A family group drinking Stella and Rekorderlig
- Three females friends on their 3rd bottle of Prosecco
- Some real oddballs
- A pub blogger’s wife
The beer selection was a bit wider than expected as well. I vaguely recalled Tetley a decade or so ago; now we had veritable riches;
Mrs RM noticed the Brew Dog before I did. I would have liked her to have the Doom Bar, for research, but that was never going to happen.
Cask is a lottery; when you win you win big. My Black Sheep, the closest to a localish beer, was what Booking.com call “Passable” when referring to a hovel. It was, at least, cool, but Mrs RM said it smelt funny and tasted of chemicals, and so it did. NBSS 1.5.
You never lose with a Punk IPA. Or a Kingpin, which Mrs RM swiftly followed up with.
This may sound like a dreadful night and a waste of £11.60 to you. But it wasn’t. If we’d listened to Radio 5 in our campervan I’d have missed the wonderful conversation between our female trio.
I’d forgotten how great it was to go down the pub to slag off your new boss (Helen); it almost made me miss office life. But the highlight was the discussion of Christmas plans (for American readers : “The Holidays”). In June.
“I take the 2 days off before Christmas to make the turkey sandwiches we take to Sandringham to eat in the car on Christmas Day. OMG, last year we saw them getting out the car to go in the church. Darren said whatever happened, BEHAVE”
(I needn’t tell you that Newark folk have a bad time of it when they don’t behave in rural Norfolk).
“Where’s Sandringham ?”
“You could ‘ave watched it on Sky, Gail” (She sounded like Gail Tilsley).
“It’s not the same as seeing the Royals in the flesh though, is it ?”
Suddenly, Mrs RM broke the spell.
“Can you hear what those Germans are on about !”
Two great pub conversations running simultaneously, and I pick the wrong one.
Suddenly we realised we were hungry. The Table Table menu was vastly overpriced and we shared a KFC meal for one next door. We know how to live.
NB And yes, they did call me M’duck. Worth going in just for that.