Oh look ! Proper football fans. In a proper pub.
Last Tuesday was the first time I’d seen Cambridge away since a 2-2 at Welling in 2013 better remembered for the Door Hinge than the game. A four year gap between watching your hometown team away is shameful, and with two GBG ticks near the Memorial Stadium I really had no excuse this time.
You’ll notice I walked the two miles there and back from our Premier Inn. Worth the detour for the stunning artwork in St Pauls,
and some equally impressive dead pubs (I think).
Just into Horfield, ten minutes from the Rovers “ground”,the Sportsman a.k.a. Annexe didn’t, on the face of it, look like a GBG certainty.
Yes folks, that was the selection.
I’d just asked for a half of Atlantic when I casually asked “This is the Annexe, isn’t it ?”
“No mate, that’s in the yard”
And so it was. A little real ale paradise, albeit a bit of a blokey one. I do hope Simon goes to the wrong one.
The Bathams was pulled through into the mayo pot (hopefully not the first of the day at 7pm) and was surprisingly good (NBSS 4). In fact this place could have been the Waggon & Horses transported from Halesowen. With a quid added on the prices.
It still felt like the sort of pub you might build yourself in a shed, or the sort of add-on a small brewery constructs as their tap for weekend sales.
Continuing a long run of non-traditional Bristol pubs, just up the road was the new micro, packed with home fans (and a bloke doing office work, oddly).
It looks like a micro, has micro type beers and pricing, and micro type customers (with a few Brizzle scarves for colour).
I became agitated at the sight of sparking Bass glasses; there ought to be a law about selling other beers in the sacred vessels.
To be fair, the Bristol Beer Factory Seven was served in the grand Bass style, flat and chewy (NBSS 3.5), so I couldn’t complain.
I should have stayed for another; I was the first away fan there. And no I wasn’t impersonating a Bristolian to get a pint of Thatchers in their supporters club.
Bovril at the Memorial, one of those (until recently) dreadful shared grounds. redeemed by uncovered touchline terracing and a Brizzle sunset of some merit. Unlike the Cambridge performance, which can best be described as “hoof“.
Still, proper football, whatever that means.
The walk back to the Bear Pit took in more street art, and more closed pubs, but there’s still more life on this stretch of road than in the whole of North West London.
NB What really stands out, looking at the Beer Guide, is the lack of entries in North Bristol. Nothing beyond the Drapers, and nothing in Westbury-on-Trym, a Bass stronghold of old.