Having told you last week what a wonderful publication the new Beer Guide is, I have to report some more very average (at best) beer in recent new GBG entries.

Which is disappointing, but at least it gives me the chance today to use a post title I’ve had in mind for years.

And an extract from a real OS Map (explorer 189)).


Ross-on-Wye doesn’t get much of a look in in the Guide these days; nothing in town again this year, and the average the Spoons the most frequent entry.

In 2003 Mrs RM drove me round the Gloucester/Hereford border and I collected a dozen GBG ticks on a memorable Spring Saturday (Mrs RM doesn’t let me forget it). But I also did a few pubs that weren’t in the Guide (I can hear Duncan saying “Amateur” now), managing five pubs in the hour that Mrs RM was trying on shoes. If there are any men who’ve taken more than 5 minutes to choose shoes, own up now.


The Harewood End Inn is on the A49 five miles north-west of Ross.  It’s not the best stretch of Herefordshire, one of my favoured counties.

The fields were too soggy to walk in my hour before opening time.


But I did get to see the gallows where Welshmen were allegedly hung for trying to sneak craft beer into the Marches in the 17th Century.


The Harewood is a plain looking pub, a typical roadside diner.


With that comforting plaque on the outside wall (no, not Cask Marque).


Inside it’s more quirky, with a fair bit of memorabilia that might lead you to think “pub“.


And a large group of pensioners, who’d somehow beat me into the pub at 12.01 and were eyeing up the OAP special deals.

No-one at the bar, except a row of empty chairs which made getting to see the pumps even more difficult than in the Volley. Shades of this Cheshire classic.


Can I help you” said the man.  Obviously you’re supposed to sit down in the lounge and wait to be served, not stand at the bar. Only laptops are allowed at the bar.


The local beer had gone, so it was Tribute.  You’d expect Wye Valley as the “well known beer for Old Boys“, but Tribute should be fine.

Anyway, it was near vinegar (NBSS 1).  I don’t normally bother taking a half back, but I thought I’d better let the Landlord know his beer needed changing, with the Beer Guide launch about to bring a flood of tickers.


He’d gone into the kitchen, I guess. I waited five minutes, but he never turned up. I left him a present.

There’s no way that beer was tasted this morning. Does anyone do that anymore ?




29 thoughts on “DROSS-ON-WYE

      1. There’s a difference between “not pulled through” and “total vinegar”, though. Did you see the one on Discourse about a flight of thirds that hadn’t been pulled through?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re right, and I did see it. Not pulling a beer through would give you a tired beer, not the bad beer I had here, the quality of which would have been deduced by a sniff or a quick taster before opening.


      3. That’s where you’re wrong. Quality control is the job of customers not vendors. If it’s horrible you need to follow the strict real protocol of grovelling apology for complaining and ask them to replace it.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. “But I did get to see the gallows where Welshmen were allegedly hung for trying to sneak craft beer into the Marches in the 17th Century.”
    Judging from the height of the noose Welshmen were not all that tall back then.

    “If there are any men who’ve taken more than 5 minutes to choose shoes, own up now.”

    But in my defense it was only 10 minutes; and since the wife was with me the extra 5 minutes was only to pretend to her that I was trying to make up my mind. 🙂


    PS – agree on the title being a goodun.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your comments get funnier by the day Russ; you should start your own blog.

      In the 17th century all UK citizens were less than 4 feet (1.2 metres) before the arrival of Draught Bass in 1777. I myself was only 3 feet and have since grown to double that.


      1. So… you’re saying you’ve been around since the 1600’s? Bloody heck… you should have easily finished the GBG by now! 🙂

        As for funnier… thanks but I have to attribute that to the material that I get to work with (sideways compliment btw).


        Liked by 1 person

  2. It may seem perverse, and I am not trying to make excuses here for a lazy or incompetent landlord, but cask beer can suddenly “turn.”

    If we consider the place in a cask where oxidation is most likely to occur, we would all agree that it is a the interface between the beer and the air above. The beer is “drawn off” from below the surface, so is likely to be far less affected by oxidation than the very top layer of liquid in the cask. I’m not saying the beer will be perfect, but the likelihood is it will still be quite drinkable.

    The problem comes when the cask is nearing exhaustion, and the top layer of highly oxidised beer is eventually drawn off. I can just imagine the smell and the taste of it now!

    I’m certain if you’d hung around Martin, that the landlord would have realised this and replaced your half of Sarsons.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I did hang around, Paul. For a good five minutes. Even moved from the public bar to the lounge to try and get some attention. Landlord clearly supervising the restaurant from the kitchen. It was the lack of interest in the casual drinker I commented on (chairs blocking the bar, laptop blocking the handpumps).

      You make a good point about unpredictable beer quality, though I still hold it’s the landlord’s job to test the beer, not the customers. Failure to do that is a reason cask sales have plummeted outside a reducing number of favoured places over recent decades.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree, one hundred percent Martin, that it is the licensee’s responsibility to check and monitor beer quality and it would seem, that in this case, the landlord clearly failed to do so.

        My point about the oxidation process was intended to demonstrate the unpredictability, which can sometimes occur with cask ale, although the particular noteworthy point which ElectricPics makes below, does reinforce the need for adequate turnover.

        This, along with the perception that drinkers are seen as an “irritant,” does lead to the question, “Why was this pub selected for the Guide in the first place?”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. At risk of violently agreeing with you, Paul, I agree about variability of beer. I can think of one pub in Bishops Auckland where the beer (and pub) was so bad, I went back a month later and both were great. The pub was demolished a year later !


    2. If a beer’s been opened long enough for acetobacter to work its magic on the exposed beer then it’s been open far too long. Good cellar practice can ward it off but at the end of the day it’s down to turnover. Or lack of.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. On reflection, the alarming thing was he knew the first beer had gone, but not the Tribute. As I say, it was the sense that drinkers were an irritant in a dining pub that struck me most.


  3. Cask beer has to be some sort of fashion accessory needed for their image in pubs like that, but they’re just not going to get the turnover selling the odd pint with a meal.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had to return a half i had in the Darlington Flyer in Darlington,i had a half of Spitfire Gold which was pure vinegar NBBS 0,i do not have any sense of smell after my first stroke,so it was such a horrible taste,it was replaced with Hobgoblin which was a decent drink.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have never been a Camra member Richard,
      So would not how to do that.
      I also felt sorry for the poor single barmaid who was running the bar and also bringing breakfasts out,so i asked her politly to change my beer when she was less busy,which she did with no problems.


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