The pub blogging market is getting as crowded as the home micro-brew one these days, what with Pubmeister and now BritishBeerMat starting blogs this year to entertain us with tales from Littleover and Lund.

To stand out from the crowd you therefore need random pub cats (even shy ones),


or the stirring of a hornet’s nest, or controversy around the pronunciation of obscure English market towns.  Like Alcester.


I pronounce it “Owster”, as that helps with rhyming, and “Al-Ses-ter” sounds clumsy.

It was a good place for my latest “Craft and Curry with Charles” evening, even if that craft was likely to be Goff’s, and Alcester unlikely to provide me with a dozen new GBG ticks.

A mile north of town, King’s Court Hotel provided us instead with “Crossroads” style motel accommodation with breakfast for £40 on a Wednesday, and the most overpriced menu seen outside Brunning & Price. We resisted the probable warm Marston’s at the on-site “pub”, attractive though it looked.  It’ll be in the Guide next year, no doubt.


The hotel clientele ran from minor Bromsgrove businessmen to Redditch ramblers (wearing far too many layers for a hot Indian Summer).

Charles and I rambled the 20 minutes into town, passing approximately 300 family dining pubs, and the largest secondary school in Christendom which was obviously providing their custom.  Every other building was a garden centre or Farrow & Ball shop.

By the clever trick of not having any specific attractions, Alcester avoids the tourist hordes clogging up Stratford and Redditch.

But a quiet gorgeous English market town is a thing of beauty as sunset approaches, with hidden squares reminiscent of an undiscovered Franconian village.




Even if there is only so much black-and-white timber anyone can bear.

A decade ago I thought it a handsome town, improved by 3 pints in an hour of ticking the 3 Beer Guide pubs of uniform quality while Mrs RM bought phone charging equipment (I presume, they constitute 85% of our household spend).

Just the one pub survives, and despite Charles’s protestations I steered him towards it, away from a great looking Everards house in the market place.



Still, Charles enjoyed stopping to gaze through people’s windows as much as I did.

For a Wednesday night in mid September, the Turk’s Head was buzzing, and more than the standard 10% were drinking the ale.


So busy we had to take pints out, past the narrow dining room, into the fluorescent garden. This was no hardship as the quality of drunken banter was a notch up on the Public.


An exceptionally well-managed town pub selling the local(ish) HPA and Salopian, the reliable foreigners (Landlord) and something from BrewDog that wasn’t Punk IPA. Sadly, no Goff’s Jouster on this occasion (does it still exist ?).

As it was in 2007, beer quality was top notch (NBSS 4), and we stayed for a couple rather than exploring the reasons why the competition had dropped out of the Guide, but left before Charles got thrown out for innuendo offences.

Upmarket pub toilets now comprise brewery signs apparently.


Ignoring competition from OrangeMabel Tearoom, we finished at the “Bring-Your-OwnRomna II Balti next to Waitrose. The “Staff curry” was of a good standard, the lack of drunken behaviour from other customers a bit of a let-down. We may book Stourbridge for our next trip, but of course their new GBG pubs are bound to be shut.


The views on the stagger home were magical.




33 thoughts on “A JOUSTER IN ALCESTER

  1. For the benefit of your American and Canadian readers I think you need to stick with the correct pronunciation Martin. All – sester and Wore-sester-shire, etc. I think you also need to tell your readers that there are some excellent beer blogs out there which do not tolerate pictures of cats of any sort 🐱! I am contemplating a blog post about Slaithwaite and will buy a half for the first ‘non Kirklees’ person to proffer the correct pronunciation.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Not one cat – Guaranteed!

        I might start to sneak an odd one in now and then, along the lines of the Where’s Wally theme???? I thought about Point out the Pussy? But I don’t want to encourage too many Donald Trump types. Apparently he thought the guy with the extreme hair do in the YorkBeerFest post was almost as cool as his own Shredded Wheat barnet, which he tells me symbolises the American Wheat Belt as part of his make America Great again campaign??? Personally I think he only liked the York post because the city has a wall around it?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Just wait till someone like Dick starts blogging from this side of the pond. We’ll have to explain how to pronounce Chinguacousy or Tuktoyaktuk. 🙂



      Oh, and if you look at that first map you’ll see at the top a Mount Chinguacousy, complete with ski chalet. The “mount” is a hill 21 metres high (about 68 feet). LOL



      Liked by 2 people

      1. Alas according to Google Maps it’s over 4,600km from where I live. Unfortunately I am in the process of renewing my passport otherwise I could cut that down to about 4,200kkm if I went through the US.

        However the good news is my dear old mum lives near there and I visit once a year so I’ll see about a review of the Keg in downtown Brampton some time next year.


        PS – I have been to that particular Keg back in the 70’s with a date. If I recall, I only got to second base (should have sprung for a second bottle of wine). 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Here in Brummyland, the locals pronounce it Ol-Ses-Ter whereas I believe the correct way is Orl-ster. I’ve never come across Owster before today…but that might be the correct way in rural Worcestershire (which I did hear pronounced Worker-Sester-Shire by an American, many years ago!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Best one ever, getting directions in Derbyshire when a local chap told us to go right into the centre of Bowser and then take the road to … It didn’t help that the clutch had gone in the car (Mk I Escort) and as passenger I was leaning out of the window and trying to tell him to keep walking while he was telling us because we couldn’t stop! Turns out Bowser was Belper!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I always thought Bowser was Bolsover,done most pubs there and that is what they called it when i did it in the mid 80s,very rough,miners spitting into an open fire,but not has bad as what we saw in a pub in the middle of Nottingham a bloke pissing into an open fire,it stunk the room out.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. All-ster and Slough-it, surely?

    My blog is obviously a cat-friendly zone, although I don’t think I’ll have enough material for a dedicated post on pub cats this year. Felix at the Boar’s Head looks highly likely to win the crown.

    Some magnificent ginger fur on that one!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think we did all pubs in Alcester on the 10th May 2014,ten pubs done,the Hollybush was a Free House with six real ales on,i had Purity gold,the Turks Head had three real ales on,i had Hereford Pale Ale,there was also your favourite on the bar Martin, Otter Bitter.
    We thought it was a really nice town.
    Coming from Nottinghamshire we pronounce it with a hard Al then Cester.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I went to Redditch on the 26th May 2017 and did almost all open pubs there.
    You are being a bit naughty Martin in saying it is full of tourist hoards,that may entice people from other countries to go there.
    Do no bother it seems very out of place being in Worcestershire.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well it would be good to see loads of Japanese tourists walking round Redditch looking for an opened top bus,that will never turn up, to see what a working class town looks like.

    They would be better visiting scum road and Church Street in Stapleford and then have a drink in Larrys as the highlight of the day,it opens at 9am with people waiting outside for it to open,but as a special for the big match it is opening at 7am with people still waiting outside for it to open.

    Liked by 1 person

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