Hinckley only offers two new GBG ticks this year, trailing behind the four (4) in Southport, but you know they’re likely to be good ones.
I say that because Hinckley & Bosworth CAMRA have a track record of putting proper Bass and Marston locals in the Guide over many years.
Hinckley may be well off the tourist, and the beery traveller trail, but as I found out last year in Nuneaton (still the best crawl on this blog) that means nothing. A mere six minutes apart on the train, you could even combine Leicestershire and Warwickshire’s finest pub towns and compare the quality of the Spoons.
The local CAMRA branch has a commendable magazine that has a healthy obsession with Draught Bass. There’s even a William Bass trail that I’d contrived to miss.
But their neat little Ale Trail Guide is up-to-date and filled with places carrying the Red Triangle.
But never mind the beer. How has Hinckley changed since my last visit five years ago ?
Good grief. It’s a town transformed. From the station you pass a Steaming Billy place, a recent Pub of the Year for which there’s no space in this year’s Guide.
The terraced streets are unchanged, save the usual Halloween decoration. Good to see folk making an effort for such an important festival in the English calendar.
Also still here are the vital shops (and Chinese takeaways) that mark this as a classic East Midlands market town.
But elsewhere all is new and shiny, the Woolwich of the Midlands. Must have been a boom time for builders and tradesmen here over the last 5 years.
Tucked into the Crescent’s entertainment complex (rather better looking than Stockport’s new effort) is Elbow Room.
If you drilled a hole in the back wall you could take your pint in to watch Blade Runner 2049 in the new Cineworld. I don’t recommend that; it’s 150 odd minutes and you’ll need the loo.
With exposed pipes and trestle tables, it’s closer in style to, say, a Heaton Hops than a Herne micro. A smart place attracting a good mix of folk at 4pm on a Thursday, with plenty of females, wine drinkers and elderly shoppers. My sort of place.
The beer was from Furnace (Amber Gambler), always a good bet, but it’s going to appeal more to the Evil Keg Craft drinker (Mallinsons for £3.40), and the Debbie Harry fan. A really good classic rock soundtrack too.
Conveniently located next to the mobility scooter store as well, always a good sign.
More from Hinckley later – Bass, Stranglers, Baps.