A last trip to my least favourite county in the Guide, but at least now it’s over ’till next September.
BRAPA is taking an alphabetical approach to the Beer Guide, which means the poor sod has to finish off the whole of Bucks before he moves on to the, er, glories of rural Cambridgeshire. Perhaps he’s better off getting lost in Aylesbury.
Mrs RM accompanied me, swayed by the prospect of a McDonalds breakfast in a Hemel Hempstead drive-through, and we scoured the map for Whelpley Hill.
Just west of Hemel. Or, if you live in Whelpley, I guess you’d tell your insurer it was just south of Berkhamsted.
Bovingdon, Chipperfield, Lye Green and Flaunden have all graced the GBG over the years, so I guess it’s Whelpley’s turn.
Excitingly, this is a genuine hamlet with a pub, but without a church. “Edge of Chilterns” carries bucolic expectations that weren’t quite delivered.
Before lunch I made Mrs RM explore the newish mobile home park that suggests this is a retirement rather than dormitory village.
The “tourist highlight“, or at least the one building there was a sign to, is this Coronation Hall. Mrs RM was unimpressed, but it was very cold so I’ll overlook her lack of enthusiasm.
I guess the mobile home park, and a few smart houses were providing decent dining custom for the White Hart, receiving a Tring delivery as the doors opened.
It looked better inside than out.
Now you may by now be sensing a lack of enthusiasm for the White Hart, and I was feeling a distinct sense of deja vu having just visited the identical Stag in Mentmore.
I’ll be honest, beers from tiny breweries fill me with dread; I was almost wishing for Bombardier and Youngs when I saw these two.
I can’t swear the landlord, clearly the flautist in Mumford & Sons, would have said “Are you dining with us today“, because we asked if we could have lunch as soon as we got in. A McDonalds breakfast never fills you up.
And although the enthusiastically served ales from Vale were no more than OK (NBSS 2.5), I can strongly recommend the pub for lunch. Which just goes to show. Something.
The menu included a “Sandwich and packet of Pipers“, which seemed a commendable piece of food matching. Not surprisingly Mr Mumford had a soundtrack of folk and old Elbow that matched the food perfectly.
Then the posh folk came in.
“Is this the bar ?” said the lady at the bar, arriving first. “Can I sit down ?”
“Ahem” she attracted our attention. “What’s his (the landlord’s) name ?”
Doing what I was told, I checked the pub website.
“Ian” I said.
“Ian with an a ?” Is there an Ian without an a.
The rest of the party turned up. They’d never heard of the beers.
“Can I have a, a local beer” “They’re both local” “Oh good. Oh good”
“I’ll…..I’ll brave a half of that one ”
He really did say that.
Ian with an “a” was an exemplary publican, efficient and polite throughout. I wish him the mental strength and fearlessness of Asterix to deal with the Christmas season.