DONNINGTON – NICE PUBS, SHAME ABOUT THE BEER

 

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I was going to call this “Faggots & Chips & Dross in the Cotswolds” but with Russ in your readership you have to be extra careful about your blog titles.  My blog naming team had a real struggle with this one.

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retiredmartin checks blog title suggestions

Perhaps mining the Monks classic for inspiration isn’t a wise move, either.

We couldn’t find anything to rhyme with Longborough.

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Coach & Horses, Longborough

What greater joy could there be in the winter than a trencherman’s lunch in a Cotswold country pub with a foaming tankard of ye olde ale beside the church ?

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Ye Olde Church

This is the first time I’ve blogged about Donnington Brewery, a mile up the road from here, as their small estate hasn’t provided a new GBG entry for many years.

On the face of it, this is a place for our intrepid US pub tourists to stop.

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Dog guards the BBB

Flagstone floors, open fires, (unused) piano, dartboard, friendly but non-obsequious staff, a pervading sense of calm.

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That John Terry, eh ?

Why, even the obligatory chap in fluorescent jacket !

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My sharp eyesight spotted one (Posh) Old Boy with a pint of the Donnington Best, so I went for that. It certainly looked like a classic BBB.

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Craft lager also available

I took a seat in the small dining room so I could see both the bar and hear the charming octogenarian banter from the table behind.

Jean didn’t seem too thrilled at her 90th birthday party

It’s a shock to get a surprise at that age

I feel thoroughly sticky-toffee-puddinged !!”

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Quality banter, ladies

The banter from the Colonels in the bar was, shall I say, unreconstructed.

If you’re caught stealing you get your hand cut off

Stone them ha ha ha

I wasn’t sure if they were talking about Stow or Saudi.

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As I finished my superlative faggots and chips (top), I was joined in my thoughts by the Cotswold staple, the indecisive diners spending longer deciding where to sit than I do eating my meal.

No, you do the honours

(Looking at Cotswold Gold with bewilderment)  “I’ll,  I’ll try a half

I’ll just have hot water please“.

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Indecisive hotwater drinkers

They all pay the bills though, and I applaud them for visiting pubs in January, Very brave.

But anyway, the beer.  Meh.  It tastes of a watery nothingness.  Or is it me ?  Perhaps the SBA is nectar.

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Meh

Now here’s the thing; the beer was well kept.  Cool, well presented and decently conditioned, I just scored it NBSS 3 on WhatPub, possibly keeping it in the Beer Guide next year.  And to be honest, if I was staying in Stow, I might well come here again for that lunch and some Old Rosie.  It’s a lovely pub.

The saving grace of this trip was that Mrs RM was safely up in Edinburgh drinking proper beer in the Guildford Arms* . A pint of Donnington would have put her off real ale for life.

 

*Mrs RM agreed to blog about her “One woman Scottish pint drinking show” soon.

 

 

36 thoughts on “DONNINGTON – NICE PUBS, SHAME ABOUT THE BEER

  1. I’ve made much the same point on my blog in the past. There are two Donnington Coach & Horses within a mile of each other – at Longborough, and up on the main road at Ganborough, which confusingly has sometimes been listed in the past under Longborough.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’ve got the right one there. I visited there in 2016 when ticking off the four remaining pubs on the original “Donnington 15” and thought, to be honest, it came across as a bit cliquey.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. No, the Coach and Horses on the main road closed about three years ago.
      Having walked most of the Donnington Way I’ve been to nearly all of their pubs, and not an ‘improper pub’ amongst them !

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry to hear that – when I was working in Surrey I sometimes used to stop off there for a Ploughman’s Lunch on my way to or from Cheshire 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I was beating Mudgie to the joke about my famed directional ineptitude. Thankfully, the GBG app showed me as being 0.0 miles from my tick, always a good sign.

    Yes, poor beer in good condition a rarity. Often seen in those Brewhouse & Kitchens.

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    1. Mudgie,
      Yes, that was probably the problem, main road, car park, passing trade, ploughman’s lunches, just not what one expects of a typical Donnington pub, didn’t quite fit their portfolio.
      I have stayed in three of them, the Golden Ball at Upper Swell about twenty years ago ( those rooms now taken by resident catering staff ), the Plough at Ford five years ago and Fox at Great Barrington in 2015.

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  3. ” Flagstone floors, open fires, (unused) piano, dartboard, friendly but non-obsequious staff, a pervading sense of calm. ”
    All totally ruined by two large flat-screen TV with one of them presumably on mute which no-one is watching.
    It annoys the bejaysus out of me when I see that and I’m normally a mild-mannered fellow.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Lovely food, cracking pubs. In defence of the VBBB beer…ideal for a session after knocking off a section of the Cotswold Way and tastier than McMullens (not exactly a gold standard). Does it still count as a Quality Beer?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s OK, rather than unpleasant. And, going back a couple of generations, most beers from small country breweries would have been like that, rather than like Hook Norton.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. To be fair, I suspect you’ve drunk more Donnington than me over the years, And I did have an OK SBA in that Stow pub (Queen’s Head) once, but I wasn’t proved wrong in my bias here !

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  5. I can still remember my first pint of Donnington. Idyllic setting, check. Ancient, proper village pub, check. Real fire, check. Locals with shotguns and dead things, check. Beer from amazingly unspoilt time-warp brewery, check. Beer like water, check. And that was in good condition too. Perhaps they still use wartime recipes?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The BB and SBA are rare survivors of beers from when I started using pubs in 1971, very much the affordable and practical way of the working man quenching his thirst and not intended to be anything to write home about.
        The Donnington Gold recognises that there is some demand in the twenty-first century for lighter coloured hoppier beers.

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  6. “I was going to call this “Faggots & Chips & Dross in the Cotswolds” but with Russ in your readership you have to be extra careful about your blog titles.”

    (whistles innocently) 🙂

    “We couldn’t find anything to rhyme with Longborough.”

    How about; Multi burrows by burros lead to furrows in Longborough? 😉

    “I might well come here again for that lunch and some Old Rosie.”

    My wife’s name is Rose*. Just what are you trying to imply?

    Oh, wait. Tea! 😉

    “*Mrs RM agreed to blog about her “One woman Scottish pint drinking show” soon.”

    Looking forward to that. 🙂

    Cheers

    * – in case she reads this I won’t mention the ‘old’ part. (LOL)

    Like

    1. Oh, and just so I don’t wind up on Mrs RM’s bad side, my * at the end of my post is in regards to my * after Rose; NOT the * before the Mrs RM quote!

      In no way was I trying to imply that Mrs RM is old. (eek!)

      Cheers

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The pint of Donnington Best Bitter I drank in the Falkland Arms in Great Tew in my late teens still ranks in my memory as one of the best pints I’ve ever had, so maybe the beer has changed or it was just that my taste buds had been dulled by the gallons of keg Trophy Bitter I’d drunk up until then.

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  8. If anyone is interested try taking a look at my blog on Donnington tied houses,i went in all in one day and took photos of all of them,this was in 2011.

    Like

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