One thing I learned quickly about blogging is never to look a gift horse in the face.

When the man responsible for keeping Preston’s Spoons in business gives you the title, use it.

I guess my first post-Malta pint could have been some pale hoppy abomination, but it was never going to be, was it ?

I know I’m in a minority here, but a well-kept Sheps Master Brew is still a joy. Still a surprise to see Swale CAMRA stick another plain Sheps house in the Guide in a world of micro pubs though.


Safely set away off the A299, well away from Micropub land, the Three Horseshoes in Staplestreet is gorgeous.  As is the 45 minute stroll from Faversham station in the first real sunshine I’ve seen in a week.


I’m suddenly sure I’ve been here before, but a quick load of my GBG completion spreadsheet reassures me that was the Red Lion up the road.  An easy mistake to make.

But the Three Horseshoes looks a little, er, quiet.  The door to the public door is firmly locked, and despite checking WhatPub/GBG/Website/Facebook before setting off I suddenly wish I’d applied in writing to visit, 2 weeks in advance.

The shut door

Then I see the front door. Silly me, a BRAPA mistake to make.

I’m in

It’s 10 past 3, there’s no-one about, my squeaked and desperate “Hello” gets no response.

Just as I’m pondering “What Would Duncan Do ?” (pour himself a beer), the Guvnor comes out of the Gents.  He’s more surprised than I am.

Here he comes

Joy of joys !  Just two hand pumps on the bar.  Still too much choice if you ask me, and I’ll vote for any NEC candidate who thinks so too.

Massive choice

Master Brew poured, the landlord is off again, leaving me to give my pint a tour of the three rooms. A good balance between cosy, chintzy and basic, which makes a duff acronym.

Pint finds the best seat in the pub

The historical tat is well-judged, apart from this inadvisably named bottle.


On the downside, scatter cushions are everywhere.


It’s a curate’s egg of a pint.  A proper scummy head, by turns watery and full-bodied, and leaving no lacings at the end (NBSS 3).


Welcome back to proper beer, retiredmartin.


46 thoughts on “BYE BYE MALTA, HELLO MALT

  1. Phew.
    Safely back on Blighty soil and back into the the swing of things before you’ve even unpacked your unused budgie-smugglers.
    Welcome home Martin.We’ve missed you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Welcome back Martin, and welcome back to a sunny north Kent which, away from the Medway towns, can be a scene of tranquillity.

    The Three Horseshoes is a lovely old pub and I could put up with Shepherd Neame beer, just to be sitting there inside it. It’s some years since I last visited the pub, and from memory I recall the beer used to be on gravity dispense.

    I doubt there is much trade mid-week afternoons, but it is good to see the pub open, and you not having a wasted journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Paul. The area around there is a delight. I know Mt Ephraim Gardens is close by but it’s my definition of unspoilt. Always pleasing when a local CAMRA branch puts a plain family brewer’s pub in the Guide.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My opinion of Sheps went up when I learnt to swerve the Spitfire and ask for Master Brew. Lots of hops in it, in fact it’s probably craft as it has the same IBUs as Punk IPA.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “It’s 10 past 3, there’s no-one about,”

    As opposed to “it’s a quarter to 3, there’s no here but you and me” 🙂

    “apart from this inadvisably named bottle.”

    Oh that’s right; you’re not a big fan of Xmas are you. (LOL)

    Looks like a luverly place though. Just the thing to prove you’re back in the UK after Malta.



      1. Incomplete crosswords – the scandal of our time. I think Derby CAMRA should have it’s GBG allocation given to another branch for 3 years. Suggest Highlands & Islands.


      2. “It’s the Bishops Finger, Russ, it’s the Bishops Finger !!! ”

        I was pulling your leg (or finger). LOL

        “Aren’t you following CAMRA Discourse 😉”

        Nope. Don’t do Twitter or Farcebook either. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I honestly was going to tweet you earlier “That’s one of your best titles yet!” So good, it took two minds to come up with it. 🙂

    I thought the idea was to escape English rain and be rewarded with endless sunshine in Malta; don’t tell me it’s all a ruse created by the Maltese Tourist Bureau.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve seen copies of Ale Cry (Preston) as recently as 2015 that describe the craft keg as “Doom Beers”. Now that’s what brings us into disrepute with the crafties.


  6. That’s a great looking pub,i love Shepherd Neame pubs and especially Master Brew,not done that pub though.
    Me and a mate did 74 Shepherd Neame houses in 1983 while camping in Kent,we camped at Painters Forstal for a few days a bit of a walk uphill from Faversham and buses only ran on Thursday and Saturday,The Alma was the only pub in the village and a Shepherd Neame tied house,we did every pub in Faversham.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Good Lord! Scott thinks like me! (LOL)

        To be fair to Alan, it would only have been 73 pubs if it hadn’t been raining. 🙂


        Liked by 2 people

  7. A particularly fine display of hops above the bar.

    But a dog that doesn’t bark – yet another Sheps pub that doesn’t have Spitfire on the bar. It’s like they’ve given up on their biggest brand. Also interesting to see that they seem to have replaced Asahi (they lost the licence to brew it) with Moretti.

    And £2.50 for a coffee….!

    Liked by 1 person

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