Another in my series “Visit the homes of Britain’s great Boring Brown Bitters and convince you they’re still great“.
Part 1 of the long-awaited Skeggy Trip made a rare trip into South Holland (Fenland version), having picked up top Beer & Balti Buddy Charles from Dereham.
It’s a grim trip around the Wash. Now, I’m all for an HS2 investment that will enable BRAPA to get from Leeds to the Midlands to tick pubs quicker and annoy people in Buckinghamshire. But I’d also like to see a toll-free three lane motorway from Hunstanton to Skegness to reduce my own ticking times for Lincolnshire pubs. Please.
The A47 and A16 are grim, but Boston is intriguing, and once you get into the mysterious area of East Lindsey there’s even a hint of hills.
And a vast number of Red Lions.
You take your chances when you turn up at remote village pubs on Thursday lunchtime in early March. And not just dodging the residue of the Beast from the East.
And the resultant potholes, the curse of our age.
Raithby’s Red Lion has four cars in the car park and three people leaving as we arrive at 1pm.
The whole village would fit in the pub, a cosy, rambling, affair that has resisted the gastropub route we will no doubt find has afflicted Skegness when we eventually get there.
It’s very 1970s, and therefore very Lincolnshire, with a simplicity long lost in Cambridgeshire but hanging on in Fenland.
We had the tiny bar area to ourselves. sitting next to a fire powered by (according to Charles) kinetic energy.
Our chatty Landlord has escaped from Bamford in the Peaks to run this free house; presumably a man who dislikes heights.
He keeps his gorgeous handpumps shining.
XB was the only beer, with a guest not available as the van from Masham (clue !, clue !) couldn’t get through the snow.
It was the best XB I’d had in years; cool, rich and with a nice head of foamy scum.
As a noted beer sommelier, I’ve enjoyed educating Charles on the finer points of beer; the importance of scum, how you make lacings look like Renaissance paintings, and the status of Punk IPA as the “pinnacle of the brewers’ craft”.
No sandwiches (“there’s no call for them”), but the lunchtime menu was a bargain;
To make things simple, two steak and kidney puddings for £12. It was a huge plate of comfort food, the delicate presentation reminiscent of my visit to Medomsley.
It gets better. Rare ’70s Kenny Rogers and Nat King Cole tracks reminded you of a time before punk, a quiet only interrupted by our host occasionally asking our travel plans.
“You’re going to Skegness ?!”
“Be careful lads”