Next stop, Durham. One of my favourite counties, even if the Beer Guide entries can be a bit “marginal” at times, beer wise. Nothing marginal about the Tanfield Two though.


That OS extract says everything about northern Durham‘s contrasts.  A test cricket ground (Chester-Le-Street), world class open-air museum (Beamish), a B&B which grown its own turf (Urpeth), some “robust” towns (Stanley) and some very smart pubs (Beamish again). Stanley was the first place I saw a Heron Foods, as good an indicator of a Proper Place as a mobility scooter.

Technically, I think Tyneside claims this one;

Quite a lot of keg in the colliery villages around Beamish, so it’s a real bonus to get two GBG newbies 30 minutes walk apart.


You’ll know I like to give you essential historical details of the places I visit.  This is what Wiki currently says bout Tanfield Lea;

“Tanfield Lea is a village north of Stanley, County Durham, England, and south of Tantobie where the inhabitants often sleep with their parents. Tanfield most famous citizen is Neil Gary Allen, he often sleeps with his parents and strangely also looks exactly the same as Henry VIII.”

Some of that may be untrue.  I should have asked at the Workingmen’s Club (they’re never working, are they ?).

Perhaps the highest sign for a Beer Guide pub this year.


It didn’t look open, even though I’d arrived bang in the middle of the frankly weird opening times of 2pm-4pm (open again at 7pm, but still). I explored two rooms full of stacked chairs and photos of folks in suits, both with boarded-up bars.

Y’all right fella”     He scared the life out of me.

Are y’a open ?”

Course.  Great beer in there

Men get to the point quickly, don’t they ?

Anyway, classic Northern club design.


At the bar I couldn’t see any pumps.

Do you have any real ale ?

Hidden pumps, apparently, so as not to scare the locals.

Two beers I’d never heard of, so I ordered the first.  The Old Boy at the bar says “You should try the Gene Pool Nucleus IPA, it’s a belter“. Cue call to barmaid, somewhere half a mile away where the pumps are, to change my order.


It certainly was a little belter, cool and rich and complex (NBSS 4).  One of the best beers I had in Durham, at £2.85 a pint. Clubs have their uses.


Cheerful bunch too, making the most of their two hour mid-afternoon windows, wondering who the weird southerner going on about lacings was.


23 thoughts on “TANFIELD LEA WMC – “IT’S A BELTER”

      1. Yes, and I don’t expect it will be during my lifetime but the time will come when metered electric pumps will be installed for the Banks’s in the BCM’s Bottle and Glass Inn.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Durham CAMRA are one of the better branches for choosing their GBG entries on merit of beer quality alone. I’ve not seen cask served in a schooner before though, and judging from the Sam Smiths beermats they’ll be one of the many clubs in the north east that has one or two keg Sams beers on?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Certainly had their beer on keg.

      I sense you’re right about local CAMRA. They’ve been more explicit than most about GBG selection over the years. Several pubs west of Durham with just the odd cask on seemed to go in and out of the Guide, suggesting there’s no automatic right to entry.


  2. “That OS extract says everything ”

    It certainly does. My favourite is ‘Kibblesworth’. It sounds like a serving portion. 🙂

    And why is ‘The Middles’ down at the bottom?

    “I should have asked at the Workingmen’s Club”

    In this day and age can they still call it the Working “Men’s” Club?

    “Clubs have their uses.”

    Yep. 🙂

    “going on about lacings”

    And also, is that an acceptable glass? 😉



  3. Recall seeing that style of glass quite a lot in the 70’s/80’s down South. And yep, mostly used for bottles of Mackeson/Guinness/Pale… for the ladies. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 2 – 4pm: That probably is the strangest choice of opening times I’ve seen yet. How did they arrive at that? “We’re focusing on the folks that need a pint a fair amount of time after lunch, but not too soon before dinner.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice post about a cracking club. I still need the Peacock, about which you also give a good write up. That doesn’t open till 4.30 midweek so residents of the Tanfield area can use the half hour gap to walk between the two.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I hope that “the inhabitants often sleep with their parents” is with the original meaning of “sleep with”.


  7. Neil Gary Allen is a tanfield legend, he apparently has the hots for Lynn (everybody knows Lynn), he thinks George doesn’t know but secretly he watches from inside the cupboard

    Liked by 1 person

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