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.