Take a close look at that glass. That folks, is a half of Old Speckled Hen in the Angel, the new Beer Guide pub in Andover. And whatever else it was, it was also the best beer I’ve had so far in June.

Before we get to that, here’s a lovely OS slice of unfussy Hampshire, with villages like Enham Alamein and Rugged Appleshaw.


Andover also remains in my “Good Books” because the folk there seem to walk quite fast, perhaps because if they don’t they’ll be mown down by turbo-charged mobility scooters.

And it’s a leafy enough walk from the station.

National foliage day

With some decent, if samey, underpass art.

Not much to say about Andover itself, which looks unchanged since my life-changing* visit of Dryanuary 2016.

But the “classic” barbers has started selling bikes. No doubt next year it’ll be a micro pub too. Good enough for Birkenhead….


I should have visited the Angel when I was here two years; not much has changed since 1976, let alone 2016.

The same modest claims to fame,


the same vaguely Pickwick Papers wall art on the way from the shopping centre,


and the same customers propping up the bar, kept safely clear of a modest dining operation for gentlefolk, who would have been as shocked by the language as Sir Humphrey would.

Can I squeeze through ?

A Fosters stronghold like this only needs one or two pumps, and the expected dozen microbrews fails to materialise.


My request for a half of the Hen prompts a frantic root around by the barmaid, who discards several dimple mugs (clearly recognising a member of the Straight Glass Defence League).

This is what I get.

retiredmartin says This Is Nectar

There ya go, Darling

Never mind the weights and measures, the frankly antique glass was a bigger concern, until I tasted the cool, rich Hen (NBSS 4+).Β  As with Hendon last year, judge the beer, not the beer or the pub.

And that’s not all.Β  We had barking dogs, we had “Johnny Be Good” and we had more mobility scooters than hand pumps.

I won’t be taking Mrs RM back there for our wedding anniversary (that’s Dunstable), but this is why I love the Good Beer Guide. Well done North Hants CAMRA.


*This is a lie

18 thoughts on “THE ANGEL OF ANDOVER

  1. I hadn’t seen a two-wheeled version of ‘Blue Bird’ before.
    “The ‘classic’ barbers has started selling bikes” – yes, “Something for the weekend, Sir ?”
    Old Speckled Hen is now one of the two beers in my nearest pub and I definitely think the Westgate Brewery’s version is better than when Morlands brewed it in Abingdon.


  2. “with villages like Enham Alamein and Rugged Appleshaw.”

    You definitely picked the best ones. I expect Enham Alamein has WWII tanks guarding the roads into the village proper.

    Oh, and it’s Ragged, not Rugged. πŸ™‚

    “With some decent, if samey, underpass art.”

    Egad. I remember reading about the Bluebird in Reader’s Digest, I do believe, many many years ago. πŸ™‚

    “But the β€œclassic” barbers has started selling bikes.”

    I think that’s a prize for whoever guesses correctly how many hairs from your head the barber cut off (Dick or Dave should be able to win that easily!). LOL

    “I should have visited the Angel when I was here two years; not much has changed since 1976, let alone 2016.”

    Wait. Were you there two years ‘ago’ or for a period of two years?

    “The same modest claims to fame,”

    Hmmm. Are they the 7th oldest pub proper, or just the 7th oldest of pubs that have a fire?
    (good food prices though)

    “judge the beer, not the beer or the pub.”

    Ok, I’m confused. Judge the beer, not the beer? Help me out here. πŸ˜‰

    And good to know the Hen can be good. I plump for that once in a while over here, in 500ml cans. πŸ™‚


    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is tough reading those little names on the OS, map, amazed I could make out Andover. I think I’ll just rename them Rugged Appleyard and be done with it.

      Seventh oldest pub that has a fire, I guess. Though I would have thought all old pubs had a fire.

      Oh, drinking real ale in cans is a sin.


  3. I had to chuckle at the commemorative plaque. “Wait, ‘7th oldest pub’ is quite a bold claim. We’d better qualify it with the words ‘is said to be.'” πŸ˜‰

    Delighted to hear Old Speckled Hen can be great under the right conditions. Sadly, I have not yet encountered those conditions, but one of these days!


    1. It’s what we hilarious Brits call “pub humour”, Mark. Like “Men to the left, as women are always right” and “free beer tomorrow”.

      Simon had Speckled Hen at the Five Miles from Anywhere this week, as did I today (12 mile return walk), very good we both thought. But not in cans or bottles ! Some day…


  4. Absolutely….the GBG delivered a cracker there – bIzarre pub and creative beer serving…

    Glad the Speckled Hen was so good – one that Greene King have managed to look after…

    …should have picked that one yesterday in a Southampton pub…I thought the Titanic Lifeboat was a better bet, but it sank without trace….πŸ™„

    In a mid-life crisis, me and Mrs GH bought a 1980s Ford Mustang from Carolina Classics in Enham Alamein – got over it though….

    Liked by 1 person

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