When I or Duncan or BeerMat post about some village that never makes the news, like Rochford or Kiev, I wonder if there’s anything else posted about the place on the interweb.
Search for “South Woodham Ferrers pubs” and prepare to be disappointed.
It’s a while since the pub at the station, mysteriously called “The Railway” was in the Guide. I suspect BeerMat would love it.
Just for you, I spent my hour waiting for the Crouch Vale Tap to open exploring this town of 16,453 (less the residents who died of shock when they saw my Bass T-Shirt rushing past them).
It’s not Bath, I’ll tell you that much. But there’s plenty of leafy footpaths to the modern town centre (opened by Her Maj in 1981 to celebrate the release of “Dare”).
What a strange place. I guess you could think of it as a posh Rainhill or East Angular’s Glenrothes, neither of which will have you rushing there this weekend. But it’s clean and litter-free, if that sort of thing matters to you.
I can’t be bothered to oversell SWF, but I must recount my attempt to buy a double espresso in McDonalds.
I was given a small paper cup that was palpably devoid of hot liquid. I looked blankly at the lady who had just said “Double espresso ?” to me.
“You have to fill it up yourself“. Oh.
At the machine, I was approached by the manager.
“Do you want help Sir ?” Do I look that incapable in my 54th year. Soon beer will be self-serve, you know.
“You’ve never been here before, have you Sir ? ”
I actually felt more an outsider at that point than I had in Bucharest, not helped by my feeble attempts to get out of the monstrous shopping complex on foot.
Anyhow, I made it to Crouch Vale, with its unprepossessing Room 19.
It was shut. Oh no.
Then a light came on, and a young man, standing in for his Dad came to the door and said “Sorry, sorry“. I forgave him the 3 minutes delay.
It’s a plain tap, but jolly.
No-one else turned up while I was there, but the young man was great company, and very chatty.
Basically, Crouch Vale IS Brewers Gold, as good as when it won Beer of the Year (NBSS 4).
And I can forgive the scratchings coming from Chelmsford market rather than Coseley.
Clearly there is no finer place on earth to finish the Essex GBG entries for this year than on an industrial estate in South Woodham Ferrers. Really.