The second beer in the Wylam Tap was both a joy and a bad idea, necessitating a comfort break at Caffe Nero that only meant I needed another comfort break in the Bigg Market.
Perhaps I shouldn’t make so many stops to take photos for you, but that’s the problem with the photogenic old Toon.
Half an hour and I was back in Darlington with a seemingly easy task. A quick ride to Stockton on the world’s earliest railway line to finish the two there, and then two more in Darlo itself.
Unbelievably, I then found out (actually, Pubmeister told me) there is no direct route to Stockton. Can’t blame Beeching for that, either.
So, just two ticks within ten minutes of the station,
Quite a bustling town centre for a Thursday night, with lots of shiny new bars and that micropub that makes a place officially a CAMRA-approved town.
Despite a second room at the back, it was so packed I had to grab a seat at the bar, breaking my own code.
But at least I could see that the beers included the one that had done for me at Roger Protz’s tutored tasting.
Superb, a straight NBSS 4, if a little TOO sweet for a Thursday.
Great owner/barman/raconteur, and a soundtrack including Teenage Fan Club, so I win. I also noted some young people having “fun”, which probably discounts it as a micro under current Herne rules.
Really chatty locals across the age ranges too, mostly about “snake rat” attacks, and a running gag concerning the Durham Magus I recount for Si’s benefit.
If he pronounces it “Ma-goooose” instead of “May-gus” when he gets there they’ll give him 5p CAMRA discount. Seems fair.
A two minute walk past half-a-dozen quality GBG entries to the Hole In The Wall, which seemed to be the only Darlo pub NOT to have made the Guide this century.
If there’s one thing I struggle with it’s high tables between the entrance and the bar, as I keep bumping into them.
On the other hand, this was another bar with a lively and mixed crowd.
Disappointingly, yours and my favourite beer was “Coming Soon”.
So it was Wagtail or the Cameron Special, which it never is.
I bumbled away from the high tables and the bar flies to the back room where a group had spent an evening dividing up the bill between them.
The Wagtail felt a bit like me by then, happy but tired, so I gave it a 2.5.
Takeaways were banned from my Guest House, so I can’t even bring you tales of an inadvisable late night curry. Things do improve.