This was a tough one to write.  My personal Hippocratic oath is always to tell the truth about pubs and beer, even if it means that the local CAMRA branch don’t tell me the GBG2020 entries in advance.  Your pubby health is my No.1 concern.

But I’m bound to upset folk with this short report on the Red Lion at Stiffords Bridge/Cradley Brook/Greater Malvern, my last tick in the great county of Herefordshire.

Personal colouring lessons on request

Two things are immediately obvious from a roadside edge-of-Malverns pub called the Red Lion with “Home Cooked Food” inscribed on the walls.

Follow the arrows


  1. Cathy Price has beat me here.
  2. There WILL be pashminas.

And there were. And, inevitably, artisanal gin.

The battle for bar space in all its gory detail

Now, before you exclaim “blasphemy” or whatever, let me tell you our top landlord was apologetic that I’d turned up just as the Worcestershire Women were enjoying their big gin tasting.

Can I try cucumber with that ?” being perhaps the most Russ-friendly of the banter.

I’m all for special events that bring in punters other than bald thinning blokes in their 50s wearing Bass brewery T-shirts.  AND the Red Lion had only just reopened after a big refurb, so I should count my lucky stars I’d timed it right.

This bloke in his 50s said,

“What’s your fastest selling beer ?”

“The Pitchfork.  That’s what you want.”

That’s the sort of landlord you want.  Decisive.

Some of you weren’t born when Pitchfork was THE cult beer for about, ooh, 5 months in the late 90s, turning up in free houses from Bungay to Bewdley. It was a drinking man’s drink, if you’re allowed to say that under new CAMRA anti-drinking guidelines.

More Hobsons glasses without Hobsons in them

This was a throwback to 1999, despite a Halls throat lozenge I’d been sucking on the way there.  Cool, foamy and floral, NBSS 3+, I noted.

Suddenly, I had company.

Just assumed I had scratchings

Two ladies with pints of beer, three dogs on leads wrapping themselves around a chair.

I didn’t mind.  The sun shone through the bay windows, all was lovely with the world and my last tick.

Peace pre-puddle

Until a puddle of wee started running down the cracks in the flagstones from where our canine friends were tethered. I’m glad I don’t run a pub.

Still, lovely place.


  1. Nice punch line. Sure you hadn’t been plying that dog with Pitchfork? It was a fashionable beer once you are quite right. There used to be two pubs there, the other over the road that I think is now a house. The Red Lion seems to have changed hands a while back and I wasn’t overwhelmed last time I took my Dad. Will give it another go when I am down if only for the dog urine.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. First off, even though I’m retired (well, sort of; the wife keeps to gosh darn busy!) I doubt I’ll ever keep pace on commenting on your posts, let alone how you post them!

    That being said, onward!

    “Personal colouring lessons on request”

    Your eyesight needs looking at mate. 🙂

    “with “Home Cooked Food” inscribed on the walls.”

    Hah! I’d asked to see if there’s a microwave in the kitchen.
    (though, technically, does putting it in the microwave count as ‘cooked’)* 😉

    * and technically (again), they don’t mention which home it was cooked in. 🙂

    “There WILL be pashminas.”

    With regards to the OS Map, does it say anything about me when I say I read ‘Stifford’s Bridge’ as ‘Stiffy’s Bridge’?

    “artisanal ”

    As I’ve mentioned before; when I see ‘artisanal’ I read it as ‘art is anal’. 🙂

    “other than bald thinning blokes in their 50s wearing Bass brewery T-shirts. ”

    I’m thinking of a name… sounds like a bird with a sewing kit?

    “More Hobsons glasses without Hobsons in them”

    Sorry; I was looking at the exposed area of flesh right ‘behind’ the beer. 🙂

    “Two ladies with pints of beer, three dogs on leads wrapping themselves around a chair.”

    Who was in charge of the extra dog?

    “all was lovely with the world and my last tick.”

    It looks… serene.

    “Still, lovely place.”

    Of course. ‘You’re in’ good company. 🙂


    PS – “if you’re allowed to say that under new CAMRA anti-drinking guidelines.”

    I have just the poster!


  3. I notice that some pubs will have the words “cask ales” posted somewhere outside the building, listed among the selling points of the pub. Do you think any pubs would have had such signage prior to the formation of CAMRA?


    1. That’s a question for Boak & Bailey ! I reckon the chapter in their “20th Century Pub” suggests it was indeed CAMRA who kickstarted the (shortlived) fad for real ale in the late 70s.

      Virtually ever billboard outside a dining pub had “cask ales”, “guest ales” etc etc now. Only the dreadful ones write it on the wall.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Mark,
      I would be VERY surprised if anyone produced a genuine pre 1971 photograph with the words “cask ales” posted somewhere outside the building.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow. Keyboard warierers. Your comments make interesting reading considering none but the writer who bullshitted about the dog pree, just for effect , have ever visited this pub. Guess your all ” craft beer” folks. 😂 by. then


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