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.
Two things are immediately obvious from a roadside edge-of-Malverns pub called the Red Lion with “Home Cooked Food” inscribed on the walls.
- Cathy Price has beat me here.
- There WILL be pashminas.
And there were. And, inevitably, artisanal gin.
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.
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.
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.
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.