The first week of September sees Duncan, Simon and myself comparing the entries in the new Good Beer Guide to the massive spreadsheet/rolls of papyrus containing previous ticks.
By and large it’s the same entries year after year, despite retirements, rebranding and the plague (Maidenhead).
The entries for North Hertfordshire are pretty much the same as when I
lived existed there in the 1990s.
It took me three takes to realise there was a second entry in Baldock alongside the inevitable Orange Tree. And that it wasn’t The Cock.
No, it was the White Lion, seemingly the dull foody pub in a small town of restaurants that became frozen in time when the Baldock bypass sped up my journeys home by about 7 minutes.
Local resident Nigel Hawthorne, a second Sir Humphrey to grace this blog in a week, vigorously opposed the bypass at the time.
It caused the biggest fuss in town since Simon Everitt ate a steak bake in the Victoria in 1685 (see top photo for local reaction).
It’s a handsome if unsurprising town.
And always a bit inessential unless you needed a kebab or chips or a tuna bap in the days before McDonalds opened up on the A505.
Apart from being next door to the High Street Almshouses I could tell you nothing about the White Lion.
It’s a lot more impressive inside. Open plan but rambling and ancient. Americans would like it.
Ah, Oakham and jam jars. Surely there’s your GBG entry explained.
Actually, it was the beer quality that jumped out.
My 8th pint of GBG20 was another NBSS 3.5 cracker. House beer “Baldock Pride” tasted a bit like Greene King IPA, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
And if that’s libellous, I do retain a solicitor in Baldock, principally to deal with complaints from Maidenhead.
A proper drinkers pub, mainly male but not obviously drawn by TV sports.
Just an increasingly rare “It’s Sunday, let’s go down the pub and talk rubbish” vibe. That rubbish seemed to be entirely about blokes and blondes from Stotfold, which Si will understand.
It felt a bit like the Royal Oak in St Ives in more ways than one.
Decent seating, though the blokes seem to prefer the high tables, and a “Thank you darling” when I took my glass back.
And see how I haven’t mentioned Kevin Phillips once.