Hope you’re keeping up. It’s still 21 December, a day before my birthday (mark it in your new diaries now) and I’m taking the legendary Pubmeister round the new Beer Guide ticks on the North Wales coast.
You’ll notice I’ve spared you NBSS scores so far. That’s because I was merely sniffing the beer or tasting the dregs, using
Papal Pubmeister dispensation to achieve my ticks. Duncan had all the beer marked down as “interesting” “weird” “rad” and “Whoa”, which is what you get with craft.
I was quite keen to get back to Llandudno and open my presents on the 22nd, but Duncan had been pressing the locals for details of preemptive ticks and come up with THREE future Guide entries. The man is unstoppable.
The next one was called Hoptimist.
I felt sure we’d just been to the Hoptimist and this looked awfully familiar but what do I know, I’m just the driver.
Actually this is Rhuddlan’s version, not quite as posh as Abergele apparently but it has got a nicer castle.
Thank you, NEXT.
Confusingly, the Conwy Brewery tap aka MASH is in Colwyn. Sort of.
Despite having been forced by me to have a pint’s worth of tasters at each stop, Duncan was proving an excellent navigator.
But it went to pot as we veered steeply uphill from the coast into the foothills of wherever in pitch darkness, all Conwy lights having been switched off in 1962.
“Turn left, sharp right, sharp left” commanded Duncan as we entered what looked suspiciously like an illegal rave on an abandoned farmyard. The carpark was best described as “informal“. BRAPA should start saving for the taxi now.
And sure enough some booming toons were floating over the plain.
“There it is !” said Duncan, who can tell a micropub from a moth.
Actually, Hi-Vis jacket and a 40th birthday party belting out those country and western tunes (see top) in the shed at the back says Proper Pub.
As did the inevitable pub dogs.
We were in and out in ten minutes, the beer secondary in an unexpected gem.
Back in Llandudno I parked up on the seafront at 10.20 and strode off towards my first pint of the night, the penultimate night before my birthday.
“This way” I shouted, following the map to the Ascot Tapproom with its irritating spare “p”.
“I don’t think it is” said Duncan, mapsplaining as usual.
It wasn’t, it was the way to Tapps, the Ascot’s brother pub.
“We can get a taxi” . May as well have said “We can fly“.
It was a mile to a quiet suburb east of town, I made him walk. It’s the way he’d have wanted to “pass”, running for a pub at closing time.
“Should’ve got that taxi”.
We made it at 10.40, joining one very merry group in the corner of a cheery one-roomer. “I’m OK, these two aren’t” said the lady who really wasn’t OK.
Like Tapps, they had flowers on tables.
Just time for a pint of Titanic Glacier (3.5+), that I swear was as good as Plum Porter, cool and rich.
Duncan was winding down, but suddenly started singing Beach Boys songs and found the energy to share a marvellous Stay Puft. It was a special moment, like climbing Snowdon backwards or something.
Suddenly it was 11.20pm. The barman hadn’t kicked us out. Nice man.
“Are we on a spiritual journey or NOT ?” said the emotional lady.
I’ll leave that question hanging. I was fine the next morning.