I’m enjoying BRAPA’s latest haul of ticks in the South-east, but also rather jealous. There’s hardly ANYWHERE I could go and visit six new pubs by train today.

So I’m using my spare days to do a bit of father and son bonding; Dad on Monday, Son on Tuesday.

James had to retake his Driving Test Theory multiple choice having fluffed the practical last year. He passed again, being able to identify the gender of a 2CV and confirm that the A511 is Britain’s sexiest road.

You take the test in the scariest office in the world, just across from the Regal, where I managed to read 6936 as 9369 and ended up checking into a Costa Coffee in west Wales. If there’s a Covid outbreak there I’m in trouble.

I waited in the Spoons while he got 47/50, and treated him to Pint Shop.

Now, I like Pint Shop; it’s a classy Port St Beer House for people with more money than sense.

The Oxford one closed, to some surprise, but a new Brum branch debuted in the Guide this year and seemed to be a success amongst the office workers (if such a thing still exists).

The Cambridge Pint Shop, along with the BrewDog, kept me supplied with that murk you love during Lockdown, and is still selling cheap(ish) craft by the flaggon. Mrs RM would have fancied the flaggon of Elephant Hawk, I fancy.

A young couple stood by the door, clearly desperate to beat us to the best table, but at 12:01 it was evident they were just standing at the door.

If you eat at Pint Shop you miss out on over-excited Undergrads called Jeeves going “I say, this beer is quite something !”, but the little dining area is cute AND grown-up and frankly better than Cambridge’s Ivy.

The back garden reminded me of the Wonston Arms.

Seemingly the only choice was 2 courses for £22 or 3 for £26, so not really competing with Spoons Steak Club, and sadly exceeding the Rishi tenner a person cap. But the tomatoes are “heritage”, and you don’t get that in the Hare & Hounds.

James let me down a bit by going for the pub curry. NEVER go for the curry in a pub. I asked for steak but ended up with pork belly.

And a pint of the first thing on the beer menu, a Keller Pils from Lost & Grounded.

Why did I do that when there was a cask beer on from Buxton, and I always rave about one pump pubs ?

Well, it was Number 1 on the board, of course. And it was cool. You can’t trust cask in August, you know.

And NO-ONE goes in a Pint Shop for cask. They go for the keg ones called Brick and Sour and Colin the Cauliflower (probs).

What kind of beers do you want to go for ?” office man asked Pash lady.

What goes well with lamb ?” Pash lady asked the waiter.

Something cloudy” said the waiter. Beer sommelliering is an art.

Anyhow, come here for the food. Particularly the pub curry, which was one of the best curries I’ve ever nicked off a 21 year old’s plate while he went “Oi, get your own“.

Not cheap, but thanks to Rishi and future taxpayers like James, remarkable value. But the half-price fun ends tomorrow.

37 thoughts on “ONE CASK BEER IS PLENTY

  1. I ask this as someone from a country where driving is a given. Are the driving tests in the UK difficult? I’ve seen multiple comments that imply they are not just a formality.


    1. I failed 4, James has failed 2, Matt failed. They’re no given. You need to show confidence as well as caution and an ability to change CDs while overtaking. You lot just need to know where the drinks holder is.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The overall first-time pass rate is about 45%, but it varies widely between different areas. It’s not difficult as such, but it does need to be taken seriously. The main problem is lack of preparation, and lack of experience. As Martin says, you need to demonstrate confidence as well as caution. In general, the later in life you leave it, the more lessons you need.

        Coming up to 44 years since I passed mine (!), but back then the main challenge was not running over the bloke with the red flag 😉

        Liked by 2 people

      2. My brother failed his test badly. My sister almost drove into the front of our house after one lesson. And our parents paid for that. For all their flaws they realised I’d be a hopeless driver.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. 45% is pretty tough. I do think people there seem to know the rules better than people over here. What’s always interesting to me is they let foreign drivers loose without a second thought.


      4. Showing my age now, but I had to demonstrate, and use, hand signals as part of my driving test. It was pretty cold in December, with the window wound down, but at least I passed first time – he said, modestly!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I passed first time, about thirty-five years ago, and agree that “you need to show confidence” just like bring a pedestrian.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I don’t know about “had to wear a short skirt to pass” but I had a ‘lady’ examiner in 1985 so was probably wearing the right aftershave to pass.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. As Mudgie notes, a common technique in “craft” bars. One is a pint, the next only sold in two-thirds etc. Contrast with the Crow in Sheffield where we stayed on Thursday where all beers prices were shown in pints/halves/thirds in that order. One beer was a tenner !


    1. Already ! Only opened 2018 ? Thinking about it, like Manchester the bars in central Brum rely heavily on after-work and weekend trade. Wonder how Head of Steam, Purity, BrewDog etc are doing ?


      1. Yes, it never re-opened sadly.

        Birmingham is pretty quiet, I did read the other day it’s all systems go for the Christmas market, but I can’t see how that’s going to work. Birmingham could do with it going ahead though.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I was last there for the Christmas markets when I did Pint Shop, Head of Steam and the Thornbridge bar, but there’s no way they can meet distancing requirements this year, is there ?
        Interestingly I was in Gloucester today; that was busier than I can remember.


  2. Never took a civilian driving test. I was in the OTC (Officer Training Corps) at Uni and learnt to drive there. Took a three-tonner into town so the Major could go shopping, and when we got back he said “You’ve passed”. I then reversed the truck into the garage and hit the back wall.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. My wife can beat that. Working as a cook (private) at the North Bay air base in Northern Ontario back in the mid 80’s, one morning she somehow backed into the only car other than hers in the parking lot. Belonging to an officer, of course. But all was well as she cooked and served their food. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  3. “So I’m using my spare days to do a bit of father and son bonding; Dad on Monday, Son on Tuesday.”

    Wonderfully worded good sir.

    “and confirm that the A511 is Britain’s sexiest road.”

    *cough*, that’s the A514. BBM will confirm. 🙂

    “If there’s a Covid outbreak there I’m in trouble.”

    Since you’re hardly ever home, they’ll never find you. 🙂

    “(if such a thing still exists).”


    “Mrs RM would have fancied the flaggon of Elephant Hawk, I fancy.”

    Funnily enough I’ve been drinking 6.5% IPAs all day (barely got to 16C here will drizzle all day). Just finished my fourth pint as it were (i.e. 7 355ml cans).

    “you miss out on over-excited Undergrads called Jeeves going “I say, this beer is quite something !””

    (slow golf clap)

    “The back garden reminded me of the Wonston Arms.”

    You sure that’s not a cannabis shop?

    “and you don’t get that in the Hare & Hounds.”

    A bit frou-frou for me.

    “James let me down a bit by going for the pub curry.”

    Hang on. The curry could be ‘either’ Tandoori Chicken OR Summer Vegetable & Coconut Dahl? Blimey.

    “And a pint of the first thing on the beer menu, a Keller Pils from Lost & Grounded.”

    Sigh. I sometimes think similar thoughts about my two lads.

    “and Colin the Cauliflower (probs).”‘

    That’s actually a good name for a craft beer! 🙂

    “Oi, get your own“.

    Isn’t that first word missing a ‘ght’ at the end?

    “But the half-price fun ends tomorrow.”

    Hang on… you had a lemonade?



  4. “The back garden reminded me of the Wonston Arms.”
    Yes I see what you mean, The Wonston currently has a bar (non serving) running the length of the beach(the garden) you can sit at on bar stools with your pint , should you so wish.

    Liked by 1 person

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