Our first stop on Thursday is the Locomotion No 1 in Heighington. Only it isn't. It is nearly two miles away in Aycliffe. Well done the GBG contributor who did that one. It takes some finding and is somewhat disappointing when we do, with an unappealing Marstons mix of beers. We struggle with some below par Jennings. The Bay Horse is definitely in the right place on West Green in Heighington, an attractive and large village between Darlington and Newton Aycliffe. Beer range is Taylors, Cameron's Strongarm, Black Sheep and John Smith's Magnet. All are tried except the Magnet which leaves me with a twinge of guilt for not trying this all too rare beer. All are good, though Steve thought the Landlord "crap", while Malc and I both enjoyed it
Heading in to Bishop Auckland, we passed the closed Grand Hotel, home of the Wear Valley Brewery. It doesn't open until evening. Damn. Near the GBG listed Tut and Shive, a local baker supplied us with home made pies and pasties and for Malc, ever the traditionalist, a pease pudding and ham stotty cake, which he duly pronounced "excellent"! The Tut and Shive itself was quiet, but beers from Jarrow and Mordue kept our spirits up. The final GBG entry in BA, Pollards, is a bit of a curate's egg. The good part is the simple and well appointed public bar with its open fire, which was on, such has been our summer so far. This is a tied Marston's House and the range included their latest acquisitions in all their glory. We had both Wychcraft Summer Ale from Wychwood and Boondoggle from Ringwood. Both were pale and hoppy with the Boondoggle just shading it for me. This is a pub worth visiting, but ignore the large estate pub bit at the back!
Thus fortified, we set off for Durham and our overnight stay at the Victoria, another GBG pub.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
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