On my North Yorkshire retreat last week, on the way to Whitby, we stopped off in Pickering for a drink. Four of us had intended to park up in the centre and try a couple of the pubs, as our preferred option, the Sun Inn wasn't open until four according to the Good Beer Guide. Driving past it at the end of a neat terrace in Westgate, eagle eyed Steve shouted. "Stop, the door's open." So we did. It was open too and we trooped in to a lovely welcoming , bright and airy bar with five handpumps. We were greeted smilingly by the barmaid who explained that the pub had summer and winter hours, but we were lucky enough to call before the winter hours kicked in."We keep telling CAMRA" she sighed, "but they just get it wrong". We glanced around. It had obviously been a Tetley pub at some time as much Tetley memorabilia in the shape of pumpclips, signs, drinks trays and more dotted the walls. "There's more next door" quoth our hostess.
We turned to beer, like you do, before exploring. Tasters were offered. All had clearly been pulled through and were excellent.We were the first customers. Top marks for that. Beers were ordered and in the next hour or so, all the beers were local. apart from Tetley Bitter which was not tried. A local couple joined us and said hello. The barmaid and later, the landlady joined us and kept up amiable chatter throughout our visit, telling us of social events asking about us and our visit and showing us the next room with a large atrium and the biggest Tetley Bitter sign I've seen. Apart from the brewery wall that is. The Huntsman in his glory and around six feet tall. The walls were festooned with paintings from a local artist which apparently are changed for a different artist each month. They weren't cheap, but you could buy greetings cards of them for a mere two quid. Nice touch. They don't run out of artists readily. The landlady explained that "Pickering is a bit of an arty place." Who knew? Jeff Bell said yesterday in his blog "All the time I've written this blog, and throughout the years I was in
the trade myself, I've wondered what it is that makes a great pub. It's
clearer to me now, particularly after a night like that. What makes a
great pub is a warm welcome and happiness." He couldn't be more correct. For strangers, visiting a local pub with a warm welcome and a bit of chat makes it so worthwhile. We'd intended to have one round, but we had two, so it makes business sense too. We left happy and with great reluctance and I recommend it strongly to you. We tried three more Pickering pubs. Results are still pretty good. This was more or less the standard routine in Yorkshire, which is a great place to drink. Sorry no photo of the pub. I forgot. It is at 136 Westgate, Pickering, YO18 8BB
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. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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