Saturday, 26 December 2015

Hull of a Day Out, and Other Jottings.

The People Bar.
As I sit here writing this, Christmas, with all its baubles and glittery bits adorning many a previously blank facade, is now upon us.We have had a very gradual build up to the  Season of Goodwill, and with bloated stomachs and a promise not to over indulge next time, still prominent in the memory, it is time to take stock of our recent outings, of which, I will share with you now . T'other 'Arf and I managed a nice little afternoon in Cleethorpes on the first Sunday of the month, managing to "tick" a couple of new bars to us during our excursion. We jumped on the bus from Grimsby, and on arriving in the resort, spared no time at all in visiting the recently opened beer emporium, Message in a Bottle. This shop, selling, obviously, bottles of beer, is situated in Cambridge Street, and carries an excellent range of brews, from Local, National and International brewers. The range is quite good, and service is very knowledgeable and friendly. Our next port of call was just a stones throw down the same street, the newly opened People Bar and Kitchen, a small establishment with a nice "feel" to it. The range of Ales is not massive, but adequate, The decor is very simplistic, with good usage of re-cycled pallets intertwined into the bar area. Bateman's "Prohibition Lager" and Meantime "London Pale Ale" being our choices. The "Prohibition Lager", a keg beer of 4%, I found to be quite rounded, with a fruity flavour, which is light and combines well with the hopped finish. A good craft beer. The bottled Meantime brew, at 4.3%, was very dry, with grassy strains mixing with fruit, and leading to a big citrus punch. Also on the bar was Shipyard Brewing Co "American Pale Ale", which was my original order, but there was a problem putting another barrel on, which left the poor staff covered in beer, as they attempted to get it back on. I was offered the half glass already poured, free and gratis, which I accepted, and found it very nice, to be honest. There is a big grapefruit taste to this APA, and a really refreshing  bitter and dry finish. There was a good selection of bottled beers also available. It is very tight in here, and more than a dozen people in here would definitely make the place packed, but we did enjoy our visit, and will be back. Our next pub was Dexter's Alehouse. The Christmas beers were much in evidence, and we went for the "old" favourite, Thwaite's "Yule Love It", and a half of  Tetley's "Christmas Cracker". The pint, at 4%, was just a good Bitter, with a nice malty body, and bitter finish, with a reasonable hoppiness. The only "seasonable" flavouring I could detect was a hint of orange, or maybe tangerine, and a slight spiciness in the finish. The Tetley's was OK, but nothing more than that. There were hints of berries, and a slight nutty taste in the initial mouthful of this rather thin 4.3%  Bitter, with a slight spicy finish, but it failed to get anymore interesting than that. We then proceeded to The Nottingham House, where we sampled four more beers. My first drink was Exmoor Dark, a 4.2% Bitter, with a nice nutty taste nestling among the dark, sweet caramel and a hint of biscuit in the finish. Jane chose the 4.3% Timothy Taylor "Landlord", with its nice fresh taste and fruity bitter-sweetness, which always makes it a Pale Ale to be reckoned with. We followed these up with a half each of Sadler's "Sherlock Bones", a 4.3% Golden Ale with a light malty taste and wonderful, if short lived, floral hints, along with Weetwood "Southern Cross", a 3.6% New World Pale Ale. This beer was light, zesty, with lemon to the fore, and had hints of pine. Although we felt very settled here, we decided to have a mooch about, before heading back home. This is how we ended up in The Riverside Bar. This is a pleasant place, but is more of an eatery/cocktail bar than a pub. With a selection of keg beers, the usual suspects, on the bar, we decided on a couple of bottles. Our picks were Budweiser "Budvar",5%  the original "Bud", from the Czech Republic, with a good malt and hop marriage, and Blue Moon Brewing Co "Belgian White". This 5.4% Belgian White Beer is quite floral and fruity, with lemon and orange peel hints.  Both were unsurprising, really. Next boozer on the list was The Swashbuckle, a real down to earth pub, just a short walk from the railway station. This can be a very lively place, and is host to quite a few characters, at times. It has live music on at times, mostly sing-a-long and crooners. On its day, this can be a real interesting place to "drop anchor". The beer in here was Sharp's "Doom Bar", and was OK, but not outstanding. The people watching, though, was excellent. This is a place you either love or hate, but on some occasions, those emotions, inexplicably, get reversed. Our last place was the previously reviewed bar, The Bobbin. With it being a Sunday, we were, again, treated to live music, which certainly seems to have a positive effect on numbers. I sank another bottle of the 5.6% Anchor Brewing Co "Porter", which I am definitely getting a taste for. T'other 'Arf had a Stowford Press Cider. Aah, what a nice way to end a lazy Sunday Afternoon. Before jumping back on the bus, we also managed a bag of chips each. What more could you ask for?

Monday saw the "Team 1" works night out. It was decreed that we would meet in the village of Laceby, just outside Grimsby, at the 1815 Restaurant, formerly known as The Waterloo (Those with an interest in history will know what year The Battle of Waterloo was fought, the rest of you can just guess!). A good meal was partaken of, and a lovely evening had by all. There was Doom Bar on the pump, but, unfortunately, this was off, and much more welcome on last night's chippy meal. I struggled on with the Worthington's Creamflow until the end. What a hero. We had a good turnout, with Maggie and Mark, Tara and Jess, Tracey, Jim, Mike, and T'other 'Arf and I enjoying the Christmas Menu. No karaoke, no wine stained shirts, and no dirty dancing injuries. Success.

Lion and Key, Hull.
The following day, we decided we would have a bit of a change, and headed for Kingston-upon-Hull, the City of Culture for 2017. Hull is a place which doesn't hide from its down to earth roots. It is rugged in places, and has a working class feel to it. It also has an easy going, friendly, Northern atmosphere to it, which is especially reflected in the Old Town area. On tracing my Family Tree, I found branches of my tree extended into, and grew this area of the City, with a call from the trawlers seemingly too strong to ignore. This, I assume, lead, eventually, to my Ancestors crossing The Humber to ply their trade in Grimsby. Anyway, I will now get back to the review. After a wander around the shops, we headed for the Old Town, deciding to eat, and have a few beers. Our first pub, which was also where we had agreed to eat, was The Lion and Key, on the corner of High Street and Scale Lane. With our Fish and Chip meal, which was well worth the price, and would have sustained a deep sea fisherman for half a voyage up to Icelandic waters, We decided on a pint of Titan "Stout", and a half of Wentworth "Ruby Robin" for our liquid accompaniment to the meal, but the choice was much more than just these two. There are at least 8 or 9 hand-pumps on the bar, with Real Ciders also being dispensed. The decor is very "past times" with old advertising signs and bottles, from brewers long forgotten, adorning this old style tavern. This is a great place to rest, after all that window shopping. The Titan brew, 4.8%,  was dark, with roast oats and caramel in the rounded taste. The finish was long, with a nice dryness on the palate. "Ruby Robin", 4%, was a robust and pleasing Bitter, which had a reasonable fruitiness, balancing the crisp, but satisfyingly bitter malt finish. We both needed a bit of a walk after our lunch, so we decided to waddle down to The Minerva, about a 10 minute walk away, close to The Deep. With fine views over The Humber, this Inn is in a lovely location, although only the brave would sit out and enjoy watching the working boats passing by, on the river. The inside is quite modern, but reminders of yesteryear shine out from the many old pictures, which hang on the walls. Although not as extensive as the previous pub, the beer selection is still quite good, and varied. Our choices here were Five Towns "Nowt", a 6.7% Stout, which was packed with full bodied roasted malt flavours and a great Liquorice taste. A good beer served excellently, whilst Jane decided on a Tetley's "Bitter". This pub also plays host to the smallest pub room in Britain. After our drinks, we strolled back to the Old Town and into
Wm Hawkes
The Wm Hawkes
, a pub opened in an old gunsmiths, in Scale Lane. The decor is very much of the Dickension period, with gas lamps and candles lighting the darkness of the back room. The bar is adorned with 10 Hand pulls, serving a varied selection of real ales and ciders. There is a large choice of spirits too, but, if lager is your tipple, forget it. They do not stock any.A brave choice, some might say, but the correct one, in my opinion. Wentworth "Winter Warmer", and Milestones "Comet" were our chosen drinks in here, with the "Winter Warmer" weighing in at 4%, imparting a dark malt and fruit mix, with a bitter-sweet finish. I thought it was a bit thin, really, but not bad tasting. "Comet", a Christmas regular, was quite light, with hints of fruit, with biscuit also present in this 4.2% ale. It isn't a classic, but OK all the same. Next stop was straight across the road, and into The Manchester Tavern, a cheap, friendly, if rather ordinary Marston's outlet. We decided on a half each of Banks's "Sunbeam" and Marston's "Pedigree". Both drinks were delivered perfectly. I have reviewed both of these beers before, so I shall not repeat myself. Our last port of call, before our bus trip home, was Walters. a pub which has scored a few accolades over the last few years, This sister pub to The Lion and Key, and Wm Hawkes, has a more modern look, although retro album covers  are the wall decorations. The beers are mostly local, and the bar boasts Hull's largest selection of Real Ales. As time was short, I only managed a pint in here, but it was a good one.BAD "Chocolate Invasion", a 5.5% Porter is a nice chocolate infused beer, with just a trace of mint in the background. The dark malt really shines through, and the subtlety of the background flavours do not obscure that, only compliment it. Drinking finished, and shopping, in the main, avoided, we hopped on the bus home. Any visit to Hull must include, where possible, a trip around The Old Town. Besides the four pubs I have mentioned, there are quite a few others dotted around, equally as good, like The Old Black Boy, and Ye Olde White Hart, each with its own character, and all steeped with the maritime history of this area.

Retro in Walters.
Since then, we have had a couple of little trips into town, tasting a few of those Christmas brews, but these can wait until next time, when I will try to get down my thoughts about these seasonal ales.Until then, seasons greetings, Cheers and keep it "Real".

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