Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Local Links in Lincs.

 With the Real Ale pub scene in my home town at best being somewhat, erm...unpredictable, with a local choice of either of the 2 JDW's (one being turned into a hotel and the other due to close) or a couple of other pub chain outlets, which are probably the safest havens for a reasonable variety of cask ales, it is fair to say it does not boast of too many cask establishments, although we do meander through the town centre more often than we should. The thing is, though, it can become a little boring and monotonous to be going out and visiting the same hostelries again and again.....and again. You get to the point where it is almost a chore, rather than a pleasure, to go out for a couple of beers. With this in mind, I have been “sniffing out” a few places around the locality where we can have a bit of a “jolly”. The main problem to that in our part of Lincolnshire is the lack of public transport links, especially after the sun is on its downward trajectory. That, although problematic, hasn't stopped us altogether, just slowed up the process, and has lead to more of an afternoon imbibing nature! So, what is out there in our locality, beyond the boundaries of North East Lincolnshire's two biggest towns, Grimsby and Cleethorpes? Let's have a peep.

Tetney Lock.

This small village, not to be mistaken for its neighbour, Tetney (which also has a pub, The Plough),
Walk to, or stagger back from
 The Crown & Anchor
is only around 6 miles from the Caravan Parks of Cleethorpes, by road, or a 4 mile walk across public footpaths, bridleways and the odd field. We, my recently retired friend, Steve, and I, chose the latter. It was a pleasant, but rather cold February day when we set out on our journey. The walk itself took about an hour and a half each way, with beautiful views of the Mouth of the Humber (no, not me, before you start writing your own script!!). There is a wealth of wading birds and the like in this area, as well as the various sized ships either heavily lumbering up to the deep water ports of Immingham and Hull, or the smaller craft zipping in and out to the new growth of offshore wind farms. As a boy, I used to make my way, usually with my dad, to the waterfront of the Humber, and watch the many trawlers, jockeying for position, waiting for the lock gates of Grimsby's Fish Dock to open, sadly, just a memory now, as our fishing industry has almost disappeared. Back to our walk. We arrived a little further down from Tetney Lock, and strolled along the banks of The Louth Navigational Canal, until we reached our destination.
The Crown and Anchor has been here since Victorian times and is the only pub in the village. After the locals, most of the daytime clientele are either walkers or anglers from the adjacent canal, although we have been told that the restaurant side of the business also attracts quite a few from the area on a night. On offer were “Doom Bar” and “Black Sheep”. There is a third beer usually on, but not today. We sampled both, and found them in good form. Not a bad place to have a wander to, but next time we might do it in the Summer sun.

Barnetby, Wragby and Brigg.

I like Brigg. I have had many a good afternoon and night here, but it has become a bit of a bind to get here. There used to be a regular bus service straight from Grimsby, to Sheffield, via this charming town. Alas, no more. The direct train only runs on Saturdays, to serve demand from Brigg to Grimsby, so the easiest way is to get the train to Barnetby, and either hope to catch the Wolds Villager bus service or, walk the 4 miles, mostly with the company of the noise from the busy A18. My last visit was for a meal to bid farewell to Tracey, a good friend and former workmate, who had left to pursue a career as a postie. I chose to jump on the train and do the walk, having a stop on the way. Arriving at Barnetby station, I espied the Whistle and Flute public house, just at the side of the platforms. I am told that the tribute acts on here at weekends are quite good, and although I didn't pop in this time, I will visit here on my next trip. I left the town, passing by the Railway Inn, which appeared closed, and on to the A18. After 50 minutes, or so I arrived at Wrawby, the home of The Black Horse, and The Jolly Miller. During the week it is rare to find either of these pubs open before 3pm, as I found out! I arrived at The Jolly Miller just before opening time, and was ushered round the back to the bar, where I found a selection of three real ales. My choice in here, to help quench my thirst before setting out on another mile or so's stroll, was Bateman's “Pilgrim Fathers IPA”, an Ale of 4.4%, which was light, refreshing a full of punchy grapefruit notes. The young lady serving in here was polite, chatty and very friendly. I enjoyed my 20 minutes in here. One to return to.
Mr Day outside his favourite local.
 I then stepped out to Brigg, and had agreed to meet up with another ex-workmate, Steve Day, in his favoured local, The Yarborough Hunt, a Tom Woods pub. This place had a good, old fashioned feel about it, with many posters and ornaments of a previous era on display. I now know why Steve feels at home here, he could be part of the d├ęcor, the silly old sod! The beers are mostly from the Tom Woods stable, but it does also have guests Ales on. I started on “Bomber County” at 4.8% (Reviewed Here) , before joining Steve on “Lincoln Gold”, 4%, the core Golden Ale, with a nice fruitiness to the taste and a smooth, gradually bittered long finish. Another beer to slake ones thirst on a hot day. After an hour of chewing the fat, and putting the world to rights, including the fortunes of our beloved Grimsby Town FC, it was time to move on. My next stop was the former Black Bull, now Dexter's Alehouse and Kitchen, to meet up with for a meal and drinks with Tracey and the others. Dexter's is a very compact bar, which lends itself more towards eating, but there is room for the casual drinking visitor too. I ordered my beer, St Austell “Proper Job”,(Reviewed Here) one of the reasonable range of three cask ales, and then we sat down to have our meal and celebrate Tracey's new job. The beer was well kept and the food more than adequate, and reasonably priced. Not a bad place to pop in to at all. We then moved down the road a little to the local J.D. Wetherspoon's pub, The White Horse. The interior here is bright and airy, with a modern look, but, otherwise, just a typical JDW pub. There are 7 cask pumps on display, and the staff are friendly. In here I had a 5% ale from the New York based Ithaca Beer Co. “Nut Brown Ale”, brewed in conjunction with the Caledonian Brewery. It is a very malty brew, with hints of chocolate and coffee. The nut taste comes in the finish, and makes for a nicely balanced beer. Not too bad at all. I followed this with a pint of Ascot Ales “Anastasia's Exile Stout”. The taste of this 5% brew is a nice blend of roast malt, chocolate and good strains of vanilla. The finish is sweet and smooth, with a tad of bitterness. I enjoyed my visit to Brigg, as I always do. Besides the pubs reviewed here, there a a few more, all within easy walking distance of the town centre. It is just a shame about those transport links from Grimsby.

Sunny Sutton on Sea via South Reston.

I have an Aunt who lives out near Alford, pretty much in the sticks. There aren't a plethora of hostelries in her immediate area, but a little way away you can usually find a village pub or two. In South Reston is the community hub pub The Waggon and Horses, which, besides the bar, also boasts a thriving restaurant, picnic and play area, caravan and camping site and a local shop for supplies. The Lounge Bar is roomy and wood panelled, with a selection of Bateman's Ales, and a house beer on tap. We only had a couple of halves, as we were in the car, but it was noticeable what a busy village pub this is, and an integral part of the local community, and passing holidaymakers from nearby Mablethorpe.
Bacchus beers on the bar.
Speaking of Mablethorpe, just next door is the small town of Sutton on Sea. This is a holiday resort in miniature, with a frontage of about a mile, nestling between Trusthorpe and Sandilands. You can drive through it within a blink of an eye. We, on the other hand, chose to visit for a meal, and a few drinks, at a couple of establishments, and were quite pleased we did. Our first stop was for a meal at The Sea Breeze Restaurant, on High St. the food is well cooked, well presented and very tasty. Beer, as well as wine, is available, either draught lager, or, as I chose, bottles of Bateman's. In stock was “XXXB” or “Combined Harvest”, both sampled and both enjoyed. I have reviewed both previously, so I shall not expand any further. After our meal we left, crossed the road and entered The Bacchus Hotel. What a gem of a place. We entered, just as the quiz was coming to an end, and managed to squeeze in on a table near the bar. The beer range not only has guest ales but also prominently features a couple of beers from the on site micro-brewery. It was these beers we sampled. First up was Bacchus “Sutton Pride”, a 4.3% Bitter which is quite solid, to be fair. It isn't a World beater but is a good malty brew, with sweet caramel balancing the bitterness well. The other brew on offer at the pump from this brewer was “Sutton Blonde”, 4.2%. This is a light tasting beer with a citrus bite to it. The finish is quite floral, but quite moreish. All in all, not a bad little place to drop anchor, and I hope the brewery enterprise goes from strength to strength.

The Number 5 Route.
The Stagecoach No5 bus runs from Cleethorpes through to Immingham, which, after leaving Grimsby via The Trawl pub, runs down the B1210 and passes through the dormitary villages of Healing and Stallingborough. This route, which also runs to a reasonable time in the evening, opens up the Immingham corridor to 3 more real ale establishments. First stop is Healing, and The Healing Manor. Recently refurbished and improved greatly, there is no a pub on sitge, The Pig and Whistle, which, on my last visit, served cask ales, one of which is the Tom Woods brewed house bitter. Modernity is the feeling of this place, but stylish too. The next stop suggested is Stallingborough roundabout. Here you can go left and find the up-market Stallingborough Grange, featuring Thatcher's Inn, which I haven't visited in a while, or right to The Green Man. This is a Stonegate pub, and not only offers a range of ales, but also has a CAMRA card discount.The meals in here are also supposed to be very nice. There is another pub a little further down the B1210, The Farmhouse, but, although I pass it most days to and from work, I have yet to stop there.
Add to this little list the likes of Barton upon Humber (Here) , Lincoln (soon to be re-visited), and Louth (Here), which are all a little easier to reach by public transport, along with a few villages along the way, things maybe are not too bad in the area. With a little more effort by our local publicans to promote real ales (and to look after it better), or a more expansive and better timed public transport system, things could be a whole lot rosier.
Cheers and keep it "Real"