Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Occombe Farm Beer Festival 2010

This post is a couple of days overdue partly due to a recovery period and partly due to a delay in sorting out some photos, so i hereby apologise if anyone has been waiting to read it.

Well i suppose i ought to start at the begining, we arrived at Occombe Farm on the outskirts of Paignton to find the festival already in full flow (we arrived about 5.45 due to a delay in the free bus leaving Torquay, lucky for us as about 10 mins later one of the security staff told us that they had stopped letting anyone in unless they had prebooked tickets.) so we duly paid our entry fee, got our wristbands and free glass, taste notes and drink vouchers (these had to be bought seperatly at 4 for £5.00 or 8 for £10,00) and proceeded to the bar.

With so many ales to choose from it was hard to decide which one to start with so we just plunged into the crowd and selected one from whatever was infront of us i started with a South Hams Brewery offering of Devon Pride and handed over two vouchers (1 voucher = 1/2 pint, however we soon learned that if we got it half pint at a time we would get nearly 2/3-3/4 pint, this didn't work every time but it did most), i would love to add a list of all the ales we tasted but as it was my birthday the number of ales consumed and my memory is a little blurry.

Entertainment on the Friday was provided by Duke Johnson and the scorhers, a five piece rock band playing classics from the 60's right up to the modern day. The evening got better as it went including runing into some old friends (thats old as in the length of time i've known them not thier ages, lol). Sadly all too quickly 11 o'clock came and the first day was over so we proceeded to get the free bus back to Torquay, unfortunately we just missed one and had to wait nearl 45 mins for it to come back, this didn't matter as we were in a good mood due to the amount of ale consumed, the journey back to Torquay was a slow but joyous one with everyone laughing and a few even singing and waving to people we passed, it was slightly spoiled however by a few idiots who decided it would be fun to rip up a couple of the seats and throw them over the side of the top deck (it was an open top bus) this resulted in the bus being canceled for the saturday.
DAY 2.
Saturday the festival was due to start at 11.00 but i had decided that there wasn't much point rushing (nothing to do with the slightly foggy head, honest) so waking up about 11.30 i looked out the window and saw that it was raining, great, so i packed up a bag with some extra bits and ventured to meet my mate Steve in town and proceeded to the festival, getting there about 1.30, to find a slow starting second day (possibly due to the amount consumed the night before, Cahoot the band for the early part of the afternoon were in full swing and doing pretty good, these guys can oftenly been found playing at the Hole in the Wall in Torquay.
They were followed by Three Bags Full, by which time we had followed everyone else throw to the field at the back,where we spent most of the afternoon chatting with a nice couple from Cheshire (i think), the overall atmosphere was great with kids playing ball and adults milling and chilling out, the music drifting from the cow shed where the band were playing and the warm sunshine made it a very relaxing afternoon and at one point i could of quite happily stretched out and gone sleep, instead i went back to the bar and refilled my glass.

As the day wore on and afternoon became evening one by one the barrels started to run out, however the crowd became bigger and by 7.00 they had stopped admitting anyone that didn't already have a ticket. Still the rain that had threatened in the morning held off and the burger stand and hog roast appeared to be doing a roaring trade. As was the farm shop and pancake stand (my only complaint at this point which also applied to fri night was that the toilet facilities seemed inadiquate  1 ladies "block" 1 gents, with 3 urinals and about a dozen porta-loos consequently ques were long and the bushes were getting a good watering).
The evenings entertainment was a 10 piece soul band called SOULFUNCTION who were absolutely amazing and soon got the crowd jumping with songs from the Comittments, Blues Brothers and many more. Gradually the pace of barrels running out increased and by 10 oclock all cider had gone and they were down to about a dozen ales, so i joined the queue to get my last one for the day and use up the tokens i had left by getting a half litre to take home (well it was supposed to be 1/2 of a 4 pint milk container but was closer to 3/4), my final choice was Bays Breaker and once purchased i returned to the balcony above the shop with Steve to enjoy the final set of the entertainment before catching a taxi back home and collapsing into bed.
Overall it was a great festival with fantastic entertainment, good food but most importantly an abundance of great tasting west country ales, spoiled only by the idiots who caused damage to the bus on Friday night and the misinformation given to some friends of mine when they turned up on saturday, after being there on the friday, with glass and fridays wrist band in hand to be told they had to pay £4.50 to get in when it should've only been £2.50 each, consequently they decided on principle not to come in, Alan and co. you were missed mate. Roll on next years festival.
Click here to view more photos from the festival

And here's a list (as best i can remember) of ales i tried :-

Bays Brewery - Topsail, Beery Head (both new ales), Breaker
Branscombe Vale Brewery - A Pint of Two Halves
Clearwater Brewery - Proper Ansome, Devon Darter
Coastal Brewery - Relentless Sea
Cotleigh Brewery - Tawney Owl
Countrylife Brewery - Black Boar
Exe Valley Brewery - Beerwolf
Gidleys Brewery - Spinney
Hunters Brewery - Denbury Dreamer, Pheasant Plucker
Jolly Boat Brewery - Mainbrace, Heart of Oak
Red Rock Brewery - Lighthouse
South Hams Brewery - Devon Pride
St. Austell Brewery - Dartmoor Best Bitter
Teignworthy Brewery - Neap Tide
Yeovil Ales Brewery - British Summer Time

At somtime in the near future i will add these to my taste notes page.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Well peeps the big day has arrived, yep today is the first day of the Occombe Farm Beer Festival, starting at 5.00 pm, i'm sitting with taste buds tugging at their leash in eager anticipation. Not quite sure about the condition i'll be in by the end of the day (it's also my birthday so i don't think i'll be walking quite as straight as when i arrive) so any posting that i'll do wont be until sunday.
For anyone going I'll see ya there.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Expensive beer but a lovelly view

Before i go any further I'm gonna apologise to anyone who has been checking in on this blog for it's lack of activity of late, to be honest i haven't actually done that much or tried many new beers, i promise i will try harder in future.
Now on to my latest news, on Tuesday i had the pleasure of enjoying a day off with some beautiful weather so i decided to venture down to Babbacombe Beach and visit the Cary Arms, (my first visit to this pub since it was bought and refurbished by Peter and Lana De Savory.
As i entered the bar i spotted 4 or 5 hand pumps sadly only one ale was available, so i had to settle for an Otter Ale, but was then shocked when the barman asked me for £3.40, (no that's not a misprint) however with the nearest bar about 250 feet above me via a steep, winding hill i paid up without complaint, and proceeded to the terrace to take a seat. The compensation for paying that much for a beer is the relaxing sound of waves gently lapping at the beach just a few feet below and the beautiful view across Babbacombe bay and out towards Exmouth (that's if there's no mist like on my visit) that is only interrupted by the occasional car struggling to make it up the hill.
My overall thought is that although the price is a little over the top the view, peace and tranquility is worth it, a bit of advise though walk down but then walk across the bridge that links Babbacombe Beach to the neighbouring Oddicombe Beach and ride the cliff railway up.

Finally a little reminder to anyone visiting Torbay next week the Occombe Farm Beer Festival is on 4th and 5th June, SEE Y'ALL THERE!!!!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Occombe Farm Beer Festival

Well folks here's some great news for all beer news in the South West area Occombe Farm Beer Festival is almost upon us. This year it's the 4th and 5th June and features over 60 real ales from across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, as well as live music and deliicious food.

Tickets are £4.50 each day or £7.00 for both days and runs from 4.30 till 11.00 Friday 4th and 11.00 am till 11.00 pm Saturday 5th.

So grab ya glass and ya taste buds and i'll see ya there.

For further details goto the Occombe Farm website

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Turkers Maltings beer festival

Yes peeps its that time of year again, that wonderful time of sunny days but more importantly BEER FESTIVALS, as mentioned in my previous posting JDWetherspoons have been runing a festival over the past couple of weeks. This weekend the attention turns towards Newton Abbott for the annual Tuckers Maltings beer festival with a line-up of around 300 ales. This is one of the most prestigious festivals on the SW calender. Sadly due to work commitments i am unable to join in, but hope anybody who is going has a great time.
Another festival coming up is the Occombe Farm beer festival not sure about the exact dates yet but is usually the first week in June, i'll post more details as soon as i can.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Beer Festival

Come, gather all ye lovers of real ale, for i bring ye glad tidings. JDWhetherspoons are holding another beer festival, listed as the "WORLD'S LARGEST INTERNATIONAL REAL ALE FESTIVAL", ales appearing include ales from Belgium, Hawii, South Africa and Czech Republic to name a few. This festival started on Wednesday 7th April and runs until Sunday 25th April.
Having seen the listing for beers due to appear over the festival it looks to be a rather impressive line-up, from Daleside Spring Frenzy at 3.4%, right up to Budelse Capucijn from the Netherlands at 6.0%, and incudes a few brewed especially for this festival. I will try and give some notes and my opinion on some of these ales as i try them.
Starting with Springhead's Spring Chicken 4.5% ABV, This ale was presented to me after being poured direct from the barrel, a beautiful golded yellow colour with a lovelly deep fruity aroma, scrumptious wildflower honey taste with a hint of cinnamon and a refreshing well-balanced bitterness. Alltogether a delightful ale, from the Springhead Brewery.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


WOW!!! What a beer.
Tonight i had planned to go out for a drink after finishing work, but didn't get out as early as i thought i would and by the time i did get out i couldn't be bothered to walk into town for an hour or two, so i returned to my room where i had one bottle of beer left.
My last bottle was a Marston's Owd Rodger, when i bought this one i didn't look too closely at the label and so didn't spot the bit that said ABV 7.6%, so on spotting this tonight my first thought was not another foul tasting extra strong beer but was pleasantly surprised by this old style country ale. Brewed to a recipe believed to be over 500 years old it has an explosion of rich fruit flavours with a bitter sweet finish.
 A very palitable winter ale, my only complaint...... i only had the one bottle.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Another night in South Zeal

Yes followers once again i'm visiting my brother in South Zeal this time i'm here to see my nephews school play, having helped him out with his lines. Of course no visit to my brothers would be complete without popping into the Kings Arms, i'm now being considered more of a local than my brother.
Two out of four of the ales on offer last night i have had many times before (Skinners Ginger Tosser and Otter Best) the other two were new Legend and Davenports Irish Whiskey Ale, whilst i wasn't overly keen on the Irish Whiskey Ale (not much taste of irish whiskey) the legend went down very well as did the Tosser and Otter. This may have contributed to my falling asleep before posting my previous post, and the slight foggy feel in my head this morning. Well it's now nearly lunchtime and i fancy a nice bacon sandwich so it's a walk to the village shop to get some bacon.


Firstly a big apology to anyone who has been trying to follow my blog for the lack of postings over the past two or three weeks, sadly work and other commitments have taken priority. However I've not abstained from the delights of the alcoholic substance over the past couple of weeks including joining the ranks of englishmen who become irish for one night a year, yes i joined the St. Patricks celebrations and consumed a few pints of the black gold known as guiness followed by a night cap of a large Paddy's whiskey.
Then yesterday i ventured into town for a few beers with a couple of friends, upon meeting the first friend we noted that a new bar had opened, well the bar previously known as Woody's which closed about 6 months ago had re-opened now known as the Apple and Parrot. First impressions upon entering were refreshing, whilst not fully finished (some work was still going on regarding the kitchen) the bar was clean, tidy and well presented. This bar is owned by the same owners that own another bar round the corner wellknown for its loud music and high bar prices, so i was pleasantly surprised to find that they not only sold three different ales but prices were not too exuberant, a pint of Bombadier cost £2.60, the most expensive was Courage Directors at £2.80, as well that they were serving Bays Gold. If you're more of a cider fan then they accomodate you as well with three different still ciders (including Thatchers Diesel, the only pub in Torquay serving this particular brew) along with Thatchers Gold and Pear cider and strongbow.
Food wise their plans for the future is to serve a varied menu but for now they serve only a cheese or meat platter, however there is the third option of having the two combined, all come available as a single portion or larger share size. Feeling a bit peckish i decided to opt for the single combined and was presented a few minutes later with a feast fit for a king. The barman warned me that the portion he had given me maybe on the large size but even if he had given me half of everything i would still have struggled, so my friend and i tucked into Devon Brie, red leicester and a smoked cheese, duck and orange pate,a generous slice of chicken and mushroom pie, slices of fresh-cut bloomer, with real-ale chutney as well as  cider chutney. The barman also informed us that they are going to try and sorce all their produce from local sorces. If the quality of what we had continues they should do very well and i wish them all the best, it makes a change to hear of a pub opening than the usual news of another one closing. My overall opinion can be summed up with a quote from Arnold, "I'LL BE BACK".
This posting is a day older than the posting date because i actually typed it up last night but dozed off before posting it, (more to do with the early start i had yesterday than the few beers i had last night, lol)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Update from monday

For those that were following my blog on monday here are the final installments.
I left Exeter after choosing which direction to go, my next stop was the Mulberry Inn at Cheriton Bishop, unfortunately i didn't note what ale i was drinking. Then it was back onto the bus and on down to the village of Sticklepath where i popped in to the Taw River Inn this time i did make a note of what i was drinking, it was Dartmoors IPA, the last stop of the day was the Kings Arms where i was joined by my brother and enjoy pints of Olivers Nectar and Village Pride from the Clearwater brewery, and Dartmoor brewery's Jail Ale. We were also treated to some entertainment by the local folk and shanty group Mariners Away. Eventually we decided to head up the hill to my brothers and some much needed sleep to some-one sleep came quicker than others but i won't elaborate in case i embarass him.
So that was the finale to my epic journey, sorry to keep you all waiting.

Monday, March 1, 2010

on the road again

Just like that great 70's country song says i'm on the road again, i have no idea where my travels will take me apart from a stop at Totnes. I started at one of my frequent watering holes The London Inn in Torquay where i had to gulp down (i had ten minutes before the bus came) a pint of Dark Ness from the Red Rock brewery, this dark ale is made from a mix of pale, crystal and black malts, flaked and roasted barley with a blend of hops for a mouth fillingly smooth beer, which was awarded first place in the dark beers section of the 2007 South Devon CAMRA beer festival. My only complaint was that i had to rush it. I'm now seated on a stage coach bus heading towards Totnes (a great way to get around the pubs of Devon, a day explorer ticket costs only £6.50 and you can get on and off any bus (as long as it's a stage coach bus)within Devon for the rest of the day. Next stop Totnes in about 30 mins time.

OK now back on a bus on enroute to Exeter my stop in Totnes afforded me time to pay a quick visit to the Royal Seven Stars Hotel, with 4 ales on offer (Dartmoor Jail Ale,Bays Gold, Sharpes Doombar and i think it was Pedigree, my view didnt get past the Doombar or Jail pumps) i was slightly spoilt for choice but opted for the Doom a beer i know well and enjoy but was slightly taken aback by the £3.10 charge, but i ppose it is a hotel not a regular pub, next stop Exeter and probably one of the Wetherspoons bars for a beer and burger.

16.06 Exeter - The Georges Meeting Rooms
For the second time in less than a week i find myself in the city of Exeter and the Georges Meeting Rooms, this is my second stop in Exeter today, the first being The Chavalier (sadly their wifi isn't working so i had to wait till i got here to post) where i dinned on a gormet beefburger washed down with a pint of Spring Beer from the Wetherspoons Devon Beer festival. Brewed by the Exe Valley brewery using their own spring water it's a golden-yellowed coloured bitter with a malty, hoppy taste and sweetish finish.
My choice of ale here at the Georges is also from the Spoons festival and is called Guzzale, out of the Summerskills brewery in Plymouth. This is a light brown bitter with an enticing aroma, well balanced flavour with hoppy undertones developing into a pleasing toffee finish. So where to from here well it's back to the bus station to see what bus is in.

Tues 2 March
Well apologies to all who were following this blog after leaving Exeter i headed towards my brothers stopping off at a few watering holes along the way and ending up at the Kings Arms where my brother joined me and we consumed a few (cough, cough) more beers before returning to my brothers slightly inebriated. Ihad made notes on my phone of pubs visited and beers drunk but unfortunately my battery has died, i will update them when i get home and have charged my battery.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Wetherspoons Devon Beer Festival

3:30 The London Inn, Torquay.
Hiya all, yes Wetherspoons are holding a Devon Beer Festival, featuring the best ales from breweries around Devon. My challenge is to get to as many of the 19 pubs in the Devon area as we can in the next 91/2 hours, hmmmmm.
Well we're starting at the London Inn on Torquay's harbourside the range of ales is quite extensive so i won't try listing them. Our ale of choice is T Spoons an ale specially brewed for spoons by Teignworthy brewery, it's a pale ale with a full bodied flavour, and is going down very well, stay tuned for our next stop, we're heading Exeter way, then on down to Exmouth.

6:20 The Powder Monkey, Exmouth
OK we've reached stop number to on our treck where we've decided to have a beer 'n' burger meal. Thankfully they include the festival ales in the deal so to wash our burgers down we've got Exeter Old Bitter from the Exe Valley Brewery, a smooth well-hopped strong ale with hoppy, malty tastes and bitter aftertaste, and seems to be a perfect choice to go with the burger (it's keeping my normally chatty friend Steve very quiet whilst i type. Next stop back to Exeter.

21:19 Train between Exeter and Paignton
Oooopppsss. Well we stopped at two pubs in Exeter, The Chavalier Inn and the Georges Meeting House, trying two different ales Meadow and Topsham and Exminster breweries Ferryman both very enjoyable ales. Sadly though we were quite tight on time and consequently missed our bus down to Newton Abbot by about 30 seconds (it passed us as we entered the bus station) so now we're on the train heading towards Paignton (we gotta change at Newton so might get time to pop for a quicky there) where we'll visit the Issac Merritt and the Talk of the Town (a recent addition to the wetherspoons name).

22.02 Train change and a brisk walk
The train has just left Newton Abbot heading for Paignton, we had to change trains at Newton so we decided on a short sprint to the Richard Hopkins for a swift half, asking the barmaid for two halves of which ever festival ales she chose she returned with a Bays Devon Dumpling and a Teignworthy T Spoons, both very good ales which were dispatched a little faster than they were poured not ideal but our aim is to visit as many Spoons pubs as we can tasting a festival ale in each then it was a sprint back to the train and on to Paignton.

22.45 The Issac Merritt , Paignton
Well we have made it to Paignton and the Issac Merritt, i was gonna write this post from the Talk of the Town but it isn't open yet silly me i really should pay more attention.
Anyway we are sat enjoying a pint (well one each, i don't do sharing) of O'Hanlons Red Ale which has hints of ribena and toffee with a wine-like smoothness making it very easy to drink, almost too easy. Next stop back to Torquay probably the London Inn first and finishing at the Green Ginger.

1:30 am Green Ginger, taxi and home.
So the end of the evening and also the end of our treck has arrived, intentions were to call in at the London Inn then finish at the Ginger however trade at the London dictated otherwise, we got there at 11:50 to be told that they were closing as it had been quiet, so we about turned and head over to the ginger and finished our journey with a pint of Moondance now after a taxi home i'm contemplating falling into bed. The tally for our journey was 7 pubs 7 ales (i think) and almost 100 miles covered all in the search for real ale, and now i'm off to bed, goodnight.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Photos then ale, food then more ale

Well once again i'm back at my brothers in the village of South Zeal, near Okehampton in Devon.
Both my brother and i are keen photographers (i will include some photo's soon) so we set off looking for some interesting subject to photograph, today we settled on a disused silver and lead mine on Dartmoor and spent nearly two hours taking photo's from a variety of different angles, but poor light meant we didn't gain much. On leaving we decided to stop for a drink. Our first choice was the Dartmoor Inn at Lydford but sadly it was closed so we moved on and came to the Foxand Hounds where i enjoyed a very nice pint of Tribute, (my brother being the driver had to settle on a coffee),also on offer were Dartmoor Breweries Jail and Best Ales. Sadly due to time we only had time for the one drink, then back home for a delightful dinner of battered oak smoked haddock, potato wedges and mushy peas.
After dinner and when my niece and nephew had gone to bed my brother and i headed off down to our "regular" the Kings Arms. I was hoping that they would still have the Teignworthy's Scrum Down that my brother had enjoyed a few days ago, but they didn't, however they did have some very good ales on offer. We started off with a pint of O'Hanlons Port Stout whilst not exactly to our taste it was a very quaffable ale. Next we tried an ale from a brewery new but fairly local to ourselves. The brewery being Country Life Brewery from North Devon, the ale was Old Appledore Ale, at 3.7 it's more of a session ale with a fairly weak taste and cloudy chestnut colour. Wether a bad barrel or a poor ale i'm not sure but it didn't appeal to me and i promptly moved on to Dartmoors Jail Ale, a safe old favourate. Now back home i'm typing this post and enjoying a bottle of Jennings Sneck Lifter, so i'll raise a toast all of those who wish us well those who don't can go to..................

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ale, steak and rugby

Good evening to all my followers, (well all two of you), although i haven't written anything for a week, there's not a lot to report. I've only been out twice this week, last Tuesday and last night.
Tuesday i went out visiting a couple of my regular haunts and one or two that i haven't visited for a while, and partaking of a few of my favorate ales including London Pride and Bombadier.
Then yesterday i set out for the Clocktower to watch the last half hour of the rugby, on entering the pub i was pleased to be told that they were now serving a second ale, i'm not sure if this will be on a changing "guest ale" basis or a permanent ale. The offering yesterday was Tribute from the St. Austell brewery, my intention was to start with a Tribute then go on to a London Pride (their other regular ale) but the Tribute was so good i had downed 3 or 4 pints by the end of the rugby and second half of the Crystal Palace v Aston Villa match. On leaving the Clocktower i decided i needed to get something to eat so headed up town to a restaurant called Camelot where i tucked into a nice stilton stuffed sirloin steak, sadly no ale on offer so i had to settle for a pint of John Smith smoothflow. Next stop was 2 doors up from the restaurant, the Blue Cargo, up until this week they sold Bombadier but now sell Dartmoor breweries Best Bitter on draught, but i also spotted bottles of Fullers London Pride and Tribute in the fridge.
My final stop was JDW's Green Ginger where i supped a couple of pints of Skinner's Figgy Brew then because i had an early start this morning it was time to take a taxi home.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Prince of Orange and a few bottles in

Tonight i'm writting from my sisters abode in the lovelly (cough,cough) area of Torquay called Hele, where I'm enjoying a few bottles of ale, the evening started by going to the shops at Barton in Torquay to get some ales, on route i stopped off at The Prince of Orange in Barton, a pub i haven't visited for several years, although they had two pumps only one was working, the beer on offer was also one i haven't had for a few years Courage Best Bitter which was well kept and enjoyed. As i was with my niece Louise i only had the one, then left to go to the shops where i picked up 5 bottles of beer, Well's Bombardier, London Pride, Old Speckled Hen, and Red Rocks Dark Ness and Drift Wood. So far i've enjoyed the Pride and Bombardier, and am intrigued to see what the Dark Ness is like, that will be a report for another day. For now though i'm off to finish the Speckled Hen.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Taste Notes link now active

Good evening followers, well i don't have anything to report tonight as i've been working and i'm not going to town. Instead i'm gonna stay in with a pint or two of Bays Gold. However i have written up some taste notes and will continue to add more as time goes by, (use the link on the left) if you have any suggestions please e-mail me.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Better late than never

Like the header says its better late than never, i'm refering to the fact that this blog should've been written up last night.
Anyway after a fairly early finish last night 9:00pm i decided to venture down to town sample some of the wares on offer. First stop was The Hole In The Wall, near Torquays harbourside, this CAMRA registered pub is one of the oldest pubs in Torquay and is well known for it's good variety of ales on offer. Tonight was no exception with 7 diferent ales on offer, Butcombe Traditional Bitter, Bays Brewery's Devon Dumpling and Best, Otter Bitter, Shepherd Neame's Spitfire, Doom Bar, Hunters Crackshot. Crackshot was choice for tonight as i haven't tried it before, and was pleasantly surprised by its malty texture and dry, tangy bitter taste. A friend was supposed to meet my there but ended up in the wrong pub and so i adjourned to the nearby Clocktower where Steve had a pint of London Pride waiting for me. After enjoying this favourate of mine we returned to the Hole in the Wall for a pint of Doom.
Next stop was Wetherspoons London Inn where the offerings were Pedigree, Cottage Brewery's Plunge Bitter and Western Glory, Green King Abott Ale,Harrier, Teignworthy Spring Tide, and Ruddles Best. Sadly the Western Glory and Ruddles were not available so i opted for the Plunge which went down very nicely.
Finally we ended up at The Green Ginger, another Wetherspoons pub, ales available were White Horses Wayward Smithy, Holdens Golden Glow, Bays Devon Dumpling, Tring Brewery's Side Pocket for a Toad, Abott Ale, Ruddles Best.Loving the quirkyness of its name i chose the Side Pocket and wasn't disapointed by this straw coloured ale with it's floral aroma and crisp dry finish.
And so home to bed via the takeaway and taxi office.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

South Zeal with the dog in tow

Well folks i'm once again out on the razz in South Zeal, well if you can go on the razz in a village that has 1 shop, 1 church but 2 pubs (at least thay got their priorities right), however this time we've got my brothers dog Diesel in tow ( see pic right)
Tonight i revisited the Kings Arms (i'll soon be classified as a local at this rate) whilst 3 of the 4 ales on offer were the same as my last visit (Jail Ale, Otter Ale and O'Hanlons Goodwill) the fourth was different, this was Skinners Best Bitter which was our first choice and went down very smoothly (as if you'd expect anything less from a Skinners ale). My brother stayed with the best (thats how good it was) but being an ale fan i had to sample the Jail and Otter Ales and as i have come to expect both were impecably kept. Again full marks to the landlord and staff, also to the customers who made me feel so welcome even though i'm not a local.

Monday, February 1, 2010

what a weekend

WOW followers what a weekend i've had, from a friends 25th birthday party, a nights stay in a b&b that seemed locked in the 60's or 70's, to somebodies 40th birthday bash that i only met last night and a substatial quantity of ale in between.
The weekend started on Friday afternoon with us picking three polypins of ale up from Bays Brewery in Torbay and taking them to the cafe at the Buckfastliegh end of the South Devon Steam Railway line, ready for my friend Terry's b'day party the following night. After setting them in position to settle we retired to enjoy a nice evening at an Italian restaurant, the food was wonderful but as there was no ale we had to settle for a very nice bottle of red wine (i can't remember what it was but hey i'm an ale drinker).
On Saturday it was Terry's bash and i was barman which meant i could have as much ale as i wanted (dodgy decision there Terry) but i was a good boy and only had a few pints. The ales we had on offer were Gold, Breaker and Devon Dumpling all from Bays Brewery, whilst i have drank both Gold and Breaker before (in copious quantities) the Devon Dumpling was fairly new to me, but it lacked none of the usual taste and texture you would expect from this relatively new brewery and went down well with all who tried it.
After the bash every-one headed home well except those of us who lived too far away to travel at that time of night. We were booked into a delightful b&b (advertised as a manor, though lookswise may have been exagerating). First impressions were "Oh my god!!!!" Decor seemed lost in the 60's or 70's and the missing batteries from the smoke detector wasn't a good or welcoming sign. However the landlady Jan was very welcoming and friendly, the beds were very comfortable if not maybe a bit too springy (Terry whilst messing around with his girlfriend bounced twice on one bed and before knowing it ended up on the floor), and as for the breakfast well........A bowl yes i said BOWL of toast was brought to us whilst waiting for our cooked breakfast along with two cafetieres of coffee each with enough for 3 cups. the cooked breakfast made up for all the short comings upstairs sausages, 3 rashers of bacon, black pud, fried bread tomatoes (the others also had eggs) and i was set up for the day.
And so onto today well i was supposed to go to my brothers but Terry who was going to take me was still unfit to drive so i'm stopping another night in Sidford, but i did pick up an invite to a 40th birthday party (Terry's girlfriend Gemma's aunts) in nearby Sidbury, so tonight we set off for the Sidbury Social Club, i wasn't sure what to expect when we got there but when we did we found some of the croud were rather merry (lol). There to meet us were Gemma's parents who brought our first round (thankyou). Straight away i noticed 2 ales on offer Branscombes Branoc and Otter's Amber, i opted for the Branoc, having not tried it before, and wasn't too keen on it, so next round i went for the Otter Amber. Being some-one who prefers a darker ale than a golden i spotted some bottles of good old Fullers London Pride in the fridge and so ended the night with an old favourate.
Now back at Terry's i'm about to go sleep then tomorrow move on to my brothers, then back to work on Weds. Over the days from weds i'm hoping to make a start on my taste notes etc. so stay tuned.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Reverend James

Today i'm writing from the little village of Sidford near Sidmouth, East Devon. Sadly i haven't visited any pubs here tonight but on the way here we stopped off at Budliegh Salterton and visited The Feathers, on High Street. As i was short on time (my friend was in the hairdressers opposite having his hair cut) i opted for the first ale i saw, which also happened to be an old favorate of mine from a pub i used to frequent in Torquay, Reverend James from S A Brains brewery. This easy drinking fruity bitter has a dark amber color with an off white head and would make a great session beer.
Whilst sitting and enjoying my ale i noticed about three other ale pump handles but from where i was sitting i couldn't see what they were offering. Having finished my beer i unwillingly got up and started making my way to the door knowing that my friend would be finished at the hairdressers. This is one pub i will need to return to so i will be able to give a more indepth posting on it and to sample another pint or two of the delightful Rev James.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

After work drinks

After a hard days work there's nothing better than sitting down with a pint of ale or two, so after finishing work at about 10 pm i decided to head into town for a couple of beers.
First stop was the Clocktower on Torwood Street near Torquays harbourside, a fairly regular haunt of mine. On offer is Fullers London Pride, although this is the only ale they offer it is always perfectly kept and served, and tonight was no exception.
And so on to another of my regular haunts JD Wetherspoons Lloyds no1 bar The Green Ginger, as is the norm for Wetherspoons pubs there was about 5 different ales on offer including Bays Brewery's Devon Dumpling and Breaker, Marstons Pedigree, Caledonian's Auld Aquaintance (specialy brewed for Burns night) and Ruddles Green King. However the only one i tried was the Auld Aquaintance which i found to be a very plesant amber coloured beer with a sweet nutty chocolate taste and a slight malty aftertaste. Very drinkable and very morish, however sadly because i have an early start tomorrow (8am, arrgghhh) i restrained myself. There's always tomorrow night.
OK now that was tonight but what of the future, well i intend to keep trying different ales in as many different bars as possible, it's gonna be a hard task, LOL.
I'm also gonna try and include links to the pubs i visit, breweries who's beers i'm tasting and hopefully some tasting notes, so please call back again.

Monday, January 25, 2010

First post

Welcome all. After trying to create a website for real ale drinkers, but finding costs and all that web design hassle too much,I have now decided to join the world of bloggers and my first blog is coming from my brothers place in the little village of South Zeal, about a 15 mins drive from Okehampton, Devon.
The village has two pubs and last night we visited the Kings Arms, although it was quiet (only three other customers) we were made to feel welcome by both landlord and customers.
There were four ales on offer, Dartmoor Brewery's Jail Ale, Skinners Heligan Honey, Otter Brewery's Otter Ale and O'Hanlons Goodwill. Whilst the Goodwill wasn't to our taste all three of the others went down exceptionally well (Jail and Heligan Honey being two of my favourites).
Whilst my brother has recently moved to the village and i am purely a visitor we felt none of the expected "They'm not from these parts" attitude, so a big thumbs up to the landlord, landlady and customers for making us feel so welcome.