The final pre-Christmas travelling day started in Cambridge and ended in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire via Hoddesdon Town v Welwyn Garden City in the Spartan South Midlands League (attendance 105).
The solitary new Good Beer Guide entry for Cambridge is Calverley’s brewery tap. One house cask beer (may have been two) was served in a small bar at the end of a terraced street (where a house will set you back £330k+). A wider kegged selection was being worked through diligently by a local scooper. There is another room across a small courtyard, opposite which was parked car of the day with problem drinking number plate.
Into Essex, where the White Horse in Newport provided a tasty glass of Adnams Ghost Ship (4.5%) served alongside a couple of other regionals. I liked this pub and not just because of the (1970’s?) illuminated sign behind the bar.
The external sign had a certain homespun charm even if the horse’s face is better defined than that of the rider.
There was even a rare framed Sunday League programme. I know people who would kill for that. Must stop exaggerating. I know one person who would kill for that.
Newport is a lovely village in an underrated county that has many beautiful and contrasting places. This was a solid, plain, former Greene King main road boozer with an interest in well kept beer, close to some rather grand houses.
Finally across country to Tewkesbury, where the Royal British Legion Club has appeared in the Guide for the first time this year. Near the abbey, it is next door to a Tudor timber framed building that was once the Aurora, closed in 1917.
It would be pleasing to think that, in a previous life, I too was once a pub. Not a Harvester obviously. There would have been beer from the wood and good cheese.
The Legion was packed with people playing a ferociously competitive game of bingo. To get to the bar I had to tiptoe past the caller and several tables. This walk of shame was met with disapproving frowns and ill concealed muttering. A little similar, I imagine, to crossing no-man’s land in World War One. Well, it was the Royal British Legion.
The torture wasn’t over. So as not to disturb the game further, I then had to mime the beer I wanted, which was Old Spot. Could have been worse- just lucky it wasn’t Spankers IPA, Giant’s Organ or Gobble*
* look them up in the Good Beer Guide