Theoretical Al Fresco

A pleasant looking evening gave me the urge for some al fresco drinking and a bit of a wander. First call was the Brown Cow at Burrs Country Park. This freehouse usually offers a choice of two, with one often from a local micro. Unfortunately, on this occasion, the local offering was from All Gates. A small sampler revealed this 5% to be phenolic in flavour and definitely not one for me. Clark’s No Angel (4%) was much better. Despite being pale brown in colour, it had hints of fruit leading to a slightly bitter-sweet finish. However, I had to jettison any plans for al fresco, as there were swarms of midges everywhere.

Next stop was the Hamers Arms in Summerseat, where a very fetching young lass served me a pint of Theakstons. Now I’m not so shallow as just to judge someone on their looks. Oh no, I was waiting to see how she handled the ale. And, well cover me with quicksand, she drew a perfect pint. Looks and technique-what more could any man want? However, putting any thoughts of marriage on the backburner, I headed for the beer garden. Alas, once more the dreaded midges were out in force, forcing me to spend more time indoors with the lovely Tina.

Over at the Footballers, I kicked off with a pint of Hornbeam Bitter (3.8%) which was sweeter than I’ve had it before. Switching to Rudgate Viking (3.8%) improved matters as this at least had some bitterness behind an initial smooth taste. You can’t beat the classics though, so I finished my session here with a pint of Hydes Original (3.8%) which was very refreshing. Bizarrely, by now, the pub was infested with midges-I’ve never encountered them inside before, but the reason soon became obvious. As I was waiting for the bus into Bury, it became clear that the nearby fields were being cut back, presumably causing some disturbance for the neighbourhood midges. Who, in turn, were taking their revenge on anyone they could find. Ah, the joys of country life.

Safe inside the Trackside, I enjoyed a very dry pint of Ossett Pale Gold, which at just 3.8% really is a good beer. I followed that with an excellent Phoenix White Monk (4.5%), but was prevented from enjoying another by the inexperienced barman’s insistence on calling time.

Realising there was still time for a couple at Wetherspoons; I took a deep breath and prayed to Zeus that a decent beer would be forthcoming. The first thing I noticed was how busy it was very late on a Tues night-everywhere else had been dead. The second thing that caught my eye was the range of beers. A draught Belgium, Pale Rider, and several more. Had I walked in the wrong place my mistake? I kicked off with Caledonian XPA (4.3%), a pleasant, golden ale, that thankfully had none of the tang that Deuchars often has. Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted (3.8%) was deliciously fruity, but time was really pressing now, so I finished with a nightcap of Phoenix Wobbly Bob (6%). Sadly, it wasn’t on top form, being obviously tired, but proved still sufficient to send me to my bed beered out and content.


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