It started off very well on the Friday, with an excellent stop at Alcester. Never heard of the place before, but we were left wishing we’d had more time there. The Holly Bush had it all as a pub-some great architecture, great staff, decent food and, most importantly, some very well kept beer. The Turks Head also delivered the goods and Tandleman was certainly taken with the quality of the local barmaids.
Three Choirs winery was interesting, although the wine itself veered between the decent-Willow Brook-to the frankly poor, Rosè. Tewkesbury, our base for the weekend, is very historical, but lacking in top-notch boozers: the main fault being beer choice. Or rather lack of it. There was an awful lot of brown beer around. Indeed, the whole surrounding area seemed awash with it.
In Tewkesbury itself, I tried the Bell, George, Anchor, Britannia, Tudor House and White Bear in search of variety. Not forgetting the Royal British Legion-tell them you’re a friend of Tandleman if they ask for your membership card. The Nottingham Arms offered four wickets-but all of were variations on brown concoctions. The best pub in town was the Berkeley Arms, a very well run Wadsworth house serving some rather tasty Horizon and JCB. Gupshill Manor was very impressive, making much of its historical role at the centre of the Battle of Tewkesbury. It has some great facilities-plenty of (heated) outdoor drinking space, it’s disabled friendly and has good food to boot. However, the choice of beer-Greene King, lets it down. And what’s all this nonsense about pubs closing at 11pm?