The rest of the day was a real mixed bunch. The famous Fleece at Bretforton lived up to its rep and we enjoyed some decent Enville as the old-timers on the trip regaled us with a tale about an unfortunate fart on their visit some 20 years ago.
The Mount Inn at Stanton offers truly spectacular views across the Vale of Evesham and certainly looks the part. It’s accessed by a very steep road-remember to keep an eye open for over friendly llamas. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t on our side and neither was the beer. The Donnington beers were terrible-even after the cloudy ones had been changed. They seemed to be a strange mix of yeast and old socks or someone’s idea of homebrew. We couldn’t get out of there quick enough.
Winchcombe had several pubs to go at, so a little tour was in order. Tandleman was particularly gratified to find Stanney Bitter, as he has visited the brewery. White Lion Bitter (brewed by Wye Valley), at the pub of the same name, was surprisingly tasty at only 3.5%. The Plaisterers Arms proved a worthy finale with some excellent Landlord going down easy.
It was after here that things started to unravel somewhat and cider began to play an increasing part in proceedings. The Kemble Brewery Inn in Cheltenham was hosting a music festival-meaning this small pub was very busy and serving beer in plastic glasses. The beer wasn’t very good either but, luckily, the ciders on offer were. The Jolly Brewmaster disappointed with some cloudy, bottom-of-barrel, Summer Lightning, prompting Tandleman to get bitten by a rat-Black Rat cider, to be precise.
Back in Tewkesbury, it was more cider at the Royal Hop Pole before fish & chips at the Abbey Fryer. This was an excellent establishment, offering cod, haddock and plaice. The haddock was of very generous proportions and, interestingly, came complete with skin.