Whilst staying at a holiday camp a trifle outside Penrith I popped into the town on Sunday morning to go to church and stumbled across a beer festival in the centre of town. If there is a God then she clearly loves me.
I was already impressed with Penrith the previous day when I fell of the train after a hellish journey and into the Agricultural Hotel. Other than the racist at the bar turning the beer sour (‘I don’t care where you were born there is no such thing as a black Englishman’) this pub was excellent, I had three Jennings brews (Cumberland, Sneck Lifter, and Bitter) and a glorious sausage and egg barm. Suitably rejuvenated I went on my way.
Reluctantly leaving the beer festival I killed the last hour before my bus in The Royal drinking an Eden Gold and watching England destroying the Australians in the second Ashes Test. I very much liked Penrith.
Work took me to Chesterfield and I had planned in advance to visit the Chesterfield Arms. The Good Beer Guide heaped lavish praise on this place and deservedly so. The short walk from the station in the heat of the day left me gasping for a drink and the array of ales was most welcome – there would be more still had it been the weekend. This is an excellent pub and heartily recommended. I had a couple of pints of Scoundrel by Leatherbritches.
East Midland Trains and Network Rail combined to make my journey home a terrible one but missing my connection at Leicester left me with three quarters of an hour to kill and a renewed thirst to satisfy. I popped into the Barley Mow which the Leicester Drinker (local CAMRA newsletter) told me had been recently refurbished. The beer was good, the discount for CAMRA members most welcome, and they seem to be well on their way to achieving their aim of ‘creating a recognised ale house’. I had a swift pint of Everards’s Tiger before heading off.
I have been told by a number of people that Leicester is an excellent place for a drinker. Sadly time didn’t allow further exploration but the Barley Mow was a very good introduction.
Note: I hadn’t noticed at the time but both of these pubs seem to be Everards inns. The brewery seems to run a good pub indeed.
On a previous visit to Crewe, somewhat rushed and already four pints inside me, I had the worst pint of my life in the station buffet – The Crewe Hero. Today I was determined not to relive that experience.
Given the proximity of the football ground to the station I would have thought there would be be a decent boozer nearby for the discerning football fan. The Crewe Arms Hotel seemed promising with both Black Sheep best and Golden Sheep on handpump. But the bar was abandoned and upon enquiring at reception I was told they only open in the evening. Scandalous for a railway hotel. I hope they go out of business.
And that was it. There were were a couple of places – looking more like clubs – nearby but I didn’t dare brave them. Not a single decent pub within walking distance of the station in Crewe for a traveller, burdened by luggage, to find succor.
I can’t wait to shake the dust of this place from my feet. Meanwhile I sit with my pint of Guinness in the Crewe Hero wishing I was just about anywhere else in the world.