I headed over to Melton Mowbray with J for a couple of days in search of rest, pork pies, and Stilton. The weather upon arrival was so thoroughly grim that to spend the day exploring the local pubs was the happy choice of the wise visitor.
Nearest the station is the Boat – named for the canal basin that used to occupy the area – and a champion pub. After making a poor choice of seat – the quiet corner I picked was unoccupied because the warmth of the open fire didn’t reach it – we settled down to enjoy what is a cracking pub. A fine selection of ales (I had Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker) for sure, but the impressive collection of whiskies in Scotch Corner left us ruing being there in the late-afternoon rather than the late-evening. We would have been happy to work our way through several of them to end the night.
A little further up the same road is the Anne of Cleves where we had lunched earlier in the day. Remarkably this gem is not in the Good Beer Guide whilst space is found for a unremarkable Wetherspoons whose beer range (and pricing) can be the only advantage over this finer establishment. The ongoing CAMRA love-in with Wetherspoons is a cause of regret.
The next day, after a cup of tea at the lovely Don’t be Latte on Melton Mowbray station, we went to Oakham. The weather had perked up so we could potter contentedly around this town of considerable charm until thirst took us into the Lord Nelson for a couple. Even after several years living in the south bar prices still have the capacity to floor me and £7.70 for our round of two drinks meant this was one such occasion. But the pub itself was glorious and the food better.
But it was our next stop which was the highlight of th trip. The Grainstore Brewery is at Oakham station and their Brewery Tap is a pub I could have stayed in for the rest of my life. My pint of mild was stunning and I was as happy as a pig in shit. But imprudent planning meant we only had time for one here before going back to Melton and, after another pint in the Boat, home to Luton.