Wednesday, 27 June 2012

1 Borough Arms

Visited on 17 April 2012
There’s also a website HERE.

The Borough Arms

And here's a map to help you find it:
So the task of doing the rounds of forty-odd pubs kicks off on a cold April evening, with a bracing wind of Skeggy proportions howling through the town. Where to start? Well, I might as well pick somewhere that can’t fail to serve a half decent pint of beer, and give me a choice to boot.

Getting to the Borough Arms on foot can require a little care: Earle Street is busy for most of the day, and especially so at the end of the week. Don’t even think about just walking across – the hump back rail bridge and the lousy sight lines can catch you out. Cross over using the zebra crossing at the other side of the rail bridge, or the light controlled one at the entrance to the retail park. Especially after drinksh.

The pub advertises its CAMRA awards outside. Is that a good or bad sign? Whatever, there’s only one way to find out. A slightly cramped entrance, compact but not small inside (not to forget the beer garden for summer), it has all the keg taps on the front of the bar with all the real ale handpumps at the side.

Ticking over nicely midweek – always a good sign – and the bar staff are happy to be quizzed about the beer range, which is nine different real ales, with one brewed on the premises. My order is O’Hanlon’s Port Stout, which is fine. Cask stout? Again? As Spike Milligan once observed, there’s a lot of it about. It’s not a patch on Higson’s Stout or Brimstage Oyster Catcher, though.

 Can a pub keep that many choices in equally good condition? I’m not sure. That, of course, may be just my being of A Certain Age and thinking in terms of pubs that never did more than two or three cask beers. The own brew is Golden Ale, which at 5.3% I reckon a little strong for a first pint.

They do continental bottled beers as well. The keg range includes Weissbier, various other Euro brews and at least one cider. A good start, I’d be more than happy to come back and sample another. And maybe one after that. Allegedly.

And that’s the first pub done. The north easterly doesn’t seem quite so biting now, as I retrace my steps over the rail bridge. Will that standard be maintained or even approached? Stay tuned.

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