Sunday, 19 April 2009

The Plough Ellington, Nr. Morpeth, Northumberand

The Plough at Ellington.
At last a return visit to my local, as it was for ten years, and I'm pleased to say it hasn't changed a bit. Still got Abbot Ale, powerful stuff, and Black Sheep (or 'sheep dip', as my pal up there used to call it).
I started on the Abbot some twelve years ago. Having watched the 'Toon' play when they were Keegan's team, I could rarely remember stumbling home in the village at closing time. Happy, happy days.
I did move on to the Black Sheep eventually and became a slightly more sober client of the Plough as a result. But I must admit to being a Plough fan still, with a glorious coastline just a mile or so down the road at the little village of Cresswell.
A visit here is highly recommended and its worth mentioning that its a great jump off point for visits to the most glorious coast, all the way up to Seahouses, Bamburgh and of course Lindisfarne.

I watched from my home as the 'Big E', the north-east's last deep pit, was closed down and demolished.

The Blackbird Inn, North road, Ponteland, Northumberland NE20 9UH Tel: 01661 823200

The Blackbird Inn was a favourite pub of mine when I didn't drink!

Yes, I was 17 and a motorbike nut often calling at the Blackbird to meet the other nutcases before roaring off for a spin! God, that was a long time ago.

A mere blinking of an eye in relation to the Blackbird. Parts of whose life go back to the 1300's (Left click on the sign).

Now, from being an out and out pub, it seems to have made various attempts at becoming an eating place. What a lovely Sunday lunch I had about 5 or 6 weeks ago. If the chef has remained the same then I've got to say your food will be very good.

But boy has the real ale suffered. My beer was cloudy as hell and the staff and manager had no idea why or what to do about it!
Spoilt my day.

What a pity.Don't go for the real ale.

Friday, 17 April 2009

The Three Horseshoes, Pithouse lane, Leamside, Houghton le Spring, Durham, DH4 6QQ. Tel: 0191 5842394.


The Three Horse Shoes pub in Pit House Lane, Leamside is a place that's hard to find but worth seeking I am's in the Good Beer Guide. I've tried several times to find it and will keep on keeping on. Keep toot for a new posting.
UPDATE I've found it.
The Three Horseshoes! How did I come across it?

My pal and I were wandering aimlessly through Chester Le Street looking for the Butchers Arms (an excellent real ale pub - see my listing in Cask Task). We decided to ask for directions.

A young gentleman very kindly pointed out the Butchers Arms and also mentioned two or three other good pubs in the area (one of which was the Three Horseshoes) for future visits.
That future visit day arrived on at least two occasions but The Three Horseshoes refused to be found. Until today! And believe you me (that always looks peculiar to me when written down!) it was worth it. Here's me striding purposefully towards the door, a door I have been looking for, for four months... for for goodness sake, I'm f f f stuttering now!

Nine real ales to choose from in a welcoming bar with the restaurant at the back. Sure enough, there was our helpful young friend from Chester Le Street, John he's called, to pull the Durham Brewery's Durham County beer for us. Just the job!

Must call again.

This terrible Cask Task, what a chore?? it can be, unfortunately, meant further pubs to visit with more real ales to sample.

See you.

A good real ale pub to visit though.
Had another look in a few months later, when I got a lift, and had a couple of pints and a very nice meal in the restaurant at the rear. What a good pub.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

The Church Mouse, Chester-le-Street

The Church Mouse
Waldbridge, Chester-le-Street, DH2 3SL.
Tel: 0191 389 2628

The Church Mouse.What a wonderful name for the place, but then , as I've regularly drank and eaten at its sister places, The Badger at Ponteland and The Snowy Owl at Cramlington over the years and both have strong romantic attachments for me, it is not surprising.

They all have the same feel and atmosphere, but I mustn't go rambling on's get's too personal.

The Church Mouse tries, and to a certain extent succeeds, to give the 'pub' feel with its small selection of real ales.The Caledonian 80, with its hint of caramel in the taste, was a surprisingly good pint but I must push on before the tears of nostalgia take a hold! As well as the Black Sheep and the Timothy Taylors Landlord beer!

See you later.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

The Mill House, Birtley, Tyne and Wear
Blackfell, Birtley, Chester le Street, DH3 1RE Tel.0191 415 1313
The Mill House used to be one of my 'Biker' pubs many years ago(many, many years ago) and how its changed. More food than beer now, but still, it has 2 real ales to sup, so I had a pint of Courage Directors. It seemed a shame to leave the stuff so I drank it!

Ravensworth Arms Hotel, Lamesley, Gateshead

Gateshead, NE11 0ER - 0191 487 6023
The Ravensworth Arms has two literary claims to fame. It is alleged that Lewis Carroll wrote (or conceived) his immortal classic ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and it is also believed that Catherine Cookson was conceived here as her mother Kate worked behind the bar and occasionally took in guests, if you catch my drift.(I wasn't there as it was just before my time. Honest!)
I arrived on the scene in the sixties whilst working at the Team Valley and was entertained at the Ravensworth by quite a few salesmen selling their industrial wares. The food then was always good.
Today the service was on the duff side and a singular real ale tap of Wells Bombardier was eventually brought into action, after a shout of 'SHOP!' from your Cask Task representative.
Shame. I was still after the food and service of the sixties.