Thursday, 30 July 2009

Cottage Tavern, North Street, Cleadon, Sunderland, SR6 7PL. Tel:0191 5190547.

The Cottage Tavern. What a super looking, inside and out, little pub in the village of Cleadon.
Pity there's only 2 real ales on tap. Black Sheep and Lambtons, and the Black Sheep was murky to say the least! The Lambtons was an improvement, but the shine was knocked off the visit.
What a shame.
Nice pub though.

Red Lion, Redcar Terrace, West Boldon, Tyne&Wear, NE36 0PZ. Tel:0191 5364197.

The Red Lion. A beautifully presented old pub tastefully extended and very comfortable inside.
Again though, only the token two wooden handles installed and my Mordue's Workie Ticket was a tad undermeasured. The barman was obviously not used to serving proper beer!
Never mind. Both beers were well kept, the other being Black Sheep, and it was a pleasure to sit in the sunshine, on the extensive outside patio and have couple of good pints.
Well worth the visit.

The Maltings 9,Claypath Lane, So.Shields.Tyne&Wear, NE33 4PG. Tel:0191 4277147.

The Maltings had been a restaurant. But after my very pleasant visit to the Robin Hood in Jarrow, the original home of the Jarrow Brewery, I thought a pint or two in their new place in So. Shields might be worth a try.
Getting parked was a nightmare and the exterior of the place was a bit naff, but once inside it was all worthwhile.
A terrific old stairway leads to a very impressive bar. And I mean impressive!

Wood everywhere, a U shaped bar and split level eating and drinking area. It must be seen to fully appreciate it. For gronks like me, not being able to manage the staircase, a huge lift takes you to the bar.The ground floor is of course inaccessible, being taken up by the most important part of the building. The brewery!
On then to the bar and the beer. There's even a place on the wall for newspapers, although the painter/printer can't spell Chronicle!(stop being a clever shite Cask Task).
All their ales are obviously available. Caulker, Rivet Catcher, Jarrow Bitter etc, but I settled for my favourite Swinging Gibbet. Superb it was too.

A visit is a must.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Dolly Peel, 137 Commercial Road, South Shields

The Dolly Peel turned up as my pal and I were wandering through So. Shields looking for a decent pint. And there it was. A most unlikely real ale pub, except for the sign telling you that it certainly was! Stop rambling on and get in!
A smashing little place. Five wooden handles including Black Sheep, London Pride and the popular Directors. A proper little pub for a relaxing drink. Very nice.
Comfortable, clean and welcoming.

Alum Ale House, River Drive, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, NE33 1JR. Tel:08721 077 077.

The Alum Ale House.
What a delightful old building. The interior is really welcoming with a lovely proper pub atmosphere. I stood for some time at one of the bay windows just looking at the view up the old Tyne past the ferry landing. I had to congratulate Tony Shawcross, the owner, for making such a good job of the place.

Now to the real ale selection.
Unbelievable!! And all 9, yes 9, sittng there waiting to be supped.
Cumberland Ale, Hobgoblin, Jennings Cocker Hoop and Sneck Lifter, Banks Bitter and Original, Pedigree and on and on. Wake me up, I'm dreaming. Oh no, there's another room downstairs with umpteen more pumps!!
I could have stopped there for hours drinking and admiring the bar and the view but alas, time
caught up and we had to move on.

One criticism. For the likes of me, the stairs were a small nuisance but it won't stop me from calling again.

A must for the real ale enthusiast.

The main bar. Real ale paradise!

Tony, the owner, at the 2nd bar downstairs. Another real ale oasis!

How did I escape? My mate had to drag me out!

The Steamboat, 27 Mill Dam, South Shields,

The Steamboat was sampled by Cask Task some time ago, but as a beer festival was about to take place there the following week, it was decided to put the official visit off until then. What happened? We missed the bloody thing!

We happened to be passing that way today so the transport automatically turned in to Mill Dam. Cask Task was beaten to it by a funeral party -yes, a funeral party!

Not to be put off. Cask Task personel are made of sterner stuff, when 1st rate real ale is available, on we went. It has to be said at this point, that the selection of beers available was terrific and the boss man helpful and entertaining.

Eight pumps on deck, including Adnams Broadside, Moorhouse Black Cat, Theakstons Old Peculiar, Wells Bombardier, Deuchars IPA, Wychwood Hobgoblin, Abbot Ale and our piss artist off the telly, Morrisey and his pal Fox, had their Aussie IPA in there!

Not having tried it before, Morrisey and Fox's Aussie IPA was the first port of call in the Steamboat. What a beaut. Strong, but a really fruity and delicious pint. The Black Cat was totally different but a good dark drink. Such a good selection a few more could have went down no bother.

The pub itself is a proper boozer with the right atmosphere and a friendly bunch of real ale regulars.

Must call again.

The Riverside, 3 Mill Dam, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, NE33 1EQ. Tel:08721 077 077.

The Riverside looks more inviting from the view I've shown than it does from the front. A pity because, once you're inside, its got a bit of character.
On two levels, with the bar on the lower with four or five steps up to the second (and also note, the toilets. Not good for yours truly).
Still, although I found it a bit dim for my liking, a good welcome was given by the governor and a selection of 5 real ales was on offer.
Opting for the Green King LBW, I got on chatting to Tony, the boss, and it turns out there are regular bands and entertainment at the Riverside and he also has The Alum Ale House, another good real ale place, just along the road. So, along the road we go!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Cock Crow Inn. Mill Lane, Hebburn, Tyne & Wear, NE31 2EY. Tel:0191 4285730

The Cock Crow Inn. Some 12 years or so ago, I stumbled across this place when I was looking for a new pub to meet my father. Having moved to Ellington, Northumberland, I had to find a wateringhole which was handy for the Tyne tunnel and within easy reach of Felling. On neutral ground, so to speak, was the Cock Crow. A quiet and pleasurable place it turned out to be.
So many years on it hasn't changed. Not a real drinkers pub but a pleasant and comfortable experience just the same.
With the reliable and tasty Hobgoblin on tap, Ringwoods Boondoggle and Wychwood Brewery's Wild One also available, I was well enough pleased thank you very much.
Off I went happy!

To follow

Friday, 17 July 2009

The Three Horse Shoes, Hatherley Lane, Horton, Blyth, Northumberland.NE24 4HF. Tel:01670 530241

The Three Horse Shoes has some extremely happy memories for me. An appealing appearance, spotted just off the A189 between Blyth and Bedlington, it was one of my first real ale pubs.

Originally a very old traditional boozer it used to be a once a week meeting place for a gang of us. It was always used for Xmas or any party for that matter. On quite a few, getting home was a bit of a mystery.

My recent visit found the place pleasantly extended to include a much improved eating area without spoiling the bar for the drinker. A good selection of real ales including Wentworth Rampant Gryphon, Thwaites Lancaster Bomber and Black Sheep among the choices which were changed regularly. Again nothing changed there as the beer I had, the Lancaster Bomber , was excellent. Another visit is on the menu and highly recommended.

The Victory, Killingworth Road, South Gosforth, Newcastle. NE3 1SY. Tel:0191 2851254

The Victory, in So. Gosforth, used to be an occasional lunch time stop off point, about ten or more years ago, if I happened to be working in the Gosforth area and a good pint was required.
Parking was always a bit of a problem but has been improved considerably I'm pleased to say.

The ale selection was always superb and with Workie Ticket, Landlord, Directors, Pedigree and Deuchars IPA on offer, that hasn't changed, but I only had time for one. What a pity the Workie Ticket I chose was a bit on the cloudy side. There's no excuse for that in a place like The Victory which was always top notch. A shame I didn't have the time to sort it out and left disappointed. I hope I was just unlucky as The Victory used to have such a good name for ale.