Thursday, 26 November 2009

The Beamish Mary, No Place, Beamish, Stanley, Co. Durham, DH9 0QH. Tel:0191 3700237.


The Beamish Mary in No Place.

The pub named after her, probably a coalmine, is an inviting and cozy little place complete with glowing open fire. A grand sight on a winter's evening, complete with a fine selection of real ales.
Back Shift Bitter and Lamplight, both local brews, Consett Red Dust and White Hot, Northumberland Fog On the Tyne, Daleside Old Leg Over, Hadrian Farne Island as well as Weston's Old Rosie Cider. By, you could have a good night in here.

It's a shame we were pushed for time (the driver had to pick the wife up from work; must get a new driver!) but we must call again, to down some more of that very nice Back Shift Bitter.
Smashing pub.

The Black Horse, Red Row, Beamish, Co. Durham, DH9 0RW. Tel:01207 232569.


The Black Horse. There must be hundreds of them, but Cask Task managed to find one that wouldn't let us in.

Cask Task is made of sterner stuff though. At the third visit, we got in! Our persistance was based on the attractiveness of the place and its surroundings. It didn't disappoint.

The two stoves, one from the original part and the other from the extended section certainly added to the feeling of warmth in what is one large room split into two by the central bar. We had difficulty getting in because the place has had a complete re-vamp, including the surrounding gardens. It should be a picture in the summer.

Going back to the 1700's The Black Horse seems to be based on the row of cottages there and a sound job has been made of them.
The three real ales on sale were Brains SA(a Welsh brewery), Shepherd Neames Spitfire and Wells Bomardier. The SA we sampled was 1st class.

We were made very welcome there and I'm sure you will be too.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

The Brandling Villa, Haddricks Mills Road, South Gosforth. NE3 1QL. Tel:0191 2840490.


The Brandling Villa in South Gosforth sits on a corner site of a busy road junction with a decent sized car park at the rear.
What a smashing old building it is. A shame the builders were in and the scaffolding spoilt the look of the place. The wild wind unfortunately flattened the sign offering food. See the Cask Task photo above.
Inside though, made up for the temporary disruption outside. Warm, welcoming, attractive and comfortable it was. The place was under new management of some two months. Young (god they all look like school kids to me these days) Dave Carr was the new encumbent (previously at the Market Tavern, Durham City) but a very pleasant chap he turned out to be.
Although there were only three hand pumps. Deuchars IPA, Black Sheep(what else!) and Old Rosie Scrumpy, Dave had three more to come.
Cask Task enjoyed a couple of pints of the IPA in the Brandling Villa before wishing the new management best wishes and moving on.
Well worth a visit.

Snowy Owl, Blagdon Lane, Cramlington. NE23 8AU Tel:01670 736111.


The Snowy Owl was a closer sunday lunch venue for me and a substitute for the good old Badger when I was at Ellington. In the same pub group with its lovely open fires, the Snowy Owl was just as welcoming as the Badger too.

The usual real ale taps were there. Deuchars IPA,(and guess what!) Black Sheep and Harvestoun Bitter and Twisted(my choice for the day). Lovely.

We sat by one of the open fires and put the world to rights. Then run off home satisfied.
See you.

Falcons Nest, Rotary Way, North Brunton, Gosforth, Newcastle Upon Tyne. NE3 5EH. Tel:0191 2367078.


The Falcons Nest, just off the A1 roundabout for Gosforth Park, appears to be the latest edition to the Badger and the Snowy Owl, and did not disappoint. Although Cask Task did not try the food the ambience was exactly the same as the other two. Welcoming and comfortable.

The three real ales were Deuchars IPA, Black Sheep, and Harviestouns Bitter and Twisted, the last of which was sampled and very nice it was too.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

The Shakespeare, 63 Sadler Street, Durham, DH1 3NU. Tel: 0191 3843261.


The Shakespeare, in Durham, came on one of those sudden and impromtu visits to the beautiful old city.

With the castle, built around 1072, and the cathedral in 1093, the Shakespeare is in good company, originating around 1190!! If you don't believe me, just try out the gent's toilet! I fully expected to see the manacles still hanging from the walls and the moaning of the incarcerated ghosts.

This small atmospheric pub is still back there. Go in and sample it.
With 4 real ale pumps to pick from the Shakespeare does offer good beer. Deuchars IPA and Fullers London Pride being the mainstays. Bath Ales Gem and Ringwood Brewerys Huffkin, the two back ups.

Go on. Take your torch with you if you're the nervous type!

Market Tavern, 27 Market Place, Durham, DH1 3HJ. Tel:0191 3862069.

The Market Tavern in Durham's city centre is a busy little pub in an ideal situation for the shopper, although I'm told its a noisy place in the evening, due to the student population.
Cask Task was a lunchtime visitor and found the place relaxing and enjoyed an excellent pint of Orkney's Dark Island beer.
An old building with a very traditional look about it the Market Tavern has six real ales on offer from the Best Bitter by Theakstons, Mordues Workie Ticket and Radgie Gadgie, Houstons Tartan Terror, Fullers London Pride and not forgetting the delicious Dark Island.
The Market Tavern's 3 or 4 hundred year history can be read by left clicking on the sign above.
A pub well worth a visit if you're in town.

Monday, 9 November 2009

The Grey Horse, 115 Sherburn Terrace, Consett. DH8 6NE. Tel:01207 502585.

The Grey Horse is what Cask Task calls a proper pub.
It very much reminds us of my father's long since demolished local in Gateshead which had two individual rooms which were run entirely separately. Almost unheard of in these days of large open-plan noisy areas from which there is no escape.

What a pleasure to find that some pubs like The Smiths Arms at Brecon Hill, The Saltgrass at Sunderland , The Boathouse at Ryton and so on still have these traditional old cast iron fire stoves and ovens to give warmth and atmosphere in the winter months. Also the added peace and quiet where civilised conversation can be enjoyed. Super!

Well it looks like Cask Task has discovered another one. The Grey Horse at Consett.

The home of the New Consett Ale Works, the Grey Horse has 4 real ales of its own called Red Dust, White Hot, Cast Iron and Steel Town which got a satisfying tasting from us. There is always the addition of guest ales as the board above shows. As you can see from the photo, the stove was crackling away too. The young lady serving was also a welcome asset to this 150 year old pub.
The next door room is much the same in carpet and reasonably comfortable furniture.

An altogether enjoyable visit and one which is highly recommended by Cask Task.

The Company Row, Wetherspoons, Victoria Centre, Victoria Road, Consett, DH8 5BU. Tel:01207 585600.


The Company Row in Consett. Yet another Wetherspoons bland but busy boozer with a large range of very inexpensive beers to choose from.

Ruddles, Directors, Batemans Iron Lady, Adnams, Toshi's Amber(Japanese, Ah So. Yes I kid you not!) and many more. Some at £1.50 a pint!

The William Jameson,(Wetherspoons), 30/32 Fawcett Street, Sunderland, SR1 1RH.Tel:0191 5145016.

The William Jameson in Fawcett Street was at one time Joplings Department Store, I think. It was so long ago since I was in Sunderland city centre, and there have been so many changes, some not so good. This good building has been saved and is thriving thanks to Wetherspoons.
The beer fest was in full swing with Northumberland's Coffin Dodger, Theakstons Old Peculiar, Ruddles and Abbott to name but a few of the 10 real ales on offer. I went for a Leg Over (chance would be a fine thing) from the Daleside Brewery. Very nice.

The Lambton Worm (Wetherspoons) Victoria Buildings,Low Row, Sunderland, SR1 3QA. Tel:0191 5689910.


The Lambton Worm it may be called but it is a Wetherspoons with out a doubt. Characterless but nonetheless busy. The beer fest did help and of course the beer selection, see above, was tremendous, (and cheap!).
I couldn't resist the Purkmister Bohemian Schwarbier, a stout from Czech Republic's Purkmister Brewery (4.8%). By the time I'd got through ordering it I was ready for a pint. What a surprise! It was very tasty!
I must admit there were some lovely beers to be had but Its not my idea of a pub.

Fitzgeralds, 12/14 Green Terrace, Sunderland, SR1 3PZ. Tel:0191 5670852.


Fitzgeralds, Green Terrace reminded me, from the outside, of an ancient solicitor's house but get inside and it's a smashing old pub you must visit.

Although large and mainly open-plan, the old carpet and solid furnishings create a warm and welcoming atmosphere that Cask Task really appreciates.
On top of that the beer selection is excellent. With 11 real ales to choose from including Black Sheep(good grief its everywhere), Timothy Taylors Landlord, Hobgoblin and a fistfull of guests. Harviestouns, Jarrow IPA, a new one on me from First Yard Ales Ferryhill and from the Durham Brewery, my choice for the day, Genesis!
Very nice!

2004 CAMRA pub of the year and deservedly so.
This type of pub, for me, knocks spots off the likes of Wetherspoons.

Get youself in for a pint.