Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The Crown and Anchor, The Market Place, Holy Island, TD15 2RX. Tel:01289 389215.


The Crown and Anchor is right in the middle of the pretty little village itself. But don't visit when we did, 25th August, the kids holidays, as the place was packed.
There's so much to see, Lindisfarne's tiny castle, the Priory ruins, the little church, the village itself and of course the real ale pubs! Always check the tides as its a full days visit to enjoy it to the full.
There were 3 real ales on offer, High House Farms Nels Best, and Hadrian and Borders Tyneside Blonde plus my choice of Secret Kingdom, the darker brew. There was of course a London visitor whinging about the quality of the northern beer, but a pint of my recommended Nels Best settled him down.

Lindisfarne. A grand little Island to spend a day or so on.

The Ship Inn, Marygate, Holy Island, TD15 2SJ. Tel:01289 389311.


The Ship is the first pub you'll come across after being shepherded into the tourist car park.
The island was packed, as Cask Task wrongly decided that 25th August was a good time to visit.
I had been to Lindisfarne twice before many years ago and I would highly recommend a visit, but do remember to check the tides before hand. There's so much to see and a full day is required.
The small castle, the Priory ruins, the tiny old church, the little village itself and of course, the real ale pubs! The kids holidays is not a good time.
The Ship is a quaint old place, and at a quieter time, would be a comfortable pub to spend a little time over. With a couple of good real ales to choose from, High House Farm Auld Hemp and Hadrian and Borders Holy Island Blessed Bitter, even the short stay for us was good.

Monday, 30 August 2010

The Lord Crewe Hotel, Front Street Bamburgh, Northumberland, NE69 7BL. Tel:01668 214243.

The Lord Crewe Hotel originates back in the 1600's and its front faces the magnificent Bamburgh Castle. What a setting.
Cask Task explored and found the rear of the place to be tastefully extended in similar stone. As the sun was out, we relaxed out the back in the secluded patio area with a tasty pint of real ale, before continuing on to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne.

Dyke Neuk, Meldon, Nr Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 3SL. Tel:01670 772662.


The Dyke Neuk is in a small village a few miles outside of Morpeth.
Have a look for it and pay a visit. I highly recommend it.
In picturesque countryside, the pub has a good atmosphere and a comfortable and welcoming interior.
A couple of good real ales, from Wylam Brewery and Hadrian and Borders, ensure you'll enjoy your drink. I spent a very enjoyable two and a half hours there and a delicious roast beef sandwich certainly helped.
A smashing pub.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

The Rohan Kanhai, 1/4 Woodhorn Road, Ashington, Northumberland, NE63 9AS. Tel:01670 857692


The Rohan Kanhai. Named after the popular and famous international West Indian cricketer. A superb batsman, who played for Ashington for a short time. This is yet another busy Wetherspoons eating and drinking establishment.
Although I lived for 10 years just a few miles up the road from here, I'd never been in. It was typical Wetherspoons. Characterless, but cheap and cheerful. Ten real ale pumps, all in working order,and all at ridiculously low prices, eg. Courage Directors, which I had, at £1.79 a pint and a reasonable menu of food to boot.
Atmosphere a bit like a works canteen mind you, but it is good to see a pub buzzing.

Friday, 20 August 2010

The Old Mill at Knitsley, Knitsley Mill House, Knitsley, Consett, Co. Durham, DH8 9EL. Tel:01207 581642.


The Old Mill at Knitsley is in the most beautiful of country settings next to a trout stream.

The interior is very inviting, extremely attractive and comfortable with a couple of real ales on tap. My pint of Hobgoblin went down a treat, as we sat outside in the sunshine and watched the trout and the ducks meander by. Marvelous.
It is well set up, with an area under canvas, to accomodate large parties and weddings.
I think a meal must be tried to appreciate the place properly. Another time perhaps.

 That other time is here! 20/10/2010.
Cask Task enjoyed a venison casserole and a couple of pints of Pedigree, with a beautiful woman, near the open, wood burning fire. What a treat.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Hope & Anchor, 44 Northumberland Street, Alnmouth, Northumberland, NE66 3RX. Tel:01665 830363.


The Hope & Anchor is an old favourite of mine. I used to be a frequent visitor to Alnmouth when I was a child and also in much more recent times. A lovely village and a beautiful beach to walk. But watch out for flying golf balls!

This pub has some happy memories for me and I must say it hasn't changed. The welcome feeling hasn't altered and the sup is still good.With Northumberland Premium, Wylam Gold Tankard and Farne Island beers to choose from, you can't go wrong. The food's still OK too.

I recommend it highly.

Sun Inn, 29 Northumberland Street, Alnmouth, Northumberland, NE66 2RJ, Tel:01665 830983.


The Sun Inn is a lovely little pub on the main street of Alnmouth. Although once a frequent visitor to the village, I'd never been in this particular pub before.
I don't know why, because its a tidy and comfortable little place with a good atmosphere. Only two real ale hand pulls on offer, but these were both popular favourites. Mordues Workie Ticket and Black Sheep. The Workie Ticket went down a treat.
Good for food too.
Neat pub.

Red Lion Inn, 22 Northumberland Street, Alnmouth, Northumberland, NE66 2RJ Tel:01665 830584


The Red Lion. What grand little pub, right in the middle of the main street and loaded with atmosphere, good beer and good food. Through the arch and carry on for a few yards and there's a lovely beer and food garden looking on to the river Aln.

A 1st class choice of real ales from Wylam, Black Sheep, Allendale Golden Plover and Roosters Farm House.

What a smashing pub.

A must visit if you're going to Alnmouth.

Cook & Barker Inn, Newton on the Moor, Nr Alnwick, Northumberland, NE65 9JY. Tel:01665 575234.


The Cook and Barker, set high above the A1, in the little village of Newton on the Moor, is a gem. Although I visited the place a number of times about about 25 years ago, for meals and single night stopovers, the place has still got a terrific reputation.

I called on a tuesday lunchtime and the place was full of diners. Such is its following that Cask Task could not even get a seat for a pint! Its always had two or three real ales on offer and still has.

I'll have to call again, but book a table in advance next time.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Widdrington Inn, Widdrington Village, Northumberland, NE61 5DY, Tel:01670 760260.


The Widdrington Inn sits right on the side of the A1068 coastal route at the very edge of the tiny village of Widdrington.
When I first went in to this place some fifteen years ago it was a bit of a dump but in the last ten years or so its been transformed into a worthwhile drinking and eating establishment.
Going strongly for food unfortunately has resulted in just a couple of hand pulls on offer.Never mind though. Any port in a storm, Cask Task ventured in.
The real ales were Abbott Ale and Hogshead Bitter (a pint of Hogshead was supped). It was an early August midweek lunchtime visit and the pub was very busy. An ok pint was all we had.
Not a bad pub though.

The Sun Hotel, 6 Castle Terrace, Warkworth, Northumberland, NE65 0UP.Tel:01665 711259.


The Sun Inn.
Having had a little run up the loverly coastal route, I was caught in the most horrendous of downpours, so I decided to stop and wait for it to clear. My daughter had stayed for a couple of nights some years ago and recommended the Sun Inn at Warkworth, so I pulled in. I'm so pleased I did.
What a comfortable and cosy bar. Coopers Bar its called and it served a delicious pint of Courage Directors. Northumberland Brewerys Fog On The Tyne and a pint of Theakstons were also on tap. The rain came down for 2 hours and had to force down another Directors. The things I've got to do for Cask Task!

The lounge, conservatory and restaurant were most tempting, but the downpour stopped and I had to make for home. What a pity. I really felt like making a night of it.
This old coaching inn with its views of the Coquet river to the rear and the Castle at the front is worth a stop.

The Hermitage, 23 Castle Street, Warkwoth, Northumberland, NE65 0UL. Tel:01665 711258.


The Hermitage is yet another favourite of mine in the beautiful village of Warkworth. The old river crossing, 100 yards down the road, is still standing and the riverside itself is worth a stroll along, if you want to build up a thirst.

I always called in to the Hermitage Inn, knowing its a Jennings house and the Snecklifter would be available. Thank heavens the place has not changed and is still its comfortable and welcoming old self, with all the usual Jennings real ales to choose from. Jennings Bitter, Cumberland Ale, Lakeland Stunner and of course the Snecklifter.
They still serve decent food there too.
A good pub.

Black Bull, Bridge Street, Warkworth, Northumberland, NE65 0XB. Tel:01665 711367.


The Black Bull. Yet another old favourite of mine, which always had a wonderful fire glowing in the dark winter evenings. Originally candlemaking in the 1700's, the building became a pub in about 1830, I think, and only recently had inside loos installed.
Its latest owner, a cheerful chap with a keen sense of humour, has an official notice above the three urinals stipulating strict water recycling instructions on where to put your waste. The urinals are marked 'lager', 'real ale' and 'bottled beers'. I think they were to be recycled through the Masons Arms!
A welcoming little boozer with a couple of hand pulls on. Maxims and Wylams Bitter.
Very nice.

Warkworth House Hotel, No16 Restaurant & Bar, 16 Bridge Street, Warkworth, Northumberland, NE65 0XB. Tel:0165 711276,


Warkworth House has been a favourite of mine for a number of years though I must say it was for its food rather than its beer.
There have been a number of changes to the bar, now known as No.16. A fairly good number of enhancements, but the beer choice remains totally inadequate. Two pumps on show but only one
in service. The inevitable Black Sheep of course.
Still a good place to eat though.

Masons Arms, 3 Dial Place, Warkworth, Northumberland, NE65 0UR. Tel:01665 711398


The Masons Arms in Warkworth seems to have gone through quite a series of management couples in the last few years. Somethings not right about the place, obviously. A pity because the pub is in a beautiful village. Good luck to the latest couple and I hope they have more success.

The Masons has been a real ale house for as long as I can remember and that, I'm pleased to say, has not changed. With 4 active pumps on the go there is a decent choice from Theakstons XB, Adnams Bitter, Wells Bombardier and Deuchars IPA.

Food is also served.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

The Blagdon Arms, Village Square, Cramlington, Northumberland, NE23 1DN. Tel:01670 731162


The Blagdon Arms is in the beautiful little oasis that is the village.
With its beer garden at the rear, Cask Task found the pub a friendly and welcoming place, with 3 real ale taps. When Cask Task called these were Wells Bombardier, York Brewerys Tettnang (my choice for the day), and the Shepherd Neame Spitfire.
Serving up some food too, the place was quite busy. A pleasant pub.

The Plough, Middle Farm Buildings, Cramlington, Northumberland,


The Plough, in what's termed as Cramlington old village, is an attractive part of a still growing, characterless, modern town. In this inviting little oasis sits the Fitzgerald's pub.

I hadn't been for about 12 years, but the chain's attention to its real ales was still apparent in the Plough. I had always found this a large busy place, but I think the lack of a food option, which I'm sure it used to have, seems to have left it a little lacking in lunch time custom.
Still an interesting place though, being built on a farm site, with part of the lounge being the old circular 'ging gan' for grinding the corn.
The bar is still kept as a separate area to the lounge.

Six good beers on offer being North Yorkshire Brewery Organic Flying Herbert, Old Speckled Hen, Nethergate Brewery Painted Lady, Abbott Ale, Ruddles County and the inevertable Black Sheep.

Brockwell Seam, Nothumbrian Road, Cramlington, Northumberland, NE23 1XZ. Tel:01670 732071.


The Brockwell Seam at Cramlington is another one of those, not unattractive, but soulless new pubs that have crept up on us over the last 20 or so years, and long may they continue to do so. As far as I'm concerned, anything that keeps the pub business going is a bonus.

I've walked in to umpteen of these and they do keep the real ale business growing. In the large, mainly characterless, sprawling town of Cramlington, its a pleasure to see a Brockwell Seam pub amongst the housing estates.
With a couple of real ales on offer, Waggle Dance and Wells Bombardier, we stopped for a while.