Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Tied in Notts

We'd planned a day out at the beach in Nottingham. Yes, I know, and it had been raining for a while. We checked the weather and it said that it would stay cloudy and we figured that would mean that the crowds would stay away for fear of more rain, so that was good. Hitting an early bus, the entire family trekked on down to the centre of Nottingham and had our way with a virtually empty mock beach in the square. then, because we could, we headed up to the castle and made merry with the playpark and the telescopes there. I took my chance and, while Willow had a shufti at the gift shop with children in tow, I chanced to visit two pubs: Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem and The Crafty Crow because it would have been rude not to.

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The first was Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem which I feel honour-bound to point out announces itself as the oldest inn in England. However, the actual evidence for this is rather thin beyond the rather intriguing nature of it being cut into the rocks beneath the castle. I spotted some Dukeries being dropped off and so naturally gravitated to the stout they had on tap: Mining Stout.

This was a dark and dry sort of affair with a consistency thinner than the coal-black aspect would initially suggest. Not the chewy or velvety loveliness of stouts that I really rave about (say Pit Pony that you can see by clicking the word 'here' here) but maintaining the kind of dryness that one associates with a working stout, the kind that one can have at lunchtime without food and not feel cheated. Now, it lacked the heavy blow of a dessert stout and the coffee warming of, well, a coffee stout but it did the job of being a stout and being dark and satisfying in a pleasant little pub. I can see that I would like to come back with company but I'm not going to schedule a trip just to make it happen. The stout itself had an attempted roasty aroma and something of the pull brought that creamy quality to proceedings meaning that it wasn't too thin nor too full of a head. Nice enough and decent for a stout sneaked on a day when I wasn't anticipating any real beer action but not one that has me singing in ballads from the rooftops. At 4.5% ABV it was strong enough to do the job beneath it's biscuity-white head and then stick around as I walked away, with a slightly lighter head than upon arrival, but not enough to really make me fully satisfied, perhaps I rushed it and perhaps I should have had something a bit lighter to start but it was fine for a quick half.

Then I wandered into the rather interesting looking Crafty Crow that was doing its best to not look too suspicious immediately outside the castle gate and just up from the Robin Hood experience. I peered in through the doors to be met with a line of decent looking used bottles that suggested that they knew what they were doing with craft ales. I had popped in before flying to see the Olde Trip but had intended to come back. I wasn't anticipating it being so quick but the stout had left a longing for something... else. They had the lovely Raven Stout from Magpie (see here) on tap but I didn't partake as I was short on time.

Instead I was talked into trying a Big Hug Hibernation, a white IPA at 5.2% ABV, by the friendly barman. Alas! It was out and I got myself a rather sad looking half a third in a glass. However, the barman happily handed it over for free and poured me a third of Beer Money from Tiny Rebel Brew Co. and you can't complain about that. Still, the white IPA did the job of being fruity and clear, a good palate cleanser for the next third and, I hoped, a sign of something more satisfying to come.

So it was that I found myself with a Beer Money at 6% ABV. I have had mosaic hops before and was looking forward to that summery style of ale once again. A cloudy day with some sunny spells was nice enough but I needed something to keep me in the summer vibe, to gird me for the return to the beach and the rides there. This had the punch and the aroma to give me the feeling that it would do the job. Not much to report on the aroma, however, faintly fruity with a spice that I recognise from the malty-yeasts of old. It hit the tongue as one would expect, a decent spice from the yeast and with a soft maltiness at the edge rather than down the middle. Rounded and smooth with the kind of feeling that you could jump into it and bounce back. However, it was a bit to fiery for what I was going for, which is partly my fault as that is what mosaic does, and left me feeling somewhat satisfied but not quite what I was looking for from my beers out. Now, that is no fault of the brew itself, it was lovely and well-balanced but it just wasn't what I was searching for. I think I would have been better starting in this place and then moving on to get the stout or, better yet, having a golden ale down at my first stop and then moving here for a couple of thirds of decent stouts (Raven and Hoxton). Ah, isn't that always the way!

In the end, my reviews suggest I was left wanting, which I was. However, not the fault of the establishments I stopped in nor the brews I had there. I think the best of the trip was the Beer Money and I suspect that my lack of fulfillment was simply down to me not reviewing my options enough and not being clear enough on what I wanted from the trip. However, it was a sneaked experience that I sort of talked myself in to just fifteen minutes before doing it so it did the job I wanted it to do: it told me that Nottingham is a fine place to go drinking and gave me two decent pubs from which to make an assault in the future!

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