Sunday, 30 August 2015

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE FROME

With all the news channels advising of heavy bank holiday traffic the PRATS set off at 8:00am. We are once again Pharpless, so today we are joined by Bogsnorkle.
We were expecting to join the first traffic jam at Silverstone where the MotoGP was taking place, not a thing. In fact we never encountered any traffic at all and arrived in Devizes considerably early at 10:15am. We parked outside the Crown and snaffled the first sarnie of the day. Then we spotted about 200 yards away the Wadworth’s Brewery visitor centre, so, purely in the interests of research we thought we’d take a look around. To our surprise the bar was open serving sample glasses 1/3pints. It was 10:25am when we sampled our first ale of the day, the delightful Horizon a lovely fresh light ale 4% and as you would imagine, it was in pristine condition. We then had a sample of a Rugby World Cup special Dirty Rucker, nice dark ale with a noticeable peppery finish, very tasty at 3.9%. I suspect we’ll see a plethora of rugby themed ales over the coming months.
It was now time to go to the first pub, The Crown, in Devizes owned by Wadworth’s. A smart pub that stretches a long way back. The bar has a nice row of 6 hand pumps; the ales on offer were 6X naturally, Henry’s IPA, Horizon, Bishops Tipple, Swordfish and Dirty Rucker. As the Horizon was so refreshing at the brewery we decided to go for that again, but this time we had a pint and very good it was too. Citra and I raised the strength and followed up with the 5% Bishops Tipple. Both ales were in superb condition.  Although we didn’t try any of the food, the menu looked very good, nice place to take the better half.
It was time to continue our journey as we wanted to be in The Griffin, Milk St’s brewery tap by 12:30pm. They had kindly opened up early for us. Using satnav we got reasonably close to the pub, just the wrong side of a closed off road, but only a short walk. Clearly a pub for beer drinkers, the only lager pump tucked almost out of site in the corner of the bar. 6 hand pumps, 5 from Milk St and one from Wold Top. The house ales were Funky Monkey, Amarillo, Usual, Beer and Zigzag their stout.  Citra, Bogsnorkle and I went for Funky Monkey 4%, whilst Parker sampled the Usual 4.4%, a slight haze on both ales but they both tasted fine with a loose head precariously clinging to the glass. By now Marshall, Petit Chemise and Wort had joined us. They went for Usual and Amarillo 4.6%; the latter looked lovely and pale and was just up our street so we moved onto that next. Once again the slightest of haze on the beer, good tasty ale. This is one of their seasonal ales from March and April; it must be popular if they’re still knocking it out in August. I finished with a move to Wold Top’s Wold Gold 4.8%, whilst the others stayed with the local ales. A lovely prize winning ale, yet once again a slight haze, tasted fine. There were a few craft ales on tap, Brewdog‘s Punk IPA, Meantime’s London Pale ale, Milk Street’s Elderfizz, http://www.milkstreetbrewery.co.uk/2012/06/elder-fizz-5/ ,plus a cider or two.  At the back of the pub we could hear some activity in the brew house, the usual clanging of barrels, I don’t think they were brewing, none of the normal aromas you’d expect on brew day. All in all a nice experience, it was approaching 2:00pm we needed to be heading our way to the Frome Town ground, the Blindmans Brewery Stadium.
We meandered our way through Frome and eventually arrived. The name of the stadium had raised some optimism and we weren’t disappointed, in the bar they had Blindmans 1904. A chestnut ale at 3.9%, sort of ok. Looking on the Blindmans website for a bit more info and nothing there, as Frome Town were formed in 1904. It doesn’t take too much imagination to establish this is a special or regular ale re-badged, although no ales appear on the brewery website that fits this ale.
This is our third away trip so far this season and all three have had a club special ale. Non-league footy is a good place to be for ale drinkers, marvellous. The game, well the Poppies won their first away game of this season. Not our best performance, probably our worst. When we lost at Leamington, the general opinion was that we’ll play worse and win, today we did. Poor old Frome, when you’re down the bottom nothing goes your way.
It was time to make our way home and by 6:30pm we arrived at The Swan in Faringdon. 4 ales available, with sadly, just one of their own available, Faringdon’s Folly Ale 4% chestnut ale with very little going for it. The other ales on tap were Cheddar Gorge, Youngs Bitter and St Austell Trelawny, all a bit disappointing. Nice enough pub, pleasant d├ęcor, would have improved ten-fold had they had a better selection of their own ales on tap. We had just the one beer and decided to go home.
However, as we approached the outskirts of Towcester we all became consciously aware of the ‘Borg Hive Collective’ “resistance is futile, prepare to be inebriated” so we went to the Towcester Mill brewery tap. Always a good place to sample some very decent ale, we only had the one. Citra and Bogsnorkle went for Mill Race, Parker the Bell Ringer and I went for a Castle Brewery’s White Knight, a new one for me so had to have it. The Mill Race and Bell Ringer ales were consumed during our 'Poole day out' blog so tasting notes can be found there. The White Knight at 4.1% was a nice golden ale, typical American pale ale. As expected all the ales in tip top condition.  I believe one or two other Poppies supporters frequented the Mill on their way home, perhaps we should ask for commission.

Marshall, Petit Chemise and Wort, frequented a few different pubs on their day out, their blog will be posted in due course.
Today we went to 4 brewery taps, not a bad day out
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No PRATS blog would be complete without a bit of news about Pharp…

Update from the Pharp chronicles.
Pharp is away fishing in the Shetlands with his anosmatic chums. Apparently as the Aberdeen to Shetland Islands ferry pulled out of the harbour, the ship’s horn blasted away, the following flock of seagulls plunged into the sea and never took off again. Ship’s horn, It may have been Pharp? The Captain announced over the ships tannoy system. “The journey should be a good one, we are expecting a fair wind and we should arrive at our destination by sunrise tomorrow morning”. Clearly he didn’t realise Pharp was on board, you can imagine his astonishment when they shot passed the Orkneys and arrived in the Shetlands just before sunset the same day.
Tops marks must go to Reckitt Benckiser for seizing upon a marvellous marketing opportunity. They have managed to persuade the islanders to change the name of their main town to Airwick for the duration of Pharp’s holiday.
On the second day Pharp went deep sea diving wearing a skin hugging wet suit. Unfortunately, after an hour, Pharp floated back to the surface. No amount of lead weights was going to keep him underwater. Nobody volunteered to help Pharp remove his now enormously inflated wet suit. Fortunately the local javelin champion could throw at least 100 metres, which was just outside the safety perimeter cordon. As the javelin pierced the wetsuit Pharp took off, before you could say Scarlett O’Hara, whoosh! Pharp had gone with the wind. After several loop the loops, double back-flips and crashing through a flock of startled guillemots, Pharp splashed into the sea and shot across the surface, torpedo-like, at a considerable rate of knots. Pharp was later seen on a beach in Norway, where Greenpeace were trying to drag him back into the sea.

News courtesy of the Bugle.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

IT'S A SMALL WORLD BERNARD BENNETT

Today a couple of PRATS frequented Posh-fest, the Peterborough Beer Festival, one of the biggest festivals in the country.
Hog swillers travel from all over the country, flocking from miles away just to be there. Being a big ale festival it gets very busy, so busy in fact, that tables and chairs become a valued commodity. If you don’t get a chair, you could be standing about for hours. However, the PRATS have a plan.  After getting through the very busy gates, Citra goes for the glasses and I, Fuggles, sprint towards the far end of the enormous marquee, for this is where we might find a piece of buttock resting furniture.  Finding a place to sit is a mighty challenge, passing through the first tent there was no luck. Then, in the distance, a table and chairs are spotted.
The festival opened at 12:00 noon. It is now one Nano-second past, so not many places remaining to park one’s backside. Both Usain and Justin train at Posh-fest to hone their sprinting skills. Fortunately, Fuggles is in pristine condition; whoosh, in nothing more than a blur, Fuggles is enquiring into the availability of the 3 chairs around a table. Fortunately the two blokes sitting there looked at Fuggles with a gormless gaze and clearly hadn’t got the foggiest idea. Buttocks were duly planted; with another chair tucked under Fuggles arm for Citra.
In due course, Citra arrived with the first, of what would prove to be many golden-citrusy pale ales.  We chatted with the two blokes that had perched on our table one pico-second before us. It transpired that they live in the Bournemouth/Poole area; naturally we chatted about our recent trip down that neck of the woods. By now we knew their names Keith and Gordon.
Several ales later, I mentioned PRATS and Kettering Town FC. Then Keith asked “Did you know Bernard Bennett”? Stunned, we naturally said yes, of course, all Poppies fans knew Bernard. It transpired that Keith used to own and run the Norwich House in Bournemouth, (a B & B where Bernard stayed when visiting his brother John). Had there been a feather in close proximity; you could have been used it to smite both myself and Citra.
Keith and Gordon often spent many an hour in a pub with Bernard; they described his flimsy tee shirt and shorts, Bernard’s winter wear. They also described their collective trepidation at getting into Bernard’s car.
For many Poppies supporters Bernard is an Icon. It was Bernard who went to the courts in Birmingham in 1989 to plead KTFC’s case, he was successful and we weren’t wound up. It was Bernard that ran The Poppies Travel Club. The priority was never certain, the Poppies day out at numerous real ale pubs on route or the game itself.

I promised to email some photos and stories of Bernard and his life to Keith and Gordon, so if you have something please email them to pratsktfc@btinternet.com. Thanks.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

WHEN IN FROME

This Saturday we see another long journey with the potential of Bank Holiday traffic chaos.
Therefore PRATS have decided to go cross country where possible, there’s also a greater choice of decent hostelries on the back roads. We may be passing through Devizes so it would be rude not to sample some Wadworths on their own patch. The Crown appear to have a wide range of ales. http://www.crowndevizes.co.uk/our-beers


When we get to Frome it’s off to the Milk St brewery tap The Griffin http://www.milkstreetbrewery.co.uk/our-pubs/ which will kindly be opening earlier than their usual 2:00pm.
So we’ll be there at 12:30pm. If the ales in their other pub, The Brewhouse in Poole, are anything to go by we’re in for a decent few pints. Many thanks from the PRATS ‘frupnin’ early. Thought we’d throw in a bit uv Ketrin speak.
 
On the way home we’re eyeing up The Swan Faringdon, http://whatpub.com/pubs/WHS/027/swan-faringdon.  
There is a small brewery on site. They generally serve ales from Halfpenny & Old Forge Brewery

Should we nip into the Towcester Mill Brewery tap? Always a good option.

Once again we travel without Pharp, who is up in the Shetlands knitting a few woolly jumpers and dangling his rod in the sea. The mayor of Frome has expressed his delight at this news, “having the emergency services on stand-by would have decimated the local economy”. “We Fromans can now all breathe a sigh of relief, as well as breathe”. The local cheese makers Dairy Crest are also delighted, contaminating Cathedral City and Davistow cheddars would have been disastrous. We can proclaim that ‘Fromage from Frome’ is safe to consume when peckish, esurient, 'Ee I were all 'ungry-like!

Looking forward to a good day out, hope we get a result in the footy as well. Our away day travels have not been good so far losing both games by the odd goal. We don’t want to travel home all mardy.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

LEAMINGTON, A NICE EVENING JAUNT

Leamington,
Our evening out at Lockheed, AP or whatever they’re called these days, Leamington started mid-afternoon, Mrs Fuggles ferried Citra and I to our rendezvous point. Parker was scooping us up at the Britannia Pub in Northampton. Not a stone’s throw from Poppies HQ, the Britannia sometimes known as office No3, where many important footy decisions are made, should we serve straight or crinkle cut chips in the burger van being the most monumental one. The Britannia is typical Chef and Brewer pub with everything painted pastel green, the doors, the door frames, the window frames, the seats, the bar, and the walls for goodness sake. On the pastel green painted shelves are brightly coloured glass bowls with perfectly stacked pebbles. I imagine the Feng Shui master had a hairy fit when one of the pebbles was positioned upside down. I’ve been to this pub about a dozen times and the choice of ales is almost always disappointing, and today, once again, I wasn’t disappointed at being disappointed. GK IPA, Wadworth’s 6X, Morlands Gold Speckled Hen and Marstons King of Swing. Marstons knock a few decent ales out so we went for it, oh dear! Looked ok, amber colour, clear with a decent head but the taste was a bit wishy washy. One pint was enough; thankfully Parker had arrived in the car park.
For today’s trip we were without Pharp, who was making his own way to Leamington. There was a moment when I burst out in song; Matt Munro was the inspiration. ‘Pharp free, as free as the wind blows’ maybe not.
A quick drive to our first real port of call was in Southam, the Market Tavern is owned by Warwickshire Beer Co. We were greeted by a large blackboard outside proclaiming all hand pulled ales £2.00 a pint. 
We were looking forward to sampling a nice pint of Godiva, sadly it had just gone off, sod it. The 3 ales still available were Best Bitter, Shakespeare’s County and Kingsmaker. Citra and I went for the Best Bitter, a 3.9% malty bitter, good condition, clear with a loose head clinging to the sides of the glass, quite pleasant. Parker had Shakespeare’s County 3.4%, light coloured ale with a gentle spicy flavour, easy drinking session ale, and very clear with a tight head clinging to the glass. Citra and I sampled the Kingsmaker, powerful 5.5% fruity, malty amber ale, almost like a stronger version of the Best Bitter. A very slight haze with a loose head once again clinging to the glass. A typical town centre pub, looks like it’s mid-way through being redecorated, with whitewash covering the black bits. More suited to manual workers than the shirt and tie brigade. Pleasant staff serving the ales, not a place to take the Mrs, but we will certainly stop here again should we pass this way in the future.
A very short trip to next stop at The Old New Inn, Harbury. The front door is adorned with CAMRA Good Beer Guide stickers, always a good sign. 
A pleasant village local, serving Purity Pure Gold, Churchend Goat’s Milk and bloody Sharp’s Doombar. Unusually Parker went for the Purity Pure Gold, not his normal type of tipple, a gold light ale at 3.8%, and brilliantly clear ale with a good tight head, looked superb. Citra had never tried Churchend Goat’s Milk before so I knew he was in for a treat, we both had this, a lovely pale hoppy ale 3.8%, just up our street. I knew Citra was happy with it; he was in a state of complete contentment, sitting back in his chair, arms gently folded with a supercilious grin across his face.  We had to have another. Several more Poppies fans came into the pub, two we’d seen in Poole now have PRATS names, Petit Chemise and Marshall. Petit always buys a tight fitting small Poppies shirt, whereas, Marshall speaks very VERY loudly indeed.
It was time to move onto the New Windmill ground, as we entered the Brakes Bar we spotted a couple of hand-pumps, one had gone off, I think this was Brakes beer, sadly the other was bloody Sharp’s Doombar. I’m not sure what Citra and Parker did for a drink but I went for a cup of tea. The many red and black adorned Poppies fans took great amusement and thought it would be a good idea to take photos of me with a cup of tea in my hand instead of a pint glass, very funny I’m sure.
And so to the game: very entertaining and exciting, unfortunately the Poppies came out on the wrong end of a 3-2 score-line. Any neutrals in the ground would have been impressed by the football for this level.
On our home journey we decided to nip to the White Hart in Ufton, smart pub, quite foody with 3 ales available, Slaughterhouse Saddleback, Braksprears Oxford Gold and wait for it, GK IPA. By now there were 9 Poppies fans in the bar and we all went for Slaughterhouse Saddleback, trying the local ale is always a priority for PRATS. The ale was well presented but was a bit lacklustre at 3.9% a fairly standard bitter, it was just about OK.
Now for our relatively short drive home. As we pulled out of the White Hart carpark the satnav said turn right, this did not feel good. As one, we all thought we should go left, back through Southam the way we came. But we trusted the satnav and turned right. Oh dear! After about 20 minutes of country lanes, we finally skirted Rugby and joined the M6 southbound. A giant sign indicating that the M20 junctions 1 to 3 were closed, why did we need to know that? Another mile later as we approached the A14 junction we saw the M20 warning again. Then suddenly we realised the bloody exit onto the A14 was closed. Needless to say several expletives burst forth, Parker had a very tight grip on the steering wheel. We all knew the bloody M20 had a problem but we had no idea about the A14. Parker remained calm and collected, that was until Supertramp came on the radio singing ‘Take the long way home’.  The poor radio took a bit of pounding; I thought Parker was in a piano smashing competition. We travelled home in silence.

Nice evening out.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

LEAMINGTON, WHERE TO GO FOR A PINT OR THREE.

Being a Tuesday night game we only have a certain amount of time to sample the local ale houses. Searching the usual sources generally comes up with the best local pubs. http://www.camrahow.org.uk/docs/brs/July2015.pdf
Looking through the Locale list on page 23 you’d like to think it was up to date, at first glance The Talbot looks like the place to go, with Byatt’s ale, (was this formerly Long Itch?) Sadly this pub which once adorned Leamington FC regalia is now shut. Whilst not mentioned in the Locale list The Somerville has won a few champion pub awards sadly they serve Everards ales which we can get plenty of in God’s chosen town.
The local University also has a guide http://realale.uwcs.co.uk/local-pub-guide/
After some deliberation we've decided to visit pubs on route to Leamington, firstly we will stop off in Southam and frequent the Market Tavern, a pub owned by the Warwickshire Beer Co, http://www.warwickshirebeer.co.uk/market-tavern-southam
Then we will move closer to the ground by visiting The Old New Inn in Harbury just a few minutes away from our final destination  http://whatpub.com/pubs/HOW/2045/old-new-inn-harbury

Pharp is going directly to the game from work, which means Parker, Citra and I can journey to our neighbouring county of Warwickshire without the usual chemical resistant protective clothing and breathing apparatus. 

Friday, 14 August 2015

POPPIES LATIMER PARK

Kettering Town Latimer Park 11th August 2015
For the benefit of footy fans travelling to Kettering, here’s a little bit about Latimer Park, home of The Poppies.
The clubhouse is quite large and can hold up to 150 people. The long bar has 3 real ale hand-pumps, Elgoods brewery are the main supplier with 2 regulars, Golden Newt a golden hoppy ale at 4.2% and EP (Elgoods Pageant) 4.3% a rich malty ale. We also have guest ales, this week we have Star Brewery Meteor 4.0% a traditional amber ale. The usual lagers, ciders and stouts are also available as well as Cambridge Smooth.
Drinks can be taken into the ground during matches with the obligatory plastic glass.
Hot pies and pasties, plus filled rolls available in the clubhouse. Burgers, hot dogs and chips available  in the ground.
Programmes, half-time draw tickets and merchandise can be bought in the clubhouse before the game.
The players come in afterwards to be fed and watered.


You will often see PRATS in the bar; Pharp will be the one with a lot of space around him, purely a precautionary measure. Parker will be serving food, Citra and I will be undertaking our primary role in the ale QA department. 

Monday, 10 August 2015

Poole Day Out

Poole Town. Saturday 8th August 2015.
With a long day ahead of us we set out from Kettering at 8:00am with Citra, Parker the chauffeur and myself Fuggles on board, we headed off towards Rushden to pick up Pharp; our ‘not so lean, mean, farting machine’. Pharp advised that he’d consumed two tubs of mushy peas the day before, we knew what to expect. We had expected heavy traffic so was pleasantly surprised when we arrived at Newbury services at just after 9:30am. Pharp had vented 19 times by now, so as you can imagine the short stop over was a welcome inhalation of cleanish air. However, as we opened the car doors one or two of the close by, would be holiday makers collapsed in a heap, others gasping, clutching at their throats, their heads now glowing purplish-red, scuttling away in a desperate attempt to get far away as possible. Pharp just sniggered.
As good as the first part of the journey had been the second part was a nightmare crawling from Winchester most of the way to Poole, finally parking up in the town centre at 12:45pm. A 10-minute trudge to the first pub was punctuated by a railway crossing. There can’t be many High Street’s in the UK that have a railway line going across it, Lincoln I understand has one, these must be a rarity indeed. The red lights were flashing, so as desperate as we were to quench our tonsils, which were so dry you could strike a match on them; we clambered over the conveniently placed footbridge. The footbridge must have been quite high as the air was very thin at the top as we were gasping for oxygen when we reached the summit. I looked back to see Citra reaching for his respirator below at base camp Alpha. Upon our descent we made our way through the many market stalls flogging sticks of rock, curly candy, weird paintings and other stuff you don’t really need, before we came upon the Brewhouse. Outside the pub there was a sort of patio area with a few tables and chairs. A couple of folk sitting, basking in the midday sun, clearly not there for the ale. Their half-pint glasses had fizzy bubbles percolating upwards. Stepping inside from the very bright sunny outside we paused a few seconds allowing our eyes to adjust, we paused a little longer, then a bit longer before realising it wasn’t going to get any brighter; besides we were gagging. Onwards towards the bar, we spotted a couple of Poppies supporters in the gloomy distance playing pool, must be a local game
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Brewhouse is owned by Milk Street Brewery of Frome, http://www.milkstreetbrewery.co.uk/, we’ll be there in a few weeks. A decent choice of ales were on offer, Citra and myself always enjoy a very pale ale with loads of grapefruity character, whereas, Parker and Pharp go for a more traditional English chestnut ale with loads of malt and a hint of standard hoppy bitterness. With 4 ales on offer Citra and I went for a pint of the imaginatively named Beer from Milk St. Parker and Pharp chose Gadds No5. Both ales were in decent condition, both clear, with No5 retaining its head; holding longer than Beer, £3.25 a pint seemed reasonable price. The other Poppies supporters in the bar went for Milk St’s Great Uncle John’s Prohibition Ale. To ensure the group tried all ales on offer we followed up with Milk St Funky Monkey, from my perspective better than Beer, much more flavoursome.
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I’m sure we could spend a few hours in the Brewhouse on a Friday night out. A typical town centre pub, no frills just decent ales







From here, we moved onto the ‘Brewhouse & Kitchen’ just a few hundred yards back up the High St; through a side street which opened up into a large car park; with the B & K across the way. This pub looks very much like an old building with outhouses converted into a smart restaurant cum micro-brewery. Part of a growing chain of Brewhouse & Kitchens mostly across the south of England with a couple in London. http://www.brewhouseandkitchen.com/poole
The Poole branch has 8 ales on offer. All in theory brewed on the premises. The brewery; tucked away in the corner of the long bar area looked far too clean to be in use, although that could be deemed a sign of quality and good housekeeping. The Shire Reeve American Pale was the choice for myself and Citra; whilst Pharp and Parker went as expected for the Brownsea Boy, an American Brown Ale.
The Shire Reeve had a very slight haze but was a typical 5% APA . Brownsea Boy was clear with a good head coming in at 4%. We expected to pay a high price for our ales, but they came in at around £3.30 a pint. We all sat outside in the large patio area protected from the hot sun by enormous parasols.
News was coming through that we weren’t the only ones suffering a dreadful traffic problem on our way down to Poole. The Poppies team coach was running several hours behind schedule; kick off was to be delayed until 3:45pm. Across the road in the park we were entertained by the local winos having a bust up over a case of super strength lager. It lasted all but a few moments, however, just a few minutes later we could hear sirens wailing in the distance, getting louder by the second. Suddenly, like a scene from the Sweeney, four police cars screeched up, blue lights flashing with plods running into the park to sort the minor fracas. The winos seemed unperturbed by the unfolding events and just continued having swigs from their cans of amber swill.  A nice pub but more a restaurant, not the sort of place you’d go with the lads for a night out, however very good for night out with the better half and a few friends.  Overall an excellent hostelry.

It was time to make our way to the ground, so back we trudged to the car park. Blast and botheration! The bloody train crossing lights were flashing red again, so once more Sherpa Pharp and the intrepid PRATS attempted to set about another accent of the south face of the footbridge. We arrived at the ground around 3:00pm, hundreds of Poppies fans soaking up the sun necking down yet another pint. The clubhouse was compact and basic, good enough for it’s purpose, full of supporters trying to avoid sun stroke. Poole Town Ale was available, brewed by the local Bournemouth Brewery. A fairly traditional English session ale coming in at 3.6%, pleasant enough but not a show stopper. Well done to Poole Town for having the courage to serve regular cask ale, considering how often the clubhouse is open. A couple of Poppies fans visited the Bournemouth brewery on Saturday morning; perhaps we’ll see a short blog in due course.

The match was OK, losing 1-0 with Poole taking advantage of the Poppies long journey with the goal coming in the 3rd minute. That was about all the excitement there was, so at full time around 6:00pm we strolled back to the car for the long journey home. However, there was some trepidation within the PRATS, Pharp hadn’t raised his left buttock and let rip for four hours. Was this a good sign, no gas in the tank to vent out or a bad sign, where the walls of Jericho under severe threat?

Fortunately the traffic was relatively light as was Pharp and by 8:15pm we arrived at the Towcester Mill Brewery Taproom. http://www.towcestermillbrewery.co.uk/
An excellent hostelry with 8 ales and 7 ciders available. We all went for the house brews with Pharp and Parker going for Bell Ringer, not at all their normal style of ale being golden in colour with malty and citrus tones coming in at 4.4%. Citra and I going for Mill Race, a lovely blonde ale at 3.9%. All ales were  clear and fresh as you would expect at a brewery tap. Pharp and Parker had drank enough ale for the day, but Citra and myself had a couple more. Firstly the other local brew Tiffield Thunderbolt brewed by Great Oakley Brewery whose brewery is about 3 miles down the road; a delightful pale ale using 2 New Zealand hops, always a favourite. We followed this with another house brew, which looked like a special single hop brew named Galaxy, this was an excellent tasty pale ale at about 4.5%. Galaxy hop is from Australia and is generally used in pale ales and IPA’s. Towcester Mill is a great place for a decent pint. If you’re lucky you may also be able to buy a Moulton Pie Company pork pie, sadly all sold out tonight.
That was it for one day, all home around 10:30pm. A great, yet long day out, decent ales at every port of call, couldn’t really ask for more than that.

 Up next is the short trip to Leamington on a Tuesday evening. Cheers

Thursday, 6 August 2015

POOLE

Our first trip this season sees an early start to Poole in Dorset. Whilst Ringwoods and Hall Woodhouse pubs are likely to dominate the choice, PRATS tip to find a real decent pub is to go to the local CAMRA branch website and download their magazine, for Poole it’s:  

http://www.eastdorsetcamra.org.uk/

 Ed’s Pint is their mag, have a look at the pub adverts for a clue where to go. It’s not always failsafe but if CAMRA let them have an advert it must surely follow that they’ll have decent beer. I guess it depends how desperate the local branch are for a few shillings. 

We are going to try these pubs and will report back on our return.   
Where will we stop on the way home is always a big question? It will of course depend on traffic and how far we get before our throats resemble a Turkish wrestlers jockstrap. Another factor will definitely be that one of the PRATS has a frequent anal emission problem; his problem often becomes ours as we gasp for air. If you see a car load of blokes with their purple heads sticking out of the windows you’ll know a venting has  occurred.  
Have a good footy day out in Poole.  
If you would like to contribute to PRATS then please email pratsktfc@btinternet.com  

PRATSLOGUE

Welcome to the very first blog of PRATS  
PRATS is an acronym for Poppies Real Ale Tasting Society.  
The PRATS blog is all about 4 PRATS members and their journeys  following the Poppies on the away day travels. These days always include the best real ale pubs we can find, either on our way to or from or even once we’ve arrived at our destination. Checking out the local snaffle is also a very important part of the day especially if pork pies are involved and they usually are. We measure the quality of the hostelry focusing on the ale, 1) quality,)2 price, 3) choice, the attributes of the bar staff cough, cough, will also get a mention with the image of a hand-pump in any position between horizontal to vertical as a guide. We’ll leave you to work out what position the hand-pump will be in for a ‘tasty bird’.  
Ale quality:  
Is the beer as flat as a witch’s tit or is there a lovely tight head, clingling to the sides of the glass, where you can count the number of swigs taken to consume the pint, a bit like working out the age of a tree 
Is the beer cloudy, not too dissimilar to a bucket of hog-swill, is it as hazy as a relatively clear day in downtown Beijing or of pristine clarity with an inner glow.  
Is the beer as warm as piss or is it freezing cold; shattering ones remaining molar, or is it just right; washing over the tonsils quenching the Gobi like thirst.  
Ale prices: 
As we travel throughout the country we have experienced a wide variety of prices ranging from a couple of quid at a decent ‘Spoons’ pub or heading towards a wallet evacuating £4.00. 
Ales choice: 
Nothing worse than going into a pub and seeing a row of hand pumps with ales you can buy anywhere in the country. Ok, so maybe GK IPA , bloody Doombar and the other plethora of nationals are just about drinkable, but we don’t want them ramming down our throats do we? Well actually one of our PRATS likes Doombar, once only to be found in Cornwall now every bloody where.  We like local ales, LOCALES is good. You can’t beat good micro-brewery ale or even a brew-pub to while away the hours before and after the footy, if you’re really lucky the clubhouse might have some decent local ale on. A couple of times last season we quaffed our quota before getting to the ground only to find they’d kindly fetched in a polypin of some local ale just because the Poppies were in town. Marvellous, just because we’d had our quota didn’t mean we went without, Oh no.

We would like to invite other Poppies fans to contribute to PRATS; indeed we also invite those away fans travelling to Latimer Park for their thoughts on Kettering’s hostelries and their general day out on the razz.  
Naturally this BLOG will evolve over time and become useful for others in search of a decent footy day out.  

If you would like to contribute to PRATS then please email pratsktfc@btinternet.com