Another Saturday, another footy match on the road again to Somerset. We left Kettering around 9:00am taking the fog bound motorway route M6, M42, M5. Our first port of call was the newly opened Gloucester services Farmshop. What a magnificent place, the deli counter had more pies than you’ve ever seen in your life, every conceivable variety was available. Cheeses, crusty breads, patisseries with all sorts of tasty looking delights. Preserves, chutneys, mustards, beer, cider and some very spicy sauces. You name it they flogged it all produced locally. Although if you had a very fat wallet when you went in, you’d have a very thin one when you came out. Quite pricey indeed, but well worth it I’m sure.
Onwards to our first pub of the day, we arrived at the Crown Inn Churchill around 11:45am. Now this pub is a throw-back to the 80’s and beyond, the cobwebs are all part of the décor as are the lead lined power cables coated in several decades of cream gloss, well it might be white gloss with a heavy covering of smoke stain. This is all part of the charm of the Crown with all ales served by gravity. Our first exchange of dialogue with the very pleasant landlady was an unusual one, Pharp enquired if they had a business card of their decorator, the land lady’s reply was “ it might be a sh!t hole but it’s my sh!t hole”.
This is a typical English ale, malty and hoppy coming in at 4.2% with a loose head clinging to the glass and in excellent condition. Citra and I went for Exmoor Gold, ok we can occasionally get this in Kettering but very rarely served straight from the barrel. Brewed a bit closer at Wiveliscombe Somerset around 43 miles away, so fairly local. Always a lovely pint, one of the first gold ales to be brewed in the mid-eighties, bucking the trend for brown, pale or darker ales. Soft caramel, citrusy flavour at 4.5% once again a loose head clinging to the glass and in great condition.
Time to go home; we decided to go back up the M5 to the Coach and Horses at Weatheroak Hill. As we trawled through Bristol the sky was full of hot air balloons, we prayed that Pharp wasn’t going to unleash, we didn’t want to join the balloons floating over Bristol.