With Saturday's little trip to Louth over, I experienced the rarity of a quiet couple of days off, if you exclude the ritual of present buying, wrapping and hiding. Besides a couple of bottles of my home brew (“St-out in the Cold”, from the Wilko's velvet stout kit, and a Tom Caxton's Real Ale I played with and bottled as “Bitter This, That & T'other”), I resisted the temptation of nights out with the throngs. It helped that I was on lates during the run up to the Big day.
|Pre-Xmas drink selection.|
Christmas morning came, and we loaded the car up for the short journey across town to see the three youngest Grandchildren. It was lovely to see their faces light up as we arrived. After explaining why Santa had left some of their pressies at our house, the cacophony of excited noises continued. We stayed a couple of hours, and then popped home, to get our own dinner on, before popping back out to The Yarborough for a couple of beers. Before my current employment, I was 20 years a Private Hire Driver (taxi) and worked every Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I could never work out why the Christmas Day in the pub tradition was so strongly adhered to, but having experienced it for the first time last year, with everyone in a festive mood, it certainly leaves one with a warmness, and not just from the alcohol. I started off with Caledonian “Knee Deep”, a beer already reviewed here (http://fozzy21.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/the-pub-with-no-beeralmost.html) This pint, though, was clearly struggling to reach the heights of the previous tasting. Very much bottom of the barrel, I would say. After that I chose the same as T'other' arf was drinking, Wickwar “Christmas Cracker”. With a plum pudding and nutty taste, which leads you from the sweet malt through to the long hopped finish, this 4.2% Ale certainly lives up to it's name.
We met up with T'other' arf's son, and his girlfriend, enjoyed the afternoon, and then we went back for our Christmas Dinner. Now, I don't like to blow my own trumpet, but my cooking skills were greatly appreciated, and the offerings, eagerly scoffed. Smoked Salmon Pate with Capers, followed by Stuffed Turkey Breast, served with Roasted Veg, Brussels Sprouts with peanut butter, bacon and Chestnuts, Red Cabbage in balsamic vinegar and Buttered Leeks, with one or two little ingredients added. We had no room left for the Home-made Xmas Pudding or the Home-made Christmas cake! Our Grandson also came round a little later, and we had a lovely evening, just relaxing and watching a Norman Wisdom DVD. The simple things in life are sometimes the best. T'other' arf and I were both back at work Boxing Day, so the excesses in the drinks department were curtailed early. We were on opposite shifts too, so as Jane was entering the house, I was just leaving. We are rather like the figures on one of those old weather houses, at the moment, and I don't mean just gathering dust on a mantel-piece.
On Saturday, I was off, so, I met my half-pinter from work, as we had arranged, and had ourselves a bit of an afternoon session. I am not off again until after New Year, so this was to be our little treat, although, with Jane on earlies tomorrow, we would not be making a night of it as well. We started out in the Ice Barque (I know, glutton for punishment), and, after waiting an age, we eventually got served. I fancied a Sixpoint beer, displayed on the pumps, “Xporter”. After several unsuccessful pulls, it was announced that “It's gone” . The only other choice I fancied was Milestone's “Donner & Blitzed” a 5.4% Ale which was reasonable, but lost it's head far too quickly. Quite a heavily malted beer,I thought,with occasional spice and nuts coming through to a quite rounded finish. I would have liked to try this beer a bit fresher, as I think it wasn't done any justice by being served, shall we presume, near the end of the barrel. T'other 'arf tried the “Devil's Backbone”, which she enjoyed. Another beer I had tasted and reviewed before, this American Craft Ale is excellent, for a keg beer. The rain, by the time we left, was slinging it down, making for a miserable outlook, so our next port of call needed to be a short distance away, which we decided would be The Hope and Anchor, just around the corner. This one-roomed pub, with a central bar, used to be a regular haunt of ours. We used to have our quiz nights in here back in the Noughties. The pumps displayed 3 Real Ales, and we decided on Tom Woods “Christmas Cheers”, a 4.5% seasonal offering, which, so I am reliably informed, is “Bomber County” with a splash of Whisky flavour added. The taste was, undeniably, “Bomber County” but the Whisky was very subtle. Very well balanced and not too overpowering in taste or aroma, a pleasurable drink indeed. The pub staff, and clientele, were all very amiable and welcoming at this boozer,which is just away from the main shopping centre, and the beer was served as it should be. We stayed for another before setting sail for The Duke of Wellington, just a stones throw away. “The Duke” is another friendly “locals” pub, but with a bit more grit and character. The “Bombardier” we were served here wasn't the best, but still quite passable. We warmed ourselves by the raging fire, surveyed the many old Hewitt's bits and bobs, before making our way back towards town.
|Hewitt's Bottle Labels.|
Time was ticking, or not, as the case may be, so we decided to stroll on home, picking up the Lotto on the way. During our amble, which took us past The Parity, I couldn't resist another glass of Tom Wood's “Christmas Cheers”, also on sale here. Sitting there, I realised that, with 2014 soon coming to an end, I should, maybe, sing us out with a little ditty. I will offer you this. Apologies to Mr Sinatra, but I have always attempted to do it this way