Thursday 3 January 2013

And a Happy New Year

I hope you had a good Christmas. Mine was pretty good, thank you for asking. I'm lucky that I didn't have to go to work between Christmas Eve and New Years Day, which meant I had plenty to catch up on some of my favourite activities:  stuffing my face full of chocolate, watching terrible TV, and drinking some fine ales. I only got one ale gift this year, a Dutchy Original Old Ruby Ale which came with a fetching tankard. Although branded as Waitrose own, it's actually brewed by the Wychwood Brewery. This was a perfectly suppable brew with some nice caramel and citrus undertones. I certainly enjoyed it and the gift tankard was pretty good with a very attractive sparkly bottom.

Over the Christmas I ended up Southampton to visit The Lovely Jemma's Nan. While we were down there we visited the Hampshire Bowman, a delightful country pub that is located in the middle of nowhere. I don't know how people found this pub before the days of Sat Nav - presumably it was just pure chance. After a endlessly winding road through empty fields the pub magically appeared, like driving into a boozy Twilight Zone. This comfortable boozer has four changing real ales, most of them from the local area. I tried the Bowman Brewery Wallops Wood, a satisfying best bitter with a lovely hoppy finish. I also went for a pint of Alliance Best Bitter, which unfortunately wasn't as good and had a rather insipid taste.

The pub has a strong food focus so I ordered a Fish and Chips. It was both bad and good. The batter for the fish tasted delicious. It was made using the Wallops Wood ale which really boosted the flavour. The texture of the batter was all wrong, doughy and not at all crispy. I didn't know whether to like it or hate it. However I had no problem shoving the fish into my gaping maw so I guess it can't have been that bad.

The pub was full of children and dogs at lunchtime but luckily most of them were fairly well behaved. There's also a £1 charge if you use your mobile phone in the pub so I spent the majority of time after eating my lunch nervously twitching, desperate to record the ales I had consumed on to the Untappd app on my phone, but not wanting to pay a quid. Eventually I could stands no more and popped out "for a wee." Once safely outside the pub, I feverishly pulled out my phone, the familiar glowing brick feeling warm and comfortable in my hands. It then turned out there was no mobile signal anyway so I couldn't really do much. 

Strangely all the children appeared to be on their smartphones and weren't charged a penny. Maybe it's different for the kids - at least it keeps them quiet. Overall the Hampshire Bowman is well worth a visit if you are in the area, perhaps after parachuting out of a plane or chasing a naughty dog through the fields as those are the only ways I could see people getting to this pub by chance.

I've been a bad beer blogger and not tried many Christmas ales at all. The few I have tried have not really been any good. I tried a pint of Skinners Jingle Knocker which sadly was as average as Christmas beers come. I can't write much about it as it was completely forgettable. The same goes for Batemans Rosey Nosey, which although pleasant to drink was not particularly noteworthy, hence why I have no notes about it. Sorry for these essentially useless descriptions of the ales but I really can't think of much to say about them. Not that this will stop me typing this inane drivel in my blog anyway.

My New Years resolution is to remember to take photos for this blog, so expect the next update to be a photo filled extravaganza. As a IT man it's also my duty to say that my other New Years Resolution is 1440x900. Apologies. So far I've managed to avoid signing up for "Dryathlon" so there may even be some beer chat. I wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year!

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