Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Best pub you never knew about

Busy busy busy. I thought being retired meant you had nothing to do.  That doesn’t seem to be working for me. Christmas coming up, a novel to finish, numerous musical goings on we are embroiled in, decluttering at home, baby sitting, dog sitting, and a blog to write.  So here we are, back at the grand Herbie Awards, on our third bottle of bubbly and eager to find out what hidden pub gems the Herbies have encountered this year.  I can think of four, and two of them have the same name.  Once again we’ll take them in chronological order of our visit.

1. The Green Man at Long Itchington

Long Itchington has six pubs and this one is furthest of all from the canal (Grand Union) and the furthest from the village centre , so I suspect many never find it.  We found it on our weekend at the Long Itchington Beer festival in which all six pubs participated, and in truth we spent less time there than at some of the other pubs, but on reflection it may well be the best of the six.  Certainly the beer there was very good and the interior looked cosy and, well, pubby.  Plenty of mooring at L.I.  Pull in, walk over the fields from the bridge and turn left.  A proper pub.  As to food, their web site says “The Green Man is a pub first and foremost and it is our intention that it should remain so.”  i.e they do sandwiches and toasties only.  Next year I hope to go back and give them more of my time.

2. The Anchor at Diglis

We stumbled upon this pub whilst walking back to the boat after visiting the centre of Worcester. It hides at the back of Diglis canal basin i.e. the side furthest from the river Severn.  It was a hot afternoon and we were carrying bags of shopping so we needed something to slake our thirst and in we went.  The little pubic bar is old fashioned in the best sense of the word, except I suppose the big telly screen which was showing Andy Murray at Wimbledon.  Luckily it was a long tennis match so we had to have a second pint.  The beer was very good indeed and the staff and customers were all friendly, so there was a fair bit of banter, which I like in a pub.  According to reviewers on trip advisor, the breakfasts at the Anchor are especially good, but I can’t personally vouch for that.  In short, the Anchor is a proper pub with real people and real beer and if you can find your way from the river moorings through the maze of the basin, it’s only three or four minutes walk from your boat.  I wouldn’t miss it if i was i Worcester.

3. The Anchor at Caunsall

Words almost fail me in describing this pub. In truth it is an enigma.  An unassuming little pub in an out of the way village, ten minutes walk from the Staffs & Worcester canal, serving the plainest of food on a like it or lump it basis (no choice beyond beef or cheese cobs) , and yet it is packed out every night, and I do mean packed out. It’s no good getting there ten minutes after they open, you won’t get a seat!  We would never have found it but for a tip off from Sarah.  The beer is fine and there is a choice of ciders, the cobs are plain but wholesome, but it is the extraordinary number of customers that makes your jaw drop.  You can read my somewhat astonished report on our visit in this previous post.

4. The Hollybush at Stourport on Severn

Another Sarah tip off, this one.  Only a minute or so to walk there from the canal, but not in a road you would normally explore in all probability.  This is one of those pubs where the landlord, or landlady in this instance, takes a personal interest in how you are liking the beer.  They had a good range on offer, all of which I had never tied before, and when one of them ran out and was replaced by a different ale, she came round and offered us a taste of the new one.  The pub has a website which you can see here. A bit of an ale drinker’s paradise this one.  If it was in the main street or next to the canal it would really thrive.

There you are then four really good pubs off the beaten track, and all well worth seeking out, but which one will win the coveted Herbie Award?  Tune in soon to find out.  I haven’t made my mind up yet so their is time to exert your influence if you know any of them.


Anonymous said...

The Anchor at Diglis is closed Neil! Paula

Nb Yarwood said...

My vote goes to The Hollybush and it's wonderful Landlady, Maggie Smith. Lovely beer, good food and dog friendly and just that something extra with Maggie running the show.

Sarah said...

Oh goodness, yes, the Hollybush. The beer is fabulous (whereas at Caunsell it was merely ok, and I consistently got short measure). Lots of choice, a blackboard with descriptions, and knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff. Above all, prepared to go that little way extra... When we arrived on the chef's night off and were disappointed not to be able to have chips, Maggie went off to switch on the fryer and make us some herself. She's everything you could want in a pub landlady.
I have to thank Phil Prettyman of Warbler for putting us onto both the pubs we put the Herbies onto.