There was some stuff and nonsense flying around that there was going to be so much snow descending from the heavens that we were not going to be able to get out into the city centre to track for beer along the Route to Real Ale. I checked in with my partner in crime and there was no way that a few centimetres of the white stuff was going to stop us.
The first port of call was at the ‘Theatre of Harvest Pale dreams”, the Vat and Fiddle pub which being attached the Castle Rock Brewery is to all intent and purposes the home of the good stuff and the perfect place to start the hunt. I arrived a bit too early so figured that I should at least add some sort of food comp0nent to this hunting outing so I checked out what food was on offer.
There are plenty of hot and cold options on the Vat menu but I was in the mood for a hot sandwich of some sort and in the end I plumped for a “Cheddar, Sausage, and Fried Onion” baguette. This came with a simple side salad that initially I was not going to bother eating but it was quite nicely dressed with a simple vinaigreitte so I ended up eating it all. The Baguette was quite decent, the sausage was nice and herby, there was plenty of nice gooey melted cheese and the fried onions were hidden down in the inner crease of the baguette. You got a bit of sausage, cheese, and onion with each bite of the crusty filled baguette. Even better I was washing this down with my first pint of the day, a very good pint of that Harvest Pale.
The next port of call was the Canalhouse which unsurprisingly is right next to the canal in fact it even has a boat dock inside the pub itself which you cross over on the way to the bar. The Canalhouse is another one of the Castle Rock supplied pubs and we got another good pint of Harvest Pale in here as well. They have a pretty interesting menu as well. I am not going to write too much about this visit as I am planning to come back to eat here on the Tram Stop Food Hunt project. Just to whet your appetite and mine I was very tempted to try the ‘Matador Pie’ which is one of the Pieminster Range this particular pie is filled with “tender british beef steak, chorizo, olives, sherry & butter beans”. But enough of that I will tell you about it when I eat there, all I can say is that this stage of the hunt for Harvest Pale was successfully completed at this establishment.
The Newshouse Pub is another pub in the Castle Rock family so we were expecting that we were certs to get some Harvest Pale here as well. This was my first visit although I have drived past it many times over the years it is just a few steps away from the shadow of the tram line and in sight of the Station Street Tram Terminus at 123 Canal Street. It is a good old fashioned pub, although it has been done up by the Tynemill group it still retains the charm of the old English Boozer. It was like stepping back a couple of decades, I liked it.
We got our hands on another two lovely pints of Harvest Pale, so mission accomplished once again, they also had some Everards Tiger beer which is another one of my favourites but I resisted the temptation. I suppose I should comment on why we were chasing harvest Pale allover town. Castle Rock’s Harvest Pale has won Supreme Champion at the 2010 Great British Beer Festival and such is its popularity you can buy it all over the place and not just in the Tynemilll chain pubs. This is great as you can rely on getting a good pint on a regular basis. On the Castle Rock website it is described as being ‘brewed with a gently-kilned malt, and an aromatic blend of American hops added during the brewing process gives this 3.8% alc pale beer exceptional poise. Its distinct hop flavour leads to a crisp finish.”
So what else is on offer here at the Newshouse apart from the beer? Well food wise it was very simple, the options appeared to be between a plate of crackers and cheese, or one of two Pukka pies (chicken or steak). I know that I should not really be an advocate of the Pukka Pie, but it does bring back fond memories of chip shop pie and chips wrapped in newspaper on a park bench. The other entertainment option on offer that evening was a black and white screening of old music programs from the 60’s whch we quite enjoyed for the 20 minutes while we supped our beers. The highlight being a screening of the Beatles, the Stones, and some bits of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.
The last stop where we uncovered some more of that super Harvest Pale was at the Malt Cross Pub at 16 St James Street. The Malt Cross is in the old Music Hall and still has all of the old features. I have been here several times and it is a really pleasant comfortable place,a little quirky and unique in it’s own way. I like to sit up on the old viewing gallery.
For some random reason we had a bag of Guinness Crisps which were quite tasty in themselves and actually paired quite well with the Harvest Pale.
All in all a good successful hunting trip, Four pubs visited on the Route to Real Ale, and plenty of pints of the Harvest Pale. A tasty baguette in the Vat and Fiddle and a little bit of research for other places to eat on the Nottingham Food Blog.
The Vat and Fiddle, The Newshouse, and the Canalhouse are all closest to the Station Street Tram stop in easy walking distance. The Malt Cross is nearer to the Old Market Square stop and the Royal Centre stops. All four feature in the Route to Real ale guide