I don't know; you pop in the pub for a couple of swift ones with some friends and someone comes up to you and says; fancy posting on a blog????? In this case I was absolutely mortified....the best real ale blog in the finest county of the finest country?????? scared witless..... I hope I can rise to the standard. Thanks for the offer Will...thanks for the encouraging words; Tim...
I tend to have to wander round the country (usually at silly o'clock) when all decent hostelries are a'bed. Let's be fair; beer and a car are not good bed mates...however the benefits I do get are to visit super places and be free by lunchtime...thus it was one Tuesday not that long ago...
Now we all know the decent boozers where we live (ish) - but a while ago a long term friend of mine who had been living in Bristol because of work said; "I can't find a decent pint for love nor money". Good beer does exist though and whilst down there recently I found these three great pubs .... one of which I've been going in now since the week after his comments.
The 7 Stars is a very old pub which I will not spoil for anyone, suffice to say not enough is really available internet wise (the pic is the only thing I could find worth reproducing and hardly does it justice!). A pub with up to 6 hand pumps on; no brewery ties of any description and so much history it is scary. Hull thinks it has done its bit to abolish the slave trade...this pub is where it really started. The young couple running it are super, however they suffer from the age old problem of lack of freehold.
A fair walk across by the rejuvenated docks (not ships; just flats now) and with a view to the SS Great Britain brings us to the Bag O'Nails. What this boozer lacks in finesse it makes up for in character .... you would not take a young lady in there, but then with it's range of clientele you wouldn't want one with you anyway...basic pub with far ranging ales (had arguments about them getting Red Lion's White Lion) with very few amenities... well worth not going to bed in order to catch them opening at tea time.... Oh dear - time! Half two - amount of alcohol consumed: 4 pints...and now I have to visit another, knowing it's a steep climb straight out of the 'Nails and up the hill.
The Hope and Anchor could be my favourite pub in Bristol; Hop-bines all round the place....fresh flowers on every table and the bar...pine tables and floors; looking good. I don't always associate good food with a good pub but it can help.... salad dressing as well as the S&P and all food homemade. 3 Soups, various themes, pancakes i.e. "cakes cooked in a pan" (could almost be in Yorkshire!) - Ploughman's, 20 cheeses and 11 other choices along with the usual salad etc. But there is more; a backyard stretching up the hill with countless Singer sewing machine base tables; places for smokers and barbecue areas abound.
The artwork I have loved for ages; an old regular has drawn cartoons depicting local history tied-in surreptitiously to the pub; look for the one of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's discovery moment whilst staying here (yeah right) to build the suspension bridge. Beers; London Pride, Bombardier, TT Landlord, Wadsworth 6X, Butcombe Gold and a couple from Bristol; Red and Sunrise. In summary: well worth seeking out despite the hill - super staff, food and ale. A very well kept house. Just one hell of a way from the Star on a Saturday night - and if you think it's pricey in Huddersfield for TT Landlord, try £3.30 a pint...this ain't London despite being darn sarrf!
Photos: courtesy of the respective pubs' websites - shocking I know, but if you don't want people to come then you're doing a great job!