Back in January (better late than never!) we had our annual works day out…and this year we hit the real ale pubs of Leicester.
We started proceedings off in The Alehouse next door where manager Craig sorted us out with some cracking bacon sandwiches…or the classic bacon and mushroom for me, which some people seemed to think was not a classic combination (madness!). With half a pint of Star Quality Beer inside us we made our way to Melton.
Safely on the train (and with MD and Master Brewer Colin Brown deep in thought about the quiz questions we’d set ourselves) we headed into Leicester and hit our first pub…The King’s Head. With a good selection of ales we enjoyed a swift half before moving onto the second port of call…Broood.
With a great selection to choose from we made our choices and then split the group (Youth vs Experience) for the internal quiz. The picture round proved a tad more difficult than I anticipated (name our beers from badly printed out photos!) but all got into the spirit and gave it their best shot…but time waits for no man (or lady) so we supped up and moved onto the third pub…The Blue Boar.
We were faced with another cracking line up of beers in a lovely, welcoming venue…but it’s fair to say the stand out beer and the one most went for was the 6.2% Cherry Grenade Stout from Campervan Brewery.
The males in the group were all very impressed with the urinals as the quiz fun continued…although it’s fair to say ‘youth’ were taking it far more seriously than ‘experience’. Colin was enjoying a good chinwag with one of his old mates from the industry but with the clock ticking & our stomach’s starting to rumble we finished our beers and enjoyed some of Leicester’s street art (in the glorious afternoon sun) on the way to our next pub…The Criterion.
We ordered our beers from a good, varied range and made a beeline straight for the dart board in the back room. The money was on defending champion and brewery ‘pub sports’ champion Danny, but new boy (brewer) Rory was talking a good game…well, he was talking a lot when he was trying to explain the rules of Shanghai.
However, it was lost on the rest of us (we’ll blame the beer…and Rory’s poor explanation) and we agreed on playing who can get the highest score in 6 darts (much to Rory’s dismay).
We were all starting to lag but thankfully the food arrived (which Colin had wisely pre-ordered) and we all had a few moments rest before stepping back up to the oche…and a surprise was in store as Danny had a shocker leaving the title up for grabs…and it was ‘Shanghai Rory’ himself who took advantage with some great arrows to claim 2018’s title.
We were greeted by a smiling face a good selection of beers, and were then kindly invited to have a look round the brewery at the back which we all enjoyed, especially the brewing team who clearly enjoyed chatting shop. The beer was slipping down very well at this point but with a schedule to keep it was time to move on again…so we made shapes (well, Mark did) and hot footed it to…The Western, run of course by our good friends at Steamin’ Billy.
The beer was obviously top notch (must be down to the brewers!) and we all found a seat for the results of the big quiz…and much to brewer Sean’s satisfaction it was ‘youth’ who triumphed. Still, you can’t teach experience, and Ed gave Rory some words of wisdom before we said goodbye and hopped on the bus to…The Ale Wagon.
With the bus trip safely negotiated we…well, at this point it was all a bit of a blur so I can’t say for what certain what we did apart from enjoy fantastic real ale (down to those brewers again!), have a good time…and find something interesting to read in a newspaper!
Colin was enjoying himself chewing the fat at the bar with his old friend (and co-owner of the Ale Wagon) Steve, but sadly time was getting the better of us and we had to plough on to our final real ale destination of the night…The Parcel Yard.
More top quality beer was enjoyed by all, although at this juncture the camera seemed to stop working…or maybe it was the operator?! With the penultimate train back to Melton Mowbray imminent half the team called it a night and headed off to the train station, leaving the remaining few to push on…and push on they did into an unnamed ‘craft’ beer bar where they enjoyed beers of a slightly different nature (but beers none the less), before disappearing into the night (and just about finding their way home!).
As ever a big thanks to Colin for sorting out another enjoyable and very entertaining Belvoir Brewery on Tour…and of course paying for our beer!