Starring Jon Whowell, Dave Laughton, Russ Hibbitt & Jon Watson.
The four intrepid adventurers passed our County border, at 11.00am on Saturday 17th February, bound for the Lincoln and Newark areas on a mission to return empty casks and collect or swap ales for the Empingham CSC Beer Festival.
First stop was the delightful Dambusters Inn in Scampton. The pub is full of memorabilia from the Dambusters Squadron formerly based at RAF Scampton and also from the Red Arrows, current residents of the base.
Here, we sampled Scampton Ale and Dambusters Ale brewed behind the pub by Landlord, Greg Algar, in the center of the above picture clutching his Tiny Pint.
Greg is passionate about both the memorabilia and his ale and provided enlightening information about photos, medals and ensigns that adorn the walls. We swapped a cask for a cask of Scampton Ale. How will I get my empty back? enquired Greg. Don’t worry Greg, we will be back!!
Onto Lincoln’s Jolly Brewer to swap ales from Horncastle (Wicked Blonde) and Ferry Ales (Wodewose and Spirit of Jane). Ales sampled here were Great Newsome Stoggy, Welbeck Abbey Henrietta and 3 Piers Golden Smiler, all were in good order.
A lunch of exceptional value was consumed and we were joined for lunch and a pint by George Hibbitt, a ‘poor’ Lincoln University student and newly renewed Rutland CAMRA member. (His Dad paid for that too!!)
Next stop was to be Beermats Brewery near Southwell. However, they delivered to Empingham on the previous Thursday, so a visit to Just Beer micropub in Newark town centre was hastily substituted into the itinerary. A gem of a place supplying us with Hill Top Golden and North Riding US IPA. Deciding against a second pint here or a walk across the road to the Flying Circus due to time constraints, we moved on to our final venue outside of Rutland, the Cross Keys at Upton.
Landlord and brewer at Mallard Brewery, Steve Hussey, was delayed by an unexpected afternoon nap. So, whilst waiting, the 3 adventurers tried his Mallard Golden Duck and our Pubs Officer chose Mallard Drake. Again all beers in fine fettle! Empties returned and with a new Golden Duck and Nottingham EPA on board, we pointed the vehicle South on the A1 and after an hour pulled up outside the Green Dragon at Ryhall for our last tipple of the trip.
A lovely day out and a great adventure. All the venues are worth a visit but if you choose just one, please make it the Dambusters Inn. You will not be disappointed!
Russ Hibbitt Rutland CAMRA Drayman