Pub Clips are the most recent submitted, plus those from latest 2 issues of "Worts & Ale" (ie: 6-9 month's worth) - any comments older than that are probably out of date anyway!
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Sun, Bentworth (24 April - TD)
Five of the six handpumps were in use at this attractive rural pub on a busy weekday lunchtime, which is now accredited to the CAMRA LocAle scheme for East Hampshire. The regular ale, Palmer's Copper Ale (not loca) was well received as were the four other, all Hampshire beers. Andwell's Resolute, Bowman Swift One, Flack Manor Flack's Double Drop and Itchen Valley Hampshire Rose.
Four of us covered all the ales between us and the Hampshire Rose was judged to be the best of the bunch.
King's Head, Alton (15th April - MP)
Dropped in here for a quick one (or two). Only 2 beers on - Courage Best and Flack Manor Double Drop. I had the latter - very nice.
Christine was going to put Itchen Valley Hampshire Rose on next - saving Longdog's Bunny Chaser for Easter!
Railway Arms, Alton (13 April - TD)
All five ales on today were Triplefff products and all on good to very good form including old favourites Hallelujah and Moondance. The Winter Oatmeal Stout was also good although must be nearing the end of its season and an intriguing new one for me was Day is Done 4%, described as a golden ale which is quite correct: there is much of the character of such beers with Amarillo and Simcoe hops imparting the expected resinous and citrus aroma and flavour but also a balancing body from Munich and Crystal malts. Very nice beer. Only Alton's Pride not tried.
Eight Bells, Alton (12 April - TD)
Flowerpots ales continue to move well here and today the Flowerpots Bitter and Perridge pale were on good form as was Bowman's Wallop's Wood making a welcome return. In addition the Goddard's Fuggle-dee-Dum a fine ale was just about reaching the end of its natural life but still drinkable. Sharp's Doom Bar also on.
The Flowerpots drayman was making a delivery and we chatted about the impending sale of the Brewery and Flowerpots Inn. The proprietors are retiring and want to see it sold as a going concern. The other two tied houses,the Wheatsheaf, Shedfield and one of my personal favourites, the Albion in Winchester, will apparently not be affected as run by independent owners and can continue under their own steam.
Scheduled evening trip (4 April - TD)
Just three of us set out on a cold, wet and windy evening to visit the village pubs in the north-west quadrant of the branch area. We were supposed to start at the Gliding Society Club at Lasham but found it closed at around 7.45 pm. We should have heeded the warning on WhatPub to "check in advance for evening opening hours."
There was a warmer welcome at the Royal Oak in the heart of Lasham village where Andwell Gold Muddler and Hog's Back TEA were on offer and found to be in good order. A decision was made there and then to reinstate LocAle accreditation for this friendly village local.
An even warmer welcome - a roaring open fire - was available at the Sun on the edge of Bentworth. Here there were no less than six ales on offer. Bowman's Swift One and Itchen Valley Hampshire Rose were very drinkable and we regretfully had to leave the Andwell King John, Flack Manor Flack Catcher, Hog's Back TEA and Palmer's Copper Ale for another time.
Last port of call was the Castle of Comfort, Medstead, a very dog-friendly pub with a large stove belting out heat in the cosy right hand bar and three ales available, Courage Best, Greene King IPA and Sharp's Doom Bar. The first two were tried and found to be in good condition.
The Lord Raglan, Smithfield, London (3 April – PH)
Went to the “Smoke” to renew our Privilege Oyster Cards and visit the Museum of London. Found this Greene King pub half-way between the Museum and St. Pauls Cathedral. Quite a decent place with plenty of space with a reasonable menu, however the ham, egg and chips weren’t a patch on that served by the George when we visited in February. As well as the usual GK offerings, they had Sharp’s Doom Bar and Sambrook’s Wandle; had the latter which was quite good and well served BUT it was £4.80 per pint as was the Doom Bar. Next time we’ll look out for a Wetherspoon’s.
Alton (3 April - TD)
The Ivy House had three good offerings in the JDW Real Ale Festival today and all tried with benefit of three thirds for price of a pint, In ascending order of strength there was Adnams Topaz Gold 4%, a golden ale full of fruitiness, Hook Norton Crafty Fox 4.4%, a smooth black IPA and lastly from Californian brewer Jeff Bagby guesting at Wadworth, Asphalt Jungle 4.5%, an easy drinking stout with chocolate and coffee notes. The usual suspects available.
Round the corner at the George I tried a couple of interesting beers one unfamiliar, a rare limited edition 3.2 %, deep brown Vienna Red style beer from Sharp's called Rising Tide. Also had an old favourite Itchen Valley Watercress Best 4.2%. There is a indeed a hint of watercress in the aroma and taste. Irving Type 42, Dark Star Hophead and Sharp's Sea Fury were also on.
Alton (24 March - TD)
The Eight Bells in Church Street is thriving under Phil's hands on management and a lively crowd on Sunday afternoon had as usual five well kept ales to enjoy. Two Flowerpots offerings, Perridge Pale and Bitter, both very drinkable and the Pale very good indeed seem to becoming fixtures due to their popularity. I also tried Goddard's Wight Squirrel a 4.3% rich, russet-coloured full flavoured traditional best bitter brewed with Crystal Malts giving a smooth caramel taste. Sharp's Doom Bar and Suthwyk Old Dick were also available.
A pleasant walk in the spring sunshine through the St. Lawrence churchyard, down Amery Hill and across the community centre car park took me to the garden entrance of the King's Head where enjoyed the easy drinking 3.9% Andwell's Gold Muddler and the regularly available Courage Best.
Alton (14 March - TD)
Pleased to see that the Hop Poles, Alton has reopened (today apparently) under a "temporary" manager and gratifyingly busy . Fuller's London Pride and St. Austell Tribute on and enjoyed a pint of the former.
A rather more interesting bill of fare round the corner in the George where had St. Austell Proper Job and a very good indeed Hammerpot Bottlewreck Porter. Andwells Resolute, Irving Type 42 and the old favourite Sharp's Sea Fury were also available here.
Royal Exchange, Lindford (7 March - TD)
Since 17 February a new bus service, the no.23, supplements the no.13 roughly every two hours running through to Liphook and Haslemere.
The 11.12 service out of Alton drops you right outside the Royal Exchange, Lindford about 10 minutes before opening time, albeit after a rather convoluted journey around Whitehill and Bordon.
The pub is part of the Red Mist group and features local ales including as a house beer, Red Mist, a 3.7% well-balanced bitter sold throughout the group and which has 20p from each sale donated to local good causes. Also available was Hog's Back England's Glory, a 4.4% dark golden ale with a quite strong malt taste for the style - very flavoursome. Hog's Back TEA is also usually on but we were between casks. The very good food was also sampled.
The bus back to Alton goes from over the road at 14.43 and town residents should be prepared for another round trip of Bordon before heading home along the A325 and B3004. This very useful route takes in East Hampshire branch area pubs in East Worldham, Kingsley, Liphook and Grayshott and also looks a practicable way of getting to Headley and Hammer Vale.
I hope to produce a complete report on the route's reach for a future Worts & Ale.
Forest Inn, Holt Pound (5 March – PH)
Called in to deliver Magazines and have a spot of lunch. Had a very nice steak and chips, washed down with a rather good Greene King Abbot Ale (the only beer on – was waiting for the IPA to be delivered). New Manager (Jason) very interested in CAMRA and is a potential recruit. He told us that his sales of cask beers was increasing and if they got to a (unspecified) point he would get a third pump and a free choice of beer.
Queen's Head, Holybourne (26 February - TD)
Took advantage of the balmy afternoon sunshine for a walk to the Queen's Head, Holybourne for Happy Hour, which actually runs between 4.30 and 6 pm Monday to Friday offering cask ale full pints reduced from £3.50 to £3.
Tried all three ales on - the permanent Hardys & Hansons Olde Trip, the Triple fff guest currently Moondance, and the third guest Hog's Back TEA. All very drinkable, the TEA particularly so, and the garden had even been opened because of the unseasonably warm weather.
George, Alton (19 February-PH)
Called in for a spot of lunch whilst doing a Pubzilla up-date. Had an excellent pint of Sharp’s Sea Fury, then got stuck in to a first-class sirloin steak (with a Stilton sauce over it. Don’t normally like sauces drenched over my food but can’t resist Stilton!). Shirley had ham, egg and chips which she said was also excellent. Ham was a decent thick slice (not the wafer-thin slices purveyed elsewhere).
Had to have another Sea Fury before tackling a three-scoop ice cream sweet. Finally had a coffee and staggered back up the hill.
Was advised that the July beer festival would be “something special” as it would be the last Bristol RE running day.
Selborne Arms, Bentley (19 February - TD)
First of all an important piece of news: after introducing full day opening during the week a few weeks back this has now been put off until Easter when it is expected that full day opening will run on an annual cycle from Easter until after the Zig-Zag Festival held at the beginning of October. Outside that period opening times are 11-3 and 6-11.
Today as usual five ales were on including the regular offerings Bowman Swift One and Ringwood 49er, both very palatable. Also available were Big Smoke Solaris 3.8%, a light golden ale from Surbiton (or perhaps Esher by now), Parkway Cheeky Monkey, 4% a golden ale from Somerset and Hog's Back England's Glory, 4.4% a robust dark golden ale with a good balance of malt and citrus hops. The usual excellent lunchtime menu choices available.
From 1 April the 38 bus route is being cut but Alton dwellers can still make a lunchtime session with the 12.45 bus from the train station arriving in Selborne at 13.13. What will now be the last bus of the day returns at 14.31 from just outside the pub, so an hour and a quarter in the pub. No buses at the weekend
Golden Pheasant, Alton (11 February - MP)
Called in for lunch today - there were 5 beers on - Wadworth's 'Dirty Rucker'; Courage Best; Black Sheep Best Bitter; Triple fff Moondance; and Sharp's Doombar. I had the Dirty Rucker - a ruby bitter 3.8 - very nice.
Also I must say the food was (as usual) excellent - I had the Pork Loin and Apricot pie and chips - the pie being home-made which was very good (the pork was very tender).
Also David and Melanie had two sous-chefs on who were responsible for the desserts - and there was a huge selection - about 15-20 hot and cold!
A truly memorable outing.
George, Alton (7 February - MP)
Dropped in for a quick pint (and a half) today. Beers on were Sharps Sea Fury; Dark Star Hophead; Hammerpot Bottle Wreck Porter; Irving Type 42.
I had the Hophead - very nice.
Star Inn, Bentley (5 February - TD)
Four ales on at the Star Inn, Bentley today. First I tried the rotating guest, Wadworth's Dirty Rucker, a 3.9% light bodied, undemanding (surprising given its three malts and four hops?) seasonal ale. Much more satisfying were two of the regular ales, Butcombe Original Bitter, 4% with just Maris Otter malt and undisclosed hops and Triple fff Moondance 4.2%, a beautifully balanced local bitter. Sharp's Doom Bar also on.
Can recommend the lunch menu here, small portions of the main courses and hearty snacks such as jacket potatoes with a variety of fillings available.
Personal walkabout (31 January - TD)
In the Ivy House two Fallen Acorn ales on. I tried the drinkable Black Hearted, described as a Black APA, a dark version of Hole Hearted at 4.7%. The other was Expedition IPA at 5.5% plus Loddon Reading Best and the usual Greene King etc. suspects.
At the King's Head the Flack Manor Flack's Double Drop went down well as did the perennial Courage Best. Monthly quiz nights start here on Wednesday 6th February and every first Wednesday up to June when the top scoring team over the can collect a £80 bar tab pot. Individual bar tabs of £20 for nightly winners. Quizzes kick off around 7.30 and teams of between one and four can be registered from 6.30.
Personal walkabout (30 January - TD)
The Eight Bells had all five handpumps in use and had the very good Flowerpots Perridge Pale and the very good indeed Red Cat Mr M's Porter. Flowerpots Bitter was also on, in addition to the regular Doom Bar and Bowman Yumi.
In the Railway Arms four ales were on offer and I had the Alton's Pride which was very good and the Goldfffinger which was near excellent. Moondance and a Fuller's seasonal guest, Off Piste, were also on. A very good showing from two traditional locals.
Personal walkabout (29 January - TD)
I decided to support the pubs most affected by the roadworks around the Butts Bridge and having halves all the way enabled a fair sampling.
If you walk on the right hand side of Butts Road coming out of Alton an enclosed tarmac footway will take you round the works into Winchester Road leading to the pedestrian underpass into Chawton village. Here the Greyfriar was quite busy on a Monday mid-afternoon and I tried three of the ales on offer - Fuller's Swing Low an easy drinking 3.5% light bitter, Dark Star Partridge, a tasty three malt but well balanced with late hops 4% bitter, and finally the 4.8% Gale's HSB with its honey and biscuit flavours. London Pride was also on here.
A walk back to the French Horn in the currently 'dead-end' of Whitedown Lane was facilitated by a gravel path laid across the corner of The Butts, just after a helpful sign under the working bridge saying the pub is still open. Here tried the London Pride and Timothy Taylor Landlord, both well kept and glad to see the pub was also busy despite being right next to the works. Black Sheep Bitter also available here.
Checked out the George on the way back into town noting that the multiple prize-winning 4.7% Bottlewreck Porter, had replaced the Itchen Valley Russian Winter as a dark side offering. Also tried Itchen Valley Pure Gold at 4.8% and both good to very good.
'Non-bus' trip (26 January - TD)
(By "non-bus" we mean that the Community Centre bus was broken, so we took cars.)
A small band of six, including two very welcome guests from North Hants CAMRA who had made their way from Tadley north of Basingstoke, set off from the Alton Community Centre at 11.45 with our first stop at the Castle of Comfort, Medstead. Here Courage Best and London Pride were both tried and pronounced good. Sharp's Doom Bar was also on here.
The second stop was the Golden Pheasant in Lower Farringdon where the excellent value lunches were much appreciated as was the choice of six ales, Bowman Swift One, Dark Star Hophead, Courage Best, Black Sheep Bitter, Triple fff Moondance and Sharp's Doom Bar. Those tried ranged between good and very good.
A short drive up the hill to the Rose & Crown, Upper Farringdon revealed a deservedly very busy pub going from strength to strength under bar and kitchen management previously at the renowned Hawkley Inn. Here on a busy Saturday lunchtime not just seating but also on-site parking were non-existent. Hog's Back TEA, Dark Star Hophead and APA, Flack Manor Flack's Double Drop and London Pride were all on offer here and deemed good if a bit samey by the assembled company. If you are thinking of eating here it really is a good idea to book.
Another good selection was had at the Selborne Arms, Selborne which produced the most glowing reports of the day on the beers which included Swift One and Meon Valley Bitter from Bowman, Ringwood 49er, Irving Type 42 and Longdog Ruby. It is worth noting that one can buy a three thirds beer paddle for the price of a pint here.
Our penultimate stop was the Greatham Inn which we discovered is up for sale by Ei Group with local interest to buy as a going concern. The temporary manager (Marion, lately at the Red Lion, Oakhanger) started today and currently no food is on offer but this is expected to be rectified by the end of the month. Two decent beers., Sharp's Atlantic and Flack's Double Drop were on offer.
The road trip was completed at the Woodlark, Whitehall, a spacious Marston's family oriented pub on the A325 featuring three beers, Ringwood Razor Back and 49er and Marston's Pedigree. The first two at least would have benefited from being served without a sparkler.
Back in Alton our North Hants guests were introduced to the King's Head to try the very good Andwell Gold Muddler (the regular Courage Best also on) and then to the George where their craving for something dark was well satisfied with Itchen Valley Russian Winter, a pitch black satisfying and very smooth 5.3% stout. Alongside the usual Sharp's Sea Fury. Flack's Double Drop and Andwell Resolute were on here.
"Alton West" (30 December - TD)
Those who have looked at the preparations for the extension of the Butts Bridge and wondered about the effect on the French Horn, fear no more. I am assured that the pub will continue trading throughout the works period with perhaps an adjustment to the food service. After it is all over they will be looking forward to improved visibility for people entering Alton from the south and much improved pedestrian access under the railway. Today I enjoyed Fuller's London Pride and St. Austell Tribute with Timothy Taylor Landlord also on.
Down the road at the George the staff maintained their reputation for attentive quality control taking off a Sharp's Winter Solstice at the end of its life before I had a chance to taste it. The Sea Fury from the same brewery, their top seller, was as usual very good and I also enjoyed Box Steam Handlebar and Titanic First Class. Dark Star Hophead was also available.
Round the corner in the Ivy House winter ales were well in evidence and I limited myself to the potent but dangerously drinkable porter style Exmoor Beast at 6.6%. Titanic Plum Porter 4.9% was also on together with Mordue Winter Tyne, a dark winter beer but at just 3.9% and the usual Greene King offerings.
Offf the Rails, Four Marks (29 December - TD)
Offf the Rails is currently restricted to indoors only with no outside seating or smoking shelter due to a noise complaint!
However service continues and four very good Triple fff ales sampled, Alton's Pride, Winter Oatmeal Stout, Lady Eleanor and Comfortably Numb. Goldfffinger and Moondance were also available plus a craft keg guest as usual.
Holybourne to Alton (23 December - TD)
The Queen's Head, Holybourne had just one Greene King offering when went in on Friday before Christmas - the usual Hardy's & Hanson's Olde Trip which was on good form, as was the Hook Norton Honkingly Good Ale, a 4.2% festive offering. The current Triple fff guest was really very good indeed - Lady Eleanor, a new 4.6% hop monster of a brew about which I can find no information on the brewery website although tasting sites rate it highly.
The Lady Eleanor was also on handpump at the Railway Arms along with Alton's Pride, Moondance, Winter Oatmeal Stout, Goldfffinger and two Cotleigh guests, Tawny Owl and Red Nose Reindeer.
Eight Bells (16/17 December - TD)
At the Eight Bells for the last day of Nigel's tenancy on Sunday 16th December and first day of owner Phil 'The Trout' Troubridge taking back the reins on Monday. A good crowd on both occasions.
On the 16th a good selection of ales as usual with Longdog Bunny Chaser, Bowman's Yumi and Flowerpots Gooden's Gold all on good form. Sharp's Doom Bar was also available.
The following day Phil making his presence felt by reinstating the open fire, he was laying and lighting it as I arrived, and reducing ale prices by 10p to £3.30 for below 4%, £3.50 for 4-4.4% with a new premium £3.70 for 4.5% and above. The Bunny Chaser had been replaced by another Flowerpots, Perridge Pale and all the ales all of course in good order.
(See "Local News" for a picture.)
Railway Arms (12 December - TD)
All seven handpumps in the front bar now in operation at the Railway Arms following refurbishment of the lines (did not look in the back bar). Had six of those on offer (halves I hasten to add) just skipping the Timothy Taylor Landlord enjoyed recently elsewhere.
The Triple fff offerings sampled were Alton's Pride, Moondance, Winter Oatmeal Stout, Comfortably Numb nothing less than good and the golden Goldffinger really excellent. The guest, Long-Eared Owl from Cotleigh was also very acceptable.
Walkabout (6 December - TD)
A westward wander starting at the Railway Arms where the guest was Red Cat Mr M's Porter and very good it was too. Triple fff beers on were Alton's Pride, Moondance, Goldfffinger and Comfortably Numb. There were two empty hand pumps as not all lines are upgraded yet.
In the Eight Bells the one-third measure allowed three ales to be sampled, Flowerpots Perridge Pale, Bowman Yumi and Flowerpots Cheriton Porter, all in good order. Sharp's Doom Bar and Black Sheep Bitter were also available.
Courage Best and Andwell Gold Muddler were on in the King's Head and both good - although the Andwell was very lively it poured clear and tasty.
Finished in the George with halves of Flowerpots Bitter and a new beer to me, Sharp's Winter Solstice a 4.8% red ale, again both good. Marston's EPA, Dark Star Hophead and Sharp's Sea Fury were also available.
Selborne Arms, Selbourne (25 November -DT)
Our reward following a cold walk from Alton was a very pleasant pint of Titanic Plum Porter and Welton's Horsham Old. Both were judged to be in good order.
We had a welcome chat with the bar staff and other visitors to this very pleasant village pub. The fire was roaring which is always a great help on a cold day!
The ban on dogs in the bar might explain why it seemed, at least to us, relatively quiet in the pub. I'm sure the local dog walkers would welcome a pint in the public bar during the winter?
Prince of Wales, Hammer Vale (25 November – PH)
Called in to delver copies of Worts & Ale, after visiting the Cats Protection Christmas Fair at the Haslemere Adoption Centre. Decided to have lunch so got stuck into a delicious roast topside of beef with seasonal vegetables. Washed this down with a pint of Gales HSB, which was in top order. Afterwards returned to the Cats Protection place and reserved a 2 year large black cat, whom we are going to call “Sampson”. That’s what you get when you brood over things at a lunch venue!
Bakers Arms, Aton (24 November - TD)
After nearly three month's closure this small locals' pub on the High Street has reopened under the existing ownership of Adam Neller and Graham Trott (who launched Triple fff) with Altonian Trudy Riley managing. There has been a thorough sprucing up of the bar area that does not detract from its cosy ambience. Cask ales available are currently Sharp's Doom Bar and St. Austell Tribute both on decent form when sampled.
Liphook (24 November - TD)
There are two very varied pubs in Liphook village centre both close to the hourly no. 13 bus route from Basingstoke and Alton.
The Royal Anchor on The Square, an historic one-time coaching inn on the old A3, Portsmouth Road is part of Greene King's Hungry Horse chain and offers four ales, GK IPA and Abbot plus two rotating guests which on my visit were St. Austell Tribute and Skinner's Cornish Knocker. The IPA and the Skinner's were in good order.
Just round the corner in London Road the Green Dragon offers three regular beers selected according to locals' preference. Currently they are Young's Bitter, Hog's Back TEA and Timothy Taylor Landlord. The Young's and the Landlord were both tried and enjoyed along with a good value Thai green curry.
Deer's Hut, Griggs Green (18 November -DT)
Sunday morning walk exploring the local area with the benefit of a walking guide downloaded from Hampshire County Council’s "Visit Hampshire" page available at ...
We popped in after completing the Flora Thompson circular walk at Liphook. A warm welcome from the bar staff was swiftly followed by a very good pint from Longdog.
Hen & Chicken, Upper Froyle (17 November -DT)
A family evening meal was nicely accompanied by a couple of the usual ales from this Hall and Woodhouse favourite. The ales were in good order especially Tangle Foot. We can also recommend the steaks!
Personal outing (14 November - TD)
At the Queen's Head had a good "Queen's Head Best", probably Hardy's & Hanson's Bitter 3.9% and a very good Triple fff Moondance. H&H Olde Trip also on and all beers £3.50 a pint.
Just four ales on at the Railway Arms due to need to refurbish the other handpumps including those in the back bar. Normal service should be resumed by the end of the month at the latest. In the meantime had very palatable Triple fff Autumn Daze 4.8% and an even better Red Cat Porter, 4.5%: both beers £3.30 a pint. Old favorites Alton Pride and Moondance also on and coming soon Brown Bustard and Danish Dynamite from Stonehenge and Triple fff's own seriously good Comfortably Numb.
Personal outing (10 November - TD)
A rapid turnover at the George, Alton on Saturday afternoon. I had the penultimate pint of what I thought was a rather undistinguished Marston's EPA and it was replaced without me even asking (with a very good Irving Type 42) when it was realised that was the last in the cask: that's service!
Tried a taster of the Brain's Cafe Phoenix which revealed another end of cask, and had a fresh one which was (and I quote from the brewery puff) "a rich, dark and smooth Porter with flavours of caramel, toffee and coffee. It blends seven malts, with each adding to the beer’s complexity and depth of flavour, from the sweet caramel notes of Crystal through to the roasted flavours from Brown, Chocolate and Carafa III. ". Very good indeed.
Also good were the Dark Star Hophead replacing the EPA, JW Lees Founders and the ever reliable Sharp's Sea Fury.
Personal outing (3 November - TD)
A new manager, Luke Forshaw is making his mark at the Market Hotel opposite Alton Town Hall. A decent Timothy Taylor Landlord is the regular ale and there should soon be a rotating guest also available. The hours have been extended to 1am from Thursday to Saturday and an interesting twist on the Happy Hour theme is the free pool table and jukebox 5-7 pm Monday to Friday.
The King's Head in Market Street lives up to its recent LocAle listing with a guest from the likes of Itchen Valley or Andwell always available. Stuart and Christine believe in giving value for money with all cask ales just £3 at weekends. At other times the regular Courage Best is competitively priced at £3.60 and the guest at £3.80 with a 10% discount for CAMRA members except for early evening Happy Hours with a different reduction which I haven't got my head round quite. There is often a good local live musical attraction such as Key Lime Pi on a Saturday night - look out for the events board outside.
(Not) a bus trip (27 September - TD)
This should have been a bus trip but reduced numbers meant just three of us set out with the infinitely self-sacrificing Mik Potter doing the driving and thus spending most of the evening on tomato juice and coffee.
First port of call was the Hen & Chicken a Hall & Woodhouse (Badger) house in a prominent position on the A31 on the outskirts of Upper Froyle. At around 7.45 pm it was crammed with diners but there was room at the bar to sample the reliable Badger Best 3.7% and Red Ramble, a new autumn seasonal offering with a mix of three malts and Jester and Amarillo hops producing a well-balanced ale. Fursty Ferret, Tanglefoot and Weston's Rosie's Pig cider were also available on handpump.
Things were rather quieter at the Anchor Inn, Lower Froyle and a pleasant atmosphere in the olde world bar area where two Triple fff offerings, Alton's Pride and Citra Sonic were available alongside Ringwood Boondoggle. Those sampled were in good order.
At the Star Inn, Bentley the Alton's Pride and Doom Bar were tried and found good. Brain's Rev James Original was also on here.
At the White Hart, Holybourne tried a Greene King group seasonal ale Belhaven Bridge to Nowhere, a light gold easy drinking offering at 4%. Morland Original was also available.
Final port of call was the Queen's Head on the fringes of Anstey where the Triple fff on offer was Alton's Pride alongside the regular H&H Olde Trip, both enjoyed by the company and the Queen's Head Best, rebadged H&H Bitter.
The Market Hotel (25 September - PH)
Called in Tuesday and sampled an excellent TT Landlord.
Plan to have up to three beers going depending on demand. Starting food lunchtime and evenings from next week.
The George (23 September - TD)
Excellent selection at the George on Sunday. Started with a good Marston's Saddletank, a 3.8% old style malty, biscuity beer named after the engine that served the brewery's own sidings in Burton.
Two really good beers followed -
The green hop variant of Andwell's King John 4.2% dry hopped with local hops, variety unspecified on the brewery website and actually quite malty again in aroma and taste.
Star of the show for me the award winning Exeter Darkness a 5.1%, a classic chocolate stout with toffee and coffee in the aroma and flavours.
Irving Type 42 was also on and sadly the Sharp's Sea Fury taken off while I was there.
Kingsley and East Worldham (15 September - TD)
The Cricketers in Kingsley is thriving under the management of Kieran (ex-Cedars, Binsted) with a full food menu now available Wednesday to Sunday. Today two palatable ales on - Morland (Greene King) Old Hoppy Hen lived up to its name, and Hog's Back TEA its usual well-balanced self.
Down the road at the Three Horseshoes in East Worldham I tried the Dark Star Hophead which was in good order. London Pride and a Fuller's seasonal - Autumn Pale - were also on.
Both these pubs are on the hourly no.13 bus route from Alton to Whitehill running every day except Sunday.