The last few Saturday afternoons have been spent at beer festivals at pubs relatively local to us. Very little can beat an afternoon sitting in a beautiful beer garden, soaking up the summer sunshine.
For me, it must include a school to bring young families in, a church, a shop and post-office, a village hall, and of course a good pub!
Sadly, most villages, including ours, has now lost its shop and primary school but Orleton seems to have the full range of amenities. It certainly looks stunning, with a mixture of intriguing architectural styles and a good smattering of the black and white buildings the area is known for.
The Boot is one of those half-timbered buildings, with very pretty gardens. We should have taken the hint at how busy it might be by the road full of parked cars outside! Still, a walk from where we had to leave the car was no hardship; Orleton really is a pretty place.
The beer garden was heaving. While I nipped inside the pub to get my pint of Coca-cola (I was the designated driver) Hubby went into the beer tent to choose his tipple.
I don’t drink most beer, so have to rely on him for reports. He was a bit taken aback at having to pay £4 a pint (and in the loathed plastic glass) but we managed to find a couple of chairs free and listened to the band playing from the massive marquee
The usual food was on offer and we stayed, eating burgers and enjoying the only sunny day of the weekend. It had rained heavily on Friday and was forecast to do so again on the following Sunday. Maybe that explained the crowds.
The Stockton Cross
More recently we went along to the Stockton Cross pub in Kimbolton, a small village just north of Leominster. It was a very different affair. The pub is another atmospheric building. Pushing open the door to the bar, I commented to the woman (who turned out to be the landlady) that it had a nice squeak.
‘Never oil a squeaky pub door,’ she said but couldn’t tell me why. Anyone know what’s behind the superstition?
Again, I had a soft drink and we tried to sit outside. Sadly, The Stockton Cross beer festival wasn’t blessed with good weather and it was actually quite cold. I had a roll filled with barbequed pulled pork. It was delicious and made up for not being able to try any of the ciders on offer. Maybe I should have taken up the offer of a taxi instead of driving? It was doing a roaring trade and had been organised by the pub. What a great idea!
The well stocked beer tent at Stockton Cross
This time the beer came in a real glass and was cheaper. Hubby was happy to try quite a few! On offer was: Wye Valley’s Dorothy Goodbody Summer Time Ale, Ludlow Brewery’s Blonde, Ledbury Brewery’s Bitter, Six Bell’s Ow Do! Mulberry Duck Brewery’s Copper Bottom and Odyssey Brewery’s Mo Citra.
Good to see Herefordshire’s traditional cider and perry making flourishing and to see the rising popularity of micro-breweries
When it began to rain, we went inside. The pub does steak and fish nights and homemade puds. Judging from the pile of runner beans being prepared, the food is fresh and seasonal too. A pub to return to!