Talking Bull - Good Pub Guide - November
SATURDAY 1ST NOVEMBER
I'm looking forward to the trip to Peterborough not so much for the football (I fear the worst) as for the beer. For the serious drinker Peterborough is a must and makes for a rewarding if unorthodox weekend destination.
London Road is located on the South Bank of the River Nene with the unusual Charters pub situated within easy reach of the ground. This is an enormous Dutch barge moored next to the Town Bridge (post code PE1 1EH) which has been imaginatively converted into an excellent pub/restaurant/music venue.
It is owned by the local Oakham brewery and serves their products along with several guest beers and ciders. Thai food is served in the bars and also in the more formal East Restaurant on the upper deck. With an outdoor drinking area on the river bank there is something for everyone here but even on match days the crowds seem manageable. Highly recommended.
For the more dedicated beer tourist the Palmerston Arms a couple of hundred yards away at 82 Oundle Road, Woodston, PE2 9PA is even better.
This stone built local is owned by Bateman's but their range is supplemented by an excellent range of guest ales (sometimes up to 15 beers in total) all in immaculate nick and served via gravity dispense by the enthusiastic landlord. Real cider (Biddenden's) and continental bottled beers are available too.
The "Palmy" has recently been refurbished but I don't think this will effect it's character too much.
There is no food apart from pies, pasties and snacks and although there are no frills this is a very friendly establishment where beer quality is everything. More of a pub for the real ale enthusiast than Charters but for me one of the best pubs we've ever encountered on our travels.
Also in the Woodston area of the city is the Coalheavers Arms at 5 Park Street, Woodston PE2 9BH a pleasant local serving Milton Brewery beers plus guests. It also has real cider and bottled Belgian beers.
This is further away from the ground and not so easy to find. It's worth a visit but not at the expense of the "Palmy". For weekenders and completists only.
The "Palmy" and Charters should satisfy everybody but Peterborough is blessed with several other establishments in the city centre.
The Brewery Tap at 80 Westgate, PE1 2AA is also owned by Oakham Brewery. It is a large building (a former labour exchange) resembling an American brew pub and serves a similar range of beers and food as Charters. Handy for the station if you're coming by train.
Also in Westgate are Wortley Almshouses now a Sam Smiths pub. Only one beer in the form of OBB but architecturally interesting. Lunchtime food is available..
There is a Wetherspoons, The Drapers Arms at 29-31 Cowgate, PE1 1LZ. In a real ale hotspot it sees the need to compete and has up to ten hand pumps. Not been in here but it sounds like one of the better examples of the chain.
Finally comes Goodbarn' s Yard at 64 St. John's Street PE1 5DD which serves Adnam's, Deuchar's and others by gravity dispense plus lunchtime and evening food. Sounds interesting.
You won't have difficulty finding a decent pint in Peterborough.
I doubt if I'll get beyond Charters and the "Palmy". Beer heaven and most likely football hell if that abject 3-0 defeat a couple of years ago is anything to go by. At least it wasn't important. A gutsy goalless draw will probably satisfy me this time out.
HFA SENIOR CUP
TUESDAY 4TH NOVEMBER
Surely you don't need any help here!
MILTON KEYNES DONS
TUESDAY 25TH NOVEMBER
From the sublime to the ridiculous. M.K. Don's admittedly impressive new ground is miles from anywhere and you may have your work cut out finding a decent beer. If you're coming by train there is at least a functional functional Wetherspoons in the city centre at 201 Midsummer Boulevard , MK9 1EA. It stocks beer from local micro breweries such as the new Concrete Cow brewery and obviously you can eat here too.
Last season we stopped on the way at the Woolpack in Buckingham. The beer was fine but there was something very Home Counties and yuppieish about it and I didn't take to the place. This year the Woolpack is not included but the Mitre at 2 Mitre Street MK18 1DW is. This sounds far more down to earth and also offers real cider (Westons) in addition to a range of beers. It is open all day but there is no evening food or parking. However there is a decent fish and chip shop in the town so this is a distinct possibility.
A little closer to MK is the Two Brewers in Bridge Street, Thornborough, MK18 2DN just off the A421. This doesn't open until 6.00 p.m. but serves beer from the Northampton based Frog Island brewery. No food but this sounds like a good village local serving a decent pint.
Last year some of our fans travelled to Fenny Stratford station and walked to the ground from there. There are a number of pubs in the Fenny Stratford/Bletchley areas but I suspect that most of these will be less than memorable.
The pick of the bunch appears to be the Red Lion at Lock View Lane, Bletchley MK1 1BA, a canal side pub 0.2 miles from Fenny Stratford station with two real ales including unusual brews for the area (such as from Dartmoor brewery).
It looks to be in very pleasant location and although there is no food website comments indicate that the beer is very well kept so this may be a good one if you don't mind a bit of a walk.
Good luck and whatever you do boycott the franchise. Don't give them any money other than the cost of admittance to cheer on OUR team.