Talking Bull - Good Pub Guide - December
With the Cloud Cuckoo Land Stadium, or whatever it is called being so far away from anywhere, I have chosen a few pubs which serve decent beer/cider and have close access to Bluff Close where the shuttle buses to the ground pick up and drop off.
If you are driving or getting to Colchester nice and early then there are plenty to choose from in the town that serve decent beer: the Fox and Fiddler and the Wetherspoons at the top of Osbourne Street, the Hospital Arms on Crouch Street and the best of the lot and my second home, The Odd One Out on Mersea Road - plenty of decent beer and 4 real ciders - cheap too.
All are away fan friendly and near food outlets. However, if you are travelling by train and or a bit short of time or even can't be arsed then the following boozers may be of use as they are near the shuttle bus pick up point at Bluff Close.
The Bricklayers near the train station and bus pick up point has decent beers and a Crones cider with a very impressive outdoor smoking area. Problem is that it is home fans only but if colours are covered up and you put on a false mockney cockney ' ave a banana' accent, you should be able to slip past the bouncers - yeovile fans managed it.
A short walk down the hill towards town and on the right hand side is the Norfolk, a Greene King pub so you'll know what you are getting. Not been there for years but any port in a storm, hey kids!
If you find yourself in town then the Fat Cat on Butt Road, next to the police station has a decent selection of beers and usually a real cider. I have been told that this pub runs a bus to the ground so may be an option.
Finally and very last is the ground itself, lots of fizzy drinks and an IPA, if after travel and ticket costs you can afford it.
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 20/12/2008
Huddersfield Town's state of the art Galpharm Stadium will probably be a new ground for most of us, although I do know of a few resourceful Hereford fans who fetched up there after our game at Gateshead was postponed many moons ago.
Readers of a certain age may have memories of the old Leeds Road ground-we played Huddersfield in both the third and fourth divisions in the 70's and very early 80's.
The new ground is situated on the edge of town. The town centre is a good 20 minute walk but will probably be worth it if you want some decent beer. The best bet is probably the King's Head in St. George's Square (postcode HD1 1JF) by Huddersfield station. Formerly known as the Station Tavern this place offers up to ten ales and sounds architecturally interesting. No food.
Also in the town centre is the Cherry Tree at 16-18 John William Street (postcode HD1 1BA), a branch of Wetherspoons. Obviously you can eat here and real cider may also be an attraction for some.
Both these pubs are situated within the inner ring road. The other Good Beer guide pubs are outside the inner ring and thus further away from the ground. If you feel like investigating these it might be an idea to park in the town centre rather than the ground, where a hefty parking charge applies anyway.
The legendary Rat & Ratchet is situated at 40 Chapel Hill HD1 3EB and has a dozen hand pumps dispensing a wide range of beer incorporating mild and stout (or porter) plus real cider. Lunchtime food too, sounds a must if you can make it.
The Grove at 2 Spring Grove Street HD1 4BP features a similarly broad range plus a wide selection of bottled beers and real cider. This also sounds excellent.
The Star Inn at 7 Albert Street HD1 3PJ is a street corner local dispensing seven beers including a mild.
Finally if driving look out for the White Cross Inn at 2 Bradley Road HD1 2XD on your way to the ground. It's on the A62 near the junction of Leeds Road and Bradley Road and has it's own car park.
It has four guest beers normally including Taylors and Copper Dragon and serves lunchtime food. Sounds as if it could be worth stopping off at.
Happy drinking and lets hope we can get a result. Lord knows we need it.
LEICESTER CITY 28/12/2008
This should have been our second visit to Leicester but following our spineless displays in the cup against Dagenham this will be our only opportunity to savour once more the beery delights of Leicester.
There is really only one place we can go-the wonderful Out Of The Vaults at 24 King Street, LE1 6RL the scene of our pre match drinks before the epic Conference Play Off Final victory.
This superb city centre pub has an impressive range of ales from midland and northern micro breweries and has a very friendly atmosphere. Real cider too.I've been back a couple of times since when I've been to gigs at the De Montfort Hall and it's still just as good as we remember it. No food though which is the only drawback.
But the place holds so many happy memories we couldn't go anywhere else. It was the best pub we visited in the whole of the 2005/06 season and we followed it up with our greatest triumph. Still almost unbelievable even now. I suspect it'll be too much to ask for another Hereford victory this time though.
Another famous Leicester ale house is the Swan and Rushes at 19 Infirmary Square LE1 5WR which boasts nine ales, real cider and food. Also a strong candidate.
The Criterion 44 Millstone Lane LE1 5JN has a similarly impressive range of cask ales plus real cider and an extensive bottled range plus food. Sounds good too.
The two roomed local the Shakespeare's Head in Southgates LE1 5SH sells Oakwell beers at competitive prices.
Local brewers Everards have a number of houses throughout the city and although their products are perfectly palatable I wouldn't go out of my way to visit their pubs when there is so much other choice available.
I'm looking forward to this one for the beer alone. Lets hope a result isn't too much to ask for as well.
JOHN BARLEYCORN & SIMMO