The Bevvy Almanac

A personal record of hostelleries visited in the pursuit of consuming Real Ale.

Port of Crawl

Posted by sm1d on February 3, 2009


The Calvert Court

Stockport is a canny little town with a rich choice of quality pubs, there are ten entries in this years ‘Good Beer Guide’, an excellent place for a good pub crawl. However I was here to visit Edgeley Park, the home of  Stockport County aka ‘The Hatters’, but I did find time to squeeze in a wee pub crawl around the Market Place area of the town.

The town’s Wetherspoons pub is ‘The Calverts Court’ in St.Petersgate, named after the family which occupied this site in the late 19th century. On entry the pub reminded me of the Wetherspoons pub in Hyde, set up in a similar way with the bar to the right, tables to the left and a big floor space in between.

This JDW was nothing special, decked out in the usual red, cream and brown combo, the lass who served me was a right misery guts, she must have just started a double shift and had a face like a slapped arse. I must say that the pint I had was georgeous, I don’t know whether to give a 4 or 5 star rating,  maybe with this being my first pint of the day, it maybe clouded my judgement, nudging it towards a top score, I won’t know until I get to try this pint again elsewhere.

supped – Bath Ales  ‘Barnstomer’ (4.5%)**** +half


Pack Horse

The Pack Horse is a traditional old fashioned pub found in the shadow of St. Mary’s church, making it easy to find, unlike a few of the other pubs in the area, which saw me getting lost a few times. (Were you drunk Sir!…Ed) This is a cosy spot if you fancy a quite pint, the pub has a main bar with two lounges, one with a pool table. They specialise in ales from the Cooper Dragon Brewery brewery in Skipton, North Yorkshire, with a choice of four hand pumps from there suppliers. A very nice pub and one I’d recommened.

supped – Coopers Dragon Best Bitter (3.8%)****



Arden Arms


The Robinson’s Brewery lies in the heart of the town centre, this family run brewery has been producing quality ales since 1838, supplying over 400 pubs, with quite a few in Stockport itself, one of them being the ‘Arden Arms’. The building was a former mortuary and is a Grade II listed building, part of CAMRA’s National Inventory. The pub’s curved bar gives it a cramped feel, but don’t let that put you off, as there is a snug and seating area serving lunch, which seems very popular with the punters. Another one of Stockport’s many hostellries that I’d recommened, but don’t be put off by the fact that this abode once stored dead bodies, as I found the Arden Arms to be dead good!

supped – Robinson’s ‘Unicorn’ (4.2%)****

My Matchday – 200 Edgeley Park


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Revisiting Eric!

Posted by sm1d on January 19, 2009

The Eric Bartholomew

The Eric Bartholomew

  When I was a kid, our family holidays were spent in Morecambe, at the nearby Pontins holiday camp at Middleton Towers.(The home of that legendary fried bread!..Ed) Last summer after a holiday break in North Wales, I came off the M6 to visit Morecambe, it’s been a good 30 years since I was last there, and my main reason for the fleeting call was to see the statue of one of my comedy heroes Eric Morecambe on the seafront.


We spent a couple of hours looking around the town before heading off home, with the most noticable thing about the town was there are stacks of public houses, mentally noted for future reference for when I return to visit Morecambe FC, that return came less than six months later for The Shrimps League Two clash with Gillingham on 17th January.


I started off with my usual visit to the local JD Wetherspoons, whichever town I visit I always stop off at the local JDW (I have to, IT’S LAW!..Ed) The Morecambe branch is named after the great man himself; Eric Bartholomew, and is found at the bottom of Euston Road, between the Arndale Centre and the seafront. I was disappointed to find the pub bearing the comedians name but with no pictures and memorabilia inside, just the usual Wetherspoons fare and layout. There was a copy of the latest ‘Wetherspoons News’ on the pub table, I read that the pub chain have won the Corporate Provider ‘Loo of the Year’ awards, congratulations to them on winning such an prestigious award, so not only am I honoured to drink in their hostelries but proud to piss against the silver aluminium in the country‘s #1 bogs.

Supped – Burton Bridge ‘Golden Delicious’ (3.8%)****

Smugglers Den

Smugglers Den

I then headed off to Morecambe’s oldest pub the ‘Smugglers Den’ which is tucked away in Poulton Road, hidden off the main Euston Road/Lancaster Road and is well worth seeking out. The pub is allegedly haunted and lives up to it’s name, with the décor having artefacts and pictures of a Smugglers theme, with the main focal point being the stain glass windows displaying scenes of shady dealings. The pub is very cosy with a good selection of beers, I decided on a pint of ‘Spitfire’ with Morecambe’s opponents being Gillingham I thought a bit of equality was needed, so I took the Kentish Ale as my bevvy of choice. The ’Smugglers’ is a smashing little pub and I would highly recommend a visit, not unless your shit scared of ghosts of course!

York Hotel

York Hotel

Supped – Kentish Ale ‘Spitfire’(4%)****

The York Hotel is a good five-ten minute walk from Christie Park, further along Lancaster Road. This seems to be the usual pre-match pub for away fans, there’s a pool room at the back of the bar with the walls covered with a large collection of scarves donated by visiting supporters. The pub also has a main bar with a dining area at the front, there’s Sky Sports showing in the bar and pool room and a adjoining (smokers) terrace with seats at the back. The pub stocks Everards real ales and Black Sheep Bitter and seems very friendly, a good pub choice if you’ve only got time for a pre match ‘quicky’

Supped – Everards Beacon (3.8%)****

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The Death of The Beacon

Posted by sm1d on January 19, 2009

Picture courtesy of Rob Bratton

Picture courtesy of Rob Bratton


At the close of another year you tend to look back at the obituaries over the previous twelve months and reflect on not just the loss of friends and loved ones, but also the decease of other things of a personal significance. The current financial climate and the smoking ban has severely hit the licensing trade, seeing pubs closing  down every day, but never in my lifetime I’d see the death of a pub that’s been close to my heart, my old local; The Beacon on Beacon Lough Road.
I moved to the Beacon Lough estate when I was six years old and for the next 35 years The Beacon pub was a permanent fixture in my life. I even made use of the pub  as far back as my childhood, me and my mates used to go to the Off Sales Bar (Remember them? It was a shop attached to the pub…Ed) where we would take empty beer and pop bottles, and spend the coppers on sweets and Barr pop. We also used to play pranks on the pubs customers by hiding behind the big wooden entrance doors and make rude noises and remarks as they entered to building. It wasn’t until I was about seventeen, that I used The Beacon for it’s rightful purpose, drinking McEwans Best Scotch and frittering away what little money I had in Joe Innes’s betting shop, which was conveniently attached next to the pub.
The Beacon had three separate rooms, two at the front and one at the rear, suiting three different types of clientele. The bar was quite cramped with a pool table in the middle of the floor, every shot had an obstacle of people in your way and the same phrases were used before lining up your shot; “Watch yoursell there”  or “Excuse me mate” meaning a single game could last about an hour if the pub was chocca-block. There was also a dart board and the main attraction was the TV, especially for the racing and the ITV Seven on a Saturday afternoon.
The Buffet room was next door, access wasn’t accesible between both rooms, you had to go outside and walk around if you wanted a pint in the neighbouring room. This part of The Beacon was popular with the domino playing crowd(methinks it’s 5’s and 3’s..Ed) and was my favourite part of the pub as the rooms regulars were a great  bunch and there was always a warm friendly atmosphere.
The Lounge was the biggest room, situated at the back of the pub and the mecca of entertainment in Beacon Lough. There was a stage, small dance floor with seating for over 100. On weekend nights there was always a ‘turn’ on, but mostly the regulars used to get up and do a song accompanied by the regular bloke tickling the ivories, long before the import of karaoke. The Beacon FC used to organise regular nights of entertainment too, booking the cream of Tyneside’s talent, I remember seeing comedians Alan Snell and also Little Billy Fane, who ended up on Byker Grove (think he was called Geoff..Ed) and he also had a bit part in Billy Elliott
The beggining of the end for the Beacon was in 1998, when the pub was closed down for refurbishment. When it reopened under new management, it was all change, the wall between The Bar and The Buffet was knocked through making one large bar, with the pool table now occupying the floor space in the former Buffett.



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Pride of The Felling

Posted by sm1d on December 8, 2008

The Old Fox

The Old Fox


Recently when I’ve gone down to Gateshead Stadium. I’ve walked to the match (well from wor hoose, it’s all downhill) walking through the Felling and calling into the Wheatshief and The Old Fox on the way.

These two pubs are found on Carlisle Street, which is situated between the Felling-by-pass and sunderland Road, and are by far, the best two pubs in the Felling. (well probably the only two good’uns…..Ed)

The Old Fox used to be a regular haunt for myself and my old mate Andy, mainly around the mid 1980’s, when his first marital home was a flat across the road in Church Court. We regularly popped in to The Fox, especially on a Friday night, when they had a live band on, playing on the tiniest of stages in the corner. We used to work our way along the bar, savouring a pint of each selection, with our particular favourites at the time being Theakstons Old Peculiar and Castle Eden Ale (which they still sell) The bar is a Camerons pub, but also has five guest beers, along with the Hartlepool brewers regular favourites. Over 20 years have passed and the pub hasn’t changed a bit, it looks exactly the same and maintaining the same good habits; a good selection of ales and regular live bands 



About 50 yards further down the street is The Wheatshief, standing proudly alone, everything around it The Wheatshiefdemolished and no more, just like the flats and maisonettes where Andy once lived. Again, just like The Fox, The Wheatshief hasn’t changed at all, the only clue that you haven’t been transported back in time is the modern flat screen TV in the corner showing Sky Sports.

One of Tyneside’s oldest micro breweries Big Lamp recently celebrated it’s 25 year anniversary and The Wheatshief was one of the original Big Lamp pubs. They serve a 5 star pint of Prince Bishop as well as Sunny Daze as regulars, with a changing barrel, where they’ve recently had ‘One Hop Wonder’ and ‘Keelman Brown’ as guests.

The pub also had a birthday of it’s own last year, 100 years since it served its first pint, and in 2009 it again takes it’s place in the Good Pub Guide, looking at the number of ‘We’re in it’ stickers on the front door, that makes it at least the last six or seven years running.

This is a great old fashioned pub, the landlord Jimmy is a canny lad and even though I’ve walked into the pub alone, I’ve always ended up having a bit crack and a laugh with the regulars at the bar, this along with the excellent beer, makes it a priority stop off point on my way to the Heed match

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Honest Lawyer in Scunny

Posted by sm1d on December 2, 2008

hlawyer-wwwfootballandrealaleguidecouka-streddes-guideI made my first trip to Scunthorpe in North Lincolnshire for United’s home game with Leicester City at the top of Football League One at Glanford Park.

My first port of call, just around the corner from the train station, was the Honest Lawyer (surely that’s a metaphor!…Ed) on Oswald Road, which was formerly the home of a Co-op Society grocery store, when opened in 1935.  Unfortunalty it was just a fleeting visit, as I was meeting up with some of the 100FGC squad at the Wetherspoons ‘Blue Bell’ pub further down the street. However I found the pub to have a great atmosphere and seems very friendly and welcoming, as well as a good beer selection there’s also food to be had, which looks top quality, served on big plates with generous helpings. The Honest Lawyer is handly placed next to the train station, so is a good stop off point while waiting for your train, making it the ideal place to start and finish a visit to Scunthorpe. 

visited 22nd November 2008

supped – Timothy Taylor Landlord (4.3%)*****

My Matchday 194 Glanford Park

(picture source Stedders Guide

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Sportsman Inn – Hyde

Posted by sm1d on November 30, 2008

sportsmanpubutopiacomI paid another visit to Tameside with the Heed Army, this time to Ewen Fields, the home of Hyde United for the Conference North clash with Gateshead.

After seeking out and visiting the local Wetherspoons, I made the point of calling into the Sportsman pub on Moltram Road. I recieved the friendliest of welcomes with a pint of Pennine ‘Floral Dance’, (which for some unknown reason was going spare) handed to me by the pub’s manageress. The Sportsman has a fine selection of Pennine Ales, which are brewed by the Rossingdale Brewery in Haslingden, along with a good section of guest ales.

The pub seems very friendly, with the locals interested in where we were from and if we had a pleasant journey. There’s two separate rooms downstairs, one of which has a pool table, while a few of the lads bashed their balls around the table, I stood at the bar and spoke to one of the pub regulars. He told we that he never touches the pubs real ale through the day “Because it’s like rocket fuel” and only drinks it towards the end of the night “For his own safety” I knew what he meant, as I staggered out of the pub, half popped, then up the hill to the football ground, where I then enjoyed a terrific 5-2 win for Gateshead, which was equally as good as the beer I supped earlier.

Visited– 1st November 2008

Supped;  Pennine’Floral Dance'(3.6%)****
Pennine’Rossendale Ale'(4.2%)***
Pennine’Railway Sleeper'(4.2%)**

My Matchday – 192 Ewen Fields


(picture courtesy of

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Welcome to my Bevvy Almanac

Posted by sm1d on November 25, 2008

[countable] plural bevvies
British English informal
a drink, especially an alcoholic drink
n.   A usually annual reference book composed of various lists, tables, and often brief articles relating to a particular field or many general fields.
[Middle English almenak, from Medieval Latin almanach, perhaps from Late Greek almenikhiaka, ephemeris, perhaps of Coptic origin.]
This website is a record of the various public houses I’ve visited at home on my travels away, usually watching football and groundhopping.
The real ale beverages have been recorded and each giving a 5 star ratings, together with links to the pubs visited.
The website also includes blog posts with pictures of some of my favourite pubs visited both home and away.

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