Port Vale Home: Saturday 24th September 2016
Or: Micro Pubs and mini lists.
Ron had a plan for us all. He and Bob would meet for breakfast at the Knights Templar Wetherspoons. They would then travel by local train to Clifton Down Station. I would arrive from Severn Beach at the same time coming from the other direction. We would then spend half an hour in the pub before going on to the first of the two micro pubs in Bristol. It seemed not to matter that I now tend to get the bus in to town or that Bob would spend most of his morning wandering from bus stop to station and onwards. Or that Bristol City fans would be leaving for London while they thought of having their quite breakfast in the pub. Nevertheless we duly met at 11.25 at Clifton Down Station. Ron was like an excited schoolboy having used a local train. “It was just like an away trip without the away bit” proclaimed our Coventry friend.
There was a bonus. I was happy to be able to congratulate a rarely spotted revenue inspector at Clifton Down Station. I have never seen one before and gladly shook his hand after having my ticket checked. The staff on the train obviously knew of his presence because they gave long notices to fellow travellers to keep their ticket as there was “a large music festival and there was likely to be young people aiming to jump the train to get there”. Well that’s an excuse to remember. Of course it had nothing to do with GWR at last listening to our claims that the service is grossly under resourced and therefore under recorded in terms of passenger numbers. I bet the collectors never ventured beyond the one station and especially didn’t go near those pesky short distance travellers at Stapleton Road.
Pre match Pubs
The Brewhouse and Kitchen
A choice of four brewed on site
I like this pub because there is always space to sit and chat. The beers are straightforward and the staff keen to help. Sometimes they are overly keen as was the case today when the barman wanted to explain the whole process of fining after serving me the unfined Crockers Ale (5). I should take it a complement that for once I wasn’t instantly spotted as a beer geek who should be bearded and sandalled. We had a few day’s worth of catching up to do and so the conversation was somewhat reflective on the trip to Bradford, cricket that was missed and Swindon away. So much so that our thirty minute simple start stretched long past midday. Mr Sippy had to have a severe reminder that his five minute warning was for himself, and himself alone, as we were none too patiently waited for him to sup up and move on. It is a seven minute walk to the next pub. We were in a foreign land for them and needed some clear guidance.
The hand pulled selection at Chums
We seem to have supported several of Mark Farrell’s adventures in the Bristol pub scene in recent years. He was at the Three Tuns when we first started visiting. Before that he was one of my first guide landlords at the Plume of Feathers. This latest venture is a comfortable and well organised micro pub in a rarely visited street in Cotham. Rose and I did a first visit a few weeks ago as did the chaps on their own before me. We were all impressed by the quality of beer choice and gentle atmosphere. Even better today was the pub had entered into the spirit of a weekend street party by putting on a beer festival. Nine beers were racked by the door to add to the 6 at the bar. Inevitably we had to compare the two Bristol Micro Pubs. This place wins for space; being slightly larger, beer choice; being slightly wider, and for ease of use; having greater opportunities to sit and chat. The Drapers wins on handiness for the Rovers, more adventurous selections and being busier due to its main road location.
XT 8 (8)
Flying Monk Elmers (7)
Mumbles joined us having done the sensible route that involved bus and short walk. By now the conversation was getting odd. Somehow we were compiling a list of handy tips of the “don’t eat yellow snow” variety. Most were pretty useless but among the best involved “cooking hedgehogs in a clay pot” and knowing the difference between Indian and African elephants by the number of toes. (NOTE TO SELF: Actually write the list down next time so you might remember them for this article) I had the task of booking a taxi as usual. Not only has Ron’s watch been set to Central Bristol time (i.e. three minutes behind everyone else), apparently he has no data on his phone so actually using it is out of the question. We corrected his watch for him but the taxi was proving more difficult as those damn music lovers had booked all of V Cars until at least 3.30. We faced the prospect of, shock of shocks, catching a bus to the ground. Mark saved the day by furnishing us with an alternative number and plans were put back on track for a 2 o’clock leave.
Drapers Arms (11)
The Drapers Arms
As usual we had time for a quick call in before the game. It had standing room only but space enough for a comfortable beer. There were fewer of their own Ashley Down ales and in my opinion that is not necessarily a bad thing.
Beer Goff’s Jouster (7)
Bristol Rovers 2 Port Vale 1 Attendance: 9,088 (436 Port Vale fans)
We went one down again. We played well again. We won again. We left contented again. Jermaine Easter had a stormer again. Billy Bodin did not again. The Real Lord Powell was handing out train tickets in the bar after the game again. I was relieved of Saturday night spending money for Oldham bound trains by The Lord again. I sorted out pick up times for a car trip on Tuesday again. We watched the scores and left for the pub again.
400 plus Vale fans
Rovers Ratings: /10
Roos 7, Leadbitter 7, Lockyer 7, Hartley 7, Brown 7, Easter 8, Lines 6, Sinclair 6, Clarke 6, Gaffney 6. Harrison 7 Subs Moore 7 4, James 5, Bodin 5
Entertainment Value 3
Man of the Match: Jermaine Easter
Drapers Arms Round 2
I had to find some space to lean against and sup my Left Handed Giant Aussie Ale (5). This beer is an example of what I am talking about when I say they try adventurous choices that don’t always work. This beer falls into the now common overly hopped and dry beers that brewers like but often customers will take and then leave. I am honestly not complaining, it is all part of the real ale fun but I should know better than to expect a beer from Left Handed Giant to not be so. Subtlety is not their trade mark. One excellent development in the pub in recent weeks is that increasingly away fans of the P.L.U. variety are finding it. There were three chaps of our age and disposition talking about the game and pubs much as we do when we go away. They left with instructions as to the best bus to get to Temple Meads and promises to meet, no doubt at the Bulls Head, when we play later in the year.
Geoff the Pike joined us and the conversation took a more political swerve. Not that he is particularly strident but he will tolerate my occasional rants. I was in the mood to convert people to the Corbyn victory trail. I was so glad he increased his mandate despite the shenanigans of the Tory press and -should know better- Labour back stabbers. I honestly believe that he can make inroads into winning back the votes of people disaffected with the career politicians of recent administrations. Geoff is less convinced but we were able to discuss it. This is what politics should be about. For once we managed to leave as a group at the same time and head down town.
I also had the chance to listen to the exploits of the Glyn bashed foursome who met him last weekend in Bradford. Clive and his family gang were in good spirits and full of the impression he made on them in my absence at the New Beehive. I thanked them in a spirit of condolence and I think i may just have got away with keeping them as friends.
Prince of Wales (10)
Prince of Wales
We don’t often get here early Saturday evening. In doing so this time we were able to assemble at the back of the pub and talk about all sorts of things. Top topic was favourite films of all time. I threw in my choice of Once, the Romantic comedy set in busker land Britain and Midnight Express. Other shouts were sort of expected classics from the fifties and of course Ronnie plumped for the not so classic Sound of Music. You have to worry sometimes about the influences on life but he did explain about being dragged to the Saturday morning flicks and watching westerns with John Wayne as his hero. One of the beer choices was a salty caramel beer that Geoff sampled and I was glad to have avoided. I did a rather boring Prescott Light beer (5) and followed it up with a Gin and Tonic as the choice was down to Bath ales options.
My travel home options were down to a) Train from Montpelier and get Rose to pick me up from Severn Beach. I remembered the dire warnings of the morning and took option b) a bus to Cribbs Causeway and last 625 bus home to my door step. Doing so I arrived home by 9.15 and promptly fell asleep before I had a chance to describe the day. My how happy she must have been at that outcome.
Best Pub: Chums
As Best Pub for the day it scored 12
Beer choice 5 (out of 5) 4
Beer Quality 5 (average score of beers chosen, out of 5) 4
Staff and service 3 (Out of 5) 4
Total 12 out of 15
Best Beer: XT 8 in Chums
Next up: Sheffield United Away Tuesday 27th September