Friday, 17 May 2013

Wednesday Beer ride - The George and Dragon

This week's beer ride was a solo effort for me. The usual suspects were on a ride to the far reaches of Derbyshire, I had some work commitments which meant it was impossible for me to meet up with them, my alternative was a solitary ride to Stoke Golding and The George and Dragon.

I headed out through lanes still wearing a winter look, although softened by new growth thrusting through tinder dry bracken and discarded leaves. Ferns are unfurling their fronds, emerging where path edges and verges unite. The broad leaf trees are bursting with buds now, some more developed than others, add to this the textures involved, some smooth and glossy - others downy or sticky - then throw in the many shades of green and hues of yellow, pink and brown and even before the trees are clad there is more than enough to delight the senses. Riding past copses where thinning has taken place, and for a few days sunlight has streamed between the trunks, flowers have developed into full bloom. Dainty pink heads and yellowish-green examples dance on the breeze as I move closer to my destination.

The George and Dragon
The George and Dragon at Stoke Golding is my favourite right now. I was thinking why that is? - It is unassuming, there is no obvious attraction for the passer-by, it looks ordinary in every way from the outside. On entering it might be described, at first glance, as disappointing. Very plain, minimal decoration, dark stained pseudo-georgian furniture, some might say the interior design is uninspired? - I might agree, however there's something more to this place. It might take more than a singular visit to appreciate its understated ambiance, its sense of order and calm. The pub is owned by the Church End Brewery, based in Nuneaton. There are two separate bars both with log-burners, one has a small library in the corner (there's a book club meet here). There are no slot machines and no music. The beer is superb. A choice of around 8 real ales plus a 'hand-crafted' lager. There is local cheese and biscuits, home made bread, pork-pies and country wines. No food, except for light meals at lunch times. The beer though is the main attraction. light hoppy bitters such as the excellent Low Rider (only 2.8%), Goats Milk and Fallen Angel. Then the slightly more traditional Poachers Pocket or What the Fox's hat - plus the dark, rich - Stout Coffin.

After sampling a few pints accompanied by a bag of the excellent Pipers Salt and Vinegar crisps I'm back on the road and heading for home (more work to do!). It's a pity this place a bit too far out for regular club beer riders - I know it would be an enjoyable and rewarding venue.

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