Tuesday, 20 March 2018


Being rather later this morning – I remember my watch is an hour ahead – the breakfast room is more crowded. But I find a seat.

I’m going for a more balanced meal today. Three slices of bacon and two eggs. Plus some token tomato. And a couple of slices of toast. Wholemeal, so it is healthy. I eat quickly and am back in my room for the start of Sunday Brunch at 9:30.

I can’t be arsed to walk to King’s Cross. I hail a taxi. Only going to cost a few quid. And it’s Sunday. The roads aren’t that bad. Just full. At around capacity. I probably could have run it quicker. If I were 40 years younger and had been able to run quickly. Which I never could.

I’m quite early and do a little shopping, An Observer, a cheese and onion sarnie and a bag of salt and vinegar crisps. That should keep me going until Newark. Never arrive on an empty stomach. It always feels like the zombie apocalypse is just around the corner in Newark.

The queue at platform 9 ¾ is ridiculous. They’re all paying, too. Must be a goldmine. I wonder where all that dosh goes?

Henry sidles up after a while. He hasn’t got any fatter. That’s vegetarians for you. Hitler was a skinny bugger, too.

I’ve a reserved a seat, but Henry doesn’t. He sits next to me anyway. Fortunately, the person whose seat it is doesn’t turn up. Which seems pretty common.

I’ve still got a can of Stone Ruination that I had in my suitcase but couldn’t be bother to dig out on the train ride over. Just after that’s finished, the trolley service arrives.

“Do you have beer?”

“Yes, Stella?”

“Any other beers?”


“Any other alcoholic drinks?”


“I’ll have a Stella, then.”

It’s not as awful as I’d expected. Almost taste-free. I feared something really nasty. Like Bavaria Pils.

“They’ve dropped the ABV. It’s only 4.3%. Didn’t it use to be 5.3%?”

“Don’t know, don’t care.” Henry replies unenthusiastically.

Totally inoffensive is my best description. It’s gone by the time we pull into Newark’s evil twin, Grantham.

Henry’s van is parked just around the corner from the station. I stick my ton-weighing bag in the back. No more lugging that bastard around anymore. It’ll be all lightened up soon once I get rid of all that cheese.

“Do you fancy a pint, Ron?”

“You didn’t really need to ask that question, did you, Henry?

Drop by the Horse and Jockey. Sorry, Oscars. I always stick with the old name. Especially if the new one is stupid. As they often are.

It’s much the same inside, in terms of layout. Still two bars. Let me have a think about the décor and get back to you. I tend to prefer old pub style.

The beer is pretty good. I just have the two. My brother Dave will be wondering where the hell I am. Or maybe not. He knows I’m with Henry. And he knows what we’re like. He’ll have assumed we’re in a pub somewhere.

Henry is dropping off a few cases of beer at Dave’s. That’s handy. Save me going down the supermarket. And it’s better beer than I’d find there. I’m not just saying that because he’s my mate.

Dave has curry goat ready for me. Except it’s made with lamb. He knows how to cook it properly, having been taught by a Jamaican. Not adding any water seems to be the key. Very, very hot. About the limit of what I can take. Tasty, mind. Especially with the rice and peas.

Luckily there’s all that beer Henry has just delivered to cool my mouth down. Me and Dave watch some cricket and drain a few bottles.

Henry comes back after a couple of hours to take me out for more beer. At Just beer, Newark’s micro pub. It’s very quiet, just one bloke at the bar and the barman. I don’t care. I hate crowds. And it’s quite pleasant to be wrapped in quiet rather than noise.

I have a couple of pints, then Henry takes me back to Dave’s. Where there’s a whole crate of Warwick’s Home Brewed waiting. Dangerously drinkable I think is the phrase. At 6% or so, it’s not really a session beer. However tempting it is to session it.

The Home Brewed is one of Henry’s beers, brewed to a Warwick’s & Richardson’s recipe from 1910. I was so happy when I discovered not all Newark brewing records had been lost. Henry went to Nottingham a few weeks back to photograph the one log that they have in the archives there. I’ve been putting together a few or the recipes from it.

Home Brewed is a style that everyone seems to have forgotten about. It’s a type of strong Brown Ale that was mostly brewed in the Southwest of England. The name is a bit odd, as it always came from production breweries. Warwick’s is about the most northerly example I’ve come across.

I’m not just saying this because Henry is my mate and it’s my recipe. Home Brewed is a cracking beer. Really moreish. I wish I had a crate at my place.

Talking of unfined beer, Home Brewed is unfined. As you’d expect from a vegetarian like Henry. It’s crystal clear, despite being bottle condtitioned.

Dave has to work tomorrow, so doesn’t stay up late. I go to bed at just after 11, too. Lots to do tomorrow. I have to take a bus into town at around 10. I wouldn’t want to miss my train. Me and Henry are off to Sheffield for another fun-packed day.

Oscar's Inn
105 Balderton Gate,
Newark NG24 1RY.
Tel: +44 1636 918130

Just Beer Micropub
32A Castle Gate,
Newark NG24 1BG.
Tel: +44 1636 312047

Henry's brewery:

The Cat Asylum Brewing
12 Besthorpe Rd
NG23 7NP

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi Ron ,
I'm sure that Chester North gate were brewing one in the late 19th / early 20th century, and I've seen label examples from a few northern brewers with "Home Brewed" as a beer type .