Five BeerHeadz pubs, four taxi’s, three counties, two hands, and one b̶e̶a̶r̶ beer trail
These are my words about my journey through Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire, attending all five (at the time of writing) BearHeadz pubz, and enjoying what they have to offer.
Thursday 29th November 2018
As my feet turned the pedals of my beautiful bike, one dark, cold, fresh November morning in Retford, I was propelled towards the direction of the towns train station and a day of touring the five BeerHeadz pubs. This particular station is unique, in that it has two levels, and forms a major part of my life, in getting out of dodge (I say affectionately) and travelling the country, today though is purely for the pleasure of meeting new people and drinking great beer.
Today, I am travelling about 160 miles on foot, rail, bike and as a backup I could use Taxi’s. My tour, my rules.
Objective — to visit each BeerHeadz Pub and have at least one drink.
My plan was to first get myself to Nottingham, visit BeerHeadz Nottingham, then make my way to Melton Mowbray, Grantham, Lincoln, and finish off the day at the founding first BeerHeadz pub in Retford.
Travelling solo and having a drink, means I have to be sensible, and not over cook myself, so I estimated it would take me at least 9 hours to get myself around all the pubs and back home. Now I know the saying “no plan survives contact with change” — I travel on the trains a lot, and I mean all the time as I don’t drive, so I know they can go wrong. One train out, and it would add another hour or two to my travelling plans.
I love the idea of trains, you are taken in comfort (mostly) from point A, via all letters to Z, when they work, they’re great, when they don’t you can be in the middle of nowhere, without a paddle, or a long queue for taxi’s, or a wait for a bus, sometimes, a hotel courtesy of the train company but only if they really have to. Unfortunately, due to some cancellations and delays, I had to take a taxi to all the other pubs, so nice and comfy, no grumpy passengers, off I went.
Arriving at the Nottingham pub I was taken back by its size, to me it seemed much larger on the inside than on the out. Beautiful ovoid shape, painted wood panelling, interesting little cartoon cards on the wall, bar back and centre (best of view and for service). But as always it’s the great bouncy staff and variety of friendly customers you meet, they make these types of pubs great. YES it is also the beer! But environment, clientele and the beer make up the ambience! To be verbose. More practically it’s a few seconds outside of the train station!
After a couple of cans of Bad Kitty from Brass Castle, it was off to find the next BeerHeadz, and hopefully a pork pie.
After another botched attempt using the trains, I decided to get a Taxi, as I was determined that our railways were not going to crash my mission.
A short taxi ride due to failure of the trains! A blessing not a curse, meant Taxi’s were the best bet to ensure my objective was met. Some interesting characters are taxi drivers, but this one said nothing, and the cab was in such a state and loud and noisy, conversation other than hand-signals and smiling nods was not possible.
After a little orienteering around Melton Mowbray, I found the delightful BeerHeadz, a wonderful friendly homely sight.
Blessed with full natural light, lovely and ornate little building, and friendly bubbly staff on the first day for this BeerHeadz pub. Two large rooms to enjoy the ample quality beers on sale. Toilets are handy too, a lovely characterful fireplace fronts the second room. In style with the former gents outfitters (?), a display of clothing is shown off. Alas I had to move I sharpish to Grantham.
Pork Pies, come on, I had to have one, a sneaky glass of wine and marvellous pork pie was had at the Anne of Cleaves, massively good service and the land lord leaned over backwards to help a STRANGER! in a rush. A sign of good service, often only found in BeerHeadz, or Similar pubs like the Brew Shed in Retford.
Next stop Grantham, or it would have been on the trains; alas after my last attempt, I could not rely upon them now. Friendly cabbi’s all the way.
An interesting and friendly cab driver who plays trumpet ( but not whilst driving thank goodness) took me to the larger town of Grantham, and my third BeerHeadz of the day :-)
A few hops, skips, and jumps (metaphorically anyway!) into town led me to yet another little pub full of character, much more narrower than the other pubs, but no less welcoming. In fact, quite high ceilings, and upstairs I think. More friendly people, and very helpful staff behind the bar.
Narrow, but a rich vine of character and the novelty of a good outside loo, made up this short visit. Next stop Lincoln, it is now starting to get dark, and a bit colder.
The most modern pub I’d say, opulent surroundings, historical character, and a little bit of exercise to get up the hill, to the Lincoln BeerHeadz, I like them all, but this is one of my favourites, out of all my favourites. The city reminds me of York, from near my home town of Scarborough.
To me this is the most open plan of the BearHeadz pubz, you really get a feel of being somewhere special, the pub, the town, and although as it is a city people don’t initially seem as friendly as the smaller towns, the staff make up for it, and the customers after a few drinks, were as friendly as any other.
Now after all this exercise, I was becoming tired, next stop, Retford! and bed.
The taxi driver was a very interesting chap, an Afgan refugee, he was so polite, and positive, and a reminder to me of how lucky we are in this country, and how kind we can be. A nice dove-tail to the day.
and finally, but not least, Retford
Homewards bound, the template, the standards setter, the original BeerHeadz Retford. This pub has helped change my life, which may sound dramatic, but introduced me to more people in Retford in the past four years, than the 11 that I’d lived here when it opened, a wonderful place. And what a welcome! I was not expecting, but I hoped after detailing the trip on Facebook, that someone would say hello, well done etc. And they did. A lovely chat, few pints, and a whisky, and that was me done.
All five pubs, what a day, what an adventure, great beer, and some special people! A difficult beer trail to top! but I’m biased! :-) Mission Achieved!