The Hereford Hophead, our resident Talking Bull Good Pub Guide Guru, aka Ian Mann, has linked up with co-editor Keith Hall to look ahead to the trip to Brackley as they both attempt to seek out the best ales and pubs they can find.
BRACKLEY TOWN, Saturday, 8th September.
After being spoilt for choice in Chorley we come to the semi-beer desert that is Brackley, a town with no entries at all in the Good Beer Guide. However, if you’re prepared to make a little effort, there are some great opportunities within a few miles of the ground.
First up is the Stratton Arms at Turweston, which is a stone-built pub with a slate roof in a quiet village that serves five real ales including Timothy Taylor’s Landlord & Golden Best. The pub also shows major matches live on TV.
Just six miles from the ground in Oxfordshire is the Peyton Arms in Stoke Lyne. Indeed, this is situated only two miles from the motorway, and it’s a gem. Step back in time with up to three Hook Norton beers all served through a hatch direct from the casks. Simple filled rolls are usually available.
Another pub close-by in Oxfordshire, a mere 8 miles from the ground, is the White Lion in Fritwell Road, Fewcott. This is a true free house, which has its own micro-brewery, the Pirate Brewery. It serves three constantly changing ales plus four changing real ciders, and a dozen gins! Local CAMRA Pub of the Year in 2016. Also features Black Sheep cask ale from Yorkshire, and Wadworth 6X from Wiltshire.
There are a number of pubs in Brackley itself but reference to the Northants CAMRA website suggests that they are all much of a muchness serving the same boring beers. Seeing the words ‘Sharp’s Doom Bar’ makes me lose the will to live. The football club itself is said to serve Greene King Abbott and GK are also represented in the town as well.
It’s difficult to select a pub to recommend in Brackley and if you don’t fancy drinking in the clubhouse it’s probably best to walk into town and take your pick. I’m tempted to single out the Greyhound Inn at 101 High Street, NN13 7BW which has very positive reviews for its food. The beers are from the Greene King stable but should be in good nick if the pub’s cask marque accreditation is anything to go by.
Sharp’s and Greene King predominate but you may find Hook Norton Hooky at the Crown Hotel at 20 Market Square, NN13 7DP. Reviews for the food are decidedly mixed so if you want to eat the Greyhound is probably your best bet.
In the nearby village of Hinton In-The Hedges is the Crewe Arms, postcode NN13 5NF, another pub with an excellent reputation for its food. Beers are the ubiquitous Doom Bar and Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker, which at least makes a change and is an unusual brew for the area. If you’re planning on eating this is another good shout.