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Winter Newsletter 2018

The next FoHB social will be held at the ‘Green Dragon’ Darlaston, on Monday 12th November, starting at 7.30pm as usual ( bookings being taken for Shropshire trip - see below). The next one after that will be our Christmas social at the ‘Walsall Arms’ in Walsall, on Monday 10th December, for beer and skittles. We shall have a super tombola where every ticket wins a prize (and this year some of the prizes will be worth winning) so mark this one down in your diary’s pages.

The trip to Chorley went smoothly, and although it was a bit sparsely attended, everyone had a great time popping from pub to pub. The weather was against us at first but it soon cleared up while we were in the first pub and after that it was cloudy but dry. Our members were anything but dry, because the mainly local beers on service were so good, and at a reasonable price too. We met a charming man in the market bar ‘The Bob Inn’, who said he was the Mayor of Chorley and made us feel very welcome;  indeed he did seem very well informed about us, knowing that we came from the Midlands, but then our accents might have given the game away. The idea has been put forward to go there again next year – so we will let you know ASAP so diaries can be updated. The on board raffle made £46 and the coach broke even on the day, so it was a viable trip.

Another visit to Dawkins Brewery in Bristol was made on October 20th (our 3rd) and hospitality was the order of the day from Glen Dawkins, with 2 cask beers on the bar and 6 craft keg on the ‘beer wall’ behind the bar. A popular 1st choice was the ‘Bristol Blonde’ 3.8% (Cascade & Amarillo hops) swiftly followed by ‘Bristol Gold’ 4.4% (Bramling Cross hops), both described as “easy drinking” and both in great condition. When we were able to serve ourselves from the ‘beer wall’, condition was more of an issue, with people coming away with pints of bubbles ! There is definitely a ‘Knack’ to pouring keg beers, which we all learned by trial and error – but as we all drank our errors nothing was wasted. We were even encouraged to try his bottled beers, and I found an ‘Oaky Smokey Milk Stout’ much to my taste – full on chocolate flavour with a hint of smoke - nice! A lot of bottles were bought for home consumption, so Glen had nearly as good a day as us. Neil, the coach driver, dropped us off in Bristol near to the station, and we had nearly 4 hours for a pub crawl, so making the most of it, we started at the ‘Shakespeare’ with a Bath Ales ‘Gem’, then the ‘Cornubia’ in Victoria St. and ‘Small Bar’ in King St. All good pubs, but prices are a little more than here in Walsall, but we made full use of the Wetherspoons pubs as well, so it all averaged out. Glen has kindly invited us back again next year, so you may expect another trip at about the same time of year in 2019.

AJ’s Brewery:  Brewing 2 beers for Christmas – ‘Stuck up the Chimney’ 4% Pale, and ‘Rudolph Rain Beer’ 5% Golden. Andy’s next open day will be on 15th December starting at noon; draught ales, bottles and mini kegs will be available, but if you want a mini keg its best to phone in and reserve one as he always sells out. Bottles are £14 per box of 8.

Beowulf Brewery: Bottled ales are available from the brewery and we are advised that there is       no parking charge for brewery customers. Check availability before going tho !  –  01543 454 067

Backyard Brewery:  The new brewer is settling in, and beers like ‘State of Flux’, with a different hop in every brew, are selling very well. The brewery tap is still not open.

Shropshire Shwalley – 24th November - a trip to Market Drayton and Newport in Shropshire has been organised by Dan. We will have a coach to Market Drayton where there are some awesome pubs including the Red Lion (Joule’s Brewery Tap) where we may get a look in the brewery; then on to Hinstock where the ‘Falcon’ will be waiting for us (4 Beers on tap), then finally to Newport and its many good pubs.  There are good places to eat in both Market Drayton and Newport but the Falcon’s kitchen closes at 2pm so order early if eating  there. Coach price is £16 as usual. Bookings taken at the next social at the ‘Green Dragon’ Darlaston, or contact Dan on 07477 699 601 or me on 07804 506 075 or e-mail.

Diary dates:  24th November, Shropshire Shwalley trip.   29th Nov –  1st Dec. Dudley Beer Festival.   15th Dec. – AJ’s Open Day, Long Acre St. Walsall.    20th–  23rd February 2019, Derby Beer Festival.

And Finally: Santa was surprised to find a man in a suit waiting near the sleigh, who introduced himself as Mr Rudder from the Civil Aviation Authority, come to do a ‘check ride’ to see that all was up to standard and no

rules were being broken. He checked all the reindeer and their harness, the sleigh and its skis, that the presents were secure and Santa’s pilots licence was in order. Then he asked Santa to take him up for a couple of circuits to check out his flying technique, climbing aboard with a shotgun under his arm. “What’s the 12 bore for ?” asked Santa. Mr Rudder winked slyly and said, “I shouldn’t be telling you this in advance, but you are going to lose an engine on take-off.”
Merry Christmas everybody !