Thursday 10 June 2010

Mystery shoppers (or beer drinkers)

After a tiring tour of Whittlesey in the wind and the rain, Lesley and I fell gratefully through the welcoming doors of the Black Bull (circa 1650s). Our eyes fell lovingly on the pump marked Bombardier - one of our personal favourites. Two pints were deftly poured by our very amiable host and I took an appreciative slug before doing my best not to spit it back out as the taste of detergent hit the back of my throat. Mine host disappeared into the cellar and came back stating (rather obviously) that the Bombardier was off.
He swiftly poured us a pint of London Pride and the conversation around the bar was friendly and inclusive - such a very warm welcome. Only trouble was, as I sipped the replacement pint, it didn't taste an awful lot better. As we had already learnt that the landlord had been there for 17 years, I kind of felt that my taste buds must be up the creek as he surely couldn't have stayed in business that long if both his real ales were off - so the convivial conversation continued as no-one mentioned the barely touched pints on the bar.
In the end, I managed to catch Lesley's eye and she confirmed my thoughts so I politely informed him that this pint was no better and suggested that he tried it. He declined and these 2 pints followed the first two down the sink with questions about our beer drinking credentials and suggestions that we were under cover agents for CAMRA. He put on a new barrel and presented Lesley with a pint to try - her face was  a picture of disgust and I was half way out the door when she grinned and pronounced it fine - phew!!!! Does raise a few questions though.
This is the museum - sadly not open on Thursdays - and the original fire station.
Nice little town with just about everything you could want - had a good Indian meal at the restaurant on the market square, the Chinese wasn't tried but included smoked chicken on it's menu which is usually a good sign. Butcher, deli, 8 or 9 cafes, fishing tackle/pet food shop and a rather nice gallery at sensible prices where I was able to pick up some unusual presents.


  1. Well done on the beer testing - "Bombardier" that would of been my first choice too - I bet they would have said - we don't sell much of that stuff.

  2. Third time lucky eh? I fear I would have sneaked out after the second pint was no better than the first!

  3. He was so nice about it though and desperate to put things right