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Good Beer Guide 2004 Survey Trips

Travels Around Thorpe

Taking the 66 bus from town we alighted at the Cowley Hill stop just past the motorway. Crossing the road,we walked up Smithy Wood Road, past the cricket ground to the Travellers Inn, now technically in Sheffield district, since the boundary was moved to the motorway, but still a part of Thorpe Hesley. The real ale consists of Bank`s and Stones Bitters at this large secluded pub with its extensive garden.It was then time for the trek back over the motorway and to Thorpe Hesley itself, by way of London way and Hesley Lane. Aright turn into Brook Hill took us down to the Horse & Tiger, the only known pub with this name in the country. Reputedly the name came from the appearance of a travelling circus in nearby fields many years ago.Anyway the present pub, the second on the site, stands impressively above the road and is a popular magnet for local drinkers. Aptly Everards Tiger Best Bitter was replacing Stones, and it has proved very popular. After sampling the Tiger, we climbed back up Brook Hill, turned into Thorpe Street and across the mini-roundabout to the Masons Arms. A changing guest has recently been added to the Theakston Best Bitter, cool cask and old Peculier at this historic, homely hostelry,which serves a good selection of food as well as drink. The guest beer was Caledonian 80/- on our visit, though the Batemans seasonal beers are often featured. A resident pianist was playing in the bar area.Sadly none of the other pubs in Thorpe sell real ale, however not far away, about 2.5 miles by road, is the little hamlet of Scholes. The only pub, the Bay Horse, serves a very good pint of Timothy Taylor Landlord, in lined glasses, as well as good food. This was found to be excellent. It is hard to believe you`re so close to Rotherham town when in this pub housing estates between Scholes and Thorpe could change this.The Bay Horse is accessible from the 66 bus by alighting near the Sportsman, and walking about a mile down Scholes lane.Why not give these pubs a try?They all have their own distinct character.

Wath Wannderings

First stop was the Staithes on Doncaster Road, at the edge of the Manvers Regeneration site and close tothe Dearne Valley Collage.Renowned for its food, it also serves 3 real ales. These tend to vary, but on our visit consisted of John Smith`s cask, Theakston cool cask and the World cup special from Wychwood. After enjoying the comfortable surroundings of the Staithes, it was back into the centre of Wath, to the Red Lion on High Street. An altogether different pub from the Staithes, being very much a town local with two distinct rooms and an upstairs function room famous for its Sunday folk club and entertainments during the Wath Festival oin May.Ber wise there was a choice of Barnsley Bitter or Johb Smith`sCask, the former at just £1.40.Very good it was too.A short stroll up the road to the pedestraianised Montgomery Square found us in the Church House, Rotherham CAMRA`S pub of the Season Summer 2001,a typical Wetherspoon conversion of a former non-real ale pub, which was originally a cleric`s residence. The beer range usually includes Wentwoeth Black Zac, plus at least one other Wentworth beer, Theakston best bitter, Courage Directors,Shepherd Neame Spitfire, and a couple of changing guest beers.On the night there were three Wentworth beers on, including the recently introduced Rockingham Spalt and WPA.These were on sale at less than £1.10 a pint!

A short walk back along High Street brings you to the Burlington{Wath} club where a pint of Sam Smiths Old Brewery Bitter costs £1.22. CAMRA members can signin at this very friendly social club, on production of their membership card.

Next stop was the New Inn on West Street, another pub selling Barnsley Bitter and John Smith`s Cask,with the Barnsley on at £1.00 a pint as it was "happy hour"! At other times the price rises to a hefty £1.35! The food is also very good value at this typical Wath local.

Leaving the New Inn, we went up Melton High Street to West Melton and the Crown Inn, wher another£1.40 pint of Barnsley Bitter was sampled.This traditional 2 roomed boozer has a good local trade, and sometimes Barnsley ipa is also available, though not on our visit. Diagonally across the road is the Plough, now only sells John Smith`s cask on hand pump.This larger pub has a separate family room and extensive garden. Live entertainment is also often featured.Br>
At the head of the High Street, at the junction of Firth road and Melton Green, is the Cottage of Content, a friendly local selling decent John Smith`s Cask & Magnet. The Cask is real, though served by electric pump.

Turning right on to Packman Road from Firth Road takes you to Brampton Bierlow.At the junction of Manor Road is the Brampton Hall, an impressive conversion into a two-storey eating &drinking establishment. The only real ale these days is the unbiquitous John Smith`s cask. Accessible by bus from Rotherham using the 228 or 229 Yorkshire Traction services, which cover Eath-on-dearne and Doncaster Road, the Wath area is a cheap area for the drinker and has some varied and interesting pubs. Why not give it a try.

Dave & Paul Redfern

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