In the same old New Britannia

Some pubs potter along beyond the reach of time, ageless constants in this ever changing mostly for the worse world.

New Britannia
New Britannia

Then suddenly change. And that one change leads to another. Then another. And before you know it the baby is out with the bathwater.

Since first acquaintance, deep in the last century, The New Britannia has fitted this bill. Landlords come and gone, clientele ebbing, flowing.

At one time a first port of call for yours truly (had a killer jukebox back in the day), at others – notably the time of the big sofas and drooling free range pitbulls – a last resort or flyer en route.

And yet here it is in 2014, a survivor of the ongoing pub mass extinction, somehow back to where it was when first we met.

Serving good ale, a nicely laid out and appointed space for enjoyment of same. Even the comfortably mismatched old wooden tables and chairs have been back some time.

Meaning a pleasant hour was spent in there this week, and a pleasant brace of ales to ease time’s passage.

A pair of pales were my pick from four casks on offer, first a Hereford Pale (boasting an incredibly lo-fi but effective pumphead, near right).

Brewed by Wye Valley, I later discovered, this was a lovely drop, a gleaming gold ale with a light foamy head and a fruity scent that told my hooter it was April.

Crisp , sweet and hoppy on the tongue, with citrus zing and a deeply refreshing finish. The pint had halfway vanished by the time I took apew.

Resisting the urge to empty another of same (although a sly half did find its way home before my scarper), a pint of Harvest Pale from Castle Rock in Nottingham was next down the hatch.

A decent session beer, but not one to grab and hold your attention.

Bread and citrus in scent – a marmalade sandwich – and just a little more bitter on the palate, with subtle undertones of earth. Smooth and decent though.

All in all, seems like the old New Britannia is back.

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