Thank goodness for the dark classic Hobgoblin ale

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The Guild Merchant in Tag Lane, Ingol is a ‘pub’ in the sense that it is a place to which one might repair for the social consumption of alcoholic beverages and other activities commonly asociated with this strange thing we call ‘pub’.

Beyond that it is difficult to say much, either good or ill.

The relatively new built Marstons house is clean. The staff are certainly friendly.


It is, in short, the essence of Big PubCo Britain writ large.

On this visit I ate.

The menu is large but not extensive. Didn’t fancy chips. This immediately slashed the available options to two or three items, none of which appealed. So got some chips.

The specials board consists of a wall with dozens of little hand-etched blackboards hung on it. A sort of vague nod to the world of gastropub?

Search me. Still, at least it was BUY ONE MEAL GET ONE MEAL FREE!

The food arrived. Rough guess, but am thinking I would have just about been happy to pay 50 per cent of the menu price for either plate.

Had I been eating alone and paid top dollar I’d have spat blood. Had we been a group of three and had only a third knocked off I’d have spat feathers. As it was, I ate scampi.

For a Real Ale afficionado the drink pickings were thinnish. Thanked my lucky stars, as ever, forHobgoblin. This classic dark winter ale is fast becoming as reliable a fallback jar as the mighty Guinness.

The choice beyond was not great. Marstons weak English EPA has never been a favourite, and the Help For Heroes ale is one I have sampled and not been moved by previously, so I turnedto cider and a pint of Symonds Founder’s Reserve. Not a cider enthusiast as a rule, but this was a nice sweet and sour drop which hit the spot and disappeared easy.

Both drinks were fairly priced, by the way. On the way home we passed another Marstons house. It looked identical to the one we’d just left. I suspect it was, in every way.

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