Date: 24 June 2009 - The Not So Long Longest Day Cycle Ride

Sampled by:

ROC, RN, FN, KOC, TM & PV with guests LOC & MV

With MG on a beach somewhere in Turkey we had no transport to take us out to Long Sutton and, for us, the long cycle back to Aldershot. The alternative was Binsted, which for ROC who rides out from Aldershot fulfills the original challenge. RN also rode all the way but that was on his scooter. The guests came by car and the rest made use of the train to get as far as Bentley before taking to their bikes.
MV was taking LOC out for a drink for her upcoming birthday and passing ROC as he cycled up the hill gave him the appropriate encouragement. RN did much the same to the train group as he passed by at Isington.
After a couple of drinks at the Cedars the guests moved on to The Bull while the rest set off down the hill to Holybourne. Mention must be made of the sky as we descended: the sun was setting and the clouds were tinged with every shade of pink. Lovely.

PubLocationOS Map RefCedars Binsted GU34 4PB CommentIt was a very quiet evening at the pub. Apart from us there were only two locals having a drink in the bar and one couple in the restaurant. The lack of custom probably accounted for the reduced range of beers available with only two guests joining the standard Courage Best. Fortunately the landlord recognized us from previous visits and brought out a taster of the next beer due on, York Constantine. This encouraged us to stay for a pint of the stuff. Served direct from the barrel, it was very enjoyable.
Courage Best 4.0 £2.80 - Not tried
Greene King St. Edmunds 4.2 £3.10 3 Quite refreshing
Bath Ales Golden Hare 4.4 £3.10 3 Tasted like Mead
York Constantine 3.9 £3.10 4 Flavoursome session beer

PubLocationOS Map Ref
White Hart Holybourne GU34 4EY
Another quiet pub. On arrival only the Greene King beers were available but the manager came out to see who was making all the noise and put a fresh barrel of Courage Best on. The two who tried it were surprised at how good it was. He also informed us that the GK St. Edmunds and Dallaglio’s Heroes were one and the same beer! Whether they are or not, they were both disappointing. Rather pricey with the guests at £3.30 a pint.
Greene King IPA 3.6 £3.00 - Not tried
Greene King St. Edmunds 4.2 £3.30 2.5 Rather disappointing
Greene King Dallaglio’s Heroes 4.2 £3.30 2.5 Rather disappointing
Courage Best 4.0 £2.95 3.5 Surprisingly nice

PubLocationOS Map Ref
Queens Head Holybourne GU34 2RB
Darren and Ann have been hard at work since our last visit and the public bar has been decorated in many shades of green and the bar extended with an additional room and new gents. Many more punters than the other Holybourne pub; perhaps because the beer is cheaper. They have installed the new Greene King magic beer dispenser: flick the switch one-way and you get IPA Cask, the other, IPA Smooth. Whatever next one wonders.
Greene King IPA 3.6 £2.70 - Does it qualify as ‘real ale’
Greene King Abbot 5.0 £2.90 - Not tried
Hardy & Hansons Olde Trip 4.3 £2.90 3 Generally enjoyed
Tom Woods Bomber Country 4.8 £2.90 2 Not enjoyed

PubLocationOS Map Ref
Railway Arms Alton GU34 2RB
The pub was as busy as usual but the excellent barmaid amply administered to our every desire quickly and efficiently so we had time for a couple before the train. The Triple fff Apache Rose Peacock was still in fine form but the Isle of Purbeck Studland Bay Wrecked unfortunately was. Still the cheapest beer for miles around.
Triple fff Alton’s Pride 3.8 £2.50 - Not tried
Triple fff Pressed Rat 3.8 £2.50 3.5 Good mild
Triple fff Moondance 4.2 £2.60 3.5 Excellent premium ale
Triple fff Stairway 4.6 £2.70 - Not tried
Triple fff Apache Rose 4.2 £2.60 4 Why is it brewed so infrequent?
Isle of Purbeck Studland Bay 4.5 £2.60 2.5 Rather tired

So, despite a late start we still managed the full itinerary for the Binsted to Alton trip. On the train back we meet Cally who had been on a girls’ night out in Farnham. It would have been rude not to accompany her back to the Garden Gate for a final beer. Whilst doing so KOC demonstrated his virtuosity in bike riding and became the first Mengo to hit the deck this year.