FIRST VISIT: SATURDAY 9 AUGUST 2014
We decided to end a week in Dorset by visiting Shaftesbury and paying homage to the scene of Ridley Scott’s finest moment. And we arrived pretty much bang on lunch time so it would’ve been rude not stay for a pint or two and a bite to eat.
The Mitre is an impressive looking building that sits proudly on Shaftesbury’s High Street. I’d guess it was built sometime in the 70s. The 1870s. But is possibly a year or two older. Inside there is the air of recent revamp but it’s been done sensitively and retains a good sense of its past. The bar was home to three cask pumps but one was out of action leaving folk with the choice of Young’s Bitter or Special. Interesting keg choices were Young’s London Stout and the Wells & Dogfish Head collaboration DNA IPA. As most beer geeks will be aware DNA IPA is the most maligned beer of 2014. Back in November 2013 I had a cask pint of it at the Red Lion in Cricklade. It was dull but not unpleasant. I wasn’t even aware that it was now available on keg and assumed that all the abuse was aimed at a new batch of cask beer. But despite the abusive grandstanding I would’ve happily ordered a pint of it but sadly the tap had a DNA IPA branded glass placed over the top of it signalling that it wasn’t for sale. Instead I went for a pint of Young’s Special. Young’s is one of the breweries that I tend to avoid, which is daft. Every time I have a pint of Young’s I can’t help thinking that they are surprisingly tasty and well constructed beers. And the landlords of Young’s pubs seems to know how to look after cask beer. We took a seat outside on the multi-levelled wooden balcony garden, which commands a grand view over the Blackmore Vale. Food wise I decided to go for the Mitre’s take on the Ploughman’s: three mini pork pies, a huge chunk of mature cheddar, two large slices of beautifully juicy ham, two toasted baguettes, an apple and a generous serving of piccalilli – very very tasty. For desert I ordered a pint of the London Stout. It’s served in its very own poking fun at the hipsters themed glass. It’s a good keg stout with a lot more about it than the likes of Guinness and Murphy’s. The next time I find myself in a Young’s pub I must remember that the London Stout is a perfectly agreeable pint. And so is their cask beer.