pubs Somerset

Country pubs and Butcombe IPA

As we’ve mentioned before, the pubs in my home town aren’t much to get excited about, but there are some nice places hidden out in the countryside.


As we’ve mentioned before, the pubs in my home town aren’t much to get excited about, but there are some nice places hidden out in the countryside.

The Red Tile at Cossington, for example, is a perfect cosy country pub. On Boxing Day, it was busy with diners (there’s an unpretentious pub menu) but I managed to find a corner in which to enjoy a pint of Butcombe Brunel IPA. I’m a fan of Butcombe’s beers but I’m happy to admit that regional chauvinism makes it hard for me to be objective. Butcombe ‘ordinary’ is brown, very bitter and slightly sulphurous. The IPA is quite different — less bitter, if anything, but with a warmer orange colour and pronounced flowery hop aroma. A good example of the English session IPA.

Also worth a look is the Burtle Inn. This pub is even cosier: dark, but not gloomy, with light from wonky 18th century windows and several fierce wood fires. Although the staff looked exhausted and the pub’s supplies were depleted (“We’ve only got parsnip crisps left”) the real ales were in good nick and were also available hot and spiced! In London these days, we take it for granted that a pub will have Czech lager, wheat beer and Leffe on tap, but it’s less common in the depths of the West Country.

Finally, there was Crown at Catcott, which my Dad called “old Fred Vernon’s place” after a landlord he remembered from his youth. It’s up a winding track on a particularly windy spot on the Somerset levels, so its burning fires and low ceilings were very welcome. There was a selection of West Country ales on offer from larger brewers like Sharp’s and Butcombe. The Butcombe ordinary was, well, extraordinary — perfectly fresh and in such good condition that the head didn’t move even in the stiff breeze whistling under the old wooden door.

In short, if you’re in Somerset, ditch the towns, get yourself a designated driver and go on a crawl across the levels. It’s likely to be a lot more fun than Bridgwater, Taunton or Yeovil.

7 replies on “Country pubs and Butcombe IPA”

Is that the pub up the back street off the High Road near McDonalds? I went there once years ago, before I was into beer. Quite cosy from what I recall. Worth a visit?

That’s the one. It’s the best pub in Leytonstone by a country mile, in my opinion (not much competition admittedly). Usually 3 or 4 guest ales plus Bombardier, usually in very good condition. Very friendly and an uncontrived, knocked about ‘shabby chic’ charm – definately worth a visit.

Ah memories. I ate and drank at The Red Tile nearly every day for two years, when John and Chris were there. Went back there last November; good beer but was ‘stared out’ by the locals! Stayed at the Tom Mogg in Burtle which was interesting…

My Dad used to be in the “house band” at the Tom Mogg. He played there every weekend for months.

Yeovil isn’t so bad now, the wine vaults had 6 Yeovil Ales beer of gravity plus two real ciders when I was last there. I wonder if its changed since then…

To be fair, I’ve never been out in Yeovil — hence the weasely “likely” in that last paragraph.

I’m from Bridgwater and really struggle to find a good pint when I visit the folks. Butcombe is the easiest ale to find and is usually the most reliable; had some rotten Wadworth, some terrible Doom Bar and (blech) some really dreadful Otter last time.

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