Editor’s blog: lots of pubs and some beer

This weekend I’ve been to loads of pubs.

I’ve been exploring West Leics and the Vale of Belvoir to research a feature on cosy country hostelries to appear the Jan/Feb 2011 issue. The picture of a snowy Belvoir Castle was taken on Sunday on my travels between pubs. It’s been a labour of love!

It’s amazing how you can almost always tell whether a pub’s going to be any good within a few seconds of walking through the door.

On yesterday’s evidence, West and NW Leics appear to be fairly barren (know any good ones? – please email me at matthew.wright@greatfoodleics.co.uk), although after some shockers we did find a gem at Breedon on the Hill – the Three Horseshoes (no website, hence Michelin link). It’s got a foodie shop/deli at the back of the pub, plus there’s an artisan chocolate-maker in the adjacent building (Bitter Sweet). We ate our evening meal there and it was excellent (see pictures below).

Today’s trawl through the Vale of Belvoir was more successful. There are some excellent pubs north of Melton, including the Chequers at Woolsthorpe-by-Belvoir, the Red Lion at Stathern, the Peacock at Redmile and the Wheel at Branston (no website). Each great in their own way – impressive stuff.

Having given pubs so much trade this weekend, I feel more comfortable about the 21 bottles of home-brewed ale sitting in my office.

Risk of explosions aside, having this much beer to hand is a good feeling. On Thursday I was at writer Matt Gregory’s house for the bottling of the Great Food beer, which has been christened Snow Drop. I’m going to try to wait till Christmas before cracking them, but I doubt they’ll all make it that far.

Home-brew kits these days are excellent and as long as everything is clean and disinfected, you can make excellent beer. Matt’s wheat beer, made with extra botanicals that he added himself, is absolutely stunning. A feature on how to brew good quality beer at home will appear soon in the mag.

Meanwhile, here are three local home brew kit suppliers (could make a good Christmas pressie):

Home Brew World (Earl Shilton)

Matchless Home Brewing (Coalville)

Burghley Homebrew (Newborough, near Peterborough)

One of the dining areas at the Three Horseshoes

Three Horseshoes also has a foodie gift shop

The Peacock at Redmile is a great country pub

Diesel the Jack Russell is a regular at The Peacock. He likes Mini Cheddars!

Matt Gregory gets the homebrew on

The Great Food beer is now bottled and should be ready in a week or two

Matt Wright
The author:

Matt lives in Leicestershire with his wife, two kids and dog. He is passionate about British pubs, slow food and home brewing. He founded Great Food Club (originally as Great Food Magazine) in 2010 after being inspired by local producers near his home town of Melton Mowbray - Britain's 'Rural Capital of Food'.