One American Smooth golden ale from Ilkley Brewery for Rock, a Hop Kettle Pale by Comparison pale ale for Rosie, a Hop Kettle North Wall amber ale for me and a coke for Steve. Lunch is rarely more about the beer than the food but today we are at the home of the Hop Kettle Brewery…..…..the Red Lion
There has been a pub on this site since the early 1600s and, while I doubt it was quite the same in the 17th century, nowadays the Red Lion always has a wide selection of real ales and craft beers on draught and a breathtaking selection of unusual beers, lagers and ciders in bottles. They also have two menus – pub and restaurant. If you want their more sophisticated dishes, then the restaurant has a really interesting menu in the evening and at weekends…but we are here at a midweek lunchtime – so its pub menu only.
The pub menu is shorter and simpler. Steve and Rock both went for the Spicy Bean Burger, with cheese, triple cooked chips and home-made chilli jam. Rosie chose the ‘Piggyback’ – a home-made Red Lion Burger with pulled pork. I found myself unable to resist the Venison Stew with mash, leeks, greens and….something that has remained a vivid memory from my childhood….suet dumplings.
Everyone enjoyed their food. When my plate first arrived I was initially concerned by the complete lack of any sign of the promised dumplings – but once I tipped the venison stew out of its cast-iron cooking dish – there they were, white and fluffy inside and a fabulous reminder of days when suet appeared as a much more regular part of mealtimes. Rosie enjoyed her Pale by Comparison and had a second, while I moved on to the Malz amber ale from the Bristol Beer Factory.
In the future I think we may well visit in midsummer. The Red Lion is on the Thames Path and so dinner could be preceded by a good walk along the Thames. We could try one or two of the restaurant dishes and, as they do beer-matching, a range of beers followed by a taxi home. I’m looking forward to it already!