After working all weekend in Peterborough I had the day off on Monday, and seen as the missus did too, and the sun was beaming down, we jumped on a train and twenty minutes later were in The Norths perfect fair weather City - York.
On a sunny day York's got everything you could want; a pedestrianized centre thats easy to navigate, bars along the river with big outdoor terraces, a multitude of great Cafes, independent restaurants and a few fantastic beer lovers pubs and bars. I'm going to talk about the place we went last, and which believe it or not is named exactly as this blog post suggests, "House of The Trembling Madness", whose name comes from the beer Delerium Tremens.
Located above The Bottle, an excellent beer shop on Stonegate, this is a bar that completely flew under my radar. Even a request on Twitter for good places to drink in York didn't bring in any suggestions for this little gem, maybe a hidden gem I shouldn't even be sharing with you?
It's a fantastic looking place with a high ceiling you are never expecting from the relatively small shop downstairs, dark beams, white washed walls and some great authentic looking animal heads. I know it sounds a bit naff but it seemed so genuione and unpretentious that it sort of worked.
Theres a small but well adorned bar, with some awesome beers on tap when I visited including Brooklyn Lager, Kwak, Lever, La Trappe, Flying Dog Old Scratch and some others I can't remember. Plus a really well stocked beer fridge - well, there is a shop downstairs after all.
I started with a half of Old Scratch (5.5%), I would've had a pint but a half was £2.50! But hey ho, Flying Dog is rare on the bar and a fantastic US brewery so I don't mind really. It was exactly what I was expecting but no worse for it - dark amber coloured but pin bright and very crisp with a really nice hop bite, similar to Brooklyn Lager in many ways and not a beer that slapped me round the face during a half. I enjoyed it but it didn't set the world on fire.
We'd ordered some food whilst at the bar in the form of two formidable sounding 1 Pound Burgers with Yorkshire Blue Cheese and side salad, and by the time I'd enjoyed my half and spent a few minutes oggling the bottle cellar on my way back from the toilets they had arrived. First impression were that the lack of chips on the side were not going to be a problem, these burgers are BIG. They were obviously homemade beef burgers, very nicely seasoned, and served with plenty of Yorkshire Blue and a delicious onion relish, inside a wholemeal bun from the bakery across the road. The side salad was pretty standard but fresh and tasty all the same - let's be honest though the burger is what your paying for and in this department I had no complaints.
A word of warning though, whilst what is on offer was really good it is a limited menu comprising a stew of the day, various meat and cheese platters which looked excellent and a few burgers. All food is cooked behind the bar upstairs, with a bigger kitchen I'd love to see what these guys could do.
As you can see from the photo I also ordered a bottle of Flying Dog Raging Bitch to accompany my meal, what a great, unusual, complicated beer. But I won't go into my in-depth thoughts on that now as I picked up a bottle from the shop downstairs, along with a big bag full of other beery treats, and intend on giving it a proper review at a later date. So watch this space.
Big thanks to Travels with Beer for letting me use their great photo (the first, and best, picture) of the bar, I forgot to take a photo of the bar and they have very kindly let me borrow theirs.