Jane Stuart – Writer

Writing about real life Up North: football, ale, food and mental health – with a good dash of humour.

Fleetwood Town v Blackpool: Tram Pub Crawl

Fleetwood isn’t so far away. When I was growing up in Anchorsholme, I could smell the fish from Fleetwood. And yet it always seemed like such an alien place. Blackpool, in the opposite direction, was easy to get to. I’d usually get the bus but it was walkable down the prom/tram tracks, which ran parallel. But things aren’t so straightforward on the way to Fleetwood. More than once I’ve got lost in Rossall, which is akin to the Bermuda Triangle. On one occasion, I attempted to walk home by following the tram tracks, eventually realising I was walking north instead of south, with no sea to guide me.

Today I decided to play it safe. I walked into town (because I haven’t been walking enough recently) and got a decent beer in because you never know what you’re going to get in Fleetwood. Well, that wasn’t strictly true today, because I knew the answer was ‘no beer at all’, as we’re in Tier 3 and all the pubs are shut, but this is a virtual pub crawl, so all the pubs are open on this occasion.

1887 The Brew Room

This is my favourite pub in town – with the best range of beers on the Fylde Coast. I don’t need much of an excuse to pop in here. Formerly The Stanley Arms and Blue Room, it was in this pub that Blackpool FC was formed. It’s a lovely, dark, charismatic pub in which I have always felt comfortable.

They brew their own beer here, too. Presently they have the following beers available for delivery to FY postcodes:

  • Mango IPA – 5% Mango infused IPA
  • Wonkey Donkey – 5% IPA hopped with simcoe, a big, fruity American hop
  • Golden Mile – 3.7% Golden session ale, hopped with Amarillo
  • Tangerine Dream – 5% Marmalade amber ale
  • Blackpool Blonde – 4% Blonde ale with New Zealand Mouteka Hops
  • Oyston StOUT – 5% Classic stout
  • Blackpool Bitter – 3.8% Chestnut coloured ale with a slightly smoky finish

Today I’m having a half of the stout (despite being disappointed that it no longer has the blueberry flavour I loved) and a half of the Mango IPA for my fruit fix.

The range of guest beers in here (cask and keg) is second to none in Blackpool. Recent guests (according to Untappd) include:

  • Farm Yard Ales Sour Plower 2
  • Sanwald Hefeweizen
  • Mad Dog Marmalade IPA
  • Cross Bay The Blonde Sunset
  • Cassels Milk Stout

There’s always Tiny Rebel to be had in here, too.

I take a seat towards the rear of the pub and settle back with my drinks and take a moment to simply enjoy being here. I’m not feeling too great today, so I’m taking a break from writing and studying. Sometimes you just need to stand (or sit) still and chill.

There’s rarely anything on the menu here that tickles my fancy, but I check it out anyway. The Footlong Smokers are a no-no, as hotdogs usually disappoint me. I almost had one at the cinema a few weeks ago but I dropped it on my way to my seat. It’s just not meant to be. It’s too early for Nachos and Stone Baked Pizza. Toasted Subs? Yeah, that sounds breakfasty. I opt for the Cheese & Onion and ask them to hold the sides of nachos and salad and instead have a side of West Coast Chilli. If we’re socially-distancing at the match, no-one should be offended by my breath later on.

Right I suppose I’d better head north. I hop on a (super)tram…but only as far as Cleveleys, where there is an exciting new kid on the block that I haven’t yet visited…

The Shipwreck Brewhouse

I’m actually ashamed of myself for not visiting this place before now. It’s a micropub with an outdoor seating area but it’s also a little cafe and now also a bottle shop. I love its diversity and I love that there is finally somewhere decent to drink in Cleveleys.

I’ve long admired the menu here – and I don’t even need sight of it before ordering this:

Recent beer checkins on Untappd include:

  • Wily Fox Karma Citra
  • Acorn Barnsley Bitter
  • Acorn Gorlovka Imperial Stout
  • Bowness Bay Swan Verdi
  • Twisted Wheel Speed Wobble
  • Bowness Bay Golden Fells
  • Rock Solid Brauhaus 1810
  • Seven Bro7hers Hoppy Pale

Let’s be honest, it would have to take something dramatic for me not to love this place. And I do already. I can’t wait to visit for real, when we’re allowed out again (soon please!).

I’d happily while away the whole afternoon in here, but the fixture list dictates that I have to go to Fleetwood. It still seems wrong that we are on an even footing with our neighbours in the EFL, but it seems that’s what happens when you take your eye off the ball and boycott matches for a few years. I head back to the prom to catch the tram the rest of the way north.

The Mount

You certainly won’t go hungry on a trip to Fleetwood. This is quite a foody pub these days and there’s bound to be something on the extensive menu to tempt your tastebuds. I realise I haven’t had lamb for ages, so would opt for the following:

There are usually a couple of beers on in here, too – usually pale but occasionally interesting. Recent checkins on Untappd include:

  • Black Sheep Ale
  • Estrella Galicia Especial
  • Carling

Hmm. It’s not a pub where I’d want to spend a whole evening (although I did once, when they wouldn’t let us in Fleetwood Beer Festival), but it’s worth popping your head in and seeing what they’ve got on – and this will always form part of a Fleetwood crawl.

Deaduns

I think this is my favourite pub in Fleetwood. It’s a proper locals pub where you’ll end up chatting with someone, whether you want to or not! It’s also one of those pubs that is called something other than what it’s called. The name of the pub is actually The Royal Oak but it’s known as Deaduns. Every time I visit, I ask why, and I still couldn’t tell you. Does anyone know…?

The quality of the beer (in every pub in Fleetwood) on my last visit was questionable, but I liked it here so much I hit the spirits so I could stay a little longer. Recent checkins on Untappd reveal the following ales on offer:

  • Big Bog Padi
  • Mayflower Pie PA
  • Reedley Hallows New Zealand Pale
  • Fleetwood Brewing Co First Trawl
  • Bank Top Flat Cap

I just checked and the Pie PA is from Wigan, so I’m having one of those; while I wonder why I only ever see Reedley Hallows beers in Fleetwood.

No food in here, but there’s sometimes live music.

Steamer

This pub is famous for Syd Little doing the catering at its Little Restaurant. For me, it’s curry o’clock (I can’t believe I haven’t had one already) and there is a good curry menu in here that I can never resist.

I toy with the vindaloo before opting for the beef madras as the safer option. I’ve suffered with post-curry stomach cramps at a match before (Tranmere away) and I’m not taking that risk again.

Beers I’ve sampled here over the years include:

  • Wadworth Dirty Rucker
  • Camerons Thirst Blood
  • Coach House Taverners Autumn Ale
  • Copper Dragon Golden Pippin

This is a spacious pub that I have visited several times and again it is a must-visit on any crawl of Fleetwood.

Strawberry Gardens

This is the designated pub for away fans visiting Fleetwood. I’ve spent many a happy hour in this pub. Syd Little used to do the food here before he defected to the Steamer. They still do food here – indeed it’s a bistro, apparently. I’m going for the burger here because I do like a nice brioche bun; however I’m hoping the chips are less anaemic than they look on their website:

Beers I’ve enjoyed here in the past include:

  • Frome Zig Zag
  • Farm Yard Ales Peat
  • Wild Weather Two Way Crush

But I’m not really here for the beer (not true, of course) – there’s a match (or two?) to go to while I’m here.

Fleetwood Town v Blackpool – Part One

First up the league match at Highbury (not Highbury). Both sides have been in good form recently, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this one. One thing I knew for sure was that we didn’t want to lose to that lot at the other end of the tram tracks. That wouldn’t be right, would it?

As it turned out, Blackpool did us proud. Fleetwood did give us a game but didn’t manage a shot on target, although they do a good corner. Sullay Kaikai was the star of the show for me. He just gets better and better and today he was positively sambaing through defenders like they weren’t there. It’s not football; it’s art, it’s poetry, it’s dancing; it’s positively delicious.

Blackpool won 1-0, the goal coming from a free kick lofted into the box by that man Kaikai and headed home by Gary Madine Goal Machine. Catch our reaction to the goal (and our Christmas tree and a corny joke) 48 minutes into our livestream here:

I was in demand this weekend, with appearances on Radio Lancashire (twice!) which you can find here (I’m 24:50 in and VERY excited!) and the Sky Sports EFL Podcast, which you can find here (I’m 49:07 in).

Fleetwood Town v Blackpool – Part Two

Back we were at Fleetwood on Tuesday night for the second round of the Papa John’s Trophy (great name). We were definitely less bothered about winning this one (despite having won the competition twice back in the day). That said, this competition offers a great opportunity to give a run out to players who aren’t getting many minutes in league matches. Critch made wholesale changes to the line up from Saturday so we weren’t really sure what to expect.

What we got was a brilliant game of entertaining football from two sides who definitely wanted to win this match. There were chances galore at either end and I’m not sure how the game ended 0-0. It was great to see Matty Virtue back. Perhaps, when he’s match fit, he could become the perfect partner for Kenny Dougall in central midfield? Dan Kemp was everywhere for Blackpool. He links up very well with Bez Lubala, who is fast becoming a firm favourite of mine. He’s all arms and legs and he’s so exciting and clearly growing in confidence with every match he plays. He often looks like he’s playing himself into trouble but, like Kaikai, he carries on like the opposition simply aren’t there and he is an absolute joy to watch.

Of course draws aren’t allowed in cup matches these days, so this match went to penalties after the 90 minutes was up. Dear reader, quite frankly, I’ve never seen a worse set of penalties in my life. I have no idea what any of the Blackpool players were thinking as they did bizarre run-ups and ridiculous penalties. We lost and it was disappointing to end what was a cracking night with such a damp squib.

You can watch our reaction to the penalties from 2h13 in our livestream below:

Mickey Mouse and all that. We’ve got bigger fish to fry (batter?), with a promotion campaign and a Premiership scalp on the horizon in the new year. Hmm I’m starting to get overexcited again, aren’t I? But it is so wonderful to BELIEVE again and finally have players I can fall in love with. It has been a long time (ten years?) since that happened. And it sure feels good.

UTMP.


NB Pics above are taken from the websites referenced, with the exception of the Oyston Stout, which I took myself on a previous visit to Brew Room.


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