Ryk's Beer Trail

Welcome to the 2014-2015 SDS Beer Trail. As usual, we plan to provide ‘regular’ updates. The first few destinations for the season are below. Our resident real ale guru, Ryk Adams, has also kindly written a brief pub-based review of 2013-14, which can be found below this season's first update.

If any members have alternative suggestions of ‘local knowledge’ that may assist in directing us to particularly worthwhile venues throughout the season, please feel free to get in touch via email or Twitter (follow us: @SDSHx).

Please note we will endeavour to update this website with any last minute changes to our itinerary but cannot guarantee our attendance or factors outside our control (such as turning up to find the pub closed!)

HOME MATCHES - If you fancy joining the SDS for matches at The Shay, our hostelry of choice will now be the Shears Inn, Paris Gates, HX3 9EZ. This 'proper boozer' is a little out of the way, but is well worth the extra effort. We hope you can join us there!

PAGE LAST UPDATED: 7th October 2014

Up next:

IMPORTANT UPDATE - EASTLEIGH NOMINATED PUB NOT ACTUALLY IN EASTLEIGH! This is an SDS first, I believe, but on account of a combination of engineering works on the railways meaning no trains to Eastleigh, the nearest station in any case actually being Southampton Airport Parkway, and there being no Good Beer Guide pubs in Eastleigh itself, we have chosen to nominate a pub in a different town to the one FCHT are playing in! We convene in nearby Winchester, where trains from London will be terminating this Saturday 10th October anyway. Details are below. There are rail-replacement bus services from Winchester (and Southampton Central, for anyone coming via that route) to Eastleigh and Southampton Airport Parkway, alternative travel to the ground from the nominated pub may also be arranged on the day.

10/10/14 - EASTLEIGH - St. James Tavern, 3 Romsey Road, WINCHESTER, SO22 5BE - Map - Website

Coming soon:

1/11/14 - WREXHAM - Royal Oak, High Street, Wrexham, LL13 8HY - Map - Website

11/11/14 - GRIMSBY TOWN - No. 2 Refreshment Rooms, Cleethorpes Station, DN35 8AX - Map

18/11/14 - WELLING UNITED - Door Hinge, Welling High Street, Welling, DA16 1TR - Map - Website

6/12/14 - DARTFORD - Ivy Leaf, Darenth Road, Dartford, DA1 1LS - Map


An Ale too Far – a review of the 2013-2014 pubs by Ryk Adams

What a disaster it would have been if we didn’t meet up at a local hostelry before the game to discuss pre-match expectations and everyone’s travel woes as we prepare to watch our team. Not everywhere we go are we made welcome by the opposition fans, but few pubs are negative towards us. The season gone had us back in the Conference after what was for a few of us in the lower leagues a massive alcohol fuelled uphill escalator, and it nearly resulted in a further promotion.

Of the many pubs chosen to host SDS members and Town fans, two or three stood out and one or two were mini-disasters. The stand out for me was the Door Hinge at Welling, though I know our illustrious leader Simon was not as keen. He probably preferred (and in truth the best of the year) the Kingston Arms in Cambridge which we started and finished the season at. That is rare. I would also put the Ivy Leaf at Dartford in my top three.

Though my team of drinkers had a good crawl of North London, Barnet (game aside) was a disaster as the area appears devoid of good pubs (if you know better, pray do tell), and likewise my choice for Southport was a let down.

What wasn’t a let down was my top pint of the season, how I remember out of all I had it must have been good – and also at every Town fans non pie venue. Forest Green Rovers have an excellent club under the main stand and here I had an eco-friendly beer from the nearby Stroud Brewery. My standout pint of 2013-14.

Here’s to a few more pints over what promises to be an exciting season 2014-2015. Some old haunts and new venues to be looked at this season, if you know of any better alternatives then please let Simon or Matt Wright know and we’ll see how we fare.

Two games have me lost as to where to drink (Eastleigh and Torquay) and one has lost its Good Beer Guide Status (Braintree), so if you can fill the gaps, please do.