Ripley Pub Tour
Published: Aug 2nd, 2011 |
The village of Ripley in Surrey is quite close to where I live but it’s been over 20 years since I last had a drink there. Ripley has done well to keep its pubs compared to some other places and can boast 4 pubs within a couple of hundred yards of each other in the main street, with another two within half a mile.
But I was intrigued that none of the Ripley pubs have ever graced the pages of the Good Beer Guide in the editions I’ve got from the last ten years. Some of the pubs must be doing something right as they can be obviously busy at times when I’ve driven through the village.
So given a fine summer Thursday evening and a friend and two bikes we went exploring.
The first stop was the Seven Stars which is not in the centre of Ripley but about half a mile along the road towards Pyrford. It’s a large pub for such a remote location but a welcoming one. From the small real ale selection we chose the Hogs Back TEA. This favourite from the local-ish Hogs Back brewery was a recurring feature of pubs in Ripley as we were to discover.
Anyway the beer was in good condition and was enjoyed in the attractive garden behind the pub. I didn’t eat but my friend had a superb ham, eggs and chips. Overall a good experience and a pub to return to. I’d like to explore the food menu a bit more.
Once into the centre of Ripley we parked up the bikes and started at the Talbot Inn. The Talbot is right at the northern end of Ripley and is an old coaching inn. Apparently Nelson used to stay here too on his way to Portsmouth. The older parts of the inn have been extended with more modern dining areas and accommodation blocks.
As non-diners we weren’t really supposed to crash the patio immediately behind the pub but they lacked the will to shift us so we stayed. The Talbot may have a reputation for food (if you can afford it) but the Hogs Back TEA chosen from a conservative selection of beers was disappointing. Good job we were only drinking halves. We didn’t stay long.
Over the road to the Half Moon. We were practically the only customers on this Thursday evening – does it ever get busier? Full of interesting bric-a-brac felt welcoming – but empty. Bypassing the Courage Best we opted for Shere Drop from the local Surrey Hills brewery and it was not bad, but not the best pint of the night.
After the Half Moon we strolled tp the southernmost pub in the centre of Ripley – The Anchor. But we quickly beat a hasty retreat when we realised all the handpumps were turned round. The pub looked interesting and I’ll explore another time when hopefully they’ll have some real ale on.
Last pub of the topur was the Ship – right in the centre of Ripley. Compared to the rather empty pubs we’d visited up to now the Ship seemed buzzing. Despite being strangers we were made to feel welcome by the barman and the Hog Back TEA (again) was actually very nice. Unfortunately evenings don’t last for ever so we couldn’t stay long but the Ship is definitely a pub I’d want to visit again.
Our Ripley cycle tour was a good evening and yielded a couple of good pubs – the Seven Stars for food and the Ship for best beer and atmosphere. Maybe we should have been in Ripley on a Friday night – perhaps the pubs would have been much busier. And it was good to see local beers (Hogs Back, Surrey Hills) present in amongst the more national brands.
Full reviews of these pubs will appear soon.
Ones We Missed
On the night we didn’t have time to visit the Jovial Sailor – a Chef and Brewer pub just south of Ripley. I’ve read lots of negative reviews about this place but they must be doing something right as the car park always seems to be full when I drive past. There is also the Saddlers Arms close by on Send Marsh.
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