Some of you may remember from a few articles back that I own a dog. An unfeasibly large Labrador, referred to in our household as ‘The Big Dog’. He’s not fat, he’s just big, the size of a small donkey. He’s a gentle soul, very placid, to the point where it feels like you’re dragging a lump of concrete round on the morning walk, and considering he doesn’t have an off switch when it comes to food (like a heat seeking missile he can detect a discarded kebab at 500 yards) I am very determined that he will not become overweight.
So a couple of years ago we took him on a long walk. The Hadrian’s Wall Walk. 84 miles from Bowness-on-Solway to Wallsend, Newcastle. Basically straight across the country, from North West to North East. Seven days to do it, averaging about 12 miles a day.
Ten miles into the walk (imbibing a few cheeky sherberts along the way) we hit long stretches of remote, relentless landscape which created a huge thirst, for us and also the Big Dog.
I craved something cool and refreshing and quaffable. Something not too gassy, not too strong and something which wouldn’t put me off my stride. Every few miles, as a tavern came into sight we agreed we ought to stop “for the sake of the dog” (it sounds as unconvincing as it was). This is where I discovered Lancaster Blonde: as thirst quenching as a cold shandy when you’re parched, as delicious as a Cornish pasty when you’re ravenous, and as welcome as a tax refund when the car’s MOT is due. Hmm, I perhaps don’t do it justice with that last bit.
But considering I’m a Yorkshire girl bigging up a Lancashire beer, you might get the idea how good Lancaster Blonde is.
Blonde ales are softer on the palate than traditional pale ales, they’re fruitier and more rounded than most IPA’s, and they’re lovely sessionable beers. Lancaster Blonde ticks every one of these boxes and at 4% I could have a pint at most of the Inns along the way without falling off the wall.
Best of all, at the end of each walking day, when we reached each destination, Lancaster Blonde seemed to be a permanent fixture in the B&B’s and pubs, and hostels. There is something immensely satisfying about achieving your mileage quota for the day, dumping your rucksack in your room and retiring to a bar with a pint of ale. What was the best food match for Lancaster Blonde along this trek? A homemade creamy chicken and leek pie, cooked in buttery shortcrust pastry and served with a mound of spring greens.
Feeling fit and healthy we reached Wallsend, and celebrated carting The Big Dog across the country by having a few beers. Our mission was somewhat undermined though when a chap in the pub looked at our exhausted canine and said “By. He’s a chunky lad, isn’t he?”