Our next beery adventure in North Yorkshire was a trip to The New Inn, Cropton; home to the Cropton Brewery. We'd been to Pickering first thing to see the steam trains, and then drove to the village which is on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors.
We arrived in Cropton before opening time and clocked the pub as being a good size with a large car park to the rear. A short drive then through the wilderness of the moors passing signs explaining how many sheep had been killed on the roads in the last year, imploring you to slow down. I'm not quite sure how you can drive fast enough in those windy roads to cause damage to large mammals, but even so we did see two dead sheep on our short drive.
We returned to the pub shortly after opening time, and spotted a coach out the front. Parking in the otherwise deserted car park we headed into the "conservatory/family room". A number of pensioners from the coach were seated at the dining tables, but it was still just half full, so we found a table in the corner. My first task was then to view the pump clips to see which beers were on offer. Six handpumps sat proudly on the bar, yet only one had a pumpclip. Oh dear; not a good start I thought; even that beer Honey Gold did not fill me with joy as honey is one of my least favoured ingredients in beer. So a walk to the front bar via the toilet was in order. Ah, much better (in more ways than one) as all six pumps in that bar had clips. At least I knew I was going to get a decent choice of beers and could avoid the honey concoction.
I returned to the conservatory to witness the waitress telling the rest of the family that our table was, in fact, taken. No reserved sign or anything, but perhaps extra sensory perception is the order of the day? Apparently half the coach party were elsewhere (I doubt they were looking round the brewery or taking a smoking break, so where they were is anyone's guess). It all worked out for the best though as we were able to sit near the top bar, and away from the chattering and clattering pensioners.
So what of the beer? I had halves of Endeavour, which I found bland and not as hoppy as that commercial description might suggest; Two Pints which was more full flavoured and nicely balanced, and Old Goat, which tastes every bit of its 8%, and is full bodied and vinuous. I didn't spot the ABV when I ordered the beer, so it was a good choice as I would have definitely chosen it had I spotted it, as 8% cask ales are too rare in this country for my liking.
Our food was good too. The Whitby Cod was excellent (far better than the haddock we had in Whitby itself later in the week), and the sandwiches were perfectly acceptable.
After a poor start the staff were attentive and the beer was good. There are enough good pubs in North Yorkshire for me to probably avoid going back, but anyone in the vicinity who's not been should probably pay it a visit.