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Previous Pint Pleasures - April 18, 2014

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The White Hart, North Street, Owston Ferry, North Lincolnshire

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The Mowbray Arms, Mowbray Street, Epworth, North Lincolnshire

A few months ago we visited Jim and Carla in the village of Owston Ferry. The village is located on the Isle of Axholme, which used to be an actual island surrounded by marshland. In the early 17th century the marsh was drained, along with other waterlogged parts of the British Isles, by Cornelius Vermuyden, a Dutch engineer who specialised in water and marsh drainage. Now the island is just a flat expanse marked with dykes. The name Owston is thought be Old Norse for "east farmstead". Near the village's parish church is a mound on which there was once a motte-and-bailey castle, but it was dismantled in the 12th century. Today the main thing to see in Owston Ferry is the tidal bore, known as the Aegir, which can be observed from the banks of the Trent in early spring and late autumn.

There is also a decent pub to visit. TheWhite Hart lies on the River Trent close to the village square. When we visited on a cold Saturday evening there were several fires burning in the cosy rooms, and the place was full of families with children and local punters, all standing around. When we sat at the bar in the back room we felt a bit odd for not standing. Did we look invasive? We certainly didn't feel invasive, and the landlord became very talkative when we asked about the cask ale.

There were two cask ales on including Black Sheep. Our pints of Dizzy Blonde (3.8% ABV, Robinsons Brewery, Stockport, Cheshire) were very mild and not particularly hoppy, but they were smooth and quite quaffable. We stepped out the side door where we found, to the rear of the pub, a small area with tables overlooking the river. There was a visible bore on the Trent, and it was easy to imagine the river overflowing its banks and flooding the pub. But this happens thankfully rarely.

On the same evening we drove to the comparatively teeming metropolis of Epworth. Famous as the birthplace of John and Charles Wesley who founded the Methodist church, the town is known these days as the shopping centre of the Isle of Axholme. One of our stops was the Mowbray Arms, a big modern pub which was full of young Epworth locals, many of whom knew Jim and Carla because obviously Epworth is the big town where the people of Owston Ferry celebrate their Saturday nights. Andrew and I had pints of Landlord (4.3% ABV, Timothy Taylor, Keighley, West Yorkshire), an old favourite that we hadn't tried for some time. In this day of New World hops and golden brews Landlord still manages to stand its own ground. It's a truly timeless pint.

Since that day we visited the Mowbray the previous owners left, and Shaun Scalley has taken over. Home cooked food is locally sourced, and a carvery is served on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.