Normandy 2018 Day 2 – Brewery, Micropubs and wartime memories with a train for good measure

Today would be more about beer than WW2 – with two brewery taps and several micropubs. Although we would manage an RAF museum along the way.

Locomotive on the M25

Yes, you read that correctly!

Leaving Aylesbury following a fulfilling breakfast, we headed towards the M25 – the ring-road motorway around London. Whilst you’d expect this to be free-flowing, it rarely is. A couple of years ago on one of our trips, it came to a halt in order for a duck  & ducklings to walk across (I jest not). This year, the traffic slowed as it passed a low loader carrying the Bittern locomotive on its way to a heritage railway somewhere. Unfortunately, as I was driving, I couldn’t get a photo.

Apparently, it was on it’s way from Crewe to Margate & here’s some further information

Planning pays off

Prior to setting off this year, Glyn had done some research and found some brew pubs and other interesting places to visit. Yes there can be something more than brewpubs that are interesting! One of these was on Folkestone harbour where some containers had been set up to be used as a base for fledgling businesses. These include a small brewery: the Docker brewery, where we had a beer and some bread as they make both!

Battle of Britain museum

We then went to the Battle of Britain museum on the site of the old Hawkinge airfield.

This was a very interesting museum with very large number of artefacts, including many replica aircraft (mainly Hurricanes). However, we both felt that an opportunity had been missed. Many of the artefacts were related to two or three pilots and the museum had spread these throughout the exhibits. If they had pulled some of them together as a single series telling the story of the battle from that individual pilot’s perspective, it would have been more interesting.

Unfortunately, we do not have any photographs from the museum. Cameras are strictly not allowed. They had had an unfortunate theft, and they believe that the taking of photographs was part of the reconnaissance for it.

Leaving the museum, we drove past the memorial to pilots who lost their lives flying from Hawkinge.

On to Dover

We then set off for Dover where we were staying for the night. We found our accommodation fairly quickly & easily. Unfortunately, there were a lot of steps that needed climbing up to just get to the front door, and even more inside. Normally, this wouldn’t be such a problem. However, whilst visiting the museum Colin had pulled a muscle in his leg and was finding walking difficult.

Fortunately, we didn’t have to climb all the way up to the castle.

So, what to do about tea? Fortunately, our pre-visit research had found that there were a number of micropubs that had been set up in Dover. Together with a couple of breweries’ brewery taps where you could try their beers. Micro pubs are a relatively new trend in the UK where a shop is taken over & fitted out as a mini pub. You don’t get the same facilities as you find in a “normal” pub. However, they’re usually run by Real Ale enthusiasts & therefore are of interest to us!

The nearest one to our accommodation was The Lanes Micropub where we were made very welcome by owners Debbie and Keith. Even though it was our first visit, we were welcomed as friends. A couple of beers there and then off for some food to a restaurant recommended by them. The Allotment, an English restaurant run by an Italian gentleman! The food was fantastic and definitely somewhere to consider a return visit. Having eaten, we then headed off to another micropub, The Thirsty Scarecrow , which had more of a focus on cider. A swift beer, here, before catching a bus up to the brewery tap that we had decided to visit.

Brewery Tap splits opinions

This was the Breakwater Brewery Tap. Our beers here split our opinions! The first was “Cow Juice”, said to be a Milk Stout. From the description we were expecting this to be very sweet and creamy, but it wasn’t!  Colin was very disappointed, Glyn, however, really enjoyed it. Seemingly this is the new style of milk stout coming to the fore in the UK. We then had one of their bitters, Glyn again being more appreciative, before heading back in towards Dover on the bus.

As we were walking past The Lanes we decided to pop in for a final drink. For a change, we both opted for cider. They had a number available & we thought it would get us in the mood for Normandy!

In addition to “standard” ciders & perries (ciders are made from apples, perries from pears) we had to have a quick taste of one called an “apple pie cider”… and that was exactly what you tasted: first the apples, then a hint of cinnamon coming through and then finally, (& frankly unbelievably), a taste of pastry!!

If you are ever in Dover, then The Lanes micropub run by Debbie and Keith Lane is most definitely to be recommended. The welcome that you get is wonderful, whether you’re a new visitor, a returning visitor or a regular, you are equally made to feel very welcome.

So, it was then back to accommodation ready for an early start as tomorrow we go across to France.

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