It is a beautiful day in mid March. The blue sky is dappled with whispy, white clouds and I can feel the warmth of the early spring sunshine on my face. A gentle breeze rustles the early blossom in the trees and there is a smell of freshly cut grass in the air. It is officially pub garden weather and so I find myself sat outside the Black Bear in Wool, Dorset, with a thirst quenching pint of cask ale, Butcombe’s Stateside IPA to be more precise.
This pint feels like a reward following a very steep climb from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door and back again along the Coastal Path. Admittedly I am not as fit as the last time I did this walk about 5 years ago, but the views are worth it and it definitely made me work up a thirst for a beer. I walk across the pub garden at the Black Bear, pint in hand, and let out a slight groan as I ease my aching body onto a picnic bench. I raise the glass of cool copper coloured ale to my lips for the first taste which quickly leads onto the second and third. I begin to feel the sweet, malty rich liquid seep through my body, easing my aches and strains.
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The Black Bear is your typical traditional village pub with a modest selection of traditional ales, macro beers and ciders as well as spirits. It’s the type of place where everyone knows each other but new faces are welcomed with open arms. Whilst the beer options don’t exactly set the world alight they are kept in the most impeccable condition. Brilliantly bright beers with a stable fluffy head and as I drain my pint the visible traces of white lacing cling to the edges of the glass, indicating again the quality of the beer’s condition. Not only is the beer served at the perfect temperature for cask ale but it is also befitting for the time of the year. I am usually a huge advocate for quaffing lager as soon as the sun comes out but the fresh Spring breeze leaves a chill in the air reminding me that it is still only March. In that moment, with the early season sun shining down on the pub garden, a cool pint of cask ale really hits the spot.
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I tried to convince my partner Josh into staying a little longer at the Black Bear that day but as the designated driver he was getting a bit twitchy to leave. It wouldn’t be fair to make him watch me drink more beer and so begrudgingly we leave. Hopefully this was the first of many sunny pub garden days to come!