Today the Good Beer Guide 2013 was officially launched so I decided to visit a pub that is not in it (but was in the 2012 edition). My copy of the new guide arrived two weeks ago so I have already done plenty of exploring with it. Besides, I have been meaning to visit this particular pub for the past few months.
Approaching Warwick from junction 15 of the M40 you pass three pubs on the left-hand side. The Racehorse has a gigantic horse perched outside so the close proximity of Warwick racecourse isn't too surprising. As you near the town with the castle on the right you turn left into Crompton Street and immediately you see the racecourse in front of you. The Old Fourpenny Shop Hotel is on the left-hand side in a residential street.
The pub has a totally different feel to The Wild Boar I visited last night. A large split-level bar had plenty of room and it was very comfortable, traditional and quiet. It is also a hotel offering eleven rooms which I am sure are full when race meetings are on. Think of racing and you immediately think of the Irish. The landlord is a jovial Irish fellow and he informed me about the beer and the Old Pie Factory brewery. Both himself and another pub in nearby Five Ways, The Case Is Altered, were wanting to start a brewing operation so they established the brewery in an old Fleur-de-lys pie factory three miles away.
Two beers from the Old Pie Factory Brewery (Pale and Bitter) were available. The other beers were from the West Country. RCH Pitchfork sat alongside two beers from the Cottage Brewing Company of Somerset. I opted for the house Bitter (3.9% ABV) which was a very pleasant traditional bitter and I am sure it would make a good session beer. It had a delightful colour and aroma and it went down smoothly. A room for the night would have meant sampling all five ales but not tonight.
Back in Stratford-on-Avon there was time for a pint of Sadlers JPA (the beer I know how to brew!!) at the local Wetherspoons. However, I have now made two visits to Warwick on consecutive evenings and there is still plenty to explore so there will be a few more visits before the end of the year.