‘Ooh look, they’ve won pub of the year in two thousand and six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, thirteen, fourteen and fifteen. Mmm, I wonder who won it last year then?’
My immediate reaction on hearing that was they’ve either run out of space on the walls, or they’ve been too busy to put it up. I mean, there can’t be a better pub than the North Riding in Scarborough can there?
Well, according to the local CAMRA members there is now and The Stumble Inn on Westborough was awarded POTY 2015. So, we’d best go and have a look then.
Strictly speaking the Stumble Inn isn’t a pub, it’s a micro pub in a converted shop unit. But, as I always say, different isn’t wrong, and maybe this type of micro pub is the way forward, it just can’t be better than the North Riding, can it?
Now when I say micro pub then micro is the operative word. Three church pew style benches, five tables and a few buffets, bare board floors, nicely decorated in clean whites and fresh green. There are some nice tables in a designated seating area outside if the weathers nice, or you need to smoke. Sadly, as is usually the case, the Spring bank holiday weather was atrocious. Colder than Christmas day on the 1st of June apparently! Apparently the Stumble is licensed for 73 persons, 73! It would be rammed with half that many people in.
Despite the weather, the welcome inside was very friendly and we were warmly welcomed by landlady Michelle. She told me they opened in December 2014 and within four months were in The Good Beer Guide, which sounds like some sort of record to me? To give you some idea, they had just racked their thousandth barrel which would have been on w/e 4th June. Michelle has a nice photo album showing the development from start to finish and all the hard work she and her partner Brian have put in, he even built the bar. You could tell Michelle was proud of what they had achieved, and rightly so.
So what’s the attraction then? Well there are six real ales on hand pulls, plus eleven sweet ciders/perries and another eleven medium/dry ones, which sort of explains why it is cider POTY 2015 – I’ve been to big beer festivals that didn’t have as many!
The pricing for all the real ales is £3.20 a pint, whatever the strength, so some you win and the rest are appropriately priced. Michelle reckons that gives people chance to try everything they have on, without putting anyone off. Now looking around at the pump clips on the wall, they really have had a bit of everything, from all over as well. The only downside for me was that on two visits there were none of the hop forward beers I now prefer, although I could see they have had some progressive brewers and beers on.
Michele did get a rollicking though, I’d missed the sign saying that CAMRA members get 10p per pint off and no one asked me if I was a member. I only realised when an older gentleman came in and was immediately asked whether he was a CAMRA member. The discussion revolved around things like, beard, sandals with socks, rucksack, old fart, etc. before Michelle conceded that she just didn’t think I looked like a typical CAMRA member. I dare say, what I’ve just written here will offend some people, others will instantly get what I’m on about. Either way, in a jokey fashion, I think there is a lesson here about where CAMRA needs to be positioning itself.
You couldn’t fall out with Michelle though and we had a real laugh with her and the other customers. Likewise her son Stuart when we called in a second time and the outstanding feature on each visit was the genuinely friendly feel of the place. So much so, there were complimentary sandwiches on the bar at Friday tea time and it’s the same with cheese on Sundays.
Small, but well proportioned, spotlessly clean, cosy but at the same time light and airy, lovely owners and friendly punters. Overall, this is a cracking little boozer and a real addition to the Scarborough beer scene. I reckon there are three beer worthy pubs in Scarborough now; The Stumble Inn, The North Riding and Scholars, all three different with different strengths. The Stumble inn, is however unique, and I predict will continue to be a success.
On two visits we tried; Leyden Oyster stout, Milestones Raspberry wheat beer, Wentwell three times hopped light ale, Hop Back Summer Lightning, White Park Cranfield best. All the beer we tasted was on top form, fresh and well kept. Top marks to the Stumble Inn and Michelle and Brian.