Beer Blog

The Wig & Pen, Northampton

Wig & Pen-1

This and several other posts all stem from a Beer and Pubs Forum day out in Northampton. The cynic in me feared the boot and shoe town would be another Leicester. How wrong I was. I instantly took to it’s surprisingly cosmopolitan with a heavy east European influence cum old fashioned county town charm.

Disappointingly, at 1130am the four folk in the pub were outnumbered by the friendly staff. A quick pike outside revealed the majority of the customers basking in the beautiful sunshine in a pleasant beer garden/ terrace. By mid-day things had rectified themselves, and I counted three dozen punters which I reckon is pretty reasonable.

Apart from ourselves, everyone else were locals. Decent sorts too, that ranged from bar propping pint suppers, through pre-wedding drinks, to well dressed older ladies meeting grandsons (okay, it could have been her toy boy, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt). There was a fair smattering of rugby shirts too and the green, gold and black hoops were a predominant feature around town for the rest of the day.

Wig & Pen-4

Surprisingly I didn’t see any footy shirts at all, despite both rugby (beat Worcester 32 – 24) and soccer teams (drew 2 a piece with Oldham) playing the same afternoon. Mind you, when you know you’ve been relegated to the 4th Division already (League 2 to those working in post 1992 money) there’s not much proud shirt wearing to be done is there.

I chatted with Greta, the friendly landlady who was pulling one of the lines through, they had eight cask beers on when we popped in. She’s only been at the pub for 7 months but said she loved the place. I complemented her on the array of gleaming copper topped tables that greets you and the very high standard of cleanliness throughout the pub.

For the first drink of the day, I chose a pint of Hook Norton Old Hooky. Mrs C (3/10 crawlers were ladies) went for Silverstone Pit Stop. I had both at easily NBSS 3.5 + and not very far off 4.

Surprisingly, for a free house, they had Greene King beers on. Well it surprises me that anyone with a choice would choose GK ales? Retired Martin, however did, and when asked why he’d gone for GK IPA said, ‘I like beers made in big factories.’

I’m surprised he didn’t go for the Doom Bar? I think he’d got the monk on at the time, because John Benger had purchased a spiffing pair of Bass braces from a nearby charity shop for £4.50, and Martin didn’t even realise that such a thing actually existed.


The pub is traditionally decorated and in layout it’s a long thin affair that widens out a bit at the top. The GBG says it’s haunted by a young girl and there’s a video on You Tube that proves it?

If I had to sum The Wig & Pen up in a sentence it would be something like; Typical Town pub that’s spotlessly clean with decent cask ale on. Just don’t sit under one of the many TV screens because like me you might end up thinking everyone is staring at you.


7 replies »

  1. Spot on. Clean, friendly town pub not to be sniffed at. Your Hook Norton was a good choice, but I’m always keen to see what a good pub does with the, er, classics. I’d been a couple of times before and live music is a big feature here.


  2. Robust defence of GK IPA Martin – just because they make some heinous keg stuff, and try to ruin their own reputation in the name of profit, doesn’t mean that there cask is bad.

    Fear not on the bracers front – you may need to fork out a bit more than £4:50 for a brand new pair – but all is not lost…

    …not sure if the seller has grasped the relevance of the design though – bass guitar music? – dohhh!!!…


  3. Isn’t “The Wig & Pen” a GK chain of “free” houses ?
    There’s a pub by that name in Oxford’s George Street that I had always understood to be a GK tied house and not a real “free” house.


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