Hassrale Trips: Ware
Date: Saturday 1st June 1991
A very pleasant former brewing town on the river Lee (or Lea) now designated as an outstanding conservation area. Considerable links with the brewing industry is apparent with the old maltings by the river [one is still in business]. There are some very nice walks from the town but beware it has no "Link" machines.
Trains to Ware leave Liverpool Street on the Hertford East line and leave at 04 and 34 minutes past the hour. The journey takes about 49 minutes. Trains returning are at 2121, 2151, 2221 and 2251.
On arrival just cross the road to find:-
1. Station Hotel, Station Road 
Beers: McMullens Original AK
Comments: Very handy for the station. Beware of Country bitter it is on keg. Two bar pub which closes at 2.30pm to reopen at 7pm. You will have to draw a key for the toilets. Small public bar but comfortable with plenty of room.
Turn right on facing the station and follow railway line along to the level crossing turn right to find:
2. Spread Eagle, 37 Amwell Road 
Beers: McMullens Original AK and Country
Comments: Very much a locals pub although still close to the station. Certainly a bit busier than the last one with the dartboard probably in use. Some food at lunchtime.
Continue along Amwell Road and cross the river passing the Saracens Head on your left. Cross the High Street to find:
3. Colbys, High Street 
Beers: Courage Directors, Best, John Smiths Bitter
Comments: More of a restaurant with a bar than a pub but welcomes those who just want to drink. beer was in good nick on the trial but the limited space can make it a bit crowded. More room for those who wish to eat and food is served until 2.15pm. The bar remains open until 3pm.
Proceed right along the High Street and past Tescos and pass the Whitbreads pub bear to the right and into West street to find:
4. The Old Punch House, 10 West Street 
Beers: Greene King Abbot, IPA and possibly the new Rayments BBA
Comments: Large one bar pub that will take a large Hassrale contingent with no problem. CD Jukebox and a large garden if the noise gets too loud. John thought the horse in the garden was for the barbecue. Open all day as a number are in this area. No indication of food in this one.
Back onto the High Street and just cross the road to find:-
5, The Brewery Tap, 83 High Street 
Beers: Greene King Abbot and IPA
Comments: Pleasant coaching-inn type of pub. Small upstairs bar but beware of larger down stairs drinking area as it is frequented by lovers of Heavy Metal. Foodwise I did see poppadoms, pickled eggs and toasted sandwiches. There is an outside courtyard with stable type toilets. Beer was again in excellent quality at the time of visit. Opens all day.
Continue to follow the High Street until it turns to the right and into Baldock Street. Just across the road you find:-
6. Old Bulls Head, 26 Baldock Street 
Beers: Ind Coope Burton, Tetleys, Adnams
Comments: Another one that should be open all day. Reasonable looking singel bar pub which as it is a little way out of town is not very busy. Plenty of seats. Boasts a large clock. There is an interesting list of pubs in Ware past and present on the wall.
Continue to the roundabout and from there into Watton Road on your left you will see:-
7. New Rose and Crown, 35 Watton Road 
Beers: Greene King IPA (may also have the XX Mild)
Comments: Another convivial pub but a little more busy so no guarantee of seats. Near to the Ware Football ground. Open all day which is seemingly more than you can say for the betting shop opposite.
To start the evening session we now have to proceed right the way back to the Spread Eagle, cross the level crossing and turn left. Just across the road we find:-
8. The Royal Oak, 20 London Road 
Beers: Benskins Best Bitter, Tetleys
Comments: Unfortunately there was no Benskins on the trial run. The pub looked closed at first sight but there is an entrance from the car park and it was certainly lively inside when we got in. Is seemingly open all day. 2 bar pub with a bit of an atmosphere. Beer that was on was in good nick. Very near to canal.
Continue along the London Road [I suppose if you just kept walking you would arrive home] to find on your right:-
9. The John Gilpin, London Road 
Beers: McMullens Country, Original AK
Comments: Substantial roadside inn occupying a large corner site on the Cambridge access roundabout. We felt it would probably get busy later in the evening but very empty at the time of the trial with lots of seats. Does food from 7.30pm but we were too early to sample it. Certainly the lunchtime menu looked reasonable. Pub open at 6pm.
We now cross the road and proceed back into town via Viaduct Road. On arriving back in Anwell Road turn right into the High Street and then right again to find on your right:-
10. Victoria, 2 Star Street [2100 or in time for train]
Beers: McMullens Original AK, Country
Comments: A good old fashioned pub with two bars; a comfortable lounge and a well appointed public bar laid out in true McMullens style. There was a good food menu but it was probably only for lunchtime.
We now have a short walk back to the station with the added bonus that if you have a short wait for your train you can return to the start of the trip with a visit to the first pub.
The trial was conducted some vast years ago by Dave Saffery, Martin Williams, Edmund Featherstone and John Wright (I think).
Note: As this trip was trialled some time ago I would expect that opening times will have changed. We may well have to adopt and nominate a base pub for the afternoon session.