So as part of our Dartmoor Real Ale Trail Map – The Real Ale drinker’s guide to Dartmoor - we are introducing a dedicated blog to share our experiences, thoughts and ramblings about finding the best pint on Dartmoor! Now, I hate to admit this here, but personally as I am more of a gin drinker who could I find to take this challenge on? Funnily enough I was not short of applications, but two names sprung to mind immediately, obviously my own partner Julian who has been trying now for years to convert me to a Real Ale drinker and his partner in crime, the one and only Rick O’Shay!!!
So what is it that makes these two qualified to blog about Beer ….
Julian Tarrant-Boyce (aka known as Mr Dartmoor Accommodation)
Julian’s mis-spent youth was spent working behind the bar at his friend, Ricks, pub in Plymouth. This was a step into the unknown but along the way he learnt a few things about beer (and the people that drink it, but that is a different story)
Whilst Julian will drink lager, if forced, he is not really what you would call a “lager drinker” always preferring a pint of bitter.
His long standing partner in crime and now fellow Dartmoor Real Ale Trail ‘Moor the Merrier’ blogger, Mr Rick O’Shay ribbed him for drinking lager in his pub. Rick’s pub prided itself on serving a proper northern pint of John Smiths straight from the cask (no not cream flow!), complete with a thick creamy head that followed it all the way down the glass. Having been persuaded to try it Julian found he (more than) quite liked it and there starts the adventure into the unknown!
In his younger years Julian spent time in around London the South East in search of “a decent pint”. He found there were plenty of pubs that served a ‘nice’ pint but then again there were plenty that didn’t but what he discovered on his journey was a taste for a proper Real Ale instead of a simple pint of bitter. On relocating to Dartmoor, now some nine years ago, he was delighted to find the plethora of decent Real Ales to sample in the local pubs, he tells me he is still working his way through the pubs on the trail and the beers on offer, and enjoying every moment!
This picture shows Julian with two of his old school chums, that he has yet to convert to the tastes of proper Real Ale – it just goes to show once a Real Ale drinker always a Real Ale drinker – never bow to peer pressure!
Favourite Beer: Well where to start there are so many to choose from and he reliably informs me he hasn’t tried them all yet! But currently his beer fridge contains Dartmoor Brewery Ales and St Austell Tribute
Enjoys: Quality beer, good food – curry in particularly (well it goes with beer, right!), laughs with friends and music by Queen.
Claim to fame: Attended both the 1996 and 2012 Olympic Games, likes to say he was a competitor but in truth was just a spectator both times as they haven’t introduced ale drinking to the sports yet!
Rick began life in the licensed trade as a manager and took his first tenancy at the Queens Hotel in Baildon, West Yorkshire in 1985. He fell in love with the Autovac dispense system of Yorkshire beer serving a tight creamy head and vowed to recreate it in Plymouth one day. He served as a staff trainer for Tetley Brewery in the days when they still had one!
After the birth of his daughter it became his mission to raise her in Plymouth and on a trip to watch his beloved Plymouth Argyle play in the FA Cup against Everton, he saw a pub that had been closed due to fire called The Grapes. By 1989 he had signed a 10 year tenancy deal and completely refurbished the pub creating a Yorkshire theme and changed its name to the Three Ferrets, which was the name of the pub in the John Smiths TV advertising campaign. John Smiths cask ale was imported from Tadcaster especially for him and trade boomed. The pub became a destination and was packed solid at weekends. Inspired by ‘The Good Old Days’ TV show, a Sunday Night Show called ‘The Old Fat Hippy’s Golden Oldies Funshow’ became notorious and earned the pub a mention on the national news due to a ‘Clocking On’ machine for regulars.
Julian Tarrant-Boyce was his most able and trusted bar manager and the two shared many trips to beer festivals and hostelries on their quest for the perfect pint. Rick still enjoys trips to breweries up and down the country and is dismayed by the difficulties now facing the licensed trade. Several awards later he became a representative for a wine company and a fan of single malt whisky.
There is nothing that Rick enjoys more than a trip to a well-run pub that serves good local ale. Because of his knowledge of the brewing process and vast range of beers, both local and national, it makes Rick a perfect beer blogger for our ale trail. And by the way, he still performs music and comedy in pubs throughout the South West.
Favourite Beer: Keeping it local, Rick's favorite pint is Jail Ale
Enjoys: Scriptwriting, theatre and movies. Rick is a stauch Arglye supporter and also a doting Grandad.
Claim to fame: Wrote a chart song and sang on a Number One record!
Join in the banter with Julian and Rick on our own dedicated Dartmoor Real Ale - Moor the Merrier Facebook group