I came upon this lovelly pub by accident during a walk myself and a local walking group were on, so we thought we'd stop for lunch. I'm so glad we did as we recieved first class friendly service and although we only had snacks they were delicious and many of us will go back for a proper evening out. The open fire just made this gorgeous country pub and the men raved about the Ringwood ale!!!
The Running Horse Inn is probably one of the best pubs to eat when in Alresford. A varied menu serving everything from salads, steaks, scampi but it is worth trying some of the local dishes. The watercress and ale sausages and mash are great (£8.95), as is the trout with prawn and lobster sauce (£11.95) Buckman blue cheese (£5.95) Jude's ice cream (£4.95) All very nice and locally produced. Nice patio area, large car park, free wifi access, function room. Well kept cask ales and good selection of wines by the glass, excellent cappuccino. Family friendly.
In my job I travel all over the country and this gives me an excellent opportunity to sample the local brews. I have found some real gems over the years, many completely off the beaten track but worth the effort of exploration. It so happened that I was visiting clients in Bournemouth and, returning around lunchtime, felt the need for refreshment, both liquid and solid. So, out comes the trusty Good Beer Guide that retains a permanent place in the passenger door side pocket. What to choose? The Dorset/Hampshire border offers many splendid outlets as well as bevvies from local breweries. The most famous in the area is possibly the Ringwood Brewery, established by Peter Austin and famous because it was probably the originator of the modern micro-brewery movement. However, I spotted another pub that also boasts a micro-brewery, the Red Shoot Inn near the hamlet of Linwood in the south-west corner of the New Forest. It also attracted my attention because, although it can only be reached by winding country roads, the maps shows that the road in question eventually rejoins the A31, my route home. As it turned out the best laid plans... On eventually reaching the lane that leads to the pub I discovered a temporary sign warning me that the road ahead was closed although access to the pub was open. I decided to press on anyway. The Red Shoot Inn is adjacent to a camp site of the same name. A large building in terms of floor area, the entrance at the side of the building (protected by railings, presumably to make sure the locals, the New Forest Ponies, don't also drop in for a quick one) takes you past the micro-brewery itself, visible through windows between it and the lounge. The lounge is L-shaped around the bar and the amenities behind whic h takes up about one quarter, in one corner of the room. The room is on different levels with an area for pool players at the far end. The large size of the room means that games player and drinkers will not disturb each other. The floor is uncarpeted and the furniture is predominantly large kitchen style tables, old-fashioned kitchen chairs and benches. All in all, as befits the environment, a very rural feel. The day I was there there was also a real log fire that gave a warm feel as well as substantial actual heat. As I was driving I decided to forego the brewery's own Tom's Tipple at 5.0%ABV and have a pint of its Forest Gold instead, at 3.8%ABV. The Red Shoot Inn does also provide brews from other suppliers including Wadsworth's IPA, 6X and Farmers Glory. I have to say that I found Forest Gold somewhat disappointing. I don't know if the sample that I tried on the day was typical but I thought it unbalanced. A pale golden colour, it was characterised by a strong hop flavour. The beer had a distinct citric tang but little in the way of maltyness. I wasn't quite sure if I was drinking an ale or a lager. So, not really to my taste but, how about the food? The Red Shoot Inn has a good selection on offer on the menu and also a number of daily specials on the blackboard. They also have a fair selection of wines on their list. On the day I spotted Steak and Kidney Pudding on the board, one of my all-time favourites. The pudding was a little dry around the edges although not unpleasantly so. The meat was certainly tender and delicious and the gravy excellent. The pudding came with a separate dish of vegetables, boiled new potatoes, carrots, sweetcorn and cauliflower. The meal was enjoyable although the Steak and Kidney Pudding was by no means the best I have ever had (that honour goes to the Moat House Hotel in Victoria Street, Liverpool). Meal and drink came to just under £10. I'm glad I made the effort to reach the pub. All in all the visit was worthwhile. I shall probably visit again and this time perhaps try Tom's Tipple instead. I expect that in summer the atmosphere would be delightful although you may probably have to battle your way to the bar through the Happy Campers, dodging the ponies on the way! Red Shoot Inn Toms Lane Linwood Hampshire 01425 475792