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Pub Visit - England

Middlesbrough (Linthorpe), North Yorkshire:
Dr. Phil’s Real Ale House

Wednesday 11th August 2016

Bob Thompson

Dr Phils1Linthorpe is a suburb around two miles south of Middlebrough’s central area. Whilst researching this article I read it pretentiously described as an “Urban Village”, and that raised a chuckle. It is easily reached by bus, which is how I arrived just after opening time.

It was opened on 12th August 2013 by Dr Phil Thompson as he desired a career change. He had been in the Civil Service for fourteen years. He left that to obtain a PhD in Local Government Research. This explains the pub’s title. Middlesbrough then was a real ale desert, and still is in most areas. This situation was observed by Phil Thompson who took the plunge and opened his own pub.

Dr Phils2He was inspired by the Rat Race Ale house on Hartlepool station which was the second “new-wave” micropub to open in the country. Dr Phil’s and that pub have inspired many others that have opened on Tees-side where there are now thirteen making it quite a hotspot for the genre.

The premises were previously used as a Property Letting Office. I also found it was a Travel Agency. Quite possibly it has been both in the past.

He wanted it to be as close to ideals of the early micropubs. It only served cask beer and real ciders and perries. The hand pumps were located in a sort of cupboard and served directly to the customer. There was no bar counter.

After two and a half years he sought another career change and offered it to the Truefitt Brewery of Middlesbrough who supplied a lot of the pub’s beer.

He wanted to pass it on to an owner who would keep the pub more or less as it was. I’m not entirely sure that that has happened. A wooden bar counter has been built and the pumps are now fitted on it. The pub now sells wines, spirits (malt whisky and gin) and offers a number of bottled ciders and beers including Peroni lager and Hoegaarden wheat beer from multi-nation mega companies. Also they have Rekorderlig Wild Berry cider made from apple concentrate.

Dr Phils3Having got that out the way I must say this pub is well worth visiting. Even for a micropub it is small. The entrance door is on the right of the property. Inside, the space in front of the window there is a small table with loose stools. Around the room there are three more identical tables and stools. Along the left wall is a wooden bench. On the window shelf there are game sets such as chess, draughts, dominoes and cards. Between the bench and the window is a bookshelf whose contents can be purchased with a donation to the Great North Air Ambulance.

Dr Phils4The right side of the room is occupied by the bar and between it and the door there’s a shelf with high stools, where I rested myself. The walls are painted white and the pump clips of beers past are all over them. They are also creeping across the ceiling!

Four cask beers were offered, two from the owning brewery and two guests. For the home side there was Truefitt (North Ormesby, Middlesbrough) Brewery’s Erimus Pale Ale (3.9%) and Mydislbrough (5.0%). The away team was represented by Wainstone’s (Stokesley, North Yorkshire) Copper (4.3%) and Jet (4.5%), a Porter.

There were two still ciders from Abrahall’s (Celtic Marches Cider, Bishop’s Frome, Herefordshire) Thundering Molly cider (5.2%) and Ruby Tuesday (4.0%), a cider flavoured with raspberries. There was also a House Perry (7.5%) of unknown providence but possibly from Oliver’s (Ocle Pychard, Herefordshire). They also sell wine, including Prosecco as well a selection of posh soft drinks. Pub packs of crisps, nuts, etc. are also offered.

It’s well worth travelling out of the centre to sample the ales at this pleasant pub.

Important Information:

Dr Phil’s Real Ale House, 10 Pilkington Bldgs, Roman Road, Middlesbrough, TS5 6DY. Tel: 0752 5337123

Mon-Thu: 13.00-22.00; Sat: 12.30-23.00; Sun: 12.30-20.00; Fri: Closed.

Bus routes 11 and 17 from Middlesbrough Bus Station go through Linthorpe and pass close to the pub.
The stop is about 200 metres away.

Middlesbrough is served by many trains. From the south the most useful is the hourly Trans Pennine Express service from Manchester, Leeds, York and many other places on the way.
There is a Northern rail service from Darlington and another from Newcastle via Sunderland.