North East Suffolk

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

Branch News

  • ADVANCE NOTICE: The North East Suffolk CAMRA branch AGM for 2024 will take place on Saturday 9th March 2024 at the Caxton Club in Beccles. Meet from 12pm for 1pm meeting start. Monday 27 November 2023
  • CAMRA's Good Beer Guide 2025 Wednesday 1 November 2023

    Nominations for pubs to be included in the 2025 edition of CAMRA's Good Beer Guide are now open. Check the Members Area of this site for details

  • CAMRA County & Regional awards Monday 17 July 2023

    The Rumburgh Buck has been voted as CAMRA Suffolk County Pub of the Year for 2023 and the Caxton Club has been voted as CAMRA East Anglian Club of the Year for 2023.

  • AGM 2023 minutes Monday 10 April 2023

    The minutes of our branch Annual General Meeting for 2023 have been added to the Members Area of this website for access by local branch members.

  • Pubs of the Year 2023 Wednesday 15 March 2023

    We are pleased to announce our CAMRA branch PotYs (Pubs of the Year) for 2023

    Overall PotY is the Rumburgh Buck

    Town PotY is the Green Dragon in Bungay

    Rural PotY is the Westhall Racehorse

    Club of the Year is the Caxton Club in Beccles

    Congratulations to all of the winners.

  • Branch AGM minutes Sunday 12 March 2023

    The minutes of our branch Annual General Meetings for 2019, 2020 and 2022 (no AGM in 2021 due to Covid restrictions on gatherings) have been added to the Members Area of this website for access by local branch members.

  • Branch AGM for 2023 will start at 1pm on Saturday 11th March at the Caxton Club, Beccles. Meet from noon. Monday 23 January 2023
  • Branch Pub of the Year awards for 2022 Wednesday 23 March 2022

    The votes have been counted and the results are as follows. Overall Pub of the Year 2022 is the Butchers Arms in Beccles. Rural Pub of the Year 2022 is the Rumburgh Buck. Town Pub of the Year 2022 is the Triangle Tavern in Lowestoft.

  • Branch AGM 2022 will be at 1pm on Saturday 12th March at Caxton Club, Beccles. Meet from noon. Wednesday 2 February 2022
  • Social events to recommence in December 2021 Wednesday 8 December 2021
  • All CAMRA events cancelled up to end of June 2020 due to COVID-19: Tuesday 17 March 2020

    The Campaign for Real Ale has cancelled all national and local events until at least 30th June 2020 following the advice given by the Government. Future events will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

  • NES branch Pub of the Year results Thursday 12 March 2020

    The branch Pubs of the Year are as follows.

    Overall Pub of the Year is the Stanford Arms, Lowestoft. Town Pub of the Year is the Green Dragon, Bungay. Rural Pub of the Year is the Sailors Home, Kessingland.

  • Menu for annual branch meal at Sailors Home, Kessingland on 18th January 2020 Thursday 28 November 2019

  • NES branch socials report for Jul-Sep 2019 Sunday 29 September 2019

    North East Suffolk branch - socials report: Jul19-Sep19

    Following last year's venture outside of our branch area to Great Yarmouth, we decided in July to go over the county border again, but this time to Gorleston. We met at the William Adams, a Wetherspoons in the centre of town, whose guests ales included Green Jack Trawlerboys and Jurassic Midnight Blinder alongside the ubiquitous Ruddles, Doombar and Abbot. From here we went to the Dock Tavern, a small pub serving Rudgate Jorvik, Cotleigh Styrian Wolf, Exile Urban Fox, Adnams Broadside and its own Dock Tavern Bitter and soon it was time to go to our next pub, the New Entertainer. Here we had a choice from Greene King IPA & Barmy Army, Fuller's London Pride, Belhaven 1719, Wadworth 6X and Sweet Mary Jane, a collaboration between Ilkley and Tiny Rebel breweries. This latter beer was described as a milkshake pale and was not to my taste (which is a rarity). Having arrived too early for the Oddfellows Arms it was suggested that we have a quick beer at the Pier Hotel which was very busy, but we found a table with our choice from Sharps Doombar, London Pride, Adnams Bitter and Wolf Golden Jackal. We re-traced our steps to the Oddfellows Arms which was serving Lacons Encore & Legacy and Norfolk Nog, Nelson's Revenge and Volt IPA from Woodforde's. Our next two July social events were also in Norfolk and took us to the North Norfolk Railway beer festival in Sheringham and the Humpty Dumpty brewery beer festival in Reedham. Both were very much enjoyed.

    In August, we made our annual trip to Walberswick & Southwold. I paid a quick visit to Southwold Pier where Adnams Bitter and Ghost Ship were on the bar. I then walked to the Sail Loft where Adnams Mosaic and Lacons Legacy were being served. I then continued to Walberswick to meet other branch members at the Anchor for a choice of Green Jack LGM1, Adnams Bitter and Ghost Ship. The weather stayed fine so we sat in the pub's front garden with our beers. A short walk away is the Bell, which was serving Adnams Lighthouse, Bitter, Ghost Ship & Broadside. A table had just been vacated in the back garden so were able to sit down with our drinks. Most of us then walked along the river path and across the footbridge to the Harbour Inn in Southwold with others opting to take the ferry service. The pub was serving the same four beers as the previous pub so we had by now had all of Adnams regularly available beers. A walk back into town saw us visit the Lord Nelson and Swan Hotel which, once again, both had the same Adnams beers with the former also serving Mosaic. By this time, some of us were also looking at the bottled beer options. Over the week leading up to the August bank holiday and during the weekend itself there are so many beer festivals to choose from that we only go to one event as a group hence we met up at the Norman Warrior in Lowestoft on the Saturday. The pub had decided on a colour theme so the 24 beers were from Green Duck, White Rock, Red Willow, Purple Moose, Black Sheep, Greene King and Blue Monkey breweries with only Titanic Plum Porter being related to the beer's name. I liked all those I sampled, but particularly enjoyed Red Willow Smokeless and Black Sheep Imperial Stout. The following Friday I was joined by several others at the Three Blind Mice tap takeover at the Stanford Arms in Lowestoft. The brewery's beers are always interesting and featured on the day were fruity beers such as a Coconut & Lime IPA, a Soured Apricot Saison and a Raspberry & Lemongrass Pale. There was also a best bitter/brown ale, a wheat beer, a milk porter and several hoppy beers. The next day, we attended the Oddfellows beer festival in Pakefield where available beers included Green Jack Summer Dream, Trawlerboys, Flowerpower & Ripper; Colchester Drizzle; Crouch Vale Mosaic & Amarillo; Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde Mild; Lacons Charter and beers from Fat Cat and Wantsum. The event features live music and was very popular being much busier than I have ever known it to be before with long queues in the beer tent by mid-afternoon.

    The next day was Sunday 1st September and members once again met up for the annual inter-branch bowls match at the Caxton Club in Beccles. Severn Brewery Double Hopped Pale Ale, Great Heck Christopher, Green Jack Summer Dream, Parkway Monkey Business and Dawkins Foresters Black were served with the latter being my favourite on the day. For those interested in the outcome of the bowls match, Suffolk beat Norfolk convincingly. Our September meander was in the Kirkley area of Lowestoft starting at the Plough & Sail, which was very busy as a coach load of people were having a drink prior to a day out at the races in Great Yarmouth. The pub was serving Greene King IPA & Barmy Army and Sharp's Doombar & Atlantic. We then had a pit-stop in the Royal Oak for a half of Adnams Ghost Ship before a stroll to the Hatfield Hotel where we sat on the terrace looking out to sea with our choice of Greene King Old Golden Hen or Yardbird. We walked back towards the railway station to Notleys where the Adnams Southwold Bitter had just been replaced by the same brewery's Broadside. Next door is the Harbour Inn which mainly serves meals, but where visitors are welcome to have a drink. It is normally Lacons and Adnams available and, true to form, we had Encore or Ghost Ship from which to choose. Our final stop was the Joseph Conrad which had its regular GK Abbot, Ruddles Bitter and Sharp's Doombar with a couple of guests from which I chose Wolf Sirius. I had just missed a train so I had time to pop in to the Stanford Arms for a last drink, Raspberry & Lemongrass Pale from Three Blind Mice. Our final event of September was to join members of East Norfolk branch on an evening social in Lowestoft. Some of us met at the Triangle Tavern to sample some Green Jack ales prior to joining the rest at the Norman Warrior which was very busy as one bar was hosting a private party. Beers available here were GK IPA, Sharps Doombar, Morland Old Speckled Hen, Mauldons Lemon Adder, Lacons Encore and Lacons JSD (a collaboration with Fyne Ales). We moved on to the Mariner's Rest, which was serving Jennings Cumberland, Wychwood Hobgoblin, Woodforde's Nelson's and Exmoor Wildcat along with 23 ciders. A short walk away is the Stanford Arms where I had time for a final pint before catching my last train home at 9.07pm leaving the others at the pub where Mauldon's Bitter & Christie's, Great Heck Treasure IPA, Wolf Sirius & Wolf Ale, Winters The Beans and Three Blind Mice Little Gem, Old Brown Mouse & Death By Simcoe (my choice) were on hand pump.

  • NES branch bus trip report - June 2019 Friday 28 June 2019

    North East Suffolk branch bus trip - 1st June 2019

    Our 2nd annual bus trip saw us meet in Beccles Old Market on a warm and sunny day to await the arrival of our transport for the day, a 1971 poppy red bus. Everyone was punctual so the 40 of us on board were delighted to set off on time for the drive to the Wenhaston Star, our first stop of the day where we met up with another member. We found home-made sausage rolls available at the bar alongside the beer selection, which included three beers from Green Jack – Golden Best, LGM1 and Ripper. The group got their drinks and spread out in the bar area with many taking advantage of the sunshine and going into the lawned garden where there was also a marquee that provided shade. There is a war memorial opposite the pub, which several people stopped to take in before getting back on the bus for the next stage of our journey through Halesworth, Walpole and Heveningham to Laxfield in the neighbouring CAMRA branch area where we had the joy of two pubs to visit. I first went to the Laxfield Low House (Kings Head), which was bought from Adnams in 2018 and is now a community pub with all beers served on gravity from a tap room. The beers waiting for us to sample included Bull of the Woods Summer Pale, Green Jack Golden Best & Gone Fishing, Adnams Southwold Bitter, Lacons Encore and Star Wing Stain Glass Blue. There is a large enclosed garden to the rear with a view of the church over the top of the pub. After sampling the Summer Pale and Stain Glass Blue, I walked around the corner to the Laxfield Royal Oak which is in a nice position close to the church and museum. The bar and front patio were busy with visitors, guests attending a wedding and our group with their choice of Crouch Vale Brewer's Gold, Adnams Southwold Bitter, Earl Soham Victoria and Woodforde's Wherry. It was soon time to move on so we once again boarded the bus for our trip back over the (imaginary) border to North East Suffolk and our next stop, the Bramfield Queen's Head. The arrival of our bus in this small village resulted in several people coming out of their homes and some taking photos of the bus. The rural Grade II listed 16th Century pub re-opened under new ownership in August 2018 and has been tastefully refurbished. On the pub's single bar at our visit, beers from Adnams and Woodfordes were being served alongside Tipples Lady Evelyn and, as it was still a lovely day, many of us sat in the pub's lovely enclosed garden to the rear. With time moving on, we made our way back to the bus for the journey to our final pub of the day, the Shadingfield Fox. The original pub dates back to the 16th Century with some original features being retained. The bar features eight pumps with the beer range constantly changing. At our visit, breweries featured included Grain, Oakham, Tindall, St Peter's, Nene Valley and, a nice find, Nelson's Tree from Beccles Brewing Co, a new local brewery. I enjoyed my final drinks sitting on the pub's patio before it was time to board the bus one final time for our return journey to Beccles. Feedback suggests that this bus trip was enjoyed by all, especially as it took in rural pubs with virtually no public transport that most of us had not visited for a long time and, in some cases, never before.

  • NES branch socials report for Apr-Jun 2019 Friday 28 June 2019

    North East Suffolk branch socials report: Apr19-Jun19

    A shorter report for this quarter with the first event being our branch pub of the year presentation to Dave & Sam Burd of the Stanford Arms, which took place at the pub's Easter beer festival. The ales being served on the day were an interesting selection from Brew York (Jarsa, Glutenus Minimus, Tonkoko), Howling Hops (Pudding Ale, Dinner Ale), Three Blind Mice (Old Brown Mouse, Yello Cello) and Tiny Rebel (Lush, Cwtch, Pump Up The Jam), which were certainly enjoyed by our members. Our meander in April took us to Halesworth meeting just outside the town at the Triple Plea where Adnams Southwold Bitter, Woodforde's Wherry, Greene King St Edmunds and Triple Tipple (a house beer by Greene King) were on tap. This was followed by a walk into town to the White Hart (Adnams Southwold, Ghost Ship & Broadside and Fuller's London Pride), the White Swan (Adnams Southwold and Wadworth Horizon) and the Angel (Adnams Southwold, Ghost Ship and Broadside).

    In early May, we presented the Triangle Tavern with their branch town pub of the year certificate. As you would expect, beers available were from Green Jack and were Albion Mild, Golden Best, Excelsior, LGM1, Orange Wheat, Trawlerboys, Lurcher, Canary Premier, Gone Fishing, Mahseer & Ripper (keg) with guest beer Severn Brewery's Golden IPA. Our May meander took us to Bungay for an 11am start (a necessity owing to the bus timetables) meeting at the Chequers where the four beers on tap were Green Jack Golden Best, St Peters Organic Best Bitter, Belhaven 1719 and Hardys & Hansons Olde Trip. With only three hours in Bungay we couldn't hang around so it was soon off to the Fleece Inn where we had our choice of Greene King IPA or either of two Oakham beers (Hare and Hedgehog and Scarlet Macaw). We finished our trip at the Green Dragon where the brewery's Chaucer, Gold and Bridge Street Bitter were on tap with Strong Mild and Dragon on gravity. At the end of May we met at the Wenhaston Star to attend their beer festival and present them with our branch rural pub of the year certificate. Beers in the marquee were from Bishop Nick (1555, Heresy, Martyr, Ridley's Rite), Colchester (Jack O' The Green, Sweeney Todd), Crouch Vale (Anchor St Porter, Citra, Zenit), Farmers (Golden Boar, Jack in the Green, A Drop of Nelson's Blood, Summit Special), Green Jack (Albion Mild, Canary Premier, Ripper), Mighty Oak (Moon Rocks, Organ Grinder, Outcast, Simply Citra) and Red Fox (Best Bitter, Coggeshall Gold, Hunters Gold, Wild Fox).

    On another warm, sunny day in June, the Shadingfield Fox held their annual Father's Day beer festival where the 19 beers being served (12 on gravity) were Beccles Brewing Co (Hodgkins Hop, Leman Drop, Nelson's Tree), Bull of the Woods Red Morning Light, Ampersand Salem Dark Lager, Clouded Minds (99 Steps, Clout Stout), Beeston (On The Huh, Stoatwobbler), St Peters's (India Pale Ale, Cream Stout), Woodforde's Bure Gold, Adnams Ghost Ship, Blue Monkey (Infinity, Funky Gibbon, BG Sips) and Oakham (Tranquility, Khyber Pass, Maelstrom). Our June meander was in Beccles and featured pubs that we rarely visit as a group. These were the Kings Head Hotel where eight different beers were being served (which I managed not to record), Graze at the White Horse (Lacons Encore, Ruddles County), Waveney House Hotel (Adnams Southwold, Oakham JHB) and Caxton Arms (Truman's Lazarus, Elland Ruby Mild, GK Abbot).

  • Branch Pub of the Year awards for 2019 announced Sunday 31 March 2019

    Our Pub of the Year awards for 2019 are listed below.

    Overall Pub of the Year - Stanford Arms, Lowestoft; Town Pub of the Year - Triangle Tavern, Lowestoft; Rural Pub of the Year - Wenhaston Star; Cider Pub of the Year - Caxton Club, Beccles;

  • NES branch socials report for Jan-Mar 2019 Sunday 31 March 2019

    North East Suffolk branch socials report: Jan-Mar19

    For our traditional New Year social a group of 18 branch members ventured, once again, to the Oddfellows in Pakefield which had a few additional beers on gravity so available were Old Ale and Southwold Bitter from Adnams, Pakefield Pride, Red Robin, Ploughboys and Lurcher from Green Jack, Woodforde's Bure Gold, Titanic Plum Porter and Elland 1872 Porter. A very pleasant afternoon was spent discussing the previous year and planning future events. In addition, I had found a copy of the 1979 GBBF (held at Alexandra Palace) magazine which was passed around for perusal and brought back memories of breweries and beers now long gone. The January meander was in North Lowestoft starting at the Norman Warrior (St Austell Proper Cracker, Mauldons Pickwick, Sharp's Doombar, Morland Old Speckled Hen, GK IPA & Abbot). This is a large estate pub at the apex of a triangle with Oulton Broad North and Lowestoft rail stations at the other points. After a beer or two we walked south passing Lowestoft Cemetery to the Mariners Rest (Purple Moose Dark Side of the Moose, 4T's Squirrels Heaven, Jennings Cumberland, GK Abbot Reserve) where a large selection of ciders were also available. This is a one-bar pub which has some interesting small stained-glass type windows in alcoves that feature stylised fish. We were running a little late and had more pubs to visit so re-traced our steps a little and headed north-east to the Tudor Rose (Tudor Rose Ale (a house beer from Green Jack), Old Speckled Hen, Milk Street Amber), which is close to East Coast College and then continued to the Oak Tavern (Adnams Bitter, GK Abbot, Nelson's Revenge, Mauldons Mole Trap), another one-bar pub. Our final pub of the day was the Triangle Tavern (Green Jack Golden Best, Mandarina, Ole Cock, Trawlerboys, Lurcher, Gone Fishing, Mahseer IPA, Ripper on keg + Wadworth 6X) which was a fine end to a lovely afternoon. On a bright sunny day our annual meal for 2019 was attended by 30 members at the Sailors Home in Kessingland, which had on handpump Adnams Southwold Bitter, Green Jack Red Robin, Wolf Mad Wolf and GK Abbot Reserve and, on gravity, Adnams Broadside, Lacons Encore, Green Jack Golden Best, Trawlerboys, Gone Fishing & Mahseer IPA. Our final event in January was a social in Beccles starting at the Butchers Arms (Reunion Opening Gambit, St Peter's Moonbeam, Great Heck Dave, Woodforde's Wherry, GK Abbot, Dark Star Hophead) on the outskirts of town then heading to the Ingate (Green Jack Trawlerboys, Lacons Legacy, St Peter's Ruby Red Ale, Sharp's Atlantic) and finally the Caxton Club (Green Jack Mahseer IPA, Butcombe Rare Breed, Parkway Brewing Talking Parrot, GK Abbot).

    Our first social in February was on a cold day in Oulton Broad. Meeting at the Commodore (Adnams Southwold, Lighthouse & Ghost Ship, Sharps Sea Fury), we sat indoors with our beer choice and a fine view over the Broad itself. Our next pub, just around the corner, was the Wherry Hotel (Adnams Southwold & Ghost Ship, Woodfordes Wherry) where, although many diners were in attendance, was large enough to give plenty of room for the drinker. We crossed the bridge to Broadview (Adnams Southwold, Lighthouse & Ghost Ship) and then walked along the path alongside the water to Quayside (Adnams Southwold, Ghost Ship & Broadside, GK London Glory), a bar that mainly provides its services to the holidaymakers that stay on the site. Rather than a meander in February, the branch met at the Great British Beer Festival Winter for its last time at St Andrews and Blackfriars Halls in Norwich. Far too many beers available to mention, but this has been well worth visiting during the festival's time in Norwich.

    Our March meander was in Pakefield where we started at the Ship which served its regular beers, Sharps Doombar + Atlantic and Sippin' In The Riggin' (Morland). This is a street corner pub with rooms either side of the bar and has a paved garden. We then walked to the Tramways (Adnams Ghost Ship, Earl Soham Sir Roger's Porter, Timothy Taylor's Landlord), which looks to be thriving as both a restaurant and pub. A five minute walk along the main road took us to the Carlton (GK Abbot, Morland Old Speckled Hen, GK London Glory), a street corner pub where the pub dog was very interested in our group (or possibly what we might have in our pockets). Next was another short walk to the Trowel & Hammer (Marston's 61Deep, Robinson's Trooper, Adnams Broadside), a small pub with a large garden that has views looking out to sea. An even shorter walk found us in the Jolly Sailors (Humpty Dumpty Little Sharpie, GK Abbot, Adnams Ghost Ship and Southwold Bitter) a pub on the clifftop coastal path and close to stairs that go down to the beach. We had some time so decided to walk along the coastal path to the Oddfellows (Adnams Southwold Bitter, Pakefield Pride (Green Jack), Woodforde's Bure Gold and Nelson's Revenge, Bull of the Woods Inca Gold) for a final pint before heading home. Our final social of the quarter was a day out drinking Adnams beers in Southwold. Arriving early, I took the opportunity to walk along the coast and around the harbour area and encountered dachshund after dachshund taking part in the 5th annual Southwold Sausage Walk raising funds for a charity supporting dogs with a spinal condition called intervertebral disc disease. I left the dogs to their walk on the beach and joined fellow branch members at the Red Lion which was already busy with cyclists and families enjoying the warm weather. Southwold Bitter, Ghost Ship and Broadside are generally found in Adnams houses so I will only mention those beers which were also available on the day. Here it was Fat Sprat. We then moved to the small back bar of the Crown which had no additional beers and where we sat with our choices in this cosy bar. Our next stop was the Sole Bay Inn which had Mosaic Pale Ale and Old Ale, all of us having one or the other of them. We managed to find a table at the back of the pub to relax and put the world to rights. Next port of call was the Lord Nelson which was serving Fat Sprat and Oyster Stout with all of us choosing the latter. The pub was very busy, but we found a table in their garden to rest our old bones. Our final pub of the day was the newly refurbished Swan which was also very busy and serving Oyster Stout, which was so good most of us had it again. We then left to catch our transport home where, as I left the bus, waiting to board it was a large group led by Elvis!

    We held our AGM in early March where our branch Pubs of the Year for 2019 were revealed. Our overall PotY is the Stanford Arms in Lowestoft, our Town PotY is the Triangle Tavern in Lowestoft, our Rural PotY is the Wenhaston Star and our Cider PotY is the Caxton Club in Beccles.

  • Menu for annual branch meal at Sailors Home, Kessingland on 19th January 2019 Saturday 19 January 2019

  • NES branch socials report for Oct-Dec 2018 Wednesday 2 January 2019

    North East Suffolk branch socials report: Oct18-Dec18

    In October, we met up in Lowestoft with a few members from Ipswich branch for our monthly meander. We started at the Joseph Conrad, a large street corner Wetherspoon's pub on two floors, where the beers on offer included Mauldon's Blackberry Porter, Evan Evans Hop Picker, Acorn Oatmeal Stout as well as the regular beers from Ruddles, Greene King and Sharp's. Although the pub was very busy, a couple of tables were found to accommodate our group where we sat and chatted whilst enjoying a few beers. Our next stop was the Triangle Tavern, brewery tap for Green Jack brewery, where many of their beers were on offer and where I tried Jenny Morgan, Mahseer IPA, Gone Fishing and Trawlerboys. The conversation turned to beer festivals and someone in the pub (Neil, I seem to recall) turned out to have been involved in the organisation of the 1st beer festival held in Birmingham. Most of us then moved on to the Stanford Arms, located in a residential area and five minutes walk from Lowestoft Town FC. Of the many beers available in the pub, my choices on the day were Howling Hops Tropical Deluxe and Ampersand Cocow. A week later we attended a lunchtime session of the Norwich Beer Festival, which is always enjoyed by our members and also gives the opportunity to visit a few pubs once the festival closes for the afternoon.

    Our first social in November was a visit to our 2018 branch Pub of the Year, the Shadingfield Fox, for their annual 'Firework Night' beer festival. A good turnout of 14 members enjoyed sampling the beers available with the option of trying three separate thirds in a paddle. Beers on gravity were Elgoods Black Dog, Lacons Hydra + Triple Dragon, Timber Wolf, Oakham Deep Thought + Elephant in the Whirlpool and, on handpump, Nene Valley Manhattan Project, Adnams Old Ale, Wolf For Fox Sake, Grain Big Red, St Peters Plum Porter + Cream Stout and Golden Triangle Hop Lobster. Our second event was a visit to the Beccles Beer Festival at the Public Hall in the town centre which, as usual, featured only beers from Suffolk and Norfolk breweries. Too many to list here but there are always a few unusual and hard to find beers which, this time, included Blimey Son of Paleface, Mr Bees Pollen Power, Peoples Brewery Norfolk Cascade, Opa Hays Armistice Ale, Humpty Dumpty Emerald IPA, Wildcraft Wild Stallion + two from Bull of the Woods, Vapour Trail and Twisted Wheel. Our final event in November was our meander, this time visiting Bungay. Poor local transport, but good pub opening times, meant that we had to travel early hence four of us could be found in a local cafe having breakfast before meeting up with other members in the Chequers when it opened at 11am. The four beers on tap in the pub were Oakham JHB, GK IPA, Green Jack Old Cock and Severn Brewing Pale Ale. As many of the attendees were local branch committee members, we also took the opportunity to have an impromptu meeting to discuss some urgent branch business. We then moved on to the Green Dragon where their Chaucer, Bridge Street Bitter, Gold, Strong Mild and MDMA were available. Two of the Green Dragon brewing team were in the pub so we took the opportunity to chat to them whilst we had a drink. Unfortunately, as our bus home was leaving at 14.30, we had no time to visit any other pubs in Bungay although a couple of us managed a few beers in Beccles on the way home.

    In early December, 20+ branch members made the journey to the Humpty Dumpty Brewery at Reedham for their open weekend and the opportunity to take a brewery tour and buy something from their shop. A charity bar had been set up with many of the brewery's beers available to sample including Little Sharpie, Big Sharpie, Red Mill, Broadland Sunrise, Swallowtail, Christmas Crackling and Christmas Crack. Our December meander saw us meet at Livingstone's, a large pub in Kessingland where four beers were available. These were Adnams Southwold & Ghost Ship, St Peters Merry Elf and Timber Wolf from Wolf. We also met the new landlord who talked us through the changes that had been made and refurbishments planned. Both child and dog-friendly, we were also shown the pub's 'horse parking' in a corner of its car park, which comprised an open stable-type area for tethering horses with hay available for feed. Unfortunately, there are now only two open pubs in Kessingland so we walked down towards the beach and our final pub, the Sailors Home, which had nine beers available (some gravity). These were Scrooge's Revenge and Whiteadder from Mauldon's, Southwold Bitter and Tally Ho-Ho-Ho from Adnams, Lacons Old, Oakham Below Zero, Abbot Reserve, Green Jack Trawlerboys and Stain Glass Blue from Star Wing. I was in the mood for dark ales so was particularly happy with the choice. Our discussions frequently turn to music and the Enid (look them up), the favourite band of one of our members. After I had left to get the bus home, I am told that the landlord was persuaded to play one of their tracks with some bemusement from those still in the pub. Our Christmas social was in Lowestoft and we met at the Triangle Tavern where many Green Jack beers were available + Lacons St Nick and Black Sheep Brian. After a few session strength beers, I decided to have a half each of the Mahseer and Gone Fishing. Some of our group decided to visit the Oak Tavern before joining me and the rest of us at our next planned pub but, unfortunately, I have no notes of beers that were on tap so it's on to our next and final venue, the Stanford Arms. Beers available here were 3@3@3 & Juice Rocket from Three Blind Mice, Simple Pleasures & Manhattan Project from Nene Valley, Golden Jackal & Sirius from Wolf, Grain 3.1.6, Bronze Adder and Thomas' Tipple from Mauldon's, Golden Triangle Tramp Juice 2 and Winter's Whirlwind. A good day to finish the branch socials for 2018.

    One sad occasion for us was the death of Bob Helliwell, our former Branch Secretary and regular attendee at branch socials, who passed away on 31st October last year. Many of Bob's CAMRA friends attended his funeral and afterwards raised a glass of Adnams to his memory in his local, the Angel, in Halesworth.

  • NES branch socials report for Jul-Sep 2018 Wednesday 3 October 2018

    North East Suffolk branch - socials report: Jul18-Sep18

    In mid-July a group of us travelled to Sheringham for our annual visit to the North Norfolk Railway beer festival held on the station's Poppy Line platform. As it was a nice day, I took advantage of the weather, arrived early and took a long walk along the coast path returning in time for the opening of the festival. Plenty of real ale or real cider plus steam trains – a good combination for many with several visitors taking the trip to Holt and back. The following Wednesday was one of our rural mid-month meanders, on this occasion a two-pub visit starting at the Wenhaston Star where Adnams Southwold, Magpie Best, Woodforde's Volt IPA, Golden Best and Summer Dream from Green Jack were available alongside Giggler Cider. We sat in the pub's large garden for a few beers then walked – some took the bus - to the Blyford Queen's Head which is an Adnams pub recently under new management. We chose our beers from those available and sat at tables just outside the front of the pub and had a good view of nesting parent birds going back and forth feeding their young. It was soon time for most of our group to catch the bus home via Southwold leaving three of us, one of whom was driving and who gave me a lift home. The route took us past the Shadingfield Fox so we decided to pop in to see the staff and have a last drink. Our final social in July was another regular on our calendar – the annual Humpty Dumpty Brewery beer festival in Reedham, a short walk from the train station. As well as the brewery's own beers, many others were available. I personally had Wibblers Hop Black, Three Blind Mice Lonely Snake, Elland Road Trip, Itchin Hampshire Rose, Colchester Brazilian and Billericay Zeppelin. There were also five unusual beers from Norfolk Broads Brewing called Jane's Addiction which were based on sweet shop treats – Lemon Sherbet and Black Jack were available when I visited, although Old English Toffee, Rhubarb & Custard and Fruit Salad were due to be available.

    We met up at the Walberswick Anchor for our August mid-month meander and found Oakham JHB being served alongside Southwold Bitter, Ghost Ship and Mosaic from Adnams. We sat in their front garden and were joined by the landlord for a chat and who proceeded to look after us well providing a jug of an experimental porter and a bottle of his Harvest Ale to taste. We were also joined briefly by a couple of CAMRA members from Essex who, I think, were on a walking holiday. Much later than planned we moved on to the Walberswick Bell and sat in their large garden with our choice of the four Adnams beers on offer, most of us opting for T'Drop. We then walked towards the ferry to find a long queue so we decided to walk along the river path and cross the footbridge where we headed to the Harbour Inn where Adnams Southwold, Mosaic, Ghost Ship and Broadside were being served. Once again, we sat in the garden only to find that the warm weather seemed to have encouraged the wasps as they were all around us. We eventually found a wasp-free spot and finished our drinks before heading back to the bus stop and travel home. At the end of August, we ventured to the Norman Warrior in Lowestoft for their annual beer festival, which was held in their newly refurbished and family friendly garden. Some 20 beers were being served along with a large number of ciders and, thankfully, the weather stayed dry while we were there. At the end of the month a small group of us joined locals and visitors at the Stanford Arms in Lowestoft for their late Summer event where all beers served on their 12 handpumps were from London breweries Canopy, Crate, East London, Hammerton, Howling Hops, One Mile End and Truman's.

    In early September we met at the Oddfellows in Pakefield for their beer festival, which is held on Oddfellows Green opposite the pub and adjacent to the coastal path. Breweries featured included Church End, Wye Valley, Derventio, Lincoln Green, Revolutions, Wolf, Green Jack and Great Heck. A very pleasant afternoon was spent drinking and chatting and listening to the live music later in the afternoon. Our September mid-month meander took us to Halesworth. We met at the Triple Plea,a 20 minute walk from the railway station, where Woodforde's Wherry, Adnams Southwold, Mauldon's Dickens and Triple Tipple, a 4.1% beer brewed by Greene King, were waiting for us. There were many customers for lunch so we settled down with our drinks in the seating area close to the bar. We then walked to the town centre's White Hart where a few of our group decided to have some lunch. The beer choice was from Fuller's London Pride and three beers from Adnams – Southwold, Ghost Ship and Broadside. We continued our afternoon out by walking to the White Swan situated opposite St Mary's church. Adnams Southwold was being served with Greene King Old Golden Hen about to come on. Our final pub was meant to be the Angel, but upon arriving, we discovered that it was hosting a wake and was very busy so we decided to return to the White Hart for a final drink. Later in the month we were invited to attend a St Peter's Brewery 'meet the team' event at the Butcher's Arms in Beccles where four pins of the brewery's beers – Mild, Bitter, Golden Ale and Plum Porter - were being served alongside the pub's regular offerings. This was a rare Sunday outing for us and it was at short notice so it was a pretty good turnout by our branch who enjoyed the afternoon, which also featured live music.

    Great Yarmouth social

    Our final social of the quarter was a trip across the border into Norfolk to visit a few pubs in Great Yarmouth. Our first beer was in the Tombstone Saloon, a one-bar local where we were joined by a local CAMRA member. The beers are served by gravity with three other breweries featured on the day as well as the Tombstone ales. I tried Texas Jack and Arizona from Tombstone and a beer from Magpie. From here, we walked the short distance to the Mariners where amongst others being served were Nene Valley New Age Chestnut and Bosun's Razamataz, which were both enjoyed by our group. The third pub that we visited was the Red Herring - close to the Time & Tide Museum - where there was a choice of three beers including Robinson's and Lacon's. Finally, we walked back to the Oliver Twist - a small pub close to the market area – where I finished with another beer from the Tombstone brewery.

  • CAMRA county and regional awards Friday 17 August 2018

    The following have been awarded to pubs in our branch. Suffolk County Pub of the Year was awarded to the Shadingfield Fox on 14th August 2018. The East Anglia Regional Club of the Year will be awarded to the Caxton Club, Beccles on Sunday 16th September at 1pm followed by the annual CAMRA Norfolk v Suffolk bowls match. See Branch events for details.

  • NES branch bus trip report - June 2018 Tuesday 3 July 2018

    North East Suffolk branch bus trip

    As it is no longer possible to visit many rural pubs by public transport we decided to organise our own bus trip, which is the reason that a group of 28 gathered at Beccles Old Market on a wet June morning to await the arrival of our transport for the afternoon, a poppy red 1970's single deck bus. Leaving only 10 minutes later than planned, the driver soon made up the time as we picked up a passenger in Bungay and again in Halesworth before arriving on time at our first stop of the day, the Wissett Plough, which is under new ownership and has been nicely refurbished including the previous small brewery area now being part of the pub. Leaving our driver to perform the tricky task of reversing the bus into the pub's car park the group, now numbering 30, entered the pub and received a warm welcome from the staff including the provision of some nibbles to eat. On offer on the day were Lacon's Encore, Adnams Southwold Bitter, Green Jack Trawlerboys and Greene King Abbot. Within a short time the sun had made an appearance so some of the group moved outside to the terrace front garden while a few of us were shown around the cellar area. After an hour or so it was time to move on so we boarded the bus for the short drive to our next stop, the Rumburgh Buck, which was found to be quite busy with local customers when we arrived. This pub has a dining room and three drinking areas off of the bar with a games room for pool and darts. Ruddles County, Adnams Southwold Bitter, Woodforde's Reedlighter, Mauldons Cuckoo and Shortts Farm Strummer (G) were available along with real ciders. By now, the temperature had risen significantly so the pub's pleasant garden was popular. A couple of beers later and it was soon time to move on so we boarded the bus once again for the longer journey over the county boundary into Norfolk and the Earsham Queen's Head, home to the Waveney Brewery with their East Coast Mild, Lightweight, Welterweight and Great White Hope waiting for our thirsty bunch of drinkers. It had now turned into a fine day so many of our group opted to sit in the pub's garden with the added treat of a few smoked prawns (thanks Richard). This lovely pub is just a few minutes by car or about a 20 minute walk to Bungay's pubs and I try to include it whenever I visit Bungay. Now running a little late, I had to encourage everyone to finish their drinks and get back on the bus for the short drive to our final stop, the Broome Artichoke. This pub always has a large number of beers available with Adnams Southwold Bitter, Exmoor Hound Dog, Nethergate Suffolk County and Lacons Encore on handpump with Ringwood Boondoggle, Dorset Brewing Gastank, Crouch Vale Yakima Gold, Box Steam Spring, Lacons Legacy, Bull of the Woods Twisted Wheel, Green Jack Lurcher, Kelham Island Pale Rider and Thornbridge Jaipur on gravity from the cellar. We managed an hour here before having to board the bus for the final time and our return trip to Beccles for onward travel having had a very nice day out on a poppy red bus.

  • NES branch socials report for April to June 2018 Tuesday 3 July 2018

    North East Suffolk branch

    Pub of the Year presentations and socials: Apr18-Jun18

    Following successful Autumn events, the refurbished Public Hall in Beccles was the venue for the first Beccles Spring Beer Festival run by local charity, Beccles Lido Ltd. Held in early April, it sourced local brewery ales from Norfolk's Boudicca to Suffolk's Mr Bees and 24 breweries in-between. This busy festival gave attendees the opportunity to taste some great ales with a few such as Green Dragon Chaucer and Peoples Brewery Wedding Ale not normally available outside of their home pubs. Our April mid-month meander was in Lowestoft and started at the Norman Warrior where six real ales were on tap giving us a choice of two each from Greene King and Sharps alongside Shepherd Neame Spitfire and Wolf Golden Jackal. It wasn't warm enough to sit outside in the pub's large garden so we settled down in the bay window of the lounge bar. It was soon time to move on to the Mariner's Rest where Timothy Taylor Landlord and Caledonian XPA were being served on gravity. There were also several ciders available. It had now warmed up so we sat in their garden with our drinks. Our third pub of the day was the Tudor Rose where we once again chose to sit in the garden with our drinks. Adnams Ghost Ship, Tudor Rose (brewed by Green Jack) and Bradfield Farmers Blond were on with the latter being popular with our group. A short walk took us to the Oak Tavern which had on tap Adnams Southwold Bitter, GK Abbot Ale, Courage Director's and Milk Street American Pale Ale. Our final stop was the Triangle Tavern where eight Green Jack beers were being served along with Sunset from Cross Bay Brewery. Still in April, branch members met at the Shadingfield Fox for the presentation to them of our Pub of the Year certificate for 2018. On the day there was a choice of Azacca and Juice Rocket from Three Blind Mice, Ampersand Copter, Blue Monkey Guerilla, Oakham Inferno, Star Wing Stain Glass Blue, Marble Table Beer, Bull of the Woods Rock Steady and Golden Triangle Equinoxity. Our final event of the month was a visit to Southwold for an Adnams Brewery tour with head brewer, Fergus Fitzgerald. This was both interesting and informative and included a short look around the distillery. We then went to the tasting room for samples of various beers with Both Barrels, a bottled limited edition oak aged Broadside, being a personal favourite. This was the 10% 2017 version with cherry flavours. Following the tour, we went to the refurbished Swan Hotel where I opted for the Arabella SB. Our next port of call was the Sole Bay Inn, which was busy with diners so most of us sat outside with our drinks, in my case Mosaic followed by a half of Old Ale. A short walk later we were in the garden of the Lord Nelson where I had an Oyster Stout and we were joined by a few others. Just having time before my last bus home, we went to the back bar of the Crown where I finished with a Ghost Ship.

    Early in May we were in Beccles to present a few Pub of the Year certificates. Before the presentations we started at the Butcher's Arms, a 10 minute walk from the town centre opposite the cemetery on London Road. The pub had a choice of Sundew and Nelson's Revenge from Woodforde's, Green Jack's Manderina, Morland Old Specked Hen as well as a collaboration brew between Charles Wells & Woodforde's called Nomad Special Ale. There were also ciders, Weston's Rosie's Pig, Snails Bank Fruit Bat and one from Lilley's. After an hour we moved on to the Ingate to present them with our Most Improved Pub certificate which the owners were delighted to receive. This pub is on a street corner, a short walk from the train station, and has been revitalised with real ales in the last year. Green Jack beers are normally featured and both Jesters and Gone Fishing were available alongside Lacons Encore and Sharp's Doombar. Our final stop was the Caxton Club to present club steward, Paul, with two certificates for Club of the Year and Cider PotY. The beers are always changing here and, on our visit, there was a choice of Brewsmith Pale, Cross Bay Sunset Blonde, Great Heck Treasure IPA and Greene King Black IPA. As usual, there was also a large range of ciders with at least 20 normally available. Our May mid-month meander took us to Pakefield starting at the Ship Inn, a large pub 10 minutes walk from the coast, which serves Sharp's Doombar & Atlantic and Sippin' In The Riggin', a house beer from the Greene King stable (we believe Morland Bitter). Our next stop was the Tramways which has been doing well for the last few years following a local campaign to prevent its conversion into a shop. Half of the pub features a restaurant with the bar and plenty of seating in the other half. An additional hand pump was installed this year so there was Timothy Taylor Landlord, Green Jack Golden Best and Adnams Ghost Ship on tap. We strolled down to our next pub on the main road, the Carlton, which was serving Sharp's Doombar + Sundew and Norfolk Nog from Woodforde's with most of us opting for the latter. It was soon time to move closer to the sea and our next pub, the Trowel & Hammer, which has a large garden and normally three beers on tap. On this occasion there was Adnams Broadside, Marston 61 Deep and Wells Bombadier. Our next stop was the Jolly Sailors, situated on the cliff top with a variety of seating inside and a few tables outside. It is glass-fronted and offers views of the sea with the beach below. Green Jack Golden Best, Morland Old Speckled Hen, Adnams Ghost Ship and Grain 3.1.6 were available so we purchased our beer and sat at one of the tables with bar stools. From here, we followed the path back along the cliff to our final stop, the Oddfellows, where the regular Pakefield Pride (Green Jack Golden Best) was being served along with Adnams Southwold Bitter, Rudgate Jorvik and Wantsum 1381, a light amber IPA. Our final outing in May was a trip to the Wenhaston Star to attend their beer festival and to present them with our branch Rural Pub of the Year certificate. Green Jack Golden Best, Robinson's Trooper, Colchester Number One, Adnams Southwold Bitter, Wolf Golden Jackal and Giggler Cider were available in the pub with the marquee set up in the garden featuring 24 further beers from featured breweries, Blue Monkey, Butcombe, Colchester, Green Jack, Milton, Nethergate, Severn, Swannay and Wantsum plus four more ciders.

    In June, we visited the Father's Day beer festival at the Shadingfield Fox, with Wolf For Fox Sake, Beeston Stirling, Grain Oak, Blue Monkey Blubarb & Custard, Ampersand Under The Wing, and Blond Session Ale & Australian Pale from Nene Valley featured on the bar. The pub's beer marquee had an additional 12 beers available from Beeston, Blue Monkey, Bull of the Woods, Humpty Dumpty, Lacons, Oakham and Wolf breweries. A nice feature was the opportunity to have three thirds of different ales enabling some of us to try them all. Our final event of the quarter was our June mid-month meander in Oulton Broad. On a lovely warm day we met at the Commodore and sat with our beers in the pub's garden overlooking the Broad. On offer were Manderina & Trawlerboys from Green Jack and Southwold Bitter & Ghost Ship from Adnams. A short walk around the corner and also with a view across the Broad is the Wherry Hotel, our next stop. Southwold Bitter & Ghost Ship from Adnams with Wherry & Sundew from Woodforde's were on tap. A short stroll over the bridge took us to Broadview, a light and airy pub with a garden to the side and rear. Southwold Bitter & Ghost Ship from Adnams once again with guest beer Norfolk Broads Brewing Dawnbreak. A few doors along is the Lady of the Lake, which was serving Greene King IPA and Adnams Southwold Bitter. Our last stop was the only just re-opened Waveney which was serving Greene King IPA and Adnams Ghost Ship, although the latter was found to have run out when we arrived.

  • NES branch socials report for January to March 2018 Tuesday 3 July 2018

    North East Suffolk branch

    Mid-month meanders and other socials: Jan18-Mar18

    Our New Year social took us to Pakefield for a pleasant afternoon where 18 of our members met up at the Oddfellows, which was hosting a mini beer festival with a choice of Adnams Southwold Bitter, Green Jack's Pakefield Pride, Ploughboys & Old Ale, Woodforde's Once Bittern & Norfolk Nog, Gales Seafarers, Shepherd Neame Spitfire and Lacon's Falcon. Our mid-month meander later in January was in Beccles meeting at the Caxton Club where Ascot Gold Cup, Tetley Gold, Severn Brewing Golden IPA and Dark Side of the Moose from Purple Moose were available along with at least 10 real ciders. From here our 11 strong group moved to the Ingate, which had not featured in our previous visits to Beccles since its rejuvenation under new management in 2017. The pub now serves four ales on a regular basis, Sharp's Doom Bar and usually three from Green Jack – at our visit it was Rising Sun, Trawlerboys & Gone Fishing. Our next stop was the Wine Vaults at the top of Blyburgate where GK IPA, London Glory & Fireside were available and where we were joined by another two of our branch members. We then walked to the Old Market area for our next pubs. First we went to the Caxton Arms where dark beers were the order of the day with Titanic Cherry Dark and Severn Brewing Ruby Porter being served alongside GK Abbot Ale. We then moved just around the corner to finish at the Bear & Bells for Adnams Southwold, Sharps Sea Fury and Marstons Pedigree – a convenient place to end our walk for those travelling home by bus.

    In early February our annual branch meal was held at the Stanford Arms in Lowestoft where a wonderful meal and plenty of good beer were enjoyed and, in a change to our usual meanders, we ventured to Norwich for the Great British Beer Festival Winter where a great choice of ales was available.

    The weather then caused a few problems making it necessary to rearrange our AGM, which took us back to Beccles and the Caxton Club and, after sampling their offerings, several of us opted to finish the afternoon at the King's Head Hotel for the Wetherspoon beer festival where I can recall us drinking Saltaire Onyx, Strange Fellows Talisman, Exmoor Whakatu, Tring American Brown, Mordue Sterling, Sixpoint Lo-Res and Oakham Attila. We met up in Bungay for our March meander and started at the Green Dragon for a choice of their own beers, Chaucer, Bridge St Bitter, Gold & Strong Mild. They also had a local real cider available called Cid'er'oad. We moved to the Three Tuns and found St Peters Hoppy T'Ale, Shepherd Neame Masterbrew, GK IPA & London Glory available. Next we strolled to the Castle Inn where their two pumps were serving Earl Soham's Victoria and a trial beer from Bull In The Woods brewery, an IPA at 5.9%, which we enjoyed while sitting in the pub's lovely little garden. We re-traced our steps to go to the Chequers for an interesting selection of beer, namely Oakham JHB, Wantsum Dynamo, SUA Louis's Pale Ale and True North Stout. We then just had enough time for a Woodforde's Nelson's Revenge or GK IPA at the Fleece Inn before catching the 5:30pm, and last, bus home to Beccles and onward travel. Our final March event was on the last day of the month at the Easter 'Sheffield breweries' beer festival at the Stanford Arms where landlords, Dave & Sam Burd, were presented with a certificate for branch Town Pub of the Year for 2018. Breweries featured on the day included Abbeydale, Bradfield, Sentinel, Neepsend, Exit 33, Little Critters, Blue Bee, Lost Industry and Emmanuales.

    Our other 2018 branch Pub of the Year certificates are overall PotY to the Shadingfield Fox, rural PotY to the Wenhaston Star, Cider PotY and Club of the Year to the Beccles Caxton Club and Most Improved PotY to the Ingate in Beccles.

  • Branch Pub of the Year awards for 2018 announced Friday 23 March 2018

    Our Pub of the Year awards for 2018 are listed below.

    Overall Pub of the Year - Shadingfield Fox; Town Pub of the Year - Stanford Arms, Lowestoft; Rural Pub of the Year - Wenhaston Star; Club of the Year - Caxton Club, Beccles; Cider Pub of the Year - Caxton Club, Beccles; Most Improved Pub of the Year - Ingate, Beccles

  • NES branch socials report for Oct17-Dec17 Sunday 7 January 2018

    NES branch socials report for Oct17-Dec17 Sunday 7 January 2018 North East Suffolk branch

    On an overcast Saturday in October we went on a pub surveying trip to Southwold. We visited the Sole Bay Inn, Red Lion, Lord Nelson and the back bar of the Crown and between the pubs had a choice of Adnams Southwold Bitter, Regatta, Mosaic, Ghost Ship, Broadside and the seasonal Nut Brown. We also planned to visit the re-opened Swan Hotel, but it turned out that it was not re-opening until the following week.

    The following Saturday was the East Anglia Regional Pub of the Year presentation by Andrea Briers to Dave & Sam Burd of the Stanford Arms in Lowestoft where CAMRA members from several branches and locals watched the presentation and had a choice of 12 real ales.

    Later in October, our mid-month meander took us to Carlton Colville where we met at the Bell Inn and found a choice of Greene King IPA & St Edmunds Golden Beer, Adnams Ghost Ship and Nethergate Suffolk County. The pub has a wood-burner in the main bar area with a separate restaurant to one side and other seating areas to the other. A short walk away is the Old Red House, which was serving Green Jack Golden Best and Fuller's London Pride. This cosy pub is definitely dog-friendly as one local arrived bearing three bags, each containing a chihuahua who all ended up sharing a chair at the bar. A longer walk away is Carlton Manor, a large multi-roomed hotel with a bar which, at our visit, had available Lacon's Falcon. We moved on and as we passed the East Anglia Transport Museum next door it started to rain so we hurried to our final pub, the Crown, which was serving GK IPA, GK London Glory and Adnams Ghost Ship. We hoped to see out the rain before leaving, but the weather got worse so we all got wet going home.

    In November, we had branch socials at two local beer festivals. The first was at the Shadingfield Fox, which several members managed to get to despite the poor public transport. A good choice of beers were available with Mr Bees Pollen Power and Three Blind Mice Milk Worm proving the most popular. Our second event was the popular and easy to get to Beccles Beer Festival held at the Public Hall and fundraising for local charity, Beccles Lido. All 30 beers were from Suffolk & Norfolk breweries and the organisers always manage to obtain a few rarely seen or new ales. This time, Rock Steady and Inca Gold from Bull of the Woods, Beelightful from Mr Bees, Chaucer from Green Dragon, 25PA from Fat Cat and Thurlton Gold from Peoples Brewery featured with the latter being voted Beer of the Festival. A 1st Beccles Spring Beer Festival is scheduled for 6th-8th April 2018.

    Our November mid-month meander found nine of us on a visit to Halesworth. We met at the Triple Plea at opening time to find Lacons Old Ale alongside regular beers Woodforde's Wherry, Adnams Bitter and a house beer from Greene King, Triple Tipple. The Lacons Old Ale was new to me and I found it to be particular tasty. We then moved to the White Hart, most of us on foot but some members caught the bus. On this occasion the town centre pub had Southwold Bitter & Ghost Ship from Adnams and Fuller's London Pride. We followed our usual route and walked along the Thoroughfare towards St Mary's Church and the White Swan which had Adnams Southwold Bitter and Elgood's Saturday Night Beaver. Our final pub was the Angel, an Adnams hotel which was serving their Bitter, Ghost Ship and the seasonal Old Ale.

    On the first Saturday in December a very good turnout of members caught the train to Reedham and walked to the Humpty Dumpty Brewery for its annual Open Weekend. Seating was available both inside where several of their brews were racked ready to sample and outside where a barbecue was up & running. Tours of the brewery had been scheduled for those wishing to have a look around and the shop was open for anyone wanting to take a few bottles home. This year I left the brewery earlier and went back to the station in daylight to avoid having to walk along country roads in the dark using the torch on my mobile.

    On an overcast Wednesday lunchtime in December seven of us met up at Livingstone's in Kessingland to find on the bar Adnams Bitter & Ghost Ship along with Lacons Encore. This open plan pub has a lot of seating including a large area with sofas and feels very spacious. At our visit six Christmas trees were in evidence. We could tell that it was raining outside so decided to leave before it got too heavy and walk the mile or so down towards the beach where the Sailors Home is located. We found four other members already there and a good selection of 10 beers including some served by gravity. These were Adnams Bitter, Ghost Ship & Tally Ho, Green Jack Lurcher, Rising Sun, Trawlerboys & Gone Fishing, Humpty Dumpty Christmas Crackling, Wolf Grandma's Rich Porter and Stain Glass Blue from Star Wing, a brewery new to most of our members present and very good it was too.

    Our Christmas social was a visit to the 'taverns' in Lowestoft. We met at the Oak Tavern, a nice little pub in the back streets, where the four pumps featured GK IPA & IPA Reserve, Adnams Bitter and Lacons St Nicks. We settled down and sampled a couple of beers each before moving on to the Triangle Tavern where there was the usual choice from the Green Jack range. My notes from this point on went missing sometime over Christmas, but I recall drinking Orange Wheat and Gone Fishing.

  • Stanford Arms has, for the 2nd year running, been named on CAMRA's final list of the four best pubs in Britain Sunday 5 November 2017

    Sunday 5th November 2017

    Our branch Pub of the Year, the Stanford Arms in Lowestoft, has for the second year running made it to the finalist round of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Pub of the Year awards, one of the most respected and well-known pub awards in the UK.

    Pubs are selected by CAMRA volunteers and judged on their atmosphere, decor, welcome, service, community focus and most importantly – quality of beer. The four finalists will now have a chance to win National Pub of the Year, which will be announced in February 2018.

    CAMRA will presenting the pub with its award on Saturday 25th November at 1:00pm

  • NES branch socials report for Jul17-Sep17 Thursday 5 October 2017

    North East Suffolk branch

    Mid-month meanders and other socials: Jul17-Sep17

    On the first day of July we met up for a social in Oulton Broad starting at the Commodore. As it was a nice day, we sat in their garden overlooking the Broad with our choice from the available beers, Adnams Bitter, Ghost Ship & Broadside and Green Jack's Summer Dream. It was soon time to move on so we walked the short distance to the Wherry Hotel, a large waterside Castle Carvery. The ales served here are normally from East Anglian breweries with two each from Woodforde's (Wherry & Reedlighter) and Adnams (Bitter & Ghost Ship) on our visit. We then walked across the lock bridge to Broadview, a one-bar glass-fronted pub, once again with views across the water. There are normally one or two Adnams beers available with a changing guest beer. On the day the guest beer was Ilkley Mary Jane, which most of us opted for and supped in the screened patio to the side of the pub. Our next pub was the Waveney, which was serving Bitter, Ghost Ship & Broadside from Adnams and Greene King IPA. As the weather was still pleasant we sat at a table in their large rear garden. Our final drink of the day followed a walk through Nicholas Everitt Park to the Quayside Bar & Restaurant, which is situated by the water on the Broadland Holiday Village site. Adnams Bitter & Broadside and GK IPA were available.

    Our Mid-Month Meander in July took us to central Lowestoft. We met at the Joseph Conrad, a large JDW pub on two floors. The regular Ruddles Bitter, Sharp's Doom Bar and GK Abbot were on alongside guest beers Adnams Regatta, Jennings Hop Commotion, Roosters YPA & Woodforde's Bure Gold. We made our choices and discussed the route that had been planned for the afternoon. A new bar, Ropeworks, had recently opened on the site of the old Gourock Ropeworks building so we took a minor detour to have a look. The narrow building has three floors with a tea room at the bottom, a bar and restaurant on the middle floor and a gin bar on the top floor. We were pleased to find real ale available and had a pint of Adnams Ghost Ship. Our next stop was Hearts Of Oak, a locals pub close to the railway and bus stations serving Old Specked Hen. We then walked to a couple of pubs, the Factory Arms and Freddy's, but neither currently serve real ale so, after a brief chat with their bar staff, we moved on to the Mariner's Rest where Adnams Mosaic, Salopian Lemon Dream, Mordue Workie Ticket, Fuller's ESB, St Austell Proper Job and Oakham Scarlet Macaw were available along with several ciders. We took our drinks and sat at a table in the pub's very nice garden. A strong wind had picked up, which showed itself when the table's umbrella was lifted out of the table and deposited over the nearby garden fence. Undeterred, we went back to the bar for another drink. Our final stop of the day was the East Anglia regional Pub of the Year, the Stanford Arms, which had it's usual array of beers available. Unfortunately, I only noted those that I drank so I can just state that Allday Green and Grain Coriander were on.

    Also in July, we ventured across the border into Norfolk for socials at beer festivals. The first was held on the platform of the North Norfolk Railway in Sheringham and the second was Humpty Dumpty Brewery's summer event on Reedham's playing fields. Both were much enjoyed by those that attended.

    Our first event in August was the delayed presentation of the Suffolk PotY certificate to the Stanford Arms, where those that attended the afternoon presentation had a good choice of real ale with many staying for the regular pizza night.

    Our August Mid-Month Meander was our regular visit to Walberswick. Arriving on foot (well, most of us) from Southwold, we met at the Anchor where we had a choice of Oakham JHB and the regular three Adnams ales plus several bottled continental beers. The pub has gardens at front and rear as well as a spacious interior. Our next stop following a short walk back towards the river was the Bell Inn which was serving Adnams Regatta as the seasonal option alongside their three regular Adnams beers. This pub was very busy serving meals in its large garden where we managed to find a table to enjoy our drinks. We had timed our day so that we would get back to the ferry when it re-opened so we managed to get in the boat together and arrived on the Southwold side of the river. We followed the harbour road and walked along Ferry Road to Sail Loft which was serving Adnams Ghost Ship and Timothy Taylor's Landlord and where some of our group decided to have a meal. Our next and final stops were the Red Lion and Lord Nelson which were both serving Adnams Bitter, Ghost Ship, Mosaic and Broadside with the latter also serving Regatta. As it was now late afternoon, we had missed the busy lunch period so were able to sit in comfort at both pubs.

    Over the August bank holiday the branch visited the Norman Warrior for their annual beer and cider festival. The event is held in the pub's large garden and 30 ciders were available alongside 20 festival beers. Breweries featured included Brains, Daleside, Hopback, Peerless, Saltaire and Thornbridge. A week later we went to Pakefield for the Oddfellows real ale festival held on the green opposite the pub alongside the coastal path. There were 34 beers on offer from the marquee including some from Green Jack, Oakham, Fat Cat, Redwell, Colchester and Elland breweries.

    Our September Mid-Month Meander was more rural than normal. Some travelled via Southwold whilst others, me included, caught the bus at Halesworth Rail Station. Travelling south-east, we passed the Lord Nelson at Holton (now a B&B) and went through Blyford alighting outside our first pub stop, at the end of the long garden of the Wenhaston Star Inn. Eight of us had turned up and enjoyed the cosy atmosphere of this friendly free house, which has three small public rooms and much of interest adorning the walls. On the bar were Green Jack Golden Best, Harvey's Sussex Bitter, Adnams Bitter, Wolf Golden Jackal, Calvor's Lodestar and Giggler Cider. It is certainly the only pub where I have had the opportunity to play bar skittles whilst using the toilet facilities. After a few pints and a bite of lunch it was time to move on to our second and final pub. Most of us set off to walk back to Blyford through Wenhaston village, though some took the next bus. We arrived at the Blyford Queen's Head just after their lunch service had ended so only a few customers were there. This Adnam's pub was serving Southwold Bitter, Ghost Ship and seasonal brew Nut Brown. Following a chat with the manager about the pub, we plumped for the Nut Brown and sat at a table outside. The pub is situated on a crossroads and is opposite the 11th Century Parish Church of All Saints Blyford. The grounds surround the pub and include a car park, large garden, children's play area and the pub's ducks, chickens and pigs.

    On a personal note, I always strive to visit a few beer festivals with CAMRA involvement and, in the last three months, managed to visit those at Chelmsford, Stowmarket, Ealing, GBBF, Clacton, Chappel and St Albans. From the fairly small to the huge, I thoroughly enjoyed each of them. Finally, I met friends in North Walsham to attend an open air beer festival organised by the local Round Table. Very much a local festival, it featured beers from only Norfolk breweries. Unfortunately, the weather turned very wet and we were forced to find shelter but, fortunately, we remembered that a new bar called Hop In was opening in town that very day so we made our way there. We found six beers being served direct from the cask in this micro-pub which, although small, has seating upstairs. We were pleased that we had made the effort to visit the pub.

  • Stanford Arms wins CAMRA East Anglia Region Pub of the Year for the 2nd year running Wednesday 16 August 2017

    Nigel Smith, CAMRA Suffolk Area Organiser said "Many congratulations to Dave and Sam Burd who are once again winners of CAMRAs East Anglian pub of the year. This is another tremendous achievement for this back-street local Suffolk pub and is certainly well deserved."

  • NES branch socials report for Apr17-Jun17 Saturday 1 July 2017

    North East Suffolk branch

    Mid-month meanders and other socials: Apr17-Jun17

    Our Saturday April social was in Beccles. We met at the Butchers Arms, a short walk from the town centre opposite Beccles Cemetery. Our group of 13 members were offered a choice of St Peters Golden Ale, Woodforde's Nog, Blond Witch from Moorhouse, Marston's Pedigree and Best Bitters from both Barrell & Sellers and Theakston. There was also a cider, but I neglected to make a note of its details. Apart from enjoying the beer, we also discussed with Ian, the landlord, the street corner pub's layout discovering that the now open plan pub is mainly an extension and was once comprised of just small lounge and public bars. Apparently, the pub was originally called Victoria Gardens before the owners gained a slaughterhouse licence and changed the pub's name. Our next stop was at Graze at the White Horse, a refurbished cafe bar and grill in the centre of Beccles that was serving Fuller's London Pride and Woodforde's Wherry on our visit. As it was a warm sunny day, we took our drinks and sat in their lovely garden. It was soon time to move on to the Waveney House Hotel, which was serving Lacon's Legacy, Adnams Southwold Bitter and Woodforde's Wherry. We took our drinks outside and enjoyed a lovely view of the river before walking back up the incline to the Bear & Bells, a 17th Century Victorian pub. This was serving Adnams Bitter and, a beer not seen for a while by most of our group, Wadworth 6X. A short walk round the corner lies the Caxton Arms where, on this occasion, we had a choice of Caledonian Double Dark, Great Oakley Abbey Stout and Box Steam Piston Broke. This was the last pub scheduled so most of our group went home, although some went via the Caxton Club (four beers available) and others via the King's Head Hotel, a JD Wetherspoon with 12 hand pumps.

    Over the Easter weekend we paid a visit to Lowestoft to present Pub of the Year certificates. The Mariner's Rest (Cider PotY) had ciders from Snails Bank, Gwynt Y Ddraig and Westons as well as ales from Purple Moose, Tyne Bank, Three Blind Mice, Skinners, Ringwood and Heavy Industry. The Stanford Arms (PotY) was running a Celtic Ales beer festival featuring beers from Scotland, Wales, Ireland & Cornwall plus some from Brittany & Spain and ciders from Wales & Scotland. Our midweek meander in April was a visit to Lowestoft, south of the bascule bridge. We met in Fisherman's Wharf, a bar on the pier where, on a sunny, but cool day we chose to sit in the pub rather than outside with our choice of Southwold Bitter or Ghost Ship from Adnams. We walked the 30 yards or so to our next pub, Harbour Inn, which had Adnams Bitter & Broadside and Lacon's Encore. Much of the pub's customers have meals, but there are seats at the bar for drinkers and also at the tables when it isn't busy. Next door is Notley's, a locals bar that also had Bitter & Broadside from Adnams available. A short walk took us to Blues Bar which, on this occasion, had no real ale available so we moved on to Spring Tide, a Marston's pub, serving beers from their group - Pedigree, Hobgoblin and 61 Deep. We sat in their garden and watched a gull going around the tables looking for scraps where it found a pot of mayonnaise and the odd chip. Apparently the gull is a regular and the customers and staff have named it Bob. We then moved on to the Plough & Sail, our final pub of the day, which was serving St Peter's EPA, Doombar and GK IPA & Old Golden Hen.

    On the first Saturday in May, our social took us to Pakefield. We met at the Ship where Old Speckled Hen and Sharp's Doombar & Atlantic were available. This two bar pub is quite large inside and also has a well-used garden. Our next stop was the Tramways, which is split into a large restaurant area and a separate bar serving snacks. The ales change on a regular basis and at our visit we had a choice of Whitstable Bay Red IPA and Timothy Taylor Landlord. We then moved along the road to the Carlton, a street corner pub under new management which was serving Doombar + Woodforde's Bure Gold & Nelson's Revenge. Heading closer to the coastline, we moved on to the Trowel & Hammer with sea views from its garden and a choice of Purity Gold, Adnams Broadside and Doombar. Our next pub, the glass-fronted Jolly Sailors, is on the cliff top next to the coastal path and is normally busy. Here there was Wolf Lupus Lupus, Green Jack Trawlerboys and Broadside & Ghost Ship from Adnams. We then followed the path along the clifftop to our last pub, the Oddfellows, where we had a choice of Redwell New Zealand Pale Ale, Lacon's Encore, Woodforde's Norfolk Nog, Adnams Bitter and Pakefield Pride (Green Jack).

    The May meander was at the northern end of our branch area and involves more walking than most of our trips. We met at the White Horse in Corton where we sat in the small conservatory with our choice of GK IPA, Old Speckled Hen and Doombar. We walked along the road to the Corton Inn, a large pub adjacent to holiday parks, where we had a swift half of Doombar before continuing. Our route took us past Gunton Hall Coastal Village, which has a bar open to visitors so we decided to pop in where a choice of Pedigree and Hobgoblin awaited us. We then moved on to Potter's Kiln, a Harvester restaurant serving Doombar and Adnams Ghost Ship. After a pint, a stroll along the road took us to our final pub, Foxburrow, a Beefeater restaurant serving Woodforde's Wherry and Purity Pure Gold.

    June's meander was a two-village trip to Wangford and Wrentham. We met at the Angel in Wangford where we were greeted by the landlord who offered us a choice of Lancaster Bomber, St Peter's Bitter and a fresh cask of Brakspear's Bitter. Some of the group elected to walk to Wrentham whilst others stayed at the pub and caught the bus. The walking group went to the Wangford Plough, an Adnams pub that was serving Southwold Bitter, Ghost Ship and The Great Get-Together (a celebratory collaboration beer). This fortified us for the 2½ mile walk along back roads to the Five Bells in Wrentham, an Adnams pub serving Lighthouse, Bitter, Ghost Ship and Broadside and where we met the non-walkers. Another 10 minute walk and we arrived at our final pub, the Horse & Groom, which is under new ownership and is currently open all day. GK IPA and Old Speckled Hen were available at our visit and we had just enough time for a last drink before catching our bus home.

    The branch also had socials at pub beer festivals. Firstly at the Wenhaston Star, which featured 25+ ales from Green Jack, Dark Star, Colchester, Loch Lomond, Potbelly & Tydd Steam breweries. Secondly at the Sailors Home in Kessingland where eight beers were available in the Marquee with another eight at the pub bar. The last of these socials was at the Shadingfield Fox where 10 beers were available in the marquee with eight more at the bar. These included beers from Nene Valley, Dark Star, Oakham, Beeston & Lacon's. A few of us also had a day out visiting several pubs for Norwich City of Ale. I paid a personal visit to a small beer festival being held at the Three Horseshoes in North Cove where additional ales from Nethergate, Crouch Vale & Wolf complemented their regular beers and, like many others, I also found time to explore and visit out of branch CAMRA festivals at Bury St Edmunds, Bexley, Cambridge and Colchester – all very enjoyable. A week travelling around Yorkshire (walking, steam trains and sight-seeing) and drinking beer was great. Far too many pubs to mention all of them, but a few I particularly liked are the Lion & Key and Hop & Vine in Hull, The Cornerhouse in Beverley, the Brown Cow in Bingley and the Fleece Inn at Haworth.

  • Adnams Gets Gold in the Champion Beers of East Anglia Tuesday 11 April 2017

    Congratulations to Adnams and Fergus Fitzgerald, their Head Brewer, for winning Gold in 3 categories at the Champion Beers of East Anglia.
    Old Ale - Overall Champion
    Southwold Bitter - Bitters
    Old Ale - Old Ales / Strong Milds

    Pictured L to R at the brewery are Fergus, Tony Dawes (Adnams BLO) and Mike Davey (NE Suffolk CAMRA Branch Chairman)
    Picture by Sarah Groves, Adnams

  • NES branch socials report for Jan17-Mar17 Wednesday 29 March 2017

    North East Suffolk branch

    Mid-month meanders and other socials: Jan17-Mar17

    Our first meander of 2017 took us to Bungay where we met at the Green Dragon. Ale is brewed in outbuildings adjacent to the pub's car park and their regular beers, Chaucer, Bridge St Bitter, Gold and Strong Mild were available and joined by Magnum IPA when we visited. All were sampled and enjoyed while we waited for stragglers to join our 14 strong group. Our planned next stop, the Castle Inn, was closed for refurbishment so we moved to the very spacious Three Tuns where the 2.8% ABV Tolly English Ale, GK IPA, Shepherd Neame Masterbrew and Green Jack Trawlerboys were being served. A decent pint later we moved on to the Chequers (some via a local bakery) where Oakham JHB, Green Jack Golden Best, Adnams Southwold Bitter and a very nice Adnams Old Ale were sampled. We then walked back up the slight incline to the Fleece Inn which is primarily a restaurant, but serves a variety of local ales. On our visit, their regular GK IPA was joined by Lacons Encore and Redwell Steam Beer, which we enjoyed in their comfortable bar area. Having time to spare before the bus home, many of us returned to the Green Dragon just in time to try a few samples from their newly reinstated Wednesday Curry Nights to go with the beer, in my case another pint of Strong Mild.

    In February, another good turnout of 12 members went to Halesworth and met at the Triple Plea on the outskirts of town. Adnams Southwold Bitter, GK IPA and Triple Tipple (a branded 4.2% GK beer) were sampled. As it was a mile or so to our next pub, some left early to catch the bus into town for lunch and so we all met up again at the centrally placed White Hart which had recently been taken over by new tenants. On the bar was Southwold Bitter, Ghost Ship and Broadside from Adnams with guest ale Fuller's London Pride. We then walked to ex-Lacons inn, the White Swan, which is situated at the opposite end of town close to St Mary's Church. This was serving Adnams Southwold Bitter and had a guest beer on, St Peter's Mild, which most of us sampled and enjoyed. The eight of us remaining then finished an enjoyable afternoon by walking to the Angel in the centre of town and settling in the cosy back bar for more Adnams, although some managed to get the last of guest beer Longman's Number Eight.

    In March on a very pleasant day, nine members met at the Norman Warrior in North Lowestoft where GK IPA, GK Grubber, Doom Bar, Old Speckled Hen and Bombardier Burning Gold were available. We took advantage of the CAMRA discount offered by the pub before making our way to the next pub on our itinerary, the Tudor Rose, where we met up with another CAMRA member. The pub was busy with customers watching the horse racing from Cheltenham on TV, but we were quickly served with our choice of the three ales on offer. Cassock (or was it Habit) from Flying Monk Brewery had just run out and was replaced with Adnams Ghost Ship, which joined Old Speckled Hen and Tudor Rose Pale Ale (brewed we think by Green Jack) on the bar. Our next stop was the Oak Tavern where we had a choice of Adnams Southwold Bitter, GK IPA Reserve, Bristol Beer Factory Seven and Humpty Dumpty Spark Arrester. After a very enjoyable pint we strolled the short distance to the First & Last. This large street corner pub does not currently serve real ale, but had bottled beers so we shared some Fuller's London Pride and Adnams Broadside while we chatted to the landlord in the comfortable bar. From here a small group of us diverted to the Royal Falcon, a bar and hotel which does not serve real ale but needed to be visited and had bottled Hobgoblin available. We then moved on to our final pub of the day, the Triangle Tavern, to rejoin the others for something from the Green Jack range. A couple of us like to try something different so we mixed some Mahseer IPA and Baltic Trader for a pretty good combination.

    At the end of March we were invited by staff at the Joseph Conrad, a Wetherspoon pub in Lowestoft, to attend the first day of their beer festival. 20 branch members took up the offer and spent an enjoyable Wednesday afternoon being offered tasters of bottled beers, real ales both on tap and from the pub's cellar as well as discounts for the afternoon on real ales and any food purchased. We also took up the pub's invitation to visit its (packed) cellar with taller members having to be careful of its low ceiling.

    We also had a New Year social at the Oddfellows in Pakefield, our annual branch meal at the Stanford Arms in Lowestoft, a visit to the National Winter Ales Festival in Norwich where a very enjoyable time was had sampling some great ales - not all of them dark - and our AGM at the Beccles Caxton Club where we were surprised to find Worthington's White Shield available on hand pump.

  • NES branch socials report for Oct16-Dec16 Friday 23 December 2016

    North East Suffolk branch

    Mid-month meanders and other socials: Oct16-Dec16

    Our meander in October took us to Oulton Broad on a cold and wet day. We met in Broadview, a glass fronted bar across the road from the Broad itself where we had a choice of two Adnams beers, Southwold Bitter and Ghost Ship and a guest beer, which was Scary Man from Longman. All beers were enjoyed. We braced ourselves for the walk to the Lady of the Lake and left the pub. Arriving at our destination a minute later, we found Adnams Bitter and Sharps Doom Bar available. Another very short walk later and we had reached the Waveney, a recently refurbished pub serving GK IPA and three Adnams beers, Bitter, Ghost Ship and Broadside. After a pint and a chat we walked to the Red Herring, which is mainly a restaurant so we arrived after lunch had finished. Their beer range varies and, on this occasion, we found Glog and Horny Goat Ale from Bragby Twt Lol on the bar. It was soon time to move on to the Flying Dutchman, a large pub opposite the railway station which was serving Doom Bar. We sat with a drink and listened to Riders on the Storm playing in the background - appropriate for the weather. Our final pub was the Quayside Bar & Restaurant situated by the Broad on the other side of Broadland Holiday Village. Being served was GK IPA, Adnams Bitter, Adnams Broadside and Green Jack Golden Best.

    In November, 10 of us met at the Angel in Wangford, which is in the village just off the A12. It is now run as a free house and was serving Cliff Quay Bitter along with Wherry and Nelson's Revenge from Woodforde's, all of which were enjoyed. Because winter opening hours had just been introduced at one of the pubs on our planned meander, we decided to split into two smaller groups. My group walked along the lane and crossed the A12 to the other Wangford pub, the Plough, a spacious Adnams pub that lays back from the main road. Being served was Adnams Old as well as Bitter and Ghost Ship. All of us had the Old, which was much enjoyed. Our group then started on a three mile country walk to our final pub. The other group stayed on at the Angel for a while before catching the bus to Wrentham and the Horse & Groom, which was serving Adnams Bitter and Ghost Ship. We all met again at the Five Bells in Wrentham, a cosy pub that was welcome after our walk. Adnams beers again with Old, Bitter, Broadside and Ghost Ship.

    Our December meander was a mini version that took 11 members to Kessingland meeting at Livingstone's, a large pub next to Africa Alive. The pub was serving GK IPA plus Adnams Bitter and Ghost Ship. There was then a fairly long walk down the hill towards the sea to the second and final pub, Sailor's Home. This normally serves four local beers on hand pump with up to another four beers on gravity. On this occasion there was St Peters Plum Porter, Green Jack Mahseer IPA, Wolf Whiskers from Wolf, Cliff Quay Jolabrug, Adnams Bitter, Old and Tally Ho and Humpty Dumpty Shaltai Baltai with Belhaven Smokestack Stout coming on when the Wolf ran out. All beers were tried and and very much enjoyed.

    In October, our Saturday social found us in Pakefield. We met at the Jolly Sailors, a modern glass-fronted pub on the cliff path overlooking the sea, where we had a choice of Adnams Bitter & Ghost Ship, Wolf Lupus Lupus and Sharps Atlantic. After a short stroll down the road we arrived at the cosy Trowel & Hammer where Robinson's Trooper and Adnams Broadside were being served. Our route also took in the Carlton (GK IPA and Doom Bar), Tramways (Ghost Ship and Landlord) and finally, Oddfellows (Green Jack, Lacons and Woodforde's). There was also a gathering at the Stanford Arms in Lowestoft for their East Anglian Pub of the Year presentation.

    November's socials were held at the Shadingfield Fox for their Guy Fawkes beer festival (8 beers on handpump and several others on gravity) and at the annual Beccles Beer Festival, a showcase for local beers (some rare and/or unique to the festival) and an event that raises funds for Beccles Lido Limited, a community run local charity.

    In early December we attended Humpty Dumpty Brewery's annual open weekend, which featured many beers from their range. Some of us stayed later then planned resulting in a walk in the dark back to Reedham Station where my mobile phone's torch proved useful. We were also back at the Stanford Arms for a presentation to the pub on their achievement in reaching the last four of CAMRA's Pub of the Year competition. Lots of good beer to drink and the pub put on some hot food for those that attended. Our last event of 2016 was a Christmas social in Lowestoft that took in the Oak Tavern (four beers available) and the Triangle Tavern which was holding a beer festival alongside its regular Green Jack range.

  • Stanford Arms named on final list of four best pubs in Britain Monday 28 November 2016

    Suffolk pub named one of CAMRA's best four pubs in Britain

    The Stanford Arms in Lowestoft has for the first time made it to the finalist round of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Pub of the Year awards, one of the most respected and well-known pub awards in the UK.

    Pubs are selected by CAMRA volunteers and judged on their atmosphere, decor, welcome, service, community focus and most importantly – quality of beer. The four finalists will now have a chance to win National Pub of the Year, which will be announced in February 2017.

    The Stanford Arms in Lowestoft is in the running for the first time after new local ownership has seen significant improvements to the free house. It is an increasingly rare example of a back-street drinking pub, with a spacious open-plan bar and a large array of hand pumps serving mainly local beers. It boasts live music at the weekends, a courtyard garden, its own wood-fired pizza oven, and small aviary.

    CAMRA will presenting the pub with its award on Saturday 10th December at 2:00 pm

    **Statement courtesy of Nigel Smith and Last Orders**

  • NES branch socials report for Jul16-Sep16 Monday 3 October 2016

    North East Suffolk branch

    Mid-month meanders and other socials: Jul16-Sep16

    Our meander in July was in Lowestoft where we met in the Joseph Conrad, a Wetherspoon's pub on Station Square opposite the railway station. This busy pub was serving its regular beers – Ruddles Best, Sharps Doom Bar and GK Abbot – and five guest beers. After seven members – mostly wearing shorts as it was a hot, sunny day - had gathered and we had partaken of a couple of drinks and a bite to eat, we moved on to Hearts Of Oak, a fairly spacious pub where GK IPA and Old Speckled Hen were available. Soon it was time to move on and we found ourselves at the Lord Nelson, a pub that we knew did not have hand pumps but where we received a friendly welcome and were informed that the pub had some bottled beer available in the fridge and some on the shelf, if preferred. Our group tried both before a walk in the sun found us in the Lake Lothing where Doom Bar & GK IPA were being served. At this point I had to leave the group who continued to our final venue, the Mariner's Rest, where I am told that several beers and ciders were available.

    In August on another hot and sunny day our meander took us to Walberswick. I walked from Southwold and met with the others at the Anchor, a large pub with several drinking areas to enjoy the Adnams Southwold Bitter, Ghost Ship and Broadside. This includes a rear garden and tables to the front, both areas very busy on the day serving food. We walked around the corner to Walberswick's other pub, the Bell, another large and family-friendly establishment. This was serving Adnams Mosaic in addition to the Bitter, Ghost Ship & Broadside. We sat in their large, busy garden drinking and chatting until it was time to catch the ferry back to Southwold. Those in the know will be aware that the ferry is actually a large rowing boat crewed by a single oarsman who managed to take all of us in a single journey. On the Southwold side we had three pubs to visit which were in different directions so we agreed to split into two groups. My group went to the dual-level Harbour Inn where we sat on the rear terrace with our choice of Adnams Bitter, Ghost Ship or Broadside and views across to the town. The other group went to the newly discovered Sail Loft on Ferry Road, which is open all day in summer months for food and drinks. It serves Adnams Ghost Ship and a guest beer that is normally from a local brewer which, on this visit, was Lacon's Falcon Ale. Both groups then met up at our final pub, the Red Lion, for a final Adnams beer from their range before heading to the bus stop and home.

    Our September meander was to Corton on the coast at the northern end of our branch area. Expecting cool weather, I decided not to wear shorts for my walk from Lowestoft Station and soon realised that I had made a mistake as the clouds parted to reveal a rather warm and sunny day. I met a fellow member (wearing shorts) on the way and we joined the others at the White Horse which serves four beers. GK IPA, Sharp's Doom Bar, Fuller's London Pride and a guest ale were available on our visit. This cosy pub serves food and has a dining area and small conservatory. Following a chat with the landlord, we drank our chosen beers at tables outside. We moved down to the Corton Inn, a large pub at the other end of the street, but their three hand pumps were undergoing cleaning and maintenance so we decided to move on to our next venue, Potter's Kiln, a Harvester restaurant on Leisure Way in North Lowestoft. This had a small outside drinking area and was serving Adnams Broadside plus Doom Bar & Atlantic from Sharp's. After a pleasant little session we walked to our final pub, the Foxburrow, a Beefeater restaurant on the A12 where we sampled its regular beer, Woodforde's Wherry, before making our way home.

    Also in July, we visited several beer festivals. These were at the North Norfolk Railway at Sheringham, Lowestoft Town Football Club and Humpty Dumpty's annual beer festival on the playing fields near Reedham Railway Station. In August, we visited the Bell Inn, Old Red House, Carlton Manor & Crown Inn in Carlton Colville and attended a beer and cider festival at the Norman Warrior in Lowestoft. Early September found us on the village green outside the Oddfellows in Pakefield attending their beer festival and later in the month we met in Southwold to visit the Sole Bay Inn, Lord Nelson, Swan Hotel and the back bar of the Crown Hotel.

  • Stanford Arms, Lowestoft named as best pub in East Anglia Friday 23 September 2016

    CAMRA press release states "As it launches the latest edition of its Good Beer Guide, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has named the top 16 pubs in the country as part of its nationwide search for the National Pub of the Year. The top 16 features a wide range of different types of pubs, from community owned, to pubs which have been in the same family for centuries, to micropubs. The 16 regional winners have been selected as the best pubs in their areas by CAMRA volunteers as part of the prestigious competition, which culminates in the announcement of the National Pub of the Year in early 2017. Each of the regional finalists will now compete in the next round of the competition, hoping to be named one of the four super-regional finalists - and stay in with a chance of becoming the overall winner. All of the regional finalists are celebrating being featured in the new edition of CAMRA's Good Beer Guide, published on 15 September - which lists thousands more of the top pubs across the country, as well as giving full listings of all breweries in each county. National Pub of the Year Co-ordinator Andrea Briers said: "You have to be a great pub to get featured in the Good Beer Guide and an absolutely fantastic pub to be named a Regional Pub of the Year - so whatever happens all the pubs should be extremely proud of themselves."

  • NES branch socials report Apr16-Jun16 Friday 16 September 2016

    North East Suffolk branch

    Mid-month meanders: Apr16-Jun16

    Our mid-month meander for April took us to some pubs around the London Road South area of Kirkley. We started at the Plough & Sail, which is a lovely pub that offered Greene King IPA and two beers from Humpty Dumpty, Reedham Gold and Red Mill. Both of the latter were sampled and very good indeed. We reluctantly left and moved along the road to the Royal Oak, a three storey street corner pub, which is undergoing some refurbishment inside. Young's Bitter was available and was in decent condition. We then retraced our steps to the Drifter, which re-opened in March after a period of renovation to the roof and electrics. No real ale was available, although there is a hand pump and we were informed by the owners that there had been a problem in the cellar and that they were in discussion with local brewers to get a real ale on. We moved on to the Victoria, the first of two hotels on the seafront. This boasts comfortable seating and has one real ale so we sat down and relaxed with a pint of Adnam's Southwold Bitter and some tasty pistachio nuts. The second hotel visited was the Hatfield where the bar and terrace face the beach and sea. This bar also has one real ale so we ordered the Lacon's Legacy and decided to sit in the bar rather than on the terrace as, despite it being sunny, we were in Lowestoft and there was a brisk breeze outside.

    May's meander took us to North Lowestoft and we started at Ole Frank which is a two-bar sports pub with several framed football shirts on the walls, but unfortunately no longer finds it viable to serve real ale. We moved on to the Norman Warrior, which has has two bars and a restaurant. Deuchars IPA, Doom Bar, GK IPA, Old Speckled Hen and Wolf St George's were available as was an excellent corned beef and pickle sandwich. Knowing that the meander was more of a walk today, we moved on to the Tudor Rose where Doom Bar and Hobgoblin were available. This traditional pub originally had two bars as can be seen by the windows on either side of the door being etched with 'Public Bar' and 'Bar Parlour'. A shorter walk found us at the Oak Tavern, a one-bar pub with two drinking areas - a pool table and TV in one and the main drinking area with Belgian beer memorabilia on the walls in the other. Available were Lacon's Legacy, Wolf Lupus Lupus, GK Abbot, Adnam's Southwold plus two Belgian beers, Leffe Blonde and BelleVue, on tap. We ended the afternoon at the Triangle Tavern, Green Jack's original brew-pub, which had on eight of the brewery's beers plus RCH East Street Cream as a guest.

    June's meander took us to Beccles where our best turn-out to date met at the Butcher's Arms just outside the town centre. Licensee Ian informed us that the pub's regular beers are two from Woodforde's, normally Nelson's Revenge and one other. On our visit this was Bure Gold. There were also four guest beers from which to choose – GK Abbot, Hanlon's Port Stout, Saltaire Raspberry Blonde and a beer from the seldom seen Barrell & Sellers brewery, on this occasion their Special Pale Ale – sampled and enjoyed by many of us. We stayed for a second beer and then walked (except for one member who took the bus) back to the centre of town for our second pub of the day, the Wine Vaults, which has a main bar with a restaurant upstairs and a function room in the basement. This serves GK IPA, Green Jack Trawlerboys and a third changing beer from the Greene King stable which, on this visit, was called Back Of The Net. Next we headed through town to the Royal Oak serving GK IPA where, upon arrival, we were informed that the beer had run out the previous night during the England match at Euro 2016 so we re-traced our steps to the Caxton Arms. Doom Bar is the regular beer in this street-corner single bar pub along with three changing beers. On offer was Cheddar Ales Gorge Best, Great Oakley Delapre Dark and Springhead Drop O' The Black Stuff – nice to see two dark beers out of the four available. We exited by the back door to reduce our short walk around the corner to the Bear & Bells in Old Market. This Enterprise pub has four pumps, but generally only three are used at any one time. Adnams Southwold Bitter is a regular with the guest beers on our visit being Young's Bitter and Brain's Rev James. As we sat down with our chosen beer, licensee Trudy came over to talk to us about the beer and recent changes to the pub – namely a refurbishment of the rear terrace area to make it more child-friendly and a change to the lettering on the front of the pub. The group then dispersed with most catching a bus opposite.

    Pub of the Year 2016

    The following branch awards were recently presented. Pub of the Year - Stanford Arms, Lowestoft Rural Pub of the Year - Star Inn, Wenhaston Cider Pub of the Year - Caxton Club, Beccles

    The Stanford Arms and the Caxton Club were also presented with the equivalent county awards for Suffolk.

  • NES branch socials report Jan16-Mar 2016 Monday 9 May 2016

    At our meeting in early January, it was decided that we should increase the frequency of our pub surveying as a group and, as there were several interested members who have retired from work, our mid-month meanders were initiated. These involve a monthly midweek afternoon trip to around five pubs in a specific area.

    The first of these was a visit to Halesworth in January where eight members met at the Triple Plea on the outskirts of town to receive a warm welcome from the staff. This pub is under new ownership and was fairly busy for a Wednesday lunchtime. Most of us first chose the guest beer, Tom Wood's mild, and very nice it was too before opting for one of the regular beers, Adnams Southwold Bitter or Woodforde's Wherry. On a remarkably warm day for January, we walked in to the centre of Halesworth to our next pub, the White Hart where several beers were available. We tried the Purity Gold, Adnams Ghost Ship and Fuller's London Pride and most of our group also chose to eat there. We then walked up the Thoroughfare and past the Angel to visit the White Swan, an Enterprise pub situated opposite St Mary's church. This ex-Lacons pub had Adnams Southwold Bitter available so we settled down at a table in the window with a pint. With time moving on, we re-traced our steps to the Angel which is an Adnams hotel and has an Italian restaurant within the building. We settled in the cosy back bar and tried the beers on offer with the Adnams Old Ale being particularly popular.

    Our February meander took us to Pakefield where nine members met at the Ship Inn, a privately-owned pub that was serving Doom Bar and Atlantic from Sharp's as well as Sipping In the Rigging (this turned out to be Morland Original). The latter two beers were sampled and were in good condition. We walked down the road to the Tramways Hotel, which survived a takeover bid following a campaign by local residents and has now been leased out by Enterprise. The leaseholder is running it primarily as a fish restaurant, but with a separate bar area for drinkers. Two beers from Adnams were initially available upon our arrival, but the Ghost Ship ran out as we arrived leaving the Southwold Bitter. We then moved just along the road to the Carlton, a large street corner pub where Greene King IPA was available and in good condition. A swift pint later and another change of venue was required, this time the Trowel & Hammer whose garden looks out across the green to the sea. It had started to get cold so it was nice to see a warm fire upon entering the pub, although the dog lying in front of it was not inclined to budge. Southwold Bitter and Broadside from Adnams are regular beers with Robinson's Trooper the guest beer on our visit. All were sampled and enjoyed. A short walk towards the cliff path found us at our fifth pub, the Jolly Sailors. This was quite busy for a midweek afternoon and had three guest beers available as well as a certain beer from a local coastal brewer. At this point I seem to have stopped writing notes, but I recall enjoying a beer from Wolf brewery before a smaller group of us braved the now wintery weather to walk along the coastal path to the Oddfellows for a final pint before catching the bus home.

    March found us in South Lowestoft with Fisherman's Wharf being our first port of call. This bar is on the pier and is linked to an adjacent fish & chips restaurant. The beer range varies with something from Adnams normally available but, as it is early in the holiday season, only Doom Bar was on the bar and it was pretty good. Once everyone had arrived, we walked the short distance to the Harbour Inn and ordered eight pints of Lacons Encore (we got 7½ plus an Adnams Broadside). There was then a lengthy discussion as to the origins of the pub and its previous names and also for our next pub, Notley's, which I discovered was previously a cinema and could explain the spiral staircase in the middle of the room. We found two Adnams beers available except that the bitter ran out after a pint was poured so most of us had the Broadside. Not entirely unexpectedly, we had noticed on our recent meanders that many pubs simply do not have the business during midweek to serve more than one beer. The same was true of our next pub, the Blues Bar, which had Adnams Broadside on tap. This is a street corner pub with a friendly welcome and musical instruments and other assorted objects adorning the walls. All of us agreed that the beer was excellent so we stayed for another. Dragging ourselves away, we went to our final pub, the Spring Tide, a Marston's pub that opened in 2012 that was serving three different beers - Pedigree, Hobgoblin and Thwaites Wainwright. Most of us opted for the latter, which was very nice as a final drink before heading home.

    We have also arranged Saturday socials, which are normally attending local pub beer festivals with the most recent being at the Stanford Arms 'Yorkshire Breweries' beer festival over Easter. Two of us even found time to join Ipswich branch on their visit to Woodbridge pubs in January.

    North East Suffolk branch sends out a monthly email detailing events for the next month and any other relevant information, but these are only sent to branch members who have chosen to receive email from CAMRA. Changing contact details is a self-service process that members can access by signing in to the main CAMRA website where stored details can be viewed by clicking on 'My Membership' followed by 'Edit your membership information'. This takes you to a new screen where you will be able to edit your details.

    Details of future branch events and other information can be found on our branch website or on social media. Website: Facebook page: Facebook group: Twitter: @NESuffolkCAMRA

  • Social Media changes Saturday 2 April 2016

    The branch now also has a Twitter account, which can be found at @NESuffolkCAMRA and a new Facebook group, which can be found at

  • Pubs of the Year Saturday 12 March 2016

    Following the AGM, we can announce that the Pub of The Year is the Stanford Arms, Lowestoft, rural PoTY the Star, Wenhaston and Cider PoTY Caxton Club, Beccles. Congratulations to all.

  • Pubs and Clubs of the Year Tuesday 31 March 2015

    The branch's Pub of the Year is The Stanford Arms, Lowestoft, the Rural POTY is The Star, Wenhaston and Club of the year is the Caxton Club, Beccles.
    The Cider Pub of the year is The Mariners Rest in Lowestoft.

  • Branch Facebook account Monday 23 February 2015

    The branch now has a Facebook page at

  • The Wissett Plough Reopens Saturday 6 September 2014


    The new phone number is 01986 469201

    Opening hours: Monday - Saturday 11.30am - 3pm 6.30pm - 11.30pm Sunday 12am - 3.30pm 7pm - 11pm.

    Food served: Monday - Saturday 12am - 2.30pm and 6.30pm - 9pm Sunday - 12am - 3pm and 7pm - 9pm Sunday lunchtimes are a roast, normal menu in the evening. (pre-booking advised if coming for a specific occasion)

    We will be offering traditional food, locally bought/produced, with a 'specials board' to take account of seasonal produce.

    We are continuing the "The Potting Shed Brewery", and the first batch will be available in October. We will be offering Adams Beers as well as our own, and are starting with:-

    • Southwold Bitter
    • Broadside
    • Ghostship
    • Black Sheep (bitter)

    Guest Beer which will change roughly every month is starting with Everards Equinox.

    The usual Carlsberg, Aspalls, San Miguel, Guinness, Bitburger, and the new Adnams 'Dry Hopped' lager will also be available.

    The village shop is also opening again, is being staffed by two local ladies, and will be selling all the basics, plus some home-made goodies from our own kitchen. We are happy to provide newspapers, (prior ordering by customers) We will be setting up the 'prescription' service again. Opening times 8am - 6pm weekdays. Weekend opening hours TBC.

    — Vicky

    After a lot of work Vicky will be opening the Plough's door on at lunchtime on Saturday.......

    See you there!!