North East Suffolk

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

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