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.