NES branch socials report for Jan17-Mar17
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.