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.