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.