NES branch socials report for January to March 2018
North East Suffolk branch
Mid-month meanders and other socials: Jan18-Mar18
Our New Year social took us to Pakefield for a pleasant afternoon where 18 of our members met up at the Oddfellows, which was hosting a mini beer festival with a choice of Adnams Southwold Bitter, Green Jack's Pakefield Pride, Ploughboys & Old Ale, Woodforde's Once Bittern & Norfolk Nog, Gales Seafarers, Shepherd Neame Spitfire and Lacon's Falcon. Our mid-month meander later in January was in Beccles meeting at the Caxton Club where Ascot Gold Cup, Tetley Gold, Severn Brewing Golden IPA and Dark Side of the Moose from Purple Moose were available along with at least 10 real ciders. From here our 11 strong group moved to the Ingate, which had not featured in our previous visits to Beccles since its rejuvenation under new management in 2017. The pub now serves four ales on a regular basis, Sharp's Doom Bar and usually three from Green Jack – at our visit it was Rising Sun, Trawlerboys & Gone Fishing. Our next stop was the Wine Vaults at the top of Blyburgate where GK IPA, London Glory & Fireside were available and where we were joined by another two of our branch members. We then walked to the Old Market area for our next pubs. First we went to the Caxton Arms where dark beers were the order of the day with Titanic Cherry Dark and Severn Brewing Ruby Porter being served alongside GK Abbot Ale. We then moved just around the corner to finish at the Bear & Bells for Adnams Southwold, Sharps Sea Fury and Marstons Pedigree – a convenient place to end our walk for those travelling home by bus.
In early February our annual branch meal was held at the Stanford Arms in Lowestoft where a wonderful meal and plenty of good beer were enjoyed and, in a change to our usual meanders, we ventured to Norwich for the Great British Beer Festival Winter where a great choice of ales was available.
The weather then caused a few problems making it necessary to rearrange our AGM, which took us back to Beccles and the Caxton Club and, after sampling their offerings, several of us opted to finish the afternoon at the King's Head Hotel for the Wetherspoon beer festival where I can recall us drinking Saltaire Onyx, Strange Fellows Talisman, Exmoor Whakatu, Tring American Brown, Mordue Sterling, Sixpoint Lo-Res and Oakham Attila. We met up in Bungay for our March meander and started at the Green Dragon for a choice of their own beers, Chaucer, Bridge St Bitter, Gold & Strong Mild. They also had a local real cider available called Cid'er'oad. We moved to the Three Tuns and found St Peters Hoppy T'Ale, Shepherd Neame Masterbrew, GK IPA & London Glory available. Next we strolled to the Castle Inn where their two pumps were serving Earl Soham's Victoria and a trial beer from Bull In The Woods brewery, an IPA at 5.9%, which we enjoyed while sitting in the pub's lovely little garden. We re-traced our steps to go to the Chequers for an interesting selection of beer, namely Oakham JHB, Wantsum Dynamo, SUA Louis's Pale Ale and True North Stout. We then just had enough time for a Woodforde's Nelson's Revenge or GK IPA at the Fleece Inn before catching the 5:30pm, and last, bus home to Beccles and onward travel. Our final March event was on the last day of the month at the Easter 'Sheffield breweries' beer festival at the Stanford Arms where landlords, Dave & Sam Burd, were presented with a certificate for branch Town Pub of the Year for 2018. Breweries featured on the day included Abbeydale, Bradfield, Sentinel, Neepsend, Exit 33, Little Critters, Blue Bee, Lost Industry and Emmanuales.
Our other 2018 branch Pub of the Year certificates are overall PotY to the Shadingfield Fox, rural PotY to the Wenhaston Star, Cider PotY and Club of the Year to the Beccles Caxton Club and Most Improved PotY to the Ingate in Beccles.