NES branch socials report for Jan-Mar 2019

Sunday 31 March 2019

North East Suffolk branch socials report: Jan-Mar19

For our traditional New Year social a group of 18 branch members ventured, once again, to the Oddfellows in Pakefield which had a few additional beers on gravity so available were Old Ale and Southwold Bitter from Adnams, Pakefield Pride, Red Robin, Ploughboys and Lurcher from Green Jack, Woodforde's Bure Gold, Titanic Plum Porter and Elland 1872 Porter. A very pleasant afternoon was spent discussing the previous year and planning future events. In addition, I had found a copy of the 1979 GBBF (held at Alexandra Palace) magazine which was passed around for perusal and brought back memories of breweries and beers now long gone. The January meander was in North Lowestoft starting at the Norman Warrior (St Austell Proper Cracker, Mauldons Pickwick, Sharp's Doombar, Morland Old Speckled Hen, GK IPA & Abbot). This is a large estate pub at the apex of a triangle with Oulton Broad North and Lowestoft rail stations at the other points. After a beer or two we walked south passing Lowestoft Cemetery to the Mariners Rest (Purple Moose Dark Side of the Moose, 4T's Squirrels Heaven, Jennings Cumberland, GK Abbot Reserve) where a large selection of ciders were also available. This is a one-bar pub which has some interesting small stained-glass type windows in alcoves that feature stylised fish. We were running a little late and had more pubs to visit so re-traced our steps a little and headed north-east to the Tudor Rose (Tudor Rose Ale (a house beer from Green Jack), Old Speckled Hen, Milk Street Amber), which is close to East Coast College and then continued to the Oak Tavern (Adnams Bitter, GK Abbot, Nelson's Revenge, Mauldons Mole Trap), another one-bar pub. Our final pub of the day was the Triangle Tavern (Green Jack Golden Best, Mandarina, Ole Cock, Trawlerboys, Lurcher, Gone Fishing, Mahseer IPA, Ripper on keg + Wadworth 6X) which was a fine end to a lovely afternoon. On a bright sunny day our annual meal for 2019 was attended by 30 members at the Sailors Home in Kessingland, which had on handpump Adnams Southwold Bitter, Green Jack Red Robin, Wolf Mad Wolf and GK Abbot Reserve and, on gravity, Adnams Broadside, Lacons Encore, Green Jack Golden Best, Trawlerboys, Gone Fishing & Mahseer IPA. Our final event in January was a social in Beccles starting at the Butchers Arms (Reunion Opening Gambit, St Peter's Moonbeam, Great Heck Dave, Woodforde's Wherry, GK Abbot, Dark Star Hophead) on the outskirts of town then heading to the Ingate (Green Jack Trawlerboys, Lacons Legacy, St Peter's Ruby Red Ale, Sharp's Atlantic) and finally the Caxton Club (Green Jack Mahseer IPA, Butcombe Rare Breed, Parkway Brewing Talking Parrot, GK Abbot).

Our first social in February was on a cold day in Oulton Broad. Meeting at the Commodore (Adnams Southwold, Lighthouse & Ghost Ship, Sharps Sea Fury), we sat indoors with our beer choice and a fine view over the Broad itself. Our next pub, just around the corner, was the Wherry Hotel (Adnams Southwold & Ghost Ship, Woodfordes Wherry) where, although many diners were in attendance, was large enough to give plenty of room for the drinker. We crossed the bridge to Broadview (Adnams Southwold, Lighthouse & Ghost Ship) and then walked along the path alongside the water to Quayside (Adnams Southwold, Ghost Ship & Broadside, GK London Glory), a bar that mainly provides its services to the holidaymakers that stay on the site. Rather than a meander in February, the branch met at the Great British Beer Festival Winter for its last time at St Andrews and Blackfriars Halls in Norwich. Far too many beers available to mention, but this has been well worth visiting during the festival's time in Norwich.

Our March meander was in Pakefield where we started at the Ship which served its regular beers, Sharps Doombar + Atlantic and Sippin' In The Riggin' (Morland). This is a street corner pub with rooms either side of the bar and has a paved garden. We then walked to the Tramways (Adnams Ghost Ship, Earl Soham Sir Roger's Porter, Timothy Taylor's Landlord), which looks to be thriving as both a restaurant and pub. A five minute walk along the main road took us to the Carlton (GK Abbot, Morland Old Speckled Hen, GK London Glory), a street corner pub where the pub dog was very interested in our group (or possibly what we might have in our pockets). Next was another short walk to the Trowel & Hammer (Marston's 61Deep, Robinson's Trooper, Adnams Broadside), a small pub with a large garden that has views looking out to sea. An even shorter walk found us in the Jolly Sailors (Humpty Dumpty Little Sharpie, GK Abbot, Adnams Ghost Ship and Southwold Bitter) a pub on the clifftop coastal path and close to stairs that go down to the beach. We had some time so decided to walk along the coastal path to the Oddfellows (Adnams Southwold Bitter, Pakefield Pride (Green Jack), Woodforde's Bure Gold and Nelson's Revenge, Bull of the Woods Inca Gold) for a final pint before heading home. Our final social of the quarter was a day out drinking Adnams beers in Southwold. Arriving early, I took the opportunity to walk along the coast and around the harbour area and encountered dachshund after dachshund taking part in the 5th annual Southwold Sausage Walk raising funds for a charity supporting dogs with a spinal condition called intervertebral disc disease. I left the dogs to their walk on the beach and joined fellow branch members at the Red Lion which was already busy with cyclists and families enjoying the warm weather. Southwold Bitter, Ghost Ship and Broadside are generally found in Adnams houses so I will only mention those beers which were also available on the day. Here it was Fat Sprat. We then moved to the small back bar of the Crown which had no additional beers and where we sat with our choices in this cosy bar. Our next stop was the Sole Bay Inn which had Mosaic Pale Ale and Old Ale, all of us having one or the other of them. We managed to find a table at the back of the pub to relax and put the world to rights. Next port of call was the Lord Nelson which was serving Fat Sprat and Oyster Stout with all of us choosing the latter. The pub was very busy, but we found a table in their garden to rest our old bones. Our final pub of the day was the newly refurbished Swan which was also very busy and serving Oyster Stout, which was so good most of us had it again. We then left to catch our transport home where, as I left the bus, waiting to board it was a large group led by Elvis!

We held our AGM in early March where our branch Pubs of the Year for 2019 were revealed. Our overall PotY is the Stanford Arms in Lowestoft, our Town PotY is the Triangle Tavern in Lowestoft, our Rural PotY is the Wenhaston Star and our Cider PotY is the Caxton Club in Beccles.