My annual trip away with the "boys" this year took place in Cambridge and Derby. Both good drinking towns. I took some advice from the Twitterati and of course, being only one person out of four that had a votes, it was ignored. At least in part.
On the way there we enjoyed a couple of pubs in Newark. First of all the absolutely superb micropub, Just Beer, which was one roomed, friendly, had lovely local cheese and crackers and a great pint of Haf Gwyn from Cwrw lal in Clwyd, which had just the right amount of hops to quench a thirst brought on by two hours motoring south. Then a couple more in an old favourite, the Tynemill (Castle Rock) owned Fox and Crown where Castle Rock Harvest Pale was impossible to ignore. Old favourites are sometimes just the ticket.
In Cambridge we stayed a twenty minute walk from the centre, so decided just to stick local. First surprise. Just off the main Newmarket Road is street upon street of back to back terraced houses, just like we have up North, only in pale local brick, not the deep red we are used to. Most we think were filled, with students - as you might imagine in this university town. What also was appealing was that many of these rather long terraces had corner pubs. I do love a street corner pub. We chose a couple and were very pleasantly surprised, firstly by the very appealing Geldart, with two busy bars and decent beer and then by the Kingston Arms where we ate and enjoyed the bustling atmosphere and oddly, beers times two, from different Salford breweries. No doubt specially chosen to make us feel at home. Both pubs, on a Wednesday night were heaving.
We finished off at the Live and Let Live on Mawson Road which was perhaps a bit less up market than the other two - OK a bit more tatty - but with beer from Oakham - a common brew in Cambridge - served in tip top condition and a landlord, who once we praised the quality of his beer, warmed to us immensely and was chatty and welcoming. Thus we had little to cause to leave.
So we didn't, until we were chucked out at eleven. Three good pubs in one evening were quite enough for such old men as us.
We did see many of the recommended City Centre pubs the next day, but we didn't stay long enough to see them open, but on the whole, we didn't feel we'd missed out.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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