West Suffolk and Borders CAMRA Pub of The Month
One of the main aims of CAMRA is to highlight our branch pubs and pub going. One method of doing this is to select a "Pub of The Month" which is usually followed by a visit to award a certificate to mark the selection and, of course, to sample some real ale. Oh, and maybe visit a few other pubs on the area as you can see from the reports below: Join the fun, dates and schedules for POTM trips will appear in the Branch Diary
April 2017 Pub of the Month Stansfield Compasses for more info click pub name. Pictured above Tony Hood (Landlord) in center and Rupert (the pub dog) and West Suffolk CAMRA branch members.
How Andrew our Pubs Officer remembered where we had been for this mammoth POTM trip I don't know but here did and here's the proof.
A splendid April 1st and off we go to fool around in some of Suffolk's Finest! First up is The White Horse at Whepstead where landlord Lee has graciously opened early for us so we can make a flying start. Ghost Ship, Wherry & Nethergate's Essex Borders are on the bar and it's nice to see the pub in such good fettle. This was a place in danger of becoming a restaurant until Lee and family moved in last year, now it feels like a pub again. We'd all have liked to stay longer but duty called.......
On to The Queen's Head at Hawkedon where a vintage car rally has broken out and quickly distracts our numerous petrol heads . Inside we find Calvors Session IPA (possibly the Beer of the Day), Ghost Ship, Adnams Best and Wherry. And cider! We got to pick from Orchard Pig's Philosopher, Old Rosie, Glebe Farm Side-R and Snails Bank Pineapple & Pink Grapefruit. This appeared to be a pub having a real return to form but lunch was calling. Dragging some of our number away from the cars we headed off to the POTM Stansfield Compasses, where landlord Tony has been busy tweeting his Pub of the Month award; it's nice to see it being valued so highly. His microbrewery is up and running and he caused something of a stir at the Colchester Beer Festival, apparently. Nobby's Gold (5% abv) went down very well; there was also a tub of the rarely sighted (at least around here) Shepherd Neame Master Brew. Fortunately, having lunch here meant we could linger over several pints. It was an already oiled crew who were fork-lifted back onto the minibus.
The Rose & Crown at Hundon was our next stop. Courage Bitter, Doombar, Nethergate's Suffolk County and TT's Boltmaker were on offer. The latter was in particularly good nick. Always worth while having a look around at the aircraft pictures in here. They also had a pump clip for Nethergate's Azzanewt, one of the best I've ever seen and hopefully pictured here.
On to The Cock at Little Thurlow - a first for most of us. While looking arguably more like a restaurant than a pub, there was Doombar and Exmoor Fox on the very leanable bar, I'd not met the latter before and it went down very well. A beer festival is planned for later this year so keep an eye out for that.
Great Wratting Red Lion was next, and as usual George was offering up a good pint of Broadside along with Southwold Bitter and Doombar. It says a lot about this pub that whenever our trips take us down this way The Red Lion is always on the agenda.
As you can see, this excursion was taking on Odysseian proportions. We didn't expect to visit the Cowlinge The Three Ways as it doesn't open until 5pm on Saturdays, at least at this time of year. However, time had fled and we were able to pick from St Peter's Best, Woodfordes Simcoe Pale, Ghost Ship and Colchester's Sweeney Todd.
There was no stopping us now. The Lidgate Star, now a community-run pub, was next. We've rather dropped out of touch with The Star lately and it was good to reacquaint ourselves. A Woodfordes beer went down well but I'm afraid I can't read my notes for this part of the trip, something must have been rocking the bus.......
Penultimately we landed at The Fox at Ousden. This pub has recently changed hands and all seems to be running smoothly. GK IPA, Southwold Bitter, Wherry and Nethergate Drunken Monkey were on the bar.
Finally, we made it back to Bury St Edmunds and our Pub of The Year, The Dove, with its ever-changing range of beers and ciders. Roger and Bernie have finally bought it from Greene King; the dancing in the street was still going on!
I think this was one of our best outings ever. Quite apart from the excellent company it was really encouraging to have such a positive reaction from the landlords and staff we met. Lots of information was exchanged and a good time had by all. Cheers!
If my maths is correct I make that 10 Suffolk Pubs visited which will be hard to beat on future POTM trips but I'm sure we'll try - Ed
February 2017 Pub of the Month - Pakenham Fox
for more info click pub name
The Fox in Pakenham reopened in August 2016 and, in recognition of its success, was selected as Pub of the Month for February 2017. On Saturday 4th February a packed minibus set off from Bury to present the award, also visiting Ixworth Greyhoundto present an award for 35 years of service to real ale and the local community.
Our first stop was the Dun Cow at Bardwell another fine village local and long standing good beer guide entry. Here we enjoyed a quick beer as always in fine form before moving on to The Greyhound in Ixworth for lunch and to present the long service award. Colin and Sue Pearce have been landlords of the Greyhound for 35 years, a remarkable achievement. Even more remarkably the pub has raised many thousands of pounds for charities and the pub is recognised as the true heart of the village community. We enjoyed the fine range of beers, including the rarely available Greene King XX Mild, in addition there were ales from GK and further afield. This washed down the delicious home cooked and very good value food - a good time was had by all.
For our second award of the day we moved on to The Fox in Pakenham. The village pub reopened in 2016 after several years of closure, and is already making its mark as a thriving hub in the community. As recognition of this success the branch decided to award the February pub of the month award to the Fox and the team enjoyed a choice of real ales from Woodforde’s (Wherry and Nog), Mighty Oak (Kings) and current guest ale Shortt’s Farm’s Skiffle. All in good order and served in the pleasant surroundings of this warm, welcoming pub. The remainder of the trip saw a whistle stop tour of the local pubs including Beyton, The Bear Inn, currently being refurbished by its new owners, Thurston Fox and Hounds, Rougham The Bennet Arms and finally the The Moreton Hall in Bury.
We are looking forward to our next trip in April when we will be heading out to the south west of our branch area.
Please book early to avoid disappointment; contact ku.gro.armac.kloffustsew@laicos