ALE November/December 1996 No. 286

Pub News in the Towns & Villages


All pubs now sell real ale. Choice is limited to different beers from Greene King. The Milkmaid, technically a free house, sells only GK IPA and the current GK seasonal beer. A folk club meets there every Monday with a big-name guest once a month. Pity the same policy is not extended to the beer.

Recent redecorations at The Duke of Wellington saw the welcome installation of a full set of pumps. About time too. GK IPA and Abbot, but where is the GK seasonal beer which occupied the lone handpump before the redec?

Close by The Three Tuns remains unchangingly excellent, selling a full range of GK including the elusive XX Mild. This pub has now figured in the last 16 Good Beer Guides. The convivial atmosphere is apparent in both bars.

The Black Bull also has a good reputation locally both for its GK beers - IPA, Abbot and the seasonal beer - and its food. Sadly, the village's fifth pub, The White Hart, is yet another victim of Pubmaster's "asset realisation" programme and will be redeveloped as a private house.


After being closed for 3 months, The Plough and Harrow reopened in September with Ann and John Morris, formerly of The Red, White and Blue, Ely, at the helm of this Phoenix Inns pub. Real ale has also returned. The original idea was to have one changing guest but the locals took such a shine to Adnams Broadside that it may well become a fixture, with a guest beer occupying the presently vacant second pump.

The George and Dragon goes from strength to strength. The main bar has been divided with an attractive "shop-front" style screen, the far end being set up for dining. Attention has now turned to the little back bar which has great potential, followed by the main bar, to be done at night so as not to disturb the locals. A revamped livery includes "Good Beer Guide Listed". Range is Hall & Woodhouse Badger and 2 guests beers such as Black Sheep and Pride.


A recent visit to The Shoulder of Mutton revealed this ex-Grand Met free house to be offering Wadsworths 6X, Ruddles Bitter and Flowers IPA. A complete transformation sees the bar shifted to a side wall making the place seem considerably more spacious. A curious little wooden cubicle behind where the bar used to be presumably guards the cellar trap-door.


New publicans at The Red Lion are Michael and Angela Higham from Brighton. Let's hope handpumps are installed to serve their G. K. beers.

Sutton Gault

Priciest beer in the Branch area? The Anchor must be a serious contender. Nethergate IPA (3.6%) at 1.10 a half! It was a lovely drop; so it should have been at that price.


A pleasure to welcome a new pub, The Town House in Market Street has opened up in what was, well, a town house. The domestic antecedents live on in the french windows, high ceilings and graceful staircase, with the regency stripe wallpaper adding to the Georgian feel of the place. This, however, is curiously overlaid with more rustic elements, notably the furniture in the large back room. The end result is pleasing though. The selection of real ales is ever-changing, for instance Youngs Bitter, Shepherd Neame Spitfire, Ruddles County and 12-Bore (brewed by King & Barnes). Regrettably, all are served using swan-necks and tight sparklers. Happy "hour" is between 4.30 and 6.30 Mon-Thurs and 6.30-8.30 Sunday, when all beers are 1 per pint.


Want to go for a drink, but don't want to drive? Landlady Margaret Cox is offering a free lift to The Boot and a car to take you home if you live within about 2 miles. Call 507327, Tuesday to Saturday.

Holt Fen

In between Wicken, Little Thetford and Stretham - take the road from Stretham to Wicken, turn left just after the railway crossing and follow the long single track road to The Fish and Duck, reopened after redecoration of the restaurant and the much-improved bar. Real ales are Adnams Bitter and Broadside, G.K. IPA and Abbot. Alternatively, go by boat, since it is situated at the confluence of the Ouse and Cam, the fen edge at its most serene.

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