ALE No. 306: 29th Cambridge Beer Festival : Pub Review: Queen's Head, Newton

ALE No. 306: 29th Cambridge Beer Festival

[Barrel men rowing]

Pub Review: Queen's Head, Newton

The landlord of the Queen's Head, David Short, has also been licensee of the Cambridge Beer Festival since the very beginning, so it seems appropriate to include a review of his pub in the festival programme.

Newton is a mere six miles outside of Cambridge, and it is well worth making the journey (as many do, from all walks of life) to see what a village pub really should be like. [-> Multimap]

[The Queen's Head exterior]

The first feature of the saloon bar to greet the visitor is a wonderful fireplace, set under the watchful gaze of a stag's head, complete with impressive antlers. The rest of the bar is full of nooks and crannies, including an ancient window discovered many years ago, old beams and a second fireplace in the part of the bar that used to be a dairy: on a clear evening you can see stars through the chimney!

The public bar features high-backed settles, wooden benches, prints of cartoons dating from the Boer War, a tiled floor and the gentle ticking of an old clock. Passing through to the games annex you can enjoy a range of traditional pub games, such as shove ha'penny, skittles and darts.

The outside drinking area extends to the village green, and encompasses the car park, once the preserve of Belinda the goose who used to hiss at all-comers. When she died, David had her stuffed and she can now be seen (in safety) in one of the bars.

This unchanging gem of a village pub has appeared in every edition of the Good Beer Guide thanks to the quality of the Adnams ales and guests, drawn straight from the barrel as God intended. There is also Cassels cider and a good wine list, so there is plenty of choice as to what to have to wash down the excellent homemade sandwiches - the best pub sandwiches in the country according to Egon Ronay. Fillings include rare beef, ham off the bone, cheddar, stilton and smoked salmon.

David is only the 18th landlord in nearly 300 years: the list goes back to 1725. It was David's father, Harry, who first put the pub on the map; a wonderful character and a great gentleman, he continued working in the pub well into his 90s, and there was much genuine grief when he died a few years ago. The family tradition looks set to continue with David's son Robert.

ALE No. 306: 29th Cambridge Beer Festival
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