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ALE Spring 2004 No. 313 : Next section

ALE Spring 2004 No. 313

Way Out West

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An unexpected real ale outlet is the Sheen Mill restaurant in Melbourn, where a handpump dispenses St Peters Organic Ale from Suffolk - albeit at quite a price!

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The last time ALE visited the Hoops, Great Eversden, a couple of years ago, real ale was hanging on by its fingertips, with a polypin of City of Cambridge sat apologetically on a shelf behind the bar. Quite a transformation now, with five handpumps in action, dispensing GK IPA, Abbot and Old Speckled Hen, plus Woodforde's Wherry and a guest beer (a superb drop of Titanic Iceberg when we called). The interior remains as remodelled a while back, light and airy, with a choice of eating/drinking areas. Thai food is cooked by a real Thai chef; main courses are between 7.40 and 8 (a bit more for duck, prawns and seafood). Highly recommended.

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On the western edge of the Branch area are a couple of pubs which became 'ours' a while back following a boundary adjustment with our neighbours in Huntingdonshire. We've rather neglected both of them, even continuing to omit one of them (Kisby's Hut in Papworth Everard) from our latest local pub guide. This pub, on the edge of the village, is a free house though all the beers are supplied by Greene King. Theoretically on handpump are IPA, Abbott and Ruddles County, though only the first was available on a recent visit. The interior is open-plan, with a pool table and big screen at one end, plus a cosy alcove next to the bar. There's also a separate restaurant.

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Our other 'transfer' was the Cross Keys at Caxton, a pleasant locals pub which retains two bars: the public is no-nonsense and games oriented, while the lounge is split by a central fireplace and very comfy seating. Real ales are GK IPA and Old Speckled Hen, the former being in excellent nick when we dropped in.

The Bridge at Clayhythe

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This has reopened after significant remodelling following a serious fire. Anyone who knew the old establishment will find stepping inside a disorienting experience as the bar counter has been repositioned and most internal spaces have been moved around. It's all very tasteful in an entirely bogus mock-traditional fashion. The small room to the right of the entrance is a really cosy space, though the rest is essentially open plan.

A long menu features most of the dishes you'd expect in a Chef & Brewer operation (part of the Spirit Group, formerly Scottish & Newcastle); fresh fish is the house speciality. Real ales are Courage Best and Directors plus a changing guest (Wells Bombardier on a recent visit).

The pub is 100% no-smoking.

News Round-up

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Congratulations to David Short at the Queen's Head, Newton, for 30 years in the Good Beer Guide and a big thank-you for 30 years as the Cambridge Beer Festival licensee.

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The new landlady at the Red Lion, Kirtling e-mailed us to introduce herself: Adnams and guest beers are served, with a preference for local beers. Internet access is on offer. It's the last pub in village, down from six.

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According to the Cambridge Evening News (15-Mar-2004), the Chequers in Cottenham is reopening as a pub, after a period of closure and doubt. Pubmaster have found a couple to run it as a community pub with good beers.

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The White Horse, Swavesey, is holding a beer festival between Saturday 1st and BH Monday 3rd May 2004, with at least 25 ales from all over the UK. It's part of the Swavesey Mayfest 2004 celebrations. The ale house is open 11:30 to 23:30 each day, with the festival beers in the function room of the pub. There's live music on Saturday evening and on Sunday afternoon and evening. The Swavesey Barrel Rolling competition is outside the pub on Sunday at 12:30.

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We've been told controversial plans for extending the Dog & Duck in Linton have been approved: it will be radically transformed into a foodie place.


All information is believed correct at time of going to press. If our spies have got anything wrong, please contact the editor, who will be happy to print a correction.


ALE Spring 2004 No. 313 : Next section
Cambridge & District CAMRA