[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] ALE Winter/Spring 2005 No. 316

ALE Winter/Spring 2005 No. 316 : Next section

ALE Winter/Spring 2005 No. 316

As I mentioned in the last issue of ALE, the fair and fine village of Stapleford is a great place to go for a pint or three of good real ale. Certainly for a village so small it is staggering that it boasts three high quality pubs. You only have to compare it with Great Shelford, their nearest neighbour, with four times as many people: they have one free house that sells wonderful Thai food as well as some decent real ale but with the emphasis on the food, and two other pubs which are great except they are tied to Greene King.

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We started our Stapleford crawl at The Tree in Bar Lane, where this wonderfully refurbished Greene King pub is run by Roy and Una Barton with the help of their daughter Dina. This little back street boozer oozes class and style; Roy and Una are no strangers to the trade having kept many pubs over the years. The pub is spotless with a real clean and polished feel. The beers are well-kept and I had a lovely pint of Morlands Bitter.

Now they say an army marches on its stomach, and Brownie Boy and the boys had a selection of bar snacks. I had the beef yorkie which was every bit as good as the ones I used to devour when they kept The Plough in Great Shelford; Roy reckons it is all down to the gravy; very good any way. Food is served at lunchtime and the evening session is between 5.30 and 7.30.

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Having swilled down a couple of pints and polished off the yorkie, we waddled round to The Rose, which is possibly one of the most fabulous-looking pubs in the country with its "chocolate box" looks. This wonderful old pub is where the first ever golf society was formed way back in the early 1960s by the scratch golfer and publican Norman Robinson. The late and great Basil Brown, my old Dad, was a founder member and it exists to this day.

If Basil were to come back he would be agreeably impressed at the changes which have occurred over the last 35 years. After a few years in the doldrums, Iris and Steve Dipple took over the reins and have been running a well-balanced restaurant and pub superbly combining a restaurant feel with that of a traditional pub. There are normally four or five constantly-changing real ales, very well kept and served by very efficient and attentive staff. Having eaten here for many years, I can vouch for the quality of the fayre, and watch out for the special offers like the fish and chip night and steak specials at bargain prices. A lovely pint of Adnams Broadside was followed by a nice pint of London Pride.

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A skip, a hop and a jump and we were in The Longbow. This wonderfully-run free house was featured a few editions ago in ALE and boasts five constantly changing real ales. On this occasion I had a superbly well-kept pint of Caledonian Deuchars IPA, followed up by a Wissey Valley Khaki Sergeant which was the champion beer at the Cambridge Winter Ale Festival 2004. Though tempted to have a pint of Cassels cider, I finished the night off with a pint of Adnams bitter.

Alison and Matt have done wonders here and it was a real treat to play bar billiards as these tables are few and far between; I was very pleased to see that all the signs of the mis-spent youth were still there! A great night was had by one and all and a return trip beckons very soon.

Jerry Brown