The runner up in the 2006 Champion Beer of Britain contest was the wonderful Harveys Sussex Best Bitter from Lewes. A real rarity in these parts, this fabulously hoppy brew is now a fixture at the Rupert Brooke in Grantchester, where it's outselling Greene King IPA! Old Speckled Hen in the third real ale here.
The architectural calamity which is the Cambridge Leisure Park may at least be getting a real ale outlet. Wetherspoons have applied for a Premises Licence in respect of "Units H1 and H2" which sit below the city's ugliest building, the Travelodge. If approved, work will start early this year and cost about £1.1 million.
The Poplar Farm Inn at Over has closed. It opened as a pub as recently as 1979 when it was converted from old cottages. There was initially a separate restaurant called Lucy Locketts but this was short-lived. The place limped along in recent times and beer quality was at best variable. The building will presumably revert to residential use. Over still has three real ale outlets in the forms of the Admiral Vernon, the Exhibition and the Community Centre.
A late response to our plea two issues ago for readers to suggest pubs which ought to be considered for inclusion in the Good Beer Guide. Martin and Christine Taylor have nominated the White Horse Waterbeach which "has consistently offered a good choice from the expanded Greene King range under the new licensees in the last year or so. Beer quality and presentation is high and consistent, though perhaps a little on the cool side. The pub has made great efforts to expand its appeal (excellent Thai food, children's play area etc) but it is the beer quality that merits GBG consideration". ALE duly paid a visit and found a real ale offer of Greene King IPA and three guests, GK Fireside, Hardy and Hanson Rocking Rudolph and Tom Wood Bomber County.
Vigorous protest continues about the plans by Punch Taverns to convert the cosy, two-bar interior of the Sino Tap (previously Town and Gown), Pound Hill, Cambridge into a single cavernous space. Objections have been made by 31 parties, including CAMRA, to the change in the Premises Licence which the alterations would need. The City Council is holding a hearing on 22 January to consider these representations.
The first beers from the Dykes End Brewery appeared at the Dykes End, Reach over Christmas. Brewer Martin Feehan (brother of the pub's owner, Frank Feehan) is currently brewing just one pin at a time but a one-barrel plant will hopefully be installed in an outbuilding during the spring. For the time being, each beer will be different as Martin, who recently completed a Brewlab diploma course, experiments with recipes. The beers are most likely to be on sale at weekends and will be keenly priced at between £1.50 and £2 a pint but would-be imbibers are advised to phone first (01638 743816). The pub also sells Adnams Bitter, Woodforde's Wherry and a changing guest beer plus Westons Old Rosie cider.