Welcome to Ken Culpeck who, with partner Emma, took over the Hopbine, Fair Street, Cambridge in August. Ken began his career in the licensed trade over 20 years ago when he ran Sweeney Todds and has since looked after several other pubs in London and locally, including the Three Tuns, Fen Drayton and Plough Great Shelford. Although owned by Admiral Taverns the pub is on a free of tie lease and the current selection of four changing real ales will shortly expand to six. On the food side the aim is to start with traditional pub grub and take it from there. Tuesday sees a quiz night with a gallon of ale for the winners. Ken says “a pub is an integral part of a community and we want to ensure the Hopbine becomes just that”.

Also new to the city is Adam, now managing the Good Beer Guide-listed Mitre in Bridge Street. His previous pub in London was less beer-oriented so he’s delighted to be able to take full advantage of the wide range of cask beers available to Mitchell and Butlers managed houses. egular ales are Sharps Doom Bar (£2.75 a pint) Fullers London Pride and Tim Taylor Landlord with five guests rotating on the other pumps. A recent visit found your editor’s current favourite beer, Thornbridge Jaipur IPA, in residence along with Lord Marples from the same brewery. The popular Meet the Brewer evenings will continue and the food offering has been tweaked, including Pie and Ale Nights (pie and pint for £6.95).

The Bun Shop in King Street Cambridge has been through a somewhat turbulent period recently but has a new team in charge who have ambitious plans for the place. They also have the Jolly Sailor, Orford, Suffolk which has a great reputation for its food (and is a lovely pub to boot). Come February major structural changes are planned which will see the ground floor become single space and the pub name will also change. It will be “unashamedly foodie” with an emphasis on locally sourced food but a strong commitment to real ale is also promised. In the meantime a revamped menu is already in place with lots of fishy dishes as well as meaty/pasta offerings.

The range of real ales at the Earl of Beaconsfield, span class="hostelry-place">Mill Road Cambridge has expanded to three – Adnams Bitter and Explorer plus a guest from the Punch finest list.

The Passionate Pub Company, which ran the Mill, Mill Lane Cambridge, has gone bust. At the time of writing the Mill was closed for “internal repairs”.

Mother and daughter Jo Tompkins and Val Martin are the new licensees of the Zebra, Maids Causeway, Cambridge. Jo and Val also run the Haymakers Chesterton and the Corner House Newmarket Road which, like the Zebra, was threatened with permanent closure by Greene King a couple of years back. The aim at the Zebra is to create a chilled laid back environment which makes the most of the pub’s original 1930s design. By the time you read this the number of real ales should be up to six or seven and a new French chef should have started work.

At the Clarendon, Clarendon Street, Cambridge two extra handpumps have gone in enabling four changing guest beers from the Greene King stable to accompany the permanent IPA and Hardy & Hanson Bitter – a lovely drop of St Peters Golden Ale was available when we called. Tuesdays and Wednesday see curry and a pint and steak and a pint offers respectively whilst there’s a quiz on Thursdays.

The Arts Picturehouse bar in St Andrew’s Street was offering two beers from the local Cambridge Moonshine brewery last time we visited – CB1 and the delicious Red Watch.

Well done to the Red Lion Hinxton which has reached the finals for Gastro Food Pub of the year in the Publican Food and Drink Awards 2010.

The Admiral Vernon, Over has, since September, been in the hands of Ben Kipling and Billy Balaam; although this is their first pub, both have worked there and elsewhere in the past. Owners Charles Wells gave the Admiral a comprehensive makeover some eight years ago and as it still looks smart Ben and Billy aren’t planning any significant infrastructure changes, other than developing the garden area in the new year. On the beer side, Wells Eagle and Bombardier are regulars with one guest during the week and two at weekends (Mauldons Broomstick Bitter and St Austell Tribute when we called). The guys are looking to enhance the food offering (a 35/65 food/drink split is their aim). Lunchtime features a range of light bites, baguettes and full meals with a bigger range of mains in the evening e.g. various steak options, fish & chips and the “Admiral’s Ultimate Beefburger”. Thursday is curry night and there’s a roast Sunday lunch. The pub is closed Monday and Tuesday lunchtime and there’s no food Sunday evening. Ben and Billy are delighted with the support they’ve so far received from the village and we wish them well.

It’s about a year since we reported on the new look Green Man at Grantchester and manager Shaun Cattermole tells us that all continues to go well; the fires will have been lit by now and they look forward to a great winter. A fifth handpump has arrived to serve traditional cider - either Weston’s Scrumpy or Old Rosie. On the other four pumps, one local ale accompanies three from further afield - the line up on our last visit was Milton Icarus, Youngs Bitter, Black Sheep Bitter and St Austell Tribute.

Just down the road at the Rupert Brooke, now under the same management as the Fountain, Regent Street Cambridge, the real ale choice was between Woodforde’s Wherry and Flowers IPA.

Our thanks to the Regal, St Andrews Cambridge for letting Cambridge CAMRA run a publicity stall on the opening night of the Wetherspoons autumn beer festival. At the time of writing this was still going strong at both the Regal and Tivoli.

We hear that the long-closed Greyhound on Coldhams Lane may be reopening soon.

The Blue Lion, Hardwick (Greene King) is in new hands. Luke Edwards, previously manager of the Plough, Coton and Stuart Tuck, former head chef at the Old Spring, Cambridge, are the men in charge. They plan to refurbish the pub and have already revamped the menu.

After two years of closure, the Red Lion Kirtling has reopened under new owners Hazel and Steve Bowles Real ales are Adnams Bitter, Woodforde's Wherry and a guest ale. More news on this very welcome rebirth next time.

Things were looking grim for the Queen Edith, Wulfstan Way, Cambridge - a planning application had been submitted to the City Council to redevelop the site for housing and the planning officer had recommended that it be approved. Fortunately the Planning Committee took note of the many objections to the scheme (including CAMRA's) and threw the application out. Owners Punch Taverns had argued that there were other pubs nearby but Councillors agreed that they aren't within walking distance for many people. Landlord Paul St John-Campbell has been doing a great job increasing turnover at the pub and can now get on with making it even better. He's just been re-awarded Cask Marque status and continues to sell four real ales – Tetley Mild (the only local outlet for this fine ale), Greene King IPA and two changing guests. Punch can of course appeal against the Council's decision but hopefully they'll now back off – in their own words “We are not in the business of closing pubs. Our priority is that they continue to serve their local community”

We understand that the George, Babraham has successfully negotiated with Greene King to add an extra handpump selling a local guest beer.