Brewing is actually in Mark's blood as his dad worked for Scottish and Newcastle at their Tyne brewery. After taking a degree in biochemistry at Birmingham University (where the Institute of Brewing was formed) he spent some time in the laboratory at Tyne before embarking on a career in medical research – though also carrying out full-mash brewing at home. In 2009 the firm he worked for went into administration so Mark took the plunge into the brewing business. It seemed like a good time, with the pub market opening up a bit and the increasing public enthusiasm for the local and the crafted. Also, like Jon Neale at Lord Conrad's, Mark had spotted the shortage of working breweries in the Cambridge area, despite the love of local people for their real ales.

Having formed a limited company, Mark put together a three barrel plant and began developing recipes for a cohort of four ales. Much testing and tasting later, the foursome have been revealed; they are:

I've now had the pleasure of sampling both Gulping and Jolly. The former uses just those great traditional British hops, Fuggles and Goldings, along with pale malt, and it shows. This is the kind of classic well-balanced best bitter which is sadly harder to find since the race towards the hoppy and aromatic. Don't get me wrong – I adore those beers too but it's great to taste “beer as it used to be” particularly when it's as delicious as this. I also found it very moreish, the second pint tasting even better than the first.

Jolly uses Target hops for bitterness and three others for aroma and flavour. I thought this a truly fabulous beer. I've lamented in these pages before the rarity of properly bitter, as against hoppy, ales but Jolly delivers a pronounced and glorious bitterness on the aftertaste; the mouth-feel itself is much more balanced with malt and fruit notes lending a residual sweetness.

These are both seriously good beers but also offer something different for local drinkers. Regular current outlets include the Chequers Cottenham (see elsewhere), the Cottenham Club and Landbeach Social Club whilst they've also appeared at the Black Horse Rampton and St Johns Chop House Cambridge. Having got the recipes to his satisfaction, Mark is now embarking on full scale marketing and we wish him well. For more information see