A big change which Sue has experienced in recent times is major growth in real ale sales – music to my ears, obviously. Many female drinkers have also turned to cask beer. Greene King IPA remains the best seller, as tends to be the way in these parts, but Woodforde's Wherry is also hugely popular, with several customers coming from far afield just to enjoy it. Adnams Broadside had been the third regular but has been supplanted by Woodforde's Nelsons Revenge – the Vue's drinkers prefer lighter-coloured, hoppier beers as a rule. A great example of that style was on the guest pump when I called – Osset Yorkshire Blond, a scrumptious, citrusy golden ale which had been going down a storm.
Up to now, guest beers came from Punch's Finest Cask range. Two months ago, however, Sue achieved Cask Marque accreditation, scoring a mightily impressive 20 out of 20 for the quality of her ale. This ought to qualify her for access to the SIBA Direct Delivery scheme and Sue was hoping to hear something soon. In one of those “fancy that” moments, the morning's post arrived as we were talking, including a big envelope with SIBA's logo on it. Sure enough, it was notification that she had been accepted onto the scheme and can now get hold of various local beers, including Oakham, Elgoods and Potton.
The ale here is complemented by home-cooked food served every lunchtime and evening during the week. Sue herself is in charge of the kitchen and promises wholesome “nothing fancy” pub food from a pretty extensive fixed menu, plus daily specials. Especially good value is the two meals for £7.50 offer available from 5pm-7pm. Sunday roasts have just started - £8.95 for one course, £11.95 for two. And, that very afternoon, Sue was launching tea/coffee and cakes for just £2.50 – this will run every Thursday if it takes off OK. Indeed, Sue had to interrupt our chat a couple of times to check on how her cakes were doing in the oven.
The pub itself comprises a bare-boarded public bar and a comfy lounge with a conservatory extension. The latter has a view/vue of the garden and also the Guided Busway which has a stop across the road (the busway is of course on the trackbed of the old St Ives railway line). Sue is getting some bike racks installed to cater for people who use the accompanying cycleway from the St Ives direction and need a refreshment stop.
The name of the pub – Vue rather than View – is apparently unique in this country. Why the French spelling was chosen isn't known but it accounts for the French railway engine depicted on the old inn sign now hanging in the lounge. Before it became a pub, the building was used as a coal house for Chivers who had their jam factory in the area.
Whether you're travelling on the busway or by more conventional means, the Railway Vue is well worth making a stop for.