On the real ale front, you'll find Adnams Bitter and Broadside plus an Adnams seasonal beer, all served straight from the barrels stillaged behind the bar. In the distant past, beer temperatures could be a problem, especially in summer, but the current cooling system works perfectly. Every winter, two firkins of the formidable Tally Ho barley wine are purchased, cellared for 12 months, then served, by when a great beer has turned sublime. The Queen's Head is one of only seven pubs to have featured in every edition of the Good Beer Guide.
The menu hasn't changed in many years. The soup is in a constant state of evolution, hence the colour chart at the side of the tureen! Fresh-cut sandwiches include rare beef, ham straight from the bone, smoked salmon and stilton or cheddar cheese. All goes to prove that food doesn't need to be complicated to taste fantastic.
The pub doesn't have a garden but there are a couple of benches at the front and picnic tables on the grassy area over the road. Whilst out there, observe the inn sign. The queen's head depicted is that of Anne of Cleeves, who proved such a disappointment to Henry VIII in the babe stakes. The image on one face suggests that a sideways glance would curdle the soup indoors, but she looks jollier on the other, perhaps having had a few pints of Adnams.
At our recent Pub Awards evening, we were delighted to present joint landlord David Short with our Lifetime Achievement Award, not just for running a great pub for fifty years, but also for all the help he has given the Branch over the years, especially as licensee of our beer festival for many years - David literally put his licence on the line for us. The other joint landlord is David's son Robert, so the Queen's Head will continue to delight lovers of traditional pubs for the foreseeable future.
Finally, going back briefly to part one of the article, I was pleased to hear from Meryl Willers. She told me that much of the furniture in the saloon bar was made by her husband and is still the same as when he constructed it back in the 1960s, when the Willers family business did various renovation works at the pub.