Norfolk NIPS 155 Online EXTRA From time to time, there will be some articles which failed to make the printed version of Norfolk NIPS and Cask Force. Some will quite happily remain on file for the next issue in three months time. Others, of a more topical nature, could do to be read now. Whatever the reason, such articles can be found here. In this issue: Danish Visitors to the 33rd Norwich Beer Festival Pints and Purls - a book review by Fiona Dowson What I did on my holidays, by Clive Taylor, the full article including Part Two (which didn't make it into the final edit). Enjoy. Mike Baldwin
Amongst the foreign visitors to the 33rd Norwich Beer Festival were six friends from Denmark. They were here for the weekend and were keen to see the Festival at first hand. Festival Organiser Martin Ward had given them a guided tour before I met them in Blackfriars Hall. They were very impressed, both with the surroundings and the choice of ales on offer. Danish festivals follow the more commercial practice of having dedicated Brewers Stands, so the idea of having beers from many brewers in just three locations was a novel concept for them. Chatting in the marquee, however, one thing became very apparent – there weren’t any beers from Denmark available. I asked them which beers they thought we should be stocking, and to my surprise they produced several bottles from their rucksacks. More about those in the next issue. Regular readers will recall that Royal Anglian from the Wolf Brewery was to be called Hero, but a name change was required because a Welsh brewery was already using that name. In Denmark, they do things differently. Two Brewers have a beer called Gladiator. In true gladiatorial fashion, they are slugging it out. Consumers are invited to buy and taste the beers and vote online for the one that they prefer. The winner will be called Gladiator and the other….. I was working on the door when they left. Having enjoyed Orange Blossom Special from Ole Slewfoot and Oktoberfest from Opa Hay, amongst others, they were off in search of Theakston’s Old Peculier and other such delights. I had inkling that it was going to be a very good weekend.
Pints and Purls Portable projects for the social knitter Karida Collins and Libby Bruce If your knitting is bored, why not take it out to a pub? That’s the advice from two American knitters who have produced a book which is fun, entertaining and has great suggestions for social knitters. Patterns are rated on a drinks scale, from four drinks (way easy) to designated driver (completely sober) for complicated projects. It’s a book about knitting and drinking at the same time so has lots of ideas for drink related patterns like a handy little cosy for wrapping around your can of imported British beer. There are also ideas for hats, scarves, socks and mittens, anything in fact, that’s small enough to fit in your portable knitting bag. In the spirit of the book there are patterns for how to knit your own bag. Why not do it? Why not knit in the pub? You might start a knitty revolution. The copy I read was borrowed from the library – reference number 746.432
NORFOLK NIPS |Hunstanton and Beyond
What I did on my Holidays by Clive Taylor My name is Clive Taylor, social sec for Kingston & Leatherhead area. Just last week I returned from a couple of weeks holiday staying at Hunstanton, and needless to say I managed to visit a few pubs in your area. Sat 10th July 10 ; Arrived at Kings Lynn on the train, picked up our hire car and headed out towards Hunstanton. My wife does the driving, while I do the navigating, and the drinking. Since we weren’t allowed into our flat until two thirty I picked out a suitable stopping off watering hole to kick off the holiday. The village of Dersingham seemed quite good, just off the main road and with two Good Beer Guide pubs as well. The first one we came to was the Feathers so this would do, an old hotel made of the local carr stone, as I was later to find out what it is called. We went along an old corridor with several doors off it, one to a side bar but no one was in it so we carried on to the end to find the main bar that also led out to the garden. The bar was all suitably in keeping with brown carpet, high wood wall panelling, stone fireplaces and upholstered benches around the walls. Unfortunately at the bar the beer range was a little disappointing, ie Bass, O.S.H. and Adnams, I went for the Adnams which was only fair in quality. We carried on our journey to find our flat in Hunstanton, settled in and then I took myself out to have a look around. A walk along the very busy front and back where I found Hunstantons Good Beer Guide pub, or to be more precise, hotel, or going back in time the
station hotel as the railway station was right opposite, but now it’s called the Wash And Tope. It’s a typical seaside bar, quite long and comfortable, but with only one beer on pump, which was Elgood’s Golden Newt, a bit more of a result but it was only fair also. A bit disappointing for a Good Beer Guide. pub. Sun 11th Not to far away was open gardens day at Holm Next The Sea, so more for my wife’s benefit we visited some of them, but rather conveniently the White Horse was close by, even though there was tea being served in the church hall. The White Horse lays side on to the village road, white with red tiles. All very nice inside with low ceilings, old style but with a slightly modern feel about it, but at the bar just two beers on, Adnams and O.S.H. I tried the Adnams and it wasn’t bad at all at £3.10. On The way back we went via Ringstead and the Gin Trap Inn, another white fronted pub with red tiles set back from the road. All very old inside with low beams and red tiled floors, and at the bar three beers - Adnams, Spitfire and Wherry. I had a pint of the Wherry which was just fair as we sat outside in front of the pub. The following weekend we came back here to have a meal, it wasn’t cheap so when I spoke to the ‘landlord’ about the pricing and some of the portions, and mentioning the quote about ‘pubs that think themselves restaurants’, it seems that I was wrong in thinking this was a pub, I was informed it was in fact a restaurant! This evening we drove the other
way to Heacham and called at the Fox And Hounds, initially to have a meal but on first observations it didn’t seem a suitable pub for eating so I just had a pint of one of their own brews, the brewery is just outside. Not having come across Fox beers before I thought I’d go for the best bitter and I wasn’t disappointed, the best pint so far, it was good. To be fair to the pub, before I left I discovered a separate eating area to the rear and it looked quite pleasant, so the following weekend we did come back and have a good meal that didn’t break the bank, and some more of the Fox beers. We carried on a little bit further to the West Norfolk Inn, a seemingly decent locals pub doing four beers, GK IPA, Hobgoblin, OSH and CWB. I didn’t have a beer as we had a meal, but it had the feel of a well run pub with its Pullman style bar and various other railway artefacts about, quite suitably as the old railway station used to be just outside many years ago. Mon 12th Went to Sandringham so on the way we drove through Snettisham calling at the Rose And Crown for a midday drink. A regional inventory pub and Good Beer Guide entry, all very old with its large inglenook fireplaces, red tiled floors, but rather unfortunately most of the woodwork had been painted a light gastro green. Seems a rather prevalent thing in this area to paint the woodwork I noticed. At the bar was Wherry, Adnams Bitter and BS and one from Purity which I went for. Rather disappointing, I didn’t think it had been pulled through.
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Hunstanton and Beyond The following week we called here again as it was a good old pub, but I’m afraid I was let done again, this time there was Everards Golden Zest. Not so much golden but almost transparent, very thin tasting and not particularly good, so we had to adjourn to the Fox And Hounds. After our damp afternoon at Sandringham we stopped of at the Coach And Horses at Dersingham, a more basic locals pub but seemed run well enough. Three beers were available, GK Back Of The Net, Caledonian Nectar and Wherry, having drunk the first two recently in my own area I went for the Wherry (£2.95) and it was good, so worth the stop. That evening I started discovering Hunstanton, ‘might not take too long’ you may think, but all the same I ventured up to the Golden Lion Hotel. As my wife pointed out the statue of a lion on the front of the pub actually looked more silver, but I’ve yet to hear of a Silver Lion pub. It’s a large stone building overlooking the green so it looks quite impressive. Inside there is a simple modern bar with a more traditional wood panelled room to the rear. On my first visit I only saw GK IPA on so no choice, but after ordering I noticed a note pinned to the bar advertising Brains SA, oh to late! Seems they didn’t have a pump clip for it. But over my two weeks I did come back here several times and the beer was good, even though at £3.25 for the Brains. The guest beer did change several times and each time it was good. Moving up around the corner I found the Old Marine Hotel with a lower bar, just one area but all rather cosy and comfortable. Always just the one beer on and that being Adnams (£3.10), but having said that it was always good and I did return several times. Tues 13th Today we travelled on 28
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| NORFOLK NIPS down to Narborough to visit the hall there, on the way we called at Gayton and visited the Crown. A good old two bar pub owned by Green King, with as one would expect serving GK IPA, OSH, Back Of The Net and fortunately also their mild which I partook of and it was good. A very nice old pub, popular and well run. Later on that afternoon we got to Castle Acre, and after having a walk around the ruins of the castle we went in to the Ostrich, another Green King pub. Also quite unspoiled and traditional with a wood floor, inglenook fireplaces and old style gold pattern wallpaper. There was the usual GK range except this time the St Edmunds (£3) was on, and since I hadn’t really tried this one I went for it and it was actually quite refreshing. Leaving the Ostrich we headed back north and to break up the journey we stopped off at Great Bircham and the Kings Head, I had read the description so was not completely taken aback to find this totally modernised bar, which was doing GK IPA and Wherry. That evening I ventured the walk over to Old Hunstanton and to the Lodge Hotel, a fairly large old building on the main road. The actual bar runs along the side of the hotel going back to the rear, unfortunately it was all very modern in style, almost barren with its wood floor and very plain walls. On at the bar was the standard GK IPA, Abbot and Wherry, I went for the Wherry for £2.80 and perhaps surprisingly is wasn’t bad either. I did come back here a couple of times more and they had Woodfords Game On for £3.10 and that was actually quite good as well. Cutting down the side road opposite I came to the Ancient Mariner, an old flint built pub incorporated with the adjoining
NORFOLK NIPS | Best Western Hotel. One long bar with a jumble of various seating areas in an old traditional style, all very commercial but seemingly rather popular, I suppose the competition is not to fierce around here. At the bar was Adnams B and BS, Wherry (£3.15) and Doombar. I went for the Broadside, it again wasn’t bad, but at £3.40 it shouldn’t be. Likewise I came back here several times and found a beer from Holts called Loose Cannon and that was rather good, also there was Waggle Dance from Youngs.
Thurs 15th After a visit to the Lavender Farm we carried on to Sedgeford and made a lunchtime stop at the King William IV, a village pub that has gone upmarket with accommodation and a restaurant, but having said that there was still a proper bar for drinkers in a traditional style. A safe range of beers were available at the bar in the form of Adnams B, Abbot and Wherry (£2.90), and the Wherry was good. Only one pub stop today with visits to the windmill at Bircham and the old royal station at Wolferton.
Wed 14th Drove down to have a ride on the Mid Norfolk Railway at Dereham, on the way we called in at the Railway at North Elmham. A rather locals pub but with a bit of a bohemian feel about it with its varied seating, railway pictures and other things about. The beer range was interesting with Elmtree Burston Cuckoo, Cottage Great Bear, Buff’s BB, Spectrum 43 and St Peters BB. I tried a pint of the Elmtree as we sat outside in the sun.
But a bit of a result in the evening with another trek over to the old town, having passed what was the Old Hunstanton Social Club a couple of times I decided to try my luck a have a look inside. I told the barmaid that I wasn’t a member and she said that wasn’t a problem so looking along the bar I espied two beers on, GK IPA and ‘Tolly Cobold’ Phoenix, and at £2.70 it was actually quite good. Another night I went back and they had Old Trip on.
After our train trip we had a walk around Dereham and found the George Hotel with its dark old wood panelled bar, all quite smart and comfortable. At the bar was Adnams B and BS, and Woodfords Wherry and Sundew. I went for the Sundew (£2.95) which was in a fair condition.
Fri 16th We had earlier in the week had a meal in the Lifeboat at Thornham but I didn’t have any beer so we had to call back to this genuinely old style pub placed away from the main road. All very dark and woody with two drinking areas around the centre bar, and an impressive entrance with a large old fireplace. At the bar were the usual suspects in the form of GK IPA, Abbot, Adnams and Wherry, but there was also one from Nethergate, Sweeney Todd and it was rather good as well. I enquired at the bar about the old pub game called ‘Penny In The Hole’, one of the locals showed me where it was. My wife was sitting on it, a small hole in one of the benches but it was covered by a cushion, the metal backing gives it away.
On our way back we went via Brancaster Staithe and stopped of at the White Horse, a plain looking pub with the pub sign showing the front and rear end of the white horse on either side. Inside it was all very light and bright with a front bar area and going back to the rear at one side. Lots of old framed photos of the area were on the walls. At the bar was Adnams Explorer, Wherry and two beers from the local brewery Brancaster, the Best and Oyster Catcher. I had the Best and it was good, the best today.
We had our afternoon doing a bit of twitching at the wild bird reserve
at Tichwell, and on the way back called in at the Old Coach House also at Thornham, but on the main road. This is another old pub but has the modern rustic treatment in its two bars. Fine if you like your pub woodwork painted a frieze of blue and green. The saviour was that the Adnams was actually rather good, along side with GK IPA and Back Of The Net. The larger bar was being cleared for Morris dancers later that evening, I thought they did their thing outside. Sat 17th Drove to Holt and had a ride on the Poppy Line to Sherringham, so managed to sample a few beers at the festival on the platform. On the way back we stopped at the Lord Nelson at Burnham Thorpe, a really unspoilt bar in this old pub used by Nelson. No actual bar, just a small serving hatch and the beers coming from the cask, which was just Wherry and GK Abbot. I tried the Wherry and it was good. Incidentally the Good Beer Guide has the pub being open all day in the summer, evidently that is only when the school holidays are on. So does that mean it is for the benefit of the school children? Back in Hunstanton that evening I did a bit more investigating and ventured in to the Conservative Club, they did have on a couple of beers, GK IPA and OSH. I could of stayed, on payment of a pound but for one pint and the range available I didn’t think it worth it. Sun 18th Went to see the animals at Snettisham Park Farm, so in the village we stopped for a lunch time pint in the Victoria. It seemed to be more of a locals pub with quite a basic bar while the other half, labelled Smoke Room on the leaded windows was the dinning area with tables all set up. Three beers were on, Wherry, Abbot and Black Sheep, I had the Black Sheep but unfortunately it wasn’t very
good, not been pulled through I thought. After our visit to the farm we headed down a bit to Roydon and a pub called the Union Jack, this more than made up for the first pub visit. A genuine locals pub with a centre three sided bar, and its only drinks that are served. Available was Blackwater Mild, Green Jack Canary , RCH Bitter and Cottage Lazy Hound. I had a pint of the mild first, and my wife very kindly let me have a second pint so I went for the Canary and both were very good, and with the friendly banter at the bar with the locals and the landlord I could see why this pub was 2009 Pub of the Year. Mon 19th Went to visit another house today, Holkcom Hall, it was truly impressive. On the way we stopped off at Brancaster Straithe and the Jolly Sailor, a brew pub for Brancaster beers, or rather it was a brew pub but the brewery has moved away to somewhere else. The Jolly Sailor is a white pub on the main road, clearly very popular and smart but still retaining its old character. Along side the two Brancaster beers, the Best and Oyster Catcher was Wherry and Adnams BS, I naturally tried the Best and it wasn’t bad. Later that day after our house visit we went via Burnham Market and called in at the Hoste Arms. An old coaching in by the village green with quite a good size front bar, all very traditional with dark wooded floor, wood panelled walls and brick fireplaces. The beers were Woodfords Wherry, Nelsons Revenge and Abbot. That evening back in Hunstanton I ventured over to the Waterside Bar, so far I had only had a quick look in here on our first day and with only OSH at the time I didn’t bother coming back, but now I’m
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NORFOLK NIPS | Hunstanton and Beyond continued glad I did. There was only Adnams (£3.10) alongside the OSH but it was actually rather good. This bar that evidently was originally the station refreshment rooms has been done out into a very comfortable fully carpeted traditional style bar overlooking the seafront. I did actually come back here several times. Tues 20th Thought we would go into Kings Lynn today being market day, so on the way we stopped at Castle Rising to have a look around the castle, and also nearby happened to be the Black Horse. An old brick built village pub with two bar areas, the lounge being quite comfortable and smart with its beamed ceiling and old photos on the walls. No great surprises on at the bar, the usual GK IPA, Abbot, Adnams B, Pedigree and Wherry. We sat outside in the pleasant surroundings as I supped my Wherry, which was quite good. We had a walk around Kings Lynn and called in the Bank House as it was in the old CAMRA book Best Pubs In East Anglia. Unfortunately it had been rather drastically changed and was now a posh modern bar restaurant. At the end of the short bar there were two pumps but without any badges on. I enquired all the same and was told ‘Yes we have Adnams Bitter’. OK that would do so we sat out back on the patio while I drunk a good pint of Adnams in the sunshine. Unfortunately my wife wouldn’t let me try any more pubs in town so we drove on, going back via Docking, and what was a four pub village now only has one. Fortunately the one we were heading for, the Railway was the remaining one. An old plain looking pub that used to be next to the railway station many years ago. It has two bars but one side is more the eating area, the bar is nicely local with red tiled floor and old photos
on the wall. Look out for the high level railway running around the lounge and into the public. Beer wise it wasn’t bad either with Woodfords Wherry, Sundew and Buffys Bitter, the latter I had for £2.50 and it was quite good, in fact I had two. Altogether a very pleasant pub. Wed 21st Today was for a ride on the Walsingham and Wells railway, we parked up at Walsingham and went to Wells but finding it a bit of a walk into the town we returned to Walsingham and adjourned to the Black Lion. An old hotel in the town centre with two bars at the front, quite pleasant enough with two beers on, Wherry and Copper Dragon’s Golden Pippin which I tried, it was in fair condition. Leaving here we drove back into Wells and parking up on the quay what was facing us. Yes the GBG ‘pub’ the Albatross, it is actually a Dutch barge. I congratulated my wife on finding it so quickly, but not when I found out it was £3.50 to park the car! So we moved to find somewhere that cost less. Walking back to the Albatross we boarded it along the rickety gangplank, and shimmied down the very steep stairs into the small bar, where two pins were positioned on the bar. One with Wherry, the other with Nelson’s Revenge which I went for. Considering it was out of the cask with wet towels for cooling it was actually quite good, in fact I had a second it being rather pleasant sitting up on deck in the sunshine, watching other customers making their way aboard. Thurs 22nd Today was for another house Haughton Hall, so not to far beyond it was West Rudham and the Dukes Head on the main road, another old brick and flint built pub. There was one bar but with a couple of others areas just for eating. It was comfortable enough and smart
with just two beers on, Adnams and Spitfire. I had the Adnams which was good. Surprisingly the pub seemed to be Chinese run and there was a good size group of people partaking in the food so proberly was good for Chinese food. On our way back we made our second call at the Rose And Crown and had to make a second stop to get a decent pint at the Fox And Hounds as previously mentioned.
Fri 23rd Last day today and we were going down to the Wild Bird Park at Pensthorpe near Fakenham. For our midday stop I chose the Sculthorpe Mill, just before Fakenham. It was a little way down a lane off the main road but was worth it for the location. It is actually a hotel and a restaurant with a bar, all very basic in a plain modern style with GK IPA, Abbot and OSH, it is Green King owned after all. The IPA was as good as it gets. The manager said he didn’t change the range because he will upset his locals. After our visit to the ducks and geese we drove into Fakenham for a look around and popped into the Bull, a red brick pub just on the edge of the town centre. Inside it was all very bright and airy with a light wood floor and bar. It seemed quite popular with its modern touch and had four beers on, Wherry (£2.85), Cottage Whippet Crackaway, Silver Arrow and Wolf’s Royal Anglian(£2.95). I had a pint of the Anglian and it was good. Over all a pretty good holiday with a varied selection of pubs visited. Shame how rather quite a lot have been poshified, to use a word I read in your Nips, and how also some of the GBG pubs were not actually as good as some of the others beer wise.
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