All Mrs RM wanted for her nearly significant birthday was a few beers, which is just as well. She’s saving the Pitfield bottle for a suitable occasion, presumably when I’m not around to share it.
I don’t get bottled beers to be honest, but I do like 3 at 3, one of Ely‘s better small cafes close to the Cathedral.
There’s a few seats downstairs and more upstairs in what looks more off-licence than café. The basic idea is you choose a beer from the beer menu or the shelves, and you can drink it accompanied by some very good cheese or pie platters or take it home.
All the beers are East Anglian, and the range is wider than you’d find at the Beers of Europe shop I wrote about in November. Mrs RM enjoyed a wine from Ely and a Black Bar Long Hair (6.2%), ignoring the beer-after-wine rule. 3 at 3 is very friendly and a good value lunch option; the addition of a cask/polypin of Milton would be welcome.
Ely is slow to change (no Spoons yet), which is part of its charm. A new shop promised Ely gin, sadly only to take away. Thwarted, we ended lunch at Ely’s only Beer Guide pub according to the CAMRA App (not sure why the Townhouse has been lost).
The Prince Albert is the stalwart of Ely CAMRA, surviving the departure of long-standing landlords to maintain a very traditional back-street pub. It has much in common with Cambridge’s Free Press, a Greene King pub with extensive guests, high quality, and cosy rooms.
It’s our first time there in a few years, but the GK handpumps never change, and beer quality is superb. I nurse a half of the sweetish Mild (NBSS 3.5) while Mrs RM races through a Milton Sparta (NBSS 4 based on that head). I drag her away before she spots the Old Peculier pump.
The Albert is one of those pubs, a bit like the Nursery or the Armoury in Stockport, that you can take for granted but really shouldn’t.