I wrote yesterday about one of Cambridge‘s top pub for beer quality (alongside the Mill and the Maypole). The strength in depth of the city’s pubs is one of its great features (still too flat mind, but not much anyone can do about that now).
A few years ago Cambridge CAMRA recorded the presence of real ale in every pub*, which is a campaigning success as good in its way as the transformation of Wellington Road North.
Conversely, Cambridge has probably lost a greater percentage of its suburban and estate pubs than anywhere else, as Pub Curmudgeon noted here.
One of the few survivors is The Ship in Kings Hedges, an estate pub from the late ’60s that I would challenge anyone to stumble on, even now the area has tourists staying in the nearby Premier Inn and Travelodge. Kings Hedges at least has plenty of footpaths but unprepossessing may be the best word for the area.
I visited the Ship recently to see if it was any busier than the town centre midweek, and wasn’t particularly surprised to see a fair few old boys enjoying a lunchtime pint in front of the TV news. Not much discussion of hopping rates but plenty of laughter.
It’s not a rough pub, but I did feel more self-conscious than I did in the nearby food-led Golden Hind with a similar customer base, and I certainly wasn’t taking any pictures in here, even with some interesting sweet dispensers close by.
The Eagle IPA has been the sole beer for a while now. I think it may still be the only cask option in quite a few Wells houses in their home town. I rated it NBSS 2.5; it was chilled rather than suffering from a first-out-the-pumps warmth.
A perfectly good pub that saves its catchment population the prohibitive cost of a guided bus journey into the centre, or the need to go to one of two (edit: now one) Greene King dining pubs nearby.
I can recommend the nearby dining options too.
*The WhatPub entries for Cambridge are impressively maintained by the local branch volunteers, down to keeping track of pubs closed or converted to other uses.
Looking at it now I can see a few club-type venues, notably All Bar One, who have dropped cask. This is in contrast to an increased commitment to real ale by Yates (GBG in Swindon),Slug & Lettuce (sole GBG in central Milton Keynes) and Baroosh.