It’s a rare day I stay at home, but I promised Mrs RM I’d go with her to our local pub’s Beer Festival, just to be unusually sociable.

The Sun, Waterbeach

The Sun is the drinkers pub in a village of about 5,000, recently reduced by the closure of the RAF base.  It’s the first pub I went in, as a ten year old, to get Joe Bugner’s autograph while he was celebrating a fight win there.  Oddly enough, 25 years late Roy Essandoh celebrated one of the great FA Cup upsets there as well.

It’s quite a sporty pub, even with a Spurs-supporting landlord.  If I watched football on telly I’d probably be a more regular visitor.  The beer, sourced from a wide Punch list, is among the best in Cambridgeshire, and the pub has been in the Beer Guide regularly over the last eight years.

An upstairs function room hosts regular original live music as well as beer festivals like this. The lounge has a gorgeous old fireplace.  Even better, the Gents are outside. I’d visit it more if it wasn’t my local to be honest; at least I’d be safe from Prosecco.

Superb Hydes, duff new name

I’m no fan of beer festivals. but they’re a good opportunity to show your face in the village and pretend you care about village life.  So it was that last night I found that we have intruders residents originally from Coventry, St Helens and Dortmund. My peculiar traditional Fenland accent, designed to confuse Lancastrians, is a rarity here.

You can rely on people who would normally drink Aspalls, Guinness and Carling to drink real ale at beer festivals, and so it was that a cross section of society were putting back blood orange-infused IPA and whisky stouts in great quantities last night.


Mrs RM and I have bought a card giving us a (generous) half of each, with an extra-large T-shirt as the prize at the end.  We have our joint life-membership CAMRA reputations to maintain.

The quality of those beers has been superb so far (NBSS 3.5-4), although the Tangerine Dream was, appropriately, weird. There’s a good mix of the well-regarded foreigners (Hydes, Bootleg, Tim’s) and the very local. I rate that a superb beer fest range, which you might actually get through in a weekend.

The professional drinkers were out in force tonight.  Tomorrow is music night, and people here dress up for that (Abigail’s Party chic). I can’t wait (to get off to Cornwall on Sunday morning).

All of which proves that halves taste better in pint glasses, particularly nonics, and quality is driven largely by quantity. The Milton beer, from a few hundred yards away, also looked and tasted the beer of the night. Just a shame Punch will only allow the local pub to have the local beer occasionally.


  1. Good to see one of my local family brewers’ milds featuring at a beer festival in Cambridgeshire 🙂

    You echo a point I’ve made in the past, that for many people, a beer festival is a special event and an end in itself. You drink real ale, just as you drink Guinness at a St Paddy’s day party, but then go back to lager or cider or whatever in your local. It’s Aspall, btw – Aspull is a village near Wigan.

    The Sun sounds like an excellent proper pub, but it does have one feature that always niggles me a bit – the pub name painted in fancy lettering directly on to the brickwork. Comes across as an indication of “we want to be trendy” – what’s wrong with a proper signboard, preferably with gold capitals on a dark background?


    1. Yes, there’ll be a fair few folk “doing the real ale”, some picking the odd name, some quite happily alternating with other drinks. Chap was extolling virtues of Guinness in our other pub.

      Agree on lettering, but popular with MrsRM, which says something. She’d also say the pub smells of wet dog, which it does.


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