You’ll have noticed I’ve spent the last few days in Cambridgeshire. This isn’t because of any Damascene conversion to the beauty of the Fens, but because I’m sitting by the door waiting for the new Beer Guide. In torment.
This is my emergency supply for stressful situations;
To take my mind of the fact that someone in South London already has the new GBG, I popped into Cambridge to watch an evening of feminist punk. It turned out Petrol Girls come from South London too, but I wasn’t asking them if they’d got the Guide yet.
Before the gig, I popped in the St.Radegund. Just to prove I can recognise local beauty, this is the view on the way to Midsummer Common.
My regular contributor Malcolm has been reminiscing about the King Street run, a pub crawl I avoided as a “townie”. I did spend rather too much time in the St Radegund, though that had as much to do with Mrs RM’s predilection for the flavoured Polish vodkas as the atmosphere under the stewardship of Terry Kavanagh.
A series of changes since we lost Terry haven’t always been successful, but this is still a very characterful one-bar pub that would impress any visitor. No food, or pub garden, or other modern intrusions. Rather like the tidy-up of Robinsons pubs, some will miss the scruffy interior.
WhatPub highlights the seven ales, but that seems far too many for me, however good they are when they leave the brewery yard. The Vale Brill Gold is the best beer I’ve had here for several years (NBSS 3), after a number of visits where pints were returned. A degree or two cooler would have been even better; that’s what greater turnover gives you.
I chose the Vale by asking the pleasant barman which beer was selling quickest, my usual approach when more than two beers are on. Thankfully he didn’t push me on my preferred beer style before answering.
Only one thing missing at 8pm on a Tuesday really. Next time I’ll go on Friday night.
The Portland Arms is one of the best things about living in Cambridge. New music of all shades on a weekly basis, promoted by the wonderful Green Mind. Four artists of punk attitude, in varying styles for £6 last night, including Cambridge’s own Baby Seals.
This was the sort of musical night that comes with a “Parental Advisory” sticker; a series of challenging compositions that I’d need to “check my male privilege” before commenting on. The case for female pissoirs has never been made so melodically. Headliners the Petrol Girls were an astonishing experience. Read that as you will.
The lounge bar at the Portland is rather more sedate, and was an ideal place to observe the end of the cricket over a pint of Otter Amber (NBSS 3.5). It’s a lovely pub in its own right, one of Greene King’s best in town. Beer quality is generally good enough, tonight it was tremendous.
The Jukebox started playing “Grandma we love you” as I finished the Otter, the next song I heard was rather further up the censorship scale.