My previous post was a bit premature, as the last Beer Guide in Cambridgeshire turned out to be a small joy, just as completing your home county before September is out is a joy. Take note Simey BRAPA Man.
20 years into Beer Guide ticking, you reach a point where there aren’t quite so many return trips into darkest Lincolnshire annually, each year bringing trickier opening hours.
Simon is sensibly taking the GBG alphabetically, which does mean that by 2021 he too will have the joy of a trip to Wisbech’s bus station. Weirdly, it doesn’t seem to take much longer from York than Cambridge.
I will lay bets on the Red Lion still being in the Guide then. This is the “de facto” tap for Elgoods, a matter of yards along North Brink. It’s quite good.
Very few other Elgood pubs in Wisbech, or around, have been in the Guide for many years. Not much change in town either, though if someone wants to start a micropub I suspect they’d find a spare derelict shell just off the Market Place. If you do just make sure the opening hours make a visit impossible, that’s all.
A new pub to the north of town should therefore cause me much excitement, but the walk through nettles, GIANT (killer) mushrooms and cans is not a good start.
Leverington is a plain dormitory village with a lot of new housing, two pubs, and one of those churches that looks much too big for it. The clock had stopped at 5 minutes to 3 (it was 10 to 12), in homage to something or other.
If anyone has been in the Six Ringers I’d like to hear about it. “Austere” doesn’t do it justice. The Rising Sun, in contrast, is one of Elgood’s most inviting houses.
Certainly the sort of bright exterior that’s going to get a group of pensioners out on a Friday lunchtime, I thought. And I was right, even if the interior is Back to Plain.
A bit of bench seating, a few tables of different sizes (hurrah), beer mats, and no reserved signs. That’s all I need these days to declare a pub a classic.
The Rising Sun isn’t a Classic, but it was a fine advert for Elgood beer and hospitality. The barmaid was chatty and friendly, impressively helping an elderly couple with table service and opening medication bottles. The cheap lunch menu would meet Pub Curmudgeon approval, with the home-cooked ham baguette one of the pub lunches of the year.
It’s a long while since Cambridge Bitter as good as this (2006 in fact), rich and full bodied. I did wonder why local CAMRA had to go and praise the pub for adding a couple of beers when I’m sure the locals drink the Cambridge.
Actually, most folk seemed to drink the J20 and tonic water with their lunch. Apart from one gent who arrived at 12.30, stood at the bar (boo !) and drank two pints of Fosters, leaving at 12.47. Would have been even quicker but he returned the second pint. I’ve never seen anyone return a pint of Fosters before. It was the first one from the new barrel as well.
Simon would have enjoyed that herculean feat. And of course, the fez.
I’d got Elgoods down in the same camp as Batemans. Perhaps a bit smaller, but the former’s Golden Newt has given them more prominence in the free trade in recent years. What they don’t seem to have is classic pubs of their own. There was one, a mile from me, but the Waggon and Horses is now an Osteria. It’s the End of Days, it really is.