I’m trying to get round all of Cambridgeshire’s 70 Good Beer Guide pubs this year, to see for myself the craft invasion that certain commentators have heralded recently. Already I’ve had terrific beer and cheer in March and St Neots, though finding takers for a Thursday night crawl in Ramsey has proved an effort.

Haddenham is surely a prime candidate for craft.  A large Fenland village 15 miles north of Cambridge, but effectively an attractive dormitory parish for Cambridge and Ely.  It also has the only hill for thousands of miles, surely a pre-requisite for KeyKeg.

View from hilly Haddenham

I know a few folk who’ve moved here, and it’s got a good range of facilities for those who like muddy farmland walks and steam rallies. Plus a pink cow.

The re-entry to the Beer Guide is one of the better Greene King dining pubs, though the stand-out feature at The Three Kings is the fire (oddly dormant on our visit).


On the bar, three pumps that ten years ago would have dispensed IPA, Abbot and Speckled Hen, now give you these;


Mrs RM was the lucky beer taster on this occasion, rating the Sea Fury as “nice” (NBSS 3). As stated before, Mrs RM may be a bit generous on the NBSS scoring (unlike my sister).  Nothing remotely crafty (i.e. cold and strong), unless they were hiding it. And no, I don’t count Meantime as craft.

Over the course of an excellent lunch (calamari, lobster soup), a few local drinkers came in, averted their gaze from the GK IPA and went for the Sharp’s.  Not an obvious lunchtime drink at 5%, but seemingly the beer of choice. I wonder how many people actually look at strength these days.  In fact, when Mrs RM went back for a top-up, the extra thoughput pushed beer quality up another notch.

It’s a good job they still have a few old boys to keep the pumps flowing, as the OAP diners were exclusively on soda water and coffee by the look of it.  Those diners provided the entertainment though, simultaneously complaining about their coffee being cold (it wasn’t) and their soup being too hot (it wasn’t). “Mix them together, love” said Mrs RM, scarcely under her breath.

The food was fantastic, the beer OK, the service by the young lady doing three jobs at once a model of efficiency and cheer. A true star, who made the pub.

7 thoughts on “HADDENHAM – LOOK SHARP !

  1. I think you almost get to the essence of cask beer quality in pubs here, Martin … ‘when Mrs RM went back for a top-up, the extra thoughput pushed beer quality up another notch!’

    It’s so simple to pull some beer through, or even better, disconnect and pull water through and leave it in the line over night. Okay, there’s some wastage, but there always will be with cask ale, that’s the nature of the beast. A real publican will recognise that, those that are on tight margins will try and squeeze every drop out – false economy, they are doomed to fail in the long term, at least in terms of my trade anyway.

    Keep posting, and titillating my beery taste buds. Sadly, like your OAP’s, I am still exclusively on soft drinks. In two recent visits to my locaI, I have now tried the full range of Sam’s soft drinks portfolio. Diet tonic and Angostura Bitters is by far the most satisfying of the range. I may even work myself up to a half of Sam’s Stout one day next week … ?


    1. Will join you for that half of Stout if you’re up to it.

      Agree on false economies, can’t just be ale fans who’d stay for a second if beer tasted spot on.

      By the way, by top up I meant stick a half in the pint glass, not because of short measure.


  2. I always look at the strength of the beer i get for both me and the wife when out with me,i rarely drink any beer over 5% as we prefer session beers that you can quaff a few of when out.

    Liked by 1 person

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