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.
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.