Perhaps the question I’m asked least is “Just why is Greene King IPA so good ?“. As the 13th anniversary of its success in the 2004 Best Bitter awards approaches, I bravely took a trip to Bury St Edmunds to test the nectar at source. Actually, I went there to get some brutal hardcore metal LPs for my son, Bury being the home of vinyl.
Sorry to bore you, but I still reckon this is a decent beer in decently run pubs. “It’s they that keep it that spoil it” as someone once said.
So how can Greene King keep their own flagship beer in the café at the end of the brewery tour ?
We regularly park our campervan overnight over the road from the Abbey ruins for a few quid. Why can’t more councils be more accommodating to motor-homers ?
Bury never disappoints, and the walk from Cannon Street to Westgate reveals more quirk charm than you get anywhere else in Suffolk.
That house above is right next door to the brewery, and the absence of an Abbot pump clip is surely purely coincidental (?).
Greene King’s Beer Café isn’t in the Beer Guide, joining a long list of brewery taps ignored by the GBG (you know who you are). Whether that’s generally due to beer quality, admission criteria (brewery tour only), or not being a “proper pub” I wouldn’t wish to speculate. The Beer Café is now open to all.
Without doubt, the Beer Café has one of the very best smells in the country, almost as good as the one you used to get from the nearby sugar beet factory.
Inside it’s very café, full of ladies who lunch on J20s, lattes and “Beetroot & Quinoa Salad”. Which is fine, Mrs RM would say, but not very pubby.
But the “Beer Elf” lady sells beer and allows you to sit at the bar and drink it, which makes it a pub. I could sense the female clientele looking up from their laptops with disdain at the old scruff drinking beer. It was just like being at home, except with “Of Monsters & Men” playing at a lower volume.
Perhaps the atmosphere changes completely when the brewery tour crowds pile in, perhaps it doesn’t, but closing by 6pm means it will never have a truly pubby feel.
The IPA, at just £3 a pint, was a quality easy-drinking pint, scoring highly for temperature and richness (NBSS 3.5/4), possibly even better than the IPA from the marvellous Rose & Crown, though I’d have switched to the Abbot if I’d stayed for a second pint.
The staff were very cheery and informed, obviously knowing enough about beer to guide customers in the bottle shop away from the smooth and onto the experimental brews.
The outside toilets left something to be desired;