I know some people think that travelling round the country on rickety trains (and increasingly rickety legs) is daft, when there’s such exciting beer close to home, but I care little for the beer.  If I didn’t follow the path of the Guide and locally “recommended” pubs, I’d never get to drink with real people in real pubs like today’s pair on the A120.

I’ve decided that as soon as the new Beer Guide is released on 14 September, I’m going to drink Doom Bar or Greene King IPA (or other so-called dull beer) whenever the chance arises. Which will be more frequent than you might expect.


The A120 is one of the world’s great slow roads, dragging you slowly through picture postcards villages like Little Hadham that weren’t designed for lorries escaping fuel spills on the M11.

The European tourists flooding in to Stansted will be, I guess, forsaking the traditional joys of Stortford and Mountfitchet for craft bars in Bethnal Green and Bermondsey.  Which is a bit like English folk flying to Nuremberg and missing out on the proper boozers of Erlangen.

The Three Horseshoes in tiny Hazel End was tourist-free, except for a few UK pub visitors drawn by local “recommendation“.  Perhaps the least inconspicuous pub photography of the year there, Sir.


In contrast to the typical Essex boozers up the road, this is the archetypal Essex casual dining pub.  You’ll find similar in Epping, Thaxted, Manningtree and Saffron Walden.

The beer range won’t come as a shock either.


2 pints of 1664 on the bar, so no obvious steer for my choice. So I started my year of Doom Bar with a cellar cool, well-presented pint which wasn’t unpleasant but suggested I may be in for a tough year (NBSS 3+).  No evil craft keg for Mrs RM either.


Certainly a proper scummy head, helped no doubt by the turbulence from overhead Ryanair planes.  Why do you never see plane spotters in pub gardens ?


Across the Herts border, and a rare trip to Standon (or Lower Puckeridge if you wish to annoy the locals) gives you the other local speciality, an unspoilt Greene King house with award-winning floral display.


Whether the Star used to be supplied from the brewery at Furneux Pelham, I neither know nor care. Someone will.

Standon has the effortless beauty of the Herts/Essex borders. And a sour dough bakery.




But you’ll see from those threatening cloudswhy we weren’t chancing the walk to Cold Christmas and back.

The public room at the Star was deserted.


So we joined the three Old Boys on the Guinness in the lounge, which may as well have been the public. From a choice of IPA, Abbot and Landlord, I of course chose the IPA.  There was no evil craft keg for Mrs RM. It was, again, solid and unspectacular (NBSS 3).

Unlike the conversation about “rip-torn westerns“, chips served in high heeled shoes, and obscure medical complaints.  It was worth £3.60 to hear the local pronunciation of Bunting-FORD, which was as old as the pub.

Note bench seating at the bar

You don’t come here for food after 2pm, and you won’t get chips served in high heeled shoes at any time.  As the check-shirted Old Boy said “How do they serve cheesy chips in a high heeled shoe“. How indeed.


  1. The Navigator is back to looking normal. The new one, I hope?

    After reading this, I am going to have at least one Doom Bar in October, if I see it.


  2. When i did the Airport Hotel or some name like that near Manchester airport which was a Robinsons tied house it was full of people plane spotting but good on them for drinking beer while doing it,it all looked very strange loads of blokes in a pub with binoculars looking at planes taking off.
    After my walk round that area of South Manchester i vowed to never go on a plane,and i have been on one yet.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I did try to do all Robinsons tied houses apart from the North Wales ones and did well over 300 of their tied houses,i mopped up all the Manchester ones and missed two in Stockport metro area.
        I did the Tatton Arms on the same day.
        I have done loads that have closed down and took photos of nearly all of them i did.


    1. Yes, the Airport Hotel is an ideal spot to watch the planes coming in to land at Ringway. I’ve not been for years, but apparently it’s recently received a typically pretentious refurb from Robinsons which includes seating situated in sections of aircraft fuselage 😮

      You also get a good view of the planes from the Tatton Arms (also Robinsons) just up the road at Moss Nook.

      In fact you get a pretty good view from my garden 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Surely an “acclaimed refurbishment” Mudge ;-).
        I’ve never been, thought it might sneak in GBG soon.
        You’ll be able to see occasional American fighter planes returning to Mildenhall flying over my own micropub (open 3-5pm on Thursdays, entry by 1999 edition of GBG).


  3. “I or course chose the IPA.”

    While the above might be some sort of back country drawl I’m guessing that ‘or’ should be ‘of’.

    And you wrote Saffron Walden again just because you know I like the name. 😉



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