EPIC DRYANUARY FAILS AT THE FREE PRESS

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Just tidying up some posts last night* I noticed my pub photos post lacked anything from Pints and Pubs, a heinous crime.

P&P, as his mates call him, has produced the essential body of work on all the Cambridge pubs over the last year, finishing with the venerable Free Press.  So here’s a photo from that post combining a warm fuzzy pub atmosphere and the sticker from my first Beer Guide (1994).

Photo courtesy of Pints and Pubs

The day after touching down at Gatwick, I fancied a pub.  Not so much beer, just a warm pub on a dark Wednesday afternoon.

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Spot the proper pub

Plenty of proper pubs in town, but few open all day, so here’s my contribution to taming Dryanuary in Cambridge.

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Desirable Cambridge housing

The well-off residents of Prospect Row have a choice of 4 decent pubs within a minutes’ walk, so there’s really no excuse for sobriety (or drinking Prosecco at home).

I made my first tentative steps into the mysterious world of real ale here with pints of IPA while studying Accountancy on East Road in the late ’80s, though I spent 3 years believing it was called, and asking for “Ipper“.

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Pub life through windows

The pub has barely changed since then, bar the death of the white rabbits in the “garden” that Mrs RM and I grew attached to.

Nothing greets you better than drip mats, newspapers on the bar, old handpumps and a wicker waste paper basket.

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Guitar NOT used for Ed Sheeran recitals
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Proper fire, too

In a rare outlet for the dark Mild, I obviously went for the IPA, sporting the same pumpclip I remember from New Year’s Eve 1989.

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Too many beers !!! etc

At 4pm there was a table of Post Grad students in the right-hand room. There are always 20-something Post Grads in the Free Press, and some of them will always be American.  They tend to sit in the corner and leave the Old Boys to their regular seats at the bar.

I’ll say this for Americans; they love English pubs and give great banter.

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Americans are great (again), aren’t they ?

Christian – that’s still Chris isn’t it ?”

He’s a small time dealer but marijuana is legal in California now, isn’t it ?”

Ah, the perils of being 30”  (Don’t rub it in you youngsters).

And lots of stuff about ABBA, “salty and peppery hair” and setting up a coffee/bike match-up.

It was great.  They were there the hour that I was and didn’t go beyond their lone beers (Harviestoun Engine Oil out of the bottle, oddly).

My IPA was greater.

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Foam

Now some of you will say that Greene King IPA can’t be scored NBSS 4, but I just have.  A beer to savour (it took me 20 minutes) with a gorgeous foamy head and lovely lacings.  It was as good a beer as it was on the last day that Chris and Debbie Lloyd left for the Cambridge Blue, which is saying something.

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Lacings

Despite a soundtrack of Coldplay and Paul Simon’s “You can call me Al“, I stayed for a second pint.

By this time the regulars had turned up, joining a schoolboy doing his homework at the bar, which I confess I love to see in pubs.

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Homework not shown

I went for the Dizzy Blonde, though being non-sexist and so as not to upset Mrs RM I only asked for a “Blonde“. It was just as good; cool, complex, full-bodied (in a beery way).

I’d forgot how enjoyable it was to read the Daily Telegraph in a pub.

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Proper news back in those days

I’d now spent nearly an hour here, and a third pint called, but I resisted.

A young couple, one of them in corduroy, came to the bar.  She asked for a non-alcoholic beer.  No go. “Pint of Greedy Goose then“.  And just like that, her Dryanuary spell was broken.

No rabbits, but still a properly basic outdoor area and toilets to rival the Sun.

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Rabbits RIP

In fact, this is a Top 100 pub for virtually anybody but the Greene King hater, with only one flaw I can see;

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An attempt at Olympic rings with Dizzy Blonde

 

If I missed places like this in Los Angeles or Las Vegas, do let me know.

 

*Actually 2am as jetlag has kicked in.

 

 

 

24 thoughts on “EPIC DRYANUARY FAILS AT THE FREE PRESS

  1. “Ipper” of course originally used as a derogatory term for the local Lacon beers of Great Yarmouth as a point of contention as to whether the brewery or the naval bombardment of Admiral Hipper’s raid had dispatched more of the locals.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You did not miss places like that in LA or Las Vegas. You’re a lucky man to live near it. It is interesting to drink bottled beer with those taps on. Makes you wonder why.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. An especially delightful read, this one, and I’m not just saying that because of the kind words about Americans. 😉 It pleases me to see Greene King IPA get a good review from you, Martin, as I do fear such brands get roundly dismissed by an awful lot of beer enthusiasts, as they dash off for the latest extra-hoppy thing.

    I love solo Paul Simon, but I never completely fell for “Call Me Al.” Boy, was it all over the radio back when it first came out, though.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You’re not alone with your ‘Ipper’ experience, nor is it an historic thing. I was in Weatherspoons a short while ago and heard a customer ask for a pint of ‘aye-ar-appa-ho’ for a Langham Brewery beer called Arapaho it was the capital APA in the middle of their pump clip design (referring to american pale ale – the clue’s in the name as Langhams say) that probably caused the pronunciation problem. Possibly also that he’d never heard of a certain American indian tribe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “though I spent 3 years believing it was called, and asking for “Ipper“.”

      This is where having a Canadian accents comes in handy as we would have said “I’ll have an eye pee, eh”. 🙂

      Cheers

      Russ

      Like

  5. “cool, complex, full-bodied (in a beery way).”

    Darnit! I was all set to try and type a witty remark until you cut me off at the pass with the brackety bit at the end. 🙂

    Cheers

    Russ

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What! You dragged me out of a bar selling the best beer I had in the whole of Leicester, denying me a second pint. And then you have a second pint of GK IPA in a trendy academical pseudo pub amongst the gilded spires and quaint quadrangles of Cambridge. You are a hippogryph Sir!

    Liked by 1 person

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