I’m always fair on this blog.  Already this year I’ve given Doom Bar another go (had your chance, blew it), raved over Scottish cask, and revisited pubs that have dropped out of the Guide to prove the GBG isn’t infallible.   When I start telling you how great jam jars and tasters are you’ll know I’ve cracked.

Local microbrewery beers rarely impress.  I know CAMRA members are supposed to rave about the palate of tastes and colours provided underneath the railway arches (or a farm shed in Cambridgeshire), but I can’t.  Give me a BBB made in a factory in Wolverhampton any time (tour booked for April 4th !).

So excuse my lack of enthusiasm at what appeared to be a tap takeover by Crafty Beers at the Waterman last Thursday.


Crafty live in the horseracing hills of East Cambs. You’ll see their beers pop up in the smarter free houses in posh Cambridgeshire, and you’ll debate whether that Ghost Ship or keg Beavertown might be the better choice.

I gave their Wilbraham (another posh East Cambs village) a go.  It was almost nectar (NBSS 4). Someone else thought so too.  That was despite the Waterman being so busy on a Thursday night I had to go and sit with the smokers condemned to the damp back benches.  City Pub Co. have a winner on their hands here.

Beer with the smokers

Beer this good (cool, chewy, rich) would convert me to real ale if I was in my 20s, just as it did when I started visiting pubs like the Cambridge Blue and Free Press 30 years ago.  The challenge for CAMRA, and for Crafty, is to have their beers served as consistently well as this in local pubs.

I’d only popped across to the Waterman for some evil keg, as my gig at the Portland Arms provided only a fairly grim selection of Greene King “craft” which lets down a terrific live music pub.

A 20 second chicken run across Mitcham’s Corner gives you an excellent view of the Cambridge Illuminations.


My usual “Band you’ve never heard of but ought to” is Thyla, a fully formed powerhouse of scary pop without so much as a shared 7″ single to sell me.  I wish I’d bought the (XL) T-shirt.




  1. What’s with the ‘Vegan’ sign on all the Crafty pumps? Does Happy Face not have one because it was brewed by mice (three of them, blind to be precise). Do the mice perhaps lose bits of themselves when they brew a batch?

    Next they’ll be telling us that no Gypsies were used in the harvesting of the barley, or no Polish lorry drivers were forced to work overtime in delivering the casks/kegs. Sheesh


    PS – smiled at the jam jars/tasters bit 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Already this year I’ve given Doom Bar another go (had your chance, blew it)” –I do remember when you were repeatedly ordering Doom Bar a number of weeks back; hadn’t realized it was part of a concerted effort to give it a chance. Does this mean you’re done with the stuff?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m generally dubious about the “local microbreweries” routine, too, but I’ve got time for Crafty. If anything I’d say that they brew like a good trad family brewer – a bunch of clean, well-balanced brown beers that are well worth drinking if they’re in decent nick, plus a token hoppy golden ale that everyone likes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. On the evidence of the pint I had, you’re right. The problem for the drinker is that in the absence of a tap room or Milton-type estate they can’t be sure whether they’re drinking a dull beer or a slowly selling/poorly kept one when it disappoints as one of six beers on the bar.


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