You’ll know my thoughts on Beer Festivals, TOO MANY BEERS. But I’d promised the estimable Andrew from West Suffolk CAMRA I’d pop along to their big East Anglian bash, and I’m a man of my word.

The train from Waterbeach to Bury SE went via Ely, allowing me to experience the journey undertaken by our hero Si recently.

Weird train journey

Ely looked rather gorgeous in our unexpected heatwave*, which prompted folk at the station to complain bitterly about it being too hot.  #ProudToBeBritish.

Ely Cathedral

My first ever train journey from Ely to Bury (it’s no Trans Pennine), and my first ever encounter with Bury station. Not a highlight of the day, despite the blue skies.

Just another railway station

Leaving the station, I could tell immediately who was en route for the Beer Fest.  I shall out them now, and say they all headed for the Spoons, happy to use their 50p vouchers to kill pubs.

Spoons life

Not that they’d have found any space in the Nutshell.

In a Nutshell

It was market day in Bury, and the influx of coachloads of OAPs from Ixworth and Haverhill only confirmed my view that this is a caffeine-fuelled boom town.

With 20 minutes to spare I enjoyed the other 3 million pensioners walking the ever more upmarket streets, and took the inevitable photo.

The Abbey

Anyway, I was there in the queue at the Apex at noon, just so I didn’t miss the secret barrel of Turnip sour DIPA.

Obligatory festival beer glass shot

My main gripe with beer fests is that they’re obsessed with beer, rather than Harry Kane andNeighbours” themes and the like.

There’s lot of beers here, thankfully nearly all from breweries I’ve heard of, and all of it very well kept.  Beers from Old Cannon, Cambridge Moonshine, “Gales” and Angles (from East Angular), since you ask.  It’s a Key Keg free zone too, whether by accident or design.


I’m also a fan of the scratchings, sourced from the wonderful Dove.

Scratchings £1 a bag

But my main reservation with Fests is that it’s harder to have conversation than it is in the pub, with many folk coming with mates or being consumed by their tick lists.  “What are you drinking” or “Come far ?” often gets an indistinct grunt.  Not here.

I found a table where locals and visitors were happy to talk County cricket, gentrification and fish and chip shops, as well as arguing over the ideal number of beers in a pub (A: One)

Lovely looking beer

To add some variety to my dull life, I had a couple of well-priced foreign bottles.  One from Tempest in the Scottish Borders where Mrs RM works, and this busy looking bottle from Canada.  No doubt Russ lives next door to the brewery, it being a small country and all.

Smashbomb Atomic IPA – does what it says on the bottle

Superbly organised, plenty of seating, a good choice of beers, free for CAMRA members, and not too snooty to have some Greene King beers on the bar.  Well done West Suffolk.


*Heatwave = a day when Fen folk only wear one coat.








  1. “and I’m a man of my word.”

    While true, I’m sure that word at times is ‘buggeroff’. 🙂

    “Ely Cathedral”

    Another nice pic Martin. You’re getting good at this! (thumbs up)

    “In a Nutshell”


    “No doubt Russ lives next door to the brewery, it being a small country and all.”

    Most people don’t know this but if we stretch our hands very far apart, we can touch both coasts. 🙂

    Smashbomb Atomic IPA – does what it says on the bottle”

    Pfft. 6%? That’s an aperitif (he said sipping his 7.2% ‘Filthy Dirty IPA’). 🙂




    1. Me too. Hard to explain that to people who enjoy tasting and reading about “beer”.

      Quite a pleasant theatre type venue in Bury, but I was glad to find some folk to chat to about real things.


  2. The more I read your staff the more apparent it is that you are an inverted beer snob! Single brand pubs with a definite leaning towards the larger mega-breweries and contract brewers. I’m looking forward to your feature on Yates’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That Spoons looks a cracker, architecturally at least.

    “It’s a Key Keg free zone too, whether by accident or design.”

    If the CAMRA Revitalisation proposals go through this weekend, I can see East Anglia becoming the equivalent of the counter-revolutionary Vendée in France after 1789, a rural hinterland holding out against the new regime, with Stockport a traditionalist exclave of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I always thought you went to beer festivals to get pissed, well that what we have always done, no ticking or asking for tasters just drink as many different beers as possible.
    We went to the Nottingham beer festival a few years ago not long after i had had an hernia operation, so we had to sit down a gang of lads half our ages sat down and could not believe how long we had been there and we had had drinks before getting to the festival and more after a good 12 hours drinking.
    I do hope i can do that this year.

    Liked by 1 person

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