The train from Waterbeach to Bury SE went via Ely, allowing me to experience the journey undertaken by our hero Si recently.
Ely looked rather gorgeous in our unexpected heatwave*, which prompted folk at the station to complain bitterly about it being too hot. #ProudToBeBritish.
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.
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.
Not that they’d have found any space in the 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.
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.
My main gripe with beer fests is that they’re obsessed with beer, rather than Harry Kane and “Neighbours” 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.
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)
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.
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.