Mrs RM has started an assignment flitting between Northampton Council (yes, THAT one) and a Cambridge office.  If only there was even a 3rd World standard road between the two it’d be bearable.

Image result for a14 roadworks

Still, she gets to pop in the Rifle Drum when she stays over, so life’s not all bad.

I picked her up from the Cambridge office at Castle Hill last week, next to the city’s highest point (wooo) and sole Adnams tied house.

Untimely scaffold
Begone with you craft invaders.  Too late, mate

We’ve been popping in the Castle Inn for decades; 5 or so years ago it would have been a key part of a Cambridge Pub Tourist Crawl including the Blue/Live & Let Live/Free Press & Radegund.

But it’s out of the Guide, at least temporarily, and frankly the Bitter and Broadside are a shadow of what they were*.

Still a gorgeous, rambling interior though.

Never get bored of this filter

Just the seven on cask.  I bet some CAMRA members pop their head round the door, groan at the “dullness” of the selection, and move on to the Maypole.  I picked Mosaic.

Dull, dull, dull (joke)

Get me something cold” shouted Mrs RM, picking a table near the bar. #PubWoman.

Ooh, what’s that on the left ?

The New England IPA was a modest 6%, which I guess is the new 4.1%.

Hazy orange” it says on the website, though not on the pump clip, of course. Mrs RM didn’t mind the murk, it was cool and refreshing ideally matched to a burger, chips and mayo that isn’t the bargain grub it once was here.

The Mosaic was warming up nicely, even before I got back to the table with one of those numbered spoons we love. Decent taste, not refreshing (NBSS 3).  As so often, Mrs RM won the cask ale lottery.


So why is cask slumping ?  As here, a switch to lager and keg as an excess of handpumps means the cask is split too thin.

Tell me I’m wrong.


*And that’s not my tastebuds. The Adnams is as good as ever at the Queen’s Head.

NB I had as taster of the Ghost Ship LA (0.5%).  Served in a warm thimble, it was soup.



  1. “Never get bored of this filter”

    Agreed. That’s pretty cool.

    “it was cool and refreshing ideally matched to a burger, chips and mayo”

    Had that combo myself (IPA and burger/chips) yesterday at a ‘pub’ in Courtenay.

    “Tell me I’m wrong.”

    No argument here.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dare I say? Modern taste prefers something cooler, more carbonated, and not cask ale. Most normal (as opposed to not like me) people don’t really like the hop forward monsters beers neither. The Adnams ‘Jack Brand’ craft alikes in your picture are neither challenging nor inspiring. In fact the switch to lager and keg beer splitting the ‘too many’ cask lines, as you refer to is no one’s fault apart from Adnams in this case.


    1. The IPA is good, I thought (should be at 6%). You’re right about who’s to blame. If you add interesting looking German lagers, Aspalls and keg and an increasing cask range, don’t be surprised if your former flagship products suffer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Adnams predict that in a couple of years they’ll be doing more keg than cask.
        When my wife wants to eat there I don’t at all mind the cask Adnams Southwold Bitter in the Holly Bush at Salt not far from us but at £3.60 it’s expensive for these parts.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, a pleasant pub but, with more food than beer, maybe not a proper pub, unless the thatched roof makes it one !
        I find the Adnams, Pedigree and guest beer to be very good. Now there’s an idea, just three cask beers on, enough of each sold so in good condition, maybe something other pubs could consider.
        It’s expensive beer but good and reasonably priced food.
        I first knew it over forty years ago as an ordinary Burtonwood pub.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes, Burtonwood had quite a few pubs around Stone, I think ex Bents pubs, and most had Draught Bass alongside the Burtonwood Bitter and possibly Mild.


      4. I strolled into town with Mrs Professor Pie-Tin yesterday afternoon to sup a few pints and try to ignore her none-too-subtle hints about going for a meal.
        Pub grub is a scarcity in much of Ireland so restaurants fill the void and empty the wallet.
        We moseyed up to a local,bog-standard steak house and noted from the menu displayed that their 8oz fillet was €29.95 and that if you wanted anything with that like chips or salad it would be an extra €3.50 per item.
        Two words later,the latter one being that,we ordered another pint and headed home for pizza and halloumi fries ( courtesy of Aldi and bizarrely limited to two packs per customer as though there was a run on them.)
        Fortunately Tim has the measure of this nonsense and my local Spoons is packed to the gunwales knocking out cheap and cheerful.


    2. Sounds just like fifty years ago – “modern taste prefers something cooler (both literally and metaphorically), fizzier and more consistent, rather than that flat warm stuff with all its odd, challenging flavours.” And then an organisation had to be set up to take a stand against the winds of fashion.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Speaking to people who drink lager, and the feedback from CCBF, they don’t even want the stronger premium versions (too strong) and they definitely don’t want Lager with a taste and the feedback from the Brass Castle Helles (a very nice drink) was that it had ‘too much of a taste’.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. “I had a bottle of the non-alcoholic Ghost Ship in spoons last week. I won’t be having another.”

        Since ‘you lot’ over there in the UK get dinged more the higher the ABV I hope it was correspondingly cheaper due to lower ABV. 😉

        We have “de alcholized” beer over here in Canada. What gets me is they charge practically the same as regular. At least get a Radler or some such if you’re going the low alcohol route.



  3. Looking at that range of cask and keg I understand the temptation to blame Adnams for their “former flagships suffering”. However, the brewery is just responding to demand. If the cask isn’t turning over enough to justify all those lines then the pub would be well advised to offer fewer options. Their is a fine Adnams pub near me (The Eel’s Foot), which has just three cask lines.

    As for the Ghost Ship LA, you didn’t get a fair reflection of it – maybe because of the warm thimble. I have found it to be a decent pint of bitter, well worth drinking when I am driving.


    1. Oh, I’m sure you’re right, Sean. I’d never tell a brewery how to run their pubs. It’s an observation, rather than criticism. But result is that cask quality has suffered here.

      Some pubs leading on Adnams cask (Newton, Brandon Creek etc) still provide as good a pint as ever.

      Incidentally, good to hear Eastbridge quality holding up; pint I had there few years back was a classic.

      And on the LA, I guess that was the point. Thimbles of warm beer hopeless. It certainly seemed to have some taste, anyway. Worth a go.



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