You left me in Ely, leaving a second pint in a Greene King newbuild diner, the sort of pub that you can usually rely on.

I headed back to the station past the Cathedral, needing to get the taste of sour beer out of my mouth.


I gave Greene King a chance to make it up to me.

Proper Pub

The Prince Albert is Ely’s GBG stalwart, as reliable a GK outlet as the Free Press in Cambridge, and now with similar prices (£4.50 for Landlord last year).

And like the Press it persists with the XX Mild.

Beers You’ve Heard Of Award

Later in the evening it goes a bit upmarket (by RM standards), but at 6pm the crowd was mixed, the banter earthy, the seats low.  It was marvellous.

GBG stickers ruined by Beer Fest poster
Unrepeatable banter

Cool, frothy, chewy 3% beer (NBSS 3.5+); utterly wonderful. Not something you drink in halves, mind.

Best 3% beer in Britain

£3.50 a 3.0% pint, so you pay for your quality (it was bargain priced in that Isle of Ely place).  I’ll pay for quality, thanks.



  1. At Herr Protz’s recommendation, I had tried half of their XX Mild at GBBF, it was after all awarded Gold in the Mild category. It was very good beer and I enjoyed it very much. However, their 5X Oak aged was on a different planet, unbelievably good. I started to look at GK through a different lens. I then tried the Vintage Fine Ale, pure essence of GK, not unpleasant, just a stronger version of everything else they brew. I’ve probably mentioned it elsewhere, but the better GK pubs now are the ones keeping the GK brews off their bars – if the manager is robust, and their turnover supports their view, then they can get away with just having GK IPA on the bar, apparently it’s mandatory – I get that. I just don’t know what to think of GK and whether to separate, in my mind, GK the brewer from GK the Pubco. I still can’t help thinking they are just another greedy gobbler like Marston’s?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a sensible comment, Richard (by your standards). I can’t work out Greene King either. Their experimental beers (the ones with designs that look like a Beavertown car crash) have been awful, IPA rarely reaches Doom Bar levels, but Abbot, Speckled Hen and Mild have all impressed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry, Scott, didn’t make myself clear. It wasn’t the Black IPA and Heritage I meant by experimental. They were both great, in Wolves and Skeggy.

        It’s those beers I see under their craft label that look like someone else -Big Bank IPA and Over Easy.


  2. The only time anyone has ever had to use the Heimlich manoeuvre on me was after I had consumed a dozen pints of Abbott Ale in the Cheshire Cheese just off Fleet Street many scoops ago.
    I’m not sure that’s an appropriate recommendation but I’ve always liked it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My then new girlfriend,unaccustomed to the drinking habits of Fleet Street’s hacks,thought I was in some distress.
        I was,having just consumed a gallon and a half of Abbott.
        But not enough ,I subsequently argued,to warrant such action.
        However,GK had rendered me incapable of both speech and movement at that stage.


  3. I was very impressed with the Prince Albert last year Martin, following my visit with yourself and Mrs RM. From memory, I think you drank the XX Mild then, whilst I went for the Landlord. I can’t remember which beer Mrs RM chose.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think I mentioned recently, here or elsewhere, my drinking of Greene King XX Mild in the Prince Albert many years ago.
    It’s good to hear that Owd Roger is up and about again after his hernia operation.

    As for “can’t work out Greene King either” we should realise that Greene King is primarily a pub company.
    “Greene King is the country’s leading integrated pub retailer and brewer” with 2,855 managed, tenanted, leased and franchised pubs, restaurants and hotels, including well-known brands such as Greene King local pubs, Hungry Horse, Chef & Brewer and Farmhouse Inns.
    Its annual revenue is over £2 billion a year of which only £215 million, only 9.9%, is from ‘Brewing and Brands’, their “proud history of brewing award-winning ales for more than 200 years” and their “leading ale brand portfolio” that “includes Greene King IPA, Old Speckled Hen, Abbot Ale and Belhaven Best”.
    They clearly realise that different pubs work best in different ways, and that will include their beer offerings, which surely works better than Tim’s one-(barn)-size-fits-all policy. And might the Westgate Brewery be at full capacity would make space on some of their bars for beers from other brewers ?
    Greene King state that “Building pub brands that customers admire remains central to our strategy and we are focused on providing the customer with offers that deliver compelling value, service and quality” which is clearly an emphasis on running pubs rather than brewing beer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My main gripe with Greene King is the number of beers on the bar. IPA, Abbot and that lovely Black IPA would more than do in 95% of their pubs. Scrap the pointless guest beers (says the man who bought the Otter).


  5. “Proper Pub”

    Ayup. 🙂

    “I’ll pay for quality, thanks.”

    Ayup. 🙂

    And with that my wife is indicating it’s time to catch up on the final episodes of one of our shows, seeing as how the new PVR is finally working properly.


    PS – “Later in the evening it goes a bit upmarket by RM standards),”

    Not sure if there’s a bracket missing or that one’s superfluous.

    Liked by 1 person

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