7th December 2022.

It was all going swimmingly.

Seven (7) pubs in 3.5 hours, some good beer, some bad beer, some lively debate.

But now to the schism. Will and I wanted to visit the new craft bar Ship Aground, Peter and Paul said (figuratively) “Away from me, craft Devil” and opted to try out a second Craft Union pub of the afternoon.

In fairness, Ship Aground doesn’t look much.

but inside there’s a giant penguin, always a sign of good beer.

Not sure about the Stoke gin bottle.

The nice beer blackboard had exciting words like “peach tea” and “honeyberry sour” and “wrench”. Did the Mudgies know what they were missing ?

Will, ever the purist, stuck to cask while your brave craft hero went keg.

You can take Retired Martin out of Waterbeach, but he’ll always feel duty bound to pick the village’s wild fruit brewer wherever he goes.

Even if a gorgeous 7% Blueberry Martini Sour was never going to sit well on a tummy full of BBB.

This was the point in the day where I seriously considered calling it quits and heading straight for the Cacao, Peanut Butter and Banana Imperial Stouts. It’s what Blackpool Jane would have done.

But these days aren’t meant to be FUN, and Will ushered me out before I could take photos of ALL the contoured maps in the Gents.

Or steal the Rod Stewart 7″.


    1. There was no cask in the Grapes, and it seemed a bit of a gloomy and cavernous pub. But we caught up with the crafties just as they were leaving the Ship Aground.


      1. T’other Mudgie,
        From 1994 to 2006 the Grapes was kept by Derek Holt of the Climax Blues Band and being “cavernous” was appropriate for a pub best known at the time for live music.


  1. Greetings Martin and Happy New Year! Just catching up on your Stafford posts, quite a lot to digest – I think the Ship Aground would have enticed me more so than the Grapes, mainly on account of the Malted Honeycomb Chocolate Stout, and it’s quite remiss of me not to have been in either establishment myself – I thought I’d covered Stafford quite comprehensively too. Ah well, it gives me some good 2023 targets to be working on. Cheers, Paul


    1. Happy New Year, Paul !

      Well, I thought we’d “done” Stafford a year ago, too, so Ship Aground must be new. As a pub it’s what you’d expect, less communal than Candid (which was excellent) and a genuinely interesting beer choice.


      1. “Ship Aground must be new” – yes, opened last September. The original plan had been for premises opposite Yee Oldee Rosee Ande Crowne.
        Doom Bar should be the house beer of a pub so named.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Doom Bar would be the very last beer the Ship Aground would stock.

        For people who like keg craft beers, including me, the Ship Aground and Candid would rate as highly as anywhere in Cambridge or Manchester.


      3. But I was meaning that there’s been many a Ship Aground on the original Doom Bar.
        Candid recently appealed for customers because of cash flow problems so is apparently struggling like so many other venues.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. If those two rate as highly as anywhere in Cambridge or Manchester they deserve to do well but I doubt if there’s the interest in Stafford. Time will tell.
        For ages I thought Stafford could only support one proper “beer range varies” pub – at one time the Stafford Arms, at another the Sun – and now there’s not a great deal more “choice” apart from the Black Country Ales two.
        It was only about thirty years ago when many people came to Stafford for the beer and that’s when we had a Titanic pub, a Hogshead, a Tap & Spile and a Wetherspoons when some similar sized towns not far away didn’t have any of them.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I think the important thing is that young folk stay in Stafford and give independent business a go. Growth breeds growth. I agree it’s harder to attract young drinkers (and old codgers like us) into town than it is in the cities.


      6. Yes, but what proportion of “young folk” drink alcohol and go out to drink it in an ‘ordinary’ town ?
        I have no idea.


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