And I can tell you as one of them, completing Beds is MUCH tougher.
13th-15th January 2023.
A long weekend in Waterbeach, with 3 days to crack Bedfordshire’s four GBG newbies*. Thrilling.
Despite nearly catching up on the blog (take that, BRAPA !), I’m giving you four pubs in one today.
Because Beds is Boring. And they can have that as their slogan for free.
Unusually, all four newbies are in what you’d call rural North Beds, with none in Luton or the county town.
I’m bored of writing this already, but let’s crack on.
Yes, it’s the Plough in Langford, a dull dormitory village whose Red Cow was a genuine spit and sawdust classic in the ’90s till the smoking ban killed it off.
The Plough had the best Greene King IPA since then, a tight headed NBSS 3.5, and a really friendly welcome, but loses points for showing the offside United goal in the derby. A nice family friendly local, pleasantly refurbished
in that hateful Greene King style, and if it really is the last pub in Langford I think they couldn’t ask for a better one.
Northill’s Crown was a bit of a shock, mainly because Northill and adjacent Ickwell are actually rather lovely, in sharp contrast to the Caldecotes you pass on the A1.
In fact, I’d say the Crown was almost posh. A dad paraded his son to the bar, offering his services to do the washing-up to pay for his extravagant lunch. I’m not sure if the lad knew his dad was joking.
A Surrey style dining pub (IPA here was £4.60), another barperson shocked we just wanted a quick beer, another packed pub, and (in fairness) another excellent drop of GK IPA. This one was flat and cool (NBSS 3.5+).
A third IPA of the weekend in Bromham, which Wiki would have us believe has a population of nearly 5k despite having no features of interest.
Most of those 5,000 souls were in the Swan on Sunday lunchtime,
crowding the bar with ludicrously complex drinks orders. You know the type; “Slice of lemon and a dash of Lee & Perrins. NO ! Put the Lee & Perrins in FIRST !”.
IPA only £3.70 here, nearly a quid cheaper than down the road, and a smart village pub I’d like to slag off but just couldn’t be bothered to.
The beer was, again, good (3.5), though the smell of roasts and baby (not on the same plate) knocked a half point off by the end of the pint.
Which leaves us with the Hare & Hounds in Old Warden, home to the Shuttleworth Collection of flying machines.
A fourth busy Beds pub of the weekend, which shows how seriously some folk take Dryanuary, and another pub where I had to resort to the high stool at the bar.
My run of decent Greene King ground to a halt here, with Charles Wells Origin Pale Ale on the bar. GBG quality, but as dull a beer as I’ve had in many a month.
NB Good to see the Albion in Ampthill still No.1 in the GBG despite the geographic mucking around.
*OK, OK, to see Mum and Dad and visit Chung Hwa as well.