Village pubs

We went out for a little drive around some Cambridgeshire / Bedfordshire villages the other day and found ourselves in some pretty nice pubs – some new to us and one old favourite.

The Engineer's Arms

The Engineer's Arms

The first stop was The Engineers Arms in Henlow, Bedfordshire. This is a village we have driven through before but never stopped at. The pub itself is a strange looking building from the outside; round and curvy, and painted a terracotta colour, with a nice wrought iron gate leading to the beer garden out the back.  It was recommended as a good real ale pub, and it did not disappoint. There were loads of ales available, all chalked up on a blackboard – there are about 20 different ones a week. I noticed Oakham Citra, 4.2%, on tap, so naturally went for that with hardly a glance at the other beers and sat in the comfortable lounge area of the pub; the nice chilled out pub dog joined us for a bit before loping off somewhere.  There is a large outdoor covered area, and another seating area with a TV. I got a 2 pint take-out of Citra as it was so lovely, bursting with Citra hops, an incredible light grapefruit and sherbet aroma and taste. The landlord was friendly and told us about the beer festival at the end of October, so we will definitely be returning for that. Probably on the train.

The March Hare

The March Hare

The next stop was The March Hare in Dunton, Bedfordshire. This pub was boarded up last time we drove past which was a pity but we did stop to take a photo of the lovely sign. But this time the pub was open and refurbished, having reopened a short time ago.  It was quiet inside with a few ales on tap, Banks and Taylors Two Brewers at 3.6%, Nethergate’s Priory Mild, 3.5%, and Nethergate’s Suffolk County, 4%, the latter of which we opted for and took a seat by the window overlooking the churchyard. The beer is not the most interesting of ales to me, to be honest,  a bit too malty and quite dull, and I wished I had gone for the Two Brewers. The landlord told us that the refurb took a good few months, and they have done a nice job inside with carpeted areas and wooden floors as well, although it does need to feel more lived in, which I am sure will come in time. The exterior refurb is coming next. I am looking forward to more people discovering it.

The Royal Oak, Barrington

The Royal Oak, Barrington

We then drove back to Cambridgeshire and went to the village of Barrington, to the Royal Oak, a favourite of mine. Barrington has one of the largest village greens in England, you need to see it to believe it, it’s ginormous, and the pub sits facing it, a beautiful thatched and beamed old building dating back to the 13th century. This pub has a lovely garden and interior, and you can’t go wrong if you are looking for a village inn with character to take your friends or family too. The food isn’t cheap but it’s good; for a snack I particularly love their chunky chips. Oh, and the beer is nice too.  They have some Potton beers on tap such as the hoppy and moorish Shannon IPA, but on this occasion I opted for a good old Adnams Bitter.

The Red Lion, Histon

The Red Lion, Histon

The Red Lion in Histon, a village just outside Cambridge, is a pub we visited yesterday on a separate drive out, but may as well include it this post as well, why not, just in case I don’t get round to mentioning it again. The Red Lion is filled with pub memorabilia, with the lounge bar ceiling covered with pump clips and jugs, and the bar room filled with cabinets of old bottles. There were lots of real ales on tap which was great to see and an older clientele – although this was lunchtime so this may change in the evening, who can tell. Whilst supping on my Oakham Wotalegacy, I found myself staring at the ceiling for ages looking at clips of beers I have tried and seeing others I want to try – similar to when I am in the Cambridge Blue, who have much the same decor.

There are lots of great village pubs around the area, some of which I hope to include here someday, when I get round to it.

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