Monday, June 5, 2017

A Cambridge Crawl

9 days on from this blog's first foray into Cambridgeshire, I decided to make the most of some excellent weather and commence a follow-up trip, this time to the fair city of Cambridge, a place I know well from a year working there. During this period, I never fully got the chance to experience the full range of Cambridge pubs, this being in the dark days before I discovered proper beer. It was high time that a thorough exploration was carried out. What follows is by no means a comprehensive look but something of a cross section of what to expect should you ever find yourself here.

Cambridge is a university city and the county town of Cambridgeshire, on the River Cam about 50 miles (80 km) north of London. At the United Kingdom Census 2011, its population was 123,867, including 24,488 students.
There is archaeological evidence of settlement in the area in the Bronze Age and in Roman Britain; under Viking rule, Cambridge became an important trading centre. The first town charters were granted in the 12th century, although city status was not conferred until 1951.
The University of Cambridge, founded in 1209, is one of the top five universities in the world. The university includes the Cavendish Laboratory, King's College Chapel, and the Cambridge University Library. The city's skyline is dominated by the last two buildings, along with the spire of the Our Lady and the English Martyrs Church, the chimney of Addenbrooke's Hospital and St John's College Chapel tower. Anglia Ruskin University, evolved from the Cambridge School of Art and the Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology, also has its main campus in the city.
Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology Silicon Fen with industries such as software and bioscience and many start-up companies born out of the university. More than 40% of the workforce has a higher education qualification, more than twice the national average. The Cambridge Biomedical Campus, one of the largest biomedical research clusters in the world, is soon to be home to AstraZeneca, a hotel and the relocated Papworth Hospital.
Parker's Piece hosted the first ever game of Association football. The Strawberry Fair music and arts festival and Midsummer Fairs are held on Midsummer Common, and the annual Cambridge Beer Festival takes place on Jesus Green. The city is adjacent to the M11 and A14 roads, and Cambridge station is less than an hour from London King's Cross railway station.

Settlements have existed around the Cambridge area since prehistoric times. The earliest clear evidence of occupation is the remains of a 3,500-year-old farmstead discovered at the site of Fitzwilliam College. Archaeological evidence of occupation through the Iron Age is a settlement on Castle Hill from the 1st century BC, perhaps relating to wider cultural changes occurring in southeastern Britain linked to the arrival of the Belgae.
The principal Roman site is a small fort (castrum) Duroliponte on Castle Hill, just northwest of the city centre around the location of the earlier British village. The fort was bounded on two sides by the lines formed by the present Mount Pleasant, continuing across Huntingdon Road into Clare Street. The eastern side followed Magrath Avenue, with the southern side running near to Chesterton Lane and Kettle's Yard before turning northwest at Honey Hill. It was constructed around AD 70 and converted to civilian use around 50 years later. Evidence of more widespread Roman settlement has been discovered including numerous farmsteads and a village in the Cambridge district of Newnham.
Following the Roman withdrawal from Britain around 410, the location may have been abandoned by the Britons, although the site is usually identified as Cair Grauth listed among the 28 cities of Britain by the History of the Britons. Evidence exists that the invading Anglo-Saxons had begun occupying the area by the end of the century. Their settlement—also on and around Castle Hill—became known as Grantebrycge ("Granta-bridge"). (By Middle English, the settlement's name had changed to "Cambridge" and the lower stretches of the Granta changed their name to match.) Anglo-Saxon grave goods have been found in the area. During this period, Cambridge benefited from good trade links across the hard-to-travel fenlands. By the 7th century, the town was less significant and described by Bede as a "little ruined city" containing the burial site of Etheldreda. Cambridge was on the border between the East and Middle Anglian kingdoms and the settlement slowly expanded on both sides of the river.
The arrival of the Vikings was recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 875. Viking rule, the Danelaw, had been imposed by 878 Their vigorous trading habits caused the town to grow rapidly. During this period the centre of the town shifted from Castle Hill on the left bank of the river to the area now known as the Quayside on the right bank. After the Viking period, the Saxons enjoyed a return to power, building churches such as St Bene't's Church, wharves, merchant houses and a mint, which produced coins with the town's name abbreviated to "Grant".
In 1068, two years after his conquest of England, William of Normandy built a castle on Castle Hill. Like the rest of the newly conquered kingdom, Cambridge fell under the control of the King and his deputies.
The first town charter was granted by Henry I between 1120 and 1131. It gave Cambridge monopoly of waterborne traffic and hithe tolls and recognised the borough court. The distinctive Round Church dates from this period. In 1209, Cambridge University was founded by students escaping from hostile townspeople in Oxford. The oldest existing college, Peterhouse, was founded in 1284.
In 1349 Cambridge was affected by the Black Death. Few records survive but 16 of 40 scholars at Kings Hall died. The town north of the river was severely affected being almost wiped out. Following further depopulation after a second national epidemic in 1361, a letter from the Bishop of Ely suggested that two parishes in Cambridge be merged as there were not enough people to fill even one church. With more than a third of English clergy dying in the Black Death, four new colleges were established at the university over the following years to train new clergymen, namely Gonville Hall, Trinity Hall, Corpus Christi and Clare.
In 1382 a revised town charter effects a "diminution of the liberties that the community had enjoyed", due to Cambridge's participation in the Peasants' Revolt. The charter transfers supervision of baking and brewing, weights and measures, and forestalling and regrating, from the town to the university. King's College Chapel, was begun in 1446 by King Henry VI. The chapel was built in phases by a succession of kings of England from 1446 to 1515, its history intertwined with the Wars of the Roses, and completed during the reign of King Henry VIII. The building would become synonymous with Cambridge, and currently is used in the logo for the City Council.

Following repeated outbreaks of pestilence throughout the 16th Century, sanitation and fresh water were brought to Cambridge by the construction of Hobson's Conduit in the early 1600s. Water was brought from Nine Wells, at the foot of the Gog Magog Hills, into the centre of the town.
Cambridge played a significant role in the early part of the English Civil War as it was the headquarters of the Eastern Counties Association, an organisation administering a regional East Anglian army, which became the mainstay of the Parliamentarian military effort before the formation of the New Model Army. In 1643 control of the town was given by Parliament to Oliver Cromwell, who had been educated at Sidney Sussex College. The town's castle was fortified and garrisoned with troops and some bridges were destroyed to aid its defence. Although Royalist forces came within 2 miles (3 km) of the town in 1644, the defences were never used and the garrison was stood down the following year.
In the 19th century, in common with many other English towns, Cambridge expanded rapidly, due in part to increased life expectancy and improved agricultural production leading to increased trade in town markets. The Inclosure Acts of 1801 and 1807 enabled the town to expand over surrounding open fields and in 1912 and again in 1935 its boundaries were extended to include Chesterton, Cherry Hinton, Fen Ditton, Trumpington, and Grantchester.
The railway came to Cambridge in 1845 after initial resistance, with the opening of the Great Eastern Railway's London to Norwich line. The station was outside the town centre following pressure from the university to restrict travel by undergraduates. With the arrival of the railway and associated employment came development of areas around the station, such as Romsey Town. The rail link to London stimulated heavier industries, such as the production of brick, cement and malt.
From the 1930s to the 1980s, the size of the city was increased by several large council estates. The biggest impact has been on the area north of the river, which are now the estates of East Chesterton, King's Hedges, and Arbury where Archbishop Rowan Williams lived and worked as an assistant priest in the early 1980s.
During the Second World War, Cambridge was an important centre for defence of the east coast. The town became a military centre, with an R.A.F. training centre and the regional headquarters for Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Hertfordshire, and Bedfordshire established during the conflict. The town itself escaped relatively lightly from German bombing raids, which were mainly targeted at the railway. 29 people were killed and no historic buildings were damaged. In 1944, a secret meeting of military leaders held in Trinity College laid the foundation for the allied invasion of Europe. During the war Cambridge served as an evacuation centre for over 7,000 people from London, as well as for parts of the University of London.
Cambridge was granted its city charter in 1951 in recognition of its history, administrative importance and economic success. Cambridge does not have a cathedral, traditionally a prerequisite for city status, instead falling within the Church of England Diocese of Ely. In 1962 Cambridge's first shopping arcade, Bradwell's Court, opened on Drummer Street, though this was demolished in 2006. Other shopping arcades followed at Lion Yard, which housed a relocated Central Library for the city, and the Grafton Centre which replaced Victorian housing stock which had fallen into disrepair in the Kite area of the city. This latter project was controversial at the time.
The city gained its second University in 1992 when Anglia Polytechnic became Anglia Polytechnic University. Renamed Anglia Ruskin University in 2005, the institution has its origins in the Cambridge School of Art opened in 1858 by John Ruskin. The Open University also has a presence in the city, with an office operating on Hills Road.

I was very excited to see what the city's myriad interesting and unique pubs had to offer, especially as the day I had chosen for my trip was the hottest of the year so far. I arrived by train just before midday and set about finding my bearings and getting used to how much had changed since I was last here 6 years ago. Orienting myself around the main road that runs directly into the city centre I set to my task. My first location was somewhat off the beaten track and required walking down a number of side roads to a small housing estate. The first pub on my list for the day was The Alma.

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This is a low-ceilinged pub with the remains of former walls and some supporting columns but is essentially open-plan with bar floorboards and wood-panelled wainscoting below cream walls. Sport is very popular here with rugby taking centre stage, as evidenced by the memorabilia and shirts mounted on the walls. The pub once boasted a water-filled phone box and a single piranha but these are now sadly gone. To compensate though, the beer choice isn't bad. 6 handpulls are mounted on the bar that occupies one back corner of the room. On the day of my visit the choice is between Oakham JHB, Alma Rugby Beer which I suspect is a rebadged beer from owner Greene King, Greene King Mighty Moose, Greene King IPA, Evan Evans Brittania and, randomly, Castle Rock Harvest Pale. I decided on the Brittania from Welsh brewer Evan Evans, a 4.6% golden ale which has been specially brewed to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the brewery itself. It's a smooth tasting brew with a good balance of bitterness and sweet undertones and it starts the day off nicely.

My next stop was back on the main road and a few minutes later I had arrived at The Emperor.
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Formerly known as the Globe, this recently rebranded and refurbished pub now bills itself as a Latin tapas bar. The single bar features smart, unfussy d├ęcor with high tables by the windows and a reasonably sized beer garden to the rear. The floors are bare-boarded and the pub benefits from its location on the main road between the train station and the city centre proper. The bar includes 4 handpulls, 3 of which are in use at the time of my visit, offering a choice of Purity Mad Goose, Cotleigh Tawny Owl and Long Man American Pale. On this occasion, I decided on the American Pale, courtesy of Sussex based Long Man Brewery. Made from US hops, this is a triple-hopped pale ale with a pleasant citrus fruit aroma and a characteristic robust bitterness, all packed into an ABV of 4.8%. I took a seat at a high table with a view onto what was a very busy road as people on their lunch breaks took in the sunshine. Given more time, I would have been interested in trying the food here as I'm not sure what a Latin tapas would involve but it sounded intriguing. However, needs must and there was more beer to be drunk.

Luckily, my next destination was a bit further down the road, where road name changes to Regent Street. Effectively a micropub, I was now at The Old Bicycle Shop.
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Located in the former Howe's bicycle shop (hence the name), this became the 3rd pub operated by the local City Pub Company when it opened in May 2016. 2 others have followed since with another in the pipeline. Decorated with memorabilia that recalls its former life, this is an attractive little place that also includes a wood-panelled room for private dining upstairs. The majority of the space is designed for dining but is a decent sized drinking area to the front. The bar features 4 handpulls, 3 of which are ales in the form of Cambridge Brewing Sweet Chariot, Dark Star Partridge and Adnams Ghost Ship, with Lilley's Strawberry Cider available for those who prefer their alcohol direct from apples. In the mood for something local but this time of the day, I went for the Sweet Chariot (4.5%), a take on an IPA with a good citrus hit and a good amount of sweetness from a big kick of hops. I sat in a corner just inside the door, looking into the room where a number of locals were enjoying an early lunch. This is a decidedly quirky venue with friendly staff and certainly makes a good, albeit recent, addition to the local ale scene.

The next part of the journey was a part that I was very much looking forward to as it involved a number of pubs in a particularly picturesque part of the city. Whilst it required a bit of a walk to get there, I was confident that it would be worth it once I'd had the opportunity to sample the beers. The first of these was the first on this trip to feature in the current Good Beer Guide and is a sister pub to the Old Bicycle Shop. Set in a honeypot location on the bank of the river, is the Mill.
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This smallish pub was carefully refurbished by City Pub Company in summer 2012. Amongst the improvements was a newly-created, wood-panelled side room and a new wood-block top to the bar. The pub is now free of tie and is committed to locally brewed beers and even has a vintage radiogram for playing vinyl records. CAMRA awards are mounted on the wall behind the bar including District Pub of the Year 2015 and LocALE City Pub of the Year 2017. Beers are available from 8 handpumps, 7 of which were in use during my visit. Amongst the variety of beers on offer were Nene Valley Australian Pale, Brewsters Pull the other One, Adnams Broadside, Tydd Steam Barn Owl, Cambridge Brewing Natural Born Millers and Adnams Southwold Bitter with Weston's Cider also available. Beers can served for drinking both inside and, if you don't mind plastic glasses, outside on nearby Laundress Green. With such a wide and interesting choice, I needed a moment to decide upon which one would be for me. In the end, I decided on the Australian Pale from Nene Valley Brewery. At 4.4%, this rich, golden ale has a floral aroma that precedes into citrus and tropical fruit from the use of Australian Galaxy hops. After the walk, I needed something refreshing and this certainly did the trick, going down very easily, whilst I watched a Cocker Spaniel try and score food from another customer's plate.

It was soon time to move on again and my next stop was a short walk away down a short alleyway between streets. Located on Silver Street, and overlooking the famous Mill Pond, I had now arrived at The Anchor.
Image result for the anchor pub cambridge

Recently transferred over to Greene King's Real Pub brand, the Anchor has been refurbished to accommodate their interpretation of a traditional alehouse. This is a large pub that rambles over 4 levels with a food-oriented bar at the top and a smallish lobby/lounge at ground level that features comfy chairs, padded benches an imitation fire and polished floorboards. Downstairs from this is the split-level Riverside Bar, once home to a Jazz Club frequented by Roger Barratt who so admired one of the local musicians, his namesake Sid Barrett that he changed his own name to Syd and went on to found a certain band by the name of Pink Floyd. The building itself dates from 1843 when part of the site was used for mooring boats, hence the name. The bar itself features 5 handpulls, 2 of which are being used whilst I'm there offering a choice between the house beer Steadfast and Oakham JHB. On this occasion, I opted for the JHB which was very well kept and delicious. The pub was very full as it was now mid-afternoon but I managed to find a high stool near a window that looks out onto the river where couples and small groups were enjoying the chance to go punting.

The next location of the day was a pub that is swimming in history, somewhere that I had been to on a couple of previous occasions and was very excited about going back to. Slightly further from the river, around the corner from the imposing King's College Chapel is the historic Eagle.
Image result for the eagle pub cambridge

Probably the most famous pub in Cambridge, the Eagle is known for its galleried courtyard, its RAF Bar with signatures of former airmen covering the ceiling and for being the place where, in February 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick announced their discovery of the structure of DNA, an event marked by a plaque outside. A window at the back of the pub has been open constantly for 300 years after a child is believed to have died in a fire after being unable to escape. The child, believed to be a young girl, may have never actually left the premises as visitors and staff have reported feeling the presence of a child around the pub where she is believed to nudge people on the staircase that leads to the toilets. For a time in the early 90s the future of the pub was in doubt because of possible redevelopment but common sense prevailed and the pub reopened in 1992. The price to pay for this was a major expansion of the original two-bar layout to incorporate former office premises fronting the street. This work was carried out sensitively and the newer areas fit in very well with the overall feel of the building. Both bars features a variety of handpumps, with the 7 in the main bar offering Timothy Taylor Landlord, Abbot Ale, Cotleigh 25, Eagle's DNA (rebadged Morland's Original), Greene King Amarillo, Greene King Ale-Fresco and IPA. The RAF Bar to the rear, full when I was there, includes 5 handpumps with a choice between Greene King IPA, London Glory, Abbot Ale, Belhaven Wembley 67 and Landlord. The RAF Bar also comes with the added bonus of localised ghostly activity as many customers have reported their drinks spontaneously spilling for no reason as if deliberately knocked over by unseen hands, activity that is allegedly linked to the aforementioned airmen and women. Beer-wise, I opted for the Ale-Fresco. This is a light and refreshing seasonal beer with tropical fruit and lemon citrus notes and a moderate amount of bitterness which is deceptive for a beer that comes in at only 4.3%. Unable to get a table in the RAF Bar, I sat on a table in one corner opposite the main bar near the toilets with an open window on my right allowing me a view into the covered courtyard. The Eagle is a cracking place and worth a visit for those with a historical interest as well as those that are looking for a good pint.

Once again, despite my reluctance to leave The Eagle, it was time to wander on and this meant a short walk past King's College before turning left on to Bridge Street and back towards the river. My next stop was The Mitre.
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Standing on the site of what was previously two inns, the pub has been known as The Mitre since 1881. The last vestiges of its former ale-house look disappeared following refurbishment in 2011 and the interior now boasts a smart and contemporary style with a dining area down steps to the rear. The pub is now part of the Nicholson's chain and the bar includes 8 handpulls. On offer at the time of my trip were Nicholson's Pale (brewed by St. Austell), Adnams Southwold, Doom Bar, Brakspear Oxford Gold, Thornbridge Jaipur, Timothy Taylor Dark Mild, By the Horns Hop Air Balloon and Adnams Fat Sprat. The Mitre was always a favourite pub of mine and I was relishing another chance to have pint within its walls. The pint of choice was Hop Air Balloon (4.2%), a seasonal beer from London's By the Horns. Brewed to commemorate the memory of the Royal Air Force '2nd Kite Balloon Section' a military division that manned observation balloons in WWI and suffered every losses, Hop Air Balloon is a light and easily drinkable session IPA with a strong hit of hops to the front of the brew. I was enjoying my day in Cambridge and my return to The Mitre had been too long in coming.

The nostalgia continued at the next pub. Located dangerously close to the waterline and adjacent to the bridge after which the city is named, in my favourite part of Cambridge, is the Pickerel.

Image result for the pickerel inn cambridge

One of several claimants to be the oldest pub in Cambridge and named after a baby pike, the Pickerel is named as an ale-house as early as 1632 with the building itself dating from the turn of that century although a carved beam in the bar dated to 1450 shows grapes suggesting that it may been in use as a drinking den even earlier. In 1879, the Pickerel Hotel along with its stable block, brewery and outbuildings were purchased by Magdalene College for £287. Previously documented as being a gin palace, an opium den and a brothel, the Pickerel was also a favourite watering hole for both C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. The interior of the pub has been much altered with only portions of the internal walls remaining from must have initially been a warren of small rooms. Some of the old features remain, including roof beams, old brickwork and a fireplace and there is a reasonably-sized eating area outside. There are 10 handpulls on the bar, which offer Greene King IPA, Elgood's Golden Newt, Wantsum Fortitude, Woodforde's Nelson's Revenge (x2), Woodforde's Wherry (x2), Old Speckled Hen, Wolf Lavender Honey and Woodforde's Lamplighter. The name alone was enough to draw me to Nelson's Revenge (4.5%), a powerful malty beer with a great depth of flavour and an appealing hoppy aftertaste. It went down very well indeed in the sunshine as I braved an outside for the first time today. The Pickerel is certainly an atmospheric pub befitting its wide history. Some of the history still lingers if tales are to be believed. Back in the day, maintaining a successful tavern was an even harder job than it is now and it is alleged that 2 landlords were unable to cope with the stress and ended their own lives by hanging from a hook in the cellar. Their recurring presence is indicated on the odd occasion by the telltale smell of opium in the area. More visual and more disturbing is the tale of a barmaid who was accidentally drowned in the river which is perilously close by and is still seen running silently down the passageway in a spectral echo of her last journey. If any place in Cambridge were to be haunted, it would certainly be this one.

Less spirits and more beers were on offer at the next location which was reached by a short walk up the hill and round the corner onto Pound Hill. Next stop The Punter.
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The pub's location, a short distance from the Cambridge Backs, gives it it's current name, although it has previously been known as both the Town & Gown and the Sino Tap. It is an attractive pub with a suntrap of a courtyard and separate stables that have been transformed into dining and function rooms. The bar is directly by the door as you enter with seating throughout and a door to the rear that leads to the courtyard. 3 of the 4 handpulls are in use during my visit, with a choice of Turpin's Cambridge Black, Adnams Mosaic Pale and Ghost Ship. I chose the latter and this turned out to be a wise option as it was as good as it should be. This is a pleasant little pub with a lot of character and charm to recommend it.

The next stage of the itinerary meant a considerable walk from side of the city to the other, passing Jesus Green where this year's beer festival was in full swing, an irony not lost on me although I hadn't thought to check the dates when I planned this specific excursion. Following a 40 minute stroll in what was calm and very pleasant weather conditions, I following managed to locate my next destination, one which was a place I'd heard excellent things about: the renowned Cambridge Blue.
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This Good Beer Guide listed pub is continually popular, with its single bar and its side street location. It has a large extension that leads to the garden and a marquee that is heated in colder weather. The decoration is provided by pump clips and a collection of breweriana and the pub was winner of Cider Pub of the Year 2016 and Cambridge University Real Ale Society Pub of the Year 2017. An impressive 14 handpulls occupy the bar and 13 of these are available during the time of my trip. My options are varied, namely Dark Star Hophead, Dark Star Pale Ale, Nene Valley Jim's Little Brother, Nene Valley Simple Pleasures, One Mile End Temperance, Simon's Cider The Pink One, Crouch Vale Ruby Mild, Titanic Plum Porter, Arbor Shangri-La, Downlands Papa Jr., Woodforde's Wherry, Stockport Stout and Fyne Ales Gentleman Jack. Bristol-based Arbor get my vote this time with their Shangri-La (4.2%), a liberally hopped session IPA with big flavours courtesy of Citra, Equinox, Columbus and Mosaic hops. The popularity of this pub is obvious by the number of people that are in considering it's only early evening on a Friday, It's always good to see a pub like this thriving and providing lots of interesting beers for the enquiring drinker.

My next location was the result of a last minute change of a plan as I realised I'd managed to completely walk past it on the way to the previous stop. Baffled as to how I'd missed it, I decided it would be rude not to pop into The Petersfield.

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The former White Hart became the acclaimed Backstreet Bistro in 2004 but returned to being a pub in February 2017 when it became City Pub Company's 5th pub in Cambridge. The entrance leads into a large L-shaped main bar decorated in a fairly traditional manner with modern touches including a entire ceiling decorated with wine bottles. There is a smaller, more intimate room behind the bar. The bar includes 5 handpumps which, at the time of my visit, offer Nene Valley Hop Stash, Three Blind Mice No Nonsense, Cambridge Night Porter, Nene Valley Simple Pleasures and Ghost Ship. I went back to the Nene Valley beers now, this time deciding on the Hop Stash. This is a big hitting American style IPA with citrus punchiness and fruity aromas giving way to a smooth malty finish, all for 5%. The Petersfield was an interesting surprise and I was glad that I added it to the list. The day was drawing on and I still had 2 locations left before I made my way back to the train station.

My penultimate stop was only a short walk away on Kingston Street at the aptly named Kingston Arms.
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This classic side street pub lies a short distance from the popular Mill Road and is itself popular with both diners and drinkers, as well as being Good Beer Guide listed. The interior benefits from windows and mirrors, keeping it light and airy. The seating is a mixture of simple tables and chairs as well as bar stools. There is a walled garden to the rear with canopies and heaters and the front even has cycle-racks. The bar is compact but boasts an impressive mix of beers spread over 13 handpulls. For my delectation and delight were Thornbridge Jaipur, Crouch Vale Brewers Gold, Hop Back Summer Lightning, Oakham JHB, Woodforde's Wherry, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde, Acorn Gorlovka, Siren Sound Wave IPA, Gene Pool Paleo, Elland White Prussian, Farmhouse Rhubarb Cider and Haymaker Cider. There were a lot of beers and breweries that I was unfamiliar with so choosing a beer took a while. In the end, I went for White Prussian from Elland Brewery. At 3.9%, this is a crisp, clean and refreshing beer made from lager malt and German hops. This provides a fruity flavour with a floral, spice and citrus aroma and a pale straw colour. Previously a seasonal beer, its popularity has seen it added to the brewery's core range. It's easy to see why as there is a lot of flavour packed into a low ABV and it goes down very well indeed.

There was time for one final venue and luckily I felt like I'd found an ideal one. Another GBG listed pub, my last stop was the Devonshire Arms.
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The former Midland Tavern was rescued from decline and opened in 2010 as Milton Brewery's first pub in Cambridge. A deceptively large pub in defiance of the small frontage, there are also front and rear patios. Inside, it was impressively renovated with front and rear drinking areas offering a mixture of wooden booths and larger tables. The tall windows and high ceiling add light to the front area. As to be expected from a pub run by Milton Brewery, the majority of the 8 handpulls come from them, specifically Marcus Aurelius, Pegasus, Dionysus, Medusa and Tiberius with the remaining 3 pumps offering Great Heck Amish Mash, Slightly Foxed Bengal Fox and Spitting Feathers Session Beer. My final beer of the day was Tiberius (4.3%). This rich, bronze coloured beer has a deep malty flavour and is offset by a pleasantly hoppy aroma. There are a few regulars in the pub as I sit and enjoy my last beer of the day and it's clear that Milton Brewery have done as good a job of turning this pub around as they have of brewing excellent beers. It's the perfect way to end the day.

What can be said about Cambridge? It's a fantastic place as I hope this 13 out of the hundreds of pubs in the city will testify. There is plenty of scope for further trips to this fine city and there are many drinking establishments left to explore which will no doubt further cement the strength of the ale scene here. Admittedly, prices can be high but it's effectively what you'd expect for an area this close to London. Don't let the cost deter you from going here. Cambridge is not only a highly popular tourist destination but also, as this cross section makes clear, a superb place to wile away an afternoon with a few pints in some interesting, historic and unique venues. Long live the Cambridge set!