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Woodbridge Real Ale Trip


So we have recently (although its taken a while to get the blog up, oops!) taken a visit to Woodbridge, which is a small town around 20 minutes drive from Ipswich. Jon, Dan, and Myself went with Ellie as the designated driver.

We have been to Woodbridge before, more as a day out to do some shopping and such, and popped in a couple of pubs, so thought it was about time we went and made it our point to visit a few of the main pubs.

Our first stop had to be at the Adnams shop, which is well worth a visit. Situated just past the train station, we also parked just outside too. The Adnams shop is great, it obviously offers a great range of Adnams beers in bottles and kegs, a number of new Adnams spirits from the distillery, plus loads of kitchenware, branded glasses, and great little treats, its well worth a look if you’re ever in the area, or even a look online!

After stashing our Adnams purchases in the car we made the walk into town. The market in the middle of town was on and it was reasonably busy, but we headed straight past and made our first stop at The Angel. I have to say I really liked it from the moment we walked in! That could be down to the fact that it was bitterly cold, so walking into a lovely warm pub with the fire burning was like heaven, it was a great feeling!  The first impression was really good, it was a lovely clean, cosy, welcoming pub.

The bar is split by the large fireplace, so we headed to the side where it was open and burning nicely. We headed straight to the bar, and took a little while to decide what to drink. They serve 6 real ales, and have three lagers on tap, plus the usual Guinness and local ciders. Also behind the bar is an impressive range of over 200 spirits, with over 130 of them being types of Gin! So if your a Gin lover, or just enjoy spirits, I don’t think you would ever be bored here. The staff were friendly and helpful, and even when we were struggling to decide what to have as our second pint, the landlord helped with a suggestion and a taster. They are also listed in the CAMRA good beer guide 20012/2013, so they obviously know good real ale!

Ok so the beers that we tried,

Jon and Dan both had a 6X by Wadworth at 4.3% – It was a nice smooth session ale, really went down well. A mild brown malty beer, with a lovely full body.

Dan and Myself tried the Proper Job by St Austells at 4.5% – It had a great fruity taste, with the hops shining through with their citrusy flavours. Heavily hopped, but not mouth puckeringly bitter, extremely tasty and a delicious beer!

Jon and Myself then had a Strummer by  Shortts Farm Brewery at 3.8% – This is a local brewery down in Eye, and a superb beer. It was fresh, full of hops, a good balance of bitterness and malt, with the fruitiness of the hop coming through. Another excellent hoppy beer.

Ellie also had a couple of cups of tea, brought over to her in a teapot to let it brew, just as it should be!

We thoroughly enjoyed The Angel, and could have easily sat and tasted a few more beers, and some food well into the night, but we had other pubs to visit. Next time we wont visit it first, or on a time frame. Its a beautiful little pub that we would definitely suggest anyone visits, great beer, friendly owners, and a lovely atmosphere.

The next pub we went to was The Old Mariner, this was a short walk down the hill. This was another great pub, very warm and welcoming. As it was later in the day, it was slightly busier but we still found a place to sit. The staff were friendly, and we got served straight away. It has a great cosy little feel, and the seating around the front of the pub is quite snug, and then there’s even more space behind the bar. This pub was covered in great decorations, and a good stack of books, including the CAMRA good beer guide! (Although it was 2010!).  A really lovely little pub, and again it was a shame we couldn’t spend a bit longer inside, but we did squeeze in one pint!

We each had a Adnams Old Ale at 4.1% – What can we say, this is a great beer. A classic winter warmer, it is very Adnamsesque. A lovely toffee and chocolaty aroma to it, a great full bodied fruit taste. One of our favourite beers, and probably our favourite Adnams ale!

Ellie however, was disappointed to not be able to order a tea! They only seemed to have coffee available.

Again a great little pub to visit, whether your heading out to watch a rugby game at the front of the bar, or off for a meal at the seating around the back, its worth a try!

We then backtracked up the hill, and finally went in Ye Old Bell and Steel Yard. A lovely looking 16th century pub, however we had wandered in earlier in the day, and it was quite peculiar. The fire a raging, music was playing, and a steaming cup of tea sat on the bar with an open paper, but no-one was there! We hung around for a few minutes, gave a shout a couple of times, but the place seemed completely empty, it was very surreal. It wasn’t until after we visited the other two pubs, we walked past and there seemed to be life inside.

We had visited before, and enjoyed our stay so we made sure to go in again. It again had a roaring fire as we entered, and was certainly warm and cosy. this pub is much bigger than it appears. It has a reasonable space for seating and tables at the front of the bar, a larger area around the side of the bar where we sat, a snug out the back, along with more seating and a beer garden!

There was a fair crowd, but we did get served straight away. Although I must say out of all the pubs we went to, it must of been a bad day, as the woman who served us did not look in the best of moods! Unfortunately it was nowhere near as friendly as the previous pubs, or the previous time we visited this pub, which was a bit of a shame as the welcome you receive by the bar staff usually sets the mood of the pub. But we thought, oh well, and ordered a couple of beers. What’s interesting about this pub, are the animals! We saw two dogs, one was hilariously sleeping with his legs stretched out, and a cat that was drawn to Daniel. It’s a lovely homely pub, and could be very inviting.

We only stayed for the one pint in here also,

Jon had the 1779 Porter from Green King at 4.5% – This is a cask porter brewed from Greene King, and Jon thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a superb porter, you could just get a hint that it was Greene King, but it was definitely one of their best beers. It was smooth, roasty and thick, with a similar taste to an Old Ale.

Dan and Myself had the Olde Trip by Greene King at 4.3% – This beer had a great texture, and a lovely malty, toffee taste. It was a good full bodied ruby beer, with a great mildly hoppy finish. Ellie also got a pot of tea finally which was great!

The final pub we went to, was The Kings Head, another fantastic, beautiful, Adnams pub. We had been here before, and loved it so we made sure to come back this time, however when we arrived it was packed! It had a great atmosphere, and even though it was very busy we still found a seat up the back. We didn’t unfortunately get any food as we had planned, as it looked amazing last time, but we had a couple of drinks anyway. This pub, also has a great big fireplace keeping everyone warm, a number of seats and tables. We squeezed around a large table at the back, next to a party of people who looked to have booked the table for a party. The food they got looked amazing again, and the pub also offers a Mutts Menu for any hungry dogs!

Again, the front of the bar is just the start. Although the front and main part of the pub is much larger than the others, there is also a smashing beer garden, and another room that looked to be booked for a meal out the back. Again, if you’re ever out in Woodbridge and near the middle of town, head in for a pint and a bite to eat, its wonderfully cosy during the day, and then has a great atmosphere in the evening. We would definitely recommend it!

We finished our day out with another couple of beer, which were,

Adnams Red Ale at 4.5% – This was a lovely Adnams beer that we all tried. We had been trying to find this for a while now, and were glad to get to try it. It was a lovely ruby red, and was a standard fruity ale. It had a good hop flavour, and a nice malt body, and definitely had the familiar Adnams flavour. A lovely refreshing ale.

Jon and Dan then had a Adnams Broadside at 4.7% – This is a classic Adnams beer, a great malty strong ale. A lovely fruity flavour, and an excellent beer when served from a good pub. Which it certainly was!

I also had a glass of mulled cider, which I was slightly disappointed with. It wasn’t as hot as I had of hoped, but that was probably a good thing as it was in a wine glass as I would have burnt my hand! It wasn’t spiced that much, and not the best mulled cider I’ve tried.

All in all we really liked Woodbridge. All the pubs were in a short walking distance, and they were the perfect setting on a crisp wintery day. We enjoyed each and every one pub we visited, and would be happy to go to any of them again, and I’m sure we will do.  I know its not long to Christmas, but if anyone has time and is still stuck for shopping ideas, head down to Woodbridge to check out the market and high street, and reward yourself with a pint in one of the wonderful pubs!

Also check out our Pubcask podcast of this trip here.

Again, if you go and visit, or have been, please let us know your thoughts in a comment, we always like to hear from people!

Merry Christmas! (Soon!)


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