I used to pull pints at the Farmhouse for Grand Metropolitan and it was with great delight they never worked out I was only 17 at the time! Anyway, after the beer revolution over the last 30 years, I went back to see what was going on. Yep, if the beer was bad, the memory of good times was better. Norfolk is now a good place to go for a decent pint, but the mentality of the drinker has never improved. (I upset a northerner a couple of months ago, surely a carrot cruncher will grasp the nettle!).

I reflect on this for a good reason. I look at the pubs that were part of the awful Watneys empire and most of them are at last free-houses and liberated! When we look at what has gone in the pub trade, Mr Brown has deliberated over the good or the bad of pub companies that have taken over; for those in Norfolk at last there is a choice.

So we then look more locally because, in those dark days, we did not have the problems suffered elsewhere, and Brownie Boy will be the first to tell you that he really hated Grand Met. But it is almost back to the bad old days, especially if you dislike what comes from Bury St Edmunds, and, if you are a free house publican selling the stuff that comes from there, and no large brewer has given you a financial incentive to stock it, ... WHY, there are so many great, large and, more importantly, local brews dying to give us what we want.

Anyway I have some good news and bad. First the bad. Tony Moseley who kept the Railway Tavern in Great Shelford for around 15 years has hung up his bar cloth. The Adnams bitter and Wherry were delectable. Thanks Tony, and thank you for putting up with me and my buddies when we would pour ourselves off the train after "another days work"... wine tasting in London.

The good news is that although he had wonderful beer, his business was built upon the fabulous Thai food in the lounge bar. My buddy, John Doviak, told me it was the most authentic Thai food in the area, and he is a regular visitor to the far east and knows a thing or two about the cuisine. The good news is that the chef, Noy, has moved to The Longbow in Stapleford, so given the fabulous 6 real ales the Longbow has on offer, Cassels cider to boot, life seems to evolve superbly and we can eat and drink superbly!

Oh yes, and see you all at the Shelford Feast !

Jerry Brown