The cask ale at The Crown has always been something that I have taken a particular pride in. Maintaining this living product has to be done with the proper care and attention and the difference between a mediocre pint and a great one can make or break a pubs beer trade. People will travel a great distance for a truly great pint of beer and of course the consumers of this quintessentially English beverage are by nature very particular about the quality of what they consume.
On that front, I think we’ve got it covered. Every day at The Crown we offer four cask ales - they make up some of the best brews that East Anglia has to offer. The Crown sits on the Essex/Suffolk border with Norfolk also within easy reach, so beers from each of these great counties grace our bar all year round.
I am constantly surprised by the ingenuity of brewers. Their ability to take the same ingredients, malted barley, hops, water and yeast, and produce a vast array of different beers each with its own unique character, flavor and aroma is truly amazing. We are very lucky to have, in my opinion, some of the best breweries in the country on our doorstep.
Adnams brewery has been a household name in Suffolk since 1872. They are known far and wide for their exceptional beers both in cask and now a range of exciting new offerings. Adnams has been a fixture here at The Crown since we first opened our doors and there can be no doubt that the bar would not be the same without them. Their Ghost Ship has been a runaway success, what started as a seasonal brew has become one of the breweries biggest sellers and prompted us to make it one of our permanent range. This “ghostly pale ale” crammed full of Citra hops is flavoursome and refreshing just ask Sam about his love for a pint of “Goat.”
Moving down to our friends in Essex. The estimable Crouch Vale Brewery in South Woodham Ferrers brew the ever-popular Brewers Gold. Though a smaller operation than our friends up in Southwold, they consistently supply a truly wonderful brew that appeals to all. I can say with total honesty that this beer changed my life! It was the beer that first introduced me to the world of real ale. For years I had been drinking lager and cider the colder and fizzier the better, but, after one pint of this light thirst quenching brew (it does exactly what it says on the tin) I was hooked. Realising that depths of flavour that can be found in a real ale helped me to graduate to enjoying a purer representation of this noble libation. In the words of one of our most regular regulars this beer is truly “stunning!”
Wherry, former champion beer of Britain, is an excellent session beer from Woodfordes brewery. Based in Woodbastwick they have been toiling away in the wilds of Norfolk for the last thirty years and trust me the toil has been worth it. This amber ale is the perfect lunchtime pint with its balance of sweet malt and hoppy grapefruit flavours in not just a run of the mill ale.
So those are the beers that you will see at The Crown all year round. You may have noticed that I said we offer four real ales… But what I hear you cry, could we possibly do to provide a better selection of ales to our customers. Well I shall tell you!
We keep one very special beer tap at The Crown; through this tap pours our pick of the best beers that the country has to offer. We search breweries and wholesalers across the country to find beers that we think we interest and excite our customers. Fullers, Skinners, Dark Star, The York Brewery and Haveistoun to name but a few. It’s great to discover new breweries who are doing something a bit different and I have to say that the most exciting discovery that we made in the last year was the Tiny Rebel Brewery from Newport in Wales. What started as a microbrewery has grown rapidly, expanding their range and producing cask and keg beer of a great standard. If you see any of their beers I would heartily recommend them but in particular look out for Fugg Life, a gorgeous English Pale and Beat Box their American Pale Ale.
In the future we aim to continue to bring the same quality and consistency to our real ales and also to keep up the search for brews that are not just the average beer! If anyone out there has any recommendations for me please get in touch.
By Ben Tillett – Barman + Beer lover!