East Town Bottle Shop and Tap Room
38 Lloyds Avenue, Ipswich IP1 3LR
[UPDATE : the East Town closed in October 2016, barely six months after it opened. The local CAMRA website suggests that the fact that the ‘real ale’ was actually served via keg and CO2 was a major fact in local CAMRA member not taking the pub to heart]
I popped into the East Town Bottle Shop and Tap Room yesterday, my first visit, and had a nice chat with proprietor Marc. He’s schlepping up the A12 from Loughton most days, on a mission to bring craft beer to the good burghers of Ipswich.
Handily placed in the centre of town, his premises are small but perfectly formed, with a nice mural along one wall. There’s a smallish select of bottles in a big fridge (including gluten free ones), and the bar has 8 taps, 3 turned over to keg, and 3 to cask. On my visit the keg were St. Peter’s ‘gluten-free pilsner style ale’, and Big Hug’s ‘Hibernation’ White IPA and their Bruno lager. And on cask were St Peter’s Ruby Red, Colchester Brewery’s No. 1, and Mighty Oak’s Oscar Wilde Mild.
Until recently I’d have gone for the Oscar Wilde, one of my favourite drinks. But the times, they are a-changing, and as the 3 cask ales a fairly readily available, and I was wearing a check shirt and had on my baseball cap, I went for the 3x 1/3rd option on the three keg offerings.
The St. Peter’s gluten-free slipped down without comment, so not only gluten-free but also rather free of anything else of note. The Big Hug Hibernation White IPA at 5.2% really did do it, in terms of taste and mouthfeel. The Big Hug Bruno Lager, was fine enough, but I’m not a big lager fan. So after that trio, I opted for a schooner of the White IPA, which I savoured.
There are snacks available, but I didn’t partake. A nice chat with Marc over the drinks, and what with the wife in the nearby Victorian Fore Street swimming pool, and a quick lunch with her at the wonderfully air-conditioned M&S restaurant nearby (it was a very hot day!) after she rocked up at the bar, it appeared that we might now have a regular day out (sorry Sudbury, but the Kingfisher Pool and Waitrose restaurant comes a distance second place…)