Real Ale in Colchester in 1992 and 1993

I was putting Xmas back up in the loft a couple of weeks ago and ferreted around in some of the boxes up there and pulled out from a box that should probably be labelled as ‘old shit and stuff’ – a notebook which included a list I had kept of all the beer I had drunk over a period of six months or so over 1992 an 1993. That list has lasted 25 years, and it will be interesting to see if records of beers being drunk being put on Untappd are still available in 2033!

I wasn’t drinking that much at the time (not that I drink that much now), as 1990 had seen mortgage interest rates hit 15%, the year after our first son had been born and the wife had stopped work. Our second son came along in May 1992, and at the time we were pretty skint I can tell you. Living on Lisle Road in New Town at the time, with no family on hand to baby-sit, most of the beers we drunk were in 2-pint carryouts from the Odd One Out. Being a trusting type, my wife never questioned my assertion that it was necessary for me to have a pint in the pub whilst they were pouring the 2 pints into the takeway carton for me to bring home….

So here are the notes of what I drank over this period. I do have a penchant for darker ales, and during the 1980s, when working in London I had found most of the bitters on tap so not to my liking, I had migrated to drinking Guinness. But during the 1990s it became a bit easier to find milds, stouts and porters, especially from the likes of the Odd One Out, the pioneering free house which had opened in the mid 1980s.


Monday 19th October 1992. 1pint+2takeaway Crouch Vale Porter (Odd One Out).
Wednesday 28th October 1992. 1/2 Everards Tiger Bitter + 2 takeaway St. Austell XXXX Mild.
Thursday 5th November 1992. 1 bottle Pitfield’s Porter 5.5%. 1 bottle Sam Smith’s Imperial Stout. 7% abv. 1 pint Old Speckled Hen (Morlands) at Railway Tavern.
Saturday 14th November 1992. 1 pint Crouch Vale Mild and 2 pint takeout Crouch Vale Porter.
Sunday 22nd November 1992. 2 bottles Eldridge Pope Royal Oak.
Thursday 3rd December 1992. Pigs Ear XI at Stratford. 1x Hoskin & Oldfield’s Tom Kelly’s Stout. Butterknowle’s Festival Stout. Hog Back Entire Stout.
Sunday 6th December 1992. 1x Banks’ Santa’s Sleigh and 2 pint takeout Ridley’s Mild.
Saturday 19th December 1992. 1 pint and 2 takeway St. Austell XXXX Mild.
Sunday 27th December 1992. 2x bottles Tolly Cantab.
Wed 30th December 1992. 1/2 Ridley’s Mild and 2 pint takeaway Tolly Old Strong.


Saturday 2nd January 1993. Mauldon’s FA Mild (Odd One Out) and Tolly Old Strong (Little Crown)
Friday 8th January 1993. Pub crawl with wife. Dragoon : Adnams Old Ale. Tap & Spile : Brains Mild. Odd One Out : Burton Bridge Festival Ale.
Sunday 19th January 1993. Adnams Bitter and Adnams Dreadnought at Hatfield Broad Oak’s ”
Sunday 17th January 1993. 1 Tolly Mild. 2 bottles Sam Smith’s Taddy Porter.
Friday 5th Feb 1993. 3x Tolly Mild (1 at Odd One Out, 2 x takehome – bit watery)
Sunday 7th Feb 1993. 2x Boddingtons Mild.
Sunday 21st Feb 1993. 1x Tolly Anniversary 2x Tolly Old Strong.
Thursday 11th March 1993. 2x Burton Bridge Porter at Odd One Out.
Sunday 14th March 1993. 2x Tolly Anniv at Lamb at West Bergholt.
Friday 27th April 1993 ish. Speckled Hen, Gales HSB at Dragoon, Boddies Mild at Odd One Out.
Monday 3rd May 1993. Wig and Fidget, Boxted beer fest. 1x Blackadder 1 x Old Growler.
Sunday 9th May 1993. 1x Tollyshooter, 2 St Austell XXXX Mild at Odd One Out.
Monday 10th May 1993. 3x Youngs Porter at The Lamb on Lamb Conduits Street.
Friday 21st May 1993. 1x Mansfield Riding Dark Mild at Colchester Beer Fest.
Saturday 22nd May 1993. 2x Batemans Mild at The Bell, Kersey
Sunday 23rd May 1993. 1x Batemans Salem Porter 1x Wychwood Hobgoblin Odd One Out.
Sunday 27th June 1993. Abbot Ale x1 at The Bell Castle Hedingham.
Friday 2nd July 1993. 2x bottles Hanseatic Russian Stout (BC)
Tuesday 13th July 1993. 1x Arkells Mash Tun Mild 2x Woodfordes Norfolk Porter.

Ipswich brewer Tolly Cobbold is of course no more, and the Wig and Fidget on Boxted Straight Road is long gone. I’m guessing Fred will have been behind the bar at the Dragoon on Butt Road – he’s back there, renaming it The Ale House, having been at The Bricklayers for many years. The Tap and Spile is The Hospital Arms on Lexden Road – they were a national chain who focussed on real ale – bit of a predecessor of Wetherspoons I suppose. Not much in the way of Essex beers, but of course, breweries in Essex were few and far between in those days – Crouch Vale had been going just over 10 years by then.

The Lamb on Lamb Conduit’s Street in That London was an interesting bar – about a dozen taps, but ‘bright’ beer rather than ‘real ale.’

Shame I didn’t think up the idea of an ‘app’ for recording beers drunk, but I would have had to think up the idea of the internet, mobile phones and an ‘app store’, and wifi….