12 Colchester Road, Great Totham CM9 8BZ
We had driven past The Compasses on the B1022 for several years but never been in, but in 2011 we spotted a sign outside that promoted ‘Six Real Ales!’ which didn’t seem to match the Pubmaster branding on the pub sign, so we popped in. And indeed the pub had been released from that death grip and real ales were indeed on tap. We visited a beer fest they ran a few months later, and had a ploughman’s lunch on another visit.
Since then the pub has had it’s ups and downs, notably around An Evil Owner who wanted to close the pub and turn it into housing, and there were a couple of changes of landlord in quick succession. It was recently saved from the threat of closure (at least for the moment) by community action and the building being put on the List of Assets of Community Value.
We popped in a couple of days ago (June 2015). The pub is in new hands, and they are now offering half a dozen real ales, all local Essex ones, from a wide range of breweries across the county. They had a Brentwood Brewing Company Marvellous Maple Mild, which went down a treat. Had it not been lunchtime on a sunny Saturday, I’d have gone for the 9%+ Balthazar’s Feast from the St George’s Brewery.
So fingers crossed that this young couple, with their first pub, are able to keep the real ales going strong. (October 2016 update : Hurrah! The pub is now in the ownership of the couple, and they have great plans. I’ll be popping in soon.)