The Live and Let Live, Colchester

We must have driven past the pub sign for the Live and Let Live on London Road in Stanway thousands of times over the years. You can’t see the pub from the road, as it is down Millers Lane and round a corner. A sign proclaiming a ‘Sausage and Beer Festival’ caught my attention last year, and hearing that there was another one on this weekend, we resolved to go. And we were impressed!

Stanway was, not too long ago, a village on the outskirts of Colchester, as you left the town on the London Road, and once you turn off the London Road it’s as if you’re suddenly in the countryside! True, there are some modern houses, but there are some nice older ones, and pulling into one of the two car parks either side of the pub, it does feel like you’re well away from a town.

It’s a good old-fashioned pub – not tarted up, gastro-ized or anything like that. It’s got two large rooms, the traditional bar and lounge, with wooden floors, and is clearly dog and family-friendly, and even has a Book Crossing bookcase. Today the lounge had a rack of ten beer barrels snug in shiny jackets, in additional to the ales on tap. Lanlord Pete Freeman said that the one regular real ale on the bar is the one brewed for the pub by the local Sticklegs Brewery (and which is named after his grand-daughter!) Today the beers on the bar including the all-conquering Oscar Wilde Mild from Essex brewery Mighty Oak, alongside beers from other Essex breweries – Wibblers, Shalford and Harwich Town. Suffolk was represented by Mauldons and Mill Green, and there were a pair of beers from a Derbyshire brewery. I was straight in with the 6% Wibblers Winter Wibble, a dark ale I’d had a couple of weeks ago at The New Inn in Colchester and enjoyed hugely, and was again impressed. A half of Mauldon’s Blackberry Porter was the one alcoholic drink for the Designated Driver, which was evidently not quite as overpoweringly sweetly fruity as on the last time we’d had it. Second round was the Harwich Town ‘Ha’Penny Mild’ (it was mid-Saturday afternoon, so a lengthy session was off the cards!), which slipped down nicely, probably the lightest colour beer I’ve had for some weeks!

The beer was set off by a plate of sausages from the sausage half of the Sausage and Beer Festival. There were four plates to choose from, each with a selection of bangers, and we went for Plate 1, which had Merguez, Thai, Duck and Hoi Sin, Toulouse, and Pork and Chilli. They were delicious, and it was a shame to drag ourselves away from the pub, as we could easily have spent several hours there working our way through the beer and sausages on offer.

We’ll be paying a visit again in the not too distant future. For the moment (in the absence of a website for them) pop CO3 5PS into your satnav – although beware, as google maps appears to think this is in Germany! Perhaps on account of the sausages.