A 20 minute drive took us to our fourth pub of this exciting rural tour of North Essex's premier Good Beer Guide pubs. Six to go in the current Guide. I could almost smell the finishing line.
Steeple Bumpstead is one of my favourite named places in the UK, Wodehousian you might say. It was a pleasure to be here, just as pretty as I imagined, a strange stand alone Mock Tudor village hall putting me in mind of Ledbury in Herefordshire.
A bit like at the previous pub, some weird black painted wood led us to the pub entrance .....
What a shame then that Fox & Hounds, Steeple Bumpstead (1927 / 3356) was the weakest pub today by some margin, a drab light wooden thing with far too many fairy lights. The modern stained glass window in the gents probably the one concession to colour in the entire place. Service was brisk, it was something of a surprise to see two more 'unusual' beers on as I was expecting something a lot more Greene King IPA. The clientele, who with a couple of exceptions had a stick up their collective arse, looked like snooty escapees from Saffron Walden, finding the pubs there too 'rough', 'noisy' and 'fun'. We'll let off the group in our room, anyone who has an eighties Anita Dobson perm is a hero in my book. Simon identifies the one 'fun' thing in the pub, a very odd dog draught excluder, which after a toddler twild grabbed it and flung it across the floor suddenly had a much happier expression than the one I'd captured below. But it was all too lame, when compared to the majority of today's other boozers.
|Draught excluder, pre Twild molestation|
|'Fun' beers, very well kept|
|#PubLife in Steeple B|
|Col jumps into the bag, head first!|
|Interesting toilet pizzas|
Our final pub of this wonderful day took us Great Bardfield, which surprised me because it was loads bigger than I expected, felt more like a town, it had a Co-op for heaven's sake. In the fifties, it got famous for having lots of artists. Only one visiting artist in residence today guys, a piss artist.