The Castiglione family celebrate 30 years at the Maypole, Cambridge with the pub’s first beer festival this week. Since the pub became a freehouse in 2009 there are usually around 8 real ales on handpump and during the festival a total of over 40 ales are available.
There’s been a beerhouse on this street since at least 1851. In the late 1800s there were two pubs here, the Maypole on Portugal Place and the Feathers (or Plume of Feathers) three doors down on the corner of Park Street. The Feathers was demolished in 1953, and in the 1960s the multistorey car park was built and the road widened. Part of the present Maypole building appears to be 20th century, probably rebuilt sometime between the wars. Some buildings in Portugal Place suffered bomb damage during WWII. Inside, the large picture of a maypole scene has been on the wall since at least 1975.
Festival beers include one from Milton brewery that was co-brewed by Vincent from the Maypole. Based on Milton’s Nero but higher in strength, Archimedes is a rich, dark beer with a lingering taste of dark berries, unadulterated chocolate – despite the honey added to the brew, this is not a sweet beer – and warming alcohol.
Of the other beers tried, the two from Redemption – Hopspur and Fellowship Porter – were in cracking form and enticed me back to the bar for more of each. Green Jack Red Herring is another very drinkable beer that doesn’t overdo the smoked flavour, and I had my first taste of St Austell Black Prince, a dark mild, sweet and slightly fruity, like a Dairy Milk Fruit and Nut. Plenty more beers to try, so plenty more visits planned…