Cambridge Pubs – Grain and Hop Store

I’ve written about the Grain and Hop Store before, when it reopened almost two years ago as Greene King’s attempt at a craft beer bar. I liked it more than I expected to then, and I still like it now. It’s a welcoming spacious place, and for a former industrial building (Avery Scales factory) manages to avoid the cold industrial feel I find, say, a typical Brewdog bar emanates, having plenty of wood furnishings and warm colours to soften the exposed pipes and brickwork, and as our visit was on the eve of Twelfth Night, the last of the festive decorations were still in place, including of course a Rocking Rudolph flashing pump clip.

Grain and Hop Store

That said, the keg beer list was a bit of a disappointment. I could put this down to it being a cold Wednesday evening in “Dryanuary”, but if that were the case I’d expect to see fewer cask ales if anything, yet all six cask ales were on, it was the keg list that had diminished – I don’t visit often enough to know if this was a one-off or a trend. In any case, after having the Brentwood Chocwork Orange I’d have preferred a reduced cask choice – I’d kindly suggest it was on the turn, but more honestly it tasted like it had been filtered through soil. The Brewdog Santa Paws was fine though, and the cask Oakham Oblivion, to be fair. There’s always the Tankovna.

Grain and Hop  Store

Then and now
(Left March 2015, Right Jan 2017)

It was only 6pm, so it might not be a concern that there weren’t many people in, but a large pub can look especially empty when it’s not busy. I want this pub to succeed, as I say, I think it’s a nice place, but on this occasion it didn’t appear to be exactly thriving. One to keep an eye on maybe.

Grain and Hop Store

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6 responses to “Cambridge Pubs – Grain and Hop Store

  1. I used to live in Cambridge and none of the last four pubs reviewed were open then. How many that I remember have closed, I wonder?
    BTW, I often wondered quite what the Baron of Beef was for as well. I suspect it owes its survival to location.

  2. The epitome of “crafty” keg. Still, affordable and good place for a few pints. I’d rather this than the overpriced nonsense in the pint shop.

  3. Agree with py. In the absence of a BrewDog (what’s happening ?, thought we were getting one in Mill Road) the Grain & HS is pretty close. There’s a faire bit of the usual GK list keg suspects there, but any pub with Brixton Porter on is good for me. Wife likes the burgers there a lot, food soaks up the beer well.

    • BrewDog really have dithered over Cambridge. They’ve been barking on about it being a target site on their “hit list” since at least 2012 and they were apparently “on the verge of announcing officially” a Cambridge bar in 2015, only for it to go quiet again. Meanwhile the Brew House, Pint Shop and Blue Moon (2013), Grain & Hop Store (2015), Old Bicycle Shop and Punt Yard (2016), and the soon to open Sacré Bleu have all found suitable premises and opened, satisfying to varying degrees some of the thirst for crafty keg.

      I thought the former Red Cow near the Pint Shop would have made an ideal spot (albeit on the small side), the Great Northern even. Was it the former Locomotive they looked at on Mill Road? I have a feeling that site will be on the market again soon – I’ve passed it many times recently but not seen the Tex Mex place open in a while.

  4. I’d much rather see them on Mill Road where the normal people go out, rather than over in the centre of student and tourist land on the wrong side of Reality Checkpoint.

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