9 September 2008

Soggy Celebrations in Peterborough

For the last few weeks both the Beer Monster and I had been eagerly anticipating the autumn beer festival at the delightful Coalheavers Arms, Peterborough (September 4th – 6th).

Having discovered the pub early this year and attended their Easter festival a couple of weeks later, I already had a fair idea of what to expect – great beer in excellent condition, warm and friendly service, plus some of the finest grub it’s been my good fortune to sample at any festival.

Although the event had started on Thursday evening we were sadly unable to make it over until the Friday morning due to work commitments (boo, hiss), and arrived at the pub shortly after 1pm having first lined our stomachs with a McSpoons breakfast (something of a fiasco, but that’s another story).

We arrived to find the pub quite quiet, although the fact that a couple of beers had already sold out gave a fair indication that there had been a roaring trade the night before; after greeting licensee Tom Beran we took our seats in a corner of the pub and, having effectively set up camp with note books, pens, packs of mini Smarties and ornaments (!) spread out on the table before us, set down to the serious business of drinking.

Once again, Tom had pulled out all the stops to offer a diverse range of ales with a number of beers I’d not encountered before. Milton, who own the pub, had provided a couple of specials in the form of Asterix and Obelix, along with their Five Hop, brewed by Coalies volunteers for the Peterborough festival, but these were by no means the only winners on offer with Green Tye (website under construction), Tring and Nethergate all supplying quality scoops, plus new seasonal brew Autumn Equinox from the mighty Dark Star.

A complete list of beers, plus tasting notes can be found here.

Despite some truly foul weather Tom nevertheless braved the elements to man the cooking station in the beer garden, serving up his stunning Beer ‘n’ Beef burgers (with fiery homemade chilli sauce) and a cracking chilli con carne on the Friday night, while Saturday evening saw the burgers complemented by one of the finest curries it has ever been my pleasure to eat.

A fully trained chef, the guy is an absolute kitchen god – for those who don’t believe me, try his recipes yourself; you can find them here, and although the chicken curry hasn’t been posted as yet I have no doubt it’ll be up within the next few days....

All in all another superb effort; my heartfelt thanks to the team at the Coalheavers – they pulled off another cracker.

On a personal note, Friday also saw me record my 1,000th scoop (a hell of a lot more beers have been consumed, but alas many went without recording the gen); for those who are interested, the attached video is the landmark beer going down the hatch…



  1. Sounds a proper spot and a great fest. Will be stopping in Peterborough in a few weeks time so definately be calling there. Cheers.

  2. It really is a great little pub, you'll find a warm welcome and the beers are always on top form.

    Tom the landlord used to be based at the Oakdale Arms in Harringay, London before making the move up to Peterborough; the Oakdale is also a Milton house and has its own fest on from 17th - 22nd of this month.

  3. Ha YCC! - no-one could accuse you of simply being a miserly ticker/scooper (i.e. those who sniff a 6-week-old beer from a lemonade bottle & count it as a 'tick').

    & yes, it's a cool pub - a bit hidden away in a Pboro council estate, but definitely worth hunting out.


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