Pub of the month – October 2016 – The Jolly Sailor, Orford

A pub heavy month this month due to spending a lovely week in Southwold and having a trip to a pub nearly every day of the holiday. I love holidays.

A special (but not in a good way) mention first to The Marquis Wellington, which became the first place to gain MOFAD approval and then have it revoked. Six visits in the last 2 years before this month, although it’s fair to say that during the previous one, the cracks were showing. On our last ever visit, we were there for some pre-show dining as usual, but after 45 minutes of waiting, half of the food hadn’t turned up, and 2 of our party had to go hungry.

On to better tales. A special mention for previous winner The Needle & Pin, who held an IPA tasting night at the start of the month. Patrons went on a tour of beers from the pale ale category, whilst Sean entertained us with some of the history of IPA. This is just the kind of thing that happens in “that London” so it was nice to be a part of it in a local setting. A great night at a great pub. Great beers too, including some oddness like the IPA full of peach flesh. It wasn’t an IPA.


On to one of last month’s runners up next, the Church House Inn in Sutton. Three visits in 3 weeks, which must count for something (as I mentioned up above, we don’t go back to places if they let us down). October’s visit came after another lovely long walk in the Peak District, and saw us “upgraded” into a different room for good behaviour (the behaviour of Suzy the Ninja Hound who was with us). Another tasty triple pork nirvana was achieved here with these lovely ribs:-


A lovely little village pub that deserves to keep thriving (it has been packed out on all of our visits).

For the rest of this month’s contenders, we find ourselves in Suffolk. On our first real active day of the holiday, half of us (Matt & I) were cycling, and the other half (Hazel & Mrs MOFAD) were touring by car (Mrs MOFAD was a bit under the weather). After visiting three different car parks to attempt to rendezvous with them, we had a little stroll and then headed into Walberswick for lunch.

The Bell is a lovely coastal pub, and is an Adnams pub, like so many in Suffolk. A lovely lunchtime menu offers some good choices, with three fishy sandwich options, two ploughmans and other pork and cheese choices alongside the usual full menu (which includes a very tempting Vietnamese style slow-cooked lamb shank with lemon grass and lime basmati rice).

Hazel & Matt had one of those ploughmans which was very good indeed and meant a free apple for the Minister 🙂. Mrs MOFAD opted for the crayfish tails and prawns in lime and dill mayonnaise sandwich, which was very tasty, with a very nice side salad. A posh fish finger sandwich for me, smoked cod fish fingers with mayonnaise, lettuce and parmesan pea pesto in toasted ciabatta – this was crunchy and delicious, a proper posh fish finger sandwich. With parmesan pea pesto, it can’t be anything but posh! Mushy peas for the Kensington set.


The Bell Inn is a lovely seaside pub, well worth cycling to (or driving to). It’s a very easy ride from Southwold, with very little road involved if that’s your thing. There’s a nice (and big) beer garden out the back for the warmer months, and plenty of tables inside.

To our final day of holiday now, when we encountered two more great pubs. The Sole Bay Inn was the venue for our final dinner out. Much like the previous evening, we tried to get in to The Nelson again, but it was full. We split into two groups, to wait for tables in The Sole Bay Inn and The Nelson, harnessing the power of the internet to communicate when we had found one. The Sole Bay Inn got a free table first, so we grabbed it and sat down for dinner. It’s an Adnams pub, #obvs.

Triple pork nirvana was at stake again today (spoilers for the upcoming mention of the lunchtime pub), I had passed a few times during our week away due to lots of lovely fish to choose from, but on this visit the lure of the pulled pork burger was too strong to resist. It turned out to be a good call, a decent portion of pulled pork, not too sweet, served in a good roll with chips and a decent home made coleslaw. Good work team! Mrs MOFAD had the same, Hazel had some lovely ribs and Matt went for gammon. All good for our final meal out of the week.


A good pint to go with it too, Jack Brand Mosaic Pale Ale which I also had earlier in the week. Hints of lemon, peach, mango and pine and a nice little blast of mosaic hops.


There was also a tasty pudding to finish things off. You can’t reserve tables, but it is well worth the wait if you have time for one to become free. A lovely cosy pub with a friendly atmosphere.

Earlier in the day we had been on another lovely Suffolk cycle ride, which with some simple planning meant that we found ourselves in the Jolly Sailor in Orford for lunch. We parked our bikes in the beer garden, popped in to reserve a table for lunch (it gets busier than you’d imagine for an October lunchtime), had a quick stroll around the village, and then came back to eat.

As with the other Suffolk pubs in this month’s round up, it’s an Adnams pub. The usual beers and lots of enticing food. Five options on the sandwich menu:-

Hoisin duck and spring onion wrap
Buffalo mozzarella, tomato and avocado open sandwich
Prawn and crayfish Marie rose
Smoked ham and Gruyere cheese toasties with Suffolk chutney
Cumberland Sausage Baguette with onion jam

I opted for that last one, and it comes with a really nice dressed salad and vegetable crisps (Tyrell’s I suspect):-


A lovely sausage baguette, great sausages, nice crusty baguette and sweet onion marmalade (they call it jam). Hearty and delicious. Mrs MOFAD opted for the ham & cheese toastie, which was well filled with ham and cheese, and nice and warming on a day of sea breezes. Our cycling and dining companions Hazel & Matt had the cheeseboard and some accompaniments, all very tasty stuff. I also got free grapes from the cheeseboard 🙂

The Jolly Sailor is a lovely seaside pub, and there’s a nice big beer garden out the back for warmer months too. Really nice food and good beer. And they allow dogs. Well worth it if you’re in the area, and definitely worth stopping off at if you’re riding the Suffolk coastal cycle route, which passes within about 50 yards of the pub… A worthy winner of pub of the month.

Beer of the month – October 2016 – Bourbon Oktober, Vibrant Forest Brewery

A tricky month this one. Lots of strong contenders (in terms of quality and alcoholic strength). All bar one of these were sampled in the same week of October, when we were on our East Anglian epic adventure, part two.

Finishing off our “Summer House Beer Festival“, we had a Guatemalan Coffee Extra Porter by Buxton Brewery, bottom right in the picture.


We’re up all night to drink coffee. Massive coffee nose, big coffee flavours with vanilla mixing in there too. There are lots of coffee porters out and about, this is a good one.

Another new beer next, a Triple Knot Tripel by Adnams (perhaps unsurprisingly for a week in Southwold), made with Pilsner malt, acidulated malt and invert sugar fermented using Adnams house yeast as well as white wine yeast. It’s hopped with Eldorado and Pacific jade and a sprinkling of botanicals – lavender, orange blossom and jasmine. Quite unusual for a beer.


Orange, honey and lovely warming Autumn flavours. Dangerously drinkable for 10%, it tastes nowhere near that. A slight bready character often associated with sparkling wine too. Really delicious stuff, this would make a great Christmas day ale.

We step outside of the holiday bubble for a moment to try a Three’s Company by Cloudwater Brew Co. A three way collaboration with Magic Rock and JW Lees, using the latter’s 4709th generation yeast culture.


Boom! A hop bomb has been dropped from a great height. Massive NZ hop flavours and something to tide everyone over until Cloudwater’s DIPA v8 gets out into the wild.

We stay hoppy with an Imperial Red IPA Special Edition by Vibrant Forest Brewery which is “built” on their “RadicAle Imperial Red IPA”.  This is what they have to say about it. “The aroma now sits on a maltier backing with reduced hops and the giant citrus and tropical notes have replaced by thick fortified waves of cherry, plum and deep woody syrups. The boozy aftertaste has mellowed and the whole experience is utterly different to how we initially presented it.”


This is what I have to say about it. Boooooooom! Massive caramel malts, hoppy happiness. Very very good. A special edition indeed. As you can tell, I liked this one.

We return to our collage (bottom left) for this month’s winner, Bourbon Oktober, again by Vibrant Forest Brewery. This is”Black Oktober” but aged in a fresh bourbon barrel for nearly 6 months.


This produces a big bourbon vanilla beast which was quite stunning. Vibrant took their existing full bodied strong stout (with aromas of dark chocolate and liquorice) and the barrel aging process has added spicy notes and vanilla. It was certainly worth that extra work and wait. Bourbon barrel brilliance and a worthy winner.