Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Cambridge Brew House - Review

I've been to the Cambridge Brew House a couple of times before for dinner and really enjoyed it, the atmosphere is cosy and the food tasty.  However, this visit was a little different as I didn't just go to eat, I also went for a talk from the brewer, James, and to sample their beers.

The Brew House interior - bar and dining area
Looking down the bar towards the dining area
We decided to have dinner first which was quite exciting as they're menu is seasonal and had therefore changed slightly since my last visit.  Previously I've had the sticky beef (which I highly recommend) and also their Sunday roast.  This time I decided to try a selection of the British Tapas which has been tempting me for a while.

Scotch egg with chutney
Scotch egg
Lamb meatballs with gravy and crusty bread
Lamb meatballs
Sweet potato and smoked red pepper falafel with aioli dip
Sweet potato falafel
I had the Scotch egg with smoked tomato chutney, the lamb and mint meatballs with Brew House ale gravy (with crusty bread on the side) and the butternut squash and smoked red pepper falafels.  The Scotch egg was delicious and the yolk still runny, while the chutney added a lovely sweetness.  I was a little disappointed by the meatballs which, although tasty, were also a little dry.  This was sort of made up for by the fact that they were served in a lot of very nice gravy.  The falafel were not what I expected, mainly because they weren't falafel - there were not chickpeas or fava beans involved.  However, they were listed under 'British Tapas' and I guess sweet potatoes are more British than chickpeas!  Despite my initial scepticism they tasted great, especially when dipped in a little aioli.

Others in our group tried:

  • The 'Dirty burger' (a steak burger with melted Red Leicester, caramelised onions and fried egg served with chips and BBQ sauce) which was described as 'delicious and filling', especially the caramelised onions.  I tried a bite and would definitely order this another time.
  • The veggie platter (advertised on the menu under 'Boards' as the 'Elinor Dashwood' - this looked tasty with a mix of goats cheese, the butternut squash falafels I mentioned above, cauliflower cheese, artichokes, olives, hummus and crusty bread.  I will add that although Brew House does have some excellent vegetarian options their menu is definitely more orientated towards meat-eaters.
  • The Sausage Fest (literally a platter of local sausages infused with Brew House ale served with chutney, mustard and crusty bread) looked incredible and must have tasted as good as it looked given the speed with which it was devoured!

Now on to the brewery tour - I say tour the brewery is actually surprisingly small consisting of just a room at the back with glass walls so you can see the equipment.  James the brewer gave an interesting talk about the malt and hops he uses and how he brews the beer.  We also got to taste the different malts to compare the taste while he explained how that affected the beer.  As part of the tour we were given a (quite large) sample of their three beers.  They have a wider range but they can only brew 3 at a time.

The first beer was called 'Ivy League' and is an American Pale Ale.  I have to say that I wasn't that keen on this one as it was too hoppy for me.  However, things improved as I moved onto 'Misty River', this beer is also hoppy but not as much as Ivy League, making it my favourite of the three beers.  The last one I tried was 'King's Parade' - a bitter - which unusually for me I enjoyed but not as much as Misty River.  If you want to find out more about their beers then you can take a look at their website or even better just pop along for a pint one evening!

The beers from left to right Misty River, Ivy League, King's Parade
The three beers

The three home-brewed beers on tap

I would thoroughly recommend the Brew House both for its beer and its food and will definitely be going back soon.

You can visit the Brew House's website here or follow them on Facebook or Twitter
If you want to find out a bit more about their beers and the brewer take a look at the Brewing Company's website or follow them on Twitter
Or just go and see for yourself, you'll find them at: 1King Street, Cambridge CB1 1LH

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