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Beer of the Week (w/e 26th June 2022) with aleandhearty on the Pub Forum

The Elm Tree, Cambridge

Orchard Street
Phone: 01223502632

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

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E TA left this review about The Elm Tree

A very pleasant city pub with an excellent ale selection and a comfortable vibe. It consists of a single narrow room formed by knocking through the downstairs rooms of a building whose origins are lost in the mists of time but are certainly interesting. There is an outside patio area, mainly used by smokers and comatose students. The barmaid seemed a bit unsure about anything to do with beer, but she was welcoming enough and reasonable company. Ales on were Razorback from Ringwood, Pedigree, Malt Starry Nights, Shefford Plum Mild, Banks and Taylor Dragonslayer, Cross Bay EPA, Otter Bitter and Oxford Craft Beer’s Matilda’s Tears. There was also a good selection of Belgian beers and English ciders. A very strong candidate for a revisit and inclusion in a crawl.

On 26th February 2020 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2867 recommendations about 2834 pubs]

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Rex Rattus left this review about The Elm Tree

This was my Cambridge pub of the day. As we entered we were met by the friendly landlady who was happy to engage us in conversation about the pub, which is apparently a Banks & Taylor pub leased(?) from Charles Wells. There were ten handpumps and all were clipped (I went for the Banks & Taylor Plum Mild - a bit under £4 a pint as I recall), plus they had a selection of Belgian bottled beers in a fridge. I didn't see any sign of food on Saturday afternoon.

Judging by previous reviews and photographs already here, this pub doesn't seem to have changed in years. That is definitely good news. It's carpeted, is furnished with normal tables and chairs and has loads interesting decor around the place, including breweriana. This is the sort of homely pub I really appreciate. I even saw a couple of ladies doing their knitting. This is definitely a pub for a return visit.

On 20th October 2019 - rating: 9
[User has posted 2599 recommendations about 2513 pubs]

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Rob Hunter left this review about The Elm Tree

Another very traditional feeling pub. Took a bit of finding but glad I did. Ales are mainly by Wells and Banks & Taylor. Think there may have been a couple of guests too. I had the Edwin Taylor's Extra Stout at £2 for a half, which was pleasant enough.

Plenty of old signs on the walls and hats stuck on the ceiling, but also modern photos of customers enjoying themselves in the pub. In addition to the impressive 10 hand pumps for cask at the bar, a Belgian beer menu is on each table with a separate sharing menu for larger bottles.

I liked this pub and it is one you could probably spend quite a bit of time in.

On 17th May 2018 - rating: 8
[User has posted 678 recommendations about 560 pubs]

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Real Ale Ray left this review about The Elm Tree

A good backstreet boozer, that's well worth a visit. There were ten handpumps in operation on our visit, so we went for the Crouch Vale Chinook, which was in excellent condition. Another major attraction here, was the extensive collection of Belgian Beers listed in booklets left on each table. The young barman was very knowledgeable about his beers and also gave great info about other pubs in the area.

On 11th March 2016 - rating: 8
[User has posted 3092 recommendations about 3092 pubs]

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Aqualung . left this review about The Elm Tree

I remember first visiting this pub almost forty years ago when Charles Wells beers were unheard of in London, and this one was noted as it had their beers served without top pressure. It was in the very first GBG back in 1974 but was subsequently omitted. In modern times it's back in the Guide and as noted below is a joint venture between Wells and B&T breweries. As you enter the bar is on the left in a square room with a narrow carpeted room further back. Numerous old brewery signs decorate the walls. On the bar there were ten hand pumps with one unused and Charles Wells represented by Directors and their Good Stuffing beer. I also noticed two B&T beers, two from Crouch Vale and two from the Colchester brewery.
I went for the Crouch Vale Anchor Street Porter (£3.50) which was in excellent nick.
After numerous visits here over the years it remains one that is well worth a look.

On 23rd December 2014 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2143 recommendations about 2143 pubs]

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Pub SignMan left this review about The Elm Tree

Another Cambridge back street pub, this time a joint enterprise between Charles Wells and the enterprising B&T Brewery. The pub is an absolute beer paradise with the long bank of handpulls supplemented by a vast Belgian beer focussed menu that several customers seemed totally overwhelmed by. The ale options on my visit were Wells Eagle IPA, Youngs Special and Waggledance, B&T Shefford Bitter, Midsummers Ale and Dark Mild, Colchester Trinovantes Gold and London Porter, Elgoods EP and Castle Rock Harvest Pale. I tried the Dark Mild and found it a great example of the style that I could barely keep in the glass. The bottled range is detailed in a menu, which is worth perusing as many options are kept in a back room, rather than displayed in the limited fridge space behind the bar. The bar staff seemed very clued up on the range and were able to help guide the daunted towards the type of beer they were looking for.
The pub has two notional rooms, essentially opened out into one long space, but each with its own feel. The front half is the bare boarded main bar area with the servery running down the left and a simple seating area opposite focussed around a nice fireplace. The room is decorated with a vast array of brewery signs, mirrors and the like, much of which is from Belgian breweries. A few pump clips are dotted around, mixed in with photos of the locals enjoying themselves. Beer bottles run around a high shelf and there are collections of coins and heraldic emblems on the ceiling. Past the bar, you enter a cosier, carpeted lounge style area with padded benches, nicely upholstered chairs and low stools. The space is also chock full of brewery signs and adverts including two huge enamel signs for Oakhill Stout and Allsopp's Milk Stout. Any gaps on the walls have been filled in with various photos and a most impressive collection of branded glassware runs along another high shelf. There are shelves full of books and board games that are worth a look through and a very quiet heavy metal soundtrack played throughout my stay.
I really loved this place and would have happily stayed here much longer had my itinerary not demanded more pub research elsewhere. Anywhere else in the country a Charles Wells house next to a Greene King house would sound like an unappealing prospect, but here, alongside the excellent 'Free Press' a few doors down, we have a double header that should not be missed.

On 17th September 2014 - rating: 9
[User has posted 2795 recommendations about 2795 pubs]

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paulof horsham left this review about The Elm Tree

There's a heavy concentration of pubs in this corner of Cambridge, but The Elm Tree is certainly one that is going to be sought out by fans of British & Belgian beer. B & T Brewery of Shefford lease the pub from Wells (hence the sign) and offer 3 of their own ales, along with a few from Wells and other microbreweries. Lager drinkers can select Red Stripe & Estrella Dam among others. A beer menu lists a large selection of Belgian brews - not something we were inclined to try early afternoon, although it was an interesting read.

The pub itself is little more than a single room, with tables squeezed in amongst the breweriana, bric-a-brac and board games. A large selection of photos adorning every spare spot of wall suggests a lively social scene here. Towards the front there is a raised area which lends itself to occasional gigs.

Bar service was up with the best: a knowledgeable barman was more than happy to discuss the beers on offer. Certainly one to spend some time in and I can see why the regulars like it.

On 15th September 2012 - rating: 8
[User has posted 323 recommendations about 308 pubs]

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Bucking Fastard left this review about The Elm Tree

The pubsign carries the Charles Wells insignia but don't loose hope,B&T lease the pub from CW and operate an extensive guest ale policy besides featuring three of their own brews.It's a small pub,with one side running down an alley way so the first thing you notice on entering are ten handpumps with CW Youngs Ordinary,Youngs Bitter and Eagle IPA;B&T Shefford Bitter,Dragon Mild and Fruit Bat while the guests comprised Colchester Red Diesel,Bateman's Summer Swallow,and Phipps IPA.To one side are four keg pumps with upmarket continental lagers and on the tables are extensive Belgian beer menus,including a 33cl Westvleteren 12 at £80,but with many bottles at far from wallet busting prices.
This is a treasure trove for bottled beer fans and the real ale is also very well kept,samples are given and there is knowledgeable service from behind the bar.
There is a small raised stage at the front on the pub for occasional live music and the interior has wooden settles and benches and decent sized tables if you want to use any of the pub's extensive collection of board games.The walls are covered with much breweriana,many items from defunct breweries.Any spare wall space is taken up by photos of the regulars in various states of inebriation.
I really like the friendly atmosphere,and traditional interior ;this seemed to be to be a quintissential drinkers pub and one not to miss on any visit to Cambridge.

On 14th September 2012 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2338 recommendations about 2338 pubs]

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Steve of N21 left this review about The Elm Tree

Rob from the Hobgoblin in Reading is still at the helm but Dom and Jo have moved on to manage the revitalised Milton Brewery owned Devonshire Arms.
Still 10 draft ales from micro and regional breweries on the go, supported by over Belgium bottled beers. I had one of these that I had not had before, but don’t ask me what it was as it had been a long day and my notes were being written by a dyslexic spider by this stage.
Anyway, top ale pub and one to visit when in Cambridge.

On 2nd June 2012 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1816 recommendations about 1754 pubs]

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john mcgraw left this review about The Elm Tree

A great pub for the real ale fan.Up to 10 real ales from far and wide served in a small traditional pub by a friendly guv'nor.Also has a real cider in a cask on the bar.Off the beaten track and well worth seeking out.

On 17th February 2010 - rating: 10
[User has posted 2044 recommendations about 2025 pubs]

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