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Submitted on Saturday, 25th April 2015
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The Ale House, Chelmsford

Pub added by john mcgraw
24-26 Viaduct Road
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Reviews of The Ale House (Average Rating: of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Blue Scrumpy left this review about The Ale House

The Ale House is undoubtedly the best place for real ale and cider in town. Set under a couple of arches near to Chelmsford railway station, it has an excellent selection of changing real ales and ciders, in addition to craft beers and an excellent selection of bottles and cans.

We were greeted at the entry and invited to fill out the track and trace and to sanitise. Various rules were explained to us. Whilst this was all very strict, the welcome was still warm.

Ales on offer during our visit were Oakham Inferno, Chelmsford Port Jackson, Nethergate Growling Dog, Harbour Beach Break, Colchester No. 1 & Thornbridge Jaipur. Ciders were Thatcher's Cheddar Valley, Sandford Orchards Rib Tickler, Barbourne 1066, Lilley's Darkcider & Mango Cider, Severn New Orchard, Bertie's Galanthus Perry & Seacider Black Cherry Cider. Craft beers were from breweries such as Howling Hops, Tiny Rebel, Double-Barrelled, The Kernel, Mad Squirrel, Magic Rock, Beavertown, 42/DDH & Burnt Mill. All drinks are listed on paper handouts at each table.

The 2 real ciders I tried were considerably better than the Strongbow Dark Fruits experienced over the road in the Plough.

We sat in the second archway away from the bar. Noise levels were fine and the drinking environment was very pleasant. The best pub we tried in the town.

On 13th October 2020 - rating: 9
[User has posted 868 recommendations about 868 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about The Ale House

Situated in a couple of railway arches directly outside Chelmsford's train and bus stations, this is a modern alehouse with plenty of cask and keg options. You can enter the premises from either side of the tracks and both arches are similarly decorated with grey wood panels on the walls and a white corrugated iron ceiling which sadly hides the vaulted brickwork beneath. At each end, there are large plain glass windows displaying the pub's name, that act as end walls and allow a good deal of light into the arches. There is nice modern flooring throughout and one of the arches has a long bar counter running along the side wall, with the handpulls annoyingly sited on the bar back, which makes it incredibly difficult to read the pump clips, not helped by the fact that the beer board listing the options is in the other archway. There is limited seating in the arch with the bar, but the second arch has lots of chunky tables and chairs, a few battered sofas and some long benches, whilst outside there is limited cafe style tables and chairs. Decor includes a selection of smart brewery mirrors and some rather nice old breweriana including a couple of excellent old Ridley's signs. I also noticed a photo display showing the process of converting this space to pub use and bizarrely there was a modern penny farthing bicycle in the area between the two arches. Various blackboards rounded out the decor, listing various special offers and upcoming events, whilst a few displayed humorous beer related quotes. Pop music played throughout my early afternoon visit and I was one of a small handful of customers at this time of the day, having followed a large group in who commented on the lack of atmosphere before continuing to walk right through the pub, exiting through the far doors without breaking their stride.
The positioning of the handpulls not only made it hard to read the clips, but also meant that I missed an entire bank of pumps, so I'd advise anyone visiting to consult the blackboard in the other arch before ordering. Cask options on this visit were Left Hand Lactose Tolerant, Shalford Levellers Black, Hydes Old Indie, Tiny Rebel Juicy, Tapstone Voodoo Juice (£4.00), Trade Going To The Sun, Oakham Citra and Hangar 17, Dark Star Hophead, Arbor Never a Frown, Good Chemistry Time Lapse and Turning Point Rising Tide. A pretty extensive range and lots of breweries I'd never heard of. I tried the Voodoo Juice which was in reasonable shape without really standing out. There are also five craft keg options from the likes of Summer Wine and Left Hand Brewing plus a further five German beers.
I though this was a pretty good attempt at creating a modern alehouse, but the location under the rattling train lines makes it a little devoid of the cosy qualities you'd associate with a top quality pub. The ale range is one of the widest in the city and if they can maintain quality across so many handpulls, this would be well worth a look when passing. An interesting addition to Chelmsford's pub scene and a good place to discover new beers.

On 24th September 2017 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2620 recommendations about 2620 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Malden man left this review about The Ale House

Located in a trio of converted railway arches on the appropriately named Viaduct Street, one arch being the service areas, the other two are effectively a pair of long single rooms. The bar is along the side of one and is unusual in the handpumps being situated at the rear of the bar, keg tap style, rather than on the counter itself. There are two banks of six ales, all regularly changing, plus a considerable number of ciders. I won't list all the beers as they move quickly I understand but between us we had Mallinson's Mosaic and Hop Zest, Cameron's Northern Line Stout, Skinner's Keel Over, Big Smoke Dartmoor Porter and Anarchy Brew Co The Algorithm. Beer quality was excellent with prices generally just ducking under the £4 mark. Beers and ciders are listed with abv on chalkboards above the bar where there was also a Chelmsford City FC scarf.
Seating is mainly at rustic tables with a mixture of pews, benches and stools plus there are a few large barrels for the vertical drinkers to use. There are a few small tables outside too. The walls are clad in timber and the curved ceilings are corrugated metal, there must be some soundproofing as I cannot recall hearing the rumble of trains above. Hops are entwined along the wall/ceiling junction, there are a few bits of modern artwork and a penny farthing bicycle leans against a wall. I don't know if meals are available but snacks in the form of pork pies, pickled eggs and pickled onions are advertised.
A very nice pub indeed and a clever concept, a great start to our quick mini crawl of Chelmsford prior to heading on to Braintree for the football.

On 26th April 2015 - rating: 9
[User has posted 1690 recommendations about 1664 pubs]

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Pub location see interactive map of local area
Map location corrected by Mark Davey
Chelmsford, 0.12 miles, 2 min walk (show)
Ingatestone, 6.68 miles, 2 hr 9 min walk (show)
Hatfield Peverel, 6.84 miles, 2 hr 12 min walk (show)
Latest updates View all updates for The Ale House, Chelmsford
19th Jun 2021, 09:44
Picture submitted by peter ashworth approved
19th Jun 2021, 09:42
Picture submitted by peter ashworth

Pub Details

Pub details supplied by members of this site to the best of their knowledge. Please check with pub directly before making a special trip.

  • Accommodation : No last updated 30 November 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Bar Billiards : No last updated 30 November 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Beer Festivals : Yes last updated 30 November 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Beer Garden : No - Pavement seating area - last updated 30 November 2013 by john mcgraw
  • CAMRA Discount : No last updated 12 December 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Car Park : No last updated 30 November 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Child Friendly : No last updated 12 December 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Darts : No last updated 12 December 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Function Room : No last updated 24 September 2017 by Pub SignMan
  • Hot Food : No last updated 12 December 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Jukebox : No last updated 30 November 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Karaoke : No last updated 30 November 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Live Music : Yes last updated 25 April 2015 by john mcgraw
  • Live TV Sports : No last updated 18 May 2014 by Aqualung .
  • Micropub : No last updated 17 June 2015 by john mcgraw
  • Pinball : No last updated 30 November 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Pool Table : No last updated 30 November 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Quiz Night : Yes - Last Sunday of the month - last updated 31 December 2019 by john mcgraw
  • Real Ale : Yes last updated 14 May 2012 by Will Larter
  • Real Cider : Yes last updated 30 November 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Wheelchair Access : Yes last updated 30 November 2013 by john mcgraw
  • WiFi : Yes last updated 30 November 2013 by john mcgraw
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