Colchester – The Victoria Inn

The Victoria’s web-site has the message “we pride ourselves on being able to source many ales that you may not have tasted before, many from micro breweries who don’t usually supply nationally so we take the time to go and fetch them ourselves. Not for us the safe route of Adnams, London Pride, Doombar, etc……” which is one of the most reassuring things that a pub can say. Although I understand that many pubs are tied and don’t have this flexibility, it’s still relatively rare to get an interesting choice of beers.

Some of the real ales and ciders, there were also pumps to the right with what might be defined as more exotic craft options, with beers from Bone Machine, Turning Point and the Cloudwater Brew Co. There was a friendly welcome from a staff member perched by the counter, giving him an ideal vantage point to get customers to sign in, seat them and engage with them as required. The staff members were helpful, friendly and there was a relaxed feel to the whole pub. All rather lovely.

This is the two-thirds of the Mary Ann is Dead from Bone Machine, although I caused some moderate confusion by ordering a drink in this measure. The barman was immensely helpful in working out the price and finding a suitable glass, I have somewhat got in the habit of ordering in thirds without checking the pub was set-up to do that. I liked that this unintentional curveball didn’t annoy the barman though. The drink has a rich and decadent taste of mint running through it, along with the chocolate flavour, very moreish. There was a limited aftertaste though, although the initial hit was quite strong, but this is still a very beautiful drink.

I pinched from Nathan a taster of the Multi-Dimensional Being from Cloudwater Brew Co. and I have no idea what on earth this drink was, defined loosely as a brown ale and it had a whole array of different flavours. My palate wasn’t good enough to know what these flavours were, other than slightly fruity whilst maintaining some elements of a stronger beer such as notes of chocolate. But, whatever the flavours were, this was a quite magnificent drink and I opted for one of my ever rare 4.75 out of 5 scores on Untappd. I could rightly say that no-one is really bothered about what I think of a beer, but I’m pleased that the brewery noted and acknowledged the score when they saw it.

It was a little bit of a shame that the pub didn’t open longer into the evening, as there were numerous other drinks options that looked tempting. But, I’m sure I’ll be back in the future. And this is one of my favourite pubs of the year.