They’re meandering, relaxing, and a little bit shady – like an afternoon under oak beams. Or like Humber Doucy Lane, from which we take our name: modern Ipswich houses on one side, the countryside on the other. It’s named for the ‘refreshing shade’ (‘ombre douce’) found there by Napoleonic War prisoners relaxing after their labours.
Or is it? Like a lot of the mardles you’ll hear in a Suffolk pub, that one is … debatable. Some say it’s named for The Humber Doucy, a dance beloved by peasants and gentlemen alike between the wars. Or The Humble Deuce, a gambler’s pub that stood on the Martlesham road – until it was burned to the ground by a cheated card shark. Or even that it comes from the legendary ‘Amber Dais’, an Anglo-Saxon treasure worth untold riches, said to be buried somewhere north of Ipswich.
Of a more certain provenance is our beer. Humber Doucy Brewing founder John Ridealgh comes by the trade honestly. As a child, he went to survey the county’s barley fields with his father Alan, a Stowmarket maltster. So when John came of age, it seemed as natural to make beer as to drink it. After a few years of running Ipswich’s premier homebrew shop, John set up Humber Doucy with a simple idea: make beer that understands the Suffolk pub tradition. And he’s succeeded, by brewing great-tasting beers that combine modern hops with traditional Suffolk barley.