You might’ve heard some crazy stories come from out of the wild, wild west.
For those who don’t venture out to that neck of the desert very often (if at all), there’s usually a bit of a stigma held about the locals.
But if you’re not about that life lived under a rock, you should definitely ignore anyone who tells you Ipswich isn’t worth the few extra minutes down the motorway.
If anything, embrace the added time as a godsend to get further away from those totally naive squares, cos I’ve found the raddest place for some bevvies with the buds. And it’s smack-bang in the middle of the ‘Swich!
When asked what makes a great setting for a catch up with mates, I’ll dish out the same motto every time: sun, food, beer, atmosphere.
Let’s just say I almost burst into tears when I rocked up at Pumpyard Bar & Brewery for my office Christmas party. I’d browsed the menu weeks in advance and was totally overwhelmed with excitement, but nothing could have prepared me for this experience.
The dark brick walls oozed rad, charming, rustic vibes and were practically growing beards of their own as masculine baritones echoed throughout the place. The crowd was bustling and thriving, but not at all overbearing. In terms of its regulars, think mostly beer-drinking-lovechildren of beards and business who are tame enough to enjoy a meal with a young family around.
But if you’re still keen to escape them, there’s always the option to chow down or quench a thirst whilst absorbing some vitamin D just a few short steps away, though not far enough to distance yourself from the vibrant atmosphere.
Although one of the first things we ordered was a beer tasting box, and despite the fact that I really like beer, I’m gonna be honest and say that I don’t know the first thing about differentiating between its varieties. I just drink whatever’s good by the bartender. So I’ll spare you by leaving that component of the review to our in-house beer expert, Andrew, for a later day.
Let’s just say there were enough brews to choose from that I’m almost certain anyone could find something to love.
It’s a brewery, dude.
What I was really excited to experience at Pumpyard was the food. Oh my god, the food.
I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m easily won by some(thing/where) that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but this deliverance of delicacies is just pure, golden modesty.
No doubt some of the drool-worthy and exciting menu highlights at Pumpyard include their “frickles” (YES. THESE ARE BEER BATTERED PICKLES. WITH AIOLI. YOU. ARE. WELCOME.) and a selection of hearty burgz which sample from each pen of the paddock – but vegetarians and gluten-intolerant needn’t despair.
You’ve also got a stack load of mouth watering options to choose from, including their famously good sweet potato fries, gluten-free pizza bases with vegetarian toppings as well a jui-cay lookin’ mushroom burger.
I ordered the jerk chicken, which I’ve never tried before at any other.. umm, jerk chicken dealer? It came with a mango slaw and toasted coconut. My heart may have already been won in the moment my eyes landed upon this little nugget of joy as I gazed lovingly over the menu.
Personally, I don’t believe you can ever go wrong with chicken and mango. Pumpyard was unable to change my mind on this. My beliefs remain firmly intact.
Also, this meal was so. Damn. Filling.
No matter what you go for, it’s suffice to say you’re gonna get a delish meal that is cheap and in abundance, to put it politely (there was a shit-load of it).
I don’t think one person at my table of nine was able to finish everything on their plate, so I highly recommend approaching this situation on an empty stomach.
You’re gonna wanna sample from each section of the menu at Pumpyard.
Because frickles. Also, because chicken wings, onion rings, beer-flavoured ice cream, macadamia brownies and brioche-cinnamon donuts.
But mostly frickles.
Finally, to top off my already fabulous experience with grub, the service was very quick and the staff were extremely hospitable and attentive. For such a busy time of year with many Christmas partygoers down for a drown in some craft brews, the venue was very well managed and the meals were delivered in good timing.
In summary, Pumpyard Bar & Brewery was practically crying out for me to come back with a mattress and move on in.
I’m still fantasizing about a future that involves pouring craft beer over cereal every morning.
Words by Jess Morman.
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