Down a rutted and narrow Norfolk marshland track lies The Locks. A public house long famed for its relaxed atmosphere, incredible backdrop and hard to
find location. Since November 2018, new tenants, Grain Brewery have been working hard to refurbish and relaunch The Locks and are now excited to unleash Grain Brewery’s fourth pub on East Anglia’s more adventurous pub goers.
Geoff Wright, director of Grain Pubs, knew that the adventure was just beginning on first embarking down Locks Lane, Geldeston.
“I’d heard about the infamous Locks at Geldeston years before I went there for the first time. So, I was excited to be finally heading down there for work as part of my job, selling beers for Grain.”
“It was the winter of 2014, As I turned into Locks Lane I saw, with trepidation that the whole track looked like a lake, totally flooded, with just trees and bushes showing you where the edge of the track ends and the marshes begin. When I got to the pub, I found that the badly maintained track, the lack of mains electricity, its remoteness and its proneness to flooding did nothing to stop the screaming voices in my head, telling me that we must run this pub one day.”
Jump forward to March 2019 and Geoff is excited to share Grain Brewery’s Locks adventure with everyone.
“Being brave or inspired enough to journey out to the most rural part of the Norfolk Suffolk border should be enough. But push that little bit further, down the unmade Locks lane and you will be rewarded with warmest of welcomes, the most atmospheric of country pubs and all set in Broadland’s finest backdrop.”
“We have sympathetically updated the look and feel of the bar, lounge and dining room and the candle lit main bar true to its heritage. However, behind the scenes we have changed quite a bit. A focus on flavour runs through everything we do. From the beers we brew to the drinks we mix. From the events we run to the parties we host. From the suppliers we partner with, to the food on your plate. Pushing the boundaries of expectation, quality and flavour is our mantra”.
Duncan Phelp, Head Chef at the Locks is looking forward to blending his own style of cooking (influenced by his Norfolk roots, Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines) with Grain’s ethos and the amazing location. “There is such a wealth of flavours to be found in and around the Waveney valley I really can’t wait to get started. Partnering with local suppliers like Maisebrooke Farm and Alburgh Lamb as well as local fishermen and foragers is a very exciting prospect indeed” Less exciting is the prospect of running a kitchen with no mains electricity or gas. “the Locks has its own set of difficulties and quirks. Some chefs would find these unworkable and impossible to deal with. I find these kinds of challenges only inspire creativity.”
The new team at the Locks is headed up by Jodie Barrett. “Moving from the centre of Beccles, a mere 3 miles, to the bottom of Locks lane was a big decision for my family.” Says Jodie “A new job and moving home to a very remote location felt like it might be too much to take on. But facing the challenges that this adventure has presented, has been so rewarding. Training new staff and building our team, ready to offer excellent customer service and amazing food and drinks for the busy summer, has been tough. I am a both excited to see what the summer brings and a tiny bit nervous. Hopefully a healthy balance that will keep us all on our toes”
Further up the Waveney valley in Alburgh you can find Grain’s brewhouse where they create the range of beers available at the Locks.
Phil Halls, Director of Grain brewery said “our beers have always sold well in the pubs along the Waveney. With the addition of the Locks to our family it allows us to continue to be a more positive influence on the leisure and tourism industry of the area. To have our own pub so close to the brewery is an opportunity I’ve been
looking forward to for some time. The prospect of offering our customers an accessible way to sample the breweries flavours exactly as the brewer intended is going to be an exciting adventure”