This pub has been named one of the best in Devon

PUBLISHED: 13:17 12 August 2020

The Globe Inn, in Beaford, North Devon, owned by Sam Clegg and Jim Thomas..Photo: Jim Wileman

The Globe Inn, in Beaford, North Devon, owned by Sam Clegg and Jim Thomas..Photo: Jim Wileman

© jim wileman

Jim Thomas and Sam Clegg have revived the Globe Inn in Beaford and returned it to its community roots

The Globe Inn, in Beaford, North Devon, owned by Sam Clegg and Jim Thomas..Photo: Jim WilemanThe Globe Inn, in Beaford, North Devon, owned by Sam Clegg and Jim Thomas..Photo: Jim Wileman

It’s Wednesday morning and, notebook in hand, I’m chatting to Sam Clegg and Jim Thomas, who run The Globe Inn at Beaford. The pub’s closed, but people keep popping their heads around the door. Jim is hopping up and down, welcoming them in, making coffee, offering cake.

Sam is free to give me her full attention; I feel it may be a rare moment for either of them to be sat down for any length of time.

“He gets a lot of stick for always being this side of the bar, rather than behind it,” she says. Jim is well-known for pulling up a chair to chat to customers. On one occasion, he spotted a group of cyclists outside the pub. It was early in the morning and he was still in his PJs, but nevertheless he opened the door and asked if they wanted to come in for a coffee.

“Things like that happen all the time,” says Sam.

The Globe Inn, in Beaford, North Devon, owned by Sam Clegg and Jim Thomas..Photo: Jim WilemanThe Globe Inn, in Beaford, North Devon, owned by Sam Clegg and Jim Thomas..Photo: Jim Wileman

It’s been just over three years since the couple arrived from East London with an idea about running a pub. Ideas come easily, says Sam, but this one had legs. Jim was working for Meantime craft brewery and knew a fair amount about the industry; also, they both loved craft beers – Belgium being a favoured holiday destination.

Sam, who hails from Torquay, says: “On paper the pub didn’t look so good, I was humouring Jim in going to see it; but we walked in and it took five minutes to say, ‘This is the one’.”

Beaford’s only pub had been closed for a year but all it needed was “a bit of a tidy up and a bit of love”.

Beaford is a tiny village, situated on the road between Great Torrington and Winkleigh. On their first visit Sam and Jim went for a wander and started meeting people; they knocked on the doors of neighbouring houses, they went up to the garage to say hello and they stopped and chatted to dog walkers. The village has about 400 residents, and Sam and Jim went a fair way to meeting most of them. On their second visit they went to the Friday night social at the village hall where they were presented with an engraved wine glass and tankard.

The Globe Inn, in Beaford, North Devon, owned by Sam Clegg and Jim Thomas..Photo: Jim WilemanThe Globe Inn, in Beaford, North Devon, owned by Sam Clegg and Jim Thomas..Photo: Jim Wileman

The village clearly wanted its pub back and, as Sam says, “We couldn’t say no after that!”

This relationship has formed the way Sam and Jim developed the Globe. They weave locals’ wishes with their own ideas. So, Doom Bar is on tap as it’s always been a Beaford favourite and you’ll find peas on the menu too; although, in hushed tones, Sam mentions the word ‘Peagate’.

Apparently, for the first three months, she chose not to serve peas as a side, opting for seasonal salad instead, but, following rumblings of discontent, she was obliged to bring back the peas permanently. As with all good relationships though, it’s give and take; Sam’s East London-style burgers, which come in a brioche bun, have been a huge hit.

Sunday night is games night at the Globe..Photo: Jim WilemanSunday night is games night at the Globe..Photo: Jim Wileman

Read more: the new eco-friendly sparkling wine that’s produced in Devon

Sam happily spends a lot of her time in the kitchen; she may be a vegetarian herself, but gran taught her the best way to cook brisket of beef, she says. Produce comes from suppliers close to Beaford - meat from Neals butchers in Dolton, veg from Down Farm in Winkleigh or from Petrockstow. Hawkridge Farm supplies the ham and eggs come from just down the road.

Jim has challenged the locals to grow hops with which he’ll make a Beaford community beer next year .Photo: Jim WilemanJim has challenged the locals to grow hops with which he’ll make a Beaford community beer next year .Photo: Jim Wileman

Food is popular, but the Globe is not a gastro pub, they emphasize. The idea is for people to feel comfy coming in and just having a beer or coffee.

The Globe is filled with homely touches, what you see around you is the couple’s furniture and belongings – a shelf of books, a record player and a games trunk (Sunday night is board games night at the pub).

After a round of Dobble (it’s like Snap on steroids), or perhaps an evening spent listening to local folk musicians (Tuesdays), visitors can opt to stay in one of three boutique guest rooms.

It’s the beer though that’s at the heart of the operation and is why The Globe has been named CAMRA’s North Devon pub of 2020.

Alongside Doom Bar are Devon beers like GT Ales, Otter and Hunter’s. A ‘special fridge’ houses an ever-changing range of craft beers, some of which you won’t find anywhere else in the county. (The Belgian holidays come in useful when they can bring back the very exclusive Cantillon lambic beers from Brussels).

The fridge is winning over the locals too – Cinder Toffee Stout from New Bristol Brewery and Tiny Rebel’s jam doughnut pale ale are recent hits.

Just before lockdown Jim set up his own microbrewery and got the necessary licence to sell his creations at the pub. Rather than make a standard beer, he’s experimented with some special brews, including:

India Export Porter: It’s based on one of the world’s best stouts and has roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate favours.

Kölsch: a pale, highly attenuated, hoppy, bright top-fermenting beer.

Raspberry Wheat: a continental-style wheat beer, fermented with fresh raspberries.

Extra Special Bitter: a strong English bitter with a fruity aroma and subtle hop bitterness.

There are also plans to brew a Beaford beer next year. The couple had success sowing seeds of hop plants, ending up with around 1,000 plants which Jim then distributed around the village. The idea is that hops grown from the plants will be made into a community beer next year.

“We feel so lucky that we’ve landed here, and it works for us,” says Jim. The good vibes are also affecting visitors to this remote little village and its lively pub. “A family came in this week and started crying because they didn’t want to leave,” says Sam.

With that burger (and peas) on the menu, plenty of new beers to sample, and perhaps a round of Dobble, I’m sure they’ll be back.

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