Mine's A Pint issue 25

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Regulars help mark Jane and Bernie's departure from the Retreat THE CAMRA MAGAZINE FOR READING AND MID BERKSHIRE ISSUE TWENTY FIVE • SPRING 2013 • FREE - PLEASE TAKE A COPY


Pub & Brewery News Reading Beer Festival Meet the Chairman Save the Pub Group Malt and Barley

Image © Anne-Marie Carroll www.clickwork.net/amc


Branch Diary Events are open to all unless specified. APRIL Thu 4: First Thursday of the Month Social. 20.00 start at the Griffin, 10-12 Church Road, Caversham, RG4 7AD. Then Baron Cadogan, 22-24 Prospect Street, RG4 8JG at 21.00 Fri 5: Curry Night. Meet 19.30 onwards for drinks at the Conservative Club, High Street, Southall, UB1 3HB, then restaurant at 21.00. Contact John Robinson on 0118 940 2787 / 0790 434 3187. Mon 15: Branch meeting. 20.00 start at the Bird in Hand, Bath Road, Knowl Hill, RG10 9UP. CAMRA members only, please.

MAY Thu 2 – Sun 5: Reading Beer and Cider Festival at Kings Meadow. See more details in this magazine. Mon 13: Branch meeting. 20.00 start at the Duke of Wellington, 27 High Street, Twyford, RG10 9AG (right hand bar). CAMRA members only, please. See www.readingcamra.org.uk for updates. For details of an event with no contact listed, to suggest an event or to receive regular e-mail updates of the branch diary, contact Antony Willis: antony.willis@talk21.com 07960 389940

3 West Berkshire Ales 5 Guest Ales Real Cider, Perry and Mead

Local CAMRA Cider Pub of the Year 2012 Pub quiz first Monday of the month

2 Broad Street Reading, RG1 2BH

01189 508119 the-alehouse-reading.co.uk enquiries@thealehousereading.com

A Community pub in the e heart of Reading e Follow us on twitter @AlehouseReading

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From the Editor Welcome to the first issue of a bigger and better Mine's a Pint. We've increased the size to 32 pages to give more space for news, articles and photos, and to give scope to cover more issues in greater depth. I hope that 32 pages will be the regular size of this magazine from now on, so this is a great opportunity for you to help fill that space and make a contribution. If you have any pub news, want to comment on an article, have a suggestion for a new feature or even want to write one, please let me know on editor@readingcamra.org.uk – and if you have any photos to submit, I'm particularly keen to see them. It's been a busy start to 2013. We've said goodbye to some landlords – not least Jane and Bernie from the Retreat (see our cover for their leaving party) – and welcomed some new ones. We've hosted the quarterly conference of CAMRA's NERDs (National Executive and Regional Directors), which is a big vote of confidence in Reading. We've launched this year's ale trail, which is now in full swing. Local newspaper “getreading” has launched its Pub of the Year competition. And we're looking forward to the 19th Reading Beer and Cider Festival, which will be held at King's Meadow between the 2nd and 5th of May.

On a sadder note, we were very sorry to hear of the death after a short illness of Nola Robinson, wife of Eddie Robinson, landlord of the Hop Leaf from 1996 to 2002. Nola playing cribbage Nola was a great support to Eddie during this period and was well known for her prowess at crib and ladies’ darts, playing darts for the Eldon Arms, as well as the Hop Leaf. More recently she got the ladies darts team going again at the Hop Leaf and will be greatly missed. Our sympathies go to Eddie in his sad loss. I hope you enjoy the new, larger version of Mine's a Pint. Whether you like it or not, please let me know. It's nice to get feedback. And now it's time to go out and support our local pubs. Cheers!

There are some quite significant changes to the festival this year, which have been forced on us by economics, and you can find out more in the article in this issue. We know the changes will take some getting used to – for the volunteer staff as well as our customers – but all of us hope that they will give a more secure base to the festival and ensure we can all continue to enjoy it in future years.

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Phil Gill Editor editor@readingcamra.org.uk

Pub and Brewery News READING

Pub News

CAVERSHAM The CAVERSHAM CONSERVATIVE CLUB on Gosbrook Road may reopen if plans to sell a bungalow in the grounds are successful. The club was wound up and closed last year after going into liquidation, and the sale is to raise funds to pay off the debts and reopen the social club.

EARLEY One of our surveyors reported “the best Hoppit I've ever had” in the MAIDEN OVER. A collection of local bottled ales is building up, available to drink in or take away.

EMMER GREEN After neighbour issues last year, the GARDENERS ARMS seems much improved. On a recent visit there were three Greene King beers on, all under £3 per pint and all in good condition. The interior has seen a refurbishment and although some of the old panelling remains, it's been painted over. A new dart board is a good sign, and there are TV screens around showing music videos and sport. Encouragingly, the pub was much busier than it used to be.

KNOWL HILL Real cider is back at the BIRD IN HAND, with two Tutts Clump ciders available.

First impressions are positive of the RETREAT in St John's Street following the change of licensee. We were worried that the atmosphere (or even the pub itself) might be lost but little seems to have changed – in a good way! - and it's a warm welcome to Bish who is now in charge. Ruddles County and Hobgoblin are new permanent fixtures and Loddon Ferryman's Gold is always available, but the other four handpumps continue to serve a variety of guest ales in good condition. Bish’s maxim is “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”, a sentiment that we can all agree with. Music is on Tuesdays and Sundays, with a monthly folk night due to start. Four new handpumps have been installed at the BACK OF BEYOND on Kings Road, taking the total to 16. Although three of them were in use for London Pride when we visited, this is still an encouraging sign and should indicate a wider beer range being available in future. The closed KENNET ARMS, previously the Claddagh Ring, in Pell Street looks set to become a shop – probably an off-licence – on the ground floor with a house in multiple occupation (basically bedsits) above. Councillors have decided that the QUEEN ELIZABETH on George Street should be allowed to be converted into four flats. A similar planning application had been rejected in 2011 because it would have meant the loss of a community facility. But this time councillors decided that the change should go ahead, and granted planning permission. Local residents had objected because of previous problems with poor management; CAMRA said the pub could CONTINUED OVERLEAF

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PUB NEWS CONTINUED be a sustainable community asset in keeping with its residential location with a responsible landlord. Here are a couple of quotations from councillor Tony Page, to let you make up your own mind how reasonable the decision was. 2011 - “Residents do not want the Queen Elizabeth to reopen as it had been but if we said to them, 'would you like a well run pub?' like there are many in Reading, that might produce a different response”. 2012 - “There is no shortage in the area of alternative pubs and so I welcome the approach.”

The BLAGRAVE ARMS in Blagrave Street has reopened after a significant refit. Most of the ornate woodwork around the bar has gone – this wasn't nearly as old as it appeared but it's a shame to see it go – and the place has been opened out to give a “more sophisticated look”. The real ale offering appears to be Hobgoblin, oddly served through a sparkler. What used to be Mannakoo opposite Reading station (and was once the Jolly Porter) has been rebranded as BAR DUO. It appears to be a venue that’s only open late at night. The well-regarded Sahara cocktail bar on the corner of Gun Street has closed, with the premises to be taken over by a Londonbased cocktail chain called BE AT ONE. This will be their first branch outside London and may be open by the time of publication. Although there was no real ale on sale at Sahara, it's sad to see an independent bar with such a good reputation close down. We hope the new bar is equally good.

The Maidens in happier times

The MAIDENS on Shinfield Road was closed and boarded up in December. It's been sold to Sainsbury's, who plan to convert it into another convenience store. Looking back, there had been several planning applications over the last year for things that seemed harmless, but were obviously preparing the ground for a new life as a shop. Things like air conditioning units, a new entrance and access ramp, and most recently a cash machine. We all need to keep our eyes open for things like this, so that we get as much advance warning as possible of any proposed closures. A bar billiards table has reappeared at the SUN in Castle Street. The PHEASANT at the top of Southampton Street – previously no real ale – is now selling Youngs Bitter.

Two good ales were available at the WYNFORD ARMS on a recent visit – Fullers London Pride and St Austell Tribute. Over the road in the WARWICK, there were two Greene King beers in fair condition. The place seems to be run more like a restaurant now, although the bar is still there and you can still go in for a drink.

THEALE A recent report from a visit to Theale returned the news that the best beer quality was in the RED LION (St Austell Tribute at £3.40). The FALCON has a new look with all the dining tables replaced by tall circular tables and tall chairs, and gives the appearance of having stopped doing food. The beer was good (Caledonian Deuchars IPA) but not as good value at £3.60.

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TILEHURST Plans to demolish the RESTORATION on Oxford Road and replace it with 20 flats have been refused. Similar, if not identical, plans had been refused two years ago. Sometimes an application comes along that is well argued, backed up with evidence and makes a strong case for change of use of a pub site. This application did none of these things, in fact it was laughably bad and deserved to be rejected. We can't see any prospect of a different outcome unless the owner gets a new planning consultant. Just outside Theale, at Sherfield Bottom, is the FOX AND HOUNDS, where licensees Daryl and Katie Cooper have won Wadworth brewery's “marketing pub of the year” award. The pub was chosen for its use of marketing and proactive communication to build and sustain business – and being rewarded with a loyal and growing number of customers. It's on our ale trail this year, so why not pay it a visit?

A visit to the WATER TOWER (what used to be the Bear Inn) found good beer quality, and this pub looks as though it could be a rising star.

WALTHAM ST LAWRENCE There has been a change of licensee at the STAR. We don't know much about the CONTINUED OVERLEAF

A charming 14th Century Country Inn between Maidenhead and Reading. The Inn serves a host of regularly changing Real Ales.

The beautifully refurbished Restaurant overlooks the garden and the Inglenook fire provides a warm and cosy setting.

Forthcoming Events 15th March Meet the Brewer/ Curry Night Sample Ales from Longdog.

23rd April - St. George’s Day Hot & Cold Buffet Supper with English Ales & Ciders 6th May Charity Dog Show & Fun Day 12-4pm

The Inn has 22 en-suite bedrooms - standard, superior and suites. One room is adapted for the disabled. Free wifi available throughout.

The Bird in Hand, Bath Road, Knowl Hill, Twyford, Berks RG10 9UP

Call: 01628 826622 / 2781 Email: info@birdinhand.co.uk Visit: www.birdinhand.co.uk

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TheRetreat Two Permanent Ales (Loddon Ferryman’s Gold & Sharp’s Cornish Coasting)

5 Ever-changing Guests Selection of Draught and Bottled Cider

Live Jazz

Opening Times

every Tuesday and Sunday Check our web site for Mon - Thurs: 4.30 to 11.00pm further gig listings: Fri - Sat: 12-11.30pm www.retreatpub.co.uk

Sun: 12 - 11pm

8 St Johns St, Reading, RG1 4EH Telephone: 01189571593 email: bish.retreat@yahoo.co.uk

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BREWERY NEWS CONTINUED details at this Wadworth pub so any further information would be welcomed.

WARGRAVE An update from the SNOOKER CLUB – Mel Davies is no longer in charge of the cellar but remains an active member of the club committee. Thankfully the real ale is still served in good condition. The WHITE HART is advertising that it is to become an Indian restaurant. Whether “and pub” or “instead of pub” is unknown. Next door, a new cafe called the OLD POST OFFICE sells Rebellion beer from their mini kegs. This doesn't count as real ale but it does at least give a local brewer another outlet.

WOODLEY The GOOD COMPANIONS on Loddon Bridge Road is one of the pubs nominated in getreading's Pub of the Year contest. Licensees Nigel and Lynn Hall took over in late 2011 and carried out a major refurbishment. It's part of the John Barras Pub Company (an arm of the Spirit group) and serves two real ales as well as traditional pub food. Darts, pool and poker teams play there and there's sport on TV, along with a beer garden and children’s play area. The SHEPHERDS HOUSE on the A4 was boarded up earlier this year.

Brewery News NEW BREWERY The big news this issue is the launch of a new brewery – Siren Craft Brewery, based in Finchampstead. They are starting with two fermenting vessels, but space is reserved for three more which would take them to 40 barrel capacity. The brewery has a strong American influence, with a consultant on

site who we understand has worked for two US micros and most recently a Danish brewhouse. They have an initial four recipes planned: Undercurrent – a 4.5% pale ale with spicy, grassy aromas and a taste of grapefruit and apricot. Soundwave – a 5.6% west coast IPA, very hoppy with grapefruit, peach and mango flavours. Liquid Mistress – a 5.8% west coast bright red ale, with flavours of burnt raisin and crackers balanced by citrus. Broken Dream – a 6.0% “breakfast stout” with a gentle touch of smoke, coffee and chocolate. No, we haven't heard of breakfast stout, either. The brewery see a good market for their beers in London and the north, and they plan to deliver via cask, keg and bottle, but we don't yet know how much of the production will be in cask. They have been in discussion with Bath Ales about using their bottling facilities.

ASCOT A new beer just launched is Rhino Rye. This is a new 5% American Rye Ale, brewed with rye malts to give a slightly spicy note and with a good, clean bitterness from the Magnum hops. It’s available now, along

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Warm Fires

A Traditional Country Pub

Large Car Park

5 Real Ales available Fuller’s London Pride and Courage Best with three ever-changing guests

Sunday Roasts 12 - 3pm by our chef Murdo Macsween Crib Night Monday • Quiz Night Thursdays

‘Jive Live’ last Sunday of every month MOTHERS DAY LUNCH 2 courses £15.50 3 courses £20.00 Buy direct on 01672 541407 ramsburybrewery.com

FRIDAY NIGHT FISH & CHIPS 2 meals plus a bottle of wine £20.00! 61 High Street, Twyford RG10 9AJ

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Tel: 01189 340376

BREWERY NEWS CONTINUED with the March Single Hop brew – Pacifica (4.6%). The hop is from New Zealand and the beer has an orangey, marmalade aroma.

food was well appreciated at the brewery. The even more important point is that the beer is rather tasty!

BINGHAMS A new brew is Total Eclipse, a black IPA at 5%, which should be available now. Ciderniks cider is now stocked in the brewery shop, with Combe Raider on draught and in 500ml bottles, together with pure apple juice and cider vinegar, which is raw and unpasteurised. Brewery tours are proving so popular they are now doing two tours per Saturday until the end of April. Binghams is also going transatlantic, with two casks of their beer off to the USA for NERAX - the New England Real Ale eXhibition. Ginger Doodle Stout and Coffee Stout will be competing in the contest to be held in late March.

LODDON Whirlwind (4.4%) was the special for February and more are planned for the coming year. We’re hoping for a mild for May. A special beer has been brewed to commemorate the brewery’s 10-year anniversary. Only about 500 bottles will be produced, each individually numbered. More details will be available in due course but we’re promised something “unlike anything we’ve brewed before”. It should go on sale from 2nd July with reservations possible in advance.

A lager has been brewed and is currently available in bottles, potentially going to keg if successful. Also being added to the range is a bottled and cask stout. Dr. Hexter's Wedding Ale is being increased in ABV to 4.3% and the hop rates upped, while Full Circle is planned to have a name change (we don't yet know to what). West Berkshire Brewery also have a new website, with an online shop coming very soon. Check it out and look out for an announcement of an exciting offer for all lovers of their beer to be announced in the next few weeks.

WINDSOR AND ETON Three new double capacity fermenters (36 brewers' barrels each) should have been installed by the time you read this. The creation of Mandarin Christmas ale using the unique Bavarian hop Mandarina was a great success, with their two brews being sold out within a week of each other. This ale will be repeated next Christmas. Looking forward, the excellent Kohinoor will be the next seasonal, expected from March, and a mild is planned for the month of May.

ZERO DEGREES Spring Bock has been brewed and now we have to wait patiently until it's ready to go on sale. There's no exact date for availability but expect some time around late March / April.

BEER SCORING WEST BERKSHIRE The first monthly beer this year was Aunty Ruth's Kitchen Porter at 3.8%. It was named as a tribute to a local cook in Yattendon who died last year and whose

If you record pub scores on the National Beer Scoring System, remember that zero should now only be used to show ‘no real ale available’. If real ale is on sale, the lowest score that can be awarded is a half mark.

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Small Beer A roundup of news and information... PUBS IN THE MEDIA Strictly Come Dancing finalist Dani Harmer, quoted in Metro in December: “I'm not really one for showbiz parties and dressing up. It's fun once in a while but I'd rather go to an old man's pub and hang out with my friends in Bracknell.” Various sources reported that archaeologists in Cyprus had found the world's earliest pub and brewery, dating from 3,500 years ago. Traces of malt and yeast were unearthed, along with jugs, pots and grinding tools used to make beer. Next door was a courtyard which was described as the “bar area”. Evidence suggests that the beer made there would have been about 5% ABV and sweetened with figs and grapes. Dr Lindy Crewe of Manchester University led the excavation and said: “The people of the Bronze Age, it seems, were well aware of the relaxing properties of alcohol”. “Beer was more nutritious than bread”, she added, and “alcoholic beverages were also used to oil the wheels of business and pleasure in the same way as today.”

CHAMPION WINTER BEER OF BRITAIN Elland Brewery’s 1872 Porter, at 6.5% ABV, was crowned the Supreme Champion Winter Beer of Britain 2013 by a panel of judges at the National Winter Ales Festival in Manchester. The winning beer is a creamy, full flavoured porter, with rich liquorice flavours and more than hint of chocolate.

Nik Antona, CAMRA Director, praised the outstanding quality of the champion. He said, “Porters should not be regarded as endangered beers, they are beers for today’s discerning drinkers. And on a cold day, 1872 Porter is a perfect winter warming beer.” The West Yorkshire brewery first scooped the country’s top winter beer award in 2010. Brewery owner Martin Ogley said he was shocked to win the award again. “I am gobsmacked, as I never expected this. There are so many great beers at the festival that it is remarkable for the judges to choose us again.” The only local brewer represented in the top awards was Hogs Back of Tongham in Surrey, who won gold in the Barley Wines category with A Over T (Aromas Over Tongham). 1872 Porter will now enter into the final of the Champion Beer of Britain competition at the Great British Beer Festival, Olympia, London, 13-17 August.

PUB COMPANY REFORM January saw the culmination of years of campaigning by CAMRA when the government introduced a pub company reform package. It will introduce a statutory code of practice for pubcos which, crucially, will include a fair dealing provision to ensure that tied licensees are no worse off than free of tie licensees. The proposals were passed unanimously by MPs from all parties. The government is also introducing an adjudicator with powers to investigate breaches of

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the code and ensure pubcos stick to the rules. A consultation on the proposals is expected in the spring. Business Secretary Vince Cable said, “There is some real hardship in the pubs sector, with many pubs going to the wall as publicans struggling to survive on tiny margins. Some of this is due to pubcos exploiting and squeezing their publicans by unfair practices and a focus on short-term profits. Four Select Committee reviews since 2004 have highlighted these problems. Last year we gave the pubcos one last chance to change their behavior but it is clear that the self-regulatory approach was not enough and in October I wrote to the industry to seek their views. A change in the law is now needed to shift behavior. I hope these measures mean publicans are given a fairer chance at running their pub, which in turn will help them grow their businesses instead of losing them.”


that spouses who consume about the same amount of alcohol as each other were less likely to divorce than pairs where one partner is a heavy drinker and the other is not. Norwegian Institute of Public Health director Ellinor F. Major suggested that the best approach might be for partners to strive for matching amounts of light or moderate drinking. Other research suggests that people drink more quickly from a curved glass than from a straight one. Bristol University researchers studied 160 social drinkers aged 18-40 and compared the speed that they consumed 12 fl oz (just over half a pint) of lager from different shaped glasses. The average time taken to drink from a straight-sided glass was 12 minutes, but this fell to just 7 minutes when a curved glass was used. The researchers suggest the reason may be that it's more difficult to accurately judge the halfway point of curved glasses. As a result, people are less able to gauge how much they have drunk and can't pace themselves well.


We’re in the process of accrediting our official LocAle outlets for 2013. This recognises pubs that serve real ale brewed within 30 miles of King’s Meadow, Reading. The list was still being finalised when we went to press but publicity material may be out in pubs by the time you read this, and a full list of accredited pubs will be published in the next issue of Mine’s a Pint.

SCIENCE Research from Norway suggests that “compatible drinking” lessens the chances of a couple getting divorced. In a study of almost 20,000 married couples, researchers found

If you're quick, you can still pre-register for CAMRA's national AGM in Norwich. If you miss the deadline of 22 March you can still register on the day, but doing it in advance saves time at the venue and lets you get into the Members' Bar faster! See the advert in this issue for registration details.

BEER FESTIVAL Reading Lions plan to organise a beer festival at Reading Town Football Club. Dates are Friday 26 July (evening) and Saturday 27 July (11am-10.30pm). They intend to raise money for the Duchess of Kent House hospice and other good causes. This is not an official CAMRA event but please give it your support.

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19th Reading Beer and Cider Festival 2013 Reading Beer and Cider Festival will be returning to King’s Meadow from Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th May. Once again an impressive selection of real ales, ciders, perries, foreign beer and British wine will be showcased for you to enjoy. In order for us to continue providing your Beer Festival, we have had to make some changes this year.

ADVANCE TICKETS Many of you have complained in previous years that the queue to get into the event was rather off-putting. Therefore one of the biggest changes to be implemented will be the introduction of advanced tickets. These are now available for purchase through our website www.readingbeerfestival.org.uk

PACKAGE DEALS Ticket packages are priced at £15.90 for Thursday, Friday lunchtime and Sunday sessions. For Friday evening and each Saturday

session the price is £18.90. Whilst this may seem expensive compared to previous years, you will get a “package deal” for your money. Prices include guaranteed entry (within the first three hours of opening time), a complimentary festival glass, festival programme and six half pint vouchers redeemable for real ale up to 6% abv, any cider or perry. Card carrying CAMRA, EBCU and RURAS members will also be entitled to an additional half pint voucher.

OPENING HOURS Thursday: 4.30pm to 11pm Friday: 11am to 3.30pm and 5pm to 11pm Saturday: 11am to 4.30pm and 6pm to 11pm Sunday: 12pm to 7pm Due to the increasing numbers who visit the event each year we have not been able to cater for everyone in good time resulting in the long queue to enter the site. Sessions will

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allow us to get more people in to enjoy the beer festival and should result in shorter queues. This will hopefully mean no standing around for hours waiting to get in!

We very much look forward to welcoming you to the 19th Reading Beer and Cider Festival. Mark Johnston

For those that are planning to travel to the beer festival from outside of the Reading area, we are planning to help you make the most of your time during the hour and a half break during sessions. Information will be provided about local pubs to visit, all of which will sell an excellent selection of ales and ciders. Large groups of 10 or more people will also be specially catered for, in addition to CAMRA branches proposing to hold a social at the festival. Please contact us at rbfestival@outlook.com to discuss arrangements. As ever we will also require volunteers to help staff the event. If you are a CAMRA member and are interested in helping at the beer festival, please take a look at our website www.readingbeerfestival.org.uk or e-mail staffing@readingbeerfestival.org.uk for further information.

Meet the Chairman As the new Chairman of Reading & MidBerks CAMRA I have been volunteered by the editor to write an article introducing myself. So here goes: My first experience with real ale was just before I started University, many moons ago, when one of my friends asked if I wanted “the usual”. I responded “no, can I have the unusual?” thinking myself very clever. I was somewhat surprised to see a pint of ale brought to me (I usually drank cider). After the initial bitter taste I found myself really enjoying it and stuck on the ale for the rest of the night and, except for the odd foray into wine, have pretty much done so ever since! CAMRA’s aims of promoting the variety of real ales available in Britain seemed to go hand-in-hand with my predilection for drinking them. So, despite being a poverty-stricken student, I joined a couple of years later. I’ve been involved with the Reading branch of CAMRA since 2005 when I worked a couple of sessions at the Reading Beer Festival. I enjoyed it so much that I signed myself up as deputy bar manager the following year and, after being Branch Contact and Secretary, have now reached the heady heights of Branch Chairman. The role of Chairman has been pretty straightforward so far; making sure that everyone is fulfilling their roles and reporting on local campaigning at Regional Meetings. There’s a bit of public speaking involved (or “meet and greet” as I prefer to call it). For example I recently welcomed CAMRA’s National Executive and Regional Directors to Reading, and I look forward to presenting

this year’s Pub of the Year winners with their certificates, but the role mostly requires drinking and promoting real ale, and managing discussions at branch meetings. Looking at 2013, I’m hoping that despite the changes that had to be made to both the Ale Trail and Beer Festival, they will be successful and enjoyable for all. I’m also looking forward to the socials that Antony has organised to the far flung boundaries of the branch and beyond… Now that you know who I am, perhaps we’ll see each other in the pub one evening. It so, do come over and say “hi”! Dan Cane-Honeysett Reading & Mid-Berks CAMRA Branch Chairman


Home Cooked Traditional Pub Food

Serving London Pride permanently with weekly changing guest ales

Breakfast and Lunch 10am - 3pm Dinner 6 - 9.30pm Sunday Roast £6.95

Bar Food Served

(£5.00 seniors, NUS and CAMRA members)

Hog Roast Specialists

Available 12.30 -3pm

Monday - Friday noon until 2pm

Friday Fish Supp er only £7.5


Ring for details

Regular Jazz Nights 21st March, 11th April 13th May & 21st May Marquee available for events

Beer Garden Pool Table Open Fire Family Friendly

Arborfield Road,Shinfield, Reading,Berkshire,RG2 9EA Tel: 0118 9884130

48 SURLEY ROW, EMMER GREEN Tel: 01189 481507 Recent major refurbishment Exciting new, great value menu. Entertainment every night. Fantastic range of drinks including a selection of Real Ales at brilliant prices. If you fancy a night out with friends, a lunch with the family or fancy your chances in our quiz, come along to The Gardeners Arms. Be part of the proper pub of Emmer Green!

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Real Ale in Social Clubs Almost 1 in 5 pints of real ale sold in the UK is sold in social clubs. For most pubgoers, clubs are easily overlooked even though there is lots of good quality beer to be found in them. This article provides information on some of the many clubs in the local area and the real ale available. The winner of last year’s branch Club of the Year award, and the only branch club in the current Good Beer Guide (GBG), is Wargrave Snooker Club within Woodclyffe Hostel on Church Street. It’s open 7-11pm Monday to Friday, and will permit entry to CAMRA members or any visitor with a copy of the GBG. There is one ever-changing ale on the handpump, sourced from anywhere in the UK, priced at £2.50 per pint. The club has a cosy bar area with bar billiards, crib, darts and chess. And of course snooker, in a separate room, with a £3 guest fee for non-members. A recent visit to Pangbourne Working Mens Club revealed West Berkshire Good Old Boy in good condition for £2.40 pp, alongside Brains IPA (£2.00) and Courage Best (£2.40). This is a sizeable club with a separate function room and nice garden area, just a few minutes walk from the station and the Thames. Club members and their guests are welcome.

On the Oxford Road in Reading, the Curzon Club sells a regularly changing ale from the Greene King guest list. At the last visit this was £2.65 per pint. This is a friendly members’ club and the bar manager Jimmy is enthusiastic about real ale and keen to accommodate visitors. In Tilehurst, the Royal British Legion club was recently reported serving Brains IPA in good condition at £2.10, with London Pride also available. Sonning and Hennerton Golf Clubs both have bars which are open to the public and serve real ale in pleasant settings, with Fullers and Rebellion beers available respectively. Other clubs serving real ale include: Earley Home Guard Social Club, Pitts Lane, which served Courage Best at the last visit Sonning Club (Greene King) Twyford Bowling Club (Brakspear) Caversham Working Mens Club (Greene King) Readingensians Rugby club (Courage Best and a changing guest) Burghfield Community Sports Association (London Pride and a changing guest). And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Our data suggests there are well over 40 clubs within the branch area. So why not look into your local area and try out some clubs? You could find a cosy club you never knew existed, serving a tasty pint at a reasonable price. We are always looking for the most up to date information on the pubs and clubs in our area, so please let us know what you find! Joe Cuthbertson

Bar at the Pangbourne Working Men’s Club

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Taking the fight for the Gr

Members of the Save The Pub Group at a recent rally. Mike Benner of CAMRA is on the right of the front row. In difficult financial times when pubs are closing every week, when beer duty continues to rise, and when developers are doing away with well run community pubs against the wishes of local communities, wouldn’t it be great to know that there is a group of over 100 Parliamentarians fighting for licensees, brewers and pub-goers? Well, there is! There are now 128 MPs and Lords in the Save the Pub Group and, with each new member, there is a new voice championing the cause of the nation’s ale- and publovers. The group believe that traditional British pubs, which provide an environment for sociable and controlled drinking, are hugely important to their communities as a focus for community, social, sporting and charitable activities. This is why the Group is pro-

foundly concerned that much loved and valued pubs across the country are being closed, for many different reasons, when often they don’t need to; and why they demand greater Government support and better legislation. The Save the Pub Group, with the support of CAMRA, gives MPs help and guidance in support of campaigns against pub closures in their constituency, but mostly campaign on a number of key issues affecting pubs and beer. Currently, the group are calling for: • changes to planning law to properly recognise the importance of pubs to communities, and to better protect pubs faced with closure and redevelopment;

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eat British pub t0 Parliament • a change in the law to outlaw the practice of restrictive covenants, whereby companies are selling pubs on the basis that they are prevented from being a pub, thus denying communities pubs simply to benefit the commercial interests of the company; • local communities to have the right to buy pubs that are planned for closure, with improvements to the Localism Act provisions, and to support the Pub is the Hub scheme. • reform of the current ‘beer tie’ model, as operated by some of the big pubcos, which makes it impossible for many licensees to make a living, and which leaves many pubs which could be successful if free of tie unviable. The Group held a high profile reform rally as well as a meeting with big pubco bosses to hold them to account;

“The group believe that traditional british pubs, which provide an environment for sociable and controlled drinking, are hugely important to their communities...”

community value of such pubs and for less complicated regulatory and licensing systems and frameworks; • the Government to look at supermarket beer pricing, to stop below cost selling in the off trade and create a more level playing field between the on and off trade. Mike Benner, Chief Executive of CAMRA, says that “the Group is invaluable in helping to build Parliamentary support for CAMRA's key campaigns to protect pubs. I hope that CAMRA members up and down the country will encourage their MP to join the Group, and support their important work in protecting the future of Britain’s valued community pubs.” The Group ask you all to write to your local MP (who can be found at www.parliament.uk) and ask them to join the Group, to support its work, and to fight for pubs, brewers and beer-lovers across the country. Beyond that, the Group asks you to keep supporting your local CAMRA branch, and keep visiting the many wonderful real ale pubs! This article was written by representatives of the All-Party Parliamentary Save The Pub Group. Of our local MPs, Richard Benyon, MP for Newbury is the only one known to be a member of the group.

• fairer levels of beer duty, scrapping the duty escalator and pushing for a lower duty on all draught ale and/or real ale, lobbying Europe to allow this; • the Government and local authorities to do more to support community pubs including via taxation and rates, based on the

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Barley & Malt In the second of an occasional series of articles, Russ Wood takes a look at the importance of barley and malt in the brewing process. beer can enhance flavour and add foaming characteristics to the final beer but, if large amounts such as rice are used, the beer can be made much more cheaply. The German beer purity law (Reinheitsgebot of 1516) decreed that only four ingredients - barley, hops, water and yeast could be used to make beer.

One of nature’s greatest bounties for mankind is grain. It grows in a variety of climates around the earth and provides us with food and sustenance. Arguably the greatest benefit of grain is that it can be used as the main ingredient of beer, and without beer our existence on this Earth would be much poorer. Of all the different grains, barley is the best one to use to create most of the beers we love in the UK.

THE FARMER Barley makes Malt which is cooked to produce what brewers call Wort. This is fermented to make beer. The first stage in the story of John Barleycorn is the harvesting of the grains from the fields. These are separated from the straw and the chaff to leave the pure seed. Each seed is busting full of nutrients that would normally support the growth of that seed into a mature plant. Adjuncts are non-barley grains used in brewing. Small amounts of adjuncts in a

Barley is categorised by the number of rows of seeds on each head of the plant, normally two or six; two row has generally less protein and enzyme but most brewers prefer the flavour of two row. Six row barley is generally grown in the USA; it allows the use of a larger proportion of adjuncts and saves the brewer money. There are a vast number of barleys available to choose from and each has a different taste. Maris Otter is the best known English barley; there are also Halcyon and Pipkin. European varieties include Triumph, Sissy, Krona, Steffi, Ferment, Alexis, Chariot and Hana. The seeds or acrospires contain starches, enzymes and trace elements. The quantity of the various enzymes is called diastasis which defines the ability of the mixture to turn starches into fermentable sugars. There is a premium price for organically produced barley – which is understandable for a premium beer product – but organics can tend to be grown with less nitrogen fertiliser. Nitrogen is important as a nutrient for the yeast that will turn the sugars into alcohol.

THE MALTSTER Yeast cells can only eat sugar, they cannot digest the starches in the seed. Grapes and apples are already full of sugar so the wine and cider makers have it easy.

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The first part of the process involves fooling the seeds into thinking that spring has come by steeping them in water. This kicks the germination off and the seed starts to grow for about 5 days. The seeds are regularly raked to ensure that all the seeds develop at the same rate and with the same moisture level. The Maltster halts the germination abruptly by kilning at about 55°C. Some of the enzymes ( -amylases) we need are present in the original seed but the germination generates more ( -amylase and proteases). At this stage the seeds (malt) are relatively stable and can be stored until required for delivery to the brewer. The Maltster determines the colour of the malt by the temperature and time of roast or kilning.

Malt isn’t only used for brewing beer; it is an essential ingredient of Horlicks and some other non-alcoholic drinks. Fermented malt liquid is also the basis for fine whiskies. Malts are divided into base malts for the bulk of the product and speciality malts to add special flavours.

THE BREWER The early-morning job of the brewer is to break the husk of the seed in the grist mill so that all of the goodness can be extracted.

The liquor (water) will have been warming up overnight to a temperature of around 35°C and has to be carefully mixed with the milled grist so as not to absorb oxygen and also prevent lumps. Simple mashing involves raising the temperature of the mix to 65°C -71°C and letting it stand for the enzymes to work on the starch and turn it into fermentable sugars. The more complex step-infusion halts the rise in temperature at various points which allow the work of particular enzymes to be controlled. Different malt types need different stopping points, and the brewer will determine the best for his recipe. Decoction involves removing a portion of the mash and boiling it to caramelise some of the sugars and liberate some of the starches from the grist. The skill of the brewer includes regulating the time spent at each temperature so that not all of the grist is turned into fermentable sugars. These give body and flavour to the resulting beer which CONTINUED OVERLEAF Temp



40 - 45°C



50 - 54°C



62 - 67°C



71 - 72°C


Starch °C



Colour / Lovibond


Adds body, flavour and colour

25 - 70

Pale Ale

Malty flavour, colour



Porters, Stouts and other dark beers




1.5 - 2

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Award Winning Real Cider made by hand with apples mainly from within West Berkshire

We provide a choice of 3 to 4 excellent cask ales and ciders, including at least one from a local brewery, and keep a fine selection of keg beers for your quaffing pleasure.

Available in 275ml and 500ml bottles, 3, 5, 10 and 20 litre bag in box, 5 gallon poly-barrel and 9 gallon non-pressurized plastic barrel to go on bar hand pump. Fittings to attach a bag in box to a hand pump line also available.

Tel: 0118 974 4649 or 07836 296996 sales@tuttsclumpcider.co.uk www.tuttsclumpcider.co.uk

We love to experiment with cocktails and long drinks too, so there should always be something available to keep you entertained. For any drivers, we also have a fantastic coffee machine capable of outperforming any tax avoiders you may care to think of.

Folk Night Our regular folk and acoustic slot plays on the 3rd Wednesday of each month from 8.30pm. Performers more than welcome, although there is a resident host and regulars who provide entertainment for players and non players alike.

0118 9345190 Buratta’s is a comfortable & relaxed family run restaurant & bar, proud of its high standards of freshly prepared meals, fine wines, real ales & friendly service. So, whether you fancy a sociable drink, a bar snack, full a la carte meal or to buy something unusual from our antiques & collectables shop, pop in!

Buratta’s at The Royal Oak Ruscombe Lane, Ruscombe Twyford, Berkshire RG10 9JN

Any questions? Please email:infomap@thecrowntheale.co.uk

Buratta’s at The Royal Oak

Church Street, Theale RG7 5BT




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BARLEY AND MALT CONTINUED would be thin and unpalatable if everything was fermented. The brewer has to be careful not to allow off flavours to be generated, for example too much Diacetyl will taste of buttermilk. The balance usually ends up being a decision between cost and quality – fortunately most of the brewers we know and love will choose quality.

The second photo shows the base of the vessel which is a grid that allows the wort to be drawn away leaving the grist to act as a filter. It is sectional to allow efficient cleaning. Spent grains are often used as part of animal feed. The spent grains act as a filter bed to stop most of the bits getting into the copper.

The final part of the mashing process (apart from the cleaning) is mashing out - where the wort is heated to stop the enzyme conversion and sent to the copper for boiling with the hops. Lautering involves a false bottom with a grid of holes in it that are smaller than the size of the remaining husks. The husks act as a filter to stop the bits getting into the wort. Lautering often involves passing the wort through the grist bed a few times until it is properly clear. After most of the wort has been poured off, the grains are sparged with warm liquour. This helps to extract the maximum sugar benefit from the grist. The sparging arm is a sprinkler that rotates over the mashing tun base to ensure even coverage of the spray and is gentle to prevent disturbance of the filter bed.

Special thanks to Warminster Maltings (http://www.warminster-malt.co.uk/) for the use of some of the photos in this article.

The photo (bottom) shows the inside top of the mash tun at West Berks brewery. The grist is mixed with the liquour and enters the vessel at the top right. The sparging arm is the diagonal bar; this photo is taken from the point of view of the wort which is drawn off from under the camera.

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Contact Us

Banbury Beer Festival: Lucky Number 13

Useful contact details for this magazine, CAMRA and other important things… Mine's a Pint Circulation: 2,500. Outlets: Over 70 across the region. Editor: Phil Gill editor@readingcamra.org.uk 0771 455 0293 81 Addison Road, Reading, RG1 8EG For advertising enquiries please contact Jane Michelson or Chris Shilling: 01778 420888 / 421550 jane@shillingmedia.co.uk

The thirteenth Banbury Beer Festival is again held at the TA Centre, Oxford Road, Banbury on the second weekend in May. This year it runs from Thursday 9th May until Saturday 11th May and will stock 90 real ales and about 20 ciders and perries, including three ciders from local producers. The featured area this year is Cumbria which has an abundance of great brewers to choose from and maybe even a cider!

Reading & Mid Berkshire CAMRA www.readingcamra.org.uk Branch contact: Katrina Fletcher contact@readingcamra.org.uk 0779 401 9437 Social Secretary: Antony Willis antony.willis@talk21.com 07960 389940

As with previous years, entertainment is laid on Thursday night and Saturday lunchtime. The Heist have been confirmed for Saturday afternoon, a five piece blues band. On Saturday evening, seeing us out in style, is the amazing Pete Watkins with his vast repertoire of songs – it will guarantee a foot stomping end to the festival.

Magazine layout and advertising design by: Daniel Speed - Orchard House Media Ltd daniel.speed@orchardhousemedia.co.uk

Local Trading Standards Reading Borough Council: www.reading.gov.uk 0118 937 3737 West Berkshire Council: www.westberks.gov.uk 01635 519930 Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead: www.rbwm.gov.uk 01628 683800 Wokingham Borough Council: www.wokingham.gov.uk 0118 974 6400 The next issue of Mine's a Pint will be published in June. Please feel free to submit copy or ideas by mid May. The opinions expressed in Mine's a Pint are not necessarily those of the editor or the Campaign for Real Ale. © Campaign for Real Ale 2013.

New to the festival this year is a local beer and cheese tasting event. Running on Friday lunchtime, there are four sessions to choose from at 12:30, 13:10, 13:50 and 14:30. Priced at a very competitive £2.50, the sessions run for 30 minutes and give the chance to try several beers and cheeses. Food will be available at all sessions with, we are guaranteed, a vegetarian menu too and soft drinks for the drivers. If you are a CAMRA member and have a few hours to spare then why not come along early and give our friendly team a hand behind the bar, working on the entrance or sorting glasses. Beer or food tokens are available to those who give up their time as well as our gratitude. More information is available at the website at www.banburybeerfest.org.uk

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Steve Lympany