CAMPAIGN for REAL ALE
Pub & Brewery News Focus on Theale Pubs Small Beer Meet the Pubs Officer Campaign Update
IN THIS ISSUE
Cheers to the Reading Beer Festival!
Image © Alison Cross
THE CAMRA MAGAZINE FOR READING AND MID BERKSHIRE ISSUE TWENTY SIX • SUMMER 2013 • FREE - PLEASE TAKE A COPY
Branch Diary Events are open to all unless specified. JULY Thu 4: First Thursday of the Month Social. 20.00 start at the Good Companions, 149 Loddon Bridge Road, RG5 4AG. Then 21.00 at the Bosco Lounge, 55 Crockhamwell Road, RG5 3JP. Tue 9: Branch meeting. 20.00 start at the Roebuck, 37 Auckland Road, Reading, RG6 1NY. CAMRA members only, please. AUGUST Thu 1: First Thursday of the Month Social. 20.00 start at the Swan, Basingstoke Road, Three Mile Cross, RG7 1AT. Tue 6: Branch meeting. Venue TBC.
Contact Us 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 email@example.com 0771 455 0293 81 Addison Road, Reading, RG1 8EG Magazine published by: Orchard House Media Ltd firstname.lastname@example.org For advertising enquiries please contact Jane Michelson or Chris Shilling: 01778 420888 / 421550 email@example.com Reading & Mid Berkshire CAMRA www.readingcamra.org.uk
Great British Beer Festival Tue 13 – Sat 17 August: At London Olympia. See advert in this issue for more details.
Branch contact: Katrina Fletcher firstname.lastname@example.org 0779 401 9437
See www.readingcamra.org.uk for updates.
Social Secretary: Antony Willis email@example.com 07960 389940
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: firstname.lastname@example.org / Phone 07960 389940.
Contents From the Editor Pub News Pub Review Brewery News Small Beer Great British Beer Festival Focus on Theale Meet the Pubs Officer Campaigns Update Book Review Society for the Preservation of Beers from the Wood Join CAMRA
4 5-9 10 11 12 - 13 15 16-18 21 22-23 25 27 30
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 September. Please feel free to submit copy or ideas by mid July. 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.
Mine’s a Pint 3
From the Editor close for good every week, and many of our local pubs are still under threat. A new national campaign called “Fair Deal for you Local” was launched in Reading in early May, to highlight the issues faced by the licensees of pubs owned by pubcos. This major campaign aims to persuade the Government to finally implement far-reaching reforms to the tied pubco model, and you can read more about it in this issue. Venue for the launch was the Jolly Anglers on Kennetside, formerly pubco-owned but now doing well under independent ownership and management.
Hello and welcome to the summer issue of Mine's a Pint. 2013 got off to a busy start and there has been no let-up since. The big news nationally was the scrapping of the beer duty escalator in the budget and a cut of 1p a pint in beer duty – the first cut since 1959. This is a major victory for CAMRA’s campaigning and everybody who signed a petition, lobbied their MP or just kept the issue in the public eye deserves a great big round of thanks. Well done to the lot of us!
Along with several other people from Reading & Mid Berkshire branch, I attended CAMRA’s national AGM in Norwich in April. We enjoyed a good discussion about the future direction of CAMRA’s policies, along with visiting several excellent pubs in what is a fantastic drinking city. My wife Sandie also celebrated her 40th birthday that weekend and was lucky(?) enough to be presented with a big bunch of flowers in front of the entire conference by Colin Valentine, the national chairman. I'm under strict instructions from the branch committee to include a photo, so here is Sandie with her flowers.
Locally, I hope you all enjoyed your visit to the 19th Reading Beer and Cider Festival. I was working behind the scenes for most of the festival but, for the first time in years, managed to get half a day off to spend on the customer side. I have to say that the atmosphere was lovely and I'm really glad that everyone seemed to be having a good time. On the local pub scene, we’ve welcomed a new arrival in the shape of the Bosco Lounge in Woodley. But nationally, 26 pubs
Keep supporting your local – cheers!
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Phil Gill - Editor
Pub and Brewery News KNOWL HILL
BURGHFIELD COMMON Say a final goodbye to the RISING SUN, which has now completed its transformation into a Tesco Express store. Let's aim to make this the last pub we lose to the supermarkets.
CAVERSHAM One of our reporters visited the RED COW in Star Road and said: “It was busy inside, almost all seating taken and with plenty of people stood up by the bar. There were customers in the garden too. The garden is huge (by Reading standards) but looking a bit tired. Doom Bar (£3.20) was in good condition. The pub is serving Nepalese food, and also advertising a takeaway menu.”
The beer range is always interesting at the BIRD IN HAND on Bath Road, but has become even better lately – probably a result of David the bar manager being one of the beer buyers for the Reading Beer Festival. Piggybacking of orders has seen several beers on sale in the pub that aren't usually available in this area. On a recent visit the choice was Market Porter and Pale from London's new Portobello brewery, plus Windsor & Eton Kohinoor, Smiled (smoked mild) from Binghams and Thwaites Original. A little further down Bath Road, what was the Old Devil has now reverted to its original name of the NEW INN. We can't tell you any more than that as it hadn't reopened at the time of writing. In fact it was being advertised as “to let”, so if you fancy a newly refurbished pub / restaurant with car parking and garden, contact the agents for viewing – their board is outside. We understand that the ROYAL OAK in Knowl Hill Common has reopened under new management. Beers available on opening night were Brains Rev James, Brakspear Ordinary and Sharps Doombar, in good condition.
EARLEY The MAIDEN OVER on Silverdale Road has launched a new pie and beer menu. 80 bottled beers from local breweries are on offer, with 13 pies to choose from. Manager Warwick Heskins is a big supporter of local breweries and the pub has gained CAMRA LocAle accreditation on the back of the bottled beer collection. There's cask ale too, with local breweries like Loddon again often featuring.
The closed SEVEN STARS recently went to auction as three lots – the pub itself, the barn at the back and the coach house (AKA skittle alley) on the roadside. None of them reached their reserve price so perhaps buying a pub, closing it and selling it on is becoming less of a lucrative market?
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PUB NEWS CONTINUED
READING The Reading Post has named the ALLIED ARMS as its Pub of the Year 2013. Runnerup was the Fox and Hounds in Caversham, with the Sportsman in Shinfield Road coming third. Moya Rolls, landlady of the Allied Arms, said, “We are delighted, it's excellent news. I'm just so chuffed.” The Rolls family no longer have any interest in the Queen Victoria in Henley – unfortunately things didn't work out there – and are now concentrating on the Allied.
the occasional pickled onion contest – is only the second building in Reading to receive this protection (the other being King's Meadow Swimming Baths). It means that if the owners Admiral Taverns try and sell off the pub, local residents have the opportunity to bid to buy it – and would have 6 months by law to raise the money to do so. The nomination was made by the local CAMRA branch but any local community group can bid to buy the pub if the need arises. There's now a pinball machine in the HOP LEAF on Southampton Street – quite possibly the only one in a pub in Reading. A new cooling system has helped to noticeably improve the beer quality and will be great whenever summer finally arrives.
BEL & THE DRAGON appear to have settled on two beers on handpump – Rebellion IPA and Andwell King John. Our reporter found them “A reasonable £3.40 a pint for a place like this.” The food in the restaurant is high class and high quality. Exciting news from Kings Road, where COPA is due to have a big refurbishment over the summer. Greene King plan to turn it back into a more traditional pub and we're told there will be six real ales on offer at this two-level, waterside pub. There's also a suggestion of a change of name and the owners are keen to hear your suggestions. Email us and we'll pass them on. The RETREAT on St John's Street has been nominated and registered as an Asset of Community Value. The popular backstreet local – famous for fine ale, local music and
Five handpumps have sprung up at the PURPLE TURTLE in Gun Street, which is now a real ale gain. Three beers were available on a recent visit – St. Austell Tribute, Brains SA Gold and Theakstons XB. The beers were on sale for £3 a pint and we understand that the range may well change over time. This place had a shortlived flirtation with real cider and we hope that the real ale will stick around for longer. Certainly the signs are good at the moment. Remember that the Purple Turtle opens late so this could be a good place for a nightcap! The WISHING WELL on Oxford Road is reported to have reopened.
THEALE There's a full run-down of all the pubs in Theale in the article in this issue. But firstly we need to correct an error in the last Mine's a Pint, where we reported that the FALCON appeared to have stopped selling food. That was incorrect, and a range of meals and snacks continues to be available in this two-bar pub. We're sorry for the error and are happy to put the record straight.
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PUB NEWS CONTINUED Nearby in Sheffield Bottom, the FOX AND HOUNDS hosted the “Fox Fest” shortly before publication of this issue. This was a music festival based at the pub and we hope it went well.
THREE MILE CROSS Jenny and Vic Harrison, landlords of the SWAN, are celebrating their 30th anniversary at the pub on 16 August. Five real ales are on sale at this village pub including Timothy Taylor Best – rare for these parts – and good food is available too.
Inside the Swan
The Tilehurst Festival will have a pop-up pub on 26 August – the NAGS LEGS. This is the mobile version of Reading's Nags Head, of course. Other attractions include a chilli cook-off.
Good beer quality has been reported at the RED LION. This is a food-led pub which, given its location, is pretty much a given, but with a decent beer range including West Berkshire's Good Old Boy and others from local and further afield breweries. Two beers from XT brewery of Thame in Oxfordshire CONTINUED OVERLEAF
A charming 14th Century Country Inn between Maidenhead and Reading. The Inn serves a host of regularly changing Real Ales.
Join us for our Quiz Nights Winning team get a free round of drinks. No charge just a bit of fun! 8pm start 16th June, 7th & 28th July, 18th August & 8th September
The beautifully refurbished Restaurant overlooks the garden and the Inglenook fire provides a warm and cosy setting. 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: email@example.com Visit: www.birdinhand.co.uk
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3 West Berkshire Ales 5 Guest Ales Real Cider, Perry and Mead
Local CAMRA Cider Pub of the Year 2013 Pub quiz first Monday of the month
2 Broad Street Reading, RG1 2BH
01189 508119 the-alehouse-reading.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org
A Community pub in the e heart of Reading e Follow us on twitter @AlehouseReading
Mineâ€™s a Pint 8
PUB NEWS CONTINUED were available on a recent visit. The 132/133 bus from Reading stops right outside the pub, so it's easy to get to without having to drive.
Three ales were on sale in the GOOD COMPANIONS on Loddon Bridge Road on a visit earlier this year – Courage Best, London Pride and Sharps Doom Bar. All were in decent condition and the pub was encouragingly busy. Both this and the Bosco Lounge feature on our July “first Thursday” social event – all welcome! The SHEPHERDS HOUSE on the A4 at Shepherd's Hill has reopened under new management and the outside has been repainted. We understand that the new leaseholders want to smarten up the surprisingly large inside. At the time of our reporter's visit, the real ales on offer were Sharps Doombar and Wells Bombardier.
WALTHAM ST LAWRENCE The STAR on Broadmoor Road has been through a number of tenants recently and we've struggled to keep up to speed with the changes and the reasons for them. This Wadworth house appears to now be open again so please pay it a visit and let us know what you think.
WARREN ROW There's a planning application to convert the SNOOTY FOX into a house. Objections should be sent to the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
WOODLEY In these times of recession and pub closures, it's great to report the opening of a brand new bar. The BOSCO LOUNGE has opened in Crockhamwell Road in what used to be the Big Discount Store and provides a new outlet for real ale in town. This is a sister bar to Caversham's Alto Lounge and part of a chain called Loungers that started in the Bristol area. The real ale “Toga Man” comes from the Bristol Beer Factory and the aim of the cafe bar is to increase the food and drink offer available in Woodley precinct and give the local community somewhere else to go in the evenings. If the Caversham example is anything to go by, it should be very successful and we wish them all the best.
Buy direct on 01672 541407 ramsburybrewery.com
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PUB REVIEW This is the part of the magazine where you can review a pub in greater depth. If you'd like to write about your local or a favourite pub elsewhere in the area, let us know. This time we look at the HORSE AND JOCKEY in Castle Street, Reading. Opinions are those of the author.
The landlord of the Horse and Jockey, Martin Neylan, takes seriously the challenge of serving real ale. His regular offering is Moondance but recently he has responded to customer requests for alternatives and offered Hullabaloo, Flying Scotsman, Battle of Cheriton, Hampshire Rose and Guardsman. All have been rated highly by his customers, served in perfect condition with a clear appearance plus an excellent “cling” on the glass to the bottom of each pint and costing only £3 per pint. Martin is inviting customers to nominate additional beers in the range 3.8% to 4.5% strength which will be kept at the £3 per pint price. The pub, which is regarded by many as a village pub, has a garden, pool room and smoking area, and has darts, pool and soccer teams. Sky Sports are available and there is a live disco every Saturday night. Martin’s wife Mary provides an excellent Sunday lunch at £5.95 with very generous portions. It is hoped that with a modest increase in demand the guest ales can be offered alongside the regular Moondance. Well worth a visit. Tony White
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.
Supporting local breweries 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.
Any questions? Please email:email@example.com Church Street, Theale RG7 5BT
BREWERY NEWS tion from our peers and industry experts. The past year has been a challenging one for everyone involved in brewing and selling beer, but this success shows that it’s still possible to do things that develop the business.”
ASCOT Look out for the new Single Hop brew for June. The hops used for this month’s 4.6% copper IPA are El Dorado. This is relatively new variety from the USA that imparts tropical fruit flavours.
SIREN CRAFT BINGHAMS Smiled (smoked mild) at 3.4% is brewed with beech smoked and dark malts to create a delicious dark smoked brew. It celebrates the 200th brew at Binghams, quite an achievement in two and a half years. The shop at the brewery in Ruscombe serves ales to the public in sizes from 3.5 pints to 36 pints, and there are free tasters available.
LODDON At the SIBA (Society of Independent Brewers) BeerX event in Sheffield, Loddon was named as winner of both the Best Individual Pumpclip Award for its Hocus Pocus pumpclip, and Best Range of Bottle Labels for their new range of bottled beers. Luke Hearn, Sales Manager at Loddon said: “This is a great result for us. We worked incredibly hard on our re-brand earlier this year and it’s fantastic to win public recogni-
Beers from this new brewery are being spotted in a few local pubs and all four featured at the Reading Beer Festival. Soundwave, a hugely hoppy IPA at 5.5%, is a particular favourite of many but all the beers are well worth a try if you see them.
WEST BERKSHIRE Tamesis Extra Stout at 4.9% is a recent addition to the range. Tamesis is the Celtic name for the River Thames. This is a fullbodied stout that pours with a creamy head. Fuggles and Goldings hops give flavour and bitterness, and the brew includes oatmeal, roast barley and chocolate malt.
WINDSOR & ETON Mini casks and mini kegs are now available online and in the brewery shop. Beers available include Guardsman, Knight of the Garter, Conqueror, Windsor Knot and the excellent Kohinoor.
Luke Hearn collects Loddon’s awards from Shadow Small Business Minister Toby Perkins at SIBA’s BeerX.
The eagerly anticipated Spring Bock didn't disappoint but, sadly, it's all used up now. Franconia Smoked was the latest offering at the time of writing – it lives up to its name, with a delightfully smoky edge to the taste. We understand that Zerodegrees may be planning to open a new branch in Oxford, but this is as yet unconfirmed.
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Small Beer A roundup of news and information... winners announced. The scoring system ensures that it's not just a popularity contest and gives lesser-known pubs a fair chance. While the winner and runner-up are wellknown and have a good haul of awards already, all pubs on the shortlist are well worth a visit.
PUB OF THE YEAR
This year’s Reading and Mid Berkshire CAMRA Pub of the Year is … the Nags Head. Runner up is the Alehouse. Congratulations to both. With such familiar names winning out, it’s worth explaining how the judging works. Firstly a shortlist was voted on at a CAMRA branch meeting, based on beer scores over the last 12 months, and the four pubs on the list were the Alehouse and Nags Head (Reading), the Royal Oak (Tilehurst) and the Bird in Hand (Knowl Hill). Over a period of several weeks, branch members were able to visit all the pubs and complete a scoring sheet, rating each pub in four categories: • Beer quality • Atmosphere and service • Clientele mix • Experience and value Finally, scores from everyone who had visited all four pubs were combined and the
As promised in the last issue, here is the full list of pubs in our branch area that have been LocAle accredited for 2013. There are 22 of them. Accreditation is given to pubs that stock a real ale brewed within 30 miles of Kings Meadow in Reading – chosen because it's pretty much the centre of the branch and also our beer festival site. If you know a pub that meets the criterion but isn't on the list, please let us know. Caversham: Baron Cadogan, Fox & Hounds Earley: Maiden Over Hurst: Castle Knowl Hill: Bird in Hand Pangbourne: Elephant Reading: Alehouse, Allied Arms, Bel & the Dragon, Hop Leaf, Monks Retreat, Nags Head, Retreat, Zerodegrees Ruscombe: Royal Oak Shurlock Row: Shurlock Inn Theale: Crown Three Mile Cross: Swan Upper Basildon: Red Lion Waltham St. Lawrence: Bell Wargrave: Greyhound Warren Row: Snooty Fox
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BEER FESTIVALS This year’s Great British Beer Festival will take place between 13 - 17 August at London Olympia. With over 800 real ales, ciders, perries and foreign beers to choose from, there will be plenty of choice to suit everybody’s taste buds. It's not all about the beer though, there's plenty of food, live music and pub games to enjoy. To buy tickets, call 0844 412 4640 or visit www.gbbf.org.uk/tickets . If you're feeling lucky then visit www.gbbf.org.uk/competitions where there are plenty of great prizes to win. Locally, a reminder that Reading Lions are organising a beer festival at Reading Town Football Club on Friday 26 July (evening) and Saturday 27 July (11am-10.30pm). This isn't a CAMRA event but is intended to raise money for the Duchess of Kent House hospice and other good causes.
ASSETS OF COMMUNITY VALUE With the news that the Retreat has become the first pub in Reading to be listed as an
Asset of Community Value, which others should also be nominated? The government is encouraging more communities to list their local and CAMRA has a target of listing 300 pubs by the end of the year. Remember that not every pub should be nominated as that devalues the whole thing. Those chosen should be the ones that perform a genuine community function and have the support of local residents. We have some ideas but we need your help to choose the most worthy pubs to list, and put together a good case for them. So let us know which pubs in this area you think should be listed and why. Meanwhile, there's a new book out called “The Retreat – the Jane and Bernie Years”, which pretty much lives up to its title. Produced by Anne-Marie Carroll, Mike Taylor and Shane Gunning, it's a lovely photographic tribute to Jane and Bernie's time in charge of the pub. You can see a preview and buy a copy here: www.blurb.co.uk/books/4203498-the-retreat
Falcon at Theale 31 High Street, Theale, Reading RG7 5AH Tel: 01189 302523
Award-winning, family Cider makers since 2006
Three Real Ales ~ Large Car Park ~ Food served Mon - Fri 12-2pm ~ Beer Garden with covered decking area
~ Families Welcome ~ Live Music & Events
Tel: 0118 974 4649 or 07836 296996
Check Facebook for details
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On Theale Theale … just eight minutes from Reading by train, but a whole different world. This historic village (or is it a town?) sits on the A4 and owes much of its past and present prosperity to its good communication links. Before the coming of the railway, the village was an important staging post on the old Bath Road, and the concentration of so many public houses in such a small area is rarely equalled in this part of the world. Although Theale has lost some of its pubs in recent years, in common with pretty much everywhere else, it’s still a great destination for an afternoon's drinking. We visited on a Saturday in late May and this is what we found.
From the station, or indeed the canal towpath (it's an easy and picturesque cycle from Reading) the majority of Theale is to the right (north), but we turned left and followed the road out to the delightfully named Sheffield Bottom. About 10 minutes' walk from the station, turn left at the roundabout and you find the Fox and Hounds, a large Wadworth house. Being out of town, this is a destination pub and popular for food, but the beer range is extensive and you'll feel comfortable just going in for a drink. Available on our visit were four beers from Wadworth – 6X, Bishops Tipple, Henry's IPA and the seasonal, which at this time was Red White & Brew. A guest beer from a brewery-approved list
complements the Wadworth range – it was Adnams Ghost Ship when we visited – and Westons Old Rosie cider on handpump rounds out the range. There's a large garden and car park, and food is served Sunday lunchtime, all day Friday and Saturday, and at lunch and dinner time other days. Refreshed, we made our way back into Theale. Back past the station, go under the road bridge and the pub you can see in front of you is the Crown.
Almost opposite over the road is the next stop, the Red Lion. This is one of very few pubs in the area to still have a skittle alley, and it's available for hire if you want to get a group together. The ales on offer on our visit were “4” from XT brewery and TEA from Hogs Back. A third handpump had a clip for Old Speckled Hen turned around. Rebellion beers are often available here and the beer range does vary. Food is served at Sunday lunchtime, all day Saturday and at lunch and dinner time other days. A car park to the side and a patio / garden area where you can play petanque complete the offer, along with a juke box inside.
The Crown Four beers were available here: West Berkshire Good Old Boy, Wells Bombardier, St Austell Tribute and Binghams Brickworks. Two local beers then, justifying its LocAle accreditation – the only pub in Theale to be accredited. Again there's a garden and car park, but this is more of a drinkers' pub with music and sports TV. That said, there are Indian food menus on the bar and, if you're quick, you might catch their “cheese and cider event” that was advertised for 19 June.
Turn left out of the pub and head west along the A4. After a couple of minutes you'll see the remains of what was the Lamb on your right. This is the most recent pub casualty in Theale and is under conversion to housing. A good reminder of why we need to keep up the fight to protect our pubs.
The Lamb no more... Luckily, very shortly afterwards on the left is the Volunteer, a Fullers pub. Five ales were available on our visit: Fullers London Pride, Chiswick and ESB, plus two badged as Gales but brewed by Fullers – HSB and Spring Sprinter. Food here is served Sunday lunchtime, all day Saturday and Monday-Friday lunch and
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dinner time. In common with most of the pubs on our visit, there's a car park and garden, but this time with a nice ornate verandah overlooking the garden. On leaving the Volunteer, turn right and retrace your steps into the centre of Theale. Go back past the Red Lion and Crown, because there are still two more pubs to visit. On your left, the first one is the Falcon. This is a traditional two-bar pub and probably one of the oldest in the village. Sharps Doom Bar, Courage Best and Mad Goose Purity were the real ales on offer when we visited, and a range of food and snacks is available during opening hours. Even though this is effectively a terraced building, it gives away its coaching inn origins as, through a driveway at the side, you can access a car park and outdoor drinking area. Falcon
The final stop on our pub crawl is just a short walk further on the left. This pub crawl starts and finishes with a Wadworth house, and the Bull is our final calling point. Here when we visited the available beers were 6X and Henry's IPA, with a further two handpumps not in use. There are quite discrete drinking and dining areas, with food being served at lunch and dinner time Monday-Saturday, and all day until 8pm on Sunday. A car park and outdoor drinking area are available, and the pub runs a loyalty scheme and a regular quiz night.
There's one more place to mention in the area, and that's the Englefield Social Club. Open in the evenings and on Sundays (hence why we couldn't visit on our trip to Theale), this is a friendly CUI social club near the village that serves the local community and surrounding areas. Facilities include a bar and lounge, function room, meeting room, darts and snooker, along with regular bingo, whist and other events. We hope to visit later this year and report back. We hope you enjoy visiting Theale â€“ let us know what you think of the pubs. Phil Gill
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Traditional Cask Ales Bar Meals from £4.95 Lunchtime specials from £6.25 (noon - 2.30pm) Sunday Lunch from £7.50
PUB QUIZ EVERY TUESDAY NIGHT Rolling Jackpot £1 Entry, max 4 members per team
Davids Street, Hurst, Reading, West Berkshire RG10 0TH
Tel: 0118 9341881
Jolly Farmer Hurst
The Maiden Over www.themaidenover.com
Four draught cask ales featuring at least two local ales Beer Garden • Pool Table • Board Games • Family Friendly Open until midnight seven nights a week r 70 Ove ent ble to r la diffeales avai way a ttled or take l bo UNT loca rink in d ISCO UTS) D (15% TAKE O ON
Coffee lounge open from 8.30am New menu now available featuring pies
The Maiden Over, Silverdale Road, Earley, Reading RG6 7NG Tel: 01189667575
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A UNIQUE, TRADITIONAL BAR
Serving London Pride permanently with weekly changing guest ales Bar Food Served Monday - Friday noon until 2pm
Friday Fish Supp er only £7.5
Hog Roast Specialists
TheRetreat Two Permanent Ales (Loddon Ferryman’s Gold & Sharp’s Cornish Coasting)
5 Ever-changing Guests Selection of Draught and Bottled Cider
Ring for details
Regular Jazz Nights June 13th, July 4th, 25th and Aug 15th Marquee available for events
Live Jazz and other Music
Check our web site for further gig listings: www.retreatpub.co.uk
Mon - Thurs: 4.30 to 11.00pm Fri - Sat: 12-11.30pm Sun: 12 - 11pm
Arborfield Road,Shinfield, Reading,Berkshire,RG2 9EA Tel: 0118 9884130
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8 St Johns St, Reading, RG1 4EH Telephone: 01189571593 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet the Team - Pubs Officer With over 170 (at the latest count) pubs and bars in the Reading & Mid Berkshire CAMRA branch, someone is needed to keep on top of it all. That person is me, the Pubs Officer. The Pubs Officer role is more than simply drinking in as many of our branch pubs as possible (although that helps!). My role is to report to the branch on what’s happening on the local pub scene and co-ordinate the collation of beer scores from all CAMRA members which forms the basis of our Good Beer Guide selection (we currently have 18 entries each year). There’s also plenty of other stuff like compiling the LocAle list each year and being an integral part of putting together our annual Ale Trail. I calculate that I’ve been in all of our real ale pubs at least three times in the last five years so I like to think I have a broad knowledge of the branch! Despite being a CAMRA member for nigh-on 10 years I haven’t always been a committed ale drinker; drinking isn’t something my family did to any great extent so when I was first able to get served in my local pub I decided, not unreasonably, to try ‘one of everything’ over the course of my first few visits. One fateful day I decided to imbibe the funny stuff on the lonely antiquated handpump – Courage Best it was – and was served a ghastly pongy liquid that immediately drove me away. Having no better idea I assumed that real ale was something that odd people must drink and that I would certainly not be one of them. With hindsight I now realise that the pint I was served all those years ago was off! So I was fortunate that at University a few
years later I met a chap who was a firm ale drinker and was well-versed in how it all worked. I was indoctrinated at the town’s beer festival and decided there and then that: a) it would be ale for me, how amazing were all the varieties and flavours compared to Caffreys? and that, b) I should look to promote proper good beer and proper good pubs in order to minimize the chances of my earlier ale trauma happening to someone else. So of course I joined CAMRA and got involved. I’ve been Reading’s Pubs Officer for the last few years and have undertaken some useful improvements, such as creating a database listing all our pubs and their basic details and most recently transferring all this to the soon-to-be-launched CAMRA pubs website, www.whatpub.com. I also co-ordinated last August’s beer census which saw 97 of our branch pubs visited and all the ales logged. The results were astounding, proving this branch has certainly seen a steady rise in good ale and increased availability. I’m utterly confident there’s room for more; certainly a craft beer-style bar (think the Euston Tap, for example) would do very well in RG1. Any takers? At present, a lot of focus is on preserving the pubs we currently have. Just this past month we have been successful in using new legislation to have the Retreat listed as a Community Asset (see elsewhere in this issue for full details) and I anticipate we will be looking to add more. If you wish to contact me with any news or views, please e-mail email@example.com Cheers Quinno (Quinten Taylor) Reading & Mid-Berks CAMRA Pubs Officer
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Campaigns Update ASSETS OF COMMUNITY VALUE
In the case of the Retreat, it was CAMRA Branch Public Affairs Officer Gareth Epps who drafted the application as he knew about the full range of activities at the pub. The uncertainty about the pub’s future when Admiral made former publicans Jane and Bernie an offer they could refuse was the trigger for the application. CAMRA is keen to identify other community pubs in the area where there is the potential need to protect the future of the pub. We’d welcome any support in this process. We can also put those interested in possible community bids in touch with people who have already gone through the process.
FAIR DEAL FOR YOUR LOCAL: THE LAUNCH
Backstreet pub The Retreat became in March the first pub in Reading to be formally recognised as a Community Asset by the Council. This means that: • It has been recognised as furthering the well-being or cultural, recreational or sporting interests of the community, now or in the recent past, as its principal use. • If the landowner (in this case Admiral Taverns) puts it up for sale, the organisation responsible for listing it can trigger a 6-month moratorium in order to allow a community bid to take place. It doesn’t mean the community bid necessarily succeeds. • The designation lasts for 5 years.
The Fair Deal for your Local coalition reaches far beyond CAMRA, and includes business organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Forum for Private Business, and the licensees’ branch of the UNITE trade union. Also involved are licensee support/pubco reform organisations such as Fair Pint and Licensees Supporting Licensees.
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To coincide with Reading Beer and Cider Festival, the campaign was launched on 2 May at the Jolly Anglers – closed by Enterprise Inns, reopened free of tie after a community campaign and still open. Reading CAMRA, Meeko Oakes from the Nags Head and ex-Retreat licensee Jane Marsden were interviewed by BBC South, and CAMRA also featured on BBC Radio Berkshire with one of the co-owners of the Shurlock Inn, Shurlock Row (saved from Enterprise’s attempts to flog it for housing by the local community). The Government is now proposing a package of measures to deliver a fair deal for local pubs, with: • A powerful new Code and a Watchdog to stop abuses by big pub companies • A new choice for licensees to opt out of restrictive tied agreements and just pay a fair market rent to their pubco • Fair rents and beer prices for tied publicans, allowing them to thrive Pub companies with fewer than 500 pubs will be exempt from these proposals but must abide by a separate voluntary code. If we succeed with this campaign we can expect better pubs, fairer prices and fewer pub closures. After the closure of the government’s consultation exercise on 14 June, the campaign will move to a new phase that will involve keeping the pressure on Government to deliver reform. It is by no means certain, especially in the current climate, that this campaign is won; and with several highly influential MPs in the branch area, it will be important for CAMRA members to put to them the case for reform. Please sign up to support the campaign at www.fairdealforyourlocal.com and Like the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ fairdealforyourlocal. Gareth Epps
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Book Review Halve Maan’s brewery and museum, beer shops, hotels, a boat and even a bookshop that sells beer – Waterstone’s take note. As well as the listings, the guide is helpfully broken down into the different categories of outlets. This means that when your stomach rumbles you will know where you can eat as well as drink. On my recent visit, I passed Bron in Katelijnestraat and had no idea it was a vegetarian restaurant that sells the sublime beers from Dupont, including the impeccable Saison. I shall not make the mistake again.
AROUND BRUGES IN 80 BEERS By Chris Pollard & Siobhan McGinn (Cogan & Mater, £9.99) www.booksaboutbeer.com Can there really be 80 outlets for good beer in this tiny town? “Podge” Pollard and Siobhan McGinn have found them in the third edition of their seminal guide. They have pounded the pavements, careered over the cobblestones and left no glass un-emptied in their quest for outlets that serve the finest that Belgian brewers can offer. It’s a guide that wears its heart on its sleeve. “If it is lager and chips you are after, put us down and move on, as we will be of no use to you,” the duo state firmly in the introduction. In short, it’s a stellar book but not for Stella drinkers.
Helpfully, the guide lists the main types of dishes you will find in Bruges restaurants – I discover that sea bass is called zeewolf, which is rather alarming, while monkfish is sea devil. I’ll stick to pannekoeken or filled pancakes. For the first-time visitor, Podge and Siobhan also run down the main Belgian beer styles, so you can sort your Dubbel from your Tripel and will never mistake an abbey beer for a true Trappist. As with all Cogan & Mater guides (proprietor Tim Webb of Good Beer Guide Belgium fame), the book is also shot through with a dry and acerbic wit – or witte, if you prefer. It’s excellent value for money and handsomely designed by Dale Tomlinson, who enjoys a glass or two himself. Don’t catch Eurostar without it.
As someone who finds it difficult to leave Daisy’s bar, I must make a greater effort on my next trip to follow in Podge’s and Siobhan’s footsteps and take in some of the outlets they have discovered. I use the term “outlets” deliberately, for this is more than just a pub guide. It covers restaurants, De
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Roger Protz Molson Coors Best Beer Writer in National Publications British Guild of Beer Writers Awards 2012 – www.protzonbeer.co.uk
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Society for the Preservation of Beers from the Wood SPBW GOLDEN JUBILEE The SPBW was founded as long ago as 1963 and, although maintaining a rather lower profile than CAMRA - with whom it shares broadly similar aims - remains a modestly thriving organisation. It was founded in a mood of mixed bonhomie and militancy, but the SPBW provided the first voice to speak up for the consumer and question the actions of the big brewers. On the evening of Friday 6 December 1963, seven dedicated beer drinkers working at the Bank of England gathered at their local, the Rising Sun in Epsom. One of the seven began with an inspired oration in which he “roundly deplored the monolithic policies of brewers which, accepted with a spineless lack of gumption by many publicans, were forcing the sale of beer from 'sealed dustbins' and thereby depriving discerning drinkers of their traditional tipple which was, and had been for centuries, beer drawn from the wood.” The inaugural meeting of the SPBW was thus convened. The Society's name was chosen since, at that time, all “real” beers were served from wooden casks, as opposed to the metal casks used for keg beers. As time went by, wooden casks became scarcer and brewers took to using metal casks for traditional ales. Therefore its standing orders were revised in the late 1960s to permit the drinking of all but “dustbin” beers, although not without opposition from some diehards! The name SPBW has been retained for the sake of tradition, even if it is rather misleading since nowadays we are more concerned with the contents than the container. There
are still one or two British brewers and a few individual pubs who supply beers from the wooden cask. SPBW’s founders encouraged members to form branches as a better means of organising activities and campaigning. Here in Reading the local branch is the Common and Aldbrickham Branch. Common because it originated in Clapham Common and moved to Reading with its founder, and Aldbrickham referring to Thomas Hardy’s name for the town. Local activities are organised by John Dearing, a former chairman of Reading CAMRA. In the early 1970s the founder members stood aside and a National Executive Committee (NEC) was established to administer the SPBW nationally. The NEC holds monthly meetings in London and an Annual General Meeting every March. It issues a quarterly magazine "Pint in Hand" to its members and organises a National Weekend, held in areas of interest which have traditional breweries to visit and fine pubs and beers to sample; recent venues have included Chester and York. Nowadays the SPBW has several hundred members throughout Great Britain and more than a dozen active branches. It has largely evolved into a social body with most activities arranged by its branches. However, it does its bit for the cause of good beer by writing to breweries on matters of concern and by promoting excellence in beers and pubs. The SPBW is currently building up to its 50th Anniversary in December with a series of celebratory events.
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AVAILABLE NOW CAMRA MEMBER PRICE ÂŁ10.99* (RRP ÂŁ12.99)
ISBN: 978-1-85249-309-7 *Please note postage and packing costs apply to all orders through the CAMRA shop. Members need to be logged in to receive their discount
than 500 recommended bottle-conditioned beers with detailed tasting notes x A full guide to all the bottle-conditioned ales currently brewed in the UK x Listings of recommended bottle-conditioned ale stockists throughout the country x Complete index of every beer so you can find your favourite in seconds x Those with exotic tastes will find the International section packed with the best foreign beers to be found on UK shelves
Available direct from CAMRA Order from www.camra.org.uk/shop or call 01727 867201
The magazine for Reading and Mid Berkshire CAMRA