CAMPAIGN for REAL ALE
IN THIS ISSUE
Pub & Brewery News Small Beer The Revitalisation Project Join CAMRA Behind the Bar… Horns Reading Beer Festival Roundup
ENJOY A REAL ALE THIS SUMMER
READ ABOUT THE READING BEER AND CIDER FESTIVAL INSIDE, AND FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THE CAMPAIGN THE CAMRA MAGAZINE FOR READING AND MID BERKSHIRE ISSUE THIRTY EIGHT • SUMMER 2016 • FREE - PLEASE TAKE A COPY
Branch Diary All events start at 20.00 and are open to everybody unless specified.
Sat 25: CAMRA Revitalisation Project Meeting. RISC (Global Cafe), 35-39 London Street, Reading, RG1 4PS. 14.00 – 16.00. Consultation event: your opportunity to shape the future of the campaign. Meeting in main conference room upstairs. CAMRA members only, please – membership cards must be shown to gain admission. July
Contact Us Useful contact details for this magazine, CAMRA and other important things… Mine's a Pint Circulation: 3,000. Outlets: Over 70 across the region. Editor: Phil Gill email@example.com 0771 455 0293 81 Addison Road, Reading, RG1 8EG Magazine published on behalf of Reading
Sat 2: Pub Walk based around Great Bedwyn. Take 09.48 and Mid Berkshire CAMRA by: train from Reading to Bedwyn and meet at Great Bedwyn Orchard House Media Ltd firstname.lastname@example.org Wharf at 10.45. Contact Paul Rayner on email@example.com. More details in the Small Beer section For advertising enquiries please contact of this magazine. Thu 7: First Thursday of the Month Social. Royal Oak, 69 Westwood Glen, Tilehurst, RG31 5NW. Tue 12: Branch meeting. Royal Oak, Ruscombe Lane, Ruscombe, Twyford, RG10 9JN. Meeting in conservatory at the rear of the pub. CAMRA members only, please. Sun 17: Pub Walk, Goring to Aldworth. Take 10.45 train from Reading to Goring and meet in the village car park by the toilets at 11.05. Contact Chris Hinton on firstname.lastname@example.org / 0118 987 3203. More details in the Small Beer section of this magazine.
Jane Michelson: 01778 382718 email@example.com
Reading & Mid Berkshire CAMRA www.readingcamra.org.uk Social Secretary: Rich Croton firstname.lastname@example.org Contact for all other branch matters: Katrina Fletcher email@example.com 0779 401 9437
Thu 4: First Thursday of the Month Social. Start at Swan, Shooters Hill, Pangbourne, RG8 7DU at 19.15. Also visiting other pubs in Pangbourne and Whitchurch.
Local Trading Standards
Fri 12: Social to Great British Beer Festival, London Olympia.
West Berkshire Council: www.westberks.gov.uk 01635 519930
Tue 16: Branch Meeting. Griffin, 10-12 Church Road, Caversham, RG4 7AD. Meeting in upstairs dining room. CAMRA members only, please. September
Thu 1: First Thursday of the Month Social. Details TBC. Thu 8: Gala Awards Night. Eldon Arms, 19 Eldon Terrace, Reading, RG1 4DX. Presentation of branch and beer festival awards. See www.readingcamra.org.uk for details of these events as they come available. 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 Rich Croton: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reading Borough Council: www.reading.gov.uk 0118 937 3737
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 7 August. 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 2016.
From the Editor Born in 1971 (the same year as me!) CAMRA is now entering middle age and the time is right to question what it is actually for. Has the battle for real ale been won? Should we refocus on saving pubs? Perhaps we should stand up for all good quality alcoholic drinks and the people that drink them. Should we stay true to our roots, as the threat to real ale is ever-present? Or maybe there’s no longer a need for CAMRA at all. I'm sure that everyone has a view about the future of the campaign and the direction it should take. That's why CAMRA has launched the Revitalisation Project, a consultation exercise to find out what members want the campaign to do in future. Starting with an online and paper-based questionnaire, and then in a series of face to face events, all members can have their say. Locally we have a consultation event in Reading on 25 June, just after this magazine is published, and you can come along on the day – details are in the diary section. Just remember to bring your membership card as you won't get in without it!
them put together and test proposals about how CAMRA should be best positioned in future. Any proposals will be submitted to the National Executive before being put before the membership for a decision at CAMRA's Annual General Meeting in April 2017. In this issue you can read the opinions of three local CAMRA members. Your opinion is important too. So please take some time to think about how you want the campaign to develop, and take part in the consultation.
Cheers! Phil Gill - Editor email@example.com
Contents Branch Diary
From the Editor
Pub & Brewery News
Initial results from the questionnaire, released in May, show a split of opinion about the future direction of the campaign. More responses are yet to be added, including those from the consultation events. The results will be used by the project steering committee to refine forthcoming consultation meetings and additional surveys to help
Behind the Bar
Reading Beer Festival Roundup
The Revitalisation Project
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Pub & Brewery News Pub News
The CROWN ON THE BRIDGE, Bridge Street, is now part of the group that owns the Moderation and the Queens Head in Reading. Initially there won't be much change but we understand that longer term plans may see it become a craft beer bar. In the meantime the bar billiards table has relocated to the new-look Fox and Hounds.
The GRIFFIN on Church Road, now owned by Greene King, continues to offer two or three guest ales with Bingham’s and Loddon making recent appearances. Brain’s The Reverend James has also been seen on tap.
PANGBOURNE News from this village is that Daruchini's Indian restaurant is due to reopen as the Swan pub (which is what it was until recently). This image has been posted on a local Facebook group.
CAVERSHAM The FOX AND HOUNDS on Gosbrook Road has reopened after a major refurbishment. The toilets have been much improved and works have been carried out to the bar backfitting to allow more space for bottled beer fridges. The pub has been redecorated both inside and out and there's a lovely new area of decking in the garden. We wish Kevin and Kerri all the best for the new look at their award-winning pub. Eight draught beers from around the country are usually available as well as real cider and six new key keg lines.
A Greene King pub being offered for tenancy is the STAR on Reading Road. This is the locals’ pub in the village.
PLAYHATCH The FLOWING SPRING on Henley Road was due to hold its latest real ale festival a few days before this issue was published.
READING The new Hungry Horse pub on Basingstoke Road, the TROOPER POTTS, has opened and is already a popular addition to the “beer desert” of Whitley. Unusually for a new pub there are two bars – one food-oriented and suitable for families, the other for over 18s only and with sports TVs. The beer range comes from Greene King with one guest – Hook Norton and Timothy Taylor’s beers have already featured. A new addition opposite the station southern entrance is THE BISCUIT TIN bar. This is a temporary use of the land while wider redevelopment plans for the area are worked up. There's a large open space in CONTINUED OVERLEAF
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PUB & BREWERY NEWS CONTINUED front of the building which will be used as a performance area, plus a decked patio outside the bar and rooftop seating above. Beers come from West Berkshire Brewery (Good Old Boy on cask) and their offshoot Renegade (two keg beers).
The RED LION on Southampton Street closed in May. We were told at first it was for refurbishment, although at the time of writing the pub was boarded up with notices saying “Closed till further notice” so the future is uncertain.
Another new bar is SMASH on Gun Street (the ground floor of Sakura). Here what’s on offer is pizza, live music and … ping pong tables. Over 50 bottled craft beers and ciders were promised – we don’t know how interesting or mainstream the choices are yet.
Also due to close, and again we’re told it’s for refurbishment, is the COLLEGE ARMS on Wokingham Road. The tenancy is available according to the agent’s website. This is a large pub with an emphasis on sports (games and TV). Two beers are often available.
THAMES RIVER CRUISES have installed Arkells beer on their boats. Following a meeting between Tim (the owner of the boat company) and Nick Arkell of the Swindon family brewery at the recent Reading Beer Festival, a deal was struck which saw a handpump appear on the boats serving an Arkells brew (which one is not yet known). The beer is racked off at the brewery and as such has no sediment in it which means it is served “bright” and can withstand the sometimes choppy waters of the Thames.
The LYNDHURST on Watlington Street closed suddenly at the end of May, following a rent dispute with Enterprise Inns. We have very little further information so, if you know more, please get in touch!
Alongside four everchanging cask ales, there's always Wild Weather beer on key keg at the CASTLE TAP now that a new font has been installed. Look out for future events in the planning stage, including a summer ball and an autumn beer festival.
Star Pubs, the owners of the WYNFORD ARMS on Kings Road, have announced plans to reopen and refurbish the pub. The intention is to “change the pub's offer to broaden its appeal, particularly through the introduction of food”. A new entrance with double doors and a glass lobby, plus a new bar servery and kitchen, are part of the plans, which also include a change of name to The Tap House. This is all subject to confirmation once a new lessee is found, but it will be good to see this ex-Courage / Truman’s pub re-open with some cask beers available. If you're interested, visit www.starpubs.co.uk/pubs/wynford-armsreading for more details. THE TASTING HOUSE in Chain Street (between Broad Street and Gun Street) is basically a wine bar but has recently added a small range of bottled “craft beers”.
By the time you read
Picture taken from the this the refurbishment Castle Tap’s Twitter
works should have been completed at the THREE TUNS on the Wokingham Road. We understand that the two bars will be knocked through into one and the pub was advertising “a range of cask and craft beers”. More news in the next issue.
JD Wetherspoon are to dispose of a further 33 pubs and this time some local sites are included on the list. Perhaps the most surprising is the MONKS RETREAT on Friar Street (Town Hall Square). This is the most central of Reading’s Wetherspoons and invariably busy. Other planned disposals in
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PUB & BREWERY NEWS CONTINUED the area are the Greyhound in Maidenhead (already closed) and the Diamond Tap in Newbury. A broad range of interest in the sites is expected from other pub, bar and restaurant groups. A planning application for conversion of the closed RED COW on Crown Street into a restaurant was made and then withdrawn. The application was for “Restaurant on the ground floor, alterations to the front, double storey extension to the rear, flats on the first and second floor.” We’re waiting to see whether a fresh application follows.
family (Koa) and we wish now to give them the full attention they deserve. We’d like to thank you all for your support and kindness.” We'd like to thank the Wesnes family for all their work over the last two years – it wasn't for nothing that we awarded them our “Best Newcomer” award last year, and many people are very sad to see the pub closed. While the Fish was closed at the time of writing, hopes remain high that a new licensee can be found to reopen and run the pub. If you’d like that person to be you, you can get more information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
SHINFIELD The BELL AND BOTTLE hosted a beer festival over the late May bank holiday weekend. Featured were four ciders, ten ales, Morris dancing, live music and a barbecue.
The Red Cow after its closure last year In May came the sad news that the FISHERMAN’S COTTAGE was to close. The Wesnes family, who took on the pub two years ago when Fullers sold it, announced that they would no longer be running it after the middle of the month. In a statement on their Facebook page they said “As you’ll know, we had no previous experience of running a pub – fully anticipating that it would be demanding and have learned a lot over the past few years and have made a lot of firm new friends through our association with the pub. Having seen this project through for two years, we feel it is time for us to move on. I’m sure many of you will know that we have a range of family businesses as well as a new member of the
A visit to the SHURLOCK INN earlier this year found the beers available to be West Berkshire Mr Swift and the seasonal from Rebellion. We understand there are two other beers that regularly change.
SWALLOWFIELD The CROWN should have new licensees around the time this magazine is published. We understand that this will be “free of tie” for the beers and ciders. The pub has two bars, a garden and patio area with small car park and a bus stop (route 82) outside.
THEALE The RED LION on Church Street is the subject of yet another planning application for residential use. At the time of writing it was also for sale freehold.
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PUB & BREWERY NEWS CONTINUED The lease of the CROWN on Church Street is available. The pub normally has three beers on draught and one is Good Old Boy with Taylor’s Landlord also often featuring. A single bar but with three drinking areas and a pleasant garden at the rear. Bus 1 “Jetblack” stops outside and the railway station is only a short walk away.
gents toilet! There is a smaller dining room and a large car park and several outbuildings at the rear.
TIDMARSH The GREYHOUND is being advertised as for lease. This is a thatched Fuller’s pub not far from Pangbourne and on the way to Theale and the M4.
TILEHURST The BUTCHERS ARMS on Lower Armour Road has stopped selling Good Old Boy from West Berkshire brewery. Its replacement is likely to be Bombardier. The PRINCE OF WALES on School Road has lost its licence following disturbances at the pub. Reading Borough Council’s licensing authority made the decision in May and Thames Valley Police had also asked for the licence to be revoked. The pub and its owners have the right of appeal.
THREE MILE CROSS The SWAN is for sale as owners Vic and Jenny are retiring. They have run the pub for the last 33 years and built up its reputation as a lovely, welcoming village inn with great food and beer. We wish them all the best for the future, and hope that whoever takes over the pub can build on all their hard work. With the pub on the market, CAMRA and their loyal customers would hate to see anything happen to this fine old establishment which sells, amongst other beers, a great pint of Timothy Taylors Boltmaker Best Bitter. The pub dates from the 17th century and is a Grade II listed building. It has a main bar with inglenook fireplace and some interesting plaques in the
Pictured are Vic and Jenny when we celebrated their 30 years of service back in 2013. It has always been popular with both rugby and football fans who attend the nearby Madejski Stadium and has also been wellknown as the home of the Irish Wolfhound who is the London Irish rugby club mascot. The pub is also used by workers from the large business parks situated just across the motorway. We will be watching developments very closely and hope that the Swan will continue as a good village pub when Vic and Jenny decide to call it a day.
WOODLEY The THATCHERS TAVERN on Fairwater Drive is the subject of a planned refurbishment. The owners, Star Pubs, plan a complete redecoration and new look, and say “The end result of the proposed works will be a transformed pub, with contemporary finishes, where people will travel for special occasions with their loved ones”. As with the Wynford Arms, the works are all subject to confirmation once a new lessee is in place. For more details visit www.starpubs.co.uk/pubs/thatchers-tavernreading CONTINUED OVERLEAF
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BREWERY NEWS CONTINUED Due to close for refurbishment sometime in the near future is the CHEQUERS in Woodley Precinct. Our reporter said that “my half of Bombardier Glorious English was very drinkable.” Brewery News
ANDWELL The brewery has produced two versions of a birthday brew for the Queen (which we can enjoy as well!) - it's called Sovereign and there is a bottled version which comes in at a hefty 9.0% ABV. The cask version will be available at a more moderate 4.3% and is described as rich and tawny. Andwell are also making additions and improvements to their brewery site and this should include a function room.
ASCOT ALES The Single Hop IPA series continues and will next be featuring Chinook. This is an American variety that has pine, resiny aromas.
ask that, if you're interested, you don't contact the brewery directly but instead call the agents RTA on 0161 432 8181. The current monthly special is Callisto, an excellent American Pale Ale brewed with Cascade, Columbus and Summit hops for a big citrus hop finish. Callisto is one of the moons of Jupiter. Following that will be Berkshire Bee, assuming that Chris’s bees have behaved themselves and produced enough honey. The Craft Hop series continues with Admiral, a British hop which provides a citrus character with hints of orange.
BOND BREWS The latest addition from this new brewery is Mellow Velo which is a strong dark mild at 4.6% and has a hint of honey and spice in the finish.
ELUSIVE BREWING Beers from this new brewery in Finchampstead have appeared in Reading and amongst the first was Starship Fleet (4.2%), an English pale ale. The picture is taken from the Nag’s Head’s Twitter.
BINGHAMS Chris Bingham (Director and Head Brewer) has ongoing health issues which mean he’s looking to sell Binghams Brewery. Delia and Michelle, the existing other directors are also looking to sell. They are looking for a new owner who's able to take over the award winning brewery and hopefully take it to the next level. It has not been an easy decision for them to take and they are looking to continue brewing, operating the shop and their popular Saturday afternoon brewery tours as normal and then hopefully hand the baton over to the new owner to continue the good work. All the staff at Binghams are aware of the sale and will continue to be employed by the new owner once the brewery is sold. They
LODDON The brewery has launched a beer club, which you can read about in their advert in this issue. We're also in the process of arranging an open afternoon for CAMRA members - more details on readingcamra.org.uk when available, but we can say now that it'll be a Saturday in the summer.
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BREWERY NEWS CONTINUED Four Score & Ten is a new 4.2% golden beer brewed to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday. The beer – a limited edition which contains a hint of honey to give it a lovely, refreshing balance – is available to trade customers and directly from the brewery shop for people holding celebrations or parties. Summer Snowflake (4.1%, golden, fruity and spicy) should also have been available.
REBELLION Rebellion have won the Society of Independent Brewers Award for Community Support at this year’s SIBA National Beer Awards in Sheffield. The awards look to congratulate excellence in the brewing industry across a variety of categories, from pump
clip, can and bottle design, to efforts taken by brewers to make their business more ecofriendly. The Community Support Award is awarded to the brewery showing outstanding commitment to integration into and support for local community life. Tim Coombes of Rebellion received the award and said: “We owe a huge thanks to all our dedicated staff, who are very charity and community focused and the thousands of Rebellion customers who regularly donate whilst onsite at Rebellion. Without their help and good will, none of this would have been achievable”.
A UNIQUE, TRADITIONAL BAR
Serving London Pride permanently with weekly changing guest ales
Bar Food Served Monday - Friday noon until 2pm
Hog Roast Specialists Ring for details
Regular Jazz Nights 30th June, 21st July 11th August & 18th September
Monthly specials coming up are: June: Armada – 4.2% - copper and refreshing CONTINUED OVERLEAF
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Marquee available for events Arborfield Road,Shinfield, Reading,Berkshire,RG2 9EA Tel: 0118 9884130
BREWERY NEWS CONTINUED July: Evolution – 4.2% – tawny and fruity August: Agincourt – 4.2% - amber and hoppy
SHERFIELD VILLAGE Currently available is IPA2016 – a mix of New Zealand and English hops and weighing in at 5%. TBA (3.9%) is the brewery’s best selling session bitter with a well-rounded flavour and a good bitter finish. Then there’s Butcher's Brew at 4.9% which is an unfined and vegan-friendly brown ale which is also bottled for Stefan’s Butchers in Wokingham.
SIREN CRAFT Look out for Calypso (4%) which is a Berliner Weisse style of beer which changes recipe every brew by using different hops.
WEST BERKSHIRE West Berkshire has signed off on a new £3m brewery, following an extension of its £1.5m crowdfunding drive. The plan is to increase
capacity ten-fold at the new brewery, which will be situated in a former dairy just a few hundred metres from the current site in Yattendon. Heads of terms have been agreed with the landlords, Yattendon Estates and, subject to planning permission, building works will begin soon. A new range of keg and 330ml bottled craft beers has been launched under the brand name of Renegade. The brewhouse team of Will, Griff and Steve have been experimenting with more flavours and styles to create a range of bold, contemporary craft brews, distinctly different from (and not to be confused with) the West Berkshire Brewery cask ale range. Head brewer Will Twomey said: “Renegade takes all of our expertise and knowledge and channels our creativeness into developing a range of full-flavoured, good-drinking brews. Inspired by modern
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BREWERY NEWS CONTINUED
American beer culture and other world beer styles, we have produced a solid core range of beers now available in keg, bottle and soon-to-be, can. We are prototyping new beers every week and will be releasing specials and one-offs throughout the coming months. It's a real outlet for the creative minds that make up the brewing team." The initial range included a Craft Lager (4.5% ABV) brewed with British hops and lagered for 6 weeks, a West Coast Pale Ale, (5.1%) inspired by the highly flavoured craft brews of the US west coast and an India Session Ale loaded with new world hops for flavour but at a sessionable 4.2%. There are also planned to be limited edition special releases, starting with Nouvelle Saison – a light twist on a classic Saison with added root ginger, lemon zest and locally sourced honey. The brewery’s first “urban” pub is due to open in London. Shillibeer’s in Islington is intended to be a showcase for the company’s traditional cask ales, alongside the new Renegade range. Brewery Chairman David Bruce said: “Our pub will be full of atmosphere and showcase a stunning range of beers and ciders from all over the world, including those we make ourselves. It will really put our brewery on the map.”
West Berkshire Brewery was the Official Beer of the 2016 BMW PGA Golf Championship at Wentworth. For the second year running, flagship bitter Good Old Boy (4%) was widely available throughout the event, and was joined this year by Renegade Craft Lager.
WILD WEATHER The brewery’s music-themed beers continue with Robbers being a recent addition. This a 4.2% black IPA using Nelson and Simcoe hops. Then there's Keyboard Warrior – an English style brown ale (unfiltered and unpasteurised) with Simcoe hops to give a fruity finish.
WINDSOR AND ETON / UPRISING Windsor and Eton have teamed up with Windsor Racecourse to produce 1866 Thoroughbred Bitter – a 4% chestnut bitter to celebrate 150 years of racing at the course. The Queen’s birthday brew is called 90 Glorious Years. This pale ale is brewed with barley grown on the Queen’s estate and is available at 4% on cask and 4.5% in 330ml bottles. Also CONTINUED OVERLEAF
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BREWERY NEWS CONTINUED the brewery's first attempt at the saison style should now be available. Pepper Tree is a 4% brew, a golden yellow colour with the classic Belgian banana and yeasty aroma. The flavour is sharp and slightly sour with distinct lemon notes and a peppery finish. News from the Uprising Brewery offshoot is that, at the Indie Beer Can Festival in London in May, Uprising Treason won Best in Show for the brewery along with Best Ale and best “New to Can” beer. The event is run by Can Makers, in partnership with the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA). Treason was described by the judges as having a flavour that provides a punchbowl of fruits set against a sweet caramel and crusty bread structure, with a taste that finishes with a juicy lingering bitterness. They praised the beer’s balance of flavours and felt it would appeal to both ale and lager drinkers. They said its “gorgeous aromatics translated perfectly onto the palate.” Kieran Johnson, production manager at Uprising, said: “Going to the ceremony,
I knew there were other beers competing that I loved and enjoyed so I wouldn’t have thought in a month of Sundays that we would win. It’s been a real, but brilliant shock. I'm personally very influenced by the US market. It has spent the last ten years showing the world market that the can is the way forward and I’m so glad that the UK is now following suit. I truly believe that the can is the best format to preserve the integrity of the beer and make any beer look awesome.”
XT The brewery has been expanding brewing capacity with the introduction of several new vessels: some built of modern stainless steel and some in very traditional oak. They have purchased several large oak casks for the development of specialist barrel-aged beers, which have been crafted by Alistair Simms – the only master cooper left in England. Joining the oak casks are several shiny new stainless steel tanks installed to expand capacity and enable more speciality Animal beers to be brewed. XT-IPA, a 4.2% American hopped beer, will be available in 330ml cans from June.
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Small Beer A roundup of news and information. ASSETS OF COMMUNITY VALUE
As this issue of Mine’s a Pint was being prepared, judging was under way for the county stage of Pub of the Year, with the Fox going up against the winning pubs from other Berkshire CAMRA branches: • Fox and Hounds, Caversham • King Charles Tavern, Newbury • Queen’s Head, Wokingham • White Horse, Hedgerley
The Grosvenor, one of our Assets of Community Value Ten pubs in our branch area are currently registered as Assets of Community Value, and benefit from enhanced planning protection as a result. It's amazing the different attitudes that our local councils have towards ACVs. All those registered in our branch have been with Reading Borough Council. In contrast, Wokingham Borough Council has refused every nomination of a pub within its area. Wokingham's hostility towards pubs is frustrating and puzzling, and does their communities a disservice.
Many thanks to the other local CAMRA branches who agreed to extend the judging period for the contest – otherwise the Fox would have been closed for refurbishment at the crucial time.
The full list of branch ACVs is: Caversham: Grosvenor, Red Cow Reading: Castle Tap, Eldon Arms, Foresters Arms, Jolly Anglers, Nags Head, Retreat, Three Tuns Tilehurst: Butchers Arms
PUB OF THE YEAR Announced this spring, the winner of Reading & Mid Berkshire CAMRA's Pub of the Year contest for 2016 is the Fox and Hounds in Caversham. The Nags Head in Reading is the runner-up, and also won the Cider Pub of the Year title (the Alehouse being the runner-up there). Well done to all the winners and finalists.
Wilton Windmill. Photo © Paul Rayner – read more about the Bedwyn walk on his Fueled By Beer blog There are a couple of pub walks in July if you fancy combining a visit to the countryside, getting some exercise and enjoying a few real ales. Saturday 2 July: Great Bedwyn A 5.5 mile circular walk featuring three pubs, a windmill and a Victorian pumping station. Take the 09.48 train from Reading to Bedwyn, and meet at Great Bedwyn Wharf at 10.45. Optional stopoff in
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Newbury on the way back. For more details: email@example.com Sunday 17 July: Goring and Aldworth 10 miles in total, starting in Goring and taking the Ridgeway (note: uphill) to Aldworth to visit the Bell. Returning by a different route and taking in Goring and Streatley pubs before making your way home. Take the 10.45 train from Reading to Goring, and meet in the village car park by the toilets (not as dodgy as it sounds!) at 11.05. More details from firstname.lastname@example.org / 0118 987 3203
PUBS CODE DELAYED The introduction of the Government’s Pubs Code has been delayed. This is due to drafting errors that resulted in the original version being withdrawn. The Code was due to come into effect on 26 May but is now expected to come into effect around a month later. Exact timescales remain unclear as the Pubs Code needs to be approved by both Houses of Parliament. The Pubs Code is now being redrafted to ensure that tenants choosing to become free of tie are not disadvantaged as a result. The Code will include the Market Rent Only (free of tie) option that CAMRA has long campaigned for. At regular intervals tenants tied to the large pub companies will be able to opt out of their tied contracts and opt for a rent only contract that will allow them to purchase beer from any supplier they choose at competitive prices. Once the new Pubs Code is in place and the Pubs Adjudicator has published the necessary advice and guidance CAMRA will make available a detailed briefing on the Pubs Code and where to access further information.
GREAT BRITISH BEER FESTIVAL Get your tickets now for the Great British Beer Festival. CAMRA's flagship festival offers visitors over 900 real ales, ciders, perries and international beers as well as fan-
LOCALE UPDATE As promised in the last issue, the outlets in our branch area that qualify for LocAle status for 2015 are: Caversham: Baron Cadogan, Fox and Hounds, Working Men's Club Hurst: Castle Pangbourne: Elephant Reading: Alehouse, Allied Arms, Bel and the Dragon, Castle Tap, Great Expectations, Grumpy Goat, Monks Retreat, Nags Head, Zerodegrees Ruscombe: Royal Oak Shinfield: Bell and Bottle Shurlock Row: Shurlock Inn Sonning: Great House Streatley: Swan Hotel Swallowfield: Crown Theale: Crown Three Mile Cross: Swan Waltham St Lawrence: Bell Upper Basildon: Red Lion We’d like to publish a list of qualifying LocAle breweries here as well but there are 57 of them and that would take up rather a lot of space! The full list is available on the LocAle page of our website: www.readingcamra.org.uk/viewnode.php?id=10998 tastic entertainment, food, seating areas, and traditional pub games to enjoy all under one roof in the heart of London. Open from 9-13 August at London Olympia, it's an easy journey from Reading and a great day out. Families can enjoy a special area upstairs in the Grand Hall with activities to keep the children busy throughout the festival so they don’t feel left out. There’s Lego, board games, pushchairs and bicycles all available for use during the day. Refreshments will also
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A charming country pub. The friendly & relaxed atmosphere welcomes locals, families, walkers, dogs & cyclists alike • Cosy seating area with wood burner • Ideal for walks & to hack to, very near the Knowl Hill bridle path • Home-made food served Mon - Fri 12-3pm & 6 - 9pm, Sat - Sun 12-9pm • Sunday Roast from 12 noon to 3pm • Beer garden overlooking fields
01628 822 010 Knowl Hill Common, Berkshire, RG10 9YE
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.
3rd and 24th July, 14th August, 4th and 25th September
The Inn has 22 en-suite bedrooms - standard, superior and suites. One room is adapted for the disabled. Free wifi available throughout.
Free entry. Winning team get a round of drinks.
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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SMALL BEER - CONTINUED be available to purchase in the family area to help make the day run smoothly. And that’s not the best bit, as all children under the age of 18 have free entry into the festival. Visit gbbf.org.uk to book your tickets.
BACK IN THE SIXTIES With the Revitalisation Project currently looking at CAMRA’s future, we’ve uncovered a fascinating snippet of what went on in the sixties – long before CAMRA was even thought of. The Winter 1961-62 issue of Whitbread's house magazine reported on an exciting new product from Ruddles called Lagalime – presumably bottled lager and lime – that must have been the craft beer of its day. Thankfully, and despite the positive angle in the story, it never took off. Also featured is a bowls match at Sir Kenneth Ruddle’s home, with some brewery employees who must have felt very out of place.
MAIDENHEAD BEER AND CIDER FESTIVAL
See www.maidenheadbeerfest.org.uk for more details.
28-30 July sees our friends at Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead CAMRA organise the latest Maidenhead Beer Festival. Last year’s move to a new indoor venue at Desborough College proved successful – particularly the day that it poured with rain! – and this year’s event is at the same place, easily accessible from the station. Over 100 real ales and 20 ciders are planned, along with a great selection of food and live music.
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Es t Se ablis cli rvin hed en g ts ov 200 na er 6 tio 60 nw 0 ide
Free initial c lean
Behind the Bar The view from behind the bar, in the landlords' own words. This time Adam and Sandra tell us about the Horns at Crazies Hill, a tiny village near Wargrave.
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Several of our customers are featured in the 2016 CAMRA Good Beer Guide
July 18th 2015: the day Sandra and I reopened the Horns at Crazies Hill after 5 months of closure. And what a relaunch it was, with the bar being full for the whole night and a great welcome from the Crazies Hill and Cockpole Green residents. Up to this date we’d had a hectic 4 weeks cleaning, painting and general maintenance of the pub with the sole purpose of supplying good quality beer and food with a warm welcome. Having contended with 6 foot weeds, an insufficient gas supply and the remnants left behind by the last landlords, the doors are finally open and more importantly the beer is flowing. Nine months on and we’re going strong. Being a Brakspear’s pub we serve the Brakspear’s Bitter all year round but also serve Marston’s, Wychwood, Thwaites, Banks, Ringwood and a few others to help vary our selection of real ales. As for the pub
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itself we’ve made quite a few changes, provided a relaxed seating area at the front of the pub, converted the old patio to newly lit pergola with bistro furniture and with the addition of our very own vegetable plots (we are in the countryside after all). We’ve seen our first Christmas out – always an exciting time of year and, being our first, slightly daunting. Overall the feedback was positive and the pub is definitely in a better standing for it. We're already looking towards next Christmas with the inclusion of some DJ party nights. Moving forward we see a lot of changes happening. The new patio area is having a purpose built BBQ to enjoy in those summer nights, the rebuilding of the boules alley and a refurb of the children’s play area are all at hand. I guess one of the most important things we did is incorporate a loyalty system. Being able to gather your customer’s data and having the ability to market directly to them (i.e. birthdays, anniversary, etc.) will bring them back through your doors, no brainer = repeat business!
With our first full summer just round the corner we are all excited. The garden is looking great and we are planning some fun events! The summer BBQ parties will have the addition of large garden games, jugs of Pimms and all being well some sunshine. Hope you all have a great summer…… Adam & Sandra Purdy The Horns at Crazies Hill, Reading, RG10 8LY 0118 940 6041 www.hornsatcrazieshill.co.uk
Local Landlords Do you have a story to tell and want to promote your pub? Get in touch – the details are on page 3 – and you could feature in a coming issue of Mine’s a Pint.
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Reading Beer Festival Roundup
This year the Reading Beer and Cider Festival moved to a new site at Christchurch Meadows, on the north bank of the Thames. It was a long year of planning trying to find a venue that would work and several other sites were considered, plans worked up and then rejected for a host of reasons. As a new venue, none of us really knew how Christchurch Meadows would work but, in the end, the festival seemed to be a great success and we received a lot of positive feedback about the new site and layout. One thing the new site did allow was for us to have one incredibly long tent, rather than a dog-leg arrangement or two smaller tents as had been the case before. So, although the festival was no larger than before, it looked like it and created a great spectacle for anybody approaching across the Thames on the new Christchurch Bridge. Taking into account site setup, the festival itself and then takedown, there were volunteers working on site for more than four
weeks. Everybody who works at the festival is a volunteer and many take their annual holiday to help at this and other beer festivals. The attendance at the event was 13,850, which was 6.4% higher than last year. Importantly the festival created very
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READING BEER FESTIVAL ROUNDUP favourable publicity for real ale and cider as well as CAMRA as an organisation, with live broadcasts on BBC Radio Berkshire on five separate days and more than ten broadcasts in total, as well as live broadcasts on BBC local television and favourable articles in both the printed and electronic media. All of this generated a great buzz around the event. Local Beer of the Festival is always a tightly fought contest and this year the Indigenous Brewery from Chaddleworth near Newbury was the winner. Their beer AMMO Belle was an American Pale Ale at 5.6% and very popular with both the judges and the visiting public. We’re now working through our lessons from the festival – what went well and what needs to be done better. Planning has already started for the 2017 event and I hope to see you all again at Christchurch Meadows next year! Phil Gill
3 West Berkshire Ales 6 Guest Ales German & Belgian Beers Real Cider, Perry and Mead Local CAMRA Pub of the Year 2014 Runner Up Local CAMRA Cider Pub of the Year 2013 & 2014
2 Broad Street Reading, RG1 2BH
A Community pub in the e heart of Reading e
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Follow us on twitter @AlehouseReading
The Revitalisation Project Shaping the future – a review of CAMRA’s purpose, focus and strategy Since its formation in 1971, CAMRA has grown to be one of the largest and most successful consumer organisations in Europe. But is it still relevant? What should it be campaigning for – or against? What is its future? Every CAMRA member will have an opinion about the right direction for the future of the campaign, and right now the Revitalisation Project is in full swing, designed to find out those opinions. If you want to find out more about the project then visit its website at revitalisation.camra.org.uk. We asked three local CAMRA members for their views...
LAURENCE HANSFORD bers of this Branch, serving on the Committee for nearly 30 years, I have been asked what I think about it.
“Craft beers” from Greene King as Laurence mentions. Well, the title puts it into a nut-shell, doesn’t it? As it says in the booklet issued by CAMRA’s bigwigs at Headquarters (who have decided that this review is necessary), the key issues are who should CAMRA represent and what is CAMRA for. Having joined CAMRA in 1973 and been one of the founding Committee mem-
Let me answer the second question first: what is the purpose of CAMRA? That’s easy. I joined CAMRA to keep alive and promote the once universal British tradition of drinking CaskConditioned Beers. For most people, this can only be done in a Pub which implies that the British tradition of the Public House must also be kept alive. The term Real Ale broadens this slightly as it includes bottled conditioned beers but this is very much of an “also ran”. The fact is that widely available Real Ale cannot exist without the Pub in which to sell it and, very importantly, look after it properly. Therefore by implication it must be CAMRA’s secondary purpose to protect what remains of the seriously
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eroded national Pub stock. Now, when it comes to answering the first question, as far as I am concerned, it practically answers itself. CAMRA exists to look after the interests of Real Ale drinkers. However, whilst Cider and Perry drinkers have no other body to look after their interests, I am happy to take them under CAMRA’s wing. And that is it, full stop. When it comes to the interests of drinkers of anything else, I see any move in this direction as being the edge of the slippery slope. I did not join CAMRA to support artificially carbonated or nitrogen blanketed filtered beers. Of course, by doing our best to stop pub closures we may well be looking after the interests of other pub users, e.g. drinkers of fancy cocktails, but this is purely a side effect and incidental. (You never know, we might even convert them
THE REVITALISATION PROJECT to Real Ale!) As for so called “craft beer”, the term has been imported from America where it is used to describe anything produced by one of the new breed of fashionable micro-breweries (i.e. not spat out by AnheuserBusch). This side of the pond it is meaningless and seems to be used to give cachet to trendy and expensive beers which in bulk form are designed to be long lasting and labour saving. In other words, posh keg and a con to make life easy.
We should have nothing to do with it. As far as I am concerned if someone wants to start up a Craft Beer Appreciation Society, good luck. Anyway, all brewers worth their salt are craftsmen and in my book any beer they brew can be called “craft” and I note that Greene King are using the term on bottles containing filtered, carbonated and pasteurised lager emanating from their teenyweeny breweries in Bury St Edmonds and Belhaven.
So as the old saying goes “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. “The Campaign for Real Ale" says it all, is succinct and unequivocal. It is easy to explain and easy for the media (or anybody else) to understand. I believe we should stay true to our roots. After all, it would appear that we must be doing something right as the membership now stands at an all-time high of over 175,000.
RICH CROTON Perhaps it’s appropriate, when considering the Revitalisation Project, to remember that CAMRA formed as the ‘Campaign for the Revitalisation of Ale’. Back then a handful of breweries dominated the industry and were turning the available beers into bland, homogenised, poor quality drinks. For those early campaigners, spotting poor quality beers was easy as they were almost exclusively being mass produced for keg dispense; defining ‘Real Ale’ was little more than an Orwellian mantra of: ‘all cask good, all keg bad’. The campaign fought by CAMRA’s early members is won; as a result, there has been a huge upturn in the number of breweries, and we get to enjoy their high quality beers in a wide range
of styles. So where should we go from here? I see CAMRA’s future as needing to follow a threefold course. Firstly working to save pubs, secondly to campaign against legislation that is detrimental to the industry and finally to recognise and promote good quality drinks. In terms of saving pubs, this is already tied in with CAMRA’s key campaigns; we just need to build on the foundations we’ve already laid. Going forward, we should be looking to save pubs; both from closure at the hands of property developers and from falling into disuse through customer apathy. To this end we should be pushing harder to get ACV status for any pubs under threat of closure. We also need to promote the use of quieter pubs, to try and
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restore their place as community hubs; this could be done through using them for CAMRA activities, promoting any events they host, anything to get more people in through the door. Another way of working to protect pubs is through campaigning against adverse legislation, which leads onto the second essential for CAMRA’s future. In recent years CAMRA has had several noteworthy successes; from scrapping the beer duty escalator and getting a reduction in duty, to limiting the power of Pubcos. We need to continue this work and take it further. As an example, our future campaigns could ask for legislation to make the cost of drinking in pubs CONTINUED OVERLEAF
THE REVITALISATION PROJECT - CONTINUED comparable with buying beer from supermarkets; this would not only increase pub usage but could dramatically reduce alcohol-related antisocial behaviour – a standard excuse of the anti-drinking lobbyists. I’ve saved the promotion and recognition of good quality drinks for last. Most of this is just business as usual, producing the Good Beer Guide, running Beer Festivals, Pub of the Year, beer scoring etc. But there is one big change I feel we need to make and in my opinion this is the important one. I said promotion of drinks rather than ale or beer as I believe that CAMRA’s best future lies in becoming more inclusive. By increasing our scope we can represent a much wider section of the community; this would give our campaigns greater veracity and
leverage. We already do this to an extent for real ciders and perries; I believe that our next step should be to acknowledge the growing Craft Beer movement. I know this suggestion will meet with opposition so I’ll address some of the most frequent arguments next. ‘There’s no such thing as “Craft Beer” – it doesn’t have a proper definition’. By the same reasoning, to anyone outside of CAMRA, our definition of Real Ale doesn’t mean anything. Nothing stops us from creating a CAMRA approved definition of Craft Beer. ‘The people who drink it are way too “cliquey”’. Actually, many Craft Beer drinkers also enjoy Real Ale, especially when it’s brewed by the smaller local breweries; we shouldn’t be alienating these people through
our own ‘cliquey’ behaviour, we should be asking them to join us. ‘It’s in keg so I wouldn’t drink it’. Nobody’s asking you to drink it, just to acknowledge that there are some good beers being made other than real ales. For CAMRA to survive, we need to stop living in the past, get over our 43 year old definition of Real Ale and the ‘all cask good, all keg bad’ mindset. Doing this will be the real challenge if CAMRA is to continue rather than just stagnate. Considering the refusal by some of our more diehard members to accept that Real Ale in KeyKeg is Real Ale, even now - four years after it was given the CAMRA seal of approval, I know that change will be difficult; but change we must if our organisation is to survive.
JAMIE DUFFIELD I have been fortunate enough to have viewed the rise in popularity of real ale from a number of perspectives. Over the last few years, I have worked in local pubs (including Reading's own Castle Tap and The Alehouse), sat on the committee of the Reading University Real Ale Society, worked with a friend of mine to order all 600+ beers for CAMRA’s Reading Beer Festival, and I now work as
a full time brewer at Binghams Brewery. Let’s face it – real ale is no longer on the cusp of extinction, it is thriving. More and more, consumers are recognising the difference between quality products and mass-marketed brands, and seem to be looking for more variety in what they choose to drink. CAMRA can be very proud of itself for what it has achieved, but
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I am definitely glad that it has taken a step back to decide what its function ought to be from now on. On the grand scheme of things I am a relative newcomer to CAMRA, but I can acknowledge that what it
THE REVITALISATION PROJECT stood for is not as relevant as it once was. With that in mind, I can pick out some strengths and positions for improvement that I would love to see. CAMRA’s beer festivals (such as Reading) draw a small crowd of beer aficionados - the kinds of people who have already checked the beer list and can be seen beelining for the rare brews and their favourites. Crucially, with them comes a much larger majority of their friends and colleagues – some of whom will be trying ‘different beers’ for the first time. Celebrating the diversity of British beer on such a grand and social scale can only
serve to bolster the local breweries and pubs. Beer festivals are not only a networking opportunity for the commercial brewing sector, but I strongly believe that CAMRA should continue to use beer festivals as a means of introducing and engaging the public with their local market. A further issue that I think CAMRA should support is the protection of pubs. This is more than just encouraging people to visit their locals – this should be assisting them and giving them the legal advice they need to secure its future. We have already seen some local pubs fall and become convenience stores. Let’s not let
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this happen where a pub is still viable. So who should CAMRA support? Good quality beer appears in more varieties and dispensing methods than ever, with key kegs seeing a surge in popularity in recent years. There are beers that now go into key keg that simply wouldn’t be economically viable for some publicans (or brewers!) as a cask. I personally believe that CAMRA should now represent any and all drinkers of beer and cider that is brewed in Britain. Let us continue to celebrate and support the diversity in brewing we have, and share it with the rest of the world.
Don’t let drink limits destroy our pubs Many people who are appearing to ignore the perceived risks of consuming alcoholic beverages above the government’s new guidelines of 14 units per week are doing so not out of wilful disregard for their own health, but because they do not believe these new guidelines. It would be helpful if the UK’s chief medical officers could explain what evidence they have that is not available to their equivalents in other EU countries. For example, the equivalent figure in Spain, not a country traditionally noted for a culture of problem drinking or alcoholrelated health issues, is 34 units. The new UK guidelines seem to ignore previous well-regarded studies which showed the beneficial health effects of moderate consumption of alcoholic drinks compared with total abstinence. These studies also showed that the level of risk did not exceed that from total abstinence until a level somewhat higher than 14 units per week was reached (the so-called “hockeystick” curve). It is very easy to detect the joyless hand of the anti-alcohol lobby behind these guidelines. Indeed, one could surmise that they will only be content when every brewer, cider-maker, wine-maker, distiller and publican has been driven out of business, and a significant plank of our culture has been destroyed.
government to adopt policies to support and protect the great British community pub, recognising the value of these wonderful institutions in providing an environment for moderate consumption of alcoholic drinks, whilst interacting with friends, neighbours and peers. The recent report from CAMRA, carried out by Professor Robin Dunbar of Oxford University (see the previous issue of Mine’s a Pint), demonstrated this clearly. While we would all recognise the effects on both individuals and society from excessive alcohol consumption, the government’s approach to tackling harmful drinking is wrong. It does little or nothing to get to grips with the small proportion of adults who consume excessive and harmful amounts of alcoholic drinks, while stigmatising the millions of men and women who enjoy a few pints of beer, glasses of wine, a single malt or a gin and tonic in their local two or three times a week, or the occasional glass of wine with dinner. I refer back to the comparison with Spain; perhaps by treating their citizens like grownups, there is a large degree of selfregulation, manifesting itself in a lower incidence of alcohol-related problems for individuals and society. We need to be wary of those who seem hell-bent on pushing this country towards prohibition, destroying centuries of our culture in the process, whilst carefully ignoring any evidence or studies which do not fit with their view of the world.
The irony of all this is not lost on those of us who have campaigned and lobbied our
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Nick Boley National Director, CAMRA
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Summer 2016 issue of Reading and Mid Berkshire CAMRA Branch magazine