CAMPAIGN for REAL ALE
IN THIS ISSUE
Pub & Brewery News Small Beer The Butlers Story Maris Otter 50th Anniversary Join CAMRA Behind the Bar: The Queens Head
PUB OF THE YEAR
Kevin and Kerri Durkan receiving their Pub of the Year award for the Fox and Hounds, Caversham, at their summer beer festival. THE CAMRA MAGAZINE FOR READING AND MID BERKSHIRE ISSUE THIRTY FIVE • AUTUMN 2015 • FREE - PLEASE TAKE A COPY
Branch Diary All events start at 20.00 and are open to everybody unless specified.
Thu 17: Branch meeting. Foresters Arms, 79-81 Brunswick Street, Reading, RG1 6NY. CAMRA members only, please. Sun 20: Pub walk. Pangbourne circular via Greyhound, Tidmarsh. Meet at Pangbourne Village Hall car park 11.00. Train from Reading 10.45, return 17.45 from Pangbourne. Contact Chris Hinton on firstname.lastname@example.org / 0118 987 3203. Fri 25: Southall Curry Night. Meet 19.30 onwards for drinks at the Conservative Club, High Street, Southall, UB1 3HB, then Nagina Karahi restaurant at 20.45. Contact John Robinson on email@example.com / 0118 940 2787 / 0790 434 3187. Tue 29: Gala Awards evening for our branch award winners. Castle Tap, 120 Castle Street, Reading, RG1 7RJ. OCTOBER
Thu 1: First Thursday of the Month Social. Venue TBC. Mon 12: Branch meeting. Butchers Arms, 9 Lower Armour Road, Tilehurst, RG31 6HH. Meeting in the left hand bar. CAMRA members only, please. NOVEMBER
Thu 5: First Thursday of the Month Social. Wargrave Snooker Club, Woodclyffe Hostel, Church Street, RG10 8EP. Contact John Robinson on firstname.lastname@example.org / 0118 940 2787 / 0790 434 3187. 19.00 start. Wed 18: Branch AGM. Purple Turtle, 9 Gun Street, Reading, RG1 2JR. Meeting in the cellar bar. CAMRA members only, please. 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 Quinten Taylor (Quinno): email@example.com / 07887 424232.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 0771 455 0293 81 Addison Road, Reading, RG1 8EG Magazine published on behalf of Reading and Mid Berkshire CAMRA by:
Orchard House Media Ltd email@example.com For advertising enquiries please contact Jane Michelson: 01778 382718 firstname.lastname@example.org Reading & Mid Berkshire CAMRA www.readingcamra.org.uk Social Secretary: Quinten Taylor email@example.com 07887 424232 Contact for all other branch matters: Katrina Fletcher firstname.lastname@example.org 0779 401 9437
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 December Please feel free to submit copy or ideas by 8 November 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 2015.
From the Editor Well, it wasn’t a great summer weather-wise but it’s certainly been good for real ale. In this issue we're looking both backwards and forwards, celebrating some of the best bits of the past but also looking to the future. Everyone likes an award, and CAMRA awards come in all shapes and sizes, from Pub of the Year (our local winner is on the front cover), through Beer of the Festival, to more individual awards when there's something unique that's worth celebrating. This year we're bringing a lot of the local awards together for our first ever Gala Awards Evening. To be held at the Castle Tap on 29 September, this is a new idea for us and you can help make it a great success. Come along and meet the winners from some of the best local pubs, clubs and breweries, and be a part of marking their achievements. Our pubs, like our beers, are rooted in tradition but also have a history of innovation, and you can read about two local pubs inside – one that's building on the best of its historical elements, the other with a brand new concept of serving beer. There’s also a light-hearted guide to being a pub customer and, no, it’s not as easy as you might think! Finally, how would you like to be involved in the production of Mine's a Pint? We're looking for somebody to help with, or maybe take the lead on, putting together the Pub and Brewery News for the magazine. It would suit somebody with an interest in the local real ale scene, who likes bringing together snippets of news from lots of different sources and creating a thorough roundup of local happenings. Could that person be you? If so, get in touch and we'll have a chat over a pint or two. Cheers. Phil Gill - Editor email@example.com
Contents Branch Diary
From the Editor
Pub & Brewery News
The Butler’s Story
Twyford Beer Festival
Maris Otter Barley Oktoberfest
Behind the Bar
So you want to be a pub customer?
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Pub & Brewery News Pub News
been withdrawn. We understand that two more handpumps may be installed to take the total to eight and increase the guest beer range.
ARBORFIELD Over the summer, and just too late to be included in the last issue of Mine's a Pint, the SWAN was converted into an Indian restaurant called Daruchini. There’s a small bar area but no real ale is on offer now. A historic building with a grade 2 listing, the Enterprise-owned Swan had been closed for some time and its loss leaves the BULL as the only pub in the village. Change of use from pub to restaurant is permitted development – meaning it doesn't need planning permission. Although CAMRA has secured a concession that says any pub listed as an Asset of Community Value has that permitted development right removed, that was no help in the case of the Swan.
CAVERSHAM The RED COW in Star Road was closed and believed to be for sale as we went to press.
Weston’s Old Rosie draught cider has been trialled at the CLIFTON ARMS on Prospect Street. Hopefully it will prove popular and become a regular feature. The new owners of the GRIFFIN, Greene King, are slowly making their presence felt with IPA Gold seen on the bar over the summer. GK gained ownership when they took over the Chef and Brewer chain. They appear to still offer a 10% discount to CAMRA members.
CRAZIES HILL The HORNS has reopened with new tenants. Adam Purdy is the new landlord – welcome, Adam! Crazies Hill is a tiny village north of the A4, near Wargrave, and it's great to see this Brakspear pub back open and trading. The new telephone number is 0118 9406041.
The Queen Victoria in better times Baron Cadogan, Prespect Street An intriguing planning application was submitted for a roof terrace at the BARON CADOGAN on Prospect Street but has now
Sadly, after a brief respite, the QUEEN VICTORIA – another Brakspear pub – has now finally closed and planning permission has been granted for it to become a private
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PUB & BREWERY NEWS CONTINUED house. In the early days of this CAMRA branch we fought hard to save it from a previous closure threat so it’s even sadder to see it finally meet its end. Many years ago the bus stop on the A4 was called the Two Queens and served the Queen Adelaide pub as well as the Queen Victoria. Now both are gone.
HURST credit: Photo © Paul Rayner
Red Cow, remains closed The RED COW in Southampton Street has been sold freehold and remains closed at the time of writing with no indication of its future use.
The CASTLE is a 16th century grade 2 listed building that sits in the village centre opposite the parish church. In fact it's owned by the church and is one of the village’s oldest buildings. Besides being highly regarded for its food offer the pub operates as a free house featuring local brewers – Binghams, Loddon and Vale on a recent visit. Look at the blog at fueledbybeer.wordpress.com for a circular walk featuring this pub and also the Wheelwright's Arms at Winnersh.
PLAYHATCH Two big events to look out for at the FLOWING SPRING are the Autumn Real Ale Festival in October and Nick and Hazel’s Five Year Anniversary Party in December. The Autumn Beer Festival runs from Friday 9 to Sunday 11 October with plenty of real ales and real ciders and live entertainment on the Saturday. Looking further ahead, Saturday 12 December is the time to celebrate five years of Nick and Hazel running the pub, something of which they are very proud.
Almost opposite on Southampton Street, the RED LION is under new management – welcome Chris! - and local brewery Binghams has been supplying the ale. Initially the low turnover created some problems with beer quality but after some welcome cooperation between landlord and brewer, a way was found to allow Twyford Tipple to be served from smaller casks known as “pins” in the cellar. This should mean that the beer stays fresher and is served cooler, so a double benefit. Brewer Chris Bingham says, “They are taking either Twyford Tipple or Brickworks Bitter every week and all the signs are that he's really making an effort to turn it back into a real ale pub.” Beer quality continues to get good reports at the FISHERMAN'S COTTAGE on Kennetside. On a recent visit Siren Undercurrent, Red Squirrel Citra, Fullers London Pride and a West Berkshire ale were all available. The QUEENS ARMS on Great Knollys Street (next to the Reading Buses depot) no longer serves real ale – the cask Doom Bar has gone and the handpump has been removed. In contrast, the PHEASANT at the top of Southampton Street is a real ale gain. After a
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PUB & BREWERY NEWS CONTINUED make-over there's a single handpump dispensing Doom Bar. This is very much a community local with two bars, pool and a rear courtyard area for smokers. The “Emerald green” buses stop almost outside.
The THREE TUNS on Wokingham Road has received Cask Marque accreditation. Alongside two house beers (Doom Bar and Youngs) there are at least four guest ales every week which have so far included Hogs Back TEA, St Austell Tribute, Binghams Brickworks, Loddon Hullabaloo and Rebellion Smuggler. Both pubs on Forbury Road were closed at the time of writing. But both the Brakspear Pub Company (RISING SUN) and Fullers (CORN STORES) tell us that they intend to reopen their premises as soon as they can find new tenants. In the case of the Corn Stores that may involve some internal alterations. In all honesty the pub has suffered from an awkward layout for some time so that may be no bad thing. If you're very quick you might just catch the first beer festival to be held at the CASTLE TAP in Castle Street. Between 10-13 September they plan to offer 20+ beers alongside live music, food, games and a homebrew competition. Let's hope it's the first of many such events. Trade is slowly building up at the FORESTERS ARMS in Brunswick Street as the new licensees continue to make improve-
ments. Usually at least two real ales on in good condition and it's worth a visit.
Coming just too late to be reported in the last issue, the WYNFORD ARMS in Kings Road has closed. This was Reading's first full-time gay pub and operated for over 20 years. The licensees say that problems with the owning pubco – Star Pubs – about rent review and lease renewal were to blame, alongside other factors. Soon after closure there was a suggestion that the pub would become a live music venue but nothing seems to have happened yet on that front. Further up King’s Road, the OUTLOOK has started a cask ale loyalty scheme. Buy six pints and get your card stamped each time, then get a seventh pint free. Three ales were on when we visited – Greene King IPA, Churchill IPA and Purity Mad Goose. While the pub has been closed and “lost” for a while, works to convert the QUEEN ELIZABETH in George Street into housing seem to have finally started. Double glazing has been installed and the pub sign removed. O'NEILLS in Friar Street has been seeing a wider range of beers in recent months. Alongside the regular Doom Bar a number of guest ales including Hop Back Summer Lightning and Timothy Taylor Boltmaker
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Great choice of Ales and Ciders Food and snacks served daily Live music guaranteed every weekend All 3 pubs are available for functions Book early for your Christmas and Year End functions
The Eldon Arms: 19 Eldon Terrace, Reading RG1 4DX Tel: 0118 327 7249 The Lyndhurst: 88 Queens Road, Reading, RG1 4DG The Retreat: 8 St Johns Street, Reading, RG1 4EH
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Tel: 0118 961 7267 Tel: 0118 957 1593
PUB & BREWERY NEWS CONTINUED have been seen, and served in good condition. A few doors further up Friar Street, YATES'S has also been selling Timothy Taylor beer – this time Landlord.
SONNING The GREAT HOUSE has undergone a refurbishment and rebranded itself as the Coppa Club. It's looking to be not an expensive gastropub, nor just a drinks only place, but a social hub which does good food and lets you also just go in for a coffee or a pint. Binghams Twyford Tipple is available in bottles and there are a couple of handpumps which currently have Loddon beers on.
THEALE Planning application no. 3 for the RED LION on Church Street … following two previous refusals for change of use to housing, West Berkshire Council was considering a fresh application at the time of writing. In each case the number of new dwellings to be built to the side and rear of the pub has reduced – from nine, to eight and now seven.
wish them well in their new venture. The beer range was London Pride and Doom Bar when we visited but Tom told us that after discussion with his suppliers he intends moving all the real ale to the small counter at the side and providing up to four beers on handpump. The two existing ales will remain with another two featuring as guests.
WALTHAM ST LAWRENCE The saga of the STAR on Broadmoor Road looks as though it's reached its conclusion. Following earlier refusal of planning permission for conversion to a dwelling, a second application was approved. We did coordinate with our friends at Slough, Windsor & Maidenhead CAMRA over an objection, but in the end the council was persuaded by the better evidence the applicants submitted the second time around. An ex-Wadworth pub, the Star had been closed for a while and used to offer good beer and food, even winning an award from us for “Best Pub Pizza” in 2008. The village is now down to only one pub but the good news is it’s the BELL and owned by a village trust, so looks as safe as any pub can be at the moment. Brewery News
TILEHURST The popular FOX AND HOUNDS on City Road has new licensees. So it's farewell and best wishes to Gary and Jules, and welcome to Tom. Local resident Tom and family have been pub regulars for many years and we
The brewery is working with the Official Monster Raving Loony Party again to offer Blonde Ambition. This is a rebranded version of Aureole Ale, the popular 4% hoppy golden ale, and is the 12th and last beer in the Co-Ale-Ition series. It's due to feature in the Strangers Bar of the Houses of Parliament next year.
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BREWERY NEWS CONTINUED The Single Hop IPA series continues and the next two brews are: Flyer: a UK variety that has aromas of stoned fruits, liquorice, treacle-toffee and caramel with slight burnt notes. Its bittering characteristics can be best described as spicy, citrus, liquorice and resinous. Target: another UK variety that has excellent, intense aromas of sage and citrus, a spicy undertone in flavour and sharp and assertive bitterness. The popular Oktoberfest ale should be returning for the autumn. It's brewed with German malts and hops and comes in at 4.8% ABV.
BINGHAMS Online booking is now available for the Saturday brewery tours and it's also possible to send a voucher code by email to a friend to allow them to book online when it suits them. Macchiato stout was officially launched at the Great British Beer Festival and proved very popular, selling out well before the end of the festival. It’s been on a few preview outings to beer festivals and the Nags Head but hopefully it will grace a pub near you soon. September sees the return of Thirst Past the Post which was first brewed for Ascot Beer Festival and it will return there at the end of September. It will be followed by the “V” Old Ale and The Warmer in the autumn into winter – all at 5.0% ABV.
The Millenium Madejski Hotel at the Reading FC stadium is stocking Brickworks Bitter and Space Hoppy IPA in bottles. The nearby Island Lounge on Kennet Island by the Circle Hospital has also started to stock bottled Binghams beer.
DICKENS This new brewery at Great Expectations is offering Brewing Experience Days for groups of 2-20 people. If you want to find out more about terms like “mash tun”, “sparging” and “racking”, and make some of your very own beer, it may be the day for you. Contact the pub for prices and more details. You can see more of the Dickens brews on the bar now, but it's fair to say they could be better promoted.
LODDON The website www.loddonbrewery.com has a new look with lots of video clips behind each page.
SIREN CRAFT Recent beers from this innovative brewery have included Summer Spreeze, a coffee and jasmine green tea pale ale; Ryesing Tides, a 7.4% IPA brewed with rye instead of barley; and Mum’s The Word, a 5.5% smoked cherry and chipotle milk porter.
WEST BERKSHIRE For the second year running, West Berkshire were selected as the Official Ale of Henley Royal Regatta. Good Old Boy and a special beer brewed exclusively for the event – the 4.0% Henley Pale – were available from the Stewards’ Enclosure and Regatta Bar. Good Old Boy, also at 4.0%, is now the official ale of Reading Football Club and, as previously reported, was selected as the official ale of the BMW PGA Golf Championship at Wentworth in May this year.
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BREWERY NEWS CONTINUED See the separate feature and advert in this issue for more details of the OktoberWest festival, being held in October to help celebrate the brewery's 20th anniversary year.
WILD WEATHER Eight local breweries have featured in the Monster Raving Loony Party's Co-Ale-Ition series of beers. Out of all twelve brews in the series, Wild Weather’s HowlinGale has proved the most popular with over 40,000 pints being consumed.
WINDSOR AND ETON The brewery is living up to its name by expanding into Eton, taking over and running the George Inn close to the bridge. This is W&E's first pub and involves taking over an existing tenancy, so any physical changes will be gradual. However, they say that “from our first day you should notice two things – beer quality and standard of service.” They plan that the George Inn will gradually become a proper pub again, and will serve traditional reasonably-priced English food that appeals both to visitors and locals.
XT Building work has started to double the size of the brewery and adding a new tasting room for trying beers from the XT and Animal Brewing ranges. The extra space will also allow for the installation of new vessels to extend the craftkeg beer range, to develop more aged soured beers and oak barrel conditioning of stronger stouts and porters.
ZERODEGREES Along with the other three Zerodegrees branches, Reading town centre's first microbrewery has been running “Meet the Brewmaster” events. These complimentary events include an introduction to Zerodegrees, a brewery tour, beer tasting and a Q&A session with the resident Brewmaster.
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Small Beer A roundup of news and information... CHAMPION BEER OF BRITAIN After over a year of local tasting panels and regional heats leading up to the finals, a real ale from Newport, South Wales has been crowned Champion Beer of Britain. “Cwtch”, from the Tiny Rebel brewery, was crowned the Best Beer in Britain at the Great British Beer Festival at Olympia in August. Head Brewer Gareth Williams is the man who brewed Cwtch – which is pronounced “cutch” and means cuddle in Welsh. On hearing the news, he said: “I feel like I’m dreaming! This is the ultimate award to win in our eyes and after winning at the Great Welsh a few years ago this feels even better. It's just a crazy feeling and we’re massively proud.”
Nik Antona, Champion Beer of Britain Director, spoke in praise of the winner, saying: “The Champion Beer of Britain title is one of the most coveted titles in British beer. For over 30 years brewers have put forward their real ale in the hope it will win and this year Tiny Rebel’s Cwtch is a very worthy winner of this prestigious award.” Co-founder of the brewery Bradley Cummings, added this on the beer itself: “We were brought up on real ale and we love traditional styles. Cwtch is our modern version of a traditional bitter, with extra hopping for a more pronounced bitterness and aroma. It’s new world and old world all in one.” This year the Silver award went to Jaguar from Kelburn (Renfrewshire) whilst the Bronze award went to Dark Drake from Dancing Duck (Derby).
The Red Cow in Caversham is the latest pub to be nominated by CAMRA as an Asset of Community Value. We were waiting on the outcome as we went to press. This is a fast-moving topic. In the last issue we set out how you could nominate a pub as an ACV. Things have already moved on and, although that information remains correct, there's now a new service from CAMRA that takes a lot of the effort out of making a nomination. There’s a new online nomination form that CAMRA branches can use to fill out information on the pubs they wish to nominate. CAMRA's head office then use the information provided to complete the local Council's nomination form, and return it along with the necessary Land Registry documents. The form is then submitted to the council by the local branch.
ASSETS OF COMMUNITY VALUE
While nominating a pub as an ACV isn't a difficult process, anything that makes it easier has to help. Currently over 800 pubs are registered as ACVs and CAMRA’s target is to increase that to 1,500 by the end of this year and 3,000 by the end of 2016. The new service should enable branches to work towards those ambitious targets.
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CIDER DUTY – A CAMPAIGN WIN EU efforts to remove the duty exemption currently enjoyed by small UK producers have suffered a welcome setback. The exemption makes it economic for cider and perry to be produced on a small scale. It had been under threat from a drive to harmonise duty across the EU and its loss would have threatened the future of the majority of our cider and perry producers. Over the summer a hurriedly-organised online petition in favour of keeping the duty exemption gained over 26,000 signatures and was presented to the government just before the budget. The Chancellor responded in his budget speech by announcing that the current exemption will remain. This is excellent news for real cider drinkers and small producers alike. CAMRA is delighted with the government’s commitment and will now be working hard to ensure that they can keep their promise with a legal exemption in the EU Directive.
NEW BOOK – OXFORD PUBS Have you heard about the Oxford pub with a witch’s broomstick plastered up behind a wall? The inn where Shakespeare used to stay, and may have fathered an illegitimate child with the landlady? The pub with a ceiling painted to resemble the Sistine Chapel in Rome? The inn which was a sixteenth century brothel, or the pub where the rock group Supergrass made their debut? These are just a few of the stories recounted in Oxford Pubs, a new title by Dave Richardson who also edits CAMRA’s Oxford Drinker magazine. The book delves into the history of over forty of the oldest and most interesting of Oxford’s pubs, all but a few of which you can still visit today to soak up the atmosphere, just a short train ride from Reading. Which is the oldest pub in Oxford – a claim made by more than one? Where did Inspector Morse, with his sidekick Lewis, really drink? Which pub offers “an education in intoxication”? Where’s the pub with a vegetarian-only menu? Which one briefly acted as a morgue, after a train crash? And where can you find the Pub of the Year as
Author Dave Richardson at the site of the long-gone Swindlestock Tavern voted by the Oxford branch of CAMRA? Oxford Pubs should appeal to anyone with a thirst for knowledge and history, both ancient and modern, and is packed with contemporary and archive photographs. Available from bookshops, from the publishers Amberley Publishing, and also direct from the author – signed on request, for £14.99 including postage and packing. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or send a cheque made out to D. Richardson to 42 Kennington Road, Oxford, OX1 5PB.
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tab l tab Ser ishe lis ving d si hm o nc en ve e 2 ts r 5 00 na 00 6 tio nw ide
Fre initial c e lean N o co m mitmen t N o co n tract
Several of our customers are featured in the 2015 Good Beer Guide
SMALL BEER - CONTINUED Beer and Bus routes for this year's event
ISLE OF WIGHT BEER AND BUS WEEKEND If you fancy a weekend away before the Christmas decorations start to appear, then why not hop over to the Isle of Wight for their Beer and Bus Weekend, taking place on 17 and 18 October.
Information about the event can be found on www.iwbeerandbuses.co.uk or by searching for “Isle of Wight Beer and Buses Weekend 2015” on Facebook.
WALK TO THE PUB
The weekend was inspired by a similar event organised by Sheffield CAMRA. Since the inaugural event in 2014 the Isle of Wight Bus Museum has moved premises to the old Southern Vectis depot in Park Road, Ryde. Event operations will be split between the museum and the car park on Newport Quay, with a shuttle service running regularly between the two locations.
Walking is one of the best ways to get fit, and if you can combine it with a lovely country pub, even better. Chris Hinton is organising another CAMRA walk on Sunday 20 September, this time based around Pangbourne. Meet in the Village Hall car park at 11.00, then it’s a 3 mile walk along the River Pang to the Greyhound at Tidmarsh – the first beer stop.
In addition, a network of seven Beer and Buses routes has been prepared and Isle of Wight CAMRA representatives have been busy signing up pubs for this year’s event. New for 2015 is an enhanced service to the West Wight area, with pubs in Yarmouth, Shalfleet and Calbourne added to the map, and they have also managed to add a route serving pubs in Sandown and Shanklin Esplanade too.
A different route for the return takes you along lanes and footpaths, covering 3.5 miles and reaching the Swan back at Pangbourne for about 2.30. There are various food and beer options in Pangbourne so the plan will evolve during the day to suit those on the walk. Contact Chris for more info. on email@example.com or 0118 987 3203.
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Reading is somewhat lacking in “heritage pubs” but if any has a right to this title it is surely the Butler in Chatham Street. Not that its history is that of a normal pub since for much of its existence it was better known for the sale of wine and spirits than humble beer! It was a humble beerhouse called the Baker’s Arms when it came into the hands of Charles Butler (born 1795), a farmer from Blewbury, in the 1830s. The Butler family ran their wine merchants’ business from the site for nearly 150 years and the business became known as Butler’s Wine Vaults or just plain Butler’s. Charles Butler gifted the firm to his son of the same name on the latter’s 21st birthday. Charles junior (18271911) fathered a large family and three of his sons, Charles George, William Edward and Harry, were at various times partners in the company. A fourth son, Benjamin Herridge Butler, plied his trade as a dispensing chemist. It was William Edward (1854-1924) who emerged at the head of Butler’s in the early 20th century. He had previously been a grocer, had some training in brewing and was also an avid collector of lepidoptera. William Edward junior (1872-1942) was a school teacher in his earlier years, teaching at St Laurence’s School and later at the British School, but joined the family firm in 1919. His sons, Bernard and Felix, were the last members of the family to run Butler’s but, like their father and grandfather, pursued other means of earning a living dur-
ing their younger days. Bernard William (1897-1981) was a clerk on the GWR but joined the family firm in a similar position in 1923 before becoming a partner in 1935;
A cabinet of mementos his younger brother, Felix John (1905-97) was a school teacher in London before serving in the Second World War, joining Butler’s following his demobilization in 1946. Butler’s was very much a hands-on business with Bernard travelling one or two days per week to pick up orders in surrounding villages, first using a motor bike and later a Morris 8 registered RD7666. Initially deliveries were made by hand-carts and horsedrawn vehicles but motor vans were used from 1916 onwards. Wine was imported through London and Bristol and wine, spirits and beer were all bottled on the
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The Butler in the 1970 s
premises. Such was the family’s local fame that nearby Charles Street and Caroline Street were named after Charles junior and his wife. In 1976 the brothers, both by then in their 70s, decided to sell the premises to Fuller’s who reopened it as the Butler in 1977 with Bernard Butler pulling the first pint and beer sold at 1952 prices in this Jubilee Year. Initially the Butler flourished under Fuller’s and under the first tenants, the Gillases, achieved Good Beer guide entries from 1979 to 1983 but after their departure there were numerous changes of management, particularly in recent years. This led to Fuller’s selling the pub last year to a consortium, including the experienced Ted Allnutt of Nags Head fame. Following the arrival of new leaseholders, Graham Emmerson and Sue Harrison, permission has been granted to extend the pub into the former wine shop area that has been largely unused over the last 38 years and to underline the Butler’s unique heritage. Considerable refurbishment has already been completed including a brand new kitchen which is serving good wholesome food and full roasts on a Sunday. Written by John Dearing Images by Laurence Hansford
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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.
13th September, 4th & 25th October, 15th November & 6th December
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: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit: www.birdinhand.co.uk
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Gala Awards Evening and new awards for “Phoenix” and “Best Newcomer”. Hopefully this will be the first of an annual series of events to reward all that's good in our local pubs and breweries. A few awards have already been presented at other events. As a taster, pictured here are West Berkshire Brewery celebrating their award for Maggs Magnificent Mild, presented on a recent Reading Beer Festival helpers’ trip.
Simon Lewis and Vicky Mills from West Berkshire Brewery celebrate their success with Paul Hexter of the Royal Oak, Wantage There’s a lot to celebrate in our local pub and brewing trade. So much so, in fact, that Reading & Mid Berkshire CAMRA is hosting its first ever Gala Awards Evening.
The Gala Awards Evening is open to all – whether or not you’re a member of CAMRA. We look forward to welcoming anyone who enjoys a good beer and wants to show their support for the pubs that serve them, and the breweries that produce them.
Come down to the Castle Tap in Castle Street, Reading on 29 September and you can be a part of this event. Meet some of our local brewers and publicans and help them celebrate the part they play in Reading's growing real ale scene – and drink some of the winning beers. Brian Jones is leading on organising the event and he said, “What a wonderful selection of pubs we have in the branch and what a marvellous range of beers from so many breweries that we find in them. One of our branch objectives is to promote and celebrate our pubs and this is a great way to do it.” Receiving awards will be many of the LocAle of the Festival brewery winners from this year’s Reading Beer and Cider Festival. On the pub side, awards include Cider Pub of the Year, the finalists in Pub of the Year,
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Twyford Beer Festival Twyford Beer Festival (TBF) is one of those small beer festivals and was matured in the brain of Ian Wisdom, the Festival Organiser. He not only had to convince people that it was a great idea, but had to sell the idea to Sue (his wife and she who must be obeyed). After all, who in their right mind would hold a beer festival, with live music, to raise money for a male cancer charity called Orchid? Over the past five years TBF has had three different venues. The first was at the Twyford Scout Hall, with years two to five being held at Loddon Hall. This year witnessed TBF going outdoors, being held under a tent in a field. With the organiser and his team praying to the weather gods for good weather, a brilliant crowd of over 1,000 people visited during the day. “Which was absolutely fantastic”, to quote Ian. The day started with 38 casks of beer. Some must have evaporated due to the weather, because by the time we closed we had sold over 60 casks along with the cider, wine, mead and Pimms. Over the years several of the organisational team have taken on the role of Ms Twyford, in an attempt to raise money and awareness of the work that Orchid do. This year Trevor took on the role of Ms T, and in the guise of “Trevina” (pictured right) successfully raised an additional £576.81 – a fantastic achievement. Next year Pete Cook from Sherfield Village Brewery has said that he will be Ms T, so please don’t be surprised at what you see... This year the donation to Orchid was a staggering £4,000. An additional donation of £500 and Trevina’s £576.81 raised the overall total to £5,076.81. For a small beer festival TBF has done very well, raising over £21,000 in six years for Orchid. Written by Arthur Pounder Pictures by Natalie Smith
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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
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Maris Otter Barley Checking the sowing of the 50th anniversary crop of Maris Otter in October 2014
FIFTY YEARS OLD becomes the ingredient by which brewers swear. Although less than 6% of British beer is produced with Maris Otter malt, more than half of the most recent Champion Beers of Britain are made with Maris Otter. Quite the record for an ingredient. Most cereal varieties are superseded with new and better versions within five or six years. So 50 years of continuous production is truly exceptional. As Mark Banham from grain merchants H Banham points out, it’s “well worth commemorating.” So he has joined forces with David Holliday from Norfolk Brewhouse to create a commemorative beer festival.
It may seem strange to note the anniversary of a cereal variety, but there’s good reason to celebrate the half century of one particular barley type. Particularly so given the tale of domination, decline, rescue and revival that spans its extraordinary 50 year history. While Maris Otter might not be a household name, it is legendary among a group of craft brewers and beer-lovers. Once malted, it
50 new beers are being created especially for the national Maris Otter 50th anniversary festival in Norwich, 17th – 19th September. Brewers from 44 different counties of Britain and 6 countries from across the world are each providing a birthday beer for the event. “This is the first beer festival to have all 50 beers brewed with a single malt variety,” says Mark. “As far as we know, it’s also the first birthday party ever to be held in honour of a grain!” Maris Otter dominated the market through-
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MARIS OTTER BARLEY - 50 YEARS OLD out the 1970s. However, by the late 80s it had fallen out of favour with many of the larger breweries. Luckily a number of brewers remained loyal to the breed. They said the malt it produced performed excellently in the mash tun, and the resulting beers had a depth of flavour unmatched by those made with other malts. This commitment from a small group of brewers encouraged grain merchants H Banham and Robin Appel to buy the rights to it in 1992. They are still the sole owners, and maintain a secret plot of land in Norfolk dedicated to maintaining the integrity of the variety.
Hampden’s is brewed in the style of a classic harvest ale with premium quality Maris Otter malt and the aromatic fruitiness of only a single famous English hop, Fuggles, for balance. Phil Gill
Just one example of an award-winning beer produced using Maris Otter comes from Chiltern Brewery, based in the Chiltern Hills near Aylesbury. Their 4.8% ABV “John Hampden’s Golden Harvest Ale” has won the “Best Bottled IPA” category at this year’s Farm Produce Awards organized by Great British Food magazine. Golden amber in colour and floral on the nose, John
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Oktoberfest A long-standing fixture in Munich, the Oktoberfest idea now seems to have taken hold here in the UK but with some twists. Local breweries are getting involved, so here's a preview of what to expect.
West Berkshire Brewery kick off the fun on 19 September with their OktoberWest Festival at their base in Yattendon. It promises to be a fun, light-hearted event complete with live music and dancing, as well as a wide selection of Bavarian beers and West Berkshire’s own brews. A German bakery and street food, along with an oompah band, are on the bill. A regular shuttle service is planned from Pangbourne and Thatcham railway stations. Tickets for the festival cost £15 (£12.50 with CAMRA discount) which includes a free pint and stein glass. XT Brewery from Long Crendon in Bucks are holding their next Open Day on Saturday 3 October. Billed as Oxtoberfest, there will be music, food, beer and fun for all the family. The name fits in with their Animal Brewing offshoot, which names all its experimental beers after animals – recent examples have included Platypus and, more appropriately for an Oktoberfest, Dachshund. Upham Brewery have renewed their sponsorship of Hampshire’s OctoberFest for 2015. This is one of the county’s biggest annual consumer shows and champions the county’s heritage of food and drink producers. This year’s event will take place from 9-11
London Irish players in the Upham tent for OctoberFest October at Basingstoke Cricket and Sports Ground with around 10,000 visitors expected. Over 120 beer and cider brands will be showcased alongside craft and food producers, with Upham serving up their three staple ales: Punter - a traditional best bitter with a 4% ABV; Tipster - a refreshing golden ale with a 3.6% ABV; and Stakes - a premium bitter with a 4.8% ABV. This year a special autumn seasonal ale, Upham EPA, will also be available. This 4.2% ABV English Pale Ale is being brewed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Maris Otter malting barley and is representing Hampshire in the 2015 National Maris Otter 50th Anniversary Beer Festival. As Upham Brewery sponsors London Irish RFC and with this year’s OctoberFest coinciding with the 2015 IRB Rugby World Cup, the festival will host a range of rugbythemed events. On Sunday 11 October, coaches from London Irish will put on two rugby masterclasses for 60 local youngsters aged 9-11 and 12-15. The coaches will be joined by players from the London Irish First Team to give expert advice and run the youngsters through various rugby drills.
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Behind the Bar Andy Becalick, the man behind the Moderation, Bali Lounge and Queens Head in Reading, tells us about his latest craft beer venture.
THE QUEENS HEAD We took on the Queens Head in Christchurch Road a little over two years ago. It had seen better days – a few years of neglect from the landlords, Enterprise Inns, had seen it decline despite the best efforts of a series of enthusiastic operators. It had always been a student hangout, affectionately known as “The Nob”, but times change. Students are well catered for on the campus and with the Queens Head being tied, the writing was on the wall. We also operate the Moderation in Caversham Road, so it was natural for us to do a Moderation “clone”. The Mod has been successfully revitalized since we took it over about eight years ago, and the demographics of the areas are fairly similar. So there you have it, the Queens Head has for the past two years been operating with our blend of homemade food with an Asian twist and your regular array of beers and a fairly decent wine list.
However, during a trip to Chicago I was amazed by the fantastic, vibrant beer scene, loads of choice on keg products, most of them local producers. What’s more the beer tasted great! At this point I ought to mention that I’m not a great fan of real ale. Sacrilege, I hear you shout, but I mean I’ve always loved the idea of great, locally produced beer, but I just prefer my libation rather cold with a bit of gas. So finally my eyes had been opened to a world of tasty, cold, carbonated beer. Even more amazingly, when I returned home I realized that the “Craft Beer” revolution was already well underway on our doorstep, so I had to find a way to bring the revolution to the Queens Head. The beer tie was in the way. How could I put on great new interesting products without breaking the terms of the lease? I talked to my Area Manager and he agreed that we could convert the outbuildings at the back of the pub and, if I put a bar in, it could be
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free of tie for seven draft lines, great! Of course, there would be a rent increase for the conversion work and a fairly hefty annual tie release fee, but I’m an optimist, so I ploughed on with the idea. The final hitch to sort out was the external bar. I’d seen an article on self pour beer walls – there were a couple of examples in the UK, but it was mainly in the USA and Australia. These things are state of the art, computerized gizmos, that allow customers to dispense their own beer. You simply buy credit at the bar in exchange for a “beer button”, go to the beer pump, choose your tipple, select “third”, “half” or “pint” (yes, you actually get what you pay for, a full pint!) and pour your beer. When you’ve finished drinking, return your beer button to the bar for redemption of any remaining credit.
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
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The full range of real ales remain on the bar, of course, and the beer wall adds to what’s on offer in the pub. So far we’ve had local beers from Siren, Renegade and West Berkshire, as well as guest beers from the USA and Europe. Plus we’re finding new and exciting beers every week. In fact, if you know some that you want us to put on, let us know and we’ll do our best. Cheers! Andy Becalick If you're a local landlord with big plans for your pub and want to tell us all about them, get in touch and you could feature in a future issue of Mine’s a Pint.
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 Thursday 1st, 22nd October and 12th November
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Marquee available for events Arborfield Road,Shinfield, Reading,Berkshire,RG2 9EA Tel: 0118 9884130
So you want to be a pub customer?
The British pub is one of the greatest institutions in the world. The customers who frequent our pubs are a diverse bunch who enjoy a huge range of drinks which not many other countries offer, but there is a certain etiquette to going to the pub. So here’s a guide for would-be pub-goers.
DRESS Because pubs are so different in style and manner a sense of dress will apply as appropriate – for example, it is not clever to enter a posh bistro bar wearing a ten year old faded brewery T-Shirt which has seen better days and is often worn with saggy jeans and, yes – sandals. Loud beach shirts with shorts may look great in Pepe’s Bar in Spain but not in The Dog & Duck. Of course you want to make an impression in the pub but there are ways of doing that so choose your wardrobe with care. Because even if you think nobody’s looking - they are!
ORDERING DRINKS If you are with friends (assuming you have some!) it's always a good policy to work out the drinks order before going to the bar. Otherwise this may happen: “Yes Sir, what can I get you?” “A pint of bitter, mate.” “Which one Sir? We have ten.” “What do you recommend.?” “Another pub sir?” After trying three or four of the beers available: “Oh I don’t know, give me a lager instead.” “And for the ladies Sir?” “One gin and tonic.” “Ice and lemon Sir, slimline tonic?” “Oh, hang on I’ll go and ask.” Several minutes later: “Ice, no slice and fat tonic.” “Anything else? “Yes, a glass of white wine.”
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“Dry, Medium Dry or Sweet Sir? Small glass, medium glass or large glass?” “Hang on – I’ll go and ask.” Of course, all this time you are waiting to get just one pint of real ale – that’s all, just one pint please! “She’ll have a large medium white – oh with a splash of lemonade.” “Is that everything sir?” “No, Fred wants a Guinness!” Remember, always order the Guinness last – the staff love it. Now that the bar is packed with other customers waiting to get a drink, it is time to pay – so get your plastic out. “Sorry Sir, we don’t take cards.” “What! Every pub takes cards.” “Not us Sir, sorry.” Then complete panic breaks out as the group fumble around trying to find loose change in order to pay the bill. No rush – the other customers have either left by now or dropped dead of thirst. Actually to be fair lots of pubs now take cards but it doesn’t half add time to settling your bill and it really frustrates the cash customer behind you.
phones out and trek through the emails just in case George Clooney did actually call you back! Oh and by the way, staff in my opinion have a justified right to shoot you if you are using your phone while being served at the bar – that is just rude. (4) Don’t forget to spill a pint or two – it always causes hysterics amongst your mates. (5) It is not a crime to get rat-arsed but please do it in a dignified manner – effing and blinding is not funny; mooning is just not on and making stupid remarks to a barmaid is just out of order (and she’s probably heard all those corny lines before anyway!) (6) When the last bell goes that means that the bar is closed! Sorry but you missed last orders because you were shouting at your mates. And no, you can’t have just one more pint of Creme de Menthe even though you are smiling through a haze at the barmaid and you are one of the pub’s bestest-ever customers! So, anyway, get down the pub, choose your drink (real ale or cider of course) and enjoy yourself. And don’t take this too seriously. A. Scot
HAVING FUN Nobody likes a good laugh more than me – well actually everyone likes a good laugh more than me, but when you are in a pub with your mates there are a few things you should try and avoid. (1) You are sitting at a table and your best mate is directly opposite you, approx. 500mm away, so why are you shouting at him? (2) In fact let’s all shout at each other!
Do you work in a pub? Do you have any pet hates – things that the customers do that really annoy you? Let us know and maybe we can print a follow-up piece of good advice for customers. It works both ways of course, so if you have any stories from the customer side, again, let’s hear them.
(3) So, here we are all together for a beer and a chat. Wrong, let’s all get our mobile
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