IN THIS ISSUE
CAMPAIGN for REAL ALE
Pub & Brewery News New Members’ Coach Trip Small Beer CAMRA Members AGM 2014 Wargrave Snooker Club
READING UNIVERSITY REAL ALE SOCIETY
READ MORE ABOUT THE FUTURE OF REAL ALE INSIDE
THE CAMRA MAGAZINE FOR READING AND MID BERKSHIRE ISSUE TWENTY EIGHT • WINTER 2013 • FREE - PLEASE TAKE A COPY
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Events are open to all unless specified. zine, CAMRA and other important DECEMBER Mon 9: Branch strategy meeting. 20.00 start at Fox and Hounds, 51 Gosbrook Road, Caversham, RG4 8BN. CAMRA members only, please.
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Editor: Phil Gill firstname.lastname@example.org 0771 455 0293 81 Addison Road, Reading, RG1 8EG
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Tue 14: Branch meeting including Good Beer Guide 2015 selecReading & Mid Berkshire CAMRA tion. 20.00 start at Royal Oak, Ruscombe Lane, Ruscombe, www.readingcamra.org.uk RG10 9JN. CAMRA members only, please. FEBRUARY Thu 6: First Thursday of the Month Social. 20.00 start at Nags Head, 5 Russell Street, Reading, RG1 7XD (joint social with RURAS). Tue 11: Branch meeting. 20.00 start at Fox and Hounds, 116 City Road, Tilehurst, RG31 5SB. CAMRA members only, please. TBC
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Contents From the Editor Pub News WhatPub.com Pub of the Year 2014 Small Beer New Members’ Coach Trip Goof Beer Guide Selection Process Reading Univerity Real Ale Society Who’s Who Wargrave Snooker Club CAMRA Members AGM 2014 Join CAMRA
Branch contact: Katrina Fletcher email@example.com 0779 401 9437
4 5-9 11 13 14 - 15 16 - 17 19 20-21 22 23 24-27 30
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 March. Please feel free to submit copy or ideas by 20 February. The opinions expressed in Mine's a Pint are not necessarily those of the editor or the Campaign for Real Ale. © Campaign for Real Ale 2013/14.
From the Editor
If you’re reading this in the pub before Christmas, I hope you’re having a good time and enjoying one of the many great winter ales on offer.
MURDOCHS on Bath Road is closed and boarded up. The site is still for sale.
If you're reading this in the pub in January, good for you! A lot of our pubs really struggle in the first few weeks of the new year, and all those new year’s resolutions to have a month off alcohol don’t help. The thing is, pubs can’t survive on trade from people that just visit them once a year in the run up to Christmas – welcome as that trade is – and it’s up to us all to support our local all year round.
The CLIFTON ARMS on Gosbrook Road has won the Brakspear Best Cellar award 2013. This is a locals’ pub with Cask Marque and offering deals including pensioners’ lunches as well as two or three real ales.
When you’re sitting at home on those dark January evenings, remember all the good times your favourite pub has given you over the years. Think about how you can help to make sure those good times continue. Then stand up, put on your shoes and coat, and get yourself down the pub. Even if you’re not drinking alcohol, that’s fine, have a soft drink or a meal. The important thing is that you’re doing your bit at the time of year when pubs really need our support. Remember, if you’re not there for your local, your local might not be there for you. Phil Gill - Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
The WEE WAIF has changed hands and Glyn is the new landlady – welcome on board, Glyn! She is looking to increase her real ale trade at this Greene King house.
EARLEY The MAIDEN OVER on Silverdale Road has been offering a 20% discount on bottled ales on Tuesdays (there are plenty to choose from!) and 15% off draught ale take-outs all week.
HURST The JOLLY FARMER is a Greene King pub but keeps a guest beer on, with Dark Star American Pale Ale, St Peters Golden and Batemans Yella Belly featuring this autumn. The food is getting good reviews, being a mix of traditional pub food and an extensive Asian (Chinese, Thai, Malaysian) menu, all home cooked.
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Pub and Brewery News running the ELDON ARMS in Eldon Terrace. Welcome to the new tenants Adam and Hailey at this thoroughly redecorated Wadworth pub. After a period of absence, real cider is again available at the RETREAT in St John’s Street. The FORESTERS ARMS on Brunswick Street is the second local pub to be registered as an Asset of Community Value. This provides extra protection if the pub is ever put up for sale and means that local community groups have the first chance to bid for it.
KNOWL HILL Further to ours news in the last issue, we understand that Greg Clarke has left the BIRD IN HAND. We’d like some more feedback so let us know about your experience when you visit.
READING We have it on good authority that what was the Malthouse on the corner of Greyfriars Road / Tudor Road (near the station) is to reopen as a real ale pub called the GREYFRIAR. It had looked as though this pub was closed forever and would be converted to a shop, so the resurrection is great news. While the details of the new venture aren’t all known yet, we can expect a free of tie operation with several handpumps and possibly some craft beers too. Building works are going on as we go to press and we don’t have a planned opening date yet. But if it’s open by the time of our branch social on 2 January, that’s where we’ll be going! With all the improvements going on around the station this new venture must have great potential and we wish them all the very best for the future.
The HANDMADE BURGER COMPANY at the Oracle tells us that it carries bottled beers from West Berkshire Brewery, although they had run out on a visit in November. JR NEWSAGENTS at 41 Tilehurst Road is now selling a range of bottled ale including a selection from West Berkshire. The PURPLE TURTLE on Gun Street is having major refurbishment work done. Three real ales continue to be on offer and our reporter found St Austell Proper Job, Hook Norton Lion and Thwaites Crafty Devil when he visited. Savills commercial property website shows three Reading pubs up
Brian and Anne have retired after 39 years
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PUB NEWS CONTINUED for sale: the FISHERMAN’S COTTAGE on Kennetside (guide price £400,000), the BUTLER on Chatham Street (guide price also £400,000) and GOSPODA on Oxford Road (£325,000). All are still open and trading.
SHINFIELD We understand that the freehold of the ROYAL OAK on School Green has been put up for sale by Greene King.
STREATLEY At the SWAN HOTEL, don’t be fooled by the bar in front of you, you'll need to hang right and head into the next room to get served. Two local ales from West Berkshire were on sale on a recent visit: Good Old Boy and Old Father Thames. There are several plush carpeted rooms with comfy seating, and great outside terrace seating overlooking the Thames. Down the road at the BULL, there were four beers from the Marstons list plus Thatchers Heritage cider. A large, busy pub with multiple areas and many tables reserved for dining, but with plenty of drinking space. Exposed brickwork and floor to ceiling wood panelling made for quite a homely feel, and the garden has been renovated. Accommodation is available.
TILEHURST Welcome to Mark and Chrissie East, new landlords of the BUTCHERS ARMS in Lower Armour Road. Mark and Chrissie previously ran the Rowbarge in Guildford and built up a great reputation there, serving a variety of excellent beers and winning their local CAMRA Pub of the Year contest in 2012. Mark hopes to improve the quality and choice of ales at the Butchers, and said recently “Doombar is here (because I have to), West Berkshire Good Old Boy (because it's local) and the guest is Brains Merlin Oak”. This place should definitely be worth a visit so do drop by and support them if you're in the area. We’re told that the VICTORIA (formerly the White House) is to be refurbished and re-let by the owners, Punch Taverns. Indications are that it will be more eatingoriented but with a small sports bar.
WARREN ROW A planning application has been made to convert the SNOOTY FOX into a private house. We have objected as this is not just the only pub in the village, but pretty much the only community facility there full stop.
WARGRAVE The WHITE HART is an ex-pub, with plan-
The garden at the Bull
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BREWERY NEWS ning permission issued for change of use to a restaurant and takeaway. No sign of any real ale, just the standard keg lagers. At least the name remains. The BULL should by now be under the stewardship of previous landlady Jayne Worrall. Let’s hope she returns it to the successful pub it used to be. Welcome back, Jayne.
SHERFIELD VILLAGE Look out for the open beer tasting session at Sherfield Village Hall on Friday 13th December. Three free half pints, plus plenty more to buy, including bottles and 5, 10 or 20 litre boxes for Christmas (to be delivered in the days before Christmas). This was very successful last year, so make sure you pay a visit.
WOODLEY The GOOD COMPANIONS on Loddon Bridge Road continues to get good reviews for its real ale, including local beers. BREWERY NEWS
1643 Musket Mild has been dropped from the regularly brewed beers. 1643 Viscount, a 5.6% Golden Ale has been added to the regular range.
ASCOT The latest Single Hop is a 4.6% light copper coloured IPA called Agnus, a relatively new Czech variety that is not often seen. It has high alpha acids giving it good bitterness with a strong hoppy, spicy and herbal aroma. Also available for winter is Winter Reserve at 5.2%. This red coloured winter warmer is lightly spiced with ginger and cinnamon.
BINGHAMS Twyford Tipple (3.7%) won Food Product of the Year at the Bucks and Berks Food and Drink Awards 2013. Staff at the brewery were thrilled and Head Brewer Chris said, “We have always believed that Twyford Tipple is a great session beer, with its complex blend of malts helping to give it good body, followed by a refreshing citrus hop aftertaste provided by American hops.”
BUTTS Beer production remains pretty constant with Mudskipper being a good seller.
Special beers for Christmas are Yule Fuel (5.0%) and Auntie Ruth's Winter Warmer (6.0%), described as “a humdinger of a beer”. Both are destined for cask and bottle. If you’re quick you might also just catch some of the November special, Braggot (4.4%), made with the addition of West Berkshire honey from hives in Compton, just four miles from the brewery. The Good Old Boys club was launched in October. Around 30 people attended the first meeting and enjoyed advance tastings of new beers, a barbecue and a “spot the hops” competition. Annual subscription is £55 from www.wbbrew.com/good-old-boys-club/ - the website also has a shop where you can buy beer, or get vouchers for a brewery tour or real ale.
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3 West Berkshire Ales 5 Guest Ales Real Cider, Perry and Mead
Local CAMRA Cider Pub of the Year 2013 Pub quiz first Monday of the month
2 Broad Street Reading, RG1 2BH
01189 508119 the-alehouse-reading.co.uk email@example.com
A Community pub in the e heart of Reading e Follow us on twitter @AlehouseReading
Wee Waif Charvil Family Pub, Restaurant and Hotel At the Wee Waif we pride ourselves on the quality of our beer and the food we serve. We also have a very busy lodge with 42 bedrooms all on suite so you could stay over and really enjoy our beer. Sky and BT Sports • Beer Garden • Hungry Horse Menu
Boxing Day Offer Book a Table for Boxing Day and receive 20% OFF your food bill! Hurry space is limited. Festival Party Menu available, contact us for details
Wee Waif, Old Bath Road, Charvil Reading RG10 9RJ Phone : 01189440066 Mine’s a Pint 8
BREWERY NEWS CONTINUED The Rising Sun at Stockcross is offering a free pint of West Berkshire beer when you buy lunch there – visit their website at www.wbbrew.com/the-rising-sun to download a voucher.
WINDSOR AND ETON Mandarin is back for the winter. Last year the brewery said they virtually cornered the world market in a new hop, called Mandarina Bavaria, which has an orangey aroma. Even so Paddy, the Head Brewer, could only do 2 brews, but this year he has managed to acquire enough hops for five brews, beginning in December. As usual, Conqueror 1075 (7.4%) will also be available in draught during December.
The brewery’s new beer “Parklife” (3.2%) which was launched in July is developing a following and looks set to become a permanent offering. They have just ordered two more 40 barrel fermenters to complete their line of five. With the existing seven 20 barrel fermenters this gives them the ability to ferment 17 brew lengths.
ZERO DEGREES Elderflower is the latest special and is getting good reviews. Winter Bok is always eagerly anticipated and this year's should come out at 7.0%. A sneak preview from Angela, the brewster showed it to be a very drinkable, well-balanced amber beer, using lots of caramel malt and aroma hops. Make sure that the strength doesn't catch up with you!
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A charming 14th Century Country Inn between Maidenhead and Reading. The Inn serves a host of regularly changing Real Ales.
Join us for our Quiz Nights Winning team get a free round of drinks. No charge just a bit of fun! 8pm start
22nd Dec, 12th Jan, 2nd & 23rd Feb.
The beautifully refurbished Restaurant overlooks the garden and the Inglenook fire provides a warm and cosy setting. The Inn has 22 en-suite bedrooms - standard, superior and suites. One room is adapted for the disabled. Free wifi available throughout.
The Bird in Hand, Bath Road, Knowl Hill, Twyford, Berks RG10 9UP
Call: 01628 826622 / 2781 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit: www.birdinhand.co.uk
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Pub of the Year 2014 WHAT IS IT? Every year, the Reading & Mid Berkshire CAMRA branch awards its Pub of the Year (POTY) title to the pub voted for by branch members. This year, we’d like to publicize the process in order for extra people to get involved. It’s the most prestigious prize we can bestow and the more people voting, the better. Our winner plays off against the other three Berkshire branches in order to decide who is Berkshire POTY. It can then proceed through a number of larger inter-regional rounds and, if it’s judged best in class all the way through, end up as the National Pub of the Year. The Nags Head, our current Branch Pub of the Year, is in the last 16 for National Pub of the Year this time … so we have a good stock!
HOW DOES IT WORK? We select our POTY shortlist (usually between 4 to 6 pubs) based on the beer scores submitted for all our pubs over the preceding year or so. Any pub that has had over 20 ‘visits’ is eligible and we almost always pick the top pubs in % terms of ‘good’ scores to go through to POTY; the ‘best of the best’ if you will. This year our final six have all scored 90%+ on beer quality, which is a highly impressive achievement. They are: • Alehouse, Reading • Hop Leaf, Reading • Nags Head, Reading • Swan, Three Mile Cross • Royal Oak, Tilehurst • Bell, Waltham St Lawrence
than simply beer quality (although that makes up almost half the points available). The criteria - and their weighting - are laid out below. These criteria are the same as those used by the CAMRA Central Southern judging panel. • Quality of ale, cider or perry • Atmosphere and service • Clientele mix • Experience and value
CAN I JOIN IN? Yes! If you're a member of CAMRA or an affiliated organisation (e.g. Reading University Real Ale Society). Judging for this year's POTY opens on December 1st and runs until January 31st, 2014. So, having read the above, get involved! In order to participate, email email@example.com quoting your CAMRA membership number. A form will be emailed through for you to take to the nominated pubs, score, and return. We only insist on two things: • That all listed pubs are visited • That you score fairly and honestly So make sure you get on board and make your opinion known.
These pubs are then subject to further visits where they are scored in a broader context
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Small Beer A roundup of news and information... LOCALE UPDATE LocAle is the CAMRA scheme to accredit and promote pubs that serve locally-brewed beer. Every year we start with a clean sheet when deciding which pubs to accredit, and it's about time to start putting together the list for 2014. As a reminder, beer brewed within 30 miles of Kings Meadow in Reading (the beer festival site) qualifies, and it must be on sale at all times to justify accreditation. Look out for the 2014 list in the spring issue of Mine's a Pint. One late addition to the 2013 accreditation list is the Good Companions on Loddon Bridge Road in Woodley. The Alehouse in Broad Street, Reading offers eight handpumps. Twice in the last
BOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS Look out for another book from our local historian and CAMRA expert, John Dearing. “Reading Book of Days” is one of a series published by the History Press covering major towns and cities and provides a page a day diary with a story about a historical event that occurred on that day with a Reading connection. Editor John has also contributed stories about Reading’s pubs and breweries and the history of CAMRA in Reading. Available in book shops and online with a cover price of £9.99.
month, all eight had LocAle beers on sale – a cause for celebration! A new brewery is in the offing at the Cricketers’ Arms, Littleworth, Oxfordshire. This will fall within the 30 miles cutoff so will be another LocAle brewery for us, making 40 in total.
STUDENTS Six Reading University students have been collaborating with Sherfield Village Brewery to brew their own beer. They came up with a four-hop copper-coloured beer which will finish at around the 5.2% mark. Initial discussions suggest that Park House university bar will be happy to stock and sell it. We think this Or if you’re looking at the world stage, try an all-new collection of 300 unmissable world beers. In this CAMRA follow-up to the best-selling 300 Beers to Try Before You Die!, award-winning beer writer Roger Protz selects 300 more beers that represent the very best and most interesting products of the brewer's art available today. The beers are organised by style and indexed by country and name so you can jump right in and explore beers of a style you've enjoyed before, or dare to try something a little different. Available at £14.99, or £12.99 to CAMRA members at https://shop.camra.org.uk/
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SMALL BEER will be the first time that a real ale has been sold on campus that's been brewed by its own students.
27 Bramshill Close, Arborfield, Reading RG2 9PL
Tel: 0118 9760850
CAMRA MEMBERS’ WEEKEND The CAMRA Members' Weekend, featuring the National AGM and conference, will take place at the Spa Complex in Scarborough, on Friday 25th - Sunday 27th April 2014. Pre-registration to this event is now open and we hope that you will be able to make this key event in CAMRA’s calendar. This is your opportunity to influence CAMRA policy, elect people to the National Executive and help decide on the future direction for the campaign. Plus it’s a great social event with a beer festival happening all weekend, plenty of pubs in town and a selection of special trips to breweries and cider makers. For more details about the venue, local area, accommodation and travel, see the advert in this issue. Then register online at camraagm.org.uk to guarantee your place.
We are a pub that serves good wholesome food not a restaurant that sells beer!
• Five ales always available •
We always have something special on offer: when it’s cold outside, keep warm by the fire while in summer you and the kids will enjoy our outdoor family seating area. Steve & Marie look forward to offering you a warm welcome.
Sign up for offers at:
New Members’ Coach Trip This is a tale about a journey from Reading to a Travellers Rest, then via a vegetarian Shoulder of Mutton and a Royal Oak without branches to a Flour Barn – then back to an equine body part. Yes, it was a trip to Tutts Clump Cider, then on to the regional runner-up Pub of the Year and the Cider Pub of the Year, on to the West Berkshire Brewery and finally back to the Nags Head – our Regional Pub of the Year. On the first Saturday in November, a coach of new CAMRA members, plus some of our branch stalwarts, wound its way through the Berkshire countryside lanes to visit some of the best reasons in our area to not be teetotal. None of us had visited the Travellers Rest Farm, home of Tutts Clump, before. So our 26-seater coach crawled slowly along Hungerford Lane and, at the end, there it was. (Why Hungerford Lane? Hungerford is 20 miles away. Does anyone know?) Tim Wale was slaving away with sacks and sacks of apples leaning against 1,000 litre storage tanks. Inside we saw a mass of large plastic 220 litre barrels, all with small fermenting airlocks bubbling away. We watched Tim mill some apples, then assemble an apple “cheese” before setting his hydraulic press going. Then it was time to taste some of his offerings and compare notes on our favourite sample. I was surprised that I saw only one or two wasps around – then I spotted his wasp deterrent. It’s a commercial product like a soggy balloon roughly in the shape of a wasp’s nest. It seems that wasps see it and think they’ve entered another swarm’s home territory and leave quickly – cunning and so simple.
From there we made our way cross-country through narrow lanes and some stunning scenery to Wantage to visit the region’s Cider Pub of the Year and the region’s runner-up Pub of the Year. At both the Royal Oak and the Shoulder of Mutton we were spoilt for choice of beers and cider. These two excellent pubs are less than 5 minutes’ walk apart and the Shoulder of Mutton is meat-free, serving an excellent range of tasty vegetarian dishes.
Two years ago, our branch was the first group to visit the West Berkshire Brewery’s new site on Frilsham Home Farm, just outside Yattendon. Then, they were at the test-brewing stage. Their set up was huge compared to the one out the back of the village shop. Now, it’s even grander, with a massive light-and-airy sales area, with a three-hand pump bar at which we queued for pints of their delicious beer. Dave Maggs has taken a step-back from the immense load he shouldered for many years of both brewing and running the brewery. But he was simply a delight to listen to as he showed us round their palatial buildings. Nothing remains of the old flour barn but
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The Nag’s Head
Award-winning, family Cider makers since 2006 firstname.lastname@example.org www.tuttsclumpcider.co.uk the new barns are more like warehouses and house malt, hops and beer. It’s not just beer you can buy at Frilsham Home Farm estate, as across the courtyard there’s an independent wine merchant too.
Tel: 0118 974 4649 or 07836 296996
Our coach took us back to our final stop, Reading’s regional Pub of the Year, The Nag’s Head. It was about half-past five and it was heaving. The coach party squeezed inside. I’d meant to keep a count of the number of different beers and ciders we’d seen that day, but the total increased so fast that the quality of the small proportion I sampled eclipsed the importance of the quantity I could have tried. Maybe we should try it again next year and I’ll have another go. Brian Jones
BREAKING NEWS A new shop is opening in Harris Arcade – the Grumpy Goat. They will supply ales and cheeses from local breweries and dairies, plus a mix from around the UK. Chutneys, oils, crackers and ciders will also be stocked. They’re hoping to open before Christmas.
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Lots of Real Ale and Cider, freshly prepared seasonal food and crackling log fires
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Waltham St Lawrence RG10 0JJ
Year from Iain, Scott and
Tel: 01189 341788
all the Staff at The Bell
The Maiden Over www.themaidenover.com
Four draught cask ales featuring at least two local ales Beer Garden • Pool Table • Darts • Board Games • Family Friendly Open until midnight seven nights a week 0 r 10 Ove rent ble to la diffeales avai way a d e e k l a tt or t T l bo loca rink in OUN S) C d S I T D U (15% TAKE O ON
As featured in the Good Beer Guide 2014
Coffee shop open from 8.30am New menu now available featuring
The Maiden Over, Silverdale Road, Earley, Reading RG6 7NG Tel: 01189667575
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Good Beer Guide Pub Selection January’s CAMRA branch meeting will have a very important item on the agenda – selecting pubs to survey for the Good Beer Guide for 2015. Have you ever wondered how it’s done? Each CAMRA branch is responsible for the entries in its area. For the Reading and Mid Berkshire area, we have up to 18 slots that we can fill. You can see the choices for 2014 by getting a copy of the Guide from the CAMRA shop: https://shop.camra.org.uk/ Each listed pub must consistently serve real ale of good quality. To help us decide which are the best 18 pubs, we collect beer quality information through CAMRA’s National Beer Scoring System (NBSS). Members are asked to contribute scores for pubs throughout the year, and it’s easy to score your beers. Log in to CAMRA’s online pub guide, WhatPub (http://whatpub.com), using your membership number and the same password that you use to enter the CAMRA national website. Search for the pub and enter a score for each beer that you drank in the Submit Beer Scores panel on the right of the screen. There’s plenty of help and information about NBSS on the Beer Scoring tab. A version of WhatPub is optimised for use on a smartphone, so you can even score your beer in the pub while you drink it! If you don’t have access at all, then we take scores on spreadsheets, by text, on bits of paper, by e-mail; any way, really. Having collected all the beer scores over the year, a report is generated in January giving information about the top scoring pubs. This is presented to the branch meeting “blind”, in other words the scoring data is there but there are no pub names or locations, to avoid any bias in the selection process. The meeting chooses the top 18
pubs plus a couple of reserves, to go forward for detailed surveying. To make this work better, we need many more members to enter their beer scores. We value the opinions of all members, whether active or not, and we need as many opinions for as many pints in as many pubs as possible. The more evidence that’s fed into the decision, the more confident we can be that the choice is right. If you have any queries about scoring or want to send in beer scores other than through WhatPub, e-mail: email@example.com NBSS works all across the country, not just in our branch area. So feel free to send in beer scores wherever you are, and they’ll find their way to the right CAMRA branch. If you’re not a member but would like your opinions about beer quality in pubs to count, then join CAMRA! Phil Gill (based on an original article by Steve Barber of Cornwall CAMRA)
The Reading University Real Ale Society (RURAS), which is affiliated to CAMRA, has gone from strength to strength in the last few years. Society president and newly appointed branch young members contact, Jamie Duffield, is in his 3rd year of four in a BA Ed in Primary Education and is quick to pay tribute to the work of the presidents that have gone before him. “We wouldn’t be where we were now if it weren’t for the work of previous committees”, he said, “The society was dug out of the grave a few years back and I hope that it continues and builds after I have left”. He went on to say that “It’s important to support local breweries and pubs to ensure that the people who make and sell good beer remain in business. If people don’t go to the pub then pubs just won’t be there in the future”. This year’s freshers fayre at the university doubled the society’s membership from 20 at the end of last term to nearly 40, and various activities have already taken place.
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ersity Real Ale Society Encouraging people to sign up finds its basis in encouraging people to try real ale. A cask of specially brewed beer was available during and after the freshers fayre. Those at the stand encouraged people who hadn’t tried real ale before to go over and give it a go, where they were greeted by further members of the committee who could give more details and information away from the cheerful, but deafening, din of the tent. The society runs home brewing sessions, with beginners learning the basics using commercial kits. Intermediate sessions focus more on extract brewing, which skips the mashing process by using malt extract, and the characteristics of different hops and the effects of adding them at different times. The society also own a brew kit which they loan out to members who want to use it.
for next term. November brought a day at Sherfield Village Brewery, where members of the society brewed a beer of their own devising, from scratch, coming in the new year to a pub near you! They are also in negotiations with Park House, which has recently started selling Real Ale, to have a cask in there. This will to our knowledge be the first beer brewed by Reading university students to be sold on the university campus. RURAS members volunteered at both Reading and Sherfield beer festivals and intend to do the same next year. Of course, no Real Ale society would be complete without plenty of pub visits. After the epic freshers week crawl which took in a total of 12 pubs over 12 hours (halves were encouraged) official pub meets have happened every two weeks, on alternating Thursdays and Saturdays. RURAS members also often join CAMRA first Thursday socials (see branch diary for details). This term has also seen the beginning of the first local Student Pub of the Year award, the winner of which will be announced in June. Katrina Fletcher
RURAS CONSTITUTION The Society Constitution states they will: The sessions have seen a huge explosion in popularity this term. Most recent brews have included an IPA with crushed coriander, elderflower and orange peel, and a classic English Best Bitter, using Fuggles and Goldings hops, which should be ready to drink in January. The term began with a well attended trip to Bingham’s brewery in Twyford. Last year they visited Lovibonds in Henley, and a visit to Rebellion Brewery in Marlow is planned
• Support local breweries, pubs, and beer festivals • Learn to make their own beer (starting with kits and then moving on to more in depth processes) • Provide members with the level of information that they need and want, and arrange brewery tours and visits • Appreciate Real Ale in all its forms and glories.
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Who’s Who in Local CAMRA In November the Reading and Mid Berkshire branch of CAMRA held its AGM at the Corn Stores in Reading. After a review of the last year, reports of achievements and discussion of important issues about beer, cider and pubs, it was time to elect a new branch committee and officials. Dan Cane-Honeysett was re-elected as branch Chairman. Other committee posts were elected as follows:
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Hog Roast Specialists Ring for details
Regular Jazz Nights
Sandie Gill – Secretary Martin Harbor – Treasurer Dave McKerchar – Pubs Officer Brian Jones – Membership Secretary Phil Gill – Campaigns Officer Dave Scott – Beer Festival Organiser Other branch officials elected were: Paul Scrivens – Cider Coordinator Katrina Fletcher – Branch Contact Jamie Duffield – Young Members Coordinator Phil Gill – Mine’s a Pint Editor Gareth Epps – Public Affairs Officer Carl Mellors – Press and Publicity Officer Jon Parish – Social Secretary Matt Bruce – Webmaster Steve Cooley – Pub Preservation Officer The post of Clubs Officer remained vacant following Joe Cuthbertson stepping down so, if you fancy being our eyes and ears in the world of local social clubs, please get in touch. Over the coming issues of Mine’s a Pint you can get to know some of these names and what the roles involve, in our “Meet the Committee” feature.
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Thursday 12th December & Thursday 23rd January Marquee available for events Arborfield Road,Shinfield, Reading,Berkshire,RG2 9EA Tel: 0118 9884130
Wargrave Snooker Club For many pub-goers, social clubs are easily overlooked even though there is lots of good quality real ale to be found in them. One such club, which this article focuses on, is the 2013 Reading and Mid Berks Branch Club of the Year (COTY) – Wargrave and District Snooker Club. The Good Beer Guide listed club is just off Wargrave High Street by the village crossroads, and can be found inside the Grade II listed Woodclyffe Hostel. The club has been a deserving winner of the local COTY award for several years and has a reputation for well kept beer. It serves two ales during the winter months and one in the summer. On a notice board in the bar area is a beer “wish list” on which members can write requests for future beers and comment on the quality of those which have been recently served. The notice board also displays a schedule of the planned upcoming casks over the next two months. The schedule clearly distinguishes those which have never been served before, allowing members and visitors to know when “new” beers are coming up. This formula works well and means there is always a good mix of familiar and unfamiliar beers available, resulting in approximately 80 different ales served each year.
size tables. There’s currently a £40 annual membership fee (£20 for concessions including students, OAPs and junior members). Mel Davies, who was responsible for beer ordering until last year, has been a member since 1968 but informed me that the club had been going for some years prior to him joining. Mel has been succeeded by Graham Alston, whose enthusiasm for beer quality clearly shines through when you speak to him. During our visit on 1 November where we presented the 2013 COTY certificate to the committee members, Growler Bitter and Upham Tipster were both in excellent condition and served with a smile. The club is well worth a visit - why not pop in for a pint one evening? I'm always keen to receive information on local clubs – please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org Joe Cuthbertson
Staffed by unpaid volunteers, the club is open from 19:00 – 23:00 on weekdays, and on occasional weekends during rugby internationals, when the sport is shown on the Club’s TV. Card-carrying CAMRA members or those with a copy of the Good Beer Guide are welcome and will be signed in by one of the members working behind the bar.
Wargrave and District Snooker Club committee members being presented with CAMRA Reading and Mid Berkshire Branch 2013 Club of the Year Award.
The club also has bar billiards, darts, chess, various games and a host of books to read, whilst the adjoining snooker hall has 3 full-
Front row, from left: Mel Davies (ex cellar man and beer orderer), Joe Cuthbertson, Graham Alston (current cellar man and beer orderer).
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ew t N en er m nd ge U ana M
4 Cask Ales New Food Menu including Sunday Roasts Live Bands • Pool table • Darts Billards • Beer Garden Families Welcome! Fairwater Drive, Woodley RG5 3EZ Tel: 0118 9267846 www.thethatcherstavern.com
Traditional Cask Ales
KNOWL HILL COMMON RG10 9YE
Set in Hurst in the Beautiful Berkshire countryside just outside of Reading and Wokingham we are open daily from midday serving homemade food and world renowned Beverages.
The Royal Oak at Knowl Hill, Bershire is a small Homely family village pub. The locals say “It’s the hub of our village”, ideal for walkers, cyclists and is situated by The Knowl Hill Bridel Path, so it is also great to hack out to for lunch.
Book now for Christmas Dinner
3 Real Ales
- limited availablity 2 courses £19.95 3 courses £24.95 4 courses £29.95
Families Welcome Live Sport • Sunday Lunch from £7.50 Davis Street, Hurst, Reading, West Berkshire RG10 0TH
Tel: 01189 341881
Jolly Farmer Hurst
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Food Served: Evening:
12 - 2.30pm
6pm - 9pm
Call 01628 822 010 for more information
The campaigning magazine for the Reading and Mid Berkshire Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). Winter 2013