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IN THIS ISSUE
THE CAMRA MAGAZINE FOR READING AND MID BERKSHIRE ISSUE THIRTY ONE • AUTUMN 2014 • FREE - PLEASE TAKE A COPY
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Fri 26: Southall Curry Night. Meet 19.30 onwards for drinks at the Conservative Club, High Street, Southall, UB1 Editor: Phil Gill 3HB, then Nagina Karahi restaurant at 20.45. Contact email@example.com John Robinson on 0118 940 2787 / 0790 434 3187 / 0771 455 0293 firstname.lastname@example.org
81 Addison Road, Reading, RG1 8EG
Thu 2: First Thursday of the Month Social. 20.00 start in Burghfield Village (Reading Road, RG30 3TH) – Hatch Gate then Six Bells (for quiz night). Fri 3 – Sat 4: Ascot Racecourse Beer Festival. 50% off admission for CAMRA members – use the promotion code “BEER14” when booking and show your card on arrival. See www.ascot.co.uk for details.
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Tue 14: Branch meeting. 20.00 start. Royal Oak (Buratta’s), Reading & Mid Berkshire CAMRA Ruscombe Lane, Ruscombe, Twyford, RG10 9JN – conser- www.readingcamra.org.uk vatory at rear of pub. CAMRA members only, please. Social Secretary: Jon Parish email@example.com Sat 25: Beer Census. A survey of the real ales on sale in the branch area. To help contact Katrina Fletcher on 0779 401 9437. 07977 483 334
Sat 1: CAMRA Super-Regional Conference. Conference Chamber, Town Hall, St Aldate's, Oxford, OX1 1BX.
Contact for all other branch matters: Katrina Fletcher firstname.lastname@example.org 0779 401 9437
Thu 6: First Thursday of the Month Social. 20.00 start. Park House bar, Reading University, Whiteknights Campus, Local Trading Standards Reading Borough Council: Reading, RG6 6AQ.
www.reading.gov.uk 0118 937 3737
Tue 11: Branch AGM. 20.00 start. Corn Stores, 10 Forbury West Berkshire Council: Road, Reading, RG1 1SE – upstairs. CAMRA members www.westberks.gov.uk 01635 519930 only, please. Wed 26 Nov: Branch Strategy Meeting – review of the last year and deciding our strategy for the next. 20.00 start at Fox and Hounds, 51 Gosbrook Road, Caversham, RG4 8BN. CAMRA members only, please. DECEMBER
Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead: www.rbwm.gov.uk 01628 683800 Wokingham Borough Council: www.wokingham.gov.uk 0118 974 6400
Thu 4: Christmas Meal. Details TBC. Register your interest The next issue of Mine’s a Pint will be with Dan Cane-Honeysett on 07811 403701. published in December. Please feel free Thu 11: Branch 40th Birthday. to submit copy or ideas by 8 November.
See www.readingcamra.org.uk for updates.
The opinions expressed in Mine’s a Pint are
For details of an event with no contact listed, to suggest an event not necessarily those of the editor or the Campaign for Real Ale. © Campaign for or to receive regular e-mail updates of the branch diary, contact Real Ale 2014. Jon Parish: email@example.com / 07977 483 334.
From the Editor Pubs Matter. They matter to the economy, they matter to local communities and they matter to the social fabric of our country. A few months ago, figures were released that showed the rate of pub closures in the UK increasing from 26 to 28 per week. I'm now sad to say that the figure has risen to 31 per week (Source: CGA / CAMRA Pub Tracker). London and the South East is now the worsthit area, with eight pubs a week closing their doors, and Reading hasn't escaped the storm.
We think it's wrong that communities are left powerless when a popular local pub is threatened with demolition or conversion into a supermarket or housing. What sort of communities? Try Silverdale Road in Earley, where the fate that Tesco has in mind for the Maiden Over is conversion to a supermarket. Or in Theale, where a developer has already closed one village pub and converted it to housing, and now wants to do the same with the Red Lion. Will your community be the next to be hit?
In response, CAMRA has launched its Pubs Matter campaign, which calls on the Government to recognise that pubs matter and make a simple change to the law in England so that a planning application is always required before a pub is demolished or converted into another use.
If you think communities should have a say, then visit www.pubsmatter.org.uk today. You can read in this issue more about the community fightback, and also read some people's stories who will inspire you to get active within CAMRA and lend your help to our campaigns.
The Bull Hotel WARGRAVE RG10 8DD TEL 01189 403120
Phil Gill - Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
A delightful 15th Century former coaching inn, totally refurbished following Jayne’s return. We have a well deserved excellent reputation for food and Jayne’s Sunday Roast is a firm favourite. For the beer lovers we serve Brakspear ales, a regular guest ale along with wide selection of quality wines. Kitchen Closed on Sunday evenings only
EVENING DINING £5 LUNCH MENU £25 per couple Mon to Sat only. Choice of Mon to Thurs, 2 main courses with a bottle of house wine. Selected Menu Valid October - Novenber 2014
FRIDAY NIGHTS £30 per couple
friday night only. Fish and chips with a bottle of fizz.
5 dishes. Selected Menu
Contents From the Editor
Pub & Brewery News
5 - 11
Cider Pub of the Year
12 - 13
14 - 15
Valid October - Novenber 2014
Good Beer Guide 2015
SUNDAY ROAST £25 per couple
Jayne’s sunday roast with yorkshire puddings Valid October - Novenber 2014
We also have 5 very comfortable ensuite bedrooms, please call for further details and bookings
20 - 23
The Dieseases Hitting Reading’s Pubs
24 - 25
26 - 27
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Pub and Brewery News Pub News
CAVERSHAM The ALTO LOUNGE on Church Street now serves no real ale and has had its one handpump removed. Replacing it on the bar is a keg beer called Cruiser, from the Bristol Beer Factory.
good beer quality and entries in the Good Beer Guide is down to a team effort. Manager Rebecca Turner-Smith has paid testament to the efforts of the entire team and managers past and present, and wants to reinforce the pub’s commitment to and focus on real ale.
EARLEY The MAIDEN OVER on Silverdale Road was closed at short notice and owner Enterprise Inns want to lease it to Tesco for a supermarket. Locals and CAMRA are fighting back. Read more about this in Gareth Epps' article in this magazine.
One place you might not expect to find any beer is MY ALACARTE restaurant on Prospect Street. In fact there's a choice of three bottles from Loddon Brewery, and the food comes highly recommended. In Caversham Heights Grosvenor on Kidmore Road, the GROSVENOR has been serving up consistently good quality real ale in recent months. There's 20p off every pint of real ale for CAMRA members, which we enjoyed at August’s First Thursday of the Month social. In response to the piece in the last issue about the BARON CADOGAN on Prospect Street, we're happy to acknowledge that the pub’s
A visit to the OLD BELL over the summer produced Sharps Doom Bar, West Berks Dr Hexter's Healer and St Austell Tribute on handpump. This spacious Chef and Brewer pub is found on Goring Lane and, like all Chef and Brewer outlets, offers a 10% discount on real ale to CAMRA members.
NEWBURY Out of our area, but definitely of interest is an application for a micropub in Inch’s Yard, Market Street. Micropubs are a new concept of small, wet-led pubs, often converted from shops, and this one is just 24 square metres in size. If approved it will be the first that we know of in Berkshire. Planned name is the Cow and Cask.
PLAYHATCH Recent events at the FLOWING SPRING on Henley Road have included chilli week – featuring “the ultimate chilli pizza”. Just after CONTINUED OVERLEAF
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PUB NEWS CONTINUED publication of this magazine, on 14 September, the pub takes on the Baskerville, Orwell’s and Plowden Arms in a grand tug of war tournament at the Shiplake Village Summer Party. An Autumn Real Ale and Cider Festival is planned for 3 – 5 October.
Katrina Fletcher is leaving the ALEHOUSE on Broad Street on 22 September. We hope this iconic pub will stay in safe hands. It’s been nominated as an Asset of Community Value, with a decision due from Reading Borough Council just after we went to print. As expected, the planning application to convert the WOODLEY ARMS on Waldeck Street into four flats was approved in July. The ROSE AND THISTLE in Argyle Road has been refurbished with new carpets, new furniture and redecoration throughout. A few extra handpumps sell mainly Greene King products, with St Austell Tribute also spotted on a visit over the summer. Bottled Good Old Boy from West Berkshire Brewery is available in the bar at the CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL, just by
Caversham Bridge. The riverside terrace is lovely and a great place to watch the sunset. EVISSA bar and nightclub on Castle Street is having a makeover and is due to reopen as RYND. There’s a suggestion that craft beers may be on sale after it reopens. Meanwhile, the latest bar on Friar Street to get a makeover in Friar Street is the Bed Bar, which is to reopen in September as MATCHBOX, advertising “club Greyfriar and cocktails”. A belated welcome to Andy Saxby who is the new manager of the GREYFRIAR on Greyfriars Road. This pub has six handpumps serving a changing range of beers. On Monday and Tuesday all ales are 20% off, and CAMRA members get the same discount all week. Alongside that a sandwich deli counter is available Monday to Friday 12-3pm plus, for something a little different, there's a wide selection of gins including a different “gin of the week” every week. Another welcome for a new landlord – Tom Ludbrook has taken over the FORESTERS ARMS in Brunswick Street. It’s a traditional locals’ pub close to the town centre, with two bars, three handpumps for real ale and a beer garden with play area. Tom hopes to feature beers from local breweries wherever possible, alongside nationally known names – West Berkshire, Andwell and Abingdon breweries featured on a recent visit.
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PUB NEWS CONTINUED The BUTLER on Chatham Street has been sold by Fullers and is now run by a group including Ted Allnut from the Nags Head. It’s not intended to be a “Nags Mark 2” but the range of real ale has immediately increased to up to six, mainly from local microbreweries. The place will be refurbished and upgraded over time and more of what is a very large and historic building brought back into use. We hope to feature more about their plans in the next issue. At the end of August the ROEBUCK on Auckland Road held its first “Oscars Night” to celebrate the achievements of locals in categories including Best Entertainment and Most Contribution to the Local Community. Details of the winners were unavailable when we went to press but we’re sure it was a good night. The pub is open all day with food served 12-9pm, and offers pool and darts for customers. Three ales were on sale on a recent visit – Abbot, IPA and a 3.9% house beer, all from Greene King. Two unexpected real ale gains are the FRUIT BAT on Erleigh Road and the ROYAL ALBION on Oxford Road. Recent visits yielded Sharps Doom Bar and Marstons New World at the Fruit Bat, with Greene King IPA and Golden Hen at the Royal Albion.
Tom and Vikki welcome you to their community pub...
The EST FORArmsERS Offering 3 Real Ales with a selection from local breweries, regular live music nights and wine and real ale tasting evenings. We have a large beer garden at the rear with a kids play area and are a dog friendly pub. Families are more than welcome. We hope to see you soon! The Foresters Arms 79-81 Brumswick Street,Reading RG1 6NY
The ELDON ARMS on Eldon Terrace closed at the end of July. There's no evidence yet that owners Wadworth Brewery are looking for new tenants but we hope that it reopens soon. Read more about this in Gareth Epps’ article. Nearby pub the LYNDHURST on the corner of Watlington Street also suddenly closed in mid August. At the time of writing its future was unclear but the location and previous good levels of trade must weigh in its favour. Also in the same part of town, there seems to be some stability at the RETREAT on St John’s Street, with a new landlord and talk of a small budget for refurbishment, starting with the toilets. Reports have reached us that the HORNCASTLE on the A4 Bath Road has closed.
The Eldon Arms before its recent closure CONTINUED OVERLEAF
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Supplying all your brewing needs throughout Reading and the surrounding area We currently have the largest stock of beer, lager, wine and spirit kits in Berkshire. Pop in and be spoilt for choice. See for yourself just how easy it is to make your own home brew and become part of a fast-growing breed of ‘master brewers’ in your own home.
Perfect for Parties, BBQ’s or watching the big game with your mates! Opening Times Monday to Friday: 11am - 6pm Saturday: 10am - 5pm Sunday: Closed
DELIV ER SERVI Y C Availa E ble
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PUB NEWS CONTINUED
Professor Keith Wesnes is the new landlord of the FISHERMAN'S COTTAGE on Kennetside, having bought it from Fullers. It will be reopening as an independent freehold family run pub, offering a wide range of beer and cider, from both large and local breweries. It’s currently undergoing a full refurbishment, and is hoping to open this autumn. You can keep up with progress on the Facebook page “The Fishermans Cottage” or website www.thefishermanscottagereading.co.uk
SHINFIELD Enabling works to convert the ROYAL OAK on School Green into a supermarket have been approved and are well underway. This is an area that needs your support, and luckily the improved bus service on the no.3 “Leopard” route makes visiting all the pubs along the road to Arborfield a lot easier than before.
The ELEPHANT AND CASTLE has had a bar refit and now sports six handpumps (two always Abbot Ale and Morlands, with four other guests), together with a real cider. Landlords Pennie and Wayne also offer a menu of traditional pub fayre, with much of the produce sourced locally. Best of all, there’s 10p off a pint for card-carrying CAMRA members. You can find the pub on Lodge Road, near the B3030 / A321 junction, a little way south of Twyford.
THEALE Following the closure of the RED LION on Church Street, a planning application has been submitted for residential conversion, with demolition of the skittle alley and new flats in its place. Nine dwellings are proposed. The company behind it appears to be the same one that closed the nearby Lamb in 2011, and looks to be on some kind of mission to rid Theale of its pubs – although quite why, remains a mystery.
WOODLEY Just like its Caversham cousin the Alto Lounge, the BOSCO LOUNGE has also had its handpump removed and no longer serves real ale.
BREWERY NEWS OVERLEAF
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BREWERY NEWS Brewery News
winners were then judged against each other and Doodle Stout was awarded a Bronze Medal overall.
ASCOT ALES September’s Single Hop brew is Amethyst, a Czech Republic variety that has earthy, citrus and spicy aromas. October’s offering is Palisade, a USA variety with citrus, blackcurrant and grapefruit aromas.
The multi award winning Anastasia's Exile Stout (5.0%) is now available in rebranded form as one of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party Co-ALE-ition ales. It's called Monsters in The Dark.
A new name that we understand is a “nano brewery” based in Eastern Avenue, Reading. The ½ BBL plant (144 pints) is based in a garden workshop and, to date, our only sight of the beers has been in bottles in the Grumpy Goat.
LODDON CAMRA members can get 10% off all purchases of beer from the brewery shop.
BINGHAMS The popular, single hopped 4.5% Craft Hop Series continues with Herkules from Germany, Waimea from New Zealand and then Chelan from America. A 5.0% beer called Summer should be brewed just before the Summer disappears, and will be single hopped with Australian Summer hops. Hop Harvest will also make an appearance in September – a golden, 3.7% beer made with fresh rather than dried hops for a different hop character. The beer has to be brewed within 24 hours of the hops being harvested to get the full benefit of the flavour. The brewery scooped two Gold medals and a Bronze at the SIBA South East Competition held in July. The Gold medals were for Doodle Stout in the Porters, Stouts, Old Ales & Strong Milds Category, and for Chris Bingham with his Vanilla Stout in dog Stout, the inspirathe Speciality tion for the Doodle Stout Beer Category. range The category
It's hoped that Loddon beer will be available at the Bottle and Glass in Binfield Heath when it reopens. The pub closed in July 2013 but has now been bought from Brakspear Pub Company by Lord Phillimore, on whose estate the brewery is based. The pub will be let and will continue to serve the local community.
SHERFIELD VILLAGE The brewery is supporting its local Sherfield on Loddon Beer Festival, to be held on 27 September at Sherfield Village Hall. See www.sherfieldbeerfestival.org.uk for more details.
SIREN CRAFT Two new fermentation tanks were installed in August and a new bottling line is making life much easier for the team. There's a great video of it in action on the Facebook page “Siren Craft Brew”. Half Mast at 2.8% is getting great reviews in local pubs.
WEST BERKSHIRE Tommy Atkins Traditional Ale has been brewed to mark 100 years since the start of the First World War. There are four different labels, each featuring a soldier's war story
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The Rolls family at the launch event for Tommy Atkins Ale along with their picture, and all from the Royal Berkshire Regiment. The beer was launched at a special event at the Allied Arms, where families of the soldiers featured were presented with a gift box of the commemorative beer. The Allied is in the hands of the Rolls family and the current landlord is the grandson of George Rolls – one of the soldiers who adorns the bottle labels and pump clips. George volunteered in 1914, seeing action in many battles, and was one of only sixteen survivors from his original battalion.
WINDSOR AND ETON With the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta coming up next year, and as the closest brewery to Runnymede, Windsor and Eton are brewing a celebratory beer. To reflect the democratic principles of Magna Carta this is a beer “by the people for the people”, assisted by the London Amateur Brewers. The winning beer is by Manmohan Birdi and he joined the brewery, along with his daughter Jani and beer writer Roger Protz, to brew his recipe on 21 June. The first brew will be available from early September.
48 SURLEY ROW, EMMER GREEN Tel: 01189 481507 Quiz night every Wednesday from 8.30pm
SEPTEMBER EVENTS Thursday 25th - Psychic Night Saturday 27th Buble Vs Williams Tribute Act Fantastic range of drinks including a selection of Real Ales at brilliant prices.
Be part of the proper pub of Emmer Green!
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I’m sure most readers will know about CAMRA’s national Pub of the Year award, but fewer will know about our national cider equivalent. However, you may be surprised that this competition is now 10 years old. The latest winner, the Railway Arms in Downham Market, Norfolk received unprecedented media coverage, with TV crews from both local BBC and ITV featuring the presentation. The popularity, interest and availability of real cider and perry has greatly increased during these 10 years. Over 1,500 pubs have signed up to the ‘Real Cider Sold Here’ initiative and CAMRA currently gets around 200 nominations for the Cider POTY award. So what makes a great real cider pub? The most important factor is obviously quality real cider and perry in top condition, which is on sale all year round. The other top priority is given to pubs that have knowledgeable licensees and staff who care passionately about the product, are committed to explaining its virtues and who make every effort to promote it. In addition, the other criteria are those used in the national
Pub of the Year, e.g. community focus, atmosphere style and décor, service and welcome, sympathy with CAMRA’s aims, and overall value. Currently, pubs (or clubs) can be self-nominated, nominated by a branch, an individual member, or even a non member; but, as more and more branches run their own competitions, the intention is to move towards a position of every branch putting forward their branch Cider POTY winner for judging in a regional round. Until most branches are doing this, “public” nominations, and those from non-members, will continue. Public nominations, either from individual members or non-members are invited during October and November. This is done using the form either printed in What’s Brewing, on the CAMRA website or in the branch mailout. After this deadline, branches are sent details of any entries in their area. They consider these and can add further nominations if wished. The branch selects its winner and these are then notified to the Regional Cider Co-ordinator by about the end of March.
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CIDER PUB OF THE YEAR COMPETITION Regional judging then takes place, to come up with the 16 regional winners by mid May. The Cider POTY Organiser randomly arranges these into 4 groups of 4 regional winners to form a super-regional round, with these results in by about mid July. The 4 winners from this stage then form the finalists and the overall national winner is chosen by early September. Details of these final 4 are kept confidential so as to maximise publicity for the ultimate winner, which usually receives its accolade on 1st October, to coincide with the start of CAMRA’s Cider and Perry Month promotion. So far, there have been winners from seven CAMRA regions: Central Southern [2012: Royal Oak in Wantage], South West, Wessex, East Anglia, Yorkshire, East Midlands and West Pennines. Perhaps we can add other regions to this list soon.
Award-winning, family Cider makers since 2006 email@example.com www.tuttsclumpcider.co.uk Tel: 0118 974 4649 or 07836 296996
Let’s see if we can all encourage pubs to stock this fantastic traditional product which is truly enjoying a great resurgence and hopefully they can benefit from this with increased sales to ever discerning real cider drinkers. It also helps preserve the existence of so many of our wonderful orchards, small producers and many of the fascinating characters who enrich many a visit! Sarah Newson Cider Pub of the Year Organiser
One of the many benefits of CAMRA membership is £20 worth of Wetherspoons vouchers every year. Just in time for Cider Month in October, these vouchers can now be used to buy real cider as well as real ale, so cider drinkers now get just as much benefit as other members.
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Small Beer A roundup of news and information... On the brewery front there are two new breweries that fall within our LocAle area (a 30 mile radius from Reading). Both with good real ale names – “Malt” from Prestwood in Bucks, and “Mash”, based at East Stratton, Hants. Also coming soon is Hedgehog Brewery, who have been trial brewing in Cobham in Surrey but are now installing their proper plant at Stroud Farm, Virginia Water.
CLUB OF THE YEAR
CHAMPION BEER OF BRITAIN Our branch Club of the Year has been announced and the winner is, once again, the Wargrave Snooker Club. Branch members are seen here presenting the certificate to this perennial favourite. The clubs serves up to two real ales and pub games including bar billiards are available in the lounge, together with three full-size snooker tables in a separate room. You can find the club behind the library in the Woodclyffe Hostel in Church Street, Wargrave, although beware of the restricted opening hours (711pm, weekdays only).
UPDATE We welcome the Crown on the Bridge in Bridge Street, Caversham, the latest pub to join the LocAle scheme. Two real ales from Loddon are usually available, and in good condition on recent visits. Unfortunately the Maiden Over in Earley has closed and so can no longer be a member of the scheme.
The winners of this year’s Champion Beer of Britain have been announced and are: Gold – Timothy Taylors, Boltmaker Silver – Oakham, Citra Bronze – Salopian, Darwin’s Origin Boltmaker is a regular beer in this area at the Swan at Three Mile Cross, so why not pay them a visit and try the winner.
SAVE MONEY – JOIN CAMRA NOW If this issue of Mine’s a Pint has tempted you to join CAMRA, do it now to take advantage of the current membership rates. The last rise in subscriptions was back in mid 2012 but, from 1 January 2015, rates will rise to take account of rising costs – for instance, postage has risen by 25% since the last rate change. Single membership if paid by direct debit is currently £23 and will rise to £24. Joint membership will rise from £28 to £29.50 and still represents great value. Why not lock in at the current rates now? You'll find a membership form towards the back of this magazine.
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SUPER-REGIONAL CONFERENCE CAMRA will once again be running a series of super-regional conferences in the autumn and one is to be held not too far away in Oxford. The conferences are an opportunity for CAMRA members to discuss the policy and direction of the campaign and are a good chance to catch up if you can’t make it to the national AGM. 1 November is the date, so mark it in your diary now. There will be more information available in What’s Brewing (CAMRA’s monthly newspaper) and on camra.org.uk closer to the date.
Where everyone is welcome, from the young to the old, and our four legged friends too!
6 Cask Ales & Real Hand Pump Cider BT & Sky Sports Homemade Food
Seperate Family Bar
Sir Tom Jones has topped a poll of pop and rock stars people would most want to have a pint of beer with. CAMRA’s survey, undertaken for the Great British Beer Festival, showed that Sir Tom would be the most popular drinking companion. Robbie Williams, Gary Barlow and Annie Lennox also featured in the poll.
Free Function Hire Children’s Play Area Dogs Welcome
Real Ale rs for Real Cide bers m e M A R CAM
Pub Quiz Thursday Come down and meet the team and see what a real pub is.
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*CAMRA Membership card must be presented
KNOWL HILL COMMON RG10 9YE 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.
3 Real Ales Opening Times: 11am to 11pm Mon to Sat, 12pm to 10.30pm Sunday
Food Served: All day Saturday and Sunday
Call 01628 822 010 for more information
3 West Berkshire Ales 5 Guest Ales Real Cider, Perry and Mead Local CAMRA Pub of the Year 2014 Runner Up Local CAMRA Cider Pub of the Year 2013 & 2014 Pub quiz first Monday of the month
2 Broad Street Reading, RG1 2BH
01189 508119 the-alehouse-reading.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org
A Community pub in the e heart of Reading e
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Follow us on twitter @AlehouseReading
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 Free Entry. Winning team get a free round of drinks. No charge just a bit of fun! 8pm start
21st Sept, 12th Oct, 2nd &. 23rd Nov, 14th Dec.
The beautifully refurbished Restaurant overlooks the garden and the Inglenook fire provides a warm and cosy setting. The Inn has 22 en-suite bedrooms - standard, superior and suites. One room is adapted for the disabled. Free wifi available throughout.
The Bird in Hand, Bath Road, Knowl Hill, Twyford, Berks RG10 9UP
Call: 01628 826622 / 2781 Email: email@example.com Visit: www.birdinhand.co.uk
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Please tell me more about your lovely beers! There has probably never been so much real ale in this country and so many new brewers have started up that it is often difficult to keep up with it all. So when I see a pump clip on the front of a handpull I am always keen to find out more about the beer being sold. However, this is not always possible as so many brewers produce clips with little or no information on them. Quite often a very clever (or silly?) name or amusing picture or, quite often, just the name of the beer - that’s about it. OK, I don’t need a tirade of brewing terminology or to know which field the hops were grown in, but I would like to know a bit more about the brew on offer. So what do I want to see on the pump clip? Well, here’s my list: (a) the brewery name (b) where the beer is brewed (c) the ABV, which is a guide to the strength of the beer, and (d) some indication of the style of the beer e.g. “a golden, citrus ale made using New World hops” or “a ruby-red bitter with a malty finish”. Of course, you can still have the clever name and amusing picture (though I have to admit that a few of them are a bit tasteless) but please let me know what the beer is going to be like. Several brewers provide descriptions on little tags on
the rear of the handpump and this gives the bar staff some information about the ale, which they can impart to the punter. Many good pubs will also have blackboards giving a brief description of the beer on offer and most will offer you a small sample to try it. But I have been into a lot of pubs where the pump clip had no information and the bar staff had no idea about the taste, colour or aroma of the ale. Locally, if you want to see what I’m on about, then look no further than Binghams of Twyford who provide all the information I could ever want on their pump clips. There’s also Sherfield Village who tell me about the beers and most of our other local brewers do likewise. But I think more of them (large and small) need to match Binghams style and give us the same amount of information about each brew, especially as there are so many new types of beer and so many seasonal ales being produced. I love them and enjoy searching them out, so a little more info on the pump clip and I will be able to enjoy them even more! Dave McKerchar
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Introduction The story of yeast in human development is immensely important and it goes back to the dawn of civilisation. Remnants of yeast have been found amongst early Egyptian artefacts dating back to around 4,000 BC. Yeast is vital to the production of beer and leavened bread and also takes a part in the production of most blue cheeses; we could live without it but the world would be a much blander place. Yeast produces the alcohol that we like to be present in our beer but most of the yeast is removed by settling so that the end product is usually clear. During fermentation yeast also acts as a barrier to other bacteria and also provides a chemical environment that discourages growth of other bugs. The Biology of Yeast Yeast is a single-celled microorganism, technically classified as a fungus and is within the Eukaryota domain. There are around 1,500 different species of yeast, but beer drinkers are particularly interested in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae (beer yeast) and its sub-species which ingest carbohydrates/ sugars and produce carbon dioxide and alcohol in a process called fermentation.
Yeast Cell Mag nified, courtesy of www.woodl andbrew.com Beer yeast works in a wet environment and needs water to remain active â€“ in the brewing process this water is called Wort. Carbon dioxide bubbles to the surface, escaping into the atmosphere when possible but near the end of the brewing process is captured and remains dissolved in the beer. It is responsible for the condition or fizz in good beer that adds to the pleasure of consumption. The alcohol stays in solution but eventually the concentration of alcohol poisons the yeast itself which dies and begins to decay. Various strains of yeast have different tolerance to the concentration of alcohol, and this will usually limit the strength of the beer to around 10% to 15% but special varieties such as Champagne yeast can go up to over 20%.
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ALL ABOUT YEAST
In the fourth of a series of articles about the ingredients of beer, Russ Wood talks about the living organism that helps it all develop – yeast. Photos are by Russ unless otherwise stated.
The flavour of a beer is defined by the combination of ingredients, processes and yeast. Brewers prefer to use a yeast that they know well, and relatively recently they have been able to keep samples of their yeast in a Yeast Bank. This acts as both a storage facility and a laboratory which will store a viable sample of the yeast and generate new yeast generations under controlled conditions so the brewer can call on them as a sort of insurance policy should they get an uncontrolled mutation or an infection (or a total loss in a fire) and can get back to the original yeast. The History of Yeast Back before recorded history, someone in the Middle East left some grains in a bowl of water. The natural yeasts from the surface of the grain or from the atmosphere fermented with the sweet sugars in the grain and produced alcohol. The result was seen as a gift from God! When brewers became a bit more organised they soon discovered that if they re-used the froth skimmed off the top of one batch of beer as a starter for the next batch, the beer would ferment much more quickly and the results were much more predictable. Yeast has been the subject of research for a lot of scientists who subsequently became famous. Louis Pasteur discovered in 1857 that if you blow oxygen through
a yeast broth the cell division rate will increase but the amount of fermentation will decrease. Emil Christian Hansen worked for the Carlsberg brewery in Denmark and managed to refine a batch of yeast cells so that there was only a single strain of yeast present, he named this Saccharomyces carlsbergensis in honour of his employer. This strain has been used since 1883 for the production of most of the Lager style yeasts (this yeast is nowadays called Saccharomyces pastorianus after Pasteur). Top Fermented Beer Top fermented beer is the style that we associate with most British beers. When the yeast works it floats to the top of the ferment. The yeast on the very top dries out a bit and forms a crust that acts as a barrier to external contamination. Top fermenting yeast ferments very quickly and generally ferments the wort in beer within 3-5 days. When beer is fermented in the summer months in the UK it can get too hot so many brewers' fermentation vessels have cooling coils running round the edge to “attemporate” it. These same coils can also be used to warm it up a bit in winter. Beer brewed with a top fermenting yeast generally has a warmer taste. It should be tasted at 12°C where the best natural flavours develop.
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YEAST - CONTINUED Bottom Fermented Beer Beer production used to be a seasonal operation in many European countries, where it was often too hot in summer to ferment reliably. Beer was made in winter and spring and then stored in caves so it could be consumed all year round. Lager is the German word for “to store”. Bottom fermented beer generally has a cleaner and sharper taste than top fermented. It should be consumed at a lower temperature than other beers, the taste suffers if it is too warm. Some of the mass production brewers (who may brew over beech wood and use rice in the wort) use a far cooler temperature to disguise the inferior quality of their offering. Longer storage means that the yeast has longer to settle out and the beer was naturally clearer than what was available up until then. Around 1842 Joseph Groll, a Bavarian-born brewer from Plzen brewed the first golden
Yeast waiting to be pitched beer using light malts with lower protein and the benefit of the local soft water. This became known as Pilsner Urquell (original pilsner). The clarity and lightness of the new beer made a move from opaque stoneware, metal and leather drinking vessels to glass which made the beer more appealing. Spontaneous Fermentation Lambic beer, generally brewed in Belgium, depends upon spontaneous fermentation. The brewer does not pitch a specific yeast
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YEAST - CONTINUED but the wort “catches” the local yeast from the environment. Lambic Beer will be the subject of an article to be published in a future issue of Mine’s a Pint. Wine production depends upon the yeast already present on the skins of the grapes. This is one reason why grape juice is not boiled during production. Bottle Conditioned Beer Bottle conditioning provides an extra dimension of taste to a beer. It allows the beer to approach the complexity of taste of a good cask-conditioned draught beer. Uncontrolled fermentation in a bottle will cause a build-up of pressure with the carbon dioxide so the brewer wants to ensure that the bottle doesn’t burst. The beer has to be fermented to a stage where only a precise amount of the sugars remain. One way is to ensure that all the sugars have been fermented out first and then add a precise amount of new wort to each bottle in a process called priming.
Cloudy or Clear Working yeast is suspended throughout the wort. As the sugar is consumed the dormant yeast cells will settle to the bottom. When it has settled sufficiently the beer will be poured off this yeast into casks, tanks etc. A small quantity of yeast will remain in suspension for secondary fermentation to occur in the cellar of the brewery. Just before it is delivered to the pub the brewer may add a fining agent to help the yeast to fully settle. Some brewers intend that their beer is served cloudy and do not filter their beer at all or add finings. A little bit of yeast will not harm the drinker. Wheat beers and Saisons are usually cloudy, and other beer styles can be cloudy, especially if they have exotic ingredients and brewers should indicate on the pump clip if a beer should not be served clear. Did You Know? The Oregon State legislature officially appointed Beer Yeast as the Official State Microbe. La méthode champenoise that was traditionally used for bottled champagne was invented by an English cider maker Christopher Merret, beating the discovery 20 years later by Dom Perignon. Yeast multiplies as part of the process of fermentation and as a by-product can cost money to dispose of. I believe that the brewers actually pay Unilever to take away the raw-material for their delicious Marmite product (love it or hate it!).
Square open-top fermenting vessel Some brewers will filter the beer so that all of the original yeast is removed and replaced by a slow-acting yeast that will also form a firm sediment that won’t kick-up and be cloudy when it is poured by a drinker with a steady hand. Another reason to substitute the yeast for a more durable one is to make sure that the dormant yeast cells don’t actually die and generate off flavours.
When beer ferments it produces a lot of CO² so that if it is not properly vented to the outside air the brewery workers have to wear breathing apparatus and work in pairs. In years past there have been a number of deaths!
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the spring when Punch Taverns shut the Red Lion and sold it to a developer. The skittle alley, the only one in the area (the only other in our branch is at the Gardeners Arms in Emmer Green), is proposed to be demolished as part of a residential development application. CAMRA is objecting and the recent pub protection policy introduced by West Berkshire Council will be tested in this case where no effort took place to market the pub as a going concern.
The Causes Supermarket conversions: The Maiden Over, Earley At a week’s notice, Earley’s Good Beer Guide - listed community pub was shut by Enterprise Inns amid reports Tesco had signed a lease. This meant that attempting to list the pub as a community asset was to no avail; government policy allows pubs to change to supermarkets without needing planning permission (unlike a residential conversion). One measure remained to try and keep the pub open; the quickly-formed residents’ group asked for a little used tool called an Article 4 Direction to force Tesco to seek planning permission [see the definition to the right]. To our delight, Wokingham councillors overruled their officers' recommendation and imposed the Article 4 just as we went to press. The Facebook group “Maiden Its Not Over” has been set up by campaigners. Sold to a developer: The Red Lion, Theale Another sudden closure of a Good Beer Guide-listed community pub took place in
The toxic cocktail of high rents, low repairs and poor licensee relations: The Lyndhurst and The Eldon Arms Instances of pubcos and some family brewers mistreating licensees have grown in recent years, with 4 critical Business Select Committee reports leading to action in this year’s Queen’s Speech. This includes reports of astronomical rent increases, artificially high costs, poor building maintenance and dubious advice, with some licensees complaining about being sold a lease under false pretences. Part of the reason for pub closures is that potential entrants to the trade are being warned off. According to reports, both the Eldon and Lyndhurst closed due to different problems between the pubco or brewery owner and the publicans involved.
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Gareth Epps writes about the diseases threatening the future of our pubs – the causes and cures.
Hitting Reading’s Pubs The technical bit … Change of use is legally defined as development. Development requires planning permission. Change of use from pub to shop is automatically granted permission by national policy. An Article 4 Direction removes that nationallygranted permission and means that instead permission has to be sought from the local council for the change of use.
The Cures Industry reform The Fair Deal for your Local campaign is winning part of its battle to deal with pubcos mistreating licensees as a statutory code of practice is being brought in, with a powerful adjudicator. CAMRA wants the Government to finish the job and ensure publicans are no worse off in a tied pubco lease than if they were free of tie. The missing ingredient is the right of a publican to be offered a fair market rent only option, so wholesale beer prices become the same as in the free trade. Join the campaign at www.fairdealforyourlocal.com and write to your MP to press for action on this.
It does not save the pub on its own, but it does mean that the proposal has to go through the planning process and be properly examined. It means that local communities can have their say. And it levels the playing field dramatically. If you think that change of use should always require planning permission, then sign the petition on the Pubs Matter website.
Planning reform - because Pubs Matter In August CAMRA launched a new campaign to close the very rules that Tesco and Enterprise tried to exploit in shutting the Maiden Over. It will focus on requiring planning permission to turn a pub into a supermarket, as well as strengthening the Asset of Community Value process. www.pubsmatter.org.uk
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Why Volunteer? CAMRA is a Campaign of Two Halves – there's a social side and a more active, campaigning side. The social side is important because it’s fun … the campaigning side is important because, without real ale and the pubs to drink it in, the social side wouldn't exist. So you’re a CAMRA member, but how can
Nick Boley Role: Regional Director Lives: Bracknell Joined CAMRA: 1976 I joined CAMRA after a few friends (who were members) pointed out that the beer I liked was actually real ale. So I joined, and immediately set out to visit local Good Beer Guide pubs where I lived in Essex. When I got back to uni, I found that a couple of my closest friends had gone through the same thing! Much exploration of Leicestershire watering holes ensued. I went to a few meetings early on, but found them tedious. I went to meetings over the years in different areas to see what went on, but nothing had changed. My involvement as an active member came after a change of personal circumstances. After going to a members weekend in Southport, my first meeting was the Berkshire South East branch AGM! Everyone was welcoming and I started to make good friends and really enjoy what we did - at first the social side and then as magazine editor, before progressing to branch chair. It taught me that activating people starts with keeping a fun element and being friendly and welcoming, alongside the branch business.
you get more involved with the campaign? And, more importantly, why should you? Here are some stories from two local people who are active at all levels of CAMRA. They explain in their own words how and why they joined, and why they volunteer to do more for the campaign. Five years as branch chair is enough, and so standing for RD - once all the children had passed their 18th birthdays - was the logical step. Having taken a keen interest in what went on at regional and national levels it wasn’t a big step except for the time commitment. And I am enjoying it, the little grey cells get stretched, and I keep meeting some great people and making new friends. In fact, the wonderful people I have met through CAMRA and the friendships formed over a pint or three is reward enough for getting involved in itself. As to the future, who knows, but I know I could do a job in the campaign at any level.
Jamie Duffield Role: Young Members’ Contact Lives: Reading Joined CAMRA: 2013 Hi, my name is JD, I am moving into my fourth year at university and in my spare time I work at the Alehouse on the bar and in the cellar. I am also a keen home brewer, enjoy working at beer festivals and enjoy a good pint of stout even in the summer weather! I became involved with CAMRA originally
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because I was the President of Reading University's Real Ale Society (RURAS). As an officially affiliated society, at the time I felt that we were disconnected from the local real ale scene and should seek to build bridges between students and the wider community, be that in socialising, campaigning or brewing. With CAMRA’s backing, we set up our very first ongoing pub of the year competition with great success and have organised socials and meetings with the intentions of intermingling our members.
As a result of our efforts, RURAS won last year's “Most Improved Society” award at the societies ball. I ended up volunteering for the role of young members' contact last year, with the intention of maintaining the link between RURAS and CAMRA from the other side of the fence. I am also responsible for organising joint socials as well as other events within the young members' community.
If JD or Nick have inspired you, then please come along to one of our local branch events or speak to Katrina, our branch contact, to find out more. Events and contact details are listed on page 3 and we'd love to see you.
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The campaigning magazine of the Reading and Mid Berkshire CAMRA Branch. Autumn 2014