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THE CAMRA MAGAZINE FOR READING AND MID BERKSHIRE ISSUE THIRTY • SUMMER 2014 • FREE - PLEASE TAKE A COPY
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Contents From the Editor Pub & Brewery News
4 5 - 13
14 - 17
Reading Beer Festival Review
19 - 21
Pubco Reform Real Ale in a Bottle
Good Beer - Good Health
Maidenhead Beer Festival
Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead: www.rbwm.gov.uk 01628 683800 Wokingham Borough Council: www.wokingham.gov.uk 0118 974 6400 The next issue of Mine’s a Pint will be published in September. Please feel free to submit copy or ideas by 15 August. The opinions expressed in Mine’s a Pint are not necessarily those of the editor or the Campaign for Real Ale. © Campaign for Real Ale 2014.
From the Editor In the last issue I talked about the flourishing real ale scene in Reading, and the success stories coming out of our town. That all still holds true. But when putting together this issue, I was struck by the amount of news about pub closures in the area. What appear to be successful pubs can be closed on the whim of the owner – like the Red Lion in Theale (see the cover photo), which we were shocked and surprised to find boarded up recently. We can’t be complacent about this. While some new pubs do open, the latest CGA-CAMRA Pub Tracker, covering the period of April-December 2013, shows that the number of net pub closures in the UK has risen from 26 to 28 per week – showing that much more needs to be done to protect our pubs and the jobs and communities they help sustain.
pubs are taxed out of existence it's not just a building that's lost, it's also a place of employment and a social facility for all the community. So we need to keep pushing, keep fighting and keep campaigning. Of course, what better way to campaign FOR real ale than to showcase it in a positive and fun environment. We did just that in May, with the Reading Beer and Cider Festival at King’s Meadow. I'm sure that many people reading this will have attended, and many will also have volunteered to work to put the show on – thank you to you all. You can see some photos of our 20th anniversary beer festival in this issue. Here’s to the next 20 years! Cheers. Phil Gill - Editor email@example.com
Beer supports nearly one million jobs and generates over £22 billion in taxes, and sustaining our pubs is a key part of that. That’s why CAMRA earlier this year urged the government to: • Press ahead with plans for a Pubs Watchdog to protect licensees from high rents and beer prices charged by large pub companies. • Change planning laws to ensure pubs cannot be lost without planning permission being sought. • Freeze the rate of beer duty in this year’s budget. Three months on, and one of those goals has already been accomplished. In this year's budget it was great to see a cut in beer duty (1p per pint) for an unprecedented second year running, and a freeze in the tax on regular strength cider. One of CAMRA’s key campaigns is to stop beer tax killing beer and pubs, with the main aim being to ensure a long term freeze in beer duty. When
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Pub and Brewery News Pub News
BURGHFIELD COMMON The BANTAM has been closed for some months now and owners Arkells have put it up for sale at £350,000. It is an estate pub that operated successfully for most of the last 30 years, except during the tenure of the most recent management when trade dropped almost to zero. Local councillor Royce Longton has signed up about 70 people who say they would use the pub if it reopened again under the right management, and is keen to hear from anybody else interested in saving the pub. You can contact Royce on firstname.lastname@example.org . We have written to Arkells to seek their views on the property and hopefully we could encourage another local brewer to take it over, as its closure would be another blow for drinkers in the Burghfield area.
Griffin Anne-Marie McCarthy is no longer running the GRIFFIN on Church Road. She had been in charge for many years, building up a great reputation for the pub, and had recently overseen its successful refurbishment and reopening following its Christmas Eve fire. A Spirit Pub Company spokeswoman said, “We have a new team in place at The Griffin.” We’re sorry to see Anne-Marie go and we wish her every success in whatever her next venture may be.
The GROSVENOR on Kidmore Road offers CAMRA members a discount of 20p off a pint. This is a huge roadhouse and the only pub locally to be part of the Ember Inns chain. 4 or 5 real ales are on (with clearly marked prices – something that many other pubs would do well to take note of) and, on Mondays, all pints are just £2.49. Good value food is available all day, every day. Up to four ales from the Marstons range (Brakspear, Ringwood, Marstons etc.) are usually available at the PRINCE OF WALES at the top of Prospect Street. David Bragg, who has been cellaring the ales in the BARON CADOGAN over the last five years or so, has retired. We understand that David has been training up his successors so hopefully it'll be a smooth transition. It's worth noting the Baron's presence in the Good Beer Guide over the last few years – quite an achievement for a Wetherspoons – which is a testament to David's work and genuine enjoyment of ale. Cadogan’s Gold (Loddon Ferryman’s Gold) is still available alongside Ruddles Best and Greene King Abbot Ale, with three guest ales. At the FOX AND HOUNDS on Gosbrook Road, Kevin is planning their first beer festival for the end of July. It will kick off on Wednesday 30 July when Dark Star brewery will be taking over all 8 pumps on the bar. The beer festival will feature 20 beers plus 20 ciders and perries, and will run all weekend.
EARLEY Guests ales in good condition have been reported at the SPORTSMAN on Shinfield CONTINUED OVERLEAF
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PUB NEWS CONTINUED Road, and the pub has Cask Marque accreditation. Buses 9 and 144 (soon to be 3) stop outside. A correction to an item in the last issue – the landlord of the MAIDEN OVER on Silverdale Road is Warwick Heskins, not Warren. Sorry, Warwick! The pub is LocAle accredited on account of the massive range of local bottled beers available, which sit alongside up to four draught cask ales (often local too), cider and food including Pieminister pies.
HARE HATCH The QUEEN VICTORIA on the A4 had closed at the time of writing. If anyone has any more information, please get in touch. It means that both pubs in this part of the county (Queen Adelaide and Queen Victoria) appear to be no more.
HURST Food offers at the ELEPHANT AND CASTLE off the A321 at Whistley Green include children eat free with any main meal order (MondayThursday lunchtime) and Over-60s get two meals for £9.95 Monday-Saturday. Beer is from Greene King and their guest list.
Warwick is now also taking on the CATHERINE WHEEL in Newbury Not to be confused with the CASTLE in (formerly the Jack of Newbury). It should Hurst village itself, where we’re told there is have reopened by the time you read this, a one-day beer festival planned for 24 and there will have been a big revamp, with August, with extra beer and cider planned. a change of layout inside and redecoration outside. Warwick wants to turn round the KNOWL HILL pub's reputation, as he continues to do with the Maiden Over, and the new style pub will At the closed SEVEN STARS, there’s a planning application to convert the “coach have six handpumps serving mostly local house” (skittle alley) into two dwellings. ales with a chance of a guest national ale and cider. Local bottled beers and ciders will Permission already exists for change of use to one dwelling so this is likely to be a also feature, including a range of local, formality, but it's still a sad end for a proud national and foreign bottled craft beers, and historic roadside pub. while on the keg side the offer will be Meantime London Pale Ale together with some mainstream lagers, cider and stout. PLAYHATCH Pieminister pies will again be the main food On the Henley Road out of Caversham, just offer, together with home made Scotch past the Sonning roundabout eggs and Brays pork pies. Flowing Spring and slightly out of our CAMRA branch area, is the FLOWING EMMER GREEN SPRING. Unusually, this pub is on the first floor of the buildIf you want to play skittles in a ing, with a covered balcony pub locally, the GARDENERS overlooking the garden. A ARMS is your only choice Fullers pub, it serves the full nowadays … unless you know range of Fullers real ales plus differently? Let us know if there often a guest beer is on offer. are any other pubs in the area It also enjoys a good reputation for home where you can have a game. made food with options for vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free and dairy-free all avail-
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PUB NEWS CONTINUED able (there's also a “Grubcard” loyalty card for food). Recent events have included comedy nights and storytelling evenings, and if you're very quick you may just catch the Summer Ale and Cider Festival (13-15 June) featuring 13 real ales and six ciders. Even better news is that managers Nick and Hazel, who have worked hard to get the pub into the Good Beer Guide, have now signed a three year extension to their contract with Fullers.
READING As predicted in the last issue, a planning application has been made to convert the closed WOODLEY ARMS on Waldeck Street into four flats.
...and c losed
With the freehold now owned by a development company, there seems little hope of reopening if the application is granted. Thus will pass one of the finest examples of that rarity, the 1970s new-build pub. While it's not a popular period in architecture, there are very few of them still around and future generations need to be reminded of that period in our history. The ROEBUCK in Auckland Road was closed for four weeks this spring for a substantial makeover. Former footballer Mick Gooding was guest of honour at the reopening, and the new man in charge is ex-Nottingham Forest player Darren Brett. Darren, who also runs the ROYAL ALBION on Oxford Road as well as two
other pubs, says that “sport is at the heart of the Roebuck”. He plans regular darts and pool tournaments along with live music evenings. The pub is part of Greene King's Meet and Eat brand, so the real ale is from GK (IPA plus a seasonal) and food is available all day, every day, including a Sunday roast. The former two bars have reportedly been knocked into one and, if so, that's unfortunately another place that we can't hold a CAMRA meeting. News has reached us that the ROSE AND THISTLE in Argyle Road is to close in June for a refurbishment and that additional handpumps are to be installed, so hopefully we will see some guest ales in addition to the usual Greene King range. More about this pub in the next issue. Magnus Kraken has left the ALEHOUSE on Broad Street after acting as barman for almost 7 ½ years, and has relocated to Cambodia. We wish him all the best. The pub has added two craft keg options to the beer menu. Alongside the eight real ales (which will stay a permanent feature), several ciders and perries, and foreign bottles, the two new offerings are key keg beers from microbreweries – key kegs are the type where the gas doesn't touch the beer. Ashleigh Harris is no longer in charge of the GREYFRIAR and is going to run a pub in Wimbledon. This independent pub in Greyfriars Road, is now being run by acting landlord Richard Costa. The SUN and the HORN, nearneighbours on Castle Street, The Horn have both had a facelift and been generally smartened up. Let us know
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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 Free Entry. Winning team get a free round of drinks. No charge just a bit of fun! 8pm start
29th June, 20th July, 10th & 31st August, 21st September.
The beautifully refurbished Restaurant overlooks the garden and the Inglenook fire provides a warm and cosy setting. The Inn has 22 en-suite bedrooms - standard, superior and suites. One room is adapted for the disabled. Free wifi available throughout.
The Bird in Hand, Bath Road, Knowl Hill, Twyford, Berks RG10 9UP
Call: 01628 826622 / 2781 Email: email@example.com Visit: www.birdinhand.co.uk
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PUB NEWS CONTINUED your thoughts when you visit. The Sun is on Twitter @suninn_Reading for regular updates on the ales served and upcoming events. Brent Guiblin is the new manager there and two beers are available (Wells Bombardier and Caledonian Flying Dutchman on a recent visit).
The RISING SUN (Brakspear) has had a makeover and looks very smart on the outside. Beer-wise there is Brakspear Bitter and Wychwood Hobgoblin though we hope other beers from the Marston stable will be featured. This is a music venue, closed on
The old GLO bar in St Mary’s Butts has become a new bar / restaurant called Coconut, and apparently will specialise in Japanese food. The prospects of having any real ale seem slim. There are concerns over the future of the RED LION in Southampton Street as it has been noted to close early in the evenings and cask beer has not always been available. We will keep a watch on this ex-Whitbread (Wethered) pub. A real ale gain is a bar in the new Kennet Island development off Basingstoke Road, the ISLAND LOUNGE. It’s serving a single real ale – Hobgoblin when our reporter visited, possibly served using the Fast Cask system – and food is available most of the day. It’s great to see a new community having a bar as a focal point. The 52a bus stops outside. There's some confusion at Cemetery Junction, where the GRANBY remains closed while various developers come and go. Kwik Save were interested in converting it to a supermarket, but were said to have lost interest when Tesco announced they were opening a store nearby. In the meantime the pub remains shut, but there's a planning application to extend the ground floor so shop use remains the most likely outcome.
Sundays. A new loyalty scheme is available from the group that runs the MODERATION (Caversham Road), QUEENS HEAD (Christchurch Road) and WARWICK (Kings Road). After registering you get a card and collect points for any spending on food in any of the three venues, with offers available when you reach a certain number of points. At the time of writing there was a “£5 off food” voucher just for signing up. The closed WELLINGTON ARMS on Whitley Street has a planning application to create a separate entrance to the upper floor flats. This is usually the first sign that the owners intend the ground floor to become a shop. Our historian John Dearing notes: Wellington Arms, now at 70 Whitley Street, had its origins c.1840 with a beer shop run by Thomas Chesterman which became the Green Man. By 1859 Mary Chesterman had taken over the licence and the pub had acquired its new name. In the later 19th century James Noble was licensee for many years, followed by Edward Woodham. The CONTINUED OVERLEAF
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PUB NEWS CONTINUED present impressive building was built in 1897 to the design of William Ravenscroft. Long a Simonds house, it is now part of Enterprise Inns’ estate. On a similar theme, the ex-KENNET ARMS on Pell Street (what was previously the Claddagh Ring) has reopened as a convenience store and is now officially dead as a pub. There's encouraging news about the HOOK AND TACKLE in Katesgrove. It’s currently closed and we thought it might have shut forever, but it looks like it will have new owners and will remain as a pub, although we don’t know what kind and what cask beers (if any) it will offer. More news,
deck terrace in the garden. In May the NAGS HEAD on Russell Street saw the 400th different brewery deliver to their cellar, and the 3,000th different ale go on sale. This is our Branch Pub of the Year and, while the number of real ales on sale is not a major factor in choosing the winner, such a wide range is definitely a plus point.
SHINFIELD The ROYAL OAK on School Green has closed. The move appears to have been preplanned by Greene King as, literally within a few days of the closure, fully worked up plans were submitted to build houses on the car park and for works to convert the pub into a convenience store. In the last issue of Mine's a Pint we reported that over 200 pubs had been converted to supermarkets in the last two years, and sadly the trend continues in this area. Luckily the BELL AND BOTTLE next door is still open and serving three ales, so the local community hasn't been fully deprived of a pub. But the reduction in choice is bound to cut the overall amount of pub trade in the village, so let’s hope that the remaining pubs up their game and benefit from this change.
hopefully, in the next issue. After major refurbishment a few months ago, the PURPLE TURTLE on Gun Street is gaining a reputation for good quality real ale. Four handpumps are on the bar and dispense a variety of beers, often including one from Loddon. There are some interesting bottles in the fridges, too, and beer quality scores are holding up very well. If you last visited years ago then your perception of this bar will almost certainly be wrong – so give it another go, if only for the double-
The licensees at the BULL who have overseen an increase in beer quality over the last couple of years, have left the pub. On a positive note, we understand that the staff member running the cellar and choosing ales will by staying on under the new licensees, and that the pub will be staying open.
SULHAMSTEAD The SPRING INN on the A4 is confirmed as closed and to let at the time of writing. This is a “food led pub business” with masses of passing trade, and we hope that it will soon be reopen and popular once more.
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BREWERY NEWS We were shocked recently to hear that the RED LION on Church Street had suddenly closed. This pub in the heart of the village had served good ales from Rebellion and XT, alongside national brands like London Pride, and had one of the few remaining skittle alleys in the area. The future of the pub is unknown but it would be a sad loss if it was to close for good.
TILEHURST The VICTORIA on the corner of Norcot Road and Kentwood Hill has reopened after a makeover and initially was selling Sharps Doom Bar and Adnams Bitter. The 17 bus stops right
Hopping Mad Pale Ale 5.8% Erin’s Mosaic Pale Ale 6% Ginger Blackie - Ginger Stout 6.3% Roast Chestnut Stout 5.2% Winter Warmer Treacle Stout 7.8% Kevin isn’t sure yet on the timescale for starting up the brewery but he's looking at various options. In the meantime, it's fun to know that there are now two local brewers that own a lovely black dog called Stout!
ASCOT ALES The popular Single Hop IPA 4.6% series continues, and June’s offering is brewed with Ultra hops – a variety from the USA that has very fine mild, spicy, floral notes. July will showcase Triskel, a French variety, which is relatively new (2006) and has strong floral, fruit and citrus characteristics.
outside. The 5th FOX AND HOUNDS beer festival was held at the City Road pub in May. Up to 11 ales were on offer including Black Sheep and Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, plus local breweries were represented by Binghams Twyford Tipple and West Berkshire Good Old Boy. A marquee in the beer garden was home to entertainment included a charity race night, music from Oye Santana and a barbecue over the weekend. Brewery News
COMING SOON BLACKIES BREWERY Breaking cover at the Reading Beer Festival trade session were some test brews from what should soon become the area's newest brewery – Blackies. Kevin Black from Burghfield is hoping to start up his own brewery and showcased some of his recipes in bottled form, which by all accounts went very well. On offer were:
The brewery in Camberley has just had its first open days, which proved very popular with eight draught beers available to sample and also beer flavoured sausages.
BINGHAMS This is the other local brewer with a lovely black dog called Stout – a labradoodle who is now immortalised in the Doodle stout range – look out for the paw print on the label. Binghams have launched a series of 4.5% ABV monthly beers as part of a Craft Hop series which will all be brewed with extra pale Maris Otter malt and a single hop variety. The hops are sourced from around the world and have been chosen to provide a variety of different characters and flavours. The first one is “Dr Rudi” from New Zealand, which gives a big hop flavour with
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BREWERY NEWS CONTINUED lemongrass and a little pine needle aroma too. June and July see the next two beers in the series using Delta and Junga hops which are from the USA and Poland respectively. Danamite Blonde (brewed using a blend of Dana and Celeia hops) will also be returning in June by popular demand. Vanilla Stout will be in the final of the Champion Beer of Britain in the Speciality Beer category to be judged at the Great British Beer Festival – see the Small Beer item in this issue for more details.
LODDON June’s Beer of the Month is Summer Snowflake (4.1%), named after the common name of the local flower the “Loddon Lily”. It's the fourth year this ale has been brewed for June and the tasting notes say it’s a pale golden ale with a bright white head (like the flower after which it is named). Generously additions of Brewers Gold hops give a fruity edge. From 12-5pm Monday to Friday and 12-3.30pm on a Saturday you can now call in to the brewery for a pint of draught beer … in fact until the end of August opening hours are extended on Thursday and Friday until 7pm. Now you definitely have an excuse to visit Dunsden Green.
Award-winning, family Cider makers since 2006 firstname.lastname@example.org www.tuttsclumpcider.co.uk Tel: 0118 974 4649 or 07836 296996
The popular Green Bullet (4.3%) is back – this is a single-hop brew, hoppy and floral.
SIREN CRAFT To celebrate their 100th batch, Siren wanted to do something to highlight one of their favourite regular beers. So it was that more coffee, added cacao nibs, a huge helping of vanilla as well as an increase in alcohol to 9.8% took Broken Dream to Shattered Dream. It should be available in keg, a few casks and 330ml bottles, and
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BREWERY NEWS CONTINUED © Carmen Stone
800l has gone for ageing in spirit casks, so there are yet more flavours to come. The brewery is expanding and as part of this, a new bottling line is due to be commissioned at the end of July.
ZERODEGREES Go anywhere near a pub this summer and you won't fail to see that the World Cup is on. Brewers love to get in on the act with special beers and West Berkshire are kicking off their celebrations with IPAnema (4.0%). This is a golden, citrusy and hoppy IPA style beer, that should be great to enjoy in the summer sunshine. Tasting notes are “Slightly spicy with notes of tangerine and citrus. This hoppy beer is pleasantly bitter with a mild sweetness.” Watch out for it over the summer.
It's a warm welcome to Stuart, the new manager. Our brewster Angela is supplementing the range of beers brewed on site with Summer Bock (6.5%) and a Golden Ale (5%) has also been noted.
WINDSOR AND ETON A new beer is coming for the World Cup, brewed in collaboration with a new brewery in Brazil. Henrique and Zezzo visited W&E in 2013 before completing their own brewery in Blumenau, the craft brewing centre of Brazil. It goes by the odd name of “Container” and they are now brewing three beers. Both breweries will be brewing the same blonde beer, using guava and acai fruit which are known to work well in such beers in Brazil. Both will also be named after stadiums – Container’s beer will be called Wembley and Webrew’s will be named Maracana.
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Small Beer A roundup of news and information...
Drinkers enjoying last year's festival
GREAT BRITISH BEER FESTIVAL Enjoyed the Reading Beer and Cider Festival? Want to see what CAMRA’s showcase event in London is like? Then roll up, roll up, to Britain’s Biggest Pub. The Great British Beer Festival is at London Olympia from 12-16 August 2014 – and Kensington Olympia tube (District and Overground) is right next door. CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival will be bringing a carnival atmosphere to the
Olympia exhibition centre this summer with an extravagant circus theme complete with live-action circus performers. But fantastic beer will of course remain the star of the show, with over 350 different breweries offering 900 different real ales, ciders, perries and international beers to over 50,000 thirsty beer lovers throughout the week-long event. The festival will feature 29 bars including 11 brewery bars run by the nation’s biggest and best brewers of real ale, plus food and merchandise stalls as well as a full schedule of entertainment on the music stage. The event is set to be one of the biggest and best Great British Beer Festivals ever, so don’t miss out on your place. You can buy a ticket now via www.gbbf.org.uk/tickets
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REGIONAL PUB OF THE YEAR Judges have been visiting our local Pub of the Year winner, the Nags Head, as part of the regional round of the competition. The Nags is competing against the winning pubs from the other Berkshire CAMRA branches: Rose and Crown, Sandhurst (Berkshire South East branch) Carpenters Arms, Windsor (Slough, Windsor & Maidenhead branch) Five Bells, Wickham (West Berkshire branch) The winner should be announced soon so keep an eye out and, when you're next in those parts of the county, call in to the branch winners and pay them a visit.
1st: Fox and Hounds, Caversham 2nd: Nags Head, Reading 3rd: Alehouse, Reading At the recent RURAS AGM there were plenty of new faces elected onto the committee, with the key roles being filled by: President: Dom Humphries Secretary: Adam Jessop Treasurer: Jamie Gostlow
UPDATE Some updates to the list of LocAle accredited outlets in the last issue – Reading University have joined the scheme and their bars at Park House (main Whiteknights campus) and London Road are now accredited. Both are open to the public, and we were very impressed with the Park House bar when we held our May branch meeting there. Also new to the Locale scheme is the Butchers Arms at Tilehurst, where Mark and Chrissie East continue to make the pub more enticing to real ale drinkers. As ever, if you know of a place where “Real ale brewed within 30 miles of Kings Meadow is ordinarily on sale at all times” and is not yet accredited, please let us know.
RURAS – STUDENT SOCIETY
Still on a university theme, the Reading University Real Ale Society has held its own Pub of the Year contest and the results are:
Former President Jamie “JD” Duffield is now in his final year but has stayed on as social secretary / brewing coordinator. We have permission to use any of the photos from their Facebook page so we thought we’d better choose a nice one. So here is JD at Park House with Pete Cook of Sherfield Village Brewery, celebrating the launch of Extra Curricular, the beer brewed by society members.
MIKE BENNER After ten years as CAMRA’s Chief Executive and twenty years with CAMRA, Mike Benner has resigned as Chief Executive to take up the new post of Managing Director of SIBA, the Society of Independent Brewers. Colin Valentine, CAMRA Chairman, said: “While Mike will be sorely missed, I am confident that the staff team he has created is strong and that, as an organisation, we are in a very strong position to ensure conti-
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SMALL BEER - CONTINUED nuity in delivering our strategic campaigning objectives. I’m sure you will all take the opportunity to join me and my colleagues on the National Executive in thanking Mike for his hard work and commitment over the last twenty years and in wishing him the very best for the future.” Sandie Gill, former Regional Director for Central Southern, added: “He will be sorely missed. He has done a great deal of good for the campaign.”
CIDER NEWS Long Crendon cider was launched earlier this year. Produced at Long Crendon Manor in Buckinghamshire, it’s available through the XT Brewing Co, also based in the village. Being within 30 miles of Reading, this means we have a new local cider producer. This year four varieties are available, in strictly limited quantities. Each is medium dry, 5.5%, and named after the time of the apple harvest – giving us Late Summer, Early Autumn, Mid Autumn and Late Autumn. Among the celebrations of a second cut in beer duty in this year's budget, the news of a freeze on the duty on ordinary cider was rather overlooked. This means that the hated alcohol duty escalator, which had done so much to destroy jobs and communities, is now finally gone.
Half pints are the saviour of the drinker wanting to try several different beers in an evening, or moderate their alcohol intake. But we know that many people still want to use a pint glass, even if they’re drinking halves, because they think it looks and feels better. Now here’s a new take on the half pint glass. Online gift site gettingpersonal.co.uk has come up with a radical new approach of splitting the glass lengthways, rather than shrinking it to be a “mini me” version of a pint. Held at the right angle, it looks just like a regular pint glass. Go to www.gettingpersonal.co.uk/gifts/half-a-pint.htm to find out more and order.
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SMALL BEER - CONTINUED
New Beer Guides from CAMRA CAMRA has published two new beer guides that are worth checking out – the 7th edition of the ever-popular Good Beer Guide Belgium, and the all-new Beer Select-O-Pedia. Both are available from CAMRA at www.camra.org.uk/shop and in all other good bookshops.
GBG BELGIUM The GBG Belgium, by Tim Webb and Joe Stange, is made up of two equally useful parts. Firstly every Belgian brewery is listed and described, together with the over 900 beers that are produced in the country, each of which is given a star rating. Then the book turns to where to drink them, and lists over 500 bars, cafés, bistros and beer shops that are hand-picked by the authors. Organised into regional listings, each bar entry includes full address information, details of the size and range of the beer list and the key dos and don’ts for visitors. Tim says: “With an increasing audience for handcrafted, de-industrialised and non-corporate beers, Belgian brewing's distinctive blend of tradition, invention and quality will continue to fuel a growing demand for complex and interesting beers far beyond its borders. This book gives people all the advice they need to get out there and explore what's on offer. There's a great chance and challenge for brewers everywhere to get inspired and get creative as a result.” As a guide for those visiting Belgium for the first time it comes highly recommended, and no sensible beer drinker should take the Eurostar without it. RRP £14.99, CAMRA members £12.99.
BEER SELECT -O-PEDIA The Beer Select-O-Pedia by Michael Larson uses a “Periodic Table of Beer Styles” to guide readers through the vibrant and diverse world beer scene – from English Golden Ale, through German Doppelbock to the latest Hyper beers from North America and all points inbetween. All the styles are presented alongside full-colour illustrations with an “Atomic Structure” diagram featuring key facts about a style’s ingredients, famous producers, food matches and titbits of trivia. Roger Protz, Consultant Editor for the book says: “This book is excellent for anyone interested in the vast, rich and fascinating world of beers - not just the UK's real ales but also those brewed around the globe. The best part is you can discover and enjoy at your own pace - no matter how much you already know about beer - whether you are dipping your toe in for the first time or diving straight in at the deep end.” The book encourages readers to search out, experience and enjoy these beer styles for themselves. RRP £12.99, CAMRA members £10.99.
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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 email@example.com
A Community pub in the e heart of Reading e
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Follow us on twitter @AlehouseReading
Reading Beer and Cider Festival
20 Not Out! You came, you saw, you drank us dry. The 20th Reading Beer and Cider Festival was a fitting milestone and 13,850 visitors helped make it one of the best yet.
Dave Scott, Festival Organiser, gives us an insight into what happened and why. We got a good deal of very favourable media coverage over the event again this year. Yet again the media was presented with favourable images of people (and lots of families again this year) consuming good quality beers, ciders and perries compared to the negative images of overindulgence, binge drinking etc. associated with the alcopop and lager swilling brigade. And I think we can be proud of putting on a successful festival which showcased real ale, cider and perry, supported some of CAMRA’s other campaigns and left people with a very favourable overall impression of the CAMRA “brand” for want of a better word. The beer range was stunning as was the range of foreign beers on offer which is probably the best selection I’ve seen at any festival. Once again we hosted the National Cider and Perry Awards and the range on sale was exemplary as always [the winning cider was Sheppy’s Medium and the winning perry was Oliver’s Perry].
For the first time in many years we ran out of beer (and wine, and foreign beer and ... well I’m sure you get the picture) and had to close the festival early. We had planned for the same attendance as last year. The figures below give the actual attendance this year, last year’s figures and the percentage change: Session Thursday Friday Saturday afternoon Saturday evening Sunday Total
2014 1,509 3,631
2013 1,668 3,894
Change 9.5% Drop 6.8% Drop
3,412 2,426 13,850
2,903 1,784 12,838
17.5% Increase 36.0% Increase 7.9% Increase
Unfortunately this pattern meant that we would have been foolish to order in “bright
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BEER FESTIVAL REVIEW - CONTINUED beer” [extra beer delivered late to the festival] as at the time the order would have needed to be made we were still below target for customer numbers.
not being sold. None of us wanted to run out and close early, we acknowledge that some people left unhappy about the early closing and we’re sorry about that.
The last volunteer staying on site only left at about 7 pm on the Wednesday after the festival, someone went back to clear the last of the rubbish the next day, and after that there was a formal walkround and handover of the site to the council. That means from marking out the site to handing the ground back to the council took about 20 days. This is quite a commitment from some of our volunteers - without whom none of this would have been possible.
But the fact is that CAMRA have to approve the budget for the festival and they, quite rightly, expect the festival to make a surplus so as to generate money for campaigns (otherwise somebody at CAMRA HQ won’t get paid this month). If admissions on Thursday and Friday had been up on budget then we could have ordered in extra beer, but as it was the colder weather on those days meant numbers were down and any decision to order in extra supplies would have just been dumb. By the time the weather and numbers picked up, it was too late.
I would just like to finish by saying a huge thank you for the many, many volunteers who have worked so hard during the last weeks (and in some cases months) to make this all happen. We can be immensely proud that a bunch of unpaid volunteers can plan, organise and staff an event which puts many professionally organised events firmly in the shade. Editor’s Notes: Dave explains very well the dilemma any beer festival organiser has in trying to balance the need to have enough beer for customers to drink, against the need to not waste money by buying in beer that ends up
As it was the weekend weather was fantastic and everybody had a good time. See if you can spot yourself in any of the pictures here. And next year? Next year we will truly come of age with our 21st festival. There’s some debate about how much of King’s Meadow will be available for events as the intentions of the new owners of the Lido are as yet unknown. But we’re already starting to plan for 2015, so watch this space. I hope I’ll see you there!
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
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Pubco campaigners outside Parliament On May 14, CAMRA mounted renewed pressure on the Government to act now to save Britain’s struggling pubs, with a petition delivered to Business Secretary Vince Cable calling for vital large pub company (pubco) reform. The petition gained over 30,000 signatures in just 5 days and surpassed the 42,000 mark ahead of it being delivered to Vince Cable. As well as the delivery of the petition, over 100 campaigners, pub-goers and licensees gathered outside Parliament to rally behind Vince Cable’s pledge to end the Great British Pub Scandal. CAMRA says it is essential that Vince Cable sticks to his guns and makes an announcement in the next few weeks, to allow action before the upcoming General Election. Colin Valentine, CAMRA Chairman, said: “It is absolutely vital that the Government disarms the ticking time bomb threatening the nation’s pubs. CAMRA is demanding the introduction of a Pubs Watchdog to rule on disputes between licensees and pubcos, plus a guest beer right and a market rent only option for tied licensees. These measures are essential in order to create a level playing field for licensees, ensuring those tied to the large pubcos are no worse off than those that are free of tie”.
It is now well over 12 months since the Government launched a consultation on pubco reform and, despite several assurances of action, including a recent letter to CAMRA from Vince Cable stating that “We intend very soon to publish the Government response to our pubs consultation and to announce the next steps”, the Government has so far failed to make an announcement. Currently, tied licensees must purchase their beer and other products from their pub company at an inflated rate, which is often at least 50% more expensive than the market rate. As a result 57% of tied licensees earn less than £10k a year [Pubco Licensee Survey: report produced for CAMRA by CGA Strategy, June 2013]. Colin Valentine added: “The reforms CAMRA are seeking will enable publicans tied to the large pub companies to make a decent living and invest in their business, protecting thousands of valued pubs and creating a thriving industry. The current model is weighted far too heavily in the favour of the pub company at the expense of the licensee and it is essential the Government acts now to redress the balance, before thousands more people lose their livelihood”. Breaking news: Government announcement on pubco regulation. More in the next issue.
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Real Ale in a Bottle
Draught real ale is only available in a pub – that's one of the many things that makes it unique. But sometimes going to the pub isn’t an option. Maybe you're isolated by geography. Perhaps the increasing cost of going to the pub means it's become a rare treat. Or it might be that you just want to try some ale that’s not available in your local. Real Ale in a Bottle can help. Just like draught beer, real ale in a bottle contains yeast that continues to work to give the beer condition after the bottle is sealed. It makes it a living product, just like the real ale you drink down the pub, and the flavour of the beer develops as the yeast does its work. Not all bottled beer is real ale. A lot is pasteurised before bottling so that you end up with a product that's essentially “dead”, albeit it still tastes good and you don’t have to leave the bottle to settle for a couple of days before drinking it.
CAMRA accredits breweries that produce real ale in a bottle and they can use the logo shown to indicate that their product is the real thing. Only accredited breweries can use the logo, so watch out for it when you next go shopping. And where might that shopping be? Waitrose and Morrisons have probably the best beer range of the major supermarkets in our area, although real ale in a bottle doesn’t usually feature prominently. For that, the independents are are better bet. Here we show three local suppliers that are worth a look. Other options are available, of course, and if you have a particular favourite that isn't listed, please let us know and we’ll take a look.
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GREAT BRITISH BEER COMPANY Local CAMRA members Mark and Jane Haddock
REAL ALE IN A BOTTLE have taken their love of British beers a step further and launched a new online business – www.greatbritishbeerco.co.uk – selling British bottled beers. They're based in West Berkshire and are stocking an ever increasing range of ales, IPAs, lagers, stouts and porters, to give beer enthusiasts not only the opportunity to have local beers at home, but also try beers from much further afield. A panel of local real ale lovers taste and score every beer, to ensure only crowd pleasers are stocked. Every month there’s an opportunity to win one of their cases of beer, by liking their Facebook page to be entered into a draw. Cases of beer available include “Whatever Ales You”, “Mighty Mash-up” and “Dark & Delicious” or you can pick your own. Mine's a Pint readers can get 10% off their first order by using the coupon code INTRO10%.
GRUMPY GOAT Anne-Marie Whitehouse and Charlie Beatty opened the Grumpy Goat in Harris Arcade, Reading, late last year. Since then they’ve built up a great reputation for beer, with a range of over 100 bottled ales available. Local beers feature prominently alongside those from further afield, and there are monthly specials that focus on a particular part of the country – to date these have included London, Yorkshire and Scotland. “Meet the Brewer” events are also taking off. What makes the shop different is that it’s both a beer and a cheese shop. You may have seen their cheese stall at the Reading Beer Festival, serving excellent rolls and platters. In the shop they aim to stock a plentiful supply of local cheeses like Barkham Blue, and complement them with delights from around the UK and on the continent.
A new feature is home delivery for 99p within 5 miles of the shop (minimum spend applies) – visit www.thegrumpygoat.co.uk for more details.
WESTHOLME STORE Jack Patel has run Westholme Store in Goring for many years. One day Jack was wondering how he could make his shop different, to compete with the big supermarket chains and offer something they couldn’t do. He hit upon the idea of bottled beer. Soon a whole aisle of this small convenience store was devoted to a massive range of bottled beer from all areas of the UK and abroad, and word quickly spread about the delights on offer. It’s just a few minutes walk north from the station on Wallingford Road. Outside, there's nothing to suggest it's anything other than a normal branch of Londis. But go inside and look to the right, and you’ll find an amazing selection of bottles from local and national breweries, plus beer from Belgium, Germany and the USA, amongst others. The supermarket competition seems to have come full circle, as the villagers of Goring are currently fighting plans by Tesco to convert the Queens Arms by the station into a new convenience store. Go to www.stoptescoingoring.org to find out more, and visit www.beersnale.co.uk for details of the beers available in Jack's.
Now is the time to support your local businesses. Just like your local pub, it's a case of “use it or lose it”, and all three of the businesses highlighted here are well worth a look.
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Elephant & Castle 01189 340886 Completely refurbished inside and out.
Come and try our new
Steaks, Piri Piri Chicken, Shish Kebabs and more!
Serving two permanent ales alongside two changing guests on handpull. Freshly prepared home made meals served all week. See our website for serving times Family friendly with patio, decked area and children’s garden
2 meals for £9.95 with any meal order Monmain - Sat* Monday to Thurs *excl Banklunchtimes Hols
Dogs welcome in the bar and gardens
Lodge Road, Hurst, Reading, Berkshire RG10 0EH
A UNIQUE, TRADITIONAL BAR
Serving London Pride permanently with weekly changing guest ales Bar Food Served Monday - Friday noon until 2pm
Hog Roast Specialists
Friday Fish Supp er
Ring for details
Regular Jazz Nights Thursday 19th June, 10th and 31st July Marquee available for events Arborfield Road,Shinfield, Reading,Berkshire,RG2 9EA Tel: 0118 9884130
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Good Beer - Good Health A poll recently carried out for CAMRA has shown that people in the UK are five times more likely to believe that wine is healthier to drink than beer. A survey of 1,000 people showed that 67% thought wine drinking is most healthy, compared to only 13% for beer. Unfortunately those 67% are wrong.
smoking, diet and exercise. A paper from the Harvard School of Public Health in the USA reanalysed the results from a large number of previous studies from around the world to take these differences into account. This research showed strong evidence that moderate consumption of any alcoholic drink is linked with a lower risk of heart disease and that most of this protection comes from the alcohol rather than any other component in the drink. Moderation is the key word. This is equally true whether your favourite tipple is beer, cider, spirits or wine.”
Professor Charles Bamforth of the University of California, Davis and author of Beer, Health and Nutrition, said “The myth that wine is in some way healthier than other alcoholic drinks dates back many years to research carried out in France, a predominantly wine drinking country. This suggested that moderate wine drinkers were healthier than non-drinkers. The crucial point is that it was a comparison with non-drinkers. When similar studies were carried out in the Czech Republic, a nation of beer drinkers, just the same protective effect was seen with beer. This study showed the lowest risk of heart attacks in men who drank “almost daily or daily” consuming between 716 pints of beer a week.”.
Colin Valentine, CAMRA Chairman, said “Recently I met a friend who was rather grumpily nursing a glass of red wine having been told that it was better for him than the real ale that he loves. It’s good to be able to reassure him that this is nonsense; in moderation, beer is just as healthy as wine. As well as the huge range of flavours and styles available to suit any palate, the big advantage with beer is that it is low in alcohol. It’s much easier to ensure that you don’t overstep the mark and start to undo the good that a drink can do to your health. The important thing is to drink as part of a healthy lifestyle. A brisk walk to the pub for a pint of real ale will do you far more good than sitting on the sofa at home with a bottle of wine.”
“The difficulty of measuring the effect of drinking on health is that differences can be masked by other aspects of lifestyle, such as
References for the research quoted above are available at: www.camra.org.uk/ article.php?group_id=13555
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www.edenbenatural.co.uk Mine’s a Pint 28
The Summer issue of Reading and Mid Berkshire CAMRA magazine. Bumper news issue!