Pub & Brewery News Small Beer New Plans for The Butler Co-ALE-ition Join CAMRA Your Branch is Forty!
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CAMPAIGN for REAL ALE
See page 24 for the full story THE CAMRA MAGAZINE FOR READING AND MID BERKSHIRE ISSUE THIRTY TWO • WINTER 2014 • FREE - PLEASE TAKE A COPY
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21st Reading Beer and Cider Festival 30 April - 3 May 2015 Kings Meadow, Reading Look out for information closer to the date on www.readingbeerfestival.org.uk or follow us on Twitter: @Readingbeerfest
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From the Editor 25 October saw local drinkers out in force visiting local pubs. The reason? Reading’s beer census. First undertaken two years ago, this is a snapshot of the real ales available on one day in Reading and the surrounding area. Although we didn’t get 100% coverage (for instance there was nobody to survey pubs in Tilehurst) the results make for fascinating reading and show that the real ale scene in our area is a lot more diverse than expected. Here are some highlights from the stats: Pubs visited: 88 Different real ales available: 160 Different breweries: 87 LocAle breweries: 15 Breweries most available: Sharps (27) and Greene King (26) Local brewery most available: West Berkshire (14) Average price per pint: £3.38 Lowest price per pint: £1.99 (various Wetherspoons) Highest price per pint: £4.50 (Great House, Sonning)
and do it now! Looking for inspiration for where to go? Then come along to the launch of our 2015 Ale Trail on 7 February at the newly-refurbished Butler, which you can read more about in this magazine. Complete the trail and collect stickers from all the participating pubs to win prizes! There will be 21 pubs on the trail this year to mark the 21st Reading Beer and Cider Festival. More details about that in the next issue, but mark the dates in your diary now: 30 April to 3 May. The future of Kings Meadow was uncertain as we went to press, with landscaping proposals for the Lido development potentially making the site unusable for events from 2016 onwards. But the council has assured us that the festival will remain in its current location for 2015 at least, so come along and help celebrate 21 years of one of the country's premier beer and cider events. Cheers.
Many thanks to the Retreat for acting as Campaign HQ for the day. CAMRA in this area is coming up to its 40th birthday and, in that time, real ale has been saved and the brewery scene is thriving. But pubs are under pressure like never before, and surveys like those above remind us of the need to fight to keep such a breadth of choice alive. We're lucky to have such a diversity of pubs and real ale available in the Reading area and we need to keep it that way. What can you do to help? Put very simply, go into a pub and buy something. There are 3,000 copies printed of this magazine. If there are 3,000 readers, and we all go out and buy a pint this week, that’s an extra £10,000 that we can put into the local economy. Let's go
Phil Gill - Editor email@example.com
Contents From the Editor Pub & Brewery News Small Beer The Butler Co-ale-ition
4 5 - 10 12 - 13 15 16 - 19
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Pub and Brewery News Pub News
CAVERSHAM The former BRIDGES bar on Bridge Street by Caversham Bridge has become Karma Indian restaurant and bar. It’s the latest in a long line of business models to be tried in this location, so let’s hope that this one works out. The area isn't short of Indian restaurants but this one, with its riverside setting and terrace, should be in with a good chance.
Closed earlier in the year, the QUEEN VICTORIA is being refurbished. This pub is very close to the A4 just west of Knowl Hill, but just slightly tucked away out of direct sight as you drive along. We look forward to it reopening.
HENLEY Slightly out of our area, but news worth recording, is that we understand the HENLEY BREWHOUSE has been bought and closed by Marstons (Brakspear).
NEWBURY The COW AND CASK, Berkshire’s first micropub, was due to open in Inch’s Yard about the time we went to press. This is in West Berkshire CAMRA’s area and continues their habit of getting in there first – they were, after all, the first CAMRA branch in the royal county, even if only by a few months. Let’s hope that the micropub concept works and that it's the first of many in the area.
PANGBOURNE The FOX AND HOUNDS on Gosbrook Road continues to offer a great range of real ales with up to eight handpumps in use, and has recently added Paulaner lager from Munich to the keg range alongside some interesting foreign bottled beers.
EARLEY We have received good reports about the SEVEN RED ROSES in Maiden Place. Food is available all day, there's a weekly quiz night, and live music on the last Saturday of every month. We understand that St Austell Tribute is a regular real ale.
We have been getting good feedback about the SWAN. A typical recent visit found three real ales on sale (Greene King IPA, IPA Gold and Olde Trip, in good form) together with Tutts Clump Scrumpy cider and Brewdog Punk IPA. Our reviewer continued, “Interior nicely lit, obviously foody but plenty of seating spaces, friendly service.”
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PUB NEWS CONTINUED
READING We hear that there are new licensees at the HORSE AND JOCKEY on Castle Street and that it will become another real ale free house. The names behind the venture are well known on Reading’s real ale scene and come with a good pedigree (not the one from Marstons). They are due to take over the pub in the spring, which is great news for the town. We hope to have a fuller report in a future issue. Further down Castle Street, the new RYND bar (what was last Evissa) doesn’t appear to have any real ale and may be focussing on the cocktail market. Almost opposite, the SUN offers real ales and also a beer garden, live music twice a month and occasional stand up comedy. Pool, darts and Sky Sports are also available. Due to reopen around the time this magazine went to press was the FISHERMAN’S COTTAGE on Kennetside. The promise is “A modern riverside pub with a strong focus on quality, cleanliness and a welcoming atmosphere for all.” The pictures of the refurbishment look good and we're looking forward to visiting when it opens.
The CORN STORES on Forbury Road has been open irregular hours of late – so much so that we were forced to move our branch AGM to a new venue at short notice. Please help us keep an eye on this Fullers pub. Many thanks to GREAT EXPECTATIONS on London Street who stepped in at very short notice to host our AGM. Three real ales on, a variety of areas in which to drink them, and a Dickensian theme throughout all make for a laid-back atmosphere and a place that’s worth a visit. It's a warm welcome to Mick Musson, who has moved from the Crispin in Wokingham to take over from Katrina Fletcher at the ALEHOUSE on Broad Street. The bulk of the staff team remain in place and Mick reassuringly says that he doesn’t plan to change much about the pub. One aspect where there has been some welcome change is some building works at the back, where the toilets and cask store are. Things have definitely improved, with the main visible change being a brand new roof and repainted walls, making things much drier and brighter. Also some electrical works mean that it’s now possible to utter the great sentence, “there’s a motion sensor in the toilets.” The GEORGE HOTEL on King Street is reported as no longer serving real ale. Youngs bitter used to be the sole offering here.
The PURPLE TURTLE on Gun Street has been seen to offer Tutts Clump cider alongside the range of four or so real ales. The large, multi-level garden to the rear is a great place to spend an afternoon. The atmosphere and volume ramps up a notch or several in the evening, as with any town centre late night bar.
The WARWICK on Kings Road has also reportedly stopped selling real ale and is now focussing on being a Thai restaurant. It's a shame as the previous manager was a real ale convert who kept a very good pint of Greene King and often got Oakham beer in as a guest, which complemented the food very nicely. Nearby pub the LYNDHURST on Watlington Street had closed just before our last issue but has now reopened. The real ale offer is a mix of national and local
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PUB NEWS CONTINUED
THEALE The planning application to convert the RED LION on Church Street into housing, with demolition of the skittle alley and its replacement with flats, was refused by West Berkshire Council. Unfortunately none of the reasons for refusal related to the loss of the pub or its impact on the life of the local community. brands, so why not pay them a visit and let us know what you think?
WALTHAM ST LAWRENCE We’re told that the STAR is closed again.
Oxford Road’s New Inn has been renamed the WHITE EAGLE. On Eldon Terrace, the ELDON ARMS has had its lobby removed to create one big bar. That will spell the end for one of the best meeting spaces in the area, and will mean several other groups as well as CAMRA will now sadly need to look elsewhere for somewhere to meet. The important thing, though, is that it’s still a pub. O’NEILLS at the end of Friar Street have added a third beer – St Austell Tribute – to their range. The HOOK AND TACKLE on Katesgrove Lane is due to reopen in December. The GREYFRIAR on Greyfriars Road can now be accessed from the front of the station, now the road works have finally been completed.
SULHAMSTEAD On the A4, right at the limit of our CAMRA branch area, is the SPRING. It was closed earlier in the year but has now reopened, with an early report stating “Dining-focused. Aiming to be upmarket and succeeding judging by the cars in the car park.” West Berkshire Good Old Boy (£3.60 a pint), Otter Ale and Fullers London Pride were the real ale offerings on that day.
WARREN ROW A planning appeal against refusal of permission to turn the SNOOTY FOX into a house has itself been refused, so the lawful use remains as a pub.
WHITLEY For so long a beer desert, Whitley is going to get a new pub at last. Jansons Property has been granted planning permission for a retail and leisure development on the site of an empty office building next to Morrisons on Basingstoke Road. Included in the scheme is a new pub for Greene King, expected to be one of their Hungry Horse brand. The scheme also includes an Aldi store and a Pure Gym. Work is due to start in the new year with completion scheduled for the autumn. We have some other Hungry Horses in the area – the George and Dragon on Bath Road, the Six Bells in Shinfield and the Wee Waif at Twyford.
WOODLEY The GOOD COMPANIONS on Loddon Bridge Road was offering a 10% discount for CAMRA members when visited in the autumn. Wychwood Hobgoblin and Adnams Broadside were the real ales on offer. BREWERY NEWS OVERLEAF
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The Bull Hotel WARGRAVE RG10 8DD TEL 01189 403120
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.
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
For the beer lovers we serve Brakspear ales, a regular guest ale along with wide selection of quality wines.
WELL APPOINTED EN SUITE ACCOMMODATION
MID WEEK EVENING SPECIAL 2 COURSES with a bottle of house wine - £20 Tues and Weds only from Jan 6th
FRIDAY NIGHTS £30 per couple
friday night only. Fish and chips with a bottle of fizz.
£5 LUNCH MENU WEEKDAYS From Jan 5th
JAYNE’S FAMOUS SUNDAY ROAST from £25 per couple XMAS PARTY MENU NOW AVAILABLE
Kitchen Closed Sunday and Monday Nights, however, party bookings available by arrangement.
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BREWERY NEWS Brewery News
SIREN CRAFT In a new departure, Siren played host to “Boardgames in the Brewery” in late November. The Reading Boardgames Social group organised the event which combined boardgames, beer and food. We hope to feature more about this group in a future issue, as they love good beer and often hold boardgaming events in pubs.
ASCOT ALES Latest beers are Ebony & Ivory at 4.5% for the Monster Raving Loony Party Co-ale-ition range (the rebranded version of Penguin Porter) and the welcome return of Winter Reserve. At 5.2%, this red coloured winter warmer is lightly spiced and will be available from mid November.
BINGHAMS The Craft Hop series continues and one particularly interesting beer was the one for October, a 4.5% very pale ale called Minstrel. It was triple hopped with a brand new English hop variety called Minstrel for a generous helping of spiced berries and orange and grapefruit flavours. Minstrel was only ramped up to full scale production this year so Binghams were one of the first breweries to use it. The hop was developed by hop merchant Charles Faram as part of their Hop Development Programme, which aims to produce different English hops which can compete with hops from around the world with “New World” characteristics like those from America and New Zealand.
LODDON To help us cope with winter, Hocus Pocus old ale (4.6%) is available on draught until the end of March, or while stocks last. Tasting notes from the brewery say: “Brewed using the ever popular English Goldings with the addition of Fuggle Hops, pale and dark malts, with a small amount of invert sugar, combine to form a rich, smooth traditional dark ale”.
UPRISING A new brewery, or at least a new name brewing at an existing brewery – this is Kieran Johnson, son of Paddy, the Head Brewer at Windsor and Eton. Kieran and Paddy are now both brewing on the Windsor and Eton brewkit, and the friendly rivalry was launched at the Nags Head in November when Kieran poured the first pints of his first beer, Treason – a 5.8% west coast IPA. It's currently only available in keg, but Kieran says “at the moment we are obviously only in very early stages, we want to know CONTINUED OVERLEAF
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BREWERY NEWS - CONTINUED All West Berkshire beers have had a rebrand which is meeting with mixed reactions from some publicans. The brewery explain their intentions like this: “Our brand is the face we show the world. Some may feel that total communications consistency spells boring sameness, but for us, it stands for commitment attention to detail and craft; essential tools in presenting our products to customers, suppliers and competitors in a way that best reflects our strengths and values. So when we use the right logos, the right typefaces and the right colours, it’s not because we’re a boring conformist, it’s because we care.” that people out there like us and like the product. Once that has been established we can then start focusing on all the other ventures: bottle conditioning, cask racking and eventually (maybe) canning. The truth is that I am a cask ale drinker first and foremost.” It's fair to say that the beer was very popular that night and we look forward to more from this new venture.
WEST BERKSHIRE Yule Fuel is the Christmas special. At 4.3% on draught or 5% in bottles, this deep red ale has a warm, hop / malt finish with raisin, liquorice and wild berry fruit overtones. Upcoming monthly seasonals include Grizzle for January (4.2%, tawny with earthy hop flavours) and Fullness of Time for February (4.3%, pale and spicy with a floral hoppy finish).
The company is issuing an Information Memorandum putting together a prospectus for a further share offer, under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). You can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
WINDSOR AND ETON The brewery have received planning permission to convert an empty 17th Century building in Thames Street to recreate a historical tavern opposite Curfew Tower. Previously the West Cornwall Pasty Co, the new pub is intended to be a free house that will showcase all of the Windsor & Eton beers to both local residents and visitors to the town.Once some conservation issues are resolved - inevitable in a town like Windsor - it's hoped that the new pub will be open some time in March.
ZERO DEGREES Angela Würges is leaving Zero Degrees and going to brew in Vietnam. We shall all be sorry to see her go, which is likely to be sometime around the end of the year. Angela has a great reputation for brewing good beer and we wish her well in her new venture. Hopefully she's made sure there will be plenty of Christmas Bok to go round!
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Small Beer A roundup of news and information... BRITAIN’S BEER REVOLUTION A new book from CAMRA is a full-colour celebration of British brewing and beer. Local brewers Siren Craft and Windsor & Eton feature in the book, which reflects the dramatic changes to Britain's beer scene in recent years and looks beyond the beers to the breweries and personalities who are driving this revolution. Authors Roger Protz (300 Beers to Try Before You Die!) and Adrian Tierney-Jones (Great British Pubs) set out the key figures in British brewing – hop growers, maltsters, brewers, pub owners and critics – to celebrate Britain’s Beer Revolution. These experts look behind the beer labels and shine a spotlight on what makes British beer so good. National and regional brewers applying generations of tradition in new ways rub shoulders with new micro-brewers, and twists on popular classic beers jostle for space at the bar with innovative new masterpieces. Everyone featured in the book is dedicated to one thing ... revolutionary British beer. It's available now on http://shop.camra.org.uk/ for the special promotional price of £10 – the usual RRP will be £14.99.
CAMRA’S NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE
Spirit Pub Company has accepted a bid from Greene King. If it goes through it will value Spirit at about £774 million and will create a 3,127-strong pub company. Notably for our area, this includes the three Chef and Brewer pubs (Griffin in Caversham, George at Loddon Bridge and Old Bell at Grazeley Green). It remains to be seen what will happen to the beer range but GK products will obviously be expected to feature strongly.
CAMRA has appointed Tim Page as its new Chief Executive. Tim joins the campaign from the East Anglian Air Ambulance and has a great deal of experience in the management and operation of organisations in the charity and not-for-profit sector. Colin Valentine, CAMRA's Chairman, said, “His passion and experience shone through, greatly impressing the National Executive and staff team. I firmly believe that Tim is
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SMALL BEER the right choice to take our great organisation forward and that he will play an integral part in our future campaigning and the preservation of both real ale and British pubs. I am sure you will join me in welcoming Tim and raising a celebratory pint to the future.”
SUBSCRIPTION RATES This is your last chance to join CAMRA before the subscription rates increase on 1 January 2015. The last rise was back in 2012 and the new rates are shown on the advert in this issue – but if you join before the end of the year you can benefit from the old rates for a further 12 months. It makes an ideal Christmas present! More than 167,000 people are members of CAMRA so why not join today and help support the real ale and pubs that you love?
REGIONAL ROLES We're looking for some volunteers to fill a variety of roles at a regional level within CAMRA. We’re part of the Central Southern branch, which covers Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. The roles that need to be filled are: Regional Secretary Regional Cider Coordinator Berkshire Area Organiser Oxfordshire Area Organiser If you'd like to make a difference at a regional level within the campaign, these roles are an excellent stepping stone. To find out more about what's involved, contact Dan Cane-Honeysett on email@example.com
Brian Mackie (right) and his wife Anne (left) being presented with their 35 year long-service certificate by Sandie Gill of CAMRA in 2009
To end on a sad note, we were sorry to learn of the passing of Brian Mackie on 25 September. Brian, alongside his wife Anne, ran the Eldon Arms for many years and was very much a fixture of the Reading pub scene. Although illness meant he could no longer work behind the bar in recent times, Brain's presence was nevertheless still felt in the pub and our memories of him remain strong. We send our very best wishes to Anne on the occasion of her sad loss.
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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
14th December, 4th & 25th January, 15th Feb & 10th March
The beautifully refurbished Restaurant overlooks the garden and the Inglenook fire provides a warm and cosy setting. The Inn has 22 en-suite bedrooms - standard, superior and suites. One room is adapted for the disabled. Free wifi available throughout.
The Bird in Hand, Bath Road, Knowl Hill, Twyford, Berks RG10 9UP
Call: 01628 826622 / 2781 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit: www.birdinhand.co.uk
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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The Butler Steve, Ted and Pete, new owners of the Butler in Chatham Street, tell us more about the place and their plans for the future. We have bought The Butler – We have bought The Butler – Ta da da-da – Ta da da-da! I wandered past the Butler one winter's evening and saw the “For Sale - Freehold” sign. The Butler is an iconic pub and anyone who lived in Reading through the sixties and seventies will remember what a busy vibrant place it used to be. I wanted it. I had money in the bank, but not enough to do it on my own. The next Friday, drinking with my pals, I suggested that we could buy the place as a group with each of us buying as many shares as they could afford. There was immediately enough money on the table to buy and renovate the place. However, over the next few weeks, reality dawned on those who’d now sobered up, and friends started dropping out till there were only three dragons left. Steve was still mad keen and he arranged a meeting with the Bank to make up the shortfall. We approached the agent and found that there was a rival group who wanted to turn it into an Indian restaurant. We made an offer anyway, subject to survey. The survey was as expected (dreadful!) and we reduced our offer, which was accepted. In the end, Fullers just wanted to be free of the place, so it was ours. By coincidence, we completed the same day as the Fishermans Cottage. Fullers seemed to be leaving town! We met the Fullers free trade rep soon afterwards, and Lynne’s face was a picture when she found out how much you could buy
London Pride for if you were not their tenant. How can this be a good business model, if you run your building down so badly (that numpties like us can afford to buy it) and at the same time charge your own tenant so much for your own beer they can’t compete with other pubs in the area? Bonkers. There’s been so much demoralisation that it will be a long uphill struggle to coax this wonderful but tired old pub back to health. As we go about it we are learning more about the history of the place, which we will try to use as we think about its appearance. There’s a lovely old photo of the front façade from 1900 that we’re trying to re-create, but in our own way. We intend to stick to proven local breweries and have 5 hand pumps serving ale and one cider. Live music will feature strongly, as it has for many years, we’ve re-opened the kitchen in partnership with a great team of caterers and the rest of the time it will be an old fashioned drinker’s pub, with a few surprises that may have been revealed by the time this is published. No matter what we do with our new acquisition always remember – education is important, but real ale is importanter. Steve, Ted and Pete If you're a local landlord with big plans for your pub and want to tell us all about them, get in touch and you could feature in a future issue of Mine's a Pint.
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Co-ALE-ition You may have seen the Co-ALE-ition ales which have appeared recently in several Reading town centre pubs, and wondered what they're all about. The answer is that they're all a bit loony. To find out more, we talked to Derrill Carr, who has been one of the main driving forces behind this range of beers that celebrate the Monster Raving Loony Party. Derrill takes up the story...
The Co-ALE-Ition 1st anniversary event at the Nags Head My intention from the start was to have some fun with Co-ALE-ition and also to further help promote and publicise the excellent micro breweries and locally produced real ales in our area. Co-ALE-ition as a brand name first originated from a social event in August 2013 when I was sat at the same table as Alan “Howling Laud” Hope (Leader of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party) and Phil Robins
(Owner and Head Brewer of Longdog brewery in Basingstoke). 2013 was the 30th anniversary of when the Monster Raving Loony Party first stood at an election (Screaming Lord Sutch at the Bermondsey by-election in Feb 1983). I suggested to Phil that Longdog brewery should produce a special real ale to commemorate this anniversary. Phil was interested and very supportive so we set to
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work on designing a pump clip after making the early decision that this new ale would be a rebranded version of an existing award winning Longdog ale. After a tasting session at Longdog brewery we selected the excellent Brindle Bitter as the first Co-ALE-ition ale and chose a photo for the pump clip featuring David Cameron and Alan Hope from the Witney General Election count in May 2010. We named this new ale “Winning Co-ALE-ition” and successfully launched it in Sept 2013 at both the Longdog brewery and the Prince Arthur in Fleet, at an event attended by more than 300 people. Longdog’s Winning Co-ALE-ition was an outstanding success and a decision was taken in November 2013 to expand the CoALE-ition range to include other different types and strengths of real ale. I approached two other micro breweries in different counties – Langhams in Lodsworth (West Sussex) and Ascot Ales in Camberley (Surrey) – to see if they would be interested in producing a Co-ALE-ition ale. They both were and in early December 2013 Langham’s Arapaho (a 4.9% APA) was rebranded and launched as Co-ALE-ition GOLD and Ascot Ales’ 4.6% Single Hop IPA was rebranded and launched as Hope & Glory. The fun element continued with the pump clips depicting that the ALE in Co-ALE-ition stood for “Another Loony Experience”, IPA stood for “Insanity Prevents Austerity” and GOLD now stands for “George Osborne Lowers Duty” which celebrated the reduction in beer duty as a direct result of CAMRA’s extensive and focused campaign. Through a CAMRA contact in Somerset, we then approached two micro breweries Milk Street in Frome and Cheddar Ales in Cheddar Gorge and asked them to produce a Co-ALE-ition Stout and a Porter. These two new rebranded Co-ALE-ition ales were launched in late December 2013 but neither of them was successful as both of these
breweries struggled to get enough orders for their Porter and Stout to make regular deliveries viable into Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire. There has been a flurry of activity in 2014 with three more Co-ALE-ition ales being successfully launched. Wild Weather brewery in Silchester rebranded their Black Night (3.9% dark mild/old ale) as HowlinGale in April just in time for CAMRA’s Mild Month campaign, Mash brewery in East Stratton, Hampshire rebranded their Mash Gold (4% golden ale) as Monster Mash in May and finally the jewel in the Co-ALE-ition crown was when Chris Gill of Ascot Ales allowed us to rebrand their multi award winning Anastasia's Exile Stout (5% dark ale) for Co-ALE-ition as Monsters In The Dark in early July. Mike Tempest of Wild Weather brewery organised a fantastic launch event for HowlinGale in April which also involved a pub crawl in Reading Town Centre where we visited The Alehouse, Greyfriar and Nags Head. All three pubs had HowlinGale available on handpump and the beer was served in excellent condition. Our party of 24 people really enjoyed their visit to Reading in April and were especially pleased when Jody Oates of The Nags Head promised to arrange a special Co-ALE-ition event with all 6 Co-ALE-ition ales available on the same night. Jody was true to his word and, on 27th August 2014, our party of 20+ turned up at the Nags Head for a very special Co-ALEition 1st year anniversary event superbly hosted by Jody, Lola and Sylvia. Jody was presented with a special certificate for becoming the 1st pub to have all six CoALE-ition ales on sale at the same time. The event was arranged around the CAMRA Reading & Mid Berks visit to present the Nags Head with their Pub Of the Year CONTINUED OVERLEAF
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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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award for 2014. We had another excellent night at our favourite Co-ALE-tion pub. Highlights in the first year of Co-ALE-ition include: • 25,000 pints of Co-ALE-ition have been sold in more than 120 different pubs across 8 different counties plus Central London. • A Co-ALE-ition ale has appeared in 43 CAMRA Good Beer Guide pubs, six of which are Branch Pubs of the Year.
when a Pub Manager said he struggled to sell a cask of a particular local ale in 5 days and therefore only put it on 3 or 4 times a year … now that it's rebranded as a CoALE-ition ale he is selling 3 to 4 casks of this very same ale every week! There is a dedicated Co-ALE-ition section on www.omrlp.com for anybody who wants to follow this story. Derrill Carr
• Longdog’s Winning Co-ALE-ition was available in the Strangers Bar in the Houses of Parliament in June – 5 casks were sold in less than a week. • Co-ALE-ition ales have already featured at 12 Ale Festivals including HowlinGale at Reading.
A UNIQUE, TRADITIONAL BAR
Serving London Pride permanently with weekly changing guest ales Bar Food Served
All the micro breweries involved have benefited greatly in terms of increased sales for all of their products and have experienced growth in their client base and footprint from their involvement with Co-ALE-ition. I met with some early resistance regarding the Co-ALE-ition policy of rebranding existing ales. But after a year it is already apparent that the Co-ALE-ition brand has encouraged lots of new real ale drinkers, including younger people, to try real ale and become CAMRA members. The best quote was
Monday - Friday noon until 2pm
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Regular Jazz Nights 18th December, 22nd January, 12th February & 5th March
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Marquee available for events Arborfield Road,Shinfield, Reading,Berkshire,RG2 9EA Tel: 0118 9884130
Award-winning, family Cider makers since 2006 firstname.lastname@example.org www.tuttsclumpcider.co.uk Tel: 0118 974 4649 or 07836 296996
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Fantastic Forty Our CAMRA branch is 40! Way back in December 1974 the very first meeting of â€œThe Reading and East Berkshire Branch of C.A.M.R.A.â€? was held in the Hope and Anchor in Wokingham, and was reported in the very first newsletter for the area. You can see it in all its typewritten glory (to the right and at full size on page 25). While West Berkshire branch had come into being earlier in 1974, this was the first test meeting for CAMRA in central and eastern Berkshire. It was followed by another in January 1975 at the Queen of England, Slough, to test support for a Slough branch. Two branches evolved out of these initial meetings and shortly afterwards representatives of both got together and decided that Maidenhead should go with Slough and Windsor and the rest of East and Mid Berkshire should stay with Reading. Much later, around the turn of the century, members in the south east of Berkshire set
up a sub-branch to better look after their area, and Berkshire South East achieved full branch status in 2004. That set up the current pattern of branches in the county. CAMRA activity in this area can thus be traced back to that first meeting in Wokingham in 1974, and we plan to celebrate turning 40 in style this year. Happy birthday to us!
Branch AGM CAMRA is made up of around 200 branches, and your local branch is Reading and Mid Berkshire. We campaign on beer and pub related issues at a local level, run (with a lot of help from others) the Reading Beer Festival, and produce the magazine that you're reading, among many other tasks. All that means we need a committee, and to have a committee you need an AGM. Our AGM was held in November at Great Expectations, where a new committee was elected for the coming year. Left: Chairman Dan The core roles, essential for any CAMRA branch, were elected as: Chairman – Dan Cane-Honeysett Treasurer – Martin Harbor Secretary – Phil Gill Membership Secretary – Brian Jones Pubs Officer – Dave McKerchar Other roles elected were: Cider Officer – Paul Scrivens Branch Contact – Katrina Fletcher Young Members' Contact – James Moore Magazine Editor and LocAle Coordinator – Phil Gill Public Affairs Officer – Gareth Epps Social Secretary and Deputy Chairman – Quinten Taylor Pub Preservation Officer – Steve Cooley Good Beer Guide and Beer Scoring Coordinator – Sandie Gill Beer Festival Organiser – Dave Scott Deputy Beer Festival Organiser and Health & Safety Officer – Pat Rapley Tasting Panel Coordinator – Dan Cane-Honeysett Unfilled roles included Campaigns Officer, Clubs Officer, Press and Publicity Officer and Webmaster. If you're interested in helping with any of these roles or want to find out more about them, get in touch. Finally we had a “motion for debate”. This doesn't happen very often so we were all quite grateful to have something different to do. The exact wording of the motion was a bit long and complicated, but in plain language it asked the branch to investigate allowing proxy or remote voting at meetings. The motion was carried, and so a small group are going to sit down and work through the details before bringing back a proposal to a future branch meeting. If it's accepted there, it will need to be ratified at an SGM because it would mean a change to our branch constitution. Watch out for something happening in the new year.
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
Campaigns Update would be exposed to compensation claims, officers were opposed to this measure to save the pub. But late one August evening, councillors disagreed and by a clear margin voted to grant an Article 4.
THE MAIDEN OVER
The Maiden Over before Tesco got their way There has been no stranger or higher-profile pub closure than this in our area in recent times. The Good Beer Guide-listed Maiden Over was a genuine community pub; a huge number of the town’s community groups met there. The pub had enjoyed something of a renaissance even though Enterprise Inns' ownership always meant it was at some risk. It was no surprise to see that even before the pub had closed, over 200 residents had joined a Facebook group formed to fight the closure. But there was only one thing that could be tried to save the pub: an obscure ruse called an Article 4 Direction, which Eric Pickles had said should be used to stop supermarket conversions. Many were rightly amazed that a pub could be converted to a supermarket without needing planning permission. Working with supportive local ward and town councillors and residents, we were able to get Wokingham Council to debate a request to use an Article 4. Fearful they
But that wasn’t the end of the saga. Tesco sent a threatening legal letter to Wokingham Council - and we now have a copy following a Freedom of Information request. It claimed the council's reaction was “irrational” - as if councils should have a say on pubs closing! The truth was that there have been so few, if any pubs saved from supermarket conversion that the Article 4 on the Maiden Over was a threat with potential national consequences. Officers panicked. Although no council has ever been successfully sued for issuing an Article 4, the threat of losing hundreds of thousands of pounds was enough for them to recommend to councillors that they go back on the decision. So four weeks after issuing the Article 4, they unissued it: removing the last hope of keeping the pub open. CAMRA’s Pubs Matter campaign was designed to prevent just this sort of astonishing abuse of local democracy. Of course a community facility should not be lost without even the need to seek planning permission. But there is a silver lining.
PUB CLOSURES ON LOCAL COUNCILS' AGENDAS As a result of the actions of Enterprise Inns and Tesco in Earley, we have both Wokingham and Reading Councils debating how to better protect pubs under threat.
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CAMPAIGNS UPDATE - CONTINUED Both councils were due to debate the matter just after we closed for press; we’ll update in the next issue.
ASSETS OF COMMUNITY VALUE Two steps forward and two steps back in getting valued community pubs listed under this relatively new method of giving communities the right to bid for a building up for sale. We got the Eldon Arms and Three Tuns listed as ACVs in early November, but only after a huge delay by Reading Borough Council.
The two steps back were our first rejections of ACV nominations. That for the Alehouse was rejected on the basis that seemingly a town centre pub could not offer community benefit. Wokingham waited until after Tesco had its grip on the Maiden Over to reject that ACV nomination on the basis that the pub had never been a community asset and was now not capable of being used as such. The only answer to that was that, if the council had showed some backbone and not rolled over to Tesco's legal threats, it would have been! But under the legislation it still should have been listed. The branch will be taking this one further.
Image © CAMRA
Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill
A huge campaign featuring CAMRA and the Fair Deal for your Local coalition has got the support of MPs across all parties including Government MPs voting against the whip - to end the scandal affecting Britain's tied pubs.
the big pub companies and they will tell you how inflated their wholesale prices are often more expensive than the price at Wetherspoons - with no compensating benefits. This change would only affect the biggest pubcos with 500 pubs or more.
In November MPs debated a proposal to give publicans the chance to opt for a Market Rent Only option. Talk to any publican in the area running a pub under
As we went to press, we heard the wonderful news that MPs had voted in favour of the proposal by 284 votes to 259. Gareth Epps
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Two local sports teams have announced sponsorship deals with Upham brewery that see real ale on sale at games London Irish players at the launch of the Upham sponsorship deal
LONDON IRISH First up, London Irish fans and visiting supporters can enjoy a pint of real ale at the Madejski Stadium after the club agreed a new three-year sponsorship with the Hampshire-based brewery. Upham will be the club’s Official Cask Ale Sponsor from the 2014/15 season, and will lead the sponsorship with its flagship brand of ale, Punter. In addition to in-stadium and shirt branding rights, hospitality, player access and ticketing, Upham Brewery will have exclusive pouring rights for ale at the Madejski Stadium for all London Irish home matches. To help establish the brand among supporters, Punter will be served in the club’s first ever dedicated real ale “Punter Bar” which is housed in the East Stand and also within hospitality suites and fan lounges. David Butcher, Director of Upham Brewery, said: “The match day atmosphere and experience at London Irish is up there with the
best in the Premiership and we’re really looking forward to enriching it by introducing Punter to both home and visiting fans.” Keep up to date on www.london-irish.com
BRACKNELL BEES On a smaller scale, Upham beer is now also available in the bar at Bracknell ice rink, so fans of the Bracknell Bees ice hockey team can finally enjoy a decent beer while watching the game. At first a cask was tried on match nights, but the rink bar can get incredibly hot and, even with a cooling jacket, the beer quality suffered. So the choice was made to switch to bottles, and now a choice of three bottled Upham beers is usually available. In this previously keg-only venue, the real ale is a welcome change and is proving popular. Follow the Bees' progress on www.bracknellbees.co.uk
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From the Archives – Trumans Brewery One of the welcome beer events of the last year was the reappearance of Truman’s beers after a gap of over 20 years, though now brewed in Hackney some way from the original site. Brewing ceased at the Black Eagle Brewery in Brick Lane in 1989, perhaps an inevitable consequence of the various brewery mergers of the preceding quarter century which had seen Truman, Hanbury and Buxton, once claimed to be the largest brewer in the world, taken over by Grand Metropolitan Hotels and merged with its brewing arm, Watney Mann. The Truman brewery had come near to destruction at an earlier stage in its history, nearly 200 years ago. At that time one of the Buxtons involved in the business was Thomas Fowell Buxton, a devout Christian who is perhaps better known for his political campaigns, motivated by his faith, in carrying on the work of William Wilberforce towards the abolition of slavery than for his brewing activities. One Saturday night in 1817, Buxton was sleeping in the brewery house at Brick Lane rather than at his house in Hampstead, as all the other partners in the business were away for the weekend. On Saturday morning he paid a visit to the brewhouse and his attention was drawn by one of the workers to a vat of beer, weighing 170 tons, which was giving some cause for concern. Buxton made a note to have it repaired and then proceeded to a nearby chapel to pray. While he was praying for guidance, he became convinced that he should go back to the brewery rather than return to his home. Suspecting the vat in question to be now in a dangerous state he immediately ordered
the drawing off of the beer and summoned a surveyor who said that but for his prompt action the vat would have collapsed and destroyed the whole brewery with it. These were the good old days when beer was regarded as a wholesome drink, a gift of God and much to be preferred to the twin evils of tea and gin! Regrettably, to my mind, the heresy of teetotalism took hold of the churches from the 1840s onwards but if one believes in the power of prayer one can hardly deny that it was divine providence in 1817 that intervened to save Truman’s beer for another 170 years! I am not sure whether the new Truman’s will be seen much in Reading but the old company did have a number of pubs in the area, mostly acquired as a result of a “swap” with Courage’s in 1970. These included the College Arms in Wokingham Road.
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The CAMRA magazine for Reading and Mid Berkshire, winter edition 2014