FREE PLEASE TAKE ONE
THE MAGAZINE OF WEST BERKSHIRE CAMRA
In the last ten years, the Newbury pub scene has changed dramatically. The Lock Stock & Barrel was the only town centre pub in the 2005 Good Beer Guide. In 2007 smoking in pubs was banned bringing cleaner air. Wetherspoon pubs opened in 2010 (Diamond Tap) and 2011 (Hatchet Inn - previously Berkshire Tavern) offering all day opening and regular beer festivals. Newbury now has a micropub (Cow & Cask), a sports bar (Bar Sport) and three pubs in the 2015 Good Beer Guide. The Newbury, King Charles Tavern, Hogshead, Lion, Cross Keys and Catherine Wheel have all been refurbished and now offer a much wider choice of real ales. In the last ten weeks, the Newbury has added a retractable awning to its roof terrace, the Lock Stock & Barrel has reopened after refurbishment and the Queens Hotel has been transformed into the Elephant at the Market, operated by the Revere Pub Company, a Marston’s subsidiary.
Lock Stock & Barrel, Newbury
Nominate 2015 West Berkshire CAMRA Community Pub of the Year by 16 March see page 4 for details.
Image: Made By Analogue (www.madebyanalogue.co.uk)
CAMRA has been able to nurture a cask ale revival and with its membership of over 168,000 can influence government policy and secure benefits for beer drinkers, breweries and publicans. See page 10 for membership details. There are concessionary rates for members under 26 and over 60.
Please support your local in Community Pubs Month www.communitypubscampaign.org.uk
NEWBURY’S FIRST MICRO PUB
Nationally, pubs are closing at the rate of 29 a week. As happened with the Tally Ho, Hungerford Newtown, community groups can nominate pubs to be listed as ‘Assets of Community Value’ as a first step in efforts to prevent the loss of a pub. Unless people also visit their local pubs they may disappear for good, like the Wellington Arms (2012) and the Blue Ball (2011) in Newbury.
Ullage March - May 2015
Photo: David Hatfull
ON OTHER PAGES Swift Halves - Pub and brewery news 2 Nominate Community Pub of the Year 3 More Swift Halves, LocAle 4 More Swift Halves, Gig Guide 5 Hastings Old Town 6 Pub Profile: Three Horseshoes, Brimpton 7 Inside Beer, Eastbury Brewing Co 8 Hike to Boxford, W Berks Ramblers 9 Ales around the Angel (Islington) 10 Curmudgeon column, Cheers! exhibit 11 Diary Dates, CAMRA Contacts 12
Photo: Fuller, Smith & Turner P.L.C.
Destination Newbury for improved pubs
Cow & Cask is available for private hire, and given enough notice we will try very hard to have “Your Favourite Micro Brewery Ale” on the stillage. Although we are a “Micro Pub” we can Squeeze, Jimmie, Squash or Shoehorn 20-25 persons in and make them comfortable. We can also provide a few seats!!!
1 Inches Yard Market Street Newbury RG14 5DP
Opening Hours Mon Closed Tue 5-9 Wed 12-2, 5-9 Thu 12-2, 5-9 Fri 12-2, 5-9 Sat All Day 12-9 Sun Closed Discount for CAMRA card holders
Tel: 07517 658071
Swift Halves ■ West Berkshire Brewery PLC announced that Simon Lewis has joined as Chief Executive Officer. Tom Lucas has been promoted to Finance Director and Company Secretary. Simon was formerly Head of Sales at Purity Brewing Co, Warwickshire, where Mad Goose and Pure Ubu are brewed. David Bruce said ‘This exciting news is the latest and most important jigsaw piece to be put in place since I was invited in 2013 to become Chairman by Dave and Helen Maggs who founded the brewery in 1995’.
Simon Lewis (CEO), David Bruce (Chairman) & Tom Lucas (Finance Director)
After a recent trial, the Royals have teamed up with West Berkshire Brewery to allow Good Old Boy to be served from a bar outside the East Stand and in hospitality at the Madejski Stadium for Reading FC home games. 2015 is the 20th anniversary of West Berkshire Brewery and the monthly cask ale specials have been chosen from the archive of beer recipes. For March, first brewed in 2000, March Hare 4.3% ABV is a light amber ale that has a robust bitterness with a full and rounded flavour. In April, Coolship 4% ABV, first brewed in 2006, is a golden beer with a rounded bitterness and delicate hop finish. Skiff 4.1% ABV, the May beer was first brewed back
in 1996 for Reading Beer Festival. It is a pale bitter with a floral hop finish.. The March brewery tour has sold out but places may remain for Saturday tours on 25 April and 30 May. www.wbbrew.com
■ The Reading Beer and Cider Festival 211SSTT READING 2 returns to Kings Meadow from Thursday 30 April to Sunday 3 May. This year’s sessions will be Thursday evening, Friday all day, Saturday lunchtime, Saturday evening, Sunday BEER & CIDER all day until 8pm. FESTIV VA AL Advance tickets will be available to avoid queueing. Expect to find over 500 real ales from around the UK and over 150 ciders and perries. See advertisement on page 6. ■ Wild Weather Ales used an English hop for the first time when brewing Sunrise and Sunset. Minstrel is a new English hop variety and was used for bittering and aroma in the both the white and black IPA style 5% ABV beers. The new bar at the brewery has taps for six keg beers and three cask ales are usually also available. Two litre growlers have been popular with customers returning for refills from the bar. The brewery shop is open Mon-Fri 9-5 and usually Sat 10-2. Phone 0118 9701837 to confirm the shop is open. www.wildweatherales.com ■ The INNformal brewery inside a new building in the back garden of the Five Bells, Wickham, the 2014 Central Southern CAMRA Pub of the Year, is now producing beers for sale at the pub and at the John O’Gaunt Inn, Hungerford. A black IPA, a chocolate stout and a pale ale were the first beers to be brewed in February.
■ Congratulations to head brewer Ryan Witter-Merithew, Darron Anley and his team at Siren Craft Brew, Finchampstead on their award of ‘Top Brewer - England’ in the RateBeer Best 2014 awards announced in January 2015. RateBeer is an independent world site for craft beer enthusiasts run by Joe Tucker from California. www.ratebeer.com ■ Plans by Marston’s to build a new pub near Newbury College, off Monks Lane, have been approved. The Two Mills is expected to open later this year.
■ The Hatchet Inn and the Diamond Tap are the pubs in Newbury that will be part of the Wetherspoon Real Ale Festival, 13-29 March. Ten overseas brewers, including Golden Road Brewing (Los Angeles), will use British hops to brew their festival beers in the UK.
■ Mark Barrett is the new Dundas Arms, Kintbury, landlord. Breakfasts are now available at the pub for non-residents. www.dundasarms.co.uk
■ Same Again, 3.8% ABV, brewed with Waimea hops, is the new hoppy session ale from Ramsbury Brewery. Over the Sticks, 4.2% ABV, is a fruity golden ale brewed in time for the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday 13 March, 2015.
■ On Friday 17 and Saturday 18 April Newbury Racecourse hosts the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Meeting with a Beer Festival on both days. CAMRA members can book half price
Proudly sponsored by | getreading.co.uk
Bracknell Ale & Wine Festival
Sunday 24th May @ Bracknell Town Football Club, RG12 9AN from 1pm X 20+ Real Ales X Wine & Cider X Live Music X Food on site X On th he pitch X FREE entry to CAMR RA member e s
Tickets On Sale Now At www.bracknellalefestivall.co.uk Come and celebrate our fifth birthday in style! bracknellalefst bracknellalefestival Festivval sponsor wanted. d See www.bracknellalefestivval.co.uk for details
The Campaign for Real Ale West Berkshire
Grandstand tickets in advance - by phone (01635 40015) until 13 April or online, until midnight 16 April using promo code CAMRA2015. The gates open at 11.30am on the Friday and 11.00am on Saturday. The beer festival, with over 40 real ales and ciders, is held in a marquee, on the lawn next to the parade ring. See advertisement on page 5.
■ Upham Brewery are the proud sponsors of London Irish RFC. In January, the brewery unveiled plans to build a new brewery in a modern building on the outskirts of Bishop’s Waltham, with a bore hole drilled on site to supply water for brewing. Production is reaching capacity at Upham, since brewing launched there in May 2013. ■ Tipster, Punter and Stakes beers from Upham Brewery are available at the Bunk Inn, Curridge. Bookings are essential for the pub’s Old English and Ale Tasting night on 5 March. The pub is planning a beer festival for the weekend of 18/19 July. www.thebunkinn.co.uk ■ Kirsty and Deborah at the Cock Inn, Shaw, are holding a beer festival at the Spring bank holiday weekend, 23-25 May, featuring local beers and food in the garden and live music. Normally, two handpumps serve rotating beers like Bombardier and Morland Original. A further two handpumps are on order. Tel. 01635 622203 ■ The Catherine Wheel, Newbury, now offers CAMRA card carrying members a discount of 30p / pint on draught cask ales. www.thecatherinewheel.com
■ Saddleback Farm Shop at California Farm, Brightwalton, on the B4494 Newbury to Wantage road, stocks bottled beers from Indigenous, Two Cocks and West Berkshire breweries. Breakfast, Lunch and Tea are served in the Tea Room. Opening hours are: Tue-Sat 8.30am-5.30pm; Sun 10am-4pm. The Tea Room closes 30 minutes earlier. www.saddlebackfarmshop.co.uk ■ The King Charles Tavern has gained Cask Marque accreditation. Every month a loyal customer of the pub is presented with a pint glass engraved with their name. Eight cask ales are available. CAMRA members can show their membership card to claim a 10p / pint discount.
■ See front page advertisement for revised opening hours at the Cow & Cask. Beers from Indigenous Brewery, Downton Brewery, Three Castles Brewery and Wild Weather Ales have been among those served. A 20p / pint discount is available for CAMRA members. ■ The Wadworth Brewery Visitor Centre, Devizes, won Gold in the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year category at the South West England Tourism Excellence awards in February. Look out for St George & the Dragon from Wadworth Brewery during March and April. It is a refreshing, biscuity 4.5% ABV beer with a crisp and tangy palate giving hints of orange and blackcurrant.
■ The Sun in the Wood, Ashmore Green, reopened after refurbishment in November 2014 with Kevin Mould as general manager. The pub is open daily from noon until 11pm (10.30pm Sundays). While some pubs are closed on Mondays, the Sun in the Wood attracts customers by offering two stone baked pizzas for £10 on Mondays. Bishop’s Tipple, Horizon, 6X and a seasonal ale from Wadworth are available. www.thesuninthewood.co.uk ■ Pubs along Ermin Street, west of M4 Junction 14, include the Pheasant, Shefford Woodlands; the Hare, Lambourn Woodlands and the Red Lion at Baydon. The open music night is fortnightly, from Monday 2 March, at the Red Lion where regular beers are from Ramsbury and Hook Norton breweries. Tel 01672 541224.
■ CAMRA designates May as Mild Month. Look out for Wild Weather’s Black Night and West Berkshire’s Maggs’ Magnificent Mild as local examples of this traditional beer style. www.camra.org.uk/mild-month
2015 West Berkshire CAMRA Community Pub of the Year If you have noticed a pub making a difference in the local community then please nominate it and the pub could gain valuable publicity as a winner of the 2015 West Berkshire CAMRA Community Pub of the Year. Previous winners of this award include: Tally Ho, Hungerford Newtown (2014); Cottage Inn, Bucklebury (2013, 2012). When nominating, consider factors like charity events, team games, space for local meetings and hosting events like quizzes, festivals and performances. Anyone, including the publican, can nominate one or more pubs. Please do this, by 16 March, using the online form that is on our website www.westberkscamra.org.uk/nominate or by sending details to Mike Avery, Branch Secretary, whose contact details appear on the back page.
Photo: Richard Lock
■ Jason Kemp gained Fuller’s Master Cellarman status at the Ox Row Inn, Salisbury. He moved to Newbury, to become general manager at the Lock Stock & Barrel. The riverside pub reopened on 17 February after refurbishment with improvements to the bar, cellar, kitchen and suntrap roof terrace. lockstockandbarrel.com
■ Kevin Brady of Indigenous brewery, Chaddleworth, has supplied tasting notes for two new beers. Forager’s Gold, 4.0% ABV, is a crisp golden ale, slightly amber from a small amount of crystal malt. The Fuggles and East Kent Goldings hops, produce a very drinkable, smooth and refreshing beer with slight caramel notes. Ammo Belle, 5.6% ABV, is a well hopped American Pale Ale, which is slightly hazy in appearance. Generously hopped with Cascade and Citra, it delivers a great floral aroma, lots of fruity notes, and a moderately dry finish.
Ullage March - May 2015
More Swift Halves ■ Russell and Carolyn have taken over at the Eldon Arms, Reading. Tony Jones, the Mayor of Reading and former landlady, Anne Mackie (holding a pint in photo below), attended the official opening on 5 February, 2015. There are now 46 LocAle pubs in our branch serving beer from breweries within a 25 mile radius. email@example.com LocAle Pubs - West of A34 Bell at Boxford
The Blue Ball
World’s End, Beedon
The Crown & Garter
The Eastbury Plough
The Five Bells
The Fox at Peasemore
The Hungerford Club
The John O’Gaunt Inn
The Lord Lyon
The Red House
The Swan Inn
The Swan Inn
The Tally Ho!
The Three Swans Hotel The White Hart Inn
The Winterbourne Arms
Bitter from West Berkshire Brewery and a guest ale eg Flint Knapper from Ramsbury Brewery. Open daily from noon until 11pm (until 4pm Sundays). www.crownandgarter.co.uk
■ CAMRA member Simon Grist has launched a Thames Valley branch of Clear Brew, a business offering professional beer line cleaning services in our area.
■ Lying between the Severn Estuary and the M5, the Salutation Inn, a rural freehouse in Ham, near Berkeley, Gloucestershire, is CAMRA’s 2014 National Pub of the Year. www.the-sally-at-ham.com
■ There is a ‘Pie and Pudding Club’ every The Wadworth pub how has eight handpumps and features guest ales. Visitors to the pub are encouraged to visit two other nearby pubs, the Retreat and the Lyndhurst. The three pubs will be holding a free Village music festival over the Easter weekend with live music at lunchtime and evening sessions from Friday until Sunday lunchtime. Jeff Evans is hosting a beer tasting event at the Eldon Arms on 18 March 7.30pm, tickets £10. www.eldonarmsreading.co.uk
■ Quiz nights at the Swan, Inkpen, are on alternate Thursdays from 12 March. Snacks are served at half time when there will also be a raffle for organic beef. The local organic beers served are Butts Jester and Butts Traditional. www.theswaninn-organics.co.uk
Wednesday evening at the Six Bells, Beenham. A good chance to give this a try would be on 6 May when other CAMRA members will be visiting. Local ales from West Berkshire Brewery and Wild Weather Ales are often available. www.thesixbells.co.uk
■ Arkell’s brewery recently invested £35,000 to buy 500 brand new stainless steel casks to replace more of the aluminium casks that have been in regular use at the brewery since the 1960s. Each firkin holds 72 pints of beer and is embossed with ‘Arkell’s Brewery’. The photo shows Head Brewer
■ The original Crown & Garter, Inkpen Common, pub sign is now on the wall of the new coffee shop and bakery at the country pub. Sourdough bread and chocolate brownies are among the bakery products which include a gluten free range. The bakery is open 8.30am-4.30pm (Tue-Sun, closed Mon). The pub has been added to the list of LocAle pubs and serves Good Old Boy and Mr Chubb’s Lunchtime
The Campaign for Real Ale West Berkshire
Alex Arkell who is obviously delighted with the new branded casks!
■ The Castle Tap, formerly Horse & Jockey, Castle Hill, Reading reopened in February after refurbishment. The team behind the freehouse is from the Alehouse and the Grumpy Goat in Reading so expect to find good beer and cheese on the menu. ■ Elland 1872 Porter, 6.5% ABV, is CAMRA’s 2015 Champion Winter Beer of Britain.The overall silver award went to Purple Moose Darkside of the Moose, the Old Ale / Strong Milds category winner. Dancing Duck - Dark Drake, the winner of the Stout category, won bronze overall.
■ The Elephant at the Market, formerly Queen’s Hotel, Newbury, opens on 13 March. Food will include Josper grilled steaks and wood fired pizza; beers will include Brakspear Oxford Gold and Ringwood Best Bitter. ■ Chef Geoff Jones and his wife, Joan McGowan, moved from County Tipperary to take over at the Compton Swan in November 2014. The Greene King pub with six bedrooms is now open all day. Tel 01635 579400. ■ Tutts Clump Cider is now stocked at Waitrose stores in Newbury, Thatcham, Reading, Woodley and Caversham and from April in Wantage, Twyford and Henley-on-Thames. Mr Whitehead’s Cider Company bottled over 28,500 bottles of Tutts Clump cider and perry in 2014. Look out for the Tutts Clump Cider stall at the Wallingford Food Festival, 16-17 May.
THRILLING RAC CING & FINE REAL ALE
AT N NE WB B U RY
YO U ’ R E O N C O U R S E F O R A G R E AT T I M E
Ace Space, St. Nicolas Road, Newbury, hosts Unplugged (Open Mic) on the first Friday of each month and monthly gigs. www.acespacenewbury.com 20 March – Fred’s House 11 April – Jaywalkers 14 May – Belshazzar’s Feast 30 May – Calico Jack The Lion, Newbury, hosts an eclectic mix of talented musicians on Saturday nights. Free admission. www.thelionnewbury.weebly.com 7 March – One Bloke One Mandolin 14 March – Rich McMahon 21 March – TwoManTing 4 April – Swampgrass 25 April – Richard Lomax 2 May – Mash 23 May – Here Come the Nightjars The White Hart, Thatcham, has live music or entertainment on Saturday nights. Free admission. Tel. 01635 863251 14 March – The Presidents 21 March – The Ray Jones Band The Five Bells, Wickham, has live jazz, blues or folk music every Sunday from 3pm. Free admission. Tel 01488 657300 8 March – Bob Bowles 15 March – Ian O’Regan 22 March – Rev Ferriday 29 March – Phil Baker 5 April – Ron Trueman-Border 12 April – Richard Cox-Smith The Canal Bar, behind the Old Waggon & Horses, has live music every Friday night. Free admission.
The Monument, Newbury, often has live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Open Mic night with Oli Hill on Thursdays. Free admission. Tel. 01635 41964
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DUBAI A DUTY FREE SPRIN NG TRIALS MEETING Friday 17 & Saturday 18 Ap pril
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The Fox Inn, Hermitage, has an early evening jam session on alternate Sundays from 1 March (4.30pm 8.30pm) www.thefoxhermitage.com More pubs with live music: Baydon: Red Lion; Compton: Swan; Hungerford: Railway Tavern; Lambourn: George; Newbury: Cock Inn, Cross Keys, Dolphin, Nag’s Head, Old Bell, Royal British Legion Club; Thatcham: Plough, Taste of England, Kings Head; Woolhampton: Angel Inn
*Applies to full price ‘Grandstaand’ tickets. Discount not available in conjunction with any other offe er. Maximum 4 tickets per booking.
Ullage March - May 2015
Hastings Old Town by Richard Scullion, Branch Chairman My Christmas was a family affair at my sonâ€™s house in Hastings, East Sussex. We all took a walk into the Old Town on Boxing Day. Down on the seafront we found Morris dancing and a Mummersâ€™ Play with many in the audience wearing hunting pink or foxes tails! It seems that in Hastings any excuse to dress up is taken, with the town holding the Guinness World Record for the most people dressed as pirates.
group, the foxes, hiding a tail in the pub when they had downed their pints. This was followed by the arrival of the hunters complete with horns sounding, who couldnâ€™t leave the pub until their drinks were finished and they had found the hidden brush. We moved on to the excellent Stag Inn, a Shepherd Neame pub in All Saints Street, where Kentâ€™s Best Invicta Ale (4.1%) was my choice. In the back room the Morris dancers had adopted a local tradition of jigging with one hand on their head to prevent injury from the low ceiling! On to the Cinque Ports Arms, a cosy pub with wood panelled walls, where I enjoyed a pint of my favourite - Harveys Sussex Best Bitter (4%), in the company of a group of locals dressed as Father Christmas and his elves! Our trail ended at the Dolphin, South East Sussex CAMRA Pub of the Year, on Rock-A-Nore Road, facing the old fishing net huts on the beach. Even the prospect of Dark Star Hophead couldnâ€™t deflect me from another pint of Sussex Best, brewed 30 miles to the west by Harveys of Lewes.
Stag Inn, Hastings
First In Last Out, Hastings
We walked up the High Street, past the Jenny Lind Inn where a noisy conkers competition was in full swing, to the First In Last Out free house, a current Good Beer Guide pub famed for its its FILO beers, brewed in a nearby stable building. I opted for the Cardinal porter (4.6%) and warmed up by the open fire. It was here that the significance of the foxes tails became clear. A large pub crawl was taking place with the first
B R E W E RY
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W W W . U P H A M B R E W E R Y. C O . U K T 01489 861 383 Stakes Farm, Cross Lane, Upham, Hampshire SO32 1FL
The Campaign for Real Ale West Berkshire
Pub Profile # 52
Three Horseshoes Brimpton A friendly welcome is assured at this cosy, traditional two bar village pub situated just a mile south of the A4, in the heart of Brimpton. The building is around 200 years old and before it became an Arkell’s pub in 2001 it was a free house. Michelle Le-brasse, pictured below, has run the pub since 2010 and before that it was run by her parents, so it has been in the family for 14 years. A recent refurbishment has enhanced and brightened the interior but the basic layout remains as before; a two bar pub consisting of public bar and lounge separated by doors that can be opened when the occasion demands it, such as when there is live entertainment. The public bar has a pool table and darts board which are used by the pub teams for their league matches as well as locals and visitors who turn up for a game or two. The many trophies won by the pub teams are displayed in the public bar. The comfortable lounge bar is mainly used as an eating area and can accommodate around 30 people. There is a small garden which overlooks the village and has a smoking shelter. There is also a car park to the rear. As for the beer, Arkell’s 3B on handpump is the regular beer and is often accompanied by another ale from the Arkell’s range. Food is fresh, home cooked and good value, especially the ever popular Sunday lunchtime carvery. There is a strong community feel to the pub, which really is the hub of village life. In addition to darts and pool being played, there is also a poker night held every Tuesday. A Quiz is held every six weeks on Saturday evenings and there
is live entertainment once a month on Friday evenings which usually features a comedy or music act. The Three Horseshoes is a strong locals pub but also attracts clientele from as far
afield as Reading. Well behaved dogs (and owners) are welcome! A recently introduced annual fun event is the Christmas panto, featuring local performers, which was named ‘Billy Brimpton goes to
Benidorm’ last year. Two performances of the show were put on, both of which were well attended and which attracted local media attention. The pub intends to follow up this successful event with a cabaret act or sketch show this December. Proceeds from these events and others held at the pub throughout the year go to the pub’s chosen charity, which is the Thames Valley Air Ambulance. Further demonstration of the pub’s commitment to the community is that it has incorporated a post office since the closure of the village post office a few years ago. This service is available on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Additionally, there is an arrangement with the nearby primary school which allows parents to use the pub car park when dropping off or picking up their children. The Three Horseshoes is popular with walkers and cyclists due to the number of adjacent public footpaths and the nearby Kennet and Avon canal towpath. Conveniently, there is a circular walk of around 4 miles that starts at the local church just around the corner from the pub. If you wish to use public transport the pub is served by a bus service between Newbury and Tilehurst. This is operated by Newbury & District (104 & 105, Monday - Saturday). Midgham railway station, in Woolhampton, is two miles away. Although a little off the beaten track, this is a welcoming village pub and a visit can be pleasurably combined with a stroll through the surrounding beautiful Berkshire countryside. Opening hours: Tue - Sat 12 – 3pm; Mon - Sat 7pm - 11pm; Sun 12 - 4pm Food is available: Tue - Sat 12 – 2pm, 7pm – 9pm; Sun 12 - 2pm The Three Horseshoes, Brimpton Lane, Brimpton. RG7 4TL Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 0118 9712183 Mike Avery Photographs by David Hatfull of Diem Photography 07774161306 www.diemphoto.co.uk
Ullage March - May 2015
PUB OF THE MONTH
West Berkshire CAMRA member Jeff Evans is the beer writer behind the Inside Beer website. Updated daily, www.insidebeer.com includes the Beer Buzz (news), Events and Festival listings and exclusive features. There are archives for Pub / Beer of the Month, including those in the shaded area above. Jeff has kindly written a brief guide to the distinguishing features of real ale, caskconditioned and bright beer for Ullage. When is real ale not real ale, and what is real ale anyway? Well, real ale, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary after discussions with CAMRA, is draught beer that has been brewed and stored in the traditional way, and which has
The British Guild of Beer Writers At the British Guild of Beer Writers’ Awards, in December 2014, Jessica Slack and Ray Newman were jointly named Beer Writer of the Year. Better known as bloggers Boak & Bailey, they took the top title for their book ‘Brew Britannia’. Other winners included: Pip Sprake (young beer writer), Tim Webb (beer and travel), Mark Dredge (beer and food). Mark Tranter, formerly of Dark Star, who founded Burning Sky, the East Sussex based brewery in 2013, was honoured as the Guild’s Brewer of the Year. The British Guild of Beer Writers was formed in 1988 to help spread the word about beers, brewing and pubs. www.beerguild.co.uk
CLASSIC BEER OF THE MONTH
FrangÓ, São Paulo, Brazil
De Dolle Stille Nacht
The Crosse Keys, London EC3
Wadworth Old Timer
The Kings Arms, Heath, Wakefield
Fuller’s Chiswick Bitter
undergone secondary fermentation of the yeast in the container from which it is dispensed. The technical term is ‘cask-conditioned beer’, because the container is known as a cask and the process of secondary fermentation is also known as conditioning. Beers that are filtered or pasteurised are not real ales, as they do not ferment in the container after leaving the brewery. Such beers are often called ‘bright beer’, because the yeast sediment has been removed and the beer does not need time to settle and clear once it arrives in the pub. Most of these beers are delivered in pressurised kegs and need an injection of gas to give them some life. Another form of bright beer, however, is beer that is simply drawn off the yeast
at the brewery, usually after a period of conditioning in a cask or a tank. It is not pasteurised or filtered and can be a handy alternative for people buying beer to drink at home or for venues wanting to offer some draught beer for a limited time or a special occasion. It is particularly convenient for village fetes and sporting fixtures, where there is no opportunity to allow the beer to settle over a couple of days in advance and where the beer is going to be consumed within a few hours. The downside is that such bright beer, containing very little active yeast, will go flat much sooner than cask-conditioned beer and so it is not particular suitable for longer periods of service.
Eastbury Brewing Co. Eastbury residents Bob McGarva and Phil Wright formed Eastbury Brewing Co in 2014 to brew and bottle beers at New Finches, Baydon, Wiltshire. They fulflilled a promise to backers by hosting a launch event for their first beer ‘Red Kite’ at the Eastbury Plough on Christmas Eve when two firkins of the beer were drunk. An amber ale, a golden ale and a porter are the other styles of beer planned and a second beer, ‘Sarsen’, was launched at the Eastbury Plough on 30 January.
Bob McGarva & Phil Wright at the Eastbury Plough
The Red Lion Baydon THE ROYAL OAK · YATTENDON
A beautiful, authentic country pub with rooms offering:
The Castle Inn · Cold Ash 䡲 West Berkshire CAMRA Community Pub of the Year 2010 䡲 Good Beer Guilde 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014 䡲 Cask Marque accredited since 2002 䡲 Five real ales including one from West Berkshire Brewery 䡲 Open all day - every day Hot soup and a roll 2.30-5.30pm 䡲 Family and dog friendly 䡲 Good value food 䡲 Quiz Mondays at 8.30pm Cold Ash Hill ·Cold Ash ·Thatcham ·Berkshire RG18 9PS Tel: 01635 863232 ·www.thecastleatcoldash.co.uk Follow us on Facebook
Award winning real ales from West Berks brewery in the village Stunning, Michelin rated, home cooked food Delicious Sunday roasts Fixed price lunch menu Monday to Friday 10 luxurious guest bedrooms Glorious walled beer garden Al fresco dining under leafy vine terrace 3 roaring log fires 4 private dining rooms for up to 70 guests Boules piste
Accreditations include: The Good Beer Guide 2015 Alistair Sawday’s Special Places To Stay 2015 The Michelin Guide 2015 The AA Good Pub Guide 2015 THE SQUARE, YATTENDON, BERKSHIRE RG18 0UG TELEPHONE: 01635 201 325 EMAIL: INFO@ROYALOAKYATTENDON.COM WWW.ROYALOAKYATTENDON.COM
Julie welcomes you to her friendly real ale pub, with home made food and live music. Cyclists, walkers and dogs all welcome! CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2015
Ermin Street, Baydon, Wilts. SN8 2JP Tel. 01672 541224 www.redlionbaydon.weebly.com Open all day from Noon.
The Campaign for Real Ale West Berkshire
Lambourn to Boxford hike
TRADITIONA ALE, MUSIC & SPORT
text and photos by Alan Haselden On November’s first Saturday, the late autumn sunshine beaming over the fair, undulating downs of Lambourn, casting long shadows and firing up the season’s golden and amber colours, offered a tremendous lift of spirits for five colleagues and I who started a 14 mile cross-country hike from Lambourn. We made it to Great Shefford’s Swan Inn in time for lunch at 1pm, Our meals: home-cooked
burger; chicken and mushroom pie and battered cod were all served with hand-cut chips. All were delicious and inexpensive and were perfectly matched by a round of pints of West Berkshire’s ‘Good Old Boy", which was served on fine form. Two other ales were available: Otter’s 3.6% ‘Bitter’ and Sharp’s 4% ‘Doom Bar’. A great lunch stop! The sunlight was still strong by 2.30pm when we continued our hike through the Welford Park estate and along the lane to Wickham village to call in at the Five Bells - a strong finalist in CAMRA’s 2014 pub of the year competition. A beautiful thatched building with traditional
interior and log fire, the pub was serving nine cask ales from all over the UK in addition to eight draught ciders. I successfully cajoled most to try a pint of Great Orme’s 4% ‘Welsh Black’ from North Wales, which is an easy-drinking dark ale with traces of chocolate. They weren’t disappointed. I followed this with a pint of Hogs Back’s lush 5% ‘Damson n’ Distress’ porter from Surrey. Others enjoyed Pot Belly Brewery’s 4.8% strong ruby bitter ‘Redwing’ from Northamptonshire and XT Brewery’s limited run ‘Zebra’ using their ‘Animal Brewing’ pseudonym - a 4.6% pale ale made with all British hops - from Buckinghamshire. By 5pm, twilight was dwindling to darkness. But the half moon and North Star helped us navigate the footpaths of the remaining two miles through woodland, pig farm and open field to our final stop: The Bell at Boxford. All aglow in Tudor-style splendour, the pub has a smart, traditional interior, subdued lighting and a log fire.
26 MARRKET PLACE, LAC NEWBUURY, BERKSHIRE ERKSHIRE RG14 5AG T:: 01635 34384
We are in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2015 (7th year running)
Meals served every evening and lunch-times (except Mondays)
En Suite Guest Rooms & Function Room available Choice of 3 Cask Ales ‘Pie and Pudding Club’ every Wednesday! West Berks CAMRA Pub of the Year 2008
It is commited to serving West Berkshire’s flagship ales of ‘Good Old Boy’ and ‘Mr. Chubbs Lunctime Bitter’. Most of us chose a pint of the latter and we enjoyed this together with a light meal, either a generous bowl of hand-cut chips or a whitebait dish. We could now relax at The Bell knowing there was sufficient time before catching the evening bus, making its return journey to Newbury from Lambourn. (Service 4, operated by Newbury & District.)
West Berks Ramblers The Ramblers (formerly The Ramblers’ Association) was founded in 1935. National membership stands at 114,000. The West Berks group organises up to five walks per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. There are nine affiliated groups in Berkshire including Berkshire Walkers and Berkshire Weekend Walkers and details of walks are often shown on the Ramblers walks finder www.ramblers.org.uk Chris Reynolds is Membership Secretary of West Berks Ramblers and also leads walks, which often include a pub stop. On Thursday 9 April he leads a circular ten mile walk from Great Shefford (9.30am) which includes a stop at the Five Bells, Wickham. Contact Chris, on 01635 226826 or 07979 804637, if you are interested in a trial walk. www.wberksramblers.org.uk Ullage March - May 2015
AT THE CANAL BAR OLD WAGGON & HORS HO
Traditional Sunday Roast lunches
Bell at Boxford
Five Bells, Wickham
QUALITY ALES FROM £2.80 PER PINT
COME AND ENJOY
The Six Bells, The Green, Beenham Reading RG7 5NX Tel: 0118 9713368 Email: email@example.com www.thesixbells.co.uk
The John O’ Gaunt Inn, Hungerford Proud To Be Part Of The Award Winning INNformal Pub Co & Brewery • Beautiful newly refurbished pub • Hungerford’s finest selection of real ales & cider • Over 50 bottled beers around the world • Boasts its very own micro brewery on site • Serving locally sourced, lovingly prepared and superbly cooked food every day John O’ Gaunt, Bridge Street, Hungerford, Berkshire, RG17 0EG +44 1488 683535
www.john-o-gaunt-hungerford.co.uk 9 1
Ales around the Angel On 24 January, four West Berkshire CAMRA members joined the Islington ale trail on the annual London ale trail for New Rose Berkshire, Oxfordshire M Avery, R & P Scullion, T Thomas, S Kelly and Buckinghamshire branches of the Central Southern CAMRA region. Thanks go to Sue and John Thirlaway for planning the trip, producing the information sheet and leading the trail which is always a good way to meet up with fellow CAMRA members from other branches. Islington Brewhouse and Kitchen, Torrens Street, near Angel tube station, was the noon rendezvous. Several beers are brewed for the pub on the premises including Spandau B a 4% ABV session IPA. The Earl of Essex, a Georgian building in residential Danbury Street, also features a microbrewery. A wide range of cask and keg beers was available here including Dinner for One, a Vienna Pale Ale with all German hops, brewed at Siren Craft Brew in Finchampstead as a collaboration between Ryan Witter-Merithew (Siren) and Andy Parker (Elusive Brewing). Before reaching the Craft Beer Co, Islington, we visited the New Rose and the Old Queen’s Head in Essex Road, the York and the Three Johns. Look out for the opportunity to explore a different part of London on the next regional CAMRA ale trail organised by Sue and John in January 2016. Social Secretary Sam Williams is also planning a branch trip to visit the new breweries along Sue & John Thirlaway the Bermondsey ‘Beer Mile’ at the Three Johns on a Saturday later this year.
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Full details are published in What’s Brewing, the monthly newspaper sent to all CAMRA members. The January 2015 issue included a Nottingham pub guide with a map showing 42 pubs including Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem and the Vat and Fiddle. CAMRA members wishing to pre-register (by 20 March) or be a part of the team of volunteeers for this free event can find details online at www.camraagm.org.uk
CHEERS! An exhibition of West Berkshire inns and pubs in photographs is on at the West Berkshire Museum, The Wharf, Newbury, until September. The museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 10am - 4pm. Admission is free.
The Swan, East Ilsley - photo supplied by West Berkshire Museum (ref 1994.42). Photographer unknown. 1890-1905.
The White Ha art Inn
Micro to macro? Let’s imagine a new wave of pubs started opening in the UK. They were small, plain and unassuming, with no food, children, piped music or pay-TV, where good beer and conversation ruled the roost. Heaven for traditionalists, you might think, but not really very likely. However, it does seem to be happening in the form of the still small but fast-growing micropub sector. Indeed, it has now been forecast that in five years’ time their number will mushroom from a hundred or so to 5000. Let me be quite clear, I’m entirely in favour of micropubs. Most of them sound like places I would find very congenial to drink in, and they also underline the point that, if existing pubs don’t provide what people want, the opportunities are there in the market to open up new venues that do. But I can’t help thinking that they have been over-hyped and their potential for expansion is exaggerated. For many years, industry experts have been saying that the days of the old-fashioned, wet-led, adults-only, drink and chat pubs are numbered. Customers are demanding food, music (whether live or piped) and TV football, and want to take their offspring with them, and you increasingly struggle to find pubs that do none of the above. Where they still survive – often in small towns and rural locations – they seem like an anachronism whose very survival is surprising. In my view this trend has been overstated, and the obvious success of many Sam Smith’s pubs in the North of England and London suggests there remains a market for pubs without these diversions. Plenty of their pubs serve some food, but many don’t. However, the embrace of some
BREWED WITH PA SSI O N
DRUNK WITH PLEASURE
combination of food and entertainment has dominated for several decades. Is there really a large untapped demand to buck that trend? I also get the feeling that, from their very intimacy, micropubs may turn out being somewhat cliquey, basically a drinking shop for the landlord and his mates. It’s always been an important feature of pubs that customers decide for themselves to what extent they interact with others. If you want to chat, fine, but if you just want to sit reading the paper, or browsing the smartphone, that will be respected. But if it’s just a group of blokes sitting around a single table, will that be possible? There may also be a great opportunity for village micropubs as well as urban ones. No doubt many villages could sustain a micropub even after a full-service pub trying to attract out-of-area dining trade has failed. The licensed trade is becoming increasingly diverse, with more and more different types of venues opening up to appeal to a variety of clientele. It would be wonderful if, in five years’ time, there were 5000 micropubs up and down the country. But I doubt whether Wetherspoon’s Tim Martin will be quaking in his boots. The Curmudgeon column appears monthly in Opening Times, the CAMRA magazine published by Stockport & South Manchester Branch. His other articles can be read at curmudgeoncolumns.blogspot.co.uk
Photo: © Steve Kelly
The CAMRA Members’ Weekend and AGM, 17-19 April 2015, will be held in the heart of Nottingham at the historic Albert Hall. Members’ Weekend is where CAMRA’s future policy and direction is discussed and offers the opportunity to socialise with friends over a pint in the Members’ Bar, attend the official AGM and workshops, visit recommended pubs and go on organised trips.
Cow & Cask - Newbury’s micropub
Tutts Clump Cider
The Ramsbury Brewery Priory Farm, Axford, Marlborough, Wiltshire SN8 2HA Brewery: 01672 541407 Office: 01672 520647 Sales: 07843 289527
Great eal Ales l !
Award Winning Real Cider RAMSBURY GOLD ABV 4.5%
RAMSBURY BITTER ABV 3.6%
Visit our website to see our great offers and events! Hamstead Marshall
01488 657545 whiteehartiinnhamsteeadmarsshall.co.uk Ullage March - May 2015
FLINTKNAPPER ABV 4.2%
KENNET VALLEY ABV 4.1%
BELAPUR IPA (ABV 5.5%): Beer of the festival winner at Swindon CAMRA Beer Festival 2014; Gold - Bottled beers over 5% at SIBA South West Beer Competition 2014
made by hand with apples mainly from within West Berkshire
Available in 275ml and 500ml bottles, 3, 5, 10 and 20 litre bag in box, 5 gallon poly-barrel and 9 gallon non pressurized plastic barrel to go on bar hand pump Fittings to attach a bag in box to a hand pump line also available Tel: 0118 974 4649 Mobile: 07836 296996 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.tuttsclumpcider.co.uk
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Beer Festival Diary CAMRA run or supported beer festivals provide excellent opportunities for sampling a wide range of real ales, from all over the UK and overseas. Here are some of the major and most accessible festivals for West Berkshire drinkers. 11-13 March 31st London Drinker Beer & Cider Festival Camden Centre, Bidborough Street, London. WCH1H 9AU www.northlondon.camra.org.uk 17-18 April Newbury Racecourse Beer Festival newburyracecourse.co.uk see advertisement on page 5
Diary Dates 2015 The following is a list of all forthcoming meetings of the West Berkshire branch of CAMRA. Some are ‘social’ meetings, lively and friendly occasions where we enjoy a few beers; others are ‘branch’ meetings, which are slightly more formal and where we discuss beer and pubs issues. Unless stated, our meetings are open to all-comers – and new members are particularly welcome!
Wednesday 18 March Branch Meeting Plough, Eastbury Friday 27 March Reading ale trail Start at Nag’s Head, Reading 7.30pm Wednesday 1 April Community Pub of the Year award 7.30pm Check website for venue
Friday 10 April Hungerford ale trail Start at Hungerford Club 7.30pm Tuesday 21 April Branch Meeting Coach, Beedon Friday 1 May Social Reading Beer & Cider Festival
Wednesday 6 May Social Six Bells, Beenham 7.30pm Tuesday 19 May Branch Meeting Cross Keys, Newbury
All meetings start at 8pm unless otherwise stated. Check our website for further details: www.westberkscamra.org.uk
Ullage is published by the West Berkshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale and is copyright of CAMRA. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the contributor and are not necessarily endorsed by the Production Team or The Campaign for Real Ale. Every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in Ullage is correct, but the publishers accept no responsibility for any errors or omissions.
30 April - 3 May 21st Reading Beer & Cider Festival King’s Meadow, Reading. RG1 8BN www.readingbeerfestival.org.uk see advertisement on page 6 24 May 5th Bracknell Ale & Wine Festival Bracknell Town FC. RG12 9AN www.bracknellalefestival.co.uk see advertisement on page 2
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