Message from the Editor Hello everyone and welcome to the 76th edition of Ale and Hearty. I am Pam your editor (that’s me on the right just in case you wondered what I look like) and I am looking forward to receiving original articles and photographs from you for future editions, please don’t send copied articles as this infringes the copyright. All material including photos that are on the internet belong to whoever created them and no one is able to use them without the owner’s permission. Copyright infringement occurs when a publication reproduces someone’s work without asking permission which can result in serious ﬁnancial penalty for CAMRA as a single large organization which could run into tens of thousands of pounds. Almost everything on the internet is copyright and the person that created it doesn’t need to have registered for copyright or to mark it so. Saying that, if something is marked loyalty free then that is ﬁne to use or Copyleft (Not a joke as I thought) where the creator says how you can use it.. There are some people who put photos on the net and then sit back and wait for people to use them without permission after which they sue them.
Inside there is a good article on why we should do beer scoring written by Andre Fu from Merseyale who have kindly let us use it. We need more members to do this as it will give us a better representation of the pubs in our area, and help us choose which ones to put in the Good Beer Guide. It is really easy to do from What Pub and you can do it on your phone just log in and give it a go. I have also included the guide that CAMRA give for Beer Scoring 0 being no real ale and 5 being the very best, super, fantastic pint you have ever tasted which not many people will use only on very rare occasions. Once a year all the scores
are downloaded and put into a spread sheet then totalled up to get different results like how many visits, average score and the total scores of each pub. This is what we look at to decide which pubs to put in the Good Beer Guide. Also, inside is the conclusion of Dave’s and Doug’s epic beer crawl round Kent and a cider article. Finally can I thank, Grasshopper, Arion and Sparrowhawk for letting us hold our meetings there. Cheers Pam Editor
Letter to the Editor Dear Pam, I read with interest and enjoyment the account of Dave and Doug’s Kent Pub Crawl. Having been born and brought up in Hastings many of the locations and pubs described are very familiar to me. Despite having lived in Merseyside for over 40 years I have always been a regular visitor to that corner of the Country, especially the areas around Rye and Romney Marsh. What a pity their itinerary didn’t allow for a visit to what must be one of the best and most unspoilt pubs in the UK (not that I’ve visited them all!), the Red Lion at Snargate, a pub that despite only being able to visit on a handful of occasions each year, I am proud to consider my favourite local. Kind regards, Laurence Atter, Formby
is the CAMRA Southport & West Lancs Branch’s magazine, published three times a year and distributed free to pubs, clubs, beer festivals, tourist offices and other outlets in Southport, Formby, West Lancashire and beyond. We produce 4,500 copies, and each one is read by several people. Ale & Hearty is funded entirely by our advertisers, whom we gratefully thank.
CONTACTS Editor Pam Hadﬁeld
Chairman Doug Macadam
Branch Contact Mike Perkins
Items for inclusion to Editor, please email: email@example.com. Cut off for editorials for the next Ale and Hearty is 31st January Name and contact details required: anonymous correspondence will not be considered, although your name can be left out of the magazine with the editor’s agreement.
BRANCH WEBSITE AND FACEBOOK For more local news about CAMRA, pubs, beer and breweries go to: www.southportcamra.org.uk. You can also follow ‘Southport and West Lancs CAMRA’ on Facebook. ‘Like’ us for updates. Our Twitter address is @SPortWLancsCAMRA
USEFUL CONTACTS •
CAMRA HQ 230 Hatﬁeld Road, St Albans, AL1 4LW.
01727 867201. Website: www.camra.org.uk
SEFTON TRADING STANDARDS Sefton MBC (Environmental Protection Department), 1st Floor, Magdalen House, Stanley Precinct, Trinity Road, Bootle. L20 3QZ. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (0151) 934 2089 Fax: (0151) 934 2106
SEFTON LICENSING AUTHORITY Sefton MBC, The Licensing Authority, Magdalen House, 30 Trinity Road, Bootle, L20 3NJ. 0151 934 4015 Fax: 0151 934 4276
LANCASHIRE TRADING STANDARDS Trading Standards Service, County Hall, Fishergate Hill, Preston, PR1 8XB. 01772 533569 (General Enquiries). E-mail: email@example.com
WEST LANCASHIRE LICENSING SERVICE West Lancs Borough Council - Licensing Service, Robert Hodge Centre, Stanley Way, Skelmersdale, WN8 8EE. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 01695 577177 Fax: 01695 585126
The opinions expressed in Ale & Hearty are not necessarily those of the Editor, the CAMRA Southport & West Lancs Branch or CAMRA Ltd.
Chairmans Bit Chairman’s Bit Summer 2018 Hello and welcome to this our autumn edition of Ale & Hearty. The most important news for the branch is that the Southport Beer and Cider Festival stival is back this October from the 25th to 27th October at the usual venue of the St John Ambulance Hall on Wright Street, Southport opposite the side entrance of Southport station. We will be having over 50 beers, ciders and perries and also a selection of wines and prosecco. This year we are offering advance ticket sales on Eventbrite for all the sessions and on the Thursday evening we will be holding the branch awards so come along and enjoy a selection of real ales and ciders of all types from breweries over the country. For CAMRA members interested in volunteering to staff the festival then please see the branch website for more details: www.southportcamra.org.uk.
the history of real ale with a choice of all types of category and so many speciality ales available including all kinds of ﬂavours in many of the pubs in our branch area compared to when I ﬁrst started drinking and most pubs just had a bitter, a mild and possibly a best bitter on their bars. Hopefully we still have many ﬁne warm days to come when we can sit out in the pub gardens but then when the cold weather does arrive there is nothing better than drinking a warming dark beer in the convivial atmosphere of the great British pub.
Family brewery crafting tasty of St Helens ales in the heart he
V isi t Us!
On looking back to the summer for what has been our best summer for many years I hope you have had plenty of opportunity to indulge yourselves in the many ﬁne and unusual real ales available nowadays The choice of real ales is now probably better than ever experienced in
Tel: T l 07921 83 88 31 3
Crossfest 2018 The Cross House in Formby held its 7th annual beer festival of music and beer and following last year’s successful gin bar the GINasium returned to cater for spirit drinkers. Charities supported were Sefton Cancer Support, Woodlands Hospice and Carla Lane Animals in Need.
last named is brewed on Merseyside with this brewer only producing occasional beers all named after different B movies. When I spoke to the brewer he explained that this was a hobby to him and he had provided this beer as he was related to the Crosshouse landlord.
Apart from the usual good range of beers at the bar there were 12 beers on hand pump in the beer tent which was weather proof and cosy. The ﬁrst beer to go was the dark mild from Leeds brewery called Midnight Bell the only dark beer on! Landlords please note that dark beers are drunk in the summer. From my point of view, I enjoyed several unusual beers viz Glastonbury Ales Mystery Tor which was very hoppy Penport Creation a pale ale and best of all B-Movies Rise of the Mannequins a dry hopped IPA. The
The music stage was some distance from the beer tent so it provided background as opposed to being in your face. The Beatles tribute band was noticeable in the roadway at Cross Green but did attract some spectator there.
Somehow, I don’t think I was aware of the existence of the festival previously but I hope to return in 2019. Dave Wright
Brewery News SOUTHPORT BREWERY
THE CRAFT BREWERY
No News this edition from Southport Brewery.
No News this edition from The Craft Brewery.
Doug Macadam BLO
Pam Hadﬁeld BLO
PARKER BREWERY A new beer is being brewed in the next couple of weeks: Commando Session IPA 4.1%, along with the other 5 core ales.
HOP VINE BREWERY Two new beers now being produced called 1: Two Left Feet a 4.2% English hopped bitter and 2: Bottleneck IPA a 5% English IPA with a nice long bitter ﬁnish.
Our micro pub, The Beer Den is looking be open for the 1st week of October. We will be selling cask ales, lagers, wines and spirits. 65/67 Duke Street, Southport, PR8 5BT.
A new Black IPA will be coming soon with the name to be conﬁrmed.
Doug Macadam BLO
RED STAR BREWERY Red Star Brewery made another successful appearance at THE FORMBY SHOW in July. The brew Catch a Fire was another welcome addition to the range. A great weekend was had by the punters who attended at the weekend as the weather was a little Scorshio! The brewery is holding a brewery day at 54b Stephenson Way Formby, Merseyside L37 8EG, on 8th September 2018. The event opens at 13.00pm to 16.30pm. Entry consists of Complimentary cask ales, hot food and souvenir glass together with a chat about the brewing process. Cost is 20 pound.
TYTON BREWERY New brewery news as Ainsdale’s ﬁrst brewery is soon to open. Projected ﬁrst brew day is in mid September and beers are to be released by the start of October: Tyton Brewery is using the recently sold 3 Potts Brewery, and will be launching 3 beers in cask and bottles as part of their core range. Tawny: 3.9% Copper Bitter, Morepork: 4.4% Session Pale & Western Screech: 5% American Style IPA. We look forward to trying their ales soon!” Tom Anderson Owner
For info contact: email@example.com or 01704461120 Julie Squires, Brewery Liaison Officer, CAMRA
30 Years of Cider & Perry Still going strong
Some of you may be unaware, but in addition to promoting Real Ale, CAMRA has been campaigning for Real Cider and Real Perry for a long time. The APPLE Committee was set up within CAMRA to focus on these fruity issues, and this year we celebrate 30 years since the APPLE Committee was formed. They held their ﬁrst meeting at 12 noon on Monday the 16th of May 1988, in The Victoria on Mornington Terrace, London. Once APPLE was formed, they got straight to work, and later that year the ﬁrst Cider & Perry Championships were arranged, where panels made up of experienced tasters sample and judge a range of ciders and perries and award not only the best but some runners up too. There are a number of judging stages, and members of the public with less (but still some) experience are invited to take part. The competition continues to be held annually, to give recognition of excellence in cider and perry production across the country. Along with individual tasting notes, there’s no better way to ﬁnd your next great drink. Keeping the momentum going, we organised the ﬁrst of four major Cider and Perry exhibitions in the Camden Centre in London in May 1990, featuring a very impressive 40 ciders and perries. Ciders and perries are very often a big part of CAMRA beer festivals these days, and it’s far from unheard of to ﬁnd events exclusively featuring cider and perry (no beer) every now and again.
In 1998, we established the Pomona Award (named after the Goddess of fruit trees, gardens and orchards), to recognise outstanding achievements in the promotion of Real Cider and Perry. The ﬁrst ever Pomona Award was given to Gerry Alton, for establishing Brogdale as home to the National Fruit Collections (a generic pool of cider and perry fruit), providing an invaluable service for both growers and producers. Originally planned to be given annually, this award is now presented as and when suitable. Nominations can be submitted by any CAMRA member at any time, they are then assessed, and if an award is to be given this will be promoted as part of the May and October campaigning activities. 2003 saw the ﬁrst month-long celebration of real cider and perry, and this gave rise to our policy of making special effort to promote real cider and perry in the months of May and October. After an extensive judging process, the ﬁrst National Cider Pub of the Year was announced in 2005. Since then, every year, branches right across the country judge the pubs in their areas that serve real cider or perry (according to speciﬁc criteria), give their winners awards, and submit these to the next stage. Following this, regional judges investigate the submitted local winners, and choose winners from those (who then get an additional award), and submit to the national round. The judges at this ﬁnal level have the hardest job, as they often have to travel great distances between the nominated pubs. Once all this work is completed, we announce our national winner in October, judged to be the best cider/ perry pub in the country, and then the process starts all over again at branch level for the next
year. In my experience, pubs like awards, so running these competitions is a very good way of encouraging them to continue to serve good quality real ciders and perries.
in thirds, which meant people could try more of the selection without overdoing it. This event proved very popular once again, and will likely be repeated next year, so look out for news of future events. While we aim to promote and campaign for Real Cider & Perry all year ‘round, May and October are particular focal points, so we try to arrange a number of interesting events around these months. Unlike Real Ale, which can be brewed at any time of year, Cider and Perry can only be made when the fruit is ready, which is generally between September and November, so production is usually in full swing during October.
A useful resource is CAMRA’s Good Cider Guide, the latest edition was published in 2005. In 2009, we launched the ‘Real Cider Sold Here’ sticker scheme. Pubs that sell real cider or perry are given these free window stickers to help people identify cider/perry pubs more easily. Another useful resource is whatpub.com which uses an apple symbol to indicate pubs which sell real cider or perry. We encourage pubs to stock at least one real cider or perry, and preferably something from within the local vicinity. In 2010 we developed special pump clip crowners for pubs to indicate which of their real ciders and perries are from local producers. We also continually lobby National and European Government to change policy and legislation to beneﬁt real cider and perry producers. In 2014, a petition with over 20,000 signatures was presented to 10 Downing Street asking the Government to reject EU calls for increased duty on small UK cider producers. Locally, The Grasshopper at Hillside recently held a very successful cider and sausage event (during August), featuring 30 real ciders and perries, and a variety of sausages, for the third year in a row. Along with many other interesting tipples, this year’s Champion Cider winner Harry’s Scrummage was available to all who attended. In addition to pints and half-pints, all of the festival ciders and perries were available
This is when the fruit will be harvested and pressed, then left to ferment naturally using the yeasts present in the fruits. It is often possible to visit cider farms at this time and see an apple pressing, which can be very informative and a good day out. It takes a good few months to mature from fruit juice into cider or perry, and it’s usually around May when these are ready for consumption, so that’s a good time to seek out a fresh batch. May is also when you’ll see the beautiful orchard blossoms, starting the cycle anew for the next production. This October, we have organised a number of exciting ways to expand your knowledge and experience of Real Cider and Perry:
On Saturday the 6th, we are leading a railbased walk around some of the area’s pubs close to local rail stations, that serve real cider or perry. We are meeting at the Beer Station (next to Freshﬁeld rail station) at 12 noon, and will be leaving promptly at 1pm for the next pub on the trail. After visiting a couple of pubs there, we will be hopping on the train to Hillside station, then once ﬁnished there we will be back on the train again to ﬁnish with a few pubs in the vicinity of Southport station. Whether you normally drink cider or perry, or have never tried it, why not join us and learn about these
exceptional drinks while quenching your thirst? On arrival at the Beer Station, look out for our branch Cider Rep (wearing a badge) or ask at the bar.
With so many opportunities to both try and learn about Real Cider and Perry, you’re spoilt for choice. So why choose? Come along to as many of these events as you like!
On Thursday the 18th, starting at 7pm, we are organising a free cider and perry tasting event at our Pub of the Year winner The Grasshopper, located a short walk from Hillside rail station. Free tasters of a range of 6 different styles of cider and perry will be on offer. Other drinks will be available to buy as normal.
From Thursday the 25th to Saturday the 27th, we are holding a beer and cider festival in the St John Hall on Wright Street in Southport. We have available an impressive range of 20 different Real Ciders and Real Perries, ranging from sweet through medium to dry, plus some fruit-ﬂavoured ones.
Free Cider for All The old adage states that ‘There is no such thing as a free lunch’. This referred to the 19th century custom of bars in America offering a free lunch to drinkers. The ‘free’ lunches were loaded with salt to make dinners drink more beer. Well, there are no free ee lunches l nches on offer but b t to celebrate Cider Month this October CAMRA are holding a free cider tasting session at The Grasshopper Micropub in Hillside on Thursday 18th October 2018.
carbonated, industrial products that are often offered in pubs. These are exciting times for cider lovers. At the tasting session we will have CAMRA cider experts on hand to guide you through the different styles and tastes and ﬁnd the cider for you. By the end of the session you may well know your Stoke Reds from your Crimson Kings. Come along and enjoy the cider experience. The event starts at 7:00pm on 18th October and the Grasshopper Micropub is a short walk from Hillside train station and is on the 47 bus route. No booking is necessary.
Ciders come in all shapes and sizes with over 100 different varieties of cider apples rejoicing in names such as Brown Snout, Kingston Black, Foxwhelp and Harry Master’s Jersey. Not all apples are sweet and they can be categorised as Sweet, Bitter, Sharp, Bittersharp or intriguingly Bittersweet. Each cider will have a unique combination of apples to give it a distinct ﬂavour. Replace apples with pears and the same can be said for perries. There are dozens of different varieties of perry pears from sweet through to astringent bittersharp pears that leave bags of ﬂavour in the perry and a not inconsiderable alcohol content. Cider producers are experimenting with adding fruit juices to ciders and are creating some very exciting new ﬂavours – rhubarb, strawberry, lemon and ginger, pineapple and grapefruit, mango and even chilli. Real ciders now compare very favourably with the pasteurised, ﬁltered,
Key-Keg Exposed In 2006, a Dutch company created a oneway, disposable keg which gave breweries a method of kegging beer without the need to invest in expensive kegging equipment. This key-keg consists of a ﬂexible, sterile, plastic bag held within a gas tight, rigid, plastic sphere (like a plastic goldﬁsh bowl) or cylinder contained within a plastic, kegshaped surround. The ﬂexible inner bag is ﬁlled with beer and every time a pint is drawn the space in the sphere/cylinder is replaced by the gas used to serve it. Unlike conventional kegs, the gas does not come into contact with the beer inside the bag as it is being used solely to apply pressure to the outside of the bag. When CAMRA’s Technical Advisory Group gave their opinion on key-kegs they said that key-kegs can contain real ale. The emphasis is on the word “can”. Given the nature of the container, what is then the chance of a brewer supplying real ale in a key-keg? One leading micro brewery (also supplying cask beer) says “We do all we can to fully ferment our beers and package them without yeast with a carbon dioxide level sufficient to ensure that they should never need de-gassing. The only time a key-keg would need to be de-gassed is if it has been packaged with yeast and secondary fermentation has taken place.” It is clear that none of this brewer’s key-keg is real ale as no secondary fermentation occurs and the product is ﬁltered and force-carbonated. If all key-keg producers followed this advice then all keykeg would not be real ale. It also follows that any outlets receiving real ale in key-kegs would
have to de-gass every keg before serving the beer. The few advantages of key-kegs are all in favour of the producers. Key-keg can be marketed as a new product, it can be sold for a higher price to those who perceive it to be worth selling and, as it’s made of single-use plastic, there’s no need to collect empties. The disadvantages to the consumer are numerous. Short of asking the brewer for a signed conﬁrmation, the drinker cannot deduce whether the keg contains living real ale or brewery conditioned, ﬁltered, force-carbonated beer. The product is over-chilled compared to cask beer leading to over-carbonation and an adverse affect on taste. A pint of key-keg costs substantially more than a pint of cask beer because of the throw-away container, gas, chilling and associated gadgetry needed. There are many serving problems most of which result from the fact that different key-keg suppliers force-carbonate their kegs to differing pressures. This leads to difficulties with venting, fobbing of the beer so that it is dispensed as foam and the cutting-out of dispense. Hence the reason why many outlets de-gass each keg before serving. On top of all this is the social/ environmental cost paid by all of us when the empty key-kegs end up in landﬁll. In the North West, key-keg has been making inroads mainly in Manchester and key-keg beer now appears at some CAMRA beer festivals in the city and beyond. How a consumer organization which supports beer drinkers can sell overpriced, key-keg beer at a festival is hard to understand. Surely drinkers should get a reasonable deal when attending a CAMRA event? Furthermore, won’t drinkers interpret the
promotion of such products as meaning that all key-keg beer is real ale when nothing could be further from the truth? Thankfully, the forthcoming CAMRA Southport Beer Festival will not be selling any key-keg beer but it will be selling a ﬁne range of real ale in cask. The event takes place from Thursday, 25th October to Saturday, 27th October. Full details are at: www.southport.camra.org.uk
Mike Kershaw East Lancs Branch
A.I. is too important to be left in the hands of machines.
Get the real taste of Ramsbottom
The A.I. we’re referring to isn’t Artiﬁcial Intelligence, it’s Ale Intelligence, of course. We’re not technophobes, we just don’t trust anything incapable of smelling, feeling or tasting to create something as delicately balanced as Landlord. That’s why we have ﬁve hands-on, Heriot-Watt trained brewers involved in every step of the process, from barley delivery to ﬁlling the casks. This way, we can make sure that every sip of Taylor’s is as delicious as humanly possible. Machines may one day take over the world, just be thankful you won’t be around to drink their terrible beer.
All for that taste of Taylor’s
Opening Times: Tue-Sun 12am-11pm Irwell Street, Ramsbottom BL0 9YQ t: 01706 825 019 w: www.irwellworksbrewery.co.uk @IrwellWorksAle Facebook/IrwellWorksBrewery
Beer Scoring - Why bother? Have you ever sat in a pub or anywhere else, drinking your pint and thought ‘This is a really good pint! I might get the same again’? Did that thought enter your mind either because you liked the taste of that particular beer or that it was in really good condition? Or...maybe both? Lucky you! Maybe it was a beer you had in a pub that has a good reputation when it comes to keeping and serving beer as the brewer intended. Whatever your reasons, if you are a CAMRA member, you can give the pub some recognition for each pint you consume - and it only takes a couple of minutes to do. I’m referring to the ‘dark art’ of BEER SCORING. The information gathered from beer scores for pubs is very useful to the work of the branch and CAMRA in general. We actively encourage any member - local or otherwise - to enter a score via the WhatPub website (www.whatpub. com) which was created by CAMRA HQ in St Albans, though all the local information about the pubs is supplied and updated by members of the branch committee. Unlike other popular online beer rating apps such as RateBeer and Untappd, we use submitted scores to help decide which pubs are entered in to the Good Beer Guide for the branch area. Inclusion in the guide is usually a good indication that the pub consistently keeps and serves well-conditioned real ale. More details regarding the scoring system and process are to be found elsewhere in this edition, but essentially it is a 10-point scale, along with a descriptive narrative for each point to help you decide how you might rate your drink.
The important thing to note is that you are scoring the CONDITION/QUALITY of the beer in the glass and NOT whether you like it. After all, no-one would knowingly order a beer that they don’t like, but might get a poorly kept or badly-poured pint through no fault of their own. To score a beer, you need to have both internet access and a CAMRA member password. You can use either a Smartphone, Tablet or computer to sign into WhatPub.com and access your account. If you need to re-set your password, you can do so by going to https://password.camra.org.uk/ Scores can also be entered retrospectively, so if you don’t have online access at the time of drinking - or you are in good company and don’t want to appear to be rude - you can always make a note and then submit the score later. Be assured that every score submitted, high or low, is counted and gratefully appreciated. So, if you want to make a valuable and meaningful contribution to the work of the branch (with very minimal effort on your part) then PLEASE consider scoring you next pint! Thank You. Andre Fu
Scores can be submitted via www.whatpub.com Membership number and password required. With thanks to Andre Fu and Merseyale for allowing us to use this article
CAMRA’S BEER SCORING SYSTEM 1. No cask ale available. 2. POOR Beer that is anything from barely drinkable to drinkable with considerable resentment. 3. AVERAGE Competently kept, drinkable pint but doesn’t inspire in any way, not worth moving to another pub but you drink the beer without really noticing.
5. VERY GOOD Excellent beer in excellent condition. 6. PERFECT Probably the best you are ever likely to ﬁnd. A seasoned drinker will award this score very rarely.
4. GOOD Good beer in good form. You may cancel plans to move to the next pub. You want to stay for another pint and may seek out the beer again.
A Kent Pub Crawl Continued FRIDAY 2ND FEBRUARY – DAY 4 Not surprisingly, Doug had advised me by now that we were not going to get as far aﬁeld as we would like by relying on buses, so for the new few days we decided to get around by train as well. So we bought a threeday Kent Rover ticket at Folkestone station for £45.00. A little expensive, especially as it was costing me less to get from Southport to Folkestone and back! Also, there was no Senior Railcard discount, which was rather baffling. However, we were going to get around a lot quicker by train, and also still able to use buses when we needed to. So we caught a train to Sevenoaks. For those of you who do not know Kent, it’s a big county. Here we were close to the Surrey and Greater London borders, and here we were about to bump into another Scouser! A good walk from the station was the Anchor, an old Bass Charrington pub on London Road. Whilst looking around the pub, I thought I heard a Liverpool accent, and spoke to a chap who said “yes, I’m originally from Everton! He introduced himself as Bill Akers, and I could not believe it when he told me he originally lived in Havelock Street many years ago. That was the very street where my own father was born! Well, you could have blown me over with a feather! Bill said he had moved away from Liverpool about forty years previously but was planning to move back. I do hope he gets to read this article
and perhaps that we may even meet again. What a coincidence. We then walked out of town to the White Hart, a smart and expensive pub on the main road where they sold a number of local beers including my choice, Old Dairy Blue Top at a cost of £4.10 a pint. Needless to say I just had a half after taking my ﬁrst glass of beer back – it was like vinegar. We then caught a bus to Tonbridge, but unfortunately this was not a Stagecoach bus and the fare was an extortionate £4.70! Anyway, life is full of swings and roundabouts, and on reaching Tonbridge we went for a pint in the Humphrey Bean, a Wetherspoons pub where I had a slap-up meal of ﬁsh and chips. This was one of the busiest Wetherspoon pubs I had ever seen, and it was packed in the afternoon! However, prior to that our ﬁrst port of call in Tonbridge was Fuggles Beer Café. Sister pub of the one in Tunbridge Wells which we visited later. The beer in this pub was superb, and one of the three best beers of the day. I tried the Tonbridge Coppernob, but I could have stayed in here all day. We then caught another train, just one stop from Tonbridge to Tunbridge Wells. Here we did another walking pub crawl, as there were ﬁve pubs to visit here. We started at Mount Edgcumbe where my beer choice was Holler Boys Heavy Lifting. Then the George (Fonthill Epsilon); Fuggles Beer Café (an absolutely superb Oakham Inferno); Royal Oak (Gun Brewery Extra Pale) and ﬁnished off in the Grove
Tavern, a back-street corner locals pub where I tried the Harvey’s Sussex best bitter. This was where we had to check pub opening hours again, so we decided to catch a train back to Folkestone and visit the Firkin Alehouse which closed at 10 o’clock. We then got the bus back out to Hythe where we went back to the Potting Shed referred to earlier. Then it was another bus to Sandgate and the Inn Doors, and back to Folkestone for the Kipps Ale House, which was our 45th pub of the week! It was Gadd’s Oatmeal Stout and another good beer to end the night.
SATURDAY 3RD FEBRUARY – DAY 5 Our next day was to explore the Isle of Thanet, an area I had visited twice previously. However, I had not visited many of the pubs there, so after breakfast we took the train to Sandwich, where a short walk from the station took us to the Crispin Inn, where I sampled the Mad Cat Crispin Pale Ale – a little expensive at £3.70 but not bad. We then walked to the bus stop and waited for a bus to Eastry. The Five Bells was a landmark pub – my 50th Kent GBG pub and my 1400th GBG pub! So I bought Doug a pint of Wantsum Black Prince in here, as we had an hour between buses. We then caught a bus to St. Peter’s, which is between Margate and Broadstairs. I didn’t ﬁnd the Four Candles Alehouse very friendly, but the other pub in the village, the Yard of Ale was extremely friendly and full of dogs and hay! It was not called the Yard of Ale for nothing, because it was a former stable converted into a unique micropub. The locals were chatty, and as we were leaving I heard another Scouse accent. I asked a group of people whether one of their friends was from Liverpool, and sure enough I was right, although he had disappeared. I can’t remember his name, but he was outside having a cigarette and he was another exile from Speke! Perhaps that’s what comes of living near an airport!
We then took another bus to Cliftonville where we visited another micropub, the Tap Room. Formerly a takeaway food shop, this sold a beer from Angels and Demons brewery, a new one on me, and the Bombay Social was excellent. It was very quiet in here and it was more of a local’s pub than those in nearby Margate. I had never been to Margate before, but the two pubs here were two of the best of the week. The ﬁrst was the London Tavern, which was the local Pub of the Year (POTY) and one of a number of POTYs we were to visit this week. The Howling Hops Pale was one of the beers of the week. We then took a short walk to the High Street and the Fez. I asked the manager where it got its name from, but I think it was because they had travelled a lot and had brought back many eclectic items from foreign visits and local fairgrounds. This was a unique pub with lots of weird and wonderful items, and possibly best described as Margate’s answer to Peter Kavanagh’s in Liverpool. Our last port of call on the Isle of Thanet was to get a bus to Westgate-on-Sea, on the north shelf of Kent towards Herne Bay. Here we visited the Bake & Alehouse, yet another micropub. The Bexhill Black Prince was lovely. From here we took a train to Deal, and the bad news was that it had started raining. We had two more pubs to visit before we ﬁnished. Not in Deal itself but in nearby Walmer, just outside Deal. We walked in the rain to the (Green) Berry – listed in the GBG as the Berry but the pub signs still called it the Green Berry. This was a local’s pub, but we arrived rather wet. Not only that, but we had an even longer walk to the last pub, the Freed Man, which was right at the top of the Dover Road. I had given up on getting there on time, because we left the Green Berry at about 22.40, but the Freed Man must have been a mile uphill, because my phone rang at about 22.57. It was Doug, and he had just arrived and were still serving. I arrived at 22.59, which was just
time for a quick half of Folkestone “Goldilocks Is Dead”, an unusually-named beer. Leaving the locals who were still drinking, we left after a quick half to catch a late train from Walmer station to Folkestone after pub number 58.
The ﬁrst one was the Coopers Arms, where I tried the Tonbridge Coopers Ale. Then it was a pub called “Who’d a Thought It”. A very busy pub, the regulars were watching rugby on television, which we were not interested in, so we drank our beer and ate snacks provided by the pub in the form of cheese and biscuits and salted peanuts.
SUNDAY 4TH FEBRUARY – DAY 6 As you well know, Sunday is not the best day of the week for public transport, but this was the last day to use our Kent Rover train ticket, and for our last full day we decided to head for the historic Medway ports of Chatham and Rochester. After catching a train from Folkestone to Faversham, we stopped off for a couple of beers. The ﬁrst was the Corner Tap, a nonGBG micropub which was nonetheless very friendly selling Whitstable Renaissance. We then toddled off to the GBG listed Furlongs Ale House, which was a rare pub doing a discount for CAMRA members. The landlord here was one of the friendliest we had encountered all week, and I could have stayed here longer. However, it was back to the station and a train to Rainham. This is where the fun started, because although we really wanted to go to Strood, it was Sunday, and a Sunday when the railways were being repaired. So we alighted at Rainham station and took a replacement bus service to Strood. There we looked in vain for a new micropub called 10:50 from Victoria, whose location is described in the GBG as “in a railway arch at the rear of a supermarket car park”. Well, we eventually found it, but disaster – it was closed on Sunday. So instead we walked to Rochester, which was not as far as it sounds. This was Dickens country, and a city I had not visited before. There were lots of references to Charles Dickens in Rochester, and there were also lots of pubs to visit, and they were all open – even better.
We then visited a pub which was not one of my favourites – the Good Intent. Now whilst I always take my Good Beer Guide on holiday when I am in the UK and nearly always ﬁnd it extremely reliable, occasionally I ﬁnd pubs in it and think “why was that selected”. So whereas I ﬁnd local CAMRA branches generally choose very good pubs for the GBG, sometimes they are not quite so good, and this was one of them. The only problem with the GBG is that you are visiting pubs that were chosen twelve months previously, and they could have changed hands, closed, changed their opening times or the beer quality may have declined. Anyhow, I tried the Ossett White Rat in here, normally superb in Yorkshire but less than average in here. So we quickly moved on to the Man of Kent Ale House, which was much better. I supped Musket Brewery Flash In The Pan, which was excellent and only £3.00 a pint, exceptionally good value for this part of the world. Our last pub in Rochester was another micropub, but a rare micropub which sold food. The landlord was a Frenchman, so its name of the Flippin’ Frog was the pub name of the week, and proves that some French people do have a sense of humour! It sold Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde which was very good too. We did a lot of walking this day, and because of the public transport situation we had little choice other than using the rail replacement buses, but we left the Flippin’ Frog to walk to Chatham, Brompton and Gillingham. However, this part of the week proved disastrous. The
King George V in Brompton was closed, despite the GBG saying it was open and the two pubs in Gillingham were closed, despite long walks to get to them. The Past & Present, Medway’s ﬁrst micropub, closed at 18.30 and the Will Adams was closed between 16.00 and 19.30, which was probably our own fault. So Sunday was a case of the ones that got away. However, there was still time for a few more pubs.
We walked back to Ashford station and got the train to Kings Cross St. Pancras, where there was one last chance of a beer. We had to walk back from St. Pancras to Euston, but hidden away on the upper ﬂoor of the Kings Cross station concourse is the Parcel Yard, where we sneaked in a quick half of Fullers Oliver’s Island. God knows how much it cost, but it was Doug’s round!
Our next one was the Prince of Wales in Chatham and then we found the Thomas Waghorn, a J D Wetherspoon pub where I tried Flack Manor Hedge Hop. It was average, but at £2.25 a pint I could not have too many complaints.
So that was it. Probably my biggest-ever pub crawl – 71 pubs in 7 days! Thanks to Doug for all his research, map reading, GPS system and hard work, it got me closer and closer to my target of 1500 Good Beer Guide pubs, a target I would eventually achieve at the CAMRA Members Weekend at Warwick University in April.
At least we were now near the railway station, and we could now get a train back home, stopping at Sittingbourne on the way. Our ﬁrst pub was the J D Wetherspoon Golden Hope, where the Whitstable Pearl of Kent was quite good and just £2.29. Our last pub of the night was the Red Lion and a half of Wickwar BOB. So despite the problems with the trains and closed pubs, we had still managed eleven new pubs this day but obviously could have ticked off a few more. So that was it. After a good night’s sleep and another hearty breakfast, we got up in the morning to walk to Folkestone Central station and catch the train to London. However, we were not ﬁnished just yet. We stopped off at Ashford (which is the closest town to the Channel Tunnel) and walked to the County Hotel, another JDW pub. I had a pint and a couple of coffees in here, with the beer an unusual one – Mordue Workie Ticket all the way from Wallsend in Newcastleupon-Tyne. It was a bit dearer than some of the other Wetherspoon pubs visited during the week at £2.69, but possibly the best beer of the week in a Wetherspoon pub.
Cheers, Dave Williams & Doug Macadam
Above and Beyond the Call of Duty With hair sodden and describing herself as looking like a drowned rat Julie headed off to ﬁnd the local real ale pubs, details of which Phil had texted that morning, and to warm her freezing bones. Unfortunately, the Bishop and Wolf wasn’t open at 11.30am so she headed to the Atlantic which didn’t sell the local ale but where the barman recommended going to the Mermaid. (Poor Julie there is always a danger of inaccurate information on trips!) Not deterred our brave adventurer set off for the Mermaid which did actually have local ale and was a friendly pub with lovely sea views including a clear view of Julies ship. There was only time for a quick half, a few photos and then a dash to the harbour to catch the tender back to the Marco Polo at noon.
Phil Morris’s partner Julie is a long time supporter of CAMRA trips arranged by Phil our Social Secretary and others and recently she undertook a trip of her own. On 31st May whilst on a short cruise with her mother, including the Isles of Scilly, she decided to visit St Marys in search of the local beer which had been highly recommended by Phil. Leaving the good ship Marco Polo by tender the morning was spent souvenir hunting in St Marys. Always intrepid Julie also went for an invigorating swim at the local Port Cerris beach an experience that she enjoyed but described the water as ’b….y freezing’.
The beer was brewed on the island only ten minutes from the pub. The Ales of Scilly Brewery is the most South Westerly brewery in Britain and has a female head brewer at the helm. There was time to buy two bottles from the corner shop, one for Phil and the other for Julies brother. Sadly one bottle was smashed in the rush to get back to the ship….. The picture attached documents Julies wet and freezing state and just conﬁrms her dedication to pushing out the frontiers of beer trips.
The Willow Grove
Open every day 8am till midnight • 2 floors 12 hand pulls • Ales from £1.99 a pint. At least 10 on at any one time Always Doombar, Ruddles, Abbott and Wainwright. (unless Beer Festivals weeks which we do 4 times a year here) Beer bus or meet the brewer once a month We support all the local breweries like Parker Red Star
387-389 Lord street, Southport, PR9 0AG 01704 517830
Pubs giving CAMRA discount to card carrying CAMRA members Pubs giving CAMRA discount to card carrying CAMRA members Tap & Bottles 20p off a pint 10p off 1/2pint Bold Arms Churchtown 20p a pint Real Ale FreshďŹ eld 10% a pint Real Ale Railway Formby 20p a pint Real Ale Phoenix 10% off Real Ale Park Birkdale 10% off pints and halves Cross House Formby 10% off pints Grasshopper Hillside offer a discount scheme Cheshire Lines 20% discount Tap Room 12 Ormskirk CAMRA members have a choice of 10% discount or a stamp on a loyalty card buy 10 pints get one free Railway Ormskirk loyalty card also 20p CAMRA discount and Monday less 50p on cask ales I am sure this list is not exhausted and if I have missed anyone out of Southport and West Lancs area or you decide to start offering discount please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org This list will be a permanent feature of Ale and Hearty hoping to try and encourage pubs to be included.
Report of Southport CAMRA’s Social to Preston Saturday 4 August 2018 Four members met on the Stagecoach X2 service to Preston, which left Southport on time at 11:11, to follow a route kindly devised by our Social Secretary, Phil Morris. The journey was comfortable, particularly from a ‘table and four seats’ arrangment on the upper deck, and several pub related topics and potential future destinations were discussed.
Leaving here, we observed an excellent Victorian tram shelter, seemingly still in use for the buses which now regularly pass the pub, but as the next pub wasn’t far away, we set off on foot. Walking towards the City Centre along Plungington Road, we spotted the Brook Tavern – not on the itinerary, but we went to investigate, and found real ale in the form of Charles Wells ‘Bombardier’.
An on time arrival at Preston Bus Station was followed by the inevitable faff whilst we located the stand for our next bus, local service 23. Naturally it was right under our noses, next but one to the stand at which we had arrived. Ten minutes later, we were on board for a short journey “through the parts the tourists don’t see” to Plungington Lane. The bus dropped us off yards from the ﬁrst port of call for the day, The Plungington Hotel, 67 Lytham Road, Fulwood not to be confused with the Plungington Tavern on Plungington Road which is now closed. This is a large pub on a corner site, which has recently been declared ‘Summer 2018 Pub of the Season’ by the local branch of CAMRA - Central Lancashire. Due to the layout of the pub, with a central bar and rooms most of the way round it, not all of the six handpulled ales were visible on our arrival, but the friendly bar staff kindly drew our attention to a chalk board which revealed beers from First Chop, Timothy Taylors, Castle Rock, Galaxy, Titanic, and a house beer ‘Plungington Bitter’. Between us we tried most of these, all were in decent nick without being particularly spectacular, and all priced at a reasonable £3.20 a pint. Being a warm sunny day, we spent part of our time outside in the enormous garden – a former bowling green, and quite possibly the largest beer garden in Preston.
Again, we sat outside in what was probably once another bowling green, but part of this has now been given over to a car park. The stone ‘bird scarers’ in the shape of kestrels on the roof generated some comment, and the landlady said they’d been installed to discourage pigeons, once a particular pest at this hostelry. To be fair, this wasn’t the best beer of the day, but one of the groups’ comments that “it tasted better after the garlic sausage” is probably best left unattributed. After this diversion, we rejoined Phil’s planned route, continuing along Plungington Road, with some of the group calling for sandwiches, pork pies etc in some of the local shops, before we
turned left into Aqueduct Street, and then left again into Cambridge Walk to ﬁnd The Princess Alice. On the way, we passed the end of Elliott Street – with two Ts – much to the joy of one of our party.
The Princess Alice is an excellent, friendly, community pub, with ornate tilework both inside and out, from its days as a Matthew Brown ely owned free house pub. Now a privately house, with more TV screens than I could count, it was serving Lancaster ‘Red’, ‘Blonde’ and ‘Liberty’, again at around £3.20 a pint. The pub was extremely busy when we arrived, but I’m pretty sure the mass exodus at 2:40 was more to do with the pub’s proximity to Preston North End football club on the opening day of the Football Season, than any desire to move away from we four members of Southport CaMRA! From here, it was only a short stroll to The Moorbrook, on Garstang Road (the A6) almost opposite the end of Aqueduct Street. I for one must have passed this pub hundreds of times before but had never ventured inside. I will return very soon! On entering, it was clear from the number of glasses being collected that this had been another pub massively popular with the football crowd, but now, at around 3:15, it was pretty quiet. An excellent venue, with a knowledgable barman who used to work at The Bottle Room on Lord Street, Southport, the pub boasts some ornate windows and mirrors. Also, a plaque on the wall commemorates that this pub is where the West Lancashire branch of CAMRA was formed, way back in 1973.
An excellent range of eight or nine beers was available, including beers from Kettlesmith, Tiny Rebel, Blackjack, Northern Monk, Cwrw Ial (The Community Brewing company from Eryrys, near Mold), and Thwaites. My choice was a splendid half of Northern Monk’s ‘Northern Star’ – a superb Mocha Porter, weighing in at a hefty 5.9%, but between us, we sampled most, if not all of the beers, and none was disappointing in any way. After an enjoyable stay, we recrossed the A6 and continued along Moor Lane, then right, along Victoria Street, through the UCLan (University of Central Lancashire) campus, and ﬁnally the short stretch down Brook Street to emerge opposite The Ferret – formerly the Mad Ferret, but presumably somewhat more sane now! Part of a former industrial building, and on the site of Preston’s ﬁrst steam powered cotton mill in the 1790s, The Ferret is mainly a live music pub, attracting a signiﬁcant number of students, without being your archetypal ‘student’s pub’. Being a Saturday afternoon outside term time, the pub was relatively quiet. The four handpulls featured a well balanced range from Acorn, Elephant School, Great Heck, and my choice, Titanic ‘Cherry Dark’. Again, between us we sampled most if not all of these beers, and all were in ﬁne fettle and the staff and customers alike were all friendly and made us feel most welcome. By now it was after ﬁve o’clock, and a couple of the party needed to return to Southport, so Phil and I bade them farewell to return for their bus to Southport. We two still had some spare capacity, so we made out way through the Adelphi Quarter to Friargate, just in time to witness a Nissan Micra fail to stop short of the rear of a Land Rover Discovery trying to reverse park! As no-one seemed hurt, Phil and I sauntered into The Roper Hall (next on Phil’s expertly planned agenda). This recently renovated pub has a very modern feel, and now sells real ale, real cider and craft beers. One of the handpumps seemed to be out of action, so our choice was between Adnams ‘T Drop’,
and Thornbridge Jaipur. Phil chose the former, I the latter, and both, again, were on good form, although not the best value for money on the day. The pub could probably get very noisy and crowded at times, but on this particular Saturday teatime, there was just enough atmosphere to be able to enjoy a civilised drink, before moving on. Our next venue was only a couple of minutes walk away, the newly-opened â€˜Plug and Tapsâ€™, on Lune Street. One of the new fashion for micropubs to be set up in former shop premises (in this case, a former hairdresserâ€™s), it is larger than many of its contemporaries, and includes an upstairs function room. What it doesnâ€™t include, however, is a licensed outdoor area, a rule of which Phil and I fell foul before being very politely requested to move back inside with our drinks (which, of course, we obligingly did!). The pub was busy (perhaps because the football match had now ďŹ nished?), but with a very interesting range, including â€˜Squawkâ€™, â€˜Brew Foundationâ€™ and â€˜Farm Yardâ€™ breweries, and yet again, we were both more than satisďŹ ed with the beer quality of our respective drinks.
were three customers discussing what BPA from Bank Top was an acronym was for. With his local knowledge of that special place in the North West, it was pointed out that it was Bolton Pale Ale. Trying that very beer and a further one from Bank Top; Bradshaw Brook, the quality and ďŹ‚avour was reportedly excellent. It was now early evening, and mindful of how slow the number 2 bus via Hesketh Bank can seem to be, I decided to return to the Bus Station in time for the last X2, at 19:25 from the nearby Bus Station. Phil had a similar thought over at The Guild Ale House and joined me on the bus with just seconds to spare. All in all, an excellent day out, in good company. If you have enjoyed reading my ramblings about our rambling, please come along on a social trip very soon. Youâ€™ll be made very welcome! Noah
From here it was a short walk, mainly through the pedestrianised centre of the city, noting, but not on this occasion visiting, the historic Black Horse on Friargate, and on to the refurbished outdoor market, which now incorporates â€˜Orchardâ€™ â€“ another newly opened (March 2018) bar. Appealing mainly to a younger audience, and although majoring on craft ales, nonetheless Orchard has two handpumps, and on this occasion they were serving â€˜Beer Brothersâ€™ IPA, and â€˜Hophurstâ€™ Cosmati, and both were in good condition. I decided I had reached capacity and noting the proximity of the departure time of the last X2 of the day decided to remain in The Orchard while Phil completed the planned schedule at The Guild Ale House around the corner in Lancaster Road. Phil reports that on arrival there
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Southport Snippets Some better news for Eastbank Street drinkers. Following the closure of the Old Ship and the temporary closure of the Volunteer the latter hostelry has reopened as The Sporting Jester with a new sign plus the words Free House. Very smart décor inside now but still just with the ubiquitous Wainwright on hand pump at £3.20 per pint. The Wellington nearby seems popular but specialises in Karaoke and ﬁzz. The Parker Brewery Beer Den on Duke Street is proceeding apace but still proclaims that it is opening soon. Lets hope so. The Potting Shed on Lord Street still dispenses mostly Beer Monkey beers. Recently however two BAD brewery beers appeared – Limelight and Pale Aura and very nice they were. The price £3.20 is quite high compared to the adjacent Phoenix and Sir Henry Segrave.
Another closure was The Cocoa House on Lord Street. A great shame this because the staff were always pleasant and two real ales were often on. Of the tried and trusted establishments the Guest House has featured some rare breweries for this area. I am always a sucker for Abbeydale Moonshine and latterly Hobsons Town Crier was a pleasant change. Gale always ensures that at least one mild is available – Black Cat, Dark Night or Bank Top Dark Mild.
Finally congratulations to the Tap and Bottles who yet again ran a super beer festival in May with Beer Street. The people I knew who came from out of town were full of praise for the unusual offerings and the quality. On the same day I took them to the Grasshopper. Andrew had his visual eclectic selection available and all the beers sampled went down very well. ewly named Southport Tavern – ex The newly Albert - continues to offer Weetwood ales. From my observations real ale sales are not as numerous as the various lagers on sale. Bar 45 on Leicester Street closed quite suddenly. It has now re opened as Tiger Bar but I have not checked whether real ale is available.
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