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Swale Ale

Vol 4 Issue 3

The FREE Magazine of the Swale branch of CAMRA The Campaign for Real Ale

Hops Glorious Hops


ne Hop, Six Hop, Hophead; it’s amazing the number of beers now with hop in the name or named after hop varieties. We would all probably recognise Fuggles, Goldings and Challenger; now we frequently see Chinook, Cascade, Yakima and especially popular in the last year ‘Citra’. I even saw a beer from the Kew Botanist brewery, called ‘Humulus Lupulus’ and wondered, as the beer used the generic name for the hop, what hop varieties were used in the making? They didn’t say. Humulus lupulus comes from the family of plants Cannabaceae, genus: humulus and the species: lupulus; a close relation to the hemp plant (cannabis). There has been a wonderful explosion of flavours in some of the beers currently available, thanks largely to the increasing number of and the innovative steps of micro-brewers. In part this is because new brewers are seeking out different varieties and sources of hop to brew something out of the ordinary. Some suggest that this stems from the craft breweries of the US, and certainly there are many popular US hops being used, but there are also many

hops from New Zealand and Australia being introduced to the British market. Perhaps it is a result of a cross fertilization of ideas and communication among the micro-brewers both here and abroad. In September we celebrate the harvest of the Kent hops and perhaps it would be

In this issue…   

Faversham Hop Festival Pub Guide Branch and Brewery News All Within a Day of Swale: our new walking trail

Summer Issue 2012



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Hops Glorious Hops helpful to understand a bit more about the hop and its use in brewing. The hop is a perennial climbing vine requiring good soil, sunshine and protection from the wind, and the bines produced from cuttings and cultivated can reach over 30 feet in length. Only the female plants produce the flowers that become fruit cones. The plants usually flower between July and August and the fruit cones ripen in September. The bines are harvested by cutting them off at ground level and then taken away to strip the cones off the bine. The cones then need to be dried, 80% of the fresh hop cone is water and this must be greatly reduced for successful storage. The cones are dried by hot air being passed through a perforated floor covered with the hops. This was the function of the traditional Oast house, where a kiln underneath would provide the heat upwards through the hops, and the cowling on the top providing some regulation of the drying process which lasted about 8 hours, after which the hops were packaged into sacks. So on to hops in beer. Hops are an essential ingredient providing flavour, aroma and preservative qualities. The use of hops distinguishes beer from ale. There are two types of hop; bittering hops and aroma hops. Bittering hops give beer that bitter flavour and are generally high in alpha acid content. Large breweries tend towards heavy use of bittering with high alpha as it is low cost. Aroma hops give a characteristic hop aroma which comes largely from the hop oil and adds flavour to the beer. They have a low to medium alpha content. If you want to test for the oils just take a fresh hop and rub it in your hand. Some hops are versatile and have both bittering and aroma qualities; ‘Challenger’ which is grown locally is one. Traditionally the hops were added to the start of the boiling of the mash in the brewing kettle and later removed by passing

Summer Issue 2012


the boil (wort) through a ‘hop back’, straining out the spent hop material. The hop back is not used as much today as there has been a move over the years to the use of hop pellets (mechanically processed, compressed and foil packed) and hop extracts (extract obtained by solvent passed through the hops). The other feature of aroma hops is that the oils, and their aroma, are less apparent when these hops are added at the start of the boil, so they are added later to bring out the maximum aroma and flavour in the beer, hence the term ‘late hopped’. Another way to get more hop aroma is dry hopping. In this case hops are added to the cask and as the beer is then cold the hop oils are very effective in penetrating the brew. I can recall a brewery that had two beers at the same gravity and the only difference was dry hopping, but it was a marked difference. Try and search out a dry hopped beer just to see the effect. A good start might be Fuller’s Chiswick or Harvey’s Armada. I said earlier that the focus on hop variety is a result of the increasing number of small breweries. I also believe that pronounced hop flavour is not a new phenomenon. Anybody who remembers Ind Coope’s Burton bitter, Young’s Special, when it was special, or the briefly available King & Barnes ‘Cornucopia’, will recall the intensity of hop. Sadly most of the major brewers moved away from intense hop characteristics as it probably cost too much or complicated the production line. However if they are back then I for one appreciate the added choice and I am pleased to see our local regional brewer has produced a special with Boston Beer Co called ‘Blonde Ambition’, using 50% English and 50% US hops. But remember when imbibing that hops were once used by Christian monks for their soporific effects. [JW] 3

Swale Ale © Summer 2012 Published by the Swale Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale Ltd (CAMRA). Circulation: 1,200 Editorial Committee and Contributors: Jeff Waller, Gary Holness, Keir Stanley, Andrew Kitney, Simon Ing, Suzanne Collins, Malcolm Winskill, Gill Joiner, Keith Joiner. Print Liaison: Les Bailey Advertising: Gary Holness ——————————————–———— All correspondence to: Les Bailey 58 Wallers Road Faversham Kent ME13 7PL Email: Telephone: 01795 538824



elcome to this edition of Swale Ale and let’s hope that by the time you are reading this it has stopped raining and warmed up!! In this issue as well as the usual wide range of varied articles, you will find a pub guide to the Faversham Hop Festival which includes a handy map showing where they all are. Since CAMRA was founded in 1971 the number of breweries in the UK has grown fourfold to over 840* and more are opening all the time. Unfortunately the number of pubs in which to drink the beer is declining with the UK losing on average 12 pubs a week.* So supporting your local is more important than ever. Swale CAMRA are always interested in hearing about any beer and pub related news so if you have anything of interest let us know either electronically (see contact details on or better still come along to one of our monthly meetings and tell us in person. We might even persuade you to join us! Cheers. * Source CAMRA

———————————————–——— Any opinions expressed within these pages are those of the individual authors only and do not represent those of CAMRA or any of its officials. The existence of this publication in a particular outlet does not imply an endorsement of it by Swale CAMRA . ———————————————–——— Printed by: Abbey Print, Faversham ———————————————–—— Branch Details Chairman: Simon Ing Secretary: Les Bailey Social Secretary: Gary Holness Treasurer: Les Bailey


Visit our award winning website at

Summer Issue 2012

Chairman’s Chat


he Hop Festival is here, or is just going to happen, or I hope you enjoyed yourself at it. Whichever it is we have a BEER stall. So I will either see you there or I hope you liked the beer, cider and perry we had for sale. (I just hope that there will be a pint or two left for me.) On that last note can I ask you a question: how much did your pint cost? We know how much we charged you at our beer stall, but what about the other places you bought a beer from? Was it the same price as usual, was it more or was it less than usual? Whatever the price let CAMRA know. Is anyone inflating prices just because of the Hop Festival and the large influx of visitors to Faversham? We want to know, at least if nothing else, so we can let people know. It's then up to the individual where they buy beer from.

I don't mind paying for a good beer, but I don't want to feel like I'm paying too much if I could save some money when buying a drink. Over the Hop Festival have fun, have a drink (as we now have to say, please drink sensibly) and enjoy yourselves. Faversham has some great pubs to visit, so please do. Yes they will be busy, so please be patient - the good food and drink is worth a little wait. Remember there will be lots of entertainment with music, street performers and Morris dancing. One more thing before I let you get back to your drink. If you take any photos at the Hop Festival we’d like to see them. E-mail them to us and you never know we may print them in the next Swale Ale. To find our contact address look in this Swale Ale - it's in here somewhere.

Simon Ing

Faversham’s hidden gem The Shipwright’s Arms, Hollowshore, Faversham

A 17th Century traditional creek side free house. Selling up to five real ales from Kentish brewers, and serving good food. Take a trip back in time and savour the delights of a truly traditional pub. Rated by Jamie Oliver as one of the top 100 traditional pubs in the country.

Please check website or phone to confirm hours of opening. Tel: 01795 590088

Web: Directions: At Davington School turn into Ham Road and follow the signs across the marsh.

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Swale CAMRA Branch Diary Wednesday 8th August: Branch Business Meeting: 8.00pm, The Plough, Stalisfield Green. Saturday 25th August: Bat and Trap Match: 1.00pm, The Castle Inn, Oare (details via Saturday 1st/Sunday 2nd September: Branch Beer Stall at Hop Festival: 10.30am – 4.00pm, East Street, Faversham, outside Iceland Store.

Wednesday 12th September: Branch Business Meeting: 8.00pm, The Plough and Harrow, Oad Street, nr Sittingbourne. Saturday 29th September: ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING: 7.30pm, The Elephant, The Mall, Faversham. Wednesday 10th October: Branch Business Meeting: 8.00pm, The Anchor, Abbey Street, Faversham. Wednesday 14th November: Branch Business Meeting: 8.00pm, The Three Tuns, Lower Halstow.

Kent Pub and Brewery News Shepherd Neame: The Pilot Brewery has recently produced Champion Ale (4.1%); Four Tennants Ale (4.0% abv); Kentucky Bluebird (5.0%), which is a an American Style Pale Ale with four American hop varieties; Original Whitstable Bay Oyster Stout (3.7%), brewed for the Oyster Festival and made with real oysters; Bearded Lady (4.8%) brewed for the Broadstairs Folk Festival in mid August and available only at The Royal Albion; and Torch Bearer (4.55%) brewed for the Olympic torch relay. The Main Brewery has recently produced Diamond Jubilee Commemorative Ale (3.85%); 4-4-2 (4.0%); and Blonde Ambition (4.5%) using English and American Hops. Seasonal Ales are currently Whitstable Bay Ale (4.1%) and Canterbury Jack (3.5%).

The White Lion has now re-opened with new Licensees, Lisa and Anthony Chesterton.

Hopdaemon: Has produced a special beer called Bewitched for the Kent Beer Festival.

We understand the Mechanics in West Street is still under threat of closure and disposal by Shepherd Neame, while it is also understood The Anchor is soon to be in need of a new tenant.

Selling: The Sondes Arms is now reported to be reopening in August following unexpected additional building work.


Faversham: The Leading Light (Wetherspoon) is considering organising a Kentish Beer Festival in early August. Has recently had beers from Hopdaemon, Wantsum, Whitstable, Tunbridge Wells and Goody’s. The Windmill which closed in January 2011, is now being converted to two residential properties. The Elephant has had Goody ales, brewed in a brand new micro brewery in Herne; their beers are Good Heavens (3.9%), Good Health (3.6%) and Genesis (3.5%).

Sittingbourne: Sad to report that The Golden Ball is no longer; planning permission for houses has been agreed.

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75 Preston Street, Faversham 01795 591817 The Old Wine Vaults is a 16th century pub set in the heart of historic Faversham.

FOUR Cask Ales TWO Cask Ciders Cider Pub of the Year and Third Place Pub of the Year Faversham Hop Festival, live music all weekend. 3 bars serving the largest selection of cask ales in Faversham. Hog Roast Saturday, food all weekend. 20p off nominated ale and cask cider with a valid CAMRA Card The pub is open Mon-Sat 11am to 11pm and Sundays 12pm to 10.30pm.

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The Railway Hotel Hop Festival Friday 31st Aug ~ Sunday 2nd September Band Line-up Friday Night (8.30pm) Ben Mills’ Allstars Saturday (midday ~ 10.00pm) Shedload of Love Sur Les Dock Follia Hot Rats Blues Bandits Jam Sandwich Sunday (midday ~6.00pm) Jeff Barker Band Follia Sur Les Docks Strumbums 1 Strumbums II

Hot Food ~ Outside Bar

plus The Railway Hotel’s own, exclusive Limited Edition hand-crafted cask beer ~

“PLATFORM 5” (3.8%) 8

Summer Issue 2012

What's your tipple? W

hen I had to think about this question, I thought ‘well that’s simple’. Or is it? For a start what do we mean - is it your favourite drink or the one you drink most often? If it's the latter then in my case the answer is tea, but even that leads to more questions. You are by now probably thinking ‘hang on this is in Swale Ale, what's the madman up to?’ Well stick with me for a bit longer and if we are both lucky I'll get to a point. Now where was I? Ah yes types of tea… in my case black, English breakfast blend for preference. Strong. Oh no more questions loom. MILK? For me yes, milk but only a splash. SUGAR? Again yes - two spoonfuls (I know it's not good for me but I like sweet tea). You’re thinking ‘yes he has gone quite mad, no mention of beer at all!’ Well do these four ingredients remind you of anything: malted barley, hops, yeast and water? Yes, BEER! So many varieties of barley, hops and yeast, and don't even start on what you can do to make the water taste different by filtering or adding minerals. So back to the question at the top of the page and on to favourite tipple. I like rum, single malt whisky, good coffee (try getting that, it's not as easy as you might think) and, as you might have guessed, tea. But this is about favourite beer. Well I'm still trying different beers; there are lots I like but a favourite - I haven't found that yet. I'm still looking but it is not a bad hobby to have, after all there is even a club or two you can join. That may help or may make it harder, with more suggestions from the friends you make. So if you too are on a similar quest and haven't joined CAMRA, think about it (if you are a member and have got any suggestions about beers, come along to a meeting and tell me). Maybe you will make some new friends and find some new and interesting beers to try. At least you'll have something in common to talk about over your pint - beer! Now I know even CAMRA has its own set of problems and its politics, but at the end of the day it's about good beer (real ale), and not

Summer Issue 2012

forgetting real cider, perry and of course good pubs to go to. If we don't use it we lose it and it's certainly true of pubs. With no pubs what kind of beer will we all get? I don't know for sure, but I know it won't taste nice! So join up, drink good beer in good pubs and make sure, by campaigning, that we will still have both to enjoy! And the quest to find my own favourite beer still goes on. Oh yes, if you’re still wondering at the moment I'm favouring …

  

Golden Braid from Hopdaemon Hophead from Dark Star Foundry Man's Gold from Canterbury Brewers,

Well it is summer, I'll probably choose something darker in the Autumn.


Steam and Beer 2012


his year we were very pleased to see the return of the Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway Beer Festival. The 6th April 2012 saw the reopening of the viaduct station, allowing the Steam and Beer annual beer festival to return on the 7th and 8th July. With 34 different beers and five different ciders this festival provided excellent choice on what was a very wet weekend. My personal highlight of the festival was Concrete Cow’s Fenny Popper (4.0%) - a light and zesty ale. [KS] To find out more about the Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway Beer Festival contact: 9



Why not eat on one of our Club days? Steak Club: Tuesdays noon to 10pm Curry Club: Thursdays noon to 10 pm Sunday Club (Roasts): Sundays Noon to 6pm Club meals include a free drink. See menu for details.

20-22 Preston Street, Faversham, Kent Subject to local licensing restrictions and availability at participating free houses


Summer Issue 2012

The price of your pint


he beer duty escalator was introduced by the last Government in 2008, and is currently in place until 2014/15. It means that beer duty is automatically increased by 2% above inflation every single year. As a result, tax on beer has gone up by over 40% since 2008.

You now pay over a third of your pint on tax. Any more increases in beer duty will increase the pressure on pubs already struggling to survive and damage the long term ability of the beer and pub sector to continue contributing over £6 billion a year in duty and VAT, and over £21 billion to the UK’s GDP. CAMRA is calling for the Chancellor to abandon the unfair beer duty escalator in the next Budget. [SI]

Please sign the e-petition. Go to the CAMRA website and you can sign it from there, even if you are not a member of CAMRA. petitions/29664

For more information on CAMRA campaigns visit:

Summer Issue 2012


Valid from 2nd January 2012 until 29th February 2012


Summer Issue 2012

The difference between a Craft Beer and a Micro-brew Beer


here are commonalities when talking about craft beer and micro-brewed beer but there are also great differences. The two terms are interchanged often because they are so darn confusing. Let us start with the definitions of a micro-brewery and a craft brewery. In the US where craft beer may have originated as a term a micro-brewery is classified by the number of beer barrels it produces in a year, which is a limit of 15,000 beer barrels a year or 460,000 US gallons (approx. 1 US gallon to 0.83 imperial). At least 75 percent of that beer must be sold outside of the brewery. There are no strict guidelines set on the techniques or ingredients a microbrewery uses to produce their beer. A m ic ro - b re w e ry is classified as such according to the amount of beer it produces annually. A craft brewery brews no more than 2 million gallons of beer per year and is owned independently. Unlike a micro-brewery, in the US a craft brewery has set limitations on the techniques of its beer production. A craft brewery's beer must contain at least 50 percent traditional malt, rather than others such as oats, barley and wheat and there lies one distinction. These ingredients add flavour to the beer. Most craft beers are of a European style like ales, stouts and porters. One of the most well known craft brewers is the maker of Samuel Adams; The Boston Brewing Company. The fad of calling low production

Summer Issue 2012

breweries craft breweries instead of microbreweries is just a common error. The terms are used erroneously. The terms that should stand are micro-brewery and macro-brewery to differentiate a brewery based on production amount. Craft beer is a product, and a good one at that, not a measure of size. This misconception also happens because some beer drinkers automatically assume that a micro-brewery uses craft ingredients and this is not always true. So to summarise… ….a craft brewery is not always a microbrewery and a micro-brewery is only a craft brewery if it follows craft brewing standards. Craft beer is beer that is brewed in batches with the finest quality ingredients, and is done on a limited basis or may be a seasonal brew. Many craft breweries take pride in not only the ingredients used to make their beer but also in the equipment used to produce it. There is a trend growing, with a lot of people drinking local and choosing craft beers. The breweries are farming out their ingredients locally. Local ingredients can add to the quality and distinction of a beer. A number of breweries operate on this philosophy. They strive to use environmental practices that achieve a sustainable and profitable business celebrating all things local when possible. I for one will continue to support both sides of this story – micro and craft. For me it’s the way forward when drinking quality ales from both the UK and across the globe. [AK] 13


Summer Issue 2012

The Strange Case of the Poisoned Pale Ale


reetings gentle reader, tis I Obidiah Spillage, with another tale from the rich vein of our brewing heritage. This time I am going back to the height of the Victorian age when Burton beers and in especial India Pale Ale were all the rage. I will tell a tale that shocked and outraged the chattering classes of the time, a tale rife with foul accusations of poisoning and skulduggery. We are in the mid 1800s and Burton beers were revered across the land. Bass had exhibited their pale Burton beers at no less than the Paris Exhibition of 1867 at which they won a silver medal for their IPA. There was a great rivalry between the many Burton brewers to see who could produce the finest IPA. Frequently locking horns in this contest were two of the titans of Burton, Bass and Allsopp. Allsopp claiming that they were the first to invent IPA for the long journey to India and Bass countering the claim. Either way the trendy young blades out on the town could not get enough of the stuff describing it as ‘a bright sparkling bitter, the colour of sherry and the condition of champagne’. (One laments that the same cannot be said for some of the beers labelled as IPA today!!) IPA was called ‘the high fashion beer of the railway age’. However all this success may have never have occurred if a certain accusation by a Frenchman had proved true. Before I continue this dastardly tale I feel a smidgen of background information is in order here. If you have never tried a true IPA (shame on you if this is so) one of the Summer Issue 2012

An account of awful accusations of adulterated ale characteristics of this fine brew is the bitter twang achieved by the addition of hops, and lots of them. Hops not only give the beer a sharp, dry, bitter taste but they also act as a preservative. This helped the beer to survive the long sea voyage to India. The next time you visit a brewery have a taste of the hop, the sensation in the mouth is quite extraordinary! Back to the tale: In 1851 the aforesaid Frenchman, a chemist by the name of Monsieur Payen, claimed that the Burton brewers had used strychnine to achieve the distinctive bitter taste. He claimed that large quantities of the poison had been manufactured in Paris and was bound for a secret destination which he made clear was Burton. These accusations were published in The Medical Times and Gazette which stated ‘the fashionable longing for bitterness has surpassed the 15

T: 01795530060 M: 07582556022 E: W:


Summer Issue 2012

The Strange Case… bitterness of hops and the manufacturers have apparently been driven to their wits’ end to satisfy the dyspeptic cravings of the British stomach’. I am not sure about the dyspeptic cravings of the British stomach but I do know that the British sense of outrage is easily aroused and the middle classes really had something to get their teeth into. Could this be true!?! Were those young gentlemen about town putting themselves at dire risk simply to fuel the profits of large business? It must be true mustn’t it after all it has been published and they would not have done so if it was false, surely! Can you credit that the press would publish falsehoods whilst claiming that their sources were reliable! An yway Bass an d Allsop p immediately forgot their differences and joined forces to refute this foul slur on their fine product. Michael Thomas Bass thundered off a letter to The Times denying any knowledge of the alleged French strychnine and making a very fair point by stating ‘Why, Sir, India would long ago have been depopulated of its European inhabitants had there been anything pernicious in pale ale…’ It is a fair point, as there seems to me little commercial advantage in killing off your customers for the want of a few hops!! The breweries went on the offensive to discredit the allegations. They arranged


visits to Burton by a professor from the Royal College of Chemistry, a representative from The Lancet and a German chemist called Baron Justus Liebig (Unfortunate surname!). However the Baron was very eminent in the biological chemistry field (and, by the by, he also invented Oxo cubes!!). These eminent fellows carried out a thorough investigation and the upshot was that the brewers were completely vindicated which made them very happy especially as the story was headlines all over the national press, giving Burton breweries some welcome free publicity. The experts found that the amount of strychnine needed to achieve the bitterness of hops would have been twice the fatal dose for a man and to poison all the beer brewed in Burton would have required nearly seventeen times the amount of strychnine produced in the world in a year!! So there you have it gentle reader and if, after an evening’s indulgence of IPA, you are feeling a little queasy the next morning you can always blame it on the strychnine!! If you want to read more about IPA I would heartily recommend Pete Brown’s excellent book Hops and Glory – One man’s search for the beer that built the British Empire. Obidiah Spillage

If you would like to contribute to Swale Ale please contact: Summer Issue 2012



Summer Issue 2012

Faversham Hop Festival


wale CAMRA would like to welcome you to the 2012 Faversham International Hop Festival. This small market town is blessed with a variety of pubs serving both local and national beers. In addition to these favourites you may stumble across a number of beers that are being brewed especially for this event. Whilst visiting Faversham we recommend that you step outside of the main festival route to visit some of the other pubs that will also be holding beer festivals and staging live music during this weekend. We also recommend that you visit our own stall serving a variety of beers from our local area. You should also consider booking yourself onto one of Shepherd Neame’s brewery tours. Albion

On the opposite side of Faversham Creek, just 4 minutes form the main town centre, this waterside pub offers a range of Shepherd Neame beers. At festival time this pub often offers an outside bar, BBQ and live music. During the rest of the year the pub provides a menu of Mexican and English food.


At the opposite end of Abbey Street to the town centre, by the flourishing Standard Quay with its historic sailing barges, this 300 year old Shepherd Neame pub has a large garden which during festival time features live bands and a BBQ. A wide range of Shepherd Neame beers are served.


This historic Shepherd Neame pub which has recently been sympathetically renovated has three small bars off a small corridor, each with their own atmosphere. Three Shepherd Neame beers served including those from the micro-brewery.

Brents Tavern

On the opposite side of the creek this local free house is just five minutes from the town centre.


This oak-beamed Shepherd Neame pub was being built in 1409, and was visited by both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. The pub boasts a large garden and at festival time often stages live bands.

Chimney Boy

Close to the railway station this Shepherd Neame house is located opposite the Preston Street music stage. A restaurant and beer garden are accessible to the rear.

Crown & Anchor

On the quieter side of the station, this Shepherd Neame local is accessible via the pedestrian underpass.

Summer Issue 2012


Faversham International Hop Festival P The Brents Free House The Albion Shepherd Neame Mechanics Arms Shepherd Neame The Bull Shepherd Neame The Sun Shepherd Neame The Three Tuns Shepherd Neame Old Wine Vault  Free House The Chimney Boy Shepherd Neame  The Elephant  Free House Crown & Anchor Shepherd Neame 20

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Pub Guide: 1st & 2nd September 2012 The Anchor  Shepherd Neame The Phoenix  Free House Swan & Harlequin Free House The Bear  Shepherd Neame CAMRA Beer Stall Faversham Homebrew Shop Market Inn Shepherd Neame Leading Light  Wetherspoon

Open Street Map

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The Railway  Shepherd Neame 21


As Swale CAMRA Pub of the year since 2007 this local free house is only a two minute walk from the station via the pedestrian underpass. The five ever-changing beers include many from local Kentish micro-breweries. In addition this pub also offers excellent real cider by hand pump. A beautiful walled garden is to the rear.

Leading Light

This Wetherspoon pub in Preston Street has a tradition for serving a wide range of beers, enhancing the chains normal range with many from local micros.

Market Inn

This lively Shepherd Neame pub on East Street offers a good range of Faversham brewed beers and excellent live music throughout the year. The Market Inn is just a 3 minute walk from the town centre.

Mechanics Arms

This small Shepherd Neame local on West Street is just three minutes from the Market Place on the way to Stonebridge Pond.


This ancient pub on Abbey Street is only two minutes from the town centre. Offering five ever changing beers on hand pump and many more on gravity including Harveys Best Bitter and other national favourites. At festival times live music is held in the garden.

The Old This town centre local serves up to four real ales on hand pump and two Wine Vaults real ciders all year round. At festival time they expand this range with an outside bar in the garden and live music. Railway Hotel

A grand Shepherd Neame pub opposite the station with many original features. The Railway Hotel has an extensive list of music over the festival weekend and this year will be serving its own festival ale ‘Platform 5’.

The Sun

Close to the market square this historic Shepherd Neame house has large sunny terrace on multiple levels.

Swan & Harlequin

With its lively music stage and a minimum of 14 real ales the Swan and Harlequin free house is just behind the Shepherd Neame brewery.

Three Tuns

Just five minutes from the Market Place this ancient Shepherd Neame pub is said to have been visited by Nelson. A large garden is to the rear.


The CAMRA stall in East Street will be selling the products of several small East Kent breweries. We should have beers from the Hopdaemon, Ramsgate, Canterbury Brewers and Whitstable breweries.


Good Beer Guide 2012

Swale CAMRA Pub of the Year

The above information is intended as a guide and it is given in good faith. Since going to press it is likely that some items will have changed, especially the beers offered in each pub. 22

Summer Issue 2012

Jolly Boys Plymouth Trip


he quest for beer began with an early start at the Three Hats, Milton Regis, where our intrepid explorers began with a lovely pint of Caledonian Double Dark Oatmeal Stout (4.6%), followed by another Caledonian brew, Over the Bar (4.2%). But as it was nearly 10am we thought we had better start the long trek down to Plymouth. Firstly though we all had to say a prayer that the rickety old battle bus would get us there! (I am still unaware as to why it was unanimous that I could not drive my own bus?) Thanks to Driver Dave’s fantastic driving we checked in at our Travelodge at 3.45 pm, first pint at Varsity Bar 3.58pm. What a terrible first experience of Plymouth! We ordered Sharps Doom Bar (4.0%) and Charles Wells Bombardier (4.1%) both £3.25 a pint; it was like drinking iced water! So cold were our drinks all traces of flavour had been removed, they resembled browner versions of the dreaded super chilled F@$ter$! List of Good Beer Guide pubs in hand and a couple of texts from a certain Plymouth Paul we ventured towards the Barbican area where we found an ale lovers oasis that is the Dolphin Inn. A proper spit and sawdust pub with slate floors and wooden seating, situated opposite the seafront. A tiny bar serviced our explorers with a brilliant selection of gravity fed fine ales, St Austell Proper Job (4.5%) (extremely good), Tribute (4.2%), Skinners Betty Stoggs (4.0%), Sharps Doom Bar, Ringwood Otter Ale (4.5%) (stunning), Exmoor Ale, Abbot, Bass and one other which is undecipherable from my notes at £3.25. All were in perfect condition and dispensed directly from the barrel. The Dolphin Inn has many interesting little features including etched windows featuring Plymouth’s Octagon Brewery. Reluctantly we moved on to the Maritime Inn which featured Maritime

Summer Issue 2012

Busman's holiday Recession Buster (4%) at £2.10! And Summerskills Indiana Bones (5.6%) at £3.00. When entering from the Barbican side you are welcomed by a quiet carpeted area and as you walk through to the bar you find yourself in the lively Sutton harbour. As we returned towards the town centre our alcoholic constipation set in, we were unable to pass a pub. Stumbling upon the Queens Arms, Southside Street, we found a traditional locals’ pub in the heart of the tourist area. Plush green carpeting and bench seating, a Landlady’s warm welcome, everyone joining in each other’s conversations, and most of all terrific ale, Bass and Tribute. The pickled onions and eggs were great. After a refuelling stop at the all you can eat Chinese buffet (don’t have the mussels - ask our long haired friend) we found the Brass Monkey, offering 10 different hand pulls. A very busy late night venue probably better visited during the day for ales as by this stage our judgement was like their beer, cloudy! And so to bed (or an eighties night club, and the rest is a blur!)



Bodies 24

Summer Issue 2012

Jolly Boys Plymouth Trip Today was the day we had been waiting for and the excuse for our trip. It was the big match: Plymouth Argyle FC vs Gillingham FC. So we started with a 10am breakfast meeting at Wetherspoon’s Union Rooms. Great value food washed down with the first pint of the day, Otter Ale, from a range of ten, variously priced between £1.49 £2.15. Unfortunately by this stage our numbers had been depleted due to a rogue mussel from the Chinese the previous night and sympathetic as we are we thought sod him and carried on with our exploring! En route to the ground we popped in the Britannia Inn, Milehouse. Another pub from the Wetherspoon chain, providing 7 different ales including Sharps Doom Bar, Otter Ale, and a fantastic Bays Devon Dumpling (5.1%). Nice friendly atmosphere between the locals, Plymouth fans and Gillingham’s travelling supporters. Entering Home Park we were guided to the St Austell Tribute Lounge for a prematch meal. Our table overlooking the pristine playing surface was soon decorated with five pints of perfect condition Tribute. Could there be any better way to watch football? Well apparently there is! After the meal our party prepared to be escorted to the away end to enjoy the match, however the lovely customer rep Jo had other ideas guiding us to a box on the halfway line. Every ten minutes we had a knock on the door from one of the waiters asking if we required any more Tribute, what a pleasant interruption. Our experience of Plymouth Argyle FC was amazing, complemented by a 1-0 win to Gillingham from a cracking Joe Martin goal and a string of amazing saves by Paulo Gazzaniga. Well worth a visit on match days. Our ‘watch wine & dine’ package was only £45 per head and included match tickets and a scrumptious three course meal.

Summer Issue 2012


After a swift return trip to the Britannia Inn for a well kept pint of Doom Bar we ventured back to our Travelodge to shower, change and enjoy our final night of freedom, sorry I meant night in Plymouth. The next pub we stumbled upon was The Fishermans Arms hidden down a side street. Collectively we would implore anyone in the area to visit this amazing gem of Plymouth. A St Austell house serving Tribute, Proper Job and Trelawny at £3.35 pint, stylishly decorated with a relaxed friendly ambience. The busy friendly staff were very pleasant and welcoming and explained that if we wanted to dine they were unfortunately fully booked and had been for two weeks, but we were more than welcome to enjoy a drink at the bar. All the ales were in top condition, going down beautifully and rapidly. As we jealously perused the reasonably priced menu, the fine dining looked and smelled fantastic. Reluctantly leaving we headed towards the Barbican area where we had been advised to try Admiral McBrides, serving Doom Bar and Betty Stoggs. Unfortunately on this occasion the quality of the beer was only just passable. So we ventured back to our hotel, stopping off at the Dolphin Hotel and the Queens Arms where we once again enjoyed great beer and lovely ambience. Next day we headed back to rainy Milton Regis, disembarking at the Three Hats for a pint of Robinsons Long Kiss Goodnight. While enjoying an ale or two before we headed home our explorers had to decide which pubs were our favourites so here goes with the top 4:  Fishermans Arms  Dolphin Hotel  Queens Arms  Britannia Inn. [MW] 25

All within a day of Swale O

n one of our very many nostalgic escapades to St Albans in Hertfordshire, it occurred to us that this place would be ideal territory for a delightful social day out for Swale members – especially as it is where CAMRA all started. We hesitate to label time spent here as being a virtual ‘pub crawl’ because we envisage the day (easily adapted as a weekend break) could surely be much more than that! And here we attempt to prove our point... We have devised two separate suggested itineraries for full day trips here. You could, however, attempt both tours if you stay a night or two. Tour One: For shoppers and those wanting to absorb themselves in the history of the place while still making time to visit several of the renowned pubs in the area. Tour Two: For the dedicated pub enthusiast. This tour is available on our website: Both tours begin at the same starting point and separate on arrival at St Albans City Station. We suggest trippers reunite (just prior to the trip home) at The Waterend Barn (Wetherspoon’s Lloyds No 1) in St Peter’s Street - in the heart of the city centre. Picking up a fast train to St Pancras from Faversham or Sittingbourne - as early on a Saturday as one can drag oneself to the railway station – is highly recommended for this very full day. Trains currently run twice hourly from both stations and it takes about one hour to reach the busy terminus, where you will have time to use the station facilities (you could even grab a take-away to eat en route from the station’s shops and cafes...recommended if you want to maximise your shopping or pub visiting time at St Albans) before changing to the St Pancras/Bedford line. Trains depart from the lower level of the station. But before descending, for culture seekers, observe the two impressive statues both on the upper level at the St Pancras Station 26

Gill and Keith explore several possibilities for great pub visiting within a day of Swale...all of which can be adapted or combined for family enjoyment as well as possible weekend breaks! They begin in this issue, with CAMRA’s (and their own) birthplace the Historical City of St Albans Hotel end. There is one under the station clock standing 30ft high called The Meeting Place, by Paul Day. This one has caused a great deal of controversy. The other statue is of the former Poet Laureate, Sir John Betjeman, by Martin Jennings. It was created in the poet’s honour as an acknowledgement to his successful campaign to save the station from demolition in the 1960s. Trains to St Albans run very frequently all day. Even the slow one only takes little over half an hour. The non stop service will get you there in only 20 minutes! When you arrive, don’t be put off by what may at first appear to many as a very ordinary London suburb – the very best is yet to come! Tour One: In order to see the best of St Albans market, you will need to start there and the quickest way to reach the market is to take a bus to the city centre. There are many of them leaving the station forecourt and the journey will take you about five minutes to St Peter’s Street, where you will see what appears to be an everlasting row of market stalls lining the road. When shopping though, consider the weight of what you will need to carry around for the remainder of your time here. If you start your spree at the war memorial end of the street (near St Peter’s Church) you can work your way along the whole length of the market and the main shops. When you pass to the right of the Town Hall you will be in Market Place and ahead you will see that the road divides. To the right you will see French Row and to the left the continuation of Market Place. On the right you

Summer Issue 2012

The Three Hats Cornish & Scottish Beer Festival 19th – 21st October 2012 Open from 11am - close

93 High Street, Milton Regis, Sittingbourne. Kent ME10 2AR

For all enquiries call Malcolm on 07764 842 478 Summer Issue 2012


All within a day of Swale will see the Clock Tower (climb it if it’s open...the view from the top is breathtaking…) or visit one of the adjacent and popular pubs, The Boot (listed in 2012 CAMRA Good Beer Guide and well worth a visit... or try the ancient pub the Fleur de Lys at the end of French Row!). Leaving here, we suggest you next cross the road at the traffic lights ahead and immediately in front of you, you will see there is a narrow walkway. This pretty alley will lead you to the beautiful Abbey/Cathedral and en route there is a pretty walled garden with a seating area on the left of the path. Proceed in the shadow of the Abbey Cathedral, turning right at Sumpter Yard at the end of the path, where you will see an ancient cedar tree. Pass this and the East door and Cathedral shop and cafe, where a few yards beyond there is a fork left turn down a footpath leading you across the grounds. There is a signpost to Verulam Park and Museum. The museum itself is quite a walk and there may not be time for you to visit both - but in less than a quarter of a mile from this spot you can simply relax or walk around the picturesque park and lake (with ducks and swans eager to be fed). Just watch the world go by or maybe take in the scenery with an ice cream. Just prior to reaching the lake and the bridge over the River Ver where in its shadow stands the old silk mill, you may wish to pause or pose for another photograph... or visit what is claimed to be the oldest pub in Great Britain dating from the 8th century, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks. Inside, there is a (now sealed) ancient secret passage which ran underground between the pub cellar and the Abbey crypt. This was said to be an escape route for those fearing religious persecution. From this point, if time is short and you have spent too much of it shopping, you can either return by the same route and head back towards the town centre and your rendezvous point or, if you are really adventurous, walk the extra mile or so allocated to this route... spanning firstly, the length of the lake and out of the gate at the far side into the 28


Ye Old Fighting Cocks old village of St Michael’s. A left turn from the gate will take you to two good pubs, The Rose and Crown and The Six Bells (the latter is listed in the CAMRA GBG 2012) and you could also see the pretty village church or the museum, or a right turn when leaving the park will lead you over another bridge crossing the River Ver. If time is fairly limited, we recommend your taking the right turn rather than the left. Note the old mill on the left of the bridge, now a restaurant - and just ahead the pub The Blue Anchor on the right (this pub has an interesting and unusual food menu. We enjoyed a good lunch one Sunday). On the other side of the street you will see the Black Lion (where there is accommodation although we have not chosen to stay here ourselves). Continue along what is now considered to be one of the most prestigious and oldest streets in St Albans, namely, Fishpool Street. You will not be disappointed if you are interested in architecture or ale. Only a century ago, this was a mere slum and a red light district and see if you can spot where there were pubs previously as indeed, there were many in this street! A few hundred yards on you will pass the St Michael’s Manor, now a good class hotel

Summer Issue 2012

All within a day of Swale

Farriers Arms and renowned wedding venue. Take note of all the various styles and ages of property along this long winding road. Moreover, having travelled this far, try to make time for a very worthwhile visit to The Lower Red Lion (the pub is open all day). This is a free house and always serves a selection of real ales. Usual beers are Oakham JHB, Sharp’s Doom Bar, plus four guest ales. We regard this inn and former coaching house as one of the area’s best kept secrets (a real gem!) and we have regularly stayed here for two or three nights on our frequent visits to St Albans - in all seasons. The cider is good too. There are usually two real cider/perry pumps at any one time. Among those sampled was the Bristol Port Cider and a very good pear perry. Excellent fish and chips are served on a Friday evening (we highly recommend this for weekend visitors... but book a few hours in advance to avoid disappointment as supplies are soon exhausted). The area outside the pub is quiet after closing time (barely any passing traffic) and breakfast is a generous but informal affair, served in the bar area. The new management are very welcoming and made every effort to make our stay last time a comfortable and enjoyable one. For an evening out during our stay, as Fishpool Street continues into George Street, we have eaten twice at an excellent Thai restaurant (The Thai Rack) there and also at a very good Indian restaurant which is tucked behind the main

Summer Issue 2012

shops on the opposite side of the road at No 23, called The Samoji (formerly part of The George Inn). But to revert to the final part of our recommended Route 2, you will need to continue up Fishpool Street from the Lower Red Lion for a few hundred yards, taking a left turn into a little back street called Wellclose Street. At the end of it you will find the Verulam Arms. Cross the road into Lower Dagnall Street and observe The Farriers Arms (where CAMRA were said to have held their first branch meeting). Proceed up the steep hill, crossing the Verulam Road into Upper Dagnall Street which will take you straight into the town centre passing at least another couple of pubs on the way. In St Peter’s Street, if you are joining members of your party who have opted to take the alternative route on our website, you will need to find the Waterend Barn (Wetherspoon’s Lloyds No 1) entrance situated behind the Post Office. It is ideal as a recovery stop following an exhausting shopping spree or for a coffee and sober up before heading off back down Victoria Street towards the station. Buses leave frequently from a stop near the Post Office if you are carrying heavy shopping. There was a beer festival when we visited The Waterend Barn in March this year though – so there was an abundance of excellent beers on offer with ten on the rack as well as the usual beers on the pumps and this could be an added opportunity for the hardened drinker to take a last beer before departure... but the integral barn itself is well worth a look. It has a fascinating history. [GJ & KJ]

Route two of this visit to St Albans is available on the Swale CAMRA website:


Swan &



FOR THREE MONTHS ALL REAL ALES £2.50 PER PINT* * not hop festival normal prices apply



From £3.50 30

Summer Issue 2012



HOP FESTIVAL WEEKEND Minimum 14 real ales Music Friday Night Six Bands on Saturday and Sunday On the Swan and Harlequin Stage Still No1 Venue




Find us on the top of the North Downs above Charing, in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Enjoy a pint of real ale or a glass of wine in our large beer garden or heated patio area. Regular steak nights, curry nights, and live music.

Four Star Bed and Breakfast Accommodation For ‘what’s on’ please visit our website We can also offer bed and breakfast accommodation with 4 en-suite bedrooms, and a garden room which offers full facilities for disabled guests. We are a 'dog and horse friendly' Inn Alan and Sue Paine Egg Hill Road, Charing, Ashford, Kent TN27 OHG

Tel: 01233 712256 32

email Summer Issue 2012

North to East London in an Afternoon

BrewDog Bar, Camden


or the past 20 years, working in London, it has always been a ritual for a group of us ale followers to go drinking on Maundy Thursday afternoon. This April was no different… but where to go this time to capture good pubs, not too much travelling and more importantly some fine real ales? After lots of searching London guides and maps we had a plan... and what a good one it was too! We met at Embankment tube around midday and took the Northern line to Camden Town station. From there it was a 5 minute walk to the BrewDog bar. Established in 2007 this Scottish microbrewery has gone from strength to strength in the Keg craft beer line and the Camden bar is currently the 4th out of 7 in the UK serving their excellent range. I personally think that BrewDog is another one of those craft beer success stories that are becoming ever more popular – especially in London. Unfortunately after a lovely couple of pints of Trashy Blonde and Punk IPA it was time to move on… so a quick one tube stop on the Northern line to Kentish Town and then a 10 minute walk up Highgate Summer Issue 2012

Road we find the The Southampton Arms. A charming place full of character both inside and out. Here they claim, on their website, to be the only dedicated ale and cider house in London to sell from small independent UK breweries. There were at least ten ales on tap and almost as many ciders, all of them stemming from small micros. You'll find no big breweries or mass produced lager here. The decor is simple - lit by bare light bulbs and a real fire for the winter nights. It's a pub scaled back to the core elements: good beer, minimal interior and simple pub food (massive Scotch eggs, pork pies etc). A small affair, but a fine one all the same - and it's hard not to warm to a pub where the music comes courtesy of a record player behind the bar. A complete contrast to the previous pub we visited and definitely one for future return visits. From The Southampton Arms you

Southampton Arms 33

The Swan Inn Teynham

Wadworth 6x and Rotating 'locales' Live music Saturdays at 9pm Karaoke Sundays and Tuesdays from 7pm Friendly poker every Wednesday at 8pm

Sunday lunch 12-3.30 2 meals for ÂŁ9 78 London Road, Teynham, Kent ME9 9QH 01795 521 218 34

Summer Issue 2012


North to East London in an Afternoon have a short walk to Gospel Oak and then approx. a 30 min journey, on the London Overground, to Leyton Midland Road. This gave us some time to reflect on the first two pubs and to then look forward in anticipation to the next one – King William IV Hotel and Bar (Brodies Brewery Tap). This is one place I have wanted to visit for a long time but never really had the opportunity – especially being a fan of all things Brodies!!! Brodies was established in 2008, taking over the abandoned Sweet William brewery. This family run business has grown from strength to strength owning three very well frequented and popular pubs - all in London. Sixteen different beers, 10 normally from Brodies, are served here all at just £1.99 a pint. They also offer brewery tours on request. Unfortunately for us we visited two days early to be part of their annual Easter Bunny Basher beer festival featuring 40 Brodies beers, some in unique collaboration brews from Mikkeller and Kernel breweries. This is certainly a place to visit when in the area (or even if not and fancy the travel out of central London). We didn’t have far to walk for our forth pub – literally 5 minutes further down Leytonstone High Road you come to the Red Lion. Don’t arrive before 16:00 on weekdays though as it will be closed. Part of the 25 Antics chain of pubs in London it boasts ten hand pumps and five keg lines featuring a good variety of ales from local, regional and micro-breweries. Outside huge windows front the building in a frame of columns; from inside the windows are even more impressive, giving light and openness. The ceiling is Summer Issue 2012

King William IV Hotel and Bar high, the floors wooden, the tables are unmatched and spread around with some for dining and some for drinking. There are sofas, board games, bookcases and lots of little details to keep you interested and looking for more. My impression of this place is that in many ways, this is a template for any new pub. It’s a modern local, the sort that works for those nearby but also pulls people from further away. A great place to go after leaving the Brodies pub. Our final resting place for this particular trip would be two stops away from Leytonstone tube on the Central Line to Stratford – not surprisingly we were heading for the Tap East. Conveniently located in the impressive Westfield Stratford City shopping complex and, even better. within seconds of the South Eastern High Speed train service to Kent. Once again and with every pub on this particular crawl a new find for me so I was equally excited to cross this one of my “to-do” list. 35


Thai Restaurant and Takeaway Tue to Sat 12 noon—2pm & 5—10pm SHEPHERD NEAME ALES SERVED Mon—Sat 11am—11pm Sun 12—8:30pm

37 Station Street, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3ED 36

Summer Issue 2012


North to East London in an Afternoon

This brewery-pub offers an impressive selection of bottled beers with nearly 150 names to choose from; pale ale, stouts and experimental beers brewed on site along with traditional pub food. Up to 17 draught beers are served straight from the keg and beers from around globe are constantly updated. Customers drinking here are even able to see the brewery from the bar. Obviously the great plus point with this place is that we could sample many of the ales on offer and still keep one eye on what’s happening with the trains back to Kent, so for this reason an ideal last point of call if in this area. Red Lion

Summer Issue 2012



The Beers They Are A Changin’ Continued

So gather round drinkers where ever you are and take a trip down to your local bar. The landlord is friendly, his beer’s always good, he keeps a good cellar, you know that he should. The pint you are served will always be fresh. For the beers they are a changin’. There’s bitter and stout available here And if you don’t like them then try a wheat beer. A mild or a porter will bring you good cheer For the beers they are a changin’. A light hoppy ale or a barley wine, pints filled to the brim, you know they’ll be fine, or try a brown ale from the banks of the Tyne. For the beers they are a changin’. A light summer ale, or a dark winter beer, will go down well throughout all the year and if your favourite is off, then don’t shed a tear For the beers they are a changin’. A strong IPA, or a bottle of light Or a Belgian lambic with plenty of bite You won’t taste them all, as try as you might For the beers they are a changin’. Come ladies and gents from throughout the land take a pint of good ale in your right hand and drink your fill of your chosen brand, For the beers they are a changin’. And the beer you have now it will soon be past,; the glass that you have is emptying fast. And the first one now will be as good as the last For the beers they are a changin’

Faversham Classic Car Show


his year the branch once again had a beer stall at the car show in Faversham on Sunday 20th May. We were at our usual location outside of Iceland supermarket which is also our pitch for the Hop Festival (on the 1st & 2nd of September this year). For our customers to enjoy we had beer from Hopdaemon, Nelson and The Foundry from Canterbury. Our ciders were all locally produced with our draught cider coming from Kent Cider Company near Teynham and Dudda’s Tun from Doddington. We also had bottled cider from North Kent Cider in Ospringe. The day was quite successful despite grey overcast weather which threatened rain but only produced a tiny shower. Then with about an hour to go the sun put in an appearance and trade markedly improved. Our first sell out was Hopdaemon’s Golden Braid which was not a surprise as it is an award winning beer and being a light golden bitter of 3.7% is a good lunchtime drink. The first cider to go was K.C.C. Apple & Pear at 6% which was very much enjoyed by all who tried it. The stall proved to be an excellent opportunity for people wanting to know more about CAMRA and what we do locally and nationwide, so a good day all round. [GH]

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Minimum circulation 800 38

Summer Issue 2012

The PHOENIX TAVERN Abbey Street, FAVERSHAM 01795 591462 REAL ALES from Around the UK and Local REAL FOOD prepared freshly daily on the premises REAL ATMOSPHERE lovely garden and open inglenook log fires REAL TRADITION - 14th century oak beamed pub Quality lagers and Quality Wine from Corney and Barrow

Good Beer Guide 2012


The Phoenix Tavern Faversham ME13 7BH - 01795 591462 Summer Issue 2012



Summer Issue 2012

Swale Ale Summer 2012  

The local magazine of Swale Camra

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