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Swale Ale

Vol 4 Issue 4

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

50% MORE! Pub closures and beer prices!


he CAMRA campaign against the tax escalator (whereby beer duty increases by 2% above inflation each year) had a result; a parliamentary back-bench debate on 1st November led to the passing of a motion for the Government to conduct a ‘thorough review of the economic and social impact of the escalator’. A step forward that sends out a clear message from inside Westminster. However, Treasury Minister Sajid Javid rejected the claim that such price hikes were killing pubs. The next step on this issue is the CAMRA mass lobby of Parliament on 12th December. On the same day CAMRA revealed in a press release that 18 pubs are now closing a week, 50% more than last year; 450 pubs gone since March. If the escalator isn’t the main cause of pub closure what is? Is it perhaps the pub business model where landlords are overcharged for their products? The CAMRA campaign is a cause supported by many in the trade including pubs and breweries, but tax is a relatively easy and popular target. Everybody dislikes unnecessary taxation. But are you aware that a lot of pubs have to pay 50% more than the market price for their beer! It has been going on for a long time

Prices as they were and needs to be fully exposed. In a time of economic belt-tightening it is normal practice for businesses to maintain sales levels by offering discounts and special offers. So why is part of the beer industry so different? How much does a cask of beer cost? Go to a brewery website and you will probably not find the ‘Firkin’ costs of their staple product. However my bit of research reveals that a beer

In this issue…   

Pumps, fonts and return trays Beer prices Local cider makers win national awards

Winter Issue 2012



Winter Issue 2012

50% MORE! Pub closures and beer prices! agency/supplier offers a firkin of a Shepherd Neame seasonal 4% beer (9 gallons, or 72 pints) at £72, excluding VAT@20%. So cost of purchase from the agency is £1.20 a pint. That same beer is being sold by the brewery to one of their own publicans for £113.00, add VAT and hey presto it is £1.88 a pint. 50% more. To rub salt in the wound the same local brewer sells a stronger beer brewed on the pilot brewery for £110+VAT. Whatever happened to economies of scale within a large brewery, let alone against the local microbrewers. Look at the Free House? Well, as you may know there are very few real free houses; many are free of brewery tie, but are instead tied to a pub company (PubCo), such as Enterprise Inns or Punch Taverns. So what do the PubCo’s charge their Landlords? Well it depends; it depends on the type of agreement the tenant has and, as I understand with Enterprise PubCo, whether the tenancy agreement allows the discount on their beer list. For Enterprise, the basic discount seems to be a set amount and a standard bitter will receive a discount, which was recently £20.79 a firkin. This gives a discount, depending on the beer, of around 25%. For Young’s Bitter or Adnams’ Southwold bitter the cost is around £84.50, excluding VAT. The same discount also applied recently to their Premium beer range, so the percentage discounted drops slightly. Fuller’s London Pride has a discount of around 21%, costing £97.72 excluding VAT, instead of £118.51. If the Enterprise tenant is really lucky (?) they may be offered a ‘super’ discount but more common is access to the SIBA list (Society of Independent Brewers) because of the interesting range of beers that then become available. But it is at a cost. No discount shown here. In fact the prices are pretty scary. Our local Hopdaemon brewery might sell you a firkin of Golden Braid 3.7% bitter for less than £70+VAT. If you buy it from the SIBA list you spend an amazing £103.67 +VAT. What is more the SIBA

Winter Issue 2012

list is progressive on ABV so each percentage increase raises the price, with a 6% beer costing around £130 excluding VAT. Now there are two things that occur to me; firstly the extra money the landlord pays is passed onto us and with the enhanced price we are also paying the increased VAT for a product it could be argued is 50% more wholesale, than it should be. Those who benefit from this overcharging are not just the PubCo’s and some breweries but also the Treasury, and indirectly the supermarkets. The losers? Well in the long term everybody will lose as more pubs will close, but right now it is the customer and the landlord. The second thing is what can we do about it? Well joining CAMRA is a start; spreading the information to others will help, but bearing in mind the importance to tourism of our heritage of public houses, particularly in a brewing town like Faversham, perhaps a letter or email to the Tourism Minister, who happens to be local MP Mr Hugh Robertson. I am sure he will be pleased to know our views. [JW]

Become an active member of CAMRA Write to your local MP and or sign the petitions on the CAMRA national website to show your support and views. Your local MPs are: Faversham and Mid Kent Rt Hon Hugh Robertson MP, 11 The Square, Lenham, Kent, ME17 2PQ. Sittingbourne and Sheppey Rt Hon Gordon Henderson, 1st Floor, Unit 10, Periwinkle Court Business Centre, Church Street, Milton Regis, Sittingbourne, ME10 2JZ.



Swale Ale © Winter 2012 Published by the Swale Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale Ltd (CAMRA). Circulation: 1000 Editorial Committee and Contributors: Jeff Waller, Gary Holness, Keir Stanley, Simon Ing, Les Bailey, Suzanne Collins, Gill Joiner, Keith Joiner, and the Brewery History Society. Print Liaison: Les Bailey Advertising: Gary Holness ——————————————–———— All correspondence to: Les Bailey 58 Wallers Road Faversham Kent ME13 7PL Email: Telephone: 01795 538824 ———————————————–——— 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 .


reeting one and all and welcome to the winter edition of Swale Ale. Well the season of mist and mellow fruitfulness is well upon us. Spooks have spooked us at Halloween, fireworks have lit up the sky on November 5th and it’s getting colder. It is at this time of year, as the nights are getting darker, that thoughts turn to darker ales. Gone is the yearning for the golden ales of summer and here are the warming, chocolate, liquorice and spice flavours of some of the fantastic ales available at this time of year. Christmas will soon be upon us, and with it Santa brings a sack full of goodies in the form of delicious Christmas ales (but only if you have been good boys and girls!!). Talking about sacks full of goodies this issue of Swale Ale is brimming with them, with pieces as diverse as the current state of beer taxation in Britain, the Brewery History Society and pump return trays, as well as information about beer and pubs in the Swale area and much more. So get out there and find yourself a warm pub with a roaring open fire and settle down and enjoy what the season has to offer.

Advertising rates:

———————————————–——— Printed by: Abbey Print, Faversham ———————————————–—— Branch Details Chairman: Simon Ing Secretary: Les Bailey Social Secretary: Steve Bennion Treasurer: Les Bailey


Half Page £25 Full A5 Page £50 Minimum circulation 800

Winter Issue 2012

Chairman's Chat


ow is the winter of our discontent. Now there someone who has just been told that the in-laws have been invited for Christmas. It usually goes something like ‘We are having in laws for Christmas.’ I know you’re all thinking it - ‘I'd prefer turkey!’ Well with this fait accompli what can a man do? Well if they have any sense, go to the pub and consider their options. First thing what to drink? Stout, Porter, Old Ale or a winter/ seasonal ale. Now make a plan. You know you’re going to have to go shopping, so remember - agree to going but make sure you get to decide on the drinks to buy. That way you will have a good beer or two to drink over the festive season. Now as for the rest of the shopping, it's mostly buying stuff that people don't want (so keep the receipts). If you have kids or grandkids it is now time to earn some goodwill. Arrange to take them to visit Santa.

Now don't fall into the usual trap, i.e. queuing for hours at a Santa's grotto. It will cost a bit more but most of the steam railways run Santa specials. A day out, a ride on a train and here's the best bit, most of the railways have a café and a shop. You’re thinking ‘so what?’. Well they’re licensed and sell beer. O.K. some only sell bottles, but it is usually good and often bottle conditioned. Do your homework and if you need to take a glass and bottle opener, you will know. Now sit on the train and drink your beer while watching the scenery go by and waiting for Santa to appear. Now you may well find me in a nice warm pub, not too close to the fire, making plans to survive the festive season and drinking a winter ale. So enjoy what you can and I'll see you in the pub or at a winter ales beer festival.

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.

Winter Issue 2012



Thai Restaurant and Takeaway Tue to Sat 12 noon—2:30pm & 5—10pm Christmas bookings now being taken from a choice of Thai or Traditional English Menu SHEPHERD NEAME ALES SERVED Mon—Sat 11am—11pm Sun 12—8:30pm 37 Station Street, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3ED 01795 228971 6

Winter Issue 2012

Swale CAMRA Branch Diary Saturday 24th November 2012 Branch Mini Bus Trip to Rural Pubs 2.00 – 8.00pm (approx. timings) Details via Wednesday 12th December 2012 Branch Business Meeting: 8.00pm Shipwrights Arms, Hollowshore, nr Oare Saturday 15th December 2012 Faversham Christmas Pub Crawl 12 noon The Anchor, Abbey Street; 12.40pm The Phoenix; 1.20pm The Swan & Harlequin (others to be decided on the day). Wednesday 9th January 2013 Branch Business Meeting: 8.00pm Red Lion, Blue Town, Sheerness Saturday 19th January 2013 Kent Regional Meeting 12 noon – 3.30pm The Elephant, Faversham

Wednesday 13th February 2013 Branch Business Meeting: 8.00pm The Swan, Teynham Festival news Pig’s Ear Beer & Cider Festival 2012. 200+ beers. 4th—8th December. Round Chapel, Powerscroft Road, Hackney, E5 0PU. National Winter Ales Festival 2013. 300+ beers. 23rd-26th January. Sheridan Suite, Manchester, M40 8RR. ‘20th’ White Cliffs Winter Ales Festival 2013. 1st & 2nd February. Maison Dieu (Town Hall), Biggin Street, Dover, CT16 1DL. Leas Lift Beer Festival. 15-17th March 2013. Lower Sandgate Road, Folkestone, Kent, CT20 1PR.

Swale CAMRA Branch Meetings Your local branch holds open business meetings on the second Wednesday of each month. These meetings are held in a variety of different pubs around Swale. The branch aims to be inclusive and tries to alternate meetings between town and village pubs. At meetings we do follow an agenda, however discussions are light-hearted and we discuss ways that we can reach our campaigning objectives. It is also hoped that social trips can also be arranged to pubs in London and Thanet. Our Social Secretary is also looking to organise a pub games safari around pubs in the Faversham area (details of all future events to follow in due course). If you would like any further information about our meetings please check our website or contact Les Bailey on 01795 538824.

Winter Issue 2012



Winter Issue 2012

Kent Pub and Brewery News Shepherd Neame: The Pilot Brewery has recently produced the following beers: Oast Dodger (5.5% abv) for the Kentish Green Hop Beer Fortnight; India Pale Ale (6.1% abv); Maple Jack (4.5% abv); Brilliant Pale Ale (5.6% abv); Salutation Ale (4.0% abv); Special Strong Ale (6.0% abv) and Deal Storm Warrior (4.0% abv). The Main Brewery has recently produced the following beers: Spooks Ale (4.7% abv) - the Halloween seasonal; Baltijos Red Ale (5.5% abv) - a collaboration with the Klaipeda Brewery in Lithuania for the Wetherspoon Autumn Beer Festival and Red Sails (3.9% abv). Hopdaemon: Has won the following SIBA (Small Independent Brewers Association) Awards: Gold for Green Daemon; Gold for bottled Leviathan and Bronze for bottled Skrimshander. Mad Cat Brewery: Change of use and other approvals have been obtained. The brewing equipment will be installed at Brogdale Farm, Faversham in the first week in December when it is hoped that brewing will also commence. Faversham: The Anchor, Abbey Street re-opened on 26th October with new licensees Grant and Natalie Ravenscroft. The pub will now also have a coffee shop and small general store. Currently this pub serves six Shepherd Neame beers, including Bishops Finger, on hand pump. The Phoenix Tavern, Abbey Street are encouraging people not to (eat) drink and drive by introducing the Phoenix courtesy

Winter Issue 2012

mini bus. This is for parties of 6 or more booking an A La Carte meal on Thursday or Friday evenings or parties of 8 or more on a Saturday evening/Sunday lunchtime, within a 12.5 mile radius. Booking is essential. The Mechanics Arms, West Street closed at the end of September. We are trying to find out what plans Shepherd Neame have for this pub. The Bear, Market Place recently had Rudgate Ruby Mild as a guest beer. The Railway Hotel, Preston Street. Although Chris is leaving us soon it is good to see he continues to serve a number of Shepherd Neame special beers from the main plant and the pilot brewery, including Brilliant Pale Ale and the IPA, which sold quickly. The Old Wine Vaults, Preston Street was recently selling 3 real ciders. Starting in the new year Thursday night will be music night including a music quiz once a month. The Elephant, The Mall. Jim and Kim have now completed their purchase of the freehold. They are planning a celebratory party some time in the new year. They have booked Andy Mack to play on Saturday 22 December and will be open on both Christmas Eve and New Years Eve which both fall on a Monday. Selling: The Sondes Arms has now re-opened and on a recent visit had Adnams Bitter and Ghostship and Shepherd Neame Master Brew. Rose and Crown, Perry Wood was recently selling Harveys Old Ale. 9

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 Visit our website for Christmas menu and what's on over the festive holiday. Starting in the new year Thursday night will be music night including a music quiz once a month.

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


Winter Issue 2012

Winter 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 2013


The Phoenix Tavern Faversham ME13 7BH - 01795 591462 12

Winter Issue 2012

Beer tax escalator campaign


he Summer edition of Swale Ale drew attention to the fact that, as a result of the Government introducing the beer duty escalator in 2008, the cost of a pint has risen by over 40% since this date. The escalator increases beer duty by 2% above inflation every year until at least 2014/15 and means that drinkers now pay over a third of their pint in tax!! This puts tremendous pressure on all pubs, bars and brewers and unfairly penalises beer drinkers. It should be noted that the beer and pub industry supports almost 1 million jobs and contributes ÂŁ21 billion to the UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP). CAMRA is campaigning to have this measure scrapped in the next Budget and is l o b b y i n g Government to this effect. Over 100,000 CAMRA members have signed an on-line petition which meant that this issue was subject to a debate in the House of Commons. This is one of only a handful of e-petitions to succeed in this respect and Winter Issue 2012 also has the backing of the British Beer and Pub Association and the Society of Independent Brewers. CAMRA is now looking to reinforce its message through a mass lobby of parliament, which takes place on Wednesday 12th December. It is hoped that over 1000 individual members, including Swale branch members, will attend to meet individual MPs to explain how unfair and damaging these punitive tax increases are on Britain’s national drink. This will be the most exten sive lob b yin g campaign that CAMRA has taken in its 40 year history. This is a major opportunity to change beer tax so consider joining the lobby on 12th December. More background information, timings and details can be found at: [LB] 13

White Lion Selling

The White Lion is a restored coaching inn dating from 1703, in the village of Selling, close to the beautiful walks of Perry Woods Mon - Fri: 12:00 - 15:00 and 18:00 - 22:45 Sat 12:00 - 22:45 Sun 12:00 - 22:45


Winter Issue 2012

Brewery History Society I

nterested in beer? Of course you are, or you wouldn’t be reading this august magazine. A number of your colleagues in the Kent branches of CAMRA are members of the Brewery History Society and we thought it would be a good idea to tell you a little about this organisation, especially as it was formed in Kent by three local beer enthusiasts. The BHS was formed in Kent in 1972 and focuses mainly on British brewery history (including related subjects, such as malting), although foreign news is also reported. We currently have over 550 members including around 90 corporate members, and 15 institutions, major museums and libraries. The corporate members are mainly brewers and maltsters, of course, but also include such organisations as the Institute of Brewing & Distilling and English Heritage, whilst the individual members comprise a broad church of industry professionals, historians (both amateur and professional), collectors and those with a general interest in beer and brewing. Publications include a quarterly journal; typically a perfect bound volume full of erudite articles, complemented by a quarterly newsletter full of industry news, readers’ queries (and hopefully answers) and general informal snippets of information. We also publish books from time to time, generally county directories and, of course, ‘A Century of British Brewers- Plus’, the first essential for all beer aficionados, containing details of over

Winter Issue 2012

Fremlin’s specialities 10,000 British brewers known to have existed since 1890. We have recently published our first colour volume, appropriately a directory of breweries in Kent.* Entitled ‘Kentish Brewers and the Brewers of Kent’, author Peter Moynihan has covered the history of hundreds of breweries, large and small, in this stunning volume’s 282 A4 pages.



Winter Issue 2012

Brewery History Society brewery visits form an important part of our calendar and in the past year alone we have had visits to several West Midlands breweries, to Guinness in Dublin, a trip to Nottingham to include the stunning former Prince of Wales Brewery, a town walk and another brewery visit; and a series of walks exploring the brewing and malting sites in parts of London, Newark, the Vale of Aylesbury, North Kent, Edinburgh and Norfolk and an AGM weekend including Fullers, Camden, Brodie’s & Twickenham. Coming up we have visits to Kent, Dorset and West Yorkshire to look at hops and breweries. On a sadder note we also try to visit any brewery threatened with closure. All in all a society of like-minded people, information and fun. Why not join us? You would be very welcome. [BHS]

We hold a number of meetings at breweries throughout the year, have a major archive, an oral history archive and arrange occasional conferences. One area that many people, even nonmembers, have enjoyed contributing to is our collection of defunct brewery information and photographs. This forms a large part of the web site and records all known examples of now defunct brewery names still to be seen. It is arranged geographically and in the Kent section alone we have over 70 entries, including such evocative names as Flint, Tomson & Wotton, Reffell’s, Russell’s, Fremlin, George Beer, Rigden, Ash & Co., Dartford, New Northfleet, Woodhams, Style & Winch, Budden & Biggs and many more. I am sure there are more examples to be found and we are always keen to hear of any that we have missed. Do please have a look at the web site to get a feel for our activities. As mentioned above,

Winter Issue 2012

Rigden Ltd of Faversham Contact address for more information: Jeff Sechiari, Manor Side East, Mill Lane, Byfleet, Surrey, KT14 7RS or see *The book ‘Kentish Brewers and the Brewers of Kent’ is available from The BHS Bookshop, Long High Top, Heptonstall, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 7PF, and The Elephant, The Mall, Faversham. Price £18.95 plus £3.15 postage & package (£17.95 post free for BHS Members)


Valid from 2nd January 2012 until 29th February 2012


Winter Issue 2012

Pumps, fonts and return trays


his summer I travelled up to Scotland for my holiday supping real ale and fine single malts in Edinburgh and on the Isle of Islay. Whilst visiting some of my favourite pubs in Edinburgh I started reading an article in Pints of View, the CAMRA magazine for Edinburgh and S.E. Scotland. The article gave the case for and against the use of return trays in pubs. I was sure that such a practice had died out, and that no real ale pub would use return trays. It appears I was wrong. In Edinburgh (and other places in the UK) return trays continue to be legally used. In Edinburgh many traditional pubs still have a font dispensing system. This air pressured tap looks like a keg pump, however it works without the use of CO2. The article I was reading explains that ‘if the barperson pours your beer with

the valve handle turned towards you, then you are only getting fresh beer straight from the cask. However, if the barperson pours your beer with the handle pointing to him/her, then you are getting a blend of spilt beer from the return tray and fresh beer from the cask.’ It is this practice that

it is suggested leads to an ‘upset stomach’ or illness after a night on the beers. The article suggests that beer runs not only down the glass but also over the hands of the bar staff, contaminating the beer, which can then be left to sit in the drip tray until the next customer orders a pint. This argument leads you to believe that such a practice would only be used in pubs where the beer was of dubious quality and would not be the sort of place that you would find a discerning real ale drinker. Well you would be wrong. The traditional Winter Issue 2012

Traditional font style dispenser Scottish tall font and return tray system is used in many of Edinburgh's best pubs, including those listed in the good beer guide. I have for many years drunk in these pubs, and have always received an excellent pint with no side effects. My initial distaste for such a system seems incorrect. In addition it has been brought to my attention by the editor of Pints of View that return trays are far more frequently used with normal hand pumps, where it is even more difficult to know if the return system is in use. The article goes on to provide the ‘case for’ the use of return trays, with the licensee at the Diggers (Athletic Arms) in 19


Winter Issue 2012

Pumps, fonts and return trays Edinburgh stating ‘At the Diggers we have

eight tall fonts and two hand pulls. We feel that the art of pouring the perfect pint in the most hygienic way possible is best achieved using the tall fonts, but only if you have been trained properly. It is harder and more time consuming to train staff to use them, but it is worth it to have well-trained members of staff who can gauge the condition of the beer and dispense that perfect pint. Our Aitken taps have separate return trays so there is no cross contamination of beers. When pouring we can either draw beer straight from the cask or a mix from the cask and return tray. Staff know only to use the tray when the pub is busy so that the beer does not lose condition by sitting in the tray too long and importantly the amount of beer from the return tray never forms more than a quarter of the pint. It is impossible to serve just ale from the return tray as fresh beer from the cask line is required to draw the beer from the tray; by overfilling the glass we can ensure a perfect head on every pint. However staff are also trained not to thrash the beer and create excessive overflow. When pouring, we tilt the glass and angle our hands so any beer overflow does not come into contact with the pourer. Hand sanitizer is there for use at all times and staff are rigorously instructed to wash their hands as often as possible.’

After reading this article I spent some time watching each of my pints being pulled, observing if, how and when the return system was utilised. I discussed its use with bar staff, landlords and managers and was told that it never got used when it was quiet as the beer would go stale. Winter Issue 2012

My question is this. Is such a system actually necessary? I rarely see vast quantities of beer being poured into the drip tray, so the wastage must be low. Is the extra work involved in training and maintaining such a system financially viable? This may be because as a southern drinker I do not expect a thick head on my pint! I do however want to say thank you to the editor of Pints of View, Fred Chrystal, who allowed me to use their article. If you would like to read the full article it is available at under Summer 2012. I would also like to share my favourite pubs in Edinburgh and to suggest that it is an excellent city to visit for the beer tourist. In my opinion the beer is always of an excellent quality with many different styles available. [KS] Pubs to visit in Edinburgh Bow Bar - eight real ales, huge selection of single malt whiskies. Halfway House - four real ales, food, CAMRA discount. Blue Blazer - good selection of real ales including those from micro breweries. 21

T: 01795530060 M: 07582556022 E: W:


Winter Issue 2012

Bat and trap at The Castle T

his year’s match was again held at The Castle, Oare, near Faversham, on the Saturday of the August bank holiday weekend. Bob Mason the landlord arranged us into seven teams comprised of CAMRA members, their friends and pub regulars. We play a shortened version of the game with each batsman being bowled ten balls unless he is bowled out, caught out or bats himself out. Teams play each other in rotation until every team had played each other twice and then we had a short break for food. After enjoying a spot of lunch we played a series of knockout matches to determine the winners and runners up. Many thanks are due to Bob & Dawn Mason for their organisation and the very enjoyable food (even homemade cakes!). A good time was had by all and even the weather played ball. [GH]

Les is bowled over again

Until early 2013 brewed at Kent Brewery, Birling

Winter Issue 2012


The Sondes Arms Selling

Restaurant open Friday / Saturday Night 6:30 to 9:00pm Sunday Lunch 12:00 to 4:00pm Curry Night Tuesdays Fish & Chip Night Thursdays Bookings taken for Christmas

Booking recommended Regular Sunday Lunch Music Blues/Jazz Quiz night every Wednesday Kitchen run by two ex-RAF Chefs

One minutes walk from Selling station Convenience store open from 6:30am until 11:00pm Dog Friendly/Children on leads Tel: 01227 752517


Winter Issue 2012

For your convenience beer has been banned! G

reetings Gentle Reader. Since my last article Old Obadiah has been on his holidays. Crossing The Pond no less to spend some time in Chicago and its environs. Now don’t get me wrong I am not going to regale you with pages of places you have never been and beers that you are unlikely to try (although I would recommend the beer from The Wild Onion Brewpub, Barrington, Illinois). Suffice to say I enjoyed some really good and varied ales from several of the numerous American microbreweries, check them out if you are over there sometime - I think you will be pleasantly surprised that it is not all Bud, Coors and Miller Lite! Whilst I was in the Good Ol’ US of A I read some interesting pieces about the effect of Prohibition on beer brewing in America so this is the topic of my piece this time. In America they are very keen on making life as simple as possible and will often presage a new rule with ‘For your convenience’ for example, and I cite Bill Bryson here when staying in a hotel he came across a notice saying – ‘For your convenience ice machines are situated on floors two and seven.’ Next to the place on the fourth floor where an ice machine once stood! The implication is that it is for your betterment but really isn’t. So I can’t help wondering if there was a notice put up across America in the Twenties that read something like ‘For your convenience the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution has banned the production, sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages’. Now although it was illegal to make, sell or move beer it was not illegal to own or consume it. Let’s just think about this for a minute. On the face of it beer was out, however America’s pioneering spirit was not going to be crushed that easily. The average American realised that if he couldn’t go to a bar for a beer he could go to his own cellar and as

Winter Issue 2012

Is the guy in the flat hat helping or trying to stop the beer being poured away? it was not illegal to buy the ingredients to make beer there was an explosion in home brewing. The sale of home brewing equipment and ingredients went through the roof. Even Woolworths started selling beer making kits (something they continued to do until their sad demise). The government realised that these sales had gone up enormously but amazingly did not realise why. One Government Prohibition Agent, a certain A W McDaniel, deduced that, due to the amount of malt extracts being sold, there must be an enormous amount of baking being done!! This however did not explain why in one year hop sales exceeded thirteen million dollars. The Prohibition Bureau finally cottoned on and it was estimated that by 1929 the amount of home brewing ingredients sold meant that Americans must be brewing around seven hundred million gallons of beer at home!! A poem, written by a member of the New York State Rotary Club, of the time went: -


For your convenience beer has been banned!

The Feds continue their gruesome work

Mother’s in the kitchen washing out jugs; Sister’s in the pantry bottling suds. Father’s in the cellar mixing up hops And Johnny’s on the front porch watching for the cops. Eventually the Feds worked out that the average American must be making beer and in the first ten years of prohibition agents seized over one billion gallons of illegally brewed beer. The problem arose when it came to prosecution. To search a private premises a warrant was needed. However in order to get a warrant there had to be evidence that that the premises was being used for the sale of beer, not just production for home use, so the typical defence was that it was for home consumption. ‘Honestly your Honour the twenty five hogsheads of beer in my cellar was for my own consumption’. This seemed to work most of the time - even if the Feds had already seized and poured away your stocks you were free to go and simply brew some more with no more than a mild slap on the wrist. A fabulous example of this was where a certain Nebraskan attorney, Mr Frank Bartos, was caught with 700 quarts of homebrew in his

home. The judge said that although Bartos violated the law it was not an act of ‘moral turpitude’ and therefore did not reflect on his ability to practice law and that 700 quarts of beer would indicate a considerable capacity on the part of him, his family and guests to his house!!! Now I am sure that many of you have brewed beer at home. Even Obadiah had a shot at it once or twice with a ‘Geordie Home Brew’ kit and the results were, shall we say, distinctive but not undrinkable. However the descriptions of the time were that the beer confiscated ranged from undrinkable to unsanitary or just plain filthy. The beer was said to be sludge like, with a mud brown appearance, a sour yeasty smell and a taste like laundry soap! ‘But did it do the job?’ I hear you cry. The effect of the beer was said to be ‘explosive’ with a tendency to cause severe headaches and an inability to focus ones eyes. Now dependant on who you ask the answer could be yes or no. In fact when Obadiah was a young student at Grumbleweeds Agricultural College many years ago a night could have been said to have been a roaring success if the next day you felt like this!! However this was not to last as once prohibition was lifted the average American could go back to drinking his beloved pale, lightly hopped ales. In fact on the day that prohibition was lifted a St Louis brewer delivered to The White House two cases of beer with the salutation ‘Here’s to you – President Roosevelt’! So there you have it. Even the might of Uncle Sam could not keep the ordinary man from his beer, even if it was muddy and unpalatable!! One final note before I go. Home brewing did not become legal in the USA until 1979. The homebrew must really have been bad!! Cheers!

Obadiah Spillage 26

Winter Issue 2012

Winter Issue 2012



Winter Issue 2012

Faversham Hop Festival


his year’s beer stall at Faversham Hop Festival was the most successful to date with increased sales and beer from five local Kent breweries and cider from three local producers. We had the stall in our usual place in East Street, which has now become almost our recognised spot. Sales were brisk from early on Saturday and increased to a steady queue as the day went on. Our beers came from Hopdaemon, Gadds, Whitstable, Goody’s and Canterbury Brewers (The Foundry). Our ciders were from Dudda’s Tun, Kent Cider Co. and North Downs Cider. The fastest selling beer was Hopdaemon’s Golden Braid with nine gallons going in just forty minutes and our most popular cider being Kent Cider Co. Pear & Apple which ran out first. On Sunday the weather was even better with blue sunny skies all day. Our customers started to arrive at the bar at around 11o’clock and custom grew steadily as the day wore on, with groups of Morris Dancers and other street entertainers delighting the crowds. Even though we ordered extra cider this year above what we sold last year we still nearly ran out on Saturday so a call was made to Kent Cider Co. for resupply which was duly delivered on Sunday morning (thanks Marcus). It shows that cider is definitely in an ascendance as we have sold an ever increasing amount in the last few years. Some purists may have made rumblings over the likes of Magners and Bulmers selling cider type products but it has made people try cider or retry it and some people have gone on to try real cider because of starting out with fizz and have become interested in discovering the wide range of tastes and styles available. Winter Issue 2012

Swale CAMRA beer and cider bar

Overall The Hop Festival this year was very successful for us and for many businesses in the town, with an estimated 40,000 people attending over the two days. The newspapers highlighted the relatively small amount of trouble that happened over the weekend which mostly went on after the street events had finished. They were n’er do wells who apparently got drunk on cheap canned lager sold from off licences and supermarkets and not drinks purchased from stalls like ours or the local pubs. Criticism was also levelled at this year’s organisers about certain aspects of the event, but in my view it was well run with as much free movement for the crowds as possible, with a good placing of trading pitches and stage areas. I hope that the Hop Festival will be run along similar lines next year and that the organisers hear and receive the praise that is due for it being an overall success. [GH] 29

All within a day of Swale W

elcome to the second tour of our series - to historic St Albans in Hertfordshire, the long established home of CAMRA headquarters. This tour, for the dedicated pub enthusiast, can be combined with tour one (on our website and in the summer edition of Swale Ale) which also visits many pubs but is also great for shoppers and those wanting to absorb themselves in the history of St Albans. Leaving St Albans City station, the starting point for this tour, you will see the former city prison on the other side of the road. Cross at the traffic lights and go to the other side of the railway bridge. Here, you will encounter “The Horn” (formerly The Midland). We considered Swale members would feel at home here and may feel it a convenient first call for shower dodging only - as peering through the door on our last visit, we noticed the pub served “Spitfire”. This pub is famous for its music and stands on the corner of Alma Road, where we suggest you turn left to continue your walk on the left hand side of the road passing CAMRA’s former headquarters at No 34, a large house on the edge of Oswald Road. Soon we reached the junction with the A1081 (formerly the A6) London Road which we crossed – and facing us was “The Great Northern”. We were not tempted to visit this place but that is not to say there is anything wrong with it! Remaining on the same side of the road and passing the former Odeon cinema, you will arrive at “The Farmer’s Boy” in the next five minutes or so. At this point you will have walked about half a mile from the station. This quaint, unusual pub with a rear garden and attached micro-brewery (The Verulam Brewery), serves good, reasonably-priced food to tempt all appetites (main courses were mostly priced approximately within a £6 to £7 price range). We watched food being prepared and cooked mostly within sight of customers, adjacent to the bar. Specials on the board included the All Day Breakfast, Beef Stew, 30

Gill and Keith explore the possibilities for great pub visiting within a day of Swale. Following on from part one in the last issue of Swale Ale, the pub trail of St Albans, Herfordshire, continues with tour two. Part one of the tour is available from Cumberland Sausage & Mash with Red Onion Gravy and Spag Bol and there were light bites available with salad on the menu from £3. Ales on offer were, Gathering Storm – a stout from Leeds Brewery and Scarlet Macaw and Hare & Hedgehog by Oakham Ales. Sadly, the microbrewery’s own beer was (unusually) unavailable to sample when we visited - but for cider lovers a Weston Traditional Scrumpy and Scrumpy Jack were both tasted and were fine. This is truly a pub which caters for a variety of tastes. Just a few minutes further along the road, past Watson’s Walk and a parade of shops, continue for a short distance until you reach a small walkway or alley known as Keyfield Terrace. We recommend members don’t miss this walkway. It is the key to an enjoyable afternoon/early evening for the ale lover and serves as a short cut to a number of interesting pubs in close proximity. You will be spoilt for choice – but time may dictate your being selective. You may wish to refer to the CAMRA Good Beer Guide (2012), page 204, where applicable, for further information.  The Beehive, Keyfield Terrace (not listed in CAMRA GBG)  The White Hart Tap, 4 Keyfield Terrace  The Garibaldi, 61 Albert Street  The Goat, 37 Sopwell Lane  Hare & Hounds (not listed in CAMRA GBG)  The White Lion, 91 Sopwell Lane Turn into the alleyway and immediately on your

Winter Issue 2012

Happy Christmas from all at

The Three Hats Milton Regis

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

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


All within a day of Swale right is The Beehive (refurbished in 2007). Continuing down the road, within a few hundred yards you will approach The White Hart Tap (2012 CAMRA GBG) which has a good selection of beers. Walk down Keyfield Terrace for a short distance... the next turning on the right is Albert Street. Turn right and a few yards on the right is the Garibaldi (2012 CAMRA GBG). This is a Fullers pub and has a range of their beers plus guest ales (from Oakham Brewery at the time of our visit). On leaving the Garibaldi you could continue up Albert Street (St Albans Abbey can be seen ahead of you) but you would miss two recommended pubs at the next street. We suggest that you retrace your steps back to Keyfield Terrace, turn right, then right again into Sopwell Lane. On the opposite side of the road is the Hare and Hounds. This is a very old pub and although the beer was good when we visited, the decor could do with some tidying up but it offers CAMRA members a discount. On leaving the Hare and Hounds, continue up Sopwell Lane and immediately round the corner you will come to The White Lion (2012 CAMRA GBG). A recommended pub with 8 hand pumps with three regular and five guest beers. Again on the right you will find The Goat (2012 CAMRA GBG). A traditional 15th Century pub worth a visit (CAMRA membership cards at the ready for a discount). On leaving The Goat, proceed up Sopwell Lane until you reach Holywell Hill where we recommend you turn right and climb the hill, passing the Cafe Rouge (formerly the home of Ryders Seeds, the donator of the Ryder Cup in Golf). Ahead you will see The White Hart Hotel, a genuine Tudor coaching Inn which is worth a look around in its own right but when we visited in March it was serving Adnams Bitter, Oakham Brewery JHB and guest ales. For those less keen on churches, even a short visit to the Abbey may be considered well worth your while (enter via Sumpter Yard...immediately opposite The White Hart). 32

It has the second longest nave in Britain and there are some beautiful stained glass windows to admire. If you have had your fill of beer you can work off those calories with a further steep climb on this last lap of the tour, crossing the London Road and heading up into Chequer Street. Here you will pass The Cross Keys (Wetherspoon) but in our opinion this is less worthy of a visit when time is at a premium. Go forward and you will next need to cross Victoria Street into St Peter’s Street and the City Centre. Here on the right you will pass the Post Office at about the half way point in the street. Immediately behind is located The Waterend Barn (see the final paragraph of Tour One on our website for details of this meeting point). However, further down the street near St Peter’s Church, CAMRA give The Blacksmith’s Arms a rating in the Good Beer Guide (we had our wedding reception here in 1969 but personally speaking, we were not impressed with the changes when we visited!) You may also wish to bear in mind for a future visit maybe, that turning down Hatfield Road, beyond the Blacksmith’s Arms you will pass The St Albans Museum on the left and eventually on the right you will reach The Mermaid (also rated highly in CAMRA’s GBG). [GJ & KJ]

Visit our award winning website at Winter Issue 2012

Local cider makers win national awards


wo of our local cider producers won national awards at the Brogdale Cider Festival held in September. Dudda’s Tun Cider from Doddington won two awards. In the perry class they won 2nd place for Pear o’ Duddas and in the 5% or below cider category they won 1st place for Dizzy Dudda. The Kent Cider Company also won 1st place for Tydeman’s Early in the 5-8.5% category. All of the awards were from the National Association of Cider Makers. With Brogdale being the home to the National Fruit Collection which has a large stock of apple, pear and other fruit trees it was an ideal place to make these awards. Also it was gratifying to see that Kent and South East England were judged to be producing some of the best cider in the country. [GH]

Winter Issue 2012



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 34

email Winter Issue 2012

A guide to beer online


any websites are popping up offering information on both pubs and beer. Here are some that might be of interest to readers of Swale Ale. The Beermad website was developed by Suffolk based CAMRA member and software developer Tony Green. The website details every beer known to have been brewed in the UK since 1976 and searches can be made either by the name of the beer or of the brewery. There is also an extensive list of UK pubs. In October, Tony launched a new android mobile phone app based on his website. He says “Today we have over 1000 British breweries producing over 10,000 Real Ales every year, giving beer-lovers an unprecedented choice of ales. Faced with so much choice, many drinkers now like to keep a record of the many different beers they have sampled. Whether you are a hard core ticker or someone who likes to try a few new beers and keep note of what you thought of them, you can set up Beermad mobile to show and edit precisely what information you want to see. And its incredibly easy to use too”. Beermad mobile is available from Google Play Store or via the Beermad website for only £1.50. Another useful website is Cyclops, which you can use to look up information on how a beer might taste. Cyclops was designed to help beer drinkers find the style of beer that they enjoy and to find other similar styles. The

Winter Issue 2012 website is easy to use and provides information on beers brewed by participating breweries against three simple characteristics: sight, smell and taste. This website can be searched by ABV, name, brewery o r k e y characteristics. This allows you to find beers that are similar or to look up what a particular beer might taste like. Locally we also have the Kent Pubs Database which lists all pubs in the Ashford, Canterbury and Swale branches. This website allows you to search using a map and provides information on many aspects of each pub including the beer served. [LB & KS] 35


Winter Issue 2012

Winter Issue 2012


The Swan Inn Teynham

Two ‘LocAles’ Award Winning ‘Duddas Tun’ Cider Sky Sports Free Quiz Sunday from 4:40pm 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 £9

78 London Road, Teynham, Kent ME9 9QH 01795 521 218 38

Winter Issue 2012

Crossword: Kent breweries

Across 1. The Darling Buds Brewery (7) 5. On one leg you devil (3,6) 6. This brewery can be found all at sea (6) 7. The prehistoric fella’s brewery (4,3) 8. Aging smithy (3,5) 13. Shard Alight (anagram 3,3,4) 15. Funny guy is well balanced we hear (10) 16. Metal working brewery (7)

Winter Issue 2012

Down 2. Adhere mesh pen (anagram 8,5) 3. The counties own brewery (4) 4. The monastery and a bit of a blow we hear (7) 9. This brewery used to produce milk (3,5) 10. Mr Sheep’s way into the field (8) 11. The brewery in the old channel (7) 12. Brewery found on the back of a witch’s broom (5,3) 14. The beer ingredient needs a shave (3,4) 39

Rose and Crown Perry Wood A proper country pub in outstanding surroundings

Log fire, cask ales, Sunday roast Open all day weekends Unbeatable Xmas decorations Quality menu Walkers, riders, runners, children on leads & well behaved dogs welcome. Open Mon-Fri 11.30-15.00 18.30-23.00 Sat Sun all day (not Mon eves) Tel 01227 752214 Selling, Near Faversham, Kent, ME13 9RY


Winter Issue 2012

Swale Ale Winter 2012  

The local magazine of the Swale Camra Branch

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