Mine's a Pint Issue 42


Mine's a Pint Issue 42





Pub & Brewery News

Small Beer

Beer Festival Roundup



History of Perry






Branch Diary

All events start at 20.00 and are open to everybody

unless specified.


Thu 15: Pub of the Year and Cider Pub of the Year

presentation. Nags Head, 5 Russell Street, Reading,

RG1 7XD. This is also Beer Day Britain.

Tue 20: Branch meeting. Bull, 41 High Street,

Theale, RG7 5AH. CAMRA members only, please.


Thu 6: First Thursday of the Month Social.

Bramshill Hunt, Bramshill Close, Arborfield, RG2

9PL. Join us for the quiz night!

Thu 20: Branch meeting. Three Guineas, Station

Approach, Reading, RG1 1LY . CAMRA members

only, please.

Sun 23: Pub walk from Goring to the Bell at

Aldworth. More details in Small Beer section.

Contact Chris Hinton: 0118 987 3203 / chinton557@gmail.com


Thu 3: First Thursday of the Month Social. Allied

Arms, 57 St. Mary’s Butts, Reading, RG1 2LG.

Thu 17: Branch meeting. Retreat, 8 St John’s Street,

Reading, RG1 4EH. CAMRA members only, please.

See www.readingcamra.org.uk for details of these

events as they come available. For details of an event

with no contact listed, to suggest an event or to receive

e-mail updates of the branch diary, contact Rich

Croton: social@readingcamra.org.uk

Contact Us

Useful contact details for this

magazine, CAMRA and other

important things…

Mine’s a Pint Circulation: 3,000.

Outlets: Over 70 across the region.

Editor: Phil Gill


0771 455 0293

81 Addison Road, Reading, RG1 8EG

Magazine published on behalf of Reading

and Mid Berkshire CAMRA by:

Orchard House Media Ltd


Reading & Mid Berkshire CAMRA


Social Secretary: Rich Croton


Contact for all other branch matters:

Katrina Fletcher


0779 401 9437

Local Trading Standards

Reading Borough Council:

www.reading.gov.uk 0118 937 3737

West Berkshire Council:

www.westberks.gov.uk 01635 519930

Royal Borough of Windsor &


www.rbwm.gov.uk 01628 683800

Wokingham Borough Council:


0118 974 6400

The next issue of Mine’s a Pint will be

published in early September. Please

feel free to submit any copy or ideas

by 11 August.

The opinions expressed in Mine’s a Pint are

not necessarily those of the editor or the

Campaign for Real Ale. © Campaign for

Real Ale 2017.

Mine’s a Pint


From the Editor

The last few weeks have seen a major

campaigning victory for pub protection, Just

before it dissolved for the general election,

parliament approved new regulations that

remove the previous rights for people to

demolish or change the use of a pub without

planning permission.

“The new planning

regulations won’t stop

pubs from closing if

nobody goes to them”

You can read more details inside, but to sum

up right here: this is a massive change that

should help give much greater protection to

pubs and stop them being seen as a soft

target by developers. It won’t mean that all

pubs are protected of course, and neither

should it, but it will mean that the proper

planning process now has to be gone

through and that local communities will

have a say in the future of their pubs.

You can read inside about the winners of

our Pub of the Year, Cider Pub of the Year

and Club of the Year. These are places that

are doing well. On the flip side, also inside

is a piece about pub closures. The new

planning regulations won’t stop pubs from

closing if nobody goes to them. So we (and

that means you, and me, and everybody

else) need to make sure that we keep

visiting our local pubs because we “use it or

lose it”.

Let's raise a glass to the great British pub …

preferably inside one!

Phil Gill - Editor













Established 2006

Serving over 1,000

clients nationwide

Contact Simon Grist today for

your FREE first clean

Mob: 07817 950853 Office: 0118 954 0568

Email: SimonGrist@clearbrew.co.uk



initial clean

No commitment

No contract

Several of our

customers are

featured in the

2017 CAMRA

Good Beer Guide

Branch Diary 3

From the Editor 4

Pub & Brewery News 5-15

Small Beer 16-19

Join CAMRA 18

Reading Beer Festival Roundup 20-21

Champion Cider and Perries 2017 22

Protect our pubs 23

Volunteering 26

Pub Closures 26-27

Brief history of Perry 28-29

Key Keg - What is it? 30

Mine’s a Pint


Pub & Brewery News

Pub News


This tiny village near Henley is home to

Brakspear's longest serving tenants in a single

pub. Back in 1992 Pat Thatcher and

Tony Read were regulars at the Flower Pot

when they learned that the landlord was

leaving. They decided they would like to

take over and run the pub themselves and

are now celebrating 25 years behind the bar.

Four real ales from across the Marstons

range area available and the pub is popular

with walkers because of its large garden and

good food offering. Another attraction is the

massive number of stuffed fish in glass cases

that adorn the walls – there are over 100

and it’s believed to be Britain’s largest

private collection. Definitely something that

needs to be seen in person!


The BANTAM in Omers Rise remains

closed and the owner is still trying to make

it into a housing development. A decision on

the latest planning application is expected



The CROWN (new name

for Crown on the Bridge)

on Bridge Street has been

newly refurbished in a

modern style with food,

mainly speciality burgers,

sausages and hot dogs. The

old car park has been

transformed into a smart

patio area and there's a

serving hatch straight from

the bar for outside food

orders. There are TV

screens for sports but

they're hidden when not in use, and the

pool table and dart board have gone. A new

glazed entrance porch – inside! – and new

and much improved toilets complete the

physical changes. Three beers are usually

available from six handpumps. The regulars

are Sharps Doom Bar and Fullers London

Pride with a Loddon beer often featuring as

a guest.

The FOX AND HOUNDS on Gosbrook

Road is due to hold its annual Hopfest from

13 – 16 July. Expect lots of hoppy beers on

cask and keg, together with music, food and

a great atmosphere. The regular pizza menu

from Barrel & Stone, and the Sunday roast

dinners, are both recommended. Also look

out for a blue plaque which should be in

place from mid June, to commemorate the

day when Lennon and McCartney played

the pub under the name of the Nerk Twins.

What was the Grosvenor on

Kidmore Road is now the


very attractive and extensive

refurbishment this massive pub

has gone significantly upmarket,

particularly on the food.

The real ale range has reduced

from five to three and there's

no longer a discount for

CAMRA members, but the beer


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quality is holding up so it's definitely worth

a visit. A garden room is a new addition to

the rear and there's a function room inside.

The beer range has increased at the CLIFTON

ARMS on Gosbrook Road and often features

four ales from the Marstons range.


The BIRD IN HAND on Bath Road has

reopened after refurbishment. It’s been

opened out and a lot of the previous homely

touches have gone. The beer range is now

only from Wadworth.


A new addition to Reading's bar scene is the

BOTANIST in the old Barclays Bank building

on King Street (halfway between the

Alehouse and Jacksons Corner). This is a

new branch of a growing chain mainly

based in the Midlands but with local

branches in Marlow and Farnham. Gin,

cocktails and craft beers (mainly bottles) are

the main focus although the Marlow branch

seems to have some cask ales. It opened

after we went to press so why not check it

out for yourself and let us know what you


A pub many may not know exists – the

FRUIT BAT – can be found in Erleigh Road

in East Reading. It's kind of

like a shop conversion and has

been there several years now.

Our reporter recommended

the pub grub and found two

Loddon ales on sale when he

visited. It's near the hospital

and in a part of Reading

short of pubs.


Eldon Terrace closed in

April after brewery

Wadworth sold the building, and licensee

Russell MacKenzie moved on to the

Royal Oak in Pewsey, Wiltshire.

We wish him and his family all the best in

their new venture. Shortly after closure a

sign appeared in the window advertising for

new bar staff so we hope to see the pub

reopen, although this was a fast-moving situation

around our press deadline. More

news hopefully in the next issue. In the

meantime, here's a picture of Russell and

Carolyn on their last day in charge, receiving

their award for being a finalist in our

Pub of the Year competition.

The THREE GUINEAS at Reading station

often feature a LocAle alongside the wide

range of Fullers beers. On a recent visit

three Windsor & Eton beers were on offer.

The former Wynford Arms on Kings Road is

now the THIRSTY BEAR, an American

themed bar and diner. There's supposed to

be real ale but it's been rather elusive, at

least at the start, so all we can say is that we

believe it's a rebadged offering from

Deuchars. On the food side, the pizzas are

excellent and very filling. Don't make the

mistake of ordering a whole one unless

you're very hungry!


on Basingstoke Road has been refurbished

and reopened as a pizza and carvery restaurant

and bar under the Stonehouse brand.

We don't yet have any details of the real ale

so please let us know if you

pay them a visit.

O’NEILLS on Friar Street

was closed for refurbishment

as we went to press. The plan

is to create a new look and a

new American Irish concept,

with “a bigger range of craft

ales served on tap” (which we

guess means keg beers) and

“stylish decor created from old

whiskey barrels as well as a

new menu with breakfast

choices, burgers, sharing platters and pizzas.”

Mine’s a Pint



It’s reported that BrewDog are actively looking

for premises in Reading. Where do you

think they could find?

Featured in this issue’s article about pub

closures, the RISING SUN in Forbury Road

has been closed for a long time and now,

after no interest from the licensed trade, has

been sold to new owners who want to

demolish it. Luckily Reading Borough

Council refused the application for a demolition

licence, which gave just enough time

for new planning rules to come into force

meaning that demolition now needs full

planning permission. Formerly a Brakspear’s

house, the Rising Sun had a

chequered history for its last few years of

trading and is surrounded by modern (well,

1990s) offices. We don’t think the new

owners have any specific plans for the site

yet – it's difficult to see much happening on

its own as the site is so small but it could

form part of a wider redevelopment scheme

in the future. Or it could even reopen as a

pub – who knows?

The BUGLE on Friar Street has stopped selling

real ale. The previous offering of

Courage Best had not been selling well

enough to keep in good condition.

Planning and listed building applications

have been made for the closed RED COW

on the corner of Crown Street and

Southampton Street. They are seeking

permission for change of use from pub to

restaurant (ground floor) and erection of a

single storey extension, together with

conversion of the upper floor into three

self-contained flats. We were awaiting the

council’s decision as we went to press.

A change of management at the

GREYFRIAR on Greyfriars Road has seen

Josh (formerly of Zerodegrees) take over

from Andy. The beer quality has remained

excellent and six real ales from microbreweries

are still on

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offer alongside interesting keg and bottled

beers and a wide variety of craft gins. The

quiz held every other Monday, now with a

new quizmaster and starting at 7.30pm, is

recommended and offers generous prizes.

Don’t forget that the pub also gives CAMRA

members a 10% discount on real ales (show

your membership card to get this).

The QUEENS ARMS on Great Knollys

Street – near the Reading Buses depot – has

been off most people’s radar for some time.

It's been closed for six months and had a

bad reputation before that. Now, though,

it's set to see a new lease of life as a drop-in

centre for the homeless and disadvantaged.

Christian charity New Beginnings has

started work to turn the pub into an

alcohol-free community hub offering free

hot meals and clothes, with estimated opening

in July. Grace Gomez, who set up the

charity and was once homeless herself,

explained that the idea is to bring an empty

community building back into use that

would offer help to single homeless people,

and also homeless families in B&Bs who are

“cooped up in one room with children”. She

said: “We thought it would be good if they

had somewhere to go, they could drop in

after school, there will be free food and

drink on offer, and there will be a place outside

for children to play – just like a pub

without the alcohol.” While we’re sorry to

see a pub go, it's great that it'll still be


2 Broad Street Reading, RG1 2BH

01189 508119



3 West Berkshire Ales

6 Guest Ales

German & Belgian Beers

Real Cider, Perry and Mead

Local CAMRA Pub of the

Year 2014 Runner Up

Local CAMRA Cider

Pub of the Year 2013 & 2014

A Community pub in the

e heart of Reading e

Follow us on twitter


Mine’s a Pint



providing a useful service to the local community

rather than being demolished and

redeveloped as flats.

We hear that Reading Borough Council have

proposed to enter into a development agreement

with H20 Urban and the Canal and

River Trust to build a 100 berth marina,

hotel and pub on the A33 side of the River

Kennet opposite Waterloo Meadows. At the

moment we know no more than that but

more details will surely emerge over time.


The BLACK BOY has reopened after an

extensive refurbishment and is now part of

the Barons Pub Company who run six pubs

across Surrey – this is their first venture into

Berkshire. The focus is on food with a massive

menu available although up to three

ales are also on offer from the Greene King

range. It includes a house beer that doesn’t

state a brewer but tastes unmistakeably like

Greene King! Outside the garden is lovely

with smart furniture and covered seating,

plus a fire pit. A feature is that some of the

outside tables are designated as non-smoking.

attempts they have now got permission on

appeal so it looks as though the pub along

with its rare skittle alley has been finally

lost. The development company behind the

scheme were also responsible for the loss of

the Lamb in the same village.


The VICTORIA in Norcot Road held a beer

festival in April which we're told was a success.

Since a refurbishment in 2014 this pub

has broadened its clientele and is much

more welcoming than before. There real ales

are usually available. The bus stop on the

17 route is White House, which reflects the

pub's former name.


The SWAN hotel in the High Street is undergoing

major refurbishment works and the

main entrance is closed with access via

Church Lane and traffic lights in operation.

The hotel, gym and most importantly the

bar are still open.


Beer quality at the SPRING INN has been

good on several recent visits. This is a large

pub just off the A4 and set up primarily for

diners, but drinkers are welcome too.


The owners of the RED LION in Church

Street have been trying for ages to get planning

permission to extend and convert the

pub for residential use. After many failed

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Anastasia's Exile Stout

won its category in the

LocAle awards at

Reading Beer Festival.

This 5.0% stout won

the category for beers of

5% and above.


Binghams is featured in the

summer edition of

CAMRA’s quarterly

“Beer” magazine with a

comprehensive five page

article. CAMRA members

can access an online version

through the CAMRA

website if they missed it!

Binghams’ latest special

is Viennese Whirl, a

5.0% Vienna Pale Ale

brewed with Vienna Malt

for a golden hue and a blend of Citra,

Centennial and Chinook hops from

America. The ever popular Hop Project continues

with a 4.5% Extra Pale Ale called

Wai-iti Cascade launched in June with these

hops providing a stone fruits and citrus hop



The Bell and Bottle in Shinfield recently

played host to a Bond brews tap takeover.

Owner and brewer Dean Bond gave an

entertaining talk about how he came to take

up brewing, the process and ingredients

used as well as how he chooses which types

of beer to brew. All rounded off with a quiz,

it was a very good evening. Mellow Velo, a

Dean from Bond Brews and Chrissie

from the Bell and Bottle at their

tap takeover

limited edition 3.6% mild, was in

fine form and was our beer of the


Another recent brew has been

Bengal Tiger, an English Style India

Pale Ale at 4.3% ABV. It was brewed

with a nod to the original English

style IPA with two types of malted

barley. East Kent Golding hops provided

the Bitterness, Goldings the

aroma and it was dry-hopped for

good measure.


For a long time we've been following the

progress of a special beer from Chiltern –

their 2,000th gyle (a gyle is a specific brewing

run, i.e. it was the 2,000th time that

they'd brewed). It's easiest to let them

describe it in their own words:

“On 6 January last year we celebrated our

2000th Gyle – or brew – and to mark the

occasion we have produced MM, a new limited

edition bottle-conditioned ale. We think

it is something special – a real treat; a true

classic IPA, light gold in colour with a fruity

aroma and set off by a dry malt middle and

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a long hop finish for a 6.4% strength

sparkling ale. The bottles have matured for

12 months to allow the flavour to mellow

and each bottle is individually numbered.

You can drink it out of champagne glasses

too for that extra special touch of style.

Please see online www.chilternbrewery.co.uk

for details of where the bottles – and much

more - can be ordered for delivery.”

The seasonal special draught for June is

Cobblestones Summer Ale 3.5% ABV. This

draught golden ale is a firm favourite with

those ale drinkers who enjoy a golden, light,

crisp, refreshing and fruity beer with a hint

of bitterness. The name was originally

inspired by the old cobblestones in the

courtyard of the brewery tap, The King’s

Head in Aylesbury.

For July and August the seasonal special

draught ale will be Chiltern Gold 3.9%

ABV. This light golden honeyed ale is well

balanced and refreshing. It's hopped with

the Cascade producing a beautiful citrus and

grapefruit aroma. Finally for summer beers,

the Monument Gold Pale Ale 3.8% ABV is

now a permanent bottled ale, available

across the year. A clear gold colour, it has

tastes of smooth honeyed malt and citrus

aromas and is certified gluten free.

The brewery shop in Terrick near Wendover

is now open for longer including every

Monday 10am to 5pm. There you will find

the full ranges of current draught and bottled

ales and a great selection of locally

made food items, often created using their

own ales. Details are on www.chilternbrewery.co.uk.


A tap takeover in the Greyfriar marked their

first birthday party at the end of April, and

with six cask ales available it was an excellent

evening. A fourth fermentation vessel

arrived in May, which will mean that output

will have more than doubled from when

they started last spring. It should mean more

availability of the core beers, and definitely

also means they'll be on the hunt for more

space soon.


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The big news from Loddon is the release of

their new bottle – In Yer Face American IPA

(5.8% ABV). It's in 330ml bottles and

packed with citra hops for a strong, punchy

but perfectly balanced American style IPA.

They're really excited about it, saying that

it’s a very different beer from what they've

made before and should appeal to an entirely

new audience.


The bottles will be available from the brewery

and, soon, from off licences and wholesalers

across the region.

June sees the return of the popular seasonal

Summer Snowflake (4.1% ABV) and in July

the special is a brand new beer Sunny Daze

(4.4% ABV. This is a light golden ale

packed with hops to give a refreshing summer



With the brewery expansion work now

finished, Rebellion Lager (4.4% ABV) was

released on 19 May. This will be the first keg

lager brewed by Rebellion, now in their 24th

year since brewing their first beer in 1993.

Rebellion's Charity Weekend 2017 is on

Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 July. During

these biennial open weekends they throw

the doors of the brewery open, and welcome

what has now grown to a staggering 7,000

visitors over the weekend.

Zebedee, the popular spring seasonal beer

(4.7%, a straw coloured pale ale with a

clean, fresh taste and tropical fruit aromas)

has now joined the core range and will be

brewed all year round. The monthly specials

continue with:

June – Monarch (4.2% ABV), Tawny and fruity

July – Slapstick (4.2% ABV), Amber and citrus

August – Rocket (4.2% ABV), Red and fruity

For the summer they are brewing Rebellion

White (Wheat beer) and for Autumn

Rebellion Black (Porter) in bottles.

The brewery shop is open Mon – Sat 08:00

– 19:00. Friday evening is their busiest time

of the week, putting huge pressure on the

carpark between 16:30 and 18:00. To avoid

the crowds they are asking people to consider

visiting either earlier on Friday or

Saturday morning.

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The latest addition to the core range is Yu

Lu, a “loose leaf pale ale” brewed with Earl

Grey Tea. Previously available as a special

under the name of Vermont Tea Party, this

beer delivers subtle bergamot orange and

lemon notes here, accentuated by the

addition of lemon zest. Delicate hop high

notes give a balanced flavour that belies its

low strength.

Because of works to expand the brewery

and move to a new unit on the Hogwood

Lane Industrial Estate, the brewery shop is

now closed. They say: “Until a time when

we’re ready to open up a new tasting room

we’re not going to be able to serve customers

at the brewery. Apologies in advance

for any inconvenience this may cause. In the

meantime, you can order from our website

and use ‘click and collect’. If you order

before 3pm, you will be able to collect the

next working day. Collections can be made

Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm. Thank you all for your

patience in these transitional times.”


TBA (its actual name!), a 3.9% malty session

bitter, has been seen in local pubs lately.

English Pilgrim and New Zealand Green

Bullet and Pacific Jade are the main hops,

with some American

Citra also added.


Seasonal specials available

for summer are: A

Bigger Boat: 3.8%

American Red. A deep

red beer with US hops.

Contender: 4.1% Deep

Golden. A golden thirst

quencher with a big

hoppy punch.

Play it Sam: 4.3% Straw. A soft pale malt

blended with big US hops.

The brewery shop in Brill is open Monday -

Friday 9am - 5pm and Saturday 9.30am -

11.30am for a full range of Vale and ABC

beers together with a wide selection of foreign

bottled beers, wines and ciders.


West Berkshire are in the middle of an

expansion programme which will see

brewing, packaging, a shop and cafe all on a

new site. The £6m project will see the

creation of a new base on an old dairy farm

not far from the current Yattendon site.

Once complete, expected to be in August,

the new site will enable the brewery to be

more adventurous with products and

produce greater volumes of beer to be sold

further afield. It’ll be the fourth time the

brewery has expanded since it was founded

in 1995 and David Bruce, chairman, said:

“This is a transformational time for our

brewery and our £6million in investment in

its future will create one of the most preeminent

brewing and packaging facilities in

the UK.”


Saturday 29 July sees the “Midsummer

Christmas Party” at the brewery from midday

until late. The New Zealand Beer

Collective are bringing in 8 lines to

complement the brewery's own 8 keg

lines, giving 16 great beers to try

including new brews. You can meet the

brewers of course, and there will be

food from California Taco plus DJ sets.

Best of all, entry is free.



The Bracknell Beer Festival at the end

of May featured a rare cask of Uprising

treason and another of W&E


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Kohinoor. Both were excellent. Events at the

brewery have included beer yoga (really!) as

well as the regular and very popular brewery

tours, held every second Wednesday and

starting at 19.30.


XT will be at the Great British Beer Festival

this year with their own bar. As a special

feature, the brewery have teamed up with

the UK’s leading hop merchant Charles

Faram and the most innovative English Hop

Farmers to bring an exclusive new beer to

the festival. The beer will be brewed with all

new varieties of English hops and show that

the smaller British craft breweries and hop

growers are a serious force against the more

trendy imported American and New World

beers and hops.

XT are going to brew two collaboration

beers with Uprising Brewery. Having

apprenticed with the masters of brewing at

Windsor before starting XT, Russ will be

returning to work alongside the team to

produce two new beers under the Animal

and Uprising brands. Look out for some

unusual ingredients! One beer will be

brewed at Windsor and a return visit will

see the second beer brewed at XT

The latest Animal beers to be sampled in

local pubs will be:

Swallow: East Coast Pale Ale, 4.7% ABV.

A pale beer brewed with pale amber malt.

Columbus and Bravo are layered throughout

the brew which is generously dry hopped

with Citra at the end. This ale has a fruit

bouquet of peaches, mango and passion

fruit with citrus and peppery notes throughout,

all tied together with subtle hint of mild


Fantail: NZ Amber 4.6% ABV. Brewed with

no less than six different speciality malts

and wheat then topped off with New

Zealand Green Bullet and Motueka and a

special dry hop addition with even more

Motueka. Layers of lemon, lime and raisins

throughout with a scattering of peppery

notes. Paired sweet biscuity malts and a

hoppy lemon / lime finish.

Ageing since Christmas in large oak casks,

the 8.6% ABV Imperial Stout has been aged

in different casks including whiskey, rum,

brandy, and sherry barrels. This will be sold

in champagne style bottles as a bottle conditioned


The Brewery Tap Room now has longer

opening hours, a wider choice of draught

beers and there will be rolling series of

events including wine tastings, beer and

food matchings, a Belgian Beer night and

many more – details available on the web or


Mine’s a Pint


Small Beer

A roundup of news and information.


It’s congratulations all round at Reading’s

Nags Head as not only did they come top in

our branch Pub of the Year and Cider Pub

of the Year contests, they then went on to

beat the other champions from across the

county to become Berkshire Pub of the Year

2017. It's a well-deserved win for the team

at the Russell Street pub which recently

celebrated its 10th anniversary under the

current owners.

Runner up Pub of the Year was last year’s

champion the Fox and Hounds in

Caversham. Other finalists were the

Alehouse, Eldon Arms and Greyfriar in

Reading, and the Bell & Bottle in Shinfield.

Runner up Cider Pub of the Year was the

Bell in Waltham St Lawrence.

Club of the Year was won once again by the

Wargrave and District Snooker Club.

All these “of the year” awards are judged by

local CAMRA members who survey pubs

and clubs and score them across a range of

criteria including beer quality (the most

important part!), service and welcome,

ambience, value for money and other factors.

If you're a CAMRA member you can

take part so, early next year, watch our

website or come along to a branch meeting

and find out how.

The Nags Head now goes forward to the

regional stage of Pub of the Year, going up

against the winners from Oxfordshire and

Bucks. Good luck and we hope to report

more good news next time!


The latest pub walk, led by Chris Hinton,

goes from Goring to the Bell at Aldworth on

Sunday 23 July. Meet outside of the

Catherine Wheel in Station Road (not a

drinks stop) at 11:05.

The walk goes from Goring Car Park to

Townsend Farm, and onto the Ridgeway to

Aldworth Village via Westridge Copse

(5 miles). Arrive at the Bell at 13:15 to give

time for drinks and lunch. At 14:15 walk

back to Streatley via Streatley Warren, the

Ridgeway and the A417 to the Bull

(5 miles), arriving at 16:15. Note that we

are not going over the hill in the golf club

but going around it.

Once back in Goring there are plenty of

options for more pubs and clubs, with a

game or two of bar billiards almost a


This walk is 10 miles in total and has several

moderate climbs and descents. It follows

a mixture of tarmac, stone and firm mud

tracks, some of which may be slippery after

wet weather. So please wear appropriate


Places of interest on the walk include the

Ridgeway, Goring Bridge and lock, and

Goring Water Mill.

Train times: leave Reading 10:45, arrive

Goring 10:59. Return leave Goring 18:02 or

19:02, arrive Reading 18:18 or 19:18.

Mine’s a Pint



Jo Metcalf has stepped up to be our new

Cider Coordinator for the CAMRA branch.

Previously this was a vacant post but now

Jo has joined the team we hope to be able to

feature more about cider and perry in the

future. To begin with Jo has written an

article about the history of perry that you

can read in this issue.


Britain’s biggest beer festival (yes, even bigger

than Reading) will be returning to

London this summer to celebrate its 40th

anniversary from 8 – 12 August at Olympia,

London. A paradise for beer lovers,

CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival is an

event not to be missed with beers to suit all

tastes. This year to celebrate this amazing

anniversary the festival will be expanding its

drinks offering of over 900 real ales and

other craft beers, real ciders and perries to

include – for the first time – fine English

wine from some of the best wine producers

in the country. The festival also offers you

the chance to sample some fantastic London

street food and listen to live bands while

enjoying a glass of something special.

Buy your tickets now at gbbf.org.uk.


Wolverhampton-based brewer and pub

operator Marstons has acquired the beer

and brewing business of Charles Wells for

£55 million. The Bedfordshire-based Charles

Wells will retain its pub operating arm.

Marstons already produces Ringwood,

Brakspear, Thwaites and many other

breweries' beers and the deal will extend

that range even further to include over 30

beers including Bombardier, Young’s and

McEwan’s. They will also take on the distribution

of non- real ale brands including

Estrella Damm, Erdinger and Kirin.

Tim Page, CAMRA’s Chief Executive, said

about the deal:

“CAMRA is always concerned about any

consolidation in the brewing industry as it



Woodcote Festival of Ales: 8 – 9 July

Part of the Woodcote Steam Rally, which is probably the oldest steam rally in the world and

now celebrating its 54th year. The Festival of Ale is run and managed by South Oxfordshire

CAMRA and hosts over 30 ales and ciders plus wine and soft drinks.

Normal rally admission prices apply. www.woodcoterally.org.uk

Wokingham Festival: 25 – 27 August

A music, food and beer festival, the bar here is run by the local Lions club with all profits

going to charity. Local beers feature heavily, with cider and perry plus wine and soft drinks

also available. Free entry before midday on Saturday and Sunday.



could result in a reduction in choice, value

for money and quality for beer drinkers. We’re

also wary of one company increasingly controlling

a larger and larger share of the market,

which is seldom beneficial for consumers.

“Marston’s has a positive track record of

keeping the breweries it acquires open, in

situ, and in many cases investing in the sites

to increase capacity, and we urge them to

continue that policy. We’d also encourage

them to protect the brands that they have

acquired and increase the range available to

beer drinkers, by continuing to supply them

alongside the existing beers produced by

Marston’s owned breweries.

It's reassuring to hear that Charles Wells

intends to continue brewing in Bedford, ensuring

that whatever Marston’s chooses to do

with the brewery and brands it has acquired,

local people will continue to be able to enjoy

locally brewed beers in the region.”


Reading Borough Council has published its

new draft Local Plan for consultation. This

is the document that plans for development

in Reading up to 2036 and, once adopted,

the Local Plan will be the main document

that informs how planning applications are

determined. We were pleased to see that it

contains a good policy on pub protection –

although for some reason it doesn’t seem to

apply in the town centre.

We’ve written to support the new policy and

hope to see it in the next revised version of

the plan, to be published in the autumn.

Once the plan is finally adopted it should

provide a good degree of protection for the

borough’s pubs. If only some of our other

local councils were as positive about pubs as


Mine’s a Pint


Reading Beer



Every year, for four days in spring, a small

part of Reading becomes home to the

biggest pub in Berkshire. Now settled in its

new home at Christchurch Meadows, the

23rd Reading Beer and Cider Festival ran

from 27-30 April this year.

The festival showcases a wide range of real

ales (some 550 different types) as well as

ciders and perries, foreign beers and English

country wines. This year the foreign beer

selection was much expanded and covered

brews from seven different countries so,

alongside the regular Belgian, Dutch and

German offerings, visitors could sample the

delights of the USA, Italy, Norway and even

Japan in bottled form.

No festival is complete without entertainment

and this year we were pleased to

welcome Paul “Sinnerman” Sinha from

ITV’s The Chase to act as quizmaster for

our massive pub quiz. A wide range of pub

games, tombola, face painting, balloon modelling,

Morris Dancing and a great selection

of local bands made sure that there was

always something to do while enjoying your

favourite drink.

Contests were judged and awards made too.

The festival is home to CAMRA's National

Cider and Perry Championship finals and

the details of those winners are elsewhere in

the magazine. For the winners of the LocAle

Beer of the Festival contest, see the accompanying


Mine’s a Pint


Unfortunately the numbers through the

doors were down on last year, with around

11,500 visitors counted in and out.

A number of factors probably caused the

decline, not least of which was that the sun

didn’t shine for most of the festival. On the

plus side, that did mean we sold out of

hoodies! Around 30 people joined CAMRA

at the festival – welcome to all of you! – and

everyone had a good time. If you didn’t

come then you missed out.

Phil Gill



Beers below 4.2% ABV

Winner - Siren Craft: Yu Lu

Runner up - Loose Cannon: Abingdon Bridge

Beers from 4.2% to 4.9% ABV

Winner - Twickenham Fine Ales: Wolf of the


Runner up - XT: XT13

Beers 5.0% ABV and above

Winner - Ascot Ales: Anastasia's Exile Stout

Runner up - Uprising: Treason





Loose Cannon: Abingdon Bridge


XT: XT13


Twickenham Fine Ales: Wolf of the Woods

A charming country pub. The friendly

& relaxed atmosphere welcomes locals,

families, walkers, dogs & cyclists alike

• Cosy seating area with wood burner

• Ideal for walks & to hack to, very

near the Knowl Hill bridle path

• Home-made food served

Mon - Fri 12-3pm & 6 - 9pm, Sat - Sun 12-9pm

• Sunday Roast from 12 noon to 3pm

• Beer garden overlooking fields

01628 822 010

Knowl Hill Common, Berkshire, RG10 9YE

Mine’s a Pint


Champion Cider

and Perries 2017

The Reading Beer & Cider Festival once

again played host to the South of England

Regional rounds and National final of the

National Cider & Perry Championship.

Local cider and perry producers came out

extremely well.

For our region the cider winner was

Dorset Star’s Sunset, from Dorchester.

The runner up was Salt Hill’s Autumn

Gold from Slough in Berkshire, with

third place going to Cranborne Chase’s

Farmhouse Medium. The champion

perry is quite near at hand – Mr

Whitehead’s Midnight Special Perry

down the road in Hampshire.

The regional finals were held on the

Friday of the festival and a day later the

winners went forward to the national

finals. Here the national Gold award

went to Countryman’s Medium from

Tavistock in Devon with our own Salt

Hill Autumn Gold taking the Silver

award. Bronze went to Gwatkin’s

Captain Gwatkin’s Rum Cask from

Abbeydore in Herefordshire. The

Nemphett Cider Company from Oxleaze

Farm, Nempnett Thrubwell, Nr Blagdon,

Somerset produced the Gold award for

Mine’s a Pint


Perry with Piglet’s Perry. Silver went to

the Dumfriesshire Waulkmill Cider’s

Mooseheid Perry and Bronze to the

Gloucestershire based, Hartland Perry.

Festival Cider Bar Manager and East

Anglia Cider Coordinator, Chris Rouse,

thanked the festival for hosting the judging

and praised the judges’ dedication in

the selection process. At the presentation

of the award certificates to Greg Davies

of Salt Hill Cider on 13th May, he

observed that there were excellent ciders

and perries now being produced all over

the place. “Ciders from the south east of

England are developing their own style.

The national awards showed that quality

cider and perry is not the preserve of any

one region” he concluded. Pictured are

Greg (left) and Chris (right) at Salt Hill’s

base in Slough.

Brian Jones

New Planning rules

set to protect pubs

Just three of Reading's pubs

that have been converted to

convenience stores in recent

years. New planning rules

should make that much more

difficult in future.

Just before parliament was dissolved to

allow the general election to be held, regulations

were passed that will give greater protection

to pubs from being demolished or

turned into shops.

Previously national planning laws had

allowed the owners of pubs to demolish

them or change their use to shops, financial

institutions or restaurants without needing

planning permission. Now those “permitted

development rights” have been taken away

and full planning permission is needed to

demolish a pub or change its use. The one

exception is that there is a right to turn a

pub into a hybrid A3/A4 use (a restaurant

and drinking establishment combined) but

any subsequent change from that – apart

from reversion to just pub use – again needs

full permission.

CAMRA and campaigners have long pushed

for this change, which will make it a lot

more difficult for pubcos and developers to

cash in on the value of a pub rather than

keep running it for the benefit of its local


During the passage of the Neighbourhood

Planning Bill through the House of Lords in

March, Lord Kennedy of Southwark introduced

an amendment which was passed,

that would withdraw permitted development

rights from pubs. The government rejected

the amendment but introduced one of their

own in response, which achieves pretty

much the same thing in practical terms.

Now that the Bill has passed and become an

Act, the regulations to remove permitted

development rights have also come into


CAMRA’s National Chairman, Colin

Valentine, said:

“We are delighted that Ministers listened to

those campaigning for the removal of

Permitted Development Rights and have

ensured that this vital legislation was not

overlooked in the run up to the General

Election. It's reassuring to know that all

pubs in England will enjoy the enhanced

protection from development and

demolition this legislation gives them. It’s

also heartening to see that as a result of the

All Party Parliamentary Pub Group and

CAMRA's negotiations with major retailers,

companies such as Sainsbury's and

Enterprise Inns (Ei) voluntarily pledged to

adhere to the principles of the legislation

even before it became law."

Phil Gill

Mine’s a Pint



By the time you read this, we will have just

raised a pint to National Volunteers’ Week

at The Swan in Three Mile Cross with lots

of our fellow members. The week is an

annual, national event run by the National

Council for Voluntary Organisations in the

first week of June.

Self-congratulatory and back-patting you

might think? Not so. Over 21 million people

volunteer in the UK each year – and some

7,000 of these are CAMRA members. They

are first class examples of how we can all

make a big difference to individuals and

communities every day. CAMRA volunteers

take on a vast range of roles and tasks –

serving on committees, campaigning and

lobbying, working at beer festivals, running

events and much more.

It may seem a small thing for someone to,

say, submit a survey with the latest information

about a pub but it all has a knock-on

effect. More up to date information helps

consumers (not necessarily just CAMRA

members) make informed choices about

where they want to visit and drink. This

often means someone may be more encouraged

to visit a local community pub which

keeps money in the local economy, where

they may meet new friends, try a tasty new

beer or find out about a local event.

Locally our volunteers keep our finances

ticking over, collect beer scores, organise our

Good Beer Guide entries, co-ordinate our

Pub of the Year competition, arrange 24

pubs to be on an annual Ale Trail, keep our

pub information up to date, help protect

pubs from closing, lobby our Councillors

and MPs, keep our LocAle scheme running,

work with the local press to generate publicity,

organise socials, keep a website,

Facebook page and Twitter profile up to

date, write the very magazine in which

you're reading this (!), deliver aforementioned

magazine ... not to mention the hundreds

of volunteers who make the Reading

Beer & Cider Festival – one of the largest

beer festivals in the country – an annual


Why do we do it? Because we really like

beer, cider and perry (no really, we do -

haven't you seen us drinking it?). And we

want others to have the chance to enjoy

them as well, now and for years to come. So

we also support the pubs and clubs where

you can find them, and organise our beer

and cider festival to showcase them.

So raise a glass to our volunteers and all they

do. Next time you bump into one in your

local pub why don't you say thank you? (or

buy them a beer). Or maybe you feel you

could make a difference in some small way

as well? If so, just contact us using the contact

details in this magazine. By the way, the

fact that you can read this magazine is due

to the work of volunteers.

See you for a spot of volunteering soon?


James Moore

Vice-Chair, Reading & Mid Berkshire


get involved

Ideas for little things you could do as

a way into volunteering:

• Send us a beer score. It's really easy -

all you have to do is log in to


• Update a pub survey - info on readingcamra.org.uk

– click on “surveying


• Deliver this very magazine to pubs

• Put up a beer festival poster in

your window

Mail contact@readingcamra.org.uk

for more details about how to get


Mine’s a Pint


Pub Closures

Britain is still losing pubs at a steady rate.

This trend is likely to continue as changes to

our demographics and lifestyles means that

fewer and fewer are seen as viable (although

of course we could point to several pubs

which have become viable in the right hands!).

Long gone are the days when there was a

pub on every corner with different brewers

vying for the trade of mill and factory workers

downing a couple of pints after a hard

day’s graft. Most of the old terraced streets

have gone and with them the corner shops

and the pubs. In the countryside it is even

worse with many villages having lost both

their shop and their pub – and with those

losses goes the sense of community with no

focal point to bring people together. Indeed,

there are villages where the locals cannot

even afford to buy a house.

In Reading I think I am right in saying that

if you get on a number 26 to Calcot, once

the bus turns down past The Beefeater on

Southcote Lane, you will not find another

Reading’s Rising Sun in Forbury Road: Closed

Mine’s a Pint


pub on the route – which goes through three

large housing estates. So, I assume that anyone

living there now gets their drinks from a

supermarket at ridiculously low prices which

no pub could compete with. Couldn’t we

have a system whereby pubs brought back

their “Bottle & Jug” and were able to sell

take-home products at a reasonable price?

So, how can we save those pubs which are

left? Well, a number have been bought by

their regulars (The Craufurd Arms in

Maidenhead being a recent example). This is

where local drinkers club together, or get

crowdfunding money to buy the pub and

then run it themselves (usually employing a

landlord sympathetic to their cause). Some

country or small village pubs have converted

one of the bars into a village shop or library

and others use any spare room for meetings

and community matters.

Thankfully, due to pressure and campaigning

from CAMRA, changes have been made

to the planning laws (see elsewhere in this


issue) which should make it harder to convert

pubs to shops or other uses without a

full planning application being made to and

approved by the local authority. This could

help save many local, community pubs.

An annoying issue with closed pubs is that

often they lie derelict or boarded up for

months if not years before being developed.

Apart from being an eyesore they could still

have been trading!

I pass by The County Arms in Watlington

Street very often and what a sad sight that

is. Once a fine Morland pub, it must be one

of the slowest redevelopment sites in town

as it has been shut for years and is still a

long way off becoming new flats.

“An annoying issue

with closed pubs is that

they lie derelict or

boarded up for months

if not years before

being developed”

While the local boozer gets shut down, we

continue to see new “venue or theme bars”

opening up in our towns and cities. While

they may offer something different to

drinkers they are not proper pubs as I know

them. However, one interesting twist on the

subject is the rise of micropubs. These are

small units – often closed shops – where a

minimalistic pub is set up, usually with one

or two people running it selling cask beers

and cider; no lagers; no machines; no TVs

etc., just beer and conversation. The nearest

example is in Newbury (The Cow and Cask)

and these new ventures often breathe life

into areas where real ale has been hard to

find or where the nearest pub has been converted

to an eating house or theme bar.

When I was in Australia recently my brother

took me to his “local” which was a modern

pub in a small shopping precinct (very similar

to our estate pubs). This had two bars

with the lounge being for drinkers with a

small section of diners (pub grub). The old

public bar had been converted into a bookies

run by the Tote, where you could get a

beer and put your bets on at the same time.

It seemed to me a great idea – look at the

number of bookmakers that are next to or

very near a pub in the Reading area, so

instead of filling in your betting slip in the

pub and running next door to place the bet,

you could do it all in one place. Sadly, our

laws would not allow this, but if it did it

might have been a way of saving some of

our now-closed estate boozers.

Anyway, at the end of the day the message

from CAMRA is still “Use it or Lose it”

British pubs are unique and admired the

world over so let’s fight to keep as many

open as we can.

Dave McKerchar

Over 96%

of Britain’s

real ale pubs



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Mine’s a Pint


A brief History of Perry

The Blakeney Red

perry pear, one of

the best single perry


The average person could be forgiven for

thinking that perry is a fairly recent beverage

thanks to Babycham and Lambrini. However it

is mentioned in the 1st and 4th centuries by

Pliny the Elder and Palladius respectively, the

latter providing a recipe and writing that pear

wine was preferred to apple wine.

After the fall of the Roman

Empire evidence of perry making

was lost for a thousand years until

the Norman Conquest. However,

the Domesday Book mentions old

pear trees as boundary markers,

so pears were being cultivated

before the French reintroduced


For over 400 years perry pears

have been produced in the Three

Counties (Gloucestershire,

Herefordshire, Worcestershire and part of


The coat of arms of Worcester City contains

“three pears sable” added following the visit

of Queen Elizabeth I to Worcester in 1575.

Apparently during her procession the Queen

saw a pear tree which had been planted in the

Foregate in her honour. She was so pleased she

Mine’s a Pint


bade the city add the emblem of pears to its

Coat of Arms.

The Worcestershire county flag also features

pears prominently. Legend also has it that the

Worcester Archers rallied under the pear trees

before the battle of Agincourt and pear blossom

was borne as a badge by the

Worcestershire Yeomanry Cavalry from

the beginning of this century

until as recently as 1956.

Perry grew in popularity

after the English Civil War

(1642-1651) when the large

numbers of soldiers billeted

in the Three Counties drank

it. It reached the height of

popularity during the eighteenth

century when conflicts

with France made the importing

of wine difficult.

The flag of Worcestershire

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries various

publications detailed perry pears and their

optimum growing conditions including the

Treatise on the Culture of the Apple and Pear

in 1797; the Pomona Herefordiensis in 1811,

which included pear illustrations; and the

Herefordshire Pomona published between


1876-1885 by the Woolhope Naturalists’ Field

Club which described 29 varieties of perry

pear. The Rev. Charles Bulmer wrote a chapter

on renovation of orchards and the establishment

of cider and perry factories later taken up

by his son, H.P. Bulmer who founded the

famous cider making firm in 1887.

Founding member of The National Fruit and

Cider Institute (1903) Radcliffe Cooke MP

“The Member for Cider” prevented the

government of the day from imposing a tax on

perry and cider, possibly saving these industries.

B.T.P. Barker was appointed director of the

National Fruit and Cider Institute in 1904. He

established a trial orchard at Long Ashton in

1903 which began distributing grafts in 1908. By

1917 there were 50 trial orchards in six counties.

In the 1920s Herbert Edward Durham

Bulmer's director surveyed the perry pears of

Herefordshire. The lead labels he attached to

the trees can still be seen across the West


In the late 1940s, Showerings of Shepton

Mallet, developed modern perry making

processes and the market for perry sold as


However, both English perry making, and the

orchards that supplied it, suffered a catastrophic

decline in the second half of the 20th

century as a result of changing tastes and agricultural

practices. In South Gloucestershire an

estimated 90% of orchards have been lost in

the last 75 years. Prior to 2007, the small

amounts of traditional perry still produced

were mainly consumed by people living in

farming communities.

However, perry has had a resurgence. Old

perry pear trees and orchards have been

actively sought out and rediscovering lost varieties,

many of which now exist only as single

trees on isolated farms. “Proper” perry is a

complex and multi-faceted drink ranging in

flavour from light floral to barnyard funkiness.

It is delicious. Try it!

Jo Metcalf

Is it the longest


in history?

Over the last hundred years, only three

men have held the the title of Head Brewer

at Timothy Taylor’s. The third of those,

Peter Eells, retired recently. Rest assured the

man taking over, Andrew Leman, has worked

with Peter for 28 years, the last 20 of those as

Second Brewer. He is one of our team of five

full-time brewers who closely oversee the

brewing of every cask of Taylor’s beer. In that

time Andrew has done the daily tasting over

7300 times. We think he’s just about ready.

All for that taste of Taylor’s

Mine’s a Pint


Key Keg - W hat is it?

Roger Hart and Cambridge CAMRA / Beer Festival explain their thoughts on KeyKegs

Lots of brewers are producing more and

more interesting beers in kegs as well as

casks. KeyKegs in particular are a newer

form of keg that opens up options for delivering

real ale with interesting characteristics.


A KeyKeg is, at its simplest, a plastic bottle

containing a bag full of beer. Unlike a conventional

keg, the gas you pump in to force

the beer out and into your glass doesn’t

touch the liquid. It flows around the outside

of the bag, pushing the beer out of the keg

without it becoming too fizzy.

As the KeyKeg isn’t open to the atmosphere,

you get all the natural, live-yeast carbonation

of real ale, but without the risk of the

beer gradually going flat. It cuts down on

the chance of off-flavours developing from

oxidation, too. Of course, some air space

improves cask ale as its flavour develops

over time. So there’s a trade-off. Different

serving mechanisms suit different styles of

beer, and having KeyKeg gives us more



For example, most bitters, and quite a lot of

porters and stouts, will work best in a cask.

They’ll condition lightly, change gently over

time, and the initial air exposure when the

cask is tapped and vented will dissipate any

of those odd flavours and aromas you can

sometimes get with cask conditioning.

But the highly-hopped IPAs, saisons, and

really dry stouts we’re seeing a lot of now

are a different story. They’ll often serve

better at a much higher carbonation, and

want to avoid losing any hop aroma to the

air before they hit your glass. Some of them

are better colder, too. This is where KeyKeg

can shine. It lets a brewer put those delicate,

intricate aromatics front and centre, or keep

a slightly-sour saison fizzy and zingy.

There are other ways of brewing like that,

of course, and we’d love it if people compared.

Thank you to Roger Hart and Cambridge

CAMRA/Beer Festival for allowing us to

reproduce this article.



Not all beer served in keykegs is real ale,

but some is. It depends on what the beer

is to start with. In simple terms,

CAMRA’s position on keykegs is that if

it's real ale when it goes in, then it's real

ale when it comes out. Two years ago a

motion was passed at the CAMRA

national AGM to look into setting up a

labelling system for keykegs at point of

sale, to allow customers to distinguish

what they were drinking, but there

appears to have been little or no progress

since then.

Mine’s a Pint



Waltham St Lawrence RG10 0JJ Tel: 01189 341788


15th Century Country Pub

Real Ales and Ciders from smalL, independent

brewers and exceptionalLy goOd foOd from

fresh, seasonal ingredients.

LocAle Accreditation 2013


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