Mine's a Pint Issue 42

Mine's a Pint Issue 42

Mine's a Pint Issue 42


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Pub & Brewery News<br />

Small Beer<br />

Beer Festival Roundup<br />

Join CAMRA<br />

Volunteering<br />

History of Perry<br />

FREE<br />





Branch Diary<br />

All events start at 20.00 and are open to everybody<br />

unless specified.<br />

June<br />

Thu 15: Pub of the Year and Cider Pub of the Year<br />

presentation. Nags Head, 5 Russell Street, Reading,<br />

RG1 7XD. This is also Beer Day Britain.<br />

Tue 20: Branch meeting. Bull, 41 High Street,<br />

Theale, RG7 5AH. CAMRA members only, please.<br />

July<br />

Thu 6: First Thursday of the Month Social.<br />

Bramshill Hunt, Bramshill Close, Arborfield, RG2<br />

9PL. Join us for the quiz night!<br />

Thu 20: Branch meeting. Three Guineas, Station<br />

Approach, Reading, RG1 1LY . CAMRA members<br />

only, please.<br />

Sun 23: Pub walk from Goring to the Bell at<br />

Aldworth. More details in Small Beer section.<br />

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

August<br />

Thu 3: First Thursday of the Month Social. Allied<br />

Arms, 57 St. Mary’s Butts, Reading, RG1 2LG.<br />

Thu 17: Branch meeting. Retreat, 8 St John’s Street,<br />

Reading, RG1 4EH. CAMRA members only, please.<br />

See www.readingcamra.org.uk for details of these<br />

events as they come available. For details of an event<br />

with no contact listed, to suggest an event or to receive<br />

e-mail updates of the branch diary, contact Rich<br />

Croton: social@readingcamra.org.uk<br />

Contact Us<br />

Useful contact details for this<br />

magazine, CAMRA and other<br />

important things…<br />

Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong> Circulation: 3,000.<br />

Outlets: Over 70 across the region.<br />

Editor: Phil Gill<br />

editor@readingcamra.org.uk<br />

0771 455 0293<br />

81 Addison Road, Reading, RG1 8EG<br />

Magazine published on behalf of Reading<br />

and Mid Berkshire CAMRA by:<br />

Orchard House Media Ltd<br />

daniel.speed@orchardhousemedia.co.uk<br />

Reading & Mid Berkshire CAMRA<br />

www.readingcamra.org.uk<br />

Social Secretary: Rich Croton<br />

social@readingcamra.org.uk<br />

Contact for all other branch matters:<br />

Katrina Fletcher<br />

contact@readingcamra.org.uk<br />

0779 401 9437<br />

Local Trading Standards<br />

Reading Borough Council:<br />

www.reading.gov.uk 0118 937 3737<br />

West Berkshire Council:<br />

www.westberks.gov.uk 01635 519930<br />

Royal Borough of Windsor &<br />

Maidenhead:<br />

www.rbwm.gov.uk 01628 683800<br />

Wokingham Borough Council:<br />

www.wokingham.gov.uk<br />

0118 974 6400<br />

The next issue of Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong> will be<br />

published in early September. Please<br />

feel free to submit any copy or ideas<br />

by 11 August.<br />

The opinions expressed in Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong> are<br />

not necessarily those of the editor or the<br />

Campaign for Real Ale. © Campaign for<br />

Real Ale 2017.<br />

Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />


From the Editor<br />

The last few weeks have seen a major<br />

campaigning victory for pub protection, Just<br />

before it dissolved for the general election,<br />

parliament approved new regulations that<br />

remove the previous rights for people to<br />

demolish or change the use of a pub without<br />

planning permission.<br />

“The new planning<br />

regulations won’t stop<br />

pubs from closing if<br />

nobody goes to them”<br />

You can read more details inside, but to sum<br />

up right here: this is a massive change that<br />

should help give much greater protection to<br />

pubs and stop them being seen as a soft<br />

target by developers. It won’t mean that all<br />

pubs are protected of course, and neither<br />

should it, but it will mean that the proper<br />

planning process now has to be gone<br />

through and that local communities will<br />

have a say in the future of their pubs.<br />

You can read inside about the winners of<br />

our Pub of the Year, Cider Pub of the Year<br />

and Club of the Year. These are places that<br />

are doing well. On the flip side, also inside<br />

is a piece about pub closures. The new<br />

planning regulations won’t stop pubs from<br />

closing if nobody goes to them. So we (and<br />

that means you, and me, and everybody<br />

else) need to make sure that we keep<br />

visiting our local pubs because we “use it or<br />

lose it”.<br />

Let's raise a glass to the great British pub …<br />

preferably inside one!<br />

Phil Gill - Editor<br />

editor@readingcamra.org.uk<br />











Contents<br />

Established 2006<br />

Serving over 1,000<br />

clients nationwide<br />

Contact Simon Grist today for<br />

your FREE first clean<br />

Mob: 07817 950853 Office: 0118 954 0568<br />

Email: SimonGrist@clearbrew.co.uk<br />

www.clearbrew.co.uk<br />

Free<br />

initial clean<br />

No commitment<br />

No contract<br />

Several of our<br />

customers are<br />

featured in the<br />

2017 CAMRA<br />

Good Beer Guide<br />

Branch Diary 3<br />

From the Editor 4<br />

Pub & Brewery News 5-15<br />

Small Beer 16-19<br />

Join CAMRA 18<br />

Reading Beer Festival Roundup 20-21<br />

Champion Cider and Perries 2017 22<br />

Protect our pubs 23<br />

Volunteering 26<br />

Pub Closures 26-27<br />

Brief history of Perry 28-29<br />

Key Keg - What is it? 30<br />

Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />


Pub & Brewery News<br />

Pub News<br />

ASTON<br />

This tiny village near Henley is home to<br />

Brakspear's longest serving tenants in a single<br />

pub. Back in 1992 Pat Thatcher and<br />

Tony Read were regulars at the Flower Pot<br />

when they learned that the landlord was<br />

leaving. They decided they would like to<br />

take over and run the pub themselves and<br />

are now celebrating 25 years behind the bar.<br />

Four real ales from across the Marstons<br />

range area available and the pub is popular<br />

with walkers because of its large garden and<br />

good food offering. Another attraction is the<br />

massive number of stuffed fish in glass cases<br />

that adorn the walls – there are over 100<br />

and it’s believed to be Britain’s largest<br />

private collection. Definitely something that<br />

needs to be seen in person!<br />


The BANTAM in Omers Rise remains<br />

closed and the owner is still trying to make<br />

it into a housing development. A decision on<br />

the latest planning application is expected<br />

soon.<br />


The CROWN (new name<br />

for Crown on the Bridge)<br />

on Bridge Street has been<br />

newly refurbished in a<br />

modern style with food,<br />

mainly speciality burgers,<br />

sausages and hot dogs. The<br />

old car park has been<br />

transformed into a smart<br />

patio area and there's a<br />

serving hatch straight from<br />

the bar for outside food<br />

orders. There are TV<br />

screens for sports but<br />

they're hidden when not in use, and the<br />

pool table and dart board have gone. A new<br />

glazed entrance porch – inside! – and new<br />

and much improved toilets complete the<br />

physical changes. Three beers are usually<br />

available from six handpumps. The regulars<br />

are Sharps Doom Bar and Fullers London<br />

Pride with a Loddon beer often featuring as<br />

a guest.<br />

The FOX AND HOUNDS on Gosbrook<br />

Road is due to hold its annual Hopfest from<br />

13 – 16 July. Expect lots of hoppy beers on<br />

cask and keg, together with music, food and<br />

a great atmosphere. The regular pizza menu<br />

from Barrel & Stone, and the Sunday roast<br />

dinners, are both recommended. Also look<br />

out for a blue plaque which should be in<br />

place from mid June, to commemorate the<br />

day when Lennon and McCartney played<br />

the pub under the name of the Nerk Twins.<br />

What was the Grosvenor on<br />

Kidmore Road is now the<br />

CAVERSHAM ROSE. With a<br />

very attractive and extensive<br />

refurbishment this massive pub<br />

has gone significantly upmarket,<br />

particularly on the food.<br />

The real ale range has reduced<br />

from five to three and there's<br />

no longer a discount for<br />

CAMRA members, but the beer<br />


Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />



quality is holding up so it's definitely worth<br />

a visit. A garden room is a new addition to<br />

the rear and there's a function room inside.<br />

The beer range has increased at the CLIFTON<br />

ARMS on Gosbrook Road and often features<br />

four ales from the Marstons range.<br />


The BIRD IN HAND on Bath Road has<br />

reopened after refurbishment. It’s been<br />

opened out and a lot of the previous homely<br />

touches have gone. The beer range is now<br />

only from Wadworth.<br />


A new addition to Reading's bar scene is the<br />

BOTANIST in the old Barclays Bank building<br />

on King Street (halfway between the<br />

Alehouse and Jacksons Corner). This is a<br />

new branch of a growing chain mainly<br />

based in the Midlands but with local<br />

branches in Marlow and Farnham. Gin,<br />

cocktails and craft beers (mainly bottles) are<br />

the main focus although the Marlow branch<br />

seems to have some cask ales. It opened<br />

after we went to press so why not check it<br />

out for yourself and let us know what you<br />

think?<br />

A pub many may not know exists – the<br />

FRUIT BAT – can be found in Erleigh Road<br />

in East Reading. It's kind of<br />

like a shop conversion and has<br />

been there several years now.<br />

Our reporter recommended<br />

the pub grub and found two<br />

Loddon ales on sale when he<br />

visited. It's near the hospital<br />

and in a part of Reading<br />

short of pubs.<br />

The ELDON ARMS in<br />

Eldon Terrace closed in<br />

April after brewery<br />

Wadworth sold the building, and licensee<br />

Russell MacKenzie moved on to the<br />

Royal Oak in Pewsey, Wiltshire.<br />

We wish him and his family all the best in<br />

their new venture. Shortly after closure a<br />

sign appeared in the window advertising for<br />

new bar staff so we hope to see the pub<br />

reopen, although this was a fast-moving situation<br />

around our press deadline. More<br />

news hopefully in the next issue. In the<br />

meantime, here's a picture of Russell and<br />

Carolyn on their last day in charge, receiving<br />

their award for being a finalist in our<br />

Pub of the Year competition.<br />

The THREE GUINEAS at Reading station<br />

often feature a LocAle alongside the wide<br />

range of Fullers beers. On a recent visit<br />

three Windsor & Eton beers were on offer.<br />

The former Wynford Arms on Kings Road is<br />

now the THIRSTY BEAR, an American<br />

themed bar and diner. There's supposed to<br />

be real ale but it's been rather elusive, at<br />

least at the start, so all we can say is that we<br />

believe it's a rebadged offering from<br />

Deuchars. On the food side, the pizzas are<br />

excellent and very filling. Don't make the<br />

mistake of ordering a whole one unless<br />

you're very hungry!<br />


on Basingstoke Road has been refurbished<br />

and reopened as a pizza and carvery restaurant<br />

and bar under the Stonehouse brand.<br />

We don't yet have any details of the real ale<br />

so please let us know if you<br />

pay them a visit.<br />

O’NEILLS on Friar Street<br />

was closed for refurbishment<br />

as we went to press. The plan<br />

is to create a new look and a<br />

new American Irish concept,<br />

with “a bigger range of craft<br />

ales served on tap” (which we<br />

guess means keg beers) and<br />

“stylish decor created from old<br />

whiskey barrels as well as a<br />

new menu with breakfast<br />

choices, burgers, sharing platters and pizzas.”<br />

Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />



It’s reported that BrewDog are actively looking<br />

for premises in Reading. Where do you<br />

think they could find?<br />

Featured in this issue’s article about pub<br />

closures, the RISING SUN in Forbury Road<br />

has been closed for a long time and now,<br />

after no interest from the licensed trade, has<br />

been sold to new owners who want to<br />

demolish it. Luckily Reading Borough<br />

Council refused the application for a demolition<br />

licence, which gave just enough time<br />

for new planning rules to come into force<br />

meaning that demolition now needs full<br />

planning permission. Formerly a Brakspear’s<br />

house, the Rising Sun had a<br />

chequered history for its last few years of<br />

trading and is surrounded by modern (well,<br />

1990s) offices. We don’t think the new<br />

owners have any specific plans for the site<br />

yet – it's difficult to see much happening on<br />

its own as the site is so small but it could<br />

form part of a wider redevelopment scheme<br />

in the future. Or it could even reopen as a<br />

pub – who knows?<br />

The BUGLE on Friar Street has stopped selling<br />

real ale. The previous offering of<br />

Courage Best had not been selling well<br />

enough to keep in good condition.<br />

Planning and listed building applications<br />

have been made for the closed RED COW<br />

on the corner of Crown Street and<br />

Southampton Street. They are seeking<br />

permission for change of use from pub to<br />

restaurant (ground floor) and erection of a<br />

single storey extension, together with<br />

conversion of the upper floor into three<br />

self-contained flats. We were awaiting the<br />

council’s decision as we went to press.<br />

A change of management at the<br />

GREYFRIAR on Greyfriars Road has seen<br />

Josh (formerly of Zerodegrees) take over<br />

from Andy. The beer quality has remained<br />

excellent and six real ales from microbreweries<br />

are still on<br />

Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />

7<br />

offer alongside interesting keg and bottled<br />

beers and a wide variety of craft gins. The<br />

quiz held every other Monday, now with a<br />

new quizmaster and starting at 7.30pm, is<br />

recommended and offers generous prizes.<br />

Don’t forget that the pub also gives CAMRA<br />

members a 10% discount on real ales (show<br />

your membership card to get this).<br />

The QUEENS ARMS on Great Knollys<br />

Street – near the Reading Buses depot – has<br />

been off most people’s radar for some time.<br />

It's been closed for six months and had a<br />

bad reputation before that. Now, though,<br />

it's set to see a new lease of life as a drop-in<br />

centre for the homeless and disadvantaged.<br />

Christian charity New Beginnings has<br />

started work to turn the pub into an<br />

alcohol-free community hub offering free<br />

hot meals and clothes, with estimated opening<br />

in July. Grace Gomez, who set up the<br />

charity and was once homeless herself,<br />

explained that the idea is to bring an empty<br />

community building back into use that<br />

would offer help to single homeless people,<br />

and also homeless families in B&Bs who are<br />

“cooped up in one room with children”. She<br />

said: “We thought it would be good if they<br />

had somewhere to go, they could drop in<br />

after school, there will be free food and<br />

drink on offer, and there will be a place outside<br />

for children to play – just like a pub<br />

without the alcohol.” While we’re sorry to<br />

see a pub go, it's great that it'll still be<br />


2 Broad Street Reading, RG1 2BH<br />

01189 508119<br />

thealehousereading.co.uk<br />

enquiries@thealehousereading.co.uk<br />

3 West Berkshire Ales<br />

6 Guest Ales<br />

German & Belgian Beers<br />

Real Cider, Perry and Mead<br />

Local CAMRA Pub of the<br />

Year 2014 Runner Up<br />

Local CAMRA Cider<br />

Pub of the Year 2013 & 2014<br />

A Community pub in the<br />

e heart of Reading e<br />

Follow us on twitter<br />

@AlehouseReading<br />

Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />



providing a useful service to the local community<br />

rather than being demolished and<br />

redeveloped as flats.<br />

We hear that Reading Borough Council have<br />

proposed to enter into a development agreement<br />

with H20 Urban and the Canal and<br />

River Trust to build a 100 berth marina,<br />

hotel and pub on the A33 side of the River<br />

Kennet opposite Waterloo Meadows. At the<br />

moment we know no more than that but<br />

more details will surely emerge over time.<br />


The BLACK BOY has reopened after an<br />

extensive refurbishment and is now part of<br />

the Barons Pub Company who run six pubs<br />

across Surrey – this is their first venture into<br />

Berkshire. The focus is on food with a massive<br />

menu available although up to three<br />

ales are also on offer from the Greene King<br />

range. It includes a house beer that doesn’t<br />

state a brewer but tastes unmistakeably like<br />

Greene King! Outside the garden is lovely<br />

with smart furniture and covered seating,<br />

plus a fire pit. A feature is that some of the<br />

outside tables are designated as non-smoking.<br />

attempts they have now got permission on<br />

appeal so it looks as though the pub along<br />

with its rare skittle alley has been finally<br />

lost. The development company behind the<br />

scheme were also responsible for the loss of<br />

the Lamb in the same village.<br />


The VICTORIA in Norcot Road held a beer<br />

festival in April which we're told was a success.<br />

Since a refurbishment in 2014 this pub<br />

has broadened its clientele and is much<br />

more welcoming than before. There real ales<br />

are usually available. The bus stop on the<br />

17 route is White House, which reflects the<br />

pub's former name.<br />


The SWAN hotel in the High Street is undergoing<br />

major refurbishment works and the<br />

main entrance is closed with access via<br />

Church Lane and traffic lights in operation.<br />

The hotel, gym and most importantly the<br />

bar are still open.<br />


Beer quality at the SPRING INN has been<br />

good on several recent visits. This is a large<br />

pub just off the A4 and set up primarily for<br />

diners, but drinkers are welcome too.<br />

THEALE<br />

The owners of the RED LION in Church<br />

Street have been trying for ages to get planning<br />

permission to extend and convert the<br />

pub for residential use. After many failed<br />

Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />




Anastasia's Exile Stout<br />

won its category in the<br />

LocAle awards at<br />

Reading Beer Festival.<br />

This 5.0% stout won<br />

the category for beers of<br />

5% and above.<br />


Binghams is featured in the<br />

summer edition of<br />

CAMRA’s quarterly<br />

“Beer” magazine with a<br />

comprehensive five page<br />

article. CAMRA members<br />

can access an online version<br />

through the CAMRA<br />

website if they missed it!<br />

Binghams’ latest special<br />

is Viennese Whirl, a<br />

5.0% Vienna Pale Ale<br />

brewed with Vienna Malt<br />

for a golden hue and a blend of Citra,<br />

Centennial and Chinook hops from<br />

America. The ever popular Hop Project continues<br />

with a 4.5% Extra Pale Ale called<br />

Wai-iti Cascade launched in June with these<br />

hops providing a stone fruits and citrus hop<br />

character.<br />


The Bell and Bottle in Shinfield recently<br />

played host to a Bond brews tap takeover.<br />

Owner and brewer Dean Bond gave an<br />

entertaining talk about how he came to take<br />

up brewing, the process and ingredients<br />

used as well as how he chooses which types<br />

of beer to brew. All rounded off with a quiz,<br />

it was a very good evening. Mellow Velo, a<br />

Dean from Bond Brews and Chrissie<br />

from the Bell and Bottle at their<br />

tap takeover<br />

limited edition 3.6% mild, was in<br />

fine form and was our beer of the<br />

day.<br />

Another recent brew has been<br />

Bengal Tiger, an English Style India<br />

Pale Ale at 4.3% ABV. It was brewed<br />

with a nod to the original English<br />

style IPA with two types of malted<br />

barley. East Kent Golding hops provided<br />

the Bitterness, Goldings the<br />

aroma and it was dry-hopped for<br />

good measure.<br />


For a long time we've been following the<br />

progress of a special beer from Chiltern –<br />

their 2,000th gyle (a gyle is a specific brewing<br />

run, i.e. it was the 2,000th time that<br />

they'd brewed). It's easiest to let them<br />

describe it in their own words:<br />

“On 6 January last year we celebrated our<br />

2000th Gyle – or brew – and to mark the<br />

occasion we have produced MM, a new limited<br />

edition bottle-conditioned ale. We think<br />

it is something special – a real treat; a true<br />

classic IPA, light gold in colour with a fruity<br />

aroma and set off by a dry malt middle and<br />

Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />



a long hop finish for a 6.4% strength<br />

sparkling ale. The bottles have matured for<br />

12 months to allow the flavour to mellow<br />

and each bottle is individually numbered.<br />

You can drink it out of champagne glasses<br />

too for that extra special touch of style.<br />

Please see online www.chilternbrewery.co.uk<br />

for details of where the bottles – and much<br />

more - can be ordered for delivery.”<br />

The seasonal special draught for June is<br />

Cobblestones Summer Ale 3.5% ABV. This<br />

draught golden ale is a firm favourite with<br />

those ale drinkers who enjoy a golden, light,<br />

crisp, refreshing and fruity beer with a hint<br />

of bitterness. The name was originally<br />

inspired by the old cobblestones in the<br />

courtyard of the brewery tap, The King’s<br />

Head in Aylesbury.<br />

For July and August the seasonal special<br />

draught ale will be Chiltern Gold 3.9%<br />

ABV. This light golden honeyed ale is well<br />

balanced and refreshing. It's hopped with<br />

the Cascade producing a beautiful citrus and<br />

grapefruit aroma. Finally for summer beers,<br />

the Monument Gold Pale Ale 3.8% ABV is<br />

now a permanent bottled ale, available<br />

across the year. A clear gold colour, it has<br />

tastes of smooth honeyed malt and citrus<br />

aromas and is certified gluten free.<br />

The brewery shop in Terrick near Wendover<br />

is now open for longer including every<br />

Monday 10am to 5pm. There you will find<br />

the full ranges of current draught and bottled<br />

ales and a great selection of locally<br />

made food items, often created using their<br />

own ales. Details are on www.chilternbrewery.co.uk.<br />


A tap takeover in the Greyfriar marked their<br />

first birthday party at the end of April, and<br />

with six cask ales available it was an excellent<br />

evening. A fourth fermentation vessel<br />

arrived in May, which will mean that output<br />

will have more than doubled from when<br />

they started last spring. It should mean more<br />

availability of the core beers, and definitely<br />

also means they'll be on the hunt for more<br />

space soon.<br />

LODDON<br />

Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />

11<br />

The big news from Loddon is the release of<br />

their new bottle – In Yer Face American IPA<br />

(5.8% ABV). It's in 330ml bottles and<br />

packed with citra hops for a strong, punchy<br />

but perfectly balanced American style IPA.<br />

They're really excited about it, saying that<br />

it’s a very different beer from what they've<br />

made before and should appeal to an entirely<br />

new audience.<br />


The bottles will be available from the brewery<br />

and, soon, from off licences and wholesalers<br />

across the region.<br />

June sees the return of the popular seasonal<br />

Summer Snowflake (4.1% ABV) and in July<br />

the special is a brand new beer Sunny Daze<br />

(4.4% ABV. This is a light golden ale<br />

packed with hops to give a refreshing summer<br />

bitter.<br />


With the brewery expansion work now<br />

finished, Rebellion Lager (4.4% ABV) was<br />

released on 19 May. This will be the first keg<br />

lager brewed by Rebellion, now in their 24th<br />

year since brewing their first beer in 1993.<br />

Rebellion's Charity Weekend 2017 is on<br />

Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 July. During<br />

these biennial open weekends they throw<br />

the doors of the brewery open, and welcome<br />

what has now grown to a staggering 7,000<br />

visitors over the weekend.<br />

Zebedee, the popular spring seasonal beer<br />

(4.7%, a straw coloured pale ale with a<br />

clean, fresh taste and tropical fruit aromas)<br />

has now joined the core range and will be<br />

brewed all year round. The monthly specials<br />

continue with:<br />

June – Monarch (4.2% ABV), Tawny and fruity<br />

July – Slapstick (4.2% ABV), Amber and citrus<br />

August – Rocket (4.2% ABV), Red and fruity<br />

For the summer they are brewing Rebellion<br />

White (Wheat beer) and for Autumn<br />

Rebellion Black (Porter) in bottles.<br />

The brewery shop is open Mon – Sat 08:00<br />

– 19:00. Friday evening is their busiest time<br />

of the week, putting huge pressure on the<br />

carpark between 16:30 and 18:00. To avoid<br />

the crowds they are asking people to consider<br />

visiting either earlier on Friday or<br />

Saturday morning.<br />

Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />




The latest addition to the core range is Yu<br />

Lu, a “loose leaf pale ale” brewed with Earl<br />

Grey Tea. Previously available as a special<br />

under the name of Vermont Tea Party, this<br />

beer delivers subtle bergamot orange and<br />

lemon notes here, accentuated by the<br />

addition of lemon zest. Delicate hop high<br />

notes give a balanced flavour that belies its<br />

low strength.<br />

Because of works to expand the brewery<br />

and move to a new unit on the Hogwood<br />

Lane Industrial Estate, the brewery shop is<br />

now closed. They say: “Until a time when<br />

we’re ready to open up a new tasting room<br />

we’re not going to be able to serve customers<br />

at the brewery. Apologies in advance<br />

for any inconvenience this may cause. In the<br />

meantime, you can order from our website<br />

and use ‘click and collect’. If you order<br />

before 3pm, you will be able to collect the<br />

next working day. Collections can be made<br />

Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm. Thank you all for your<br />

patience in these transitional times.”<br />


TBA (its actual name!), a 3.9% malty session<br />

bitter, has been seen in local pubs lately.<br />

English Pilgrim and New Zealand Green<br />

Bullet and Pacific Jade are the main hops,<br />

with some American<br />

Citra also added.<br />

VALE<br />

Seasonal specials available<br />

for summer are: A<br />

Bigger Boat: 3.8%<br />

American Red. A deep<br />

red beer with US hops.<br />

Contender: 4.1% Deep<br />

Golden. A golden thirst<br />

quencher with a big<br />

hoppy punch.<br />

Play it Sam: 4.3% Straw. A soft pale malt<br />

blended with big US hops.<br />

The brewery shop in Brill is open Monday -<br />

Friday 9am - 5pm and Saturday 9.30am -<br />

11.30am for a full range of Vale and ABC<br />

beers together with a wide selection of foreign<br />

bottled beers, wines and ciders.<br />


West Berkshire are in the middle of an<br />

expansion programme which will see<br />

brewing, packaging, a shop and cafe all on a<br />

new site. The £6m project will see the<br />

creation of a new base on an old dairy farm<br />

not far from the current Yattendon site.<br />

Once complete, expected to be in August,<br />

the new site will enable the brewery to be<br />

more adventurous with products and<br />

produce greater volumes of beer to be sold<br />

further afield. It’ll be the fourth time the<br />

brewery has expanded since it was founded<br />

in 1995 and David Bruce, chairman, said:<br />

“This is a transformational time for our<br />

brewery and our £6million in investment in<br />

its future will create one of the most preeminent<br />

brewing and packaging facilities in<br />

the UK.”<br />


Saturday 29 July sees the “Midsummer<br />

Christmas Party” at the brewery from midday<br />

until late. The New Zealand Beer<br />

Collective are bringing in 8 lines to<br />

complement the brewery's own 8 keg<br />

lines, giving 16 great beers to try<br />

including new brews. You can meet the<br />

brewers of course, and there will be<br />

food from California Taco plus DJ sets.<br />

Best of all, entry is free.<br />



The Bracknell Beer Festival at the end<br />

of May featured a rare cask of Uprising<br />

treason and another of W&E<br />


Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />


Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />



Kohinoor. Both were excellent. Events at the<br />

brewery have included beer yoga (really!) as<br />

well as the regular and very popular brewery<br />

tours, held every second Wednesday and<br />

starting at 19.30.<br />

XT / ANIMAL<br />

XT will be at the Great British Beer Festival<br />

this year with their own bar. As a special<br />

feature, the brewery have teamed up with<br />

the UK’s leading hop merchant Charles<br />

Faram and the most innovative English Hop<br />

Farmers to bring an exclusive new beer to<br />

the festival. The beer will be brewed with all<br />

new varieties of English hops and show that<br />

the smaller British craft breweries and hop<br />

growers are a serious force against the more<br />

trendy imported American and New World<br />

beers and hops.<br />

XT are going to brew two collaboration<br />

beers with Uprising Brewery. Having<br />

apprenticed with the masters of brewing at<br />

Windsor before starting XT, Russ will be<br />

returning to work alongside the team to<br />

produce two new beers under the Animal<br />

and Uprising brands. Look out for some<br />

unusual ingredients! One beer will be<br />

brewed at Windsor and a return visit will<br />

see the second beer brewed at XT<br />

The latest Animal beers to be sampled in<br />

local pubs will be:<br />

Swallow: East Coast Pale Ale, 4.7% ABV.<br />

A pale beer brewed with pale amber malt.<br />

Columbus and Bravo are layered throughout<br />

the brew which is generously dry hopped<br />

with Citra at the end. This ale has a fruit<br />

bouquet of peaches, mango and passion<br />

fruit with citrus and peppery notes throughout,<br />

all tied together with subtle hint of mild<br />

coffee.<br />

Fantail: NZ Amber 4.6% ABV. Brewed with<br />

no less than six different speciality malts<br />

and wheat then topped off with New<br />

Zealand Green Bullet and Motueka and a<br />

special dry hop addition with even more<br />

Motueka. Layers of lemon, lime and raisins<br />

throughout with a scattering of peppery<br />

notes. Paired sweet biscuity malts and a<br />

hoppy lemon / lime finish.<br />

Ageing since Christmas in large oak casks,<br />

the 8.6% ABV Imperial Stout has been aged<br />

in different casks including whiskey, rum,<br />

brandy, and sherry barrels. This will be sold<br />

in champagne style bottles as a bottle conditioned<br />

beer.<br />

The Brewery Tap Room now has longer<br />

opening hours, a wider choice of draught<br />

beers and there will be rolling series of<br />

events including wine tastings, beer and<br />

food matchings, a Belgian Beer night and<br />

many more – details available on the web or<br />

Facebook.<br />

Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />


Small Beer<br />

A roundup of news and information.<br />


It’s congratulations all round at Reading’s<br />

Nags Head as not only did they come top in<br />

our branch Pub of the Year and Cider Pub<br />

of the Year contests, they then went on to<br />

beat the other champions from across the<br />

county to become Berkshire Pub of the Year<br />

2017. It's a well-deserved win for the team<br />

at the Russell Street pub which recently<br />

celebrated its 10th anniversary under the<br />

current owners.<br />

Runner up Pub of the Year was last year’s<br />

champion the Fox and Hounds in<br />

Caversham. Other finalists were the<br />

Alehouse, Eldon Arms and Greyfriar in<br />

Reading, and the Bell & Bottle in Shinfield.<br />

Runner up Cider Pub of the Year was the<br />

Bell in Waltham St Lawrence.<br />

Club of the Year was won once again by the<br />

Wargrave and District Snooker Club.<br />

All these “of the year” awards are judged by<br />

local CAMRA members who survey pubs<br />

and clubs and score them across a range of<br />

criteria including beer quality (the most<br />

important part!), service and welcome,<br />

ambience, value for money and other factors.<br />

If you're a CAMRA member you can<br />

take part so, early next year, watch our<br />

website or come along to a branch meeting<br />

and find out how.<br />

The Nags Head now goes forward to the<br />

regional stage of Pub of the Year, going up<br />

against the winners from Oxfordshire and<br />

Bucks. Good luck and we hope to report<br />

more good news next time!<br />


The latest pub walk, led by Chris Hinton,<br />

goes from Goring to the Bell at Aldworth on<br />

Sunday 23 July. Meet outside of the<br />

Catherine Wheel in Station Road (not a<br />

drinks stop) at 11:05.<br />

The walk goes from Goring Car Park to<br />

Townsend Farm, and onto the Ridgeway to<br />

Aldworth Village via Westridge Copse<br />

(5 miles). Arrive at the Bell at 13:15 to give<br />

time for drinks and lunch. At 14:15 walk<br />

back to Streatley via Streatley Warren, the<br />

Ridgeway and the A417 to the Bull<br />

(5 miles), arriving at 16:15. Note that we<br />

are not going over the hill in the golf club<br />

but going around it.<br />

Once back in Goring there are plenty of<br />

options for more pubs and clubs, with a<br />

game or two of bar billiards almost a<br />

certainty!<br />

This walk is 10 miles in total and has several<br />

moderate climbs and descents. It follows<br />

a mixture of tarmac, stone and firm mud<br />

tracks, some of which may be slippery after<br />

wet weather. So please wear appropriate<br />

footwear.<br />

Places of interest on the walk include the<br />

Ridgeway, Goring Bridge and lock, and<br />

Goring Water Mill.<br />

Train times: leave Reading 10:45, arrive<br />

Goring 10:59. Return leave Goring 18:02 or<br />

19:02, arrive Reading 18:18 or 19:18.<br />

Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />



Jo Metcalf has stepped up to be our new<br />

Cider Coordinator for the CAMRA branch.<br />

Previously this was a vacant post but now<br />

Jo has joined the team we hope to be able to<br />

feature more about cider and perry in the<br />

future. To begin with Jo has written an<br />

article about the history of perry that you<br />

can read in this issue.<br />


Britain’s biggest beer festival (yes, even bigger<br />

than Reading) will be returning to<br />

London this summer to celebrate its 40th<br />

anniversary from 8 – 12 August at Olympia,<br />

London. A paradise for beer lovers,<br />

CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival is an<br />

event not to be missed with beers to suit all<br />

tastes. This year to celebrate this amazing<br />

anniversary the festival will be expanding its<br />

drinks offering of over 900 real ales and<br />

other craft beers, real ciders and perries to<br />

include – for the first time – fine English<br />

wine from some of the best wine producers<br />

in the country. The festival also offers you<br />

the chance to sample some fantastic London<br />

street food and listen to live bands while<br />

enjoying a glass of something special.<br />

Buy your tickets now at gbbf.org.uk.<br />


Wolverhampton-based brewer and pub<br />

operator Marstons has acquired the beer<br />

and brewing business of Charles Wells for<br />

£55 million. The Bedfordshire-based Charles<br />

Wells will retain its pub operating arm.<br />

Marstons already produces Ringwood,<br />

Brakspear, Thwaites and many other<br />

breweries' beers and the deal will extend<br />

that range even further to include over 30<br />

beers including Bombardier, Young’s and<br />

McEwan’s. They will also take on the distribution<br />

of non- real ale brands including<br />

Estrella Damm, Erdinger and Kirin.<br />

Tim Page, CAMRA’s Chief Executive, said<br />

about the deal:<br />

“CAMRA is always concerned about any<br />

consolidation in the brewing industry as it<br />



Woodcote Festival of Ales: 8 – 9 July<br />

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

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

CAMRA and hosts over 30 ales and ciders plus wine and soft drinks.<br />

Normal rally admission prices apply. www.woodcoterally.org.uk<br />

Wokingham Festival: 25 – 27 August<br />

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

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

also available. Free entry before midday on Saturday and Sunday.<br />



could result in a reduction in choice, value<br />

for money and quality for beer drinkers. We’re<br />

also wary of one company increasingly controlling<br />

a larger and larger share of the market,<br />

which is seldom beneficial for consumers.<br />

“Marston’s has a positive track record of<br />

keeping the breweries it acquires open, in<br />

situ, and in many cases investing in the sites<br />

to increase capacity, and we urge them to<br />

continue that policy. We’d also encourage<br />

them to protect the brands that they have<br />

acquired and increase the range available to<br />

beer drinkers, by continuing to supply them<br />

alongside the existing beers produced by<br />

Marston’s owned breweries.<br />

It's reassuring to hear that Charles Wells<br />

intends to continue brewing in Bedford, ensuring<br />

that whatever Marston’s chooses to do<br />

with the brewery and brands it has acquired,<br />

local people will continue to be able to enjoy<br />

locally brewed beers in the region.”<br />


Reading Borough Council has published its<br />

new draft Local Plan for consultation. This<br />

is the document that plans for development<br />

in Reading up to 2036 and, once adopted,<br />

the Local Plan will be the main document<br />

that informs how planning applications are<br />

determined. We were pleased to see that it<br />

contains a good policy on pub protection –<br />

although for some reason it doesn’t seem to<br />

apply in the town centre.<br />

We’ve written to support the new policy and<br />

hope to see it in the next revised version of<br />

the plan, to be published in the autumn.<br />

Once the plan is finally adopted it should<br />

provide a good degree of protection for the<br />

borough’s pubs. If only some of our other<br />

local councils were as positive about pubs as<br />

Reading.<br />

Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />


Reading Beer<br />

Festival<br />


Every year, for four days in spring, a small<br />

part of Reading becomes home to the<br />

biggest pub in Berkshire. Now settled in its<br />

new home at Christchurch Meadows, the<br />

23rd Reading Beer and Cider Festival ran<br />

from 27-30 April this year.<br />

The festival showcases a wide range of real<br />

ales (some 550 different types) as well as<br />

ciders and perries, foreign beers and English<br />

country wines. This year the foreign beer<br />

selection was much expanded and covered<br />

brews from seven different countries so,<br />

alongside the regular Belgian, Dutch and<br />

German offerings, visitors could sample the<br />

delights of the USA, Italy, Norway and even<br />

Japan in bottled form.<br />

No festival is complete without entertainment<br />

and this year we were pleased to<br />

welcome Paul “Sinnerman” Sinha from<br />

ITV’s The Chase to act as quizmaster for<br />

our massive pub quiz. A wide range of pub<br />

games, tombola, face painting, balloon modelling,<br />

Morris Dancing and a great selection<br />

of local bands made sure that there was<br />

always something to do while enjoying your<br />

favourite drink.<br />

Contests were judged and awards made too.<br />

The festival is home to CAMRA's National<br />

Cider and Perry Championship finals and<br />

the details of those winners are elsewhere in<br />

the magazine. For the winners of the LocAle<br />

Beer of the Festival contest, see the accompanying<br />

box.<br />

Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />


Unfortunately the numbers through the<br />

doors were down on last year, with around<br />

11,500 visitors counted in and out.<br />

A number of factors probably caused the<br />

decline, not least of which was that the sun<br />

didn’t shine for most of the festival. On the<br />

plus side, that did mean we sold out of<br />

hoodies! Around 30 people joined CAMRA<br />

at the festival – welcome to all of you! – and<br />

everyone had a good time. If you didn’t<br />

come then you missed out.<br />

Phil Gill<br />


THE FESTIVAL 2017<br />

Beers below 4.2% ABV<br />

Winner - Siren Craft: Yu Lu<br />

Runner up - Loose Cannon: Abingdon Bridge<br />

Beers from 4.2% to 4.9% ABV<br />

Winner - Twickenham Fine Ales: Wolf of the<br />

Woods<br />

Runner up - XT: XT13<br />

Beers 5.0% ABV and above<br />

Winner - Ascot Ales: Anastasia's Exile Stout<br />

Runner up - Uprising: Treason<br />




Gold<br />

Loose Cannon: Abingdon Bridge<br />

Silver<br />

XT: XT13<br />

Bronze<br />

Twickenham Fine Ales: Wolf of the Woods<br />

A charming country pub. The friendly<br />

& relaxed atmosphere welcomes locals,<br />

families, walkers, dogs & cyclists alike<br />

• Cosy seating area with wood burner<br />

• Ideal for walks & to hack to, very<br />

near the Knowl Hill bridle path<br />

• Home-made food served<br />

Mon - Fri 12-3pm & 6 - 9pm, Sat - Sun 12-9pm<br />

• Sunday Roast from 12 noon to 3pm<br />

• Beer garden overlooking fields<br />

01628 822 010<br />

Knowl Hill Common, Berkshire, RG10 9YE<br />

Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />


Champion Cider<br />

and Perries 2017<br />

The Reading Beer & Cider Festival once<br />

again played host to the South of England<br />

Regional rounds and National final of the<br />

National Cider & Perry Championship.<br />

Local cider and perry producers came out<br />

extremely well.<br />

For our region the cider winner was<br />

Dorset Star’s Sunset, from Dorchester.<br />

The runner up was Salt Hill’s Autumn<br />

Gold from Slough in Berkshire, with<br />

third place going to Cranborne Chase’s<br />

Farmhouse Medium. The champion<br />

perry is quite near at hand – Mr<br />

Whitehead’s Midnight Special Perry<br />

down the road in Hampshire.<br />

The regional finals were held on the<br />

Friday of the festival and a day later the<br />

winners went forward to the national<br />

finals. Here the national Gold award<br />

went to Countryman’s Medium from<br />

Tavistock in Devon with our own Salt<br />

Hill Autumn Gold taking the Silver<br />

award. Bronze went to Gwatkin’s<br />

Captain Gwatkin’s Rum Cask from<br />

Abbeydore in Herefordshire. The<br />

Nemphett Cider Company from Oxleaze<br />

Farm, Nempnett Thrubwell, Nr Blagdon,<br />

Somerset produced the Gold award for<br />

Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />

22<br />

Perry with Piglet’s Perry. Silver went to<br />

the Dumfriesshire Waulkmill Cider’s<br />

Mooseheid Perry and Bronze to the<br />

Gloucestershire based, Hartland Perry.<br />

Festival Cider Bar Manager and East<br />

Anglia Cider Coordinator, Chris Rouse,<br />

thanked the festival for hosting the judging<br />

and praised the judges’ dedication in<br />

the selection process. At the presentation<br />

of the award certificates to Greg Davies<br />

of Salt Hill Cider on 13th May, he<br />

observed that there were excellent ciders<br />

and perries now being produced all over<br />

the place. “Ciders from the south east of<br />

England are developing their own style.<br />

The national awards showed that quality<br />

cider and perry is not the preserve of any<br />

one region” he concluded. Pictured are<br />

Greg (left) and Chris (right) at Salt Hill’s<br />

base in Slough.<br />

Brian Jones

New Planning rules<br />

set to protect pubs<br />

Just three of Reading's pubs<br />

that have been converted to<br />

convenience stores in recent<br />

years. New planning rules<br />

should make that much more<br />

difficult in future.<br />

Just before parliament was dissolved to<br />

allow the general election to be held, regulations<br />

were passed that will give greater protection<br />

to pubs from being demolished or<br />

turned into shops.<br />

Previously national planning laws had<br />

allowed the owners of pubs to demolish<br />

them or change their use to shops, financial<br />

institutions or restaurants without needing<br />

planning permission. Now those “permitted<br />

development rights” have been taken away<br />

and full planning permission is needed to<br />

demolish a pub or change its use. The one<br />

exception is that there is a right to turn a<br />

pub into a hybrid A3/A4 use (a restaurant<br />

and drinking establishment combined) but<br />

any subsequent change from that – apart<br />

from reversion to just pub use – again needs<br />

full permission.<br />

CAMRA and campaigners have long pushed<br />

for this change, which will make it a lot<br />

more difficult for pubcos and developers to<br />

cash in on the value of a pub rather than<br />

keep running it for the benefit of its local<br />

community.<br />

During the passage of the Neighbourhood<br />

Planning Bill through the House of Lords in<br />

March, Lord Kennedy of Southwark introduced<br />

an amendment which was passed,<br />

that would withdraw permitted development<br />

rights from pubs. The government rejected<br />

the amendment but introduced one of their<br />

own in response, which achieves pretty<br />

much the same thing in practical terms.<br />

Now that the Bill has passed and become an<br />

Act, the regulations to remove permitted<br />

development rights have also come into<br />

force.<br />

CAMRA’s National Chairman, Colin<br />

Valentine, said:<br />

“We are delighted that Ministers listened to<br />

those campaigning for the removal of<br />

Permitted Development Rights and have<br />

ensured that this vital legislation was not<br />

overlooked in the run up to the General<br />

Election. It's reassuring to know that all<br />

pubs in England will enjoy the enhanced<br />

protection from development and<br />

demolition this legislation gives them. It’s<br />

also heartening to see that as a result of the<br />

All Party Parliamentary Pub Group and<br />

CAMRA's negotiations with major retailers,<br />

companies such as Sainsbury's and<br />

Enterprise Inns (Ei) voluntarily pledged to<br />

adhere to the principles of the legislation<br />

even before it became law."<br />

Phil Gill<br />

Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />


Volunteering<br />

By the time you read this, we will have just<br />

raised a pint to National Volunteers’ Week<br />

at The Swan in Three Mile Cross with lots<br />

of our fellow members. The week is an<br />

annual, national event run by the National<br />

Council for Voluntary Organisations in the<br />

first week of June.<br />

Self-congratulatory and back-patting you<br />

might think? Not so. Over 21 million people<br />

volunteer in the UK each year – and some<br />

7,000 of these are CAMRA members. They<br />

are first class examples of how we can all<br />

make a big difference to individuals and<br />

communities every day. CAMRA volunteers<br />

take on a vast range of roles and tasks –<br />

serving on committees, campaigning and<br />

lobbying, working at beer festivals, running<br />

events and much more.<br />

It may seem a small thing for someone to,<br />

say, submit a survey with the latest information<br />

about a pub but it all has a knock-on<br />

effect. More up to date information helps<br />

consumers (not necessarily just CAMRA<br />

members) make informed choices about<br />

where they want to visit and drink. This<br />

often means someone may be more encouraged<br />

to visit a local community pub which<br />

keeps money in the local economy, where<br />

they may meet new friends, try a tasty new<br />

beer or find out about a local event.<br />

Locally our volunteers keep our finances<br />

ticking over, collect beer scores, organise our<br />

Good Beer Guide entries, co-ordinate our<br />

Pub of the Year competition, arrange 24<br />

pubs to be on an annual Ale Trail, keep our<br />

pub information up to date, help protect<br />

pubs from closing, lobby our Councillors<br />

and MPs, keep our LocAle scheme running,<br />

work with the local press to generate publicity,<br />

organise socials, keep a website,<br />

Facebook page and Twitter profile up to<br />

date, write the very magazine in which<br />

you're reading this (!), deliver aforementioned<br />

magazine ... not to mention the hundreds<br />

of volunteers who make the Reading<br />

Beer & Cider Festival – one of the largest<br />

beer festivals in the country – an annual<br />


Why do we do it? Because we really like<br />

beer, cider and perry (no really, we do -<br />

haven't you seen us drinking it?). And we<br />

want others to have the chance to enjoy<br />

them as well, now and for years to come. So<br />

we also support the pubs and clubs where<br />

you can find them, and organise our beer<br />

and cider festival to showcase them.<br />

So raise a glass to our volunteers and all they<br />

do. Next time you bump into one in your<br />

local pub why don't you say thank you? (or<br />

buy them a beer). Or maybe you feel you<br />

could make a difference in some small way<br />

as well? If so, just contact us using the contact<br />

details in this magazine. By the way, the<br />

fact that you can read this magazine is due<br />

to the work of volunteers.<br />

See you for a spot of volunteering soon?<br />

Cheers!<br />

James Moore<br />

Vice-Chair, Reading & Mid Berkshire<br />

CAMRA<br />

get involved<br />

Ideas for little things you could do as<br />

a way into volunteering:<br />

• Send us a beer score. It's really easy -<br />

all you have to do is log in to<br />

WhatPub.com<br />

• Update a pub survey - info on readingcamra.org.uk<br />

– click on “surveying<br />

pubs”<br />

• Deliver this very magazine to pubs<br />

• Put up a beer festival poster in<br />

your window<br />

Mail contact@readingcamra.org.uk<br />

for more details about how to get<br />

involved.<br />

Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />


Pub Closures<br />

Britain is still losing pubs at a steady rate.<br />

This trend is likely to continue as changes to<br />

our demographics and lifestyles means that<br />

fewer and fewer are seen as viable (although<br />

of course we could point to several pubs<br />

which have become viable in the right hands!).<br />

Long gone are the days when there was a<br />

pub on every corner with different brewers<br />

vying for the trade of mill and factory workers<br />

downing a couple of pints after a hard<br />

day’s graft. Most of the old terraced streets<br />

have gone and with them the corner shops<br />

and the pubs. In the countryside it is even<br />

worse with many villages having lost both<br />

their shop and their pub – and with those<br />

losses goes the sense of community with no<br />

focal point to bring people together. Indeed,<br />

there are villages where the locals cannot<br />

even afford to buy a house.<br />

In Reading I think I am right in saying that<br />

if you get on a number 26 to Calcot, once<br />

the bus turns down past The Beefeater on<br />

Southcote Lane, you will not find another<br />

Reading’s Rising Sun in Forbury Road: Closed<br />

Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />

26<br />

pub on the route – which goes through three<br />

large housing estates. So, I assume that anyone<br />

living there now gets their drinks from a<br />

supermarket at ridiculously low prices which<br />

no pub could compete with. Couldn’t we<br />

have a system whereby pubs brought back<br />

their “Bottle & Jug” and were able to sell<br />

take-home products at a reasonable price?<br />

So, how can we save those pubs which are<br />

left? Well, a number have been bought by<br />

their regulars (The Craufurd Arms in<br />

Maidenhead being a recent example). This is<br />

where local drinkers club together, or get<br />

crowdfunding money to buy the pub and<br />

then run it themselves (usually employing a<br />

landlord sympathetic to their cause). Some<br />

country or small village pubs have converted<br />

one of the bars into a village shop or library<br />

and others use any spare room for meetings<br />

and community matters.<br />

Thankfully, due to pressure and campaigning<br />

from CAMRA, changes have been made<br />

to the planning laws (see elsewhere in this


issue) which should make it harder to convert<br />

pubs to shops or other uses without a<br />

full planning application being made to and<br />

approved by the local authority. This could<br />

help save many local, community pubs.<br />

An annoying issue with closed pubs is that<br />

often they lie derelict or boarded up for<br />

months if not years before being developed.<br />

Apart from being an eyesore they could still<br />

have been trading!<br />

I pass by The County Arms in Watlington<br />

Street very often and what a sad sight that<br />

is. Once a fine Morland pub, it must be one<br />

of the slowest redevelopment sites in town<br />

as it has been shut for years and is still a<br />

long way off becoming new flats.<br />

“An annoying issue<br />

with closed pubs is that<br />

they lie derelict or<br />

boarded up for months<br />

if not years before<br />

being developed”<br />

While the local boozer gets shut down, we<br />

continue to see new “venue or theme bars”<br />

opening up in our towns and cities. While<br />

they may offer something different to<br />

drinkers they are not proper pubs as I know<br />

them. However, one interesting twist on the<br />

subject is the rise of micropubs. These are<br />

small units – often closed shops – where a<br />

minimalistic pub is set up, usually with one<br />

or two people running it selling cask beers<br />

and cider; no lagers; no machines; no TVs<br />

etc., just beer and conversation. The nearest<br />

example is in Newbury (The Cow and Cask)<br />

and these new ventures often breathe life<br />

into areas where real ale has been hard to<br />

find or where the nearest pub has been converted<br />

to an eating house or theme bar.<br />

When I was in Australia recently my brother<br />

took me to his “local” which was a modern<br />

pub in a small shopping precinct (very similar<br />

to our estate pubs). This had two bars<br />

with the lounge being for drinkers with a<br />

small section of diners (pub grub). The old<br />

public bar had been converted into a bookies<br />

run by the Tote, where you could get a<br />

beer and put your bets on at the same time.<br />

It seemed to me a great idea – look at the<br />

number of bookmakers that are next to or<br />

very near a pub in the Reading area, so<br />

instead of filling in your betting slip in the<br />

pub and running next door to place the bet,<br />

you could do it all in one place. Sadly, our<br />

laws would not allow this, but if it did it<br />

might have been a way of saving some of<br />

our now-closed estate boozers.<br />

Anyway, at the end of the day the message<br />

from CAMRA is still “Use it or Lose it”<br />

British pubs are unique and admired the<br />

world over so let’s fight to keep as many<br />

open as we can.<br />

Dave McKerchar<br />

Over 96%<br />

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featured<br />

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Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />


A brief History of Perry<br />

The Blakeney Red<br />

perry pear, one of<br />

the best single perry<br />

varieties<br />

The average person could be forgiven for<br />

thinking that perry is a fairly recent beverage<br />

thanks to Babycham and Lambrini. However it<br />

is mentioned in the 1st and 4th centuries by<br />

Pliny the Elder and Palladius respectively, the<br />

latter providing a recipe and writing that pear<br />

wine was preferred to apple wine.<br />

After the fall of the Roman<br />

Empire evidence of perry making<br />

was lost for a thousand years until<br />

the Norman Conquest. However,<br />

the Domesday Book mentions old<br />

pear trees as boundary markers,<br />

so pears were being cultivated<br />

before the French reintroduced<br />

them.<br />

For over 400 years perry pears<br />

have been produced in the Three<br />

Counties (Gloucestershire,<br />

Herefordshire, Worcestershire and part of<br />

Monmouthshire).<br />

The coat of arms of Worcester City contains<br />

“three pears sable” added following the visit<br />

of Queen Elizabeth I to Worcester in 1575.<br />

Apparently during her procession the Queen<br />

saw a pear tree which had been planted in the<br />

Foregate in her honour. She was so pleased she<br />

Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />

28<br />

bade the city add the emblem of pears to its<br />

Coat of Arms.<br />

The Worcestershire county flag also features<br />

pears prominently. Legend also has it that the<br />

Worcester Archers rallied under the pear trees<br />

before the battle of Agincourt and pear blossom<br />

was borne as a badge by the<br />

Worcestershire Yeomanry Cavalry from<br />

the beginning of this century<br />

until as recently as 1956.<br />

Perry grew in popularity<br />

after the English Civil War<br />

(16<strong>42</strong>-1651) when the large<br />

numbers of soldiers billeted<br />

in the Three Counties drank<br />

it. It reached the height of<br />

popularity during the eighteenth<br />

century when conflicts<br />

with France made the importing<br />

of wine difficult.<br />

The flag of Worcestershire<br />

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries various<br />

publications detailed perry pears and their<br />

optimum growing conditions including the<br />

Treatise on the Culture of the Apple and Pear<br />

in 1797; the Pomona Herefordiensis in 1811,<br />

which included pear illustrations; and the<br />

Herefordshire Pomona published between


1876-1885 by the Woolhope Naturalists’ Field<br />

Club which described 29 varieties of perry<br />

pear. The Rev. Charles Bulmer wrote a chapter<br />

on renovation of orchards and the establishment<br />

of cider and perry factories later taken up<br />

by his son, H.P. Bulmer who founded the<br />

famous cider making firm in 1887.<br />

Founding member of The National Fruit and<br />

Cider Institute (1903) Radcliffe Cooke MP<br />

“The Member for Cider” prevented the<br />

government of the day from imposing a tax on<br />

perry and cider, possibly saving these industries.<br />

B.T.P. Barker was appointed director of the<br />

National Fruit and Cider Institute in 1904. He<br />

established a trial orchard at Long Ashton in<br />

1903 which began distributing grafts in 1908. By<br />

1917 there were 50 trial orchards in six counties.<br />

In the 1920s Herbert Edward Durham<br />

Bulmer's director surveyed the perry pears of<br />

Herefordshire. The lead labels he attached to<br />

the trees can still be seen across the West<br />

Midlands.<br />

In the late 1940s, Showerings of Shepton<br />

Mallet, developed modern perry making<br />

processes and the market for perry sold as<br />

Babycham.<br />

However, both English perry making, and the<br />

orchards that supplied it, suffered a catastrophic<br />

decline in the second half of the 20th<br />

century as a result of changing tastes and agricultural<br />

practices. In South Gloucestershire an<br />

estimated 90% of orchards have been lost in<br />

the last 75 years. Prior to 2007, the small<br />

amounts of traditional perry still produced<br />

were mainly consumed by people living in<br />

farming communities.<br />

However, perry has had a resurgence. Old<br />

perry pear trees and orchards have been<br />

actively sought out and rediscovering lost varieties,<br />

many of which now exist only as single<br />

trees on isolated farms. “Proper” perry is a<br />

complex and multi-faceted drink ranging in<br />

flavour from light floral to barnyard funkiness.<br />

It is delicious. Try it!<br />

Jo Metcalf<br />

Is it the longest<br />

apprenticeship<br />

in history?<br />

Over the last hundred years, only three<br />

men have held the the title of Head Brewer<br />

at Timothy Taylor’s. The third of those,<br />

Peter Eells, retired recently. Rest assured the<br />

man taking over, Andrew Leman, has worked<br />

with Peter for 28 years, the last 20 of those as<br />

Second Brewer. He is one of our team of five<br />

full-time brewers who closely oversee the<br />

brewing of every cask of Taylor’s beer. In that<br />

time Andrew has done the daily tasting over<br />

7300 times. We think he’s just about ready.<br />

All for that taste of Taylor’s<br />

Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />


Key Keg - W hat is it?<br />

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

Lots of brewers are producing more and<br />

more interesting beers in kegs as well as<br />

casks. KeyKegs in particular are a newer<br />

form of keg that opens up options for delivering<br />

real ale with interesting characteristics.<br />


A KeyKeg is, at its simplest, a plastic bottle<br />

containing a bag full of beer. Unlike a conventional<br />

keg, the gas you pump in to force<br />

the beer out and into your glass doesn’t<br />

touch the liquid. It flows around the outside<br />

of the bag, pushing the beer out of the keg<br />

without it becoming too fizzy.<br />

As the KeyKeg isn’t open to the atmosphere,<br />

you get all the natural, live-yeast carbonation<br />

of real ale, but without the risk of the<br />

beer gradually going flat. It cuts down on<br />

the chance of off-flavours developing from<br />

oxidation, too. Of course, some air space<br />

improves cask ale as its flavour develops<br />

over time. So there’s a trade-off. Different<br />

serving mechanisms suit different styles of<br />

beer, and having KeyKeg gives us more<br />

options.<br />


For example, most bitters, and quite a lot of<br />

porters and stouts, will work best in a cask.<br />

They’ll condition lightly, change gently over<br />

time, and the initial air exposure when the<br />

cask is tapped and vented will dissipate any<br />

of those odd flavours and aromas you can<br />

sometimes get with cask conditioning.<br />

But the highly-hopped IPAs, saisons, and<br />

really dry stouts we’re seeing a lot of now<br />

are a different story. They’ll often serve<br />

better at a much higher carbonation, and<br />

want to avoid losing any hop aroma to the<br />

air before they hit your glass. Some of them<br />

are better colder, too. This is where KeyKeg<br />

can shine. It lets a brewer put those delicate,<br />

intricate aromatics front and centre, or keep<br />

a slightly-sour saison fizzy and zingy.<br />

There are other ways of brewing like that,<br />

of course, and we’d love it if people compared.<br />

Thank you to Roger Hart and Cambridge<br />

CAMRA/Beer Festival for allowing us to<br />

reproduce this article.<br />



Not all beer served in keykegs is real ale,<br />

but some is. It depends on what the beer<br />

is to start with. In simple terms,<br />

CAMRA’s position on keykegs is that if<br />

it's real ale when it goes in, then it's real<br />

ale when it comes out. Two years ago a<br />

motion was passed at the CAMRA<br />

national AGM to look into setting up a<br />

labelling system for keykegs at point of<br />

sale, to allow customers to distinguish<br />

what they were drinking, but there<br />

appears to have been little or no progress<br />

since then.<br />

Mine’s a <strong>Pint</strong><br />


THE BELL<br />

Waltham St Lawrence RG10 0JJ Tel: 01189 341788<br />


15th Century Country Pub<br />

Real Ales and Ciders from smalL, independent<br />

brewers and exceptionalLy goOd foOd from<br />

fresh, seasonal ingredients.<br />

LocAle Accreditation 2013<br />


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