Mine's a Pint Issue 45


Mine's a Pint Issue 45 - The Magazine for the Reading and Mid-Berkshire Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale.











& MORE...







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Mine’s A Pint



Branch Diary

All meetings and social events are relaxed and friendly,

and start at 20.00 unless specified. Non-members are

welcome to all events except branch meetings. Please

check the website before setting out in case of any

last-minute changes.


WED 7: Branch meeting. Queens Head (garden

room), 54 Christchurch Road, Reading, RG2 7AZ.

SUN 25: Ale Trail walk (6 miles). Meet 11.00 at

Henley Station Car Park. From Henley Station to

Flower Pot via Little Angel (no drink stop), cross

country to Remenham Wood and Aston Village

(Flower Pot), arrival 12:30 (2.5 miles). Stop for a drink

then at 13:15 walk back to Henley via Thames Path,

arrival 15:00 (3.5 miles). Once back in Henley there

are plenty of options for more pubs and food. Train

times: Tilehurst 10:10, Reading 10:18, Twyford 10:45

arrival Henley 11:00. Return Henley 18:00, Twyford

18:38 arrival Reading 18:45.


WED 4: Last Orders: Ale Trail ends. All entries must

be received by 23.59 on this day.

THU 5: First Thursday of the Month Social. Fox &

Hounds, 116 City Road, Tilehurst, RG31 5SB.

WED 11: Branch Meeting. Hop Leaf (back room),

163-165 Southampton Street, Reading, RG1 2QZ.


THU 3 – SUN 6: Reading Beer and Cider Festival. See

readingbeerfestival.org.uk for more details.

SUN 13: Pub walk from Pangbourne.

This is a guide only and Reading & Mid Berkshire

CAMRA cannot be held responsible for any loss due to

the alteration or cancellation of any of these events.

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


Mine’s A Pint


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


Neil Richards MBE at Matelot


01536 358670 / 07710 281381


Printed by Portland Printers, Bartley

Drive, Kettering,

Northants, NN16 8UN.

01536 511555

Reading & Mid Berkshire CAMRA


Social Secretary: Chris Hinton


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:

www.wokingham.gov.uk 0118 974


The next issue of Mine’s a Pint will

be published in early June. Please feel

free to submit any copy or ideas by

7 th May.

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 2018.

From The Editor

There’s been so much happening lately

but I need to start with a big thank you

to Katrina for being guest editor for the

December issue. It was a period of a lot

of uncertainty for the branch and you

did a superb job!

Late last year we had a crisis where there

weren’t enough CAMRA volunteers

to keep the Reading & Mid Berkshire

branch going. After our AGM we

were lacking a chairman along with

ten other important posts. That’s not

a sustainable position for a CAMRA

branch and, if drastic action hadn’t

been taken, the branch would have been

dissolved and the territory divided up

among other neighbouring branches.

Nobody wanted that, not least because

it would mean an end to much of our

local campaigning activity like the Ale

Trail, LocAle scheme, Pub of the Year

and Beer Festival, not to mention this


So what was to be done? Basically send

a plea for help to our branch members

and hope that some would step up

to help. And step up they did. At an

emergency “Save the Branch” meeting in

early December over 35 people attended

and most of our vacant roles were filled.

A few weeks later, and after a bit of

behind the scenes activity, we had a full

organising committee for the first time

in many years.

A massive thank you to everybody

who stepped forward to volunteer.

In particular to Arthur Pounder and

Royce Longton who offered to co-chair

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the branch, and to Martin Hoare who

volunteered as vice-Chairman. This was

a massive step and we looked forward

to a much more positive 2018.

Fast forward to the end of January and

we were shocked to learn that Arthur,

our new co-chairman, had passed

away in a tragic accident. In the short

time that Arfs had been in post he had

shown a keenness to learn about branch

activities and a desire to move things

forward. Those actions will now be

taken forward by Royce, Martin and

the rest of the branch committee. We’ve

also recently welcomed James Moore as


So there’s been a huge amount going

on at a local level, and that’s before

we’ve even started to think about

CAMRA nationally. It’s a crucial time

for CAMRA, one of the most important

and pivotal points since the campaign

was formed in 1971.












The proposals from the Revitalisation

Project have recently been published

and will be voted on at the Members’

Weekend in April, which will set the

focus and direction for the campaign

for many years to come. It’s the chance

for all CAMRA members to think about

“What is CAMRA for?” and vote for

the direction they want the campaign to

take. Every member has a vote and you

can read more about the proposals in

this magazine.

Just a few days after the Members’

Weekend is the May Day Bank Holiday

weekend, the traditional time to enjoy

the Reading Beer and Cider Festival. It’s

no secret that the festival lost money last

year and, as a result, CAMRA HQ are

rightly taking a much keener interest in

the finances this time. There are a number

of measures that have been put in place

to de-risk the festival and we hope that

they will be successful. Budget approval

was received from HQ just before we

went to press so make sure you head to

Christchurch Meadows in Caversham

on 3 – 6 May to show your support for

what is one of the premier beer festivals

in the country. It’s run entirely by

volunteers and yet many people say that

it looks more professional than many

commercial events.

Katrina said in the last issue “We don’t

know what the future holds, but it’s in

your hands.” That’s as true now as it has

been at any point in CAMRA’s lifetime.

I think we’ve all earned a beer! Cheers!

Phil Gill - Editor


Mine’s A Pint


CAMRA Revitalisation

CAMRA’s Revitalisation Project is the

biggest review into the organisation’s

purpose, vision and mission conducted

in its 47 year history. Now it’s time for

members to take the decision on the

changes recommended by CAMRA’s

volunteer leadership.

This review of CAMRA’s function

and purpose has been going on since

2016 and the proposals from the

Revitalisation working group have now

been published. This root and branch

review of the organisation’s purpose and

objectives has now culminated in the

National Executive proposing changes

to CAMRA’s Articles of Association.

They will be voted on at the CAMRA

Members’ Weekend to be held in

Coventry from 20 - 22 April.

Because of the importance of the

proposals – they will set the future

direction of CAMRA for many years to

come – they are being proposed as Special

Resolutions rather than as Conference

Resolutions. The distinctions are subtle

but very important.

In short:

• Special Resolutions are binding on

the National Executive whereas

Conference Resolutions are not.

• Proxy voting is enabled for Special

Resolutions, meaning that every

CAMRA member has an equal

voice in the decision.

• Special Resolutions requite 75%

of those voting to be in favour in

order to be carried – it’s not just a

simple majority like for Conference


The wording for the Special Resolutions

is being published following the deadline

for submission on February 16. All

Special Resolutions are also published

Mine’s A Pint


in the March issue of What’s Brewing,

CAMRA’s newspaper.



Full details are available at www.


and I’d strongly encourage all CAMRA

members to have a thorough read of

the proposals there. A series of regional

briefing meetings have been held –

locally there was one held in Henley in

February – and in summary what’s being

proposed falls under several headings:


• Real ale remains core to CAMRA’s


• CAMRA’s representation widens to

include all pub goers and drinkers

of quality beer.

• CAMRA’s scope widens to include

quality beer of all types.


• Real cider and perry remains core to

CAMRA’s activities.

• Cider and perry are explicitly

mentioned in CAMRA’s Articles of




• The definition of the on-trade outlets

CAMRA supports is widened.

• CAMRA will campaign for and

promote all on-trade venues where

quality beer, cider and perry is sold,

not just traditional pubs and clubs.

• CAMRA will not extend its current

support of the off-trade.



• Education and knowledge will

be put at the heart of CAMRA’s

membership benefits.

• Positive alcohol and health

campaigning will be added into the

organisation’s objectives.

• Objectives will be added to recruit

discerning beer, cider and perry

drinkers into membership and give

them access to information and

education resources to introduce

them to the best quality beers,

including real ale, cider and perry.


• Increasing the quality of real ale,

cider and perry, not just promoting

their consumption.


• Promote the benefits of moderate

social drinking.

• Build positive alcohol and health

campaigning into objectives.


Voting as part of CAMRA’s AGM can be

carried out remotely – via proxy voting

– which allows members who cannot

attend the meeting to make their views

known. You will be able to register for

a proxy vote at the start of March, with

reminders and a proxy voting form sent

out to all members ahead of the voting

opening. Members who attend the

meeting in Coventry in April will also be

able to vote on the Special Resolutions

and if they have already registered a

proxy vote, will have the opportunity to

change their vote if required.

Mine’s A Pint


We all care for the future of CAMRA

but there’s a wide divergence of opinion

about what direction the campaign

should take in future. Some believe the

battle for real ale has been won and the

focus should move to pub protection.

Others feel that real ale in cask should

remain the absolute focus of the

campaign and should not be diluted.

Others yet think that the campaign

should embrace good quality craft beers

to avoid being seen as irrelevant in the


Consultation with the membership

as part of the process suggests that

some members may choose to leave

the campaign if it changes, but equally

that other members may also choose to

leave the campaign if it doesn’t change.

Whether the proposals are accepted or

rejected it seems certain that there will

be a re-focus of CAMRA’s membership

and activities, with a much greater

clarity over CAMRA’s purpose and

direction of travel.

Whatever you think, it’s really important

that you make your views known and

register to vote.

Phil Gill

Pub & Brewery News

Pub News


Marstons have applied for planning

permission to build a new pubrestaurant

on the junction of the A4

and Dorking Way, directly opposite

the IKEA retail park. The plans for this

food-led pub also include 28 homes, as

the land is listed as a housing site in West

Berkshire Council’s plan. If approved

this development will be a big boost for

the area and provide a much-needed

community focus, after the closure of all

the other pubs in the local area over the

last few years.

a great way to buy and sell all your

motoring spare parts hoarded away in

your shed! Gates will open at 8am to

set up stalls, finishing up at 11:30am.

If the Autojumble is successful it will be

repeated through the summer.


The monthly pub quiz returns to the

ALEHOUSE in Broad Street after a long

hiatus. Starting at 8pm on the second

Monday of each month and benefiting

the pub’s favourite charities. The

winning team set the next quiz.


The FLOWING SPRING is going to host

its first outdoor hippy music festival.

Inspired by the classic Woodstock of

1969, “Springstock” will have live music

all afternoon and evening plus outdoor

food, an outside bar and various stalls

– all hippy style, so they encourage you

to dress up! The festival will be held on

Saturday 2 June with camping available

on the Saturday night. The line-up of

live bands is currently being finalised

and, once that’s done, tickets will be

available from the pub and online.

The pub garden is also hosting several

other events this year. The Classic Car

and Bike Breakfast Club returns for

its third year on the second Sunday of

each month from 8 April, running from

9:30 to 11:30am. And, for all motor

enthusiasts, there’s an Autojumble on

Sunday 15 April. The Autojumble is

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As many of you have noticed, the

Castle Street bar formerly known

as Public Reading (and before that

Rynd, The Litten Tree, Dogma, Evissa,

French’s, Applejacks, Holy Rumes,

Whispers and quite possibly some other

incarnations that we’ve overlooked)

has been acquired by Scottish craft beer

ehemoths BREWDOG, who promptly

draped a mega-banner over the front of

the building advising Reading that there

was “hope for the hopless”. Certain

other local pubs may disagree with

that statement, but there’s no doubt

there’s a sizeable audience locally for

the BrewDog style of offering. Brewdog

Reading will feature 20 taps of their own

and guest beers, with burgers and wings

on the food menu. The photo shows the

bar under refurbishment and it’s due to

open on 16 March.

Fans of live music should make sure

they check out the BUTLER’s listings, as

live music is scheduled every Friday and

Saturday night at this Chatham Street

pub. facebook.com/thebutlerpub

Local drinkers have been enjoying

some great meet the brewer and tap

takeover evenings in recent weeks. On

8 February the CASTLE TAP in Castle

Street played host to the brewers from

the Tap Social Movement in Oxford,

while the following week Bath’s Electric

Bear brewery took over the handpumps

in Greyfriars Road at the GREYFRIAR.

Pete Lea is the new manager of the

PHEASANT at the top of Southampton

Street. He has no real ale but has bottled

ale (Doom Bar, Pride and Bombardier).

The long-term intention is to put on

some real ale. Why not pop in and say

hello? This is an area that has lost many

pubs over the last few years (Cambridge

Arms, Woodley Arms, Wellington Arms,

Red Lion, Red Cow) so this one is quite

the survivor.

Talking of the RED COW, planning

applications have been submitted for

extensions and change of use to allow

for a restaurant on the ground floor and

three flats on the upper floor. It’s been

closed for years and appears to be in a

poor state so this is probably a positive


The BALI LOUNGE in Kings Road

appears to have closed. Formerly the

Warwick, this Greene King pub morphed

over time into a Thai restaurant with

a small bar. Earlier this year a notice

on the door simply read “Closed unto

further notices, Bye Bye Bali Lounge.”


The BULL has been under new

management since early October 2017

– Borislav Minkov manages the pub

as well as the Red Lion at Peppard

Common. On offer are Shepherd Neame

beers (Whitstable Bay and Master Brew)

and there’s also a new menu. This is

now the only pub in the village after the

loss of the Dog & Partridge a few years

back and is the only Sheps pub in our

branch area.

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All change at the BELL AND BOTTLE.

It’s a fond farewell from us to Mark and

Chrissie East, who really pushed this pub

forward during their tenure and made it

a finalist in our last two Pub of the Year

competitions. The new landlord is Nigel

Lamb, a local CAMRA member who

has previously run a pub in Bracknell

and is promising to keep building on the

good work at the Bell and Bottle.


From our correspondent: “I visited the

FALCON but the new owner still has a

full-time job so I spoke with Alex, the

manager. What a good change to this

pub. It feels much brighter and they are

certainly upping the ante on the beer


They are now Cask Marque accredited.

Sales have improved since they got rid

of the two old stagers one of which

was Courage Best (I think the other

was Doom Bar). When I visited I was

very pleased to see Harveys Best Bitter;

Spitfire and Upham Punter on sale.

Alex said that a fourth handpump is

to be installed allowing them to have 4

rotating beers from the Enterprise list.

A nice idea is that when you buy a pint

you get to see this list and can vote for

which beer you want on next. One cider

in a box will be available when they

can find the shelf space for it (it will be

cooled). They do Pieminister pies and

Chinese dumplings; have a games room

and a real fire. I was impressed.”

The VOLUNTEER is still up for a new

lease-holder but there have been no

takers (apart from an interest shown by

a certain local developer). Fuller’s may

decide to sell if they can’t get a new

landlord and then there’s no guarantee

it would remain as a pub.

Most of the pub news was collated by

Quinten Taylor




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Mine’s A Pint



Here at Mine’s a Pint we’d like to offer

our congratulations to Chris Bingham

and Michelle Joyce on their recent

marriage. It was a fantastic day with

plenty of Binghams beer flowing, and

Stout the brewery labradoodle (after

whom Doodle Stout is named) made

for an excellent ring-bearer! Pictured

are Michelle and Chris with Stout on

their big day. We all wish them every


On the beer side, the latest 4.5% Hop

Project to hit the shelves and pubs is

Simco Columbus and is made with

citrus and spicy hops from the USA.

Also, V Old Ale is back. This lovely 5%

ABV (hence the “V”) ale is dark, malty

and fruity. To help those of you who

are unfamiliar with Old Ale, here is

CAMRA’s description:

Old Ale recalls the type of beer brewed

before the Industrial Revolution, stored

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for months or even years in unlined

wooden vessels known as tuns. The beer

would pick up some lactic sourness as

a result of wild yeasts, lactobacilli and

tannins in the wood. The result was a

beer dubbed ‘stale’ by drinkers: it was

one of the components of the early,

blended Porters. The style has reemerged

in recent years, due primarily

to the fame of Theakston’s Old Peculier,

Gale’s Prize Old Ale and Thomas

Hardy’s Ale, the last saved from oblivion

by O’Hanlon’s Brewery in Devon. Old

Ales, contrary to expectation, do not

have to be especially strong: they can

be no more than 4% alcohol, though

the Gale’s and O’Hanlon’s versions

are considerably stronger. Neither do

they have to be dark: Old Ale can be

pale and burst with lush sappy malt,

tart fruit and spicy hop notes. Darker

versions will have a more profound malt

character with powerful hints of roasted

grain, dark fruit, polished leather and

fresh tobacco.


The limited edition Scrum Five returned

to mark the 6 Nations rugby. This 4%

ABV beer is an English Style Best Bitter,

brewed using a pack of 5 types of malted

barley and wheat whilst 5 hops bind to

provide the bitterness and aroma.


After 12 months of research, Chiltern

have launched their first ever Low

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Alcohol Beer. Codenamed

Chiltern 1630, it’s 1.9% alcohol

by volume and only brewed as a

small trial batch. Using a precise

blend of UK grown malt and

hops, the beer combines a low

alcohol content and the usual

award winning flavour and

quality that comes with Chiltern

Brewery beers. It’s also the first

beer in the Chiltern range to use

their new pump clip design that will be

used for limited run, trial brews.

Head Brewer, Tom Jenkinson, described

the ale as having “a lovely mellow, nutty

aroma. The flavours that come through

are those of honey and marmalade – a

rather splendid drop if I may say so!”

The ale has initially been successfully

trialled at a few select pubs and is now in

the process of being made more widely


In January, the brewery were chosen

to represent their home county of

Buckinghamshire as a “Tryanuary

Champion”. Tryanuary is a nationwide

event which was launched four years

ago to support the independent beer

industry during the traditionally

difficult period of January, with its focus

being on trying new beers. On the 25th

of January, Chiltern Brewery joined

forces with West Berkshire Brewery to

showcase the best of local, independent

breweries across Bucks, Berkshire and

Oxfordshire on social media.

Throughout spring, Chiltern have an

exciting range of their award-winning

beers lined up for CAMRA members

to enjoy. Their first beer of the season,

called Pride of Bucks & Berks, is a charity

beer with smooth roasted malt flavours.

Chiltern then plan to release their Nut

Brown Mild (smooth & chocolatey)

and Colombian Coffee Porter (dark

mocha flavours) beers in April, with

the CAMRA favourite Cobblestones

(golden with hints of blackcurrant)

featuring in May. Full details of the

beers, including release dates, can be

found at www.chilternbrewery.co.uk .

You can also keep up to date by liking

them on Facebook, “chilternbrewery”,

or following their Twitter account, @


Chiltern have asked us to pass on their

express thanks for CAMRA’s support

to date, and look forward to enjoying a

glass of real ale with CAMRA members

throughout 2018. Tom said: “without

the invaluable ongoing support we

experience from both CAMRA and

CAMRA members, particularly their

enthusiastic and knowledgeable

feedback, we would have struggled

to have achieved so much as a small

independent brewery”.


Towards the end of last year this historic

Oxfordshire brewery attained global

status when its Red Rye beer was named

as the World’s Best Speciality Beer at

the World Beer Awards 2017. Across

all rounds of the contest, Red Rye beat

almost 2,000 others ales from across the

world to achieve the title.

A special blend of hops and malts go

into this 4.7% ABV rich, red and fruity

ale. A combination of Maris Otter, Pale

Ale Malt, Crystal Malt, Crystal Rye,

Enzymic Malt and Wheat Malt, working

with the fruitiness from Willamette,

Sovereign, Citra, Amarillo and Chinook

hops. Sweet, dark fruits and a hint of

citrus are on the nose with rich fruit,

dates and raisins balanced with citrus in

the taste. It’s available in cask, keg and

330ml bottles.

James Clarke, Managing Director and

brewer said:

“We work incredibly hard each day to

produce the finest quality beer and to be

recognised on a global scale is a fantastic

achievement for everyone involved. Red

Rye was one of the first brews that we

did in our pilot plant which allows us to

experiment and push the boundaries so

to see it recognised in this way is great.”

Hook Norton has also launched a

partnership with Warwick Racecourse

that will see racegoers able to enjoy a

range of the brewery’s ales during race

meetings. There will also be “Meet

the Brewer” and other events such

as product launches and hospitality

functions at the racecourse, as part of

the agreement. Racing takes place on

weekdays and weekends, and afternoons

and evenings, from September to May.

If you fancy visiting

the brewery itself, you

can now enjoy the new

Malthouse Kitchen

restaurant which is in the

original maltings building.

It’s been restored back to

its original look with red

brick walls, ironwork and wooden floors,

and offers a café style menu featuring

freshly prepared local, traditional food

at breakfast and lunchtime.

Mine’s A Pint


Many of the dishes include Hook

Norton’s award winning ale – e.g Old

Hooky Steak & Ale Pie, Buttered Toast

and Hooky Gold Marmalade. There’s

a full range of teas and hand ground

coffee along with homemade cakes and

pastries. Plus, of course, a bar serving a

good range of Hook Norton ales from

cask, keg and bottles.

Customers can also visit the free

brewery museum, browse around the

expanded brewery shop or pop round to

the stables and visit the shire horses.


NOTUS American Pale Ale has proven

so popular as a seasonal that it will

now be available all year long. Packed

with Citra hops, this 4.7% ABV beer is

tropical and perfectly balanced. It has

already won

a number of

awards and

looks set to

become a firm

favourite with


The brewery are

big supporters of

rugby and this year they celebrated the

Six Nations championship with 6 Pack.

Returning for its second year, this best

bitter is packed with 6 hop varieties and

6 malts. At 4.2% ABV, 6 Pack makes

a great session ale and offers drinkers

a complex, nutty taste with a smooth,

balanced hoppiness.

specials on tap, along with a full range

of bottles that you can drink-in or take

away. In addition there’s a range of

“specially curated” spirits, wines, soft

drinks and snacks. It’s advertised as

family friendly and dog friendly, and open

12-8 on Fridays and 12-7 on Saturdays.

The no. 3 (Reading to Wokingham) and

3b (Reading to Bracknell) buses run past

the site – you’ll need the Hogwood Lane

Industrial Estate stop.


The popular Open Nights at the

brewery are held on the first Tuesday

of every month (public) and on the

second Tuesday for members only. See

rebellionbeer.co.uk/brewery-tours for

more details. Barbecue specials for the

year have been announced with each

month offering a different special in

addition to the regular menu. In March

there’s a lamb Yorkshire pudding wrap

and in April chicken fajitas, while May

sees lamb koftas on offer.


With last year’s expansion under their

belt, the tasting room and bottle shop

are now open at Siren Craft, and

brewery tours are on offer.

The Tap Yard is the brewery bar,

showcasing a selection of core beers and

Mine’s A Pint


Image from Siren Craft Brew

Brewery tours run on the first Saturday

of each month. In their words: “We’re

delighted to invite you to our brewery

for some scheduled tours and tastings.

We’ll show you around our modest home

in Finchampstead and introduce the

brewing process, some of the equipment

we use and the stories behind some of

our most loved beers. The tour is split

over two sites on the industrial estate,

before finishing up in the Tap Yard – our

brand new tasting room. Here you’ll

sample 4 fresh beers, straight from the

source.” Go to sirencraftbrew.com for

details and to book tickets.

The Tap Yard was host to a Barrel

Aged Beer and Cheese Tasting event

in February, where beers from the

extensive barrel store were paired with a

great selection of cheeses from Reading’s

very own Grumpy Goat. The beers were

planned to include:

Old Fashioned – Bourbon Barrel Aged

Barley Wine

Odyssey 008 – Dark Belgian Inspired


Summer Encore – Double IPA aged in

Gin Barrels

Barrel Aged Shattered Dream – Imperial

Breakfast Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels.

Old Fashioned is Siren’s take on the the

Bourbon whiskey cocktail originally

mixed in Louisville, Kentucky in 1881.

The 11% ABV beer ages Barley Wine in

bourbon barrels for 12 months. During

the year’s ageing, Old Fashioned picks

up a well-rounded bourbon profile, with

some vanilla and caramel sweetness.

Siren suggest a classic zest to serve, with

Bitters optional! The RRP is £4.80 per

330ml bottle.

From the start of February, Siren Craft

beers have been permanently available

on cask across all Draft House bars

in London. The nearest one to us is at

Paddington Basin (near Edgeware Road

tube stations). There will always be at

least one rotating Siren cask available

at each of the 13 Draft House venues,

together with keg and bottle offerings.

Finally, look out for an anniversary party

on Saturday 17 March. Go to www.

sirencraftbrew.com for more details.


As the closest brewery to Windsor Castle,

it’s natural that Windsor and Eton

should brew a royal beer to celebrate

Harry & Meghan

tying the knot.

Called Harry

& Meghan’s

Windsor Knot,

the new beer is

a special limited

edition of the

best-selling Windsor Knot which was

first brewed for the marriage of Harry’s

brother, William. Just like the original

Windsor Knot, this pale ale will be

the only royal wedding beer brewed in


The new beer was inspired by the couple’s

first public appearance together at the

Invictus Games in Toronto last year.

It uses a special blend of British hops

called Invicta in recognition of Prince

Harry’s role in creating the Invictus

Games, combined with some great

American West Coast hops. As with all

the brewery’s beers it uses barley grown

locally on the Royal Farms in Windsor

and, as a finishing touch, champagne

yeast. Marrying these ingredients creates

a new pale ale that is young, fresh and

full of character.

The beer will be available in both 330ml

bottles at 4.5% ABV and in cask at

4% ABV. The design on the bottle and

pumpclip features a tie made out of the

Union Jack and the Stars & Stripes,

and also has two interlocking male and

female symbols.

Launch date for the new beer is w/c

26 March with the first orders being

shipped from 3 April.

Mine’s A Pint



After 6 years and

brewing over 3 million

pints, XT Brewery have

announced a rebranding

of their cask beer range

from March. Following

a very busy 2017 with

significant investment in

new brewing equipment

and the new brewery tap

room – XT have clearly

shown a commitment

to producing quality

cask beer. The new look

brings the beers bang up

to date and will ensure the brand will

continue to grow and appeal to both

existing and new beer drinkers well into

the future.

For the real beer

connoisseur, in limited

availability is the XT

Oak Aged Imperial

Stout at 8.6% ABV

– available in bottle

conditioned, keg or

cask form – with

characteristics carried

over from the sherry,

brandy, whisky or rum

casks in which they

have been ageing for

over 12 months. The

casks will next be put

to work storing a new

strong Burton IPA, which will be kept

for 12 months and develop some of the

character of a true nineteenth century

beer headed for the tables of the Raj.

The Animal beers have continued to

grow in popularity over the years and

the first ever permanent Animal beer

now joins the stable: Hopcat, a hyper

hoppy pale ale at only 3.9% ABV has

been selling fast. Packed with Citra and

Cascade New World hops to excite your

taste buds but with a low strength, it’s

described as being “gentle on the head.”

More Animals are still to come with

the first being Tarsier. This 4.6% ABV

Pacific Amber is packed with sweet

malts and rye and crammed full of

Rakau, Casade and Chinook, layered

throughout the boil and during dry

hopping. Malty, biscuity, toffee and

raisin flavours are blended with bold

passionfruit, grapefruit and citrus from

the generous amount of hops. A slight

roasty hint with a splash of tropical

notes leaves a pleasant sweet and hoppy


Mine’s A Pint


Small Beer

A round up of news and information



award is a huge testament to the hard

work of our brewing and bottling teams

which are very dedicated to producing

fantastic beers.”

CAMRA’s National Director responsible

for the competition Nick Boley said:

“Congratulations to St Austell for

winning the Champion Bottled Beer

of Britain award, one of the highest

accolades in the beer world.”

Big Job from St Austell Brewery has

been crowned the Champion Bottled

Beer of Britain in CAMRA’s prestigious

annual award which recognises the

best bottle-conditioned real ale in the

country. Runners up included Fullers’

Vintage Ale which took home silver, and

Oakham’s Green Devil IPA which won


Big Job is the big brother of the brewery’s

popular ale Proper Job. At 7.2% ABV

it’s powerfully hoppy with both citra

and centennial hops, and is jammed full

of Cornish barley. With a smooth, citrus

fruit taste and a hoppy, lemon smell, it’s

anything but subtle.

Roger Ryman, Head Brewer at St Austell


“In a market where there are so many

fantastic beers available it is a huge

honour to take home the crown. This

Christine Cryne, master beer trainer and

judge added:

“The standard of competition was

fantastically high. Big Job is a moreish,

golden beer with honey caramelised

citrus notes, refreshingly smooth with a

warming finish with increasing spicy dry

bitter notes and a soft fruity nose. We

were particularly impressed with how

well balanced it was – we were looking

for a beer which showed the brewer’s art

of complexity, and that just gave it the






by Paul Ainsworth

CAMRA is investigating the impact

of changes to our pubs as the big pub

owning companies react to the Pubs

Code, put into force in 2016 after years

Mine’s A Pint


of campaigning by licensee groups and


In the last two years, the number of pubs

run on traditional long-term tenancies

has fallen, as some tenants are replaced

by managers. Licensee campaigners

are concerned that this may encourage

management turnover, all to avoid pubs

being covered by the Code. The impact

on customers is less clear.

Our Pub Campaigns Committee is

looking, confidentially, for information.

It is particularly interested to see if

changes in management to pub company

pubs result in more or less choice for

pub-goers. Has your local pub increased

or reduced its range of real ale and cider

after a change of tenant? Or do you work

in a pubco pub and have seen changes?

The Committee would also like to know

about any changes in prices and in the

quality of the beer being served.

Please send information to the

Committee’s Chair, Paul Ainsworth –




The 8th edition of the Good Beer Guide

Belgium is now available to pre-order

through the CAMRA shop at a special

advance price of £11.99.

This book is an indispensible companion

for anyone visiting or living in Belgium.

A complete guide to the world of

Mine’s A Pint


Belgian beer,

it’s packed with


on breweries,

beers and bars

from around

the country. It

also features


advice on

getting there,

what to eat,

where to stay

and how to bring the best of Belgium’s

beer offering back home with you.

The guide contains full-colour provinceby-province

maps and detailed city maps

with bar locations and includes details

of over 800 bars, cafés and beer shops.

Tim Webb and Joe Stange are the coauthors.

Tim has written the seven

previous editions of the Good Beer

Guide Belgium and is one of the world’s

best-known beer writers. His “World

Atlas of Beer” and “Pocket Beer Book”,

co-authored with Stephen Beaumont,

has appeared in more than a dozen

editions worldwide. Joe is a freelance

journalist whose writing has appeared

in the New York Times and All About

Beer magazine, among others. He cowrote

the last edition of the Good

Beer Guide Belgium with Tim Webb. A

former resident of Belgium, he now lives

in Germany.

Publication date is 16 April and preorder

copies will be dispatched hot off

the press. Visit shop.camra.org.uk to

secure your copy today.




CAMRA’s annual members’ weekend

assumes even greater importance this

year because it will see key decisions

made about the proposals from the

Revitalisation Project. This will set the

future direction of the campaign and

there are strongly-held views on both


The event will be held at Warwick

University next April. For those not

familiar with the area, Warwick

University is not in Warwick at all, but

on the south side of Coventry (and not to

be confused with Coventry University).

It is easily reached by a frequent bus

service from Pool Meadow bus station,

or the railway station. The conference

itself will be in Butterworth Hall, a

world-class concert hall. The Members’

Bar will be in the nearby Students Union


An event like this requires quite a few

volunteer staff. The organisers need

people to work in the bar area, as

“Meeters & Greeters” and tellers. If

you’re interested in helping out, please

see the advert in this issue.

And if you can’t attend, make sure

that you register your proxy vote in

advance. There are more details of the

Revitalisation proposals elsewhere in

this magazine and it’s really important

that as many members as possible have

their say.

Please see agm.camra.org.uk.

Mine’s A Pint


Beer with food,

or food with beer?

Pubs serving food is, of course, not a

new idea – they have been doing it for

centuries. There were the coaching inns

which provided refreshment for weary

travellers; there were the larger pubs

which had restaurants and then there

were the simple boozers which offered

a sandwich or a pie. However, with the

recent changes in our drinking habits

many more pubs are now concentrating

on food over beer and it is not unusual

to see what was once a little country

pub being transformed into a gastro

experience with high quality menus and

quite often celebrity chefs. There are

several within the Thames Valley and

quite a few with Michelin ratings.

Mine’s A Pint


The first thing to say about this style of

pub is that it is still open and trading

even though it has changed dramatically

from its original persona. Some of these

establishments have gone over to food

almost in total and it is really quite hard

to get a beer in many of them. Others

have, thankfully, kept a small bar area

for drinkers who can either pop in for

a pint or have a drink before heading to

the restaurant for lunch or dinner.

Other old pubs have been converted to

specialist dining venues such as Thai or

Indian restaurants and those pubs are

now considered as lost although it has

to be said that there are a large number

of pubs which now offer oriental style

food in the bar alongside the real ale.

This is fine as long as the drinker is not

discriminated against and has trouble

finding a table which is not set out for


Then there are the large pub chains

which these days offer an extensive

menu which tries to cater for all tastes

and are geared up for families (a huge

growth market since the days when kids

were not allowed in pubs). The food is

generally provided by national catering

suppliers and the menus often appear

to mimic each other (curry nights / fish

nights / steak nights etc.).

However, these pubs do have their place

and most of them will offer a cask ale

or two. Many of these new outlets are

being built from scratch and often have

accommodation alongside and they are

springing up all over the land at a steady

rate, while we note the closure of many

traditional pubs often owned by the

same companies.

Food advertising for pubs is often a

source of amusement or sometimes

bewilderment! “Home-cooked food”

– does that simply mean that somebody

has opened the catering pack and

followed the cooking instructions, or

does it actually mean that each dish is

carefully sourced, prepared and freshly

cooked to order? “Pub Grub” used

to be a common term but again what

does it mean? Have you ever driven or

walked past a pub which has an “A”

board outside advertising for a chef?

Well, no point in trying to eat in there if

they haven’t got a cook! Quite often, in

days past, the husband would look after

the bar and cellar while the wife did the

cooking. Today, it would appear that

there are a greater number of male chefs

in the pub kitchen than ever before.

substantial meals or snacks. You can’t

beat a good pub with great beer and a

selection of rolls or sarnies! You often

don’t want a four-course dinner, but a

cheese and onion bap will help soak up

the ale and keep you going for a while!

So, while it is always sad to see so many

pubs closing down we have to give credit

to the ones which have changed their

trading style; kept a bar for drinkers and

provided good quality food and beer for

all to enjoy. They will, of course, not be

to everyone’s taste but many of them

have brought new trade to the pub and

as long as the locals are not pushed out

then this may well be the way forward

for many Great British Pubs.

Dave McKerchar

Looking at the beer side, well it does

seem to be a general rule that if you

have good quality dining, then there’s

a good chance that the beer will be

good as well. In the Reading area there

are fine examples of pubs which may

otherwise have closed, being converted

into restaurants with bars where there

is a very good selection of ales kept in

excellent condition.

As for the old style boozers which often

provided a bar snack or “Pub Grub

/ ”Inn Food” as it was often called –

there are still a good number of these

still going strong and many do offer

Mine’s A Pint


Reading Beer & Cider


Thursday 3 May to Sunday 6 May 2018,

Christchurch Meadows

Here’s what to expect

from this year’s festival.

First of all it’s easy to find, and simple

to get to from the station. The new

pedestrian and cycle bridge over the

Thames makes things simple and,

for those of you using the mapping

directions on a smartphone, the magic

numbers for Christchurch Meadows are

RG4 8DH.

wines. All served from the longest bar

in the county (and possibly the country).

There will be traditional pub games,

tombola, a quiz on Thursday evening,

live music Friday and Saturday, and

children’s entertainments and Morris

Dancers on the Sunday.

The format will be largely unchanged

from last year with a huge range of real

ale, cider and perry, a good selection of

foreign bottled beers, English white and

fizzy wines, mead and British country

Mine’s A Pint


Food is available at all times. There are

never any guarantees about the weather

of course, but should the delivery of

sunshine go as planned you can enjoy it

in our massive beer garden.

The beer festival is run entirely by unpaid

volunteers. It’s a great deal of fun, and

if you’re a CAMRA member and fancy

popping along to help out (and get free

entry!) volunteering forms are available

on the website: readingbeerfestival.org.


Friday 4 May

11:00 to 23:00

Saturday 5 May (afternoon)

11:00 to 16:30

Saturday 5 May (evening)

18:00 to 23:00

Sunday 6 May

12:00 to 20:00

Tickets will be on sale via our website.

For prices, details of the ticket packages

and any other information please check

the website.

Once again the Saturday will be split

into two sessions and opening times are

planned to be:

Thursday 3 May

16:30 to 23:00

We look forward to having a pint (or

maybe two) with you all. Cheers!

Adapted from an original article by

Dave Scott, Festival Organiser

Mine’s A Pint


Arthur Pounder

It is with great sadness that the committee

of Reading and Mid Berkshire CAMRA

announce that Arthur Pounder, our

recently elected co-chairman, suddenly

passed away in January 2018.

Arthur stepped up to the plate to fill a

key committee role at our recent “Save

the Branch” emergency meeting. In

the short time he was co-chairman

he showed energy and leadership.

He started to revitalise the branch

and worked to remove procedural

obstacles to the Reading Beer Festival.

The really high attendance at the last

branch meeting – some 35 people – is

a testament to this.

As well as his branch work Arfs worked

at many beer festivals. With Scott Nichol

he had been joint organiser of the trade

session at Reading for six years. He

was chief steward at Maidenhead and

Ealing. He also worked on many other

festivals including the annual charity

beer festival at Twyford.

We offer our condolences to his family

and friends. We will miss him.

Martin Hoare

Mine’s A Pint


Ale Trail, Now On

Every spring sees hundreds of people

getting out and about and enjoying the

pubs on the Reading & Mid Berkshire

Ale Trail. Helpfully starting just after

the end of Dry January – although

unless you really want your local pub

to close down, we suggest you steer

well clear of that and aim for Tryanuary

instead – the trail consists of 24 pubs

and appeals to anybody who enjoys

a drink, anybody who likes exploring

the area and anybody that just likes to

“collect the full set”.

Late last year there was a strong

possibility of our CAMRA branch being

dissolved owing to a lack of volunteers

and, if that had happened, the Ale Trail

would have been the first high profile

casualty. Thankfully several CAMRA

members stepped up to fill vacant roles

and to save the branch, and the Ale Trail

is now very much in full swing.

The idea is simple. Pick up a booklet

for a pound from either the Nags Head

or Retreat in Reading, or the Fox and

Hounds in Caversham. Enjoy a load of

great trips out to the participating pubs

– you have until 4 April to complete it –

and collect a sticker for every pint or half

or real ale or real cider that you have.

Then send in your completed booklet

for the chance to win prizes including

beer vouchers for the Reading Beer and

Cider Festival, exclusive T shirts and

entry to various prize draws.

The 24 pubs are chosen to be a good

mix of urban, suburban and rural

destinations and to provide a good deal

of variety from year to year. It’s not

supposed to be our idea of the 24 best

pubs in the area – that’s what the Good

Beer Guide is for – but instead to give

people the chance to experience a wide

range of pubs that they might not have

had the chance to visit before. You will

always find our current branch Pub of

the Year and Cider Pub of the Year on

the list though. If you’re interested in the

full selection criteria you can read them

at readingcamra.org.uk/aletrail



BELL, Waltham St Lawrence

BELL & BOTTLE, Shinfield



BLACK BOY, Shinfield

BLACK HORSE, Emmer Green

BULL, Theale





FOX & HOUNDS, Caversham

FOX & HOUNDS, Theale

FOX & HOUNDS, Tilehurst



NAGS HEAD, Reading

PACKHORSE, Mapledurham

Mine’s A Pint



READING), Reading


RETREAT, Reading

SHURLOCK INN, Shurlock Row

VICTORIA, Tilehurst


Yes, there are three Fox and Houndses,

so make sure that you put the right

sticker on the right pub in your booklet!

Have an excellent time on the trail, and

please take the opportunity to send in

your beer scores by visiting whatpub.

com - this helps us gather more data

about pubs and might even mean that

your favourite pub gets into the Good

Beer Guide next time.

Phil Gill

T: 01984 623798 • E: info@exmoorales.co.uk • www.exmoorales.co.uk

Mine’s A Pint

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