Mine's a Pint - Summer 2018


The Summer 2018 issue of the magazine of the Reading & Mid-Berkshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).










& MORE...






Branch Diary

All meetings and social events are relaxed and friendly.

Non-members are welcome to all events except branch meetings.

Please check the website before setting out in case of any

last-minute changes.


THURS 7: (20:00) First Thursday of the Month Social.

Fisherman’s Cottage, 224 Kennet Side, Reading RG1


SAT 9: (13:00) Twyford Beer Festival Social with

Berkshire South East Branch. King George V Playing Field,

Twyford, RG10 9JA. Social details www.seberkscamra.


THURS 14: (20:00) Branch meeting. The Swan (small

window room at front of pub), Basingstoke Road, Three

Mile Cross RG7 1AT. CAMRA members only, please.

SAT 23: (11:00) Mid-Summer Social: Bermondsey Beer

Mile. Meet outside Bermondsey Tube Station. Details and

registration: https://fbb-bbm18.eventbrite.co.uk

SAT 30: (11:00) Walk and Beer Festival. Meet at the

Swan, Basingstoke Road, Three Mile Cross RG7 1AT. We

will walk via Farriers Arms, Spencers Wood, RG7 1AE to

Bell & Bottle, 37 School Green, Shinfield RG2 9EE (2.25

miles walk). The plan is to arrive c. 13:30 for their beer

festival and barbecue.


SAT 7: (11:30) East London Ale Trail (Fair Weather

Rerun). Meet outside Whitechapel Station. Details and

registration https://elat18rerun.eventbrite.co.uk

TUES 17: (20:00) Branch meeting. Bell & Bottle, 37

School Green, Shinfield RG2 9EE. CAMRA members

only, please.


THURS 2: (20:00) First Thursday of the Month Social.

Park House, University of Reading, Whiteknights

Campus, Reading, RG6 6UR. The bar is open to all.

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 events.

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 September. Please

feel free to submit any copy or ideas

by 1 st August.

The opinions expressed in Mine’s a Pint

are not necessarily those of the editor or

the Campaign for Real Ale. © Campaign

for Real Ale 2018.






01483 369350


From The Editor

Welcome to the latest issue of Mine’s a


If you’ve read any previous issues you’ll

know that CAMRA has been going

through a Revitalisation project, to

decide its future role, direction and

purpose. Those are pretty fundamental

matters and people have rightly taken

their time with the discussions. The final

proposals were debated at CAMRA’s

annual conference and AGM in April and

the membership have spoken … and you

can find out what was decided by reading

the article inside.











Alongside the regular pub and brewery

news and other features you’ll also find

suggestions for pubs you can get to by

train in the Thames Valley, and a review

of the new Good Beer Guide Belgium, the

ideal companion for anyone heading off

on Eurostar to the continent.

There’s also a roundup of the Reading

Beer and Cider Festival with some

great photos of the event. It was fun to

volunteer this year and the excellent

weather certainly helped.

Next year will be the 25 th beer festival as

well as its 25 th anniversary (if that makes

no sense, it’s explained by the fact that

we missed a year in the early days of

the festival).So put 2 nd to 5 th May 2019

in your calendars now and we’ll see you



Phil Gill



Mine’s A Pint


Good Beer Guide


Do you visit Belgium frequently? Do you

enjoy trying out new bars and beers? Then

the Good Beer Guide to Belgium is a must

buy before your next trip.

Now in its 8 th edition, it’s an indispensable

companion for anyone visiting Belgium. Not

only is it packed with information on the

breweries and bars from around the country

but it gives you the low down on the beers

as well. It even gives you advice on what to

eat, where to stay and what to bring home.

A group of friends and I are just organising a

trip for later in the year to Gent so I took the

book along for ideas. It’s so well put together

with separate areas for Breweries and Bars

and information on Belgian bars in the UK.

I love the fact that the pages in each section

are a different colour of the Belgian flag!

Nice touch.

The book makes it easy to find your way

around, giving you some general information

on each province before listing the best bars.

It definitely gave us some good ideas on bars

for our hit list. The maps do let it down

slightly as they aren’t that clear to help you

easily find one of the bars but that’s easily

solved with the smartphone in your pocket.

You can tell it’s put together by enthusiasts

who aren’t afraid to tell you what they really


What better place to arrange a trip to

Belgium than at a bar that serves Belgian

beer – the Castle Tap. We thought we would

put the book to the test. My choice was

a St Bernardus Tripel. I’d describe it as a

blond, hoppy beer with plenty of punch. The

book’s words are “blond, ever evolving and

bitterish” - that seems fair to me! Next I

looked up one of my favourite bars in Gent,

Trollekelder. “Trolls Cellar” is described as

“equal parts kitsch and class, a jumble of

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lofts, beams and rafters”, and that’s difficult

to argue with.

Belgium is just two hours by train from the

heart of London. Belgium is a mecca for beer

aficionados looking to explore arguably the

best beer destination in the world. Belgium

is proud of its unique beer culture, not least

the many diverse styles of beers, including

Flemish Reds, saisons, lambics and gueuze

beers. It’s a perfect place for a long weekend

break. So buy the book and start planning

yours today!

Sandie Gill

The Good Beer Guide Belgium is available

from the CAMRA shop. Visit shop.camra.

org.uk and search in the books section.

Mine’s A Pint


Pub & Brewery News

Pub News


It now looks like we have lost THE SWAN

as a public house as the planning application

for conversion to housing will have been

decided by the time you read this and the

view appears to be that most parties involved

were in favour of conversion. It does seem a

shame that this fine old pub could not survive

especially when you see the numbers of new

houses being built just down the road on the

old army garrison site. It now leaves just The

Bramshill Hunt and The Bull – with the latter

being very food orientated (although there is

a small bar area and a couple of beers on tap)


Plans have been submitted which could see

Burghfield Common’s last pub demolished

and turned into flats. Developer The Keen

Partnership has applied to West Berkshire

Council to demolish THE BANTAM in

Omer’s Rise and replace it with eight flats

and 14 parking spaces. This is the latest in a

series of planning applications for change of

use or redevelopment, all of which have been

rejected so far.


THE NEW INN is on the market (leasehold)

with an asking price of £199,950. The pub

has been run by its current owners since

2013 and offers bar / restaurant and B&B

facilities. The bar offers real ales from

Rebellion Brewery. There are 2 other pubs in

the village both offering real ale (The Royal

Oak and The Bird in Hand)


Just outside our branch area but definitely a

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friend of Reading CAMRA is the FLOWING

SPRING on the Henley Road. This

independent freehouse has been crowned

Pub of the Year by our neighbours at South

Oxfordshire CAMRA, and it’s a worthy

winner. Check out their range of six real ales

plus gluten-free and alcohol-free options,

together with a great range of home-cooked

food that includes meat, vegetarian, vegan

and gluten-free offerings.


We start with some good news concerning

the long-closed CORN STORES on Forbury

Road. This was once a Fuller’s pub and

restaurant but after they gave up on it, the

premises were shut and despite a few rumours

about new owners taking it on as a bar again,

nothing happened and it looked like it was

destined to become a derelict building or be

converted into offices or flats.

Well, it now appears that the property

has been bought by the people behind the

Shurlock Inn at Shurlock Row and they plan

to re-open it as a bar and restaurant once

more. This company – Rarebreed Dining

– part of The Havisham Group - have built

the Shurlock Inn into a well-respected bar

and restaurant with locally-sourced food and

beer, so this bodes well for The Corn Stores.

Renovation works have not yet started

and we don’t know when they will but we

understand that all trading areas will be

refurbished and an outside area at the rear

is being planned. We look forward to seeing

this lovely old building brought back to life

again and to being able to sup a pint or two

in one of its new bars.

Down at Cemetery Junction, what was until

recently The Abbot Cook, has now become

THE HOPE & BEAR. This large prominent

pub has had a bit of a makeover and the main

entrance has moved to the Kings Road side of

the building where there is also an enhanced

patio/garden area. Up to 5 cask ales should

be available and manageress Rachael Langley

told us that Doom Bar and St. Austell Proper

Job will be permanent. Oakham Inferno and

Purity Mad Goose were also available on a

recent visit with the 5 th pump not yet in use.

Cider in a box is also on sale and the pub

will feature an ever-changing selection of

craft beers as well. Children are welcome

up to 9 pm and the pub offers full disabled

facilities. Food is available every day from 12

– 10 (9 on Sundays) and the bar is open until

midnight on Thursday/Friday and Saturday.

Heading back into Reading town centre but

still on the Kings Road and another change of

name for one of our local pubs. This time it is

the old Bali Lounge (previously The Warwick

Arms) which now goes by the name of THE


New owners have reverted to more of a pub

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with food than an Eastern style restaurant

with beer, so the Thai furniture and

decorations have gone and it looks more like

a proper bar again. There are boxed games

and a TV (terrestrial only), wifi, piped music

and a small patio area at the side. Kids are

welcome and the pub does food from 12 – 9

Monday – Saturday. On the beer side there

are two handpumps with Doom Bar being

a regular offering (£3.00 a pint Monday-

Friday 4-7) plus a regularly changing guest

ale (Bonds of Wokingham and Tring Brewery

beers have been noted). Nice to see this bar

open again and we wish them well.

Another place with a new name but seemingly

little else changed is the BROAD STREET

BAR AND KITCHEN, which is what used

to be Artigiano’s. There’s no real ale but a

range of bottled beers is available.

BREWDOG has opened on Castle Street and

seems to be attracting plenty of customers. It

extends the range of drinking establishments

in town and that has to be a good thing.

Twenty taps showcase Brewdog’s own beer

plus that of guest breweries and there have

already been special events including a

tap takeover that featured two Berkshire

breweries – Uprising and New Wharf.

The owners of THE BUTLER in Chatham

Street have submitted a planning application

to demolish the old outbuildings and tyre

centre and to create a number of new letting

rooms at the rear of the pub. The existing

toilets will then be moved upstairs inside the

pub but the main structure and layout of the

bar areas will not change so this Good Beer

guide listed pub will continue with its beer

and music.


Kennetside have also submitted a planning

application, this time to create a two storey

extension for 6 bedrooms on the top floor

of the pub. Works will include alterations

to the car park and some of the interior and

exterior sections of the building affected by

the works. We think that these would be

letting rooms.

Photo courtesy of the Allied Arms

We’ve been getting good reports about the

beer quality at GREAT EXPECTATIONS

in London Street. The in-house brewing has

stopped (many of our reporters didn’t rate it

very highly anyway) and the beer range has

been reduced to 4 cask ales plus cider but

the quality had improved. The range of ales

was quite interesting on a recent visit with

the likes of Slaters of Staffordshire and Milk

Street from Frome being available. This bar /

restaurant / hotel is just across the IDR from

the Oracle – a short walk from the town


Launched in mid-April 2018, the ALLIED

ARMS now has 10 cask ales available on

a regular basis. Dating from late Georgian

times, the pub has built up a reputation for

having excellent quality cask ales available

at all times. The popularity of the monthly

Payday festivals has prompted the team to

bring us a wider choice on a more frequent

basis, so we can enjoy up to 10 different ales

from near and far every day. In addition, a

new range of craft beers has been introduced

which are available in bottles or cans.

Alongside the ales up to six real ciders are

served. So why not treat yourself to a beer or

two after work or enjoy the award-winning

garden – described as Reading’s best kept


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The multi-award winning NAGS HEAD in

Russell Street has had a refurbishment: the

old lino flooring has been ripped up and new

timber flooring laid throughout the single

bar area. All very smart. You probably didn’t

notice it because the pub is usually so busy

you can’t see the floor!


By the time you read this, renovation works

should have been completed at THE BULL

in Sonning. This is a Fuller’s pub (although

owned by the church) and hopefully the

very pleasant interior areas will not have

been spoilt – it’s the kind of pub that foreign

tourists adore. Nearby – right by Sonning

Bridge – is the COPPA bar which is a great

place to be on a warm summer’s day as they

have a large riverside garden with seating

booths, deckchairs and its own bar (keg

only). There is also a patio area for drinking

or dining as well as the extensive indoor

areas. Beers at the main bar are Doom Bar

and Loddon Ferryman’s Gold and on a recent

visit were in good nick and nice and cool.

Pub news collated by Dave McKerchar

All images are courtesy of the breweries.


The big news from Binghams is the launch of

Ricochet – a new label created to brew exciting

and unusual beers that don’t have much in

common with the core range offered by Binghams.

The first beer was called American Amber and

was launched at the Alehouse in Broad Street in

April. The brewery team plus Stout the brewery

dog were in attendance and, although Stout spent

large parts of the evening asleep under a table, the

beer was very well received.

revamped Station Tap in Wokingham. Formerly

the Molly Millar, the Station Tap has seen a

£400,000 investment and features local and craft

beers as well as a keg wall, a sports zone (pool,

darts and screens) and a more low-key dining area.


Summer is often the time to enjoy a golden ale,

so watch out for two great examples coming up

from Chiltern. First off in June is a limited edition

Session IPA at 3.9% ABV. Tastes of mango and

passionfruit combine with aromas of grapefruit

and rich malt. Then in July and August it’s the turn

of the appropriately named Gold, a balanced and

refreshing citrussy ale also at 3.9% ABV. Here’s

hoping for a summer in which we can enjoy them!

If you’re looking for a gluten-free beer, it’s worth

knowing that four of the range from Chiltern

have been certified as gluten-free. These are

John Hampden’s Golden Harvest Ale, Battle of

Britain Old Ale, Monument Gold Pale Ale and

Three Hundreds Dark Old Ale. All are available

in bottles from the shop at chilternbrewery.co.uk

and from the brewery itself at Terrick, south of


At 5.5% ABV, American Amber is (of course)

red-amber in colour. A complex combination of

coloured malts and a healthy dose of American

hops both in the boil and dry hopped in the

fermenter make for a balanced finish. As is

increasingly common today, it’s unfined and

unfiltered. The full range of Binghams ales

continues to be available from the brewery shop in

Ruscombe, online at binghams.co.uk and in good

local pubs.


Mellow Velo, a 3.6% ABV dark mild, saw a

welcome return for Mild Month in May. Bond

beers can often be found on handpump at the

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Reading has a new brewery! Double Barrelled

Brewery was first launched at Craft Beer Rising

in London in March. Set up by Mike and Luci

Clayton-Jones – hence the Double Barrelled name

– it’s inspired by the best of the world’s craft

brewing scene.

They’re in the process of moving to a unit on

the Stadium Way Industrial Estate in Tilehurst in

advance of a full launch in the summer and are

only producing a limited range of beers as yet.

But those beers have already been spotted in local

pubs, with a collaboration with Elusive Brewing

of Finchampstead called Diamonds on your

Timepiece being available at The Nag’s Head,

Castle Tap and Fox and Hounds in Caversham for

a limited time earlier in the year.


VP of EMEA & APAC – a super refreshing

kumquat Berliner Weisse at 5.3% ABV – and the

intriguingly named Two Storey Bungalow (6.3%

ABV) also featured on the keycask bar at Reading

Beer and Cider Festival this year. Tasting notes

told the lucky drinkers of this exclusive beer “An

increased oat and wheat profile brings a super

soft mouthfeel to this IPA that has been liberally

dry-hopped with a blend of Mosaic, Galaxy and

Ekuanot hops.”

Visit doublebarrelled.co.uk to find out more about

the brewery, and read about Mike and Luci’s epic

research trip to beer hotspots around the globe!

Art the time of writing we were in need of a

Brewery Liaison Officer for Double Barrelled.

This is a CAMRA member who acts as the liaison

point between CAMRA and a brewery, maintains

a database of the beers produced and reports on

brewery news. It’s a fun job and you might get to

sample the new releases before they hit the streets!

If it sounds like the job for you, please get in touch

using the contact details on page 3.

James Clarke, Managing Director said:

“I would never have thought we would have been

brewing a lager, a real departure for us. But then

when I joined Hook Norton Brewery we didn’t

have mobile telephones, the internet, brewed

three different beers, records were handwritten,

and 90% of beer drunk in the UK was drunk in

pubs. Times and tastes change and we like to think

down here at Hooky we can do the same.

We are very pleased with our first brew and hope

you are too. What would our forebears say? I

think they would chuckle, and acknowledge that

we are in a different world today and when it

comes down to it, it’s usually the occasion more

than the drink you’ll remember.”


Loddon have been returning to some old favourite

recipes for their recent seasonals with Gorgeous

George (April – a 4.3% ABV traditional English

bitter brewed to mark St George’s Day) and

Wilfred’s Mild (May – a 3.6% mild). Wilfred’s

Mild is named after Wilfred Owen, the war

poet who lived in Dunsden where the brewery is

based, and commemorates the centenary of his

death. 10p from every pint sold was donated to

the Dunsden Owen Association. This group has

the aim of honouring Wilfred Owen, recognising

the importance of the years he spent in Dunsden,

and raising the profile of this Great War poet both

locally and nationally.


Breakfast Stout (7.5% ABV) was crowned

Champion LocAle at the Reading Beer and Cider

Festival. See the Small Beer section for the full

competition results. Breakfast Stout is made with

six malts and three hops. The creaminess of the


Established in 1849 in a small village deep in the

Oxfordshire countryside, Hook Norton is one of

the country’s oldest and most traditional breweries.

Perhaps not the most obvious choice of place to

brew a lager. Yet that’s just what’s happened with

the launch of Trial #1. The brewery were looking

for a beer style that would compliment their

existing award winning range of both cask and

keg beers, and this trial was brewed in their pilot

plant using a special lager yeast. At 4.0% ABV It

delivers a crisp clean continental style – not overhoppy,

but very drinkable.

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oats and cacao nibs coat the inside of the palate,

leaving way for a light coffee bittersweet bourbon

finish. As with all the brewery’s products it’s

unfiltered, unfined and unpasteurised.

You can now buy this and other award-winning

New Wharf beers direct from the brewery or via

their website at newwharfbrewing.co.uk. New

beers launched just after the festival included

Vanilla Sky (4.0% ABV American Cream Ale with

Vanilla), Transatlantic (6.3% ABV New England

Black IPA) and the limited edition Raspberry

Cream Ale (4.0%, and available in six casks and

six keykegs only).


As well as real ale, Rebellion also offer weekly

wine tastings at the brewery. Every Saturday from

10 to 5pm they select wines from their range

for you to discover. It’s a casual tasting with no

pressure and not guided so you can sample whilst

browsing the shop. If you needed to know more,

the staff are on hand to offer advice. Why not pick

up some beer for the weekend while you’re there?


SVB beers have featured at local festivals including

the Bracknell Ale and Cider Festival at the end of

May, and also our own Reading Beer and Cider

Festival at the start. Two bank holidays, two

great events. Sandy’s IPA was particularly lovely

at Reading – a 5.8% ABV full-bodied and fruity

IPA made with English and German hops. This is

a brewery that’s good for vegans, with all beers



White Tips, the 4.5% ABV White IPA is back for

another spring / summer season, and available

in cask, keg and bottles. Mixing the haziness of

a witbier with the fruity punch of an IPA, it’s

brewed with grapefruit, lime and orange peel. A

traditional wit yeast works in harmony with the

citrus peel and a healthy hop dosing of Centennial,

Cascade, Motueka and Simcoe to create a

balanced IPA. White Tips is refreshing, hazy, zesty

and is described as the perfect accompaniment to


Following on from a hugely successful and much

appreciated 2017, the “Barista Project” has

returned, bringing four more coffee beers to the

party. They’ve been available to the trade from late

May, following a launch at the Tap Yard tasting

room. The Tap Yard – now with extended opening

hours of Thursday to Sunday 12 to 8 pm – has an

event with interesting street food every week, and

plenty of outdoor seating.

Here are the Barista beers:

Cold Brew: 5% Cold-Steeped Coffee Schwarzbier

Breakfast Shake: 9.5% Imperial Wheat Stout

with Coffee and Cacao

CapHeine: 6.2% Coffee Sour with Hibiscus

Affogato: 6% Coffee & Ice Cream Ale

Talking of coffee beers, Home from Home Coffee

IPA is a collaboration between Siren Craft and

Reubens Brews of Seattle. Following a US-brewed

version in 2017, Reuben’s UK-born founder

Adam Robbings visited Berkshire this spring to

join up with Kyle Larsen of Siren to brew a UK

batch. A true collaboration, Home from Home

combines ingredients and ideas from both sides of

the Atlantic, including unique house yeast strains

and favoured grain combinations. The partnership

sourced Ethiopian Biftu Gudina coffee for sweet,

fruity and almost hoppy notes for the UK version,

complemented by Mosaic, Galaxy, Motueka and

Citra hops.

From coffee to tea, yet still not leaving beer … Yulu,

the loose leaf pale ale brewed with Earl Grey tea,

can now be found in more Waitrose stores across

the UK. Together with stablemates Undercurrent,

Sound Wave and Calypso, it’s part of an exciting

expansion of the supermarket’s speciality beer

ange. Sarah Hammond of Waitrose says:

“This new range reflects the changing tastes of our

customers. We’ve got sour beers, innovative fruit

beers, new emerging cider brands and a whole

host of exciting breweries changing the way we

enjoy beer and cider in the UK.”


The brewery has launched a quality cellaring

scheme to help educate landlords in the importance

of keeping and serving cask and keg beer in perfect


As part of a new partnership with Day One

Training, WBB are offering the scheme to

permanent stockists of their beer which includes

Good Old Boy Best Bitter and the Renegade keg

range with a view to extending to other customers

in the future. The one-day course includes topics

such as line cleaning, the workings of a cellar, glass

care, dispense and product presentation. After

successful completion of the course, publicans will

be awarded the recognised industry BIIAB Award

in Beer and Cellar Quality (ABCQ) certificate.

The training will take place at the brewery in

Yattendon. Attendees will be able to experience

a tour of the new state of-the-art brewery and

packaging line as well as a tasting of WBB beers

and lunch in their taproom. If you’d like more

information about the course then email Clare

Candy, Marketing Manager, on clare.candy@



The full title is “Royal Warrant of Appointment

as Brewer to Her Majesty the Queen.” The award

allows the brewery to display a designated Royal

Coat of Arms on its products, stationery, premises

and vehicles. To become a Royal Warrant Holder

a business must have supplied goods or services to

a Royal Household over a period of at least five

years. Windsor & Eton Brewery, which celebrated

its eighth birthday on St. George’s Day on 23 rd

April, brews beer using barley grown on the

Windsor Farm – and the spent grains are returned

to the farm to feed their cattle.

Director Will Calvert said:

“We’re a very fortunate business. To be Windsor’s

community brewery working with all our local

suppliers and customers including the Royal

Household is a real privilege. With this award

comes responsibility – and we’ll never forget how

we serve Windsor & Eton, and that we’re only

ever as good as the quality of our last pint of beer

and how we treated our last customer.”

Harry & Meghan’s Windsor Knot was the perfect

beer to mark the wedding. Weighing in at 4%

ABV in cask and 4.5% in bottles, the design on

the bottle and pump clip featured a tie made out

of the Union Jack and the Star & Stripes, with two

interlocking male and female symbols. It generated

a huge amount of media coverage for the brewery,

including on BBC’s The Travel Show and ABC’s

Good Morning America.

Windsor Know also showcased the brewery’s new

branding. The new logo focuses on both the Round

Tower and Eton Bridge – two key landmarks of

Windsor and Eton. For the same reason, the “&”

is bigger and a different font to the other letters.

Both these things draw attention that one of the

things that makes Windsor & Eton special is that

they are very much two joined towns.

They’ve also moved away from gold in the

branding and instead are using copper. Copper

is traditionally a beer colour and by using copper

the brewery hope to emphasise that they are “beer


With the eyes of the world on Windsor for the

wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in

May, it was perfect timing for Windsor & Eton

to announce they are now the proud holders of a

royal warrant.

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Another brewery to unveil their new branding

recently has been XT. The new designs for the

pumpclips and bottles across the range gives a

fresh new look on the bar, while keeping with the

colour themes and graphical designs that have

become the signature of the XT brand. It shows

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the solid commitment XT have to the long term

future of cask beer whilst also wanting to promote

their beer in keg, bottle and can – reflecting the

brewery’s support of CAMRA’s own revitalisation


There will be a new semi-permanent summer ale

available from XT – named XT-18 it’s a 4.2%

ABV golden beer that’s freshly and generously

hopped with mellow English and American hops

for a perfect summer refresher. The Animal beers

are joined by the latest creation Animal Stag. This

is a 4.6% ABV pale ale filled with multi layered

New Zealand hops.

Festival Roundup

All images are courtesy of our official photographer

Nick Alexander, except where noted.

Where to start with this year’s Reading

Beer and Cider Festival? Why not begin

with the weather – it was glorious! Some

rain during setup but then sunshine

every day the festival was open, and it

certainly drew the crowds. The people

of Reading obviously like a party and

a massive 12,220 people came through

the gates over the four days.

Thursday kicked off with the trade

session with local brewers, cider makers

and suppliers showing their wares to

the trade. Then from 4.30 the gates

were opened and the first of our visitors

eagerly made their way towards the

beer. First task – to decide which of the

552 available to try first!

Mine’s A Pint


So what else was on offer across the four

days? A pub quiz, facepainting, games

traditional and new, over 160 ciders and

perries, singers and bands, a brand new

keycask bar, cosplay Disney princesses,

foreign beer, a Scottish pipe band, a

sunny beer garden, English country

wines, Morris dancers, a fine array of

food … oh, and a man with a parrot.

Innovations this year included:

• The keycask bar (or keykeg as

just about everyone called it) that

offered 80 real ales over 20 rotating


• Two new games - Shaky hand / beat

the buzzer built by Paul Wynn, and

a shooting gallery designed and

engineered by Keegan Neave.

Image courtesy of Kath Lilley

• A new tent with the Reading branch

of the National Childbirth Trust,

for feeding and changing babies, or

just collapsing on a beanbag.

Many thanks to our sponsors including

the support we received from Reading

Buses and a plethora of local breweries,

cidermakers, pubs and other businesses.

In particular thanks go to Wild Weather

Ales for sponsoring the glasses and to

the Alehouse, Allied Arms, Castle Tap,

Fisherman’s Cottage, Greyfriar and

New Wharf Brewing for sponsoring the

staff T shirts.

And above all, thanks to the volunteers

who made it all possible!

Phil Gill

Mine’s A Pint


Revitalising CAMRA

Images from CAMRA AGM via Twitter @


For the last two years CAMRA members

have been debating what the campaign is for,

and what it should focus on going forward.

It’s been called the Revitalisation Project,

which references CAMRA’s original name

of “the Campaign for the Revitalisation of


CAMRA undertook a huge consultation

exercise involving a series of surveys,

meetings and proposals, all with the

intention of finding out from its members

what they thought the priorities for the

campaign should be. Of course, a huge

variety of opinions were expressed, which

is only to be expected in an organisation of

190,000 people.

We all care about the future of CAMRA

but we all have different reasons and think

that different things are the most important.

Should the priority be to support and

campaign for:

• Real ale served from the cask, because

that’s what CAMRA fought to save

when it was first formed?

• Cider and perry, because they’re

traditional drinks served in a similar

manner to beer?

• Good beer of any type, because driving

up quality is what’s most important?

• Consumer choice, because CAMRA

is a consumer organisation and we

want people to be able to choose for


• Pubs, because without them we won’t

be able to enjoy our favourite drinks?

• Clubs, because they can provide a social

environment for communities that have

lost their other facilities?

• All breweries, because without them we

won’t have any real ale?

• Small breweries, because otherwise we

will see restricted choice?

• Or maybe some of these can co-exist in

a diverse campaign?

The Revitalisation Project team analysed all

the consultation responses and presented

proposals to CAMRA’s National Executive

(12 people who are like a board of directors,

except that they’re all volunteer members

and are elected by the wider membership).

They considered the proposals and took most

– although not all – forward to CAMRA’s

Members’ Weekend, held in Coventry this

April. The weekend included the AGM and

Conference, as well as a bar, events and trips

to local pubs and breweries.

Mine’s A Pint



At the AGM the membership as a whole,

either in person or by proxy, could vote

on the changes. The technical bit is that

this needed a series of votes on Special

Resolutions to change CAMRA’s Articles of

Association, which set out what its role and

powers are. Under company law, 75% of

those voting needed to vote in favour for any

given change to take effect. After a series of

heated debates the results were in.

The first resolution was to delete the part of

the Articles of Association that sets out what

CAMRA is for, so that they could then be

rebuilt in a new form.

1. Delete Article 2 other than the following

wording: “2. The objects for which

CAMRA is established are:” – 84.1% in

favour – PASSED

The next six resolutions were to add things

to the new Articles of Association.

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2. Add “2(a) to secure the long term future

of real ale, real cider and real perry by

increasing their quality, availability

and popularity;” – 88.8% in favour –


3. Add “2(b) to promote and protect pubs

and clubs as social centres and part of

the UK’s cultural heritage;” – 92.1% in

favour – PASSED

4. Add “2(c) to increase recognition of the

benefits of responsible, moderate social

drinking;” – 89.3% in favour – PASSED

5. Add “2(d) to play a leading role in the

provision of information, education and

training to all those with an interest in

beer, cider and perry of any type;” –

78.2% in favour – PASSED

6. Add “2(e) to act as the voice and

represent the interests of all pub-goers

and beer, cider and perry drinkers;” –

72.6% in favour – FAILED

7. Add “2(f) to ensure where possible that

producers and retailers of beer, cider

and perry act in the best interests of

the consumer.” – 88.4 % in favour –


Finally three other resolutions set out new

details of how CAMRA operates and the

powers that allow that to happen.

8. Delete Article 3 and replace it with “3(a)

CAMRA is formed as an independent,

volunteer led, non-party political body

to pursue its objectives. 3(b) CAMRA

will operate in a transparent, inclusive,

enthusiastic and welcoming manner, at

all levels.” – 92.4% in favour – PASSED

9. Delete Article 4 and replace it with

extensive text to set out the legal

powers of CAMRA – 87.5% in favour


10. Add the following at the end of Article

25 “…, and such written notice of

intent has been signed by not less than

50 Members.” – 89.1% in favour –


a pub cellar that allows beer drawn

from the cask to be replaced with the

equivalent amount of sterile gas at

atmospheric pressure), instead adopting

a neutral position

So the only one of the Special Resolutions

not to be passed was the one that would

have widened CAMRA’s remit to represent

all pub-goers and all beer, cider and perry

drinkers. The intention of this was to

allow support for all pubs and drinkers of

long drinks in general. But members were

concerned that this would mean having to

campaign for pubs and drinks that didn’t fit

with CAMRA’s ethos. While the resolution

was rejected, it didn’t miss the 75% cutoff

by much and indicates that many CAMRA

members have a desire for further change.


Following the AGM was the Conference,

where CAMRA members could propose

motions for debate. Here only the people in

the hall could vote. Motions are designed to

set a direction for CAMRA policy or instruct

that certain activities are – or are not –

carried out.

This year’s highlights included that members

attending Conference:


Finally, the Members’ Weekend also featured

the elections for the National Executive. All

members could vote in person or by proxy

and four people were elected to fill the

vacant spots:

• Lynn Atack – 8,491 votes

• Gillian Hough – 6,608 votes

• Ash Corbett-Collins – 6,083 votes

• Nik Antona – 6,054 votes

Overall the fact that all but one of the

Special Resolutions was passed indicates a

desire for change and modernisation among

the (voting) membership as a whole. But

the elections to the National Executive are

particularly interesting as the successful

candidates are a mixture of traditionalists

and progressives with diverse interests. It

illustrates the difference of opinions that

still exist between CAMRA members and

it’s likely to lead to some fiery meetings

of the National Executive in future, with

some fighting for change and others fighting

equally hard to stop it.

• agreed that beer festivals wishing to

offer types of beer other than real ale can

do so but should reinforce CAMRA’s

belief in the superiority of real ale, and

provide educational material about all

beer types on sale

• called for new diversity and equality

policies within CAMRA

• overwhelmingly defeated a motion to

reduce tax relief for small breweries

• agreed a policy that CAMRA members

should not demand or expect discounts

from pubs and breweries

• removed CAMRA’s former opposition

to “cask breathers” (a device used in

Mine’s A Pint


Whatever your views about the Revitalisation

Project, the membership has now set the

future direction of the campaign. If you want

to be part of that, it’s time to unite and move


Phil Gill

(all opinions are the author’s own)

us travel for night owls

loads of our buses run late into the night

and some routes are 24/7

the perfect way to get home

all night

adult after 6pm



all night

group after 6pm


up to

4 people



after 6pm



Mine’s A Pint


Small Beer

A round up of news and information




Reading’s Nags Head is already a multiple

award winner and this year it’s continued its

success with a clean sweep of branch awards.

Last year it won both Pub of the Year and

Cider Pub of the Year for the Reading &

Mid Berkshire CAMRA branch. This year

it’s achieved an unprecedented “double

double”, winning both awards again.

Local CAMRA members visit pubs and score

them against factors including the quality of

real ale, cider and perry, the atmosphere,

service and welcome received and value for

money. After all the results were added up the

Nags emerged victorious, with Caversham’s

Fox and Hounds as a worthy runner-up in

both categories.

In the equivalent Club of the Year contest,

the Wargrave and District Snooker Club was

once again named branch champion. If you

think your local club would give the Snooker

Club a run for its money next year, please let

us know!

Watch out for our gala awards night in

September, where you can meet the team

behind the Nags, Fox and Snooker Club,

enjoy some great real ales and see these plus

many other worthy winners receive their

awards. More details once available will be

on our website.

Reading Beer and Cider Festival is proud to

host CAMRA’s National Cider and Perry

Championship, and to offer one of the best

ranges of cider and perry available anywhere

in the country. This year we raised a glass

to the supreme champions Nempnett Piglet’s

Choice Perry (left) and Harry’s Scrummage

Cider (right), both from Somerset. If you

didn’t share the judge’s tastes, there were

about 200 others to choose from! Full



1ST: Harry’s – Scrummage (Somerset)

2ND: Whin Hill – Brown’s (Norfolk)

3RD: Orgasmic – White Jersey



1ST: Nempnett – Piglet’s Choice (Somerset)

2ND: Oliver’s – Perry (Herefordshire)

3RD: Whin Hill – Perry (Norfolk)

LocAle Beer of the Festival

LocAle Beer of the Festival at Reading this

year was judged by CAMRA volunteers and

invited guests. The results of the categories

and the overall champions were:

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Beers below 4.2% ABV



Ascot Ales, Gold Cup

Elusive, Sunset Rider

Beers from 4.2% to 4.9% ABV



Siren Craft, Undercurrent

Wild Weather, King St


Beers 5.0% ABV and above



New Wharf, Breakfast


Siren Craft, Sound Wave

Overall LocAle Beer of the





New Wharf, Breakfast


Siren Craft, Undercurrent

Siren Craft, Sound Wave

Congratulations to New Wharf from near

Maidenhead for their win, and to Siren

Craft for scooping second and third place

overall. In fact, well done and thank you to

all our local breweries for the excellent ales

produced in this area.



Have you ever looked at the boarded up

building on Duke Street in Reading, just over

the bridge from the London Street Brasserie?

Have you ever wondered why such a piece

of prime real estate right next to the Oracle

has been out of use for so long? So have we.

The Lower Ship

It might surprise you, then, to know that the

building used to be a pub called the Lower

Ship, built in 1889 to replace a previous pub

on the site. It might surprise you even more

to know that it’s owned by the secretive

Yorkshire Brewery Samuel Smiths, who have

owned it since 1988 following its closure a

few years previously. We wonder if it’s the

longest-closed pub where no other use has

been adopted in the meantime.

Astonishingly it’s not the only historic

building that Sam Smiths have acquired

and then left to rot. In Bath the former

King Edward’s School building on Broad

Street has been empty since 1986 when

the school closed. Sam Smiths bought the

building in 1989 and, a mere 21 years later

in 2010, obtained listed building consent and

planning permission to convert the upper

floors into hotel rooms. That permission

was renewed in 2013 but, almost 30 years

after they bought the building, there has still

been almost no progress in transforming the

former school into a pub and hotel.

The photo shows the Lower Ship in 2010.

There’s not much point getting a more up to

date picture because it looks pretty much the

same year on year; just the graffiti changes.

Will it ever reopen as a pub?


June: Twyford Beer Festival

Now in its 9 th year, Twyford Beer Festival

is an independent event but with strong

support from local CAMRA members, that

raises money for Orchid, the male cancer

charity. It’s open Friday 8 th June (5 to 11pm)

and Saturday 9th June (12 to 10pm). Head

down to King George V Playing Field in

Twyford and expect to find a tent full of beer

and cider plus plenty of outdoor seating,

food and live music.

July: Maidenhead Beer and Cider


Our friends at Slough, Windsor and

Maidenhead CAMRA have one of the

highlights of their year coming up, as the

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Maidenhead Beer and Cider Festival returns

to Desborough College. This is a return

to the previous venue and should be more

comfortable than last year, as well as being

more accessible – close to the station – and

hopefully good weather too! Over 100 real

ales and 20 ciders are promised, and it’s open

all day from Thursday 26 th to Saturday 28 th

July. See the advert in this issue or mbcf.

camra.org.uk for more details.

August: Great British Beer


The Great British Beer Festival is returning

to London this summer - 7 th to 11 th August

at London Olympia - and tickets are now on

sale. Organised and run by the Campaign for

Real Ale, the Great British Beer Festival is

one of the biggest, most exciting and wellknown

events on the beer and cider calendar.

With over 900 real ales, ciders and perries

and one-off speciality brews, this year’s

festival is not to be missed. Get your tickets

at gbbf.org.uk.




Drink Rebellion cask ale

at home, fresh from the

brewery shop

Fresh beer, ready to drink

1 litre bottles up to 72 pint barrels

including 10% OFF beer

Fresh cider

Local produce

Over 300 worldwide wines

Free glass hire

Call 01628 476594

Shop opening hours:

Mon-Sat 8am-7pm

Or visit our website:




Rebellion Beer Co. Ltd. Bencombe Farm, Marlow Bottom, SL7 3LT



Mine’s A Pint




Reading is one of the South’s major

railway centres with trains arriving

and departing every few minutes

for destinations right across the country as

well as more local towns and villages. Years

ago most larger stations would have had

a buffet or refreshment room which often

would have sold draught beer. Today many

of these old rooms have been or are being

renovated and returned as real ale bars and

where not, there is usually a decent pub close


So, let’s take a look at a few local stations

and the Real Ale pubs which still serve

them. We will start, as you might expect

at READING station itself, where we find

the recently renovated THREE GUINEAS.

Three Guineas, Reading

This is a Fuller’s pub but does offer a good

range of guest ales as well as food and an

underground function room. They have TV

screens showing departures and there are

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seating areas at the front next to

the ticket barriers. The pub has a

modern feel to it, but it once was

the main ticket office for the entire station

and the station clock still survives (this used

to be cared for by local CAMRA members

until recently). Nearby you may also like to

try the excellent GREYFRIAR which has 8

beers available or the unusual BISCUIT TIN

which sells West Berkshire beers.

From Reading we head east on a stopping

service using one of the new Class 387 electric

trains and our first stop is TWYFORD. Turn

right out of the main entrance and at the top

of the road you will find THE GOLDEN

CROSS. This mock-tudor frontage pub

dated back only to the 19th century and

offers a couple of beers from Hampshire

brewer Upham. There are a couple of bar

areas and a garden/patio as well as a darts

board and sports TV. It is open all day and is

family and dog friendly.

Our next stop is MAIDENHEAD which

was once the home of Nicholson’s Brewery

whose name lives on in the shopping centre.

The nearest pub to the station is THE BELL

which serves Doom Bar and/or Greene King

IPA. You may, however, wish to walk a little

bit further (about 5 minutes) along King

Street and try the ROSE (one Rebellion beer

plus Fuller’s London Pride) or the relatively

new OFF THE TAP which offers pizzas and

a selection of craft bottles and cans as well as

two cask beers from Rebellion.

From Maidenhead we can now catch the

branch-line diesel train to Bourne End and

Marlow. The first stop on this pleasant little

line is FURZE PLATT (I always thought that

would be a great name for a rock band or a

character from Harry Potter) but the nearest

pub shut recently so (happily) we have to

head up Harrow Lane and down Gringer Hill

to the community run CRAUFURD ARMS

which sells a selection of local brewery beers

and is open all day – worth missing a train

for. It was saved from closure by the locals

and is a fine example of how pubs can survive

when the will and the enthusiasm are there.

Craufurd Arms, Maidenhead

Next stop is COOKHAM where we have

a short stroll down to THE OLD SWAN

UPPERS – so named after the ancient activity

of “Swan Upping” (or marking) of Swans

on the Thames. The pub opens at 11.30

but there is no food on Mondays. Beers are

mainly well-known brands but often with a

local guest ale.

Onwards to BOURNE END which is now

a sort of terminus station. Trains used to

carry on to High Wycombe but they now

reverse down another branch and follow

the river to Marlow – sometimes you may

have to change trains here. There’s a couple

of options at Bourne End – turn left and go

KEG, Bourne End

up The Parade, past the shops and into

Oakfield Road where you will find KEG (the

owners initials!). This little micro-pub serves

two cask ales and several keg/craft beers. It

shuts between 9pm and 11 pm depending on

the day and 6 pm on Sundays. If you turn

right from the station you will find THE

WALNUT TREE – a little pub with Greene

King beers, a large garden and kids’ play

facilities. It has the feel of a country pub

and has a strong emphasis on good food.

The final option is to walk over the railway

bridge and then down onto the Thames

towpath to find THE BOUNTY which can

only be reached by foot or boat! Rebellion

beers and a quirky riverside aspect (nautical

theme; daft jokes and 60s music).

From Bourne End the train heads along

the Thames Valley until it terminates at

MARLOW where the station has been cut

back some distance from its origins. You

will easily spot the nearest pub – THE

MARLOW DONKEY – which was named

after the little steam train that pushed and

pulled along the branch in days gone by.

This imposing street-corner pub is run by

Greene King but does usually offer some

guest ales apart from the brewer’s own beer.

It does food, has a modern interior and a

large garden and conservatory. Between the

pub and the station is the RBL CLUB (Royal

British Legion) which serves a range of guest

ales – opening hours are restricted and you

will need to show a CAMRA Membership

Card to gain entry.

From Bourne End we travel back to

Maidenhead and catch a train back to

Twyford so that we can visit the Henley

branch. Upon leaving Twyford our first

station stop is WARGRAVE where a short

walk will bring us into the village centre


The Bull is a 15th century Brakspear’s pub

with beams and brick & flint; brasses and

an ingle nook fire in winter. Lots of dining

but drinking areas are available and there is

a secure garden at the back. Prices reflect the

local house prices! The Bull shuts between

2.30 and 6 pm Mon-Fri. Directly across

the crossroads is The Greyhound which is a

cosy and relaxed two-bar pub with a large

Mine’s A Pint


collection of jugs in the Lounge and TV and

games in the “Public” bar. One Rebellion

beer plus a guest ale. Serves pizzas and the

loos are still outside! If you fancy another

short walk you could try THE SAINT

GEORGE & DRAGON which is mainly

a dining pub but does sell Doom Bar and

one guest ale. There are areas for drinking

including the garden which overlooks the

Thames. This is the only so-named pub to

use the full SAINT in its title.

The penultimate stop on this little

tour is SHIPLAKE where the imposing

BASKERVILLE sits just a few yards from

the single platform station. This a foodorientated

establishment although the small

wood-panelled bar is very popular with

drinkers – both local and those who come

for Henley Regatta. There are usually 4 beers

available often featuring the local Loddon

and Rebellion breweries. Dogs are welcome

and there is a kids’ play area. B&B (4 rooms)

is available.

We eventually arrive at HENLEY station –

much reduced since its heyday but still with

a good, regular train service. You may want

to spend some time in the town and explore

the riverside etc. There are several pubs in

the town centre - mostly Brakspear although

the beer is no longer brewed here with one

exception! – THE BULL in Bell Street is

home to The Bell Street brewery at the back

of the pub. It brews the likes of Brakspear’s

Special and seasonal and individual beers as

required. Worth a visit to see what’s on. To

find the nearest pub then come out of the

station and turn right at the end and follow

the river round to Friday Street and THE

ANCHOR. This a very pleasant little two

roomed pub with a garden at the rear. It has

Brakspear beers often including seasonals or

guests from Ringwood.

If you fancy a choice of beers you could

head for the large CATHERINE WHEEL

(Wetherspoons) or carry on up Friday Street

and cross over into Greys Road where you

will find THE BIRD IN HAND. This is a

little Free house with a nice selection of local

beers including Brakspear (the local still love

it) and Hook Norton Mild as well as Fullers

London Pride and a couple of guests. There

is a very nice garden with a pond and aviary

out the back, but note the pub shuts between

2pm and 5pm Mon-Fri.

So there’s a day or two’s outings with some

train travel; some riverside vistas and some

decent beer (local and not so local). You

might find some pubs you didn’t know about

or maybe some old favourites but this way

you can enjoy a pint without the hassle of


Rover tickets for these lines are now available

at very reasonable prices. Ask for a Thames

Branches Day Ranger.


Dave McKerchar

Baskerville, Shiplake

Mine’s A Pint


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