Mine's a Pint - Winter 2018


The Winter 2018 edition of Mine's a Pint, 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.

December 2018

FRI 7: (14:00) Social, SWM CAMRA The Pig’s Ear Beer

& Cider Festival. Meet at the Round Chapel in Hackney

at 2pm. www.swm.camra.org.uk/viewnode.php?id=36068

SAT 8: Reading Ramble – North Hants CAMRA pub

crawl of Reading. Start Hope Tap, 99-105 Friar Street,

Reading, RG1 1EP (11:00) for breakfast, moving on at


January 2019

THURS 10: (20:00) First Social of the Year. Back of

Beyond, 104-108 King’s Road, Reading RG1 3BY. Follow

by pub crawl of “The Village” pubs.

WED 16: (20:00) Branch meeting. Eldon Arms, 19 Eldon

Terrace, Reading RG1 4DX. CAMRA members only,


SAT 19: (12:00) Regional Pub Crawl of London. Meet in

Hamilton Hall, Liverpool Street Station, EC2M 7PY.

SUN 27: (12:00) Social starting at the Alehouse, 2 Broad

Street, Reading, RG1 2BH.

February 2019

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

Start at Nags Head, 5 Russell Street, Reading, RG1 7XD.

SAT 9: Ale Trail starts.

SUN 17: Walk from Henley to the Flower Pot, Ferry Lane,

Aston, RG9 3DG for Sunday lunch (lunch must be prebooked).

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.

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 CKN Print Ltd, 2 North

Portway Close, Round Spinney,

Northampton, NN3 8RQ

01604 645555

Reading & Mid Berkshire CAMRA


Social Secretary: Chris Hinton


Contact for all other branch matters:

Katrina Fletcher


0779 401 9437

Local Trading Standards

From time to time, drinkers receiving

poor standards of service or poor

quality products may wish to raise

the matter with Trading Standards.

You now need to do this through

Citizens Advice, an organisation

which provides free, confidential and

impartial advice on consumer issues.

To contact Citizens Advice Consumer

Service call 03454 04 05 06 or visit

www.citizensadvice.org.uk and click

on Consumer.

The next issue of Mine’s a Pint will be

published in early March. Please feel

free to submit any copy or ideas by 1 st


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.

Mine’s A Pint


From The Editor

A pub is for life, not just for Christmas.

That’s the message from Sarah Crawford,

CAMRA’s regional director for Scotland

and Northern Ireland. It’s just as true for

England and Wales as the latest data shows

pubs still closing at an alarming rate – a net

loss of 18 per week across the UK. You can

read Sarah’s thoughts in this magazine about

Christmas drinkers and how we can support

our pubs into the new year.

Yes, that’s how “we” can support them.

Don’t sit back and think that it’s somebody

else’s problem. It’s yours, it’s mine, and it’s

all our responsibility to do something about

it. CAMRA has always been about customer

choice and promoting good quality, with real

ale and pubs at its heart. Without pubs we

lose that choice, and we lose the best outlet

there is for cask beer.

January is often the leanest month for pubs,

with various charities bizarrely encouraging

people to boycott their local businesses by

dressing it up as a health benefit. Yet we

can all act to support our pubs through this

tough time. It needs us to make a conscious

effort to go out and spend money there, even

if it’s cold and raining. If you don’t want to

drink alcohol then that’s a shame, but you

can still have a pub meal or support your

local in other ways. If we don’t, when the

sunshine and longer days come back, our

local may not be there to share them with us.

Here’s to the great British pub. Long may it



Phil Gill



Mine’s A Pint















Pub News


A local group is campaigning to save the

BRAMSHILL HUNT which is at risk of closure.

The owners Greene King are advertising it for

sale – on Rightmove of all places – and the price

plus the advertising details suggest that they see

its future as a house or a restaurant rather than

a pub. We understand that Greene King are

interested in a new pub site in the new housing



The latest in a long line of planning applications

to demolish the BANTAM in Omers Rise and

replace it with flats was awaiting decision as we

went to press.



The STAR on Reading Road has closed. Your

viewpoint about this Greene King pub tended

to depend on whether or not you were a regular



Nick and Hazel are celebrating eight years at the

FLOWING SPRING with a party on Saturday

8 December, featuring music from Three Bar

Fire. Looking ahead, this year’s Springstock

festival was such a success that they’re already

planning the next. Saturday 1 June 2019 is the

date for “Springstock 2” and you can expect a

music festival with six bands plus an outside

bar, food and stalls.


The PURPLE TURTLE has taken out its

handpumps but New Wharf beer is still

available in bottles and on keg. A Turtle Ale

sequel, a 6% ABV pale ale, is coming soon.

Image by Brian Jones

The Lands End has been refurbished including

a new flagstone floor and renamed the HERON

ON THE FORD. The beer range has increased

from two to three, with Brakspear Bitter and

Oxford Gold as regulars and a guest from the

Marstons range. This spacious rural pub has a

good sized garden with children’s play area and

is dog-friendly. Don’t try and drive through the

adjacent ford, especially in winter! The local

fire brigade are regular visitors to rescue people

who’ve got stuck in their cars in the middle of

the river.

The QUEENS HEAD on Christchurch Road

is up for lease from Ei publican partnerships

(what used to be called Enterprise). This is

currently the sister pub to the MODERATION

on Caversham Road. According to Ei, “An

experienced operator who can build on the

dry offer whilst maintaining the good levels of

wet trade, is now being sought” for the Queens


Mine’s A Pint


After five or more years of closure, the old

WELLINGTON ARMS on Whitley Street

looks set to become a branch of Greggs.

Building work has been going on for a while

at the CORN STORES on Forbury Road and

we’re eagerly awaiting its reopening, which

should happen before Christmas.

The JOLLY ANGLERS was closed at the time

of writing and the ACV moratorium had been

triggered. That means that when the owner of

an Asset of Community Value wishes to sell it,

they have to tell the Council who then ask if

any community groups want to be considered

as a potential purchaser. If the moratorium is

triggered, as in this case, there is a six month

period during which the owner can only sell the

pub to a community group, or sell it as a going

concern. There’s active community interest in

the pub so we’re hoping for a happy outcome.

The RETREAT in St John’s Road has had its

cellar refurbished and other works undertaken.

Best (Loddon), Inspector Morse IPA (Greene

King) and Sheep Dip (Plain Ales) were available

on a recent visit. You may find that sparklers

are used on the pumps.

There’s a planning application for a new

pub on land opposite the BLACK BOY. The

proposal is on behalf of Marstons and is likely

to be food-led if it gets the go-ahead. The full

description is “Erection of a part single storey

and part two storey building for use as a

restaurant and public house and three bedroom

flat with associated parking and landscaping

and creation of new access.”

Down the road on Church Lane, the SIX BELLS

is reported to have closed. We understand

there’s interest in the building from a restaurant

operator, although that would likely need

planning permission so we’re keeping an eye on




(what used to be the Warwick) was being run

by a holding manager at the time of writing,

with its future uncertain.

Meat eaters will enjoy the New Year’s Eve

menu at the LYNDHURST on Watlington

Street. A five course game tasting menu with

every course paired with a different drink starts

at 8pm, with live music from 10pm. The pub

was recently a finalist in the restaurant category

of the Reading Retail Awards.


Stuart is the new landlord at the BELL AND

BOTTLE – welcome! Red Kite (Vale), Reading

Mine’s A Pint


The Snooty Fox in its time as a pub

There was an interesting planning appeal

recently on the old Snooty Fox, which has

been closed for some time. In 2014 permission

was refused to turn the pub into a house and

in recent times it’s been trading as a “bicycle

cafe” alongside various other uses including

a meeting place for groups of cyclists. The

Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

had issued an enforcement notice against the

unauthorised conversion to a mixed use, and

in November the result of the owner’s appeal

against that notice was received.

The inspector issued a split decision, approving

the cafe and cycle repair elements of the use but

refusing the retail and meeting aspects. This

means that the loss of the pub has been accepted

in planning terms. The inspector considered the

cafe an “acceptable alternative” community

facility. In providing a food and drink facility

and a place for social interaction, she added, it

had a positive effect on the community.




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


All images are courtesy of the breweries unless

otherwise stated.


The current beer in the Hop Project series is the

dangerously drinkable Summit Melon, at 4.5%

ABV. Summit and Melon hops are used to give

a subtle melon character. The next beer in the

series will be Comet Blanc.

Hitting the pubs for

autumn is Woodsmoke

Porter, 5% ABV,

brewed using a

German beech-smoked

malt and double the

amount of chocolate

malt used last year, to

give a subtle smokiness

and a chocolate


V Old Ale is being

brewed in early

November, followed by The Warmer Winter

Ale for December.

All Binghams cask stouts and porters are now

vegan friendly. The bottled Vanilla Stout isn’t

(yet) but they’re working on that!

And if you want to find somewhere to drink

them – Twyford’s first micropub, “Binghams

Tap Room” is now open at 2b High Street,

Fridays and Saturdays only until Christmas.

See the separate article in this issue for more

information about this welcome addition to the

local pub scene.


Foxtrot, a 3.9% ABV winter ale should be

available from mid December, just in time for

Christmas. Described as dark,

mellow, fruity and complex,

it’s bristling with malt and hop

character. The warming flavours

of rich chocolate and crystal

malts and the brewer’s selection

of choice English Pioneer,

Fuggles and Admiral hops come

together to form this rich claret

coloured dark ale. It’s said to be

the perfect brew for cold winter evenings and

the ideal accompaniment to winter stews and

broths, sausages, pork pie, red meats and full

fat hard cheeses.

Looking ahead to the new year, Earl Grey IPA

at 3.9% ABV is planned to be available in


The online brewery shop has plenty of

Christmas gift ideas and offers free delivery

on orders over £50. Alongside the full range

of Chiltern ales you’ll find spirits and liqueurs,

as well as a range of foods including cheeses,

fudge, mustard and chutney, plus unusual gifts

such as wool fat bath soap and shaving soap.



The on-site shop in Heathlands Road,

Wokingham is open for the sale of bottles

and collection of pre-ordered polypins. Go to

bondbrews.co.uk/contact-us for the full address

and to find out how to order your favourite

Bond Brews beer.

Mine’s A Pint


Mike in the new brewery

Works to the new brewery have hit some delays

so the initial target of having beers available

from September wasn’t met, but Luci and Mike

have been busy and finally released their first

commercial batch in November. There are

three: Red Jungle Fowl, a 5% raspberry and

beetroot gose; Parka, a 4.5% pale ale; and

Seven Dollar Saturday, a 5.6% milk stout.

Initial deliveries were to the Fox and Hounds

in Caversham and the Nags Head in Reading.

They were on track to launch some cans of the

stout and gose in November and opened the

brewery taproom in Tilehurst at the start of

December. It’s planned to be open on Fridays

and Saturdays and you can find it at 20 Stadium

Way, near the Oxford Road just off Norcot

Junction roundabout. Card payments only.


Subject to licensing approval, Elusive plan to

open to the public on Saturdays in December

(8th/15th/22nd) at their site in Finchampstead.

They’ll have brand new beers in bottle and,

finally, some merchandise! Check on Twitter

nearer the time for final confirmation and more



The taproom at the brewery in Dunsden has

really taken off with lots of drinkers over the

weekends – a combination of locals, tourists,

walkers and cyclists. Taproom opening times

are Thursday – 10am to 6pm, Friday – 10am to

7pm and Saturday – 10am to 6pm. But with the

licence running until 11pm, they offer to stay

open all the time that there are people in.

Dan Hearn, the Marketing Manager of Loddon

Brewery, says:

“We’re delighted to have got a brewer of

Jake’s calibre. Formerly of Bradford Brewery

and Nightjar Brewery, he’s brimming with

great ideas and will be part of a big change in

direction for us, including a complete set of new

beers which will be announced in the new year.

The old classics won’t be going anywhere, but

expect to see some very different beers from us.

“It’s also bittersweet for us as we’re saying

goodbye to Steve, after 15 years, who’s sailing

off into a thoroughly well-deserved retirement.

We couldn’t have asked for a better brewer than

Steve, who has won us more than 60 awards

and produced consistently great beers that have

become firm favourites. He’s been an integral

part of everything we’ve done and we’re hugely

grateful to him, and wish him a long and happy



The brewery has increased capacity by a fifth,

taking the capacity up to 20,000 litres at any

one time. Alongside that there’s a vacancy for

an Assistant Brewer and also a Head of Sales

and Marketing. All details can be seen at www.


They supply the University of Reading and in

early December will be brewing a collaboration

beer with them. Looking ahead to the new year,

New Wharf will have a bar at Craft Beer Rising

in February showcasing eight different beers.

Loddon’s biggest news at the moment is the

appointment of their new Head Brewer Jake

Bartleet-Perry, who joined on November 5

and officially took over from Steve Brown on

November 27.

Mine’s A Pint



Rebellion have brewed Winter Royal for a

few years now as a special brew just before

Christmas. Originally brewed by the Wethereds

Brewery in Marlow, it became one of their

flagship beers until the brewery closed in

1988. In December 2016 Rebellion got hold

of the recipe and brewed a batch, reviving this

famous beer after a 28 year hiatus. Traditional

Fuggles and Goldings hop varieties add to the

authenticity of this classic English beer. The

result is a deep, ruby winter warmer at 5.4%

ABV, with a rich maltiness, soft bitterness and

a fantastic late and dry hop aroma.

This year they’re brewing twice the amount and

it will be available in pubs and bars and from

the brewery shop. Release date should be at the

beginning of December and they think they’ll

have stock for a few weeks, though they predict

it’ll run out sometime in the week commencing

17 December.

Available for rather longer is the winter

seasonal Gold, which should be out now and

last until February. As you might expect, this

4.4% ABV beer is a rich golden ale with an

intensely hoppy aroma. American Mosaic hops

give the beer a huge aroma of tropical fruits,

citrus fruits and red berry. The malt used is

Crystal and Munich. The bitterness is relatively

low despite the huge dose of late hops, so Gold

retains its drinkability and balance.


meet current bottling quality standards

and future-proof packaging options. This

would allow them to tap into the growing

demand for drinking at home in this


• Strategically expand. This is investment

in new equipment, more capacity and

improvements to systems and processes.

• Open new bars. Any overfunding will

allow for increased capacity and improve

efficiencies. If they raise over £1.5m, the

intention is to fast-track plans to bring

the Tap Yard experience to two city centre


One of the latest beers out of this prolific

brewery is Fable, a 4.2% ABV session pale

ale brewed with American hops. Interestingly

this was the subject of a naming competition

on Facebook and Twitter, with 497 suggestions

being received. The suggestions went off to

Siren’s collaborators Market Halls (a new

London-based food hall business) who chose

the winning name. Coincidentally it turned out

to be the suggestion from Siren’s neighbours

Elusive Brewing!



Siren have been crowdfunding. They want to

raise finance to accelerate the next phase of

their growth. People will be investing for equity

in the business, along with some rewards

including discounts, exclusive events, brewery

tours and more. In their own words “This is

your opportunity to own equity in Siren Craft

Brew and access exclusive investor rewards.”

Initially they were seeking £750,000 and made

it with five days to spare. The deadline for

investment has now been extended to Sunday

9 December.

The three main objectives are:

• Package Siren into cans. They want to

install a top-rate canning line that will

Mine’s A Pint


Dave Ball from Soft Cell enjoying a pint of Say Hello

Wave Goodbye at the West Berks Brewery Taproom

The latest of many beer and music collaborations

saw West Berkshire Brewery hook up with 80s

synth-pop duo Soft Cell to create a limitededition

new beer. Named “Say Hello Wave

Goodbye”, it was available exclusively in

Mitchells & Butlers pubs (Nicholson’s, Ember

Inns and Castle Pubs) in cask from September.

The 4.2% ABV pale ale was inspired by the

classic English Bitters that the band enjoyed

during their early years in Leeds, with the

addition of New World hops to reflect their time

in America. The beer has flavours of digestive

biscuit, toffee, grapefruit and orange. A 5.2%

bottled version of the beer is also planned to be

available as an extremely limited-edition oneoff


The name Say Hello Wave Goodbye is a

tribute to one of Soft Cell’s best-known songs

from their 1981 debut album Non-Stop Erotic

Cabaret. The classic Number One Tainted Love

also comes from the same album.

Dave Ball of Soft Cell commented “A pint is

a game of two halves, and I can confirm that

no synthesisers were used in the making of this


more substantial, there are Christmas packages

on offer that include a brewery tour and three

pints of beer plus, with other options, a festive

buffet, gift box and tasting session. Contact the

brewery for details and bookings.


Mandarin (4.7% ABV) is back in bottles for

December. It’s a light orange-coloured, hoppy

ale with a citrus aroma and the distinctive

and refreshing seasonal flavour of mandarin

oranges. Available in 330ml bottles – bottled

conditioned – for £2.50 from the brewery shop.

Paddy’s Christmas Pub Crawl of Windsor is on

Friday 21 December. It starts in the brewery tap

on the Vansittart Estate (Duke Street) at 5pm

and finishes in the George on Eton High Street

in time for last orders. Santa hats, Christmas

jumpers and singing may be involved and all

are welcome!


Available under the Renegade brand now and in

the run-up to Christmas is Smoke on the Porter,

a 6% ABV smoked rye porter. Bold smoky

flavours combine with an intensely smooth

mouthfeel and great complexity. Expect roasted

malt, caramel and spice with a hint of umami.

It’s available on draught and in 440ml cans.

Over at the brewery tap room in Yattendon,

every Thursday from 6pm you can get a free

pint with every burger. Shaun the chef makes

pizzas and burgers and has also added pies,

salads, bar snacks and a brand new sandwich

menu. And if you’re looking for something

Mine’s A Pint


XT have released no less than three winter

beers, and three new Animal specials.

Animal Ermine – The Pale Milk Stoat Stout

4.6% ABV. Pale but with a smoky smooth

richness. A subtle sweetness from the lactose

Mine’s A Pint


balances hints of beech, chocolate and liquorice

from a variety of malts. Wheat bulks up the

beer for plenty of mouthfeel and a satisfying

silky finish. Pleasant citrus and peppery notes

round off this beer, courtesy of high alpha

American hops.

Animal Snow Owl – Bottle only Winter Ale

4.6% ABV. A clean Winter Pale Ale stuffed with

Simcoe, Rakau and Wakatu hops. Flavours of

fig, passion fruit, citrus and fresh pine on a bed

of crisp pale malt. A little winter warmth and

spice creeps into the background.

XT-25 – Christmas Ale 4.7% ABV. A festive

rosey red ale, with English Golding and

New Zealand Wakatu hops for a top to

bottom winter warmer. Uses a very slow cold

fermentation technique in the German Altbier


Animal White Lion - Collaboration Special

4.6% ABV. Brewed in collaboration with

the White Lion pub in St Albans. Dr Rudi,

Motueka and Green Bullet hops deliver big

lemon/lime, floral and bitter pine flavours with

a subtle nutty note from the caramalt. Generous

Motueka dry-hopping further enhances the

lemon/lime notes for a citrus farewell.

Animal Spaniel - Homebrew Competition

Winner Collaboration Special 4.6% ABV. A

collaboration with the “Friends of the Shed”

homebrew group – this is an American IPA

based on the recipe from their competition

winning beer.

Animal Jack Rabbit – American Amber 5.5%

ABV. A heavily hopped American amber ale,

packed with Summit, Columbus, Cascade,

Citra and Chinook hops, “with a character to

match the bouncy, big eared Yankee.”

Several of our

customers are

featured in the

2019 CAMRA

Good Beer Guide



4 Real Ales Available

Food 12-2.30 daily, 6.30-9 Mon-Sat Evenings

All types of dietry food covered

Largest collection of cased fish, local focal point for


Warm welcome to all old and new customers




TEL: 01491 574721

Small Beer

A round up of news and information


final for the first time. A popular pub in the

heart of the village, it serves four real ales from

local breweries and is home to jazz sessions,

quizzes and regular visits from food providers.

The fourth and final pub in the top four is the

current CAMRA National Pub of the Year -

The Cricketers in St Helens. A friendly local

community pub also saved from closure, the

pub boasts 13 handpumps on the bar and

offers brews from newer regional brewers and

local microbreweries.

The Cricketers Arms in St Helens (top left), Volunteer

Arms (Staggs) in Musselburgh (top right), the Wonston

Arms in Wonston (bottom left) and the Chequers in

Little Gransden (bottom right)

All of the pubs in the competition are selected

by CAMRA volunteers and judged on their

atmosphere, decor, welcome, service, value for

money, customer mix and, most importantly,

quality of beer. The four finalists will now

have a chance to win the National Pub of the

Year title for 2018, which will be announced in

February 2019.

CAMRA has named the best four pubs in the

country as part of its Pub of the Year 2018

competition, one of the most respected and wellknown

pub awards in the UK. Unfortunately

our own Nags Head didn’t progress from the

final 16 but they can be very proud of having

won the regional stage of the contest.

Among the final four is the Volunteer Arms

(Staggs) in Musselburgh, a traditional local

decorated with wooden floors, wood panelling

and mirrors from defunct local breweries.

Run by the same family since 1858, it offers a

regularly changing range of real ale.

Also in the running is the Chequers in Little

Gransden, a village pub with wooden benches

and a roaring fire, which has been run by the

same family for over 60 years. It is also the

home of Son of Sid Brewery and the pub offers

a selection of their beers.

Saved from closure and now run by a

persevering community group, the Wonston

Arms in Wonston has made it through to the

Mine’s A Pint


Now we turn our thoughts to next year’s

contest, which starts all over again very soon.

For details of the shortlist for Reading & Mid

Berkshire Pub of the Year visit readingcamra.

org.uk where you can also find an online voting



Michael Hardman has resigned from CAMRA’s

National Executive.

Michael was one of the four original founders

of CAMRA and was elected to CAMRA’s

ruling body (essentially its board of directors)

18 months ago, becoming Chairman of the

Communications Committee. A journalist

on national newspapers and BBC radio, he

served as the Campaign’s national chairman

for two years from its foundation in 1971 and

later joined the fledgling organisation’s staff

in St Albans, editing the Good Beer Guide

and What’s Brewing, both of which he had

created. After leaving St Albans, he worked

in the brewing industry as a public relations


In 2015 Michael was invited to chair the

Revitalisation Project, whose recommendations

for CAMRA’s future policy and activities

were, with one exception, accepted by the

membership at the 2018 members’ weekend.

He said: “I have enjoyed being back in the

CAMRA fold and particularly helping to shape

future policy but I now need to focus on other

projects. I wish the Campaign the very best for

the future.”




Volunteers are needed for next year’s event

- taking place in the great city of Dundee.

Opportunities are available: during set up, with

vote counting, on the Members’ Bar, at the

Information Stand and with the CAMRA shop.

Find out more at agm.camra.org.uk or email



A CAMRA Gift membership is the ideal

Christmas gift for anyone who loves real ale,

cider, perry and pubs. This year there are a

number of great membership offers which

give a selection of gift choices and save money

too. One in particular that’s fun is the offer

of membership combined with a “My point

of brew” T shirt – they simply say “Bitter”,

“Mild”, “Sour” or “Stout” and are available in

a range of colours and sizes. See the advert in

this issue for more details.


Jackie Parker, CAMRA National Chairman (centre) and

members of the National Executive at the lobby day

Mine’s A Pint


Hundreds of CAMRA members descended on

Westminster at the end of October for a Mass

Lobby Day to send a message to MPs about

the very serious threats facing pubs. All agreed

there must be urgent reform to business rates,

Beer Duty and the Pubs Code to save the Great

British pub from extinction.

The Lobby Day day saw the launch of CAMRA’s

three point plan to save the Great British pub,

and encouraged MPs to commit to:

1. Introducing a preferential rate of duty for

draught beer.

2. Reforming the business rates system to

address the unfair burden on pubs.

3. Conducting an urgent review of the Pubs

Code so that the Market Rent Only option

becomes a genuine choice for tenants.

CAMRA members held meetings with MPs

throughout the day, which culminated in a rally

with speeches from the Chairman of the All

Party Parliamentary Beer Group, Mike Wood

MP, as well as Ruth Smeeth MP and Alan

Brown MP.

The Lobby came the day after the Budget, which

contained the very welcome decision to freeze

duty on beer and cider, and the announcement

of a new package of business rate relief that will

help smaller pubs. While this change will see

annual savings of up to £8,000 for some pubs,

CAMRA is extremely disappointed that pubspecific

rate relief has been scrapped, meaning

that pubs with a rateable value of over £51,000

will lose out. Many of these pubs saw the

largest rates increases after the last revaluation,

and are struggling under sky-high bills that

threaten them with extinction.

CAMRA’s National Chairman, Jackie Parker,


“While welcome, the Budget measures are just

a sticking plaster which doesn’t tackle the root

issue. There must be long-term change and

reform to business rates, Beer Duty and the

Pubs Code to stop the decline of pubs closing

which is currently 18 per week. The Lobby

Day has been a huge success. It gave members

an opportunity to speak to their MPs direct

about tackling the root causes of pub closures,

need for fundamental reform to ensure that

pubs remain at the heart of communities and

continue to make a valuable contribution to

our society, culture and economy.”

Speaking at the Members’ Rally, Mike Wood

MP, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary

Beer Group added:

“We need to make sure that we have a proper

review of local business taxation which goes

beyond what was announced (in the Budget)

on business rates, so that pubs of all sizes are

actually taxed at a fair rate and we have a

taxation system fit for the 21st century rather

than the 1950s, and one that recognises the

economy as it is now rather than one that was

based solely on land values.”

award winning beers and I personally could not

have done it without my Amigo. We have lost

an amazing part of New Wharf Brewing Co

and, in Stewart’s honour, we will brew a beer in

his memory; “Amigo”.


Flying Monk Brewery from Wiltshire are

looking for sales representatives in our area. If

you’re interested or for more details, see their




Kevin Black has asked us to include this tribute

to his friend Stewart who passed away in

October, and we’re happy to do so.

Amigo, Amigo, where are you Amigo? In

October 2018 we celebrated the life of a

friend and work colleague who gave so much

to making sure every day ran smoothly in

the brewery at New Wharf. Stewart wasn’t

shy of hard work and always embraced the

challenging environment that we faced. Many

people around the world have enjoyed our

Stewart and Kevin in the brewery

The last couple of months have been hard but

we must celebrate the life of a man who has

touched many people’s lives. Stewart was funny

and always laughed and joked about everything.

Everyday at around 11am his mobile would go

ping and he would say “ that’s my Sarah up” -

this always brought a smile to his face.

His other love in life was his daily packet of

digestive biscuits and wine gums. These became

a staple part of the brewery diet. Stewart was

also fond of his Breakfast Stout and always

got excited when we brewed it. Of course he

sampled it most days in the brewery for quality

control purposes. He treasured his son Dan

and daughter Georgi and was always telling me

about what they were up to.

I say goodbye to my Amigo but his memory

will live on in every beer I brew at the New

Wharf. On behalf of New Wharf Brewing Co

we would like to send our deepest condolences

to Dan, Georgie and Sarah.

Kevin Black

Head Brewer, New Wharf Brewing Co

Mine’s A Pint


The Grumpy Goat is Five

All images courtesy of the Grumpy Goat

Tucked away in Reading’s quirky Harris

Arcade you’ll find The Grumpy Goat, a

multi award-winning independent retailer

of bottled beers, artisan cheese and small

batch spirits. This winning combination

has brought Anne-Marie and Charlie Beatty

many successes over the years – most recently

Reading Retail Award’s “Independent

Retailer of the Year 2018”. They’re just

on the brink of their fifth birthday so we

thought we’d say a few words about their

fantastic little shop which has become a

Reading treasure.

The beer and cheese shop was set up in late

2013 and quickly became a success with

people buying Christmas presents and treats

for themselves. Over the years Anne-Marie

and Charlie have built upon their Grumpy

Goat brand to bring customers tastings, pop

up events, wedding cheese cakes, an annual

Home Brew competition and even their own

craft beer and music festival “Craft Theory”

www.crafttheoryfestival.co.uk which will be

in its third year in 2019.

Mine’s A Pint


When talking to Anne-Marie and Charlie you

can see how passionate they are about their

shop and brand. They seem to have hit on a

niche market but, with that combination in

mind, who doesn’t like beer and cheese when

there are so many combinations to try? They

now stock in the region of 450 different types

of beer from around the world, 50 different

cheeses from the UK and the continent and

around 70 different types of gin, rum, vodka,

whisky and liqueurs.

share a glass with them at the shop on Sunday

9 December (2pm-4pm). The Grumpy Goat

team will be brewing a special beer for the

event with Reading’s newest brewery Double

Barrelled, and there will be canapés from We

Are Friends (a local vegetarian and vegan

pop up). So, head down and raise a glass to

their continued success. See you there!

Phil Gill

Over the years you can see that Anne-Marie

and Charlie have invested more money where

they can to ensure that customers are happy.

For instance the addition of new fridges to

keep the beer cold in summer, and the wide

selection of spirits and liqueurs which is

probably bigger than any other selection in

an independent store in Reading.

They’ve introduced a loyalty card system

this year (to find out more about this take a

look at their website thegrumpygoat.co.uk).

Other ways they’ve developed the shopping

experience include the fact that they’re

happy to take beer recommendations and,

at Christmas, they have a pre-order service

for their cheese so customers can just drop

in and collect their Christmas cheese boards.

Anne-Marie and Charlie pride themselves

on their customer service and say they feel

privileged to employ such fantastic staff

who are also very knowledgeable and keen

to make a good impression on everyone

who steps through the door. When I asked

the pair about their plans for the future they

shared with me a couple of ideas. In the near

future they will be introducing a growler

fill system to enable customers to purchase

fresh beer straight from the taps and they

also have plans to set up a monthly beer box

which you can purchase online.

But the real reason for this article is to mark

their big fifth birthday! To celebrate, Anne-

Marie and Charlie are inviting everyone to

Mine’s A Pint


Offering a wide range of real ale in all styles

Plus World Beers - Cider - Perry


19 - 23 FEBRUARY

Tuesday 19 th Members Preview 17:30 - 22:30

Wednesday 20 th - Saturday 23 rd 12:00 - 22:30

Free Entry For CAMRA Members



The Halls, St Andrews Plain, Norwich NR3 1AU

GBBFWinter GreatBritishBeerFestivalWinter

Reading CAMRA

Gala Awards

and dedicated the award to him. There’s a tribute

to Stewart elsewhere in this magazine.

We also paid tribute to a couple of long-serving

licensees, Carole from the Magpie & Parrot,

Shinfield and to Jenny & Vic from the Swan at

Three Mile Cross, all of whom have been inpost

for more than 30 years, a very impressive

achievement in this day and age.

Every year, Reading &

Mid Berkshire CAMRA

hold an annual “gala

awards” ceremony to

promote and celebrate

the best, the longest and

sometimes the unusual.

Recipients of awards

from local pubs and

breweries are invited

for an evening of fun,

networking… and the

odd pint or three!

This year, we hosted our

event at Park House, at

the University of Reading; a very apt location, as it

had just learnt that it was celebrating its first-ever

entry into the Good Beer Guide!

And to prove we aren’t a bunch of stick-in-the-mud

traditionalists, we marked a couple of pubs which

have been refurbished / extended / remodelled in

an exceptionally impressive way – the Black Boy

in Shinfield and the Shurlock Inn at Shurlock Row.

Also this year we did an award as a one-off

“longest closed pub for no good reason”. Not

really an award as such, but to mark the sad fact

that the Lower Ship on Duke Street was purchased

by Samuel Smith Brewery over 30 years ago but

has never opened. A fine building going to waste

as well as local drinkers being deprived of an

outlet for traditional Yorkshire brews! The photo

for this is on the cover.

A fine evening was had by all, with a number of

people hanging round until closing time (that’s a

Awards were presented for various “of the year”

or “OTY” awards. The Nags Head celebrated yet

another win as overall Reading CAMRA Pub of

the Year, voted for by local CAMRA members and

judged over a variety of different factors, ideally

looking for an excellent quality all-rounder with

top quality beer as the most important aspect, of


Awards from the Reading Beer and Cider Festival

were also presented, for various style winners and

of course Beer of the Festival, as selected by two

rounds of rigorous blind judging. Congratulations

were in order to New Wharf who won with

their Breakfast Stout. The award was especially

poignant as Kevin Black, who collected the award,

revealed that his co-brewer and best friend Stewart

had passed away just a couple of days previously,

Mine’s A Pint


sign of a good night!). We’d like to extend our

gratitude to Matt and Kathy of the University’s

bar team, who helped host this event and laid on

an excellent spread of food and local beer.

We’ll be having this event again next year, so if

you can think of pubs, publicans or breweries who

deserve a special award, why not contact us and

let us know?

Quinten Taylor

Mine’s A Pint


Binghams Tap Room -

Twyford’s First Micropub

All images courtesy of Sue Thirlaway

Binghams Brewery has opened a pop-up tap

room in the heart of Twyford. The venture,

which unfortunately is temporary as the

unit is only available until Christmas, will

be open every Friday and Saturday until

Christmas from 11am until 10pm.

Tucked away in a corner but easily

identifiable by the striking red signage, it’s

located at Twyford Crossroads, at 2b High

Street, and in the past has been a bridal wear

shop (hence the chandelier!), an antique

shop and, before that, a pub called The Bell.

The brewery team received the keys to the

premises only the day before the tap room

was due to open and worked into the night

to be ready to welcome customers on Friday

2 November. On the opening day there were

four cask beers available to drink on site or

take home:

• Twyford Tipple, a 3.7% tawny bitter

with a citrus hop finish

• Hop Project Summit Melon, 4.5%

with a refreshing, subtle melon hop


• Space Hoppy IPA, 5% with citrus hops

• Vanilla Stout, 5%, deservedly

Champion Beer of Britain for 2016

Mine’s A Pint


Expect to find changes on each visit. Bottled

beers from Binghams, and wine and cider are

also on sale.

As the brewery is located just down the

road in Ruscombe, the tap room qualifies

for CAMRA’s LocAle scheme, designed to

promote local breweries and reduce beer

miles. An impromptu presentation of a

Locale sticker was made on the opening day

and it now takes pride of place on the front


There’s no music, sport, TVs or WiFi: this is

somewhere to come for a friendly welcome

and to sit and chat with friends over a beer.

Sue Thirlaway

Mine’s A Pint



Back in the day, Fuller’s beers were transported

through the city using horse and wagon. The horses

would get thirsty and the drivers would give them a

bottle or two. Soon the horses developed a fondness

refused to drink water. So, in effect the wagons were

powered by Fuller’s beer. These days we use vans

for those narrow London streets, but no one’s tried

Fuller’s beer in the fuel tanks, yet. Is that possible?

D R I N K AWA R E . C O . U K

127 Route Pub Crawl

There’s a rover ticket that lets you get on and

off the bus as much as you like during the day.

With Sonning, Twyford, Hare Hatch, Knowl

Hill and many other places on the route we

couldn’t cover everywhere. So we decided to

start at Littlewick Green with the Shire Horse,

one of many pubs that lend their names to the

bus stops on the route.

Our group at Binghams Brewery

When you’re a beer drinker and you think of

a day out, where springs to mind? London

perhaps? Bath? Oxford? Maybe even a part of

Reading that you haven’t visited for a while.

Perhaps “the A4” wouldn’t be high on your list.

But think about it for a while – an old coaching

road will have a great selection of pubs and,

while some will have closed in recent years,

there’s still a good number along the road and

in the villages that it bypasses.

But how to get to those pubs without driving?

Luckily Courtney Buses run a route 127 on

Saturdays between Reading and Maidenhead.

So, back in September, a group of us met up on

Friar Street one sunny morning for a pub crawl.

This is a Chef & Brewer pub, a lovely 18 th

century building that used to be one of the

coaching inns, and has been modernised while

still retaining many period features. Like all

in the chain it offers a discount on real ale to

CAMRA members. The menu looked good but

it was a bit early for food so we enjoyed a few

beers from Rebellion Brewery and chatted with

a couple from Maidenhead branch who had

cycled out to meet us.

A quick check on the timetable, then it was

outside to catch the next bus. The same bus

driver that had driven us there in the morning

then realised what we were up to. “Pub lunch,

is it?” “No, a pub crawl.” “Ah, good stuff.” It

was only a five minute journey to our next stop,

Knowl Hill, and we met two other CAMRA

members on board who were joining us for the

rest of the crawl.

The Royal Oak in Knowl Hill was our next

choice and, although the pub sign is prominent

on the A4, if you’re driving past at speed you

could easily miss the pub itself – it’s actually

a short walk up the road called Knowl Hill

Common. It’s a free house that’s popular with

locals and welcoming to visitors, and offers

two regular beers plus a guest. Most of us went

for the guest mild but unfortunately it died as

soon as it was poured. After a few minutes

the replacement guest from the local Stardust

Brewery of White Waltham came on, and was

in much better condition. This was our planned

food stop and we all enjoyed the generous

portions of home-cooked lunches.

The Shire Horse, Littlewick Green

Mine’s A Pint


The Royal Oak, Knowl Hill

After that we split up to cover the two other

remaining pubs in the village. Both are largely

food-based but both are also happy for people

to come in just for a drink. Those who visited

the New Inn reported an unexceptional pint of

Rebellion IPA while, further down the road,

the Bird in Hand offered a range of Wadworth


The Bird in Hand, Knowl Hill

Back on the bus, then, for another short hop to

Ruscombe. Here we split up again, some having

a quick drink in the Royal Oak (Buratta’s) – the

bus arrived about 15 minutes before afternoon

closing time! – while others went straight to

Binghams Brewery. We’d phoned ahead and

found there were a few spaces on the brewery

tour that afternoon so we settled in.

New Inn, Knowl Hill

When the Bird in Hand was a family-owned

free house it offered a wide selection of real

ales from microbreweries and was a proper

destination venue, being regularly in contention

for our branch Pub of the Year award. Since

being taken over by Wadworth a couple of

years ago it’s been refurbished and seen major

investment, but the beer range is now restricted

to the owners’ products and there seems less

of a reason to make a special journey to go

there. The first beer we chose was off but it

was replaced with a much better example and –

after a brief bit of miscommunication between

the bar staff – the first one appeared to be taken

off sale.

Mine’s A Pint


The Royal Oak, Ruscombe

Chris Bingham was hosting the tour that day

and he gave an entertaining talk about how

he got into brewing as a student, the long and

involved process of setting up his own brewery,

the brewing process and the ingredients used in

the recipes, alongside tasting several glasses of

the beers. Stout, the brewery dog, even made an

appearance at the end and of course received

plenty of fuss. Beers from Binghams and their

new craft label Ricochet (unfined, unfiltered

and suitable for vegans) were available for

purchase and the shop was doing a steady

trade from locals while we were there. Look at

binghams.co.uk for tour details and to book


The brewery was the end of our organised pub

crawl as the buses only run in the daytime, but

some of the group walked on into Twyford and

had some very good quality beer at the Golden

Cross before getting the train back to Reading.

Others headed back to the Royal Oak once it

reopened for the evening and had an excellent

meal. It was a fine day out.

If you’ve been inspired to check out the A4,

visit courtneybuses.com for details of the 127

timetable and fares. Also, looking in the other

direction, the Reading Buses (reading-buses.

co.uk) Jet Black route no. 1 takes you west

along the A4 from Reading to Newbury and is

also a great way to visit a wide range of pubs.

Both the pubs and the buses will be grateful

for your custom and the two complement each

other perfectly, so get planning your day out!

Phil Gill

Mine’s A Pint


Shop and Taproom

Opening Hours

Shop Open Daily:

10am to 6pm

Taproom Open Daily:

10am to 6pm,

Weds - Sat until 11pm

Kitchen Open:

Tues - Sun 12pm to 3pm,

Weds - Sat 6pm to 9pm

Phone: 01635 767090

Email: info@wbbrew.co.uk


Available for private tours

Please call 01635 767090 or

Email: taproomandkitchen@wbbrew.co.uk

West Berkshire Brewery Shop, Taproom & Kitchen.

The Old Dairy, Yattendon, Berkshire, RG18 0XT

Mine’s A Pint


A Pub is for Life

A pub is for life … not just for


Christmas is the time of year where people like

to socialise more with friends, family and some

are even forced to socialise with colleagues! The

pubs are bursting at the seams with “Seasonal

Drinkers”. Seasoned drinkers lose their favourite

spot at the bar as their chairs are moved to

accommodate the swathes of new customers.

Regulars get annoyed as their local is taken over

by the new celebrating clientele. Publicans are

rubbing their hands, counting the money ringing

into their tills.

But, with the final bars of Auld Lang Syne still

echoing in our ears, when the New Year bells

have fallen silent, so do the tills. The chairs are

moved back in front of the bar and usual service

resumes. What happened to the Christmas

drinkers, people ask? All licensees can do is

shrug their shoulders and hope their December

windfall can last them through the new year.

According to official figures, every week 18

pubs close their doors forever. The high cost of

drinking is usually cited as a reason for people to

drink at home. While CAMRA still continues to

campaign on behalf of pubs and breweries these

said tax rises add extra pressure on the industry.

Pubs are struggling under a triple whammy of

high beer duty, rapidly rising business rates and

VAT. As a result, a third of the cost of a pint is

now made up of various taxes.

So what’s your New Year’s resolution? I’ll let

you into a secret and tell you what mine is. I’m

going to make sure I visit at least one new pub a

month. Why don’t you do the same? I promise

you, it’ll be loads of fun!

Sarah Crawford

(adapted from an article originally written for

Scottish CAMRA magazines)





Mine’s A Pint


The ultimate

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lover in your life

Give your beer or pub lover a whole year’s

worth of enjoyment ent with CAMRA membership

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*Joint and under 26 prices are also available.

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available in bitter, mild,

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Please visit www.camra.org.uk/membership-rates for more information

Merry Christmas and

Happy New Beer!

Order your Gift Membership online

at www.camra.org.uk/christmasgifts

Alternatively you can send this form to:

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St Albans, Herts, AL1 4LW

Please complete the following details

and tick the membership you would like

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