Mine's a Pint - Winter 2019

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The Winter 2019 edition of the magazine of the Reading & Mid-Berkshire Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

THE MAGAZINE FOR READING AND

MID BERKSHIRE BRANCH OF THE

CAMPAIGN FOR REAL ALE

IN THIS ISSUE...

PUB & BREWERY NEWS

GALA AWRDS EVENING

SMALL BEER

DOUBLE-BARRELLED BREWERY

THE PROMOTION

OF LAGER IN THE UK

& MORE...

FREE

ISSUE FIFTY TWO WINTER 2019



Branch Diary

All meetings and social events are relaxed and friendly. Nonmembers

are welcome to all events except branch meetings.

Please check the website before setting out in case of any

last-minute changes.

DECEMBER

Thursday 5th: (20:00) Pub of the Year judging, First

Thursday of the Month Social. Nags Head, 5 Russell Street,

Reading, RG1 7XD. We will move on c21:00 to Alehouse,

2 Broad Street, Reading, RG1 2BH to finish the night.

Saturday 7th: (13:00) Social, hosted by SWM CAMRA

branch, The Annual Windsor Xmas Pub Walk. swm.camra.

org.uk/viewnode.php?id=36068 Trains times from Reading

12:03, arrival Windsor & Eton Central 12:36. Return from

Windsor 17:59 or 18:59, arrival Reading 18:21 or 19:21

JANUARY 2020

Thursday 9th: (20:00) First Social of the Year. Zerodegrees

(upstairs), 9 Bridge Street, Reading, RG1 2LR. We have a

table booked for 19:00 so, if you wish to eat, you can use

our table upstairs. They will be serving their normal menu:

zerodegrees.co.uk/menu/?filter_venue=reading

Saturday 25th: Regional Pub Crawl in London. Based

around the Southwark / Borough area. Start (12:00) at the

Waterloo Tap, Sutton Walk, Lambeth, SE1 8RL.

FEBRUARY 2020

Thursday 6th: (20:00) Pub of the Year judging, First

Thursday of the Month Social. Fox & Hounds, 51

Gosbrook Road, Caversham, RG4 8BN. We will move on

c21:00 to the Greyfriar, 53 Greyfriars Road, Reading, RG1

1PA to finish the night.

Saturday 8th: (12:00) Start of the Ale Trail 2020. Greyfriar,

53 Greyfriars Road, Reading, RG1 1PA.

ADVANCE NOTICE

7th-10th May 2020: 26th Reading Beer & Cider Festival,

Christchurch Meadow, Caversham, RG4 8BY. See website

for volunteering. readingbeerfestival.org.uk

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

3

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

editor@readingcamra.org.uk

0771 455 0293

81 Addison Road, Reading, RG1 8EG

Magazine published on behalf of

Reading and Mid Berkshire CAMRA

by: Neil Richards MBE at Matelot

Marketing

01536 358670 / 07710 281381

n.richards@btinternet.com

Printed by CKN Print Ltd, 2 North

Portway Close, Round Spinney,

Northampton, NN3 8RQ

01604 645555

Reading & Mid Berkshire CAMRA

www.readingcamra.org.uk

Social Secretary: Chris Hinton

social@readingcamra.org.uk

Contact for all other branch matters:

Katrina Fletcher

contact@readingcamra.org.uk

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, as long

as there’s a new Editor. Please feel

free to submit any copy or ideas by 1

February and you could see your name

in print!

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 2019.



From the Editor

Welcome to the latest issue of Mine’s a Pint.

After 13 years and over 50 issues I’m handing

over the reins to… well, I don’t know yet.

Maybe you?

It’s been tremendously satisfying for me and all

our contributors to be able to look back and

say “We did that”. Reading’s beer scene has

improved so much over the last decade and

a bit, and it’s been great fun to report on the

changes. I hope we’ve kept you entertained and

informed over the years, and that you continue

to enjoy reading the magazine.

Looking forward, I hope that a volunteer

comes forward to take the magazine and make

it even better. I’ll have that eager anticipation of

picking up the new issue and finding out what’s

inside. And I’ll be proud to have been a part of

it. I hope you will be too.

Here’s to real ale, and quality beer in all its

forms. Here’s to the Great British Pub. And

here’s to Mine’s a Pint and its loyal readers.

Thank you all, it’s been great!

Cheers!

Phil Gill

Editor, Mine’s a Pint

editor@readingcamra.org.uk

Contents

Branch Diary & Contacts: 3

From the Editor: 5

Pub News: 6 & 7

Gala Awards Evening: 9

Brewery News: 10 & 11

Small Beer: 12 & 13

Double-Barrelled Brewery: 15 - 19

Behind The Bar - The Retreat: 20

Beer Scoring: 22 & 23

The Promotion of

Lager in the UK: 25 - 27

Join CAMRA: 28 & 29

Mine’s A Pint

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Pub News

Arborfield

Plans have been submitted to knock down

the closed Bramshill Hunt in Arborfield and

replace it with a village shop. The pub had

been serving the community since the 19th

century but Greene King recently sold it due to

struggling business. The building is not listed or

designated an Asset of Community Value. The

shop would be designed to serve the housing

development on the old Arborfield Garrison.

Calcot

West Berkshire Council have turned down

planning permission to demolish Murdochs

on Bath Road, Calcot, and replace it with a

car park. The pub has been closed since 2013.

Housing plans for the site have been put on

hold due to Brexit worries. The ‘eyesore’ is

not allowed to be demolished until there is a

planning approval in place.

Caversham

The Prince Of Wales in Caversham reopened as

The Last Crumb at the beginning of October.

The Dodo Pub Company have transformed

the traditional Brakspear pub, moving the

bar and making a feature of an open kitchen.

The slightly canteen look pub now specialises

in burgers and pizza as well as breakfasts.

They have a happy hour session from 5 – 7pm

during the week which sees some ales at £3 a

pint. Food deals include Neapolitan pizza for

£5 from Tuesday – Friday lunchtime and a

selection of burgers for £5 on Mondays. The

pub has five handpumps and on a recent visit

the beers available were Brakspear’s Oxford

Gold, Arkell’s Moderation IPA and Animal’s

Hop Kitty; Doombar was off. There was also

a cider on the hand pump: Yellow Hammer

Carnival Cider from The Cotswold Cider Co.,

as well as a wide range of craft keg beers. The

pub is open from 9am – 11pm everyday and

serves food from 9am - 2.30pm and 6pm –

9.30pm Monday to Friday and from 9am –

3pm and 6pm - 9.30pm at the weekend.

Earley

The George, at Loddon Bridge has reopened

after a refurbishment. A recent visit found

only Doombar on and Loddon Hullabaloo

and Greene King IPA promised as coming

soon. They have food deals throughout the

week, including pies for £8 on Wednesdays, £9

rump steak on Thursday and Fish and Chips

for £8 on Friday. There are live music events

in December.

Knowl Hill

On a recent visit, The New Inn, Knowl Hill was

closed and all of the furniture had gone.

Reading

The Battle Inn on Oxford Road is now up for

sale for redevelopment into six one and two

bedroom flats.

CAMRA award winner The Nags Head, in

Russell Street has twelve hand pumps and eight

keg lines for craft beers. They have a selection

of twelve real ciders, many offered at room

temperature or chilled from the fridge. Regular

events include live music, quizzes and tap

takeovers. On Saturday 21 December there will

be a Christmas Carol evening with South Berks

Concert Band and mulled cider and festive

beers will be available.

Phantom Brewing Co has opened a tap room

alongside its new brewery, with Matt Crook

from Siren Craft joining as the Tap Room

Mine’s A Pint

6


Manager. The new Reading brewery is located

at Unit 3 Meadow Road, near Cardiff Road.

Initially the tap room is only going to be open

on Fridays and Saturdays, and opened just

before this magazine was published. They are

mainly focusing on hoppy pale ales and IPAs.

Save the date and get pickling! See the Behind

the Bar feature in this issue for more about

Brian and the pub.

The Back of Beyond, a Wetherspoons in Kings

Road, has had planning permission granted for

a garden extension. The already popular beer

garden by the river will be extended into the

current bottle bin and car park area.

The Lyndhurst in Queens Road reopened

under new management in the summer. On a

recent visit the beers available were Bath Ales’

Gem, Wye Valley’s HPA and West Berkshire

Brewery’s Good Old Boy. Curry night is on a

Thursday from 5pm – 9pm when a curry and

a pint is £9.99. The choice of curry changes

weekly but pints stay the same with a choice of

HPA, Orchard Pig or Heineken.

The Retreat in St John’s Street was recently

under threat with the tenancy becoming

available. Three local residents stepped in

to save the pub and have successfully done

so, with Brian Moignard staying on as the

landlord. The pub first opened in 1875 and is a

proper community pub focusing on real ale and

good atmosphere. They have regular live music.

On a recent visit the beers on were Harvey’s

Sussex Best, Marston’s 61 Deep, Sharps’

Cornish Coaster, Spitfire’s Gold, Theakston’s

Old Peculiar and Young’s Special. The pub will

be closed briefly in January due to a facilities

renovation. Following that, the famous Pickled

Onion Contest will be on 9 February 2020.

Mine’s A Pint

7

To complete the news from ‘The Village’, the

former Eldon Arms, on Eldon Terrace, has

now reopened as The Weather Station. On 20

September the pub’s doors were reopened by

Wild Weather Brewery, who also have a tap

room in Aldermaston. The owners expressed

that Reading had a very encouraging beer

scene but when looking for a premises they

wanted to take this a little further outside of the

town centre. The traditional interior has been

replaced with orange walls, high barrel tables

and stools. There are three hand pumps and

twenty keg lines. They have monthly tap take

overs which featured Brew York in November.

Although the majority of the beers are their

own they also have other brews available

which have included Reptile Dysfunction IPA

from Staggeringly Good, Raspberry Saison

Farmhouse Ale from Three Blind Mice, Life on

Marzen from Oxbrew and Amplified Imperial

Stay Puft Porter from Tiny Rebel Brewing Co

as well as cider from Tutts Clump. The pub is

open Tuesday – Thursday 3pm -11pm, Fri and

Saturday 12-12 and Sunday 12-9pm.

Shinfield

The Bell & Bottle in Shinfield has been taken

over by new managers Andrew and Ginny.

They have reopened the kitchen serving classic

pub food from 12 – 3pm and 5 – 7pm, seven

days a week, but times can vary so it is worth

phoning ahead.

Evelyn Harrison-Bullock


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Mine’s A Pint

8


Gala Awards Evening

the Reading & Mid Berkshire CAMRA branch

was honoured, with special awards presented

to Laurence Hansford, Dave McKerchar,

Phillip Gill and John Dearing.

Binghams picked up a number of awards on the

night. L-R holding certificates: Michelle Bingham,

Chris Bingham and Delia Allot. Accompanied by

Sue Thirlaway and James Moore of CAMRA.

The Reading & Mid Berkshire Campaign for

Real Ale (CAMRA) celebrated the best of the

region’s pubs, beers and volunteers at their

annual Gala Awards evening on 18 September

at the Castle Tap, Reading.

Reading CAMRA branch Chair, James Moore,

said:“The Gala Awards evening is a brilliant

opportunity for the local pub, beer and cider

community to get together and celebrate

the work they do in an industry that entails

long hours and hard work to bring the best

experience to the people of Reading. Having

both a local brewery and pub receiving national

recognition this year is fantastic and a real

testament to the range and quality of pubs and

brews produced locally.”

“I’m also especially proud that this year

we focused on our volunteers, with some

outstanding individuals being recognised for

their years of dedication.”

Quinten Taylor

This year’s gala awards had the following

themes:

• National awards

• Pub awards (Pub of the Year and other

specific pub awards)

• Celebrating a number of long-standing

branch volunteers

• Champion Beers of the Reading Beer

Festival 2019

Among the highlights:

The Nags Head in Reading celebrated another

Pub of the Year win (as well as making the last

16 nationally of CAMRA’s Pub of the Year

competition).

Seona MacKenzie, licensee of the Clifton Arms

in Caversham, received a special award for long

service (35 years).

Bingham’s Brewery basked in the glory of

winning Gold in the ‘Speciality Beer’ category

at the Great British Beer Festival, for their

Vanilla Stout.

Over 150 years of collective volunteering for

Mine’s A Pint

9


Binghams

Binghams Brewery won overall Gold in the

Speciality Category of the Champion Beer of

Britain competition 2019 with their excellent

Vanilla Stout. In 2016 this superb beer was

judged Supreme Champion Beer of Britain.

The certificate for this achievement, plus two

certificates for the London and South East Area

round (in which Binghams Vanilla Stout was

judged Gold in the Speciality Category, and

Doodle Stout won Silver in the Stout Category),

were presented to the directors at the Reading

and Mid-Berks CAMRA Awards Evening on

18 September at the Castle Tap in Reading.

Binghams will be opening their Ruscombe

brewery for people to have a drink or two

next to the brewing vessels for the following

Saturdays (11:30am-4:30pm) in December:

7 th , 14 th and 21 st . They will have their awardwinning

beers available on draught and you

can have a seat and a chat while enjoying them!

The special for December will be The

Warmer, a dark winter ale. Think ‘dark

bitter’ rather than as dark as a stout or

porter! There will also be the return of

the excellent Xmas Cake

Stout in limited quantities

in December. V Old will return

as the monthly special in January

2020, a dark, malty, smooth old

ale.

The brewery is now running a

recycling scheme covering many

items not collected at the kerbside.

Just drop into the shop and deposit

items in the clearly marked bin

during opening hours: Monday to

Thursday 10 to 6, Friday 10 to 7

and Saturday 11 to 5. Items collected include

crisp packets and Pringles tubes; coffee pods;

biscuit, chocolate and sweet wrappers; bread

bags; spray trigger heads; pens and markers.

Please check the poster at the brewery for the

latest list.

Chiltern Brewery

Chiltern Brewery are celebrating their 40th

Anniversary year and the establishment of the

Brewery. To mark this momentous occasion

they are brewing a limited edition Anniversary

Sparkling Ale. The limited edition ale will be

matured and bottled

available for sale this

Christmas. They have

also returned the 300s

Old Ale (4.9% ABV)

to the draught line-up

and brought back Glad

Tidings, a 4.6% Winter

Stout, a 4.4% ABV

Salted Caramel Ale and three Imperial Stouts!

(Export Original, 9.5% - A carefully crafted

combination of roasted barley and Challenger

hops that results in a full-bodied and satisfyingly

rich Imperial Stout / Gingerbread, 8.5% - Full

of character and cheer, this uncompromising

dark beer boasts real root ginger balanced with

a delicate bitter-sweetness / Royal Vanilla, 8.0%

- Brand new for 2019, this Vanilla Imperial

Stout perfectly pairs the subtle sweetness of

vanilla with heartily roasted barley to produce

a thoroughly indulgent, and carefully balanced,

dark beer.)

Phantom Brewing Co &

Mortimer Brewing Company

News reaches us here at the Mine’s a Pint

newsdesk of not one but two new breweries

opening in the area!

Phantom Brewing Co has opened in Unit 3,

Meadow Road off Cardiff Road including a

tap room on site. The tap room will be open on

Fridays and Saturdays initially. Their main beer

focus will be on hoppy pale ales and IPAs. The

Mine’s A Pint

10


head brewer, Dane was previously the brewer

at Redcat Brewery in Winchester.

Mortimer Brewing Company has just got going

in Mortimer Common and at time of writing

the brewery was constructed and the first brews

were being produced - watch this space for

more or check out mortimerbrewing.co.uk

Siren Craft Brew

Siren’s favourite Grapefruit Sour IPA,

Pompelmocello (6% ABV), is back and it’s

joined by their gluten free session IPA, Futurist

(4.8% ABV). In Collaboration with

Kings & Daughters Brewery, Siren

have also recently released Oats on

Oats, a 7.2% ABV IPA. This beer

is packed full of oats, supporting

a

Nelson Sauvin, Citra, Mandarina

Bavaria and Hallertau Blanc hop

complement. Other recent beers are

Castilian Lemon Cheesecake, a

6.2% ABV Juicy Lemon Sour

IPA, Marginal Grains, a 5%

ABV American Wheat Beer

(using wild herbs), Escape

Artist, a 5.9% ABV IPA, Paper

Rock Scissors, a 8.5% ABV

Double IPA (brewed in collaboration

with Northern Monk), Feed the Fire, a 7.4%

ABV West Coast IPA, Big Red Machine, a

5.8% ABV Red IPA and Guava Script, a 4%

ABV Pink Guava Sour.

West Berkshire Brewery

Some new/seasonal beers

available from West Berkshire

for those who like dark beers

are Holly Cutter, a 4.5% ABV

Old Ale, Stay Grounded, a

10% ABV Mocha Imperial

Stout and Smoke on the

Porter, a 6% ABV Smoked

Porter.

James Moore

Stardust

New beers launched by Stardust are Helix, a

4.4% ABV autumnal modern

bitter. Chinook and Cascade

hops give this beer a piney

hop flavour while the crystal

and chocolate malts create a

warming malty body. Do you

like your hops? They have

also launched Nox, a 6.3%

ABV Pale. This unfined pale

packs the full range. 4 different

aromatic and fruity American

/ New Zealand hops are used to give the full

spectrum of hop flavour.

Mine’s A Pint

11


Small Beer

A round up of news and information

Your Name Here

Just in case you missed it … Mine’s a Pint needs

a new Editor.

It’s basically someone to oversee and manage the

production of each issue. Matelot Marketing

are our publishers and they provide design,

advertising, invoicing and printing services. We

have a distribution team who make sure that

the magazines get into the pubs. So the Editor’s

role is to be responsible for the words and

pictures in the magazine, and to coordinate the

editorial team.

It covers things like:

• Being the public contact point for the

magazine.

• Planning the content of each issue.

• Writing, or sourcing from others, the

content.

• Liaising with the publishers and uploading

content to them.

• Proof reading and signing off the magazine

for printing.

• Reporting to the branch on anything about

the magazine that they need to know.

If that sounds like you – or even if you’d like

to help out with part of it – please get in touch

with me (Phil Gill) for a chat. You can contact

me on editor@readingcamra.org.uk or on

07714 550293.

If no-one calls, this will be the last issue of

Mine’s a Pint, and that would make a lot of

people very sad.

Pub of the Year

Congratulations to the Bell at Aldworth, which

has been named in the final four for CAMRA’s

Pub of the Year contest. Just to be clear – that’s

the final four nationally and reflects what a

tremendous place the Bell is.

Owned by the same family for 130 years

and with a historic interior listed as being of

national importance by CAMRA, the Bell has

actually won the competition before, in 1990.

Its name refers to bells which were part of the

coat of arms of the traditional landowners.

The competition for the national title is strong:

The Swan With Two Necks in Pendleton,

near Clitheroe, Lancashire and the George

& Dragon in Hudswell, Richmond, North

Yorkshire, are also both former winners, while

the Red Lion in Preston (East Anglia) became

the first community-owned pub in Britain in

the 1980s. 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 quality of

beer – the national winner will be announced in

February 2020.

The Bell’s large open garden and excellent beer

attract walkers and drinkers from far and wide.

It’s well known for its hot soups and filled

rolls, ploughman’s platters and hot puddings.

A must-visit if you’re ever anywhere near West

Berkshire.

Update Your Contact Details

If you’d like to know what’s

going on in the branch and find

out about events that are coming

up, please go to the national

CAMRA website and make sure

Mine’s A Pint

12


you’ve added your email address and – crucially

– given us permission to use it to contact you.

This is especially important for anyone who’s

joined CAMRA in the last few months. There’s

now a need to give separate consent in order for

us to be able to mail you, and we’ve found that

a lot of people miss that bit. It’s getting silly

when we get, say, 10 new members in a month

but can only mail three of them.

Business Rates

CAMRA has welcomed a report from the

House of Commons Treasury Committee

on the Impact of Business Rates on Business.

Business Rates generated £31 billion of income

for the UK Government in 2018-19. Since

Business Rates were introduced in their current

form in 1990, the revenue they have generated

has outpaced inflation.

The committee said that Business Rates

are an important source of revenue but the

Government must explore alternatives to

address their negative impacts. CAMRA

National Chairman, Nik Antona commented:

“Pubs pay 2.8% of the Business Rates bill

but only account for 0.5% of total business

turnover. This is an overpayment of around

£500 million by the sector each year.

“The report highlights that Business Rates

do not fall upon all businesses equally and

they place a far greater cost on bricks and

mortar, than those that operate mainly online.

The crucial role that pubs play as the social

heart of many communities cannot be moved

online. That is why it is vital that the system is

drastically reformed or replaced.”

Ale Trail 2020

You’re probably reading this in the middle of

winter, with Christmas just around the corner.

But cast your mind forward just a few weeks …

the days are starting to get longer and you feel

a sudden desire for a trip out to the pub. It can

only mean one thing … the start of the 2020

Ale Trail!

Saturday 8 February is the date for your diary,

with the launch this time being held at the

Greyfriar. The Ale Trail now has a tried and

trusted format and this year is no exception,

with 24 pubs from across Reading and Mid

Berkshire chosen to provide a good mix of

types and locations. You may not like all of

them but you’re bound to find one that suits

you perfectly, and that joy of discovery is one

of the things that people love about the trail.

Pick up your booklet for just a pound at the

launch event or from selected other pubs. Join

the Reading Ale Trail Facebook group for

news, updates and chat. And start visiting those

pubs and collecting stickers – which one will be

your favourite?

CAMRA Members’ Weekend,

AGM and Conference

It’s time to pre-register

for the 2020 Members’

Weekend, AGM and

Conference, this time

being held in the

wonderful and historic

city of York.

This is your opportunity to influence CAMRA

policy, as well as a great opportunity to socialise,

meet friends old and new, and visit some great

pubs and breweries. For more details about the

organised trips, fringe activities, food and drink

offers and the AGM and Conference activities,

go to:

camra.org.uk/beer-festivals-events/membersweekend

The Gift of CAMRA

Stuck for Christmas ideas for the beer-lover in

your life? Why not give the gift of CAMRA?

Visit camra.org.uk/gift-membership or see

the advert in this issue for more details of the

membership packages available. Or check out

the selection available in the CAMRA shop at

shop1.camra.org.uk, including the Good Beer

Guide.

Mine’s A Pint

13


Get your tickets now!

winter.gbbf.org.uk

4-8 Feb 2020, Birmingham

The New Bingley Hall


Double-Barrelled Brewery

Barrelled’, said Luci and we then entered into a

big and enjoyable conversation about how her

and Mike were married and had travelled the

world to taste and try as many beers as they

could handle (disclaimer: they could handle

a lot). Their home-brewed and first beer to

feature at the beer festival was ‘Two Storey

Bungalow’, an American IPA. I checked that

beer into trusty Untappd and had really liked

it. I remember thinking that their enthusiasm

was infectious, so I was excited to see what lie

ahead.

I was recently looking back through some old

emails and exchanges around all things beer. I

found my old LocAle piece, for Mine’s a Pint,

from three years ago. I wrote about how lucky

we were to have an array of local taprooms

and breweries on our doorstep and in the

surrounding areas of Reading.

Little did I know in 2016, just how much things

would have developed in the few short years

since. In almost no time, we have seen Siren

Craft really push ahead into the consciousness

of people well outside of Berkshire. Elusive

Brewing are also heading for taproom land

with daily updates on their twitter feed now.

Wild Weather opened the Weather Station as its

flagship taproom a few weeks ago (previously

the Eldon Arms).

Binghams had a tap room open over the summer

as part of Emma’s Kitchen. West Berkshire has

an incredible setup over towards Newbury,

the only challenge being getting there. There’s

a new brewery and taproom heading over to

Meadow Road in Reading. And then, there

is the almost out of nowhere quick success of

Double-Barrelled Brewery.

I was working the key-keg stand at the Reading

Beer & Cider Festival, when I first met Luci

and Mike, the owners of the Reading-based

brewery. Luci had come over to scope out

whether their beer had been put on yet. ‘What’s

the name of the brewery?’ I asked. ‘It’s Double-

Luci and Mike are lovely. Warm, informed,

interested and interesting: they had been so

excited to see their brand new home-brewed

beers hit the key-keg stand in 2018, that I

distinctly remember thinking ‘I hope they do

well’, because I liked them so much.

In the months that followed, I heard more

and more about Double-Barrelled. My beer

aficionado friends mentioned them frequently.

Ken, a lovely chap I work with and a keen

member of the home brewing club, was

practically running out the door from work

when he heard that the Grumpy Goat had some

of their cans available (‘Red Jungle Fowl’ and

‘Parka’, both of which I loved and the latter of

which was also on draft at The Dairy). I was an

hour behind Ken, and then dragging my carrier

bag back into work too, full of the good stuff.

Everything, from the off, had felt so clean, so

well done, so organised, so well branded and

so well thought out. How had Luci and Mike

managed to build this in a mere 18 months?

And it’s not just that: it’s the breadth of the beer

varieties they have put out too.

I recently tried ‘Shark in my Roof’, a porter

that was incredibly boozy and on a par with

a De Struise ‘Pannepot.’ It blew my socks off.

There have been sour gose-style beers such

as ‘Pocket Money’, an American stout in

‘Wiffle Ball’, a sour Berliner weisse (which was

amazing) called ‘Summer Sessions: Peach’. And

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15


if that wasn’t enough, there has been an array

of IPAs: ‘Basic Needs’, ‘Three Storey Bungalow’

(a personal favourite), and ‘Yelling at Clouds’,

amongst many others still on my wish list. Luci

and Mike have been working and grafting all

year.

I saw the photos appear online for the opening

of their tap-room and brewery, and I was in

awe at how amazing it looked. Reading has

never seen anything quite like it, so near town,

and so easy to get to. It took me a few months

to finally get down there (the perils of a retail

job) but it was very much worth the wait.

For an industrial unit, it is a warm and

welcoming place (and considerably more warm

now the lovely heating unit has arrived). There

is attention to detail. Luci, Mike and the team

want you to have a good time: do you need

another table, or some additional benches for

your group? If you do, they are on the case. The

team Luci and Mike have built around them are

polite, friendly and want to talk beer with you.

On Friday 8 th and Saturday 9 th of November

2019, Double-Barrelled celebrated their first

birthday, and in true spirit, they threw a ticketed

party, which took very little time to sell out.

There has been a huge amount of work over the

past three years, to get to this point. They have

employees now who they feel responsible for.

They want to brew more often. They want their

beer to reach further out places. They know

they should partake in more beer festivals but

can’t be in 20 places at once. It’s going to be

a gradual and steady focus on expansion and

conscientious movement towards perfecting

their healthy and ambitious beer line up.

In classic surprise style, Double-Barrelled

presented a new birthday beer at their party:

the Absolute Unit. Presumably, a tribute to

Adam Kozary’s viral tweet for the Museum

of English Rural Life, of a rather large Ram.

And, the beer is indeed a unit: it’s several units

in fact. ‘Absolute Unit’ is an 11.5% triple IPA

which I can’t wait to get my hands on at some

point in the near future.

I have been lucky enough to ask Luci and Mike

some questions about their wonderful brewery

and business. I know just how busy they have

been over the past few weeks. As I type this now,

they have just celebrated their aforementioned

anniversary, AND they picked up the Pride of

Reading award for best entrepreneurs, which is

thoroughly well deserved. Back when I was first

thinking about LocAle beer and breweries, I did

say that for me the most important thing a local

business could do was be itself, be involved in

the community and support other like-minded

souls in their midst. Double-Barrelled have

done this consistently.

Double-Barrelled attend the beer festivals in the

town, they invite local independent food traders

to cook at their brewery on the weekends, they

love nothing more than a pint down their local

in Caversham. Luci and Mike have embraced

social media. Become so well-connected across

Twitter and that level of good will becomes

a mirror: you get back what you give out.

When they have had a tough day (I’m yet to

meet people from a brewery that haven’t), the

good will from the town has been there. When

they were packed across weekends they never

expected to be, nobody loved them any less.

There’s an honesty, sincerity and openness to

learn in Luci and Mike, that tells you they are

giving it their very best. They have the support

of Reading and far beyond.

I hope you all find the following Q&A with

Luci (with Mike’s input, too!) interesting, and

an insight into where their energy and focus is

right now.

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16


It’s your first birthday party next week, how

does that make you feel?

Incredibly excited, contemplative and focused

on the future. We spent a long time planning

our first year, and in many ways and at many

times we didn’t think we’d make it to this point.

It has flown by (but also not, at the same time!),

but now we’ve done it. Now, we have to really

focus on the future and work out where we go

from here.

What’s on the agenda for the next few months?

We have recently hired a new Sales Manager,

a part-time Taproom Supervisor and an Office

Manager, so we have grown a lot quicker than

we expected to this year. We just need to keep

driving forward, expanding sales to pubs, bars,

restaurants and bottle shops both in Berkshire

but also further afield. We are looking to do

more events and street food at our taproom,

especially after having installed a new heater,

which opens the opportunity for people to

come in winter a bit more, which is great.

How’s the canning machine coming along?

Great thanks! Hiring a brewer with canning

experience this year, has been an incredible

asset. The line was manufactured in the UK

too, which helps with any teething issues. We

now plan to put everything we brew into can

or bottle for some of the specials, which will

help improve the availability of our beers to

take away from the taproom, as well as getting

further afield into bars and bottle shops.

Your first year felt very organised from an

outside perspective, the level of work that’s

gone in is clear for all to see. How have you

done it?

Thank you! There was just over three years

of planning and an epic amount of research.

Also, whilst Mike and I weren’t in the brewing

industry when we established the idea, our jobs

did have transferable skills. Mike had been

working as a logistics consultant, and I was

working as a Brand Manager for a food and

beverage company. I think this, combined with

the brewery specific research, have helped us

have the foresight of what we might need in

both the future and how to be as professional

as possible in our approach.

Having said that, behind the scenes, it’s been

a heck of a lot of fighting fires and a real

rollercoaster and there are countless things that

we would have done differently already if we

were to do it all again. We just don’t post the

bad days so much on social media!

You spent a year travelling the world trying

beers before you set up Double-Barrelled. What

were the beers that really stood out to you?

Some of the barrel-aged imperial stouts that we

tried in America were some of our favourites.

And, some of the more interesting sours.

Different countries are, of course, known for

different things: in Germany we loved the

Rauchbier but that sort of thing doesn’t sell

huge amounts in the UK, well not from a new

brewery anyway! Once we are more established

and can take risks on our beer a bit more, we’d

love to do more experimentation, and increase

our focus on barrel-ageing.

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17

When did you decide to start up the brewery?

It was a few months after our wedding. We had

done our first “Double-Barrelled” beer together

as our wedding favour, and whilst we were

going back to work the idea of a brewery just

kept on playing around in our heads. We did

a “how to start a craft brewery course” up in

Newcastle, as much desk research as possible,

and we talked to our friends and family and

then decided to make the leap. We were told

countless times that we’d regret it more if we

didn’t at least try.


What inspires you when it comes to creating

beer?

We have lots of sources of inspiration.

Sometimes it’s trying to replicate a certain

flavour in a beer without using additives,

like our rhubarb and custard gose. That beer

actually uses a Jamie Oliver stewed rhubarb

recipe as inspiration. Sometimes it’s more to

showcase the character of a hop that we have

access to, like the super pineapple notes in Bru-

1. We have a weekly discussion about the styles

of beer that we want to create, what’s available

seasonally, and then we plan that in.

How important has social media been for you?

Social media has been really, really key to

be honest. It’s quite a lot of work to manage

it properly, but as long as you are authentic,

engaging and the information you are sharing is

relevant to the audience, people seem interested

enough to engage with it, which is great. We

have just launched a new one specific to the

DB taproom on Instagram to help improve the

frequency of messages specific about what’s

going on there. We hope that will be more

relevant to our local audience verses the things

we are doing nationally with Double-Barrelled

as a whole.

I remember your beers featuring on CAMRA’s

first ever key-keg stand at the 2018 Reading

Beer & Cider Festival and you both being so

excited to see your beers going on. Has that

buzz changed at all?

When those beers were on in Reading we were

still in our garage, so now I think the biggest

change is we are just a bit more knackered

haha! The buzz doesn’t die: it just changes. You

find yourself constantly ticking off “firsts”: the

same buzz that we had for Reading, we got

when our beers were listed for the first time at

the GBBF in London this year. When people

ask us to be involved in their festivals, it’s a

great feeling: there are over 2,500 breweries in

the UK right now, so you could very easily not

choose us.

A year from now, what would you have liked

to achieve?

We are still at that stage where I will say, “to

still be in business”. To stay alive, we need to

keep on growing, and to do that we need to

keep on getting Double-Barrelled beers in to

more people’s hands. I hope we will have added

more fermenters to our brewery and maybe an

additional team member or two. That would

be great.

What beer trends do you see currently or are

you thinking about for the future?

There’s a definite resurgence of lower ABV and

no-alcohol beers done well. There’s always

going to be a trend for hazy juicy IPAs, but

maybe the West Coast bitterness will pop back

more. Overall, I think because there’s so many

breweries now and the market will change

with things like Brexit, a focus on quality,

inventiveness and consistency will be key.

In the space of a few years, Reading (and the

nearer surrounding areas) has been fortunate

with several excellent and local breweries

nearby. What do you think has driven this love

for beer and breweries?

I think when people start to taste good locally

made beer, it’s exciting and people become

hugely passionate about it, loving to sing the

praises of their local brewer, for example. And,

they don’t tend to switch back to mass market

stuff when they can avoid it. I actually think

that, in Reading, the CAMRA Beer Festival has

had a lot to answer for: it’s a great showcase of

beer that attracts a wider audience of people

than just CAMRA members or avid beer

drinkers, because it’s also a great day out in its

own right.

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18


Who are the other brewers you find yourself in

touch with and speaking to the most?

I think I have almost weekly chats with Miranda

from Duration Brewing who are setting up an

amazing farmhouse brewery in Norfolk. Whilst

her brewery project is far more ambitious and

elaborate than ours, we have a mutual respect

of our individual challenges and are learning

together. It’s really useful to have an ally, and

especially great to have a female one in this

traditionally male dominated environment.

Our local breweries have all been incredibly

supportive of our journey. The beer industry is

unusual in that as long as people respect what

you are doing and you are authentic in how you

do it, you aren’t seen as competition. We are all

in this together, all realise how much hard work

it is behind the scenes, and in the end we are

just trying to make good beer and have a good

time whilst doing it.

and Leeds and increasing our distribution into

London.

Aside from your own, what’s been your

favourite local beer of the past year?

I’ve really enjoyed the new stuff that’s being

coming out of Loddon #NotVeryLoddon. It’s

great to see a traditional brewery doing some

interesting things and moving with the changing

market, while allowing their new brewer Jake

to influence what they are brewing. But you

are right, we have such a huge amount of great

breweries locally and I think Siren has really led

the way in that regard. They set the bar high,

so if you want to succeed, you have to try and

at least match them, otherwise people will just

(rightly) buy Siren beers instead!

Zoë Andrews

What was the best bit of advice you were given

when setting out on this journey?

Certainly, from most of the brewers we spoke

to, the never give up attitude. It’s incredibly

hard work, and it’s very easy to lose focus of

the goals when the going gets tough. It’s quite a

mental strain running your own manufacturing

business, and very easy to get bogged down in

the negatives. Alongside that, my parents used

to run their own business, so my Dad is full of

pearls of business wisdom, my favourite being

“turnover is vanity, profit is sanity”. He calls

me every Monday without fail to see how sales

are doing and is probably Double-Barrelled’s

biggest fan, despite being 82. He knocks a bit

of commercial sense back into me at times.

He is a great inspiration for me as he started

a successful business from absolutely nothing,

just a single product he’d invented.

Where can we expect to be able to buy your

beer next?

Locally, we are just about to start selling to

a new beer bar in Marlow called the Crafty

Taproom which is great. Sadly, around Reading

there aren’t an abundance of places that have

non-tied keg lines but we are always looking

for new opportunities. Our next big focus is

working with a distributor into Manchester

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19


Behind The Bar

The Retreat

A publican telling it in their own words. This

time: Brian Moignard of the Retreat.

photo credit: getreading

Someone said to me recently that there are three

things that make a great pub: the location, the

locals and the landlord. Bringing those three

together effectively is never as easy as it first

looks. But, get it right and it feels great.

If you wanted to get financially rich quick,

you wouldn’t run a pub. But to be rich in

satisfaction, The Retreat works for me.

It’s no secret that The Retreat has seen its

ups and downs. Recently, the tenancy was

available again. The great news is that three

local residents, David Gray, Di Whitaker and

Mark Birmingham, worked together to secure

the tenancy and to save The Retreat from an

uncertain future. I’m thrilled to continue as the

resident Landlord of The Retreat.

The Retreat is a proper back street boozer.

It first opened its doors in 1875. It’s the last

surviving mid-terrace pub in Reading. It has no

piped music; no pool table; and it’s not a food

pub, although we do have a range of bar snacks

including traditional pickled eggs.

Real ale is the central tenet of what we do. We

have six cask ales that change frequently based

on feedback and new ideas. Also, we have

selected keg beers and a long list of bottled

beers and ciders. We were listed in CAMRA’s

first Good Beer Guide in 1975, on numerous

years since and once again we have the honour

of being listed in the 2020 edition. Preserving

the traditionally valued

things about The

Retreat is of paramount

importance to me.

I strongly believe that

events help bring the

community, the locals,

together. As well as high

quality music we host a

range of other events: A

monthly quiz; Bloody Mary Contest; Cribbage

tournament; Meet Your Neighbours; The

Village Easter Ale & Music Festival; and the

famous Pickled Onion Contest.

We have got a bit modern in one area: we now

actively use our website, www.theretreat.pub,

Facebook and Twitter to keep people informed

as to what is happening and available at our

quirky and unique pub. The most popular posts

always seem to be about real ale and our live

music events. Ultimately though, the marketing

that works best for a pub like ours is good oldfashioned

word of mouth. It’s always hard to

tell why new faces appear at the bar, but it has

been a pleasure recently to see lots of new faces

as well as our regulars.

Now I have the support and help of local tenants

who share a passion for a Village community

that is thriving. We’ve really brought together

the location, the locals and the landlord… and

of course the beers.

We are looking forward to seeing you all soon,

please check out the website for opening times.

Cheers everybody,

Brian

Brian Moignard

The Retreat, 8 St John’s Street, Reading. RG1 4EH

www.theretreat.pub

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20


As our farmers

know all too well:

no pain, no grain.

They say nothing worth having comes

easy. Unfortunately for our farmers

that’s true of the barley we use to brew

our beers. We use a classic variety

called Golden Promise, grown to our

own unique specification. The biscuity,

golden malt it produces is the perfect

partner to our natural spring water,

and is vital to Landlord’s depth and

delicate balance of flavour. It’s also a type

of barley that’s notoriously hard to

grow, and our exacting specification

makes it even more difficult. Which

makes it a costly ingredient and a

real challenge even for experienced

farmers. Luckily we can offer some

liquid therapy.

All for that taste of Taylor’s

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21


Beer Scoring

Have you ever wondered how pubs get into the

Good Beer Guide? It’s all down to beer scoring.

Unlike those guides where paid individuals

submit reviews, Good Beer Guide (GBG)

entries are compiled from beer scores submitted

by CAMRA members. Every single CAMRA

member has the opportunity to contribute to

the GBG, by submitting quality scores for the

beers they’ve drunk.

Beer scoring is a vital tool of CAMRA’s ongoing

campaign for good beer and good pubs. There

are over 150 pubs in our branch so we need

members from across the region to help us

gather information about them year-round.

The scores are on an 11 point scale (0-5, by

half-mark):

0 = No cask ale available.

1 = Beer that is anything from barely drinkable

to drinkable with considerable resentment.

Includes beer taken back as being poor and not

taken off sale.

2 = Competently kept; drinkable but doesn’t

inspire in any way. Below what is expected for

the GBG.

3 = Good beer in good form. A GBG user (i.e.

you!) would not be disappointed with it. You

may seek out the beer again in the same session.

4 = Very good: Excellent beer in excellent

condition. Exceeds expectations.

5 = Probably the best beer you are likely to find.

A seasoned drinker will award this score very

rarely.

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So how do you submit your scores? The easiest

way is to log onto CAMRA’s WhatPub.com. If

you have difficulty logging in, there’s help on

the screen. In fact, there’s plenty of help for all

steps in getting your pub scores entered!

Some people do find beer scoring confusing and

are unsure as to the ‘right’ way to record a beer

score. But you don’t need to be particularly

knowledgeable about every beer you might

come across! The great thing about real ale is

the diversity of tastes. Here are a few things to

take note of when evaluating an ale:

1. Look: Assess the colour, clarity and the

foam of the pint. Golden ales should

appear bright and clear while darker

beers, such as stouts and porters, possess

a richer colour and often a thick, creamy

head. Some modern beer styles like New

England IPA are purposely cloudy – even

murky – but traditional real ales are

almost always served clear. As a general

rule of thumb it’s best to base your view

on whether it looks appealing. If it’s got

bits in it, or looks very flat (no head) it’s

no good.

2. Smell: Smell is an important part of the

drinking experience. Take a short sniff

of your drink to assess the aroma. If

it’s immediately repulsive – smelling of

vinegar or chemicals – then it’s a fair bet

that the pint you have is poor.

3. Taste: Take a sip and let it flow around

your mouth before swallowing. Beers

can reflect many taste sensations. The

intensity of the flavours and the finish

(the aftertaste) make up the whole taste.

Give your taste buds a few seconds to

register all the differing sensations. Has

the publican kept the beer well enough to

allow the flavour to come through fully?


4. Mouthfeel: How does it ‘feel’ in the

mouth? Most well-kept ales will have a

light carbonation and feel ‘alive’. Well,

they are! They should be served at cellar

temperature – that means cool, not cold.

Ales that are warm or flat are definitely

not good. ‘Flat’ beers can often indicate

that the beer has hit the end of the cask

(imagine the dregs left in a bottle of cola

that’s been open a few hours) – this is

a natural part of the cycle and a good

publican will be happy to check if you

suspect an ale is at ‘bottom’ and replace it

with a fresh pint from elsewhere.

What happens next? All the scores recorded

for our local pubs are collated and entered into

a master spreadsheet. At the end of the year,

those pubs which have scored 80% or above

scores of 3+ and have been ‘visited’ at least

20 times (exceptions are occasionally made

for our more rural pubs) are presented to the

GBG selection meeting. This is part of a general

branch meeting so any CAMRA member can

attend. Usually, the top 10 or so are waved

through blind; if they’re this good on the beer

quality, they must go in. The rest are then

opened up to a general debate to the floor, from

which follows a vote to decide the remaining

places. Surveys are taken, entries are submitted

to CAMRA HQ and then they appear in the

following GBG. Simple.

So, your view does count. Judging the best

pubs in Britain is something you are uniquely

placed to do. Please take the time to beer score

and make your contribution to the Good Beer

Guide!

Adapted from an article by Quinten Taylor and

James Moore

Mine’s A Pint

23



The Promotion

of Lager in the UK

Part 3. Paul Dabrowski concludes his series about lager advertising, bringing the

story right up to date.

The final twenty years of the last century saw

some of the funniest TV and cinema adverts

ever made with one, for Carling, from the

first half of the earlier decade, which had a

commentary by the legendary ‘whispering’ Ted

Lowe, being particularly amusing. It featured

the larger-than-life snooker referee, Len Ganley,

being accidentally injured in his crotch by a

miscued shot played by ex-world champion

John Spencer. Recovering the miscreant cue

ball, he then calmly crushed it to a powder in

just the one hand onto the green baize of the

table, all whilst glaring at his attacker. Terry

Griffiths, the opposing player and another

ex-world champion, then remarked, ‘I bet he

drinks Carling Black Label’, with his adversary

responding, ‘You ask him!’

Two more adverts, again for Carling and based

on the Dambusters theme, were of particular

note as well. In a direct parody of the 1955

film with that title, one from 1990 featured a

German sentry who, having spotted the onset

of the raid, had to improvise as a goalkeeper

to fend off a succession of the Barnes Wallisdesigned

bombs. Having been launched from

a Mosquito plane, the bombs bounced off

the water towards the dam headwall, before

being prevented from exploding on impact by

a series of spectacular ‘saves’! One of the pilots,

portrayed by comic Stephen Frost (a stalwart of

the Carling oeuvre), then ripped off his oxygen

mask to utter to Mark Arden, his co-pilot, the

immortal product strapline.

Three years later, the second involved an

English tourist, who, having spotted a posse of

German guests heading towards the pool area,

immediately threw a rolled towel down from

his hotel balcony to reserve a prime sunbathing

spot for himself. This made a number of

bounces on the surface of the swimming

pool before unfurling itself perfectly onto a

poolside lounger, fully revealing its Union Jack

design, only for the Germans, now rushing

to appropriate that same sunbed (and others)

for themselves, to arrive just too late! Another

Teutonic onlooker provided the inevitable

product endorsement as a cutaway midway

through the proceedings with the protagonist,

now enjoying a glass of the lager on ‘his’

lounger, repeating the George Formby line,

‘Turned out nice again’!

During 1989, there had also been the then very

much innovative sequence where a squirrel

successfully negotiated a seemingly improbable

obstacle course, accompanied by the ‘Mission

Impossible’ TV series theme, to finally take

some nuts from a bird feeder but was, here,

witnessed by two owls, one of which delivers

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25


the – by then – familiar Carling catchphrase to

the other. However, it would be churlish as well

as an injustice to reference just the handful of

advertising campaigns specifically mentioned

above because many for the other fake, ersatz,

keg lagers – Heineken’s in particular – were

equally inventive, witty and unforgettable.

They had to be – it was just a shame about the

product!

After all, the first lager specifically intended

to be a mass market product was Budweiser,

launched in the USA in 1876. It followed one

entrepreneur, Anheuser, who, having made

a fortune in soap manufacturing, became

involved with the brewing industry in the

1850s. His partner, Busch, joined later through

marriage. But, the American habit of calling

beer “suds” still persists; not helped, perhaps,

by Anheuser-Busch’s use of 30% rice – a

frowned-upon adjunct – in the mash!

Budweiser became associated in the UK with

some execrable advertising campaigns in

the late 20th century, mainly those featuring

talking frogs built around the conjoined

word “whassup?”! The company’s notoriety,

however, has been primarily fostered by a

zeal for litigation over trademark rights to the

‘Budweiser’ name against the genuine Czech

pilsner brewer, Budejovicky Pivovar, who has

marketed their main product as Budweiser

Budvar ever since 1895, wherever in the world

the two beers have sought to co-exist.

Meanwhile, most of the former bierkellers,

which had started out as ‘show bars’ – in reality,

cabaret-nightclub-restaurant hybrids, rather

than ‘pubs’ as such – had evolved into generic

clubs or music venues instead. It is only latterly,

in the present century, that establishments

such as the Bierhaus, Reading, the Bierkeller

at the Fernandes Brewery Tap, Wakefield

(housed in former maltings), Katzenjammers,

The Borough, and the (albeit currently closed)

Munich Cricket Club, St. James’ Park, to name

but a few, have begun to restore more of a

semblance of authenticity to what had become

very much a faux-German experience.

Amazingly, in

2017, Hofmeister –

the lager which had

become a byword

for bad beer in

the 1980s – was

even relaunched

with a new recipe

and had then won

a global drinks

competition! Revived as a premium bottled

brew for the ‘craft’ ale age, it was now described

as an authentic “Helles”, and won best lager of

that year at the International Wine and Spirits

competition, cementing its return after a 13-

year absence from the market.

Equally, the installation of tanks within bars

to condition and dispense lager, as has been

traditional in the Czech Republic in particular

and in Slovakia, to some extent too, has been a

very welcome development as well. In London,

an initial installation at The White Horse in

Parson’s Green in 2013 was for the dispensing

of Pilsner Urquell.

That same year (before it lost its independence

to SAB Miller and then to Asahi), Meantime

introduced similar tanks into certain Young’s

pubs. Innis & Gunn then opened a brewery

taproom almost adjacent to Edinburgh’s Usher

Hall in 2015 which they supplemented by

other similar bars and kitchens in Glasgow,

St. Andrews and Dundee, all of which were

equipped with a number of such maturing

vessels.

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26


The Edinburgh premises have also been

adorned with extensive exterior advertising –

albeit far less permanent than that affixed over

a century previously to The Howard Arms in

Carlisle – for its own tank lager ‘brewed with

naked golden oats’. Even an Edinburgh ‘black’

cab had been adorned as an all-over advert

for this beer! In 2016, Albert’s Schloss became

Manchester’s first ‘tankovna’ or tank pub,

and, as with other tank similar Pilsner Urquell

outlets, receiving fresh deliveries of the lager

twice a week in temperature-controlled trucks

direct from Pilsen cellars!

Also in Manchester, The Oast House in

Spinningfields was the first Budweiser Budvar

tank beer site outside the capital, while

Cottonopolis chose Krusovice for their tank

beer, becoming the first stockist in that city. The

Viking in Manchester offered tank Budvar too

whilst The Hare and Hounds in Brighton had

put its money on Staropramen. Overall, in 2019,

Plzensky Prazdroj, the producer of the famous

Pilsner Urquell lager, had established 15 tank

pubs around Britain, Krusovice boasted seven

and Staropramen and Budejovicky Budvar had

five each.

And, notable amongst a crop of many other

such bars, in late-2018, a former Oxford city

centre pub, The Plough Inn had reopened with

XT Brewing of Long Crendon its main supplier,

for both cask and keykeg. The reinvigorated

hostelry benefitted from the installation of

copper tanks behind the bar to which the

‘green’ beer – their ‘craft’ lager, Eisbar, launched

in 2017 – was delivered and conditioned. Then,

in early 2019, The Walter Parsons’ Corn Stores

in Reading also reopened with tanks installed

for Meantime lager too!

Mapping these emerging ‘tankovnas’

throughout the world reveals that the UK

definitely comes out atop the pile confirming

that the trend of drinking fresh, unpasteurised,

beer from copper tanks seems to be definitely

here to stay!

But, in 1983, CAMRA did not even consider

that Ind Coope’s Gold Cross lager (also

marketed under the Allsopp’s banner but

which received hardly any media promotion

under either branding) was a real ale at all,

despite it being served through handpumps,

as it apparently utilised CO 2

somewhere in its

dispense system (probably no more than blanket

pressure or gas-assisted handpulls along with

‘sparklers’). So, is it not somewhat strange that

many of those newer ‘craft’ lagers and others

not served from tanks seem to have CAMRA’s

tacit approval? The 2017 purge of mainstream

lagers from being stocked in supermarkets may

have proven to have been a pyrrhic victory

as it has paved the way, in late 2018, for a

collaboration between the innovative but, at

that time, all-keg, ‘craft’ brewer, BrewDog, and

Tesco-owned wholesaler, Brooker, in producing

‘Lost Lager’ for sale exclusively through the

latter’s parent company’s superstores and that

brewery’s increasing number of town centre

outlets.

Paul Dabrowski

With acknowledgements to Boak & Bailey;

Michael Jackson, New World Guide to Beer, and

various CAMRA publications.

CAMAL (The Campaign for Authentic Lager)

may be of interest. Please visit www.camal.org.uk

for more details.

Mine’s A Pint

27


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