Monday, 20 September 2010

The Bird In Hand - Reading

I just spent a rather pleasant couple of days staying at one of the finest real ale pubs I've ever been in.

The Bird In Hand ( is a beautiful 14th Century inn, just outside Reading. The food is outstanding, the rooms are nice and at a reasonable rate, and the staff are friendly and welcoming. But now to the important part...the beer.

The inn has won CAMRA Berkshire's Pub of the Year, and it was well-deserved. It has 5 pumps, and while I was there had a good selection. They've recently decided to dedicate one pump to Brewdog's fine selection, although at the moment they have 2, plus Brewdog's 77 lager on tap as well.

The selection on the first night was:
Brewdog's Punk IPA
Brewdog's 5AM Saint
Brakspear Bitter
Red Squirrel's Munich Beer
Ascot Ales Oktoberfest
(we just missed Hammerpot's Bottle Wreck'd Porter)

I started off with Munich Beer, a lovely German-style beer, slightly sweet with a toffee finish. Very much a session beer, I could drink this all night. This was followed by Ascot Ales Oktoberfest - much the same, but with more malt.

The following evening, 2 beers had finished, and had been replaced with Brewdog's Edge, and Cliff Quay's Tolly Rodger.

I tried a sample of Brewdog's Edge - very, very dry mild ale, deep scarlet. Too dry for me, but a friend was impressed.

Cliff Quay's Tolly Roger, on the other hand, was a very drinkable golden ale, with strong honey and citrus flavours.

There are also usually a good selection of bottled beers (did I mention they like Brewdog? Just about every Brewdog bottle is available) and others, such as Ascot Ale's Alligator.

I simply cannot recommend this pub enough, and if it wasn't for the fact that its 400 miles away, I would gladly make it my local.


Friday, 2 July 2010

Cotswold Beer Festival 2010 - Postlip Hall near Winchcombe

I have just receive my tickets for Postlip. I only got two priority tickets for the Friday evening. I had ordered 12 in total so really really need some more tickets otherwise a lot of friends will miss out. If you have spare tickets for Friday 23rd July to Cotswold beer festival please contact me @

If you have over ordered or had friends drop out or receive more tickets than expected for the Friday (23rd July 2010) Cotswold Beer Festival @ Postlip Hall near Winchcombe could you please contact me I need more tickets. Friends who have been for the last 6 years will miss out because I did not get enough :(

Most grateful for any help.


Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Fyne Ales - New Seasonal ale JARL

To be Launched at the Beer Fest, Saturday 19th June

To celebrate the Beer Fest, Fyne Ales are launching a new seasonal beer - Jarl.
This is their first single hopped beer (using the same hop for bittering as for aroma) and it is produced with the latest American hop Citra. They recently tasted it from their fermentor, describing it with a fantastic aroma, with LOADS of tangerine and tropical fruits. At 4.0% abv it should be easy drinking too.
The reason for the name (pronounced Yarl) is that this beer is replacing Somerled in their seasonal line up. Somerled as you may know was one of the rulers of their part of Scotland in the dim & distant past, and the Jarl's were the Viking Earls who were contenders for power at the same time. They thought they'd see how they stacked up against each other........

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Live Beer Appreciation WebTV Show

On Monday 21st June, the Beer Academy is producing a live webTV show all about how to find the perfect ale. Beer expert Kamini Dickie and Dr George Philliskirk from the Beer Academy will let you into the secrets of the perfect pint with a live beer tasting class! From matching beer to accompany food as well, we also want to counter act the general assumption that beer is unhealthy, antisocial and fattening, and instead highlight the fact that it is part of Great British heritage.

The show will be live and interactive, so people can send in questions ahead of the show and also during the live show, via this link: Once it has taken place, it will be available to view on demand indefinitely on the same link. Have a look below, and remember to tune in at 3pm on Monday 21st June!


Beer Appreciation Masterclass

Log onto our live WebTV show with beer connoisseur Kamini Dickie and Dr George Philliskirk for help finding the perfect ale

Chat date: Monday 21st June

Chat time: 3pm

On a hot summer’s day there’s nothing better than a refreshing beer to cool us down. But do you often find a trip down the pub with your friends leaves you sticking to the same tipple, purely because you have no idea what the difference is between an ale and a larger and don’t want to risk a bad pint? Or maybe you dismiss it based on the myths around it being bad for your health? When in fact, when drunk in moderation there are several health benefits.

If so you might be one of the millions of Brits missing out on the truly phenomenal range of beers now on the market. So how do you open your mind and palate to what else is on offer?

Just like wine varieties, there’s a staggering array of beer to match anyone’s taste. And what about finding the perfect beer to match the perfect meal?

Well, if you want some help in your quest to find the perfect summer ale then log onto our live WebTV Show where beer expert Kamini Dickie and Dr George Philliskirk from the Beer Academy will let you into the secrets of the perfect pint with a live beer tasting class.

Kamini Dickie and Dr George Philliskirk join us live online at on Monday 21st June at 3pm to give you their top tips for finding the perfect beer.

Click here to submit questions before the chat

For more information visit

Posted by Kitty Irby

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Beer Tie Reform

A useful link to CAMRA's update on this issue.

Fyne Ales Beer Fest 2010

DATE: Saturday 19th June 2010
TIME: 12pm to 11:30pm
LOCATION: Fyne Ales Brewery, off A83 at Head of Loch Fyne
TICKETS: available on
MORE: More info on their facebook page
or call 01499 600120

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Eastbourne Beer Festival

Eastbourne's 8th annual Beer Festival will be open:

Thursday 7th October – 6.00pm – 11.00pm
Friday 8th October – 6.00pm – 11.00pm
Saturday 9th October Afternoon – 11.00am – 4.00pm
Saturday 9th October Evening – 6.00pm – 11.00pm

Over 120 real cask ales will be on tap at the festival, all of which have been chosen especially for the festival by our local CAMRA members, as being a fine selection of British cask ale.

The selection features both those produced locally within Sussex, plus a wide selection of real ales produced all over the UK.

View 2009 beer list below:

View list of British cask ales

View list of Sussex cask ales

Eastbourne Beer Festival 2010 will be held at the Winter Garden.

Tickets will be on sale from the Congress Box Office, 01323 412000 and on in the summer. We strongly recommend that you book early to avoid disappointment.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Two Good Northants Freehouses

Northampton, has a few good pubs, but the Malt Shovel Tavern in Bridge Street stands out, with lunches at £5.75p. The Malt Shovel Tavern also has 13 hand pumps and the Great Oakley brewery tap.

Kettering has the Alexandra Arms in Victoria street, the Julian Church brewery tap, and also has one of the best collections of pump clips on display on all day Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays otherwise its 1400.

Sent in by Mick

Malt Shovel Tavern -

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Send us Brewery Website links

We want to have a complete list of every Brewery so please inform us of any sites missing from our list of Brewers.

If you have a Brewery but don't have a website contact us for help on setting one up, it can be as cheap as £2.99 + VAT a year for a simple website.

Email us -

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Does your Local keep a good Pint??

A few points on serving a good pint -

- Cleaning beer lines every 5 days following correct procedures eliminates yeast build up in the beer lines. Every new barrel on should also have the beer lines cleaned even if its the same beer that's being put back on. This can be a problem in a busy pub but should be done to maintain a high standard for the beer.

- Ensuring the cellar is at the correct temperature 11‐13°C. This will mean the beer should also be a perfect temperature being not too warm or too cold but just right 11‐13°C when being dispensed.

- Order the correct sized barrel, the given is all beer should be sold within 3 days of opening.

- Have the correct number of beers on Tap. If a pub isn't known for its Ale it should only have one rather than 3 so that the one is drunk and so keeps fresh. One good ale is better than a choice of 3 bad ones.

- Tilting or Stooping a beer this should be done carefully 3 inches raised at the back or lowered at the front.

- Sampling beers for clarity, aroma and taste after tapping and each day before serving. Always sample from the cask before connecting the beer lines. Then again before serving the new barrel to a customer. A good landlord will always (after checking) give this sample to a regular ready to order their next pint.

More information can be found on the Cask Marque and Cask Force websites.

Cask Marque offer cellar management training.

If you have any further tips please add comments to this post.

Cask Marque - Text Alert

Cask Marque offers a text service that will tell you your nearest Cask Marque pub, handy if your out of your local area.

1. Text Cask
2. Followed by a Full Stop
3. Then where town or full/part postcode e.g. Cask.HP18 1PH
4. Send to 83211
5. You will receive back the 2 nearest outlets

Texts cost 25p plus standard operator rate. Number will be retained for future Cask Marque announcements. Just text stop to 83211 to stop this.

Full details are found here.

They also offer Sat Nav downloads of all the pubs.

National Cask Ale Week 2010

National Cask Ale Week 2010.

From March 29th – 5th April the nation’s pubs will raise a glass to real ale to toast everything brilliant about beer.

Further information can be found at the Cask Ale Week website. Parts of this are still under construction but pubs that are taking part are starting to be listed.

Information iis also displayed on the CAMRA and Cask Marque websites.

Bengal Lancer - Fuller New India Pale Ale

The Fullers website says the "Bengal Lancer is a brand new, classic India Pale Ale from Fuller's. Brewed to 5% ABV, this ale has been inspired by the history and character of this traditional style of beer."

The inspiration is from the the Bengal Lancers who have their origins in the 1700s when the nawab of the state of Awadh, in today’s northern India, raised Bengal’s first regiments of cavalry.

Available exclusively in a select number of Fuller's pubs during February, and further free trade outlets in March, Bengal Lancer is a fabulous addition to our seasonal ales range.

The beer is pale in colour, full-bodied with a distinctive hoppiness that marks it out as a true India Pale Ale.

Click for more details on the new Bengal Lancer by Fullers.

Anyone tried this yet? please comment on this post if you have.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Bridge End Inn - Ruabon

This is one of NE Wales best kept secrets, a freehouse only reopened last April.
Its a haven for beer tickers, and worth the journey to get there.
I have used the WSMR Marylebone - Wrexham service , as its open all day Saturdays, and Sundays  

Bridge Street, Ruabon, Wrexham, LL14 6DA
Tel: 01978 822 949

Submitted by - Anonymous

Send us Brewery Website links

We want to have a complete list of every Brewery so please inform us of any sites missing from our list of Brewers.

If you have a Brewery but don't have a website contact us for help on setting one up, it can be as cheap as £2.99 + VAT a year for a simple website.

Email us -

The Fleece Inn - Bretforton

A brilliant traditional English pub set in the lovely village of Bretforton. Owned by the National trust its a very active pub which offers a lot to the local community. They organise a lot of different events to reflect the seasons.

The bar is very traditional, historic may be a better word to use to describe it. It has an ever changing mix of Real Ales and cider. The pub has also started brewing it's own of both. You will normally find 5 to 6 ales and up to 3 ciders. The Ales change daily but you will normally find beers from Hook Norton and Purity Breweries.

Food is great. Using locally sourced produce it is very good for a lunchtime snack or evening meal.

It has a large barn for events, which there seems to be a constant stream of throughout the year. A few of the last events when I was there an Apple and Cider festival with a traditional cider press and shredder set up to show the cider making process. The asparagus auction was also very enjoyable to mark the asparagus harvest.

The Fleece Inn, The Cross, Bretforton, Near Evesham, Worcestershire, WR11 7JE
Telephone: 01386 831173

Loads of photo's can be found of the pub on Flickr

Monday, 1 February 2010

Abolition of Land Agreements Exclusion Order

The Government has made the decision to revoke the Land Agreements Exclusion Order 2004.

CAMRA has been campaigning for its revocation since last summer as part of its campaign to reform the beer tie to address a lack of competition in the pub sector.

This means that the Large pub operating companies PubCo's. Principally those with 500 or more pubs, will now need to work to prove that their beer tie agreements are fully compliant with competition law.

Currently tied landlords are unable to buy beer from independent breweries. This is the reason a lot of Real Ale pubs offer the same beers week in week out each time you visit (It can get boring, even if the beer is good). They are tied by contract to purchase almost all stock from the PubCo if sales figures don't match up with stock orders they face financial penalties. Some PubCo's make their lessees pay over £110 for a 72pint barrel almost twice what they'd pay at an independent brewery. A pub selling a pint of real ale priced at over £3.00 will most likely be owned by a PubCo.

The Government consultation response states that revocation of the Order will promote fairer and more open markets and a better deal for consumers through improved prices, wider choice, greater investment and higher standards of customer service.

Mike Benner, Chief Executive CAMRA, said in the Offical CAMRA press release -

‘This is very positive news for pub-goers, small brewers and struggling lessees. The Order is an anomaly which has for too long given legal cover to companies which are party to potentially anti-competitive agreements. The large pub owning companies will now have to review their existing beer tie arrangements in the full knowledge that they will be liable to severe penalties if it is subsequently proven that they have breached Competition Law.

‘CAMRA remains supportive of the beer tie model provided that it offers a fair share of benefits to consumers through greater choice, price competition and quality. We now urge the large pub owning companies to publicly commit to delivering on the basic principle that a tied tenant should be no worse off than they would be if free of tie.’

So are the PubCo's going to struggle to prove that they are being competitive or not?

The Berkeley Arms - Tewkesbury

Popular 15th century half-timbered Grade II two-bar pub, located just off of Tewkesbury cross. The entrance to the public bar is from the street, whilst the Lounge Bar is accessed from one of Tewkesbury's many alleyways. At the rear is a barn, which is believed to be the oldest non-ecclesiastical building in this historic town. The Barn is used for dining in the summer and serves as a meeting room. Periodically Tewkesbury CAMRA meetings are held here.

Good value food is served every lunch time and currently Sunday Lunch is £6 (Which Includes a Pint).

The current landlord a native to Australia(Started Aug/Sept 2009) has considerably improved the beer and number of drinkers in the pub. The pub did have a quite dismal spell of 2008 and parts of the first half of 2009. It is now getting back to its drinking best.

The Pub is tied to Wadsworth's so has almost always got the full selection of their beers. It has also quite rightly installed an extra pump for one Guest Beer. Normally six ales will be on tap. Cider is also available.
Last time I went in -
Old Timer
Henry's Original IPA
Bishops Tipple
Gem - Bath Spa Ales

Saturday evenings are now a small disco in the front bar. Friday and Saturday nights still have a very relaxed and traditional ambiance before 9 o'clock. Although later than this you may have music accompanying your pint. During the week it is again a relaxed affair, a perfect local for a good pint of well kept and well served Real Ale.

Buses to Cheltenham and Gloucester stop close by. The pub is almost next door to Tewkesbury Abbey, another excellent reason to visit the town.

I give The Berkeley Arms 4 out of 5 Stars. If it had an ever changing range on all its pumps it would get a 5.

The Berkeley Arms - 8 Church Street, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, GL20 5PA
Telephone: 01684 293034

The American View.

The following is a quoted from the website an American Specialty Beer Importer (

"Beers brewed in England come from a deep, historical and rich beer scene, and for centuries English pubs have been the face of English beer.

English Pub Culture: Possibly, part of the warmth and friendliness of an English pub comes from the small homes and dense populations of English cities - people historically did not have big living rooms in their homes, so they needed a place to gather. The cool, damp climate may have also contributed to the cozy environment. What seems clear is that part of the English character is to offer a true "third place" - not home, not work, but a meeting place for conversation, food, laughs, relaxation and great beer. An English pub is a place to feel at home: the furniture and lighting will be comfortable. The food will be hearty, and while it may be great it will never be intimidating. Games tend to be slower-paced and not too loud - like darts. But the key components to the calming magic of an English pub are the staff, and the beer.

For every guest who walks through the door, the publican strikes the right note. Guests who are looking to have a quiet conversation will be able to hold one. Other guests who want sports news, or local color, or even jokes, will find those as well. In a manner that is time-honored, the staff of an English pub will meet the wishes of their guests in ways that may be quite subtle.

And the beer: whether a pub has many varieties of beer or only a handful they will offer a range of flavors. They will have some dark ales, and they will have at least one lager. They will offer a stronger brew, as well as session beers. They will have a pale ale. They might even offer more than one serving temperature, some beers served cold while others are served cool - "cellar temperature." An English pub will almost always offer a cider."

It got me thinking how does your local compare to an outside view of a typical British Pub? (Please leave your comments)

CAMRA's real ale and pub guide covering the branches of Cheshire, Wigan, Chesterfield, Nottingham and parts of South-West London

"When you have lost your inn's, drown your empty selves, for you have lost the last of Great Britain"

A Year Of Beer

This is a collection of photo's one real ale enthusiast has collected from the pump clip's he's discovered through a year of drinking. A good reflection of the variety of beer's that can be found.

From March 2009 he is recording every new pump clip he comes across for the whole year. So almost a year gone by there selection is huge.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Tewkesbury Winter Beer Festival

will be held at the George Watson Hall, Barton Street, Tewkesbury
on 5th - 6th February 2010.

FRIDAY 11 am - 4.30 pm and 6.30 - 11.00 pm;
SATURDAY 11.00 am - 11.00 pm

Admission: Friday lunchtime free; all other sessions £2 (£1 for card-carrying CAMRA members).

Last few years the Six Nations Rugby games have been shown in the main hall. So no excuses not to turn up on Saturday.