Hop PresshopsHop Press Issue 82 front cover

Issue 82 – Spring 2017
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EDITORIAL Hop Press index

As an occasional and slightly sporadic publication, Hop Press is unlikely to be dealing with breaking news much of the time. But, the budget in early March, although now well past, still deserves comment; we cannot let chancellor Philip Hammond off the hook just through the passage of time.

Ignoring the spectacular political uproar over his NIC fiasco we are here only concerned with his also much less than fair treatment of pubs and pub-goers. In the course of his (probably intentionally) very downbeat budget speech he suddenly inserted a seemingly generous and unexpected ‘gift’ of a £1000 business rate ‘cash-back’ to all but the few very largest pubs (those of over £100,000 rateable value), a total he described as ‘over 90% of pubs.’

But, these were weasel words! As the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) were quick to point out: some 12,000 low-turnover pubs are outside of the rating system anyway and the small print of rating relief rules puts a cap on the overall amount any group of pubs with a single owner (ie most of the rest) can receive. Furthermore, the relief is limited, specifically, to this year only. As a BBPA spokesperson explained: pubs account, overall, for 2.8% of all rates paid but only take 0.5% of all turnover generated nationally; a continuing £5000 per annum would be needed to bring pubs into equity with all other business. Altogether, this ‘gift’ was just a search for a cheap headline.

The duty escalation was even more underhand, a subterfuge to avoid any headlines whatsoever. Representing a 3.9% supposed ‘inflation’ increase this return to a continuing regime of remorseless increases, after a few welcome years of stability was announced as ‘no change to previously planned duty’ in the hope perhaps of it passing unnoticed. A successful hope as it turned out, since virtually no one pointed out that inflation had been less than half of that figure for some years! With another budget due this autumn what odds of an even bigger tax hike for Christmas?

At the approach of springtime, CAMRA branches throughout the land vote to select their ‘Pubs of the Year.’ For the Southern Hampshire branch this year there was a short list of four finalists – the Bookshop Alehouse ‘micropub’ and the Guide Dog, both in Bevois Valley, the Royal Oak (last year’s winner) at Fritham in the New Forest and the Waterloo in Millbrook. With very few votes separating all four the newly opened Bookshop Alehouse just took the top spot this year.

Bookshop Alehouse, Portswood, Southampton
Bookshop Alehouse, Portswood, Southampton

The Bookshop (at the southern end of Portswood Road, just before the Lodge Road junction) is exactly what it says – a bookshop that has decided to sell beer as well as, or more properly, instead of, literature! Opened only in 2016 it is now one of six (at the last count) micropubs appearing in Southampton since 2014 when the first – the Butcher’s Hook – bloomed at Bitterne Triangle.

Inside the simple shop frontage (which has local listing, so will keep its appearance) is a single room, still retaining shelving for many books, though now with some added low tables and chairs, and at the rear a minute bar with four hand-pumped real ales (don’t look for Doombar or Abbot here…), four ‘craft’ keg fonts and a fridge with up to four bag-in-a-box ciders; all supervised by the friendliest of knowledgeable staff. No food (but you may bring your own), no intrusive machines, just a conversational haven.

In our last issue the cover illustration, somewhat surprisingly, was a pub that served virtually nothing but keg beer, this issue goes much further – it is not even a pub at all and it is not even open – yet.

1 Bishopstoke Road, Eastleigh
1 Bishopstoke Road, Eastleigh

This building is 1 Bishopstoke Road, Eastleigh. It is on the corner of Dutton Lane, immediately after crossing the bridge over the railway and heading out towards Bishopstoke and Fair Oak. Why, then, should it gain our interest? In mid-March Eastleigh’s planners granted a change of use to categories B1c and A4: a microbrewery and a micropub.

The project, provisionally titled the Steam Town Brewery, is the idea of David Mackie, currently brewer at Cheriton’s well-known Flowerpots pub and brewery. He tells Hop Press that there is no firm schedule of dates yet but he would certainly want, and hope, to be in production there by autumn of this year.

On the subject of planning law, a somewhat obscure bill, the Neighbourhood Planning Bill, had its final stages in the commons just before their Easter break. This bill contains one of CAMRA’s biggest lobbying sucesses, finally closing the huge loophole that has allowed so many pubs to be demolished or turned into houses or ‘minimarts’ without needing any planning application. This was possible under so-called ‘permitted development rights’ which virtually gave pub-owners a free hand to do with them as they wished.

The bill should complete its final stages after the Easter recess and receive royal assent around the end of June, finally ending this unfair developer’s advantage. Throughout the commons debate, MPs paid tribute to CAMRA’s relentless lobbying – over eight thousand letters were sent by members to MPs for example – in helping to convince them of the need for this reform [The Act received Royal Assent and became law on April 27].

Heineken’s £400M plus deal to buy 1900 pubs from Punch Taverns, which received shareholders’ consent at the end of February, has, not surprisingly caught the eye of the Competition and Marketing Authority (CMA, the new guise of the Monopolies and Mergers Commision).

A ‘phase I’ investigation, to determine whether the deal will materially reduce competition and choice is underway and due to report by the end of April (24th). However, if the CMA conclude that there is reduced choice they will go into a much more detailed ‘phase II’ that could last up to six months!

So, by the time you read this, Heineken will either be the country’s third largest pubco, after Greene King and Enterprise and with scores of pubs in our area, or will be entering into a long-term wrangle with the Government watchdog.

Many groups, including CAMRA but also others such as SIBA (the Small Independent Brewers Association), the Punch Tenant Network and the Scottish Licensed Trades Association have expressed disquiet, emphasising, amongst other factors, the current practice of Heineken, aiming to stock their present pubs with at least 85% ownbrand products.

In reply to CAMRA’s letter, Heineken’s MD, Lawson Mountstevens was emollient and pledged to observe the Pubs Code (giving tenants the market rent only option) and to ‘have the right drinks on offer to suit the specific needs of each pub.’ But with such new products as H41 Lager (made with wild Patagonian yeast!), Foster’s Radler (a 0.0% ‘lager’ with added lemon flavour!!) and Desperados Dos (the tequila laced beer, now with double the lacing!!!) one can only wonder…

For centuries, if a business needed finance to expand its activities, the options open were: borrow from a bank (or a rich patron) or offer stock (shares) on the stock exchange as a ‘share issue.’

Now, the rise of social media has introduced an entirely new source of money – crowd funding, and quite a number of British breweries, new start-ups, are now using it. The latest, this month, is the Wild Beer Company from Evercreech in Somerset who raised £1m in just 3 weeks from some 1500 of their internet supporters in investments from just £10 upwards.

However, this performance was considerably bettered in November last year by Edinburgh based specialist brewer Innis and Gunn who raised more than £1m in just 72 hours! In the same month, Sussex based Bedlam brewery raised £0.5m from 300 investors, enough to fund an entirely new brewery, expected to open in Ditchling later this year. Pubs too can be saved – also in Sussex last year the Bison Arms at Brighton was saved from the clutches of Burger King by a £100,000 cash crowdfunded injection, mostly from its regular users.

But, many are voicing extreme concern and urging caution. Justin Hawke, the American founder of the Moor brewery in Bristol, is forecasting an inevitable reckoning as the enormous bubble in brewery numbers – now more than 1700 – are bound to include many who would have been unable to get normal finance for the very good reason that their business plans didn’t add up. Hawke points out that the UK brewing industry is now the least regulated in the world – fill in an online form from HMRC and you can start.

Other industry watchers are also predicting a coming bursting of the bubble because of a spreading ‘indifference to quality’ coupled with a short-term price expectation that the word ‘craft’ can add 50p to every pint!.

Here’s a fine mess we’re in… Hop Press index
 

Few real ale drinkers take even a passing interest in the state of the Vietnamese fishing industry, but perhaps they should. For south-east Asian fisheries play a small, but vital, part in providing your perfect pint (or, recently, just possibly not – read on).

With cask-conditioned beer, virtually the last operation before the cask is shipped from the brewery or depot is to inject it with a dose of a slightly mysterious and little spoken of liquid known as ‘finings.’ And, finings are made, principally, from a variety of fish caught in those far-off waters. Varieties of the sturgeon family – catfish or drumfish provide, as a by-product, dried swim bladders which are virtually pure collagen. Brewers are said to become very picky over the exact variety they buy, insisting on such exotica as ‘long Saigons’ or ‘Pennangs’ to the exclusion of all others!

The dried collagen is dissolved in a weak organic acid (malic, the acid in apples, is a common choice) to yield a sticky, glue-like substance: isinglass. Isinglass has almost magical properties – the molecules are very long entangled spirals with positive electrical charges at points along their lengths. Yeast cells are negatively charged and so attracted, bound tightly in a barbedwire- like thicket and accumulate in big fluffy clumps, ‘flocs,’ that rapidly clear the beer.

A process that, as remarked above, is decidedly ‘little spoken of.’ Throughout Europe, when the listing of allergens recently became a legal requirement (one being ‘fish products’), brewers obtained a special derogation to absolve them from mentioning the finings on the somewhat doubtful grounds that they remain in the cask. Vegetarians and vegans, those that knew, were not impressed!

Since Victoria ruled and the pewter pot gave way to a pint glass, our cask beer has been fined as a matter of course. Keg beers, developed between the wars, are centrifuged and filtered to clarity but British real ale, uniquely, retained the requirement for fining. Until this century, seemingly.

Now, in the last few years of this decade, with the extraordinary, explosive growth in numbers of small brewers, the bewildering range of new (plus revived old) beer types, strengths and styles, and especially, the utterly meaningless concept of ‘craft’ brewing, we have a growing movement to drop the fining regime altogether.

If you have Indo-Chinese fishermen friends, warn them now, that several notable local small breweries are leading this assault on tradition! The Vibrant Forest Brewery, just outside Lymington is one in our branch area, whilst just outside, the Eight Arch Brewery from Wimbourne is another. Both breweries’ beers are excellent but as yet, as far as I am aware, neither has solved the problem of how to explain the concept to the average beer drinker. And as a local landlord recently said: ‘there isn’t time for the staff to explain the beer’s appearance to every customer.’

An answer could lie with a third local brewer, Southampton’s Dancing Man / Wool House; here much of the beer, brewed on the premises, is sold unfined but in a number of cases the same beer has been offered on the bar in both fined and unfined varieties. There are plenty of legs in this story yet …

Pub News Hop Press index

Rob Whatley

Romsey

Tipsy Pig, Romsey
Tipsy Pig, Romsey

As predicted in the last edition of Hop Press, the Tipsy Pig, in Romsey’s Latimer Street, opened for business at the end of last year. It is run by father and son Phil and Lucas Greenwood and offers six real ales on handpump. There has been an extensive refurbishment and it is almost unrecognisable from its previous existence as the William IV. The décor is stripped wood floorboards and wainscoting with pastel grey painted walls. Customers can view the cellar in the back room of the pub. It also offers food, live music sessions and is hosting a monthly music quiz.

Planning permission has been granted for external signage and lighting at the Cromwell Arms on the bypass. New illuminated signage is also being sought for the Phoenix in The Hundred.

King’s Somborne

In December, the Crown Inn at King’s Somborne celebrated 250 years as a pub. Licensees Terry Minter and Judith Evans marked the occasion by selling drinks at 2006 prices – marking the year they arrived at the grade II listed, thatched pub.

Broughton

Not far away, in Broughton, an application to use a stable building at the Greyhound to house a ‘microbrewery’ has been granted subject to certain conditions, such as the operating hours.

Hursley

King’s Head, Hursley
King’s Head, Hursley

The British Institute of Innkeeping annual awards are currently being selected and we are pleased to note that one of the short-listed 16 national finalists is Mark Thornhill from the King’s Head at Hursley, midway between Romsey and Winchester.

Eastleigh

The Ham Farm Harvester, at the north end of Twyford Road, has undergone a substantial refurbishment. On its reopening at the end of January it offered Sharp’s Doom Bar and Atlantic on handpump. The latter beer is becoming increasingly common in our area but here it disappeared within a few weeks, leaving just the Doom Bar, with no news yet of a replacement second choice.

Horton Heath

Moving east, in Horton Heath, locals are mounting a campaign to keep the Lapstone as a pub. Owners Ei Group (the strange new name for Enterprise Inns) have offered the freehold of the pub for sale. It has been closed since 6 March. The pub has been granted the status of an asset of community value (ACV) by Eastleigh Borough Council, despite the predictable opposition of the Ei Group. This will give the pub’s supporters more time in their efforts to see if a new owner can be found to keep the pub running.

Lower Upham

In the last edition of Hop Press we mentioned that the Alma Inn was hosting a post office service twice a week following the closure of the village shop. Sadly, this service has now ceased and it looks unlikely that the shop will reopen, though the parish council will support any potential purchaser who wishes to run the shop.

Waltham Chase

Black Dog, Waltham Chase
Black Dog, Waltham Chase

An application has been submitted to extend the dining area at the Black Dog, Waltham Chase, onto the existing patio. If granted, there would also provide a new exit route for the pub.

Botley

In Botley, a new addition to the fast expanding local Wadworth estate, the Dolphin, is undergoing a substantial refurbishment with changes to the bar area. It is also thought that the bedrooms are to be brought back into use.

Bishopstoke

The Toby Carvery on the main road in Bishopstoke reopened at the end of last year after an extensive refurbishment.

Nursling

Another eating house, the Balmoral Beefeater at Nursling underwent a £200,000 refurbishment late last year. It has more recently been in the news due to a robbery from a cash-in-transit van. A security guard was struck, suffered injury and was subsequently taken to hospital. A local man has been arrested and bailed in connection with the robbery.

Southampton: Shirley

Continuing south, across the city border, another pub with a strong food trade, the Bellemoor, reopened in last year after a substantial refurbishment. The pub is now owned by Greene King.

Wadworth’s Park Inn in Carlisle Road has also undergone a substantial refurbishment, though the layout remains very much the same. Now in charge are well known local publicans Andy and Ceri Madsen.

Southampton: Freemantle

Osborne, Freemantle, Southampton
Osborne, Freemantle, Southampton

Staying with traditional local pubs, we were surprised to see that the Osborne has been put up for sale for £325,000 plus VAT. Among other features, the advert for the sale states, “Alternate use opportunity subject to obtaining the necessary permissions.” Nearby we note that permission has been granted to convert the ground floor of the adjacent Wedderburns shop into two flats. This company will be familiar to many licensees as suppliers of bespoke pub till and stock-control systems.

We are also sad to hear that Bob Beech from the Wellington Arms is to leave the Wellington Arms at the end of April. Bob has run the long standing Good Beer Guide entry for more than 12 years. One of the highlights of Bob’s time at the pub was when it was granted status as a consulate of Redonda by the island’s king and Bob received a Redondan knighthood. We wish him well in his future ventures.

Southampton: Bedford Place and London Road

The Tap Room (probably best known under its previous guise as the Pensioners) has reopened as the Shuffle Bar and Jukebox. A lot of work has been put into smartening up the premises, which is the second of what they hope to be a growing chain. The original is in Brighton.

Just around the corner in London Road the former Varsity, is now the London Road Brew House. The premises, which had remained empty for a year, now houses a large bar, including a mezzanine area, with its own micro-brewery. It is the thirtieth outlet of the London-based City Pub Company. The six handpumps offer guest beers in addition to beers brewed on the premises.

Southampton: City Centre

Continuing south into Above Bar, Belgium & Blues opened in the former Goblets last year, as we predicted in the last edition of Hop Press. Four real ales are available from the handpumps in the main downstairs cellar bar, along with several traditional ciders. There is also a gin bar in the upstairs section. As the name suggests, live music is a regular feature at the bar. Another café/bar with a music related theme, Notes, unfortunately closed just before Christmas, less than a year after opening.

Southampton: Bevois Valley

Another music venue, Lennon’s in Bevois Valley closed last October. However, we are pleased to report that it is to reopen as Suburbia. It has been purchased by local couple Peter and Lorraine Loizou. It will have a capacity of 500 and be open three or four evenings a week. We don’t suppose the budget will stretch to getting the Pet Shop Boys to play in Suburbia on the opening night, April 24.

Just down the road we are pleased to see that the former Dungeon and Xcalibar, which we reported had closed in the last edition of Hop Press has reopened as 5 Rivers. The name stems from the Punjabi origins of the owners - the Punjab is known as the land of the five rivers. The pub is light and airy with big screens showing sport. The owners will be using their previous experience in the offlicence trade to provide customers supplied with the two local beers on handpump with London Pride as a regular beer.

Southampton: St Mary’s

Joiners, St Mary's, Southampton
Joiners, St Mary's, Southampton

Though some music venues have been struggling, others are celebrating. The Joiners, which in the distant past hosted CAMRA branch meetings, celebrated 48 years as a music venue in November.

Southampton: Portswood

Staying with the music theme, we were sad to read of the death of Bryn Lewis who made the Brook into its current status as one of the main music venues in the city. Before its conversion in 1995 the Brook was a traditional, two-bar Marston’s pub. Fortunately for music loving beer drinkers, real ale is still available at the venue.

Staying in Portswood, as we previously announced the Tram Stop Bar & Kitchen is now open in Portswood Road. The six handpumps offer beers largely from Hampshire and surrounding counties. The pub is light and spacious with modern décor, wooden flooring and leather chairs/sofas. Food is available throughout the day.

As mentioned in the Editorial section, CAMRA’s Southern Hampshire Branch have voted the Bookshop Alehouse micropub, at the lower end of Portswood Road, as this year’s ‘Pub of the Year.’

Southampton: West Quay

Many restaurants have opened as part of the new West Quay expansion. Most of these restaurants also feature some sort of bar and it is even featured in the name of some of the outlets. Having enjoyed a pint of London Pride in the London Waterloo All Bar One on a visit (albeit some years ago) there was some hope that real ale might be available in at least one of these new outlets. Unfortunately, no real ale is on offer and a quick review of WhatPub suggests this is now the case nationally at all of the All Bar Ones, which are owned by the Mitchells and Butlers pub group.

Southampton: Stag Gates

The opening of the new West Quay eateries has been cited as one of the reasons for the closure of the Dock o’ the Bay bar/restaurant in the Avenue, which had been in business for 18 years. It will be interesting to see how the other food orientated bars in the city and beyond fare over the next year or so.

Southampton: Bitterne

Another closure is the Big Cheese in Bitterne. Owners, Greene King, announced that they have sold the pub but at the time of writing the new owner has yet to be identified. Better news is that the Red Lion reopened in its new guise as a Wetherspoon outlet on 28th March.

Southampton: Bitterne Park

The Station at Bitterne Park reopened in February after a refit, which includes a new outside patio area. It is also a Greene King outlet but is operated by Silver Keg Limited. Landlord John Campbell says that the emphasis will be on attracting sports fans and diners.

Southampton: Woolston

Landlady Mandy Emmerson has left the Grove Tavern in Woolston after 24 years behind the bar. We wish her well in her new career as a support worker.

Crawley

There were stories circulating late last year that a potential buyer had been found for the currently closed, Fox and Hounds, in Crawley. The talks appear to have come to nothing and the latest news to reach us is that a group of residents are testing support for a village-led bid to purchase the pub.

Harestock

March Hare, Harestock
March Hare, Harestock

A couple of miles to the south, planning applications were made for changes at the March Hare in Harestock. An application for replacement plus additional signage was permitted while another for a fence to enclose an existing drinking area was subsequently withdrawn.

Kings Worthy

Staying on the outskirts of Winchester, we are pleased to report that the King Charles at Kings Worthy reopened towards the end of last year. There was a short period of closure while new tenants were found but new landlady Laura Chapman and her husband Daniel took over the pub at the turn of the year.

Winchester

Towards the city centre, the First In Last Out also reopened at the end of last year after a brief period of closure. A planning application to change the layout and design of the bar area was granted and there has subsequently been an application for externally illuminated fascias and signage submitted.

Another Winchester pub has seen both structural and management changes in recent months. The King Alfred in Hyde had a major refurbishment including the bed and breakfast rooms upstairs. The new general manager is Jack Norgate. The pub is now part of the Little Pub Group. In an unusual move, the pub ran two plant-swapping mornings where people were able to swap their contributions for the pub’s revamped garden for tea, coffee or something stronger.

Walhampton

While the King Alfred has joined the Little Pub Group, the Waggon and Horses at Walhampton, which as we reported in the last edition, is now to be known as the Ferryman, is no longer part of the group. It is now a free house run by Rory Spurway and his business partner Paul Stratton, who also owns the King’s Head on Quay Hill.

The Walhampton Arms reopened in January after a major refurbishment. The bar and restaurant areas have been separated and the 50-seater function room is more compact than before.

Lymington

The Ship on Lymington quay has also undergone a major revamp. The bar has been extended and the waterside decking area has new parasols and lighting. There have also been changes to the exterior décor and signage.

Fusion Inn, Lymington
Fusion Inn, Lymington

The Fusion Inn, Queen Street, is still closed but planning permission has been requested for substantial internal and external alterations. Owners, Star Pubs and Bars, are looking for someone to run the pub and their website suggests that the name will revert to the Black Cat. How long before it becomes once again the Olde English Gentleman?

The on/off saga of who is running the Haven in the yacht haven seems to have been resolved. Earlier this year longstanding proprietor Rob Smith announced that he had been asked to leave by owners Yacht Havens Group. There was then a brief reprieve while Mr Smith challenged the decision. The situation was finally resolved in March when it was announced that it would be run in the future by Darren Lewis, who has previously worked at the Mill at Gordleton.

Another site of controversy has been what was most recently Wytes, and before that Graze, in Gosport Street. Despite much opposition, a new licence has been granted to reopen the premises as a restaurant called Greedo. Much of the opposition centred on claims that in its previous guise there had been a lot of late night drinking and that there was inadequate sound proofing. Under the new licence there would be a ‘bookings only’ policy in the evenings.

Totton

In Totton, Players, which is owned by the Wellington Pub Company, is currently closed but is expected to reopen following a successful search for a new tenant and possibly some refurbishment. Already refurbished and very much open is the Testwood, following interior and exterior changes costing more than £100k.

Ower

At the Vine, Ower, permission has been granted for new signage.

Bartley

The Haywain at Bartley reopened in December as a ‘Stonehouse Pizza and Carvery.’ It is a Mitchells & Butlers brand and there are more than 50 throughout the country.

Brook

Green Dragon, Brook
Green Dragon, Brook

Owners Wadworth have been busy submitting planning applications for the Green Dragon at Brook. Permission has been granted for new and replacement signage, a new outbuilding, eight additional parking spaces, a rear access ramp and steps plus internal alterations, though there are certain conditions attached.

Fordingbridge

In 2015 New Forest District Council rejected an application to build a two storey block of flats in the car park of the Augustus John. A Government planning inspector has now rejected an appeal by pub owners, London based Newriver Property Unit Trust, to reverse that decision. The inspector questioned the effect the proposed development would have on the surrounding area and considered that the noise from the pub garden, car park and Station Road would have an adverse impact on the occupiers of the flats. The pub itself suffered structural damage last year when a car crashed into it early one evening. Fortunately the driver only suffered minor head injuries and none of the customers who were in the pub were sitting near the impact. The pub was able to reopen within three hours after the wall was shored up.

Rockford

The manager of another pub named after a famous person, the Alice Lisle at Rockford, was awarded a prize for ‘Outstanding Achievement’ at owner Fuller’s annual awards at the end of last year. Harry Goodliffe won the award for the pub that underwent substantial refurbishment last year. Around the turn of the year the pub suffered a chimney fire but it had gone out before the fire service arrived!

Burley

There was also a chimney fire at another Forest Fullers pub, the White Buck, Burley in December. Although at one stage part of the pub was filled with smoke no lasting damage was caused.

Beaulieu

Montagu Arms, Beaulieu
Montagu Arms, Beaulieu

At the end of February there was yet another chimney fire, this time at the Montagu Arms, Beaulieu. Again there was no significant damage. Permission has been granted for two guest accommodation suites at the hotel. The hotel is now offering customers free used coffee grounds that can be used as compost…

Lyndhurst

The future of the Lyndhurst Park Hotel site is uncertain after an application to build 74 ‘age restricted’ residential units and 12 holiday lets, following the demolition of the hotel, was turned down by the National Park Authority. It would not be a surprise if owners Pegasus Life will either appeal the decision or submit a revised plan.

Brockenhurst

Last year the Forest Park Hotel in Brockenhurst completed the first phase of a £4m renovation programme. The major work is due to be completed during the summer. Permission has been granted to construct a new dwelling and garage on land at the hotel.

Sway

In Sway, an application for a single storey extension, first floor extension to increase manager accommodation and four roof lights at the Silver Hind was rejected by planners.

New Milton

In New Milton the application that we mentioned in the last edition to build a shop on part of the site of the Wheatsheaf was withdrawn.

New Milton town councillors supported the application for a new pub to open at 8 Station Road, which was formerly the Total Entertainment store. The application was made by New Forest Alehouses Ltd. Planning permission has now been granted, subject to various conditions relating to sound-proofing, delivery times and no amplified music. The licence has also been granted for the premises which will be called the Hourglass.

Milford-on-Sea

White Horse, Milford-on-Sea
White Horse, Milford-on-Sea

After a short period of closure the White Horse, Milford-on-Sea reopened under Paul Rand. Mr Rand has previous experience in the pub trade though in recent years has concentrated on designing websites. Previous operators, JLS Publicans, left the White Horse to concentrate on their other pub, the Plough at Tiptoe. They claimed that owners Enterprise Inns wanted them to become responsible for the entire building, which they estimated meant at least £100,000 would need to be spent.

The pub could face competition in the future from a new ‘craft beer bar’ at 27 High Street. Planning permission has been granted and the licence application is due to be heard at the end of April. Unlike their New Milton colleagues, Milford parish councillors were against the new outlet, claiming it was in the wrong location and could lead to late night noise, anti-social behaviour and highway safety issues. There were six letters of support and five letters of objection. Planning officers recommended approval. As in the New Milton case, there are some conditions attached to the planning and licence approval. We see that it will be named The Wash House, in recognition of its previous incarnation as ‘Peg’s Beautiful Laundrette.’ We trust there will be no wishywashy beer on sale.

If you have any news about pub openings, change of landlords, closures, or other interesting news, please tell us: pubinfo@shantscamra.org.uk

Southampton Beer Festival logo

Southampton Beer Festival Hop Press index
 

After 20 successful years at the Guildhall, Southampton Beer Festival 2017 is set to return, on the 23rd and 24th June, with a brand-new look and at a brand-new venue. This festival will be showcasing the very best of the city of Southampton and the thriving beer scene in the city, in Hampshire and nationally. To celebrate this, the festival will be, for the first time, at St Mary’s Stadium, home of Southampton Football Club.

This is an exciting opportunity for the festival; alongside the vast range of up to 70 high quality local and national cask ales, we will also be featuring a range of popular ciders and perries, and international bottled beers sourced and supplied by one of Southampton’s newest specialist foreign beer bars: Belgium & Blues.

The new venue provides great opportunities for the festival and has allowed us to introduce improvements customers have asked for from our previous festivals. The venue is much larger, allowing for much more seating as well as more room to move about. The festival is all on one level, with no steps, improving access for all. We will have air conditioning, so the festival can be comfortable for customers regardless of the weather outside. There will be a single, large bar making it easier to find the beers you are looking for and speeding service. Having the bigger space also allows the use of two distinct areas, one ‘quiet’ area where you can sit and chat with your friends, undisturbed, and one entertainment area, with live music throughout all four sessions. Although this year we are running the festival with fewer customers than previous events, we have the future opportunity to grow the festival in size, activities available and number of beers.

We are also pleased to be working with the popular music venues of the Frog and Frigate and the Brook to offer a bigger music presence at the festival. Both venues are an important face of music within Southampton, featuring and supporting a range of young and local talent, as well as showcasing the best locally and nationally established acts. Over the four sessions, we will have twelve acts – Matt Black, Tom Martin, Hack Francis, Jimmy Hart, Remedy Sounds, The Villanovas, Sorcha Rose and Bear, Jazz Wrann and The Ruby Welts, Catballou, The Paper Trains, Shoot the Duke, and Just Millie and Band. Plus, as said, we will also have the ‘quiet’ area, where you can enjoy your beer and have a quiet chat with your friends without the bustle of the bands.

The festival is lucky to coincide with the celebration of Hop Back’s 30th anniversary. They are proudly sponsoring the festival T-shirts and the Dancing Man are providing sponsorship of the festival glasses. Beers from both breweries will, of course, be part of the cask range featured.

Welcomed back from previous festivals are the popular Olives and Things, providing an exciting and tasty range of Mediterranean delicacies, and Odd Fellows Chocolate Co (Previously Merry Berry Truffles), with their artisan chocolates, creatively combining exciting ingredients and flavours to produce out of this world high quality chocolate. Dare you try the Scorpion chocolate?

As part of the new venue and changes taking place, we have worked with local graphic designers to produce a new festival brand. Key to this has been the new logo, linking the historic entrance to the city of Southampton, the Bargate, with the icon of beer, the pint glass. This, with the strong black, orange, and white colour scheme, is reflected throughout the festival, from the festival programme cover, the staff T-shirts, and the tickets, to the posters promoting the event.

The festival is slightly later this year, avoiding a clash with Father’s Day (though, tickets could be the ideal Father’s Day gift!) on the 23rd and 24th June. The day sessions will run from 11:30 to 16:00 on the Friday and Saturday afternoons, and the evening sessions from 18:30 to 23:00 on the same days. Tickets will be £5 for Friday afternoon, £10 for Friday evening, with both Saturday sessions priced at £7. Entry to the festival includes the festival glass and programme. CAMRA card holding members will receive some tokens towards the price of their beers.

Tickets will be more limited than previous years and none will be sold on the door. It is recommended to purchase tickets at the first opportunity to avoid disappointment. These are on sale now, online, at: (www.southamptonbeerfestival.org.uk/2017/tickets) or, from the end of April at: Bitter Virtue, The Guide Dog, Belgium & Blues, and the Dancing Man in Southampton, Ebenezers in Hythe, and the Tipsy Pig in Romsey.

As always, the success of the festival is down to the hard work and camaraderie of the volunteers who not only serve the customers during the festival, but help to set up and take down the event. If you would be interested in helping, please complete the on-line form at: (www.southamptonbeerfestival.org.uk/2017/volunteering). No previous experience is necessary, and we are always welcoming to volunteers new and old!

We look forward to seeing you at a very exciting event. Don’t forget to check out the website to keep updated on the beers and ciders as they are confirmed, as well as all the latest news: www.southamptonbeerfestival.org.uk

Portsmouth Hop Press index

Malin Norman

Portsmouth was once amongst the most important ports in the world, its streets busy with tipsy seafarers. Today, a loyal beer crew is cruising the city in search of the best brews.

There is something quite unpretentious about Portsmouth, heavily relying on its historic past but without bragging. Listen to this; the city has one of the world’s best known ports, one of the UK’s tallest structures, and one of the most modern universities. It is the birthplace of author Charles Dickens and engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and nowadays attracts a whopping 100,000 visitors during the Victorious Festival.

What few know is that Pompey also hosts a healthy beer scene. Despite the drop in numbers of public houses in the UK, Portsmouth still has around 150 pubs and bars. And more importantly, its very own ‘beeripedia.’ John Kendall is a retired engineer, keen hiker and beer lover. He knows more about the breweries and pubs in the area than most and has a list of beer festivals, tap takeovers and other local events in his pocket. “Beer festivals are popping up everywhere, almost too many to handle”, John complains but this captain will not abandon ship so easily.

Navigating watering holes

Every week, following a morning of cultural explorations, John and his friends dock at their favourite pit stops for refreshments. After some twenty years or so discovering the local beer scene, the crew relies on pubs with great atmosphere, friendly staff and fantastic beer. The group size varies but someone always shows up, encapsulating the communal spirit of beer drinkers.

The most frequent rendezvous is the Brewhouse & Kitchen, the former White Swan, much because of its convenient location near the train station. Preferring traditional cask ales rather than ‘hipster craft beer on keg,’ John often pops in to this bar (still lovingly called the Mucky Duck) for a pint or three, before catching his train home.

Another great cruise stop is Hole in the Wall. This small venue with charming décor, friendly staff and excellent beer selection was originally a shop, later a wine bar and nowadays a buzzing pub. Supporting local breweries, Hole in the Wall is much-loved amongst brewers and hosts a popular 10-day beer event in the autumn.

Royal Oak in Havant
Royal Oak in Havant (Langstone)

The crew’s all-time favourite drinking station is The Royal Oak in Havant, a short train ride away. Sitting next to Langstone Mill, the pub overlooks Langstone Harbour and its wildlife reserve. John’s friend Lesley explains; “during high tide, the benches outside have been known to float away and waves splash high up on the pub’s windows. Quite the sight!” Not surprisingly, this little gem is claimed to be one of the most photographed pubs in England (pictured left).

But there’s an abundance of others, for instance classic Lord Palmerston, trendy Meat & Barrel and old-style Barley Mow, all located in picturesque Southsea. A handful of other popular places are Portsmouth’s oldest pub The Dolphin from 1716, Fuller’s Still & West overlooking the harbour and The Bridge Tavern with its salty atmosphere, and the cheap but cheerful Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a hotspot for students on a budget. With around 150 or so pubs, there is no need to go thirsty.

Meeting brew heroes

Whilst pubs are plenty, breweries are few – currently only five. Newbie Southsea Brewing Co. opened last summer at Southsea Castle. In the small brew shop, visitors can buy the full-flavoured Casemate IPA, named after the old ammunition storage room where the brewery is located, the smooth Low Tide Pale Ale, and the hops-loaded Heavy Artillery Double IPA. Not to miss is the Six Wives Chocolate Milk Stout, brewed with cherry and vanilla pods – like a Black Forest Gateau in a glass.

Uber-cool Staggeringly Good is also a must with its own shop and taproom. Try the hoppy StaggerSaurus session IPA or the new collaboration with Arundel Brewery; a spicy rye IPA called Knight Ryeder. Pale ale Hole in Time is brewed exclusively for the Hole in the Wall pub and this summer, Staggeringly Good is also organizing WarriorFest, a Palate- Pleasing-Paleo-Pirate-Party on the HMS Warrior preserved warship. Well-deserved, this busy team of brewers has been named Brewery of the Year.

Small local brewery Urban Island Brewing has a few good brews on offer, for example Urban Pale, a hoppy pale ale with grapefruit and orange, and the refreshing single-hopped American ale Citra, or why not the fruity summer ale Dolly’s Special Beer, which is brewed every year in June in memory of the 100th birthday of the brewer’s grandmother.

More traditional Irving & Co. Brewers is a reliable beer partner with its award-winning beers. Four naval-inspired regulars are accompanied by seasonal beers such as Shipmate Summer Wheat Beer, Vanguard Strong Ale and Iron Duke IPA, and of course Irving’s very own golden Victorious Festival Ale. Owner Malcolm Irving is also the organiser of the Portsea Island Beer Festival in October, celebrating cask beers from around the UK. Another beer hero by the sea.

Brewhouse & Kitchen in Portsmouth
Brewhouse & Kitchen in Portsmouth

The already mentioned Brewhouse & Kitchen (pictured left), now a chain of 16 brewpubs across the country, has its own brew plant and cask ales such as Guildhall Kölsch Style Ale, George Anson Black Porter and Mucky Duck Traditional Bitter. Great English-style beers to be savoured whilst having a chat with John and his friends before catching that train on to wherever next.

Information about pubs in Portsmouth: portsmouthpubs.org.uk. Plus, of course, CAMRA’s: WhatPub.com national data base.

Information about local beer festivals: www.shantscamra.org.uk/beerfestivals

Competition Crossword Hop Press index

QUETZALCOATL (download printable pdf version here)

Crossword Grid

Eight of these solutions share a common theme and so are not further defined.

Across
9.  Oriental vegetable fraud in Bake Off. France quits! (5,4)
10.  Embryonic, vermin-free development (5)
11  US actor/bass, dressed for court? (7)
12.  Roll true grasping nodule unevenly (7)
13.  Israel’s 160 rods (4)
14.  Donkey or men in a race mixture (10)
16.  Style topped up and run on as beetle’s wing protector (7)
17.  Undoubtedly responsible for the shooting of Dan McGrew! (7)
19.  Insurer’s alarm signal train (bullet line) (6,4)
22.  Leo’s young Welsh sibling, Dannie (4)
24.  Andrew is left in wonder (7)
25.  Saucy chocolate bounder? No, just a naked borer! (4,3)
26.  Said to be complete (5)
27.  Cool genie conjures up ancient era (9)
Down
1.  The 18c satirical take on matrimony in the National Gallery’s ‘strip cartoon’ (8,1,2,4)
2.  Clumsily at sea, bull and byre chaos! (8)
3,17.  Op 123, first performed in 1824 at St. Petersburg (5,8)
4.  Noble chronicler of valiant charge (8)
5.  Vivid orange of Manx cats stop hearts (6)
6.  RSM’s command re performers? (5-4)
7.  Restraint of newlywed taking direction (6)
8.  Poorly disposed as Radio 4 lists news (5,3,7)
15.  Nell Gwyn’s male rivals? No, Billy’s boys! (9)
17.  see 3
18.  Paid to see emu birds go free (8)
20.  Polymath, incorrectly assumed by urban myth to have inspired Apple’s logo (6)
21.  Children’s cautioner (6)
23.  We’ll hit out evenly (5)

Prizes to the first two correct entries drawn. Closing date: 31st July 2017.

Send to:

The Editor, Hop Press, 1 Surbiton Road, Eastleigh, Hants. SO50 4HY

Issue 81 (Autumn 2016) Solution & Winners

Crossword Answers

A good entry for this edition, 24, although 4 unfortunately had single word errors. Apologies for an unfortunate typo in one clue of the printed edition (‘R’) – corrected on the web version – but that did not seem to daunt you.

As the two solutions here show, alphabetic puzzles using a symmetrical grid will give two mirror imaged possible solutions – in this case imaged about the NW-SE diagonal.

A couple of entrants commented that they found this one hard but one also complained that it was too simple so I judge it to have been about right!

Of course one unavoidable consequence of alphabetic puzzles is that they always end up with a sprinkling of somewhat obscure words; a good sized dictionary is essential to both compiler and solver, the Chambers 1998 edition is my trusted source.

Winners, drawn from the hat, for this edition:

Tim Parkinson, Calmore, Southampton (twice running!)
Jeff Phillips, Bitterne, Southampton

The other eighteen correct solvers were:
Ron Brading Nigel Cook
Rod Cross Jeff Glasspool
J E Green Norman Hurl
Guy Lawrenson Ash Mather
R S Milligan Gary Morse
Neil Mort Mark Nichols
Rebecca Pink Ron Poole
Harvey Saunders Martin Sirl
Trevor Smith Stephen Tompsett

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Hop Press Issue number 82. Spring 2017

Editor: Pat O'Neill
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Hants.
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©CAMRA Ltd. 2017

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