Hop Presshops Hop Press Issue 40 front cover

Issue 40 – September 1995


A rough OCR of the original leaving out adverts & some sections such as the Crossword

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EDITORIAL Hop Press index

Finally, the shadow of David Lloyd George, Earl of Dwyfor, has been lifted from our pubs. The Welsh Wizard's spell has been broken.

All those readers who have seen thirty slip away will have had their formative years, years of initiation into the mysteries of the pub, dominated by the clock. For three quarters of this century Britain had the most limited and bizarre opening hours for bars of anywhere in the western world (we will pass over America's ill-fated flirtation with abstinence for the duration of the disastrous Volstead Act during the nineteen-twenties).

Most people believe that pub opening hours were drastically reduced by Parliament during the First World War and that this law then stayed in place until the last few years. Not really true, Lloyd George has more to answer for than a hit of war time nerves followed by forgetfulness.

Throughout the Victorian era and into the start of this century, pubs did not have specified opening hours. Instead there were defined periods of closing. These were developed from the 1828 Alehouses Act, which simply stated that pubs must close: "During the hours of Divine Service on a Sunday. Good Friday or Christmas Day." During the 1914-18 war the government set up a "Central Control Board" with emergency powers to issue orders without the need for parliamentary bills. One of these orders drastically increased the hours during which pubs had to stay closed. This emergency order is what most people think survived into recent times but this is not so, it was cancelled after the war. However it was cancelled by being superseded by a comprehensive act, the 1921 Licensing Act.

This act was passed after three years of peace, during the last year of Lloyd George's premiership. It was the first act to incorporate the concept of "permitted hours." These were eight hours between eleven am and ten pm on weekdays and five between noon and ten pm on Sundays. The hours had to be in two sections with a minimum break of two hours. With only minor changes the provisions of this 1921 law lasted for well over half a century until the 1988 Licensing Act finally gave us all-day opening on weekdays. Now, at last, the 1995 Licensing (Sunday Hours) Act has closed up the Sunday afternoon gap. As the twenty-first century is about to dawn, England has just managed to acquire an almost twentieth century drinking law!

CAMRA campaigned long and hard for the modernisation of hours that came firstly in the 1988 Act and has now been neatly topped off with this August's changes. Parliament was lobbied, MPs written to and gallons of printers' ink used on articles. It is nice to see a campaign come to completion and in the statute book. Of course there is always a down-side. No longer can you savour the secret pleasures of being the only one who knows where afternoon "lates" can be had or of being selected, with a subtle sign, like the sheep from the goats, to join the few invited to the "lock-in." Autres temps, autres moeurs...

"Southampton's Inns and Taverns"
Hop Press index

Pat O'Neill

In the shops now, Tony Gallaher's Southampton's Inns and Taverns, is a work of considerable magnitude. Born and bred in Southampton, Tony has spent almost ten years in painstaking research of the material for this history of the city's pubs.

Southampton's Inns and Taverns had as its starting point a Victorian temperance pamphlet of 1878 which contained a map of the city with all of the, then 522, drinking establishments identified as an awful warning of the state of debauchery to which Southampton had sunk. Tony Gallaher set out to try to track them all down, discover their fate and to tie them in to the present (less than 200) pub stock. As he freely admits, quite a number have still eluded his researches, but to anyone with a fair knowledge of Southampton the numbers included are both impressive and fascinating.

Nearly one thousand pub names are referenced, it seems that the desire to re-name pubs is not a just a recent phenomenon, the Victorians and Edwardians were at it too. I cannot believe that there could be any reader, however knowledgeable about Southampton, who would not find plenty of new facts and probably plenty of corrections to false impressions in this book. Even recent changes are included, up to the early part of this year. In many cases details are also given of the histories of pubs well before the 1878 survey that was the original inspiration for the work.

The book is in an A4 (11½" x 8¼") format with 124 pages, profusely illustrated with photographs - both contemporary and historic. Many of these archive pictures conjure up a great nostalgia for the city that has been lost. Entries are arranged alphabetically by the pub name, with cross-referencing to cope with the many name changes. There is also an extremely useful street-by-street index listing all of the drinking houses that are known to have ever existed in each street. The introductory section contains brief histories of the breweries that once flourished in the Southampton area.

Each pub entry gets a potted history, there are details of the former brewers or owners, anecdotes about old landlords or events (many taken from old court records!), derivation(s) of the name(s) and in many cases details of what visible traces remain.

Of course no work is perfect, I would have preferred a more tabular form for the histories and a bit more red-blood in the pub descriptions - calling the Juniper Berry or the Horse and Groom just "infamous" is perhaps a bit timid! Nevertheless, for anyone with any interest in Southampton and in pubs this book is a must.

Southampton's Inns and Taverns by Tony Gallaher Poulner Publishing Ltd., Ringwood. £9.95 ISBN 0-9525585-0-5


Ian Black

For as long as many can remember, brewing on the Isle of Wight was synonymous with the story of Burts of Ventnor. Everyone knows the stories of the perpetual 6d a year water charge and of the only bomb on Ventnor which neatly removed the Old 1840 building. Older readers may add fond memories of Mew, Langton's Royal Brewery in Newport, gobbled up by Strongs in 1965 and closed soon after in 1969. Really genuine geriatrics may even recall the Shanklin Brewery which pitched its last yeast in 1953. From the start of the century, when there were a dozen independent brewers at work on the island, the story is one of a slow but steady attrition, to zero in 1992, when Burts finally went into liquidation. Not so now.

Renaissance was quick coming. Burts' name was bought by the soft drinks makers, Hartridges, and a new plant, the Island Brewery at Newport, soon became well-known in the Free Trade around Hampshire both for their own name beers and for beers using the old Burts' names.

After Hartridges' purchase of the rights to Burts' name the receivers were still left with the physical brewery at Ventnor. As advisor, the receivers employed Jonathan Stancill, previously a brewer with Pitfield and Premier Ales (both now owned by United Breweries of India, but that is another story...!). Many came to Ventnor and many left but no one seemed to want the seaside brewery. Amongst those that Jonathan showed around was Anthony Goddard who, like those before, was not inclined to relieve the receivers of their burden. However, with the conversation turning to breweries in general, Jonathan suggested another route into brewing - setting up a one man operation in something like a converted barn. What Jonathan did not know was that Anthony already owned a farmhouse near Ryde with just such a barn. What is more, Jonathan had made such an impression that Anthony took him on and set up the brewery without ever having tasted a pint that he had made!

Goddard's Brewery is housed in a seventeenth century stone barn, refurbished with new metal roofing. Like most new small breweries, outside appearance offers no clue its function. The plant is ex-Shipstones (the once excellent Nottingham brewery, taken over and closed by brewing's arch-vandals, Greenalls), refurbished and clad in new pine boarding it makes a very attractive set-up. The copper is directly fired by gas. One aspect that surprises anyone familiar with British breweries is that the various vessels do not carry the prominent, standardised identification letters - MT for mash tun, FV for fermentation vessel etc. - that for generations have been a rigid Customs and Excise requirement, a silliness only just abolished. The brewery was formally declared open by Lord Mottistone, Governor and Lord Lieutenant of the Island, in August of 1993.

Brewing at Goddards is very much a one-man affair, Jonathan does it all! Currently brewing is once a week with a brew length of fifteen barrels (540 gallons). Malt is all from the traditional Maris Otter variety of barley although the yeast is, somewhat surprisingly, a re-hydrated Nottingham ale yeast - similar to one a home brewer might buy in the local Boots...

Two beers are in production, the staple being the 4% Goddard's Special Bitter, GSB. This is brewed with pale and crystal malt and with an addition of some brewers' invert sugar, materials the brewer describes as: "all very tasty stuff, I believe that if you like the ingredients you brew with you'll like the finished product." Hops are the aromatic Fuggles and Goldings together with the more powerfully bitter Challenger varieties. A fifth of the hops are added to the copper very late to maximise aroma. The beer is fermented right out. One of the multitude of fermentation products is a certain amount of a substance called diacetyl, a ketone with a butterscotch flavour so powerful that even one part per million is easily tasted. However, by cooling the yeast to below 15°C one can alter its metabolism so that it converts the diacetyl into a tasteless derivative. Thus the brewing, which takes five or six days at about 20°C, ends with a day cooled to 15°C and then a chill to 8°C to settle the yeast out before transferring the beer to the racking tank. The beer is racked into nine gallon firkins, some priming sugar is added to each cask, to help the secondary fermentation and also some hop extract. Graphically but perhaps not tastefully referred to as "snot," this helps to increase the aroma.

The second beer is about 5% with the tongue twisting name of Fuggle-de-dum, more simply FDD. Unlike the GSB, this is an all malt brew - save for a small addition of malt extract, or "gravy browning" as Jonathan normally refers to it. The hopping is much less complex, just Fuggles, and unlike the GSB the beer is not fermented fully out so there are residual sugars left for the secondary fermentation, thus priming is not needed. Also, FDD does not have any hop oil addition. In taste terms, the GSB is the more complex (as one would expect with the many hop varieties), some maltiness and fruitiness but predominantly lots of hop - both taste and aroma and in the bitter aftertaste - very thirst quenching. The stronger FDD has less aroma and a certain vinosity but is clearly a beer from the same stable.

Unlike the Island Brewery, most of Goddard's beer is consumed on the Isle of Wight although there are plans to expand trade to the mainland via a beer agency. Anthony is not in a rush to expand, his philosophy is to be excellent at one thing at a time, hence the small number of beers in comparison to some other small brewers.

One untypical move was to produce a bottled version of FDD. This was brewed by Jonathan at Bateman's brewery in Lincolnshire, in his description they: "just lent me the brewery for a few days." With the very seasonal nature of the beer consumption on the Isle of Wight (beer sales nearly quadruple in summer months) the hope is that during the slow winter period, sterile-filtered, but not pasteurised, bottled beers could be made for subsequent summer drinking.

Look out for these interesting beers on your next (first?) visit to the island. To find the outlet nearest to wherever you are going why not give them a ring on 01983 616833.

Or, does Whitbread know its kil from its firkin?
Hop Press index

Gareth Davies & Pat O'Neill

Pub goers do not usually give any thought to the words when a landlord tells them: "I've just got to change the barrel..." or: "It's a new barrel, it's not ready yet..." etc. Familiar phrases and most landlords would react with some fury if they were then accused of lying. But they are. Hardly a single pub in Hampshire has any barrels in its cellar.

In the beer industry the term barrel is a measure of size, not the name of a container. That honour belongs, for traditional beer, to the word cask. A barrel is a specific size of cask that holds 36 gallons, at over 400lbs in weight, it is a size that is now not often used. Despite the move toward metrication, most breweries are still using casks sizes that are more than a century old and are based on multiples and sub-multiples of the 36 gallon barrel. The sizes and names are:

Pin 4½ gallons(8 to a barrel)
Firkin 9 gallons(4 to a barrel)
Kilderkin 18 gallons(2 to a barrel)
Half-hogshead   27 gallons¾ barrel)
Barrel 36 gallons
Hogshead 54 gallons(1½ barrel)

Pins, in the form of casks are now history. The costs of cleaning, filling and handling make them uneconomic for the small amount of beer involved, however the pin still lives on in the form of the polypin - the square cardboard bs with the collapsible bag of beer inside, so useful for parties.

The 9 gallon firkin is now the commonest size cask. In the Free Trade and the "guest beer" market it is virtually the only size used.

Kilderkins (sometimes called simply half-barrels in some parts of the country) are now the normal largest size container that most brewers use. This is a result of both the general reduction in beer consumption and the plethora of health and safety rules that restrict manual handling of heavy goods. The kilderkin is nearly always spoken of in the diminutive as a "kil."

Half-hogsheads were in occasional use in the northern parts of the country within the last decade but they are probably now extinct. [Does anyone know otherwise? - Ed.]

Barrels were once the normal size for the session beers of an average pub - wooden ones at that! It takes a strong man to lift even an empty wooden barrel. The elimination of hard manual work as the lot of the common man has reduced his collective thirst and now it would be a happy landlord indeed who could sell a barrel of each product every day. Big city boozers, especially in the industrial north (what is left of it!), still use them, but not many in these effete southern climes.

The hogshead, at about a third of a ton, is the biggest practical cask for delivery to a pub. They were certainly in use by northern brewers, including Yorkshire's Timothy Taylor, Manchester's Robinsons and Holts and Wolverhampton's Banks into this decade. Now, to the best of our knowledge, only Banks and bits continue, and, to quote Holt's brewer: "Yes, most of our beer still goes out in 54's." When asked how the draymen manage, he then replied: "Oh they don't, they drop most of them!" A spokesman at Robinsons said that ten years or more ago they had some accounts that took (un-named) 72 gallon casks, one can but boggle.

What, then, has all of this got to do with Whitbread, who feature in the sub-title to this article?

It probably has not escaped most readers that Whitbread have been re-vamping a good number of their pubs as "cask ale houses," many of which bear some reference to hogsheads in their titles or advertising. These houses certainly show a welcome volte face in Whitbread's commitment to real ale but the recent re-opening of the Royal Oak in Winchester has shown up a small deficiency in their advertising department...

To celebrate the re-opening of this pub the Hampshire Chronicle carried a display advertisement incorporating a draw for a firkin of real ale. To enter the draw one had to answer three simple questions, the "answers" to which were allegedly in the text of the advertisement. The questions were:

"What is a hogshead?"
"How many imperial gallons is it?"
"How big is a firkin?"

The relevant section of the advertisement that would, supposedly, help one complete these questions is quoted exactly below, careful reading is advised.

"...get a flavour of the Hogshead by entering this competition to win a firkin of real ale. You will be invited to the pub to taste each one and choose your favourite.

"The Hogshead name is not derived from pigs as you might imagine but is actually a measurement, twice the size of a barrel. Some hogsheads held as much as 140 gallons but the British hogshead now contains 63 imperial gallons.

"The three most frequently encountered units of ale in bulk are the barrel, the half-barrel known as the kilderkin and the quarter-barrel firkin."

After quite some research we think we know where Whitbread's benighted copy writer got some of this farrago of nonsense. The "63 gallon" hogshead is an ancient wine and spirit cask measured in wine gallons. A wine gallon was four fifths of an imperial gallon and was derived from apothecaries' measures. The only place that this undersized gallon still exists (other than Whitbread's fantasies) is in the United States where it was probably adopted because the imperial gallon was just too much for the revolutionaries!

Was the winner of this contest awarded a "firkin" of 7.625 gallons, as Whitbread's definition would seem to imply, or did it come as a pleasant surprise to find another 1.375 gallons still in it? More to the point, did any punters who ignored the advertising drivel and gave the right answers get excluded from the draw? Somehow, the whole episode seems to chime in beautifully with the Boddington advertisements which show supposed "pints" with centimetres of head. 72, a firkin's worth, of those probably would come to only 7.625 gallons!


Rob Whatley

In 1992 brewing returned to Arundel after 70 years. At least, almost, for the Arundel Brewery is in a new unit on the former Battle of Britain airfield at Ford, just to the south.

Much of the brewing equipment was formerly at the Wood Brewery in Shropshire. There is also a lot of ex-dairy equipment - the owners have a dairy as well and the two trades have many similarities. The brew length is ten barrels and brewing currently takes place four times a week.

Simpson's East Anglian malt and Fuggles and East Kent Golding hops are used in all the beers. The brewery propagates its own yeast but replaces it every six months with new from the Ringwood Brewery. Some beers have an extra claim to be "local" as a retired Sussex head brewer, Fred Martin, has passed on some recipes that he suggests will reproduce genuine old Sussex flavours.

The first beer brewed, still the best seller, was the 4% Best Bitter which the Good Beer Guide describes as a hoppy brew with a good balance of malt and fruit. The regular strong beer is Old Knucker, a 5.5% brew named after a legendary local dragon. This dragon lived in a pool and terrorised the town, naturally it was eventually killed by a local knight who then married the usual princess.

Other regular beers include Gold (4.2%), one of the best of this genre, ESB (4.5%), Stronghold (5%) and a Christmas beer, Old Scrooge. Beers are also produced for special occasions, one recently marked the retirement of a local policeman. The minimum special brew is 360 gallons but some special beers have been produced in larger quantities, for example four beers for the Wetherspoon chain (sold under names with a castle theme).

Arundel has about 80 regular customers. Deliveries are made as far west as Fareham, north into Surrey and east beyond Brighton. A fifth of production is sold through wholesalers and tight control is kept on the location of the brewery's 1,000 casks.

Arundel's success can be judged from the fact that the original two fermenters are now seven. Space became so tight that beer was being conditioned in casks in a refrigerated container in the car park. To relieve this, the brewery has already moved into a larger unit on the other side of the airfield. The old brewing equipment may also need replacing if negotiations for a big new brewing contract are successful. There could be major developments at the brewery by the end of the year.

One of the best ways to sample the beers is at the only tied house, the Swan Hotel in Arundel. It has been superbly restored and is a marvellous stop after a visit to the town's traditional attractions, the castle or the cricket ground.

Arundel's casks have identification hoops in Germany's national colours. Try one of the beers and you will find it slips down as easily as Jurgen Klinsmann in a penalty area.


Rob Whatley

For many years CAMRA's annual survey has told beer drinkers that the cheapest pints were to be found in the pubs of the country's smaller brewers. The results of this year's survey indicate that this position is beginning to change. Whilst the overall price of a pint of standard bitter rose by about four percent over the past year the rise in Marston's pubs was ten percent. The table below shows how the average prices of ordinary bitters in local pubs have risen in the year. The prices are those from the brewers' own tied houses.

 Price in 1994Price in 1995Change (pence)Change (%)
John Smiths (3.8%)£1.58£1.657p4.4%
Marston Bitter (3.8%)£1.48£1.6315p10.1%
Boddington Bitter (3.8%)£1.57£1.614p2.5%
Gales Best (3.8%)£1.54£1.606p3.9%
Courage Best (4.0%)£1.50£1.588p5.3%
Gales BBB (3.4%)£1.48£1.546p4.1%
Hancocks HB (3.6%)£1.42£1.464p2.6%
Wadworth IPA (3.8%)£1.45£1.30-15p-10.3%

The survey took place in April. The low price for Wadworth's IPA was the result of a special offer run in Wadworth's pubs during the early part of the year. A few pubs have retained the lower price having seen increased sales during the promotion. Even where pubs have stopped the offer, their price of around £1.50 would still put the annual increase towards the bottom of the table. The high increase in the average price of Marston's Bitter was accentuated by an outrageous price hike in one pub of 25p, although the majority of the other Marston's pubs implemented increases of more than 10p. Even if this pub is excluded, the average price in the other pubs of around £1.56 a pint means that Marston's prices have moved into line with those of the big brewers after many years of being the best value in our area.

These price changes over the last year mean that it is now possible to find both Pedigree and 6X cheaper in some of the pubs of the big brewers than in the tied houses of Marstons and Wadworths.

Overall the gap between the prices of the big brewers and the small brewers is closing, although at the moment prices are still just, on average, cheaper in the pubs of the independent brewers. In fact it is the new small brewers such as Cheriton and Hop Back that have done most to keep prices down whilst the regional independents have been catching up with the national brewers. Hop Back's GFB is still £1.40 a pint in the Waterloo, Freemantle (after a recent 5p increase) and Pots Ale, from Cheriton, has remained at £1.26 for the past year at both of their pubs, the Flower Pots and the Tally Ho.

The prices of other drinks have increased by similar levels to those of beers, with the exception of spirits. The average prices of whisky and gin have increased by eight percent over the last year, from £1.07 to £1.16. This can be accounted for by the change of measures, which went, at the start of the year, from a sixth of a gill to 25 millilitres, just over a five percent increase.

Since the survey was conducted, in April, there have been further price increases in many pubs of from 4p to 8p a pint However, in at least a tenth of these pubs it would be very difficult to tell, as the there are no price lists on display. In many others the price lists are of no practical use to the customer due to their positioning or tiny print. Not displaying a price list is still against the law but licensees know that Trading Standards Departments, under-funded and under-staffed, have as good as given up pursuing such matters.

The inevitable onward march of prices has meant that a number of pubs are now charging more than £2 a pint for some of their real ales. [after the article in the last Hop Press, singling out the Tramways as the first "over the top" a reader, Mr. Lankester, drew my attention to the Bush at Ovington where the £2 was surpassed before the end of 1994 with a pint of Gibbs Deacon Bitter at £2.02 - Ed.]. Now that the barrier has been breached we can probably expect prices to increase faster over the next year, our 1996 survey will give you the facts!

When faced with a price increase the natural reaction of the customer is to take out his anger on the licensee. In the vast majority of cases this is unfair.

In managed pubs the prices are set directly by the brewery, either in the form of a universal list like Marstons or in a set of scales, graduated for the "plushness" of the house, like Whitbread. In leased and tenanted pubs the brewery is still the main controller of prices since they set the rent and the cost of the beer that the tied licensee is forced to buy from them. The cost of beer to a tied tenant is often more than it would be to an ordinary member of the public buying a cask for himself. Rents have increased hugely in recent years and are linked to sales. It must be quite dispiriting for licensees who increase their turnover by hard graft and entrepreneurship to then find that their rent increases pro rata to the profit. Such "rewards" are a prime cause of the vast increase in the turnover of tenancies.

The year has seen an increase in the number of pubs running happy hours or selling one beer at a low price. Wetherspoons regularly do the latter, which, together with similar promotions by other pub groups, has led to price rises in the London area being the lowest in the country. It is to be hoped that their new pub in Southampton will have a similar effect on local prices when it opens. In the mean time the best way to keep price rises low is for customers to make a point of seeking out the best value pubs. One free house that stands out in terms of value must be the John of Gaunt at Horsebridge. Adnams Bitter is £1.38, Palmers WA £1.40 and Ringwood Fortyniner1.44. If you know of any pubs offering similar value for money please write to Hop Press so that we can pass on the good news.

Ten Years Ago Hop Press index

The editorial of the autumn 1985 edition of Hop Press looked at the spate of takeovers then taking place. Scottish and Newcastle were making a successful bid for Matthew Brown of Blackburn, who themselves had only just taken over Theakstons. Australian brewers, Elders, were bidding for Allied Lyons. That bid fell through but they eventually got into Britain by acquiring Courage. Now of course these two giants are set to merge into our biggest brewing group.

General articles included an extensive item on the opening of a new pub, the River Inn at Bishopstoke, and a feature on the virtues of the Compasses at Damerham.

Advertisements featured Watney pubs that were selling Gale's HSB and Usher's Best Bitter. Watneys had only just realised that real ale was making a come-back and saw the agreement with Gales as a quick way to get real ale drinkers into their pubs. The agreement ended after a few years. Ushers, in 1985, was still owned by Watneys. A management buy-out in 1991 gave the Trowbridge brewery back its independence and it now owns many of the former Watney pubs in our area. One advertiser was the Newlands in Portswood, since then derelict, subject to arson and now demolished.

Pub news reported that the Volunteer in Lyndhurst was for sale. Sadly, it never served another pint. Wadworths had just taken over the Golden Lion in Winchester and the Red Lion at Totton had just become Henrys. In Hythe we reported the re-opening of the Croft as an eatery and noted the jump in prices with HSB reaching £1.04 a pint!

PUB NEWS Hop Press index

Rob Whatley

In true Murray Walker fashion, no sooner had we said in the last Hop Press that we had not had much incidence of village pub closures, than we were inundated with news of possible losses. Two pubs on the very edges of our branch area are among them.

The Lunways Inn, on the old A33 near Micheldever, has always been under threat since the M3 took away all of the passing trade. Now its owner, who lives in Turkey, has sold it and it is currently closed and, we believe, being converted into an Italian restaurant. The Coote Arms at Martin, almost in Dorset, is also closed and has been up for sale for some months. We understand that the structure needs a lot of work and can only guess the last pint has probably been served here as well.

The Bush at Newtown, near Romsey, a small pub in a very small village is also for sale but here a local resident is trying to raise the money to purchase it and keep it open as a pub. This pub is in the Test Valley Council area and their new district plan includes a policy to try to keep open any pub which is the last in a village. We await developments with interest.

Planning decisions are currently halting the conversion into shops and flats of the Stag Hotel in the centre of Lyndhurst. The owner is appealing against the refusal. There is another application to convert a pub in a conservation area into dwellings, for the Dolphin in Twyford. Sixty-two objections were received and the first application was turned down but we believe that Marstons have put in another, modified, plan. Would this be happening if they did not also own the Phoenix?

At least the news in Southampton is more encouraging. The city centre should have a lot more night life in the not too distant future. Wetherspoons have obtained the licence for their new pub in the High Street (Remember, you read about this pub first in Hop Press!). CAMRA has praised this chain in the past for its cheap prices, which often affect the prices in a whole area. There is a proposal for a new club on the top floors of the former Owen and Owen building, if this goes ahead it should help the pub as customers have a few pints before moving on to later and dearer delights. Another possible new venue may have more in common with the club than the Wetherspoon's venture. Greenalls, the northern ex-brewer, who own the Grand Harbour Hotel and a number of local pubs, are attempting to convert the old ABC cinema in Above Bar into a "mega-pub". It would certainly add variety to the city, though probably not in beer terms.

An old name in a new venue is BoJangles. The former Town Quay bar has moved along the waterfront to Ocean Village. Its Barrels Bar has Bass and Stones Bitter on handpump. Across the water there is an old venue with a new name. The former Lock 'n' Quay in Hythe Marina is now The Boathouse, with five real ales on offer.

An interesting new addition to the centre of Southampton is Harveys in Lower Bannister Street. This is a Café-Bar, owned by Wadworths, very airy and well furbished and with four hand-pumped beers. We believe that Bass are also hoping to open some sort of pub/bar in the Bannister Street area.

One familiar name that has returned to Lymington High Street is The Old Bank House. The name disappeared in December 1990 when it became Pier 68. A year later it was hit by a fire on Christmas Eve and in 1992 the premises housed II Cambio, an Italian restaurant. It is now open again with, at the time of visiting, a single handpump offering Ringwood Best. Another Lymington pub that has returned to a previous name is the Red Lion. After a major refurbishment, which has involved exposing original beams and carvings around the windows, this Grade II listed building is now again the White Lyon.

Nearby, in Captain's Row, the Crown and Anchor has a brand new name, as far as we are aware, the Captain's Inn. Founder's Ale and Usher's Best Bitter are on sale in this Usher's tied house. At the other end of the town the Black Cat has been refurbished. In a cheeky attempt to compete with Whitbread's Golden Club for pensioners the Black Cat has started its own Diamond Club with discounted meals for the over 60's.

The White Hart, at Pennington was the last pub to feature in a licence transfer at Lymington Courthouse before the move to the New Forest Court at Lyndhurst. The retiring licensee was John Mayman, who had been at the pub since 1962. We wish him a well-earned and happy retirement. The pub is to become a Whitbread Wayside Inn following extensive internal and external work.

In the New Forest, permission has been given for a further single story extension to the Haywain at Cadnam. This time let us hope that they take the opportunity to improve the previous extension which jars so badly with the original building. The recent attractive extension to the Clump at Chilworth showed that Whitbread can get it right when they try.

Rumours of the demise of the Berni as a concept were somewhat exaggerated. Although Berni Inns appear to have largely bitten the dust there has been an explosion of pubs with Berni menus, complete with Tom and Jerry Kids' Fun Food. The Hunters outside of Romsey was one of the first, in December of last year. They have now been followed by the White Horse at Otterboume, the Prince Consort at Netley and the Forest Inn at Ashurst

The long-awaited new pub for Totton may be on its way. The pub will be at Hanger Farm, on the western edge of the town, off of Strides Way. The barn is to form the main bar areas, whilst the 17th century farmhouse will be restored and part will provide a family room. It has taken almost four years for negotiations to be completed between council officers and the developers so we should be entitled to expect something really exceptional, Pub News will tell you when we know.

The name change game has hit Romsey again. Brothers David and Martin Birmingham, who run restaurants called Hunters in both Alresford and Winchester have sprung a surprise by naming their latest venture, in Romsey, Bertles. They have taken over Piaf's in The Hundred, which until 1991 was the King's Head. Presumably the nearness of Whitbread's Hunters Inn inhibited them.

In Winchester, the former Bird in Hand has been demolished, along with the house next door, to make way for a rest home and day care centre. A long established Winchester pub, in fact a pub that makes rather extravagant claims to being the oldest in the land, has a new look. Whitbread's Royal Oak is now a "Hogshead Ale House." One advertisement for staff stated: "There'll be no pub in the area quite like it." If you spot another "Hogshead Ale House" in the area I am sure Whitbread would be pleased to hear from you. For another little anecdote about the Royal Oak, read the article on page 9 [What's in a Name]. Nevertheless, although the Whithread's PR departments seem very prone to own goals, the company is putting serious money into the promotion of real ale and this can be nothing but good.

Amongst the many Marston's pubs in Winchester, we hear that Keith McTaggart, landlord of the Fulflood in Cheriton Road, has decided to call it a day after eleven years of contending with Marston's rent rises.

In Southampton the closed Watergarden, aka the Rising Sun, in Botany Bay Road at Sholing is said to be undergoing refurbishment, does this herald a re-opening? The Onslow has been bought by the owners of the nearby Dorchester. Then, of course, there is the saga of Cloisters, in Commercial Road. This de-frocked church (or is that the staff and customers ...?) has been trying the brotherly love of its neighbours recently with its late night noise and disturbance. Their hours have now been cut back to midnight and we understand that the enterprise has been sold to Morlands Brewery.

Bass have taken over the Harvester chain of pub/restaurants (but not the associated Travelodge Hotels). This provides an interesting dilemma at Eastleigh's Ham Farm since the only access to Trust House Forte's hotel is now across Bass's car park and through their pub-to-restaurant covered way, might we see our first pub with a toll-booth?

In Alresford the closed Peaceful Home, in East Street, has been bought, refurbished and re-opened in August by licensee John Broome. It is now the Alresford Ale and Cider House. An array of casks behind the bar are cosmetic, the real ales and ciders are dispensed by electric pumps from the cellar. At the time of our visit there were three Greene King beers on and three ciders (from Thatchers and Richs but under house names). The pub has a wide range of "pub grub."

Finally, we bring news of the forthcoming removal of a pergola from the Fox and Hounds, Lyndhurst. It was erected without permission by the pub's owners, Whitbread. Leader of the New Forest District Council, John Coles, said: "I think they are trying one on here." He alleged that they knew it was a listed building and that had they applied for planning permission before rather than after it was erected, that it would be refused. With other recent examples of retrospective planning applications for protected buildings, it is becoming almost a surprise for permission to be sought in advance!

Even more finally, and apropos of nothing, did readers see of the Czech blood donor service who, in Pilsen (where else!), are offering pints of beer for pints of blood. Only to men however, ladies get a bunch of flowers. Full marks for beer marketing, nul points for political correctness!

The importance of small things in finding the perfect pint
Hop Press index

Pat O'Neill, from an idea of Dave Etheridge

One of the nicest aspects of being a pub user is how some tiny item, in itself totally of no consequence, can enhance the enjoyment of a pint into a memorable event. Even minute aspects of the pub itself can sometimes strike a chord, establish an allusion, evoke some nostalgic half-memory or just raise an internal sense of understanding. All too often of course, the reverse is also true...

Most readers will recognise the sensations I am trying to describe. The difficulty is that because these moments are provoked by some bubble rising from the unconscious, into the conscious, they are essentially personal and very hard to verbalise - at least not without the risk of banality, boredom or both. Of course all waking life has a fitful stream of such tiny moments of frisson, without them it would be hard to be a complete person. The "pub experience," as brewers' copy writers now call it, just seems to provide an especially rich lode.

An example from Dave Etheridge, the Branch Treasurer: "Every year I look forward to Southampton's Balloon Festival and crawl out at dawn to get photo's of the early launches drifting across the city. This year was very disappointing, I only saw one solitary balloon. The following week, sat outside the John o' Gaunt at Horsebridge with a fine pint of Adnams, a balloon rose majestically over the trees behind the pub, closely followed by eight more. That pint of Adnams is now singled out for recollection as one of my perfect pints."

For me, an instantly memorable picture and pint comes this summer from another rural pub, the incomparable Royal Oak at Fritharn. Lounging in the afternoon sun outside of this basic, Forest pub, a pint of Ringwood in hand, the sounds of chickens, pigs and sheep in the air when up the track and crunching onto the gravel comes an immaculate open-topped 1920's Rolls Royce tourer. "Is this an inn? Can we get a meal?" "Ah," we reply, "the beer is fine and there's crisps..." "...Oh, I think we'd better push on." "Then you'll have to turn round, this is as far as this road goes." The rest of the glass tasted like the perfect pint as the Roller vanished down the track. How can one explain why such a trivial episode, a non-event, can enhance a pleasure and linger in the mind, I know not.

Why does Dave find the notice on the door of the Hampshire Bowman (where, like the Royal Oak, ale comes straight from the cask) enhances the beer? It only says: "Due to the sensitivity of our beer dispense system, the use of mobile 'phones in this pub is banned." Why do I find that a pint at the bar cannot taste perfect without a brass rail underfoot? It needs a better philosopher than me. Particularly since contemplating this matter, in the pub, itself improves my pint!

BEER FESTIVALS Hop Press index


As most of our readers will know, for some years now we have been holding beer festivals, twice a year, in the Old Town Hall at Eastleigh. This venue is now lost to us as it is being re-developed as a dance theatre. We had thought that this would mean the end of festivals in Eastleigh but we have another hail and so the thirteenth autumn festival will go ahead.

Eastleigh Beer Festival 1995 map
Eastleigh Beer Festival 1995 map

The festival will be on Friday, 27th of October and Saturday, 28th of October in the Nightingale Centre, Nightingale Avenue. Tickets will be on sale by the start of October.

For several years the evening sessions at the Town Hall have been sold out before the event. The Nightingale Centre has only about three-quarters of the capacity of the Town Hall, so early purchase of tickets Is recommended!

For those not familiar with the Nightingale Centre, it is at the southern end of Passfield Avenue - the same location as the annual fair. It is about one and a quarter miles from both Eastleigh and Parkway stations, see the sketch map opposite.

The format of the festival will be broadly the same as those at the Town Hall - thirty to forty ales, ciders and foreign bottled beers, live music in the evenings, food at all sessions, family and quiet areas, souvenir glass etc. etc.

For further information call 01703 642246.


The CAMRA branch in Woking will be holding their second festival in Woking on Friday, 10th of November and Saturday, 11th of November at the Woking Leisure Centre.

The festival is organised in co-operation with the Woking Borough Council. Tickets and information can be obtained from Mike Smith, Common Services Manager, Civic Offices, Woking, GU21 1YL (call 01483 771055 for credit card orders or 01483 724466 for information).

The festival will have over sixty ales on offer, live bands, food and family room (free children's entertainment during the Saturday afternoon session).

Hop Press issue number 40 – September 1995

Editor: Pat O'Neill
1 Surbiton Road
SO50 4HY
01703 642246

© CAMRA Ltd. 1995