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Hop Presshops Hop Press Issue 54 front cover

Issue 54 – October 2003

 

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Contents

 

EDITORIAL

Hop Press index

There has come what we hope is some very good news out of Yorkshire.

Seventeen years ago the ancient family brewer, Theakston of Masham, was gobbled up by the giant conglomerate that was to become Scottish and Newcastle. Now, at long last, some sense seems to be percolating into crevices of this edifice and, after negotiations with the Theakston family, the brewery is to become independent once more.

At the time of the sell-out in 1986 the Theakston family was bitterly split and this led to Paul Theakston setting up the Black Sheep Brewery in Masham to continue the traditions he believed his fellow family members had abrogated. The great success of Black Sheep may have played a part in finally convincing the rest of the family - and the Scottish and Newcastle board - that there is some truth in the 'small is beautiful' adage.

Full details of the arrangements are not yet available but the break is not completely total, Scottish and Newcastle will retain a stake in the company and have contracted to distribute their beers nationally. They have also, for the present, contracted to continue to brew the Theakston Best Bitter at their giant Tyne Brewery in Newcastle.

The justifiably famous, strong (5.7%) Old Peculier, which was named more than a century ago after Masham's mediaeval land court, will at last be all brewed in its rightful home - until now some has been made at Masham and some at Newcastle which somewhat undermines any claim to be one of Yorkshire's most famous beers.

Internally, we have good news from CAMRA as well. Following a very successful Great British Beer Festival at Olympia this August, at which we recruited in excess of a thousand new members, our national membership total has now passed 69,000 and is projected to pass 70,000 well before Christmas. To put this in perspective however, we need to remind ourselves that this is almost exactly the number of pubs in Great Britain. One member per pub leaves plenty of room for more improvement - they would need to double before they can have a chat over a pint!

But the continuing rise in support for CAMRA's aims - it seems only yesterday we were celebrating our 50,000th member - has encouraged the National Executive to set an extremely bold target of reaching 100,000 members within five years. We will let you know in 2008 how things have gone...

In the last issue of Hop Press (April 2003) we had an article describing the main features of the Licensing Act, then making its leisurely way through Parliament. It is a pleasure now to report that it is all signed and sealed and passed into law on July 10th. But we will still need to be patient waiting to see the great changes that will show themselves in our pubs.

The Act comes into force in a number of stages, each triggered by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Tessa Jowell) making an 'Order in Council.' So far only a tiny part has been activated, the repeal of the provisions for polls in Wales on Sunday opening!

The main crucial dates are what the Act calls 'the first appointed day' and 'the second appointed day.' By the first of these the new local authority licensing committees have to be in place and on the second the whole Act will be fully in force. To the best of our knowledge (although it is always a gamble to speculate on what Parliament and Ministers will do) these will be set as March 1st, 2004 and January 1st, 2005.

The intervening period between these 'first' and 'second' days allows eight months for the whole licensing system of several centuries to be transferred from the magistrates' control to that of the local councils. Licensees, current on the 'first' day, will be able to obtain their new Personal Licence more or less on demand, after the 'second' day any applicant will have to produce a certificate of having passed an approved course.

During the interim period the biggest problem will be processing all of the Premises Licences (or Certificates in the case of clubs). These are the documents that will set the opening hours and types of entertainment to be provided. This is the point where the widely prophesied 'twenty-four hour opening' will be considered, and in almost all cases, rejected! It is beyond reason to think that local authorities will not be very discriminating in considering applications for any exotic hours, the speculation in the tabloid press of an open-all-hours society is, we are sure, misplaced.

During October Parliament will also produce another important Order - the schedule of fees and procedures that the authorities will have to use. There is some apprehension that there will be some unpleasant surprises.

The Licensing Committees will be modelled on the Planning Committees that local Government has had for many years. From observation of the planners, a number of doubts come into mind. The dangers of political influence and machinations are obvious and the sheer competence of the committee members can leave doubts.

The next fifteen months will be very interesting times for the students of social history. One confident prediction is of Licensing (Amendment) Act by, say, 2007.

Finally, will CAMRA be joining George Bush's axis of evil alongside the Taliban and Al Qaida? Arriving recently in Ostrava, in the Czech Republic, local branch member Mark Baverstock was detained at the airport as a terrorist suspect. His T-shirt, proclaiming allegiance to a shadowy international conspiracy operating under the mysterious acronym 'CAMRA,' was a clue for the vigilant Czech security. Shortly after his subsequent happy release, the local paper came out with a four column story with the banner heading: 'Baverstock is not a terrorist!' - perhaps it was a really slow news day in Ostrava...

 

TOR IS TOPS

Rob Whatley

Glastonbury is world famous both for the annual music festival and for its association with Arthurian and Christian legend. But visitors to recent beer festivals in Hampshire will also be aware of a new attraction in the area, the Glastonbury Brewery. It was founded by Greig Nicholls in May 2002 and has quickly built up a reputation for producing full-flavoured beers and drinkers in Southern Hampshire certainly appreciate them. The 4.6% abv Hedge Monkey, the first brew, was one of the beers to run out quickest at the 2002 Southampton Beer Festival, whilst Mystery Tor (3.8%) was voted 'Beer of the Festival' at the 2002 Eastleigh Beer Festival.

Like the festival, the brewery is not located in Glastonbury itself. As with so many new breweries it is to be found on an industrial estate, in this case at nearby Somerton. The brewing equipment came from the Humpty Dumpty Brewery in Norfolk, who no longer needed it due to expansion. The five barrel plant was, however, just what Greig was looking for. Much of the rest of the equipment has been built up from bulk milk tanks. The three fermenting vessels are quite low on the ground so a racking tank has been built for transferring the beer into casks. This has been christened the Wallace and Grommet because the shape of the vessel and the legs that it stands on give it the appearance of that dynamic duo's spaceship.

Also in the compact brewery is a wooden cupboard with glass fronted shelves, of the type that is more usually found in a clothing shop. This is a clue to Greig's last job before he started the brewery, working in the family's sportswear shop. This was one of a number of previous occupations for Greig whose only brewing experience when he started was that of home brewer.

The first brew, as mention above, was Hedge Monkey. Although it proved popular, Greig was not totally happy with the beer and it is no longer brewed. However, a revised version is likely to make appearance later in the year. The second beer brewed was Lady of the Lake, which is still one of the permanent list. This was followed by the Mystery Tor, which was initially brewed in response to a wholesaler's request for a light, 3.8% abv beer. It originated as an adaptation of one of Greig's home brew recipes which was augmented with Cascade hops. Unusually for new beers, this one came out just right from the first brew and has gone on to become the brewery's best seller. Obviously Greig was putting all his efforts into making sure the beer was just right and hadn't got round to thinking of a name for the new brew. When the wholesaler called, saying that he needed a name in the next ten minutes for a new list to go to customers, Greig rang round a few mates and one came up with Magical Mystery Tor. It was decided to drop the Magical bit in case Michael Jackson (the singer not the beer expert) decided to use his ownership of the Beatles back catalogue to solve some of his alleged financial difficulties. Not only did Mystery Tor win the approval of Eastleigh's drinkers, it was also a finalist in this year's 'Champion Beer of Britain' competition, which is run by CAMRA each year at our Great British Beer Festival.

The third regularly brewed beer is Golden Chalice. Readers may have noticed that most beers mentioned so far have connections with Glastonbury and its legends. The other, occasional brews, Holy Thorn, Ley Line and Brue (the river that flows through Glastonbury) confirm the theme. The brewery was originally going to be called Grovers (the address is Grovers Brew House) but Greig decided that as King Arthur and Michael Eavis had done such a good publicity job for Glastonbury it would be much more likely to stick in the drinking public's mind. Greig in fact usually works at the music festival and the brewery's beer was on sale at this year's event. The beers on offer were Mystery Tor and a special brew called Pilton Pop. (Pilton is the actual location of the festival).

Output is divided, about half goes to some 40 regular local customers and half to wholesalers. Greig and his partner Sue do most of the work at the brewery (with a little help from their friends), as a result they have little spare leisure time.

We mentioned at the beginning that Glastonbury brews have found favour in Hampshire. Perhaps this is due in part to the inspiration they had while producing the first brew. At the end of a long day a friend of Greig's arrived at the brewery with some refreshment - a four pint carry out of Diggers Gold that had been brought that very day from Cheriton!

and talking of Cheriton ...

If you go into the back bar at the Flower Pots, you cannot fail to notice that the walls are almost totally covered in framed prize certificates, lauding both the pub and the beers from the adjoining brewhouse.

However, there was still space for another. At this year's Great British Beer Festival, held at London's Olympia in August, the Cheriton Brewhouse was awarded the accolade of 'Champion Speciality Beer of Britain' for its famed Village Elder bitter.

This fantastically refreshing 3.8% abv bitter is well known to local beer lovers and it has been 'Beer of the Festival' at more local beer festivals than we could list here. It was first brewed in 1999 as a one off celebration to mark the brewhouse's one thousandth mash, the hops were augmented with a generous addition of elder flowers picked from bushes around the village. It was an immediate success and ran away with the festival award at the Southampton Beer Festival which fortuitously coincided with the brew date.

Although intended originally to be just a unique single experiment, the huge success led to a few more brews and then more during the 2000 elder flowering season. The public clamoured for more and a commercial source of freeze-dried elder flowers was found so that it could now be produced in any season.

Now this vision and enterprise has been duly recognised in the wider world with this top national award. Congratulations to all at Cheriton.

 

 

RISING STAR

Pat O'Neill

Ratcliffe Road, at the back end of Northam, is not well-known to many unless they are among those who make the fortnightly pedestrian pilgrimage to Saint Mary's Stadium. But, we hope it will soon become a very familiar address to local beer drinkers for it is in this obscure corner that commercial brewing in Southampton is having its renaissance.

At number 5 Ratcliffe Court, one of a handful of units in a minuscule industrial estate sandwiched between the road and the railway, brothers Andrew (Andy) and Chris Ingram, originally from Northampton, have set up the White Star Brewery.

The White Star Line was, of course, the owning company of Southampton's most famous ocean liner, the Titanic (a name already taken by another small brewery in Stoke-on-Trent, Captain Smith's birthplace). The brewery logo will incorporate the red house flag with its lone white star.

Andy and Chris only decided to act upon their long-held dream of being brewers in the early spring of this year and much of the time since has been used finding the right building. Number 5 is the end unit of a two storey block, at one time a community radio/media station. The ground floor is a single room about thirty feet square completely filled with the brewing equipment whist upstairs is the office, storage for malt and hops and another room, as yet just empty, that is earmarked as a future hospitality area.

The brewing plant has a 'ten barrel' capacity, in other words it can produce 360 gallons (10 x 36) in each batch. The equipment was bought complete from a Herefordshire brewery, Woodhampton, that was closing down. There are four fermenters - to a large extent it is the number of fermenting vessels that sets the limit on a brewery's maximum output; as the beer takes about a week in the fermenter having four means that four brews can be done each week. So in the White Star's case their full weekly production, before having to look to expand, would be about forty barrels.

The heating of the liquor (water) for the mash and for boiling the copper is all electric (problems in getting a sufficiently powerful three-phase supply installed put back the work schedule by several weeks). In addition to the four fermenting vessels they have also shoehorned in six conditioning tanks. These enable the beers to have more time maturing before being racked into casks to go out to the pub.

The most important question for readers is, I suppose, 'what's the beer like?' Presently unanswerable, of course, since the first brew will only be ready to try in the first week of October. But we do know what the first recipes are intended to produce.

Initially a three beer portfolio is planned:

UXB will be a 3.8% abv session bitter, pale in colour and using mostly the modern citric Cascade hops. The name evokes the Southampton blitz - it was the acronym for 'unexploded bomb' - the pump-clip continues the theme with a picture of a bomber and searchlight filled night sky.

Majestic will be a 4.2% abv best bitter, a little darker in colour and hopped mostly with the more traditional flavour of Challenger. The pump-clip for this beer, which is seen as the brewery's main product, depicts the White Star liner Majestic.

Battleaxe is the tentative name for a 4.6% abv strong bitter, somewhat darker again. The name may change because another small Yorkshire brewer also uses it.

All the beers will be late hopped but at the moment there are no plans to dry hop casks, although this has not been ruled out for the future. The very first brew will be of the Majestic. Andy and Chris also have longer term ideas for seasonal beers and special one-off brews. A Christmas beer is one they would like to add to the list and they have a name, Capstan Full Strength, which if they are not descended upon by the Players Tobacco men, would be used for some brain-numbing strong ale.

The brothers have around thirty local pubs in prospect for the initial brews - they consider that the boundaries of Hampshire are the limit for a market area - and they are looking to take on their first worker who will have deliveries as part of his duties. With less than a hundred casks as their starting stock (all now prominently banded in their black-white-black hoops) control of their whereabouts and prompt return will be absolutely vital. Many people, publicans included, fail to realise that the capital invested in a small brewery's stock of casks is actually more than that in the entire brewing plant.

One feature of the brewing that can have a big effect on beer quality and can help establish a 'house character' for a brewery's beers is the choice of yeast. This is probably the only thing that is not yet decided, Andy and Chris are to have a session a few days time with a brewing consultancy to decide the source of the yeast for the first brews.

From the end of September the brewery will have a web presence, its web site address is: www.whitestarbrewery.co.uk and for verbal communication the 'phone number is 023 8023 2480 and they can be faxed on 023 8023 2580.

When they are fully up and running bulk beer will be available for sale at the brewery - 36 pint, and possibly 18 pint, polypins will be for sale (racked off for immediate use if desired) at the door. There are also thoughts about producing some bottle beers, but that is all in the future, all efforts at present are on that vital first brew.

Other than some experiments with pub brewing in the eighties and nineties the last commercial Southampton brewery was William Cooper in East Street (founded in 1786 and last brewed in 1952) and the last 'Star' brewery was Scrace's Star Brewery in the High Street, founded in 1829, acquired by Strongs in 1927 and closed by them in 1947. Southampton has been almost the last big town in the land without its own brewery; no more.

 

DISPENSING WITH IMAGE

Rob Whatley

The handpump is, bar none, the image of real ale. It could even be argued that it is the single image that is most associated with beer and pubs in general. If a cartoonist wants to identify a location as a pub, the handpump will always be used. But is this identification harming the promotion of real ale to those who have not tried it before, especially the young?

In the early days of CAMRA the reinstallation or the revived use of handpumps in a pub was the sign that things were changing and that new beers were available. There were downsides as a few pubs installed 'fake' handpumps that were not delivering real ale. The excuse that licensees used for this deception was that the handpumps were more attractive than the plastic keg fonts. Undoubtedly true, but the same could be said about real ale versus keg.

Since those days there have been a number of changes in pub fashions and decor and indeed in attitudes towards fashion in general. Fashion and style have become much more prominent in our daily lives, with, for example, the growth in popularity of designer labels and the proliferation of style programmes on television.

Returning to the pub, we are seeing the beginning of the end for the giant High Street theme bars. There has been a recent countertrend towards the opening of bars where the 'theme' is a more minimalist style with light polished wood and bare metal. At the same time there has been a change in the design of the beer dispensers on the bars. There are large porcelain installations containing genuine German and Czech lagers and the new fonts for the serving of the longer standing English brewed 'lagers' such as Fosters and Heineken are now much more prominent and stylish (in some eyes) compared with the old square plastic boxes that used to be used. In addition, many keg beers and lagers are now dispensed from taps grouped together on brass or stainless steel T-bars, into which the modest, standardised oval badges of the brews are inserted.

While there have been these changes for the dispense of keg beers, the handpump has remained paramount since Victoria's time, as the main method of serving real ale. Occasionally, beer drawn straight from the cask has been a feature and, especially in the Midlands and North, real ales dispensed by gas or electric powered pumps are quite common. But is the reliance on handpumps lessening the appeal of real ale to new and fashion conscious drinkers, so reducing its overall consumption by customers?

It is be perfectly possible to serve real ale via gas or electric pumps that could be fed into the T-bars that are now used to dispense most keg beers and lagers. It would also be possible to produce other designs for serving real ale via powered pumps. But would this help to increase the total sales of real ale?

 

Although using non-handpump methods of dispense for real ale may well lead to increased sales among those who are suspicious of what they see as an antiquated product or as a drink for those of pension age, it could have an adverse effect on sales to those drinkers who look to the handpump as the sign that real ale is available - their guarantee of quality. As a method of promoting real ale in the new 'style bars,' however, it would surely be of benefit. Unfortunately though, most of the big brewers and pub chains do not appear interested in promoting a better quality product and would rather sell bog standard keg beers that need no work for the publican to look after.

But perhaps it is not just changing the method of dispense that is the answer to promoting real ale among a younger or more style conscious market. The answer may have been uncovered by the Oakham Brewery. This Peterborough based company is well known among beer aficionados for its fine beers, including the multi-award-winning JHB. What many readers will not be aware of though, is that their brewery tap in the centre of the city not only sells a wide selection of their beers (from handpumps) in a venue that is not dissimilar to the 'style bars' described above, but at weekends it is a part of the must visit circuit for the younger element in the area. With its late licence and DJs pumping out the latest sounds from the turntables, the bar is a huge success despite the high sales of real ale!

The Oakham Brewery's bar at the Great British Beer Festival, held recently at Olympia, was at odds with most of the other brewery run bars - lots of coloured lights, silver handpumps and a very modern feel. The result was that it attracted a much higher proportion of the younger drinkers, who were than able to sample some of the country's finest beers.

It is clear that with a little thought real ale can be made more attractive to younger, style-centred consumers. It is perhaps not surprising that it has taken one of the country's newer, relatively small brewers to show the way. Real ale of course is their lifeblood but at the moment it seems unlikely that the larger breweries and pub companies will follow this example. The marketing departments of these international corporations have next to no interest in a beer style that is a perishable product, specific to Great Britain. Only world markets for standardised, inert beers are able to activate their blinkered imaginations. It is a peculiarly British trait to always somehow belittle our finest achievements - and none could be finer than the perfection of that sublime product, real ale.

It might well be argued that even if some big marketing muscle was put behind making real ale fashionable, it could turn out to be not such a good thing in the long run. Most movements that blossom into instant fashionably all too quickly fade back into total obscurity. Nothing could be worse than to create a 'real ale bubble.' Real ale is an infinitely more worthy thing than, say, the hula hoop!

 

PUB NEWS

Rob Whatley

In the last edition of Pub News we reported on a number of planning applications to replace pubs with housing. Subsequent events have seen mixed results.

The Bugle at Hamble seems likely to remain a pub for the time being, but not as we know it now. Permission has been given for a revised scheme that will see the retention of the lower and ground floors of the pub with an extension of the terrace area to the High Street. But the restaurant extension and other rear parts of the pub will be demolished to make way for two of the 13 "luxury" homes that are to be erected on whole site. Thus although the pub survives it will be much smaller than before and will only be able to exist, sans car park, as a locals' pub with the emphasis on the drinks side, or as a restaurant. Of course the listed building will still be worth more to the developers if converted into a house and it will be interesting to see how much effort they put into making the smaller Bugle a real success.

One of the points raised by those opposing the changes was that the closure of the Bugle would see the loss an important local landmark that was known to the sailing fraternity throughout the world. It is ironic that another house builder, Barratt, when advertising the delights of the Hamble area in order to attract potential buyers to another new housing development, included a picture of the Bugle as one of the local attractions!

Still to the south-east, developers have submitted a revised application for the site of the derelict Lamp and Mantle at West End. The decision on whether 35 flats are to be built will be made by the local planning committee. With the closure of both the Lamp and Mantle and the nearby Sportsman it was hardly surprising that one of the few remaining pubs in the area, the West End Brewery, won a prize at Greene King's national awards ceremony for a 68% increase in sales. The former Cat and Mouse (probably still known to most as the Bitterne Brewery), also won a prize at the same event for increasing sales by 290% since its reopening last year as the Big Cheese.

In the north of the Borough, an application to build 36 flats on the site of the Ashdown Arms in a three storey development has finally been given the go-ahead. The long awaited application to demolish the Victoria Inn at Allbrook, which has been boarded up for over a year, and to replace it with housing has recently been submitted to Eastleigh planners. The developers wish to build four houses, six flats and two maisonettes on the site.

The Victoria is just one of a number of Eldridge Pope pubs in our area that are either closed or up for sale. The Dorset pub company has gone from bad to appalling since its decision, two years ago, to stop selling Eldridge Pope beers in its estate. The beers were brewed at the Thomas Hardy Brewery in Dorchester which had been split from the Eldridge Pope pub estate in 1997 and which has now also closed. The pub sales are part of a desperate attempt to raise money for Eldridge Pope which has been the subject of much take-over speculation recently. Anyone looking for an example of how not to run a brewery and pub estate need look no further than Eldridge Pope. Among the local pub casualties are the Anchor and Hope, in Threefield Lane, Southampton, the Prince of Wales in Winchester and the Morant Arms, next to the station at Brockenhurst.

The application for the site of the Morant Arms is for sheltered housing, which did not met with universal approval by local councillors and this application has now been rejected. The developers will no doubt return with another scheme, there is little hope of the pub ever serving a beer again.

Better news from the Forest is that the Sir Walter Tyrrell at Canterton, by the Rufus Stone, has been saved from conversion to housing. It has now been purchased by a local resident, who we hear intends to keep it as a free house pub. Some Ringwood beers should appear on the bar in due course. Down by the coast, the Centurion at Barton-on-Sea looks set to be converted into more of an eating house. Another strongly food orientated Forest pub, Towles, just east of Lymington, underwent substantial refurbishment earlier in the year. Also sporting a new look is the Croft at Langdown Lawn, Hythe, which has become part of the John Barras chain.

Another member of this chain is the Station, Bitterne Park, which is open again following a £120,000 refit. A city watering hole that has reopened following an extensive refurbishment is the former church opposite the Mayflower Theatre, which is now known as Joe Daflo's. It is worth a look inside for the huge shelves holding bottles of wine but unfortunately no real ale is on offer. There are two similarly named establishments at Ryde and Newport. While a city centre bar takes on a new lease of life, another on the outskirts of the city is under threat. The large tracts of land surrounding the Elephant and Castle in Sholing have attracted the attention of developers who are looking to build 51 properties on the site.

The name change fashion sees no sign of abating. The Smugglers in Bernard Street, after a brief period as The Office, as now venturing forth under the banner of the Crusader. The oddly named Voltz in Above Bar is now the even odder Burbreez, whilst the Royal Arms in Padwell Road has become the Gatehouse and displays a sign showing the one-time, and much lamented, nearby landmark of Stag Gates.

Elsewhere in the city some drinkers are finding it difficult to get served. The Hampshire Ram, the Young's house off of Hanover Buildings, used to be popular among the gay community. The new licensee has now asked for the pub to be dropped from listings in gay newsletters and has banned a number of former customers. A different kind of ban has been operating at the Cowherds on the Common. The "Echo" has received a number of letters from customers who have been refused entry to the pub unless they are ordering a meal. A licensee is, of course, free to refuse service to anyone but if the management, or the company for whom they work, wishes to run a restaurant they should give up the lease on the pub and sell it to a licensee who wishes to run the Cowherds as a genuine pub that meets the needs of all customers. On the western side of the Common, the Bellemoor has reopened after an extensive refurbishment that has greatly enlarged the bar area.

It is with much nostalgia that we report that the defunct Bay Tree aka Sorcerer in New Road is due to be converted into three flats. A sad end for the pub that saw the first ever meeting of the South Hants Branch of CAMRA in 1974. Blue plaques have been put up for less...

A pub that is not serving any customers at the moment is the Albion at the bottom of Station Hill in Winchester, which has been closed for a number of weeks, we are not certain yet of its eventual fate. And at the bottom of Magdalen Hill, on the other side of the City, the one-time comfortable old Cricketers has been gutted and transformed into the Blonde Beer Cafe, unfortunately whatever they consider to be 'blonde beer' does not include any real ale!

Meanwhile, the owner of the Shearers Arms at Owslebury, who does not wish to serve any more customers, fights on. Two applications to close the pub have been refused by Winchester planners but owner Raymond Sutherden has now appealed against the decisions to the Secretary of State. CAMRA were asked to submit evidence to the Inspector of other similar houses trading in the Hampshire area, we shall see shortly if this did any good, as the decision is expected any day. The other Owslebury pub, the Ship, has changed its management. The lease has been taken by a small pub group, Quindell Leisure. The company already run two other Hampshire pubs; the Horse and Jockey at Hipley and the White Horse at Pennington. Claire Hayes, the new manageress expects to keep the pub "just as it is." And a couple of miles to the east, the Milburys at Beauworth has also been sold, to a syndicate of five South Africans. Happily so far the pub remains much as before.

In a far corner of the New Forest at hard-to-find Whitsbury, the Cartwheel a two hundred year old grade II listed building was acquired in September by Ringwood.

With the continuing trend for renaming pubs, as already mentioned, there is perhaps one change that would be both welcome and appropriate. In 1898 Messrs. Strong and Co., of Romsey, were granted a provisional licence for a hotel to be erected in Chandler's Ford for the rapidly expanding population which, as the Eastleigh Weekly News recently quoted, had "...increased to the extent of 400." It was to be built by the railway station and was to be called the Railway Hotel. When the station closed, the pub became the Monks Brook. Now, with the station's recent reopening it would seem appropriate for the pub to revert to its former name. Though it probably isn't worth re-establishing the stabling, one of the facilities featured in the original plans.

 

FESTIVAL TIME AGAIN

The Eastleigh Beer Festival, at the Nightingale Centre, is almost upon us. The Festival opens on Halloween, Friday, October 31st. Full details of the sessions:

Friday, October 31st., 12noon to 3/30pm

Free entry session (£2 glass deposit)

Friday, October 31st, 6.30pm to 11.00pm

Tickets £4, Morrigan (Folk/rock)

Saturday, Nov. 1st., 12noon to 4.30pm

Free entry session (£2 glass deposit)

Saturday, Nov. 1st., 6.30pm to 11.00pm

Tickets £4, Mercury Blues Band

For the evening sessions we strongly advise buying tickets in advance, we cannot guarantee 'on the door' sales. Ticket outlets are:

  • The Eastleigh Town Centre Office, Wells Place (by the Swan Centre) - 023 8062 9977
  • Stones, High Street, Eastleigh - 023 8065 2554
  • Bob and Lynn's Newsagents, Bishopstoke Road, Eastleigh - 023 8061 3006
  • Bitter Virtue Off-licence, Cambridge Rd., Portswood, Southampton - 023 8055 4881
  • South Western Arms, Adelaide Rd., St Denys, Southampton - 023 8032 4542
  • Waterloo Arms, Waterloo Rd., Freemantle, Southampton - 023 8022 0022
  • Ticket requests by post to: Beer Festival Tickets, 11 Newlands Ave., Shirley, Southampton SO15 5EP
    (with SAE and cheque, payable to: Hampshire Beer Festival, Southampton)

Also locally...

To get into the mood before the Eastleigh Festival, there is the North Hampshire Branch's Overton Beer Festival during the preceding weekend. Details:

Sessions: Friday, October 24th, (evening only) and Saturday, October 25th, afternoon and evening.

Information from their web site www.camra.org.uk/hantsn or telephone 01254 393167

And then to wind down the weekend after Eastleigh there is the Woking Beer Festival run by another neighbouring branch, Surrey/Hants Borders.. Details:

Sessions Friday, November 7th, (evening only) and Saturday, November 8th, afternoon and evening.

Information from their web site, www.wokingbeerfest.co.uk or the ticket hot line 01483 771122.

...and lastly

The 2004 Southampton Guildhall Beer Festival now has confirmed dates.

As soon as you get your Christmas present 2004 diary, the first entry should be: "Thursday June 3rd, Friday June 4th and Saturday, June 5th - no other engagements, booked for the Southampton Beer Festival."

 

CAMRA AND THE WEB

Most of CAMRA's 140 or so branches now have a presence on the World Wide Web. In many cases they have extensive collections of web pages with many links to local information and to other beer and pub related organisations.

To find a branch's web site, visit our national, St. Albans headquarters site, www.camra.org.uk and then click on the 'CAMRA near you' link. Navigating the map that comes up leads you directly to links, for both web and e-mail, to almost every branch in the country. Of course the national site also has plenty of other pages with, for example, links to details of all of CAMRA's many beer festivals, lists and on-line purchasing of the extensive range of books and products and details of all of the historic inns in our 'Heritage List' of pubs that have to be preserved at all costs.

Locally, the Southern Hampshire Branch's web site is www.shantscamra.org.uk and using this is our preferred method of communication. Among the features are this, and previous editions, of Hop Press, a 'guest book' for comments and questions, details of our beer festivals (including photo galleries of past ones), contact links to many branch members and much more. Please visit and spend some minutes having a browse around.

Rob Whatley

 

Hop Press issue number 54 – October 2003

Editor: Pat O'Neill
1 Surbiton Road
Eastleigh
Hants.
SO50 4HY
023 8064 2246
hop-press@shantscamra.org.uk

© CAMRA Ltd. 2003

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