February Update

Dear fellow beer (or cider) drinker,

What a busy start it has been to 2014! Trips, committee meetings, pub of the year presentations and the serious matter of organising our 2nd Camra Gloucester Beer and Cider Festival.

To start this month, an update on the Festival – if it is not already in your diary (and why not?) then the 4th/5th April is a must attend event. We have extra space this year and have been able to significantly raise the number of beers and ciders on offer. We are looking at an incredible 100 beers and 25 ciders and perries. There will also be cheese again this year, and for those who we haven’t managed to convert yet, there will be wine on offer!

However, whilst the planning is going well, to have a successful beer festival we also need volunteers. Many of you helped last year and have been contacted direct, and thank you to those who have returned your volunteer forms. For those of you who are intending to volunteer but haven’t got round to it yet, or are just thinking about it, please register. This can be done either through the beer festival website www.gloucesterbeerfestival.org.uk or if it is easier please contact me and I will send a form to you, or find another way of getting the information. I know that some people would like to help but don’t want to be “front of house” so to speak. Please don’t let that put you off, we need people to help set up, take down, serve beer, steward, and do all sorts of things, and you can volunteer for lots of time, or just a couple of hours – as a reward you can get some free beer (conditions apply!)

Pub of the Season

Just before Christmas we announced that we would like to introduce a Pub of the Season. This gives Gloucester members a chance to nominate a pub once a quarter. If you would like to nominate a pub, the system is now live here on this website! Members can only vote once per quarter and the pub with the most nominations will be pub of the season. This will be a great way to give your great local a bit of attention and support.

Please also take the time to look at our events page as we have lots organised for February ūüôā

Look forward to seeing some of you soon, and don’t forget to keep sending us your local pub news.

Best wishes


January “Extra” Update

Dear Fellow Ale (or Cider) drinker

Although I normally just do the one monthly mail out, I have been asked to send out some news about an event which has an exclusive element for CAMRA members.

As you will know The Pelican is our CAMRA in Gloucester Pub of the Year. Mike Hall, Landlord of The Pelican, is holding a winter ales festival, and wants to offer CAMRA members an exclusive offer for the Thursday night. The details provided by Mike are as follows:-

“The Pelican inn, Gloucester will be showcasing winter ales from 13-15th February. Fifteen different beers will be available from 8pm Thursday 13th.
We are offering CAMRA members the opportunity to be the first to taste and judge all fifteen beers with our £10 tasting card which includes a free cellar tour and demonstration exclusively on the Thursday evening. We will have seven beers on hand pump, four racked and cooled behind the bar on a built for purpose stillage and four more in the cellar for tasting during the cellar tour.
For your £10 you will get;

  • Tasting notes and scorecard
  • A cellar tour and practical demonstration
  • A taster of all fifteen beers (up to quarter of a pint of each)
  • A pint of your chosen favourite beer

Cellar tours start at 8.30pm and are only available on Thursday 13th. Groups of 6-8 will be randomly dragged into the cellar for a demonstration and question and answer session.”

As we suspect this will be a popular evening, I have offered Mike, to co-ordinate bookings as far as possible, as it will also be possible just to pop into the pub.

CAMRA Gloucester Rural Pub of the Year 2014, The Golden Heart Inn at Nettleton Bottom

Alongside our CAMRA in Gloucester “City Pub of the Year” award; we have our sister¬†“Rural Pub of the Year”¬†award again covering the GL1-4 postal area.¬†This year we are very proud to announce that the award for Gloucester Rural pub of the year for 2014 has gone to The Golden Heart Inn at Nettleton Bottom¬†run by¬†Catherine Stevens.

The Black Horse Inn at Cranham

With some trepidation I passed through the stone portal known to you as the front door in The Black Horse Inn at Cranham. CAMRA members have visited this pub regularly over the years but I haven’t set foot since that fateful lunch time nearly 20 years ago when I failed to duck sufficiently and ended up in A&E sporting 5 stitches! So forgive my apprehension. Everyone else negotiated the doorway without so much as a “would you like an anaesthetic with that?”

Inside and today we were greeted by a busy pub and restaurant on a Friday night. A goodly number of drinkers but predominantly diners at this time in the evening, as you’d expect; providing vital community cohesion for the village. The pub has been run for three and a half years by Chris and Carolyn Cardy and offers 3 real ales and several real ciders.

Beers: Otter Bitter 3.6%, Stroud Tom Long 3.8%, Sharps Doom Bar 4.0%
Ciders: Weston’s Country Perry 4.5%, Thatchers Cheddar Valley 6.0%

Chris was very welcoming of our CAMRA group and likes to describe his establishment as “a mad pub”, full of community spirit but with a twist. Exemplified by their current “Come Dine with Me” style pub¬†competition. Run on a Monday night, already oversubscribed and comprising 3 teams that must feed no-less than 28 people and even judged by local folk too, that’s getting involved!

Chris – a native of Southampton but we won’t hold that against him (the author being from nearby Portsmouth!) – had never run a pub before the Black Horse; he and his wife being an engineer and a nurse in a past life. They grasped the opportunity presented when their kids left for UNI; travelled round the country on a narrowboat for 2 years and eventually decided they wished to run a pub. In particular a country pub and a Free House; Chris was passionate that it MUST be a Free House. Spending a lot of time researching over 600 likely candidates and using Google Earth to ensure the location was just right; Chris and Carolyn settled on the Black Horse Inn at Cranham and the locals are very happy about that!

Day Trip Report: Stroud and Around

Our intended itinerary for Saturday 4th January was The Village Inn at Nailsworth , Clothiers Arms and Ale House both in Stroud and finally the Star at Whiteshill. As it turned out this changed quite a bit on-the-day, more of which later. Travel tip of the Day:

Buy a Group Explorer ticket if there are blocks of four of you travelling. All day in the area for all four people for the princely sum of £15. Bargain! Just ask the driver.

Leaving Gloucester on the 11.15 No.93 to Nailsworth we arrived at the first pub РThe Village Inn. We spoke with the head brewer of 2 years, Eimhin Hawes (pronounced Evan). The 6-barrel brewery was established in 2006 which allows the pub to offer its own ales (in a bid to maintain exclusivity) together with other local guests  Рthey have recently started bottling too. Originally a Blacksmiths the building had its own 50ft deep well, flowing from the Brecons, which provides an ideal water source for brewing. Make sure you head downstairs (en-route to the loo anyway) to take in a view of the brewery/ 2nd Travel Tip of the Day:

You may bring your own food into the pub. So may we recommend a visit to the chip shop next door for what could only be described as “whale and chips” for ¬£6.30.

Beers: The Mayors Bitter 4.2%, The Amber Skipper 4.5%, The Red October 4.9%, Severn Vale: Severn Swans 4.9%, Alestock 3.6%

Continue reading