As there have been a number of developments since my newsletter at the beginning of the month, I thought it would be useful to send out a brief update.
1. Also as previously mentioned, Pauntley Beer Festival is on 6th June and we are planning a joint trip to this event in conjunction with the Stroud RE Group (preserved buses). The details for this trip are here and bookings are essential. This is usually a great day out, only spoiled in the past by lack of direct transport, so with that sorted it should be even better.
2. Pub of the Season presentation – as mentioned in a previous update, the King Teddy at Longlevens won our first Pub of the Season for Spring, and we are looking to present their certificate on Monday 28th April, 8.00 pm. All welcome.
3. Two pubs re-opened recently, the Northend Vaults and Molly’s Bar (previously The Union). The Northend Vaults has made a good start, giving its commitment to being a “real ale” venue and apparently the pies are worth a look too. Unfortunately I have not yet visited Molly’s Bar, which has an Irish theme, and I understand two ales, one of them Doombar. Your views on the pubs would be very welcome.
4. Finally I can’t finish without mentioning the 2nd Gloucester Beer Festival. Thank you for all your support in making it such a great event. Over the course of the two days we said hello to nearly 2000 visitors, and signed up 50 new members, unfortunately not all from Gloucester. A particular thank you too, to Ben, Martyn and Mike, three of our finest landlords who gave so generously of their time, skills and support for the festival. In case you don’t recognise the names, they are from The Fountain, The Crown, and the Pelican respectively.
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!
On Sunday 22nd September several commitee members visited a couple of pubs in Cheltenham town centre: The Kemble Brewery and The Sandford Park Alehouse. A good selection of ales were on offer at each pub:
The Kemble Brewery Fullers London Pride, Wye Valley Butty Bach 4.5%, Enville Brewery Kasitra 3.5%, Otter Orchard Ale 4.0%, Whale Ale Pale Ale 3.6% and Malvern Hills Green Pear at 4.2%. To come on next: Ramsbury Gold and Slaters Maravilla Raspberry Beer
Sandford Park AleHouse Art Brew Energi Burgesson 6.0%, Dartmoor Jail Ale 4.8%, Oakham Inferno 4.0%, Citra 4.2%, Plain Ales Incognito Port Stout 4.8%, The Durham Brewery Evensong Ruby Porter 5%, Wood St. Brewery (WSB) Chokecherry 4.5% and Wye Vally Butty Bach at 4.5%