CAMRA news and events – May 2019


The Orpington Liberal Club has once again won the award for CAMRA’s Bromley branch Club of the Year. The club has previously been the Greater London Club of the Year, most recently in both 2017 and 2018. The award was presented to the club on 8 April by long-serving CAMRA local member Tom Phillips. The club celebrated the presentation evening with a tap takeover and ‘Meet the Brewer’ session with Spartan Brewery.

The photo shows Tom Phillips (front left) with OLC Committee members (from left) Martin Curry, Neil Quamby and Peter Muldoon. With thanks to Chris Crowther for the photo.

Bob Keaveney


Cider Pub of the Year – the branch Cider Pub of the Year for 2019 is Williams Ale & Cider House. This busy pub, on the edge of the City in a lane off bustling Bishopsgate, has up to seven ciders and perries available plus seven beers on handpump. The presentation took place on 16 April and was attended by a large number of branch members who all enjoyed the ciders and beers available.

The photo, courtesy of John Pardoe, shows Linda Libby from the branch presenting the certificate to Johnny Grint, operations manager for the Metropolitan Pub Company and Williams Managers Dario Kola and Paul Samoska.

Community Pub of the Year – under the stewardship of Tuesday Roberts, the Northcote Arms in Leyton, E11 has developed a strong community ethos and has achieved an entry in CAMRA’s Good Beer guide. As recognition of the work that Tuesday and her team have put in, the pub has been given the branch’s Community Pub of the Year award.

Steve Hall from the branch makes the presentation to Tuesday

Andy Kinch


The Snooty Fox in Canonbury is CAMRA’s North London branch’s Pub of the Year for 2019, by a vote open to all 1,400 local CAMRA members. John Cryne, the branch chairman, said, “This is the second time that the pub has taken this award. The award was instigated by CAMRA to promote good pubs that serve the community and the Snooty Fox is an excellent example of that, with their knowledgeable staff welcoming regulars and strangers alike. The pub, originally known as the Grosvenor, was taken on by Nicole Gale and her partner Jonathan ten years ago and they started a concerted effort to turn around a failing pub. The first time the pub won this award was in 2015 but they were also runners up in 2013 and 2012. The Snooty is a very consistent pub.” Nicole said, “I am absolutely thrilled and we are overwhelmed to receive this great honour from CAMRA. We have worked really hard to maintain our ales and we are really pleased it has paid off.”

Nicole and Jonathan are aided by Al Hunt, who joined them a year ago and looks after the cellar and their beers. He said, “I didn’t drink real ale until I started here and now I am hooked. I am only 24 and to be presented with such a prestigious award… it’s a massive achievement and I’m lost for words.” The Snooty is decorated with 1960s icons and a 45 rpm juke box which gives a retro feel. It has regular DJ’d music, a popular pub quiz on a Tuesday night and several diverse beer festivals, always well attended. An open kitchen provides rotisserie chicken, handcrafted pies and gourmet burgers as well as traditional Sunday roasts. It is a member of CAMRA’s LocAle scheme. More details about the pub can be found at:

John Cryne


In April CAMRA’s North London branch experimented with a mid-week afternoon social at the Marlborough Tavern in WC1. Branch chairman, John Cryne, explained, “We are conscious that not everyone can get to evening socials so we thought we would try something different. They are open to all members (and their friends). We were so delighted with the turnout, with people coming from all over London, that we are holding another one on Wednesday 26 June; all are welcome.” The venue for the next Leisure Class Social is the Swan, Cosmo Place, WC1, from 2pm.

Christine Cryne


Helen & Steve

It was with very mixed feelings that a large number of members of CAMRA’s South West London branch assembled at the Sultan in South Wimbledon on 17 April. The Sultan had been voted the branch’s Pub of the Year for 2018 and the certificate was presented to managers Helen and Steve Tribbel by branch chairman Mark Bravery. The reason for the mixed feelings was explained by Mark, “as well as being a celebration, this is also something of a valediction, as Steve and Helen are leaving the Sultan very soon to take up fresh challenges after around three and a half years at the pub.

The Sultan has long been a favourite of CAMRA members, right back to when Hop Back Brewery acquired it in 1994 but, much as we loved the pub before Helen and Steve arrived here, I think it fair to say that they have taken it to new heights. This is the sixth time that the Sultan has won this award, but the second time in three years under their stewardship. What the Sultan has become, in addition to being a provider of excellent beer, is a genuine hub of the South Wimbledon community.” We wish Helen and Steve all the very best for their new ventures.

Tony Hedger


Since the festival moved to Hackney in 2006 it has always supported the charities nominated by the Speaker of Hackney Council. For 2018, Speaker Clare Potter nominated three charities: Shoreditch Trust’s Blue Marble training project, You Make It and the Hackney Quest Mentoring programme. Each of these charities work with young people, particularly those who are experiencing challenging times in their lives.

From left to right: Peter Needle, Dave Gilchrist, Speaker Clare Potter, Alan Perryman and Steve Hall

Festival attendees contributed generously again in December and on 9 April the festival committee were pleased to be able to present Speaker Clare Potter with a cheque for £1,015.22. The 2019 Pig’s Ear festival has been pencilled in for 3 to 7 December; make a note in your diaries now!

Andy Kinch


Young members were delighted to get a sneak preview of Hiver Brewery’s bee keeping experience in April when we learnt all about how bees make honey, got to suit up and see some bees in action and, of course, taste their delicious honey beer! Big thanks to the Hiver and Bee Urban for having us. Find more out about Hiver here:

Victoria (Tori) Bishop-Rowe


On Saturday 27 April, the Epping Ongar Railway hosted its first ale train of the season. Over 130 people enjoyed the experience of being served beers from Keppels and Mighty Oak breweries, whilst being hauled through the countryside by vintage diesel locomotives. Beer was sampled from eight different casks alongside two ciders. For the next ale train on June 22 however, the motive power is expected to include the massive American S160 steam locomotive (2-8-0), with a variety of beers from Enfield brewery to be found on the bar. Heritage Routemaster buses connect the railway with Epping Underground station and bookings made two weeks in advance can take advantage of the bargain £10 fare. Further ale trains are due on 10 August and 14 September.

The main event of the year is the summer beer festival, hosted in a marquee at North Weald station. This year’s event, 19 to 21 July, will feature over 80 beers and 20 ciders and there will also be bars on both trains due to be in service. New for 2019 is a ‘bumper’ fare allowing visitors to pay for their glass, travel and first set of beer tokens in advance. Priced at £25, this gives a discount when compared with purchasing all three separately. Visitors will need to exchange their online ticket at the station booking office at North Weald. The additional connection to and from Harlow Town railway station returns, this time departing Harlow at 10.50 and 12.15. For the first time it will also serve Harlow bus station. Buses will return to Harlow from North Weald at 4.45 and 6.45.

On the beer front, this year’s event is themed around two locomotive related anniversaries. To celebrate the 100th birthday of steam locomotive Isobel, there will be ales from Newcastle, where the locomotive was built, and Manchester, where the engine spent its life working for ICI Chemicals. Our resident Class 31 diesel locomotive class, 31 438 reaches sixty years since manufacture and will be celebrated with beers from East Anglia, where these locomotives took charge of express, local and freight services.

For more information and to book tickets, see

Alan Perryman