CAMRA News – May 2020

We do not have Branch Diaries because at present no-one has been able to arrange any events. Should this be overtaken by events, please check the website for the appropriate branch. These are listed on the regional website links page. In the meantime, there is still a lot to report.


To help members stay in touch while the pubs are closed, CAMRA has set up an on-line pub, the Red (On)Lion, which is open to both members and non-members. This ‘virtual pub’, gives you the choice of joining in the chat in the ‘public bar’ or you can reserve your own private table to chat with friends and family. We hope that it will also help people who are facing loneliness in these difficult times. There will also be events such as pub quizzes, live music and tutored beer tastings. To join in, go here. If you want to check out the events that are already planned or advertise online events of your own, go here.

CAMRA will celebrate Beer Day Britain on 15 June at the Red (On)Lion. Join us for the ‘Cheers to Beer’ at 7pm.


This campaign was launched by CAMRA, in partnership with the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) and Crowdfunder, the fund-raising platform, in the wake of the pubs being closed. CAMRA’s chairman, Nik Antona, wrote to all pub licensees for whom CAMRA had e-mail addresses to let them know that CAMRA wanted to offer its support during these uncertain times in the following ways:

  • Providing information on Government grants and schemes in our government resources document. This which will be regularly updated as more information is released.
  • Providing guidance for pubs that wish to set up a delivery service.
  • Offering press and publicity guidance to help them promote any new services and liaise with the media during this time.

The involvement of CrowdFunder offers free crowdfunding during the crisis; details on how to crowdfund can be found on the national website.

There is also a Facebook group and a newsletter that you can sign up for via the website.


As a development from Pulling Together, CAMRA has now created Brew2You, an ‘app’ that allows you to order local beer, cider and perry, both for delivery and takeaway. There is already good coverage and new suppliers are signing up every day. Brew2You generated sales of nearly £14,000 in the first nine days of operation. All you need to do is download the ‘app’ and take it from there.

Please also see our editorial for further information on buying from pubs and breweries, especially using the list now available on the CAMRA London Region website . The information comes from local sources and it is being updated regularly. Local purchases might well make the vital difference in helping some pubs and breweries to survive so please use them when you can.


Inevitably, the GBBF has been cancelled. The decision was taken at the end of March. Anyone who had already bought a ticket will have already automatically received a full refund.

The problem with beer festivals and similar events is that for as long as ‘lockdown’ is in place, you cannot make any preparations, especially those that involve any financial commitment. Consequently, there needs to be sufficient time between the ban on events being lifted and the event itself. With the GBBF and all of the events mentioned below, there simply wouldn’t be.


CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Britain competition has been suspended, both at regional and national level. The results of any regional competitions that have already been judged before ‘lockdown’ will be carried forward to the national competition when it is next held.


The project was planned anyway but this an especially good time for it to arrive. CAMRA are now producing weekly podcasts on a range of topics to do with brewing and beer. To see what is available click on the links here.


As well as their website address, Bromley have asked me to list their other social media sites Facebook, Twitter and their Social secretary, Barry Phillips, can be contacted via email .


The branch has held committee meetings using Zoom and have set up some on-line socials. For more information please see their website, which happens to have recently won the regional Website of the Year award, judged by CAMRA at national level. Our congratulations accordingly.


E&B are meeting regularly for socials, also using Zoom. Contact the social secretary if you would like to be added to the distribution list.
Gordon Brown  


CAMRA’s North London branch have a tradition of holding pub crawls on Tuesday nights. For the time being, these have transferred to the Red(On)Lion, starting 8pm. The access code is available on the branch website.


We are continuing to hold social events via Zoom every week. The day changes to allow as many people as possible to join in around their other commitments (some people seem to be busier now online than in real life before the lockdown!). We’re posting details on Twitter and on the home page of our website. Everyone is welcome and it’s been lovely to see a couple of new faces at our meet-ups as well as some fanciful Zoom backgrounds! Do join us!
Anna Lancefield


SWE are also holding weekly virtual Branch Socials, usually on Wednesday evening from 8pm. We also use Zoom. Attendance has been good, with everyone enjoying a beer and a chat ‘together’. I have also been ‘phoning our other regular members to keep in contact with them.
Alan Barker


Branch members are being kept up to date by e-mail once a week – if there is anything new to report.


We might not be able to go to the pub or visit our favourite London breweries, but young members across the capital are still coming together to enjoy real ale at the Red (On)Lion. A few weeks ago we hosted a virtual quiz, testing our knowledge of London pubs and breweries. Do you know the London pub that is Gandalf’s? Or which borough has the least number of pubs per square mile? We thought we’d share the fun and see if you can decode the cryptic common pub names below:

1. Scarlet Feline
2. Flowering Royal Hat
3. Kings Tree
4. All the colours, deer
5. Dark Mare
6. Train Bar
7. Dancing Water Bird
8. The hunted and the hunter
9. Cinderella’s pumpkin with a mane and tail
10. Biceps of a joiner

Answers at the bottom of this article.


We all know that the crisis has hit pubs and breweries hard, but it has also unearthed great generosity and community spirit, with a good gulp of this seen within London’s young members. Established in 2016, SlyBeast is a microbrewery located at the Ram Inn in Wandsworth. They found themselves left with a few firkins of their Beam Engine Pale that they had not been able to sell, so a young member stepped in and rescued a few barrels. With over 200 pints on their hands, they wanted to share the beer love so, complying with social distancing rules, they set about delivering the beer to any members locally with an empty container and taking donations for the brewery. Mayonnaise jars and milk cartons, all well disinfected of course, were now full of this easy drinking 3.7% ABV beer. And the generosity reached a peak when the lovely people at SlyBeast refused to take the donations and instead set up a bar tab for us to enjoy when the ‘lockdown’ ends. A big thank you to SlyBeast for helping make week five in ‘lockdown’ a lot more bearable.
Tori Bishop-Rowe

Editor’s note: the young member who rescued the beer preferred to remain anonymous!


We are in the middle of moving to CAMRA’s new beer styles and had a number of sessions planned in London and elsewhere to showcase the changes. Obviously, these have had to be cancelled but we have run a number of sessions on-line instead, using Skype, and, while not as effective as meeting face to face, it was useful and we are going to have several more for London Panel members and a few people from further afield. We have already had a ‘visitor’ from the Isle of Man. I also ran a beer styles session on 21 April on the Red (On)Lion using six beers from the family owned Durham Brewery, which they have made available as a pack for ordering on-line. They are all bottle conditioned and make a nice change from the American hopped golden ales that tend to dominate our London brews (not that those aren’t nice, particularly in the warm weather). You can find the details of future events, as and when they are arranged, on my website .
Christine Cryne


CAMRA’s Greater London Region will still be running this award for 2020, for what will be its 14th year. Nominations were, as usual, sought from the CAMRA branches in the Greater London Region (closing date 31 May) and the winner will be announced at the end of July. The presentation is one of the highlights of the Regional calendar so we hope that in due course we can have a ‘proper do’. The winner will will be announced in due course


Back in January, in what seems a different world, we presented our Pub of the Year award to the Masons Arms in Teddington. The pub has now been voted branch pub of the year three times in the last four years which is a fair reflection on licensee Rae Williams’s hands-on management, the pub’s excellent beers, its sympathy with CAMRA aims and welcoming friendly atmosphere.

The picture shows Branch Chairman, Bob Gordon, surrounded by CAMRA stalwarts, presenting Rae with the certificate.
John Austin (who also took the photo)


The Pig’s Ear Beer Festival, organised by CAMRA’s East London & City branch, traditionally supports the local charities that are nominated by the Speaker of Hackney Council each year. For 2019 these were the Ivy Street Family Centre, Sporting Hackney Mind and the Sistah Space Sanctuary. Last year’s festival-goers raised an impressive £1,138.52 which will be distributed between them. Pictured with the cheque is the Speaker of Hackney, Councillor Kam Adams.

The branch is currently still hopeful that this year’s event will take place. If it does, the dates will be 1 to 5 December at the usual venue. Watch this space…
Steve Hall


The festival forms part of Ealing Council’s Summer Festival Season. The Council have cancelled all of this year’s events which, sadly, includes the Ealing Beer Festival. The festival was scheduled for 8 to 11 July but even if the ban on events was lifted before then, there would not be sufficient time to make all of the required arrangements.


Sadly, a similar story. The festival was due to take place 23 to 25 July but has also had to be cancelled. The committee has decided to postpone the festival until 2021.


It is with much sadness that we have to announce the 2020 Epping Ongar Railway beer festival has been postponed until 2021. The festival committee hoped that there might be a way to run the festival which could meet the social distancing requirements and still be financially viable but, alas, it was not to be. We live in hope that the restrictions may be lifted before the end of the year and a few of the committee members are investigating whether it would be possible to run some sort of ale train later in the year. Keep an eye on for the latest news. We look forward to returning in 2021, with an eclectic mix of ales, buses, ciders and trains.

In the meantime, I’m sure that EOR’s many friends will be relieved to hear that all of locomotives and carriages have been safely ‘mothballed’. There are, inevitably, costs involved so the railway is looking for donations to help it keep going while they are closed. If you can help, please go to here.
Alan Perryman

Compiled by Tony Hedger


1. Red Lion
2.Rose and Crown
3. Royal Oak
4. White Hart
5. Black Horse
6. Railway Tavern
7. The Swan
8. Fox and Hounds
9. Coach and Horses
10. Carpenters Arms