CAMRA news and events – November 2020

PIG’S EAR BEER FESTIVAL

Any hope of having a Pig’s Ear Beer Festival this year ended when London was moved into Tier 2 of the COVID restrictions and the second national lockdown has simply confirmed it. Our commiserations go to organiser Alan Perryman and his crew who had put a lot of effort into the project. It is particularly disappointing because CAMRA nationally had hoped to use the event as a trial with a view to holding other festivals around the country. Alan did however say, “We have everything ready to go and will be reviewing the situation constantly to see if we can bring you a festival earlier next year. In the meantime we urge you to support your local pubs and breweries in any way you can.”

NORTH LONDON CIDER PUB OF THE YEAR

On 15 October CAMRA’s North London Branch presented its Cider Pub of the Year award for 2020 to the Brave Sir Robin, a small corner pub in Stroud Green. Branch chairman, Colin Coyne explained, “The award is determined by CAMRA members voting for a shortlist of pubs selling real cider in north London. The Brave Sir Robin has gone from strength to strength since it was taken on by brothers Theo and Ben Caudell and Chris Hurd, who co-founded Carouse, their small pub company. The trio have a track record of running great community pubs; they also have the Rose & Crown in Kentish Town.”

The building only became a pub in 1983, having previously been a post office and a grocers. It was an early part of the Marler’s chain which morphed into the JD Wetherspoon organisation. They gave it up in the late 1980s and Colin comments, “The pub has changed hands so many times, it would be great for the community if this pub had some stability and continued to be successful. We hope that this award is the start of many. Due to the COVID social distancing rules, which naturally has impacted on numbers, the pub has had to adjust what it is selling so the current cider range is reduced. But we feel that in these difficult times for pubs, we want to give all support we can. Just three years ago, this pub had been closed for a year and was occupied by squatters. So this award is given in recognition of what the owners have done and what we are sure they will do again in the future.”

Colin (second left) (with some help) presents the award
to shift manager Archie Oxenbould

The full address of the Brave Sir Robin is 29 Crouch Hill, Stroud Green, N4 4AP and I’m sure that some of you will have recognised that the name comes from the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

NORTH LONDON CHRISTMAS SOCIAL

North London Branch, somewhat presciently, decided in advance of the second lockdown to have their Christmas social online. It will be at 6pm on Tuesday 22 December and will take the form of a beer and cheese tasting, led by master trainer and beer judge, Christine Cryne. It will last for about two hours and will feature four cheeses, matched with five beers.
All are welcome to join in, members and non-members alike. To make it even more fun, there will be a prize for the best Christmas jumper on the night! There is no charge to take part; you just supply your own cheese and beer. If however you can afford it, please consider making a donation to CAMRA to help them continue to provide the platform to host these events. For more details, and to book your place, go here.

BEHIND THE MASKS

Some CAMRA business has continued as usual. David Morgan of Kingston & Leatherhead Branch delivered a copy of the Good Beer Guide to the Wych Elm in Kingston.

As you will note, proper procedures were in place when David (left) handed the guide to Michael Pearson, the landlord. The pub itself, a Fuller’s tied house, is in the GBG (page 276). The full address is 93 Elm Road KT2 6HT. With thanks to Gill Morgan for the photo.

LOCKDOWN HEROES

Kingston & Leatherhead branch have also awarded their Lockdown Hero awards to those pubs and breweries which they consider to have worked tirelessly over recent months to be a real force for good in their local communities. The awards have been sent to the winners but the branch is looking forward to being able to celebrate in person over a pint very soon. The winners were: the Willoughby Arms, the Park Brewery, Brightwater Brewery’s Platform 3 taproom and the Big Smoke Brew Co.

BREW2YOU

Although (hopefully) the second lockdown will only have a week to run by the time that you read this, readers might like to note that CAMRA’s Brew2You ‘app’, www.brew2you.co.uk, is still available for you to order beer, cider and perry for home delivery from a number of brewers. If there are any brewers who didn’t sign up the first time around, you can still get involved. Go to https://brew2you.co.uk/become-a-partner.

CAMRA PODCASTS

Don’t forget that a new episode of Pubs Pints People is released every week from every good podcast provider. You can also follow them on Twitter @PubsPintsPeople.

ZYTHOS BEER FESTIVAL

We are not alone. Our colleagues in the European Beer Consumers Union are also having their problems. The Zythos Beer Festival in Leuven, a celebration of Belgian artisanal beer which I know is popular with many CAMRA members, has now been postponed until April 2022. The organisers were particularly concerned that visitors from abroad would not be able to attend.

Compiled by Tony Hedger