SUNDAY, 4TH October
'Specialist London Lager Micro-breweries II'
1pm - The Ranelagh, 82, Bounds Green Road, Bounds Green, N11 2PP then
3pm - The Springfield Bar & Grill, 133, Bounds Green Road, N11 2EU then
4.30pm - The Bohem Brewery Taproom, 120A, Myddleton Road, Bowes Park, N17 8NQ
The Ranelagh was refurbished around 10 years ago, revamped as a 'craft' beer outlet alongside real ales, offering both occasional 'tap takeovers' and good food in addition. Notably available was a St. Stephanus Abbey beer whilst Sunday lunch was partaken here by all 5 members who attended throughout the day, well within the 'rule of six' diktat. The Springfield Bar & Grill was formerly The Springfield Park Tavern until refurbished in 2013 and had similarly been 'improved' from having been a genuine and well-regarded Irish establishment. Whilst no distinctive 'craft' beers were available, a very acceptable Hardy's & Hanson's Kimberley Bitter (albeit an ersatz beer nowadays brewed by Greene King) was imbibed by all.
At Bohem's Brewery Tap, a particularly convivial session was enjoyed with Marek Průša presiding at the bar and locals alike all engaging with the group exhibiting the bon homie of true (Czech) micropub fashion. As the showcase for the nearby (Tottenham) brewery of the same name run entirely by Czech ex-pats - shades of the original German-run Austro-Bavarian/Imperial Lager brewery (also in Tottenham) of the late 19TH century - Bohem is believed to be unique in London for being the capital's only all-lager concern. Five of the six pivos on tap (Amos, Martina, Raven, Sparta & Vasco) were sampled but the last, Gregor (a German lager), ran dry before we could order any!
All venues were accessed by walking between them; public transport - to/from Bounds Green Underground station and Bowes Park National Rail station - only being used at the start and finish of the event.
SATURDAY, 8TH August
'Specialist London Lager Micro-breweries I'
1pm - The Signal Brewery Tap, 8, Stirling Way, Beddington Farm Road, CR0 4XN then
3.30pm - The Anspach & Hobday Brewery Tap, 11, Valley Point Industrial Estate, Beddington Farm Road, CR0 4WP.
Although initially Lager-only, Signal have now diversified into producing other brews, including a Porter, whereas Anspach & Hobday is already well-known to CAMAL members. Originally part of the 'Bermondsey Beer Mile', the latter has recently relocated its brewery to a site close by Signal's brew house.
Both having on-site taprooms, open on Saturdays only, close to Tramlink, they were reached from the Therapia Lane tramstop between Wimbledon and Croydon.
On one of the hottest days of the year to date, a Kung Flu-compliant 'bubble' of 4 existing CAMAL members and one 'guest' took advantage of shaded seating outside Signal and internal bench seating at A&H. The pizza franchise outside the former provided welcome sustenance and even one new member (our 'guest') was signed-up.
SATURDAY, 22ND February
'Leap Between Berks Taprooms Early'
2pm - The Double Barrelled Brewery Taproom, Unit 20, Stadium Way, Norcut, RG30 6BX then
3.30pm - The Bierhaus, 8, Queen's Walk, Reading, RG1 7QF then
5.30pm - The Haunt (Phantom Brewery Taproom), Unit 3, Meadow Road, Reading, RG1 6LB.
Having taken the 1235 or 1241 train from Ealing Broadway or Hayes & Harlington stations respectively to Tilehurst station arriving 1327 or the latest fast train at 1247 from London Paddington that connected with the same service above at Reading (at 1323) (or from London Waterloo that departed at 1150, Clapham Junction 1158 and Twickenham 1210), a creditable 11 people (4 CAMAL members, 3 West Middx. and 4 Reading CAMRA members) attended this social at some or all points during the course of the day.
^ Proof of CAMAL's mediæval origins!
SUNDAY, 1ST September
'And Some More SE London Micropubs'
noon - The Dartford Jug,
8, Market Street, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1ET then
1.30pm - The Penny Farthing, 3,Waterside, Crayford, Kent, DA1 4JJ then
3pm - The Bird & Barrel, 100, Barnehurst Road, Barnehurst, Kent, DA7 6HG then
4.45pm - The Hangar, 37, The Oval, Station Road, Blackfen, Kent, DA15 9ER then
7pm - The One in the Wood, 209, Pett's Wood Road, Pett's Wood, Kent, BR5 1LA.
The Dartford Jug is the most recent venue, having opened in July 2018, with The One in the Wood being the oldest on this tour which had opened in May 2014. The Penny Farthing, dating from September 2014, has already featured on at least one Ring so should be familiar to some attendees having already won the local CAMRA branch's 'Pub of the Year' award regularly since. The Bexley Brewery-owned Bird & Barrel opened its doors in April 2018 whereas The Hangar had not quite commenced operations at the time of our previous SE London jaunt in May 2018, opening within a month or so later.
Use of public transport was required throughout, initially taking the 1045 train from Waterloo East (Charing Cross 3 mins earlier, London Bridge 6 mins later) to Slade Green, and then the 428 bus to Dartford (closer to the first venue than the station). Then the 96 and the 428 buses took us back to Crayford, the 428 bus being used again onwards to return to Slade Green station for a change to a 99 bus on to Barnehurst. From the station there, we took a train to Welling and then a 51 bus to Blackfen. Finally, we then continued south on the 51 bus route to St. Mary Cray at which location we changed to an R3 for Pett's Wood before returning by the 2022 train which took 33 mins to arrive at Waterloo East around 9pm (London Bridge 6 mins earlier, Charing Cross 4 mins later).
SUNDAY, 14TH July
'Recent 'craft' beer bars in Hammersmith'
noon - The Draft House, 238, Shepherd's Bush Road, London, W6 7NL then
1.30pm - The William Morris, 2-4, King Street, Street, London, W6 0QA then
3.30pm - The Craft Beer Co., 17-8, Broadway Shopping Centre, London, W6 9YD.
Established in 2015 and formerly The Laurie Arms ph, the first is one of many Draft Houses throughout inner London, now owned by the BrewDog brewery, but still offers both cask & 'craft' ales. The second is a familiar Wetherspoons largely included should people have wanted to eat from a more extensive menu - they did! - whilst the third, formerly The Old Trout ph, only opened in its current guise in spring 2019 within the Hammersmith District & Piccadilly Lines station parade and offered 6 no. cask beers on the day plus many more artisanales besides together with a variety of burgers listed on its table menus.
Afterwards, we also visited The Swan, an ornate Nicholson's house at the junction of The Broadway with King Street.
SUNDAY, 28TH April
'Metroland Award-Winning Micropubs and Curry'
noon - The Hop & Vine, 18, High Street, Ruislip, HA4 7AN then
1.30pm - The Beer Asylum, 1, Red Lion Parade, Bridge Street, Pinner, HA5 3JD then
3pm - The Regency Club, 18-21, Station Parade, Queensbury, HA8 5NR.
The first two welcome additions to the diminished pub scene in West Middlesex had won their respective borough (Hillingdon and Harrow) Pub of the Year awards from the local CAMRA branch in 2018. The less than clement weather meant that we weren't able to make use of the Hop & Vine's recently-opened 'beer garden' but, at the Beer Asylum (originally opened as just a bottle shop off licence), the bar side of the outlet, having developed into a fully-fledged micropub, held our attention such that most were reluctant to move on. [The Beer Asylum has the additional distinction of being on the site of the frontage to The Red Lion ph which closed as long ago as 1963!]
The last-mentioned curry & lager venue needed no introduction to CAMAL members and was long overdue a revisit. Although advertising potentially all four lagers from the Cotswold Brewing Co., based in Bourton-on-the-Water, none of the two expected were available on the day but one of the Club's own badged, locally-commissioned, beers - an IPA - was supped as an accompaniment to curries at the usual high standard expected here.
Use of public transport was required throughout, Ruislip being on the Uxbridge branch of the Metropolitan Line. Buses H13 between Ruislip & Pinner and, then, the 183 from Pinner to Kenton with the 114 from Kenton to Queensbury were utilised. [The alternatives, the Metropolitan Line between Ruislip & Pinner, changing at Harrow-on-the-Hill, and the Metropolitan & Jubilee Lines between Pinner & Queensbury, changing at Wembley Park, were not taken.]
SATURDAY, 9TH February
'Berks (for) Beer & Bratwurst (3 Bs)'
noon - The Botanist, 1-5, King Street, Reading, RG1 2HD then
1pm - The Bierhaus, 8, Queen's Walk, Reading, RG1 7QF then
4pm - The Nag's Head, 5, Russell Street, Reading, RG1 7XD.
The first is a new pub in a former Barclays bank which has many bottled foreign beers, including local Siren Craft ales, available whilst the second specialises in both German and Belgian beers with authentic food to boot! It is adjacent to The (former) Cock-a-Snook micropub - a prototype for the many that have followed since - which occupied no. 7, Queen's Walk (just around the corner from Dußeldorf Way!) from 2000 - 2002.
The last-mentioned is already a Reading institution which has established itself within a former failing all-keg pub into a cornucopia for real ale over the last decade.
The main Reading station was used for arrival - a rendezvous outside the Three Guineas on the town side suggested at 1145 (but acheived inside instead!) - whilst Reading West station - tickets having been valid to All Stations there - was near to the final pub being visited.
Of the seven members who attended, four then continued on to The Castle Tap, Brew Dog, Zero Degrees and The Allied Arms with three even venturing into The Alehouse and The Greyfriars.
SUNDAY, 26TH August
'SW London Artisanale Pubs'
Steins (on riverside towpath within sight of Richmond Bridge), Petersham Road, Richmond, Surrey, TW10 6UX from 1pm onwards then
The Vault (ex-Pig's Ears Cellar Bar), 5, Hill Street, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 1SX from 3pm onwards then
The Tap Tavern (ex-Richmond Arms ph), Prince's Street, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 1SX from 5pm onwards
Unfortunately, the first venue, being an al fresco restaurant specialising in German food and beer (Erdinger range, Paulaner & London Craft) was closed owing to - as it's website warns - inclement weather. Thus, we adjourned to the second and third venues to enjoy 3 real ales and 'craft' keg beers (up to 17 as far as the latter is concerned) at each, whilst the former also had 1 real cider and bottled continental beers. Recommended use of public transport by 65 bus from Richmond National Rail/Overground/Underground station to first venue (alighting at Robin's Court stop, crossing road to reach the towpath behind former Three Pigeons ph and walking back towards Richmond Bridge past the Canoe Club) was thus unnecessary.
THURSDAY, 14TH June
'By the Horns Brewery Visit'
By the Horns Brewery, 25, Summerstown, Tooting, SW17 0BQ from 7pm onwards
Use of public transport by 44, 77 or 270 bus to/from Earlsfield or Tooting National Rail stations or 493 bus to/from Southfields Underground station had been required.
SUNDAY, 6TH May
'Further SE London Micropubs'
The River Ale House, 131, Woolwich Road, East Greenwich, SE10 0RJ from 1pm onwards then
The Taproom, 15, Major Draper Street, Woolwich, SE18 6GD from 2.30pm onwards then
The Kentish Belle, 8, Pickford Lane, Bexleyheath, Kent, DA7 4QW from 4.15pm onwards then
The Halfway House, 188C, Halfway Street, Sidcup, Kent, DA15 8DJ from 6pm (7.15pm) onwards then
The first two are recent micropubs, the former only having opened in late-summer 2017 with the latter, in combining with a pizzeria, had already made it into CAMRA's 2018 (&, now, 2019) Good Beer Guide(s) and is located within the Royal Arsenal Development. The other pair are even more recent micropubs having opened earlier this year but, instead of a detour between them to take in another in Blackfen (The Hangar Micropub, 37, The Oval, Station Road, DA15 9ER) which had not yet opened, we went to The Rusty Bucket (formerly The Crown), 11, The Court Yard, Eltham, SE9 5PR. This had recently been renovated in a 'micropub' fashion with the additional 'attraction' of some lemongrass (really bluegrass!) live music on the day.
Use of public transport between the venues had been required at times with travel on the 1223 train from Waterloo East (Charing Cross 3 minutes earlier and London Bridge 6 minutes later) to Westcombe Park was recommended.
SUNDAY, 11TH February
'Winter Dutch Beerfest & Octoberfest'
The Bolton (Pröflokaal Rembrandt Bar), 326, Earl's Court Road, Earl's Court, SW5 9QB from 1pm
Eric, landlord at The Bolton, had imported a number of speciality Dutch beers for the weekend whilst The Octoberfest pub, despite being long overdue a revisit, was not, in the event, ventured into.
SUNDAY, 15TH October
'Albion, Kingston & Vault Beer Cellar, Richmond'
The Albion, 45, Fairfield Road, Kingston, Surrey, KT1 2PY from 1pm onwards then
The Park Brewery, 95, Elm Road, Kingston, Surrey, KT2 6HX from 3.30pm onwards then
The Vault, 5, Hill Street, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 1SX from 6pm onwards
The Albion is a revitalised pub with an array of draught artisanale beers, bottled foreign brews and real ales whilst The Park Brewery held one of its regular Open Day events.The Richmond Vault Beer Cellar is similar to The Albion and was formerly known as the Pig's Ears Beer Cellar. Myriad public transport options are available to/from both venues whilst bus 371 was used between them all.
SUNDAY, 9TH July
'Dr. Ink & Dutch Beerfest'
Dr.Ink, 349, Fulham Palace Road, Fulham, SW6 6TB from 1pm onwards then
Dutch Beerfest @ The Bolton (Pröflokaal Rembrandt Bar), 326, Earl's Court Road, Earl's Court, SW5 9QB from 3pm onwards then
The Finborough Arms, 118, Finborough Road, West Brompton, SW10 9ED from 5pm onwards
Dr.Ink (sold 2019) was an off-licence with an on-licence which specialised in foreign and speciality beers on bus routes 74, 220 & 430 north of Putney Bridge station whereas The Bolton remains a pub with a Dutch landlord on bus routes 31, 74, C3 & 430 south of Earl's Court station. Buses 74 or 430 were used between the first two venues. The Finborough Arms is a pub with a theatre attached plus an array of real ales and some foreign brews on routes 31 & C3.
SUNDAY, 20TH May
'Wimbledon Brewery & Merton Apprentice'
The Wimbledon Brewery - 8, College Fields, Prince George's Road, SW19 2PT at 3pm then
The Sultan - 78, Norman Road, SW19 1BT at 4pm then
The Merton Apprentice at 5pm then The Wandle Pirates at 6pm then The William Morris at 7pm
All three immediately above are within the Merton Abbey Mills retail park, the first carrying cask & artisanale (keykeg) beers, the second only artisanale (keykeg) beers and the last cask ales then:
8pm - The Trafalgar - 23, High Path, SW19 2JY
We failed to meet at Collier's Wood station at 2.45pm (Northern Line) with buses 57, 131, 200 & 219 passing but rendezvoused at the brewery instead. We finished near South Wimbledon station (Northern Line) with buses 57, 93, 131 & 219 passing.
SATURDAY, 29TH April
'SE London Micropubs'
We failed to meet at the top of the escalators by the barriers on the bridge for Waterloo East from the main station concourse @ 12.15pm for the 1229 train to Eltham at platform A, a 23 minute journey but managed to rendezvous aboard the intended service. Use of other public transport, particularly bus 51, was required at times.
SATURDAY, 12TH November
'CAMAL 30TH Anniversary Meal'
The Munich Cricket Club (formerly The Old Monk Exchange) - 61-71, Victoria Street, St. James', SW1 0HW (entrance in Strutton Ground) from 6pm onwards.
Then, The Cask Pub & Kitchen (formerly The Pimlico Tram), 6, Charlwood Street, Pimlico, SW1V 2EE (c. 9pm),
The date was the exact anniversary on which CAMAL had been formed in 1986 (see also the separate article below).
FRIDAY, 29TH July
'Seven Seasons Beer Tasting'
The Seven Seasons (off-licence) - 195, Hoxton Street, Hoxton, N1 6RA from 6pm onwards.
SUNDAY, 3RD July
'A repeat JR Curry & Drink'
The Regency Club, 18-21, Station Parade, Queensbury, Middlesex, HA8 5NR from noon onwards.
SATURDAY, 9TH April
'Calvors' Brewery Tap'
The Rampant Horse, The Swan, & The Limes Hotel (Bug's Bar), all Needham Market, Suffolk and The Royal William & The King's Arms both Stowmarket, Suffolk.
SUNDAY, 30TH August
'The Italian Job'
The Tabard (noon) - 2, Bath Road, W4 by Turnham Green Station.
Then, The Italian Job (c. 1.00pm), Devonshire Road, W4.
(The former venue was also where our AGM was held on SUNDAY, 1ST November)
SUNDAY, 12TH July
'Welcome Back JR Curry & Drink'
The Regency Club - 18-21, Station Parade, Queensbury, Middlesex, HA8 5NR from 1pm onwards.
Then, The New Moon, 25-6, Kenton Park Parade, Kenton, Middlesex, HA3 8DN from 4.00pm onwards.
SATURDAY, 23RD May
'The Bermondsey Beer 'Mile''
Fourpure Brewery, Unit 22, Bermondsey Trading Estate, SE16 3LL from 11.20am onwards
Partizan Brewery, 8, Almond Road, SE16 3LR from 12.20pm onwards
Kernel Brewery, Arch 11, Dockley Road, SE16 3SF from 1.20pm onwards
Brew by Numbers Brewery, 79, Enid Street, SE16 3RA from 2.20pm onwards
Anspach & Hobday, 118, Druid Street, SE1 2HH from 3.20pm onwards
Southwark Brewery, 46, Druid Street, SE1 2EZ from 4.20pm onwards
SATURDAY, 17TH January
'Deferred AGM Social'
The Express Tavern (Chiswick Bar), 56, Kew Bridge Road, Brentford, TW8 0EW from 12.30pm onwards
Then, The One Over the Ait (Fuller's), opposite, 8, Kew Bridge Road, Brentford, TW8 0FJ from 2.30pm
(These venues were also where our AGM and post-AGM Social were held on SUNDAY, 15TH February)
MONDAY, 20TH January
The Beehive & The Craft Beer Co., both Brixton
THURSDAY, 27TH March
Tapping the Admiral & The Camden Town Brewery Bar, both Kentish Town
MONDAY, 16TH June
The Sir John Hardcastle, Harrild & Sons & The Hoop & Grapes, all Farringdon
On a cold, dark, January night in Smithfield where many have been butchered, there was a lower turnout of CAMAL members than for the Manchester Central By-election. We visited Smiths in Charterhouse Street, a large dual-floor bar: the topmost devoted to expensive dining; the bottom to expensive drinking. The music was quite loud but bearable and the furnishing a mixture of plastic and wooden tables and benches on a wooden floor just added to the chill!! Two not very hoppy, very cold Czech lagers, Žatec & SOS, were available as well as Palm. A pair of strange looking containers with keg-type taps actually turned out to hold cask Rebellion beers which were quite pleasant.
Skating round the meat market, where wife sales used to be allowed in the 18TH & 19TH centuries, led us to The Old Red Cow on Long Lane. Three real ales: Windsor & Eton, Black Jack & Kirkstall were available, as well as a number of artisanal beers – with an English bias: Camden Town, Magic Rock, Moor and Kernel, for instance. There weren’t many seats in the small downstairs area but the service was good, friendly and informative and everything consumed was quite pleasant.
Then, on a grey spring evening in May, we visited the East End. The Well & Bucket was originally a pub, which had closed in 1989, and then turned into a Chinese restaurant. However it had been recently restored to an atmospheric large single roomed pub with remnants of original Victorian tiling remaining as a feature. They had a large array of bottled and tap artisanal beers, from the USA, England, Scotland and, unusually, Tocalmatto Stray Dog from Italy. There were four handpumps on which cask ales were rotated which, on this night, comprised Blue Monkey, ELB, and Hop School beers. These tasted fine but, otherwise, lacked head and condition.
A few doors along, another bières artisanal pub was to be found, The Brew Dog. They brewed (on the premises) their own range of beers and these tap beers ranged from 3.9% to some quite strong ones with the Punk IPA at 5.4% being their flagship. The Brew Dog beers are well produced and refreshing but there is no pretence that these are real ales.
Finally, we walked down Brick Lane, stopping at one of the pair of famous bagel shops, to The Pride of Spitalfields. This community local, in the heart of curry land, had, as its flagship, Crouch Vale Brewers’ Gold which was as good as ever.
In August, we visited The Dean Swift in the Tower Bridge area. This artisanal beer pub had a couple of cask real ales as well. The bulk of the keg tap beers were from fairly recent British micro-breweries which specialised in bière artisanal products. Redwell of Bristol, Weird Beard of Hanwell, Beavertown of Hackney and the more established Kernel of Bermondsey were featured with the predominant ale style being American Pales and IPAs. The house pils was quite hoppy whilst the premium Austrian lager Stigel Goldbräu gave us a taste of things to come. The nearby Wetherspoon’s pub, Pommeler’s Rest, provided a staging post on the way and they provided a steak & a pint for £7.99. It was also good that they had some session beers from Dorking, Twickenham & Sambrooks available rather than the more usual stronger offerings.
In September, we visited the City where The Bell and The Pelt Trader were to be found on opposite sides of Cannon Street Station. A small atmospheric pub, The Bell was serving three Cornish beers and Harvey’s Sussex. Conversely, The Pelt Trader served a mixture of micro-brewery cask ales from the likes of Tiny Rebel, Arbor and Pixie Spring and artisanal beers which seemed to be following a trend towards English micros, such as Camden, but had a couple of continental ones, such as Köning Pils and Krombacher Dark Lager. This pub was a large cavernous space, with painted brickwork walls, and had only been open since April. They also sold pizzas but, sadly, not after 9.00pm on a Monday (coinciding with Cannon Street Station’s weekday closure hour).
The AGM was held in The Cask Pub & Kitchen in Pimlico. Various Dark Star and Burning Sky (Dark Star’s former brewer’s) beers were available as well as a large selection of artisanal beers and lagers. Strengths and prices were both high, including a half of Tilquin Geuze and a bottle of Drie Fonteinen Gueze, which were both £7.95.
In January, we went to the new Westfield shopping centre in Stratford for The Tap East, a new brew pub featuring three large copper brewing vessels in a room adjacent to the bar. The Tap had two of its own beers on (John Edwin Bitter & 4-Hop); these were both quite bitter and very hoppy, plus four rotating guest real ales, on this occasion Brentwood BBC2 (only 2.7% ABV), a Breconshire, and a pair of Oakham brewery offerings. In addition, there were eight foreign beers on tap as well as a 100+ bottle selection available. The former were Blue Moon, Hopus, Timmerman’s Kriek, Grolsch Blonde – actually brewed in Holland (4%) – Duvel single, a dark Winter Koninck (6.5%), Chimay Triple, as well as a real cider and another from a fount. Harviestown Engine Oil, not often available on draught, was amongst the tapped foreign beers, obviously predicting the independence vote. The bar, which was decorated with old fashioned seaside stalls, bottles and other beeriana, and panelling made from wooden railway sleepers, had a small number of high tables, seats and one group of low level leather sofas. However, being open into the centre, was quite chilly and draughty in winter.
We then adjourned to a Geronimo Inns’ establishment, The Cow. This three-level bar with mainly wooden furnishings included more railway sleeper beams and specialised in beef dishes so was quite foodie on the upper two floors. Three real ales were on – Redemption, Adnams, but only one Young’s beer (Gold). These were all quite good but the absence of Ordinary in a Young’s establishment was Ordinary in a Young’s establishment was worrying.
In February, we went out to Fulwell in SW London to the former Jolly Blacksmith which, en-route to being now called Brouges at The Old Goat, was, for a time, named The Fulwell Arms. They had three draught real ales plus about ten continentals on tap. Several wheat beers, Steenbrugge Pils & Blonde, Palm, Estaminet Pils, a trio of the more commercial Lambics and a Frambois (Raspberry), Of others sampled, a Boon Kriek was acceptable, but the Lindeman’s Faro was too sweet – admittedly, Faro should be a Gueze sweetened with brown sugar but there was too much in this case! The bottle list was very good, totalling 50+, including some unusual US beers. The food was an odd mixture of English pub fare: pies and sausages; with Belgium cuisine: mussels; stœmpe (the veggie mash); but, strangely, the frites came without mayonnaisse.
We then went on to the nearby Prince of Wales, a comfortable pub with leather upholstered seating and a real fire, which had several Marston’s beers including the months’ single hop varietal offering and a couple of Twickenham brews.
May saw us commence at an old favourite – The Royal Oak in Borough – for an excellent meal and the full Harvey’s range, including, especially for May, Knots of May light mild. Next, we ventured along Long Lane to Simon the Tanner, a small L-shaped single bar which had three real ales and a cask cider, as well as two American beers, Harbour & Brooklyn Lager, Lichel, a Czech wheat beer, plus Duvel, Amstel and König Pilsener. Our last stop was at the Fuller’s pub, The Leather Exchange (in Leather Market), an impressive two-floor gastro pub, with Discovery and Pride on handpump and Lichtova Czech lager from a tap.
In September, we visited the Oktoberfest pub in the Fulham Road. This had authentic German food (sausages & sauerkraut) as well as about a dozen beers on tap covering lagers, pils, wheat beers, and one dunkel, helles and Fruili apiece. Whereas I enjoyed the Warsteiner and the Fischer’s Helles, others imbibed the Franziskaaner Wheat & the Krombacher Dark. The bottle list was very impressive with sixteen lagers, eight pils, six weiss, six festival, seven bock, two kolsch, four speczial and four rauchbiers. The Speczial brewery (Bamberg) smoked dark rauch bier was very good.
Prior to that, we had frequented the adjacent Durrell Arms which, ostensibly now Greene King, had an acceptable guest beer in the form of Ascot Red.
In early March, we went to The Bree Louise in Euston where they still had remnants of their St David’s day beer festival on offer, with Brains and Otley as well as lots of Welsh ciders well represented. From there, we made a short trip to a new pub, The Euston Tap. This has been created in the refurbished gatehouse housed in the westernmost of the two old towers right outside the front of Euston mainline station. Most of the seating (and the toilets) can be found up a very steep steel spiral staircase; however, it is just possible to sit or stand at the downstairs bar. Beers featuring Bristol Stout, Thornbridge Galaxia, and other micros were only £2.90 a pint. Their Continental draught selection ran into double figures, notably St Bernard of Czech Republic, with some of the more commercial lambics and several other interesting Belgium & German beers available.
Later in March, we held a 25TH anniversary dinner at The Dovetail in Clerkenwell. Traditional Belgium food such as Flemish fish or meat stew were accompanied by a selection of Trapiste, Abbey, Lambic, Tripel or Dubbel beers, most of which tended to be above 6%. A dozen or so beers were available on draught as well as a large bottled beer menu. Beforehand, we had some Youngs in the Sekforde Arms (some even venturing into the Old Sessions Chambers) and, afterwards, a quick drop of the St Peter’s range in The Jerusalem Tavern (see also the separate article below).
In the same week, we started and finished in The Edgar Wallace just south of the Strand which invariably has eight handpumped beers. In between, we made a visit to The Bierschenke Beer Keller next door. This new venue always seemed to be empty and didn’t have a very German feel, being apparently run by staff who appeared to know nothing about Germany and thus unable to volunteer very much information! The German food here was mainly sausages; the evening platter consisted of mainly one type of sausage whereas the lunchtime menu had no German food on it at all! However, the consensus was that, although the beer range was fairly standard, it was still quite good. There was a choice of Bitburger, Paulaner, Rosada Rose beer, Kaltenberg Helles and Warsteiner Pils, all dispensed in half pint and pint measures which added to the non-Germanic atmosphere.
In September, we visited The recently-opened Craft Beer Co. in Leather Lane, Clerkenwell. Apparently, a sister pub to The Cask Bar & Kitchen in Pimlico, it had a huge number (in double figures) of unusual independent and micro-brewed real ales with Dark Star well represented. There were also a similar number of authentic Continental lagers and a large bottled beer collection. But prices for the foreign beers weren’t cheap at £4.95 for a draught half – in fact, frankly extortionate. We soon crossed the Clerkenwell Road to The Gunmaker’s Arms where the friendly and, perhaps, over-enthusiastic landlord snatched back the new East London brew just served because it was too cloudy! A whole barrel had been consumed inside the first day though even the cloudy dregs of the unsuitable pint had tasted good to me! Harviestown Schiehallion, Purity Pure UBU and Woodforde’s Wherry were, however, good compensation in such an excellent and recommended hostelry.
We started the New Year with a three-pub social in Southwark. The Rake, next to Borough Market, gets its continental beers from Utobier in the market. The bar is very small and crowded but there is a heated patio area, essential in the snowy January weather! Numerous beers were on draught: Cantillon, a very traditional Kriek, at £4.90 a half(!); Liefmann’s Cherry; Sierra Nevada Harvest; Left Hand Ju Ginger (which ran out); Veltins; Maisel; and Christoffel Weiss beers. There were also three real ales to sample too! A short walk round the corner to Katzenjammers then followed. This is a cellar bar and typically German, the food being sausages, pretzels and schnitzels. The beers included three wheat beers, the Paulaner range from Munich, a fruit beer (Rosada), and a strong 6% beer (St Thomas). The bare wooden tables and chairs added to the atmosphere. Finally, it was next door to the Southwark Tavern, where there were six real ales and a lot of continental ones too, including Mort Subite Kriek, Sierra Nevada, Hoegaarden, another wheat beer and a few of the more regular suspects.
In March, we visited The White Horse in Parsons Green. Good points: very close to the tube station; a wide range of real ales and continental beers (predominantly wheat); and we managed to find seats for seven attendees! Bad points: very expensive real ales varied from £3.15 to £3.70; food even more so (a rack of lamb was £34!); and a youthful Sloaney crowd (but probably preferable to young lager louts).
In August, another good seven-fold turnout researched the Soho area. Starting at The Cambridge, a Nicholson’s pub, the lagers were fairly bland fare (Pironi, Amstel, & Staropramen), so we stuck with the real ales on offer. The French House nearby had no real ale and serves what beer it does offer only in halves. The only French beers on were Kronenbourg & Meteor lager, the latter being quite pleasant albeit at £2.25 a half. The highlight of the evening was De Hems. Now a Nicholson’s outlet but still decked out like a Dutch brown bar, it serves traditional Dutch food and several continental draughts: Heineken; Grolsch Wheat; Maredsous 6 & 8 (Blonde & Brun); Lindenboon; Fruili; Bellevue Kriek; and Leffe Blonde. Lastly, it was onto the Dog & Duck, a small bar also another Nicholson’s. However, the beer here wasn’t as good as in the Cambridge earlier.
A social in March was the first one held since the sad death of our chairman, Ken, as referred to on the Obituaries page. I’m sure he would have enjoyed it but we took the opportunity to pay tribute to his major contribution to CAMAL instead.
All three pubs were within 50 yards of each other in Seymour Place, W2. The Mason’s Arms is a Badger brewery pub, serving a reasonable drop, whilst, next-door, is the newly-opened Imbiss, an Austrian bar/café. Beers are from Austria’s largest brewery, Stiegl of Saltzburg, with only a couple on draught, a wheat beer and a pils. There was also a selection of bottles from breweries such as Hirter. The menu was typically Prussian, with various wursts, pretzels, leberkase and sauerkraut. The downstairs area was spacious and quiet (a future AGM venue? – Ed). Next door again, was The Carpenter’s Arms. Unfortunately, the Sambrooks – a new producer brewing in Battersea – ran out, but the Wolf, Harveys, Archers and Royal Clarence Hotel’s IPA still left a good choice.
In June, we visited the Chalk Farm area, starting with an excellent pint of Youngs at The Queen’s Head. The next port of call was the Princess of Wales. Here, the food was very good value for the varied cuisine available but the beer quality wasn’t high. Belgo Noord opposite the Roundhouse had a somewhat sparse collection of fairly standard Belgium beers at quite high prices. Sadly, neither the venue, nor the location, was particularly appealing but CAMAL provided a good turnout, nonetheless.
The AGM was held at a renamed and revamped pub, the Cask in Charlwood Street, SW1. This is The former Pimlico Tram and had only been open for four months. There were five real ales, including Skinner’s Betty Stoggs, Crouch Vale Amarillo and a couple from Dark Star. The lager range was fairly standard, Leffe & Budvar, but the proprietors hope to greatly improve upon this in the New Year. In addition, there were about 60 bottled Belgium & German beers. The menu was reasonably priced and the food varied – if one consulted the specials board(!) – and of good quality.
30TH Anniversary Meal
At a venue (the Munich Cricket Club at St. James') which had previously been the Old Monk Exchange, nine “active” members attended (on 12TH November, 2016), namely, John Barker, Glen Barnham, Peter Chutter, Paul Dabrowski, Bill English, Simon Hosking, Bryn Philpott, John Rooth and Paul Williams for a meal and some libation. Although Glen and John B. did not eat, the rest partook of platters of sausages, schnitzels and schweinhaxes between them all washed down with beers from Löwenbräu, Spaten and Paulaner breweries. Prior to an oompah band striking up, past members of CAMAL were remembered and reminisced for their contributions, particularly by the current Chairman with regard to his predecessors.
Reluctantly, almost, most ventured on to the Cask Pub & Kitchen, formerly The Pimlico Tram and a former AGM venue, where a new member, Steve Rea, was signed up.
25TH Anniversary Meal
This event, to commemorate the formation of CAMAL nearly a quarter of a century earlier, was held on 28TH March, 2011, in the Clerkenwell area of London and was attended by seven “active” members, namely, John Barker, Paul Dabrowski, Bill English, Sue Hart, Simon Hosking, Bryn Philpott and John Rooth. Having met at The Sekforde Arms where, in addition to the usual Youngs’ range (Wells’ beers being notably absent!), both Bath Gem and St. Austell Tribute were also offered, the Chairman volunteered to take some (or all) members onto Clerkenwell Green for a visit to the Old Sessions Chambers.
This was a Masonic Hall with a bar (now closed), serving Fuller’s London Pride and ersatz Gale’s Seafarers, open to accompanied public on Monday evenings only (when no lodge meetings were being held). A tour of the undercroft also followed where, in keeping with the building being an old court house, evidence of former cells for defendants was still to be seen.
At The Dovetail, most ordered three platters of principally cheese and ham croquettes or patties for sharing between them (Sue opting for a soup) but, for the main course, appetites were somewhat more evenly divided. An Antwerp variation of the ‘Waterzooi’ broth (see Newsletter No. 43), made with fish rather than the Ghent preference for chicken, was nonetheless excellent with others opting for a hearty Flemish stew instead. Naturally, many continental beers were also ordered and readily consumed including, by yours truly, an 8% Belgian Guinness brewed in Eire especially for the continental market. During the course of proceedings, The Chairman proposed toasts to: past & current members; foreign members; and to The Membership Secretary/ Social Secretary/Treasurer for organising the night’s event.
Finally, a handful of stalwarts ventured on to the Jerusalem Tavern to sample a selection from the excellent St. Peter’s brewery range to round off a particularly convivial evening.