• Pulling Together...
    Pulling Together...
    Supporting the beer and pubs industry during this difficult time...
  • Cheltenham Motor Club Wins National Club of the Year
    Cheltenham Motor Club Wins National Club of the Year
    Cheltenham Motor Club gets the hat trick by being named the best club in Britain for the third time

Welcome to Cheltenham CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale. We are a voluntary organisation campaigning for real ale, community pubs and consumer rights.The Cheltenham Branch has around 850 members in the GL50, GL51, GL52 and GL53 postcode areas.

Next 5 Diary Events

18th September, 2021 - Wheel Ale Festival 2021
2nd October, 2021 - Ale Ambler's Saturday Stagger
6th October, 2021 - Cheltenham pub crawl social 1
12th October, 2021 - Ale Amble to Cardiff
13th October, 2021 - Branch Business Meeting
Full Branch Diary

CAMRA Visit to Cheltenham’s Ashton Brewery

After nearly 18 months of lockdown, seven members of Cheltenham CAMRA were delighted to be invited to visit Cheltenham’s newest brewery, Ashton, in Leckhampton.

Ashton Brewery was established in 2018 in the Wiltshire village of Ashton Keynes, by brewer Pete Clark, supplying local pubs and beer festivals. However, in October 2020, Ashton relocated to new premises in Cheltenham.

Pete said, “Although we are a one-man nano-brewery, we pride ourselves in brewing high quality, small batch real ales which are packed with flavour.”

The brewery produces both cask and bottled-conditioned real ale from a very cleverly designed home garage conversion. The brewery is a new 160 litre (1 BBL) microbrewery from Elite Stainless Fabrications in Swindon.

Pete said “In 2004 whilst on business trips to Belgium and the US, I sampled some beers which were like nothing I’d had before. I was inspired to try and make my own versions and brewing began shortly afterwards in the kitchen using malt extract. It was not long before this progressed to brewing from scratch using malted grains.”

In 2011 Pete stepped up to a 50-litre brewery which enabled him to make enough beer to fill a cask, and in 2015 he applied for a commercial brewing licence. The following year Ashton won runner-up Beer Of The Festival at the CAMRA Maidenhead Beer & Cider Festival with “Gold”, a hoppy pale ale made with plenty of American hops. Currently Pete is brewing twice a month, whilst maintaining a full-time job. However, he hopes to increase this to once a week later this year.

After the brewery tour the CAMRA members present were offered hospitality and sampled a variety of Ashton’s bottled beers. All Ashton beers are unfined and unfiltered. Although brewing a number of generally hop-forward beers, Ashton’s three main beers are:

Hazy Blonde

ABV 4.8% IBU 55

A juicy, hazy, full-bodied NEIPA bursting with tropical fruit flavours from Citra, Mosaic and Amarillo hops.

Gold

ABV 4.5% IBU 46

Ashton’s signature pale ale made with plenty of Citra and Simcoe hops giving tropical fruit flavours and a crisp bitter finish.

Shot In The Dark

ABV 4.6% IBU 20

A traditional porter made with dark roast malt, English Fuggles and Goldings hops and an addition of quality ground coffee.

Ashton Beers can currently be found in bottles at Bath Road Beers (Bath Road). Cask ales are sometimes available at The Angry Parrot micropub (St James Street) and at the famous Cheltenham Motor Club (Upper Park Street).

To find out more about Ashton visit https://ashtonbrewery.co.uk

Lifting of Covid restrictions

As of midnight on 19th July all covid restrictions in England have been lifted. As a result all our branch area pubs and clubs are free to trade as normal.

Please note that some establishments may chose to still follow their own individual covid restrictions. Please pay attention to these rules.

Cheltenham Motor Club admission policy

A reminder that Cheltenham Motor Club is a private members club. In order to gain admission you MUST be either a paid up member of the CMC or CAMRA. CAMRA members must be able to produce a valid membership card.

Please do not abuse the hospitality offered to Camra members by Neil.

Thank you.

South West pub campaigners unite to show support as pubs reopen across the region

South West campaigners from CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) and the Campaign for Pubs have joined forces to urge people to support their local pubs when they are able to open their indoor spaces to customers from 17 May.

The Government confirmed on Monday 10 May that, as a part of the road map back to normal life, pubs can allow customers back inside to enjoy food and drink from next week – the ‘rule of six’ or up to two households limitation will apply.

Commenting on the many challenges pubs have faced since the first lock down 14 months ago and since reopening outside areas, CAMRA’s Regional Director for the South West Peter Bridle said: “While there was much reporting of pub gardens being very busy when customers were allowed back into outdoor spaces from 12 April, this did not tell the whole story. Many pubs do not have large outdoor areas and it would have been unviable for them to reopen while this limiting option was in place. And, when the weather turned cold and wet, many customers stayed away from those pubs that did reopen.

“This has added to the many challenges faced by pubs over the last 14 months. There is no doubt that the COVID pandemic has had a terrible effect on many people and businesses alike. The hospitality sector has been particularly badly hit. We hope that the public can enjoy the social and wellbeing benefits of being back inside the local – not just in its beer garden.”

Many publicans have built up substantial debts due to being forced to close and a lack of Government support. While there were loans available and the furlough scheme which were appreciated, these were far from sufficient to mitigate the loss of income coupled with the ongoing overheads for such a very long period.

As the pandemic went through various phases, publicans were faced with draconian restrictions which were unfair and unevidenced. Whilst this took place, many pubs nationally were shutting down permanently and staff were made redundant. The sad fact is that once a pub shuts very rarely can they open again.”

Alastair Kerr from the Campaign for Pubs said: “The hospitality sector and in particular, pubs, have had their worst trading year on record and with the continued trading restrictions forced upon pubs, they will and are struggling to survive. Pubs are a corner stone of our society, a bed rock of our communities and a staple of our culture and we should all pull together to ensure that pubs survive and thrive during and after this pandemic. Pubs have faced the brunt of the restrictions that have been enforced by this Government, often with no evidence to back them up, and now more than ever they need all the support they can get. The Campaign for Pubs continues to promote, support and fight for pubs, publicans and their customers all over the UK.”

Cheltenham publican Paul Cook, owner of The Angry Parrot Micropub, which opened for the first time just days before the first national lockdown, said: “In our opinion the hospitality sector has been unfairly targeted by Government. The evidence used to justify keeping us closed is lacking and we are unable to see the difference between having a coffee inside or having a drink inside a pub.  Cheltenham has a vibrant and eclectic mix of pubs.  We need to be able to open without restrictions as we like many, are so small. Public safety is paramount however with the success of the rollout of vaccine program – the UK needs life returning back to normal in order for both personal and professional relationships to thrive.”

Peter Bridle concluded: “Pubs are vital for community cohesion in many areas. We have seen thousands close in recent years and many of these, although viable as pub businesses, have been converted to other use depriving locals of a place to meet and socialise. We hope that communities will take advantage of now being able to enjoy safely a pubs offering be it indoors or in a pub garden. It is a cliché, but it is the reality with pubs like never before – use it or lose it.

“What this pandemic has proved is how much the hospitality industry gives back to the government financially and how pubs play such an important part in our way of life. From quiet pubs, pubs with music, pubs where you can play a sport or watch sport, pubs where you can dine and much more.

“Now pubs can open up more, we need to focus on how to save our locals. The public can play its part in saving this great British institution by using them. Pubs are the hub of the community.”

 

GOVERNMENT ADVICE: Step 3 – from 17 May

Following the move to Step 3, you will be able to reopen indoor areas of your venues. You will be able to serve customers in groups of up to 6 or 2 households indoors, or in groups of up to 30 outdoors.

If your venue serves alcohol, table service will be required. Even if no alcohol is ordered, this means customers must order, be served and eat/drink while seated. Indoor entertainment is allowed.

This guidance will be kept up to date as we move through the steps of the roadmap. These are the FAQs from UKH/BBPA/BII – https://www.ukhospitality.org.uk/page/FAQs

REOPENING FROM APRIL 12TH (Outside only)

Following today’s announcement that the roadmap to lifting of covid restrictions is still on track the following are the pubs and clubs that we know will be reopening for outdoor service

  • The Apple Tree, Woodmancote
  • The Beehive, Prestbury (no reservations – first come, first served)
  • The Bell, Shurdington
  • Bottle of Sauce
  • Brown Jug
  • The Exmouth Arms
  • Gloucester Old Spot (outside eating & drinking. Booking recommended)
  • Harry Cook’s Free House
  • The Hewlett (opening 14th May)
  • The House In The Tree (outside drinking. Reservations required for food tables)
  • Jolly Brewmaster – Reopening 29th April – Thursdays to Sundays only
  • Kings Head, Bishops Cleeve
  • Moon Under Water (outside drinking)
  • Norwood
  • The Plough. Prestbury (opening 14th April. Outside eating and drinking. Tables can be booked for food)
  • The Railway (booking reccomended)
  • Sandford Park Alehouse (outside drinking)
  • Cheltenham Motor Club (outside drinking & takeaway. No booking 1st come 1st served)
  • Goffs Brewery (Fridays & Saturdays)
  • Royal Oak, Prestbury – Reopening 28th April for Outside eating & drinking.  Advanced booking of tables recommended.

Please check directly with establishments for full details. Covid safety restrictions including table service and rule of six still apply.

If there are any establishments we have missed please let us know.

Roadmap out of Lockdown

As you are probably all aware the UK Government have announced the roadmap from Coronavirus lockdown for England, which will allow the reopening of hospitality venues including pubs and clubs.

The key dates are:-

  • April 12th.  Venues can open and serve alcohol in outside areas and can also sell alcohol for takeaway.
  • May 17th. Venues can open inside areas  for service of alcohol.
  • June 21st. All restrictions lifted.

Restrictions such as table service, sizes of groups / household mixing / rule of six will apply but 10pm curfews and substantial meal restrictions are gone.

We will be listing details of  venue reopenings on our covid / lockdown page.

Note that these dates are “not earlier than” dates and so may slip depending on thr covid data at the time.

Full details of the regulations can be found on the government website. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021-summary

 

The Vine – Can you help?

Edward Anderson, who has the lease on The Railway, Swan and Vine in town, is considering changing the layout of The Vine at some point this year.  He is considering returning it more to the original layout but he has no idea of how the original interior would have looked.

Can anybody out there help him ?  Do you have any idea of the how the pub was laid out originally?

Geoff Sandles wonderful book “Cheltenham Pubs Through Time” tells us that the The Vine was originally called “The Coopers Arms” and was rebuilt after a fire in 1909 but we have no pictures of the interior.

If there is anyone who can remember how the pub used to look or even has photographs of the old interior Ed would love to meet them. Contact us and we can put you in touch.

 

The Kemble Brewery Inn is a Cheltenham ‘Lockdown Hero’

As we struggle with the negative effects of the latest UK lockdown, one thing is becoming more and more apparent: there has never been a more important time to emphasise that pubs, clubs, brewers and cider makers are a force for good in the community. Some individuals in the hospitality sector are going further and making an amazing effort to combat the social effects of the epidemic. They are going the extra mile to help people in need, despite suffering tremendous financial losses themselves during Covid-19.

One such hero is Caron Sayner, licensee of The Kemble Brewery Inn in Fairview, Cheltenham. Caron has received a CAMRA ‘Lockdown Hero’ award, from Cheltenham CAMRA, for exceptional service to the community. Despite only being open from October 6th to November 4th, since the March 2020 lockdown, Caron has continued to cook and deliver hot meals every Saturday. Although the pub is closed, and cannot supply takeaway beer directly from the pub, Caron also takes orders and delivers beer to her locals, at cost price.

Despite the financial losses from the long shutdown and having to continue to pay a reduced rent to her pub company, Caron uses the income from food sales to help those in need. Since the second lockdown onwards Caron has provided free ‘school meals’ to families in need and also to local people who are isolated – even delivering shopping for people when she is ‘tipped off’ by her pub regulars and neighbours.

On Christmas Day, Caron cooked and delivered 72 Christmas meals to people who were in need, or who were spending Christmas on their own. In addition, due to the generosity of the Kemble’s regulars, the Christmas meals were supplemented by donations of chocolates, mince pies, etc in Christmas Day gift bags delivered with the lunches.

“The Kemble Brewery Inn is a proper community backstreet local”, said Rob Coldwell, Cheltenham CAMRA Branch Chair. “Caron has worked wonders since she took over the Kemble to the extent that the pub has been our ‘Pub of the Year’ for the last two years and has done so in competition against some of the best pubs in the South West.”

“Despite greatly reduced income during lockdown, Caron has gone beyond all expectations to help keep people going in these hard times,” said Rob. “The Kemble is a great example of the traditional local pub – great beer, great food and a licensee who is the caring centre of the community. Cheltenham CAMRA is honoured to be able to recognise an inspirational licensee and present Caron with our first ‘Lockdown Hero’ Award.”

Meals can be ordered for collection or delivery every Saturday. See www.facebook.com/thekemble for details.