Branch Reports

Branch Pub and Brewery Presentations 2018

Standard Inn Rye 10.7.18

The Branch Pub of the Year for 2018 is the Standard Inn in Rye, a small but enthusiastic group of nine branch members made the journey down the extension to the main line for the first ever branch pub of the year award in the town, a town in which all agreed there is an improving range of real ale pubs. The Standard dates from the fifteenth century, it was sympathetically re-vamped and re-opened by owners Tim Brown and Rajh Siva in November 2014. It now sells four cask ales including house beer ‘Standard Farmer Ale’, a beer from Old Dairy Brewery unique to this pub, the others are a selection of beers from Three Legs, there is invariably a range of beer styles on offer. Recently Rajh left the business for pastures new and when we arrived for the presentation in July, it appeared that Tim had too, but a phone call soon brought him to the bar and all enjoyed a selection of the ales as the presentation was made.

PoTY Trip 19.5.18

Eleven members of South East Sussex Branch from the Coastal Area set off variously from St. Leonards, (following a customary quick half in the Tower courtesy of the special of the early opening), Bexhill and Eastbourne in a minibus for Lewes where they met three North East Sub Branch members at the Brewers Arms, the Brighton and South Downs P.o.t.Y.. Misinformed by the local WhatPub website about the times for food being served, it was fortunate that it was early for lunch. A notable beer was Mad Squirrel’s Hoodwink, a chocolate white stout, which seems to be a new fashion amongst certain brewers and attracted a following, but at 5.3% ABV at 11:30, people restricted themselves to halves or went for something not so strong.

Most travellers had been to the Brewers Arms before, but fewer had experienced our next stop, the North Sussex P.o.t.Y. in Maplehurst, the White Horse, although it turned out that it was once the local of John from the Sub Branch. We had a warm welcome; all ordered lunch and sat outside. The pub is proud of its numerous awards from the local branch, including a mention of the long serving proprietors. The pictures show ‘the team’, (minus the Branch Chair), before entering the pub and then relaxing in the sun in the garden awaiting lunch.

The next pub was Western Sussex Branch’s P.o.t.Y., a micropub, the Crab Pot in Selsey, a rather longer journey being involved. But the service and welcome was excellent, the proprietor giving us a detailed run down of the three beers available Being less than a year since opening, the interior had a fresh feel, while a small yard out the back was the preferred location for quaffing of some of the group.

A shorter journey took us to another micropub, the Green Man in Worthing, the P.o.t.Y. of Arun and Adur. Larger than the previous micropub, meaning that all could join the friendly locals in taking seats, the locals included the Arun and Adur Branch Chair, Peter Barlow, who happened to be in the pub. Five beers were available, although one finished during the fourteen pint order. Our pictures show the assembled company enjoying their beer.

The longest journey of the day took us through Crowborough, where the North East Sussex members returned home, to the King’s Arms in Rotherfield, the North East Sussex Sub Branch P.o.t.Y.. The pub was busy with the majority of customers making the most the beautiful weather in the extensive garden. Three beers were on offer, most of the group choosing for the Proper Job and taking advantage of the relatively empty internal accommodation. Our pictures show the serious business of assessing pubs taking place.

Thanks are due to Branch Treasurer Bill who organised our schedule and also booked the transport and also to John our driver from Empress Coaches who made it all run smoothly. The sunny weather also contributed to our enjoyment of an excellent day out, thanks to all the members who spent the day assessing the pubs. The result of the combined scores by the Coastal Area members was the White Horse, Maplehurst coming out top and the Crab Pot, Selsey as runner up. At present the Sub Branch results await the completion of the scoring of the Coastal Area’s Pub of the Year, which was not visited on this trip.

Gun Brewery 28.4.18

The Gun Brewery, located at Gun Hill in the North East Sussex Sub Branch area was visited by the Branch at the end of April, where we were joined by members of Western Sussex Branch. On a dry day our hosts fired up the barbecue, treating us to a sausage lunch and plenty of beer, including samples of the two award winners. Steve Obey, CAMRA’s Brewery Liaison Officer for Gun, presented the Sussex Microbrewery Beer of the Festival from Eastbourne 2017. The popularity of Gun beers at the festival was reflected in the fact that five of their casks were on the stillage and that the festival drinkers, CAMRA members or not, voted for the award. Steve rightly praised the quality of the beers and the winning beer, Imperial Whisky Stout, in particular. In return, Mark of the brewery said that they were delighted to host a CAMRA group and were grateful for the support that CAMRA had always given them. The second award, presented by the Branch Chair, Peter Adams, was for the South East Sussex Branch Beer of the Year for 2017, the champion beer being Zamzama IPA. This is awarded to the beer brewed and drunk in the Branch area with the highest average score on CAMRA’s National Beer Scoring System, with the proviso that it has been assessed at least ten times through the year by a minimum of four CAMRA members. This means that it is an award based on people’s experiences in pubs, where most real ale is consumed. In accepting the two awards for the brewery, Mark valued each highly, but was particularly pleased with the latter for the reason that it reflected people’s opinion of the beer throughout the year. The first picture shows, left to right: Toby and Mark from the brewery, Peter, Branch Chair; Pete from the brewery and Steve, Brewery Liaison Officer. The other pictures show the two awards being made and scenes in the brewery yard on the day.

Albatross Club 24.4.18

Regular readers will know that the Albatross RAFA Club in Bexhill is a multiple award winner with both CAMRA’s National Club of the Year and Runners Up titles to its credit. These are the result of a process which begins with its being awarded Branch Club of the Year, which once again it achieved for 2018. The first picture shows Branch Chair, Peter Adams, at the Branch A.G.M. held at the Club in April, making the award to Karen Pelham, Club Head Steward, before a packed branch gathering. The next stage in the CAMRA competition is the Sussex Club of the Year, judged between the six Sussex branches’ nominated clubs. The Albatross progressed to this award and the second picture shows Peter Page-Mitchell, Sussex CAMRA Area Organiser, making the award at the same meeting.

George Hotel, Hailsham. 27.3.18

For the second year in succession, the George Hotel in Hailsham is the South East Sussex Cider & Perry Pub of the Year. Up to four real ciders are offered which are all cooled. In its fourth successive year in the Good Beer Guide, this Wetherspoon’s pub also enjoys recognition through CAMRA’s LocAle scheme, consistently offering local ale. At a branch social gathering in March the manager was presented with a certificate to mark the award. Pictured are, left to right: Branch Vice Chair, Phil Cozens, who presided; Mitch Lowe, manager of George Hotel with the certificate and in attendance, Phil Packham, the Branch Cider Representative.