beer around ere issue 175

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The February - March issue of Beer Around Ere magazine. The Peterborough and District branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). Pub and Brewery News for the Peterborough area and beyond.


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    Peterborough & District Branch of CAMRA |

    Beer Around Ere

    Also inside: Pub of the Year 2014 Pub News Star Brewing Scarborough Pubs CAMRA Young Members & much more

    Issue 175 | Feb / March 2014

    See page 11 >

  • Peterborough Branch Website |

    Chairmans Corner | 3

    Chairmans Corner

    We can look forward to 2014 with someoptimism, due to actions being undertaken by our ruling masters, whichshould be of some benefit to our pubs.

    I start with the decision made by the Chancellorto pledge more would be done to help small businesses that pay high business rates. George Osbourne acknowledged that these smallerbusinesses such as pubs, high street shops andcafes have been hit hard by the recession and alsoadmitted that previous efforts had not made animpact on easing their plight. He announced adiscount for the next two years for all retail premises with a rateable value of up to 50,000 anda cap on business rates. He also extended thecurrent small business rate relief provision untilApril 2015. We can only hope his commitment tohelping the pub sector is reinforced by freezingbeer duty in his forthcoming budget. Rememberhe was the one who scrapped the damaging BeerDuty Escalator last year.

    Continuing with the help our pubs theme, weare intensifying our action to support and securethe reform of the large pubcos beer tie. CAMRAmembers have been lobbying their MPs toconvince Business Minister, Vince Cable thatreforms are desperately needed if we are to have athriving pub sector. After years of broken promisesby the pubcos to reform their pub stock and offertheir licensees a fairer deal, its a golden opportunityfor the government to act. All the licensees want isa chance to compete on a level playing field withother non-tied houses. Its a fact that we have lostmany of our pubs, and many a livelihood, becauseof the unfair practices imposed by the pubcos.

    We extend a warm welcome to four of ourmembers who have taken up the vacant positions

    on the Branch Committee. Our new MembershipSecretary is Bob Melville who takes over fromSteve Saldana. Steve decided to step down due tohis growing commitment to his Bexar CountyBrewery. Our new Press & Publicity man is MikeBlakesley a new kid on the block. Changes in hislife meant previous post holder Karl Simpson hadto step down. Dave McLennan has taken overfrom John Rice as our Locale Officer. Dave hassome experience in the licenced trade being an ex-licensee of one of the citys most popular pubs.We hope that John Rices current health problemsimprove over the next few months. Finally,possibly the most challenging position, that ofYoung Members Co-ordinator, has been taken onby Kara Williams. Kara joins a family member whohas been involved in the branch for many years,namely her Dad, Steve. I hope that all of you willgive the utmost support to these people.

    To date we have received six or seven nomina-tions for our Gold/ Merit award scheme. We aregoing to be busy this year presenting them! Alsothis year the Peterborough & District Branch arecelebrating the fortieth anniversary of the forma-tion of the branch. We hope to hold a celebratorysocial gathering later in the year.

    Finally a big thank you to our members whomade the effort to vote for our POTY (Pub of theYear) and GBG (Good Beer Guide) nominations.We received the highest number of votes for severalyears, which resulted in a very close contest.Congratulations to The Ploughman in Werringtonfor coming out as POTY, with The Ostrich as aclose runner up. The other three pubs all had asimilar number of votes for third place. Thesewere, The Ship in March, The Crown and TheDragon both of which are in Peterborough. All ofthese pubs get automatic consideration for the2015 GBG. We shall be making the presentation toThe Ploughman on Saturday 15th of February at8pm. So if you forget to give your loved one aValentine card the day before, get over to Werringtonand join us in celebrating the pubs success.

    Thats it for now folks David Murray

    Branch Chairman.

  • Simmo ploughs through the POTY This years POTY (Pub of The Year), ThePloughman in Werrington, Peterborough hasachieved something of a first. It is only three yearsago that we were presenting the award to the pubas our 2011 POTY. In a closely fought competitionand with the best returns in votes for severalyears, The Ploughman came out top after thethird count. The pub with the least number ofvotes is eliminated and the second choice (if thereis one) on those voting forms are accredited to theleading pubs. This continues until one pub hasreached the minimum of 50% of the votes and isdeclared the winner. Licensee of the pub AndySimmonds also had his brother Stuart of TheDragon, Werrington, as a rival and so it was goingto be an interesting contest. Ironically Andy canthank all the supporters of The Dragon as well ashis own fans for reaching the winning post. Ourcongratulations go to Andy and his team of loyalstaff and of course his supporters. We shall bepresenting the award at a grand ceremony onSaturday 15th of February around 8pm. Comeand give your support!

    Whittlesey Straw Bear

    With the festivities of Christmas and New Yearbehind us it is back to normality for the pubtrade. That is however, unless you were in theMarket Town of Whittlesey in January! Yes it wasone of my favourite times of the year, The StrawBear Festival.

    For those of you who dont know what its allabout here is a little bit of info on the event.The Straw Bear Festival celebrates the oldFenland plough custom of parading straw bearsaround the town every January.

    The custom was revived in 1980 by theWhittlesea Society, and for the first time inseventy years a Straw Bear was seen on thestreets accompanied by his attendant keeper,musicians and dancers, about 30 in all. Variouspublic houses were visited around the town asconvenient places for the Bear and dancers toperform in front of an audience - with muchneeded refreshment available!

    The Bear is constructed in a more practical waynow, the straw being fixed to a suitable garment,the head supported on a metal frame on theshoulders. This arrangement allows the costumeto be removable which is essential as the length ofthe processional route and the time taken necessi-tates two persons driving the bear. The persondonning the costume is adding something like 5stone to his own weight.

    The procession now contains over 250 dancers,musicians and performers from various parts ofthe British Isles performing traditional Molly,Morris, Clog and Sword dancing. There is alsoAmerican style Appalachian dancing, streetperformances and Mummers plays. A decoratedplough is pulled by 21st century plough boys andis now an established part of the procession.

    In 1999 the Straw Bear made friends with aGerman Straw Bear from Walldrn nearFrankfurt, a town that celebrates its own StrawBear Festival on the Monday before ShroveTuesday. Although the festivities begin earlier inthe week, the Saturday is the only day on whichthe Bear makes an appearance before the BearBurning on the Sunday. This leaves the way openfor a new bear to be created from the next seasonsharvest.

    Pub News Around Ere

  • Three Breweries produced special Straw BearBeer for the festival, these were Oakham, Elgoodsand Tydd Steam. Now most of the pubs celebrateStraw Bear by having extra real ales on offer. A number of the pubs have stillages of beers. I amproud to say I volunteer to work on the Real AleBar at the Letter B. This year we had a LocAlebeer fest with 12 different beers from brewersincluding Elgoods, Tydd Steam, Mile Tree,Digfield, Austendyke, Xtreme Ales and BexarCounty.

    A great selection from our Local Brewers whichsold out just after 6pm. Some good news forWhittlesey is that the Bricklayers Arms reopenedat the beginning of January with Greene King IPA,Charles Wells Bombardier and beers from TheStar Brewery. Over the Straw Bear Festival theyhad an Elgoods stillage with four beers available.

    The Straw Bear pub also had a Beer Festival onover the same weekend.

    There is some sad news though as the BlackBull Inn on the High Street closed the weekbefore Straw Bear and doesnt look like reopeningany time soon.

    So if you missed the Straw Bear festival this yearor have never been make sure you look out fornext years event.

    Please let me know if you have any pub news togo in the April / May issue by mid March.

    Neil Holmes - Pubs Officer

    New Pub in OakhamA pub formerly known as The Griff Inn free house,Northgate, Oakham, re- opened in December2013 as The Three Crowns.

    The new owners are The Steamin Billy Breweryand this is their 8th Pub. Their beers were origi-nally brewed by Leatherbritches Brewery from1998 until 2000, but demand outgrew capacityand brewing was moved to The Grainstore inOakham. It then moved to the Tower Brewery inBurton from 2008 to 2010 then back to TheGrainstore until March 2013. Beers are nowbrewed by Colin Brown at The Belvoir Brewery inOld Dalby, Belvoir.

    During my visit I got a warm welcome fromJeannine Petty and Jeff Fraine and their staff.They had a healthy six guest beers and three

    Steamin Billy regulars: Tipsy Fisherman, SteaminBilly Bitter and the increasingly popular 1485.They serve simple lunchtime cobs and traditionalPloughmans every day. Live lunchtime Jazz willfeature soon and they welcome clubs and societiesto use The Three Crowns for meetings. They alsohave a dart board and a super little garden forsummer. Well worth a visit.

    Mike Blakesley (Press Officer Peterborough CAMRA)

    Pub News | 5

    The LocAle Bar at The Letter B

    Peterborough Branch Website |