Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Protect Small Cider Producers



Protect small cider producers
of 20,000 signatures
Campaign created by Andrea BriersIcon-email

We call on the UK Government to continue to support the cider sector and consumer choice by rejecting the EU’s demand that a new tax of up to £2,700 is imposed on very small cider producers.

The European Union (EU) is proposing to ban the UK’s small cider producer duty exemption. This exemption supports very small cider makers, such as hobbyists or farm-gate producers, for whom such small scale production is an integral part of rural culture.

The proposed action would see very small cider producers landed with a tax bill of up to £2,700 each and every year. We call on the Government to reject the EU’s request and put UK cider producers and consumers first.
Why is this important?

CAMRA fully supports the production and availability of real ciders and perries. In many cases the proposed action would make small scale cider production uneconomic. This is wholly disproportionate given that a small producer selling up to 33 pints a day has no capacity to affect EU trade to any meaningful degree.

The case for rejecting the request by the EU to tax small cider producers:

- Someone producing less than 70hl (12,000 pints) will generally be making less than £10,000 a year in sales. This means the tax exemption only applies to very small businesses, such as hobbyists or farm-gate producers. If a duty were to be levied on these producers it would make their operations uneconomic and lead to wide-spread closure.

- 80% of Britain’s 500+ cider makers are currently small producers. A tax will severely impact on consumer choice and will cause irreparable damage to one of the nation’s most historic industries.

- An exemption from this duty is essential to supporting the growth of a vibrant but still small cider and perry market.

- A tax charge of up to £2,700 would drive many small cider producers out of business costing jobs, harming the countryside and dramatically reducing consumer choice.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Big Mike's Wholesale Ale Tees

My friend Mike Taylor sells real ale t-shirts to the wholesale market. This Blog is a blatant promotion of his product.

Go on! Buy One! 

Blurb follows taken from

Big Mike's Real Ale was formed in 2014 by real ale enthusiast Mike Taylor who noticed a gap in the market for tasteful, fashionable and trendy real ale themed t-shirts and decided to do something about it.

We now offer a core range of ten original quirky designs that are intended for the wholesale market. All of the designs can be screen printed on to other garments such as hoodies, hats and long sleeved shirts. Ladies fit garments are also available on request.

Please note that the printing is undertaken by others and for this reason there is a minimum order of 50 tees. This can be made up of a variety of sizes but in order to keep the costs low there must be at least 50 of each design in your order.

If you would like a quote or have any queries please email Mike at


Twitter: @bigmikesrealale

Friday, 13 March 2015

2nd CAMRA Spring Equinox Festival Horsham Drill Hall, 28th-29th March

Following the highly successful first event last March, we would love to see you at the second CAMRA North Sussex Spring Equinox Beer & Cider Festival. This year’s date has been moved back a week, due to hall availability and to avoid a clash with the Sussex CAMRA Branches Beer & Cider Festival, Brighton. The venue is the Drill Hall, Denne Road, Horsham, RH12 1JF, in the town centre about a twenty walk from the station. There will be over fifty beers, with a healthy mix of winter and spring ales available. All six of our excellent branch-area brewers will be featured, plus other local favourites and some gems from further afield. There will also be a great selection of local cider and perry.

Sessions are Saturday 12noon-4pm and 6-10pm; Sunday
12noon-4pm. Tickets are £6 Saturday, £5 Sunday, and include a souvenir glass, plus a free pint for card-carrying CAMRA members. A £1 donation will be made by the branch to a local charity for any returned souvenir glasses, along with the value of any donated surplus tokens. Hot and cold baguettes and snacks will be available at all sessions. The acoustic music scene in Horsham is particularly strong, and was a real feature of the first event. We will again be providing an excellent line up for the Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon sessions.

Tickets go on sale at the start of January, available from Beer Essentials, the Malt Shovel, and Kings Brewhouse, all in Horsham. Postal applications (cheques payable to CAMRA North Sussex) to The Treasurer, 19 Felbridge Avenue, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 7BD. More info, including a beer list in due course, at; twitter@camraequinox;

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Southsea Beerex, 20th-21st March

The Southsea Beerex is a new beer festival at the Wedgewood Rooms, Albert Road, Southsea.  In collaboration with the Leopold Tavern we aim to bring some of the country's greatest beers to our little bit of Albert Road.

Session times:

Friday 20th March 6pm until 11pm
Saturday 21st March 12pm until 5pm
Saturday 21st March 6pm until 12pm

147b Albert Road
Box Office: 023 9286 3911

Monday, 2 March 2015

Havant Brewery February Newsletter

The following is a monthly newsletter from my friends at the Havant Brewery, Hampshire. 

Hi All

Welcome to the first Newsletter of 2015. We have been trying to get one out earlier, but we have just caught up from Christmas! We have new beers planned for this year, the first being BA LA, Black And Lagered Ale, already available. The date is set for our open day, 18th April, and we have other events planned in the brewery for this year.

So here goes ...

Open Day

This year we will have 6 different beers to try and then its only £2 per pint. Mike will be doing brewery tours throughout the day in-amongst the Victory Morris Men entertaining us with their dancing and singing and Strumdiddlyumptious Ukulele Band rocking the joint. This year we will also have The Burrito Man onsite for when you get hungry. The same as last year soft drinks are available for drivers and Children, all free of charge. Free entry, come and see us and have a good day. Saturday 18th April, 11am-4pm.

New Beers

BA LA Black And Lagered Ale, is a Schwartz style black lager with at least 6 weeks lagering (storage) to its credit. It has a clean, neutral flavour with smoky, roasted notes. Hops are clean and fresh and build to a lasting crescendo. 4.3%. Available in casks now and will be in bottles by the beginning of March. Will be at our open day.

A HA Amber Hoppy Ale. No other details yet except we are aiming for a 3.7% hoppy ale. Will be at our open day.

Havant 50 A 5% Golden Ale. This is a very special ale for us as we are brewing it to celebrate, as both of us have a big birthday this year. (No prizes for guessing). More details to follow and will be at our open day.

Bottled Beers

For March / April we have the following bottled Beers (while stocks last).

Havant Decided
3.8% ABV, Traditional Pale Ale; Clean, Crisp & Dry with a Floral bouquet.

Havant Dropped
3.8% ABV, Red Autumn Ale; Clean, Crisp, Dry with a fruity background. Only a few remaining.

Havant Started
4.0% ABV, Best Bitter; Fresh & zingy with strong malt overtones.

Havant Herd
4.2% ABV, Milk Stout; Dark, rich, smooth, velvety stout. Only a few remaining.

Havant Finished
5.0% ABV, Extra Special Bitter; Toffee, Coffee, Crisp.

4.3% ABV, Black And Lagered Ale; Available from 9th March

Havant Winter Brew
4.3% ABV, Dark Amber Beer; Lightly hopped, infused with Ginger & Whiskey. Only a few remaining.

Both Havant 50 and A HA will also be in bottles around the end of March.

Shop opening hours

Until the end of March the shop will be open the following hours:
Thursday & Friday 12noon till 4pm
Saturday 10am till 2pm
Also for those of you waiting we now have our brewery pint glasses back in stock.

And finally

That’s all for now folks. Hopefully we will see you at our open day. Bye for now. Cheers.
Mike & Caroline

PS. when visiting the Brewery, please use the Tanneries car park, turn right just after the mini roundabout (if you carry on the end of the road is blocked off). Ignore the parking signs, if you are visiting us there is no problem. Visitor’s parking spaces are numbers 1 to 4 and any unoccupied red parking space.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The Bevy: More than a Pub!

My above Blog of 20th July 2012 was a feature on the formation of a co-operative by a group of residents in the Moulsecoomb and Bevendean area of Brighton in order to reopen their local, the Bevendean Hotel, following its closure by the police in May 2010. The hotel was built in 1936 by local architect Stavers Hessell Tiltman, most probably for the Portsmouth and Brighton United Breweries.

On Saturday 13 December 2014, at 5.30pm, the reopening of the Bevy was blessed by the Vicar of Moulsecoomb, Father John Wall. Local residents themselves raised much of the £200K required, while regular ‘work-ins’ saw volunteers give up their weekends to fit out the pub ahead of its grand reopening. There were also fundraising events, grants and loans from East Brighton Trust, Social Investment Business, SE Assist, Co-operative Enterprise Hub and the Church Urban Fund. The group were helped to get going along the journey through advice from The Plunkett Foundation and the Community Shares Company. 

The Bevy is the first community-owned pub on an housing estate in the UK. More than 700 people have brought community shares and are now owners of the pub - more than any other co-op pub in the country. There are currently twelve people on the management committee, all who live locally. The licensee-manager is the well-known, popular figure and BHA supporter Chris Pobjoy, who used to be landlord of the Romans, Southwick. Their focus is on developing:

a hub for the community;
a pub that people will want to live close to;
a café that will draw people out of their homes;
a place to eat that will stop people going into town;
a facility to provide training and experience to our young people.

The light and airy premises are fitted out to a high standard: they include a large café area opening onto the south terrace and main garden area; a pub area occupying most of the space to the east and north of the pub interior; a small meeting room facility for twelve people on the north side of the pub; and a community kitchen. The Bevy serves a range of real ale on its three hand pumps from local breweries and guests, including on the day of your Editor’s visit, Harveys Best Bitter and Old Ale, Dark Star Hophead, Fuller’s Gale’s HSB, Sharp’s Doom Bar, and Timothy Taylor Landlord. Beers have also been supplied to the pub by Brighton co-operative brewery, Bartleby’s.

The Bevendean Community Pub is open every day from 12noon-11pm. Come along and have a bevy! The pub even has its own bus stop on the Brighton & Hove 49 route. 

The Bevy, 50 Hillside, Brighton, BN2 4TF, 01273 281009,

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Bob Copper and Harveys Copper Ale

Harveys Copper Ale was brewed at 8.30am on Tuesday 6 January to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Sussex folk singer and song collector, artist, author and broadcaster, Robert James (Bob) Copper MBE (1915-2004). The brew took place in the presence of the Copper family who sang ‘Oh Good Ale’. The suggestion that the Lewes brewery create a special centenary beer for Bob came in a letter from Hastings-born folk singer and local resident Shirley Collins. Head brewer Miles Jenner said: “It is an honour for Harveys to be marking the centenary of this remarkable man in a manner which would have given him tremendous pleasure.” 

The 5.7% copper-coloured beer has a smooth, malty palate and a restrained bitterness with a subtle aftertaste reminiscent of nuts and raisins. It was first sold at the Bob Copper Centenary Event at Cecil Sharp House, London, on 24 January, which featured an all day celebration of Bob’s work:

Three generations of the Copper family of Rottingdean are vividly recollected in characteristic anecdotal style in Bob’s (1972)  A Song for Every Season: A Hundred Years of a Sussex Farming Family. While the book is part eulogy for a vanishing rural way of life that was charted out by the rhythmic seasons of the year, the arduous labouring conditions for the farmers and shepherds of the time are never idealised. The scenes of communal singing over pots of ale in the smoky tap-rooms of Sussex alehouses are nonetheless conveyed with warmth and joy, and levied with not a little humour. The epilogue describes the opening up to a wider audience in the 1950s of the Copper family’s repertoire of traditional songs, through BBC broadcasts and by appearances at festivals and concerts sponsored by the English Folk Dance and Song Society. 

In the 1950s the BBC requested Bob to record for posterity old country dialects and traditional songs. Armed with his tape-recording equipment Bob journeyed in ‘The Major’, his 1932 Morris Major car, extending his search to Hastings, North Chailey, Fittleworth and Angmering and into rural Hampshire. His experiences of coaxing out and capturing the extemporised performances of traditional singers find their way into his (1973) book, Songs and Southern Breezes: Country Folk and Country Ways. The drawings of the locations that embellish and enrich the text are the author’s own. 

But it was a journey across Sussex by foot, from Robertsbridge to Harting, for which Bob was later known and which is documented in his (1994) Across Sussex with Belloc: In the Footsteps of the ‘Four Men’. As the title suggests, Bob was following the path taken in October 1902 by Grizzlebeard, The Sailor, The Poet and Myself, characters in Hilaire Belloc’s farrago, The Four Men. Bob completed the walk twice, in 1950 and 1988, visiting on the way the many famous pubs featuring in Belloc’s tale, including the George Inn, Robertsbridge; Bridge Inn, Amberley; Fountain Inn, Ashurst; Cricketers, Duncton; and the Foresters Arms, Graffham.

Bob’s great-uncle Tom was landlord of the Black Horse, Rottingdean and later of the Kings Head, Chailey. Older brother Ron took the Queen Victoria, Rottingdean while Bob was at some point licensee of the Central Club, Peacehaven, and landlord of the H. H. Inn, Cheriton, Hampshire. Later in life Bob would walk from his home in Peacehaven to the Ram Inn, Firle, imbibing four pints of Harveys Best Bitter before setting out on the return journey, a round trip of fifteen miles.

Bob’s genuine love of traditional pubs and his delight in a glass of ale is a recurring theme in his books, conveyed in a prose style that combines romance and realism - a beguilingly poetic rendering of precise observational detail. Take, for example, the following passage from the preface of Songs and Southern Breezes:

“Have you ever spent an evening in early summer sipping ale on a wooden bench outside a country pub, while the sun filters its fading glory though the tracery of a flowering apple tree … have you sat in a chimney corner in a flagstoned taproom, while the wind moans under the thatched eaves outside and the light of the leaping log-flames and of the oil-lamp overhead glints in everyone’s eyes …”

Chapter fifteen of this same book also contains the most evocative characterisation of a pint of bitter I have so far encountered in English literature. On having the glass set on the counter in front of him, Bob Copper muses …

“What wonders of re-creation can be worked by a pint of good bitter beer. Embodied in the limpid amber of its liquid heart are all the rewards of last year’s harvest. The purity and sweetness of April rains; the warmth and brilliance of summer sunshine; the tang of September dews on southern hopfields; and the golden richness of sun-baked barley, all confined in one seductive glass and ready to be released at the first touch of your lips. Good English beer is a tribute to English ingenuity.”

I’ll drink to that!