Sussex Drinker Issue 13
Beards of Sussex has been put up for sale.
After 150 years of brewing in Lewes, the company stopped brewing in 1959, contracting brewing out to other breweries including Harveys and, latterly, Arundel. Beards concentrated on beer wholesaling and running pubs, up until 1994, when the wholesaling arm was sold off. The company currently has over 40 pubs in Sussex and Kent.
The owners say that the company is profitable, and that they will remain independent and continue trading if a buyer cannot be found.
Friday, April 3 was definitely Black Friday for drinkers, with closure announcements for Ruddles, Flowers and Castle Eden breweries.
Whitbread, no stranger to brewery closures in the past, will be left with the Strangeways Brewery in Manchester as its only real ale brewery if the closures go ahead. Promotion of Flowers has been nonexistent, with the brewer appearing to concentrate on promoting Boddingtons and Wadworth 6X, despite recipe changes meaning Flowers had improved dramatically of late.
Morland bought Ruddles cheaply last September, and has made little effort to promote the beers since then, prompting accusations that they only bought the brewery to get their hands on the Ruddles brand name.
All three breweries are due to close in the autumn, though management buyouts are still possible. But do the breweries really need to close at all?
Certainly, the Ruddles decision seems bizarre, with the additional brands meaning Morland will be leaving themselves without much extra capacity.
Whitbread's decision is blamed on falling cask ale sales though the recent hysteria from the major brewers over dropping sales and variable quality has all the hallmarks of a move designed to lure retailers over to national brands and consistent but characterless nitrokeg beers such as Caffrey's and John Smith's Smooth. Whitbread's nitrokeg is Boddington's, which is brewed at Strangeways the one brewery left untouched!
CAMRA is fighting these closures every step of the way, and you can help.
ADDRESSESMiles Templeman, Whitbread plc, Porter Tun House, Capability Green, Luton, Beds LU1 3LS Morland plc, PO Box 5, Ock Street, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 5DD
Brewer Alan Edgar isn't content with just coming up with new beers he's written a novel! The book, called Trust, was launched in early April with a party at the Golden Galleon, itself nominated for the Publican magazine's Freehouse of the Year award.
WORLD CUP ROW
Roy Skam, chairman of the legal and licensing committee of the Sussex Licensed Victuallers' Association, called the campaign "over the top", adding that, while he could under- stand that the police were apprehensive, this was another example of a growing trend towards authoritarianism. Chief Inspector Crookes said that there were no plans to have a heavy police presence outside pubs where football was being screened; the purpose of the letter was to enable them to respond quickly in the event of problems, especially since there had been trouble during Euro 96 and Italia 90.
Over in Eastbourne, the Hogshead plans have finally been approved, and the pub is set to open in the summer. Wetherspoons have also been granted permission to open in Eastbourne, but are to appeal against their refusal in Hastings.
Fullers are appealing against the refusal of planning permission for their plans to convert Marlborough House, Brighton, into an Ale & Pie House. A public inquiry looks likely to take place later in the year. Meanwhile, the application to turn Pinnochio's restaurant into a Slug and Lettuce has been turned down once more, and this application may also now go to an inquiry.
Whitbread is to create nearly 350 jobs in Sussex in the next year, including 40 at the newly opened Brewer's Fayre at Hastings; many of these jobs are in restaurants and hotels rather than pubs, though. Certainly, brewery jobs don't seem to figure very highly in Whitbread's plans... (see earlier article)
The new pub at Saltdean Lido will now close at the same time as other pubs, after the planning committee's original condition requiring it to close half an hour earlier was lifted.
The Swan, South Chailey, closed at the end of May after business tailed off. Paul Muller, the owner, blamed cheap duty-free imports for killing local custom, as "everyone goes to Dieppe to buy beer at two pence a tin." With the drink-drive laws meaning few people come from further afield, Paul has decided to cut his losses.
Also in South Chailey, the Horns Lodge is up for sale following the retirement of landlords David and Liz Copping, who ran the pub for 21 years. Offers of around £375,000 were being sought.
The Barley Mow in Chichester has lost its licence after having been closed for two years. Owners Enterprise Inns are to appeal. Over in Billingshurst, the Five Oaks has also closed, as has the Three Crowns at East Preston, while the Priory in Hastings was also reported as having shut its doors.
The Pub With No Name has reopened after a fire left it requiring extensive repairs.
In Crawley, the Hogshead is due to be refurbished as a sports bar, and may well have been completed by the time you read this. Bass have bought the old market just across the road, and intend to open it as a pub.
The Lamb at Bilsham has been slightly rearranged, with the bar moving ten feet back from the door, while new owners Beards have refurbished the Richmond Arms, West Ashling. All the existing features have been smartened up, and the fruit machines removed; beers are Beards Best, Harveys Sussex Best, a Greene King beer and guest ales.
The Tap & Tankard, Worthing, is now O'Connors, selling standard big brewers' beers when our roving reporter looked in. Over in Ninfield, the United Friends is now the Blacksmiths Arms the pub was originally called the Blacksmiths, and sells three regular beers and one guest.
Bob is leaving the Sussex Yeoman, Brighton, but is only moving as far as the Stag in Kemptown and he's taking the sausages and jazz evenings with him! He hopes to be selling the full Shepherd Neame range.
The Six Belles at Lyminster closed for a short while recently when a new landlord took over; the kitchen has been refitted to allow a better range of food to be served.
Derek and Pauline, long-time mem- bers of CAMRA, have taken over the Stag, All Saints Street, Hastings.
AWARDS & EVENTS
The 1988 Champion Cider of the Year is New Forest Traditional, with Crones Special Vintage taking second place, and West Croft Traditional taking third. The Champion Perry is Dunkerton's, with Minchew taking second and Coombes in third place.
The Berwick Inn, near Polegate, has been named as the Evening Argus Pub of the Year; it won the East Sussex Country section of the competition, with the Lamb, Eastbourne taking the East Sussex Town section. West Sussex winners were the Bax Castle, Southwater, Horsham (Country) and the Green Jacket, Shoreham (Town).
Regulars at the Weald, Burgess Hill, have raised around £1,800 for three year old Sam Barkley, who suffers from liver problems and cerebral palsy. As well as 24-hour darts and pool marathons, Neil Moors washed cars for the day and Matt Plummer spent 24 hours in a bath of custard! The money will help to buy essential equipment, including a special tricycle.
Two of the staff at the Hedgehog and Hogshead in Hove are to cycle from St Petersburg to Moscow to raise money for SCOPE. Andrea Burgman and Helen Evason aim to raise at least £2,000 each before they leave at the end of July, and they're already over halfway there!
Over the Easter weekend, the Maypole at Yapton featured the complete range of Cottage beers, and will be holding a mini-beer festival over the August bank holiday weekend. The Cowdray Arms, Balcombe, also had a beer festival recently, serving over 100 different beers throughout April.
The regulars at the Master Mariner at Brighton Marina have collected £1,000 for the RNLI in just nine months, and the pub has been presented with a plaque to mark this feat.
The Star at Haywards Heath now has games evenings on Tuesdays, featur- ing Scrabble, skittles, darts and shove ha'penny among others.
THE OTHER BITS
The trouble at the Golden Eagle, Haywards Heath (reported last issue) has been averted, with magistrates granting a renewal of landlord Ray Gardner's licence, despite the council claiming that Mr Gardner was not a fit and proper person to hold a licence. The decision came after five hours of evidence from witnesses including Sue French, former mayor of Haywards Heath, and two district councillors. Most of the complaints had come from one source, it was pointed out.
The Evening Star, Brighton, now has a World Wide Web presence, at http://home.aol.com/d6983 the site currently lists the beers that should be served over the next week.
Last issue's report that St Peter's Church in Chichester was now an Eldridge Pope house was incorrect in that planning permission has only just been granted and at the time the last issue came out, even that hadn't happened! At least we predicted it correctly...
Our report on the Three Moles at Selham was also slightly flawed John Grezegorzek is not the co-licensee, just the cellarman. This is, of course, still excellent news as far as the beer is concerned!
LICENSING REFORM AT LAST?
Please write to your MP at House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA and to George Howarth MP at the Home Office, 50 Queen Anne's Gate, London, SW1H 9AT, explaining why you think the licencing laws need to change.
You could mention the fact that Scotland, which has been deregulated since 1976, has failed to degenerate into a mass of drunken disorder, for example!
This year's Great British Beer Festival runs from August 4-8 at Olympia and you could win a season ticket to get you in for free, saving you up to £20! We have two tickets to give away, and all you have to do is this:
Find the words in the grid below words can appear in any direction, and some letters may be used more than once. When you're done, you'll find some letters left over; rearrange them to form the name of a place in London (it's on the Underground, to help you along). All you have to do is send that place name, along with your name and address, to us at Sussex Drinker. We don't need the wordsearch itself, so you don't need to cut up your magazine! The address is on the back cover email entries will also be accepted, but we need a postal address to send the prize to. Only one entry per person, please. The Editor's decision is final.
E N C M T T P N D A R L I C S N O E E I B L A U I I R T L P D R G L P D T E I M Y U I M A R E A C Y A R A T E E R R I L O H R T I M R O O O C M T E A S T O U T G I C C P N H R S I B S B O T T L E D N
The closing date for entries is Friday, July 24.
One single MP has killed the bill to make short measure illegal with just one word, "object".
That's what Eric Forth MP (Con, Bromley and Chislehurst) said to kill all discussion on the bill, despite wide-ranging support from both MPs and the general public. As there cannot be a vote without discussion, the bill is now almost completely dead but there is one chance left to save it.
The bill's final chance is on Friday, July 3. Unfortunately, production difficulties mean you may not see this until after that date; if it reaches you in time, though, please write to your MP at House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA and let them know why the bill is important.
Even if you miss this deadline, please let your MP know that you wanted to see this bill pass, so that they will hopefully support the next attempt. If enough people write in support of full measure, the next attempt might be given Government backing and that would make it more difficult for single MPs to undemocratically scupper something which has widespread public support!
Loz Aslett continues his guided tour of Southwick's historic pubs in the final part of this series.
Windmill Inn (Bass Taverns) 180 Old Shoreham Road (A270). On the south side, at the junction with Roman Road. There have been two Windmill Inns. The original, on the north side and diagonally opposite the current pub, was built circa 1860 and last used as a pub in 1935. For a while, it was a wet fish shop before being demolished in 1972 when the A27 was upgraded to a dual carriageway. The current Windmill was built in 1937 by Kemptown Brewery and sold to Bass Charrington. During the 1960s the landlord was Bobby Lee, ex-captain of Brighton Tigers ice- hockey team. Real ales available: Bass, Fuller's London Pride.
Romans Hotel (Bass Taverns) Manor Hall Road, opposite the school. This was built in 1938 by the Kemptown Brewery and sold to Bass Charrington. Records show that the local council was very concerned when the planning application was submitted, as they thought there were too many pubs in the area! Real ale available: Fuller's London Pride.
Schooner (Beards) 146 Albion Street. Overlooking the canal and near to the old town hall; the only pub to survive the Albion Street mass demolition. It was built in 1835 and was one of the two original pubs in Southwick, the other one being the Victory. The pub had two entrances: the first was from the canal bank which was the original coaching road. The other was from the A259, which was the newer road built to replace the old road with the advent of motor vehicles and trams. Real ales available: Beards Best, Harveys Best, Harveys seasonal beers, King & Barnes Sussex.
Pilot (Ditchling Inns) Station Road. This pub is on the west corner at the junction of Albion Street and Station Road. Built in 1970, this was the only pub built to replace those lost in demolition. It was at one time called the South Coast Tavern, but reverted back to the Pilot in 1997 when a Thai restaurant was incorporated into the pub. Real ales available: Morland Old Speckled Hen, Courage Directors. STOP PRESS: The pub has recently been closed after the sudden departure of the landlord.
Ship (free house) 9 Southwick Street. Located on the north corner of the junction with the Twitten. Built prior to 1855, the current Victorian front hides a much older building that originally had only one bar. At one time owned by Tamplins, there is a fine example of a Tamplins Ales leaded glass window on the south side. Real ales available: Tetley Bitter, Adnams Best, Eldridge Pope Royal Oak.
Cricketers (Whitbread Inns) 18 The Green. This pub is at the western entrance to Southwick Square. There have been two Cricketers pubs: the first, built prior to 1855, occupied the same site (at that time next to the Co-op Dairy) and was originally a Brickwoods house. It was demolished in 1963 and the new Cricketers opened in 1964. The first landlord of the new pub was the famous boxer Wally Pack, who displayed his trophies in a glass case in the saloon bar. Real ales available: Boddingtons Bitter, Flowers Original, Wadworth 6X, Young's Special.
THE MALTHOUSES AND BREWERY
Southwick Brewery was in Southdown Road, originally called Malthouse Lane, just west of where Southwick library now stands. The site is now occupied by bungalows; the malthouse was on the west side. Richard Tamplin bought the brewery in 1820 and later that year, on September 6, it was destroyed by a fire in the night. Damage was esti- mated at £10,000, so it was never rebuilt; instead a new brewery was built in Brighton in 1821, which was called Tamplins "Phoenix" Brewery as it had arisen from the ashes of Southwick Brewery.
This year, because of various com- mittments, Mike Jacomb will not be running any Ale Trail Country Trips. However, he will be organising two Cider/Ale Trails in the Brighton area, on Saturdays July 11 and August 8.
July's trip, the Bus Perryamble, will be a crawl of Portslade, Hove and Brighton, using Brighton & Hove Buses (buy a Saver for £2.50 on the bus). Mike is hoping to persuade some of the pubs to put a perry on.
The Incider Ale Trail in August will cover various central Brighton pubs that previous trails missed.
All trails start at the Evening Star, Surrey Street, at 11am. Contact Mike on (01273) 693639(h) for more details.
The historic small town of Arundel, with eight pubs and eponymous street names, is dominated by its magnificent castle, home to the Duke of Norfolk. If you have arrived by train, walk in its general direction, along the Causeway, past the Arundel Park Hotel (no real ale), crossing the busy A27 at the traffic lights, and into town.
The Swan Hotel is a large white building, situated on the corner of High Street and River Road. This lively pub is the brewery tap for Arundel Brewery, and sells the full range of its current portfolio, plus one or two guest ales. There is only the one bar, which makes it the ideal meeting place. A good selection of food is available in the bar, and there is a restaurant attached.
On leaving the Swan, turn left, past the Red Lion and the tourist infor- mation office, then left again, along Tarrant Street. Eventually, on your left, you will find the Eagle (Labatts) on the corner with the mouth- wateringly named Brewery Hill. A popular and basic pub with one large bar and an annexe room, beers on sale here are Bass, London Pride and Directors.
A little further along Tarrant Street, on the corner of Kings Arms Hill, you will not be entirely surprised to find the Kings Arms free house. This was the local CAMRA branch's Pub of the Year in 1997, and is one that you should not miss. This two bar pub with has a range of four ales, always in excellent condition. Regular beers are Fuller's London Pride and Young's Special, with Hop Back beers usually available. As Charlie, the landlord, likes to concentrate on his beer, the food menu is basic.
Leave the King's Arms and walk up the hill; it is short, but has an increasing gradient. (This will not have the effect of sobering you up if you have already overindulged!)
Cross Maltravers Street and ascend Parsons Hill, turning left at the cathedral, and continuing along London Road to the St Mary's Gate Inn. The sign on the "Mary Gate" misleadingly proclaims "Free" house, on what is really a "Hall & Wood" house, selling Badger beers. The beer is well kept, and the pub is friendly and popular with diners. Built in 1525 as a farm dwelling, it is worth visiting for its historical significance.
On leaving the Mary Gate, aim for the White Hart; go back into town along London Road, toward the castle, then down the High Street alongside the imposing castle walls. Being a fair walk from the Mary Gate, you may be tempted to try the Red Lion (no 6) or the Norfolk Hotel (no 7) on the way to this pub. The Norfolk is cosy, oak panelled, and sells 3 real ales, but is not primarily a cask ale oriented bar, and the real ales are sadly often of indifferent quality.
The Red Lion is a strange "A" shape with an island bar, selling Ind Coope Burton Ale, Young's Special and Ansells Bitter. The beer is usually quite good. Cross the river at Queen Street, and you will immediately find the White Hart on your left.
The White Hart is a free house, the range of beers constantly changing. The only general rule is that they tend to sell Gale's during the winter months, and a wider choice in the warmer weather. The bar is very comfortable and the hosts friendly. Your first impression might be that the decor is a bit "fussy", or over- crowded with bric-a-brac, but the quality of the beer soon takes over from this.
Rational people might decide to stagger home at this point. If you do not fall into this category, or if you've been drinking halves, and if you fancy a mile walk, then a visit to the Black Rabbit (Hall & Woodhouse) is called for. Turn right as you pour yourself from the White Hart, go over the bridge and right again, following Mill Road to its conclusion.
You will pass Swanbourne Lake (except in summer, thank you Southern Water) and a bird sanctuary, before reaching this pretty riverside pub. This is Arundel's only riverside pub and is, I reiterate, one mile from the town centre. Walking time each way, depending on your condition, is 15 to 20 minutes. A more picturesque route, affording dramatic views of the castle, involves a stroll along the riverbank; this is less direct, and will double the walking time. It is also not a recommended nocturnal route!
At CAMRA's AGM in Edinburgh, five candidates contested four seats on the National Executive. The votes were as follows:
All the candidates except Bob Moss were elected.
Newsletter of the year was Gwent branch's Beer Necessities, while the "most improved newsletter" was North Hampshire's Beer Lines.
Due to space problems, a fuller report from Carol Lambert has been held over until the next issue.