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Welcome to the website of the Swale Branch of CAMRA, The Campaign for Real Ale.
Swale Branch covers the Towns of Faversham, Sittingbourne and surrounding villages plus the Isle of Sheppey, postcodes covered are ME9 to ME13 inclusive.
If you want to find out more information about what is happening in the rest of Kent then please click on KENT WEBSITE displayed in the top menu.
If you have any comments or suggestions for this website please contact the webmaster via the contact page.
Real ale is a type of beer defined by its traditional production.
Also known as "cask conditioned" beer; the fundamental distinction between real and other ales is that the yeast is still present in the container from which the beer is served, although it will have settled to the bottom and is not poured into the glass.
Because the yeast is still alive, the process of fermentation continues in the cask or bottle on the way to the consumer ensuring a fresh and natural taste.
CAMRA is a unique independent consumer organisation, run by our members. We're a not for profit body run locally and nationally by elected, unpaid volunteers. We aim to maintain consumer rights, promote quality, choice and value for money, support the public house and campaign for greater appreciation of traditional beers, ciders and perries.
CAMPAIGN FOR REAL ALE
230 Hatfield Road,
Herts AL1 4LW
Tel: 01727 867201
Fax: 01727 867670
DISCLAIMER - The views expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the Campaign for Real Ale LTD. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information on this site is accurate and up to date, no responsibility for errors and omissions can be accepted.
TRADING STANDARDS - If you need to complain about a licensed premises in your area, for serving consistently short measures, not displaying price lists etc, then contact your local Trading Standards Office.
News from our Social Meeting held at the Fruiterers Rodmersham.
Further to our last update and with suggestion from Amanda and Smutley at The Flying Sheep in Sheerness we are pleased to confirm the next branch social will be held at The Fruiterers Arms at Rodmersham Green just outside Sittingbourne. The pub has been run for the past three months by Chris & Keisha, formally of The Queens Head in Sheerness and I can confirm three cask beers in very good form are currently available. London Pride is full time and two rotating guest beers are usually on offer. All members and guests are welcome from 7.30 pm on Tuesday 22nd March at the pub in Bottles Lane Rodmersham, just over from the green.
Webmaster Keith Johnson has been hard at work and has produced a new version of the Kent CAMRA webpage which is now available to view. Howard Gates is currently on the case for our branch and it will be updated shortly.
Thanks to Chris Excell who has advised Boutilliers are planning to re open the former Hopstuff Taproom in Ashford. As far as Chris is aware this will be tap only with no cask available.
We are still awaiting the feedback from the Faversham Hop Festival committee after their meeting on Feb 22nd. As soon as we know more all will be advised . Gary Holness is waiting in the wings to get cracking on this and will keep us up to date as and when things happen.
Information on branch magazines has been posted on CAMRA discourse and this may strike a not with many of us especially Matt Deller who has responsibility for Swale Ale, our magazine. Why not let us have your thoughts on the subject.
From - Ian Monteith -Preston Group Members
We self-published our branch magazine pre pandemic. (Quarterly edition, approx. 3000 copies distributed). In recent years we’ve struggled to get sufficient paid advertisers so needed to subsidise publication. During lockdown & at present we’re producing an online only version once a month. (Advert free). We want to restart a printed edition but have been unsuccessful getting most of our existing advertisers back on board & almost nil success attracting new!
One option we’re considering is to find a CAMRA approved outsourcer to provide the advertising & printing. We’d like to continue having control content & as much design as possible, also distribution.
We’re keen to hear from any magazine editors using the outsourced model especially post lockdown. Can we hear of your positive & negative experiences? What advice do you give before we approach an outsourcer & which one do you recommend?
We assume the outsourcer will still allow us to publish a copy of each edition on our website as a pdf for our online readers?
Concern exists regarding the suitability of the adverts provided by the outsourcer for a CAMRA publication. Does anyone have experience of what was considered “unsuitable” adverts & how was the issue resolved?
Any links to recent issues with adverts outsourcer provided would be welcome.
Thanks for the input Ian
Finally, the branch are looking to come into line with most other branches in respect of e mail address and communications. This will make things easier and more seemless for all going forward. The example would look like this @swale.camra.org.uk. Keep an ear out for the confirmation of changes.
That’s it for the moment. Go make that diary date for Tuesday 22nd at The Fruiterers right now.
John and the team.
Firstly, as per our Facebook post recently, monthly branch socials are back!! We recommence with a visit to The Three Hats in Milton Regis High Street. ME10 2AR from 7.30pm on Tuesday 22nd February. It would be lovely to see as many of you as possible. From March onwards we shall try our best to rotate the main towns around the branch getting out into the country as the weather improves. The committee will meet separately and can then update everyone on branch activity and news.
Treasurer. Talking of news, Howard Gates kindly offered to take over the post of treasurer for the branch and having put this to the committee, all were in favour as we had no votes to the contrary. We congratulate Howard on his new role and he is already hard at work trying to sort out the first issue, that of the HSBC current account. The plan is that Howard has found an account with Nat West which suits our needs and does not extract a fee from us each month as the current HSBC account has decided to do. Howard is currently liaising with Les Bailey to make the transition as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Faversham Hop Festival. We have been in talks with Gill Keay at Canterbury branch regarding the Faversham Hop Festival with is normally held at the start of September. The current situation is that the Hop Festival committee have a meeting booked with their main stakeholders on Feb 22nd to discuss the matter. From there we shall be advised as to what they are looking to do for this year. Keep an ear out for updates both via e mail and social media.
Kent regional meting’s resumed last November and are usually bi monthly. However, we have been advised that the meeting, originally due in February, will not be taking place until Saturday March 26th starting at 12 noon. The venue is the Ship Centurion, 111 High Street, Whitstable CT5 1AY. Due to work commitments, I am unable to attend, but if anyone would like to represent the branch please let me know. They usually last a couple of hours or so. I will get the items required to region and will also send a copy to whoever wishes to represent us.
Pub opening hours are still subject to change so if you are out and about could you please send either Howard or John any updates and we shall get them amended on What Pub. The Blacksmiths Arms in Wormshill is such a pub and Mary Cross has kindly given us the pubs current opening hours. Even if you just want to let us know that days/hours of opening have changes we can check on the pubs web/Facebook page for the current information. Similarly, if a pub has closed or changed landlords please advise. Here is one to start you off. The Fountain of Ale in Sittingbourne has now been taken over by Malcolm Winskill of the Three Hats. Wantsum beers are available on hand pull and at less than £3 per pint represent excellent value.
Membership. As of the end of January, the branch totalled 411 members. Sadly this is slightly down on the previous month but with more people venturing out now, this figure should hopefully turn to a positive.
Good beer Guide/ POTY
Where do we start on this one is a question I know has been put around by a fair few of you. The committee met and discussed this, and along with some CAMRA discourse groups concluded that we would use the usual NBSS scoring system but with a couple of tweeks. Bearing in mind hospitality was closed for a substantial part of 2021 we have taken into account the additional services that pubs provided to keep us in good beer and them afloat. A goodly number of the membership have had limited experience of the pub numbers we visited pre pandemic with many visiting only a few at most. To this end we have combined all the information gleaned from our branch members in conjunction with NBSS scoring and reports from a number of high quality sources including a minimum number of opening days/hours. We had, for this year, agreed to reduce our number of GBG entries to fourteen, but could only agree on thirteen pubs that we found deserving of entry. It has also been decided that due to the lower number of entries in the GBG, we shall now be announcing our first, second and third place winners plus one highly commended for our POTY. (As opposed to the three commended certificates we traditionally gave.) The POTY nominees will be selected from our short list of thirteen and we would ask you to vote via e mail so we can provide written copies of paperwork should it be required. The voting format will be quite simple with no category scoring required just for this year. There can only be one set of votes per member and your submission must be as follows.
The thirteen entries short listed are as follows and are in no particular order.
Black Lion, Lynsted
The Ship, Conyer
Three Hats, Milton Regis
Three Tuns, Lower Halstow
The Alma, Painters Forstal
Admirals Arm, Queenborough
Bear Inn, Faversham
Donna’s Ale House, Sittingbourne
Yellow Stocks, Sittingbourne
Shipwrights Arms, Hollowshore, Faversham
The Elephant, Faversham
Paper Mill, Sittingbourne
The closing date for your submissions is midnight on 17th March 2022
These entries will then be checked by the committee and forwarded to region by the deadline of 20th March 2022. Should you want dates of other rounds for this year’s competition, I will post them via a separate e mail.
In the background we shall be completing the appropriate paperwork for GBG entries making sure that this is complete correct for region and includes all current information as required. This way, we can do everything in our power to make sure this year’s good beer guide is as complete and accurate as it can be.
Thank you for your kind attention and indulgence.
John and the committee.