Hop PresshopsHop Press Issue 83 front cover

Issue 83 – Autumn 2017
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EDITORIAL Hop Press index

Our cover picture for this issue is of the Wheel Inn at Bowling Green, just north of Lymington. The saga of this troubled pub is laid out in a full article later in the issue. And saga it truly is, with perhaps years yet to run and no resolution guaranteed.

Our last edition of Hop Press mentioned the deal being proposed by Heineken to purchase 1900 of Punch Tavern’s 3200 pubs. This attracted the attention of the Competition and Marketing Authority (the successor to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission). After spending the early summer reviewing Heineken’s proposal, the CMA have allowed the deal, providing Heineken themselves dispose of just thirty of their present houses in some specific areas of the country to avoid localised monopoly concentrations; none of these are in our area. Heineken’s Star Pubs and Bars division will now be, at around 3000, the third biggest pubco behind Enterprise and Greene King.

An immediate result of the agreement to the deal is that the Punch Tavern CEO, Duncan Garood stood down and the reduced pubco will now have an interim leader in its former finance director Steve Dando until a new CEO is appointed in 2018.

Ahead of the budget in late November, CAMRA has launched a national campaign focussing on the unfair business rates and tax levels faced by pubs. Premiered at August’s Great British Beer Festival visitors were encouraged to complete postcards to their MPs urging them to press the chancellor to:

• Institute a £5000 business rate relief for all pubs.

• Freeze the beer duty (increased this spring) for the rest of this parliament.

In addition to this postcard campaign there is an e-lobbying tool for both CAMRA members and the general public to contact their MPs, this is available at:


We urge all our readers to register their protest at the extremely unfair treatment of pubs in comparison to other retail businesses.

The average pub contributes a staggering £140,000 of direct taxes each year – around 34p for every £1 taken in the till! The YouGov polling organisation found extensive support, 69%, for pubs receiving tax relief as they provide safe, managed places for responsible drinking; they are in effect an essential arm of the wider social service structure.

The present figures are in many cases grotesque; as an example, near CAMRA’s headquarters in St. Albans, the Boot, a 16th century inn, is set to see its rates bill go from £14,000 to £52,000 over the next five years potentially adding 35p to every pint.

Another parliamentary disappointment is the ‘Pubs Code.’ Put in place some twelve months ago after years of campaigning by many groups, including CAMRA, it is intended to provide a fair code of practice for pubcos treatment of their licensees and with Paul Newby as the head to act as adjudicator in cases of dispute.

That it was needed is quite apparent since in its first year it acquired some 150 arbitration cases. However, during the year almost none have reached resolution. As CAMRA chairman Colin Valentine says; ‘…if the office charged with upholding the new law can’t deliver clarity, speed of action and affordable dispute resolution, the Pubs Code is meaningless.

The All Party Parliamentary Pubs Group of MPs chairman, Toby Perkins agrees, saying the Code is: ‘…proving less effective than it ought.

It is imperative that ministers act with urgency to mend this faulty law, that Mr. Newby streamlines his decision making and, particularly, that the pubcos co-operate with rather than obstruct the Code. What hope of that?

In the usual autumnal battle of publishers the 2018 Good Pub Guide appeared in the first week of September, one week ahead of CAMRA’s own 2018 Good Beer Guide. It is not something that we would normally comment on but we are happy to point out that one of our area’s best known pubs features as an award winner. Winchester’s Wykeham Arms is their selection for 2018 as Town Pub of the Year. Congratulations!

Wonston Arms
Wonston Arms

Another pub to congratulate is the Wonston Arms at Wonston, just over our northern boundary in the Northern Hampshire Branch’s area. This has been selected as the Wessex Regional winner, one of the last 16 in CAMRA’s national Pub of the Year contest.

Finally, a date for your diary. We have now confirmed the booking of the Guildhall for next year’s Winchester Beer Festival and it will be on Friday March 16 and Saturday March 17 2018. Don’t miss it!

Want to contact us? Hop Press index

The Southern Hampshire Branch of CAMRA has over one thousand members and is run by an elected committee. Our print and pdf versions have a snapshot of committee membership. For a live version please see our 'Contacts' section - www.shantscamra.org.uk/contacts

Cask Report 2017-8 Hop Press index

The pub assessment organisation, Cask Marque, has just published its annual ‘Cask Ale Report’ – the eleventh such extensive analysis of the state of cask ale – real ale – in our nation’s pubs. It is a must-read for all licensees or anyone interested in beer and pubs today. The 26 page PDF document is down-loadable free from:


The report is too long to summarise in detail here but here are a few of its observations:

• The decline in our total pub estate continues but with significant shift in the management mix.

In 2010 there were 55400 pubs, since then about 1000 have been lost every year and the latest total (2016) is now just 50300. But, the mix has changed radically. Managed houses have increased from 7700 to 9200 (a reflection, in part, surely, of the rise of J D Wetherspoon), free houses also show a gratifying increase from 22500 to 26100 whilst the traditional tenancies have plummeted from 25200 to only 15000, a sign perhaps of the on-going turmoil amongst the pubcos?

• Despite the continuation of pub closures and an associated overall (slight) drop in total beer sales, cask beer is the buoyant sector.

In the last six years overall beer volumes in the on-trade have dropped by 5% but within this figure keg ales have declined by 25% and lagers by 11%. Of pubs specialising in cask ales, 65% report real growth in sales, Cask beer is described as being the ‘hero’ product, boosting the sales of all beers.

• The halo effect.

Within groups of pub-goers the cask ale drinker is often the deciding entity when it comes to selecting the pub(s) to visit and whether to stay or move on, a crucial factor in building loyalty; dubbed as cask’s ‘halo effect.’

• Cask drinkers spend over £1000 per year in the pub.

Regular cask beer drinkers are the customers licensees must cosset – they spend more than all other beer drinkers and they tend to be the pathfinders in choosing venues but, equally, the bellwethers if quality drops. Average annual spend numbers from the survey are:
All adults: £770,
Craft Ale drinkers: £897,
Lager drinkers: £981,
Cask drinkers: £1029

• The ‘premiumisation’ of cask ale.

A delicate subject for which they have coined a ghastly, disguising term! In a word should pubs make their cask beer, which tends to be somewhat cheaper than the lagers and often a lot cheaper than the new fashionable ‘craft’ kegs dearer? The conclusion is a qualified ‘yes’ but hedged about with so many caveats that, with luck, most publicans will stay their hands!

• Selling cask beer influences the entire pub ethos.

Even non-beer-drinking pub customers judge the pub by its cask ale. Half of all customers associate a group of handpumps with the house being a ‘proper pub’ and a third would even let this enhance their view of an unseen food menu!

CAMRA membership discounts Hop Press index

There are many benefits to being a CAMRA member: the chance to work ten-hour shifts at beer festivals, without pay; to make endless journeys around city estates and rural villages amassing data for pub guides or perhaps the WhatPub website and, of course, the delights of immersion in the arcane political bureaucracy of a well established voluntary organisation are just some...

But, there are tangible things! Of which perhaps the most obvious are the ‘50p off a pint’ vouchers (40 per year) currently issued to all members by the Wetherspoon pub group. Also, throughout the country quite a number of individual pubs offer their own discounts to CAMRA members (normally on production of a membership card).

For our own Southern Hampshire branch area, we have listed here those we know of (together with the Wetherspoon pubs) and these are detailed below. There is also a permanent list on our branch website at:


The list is believed to be accurate, but may of course change without notice. Please e-mail any errors or omissions to: pubs@shantscamra.org.uk.

Incidentally, this general e-mail address can be used to send us any news items – changes of ownership or licensees, refurbishments, hours etc. etc. Having an active network of informants is essential in keeping our pub database www.WhatPub.com up-to-date.


Wagon Works, Eastleigh (Wetherspoon)

New Forest and the West

Bold Forester, Marchwood (20p off per real ale pint)

Bosun’s Chair, Lymington (20p off per real ale pint)

Railway Hotel, Ringwood (20p off per pint)

Ringwood Brewery, Ringwood (10% off all beer and products in the brewery shop)

Six Bells, Lymington (Wetherspoon)


Admiral Sir Lucius Curtis, Canute Road (Wetherspoon)

Belgium & Blues, Above Bar (5% off cask ale)

Brewhouse & Kitchen, Highfield (10% off real ales)

Bright Water Inn, Shirley (Wetherspoon)

Caskaway, Oxford Street (10% discount)

Encore, Commercial Road (10% discount)

Giddy Bridge, London Road (Wetherspoon)

Hobbit, Bevois Valley (50p off per pint)

Olaf’s Tun, Woolston (20p off per pint)

Prince of Wales, Northam (50p off per pint)

Red Lion, Bitterne (Wetherspoon)

South Western Arms, St. Denys (10% discount)

Standing Order, High Street (Wetherspoon)

Winchester and North-East

Alfie’s, Winchester (10% off a pint of cask real ale)

Bridge Inn, Shawford (10% discount)

Old Gaolhouse, Winchester (Wetherspoon)

Wykeham Arms, Winchester (10% off real ales 3.30-7.30 Sunday-Thursday)

Pub News Hop Press index

Rob Whatley

Southampton: Shirley Road

Witch's Brew
Witch’s Brew, Shirley, Southampton

A number of pubs in the Freemantle and Shirley areas have closed in recent years but the current trend is for new openings. The Overdraft in Shirley Road has now been joined by another micropub, the Witch’s Brew, located in what was Magik Earth. The new venture is being run by Mary Thornton- Smith, who was also in charge of the newage shop for the previous 13 years. The emphasis is on local, small brewery real ales, with beers from Fallen Acorn, Vibrant Forest and Broken Bridge among those offered since the opening.

A little further back up the road, a change of use planning application has been submitted for the takeaway next to Puccini’s restaurant at 323 Shirley Road. The application states: ‘We wish to open a bar serving cask and keg craft ales, a selection of gin, red and white wine and prosecco. A small micro pub style drinking establishment on Shirley High Street, proposed by a partnership between two local families.’

Southampton: Freemantle

Wellington Arms
Wellington Arms, Freemantle, Southampton

We mentioned in the last edition that the Wellington Arms in Freemantle was to change hands. It is now being run by Martyn Godwin and Charlene Frost. The streetcorner local underwent a substantial refurbishment costing £150,000. This was spent on new external décor and signage, improved toilets, changes to the garden area and a new kitchen to provide food throughout the day.

Back on Shirley Road, we are pleased to report that the Osborne is still open for business. St Austell Tribute is a regular beer along with Abbot and London Glory from Greene King.

Southampton: Regents Park

The King George in Oakley Road has been demolished and replaced by housing.

Southampton: St Mary’s

What was the Strand in Hanover Buildings has re-opened as Heartbreakers. In addition to the bar area there is a 100-capacity live music venue on the first floor.

The Angel in Palmerston Road underwent a £80,000 refurbishment in July that was jointly funded by new licensee Wendy Teague and owners Admiral Taverns.

Staying on the spiritual plane, the Plume of Feathers in St Mary Street has been reincarnated as a Buddhist centre. The building is little changed, with even a ‘pub sign’ advertising its new use.

Just up the road, the Joiners recently had problems with damage caused by torrential rain. An online appeal raised the target £5,000 to pay for repairs in less than 24 hours.

Southampton: Bevois Valley

A crowd funding appeal was also employed for the Hobbit in Bevois Valley. A similar amount came in for repairs that were needed to keep the venue open. Further funds were raised through events at the pub such as reggae and open mic evenings.

Southampton: Bassett

A campaign of a different sort has started in Bassett where, at the time of writing, the Stile had just closed. The pub, which in the 1990s was renamed the Hedgehog and Hogshead and housed a brewery, is owned by the university and was run by Greene King, who have decided against renewing their lease. The campaign to keep the pub open can be found at:


The university has said that it has no current plans to demolish the building but we suspect that only short odds would be available on the chances of it joining the sites of the Crown & Sceptre and the Gate in providing car parking spaces.

Southampton: Above Bar

Scholars Arms
Scholars Arms, Above Bar, Southampton

Staying with the education theme, what was the Rat and Parrot in Above Bar has been renamed the Scholars Arms.

Southampton: London Road/The Avenue

A littler further north, Chalk Farm in London Road has reopened after being closed for refurbishment during the summer. We mentioned in the last Hop Press that Dock o’ the Bay bar/restaurant in the Avenue had closed. The premises have now reopened as Foobar1.

Southampton: Bedford Place

Also in the last edition, we announced that the Tap Room (probably best known under its previous guise of the Pensioners) had reopened as the Shuffle Bar and Jukebox. Sadly, the new venture closed after just six weeks. Following refurbishment, it has now reopened again as the 4Q Lounge And Bar.

Southampton: Oxford Street/ Northam

From two words to a single word, The Taproom is also the name of the bar at the Northam based Tap It Brewing Company. The new brewery is to open a bar at 45/45a Oxford Street ‘in the autumn.’

Southampton: Bitterne Park

The Bitterne Park Hotel, which has had a recent history of sudden and mysterious closures is now confirmed by owners Ei (formerly Enterprise Inns) to be reopening in mid-October under a new licensee and with a ‘new retail offer.’

Southampton: Sholing

Re-open again is the Robin Hood in Sholing, following an £87,000 refurbishment. Publicans Richard Hiller and Jo Chapman have overseen the redecorating of the interior and exterior of the pub and the installation of a new bar and toilets. There is also a new food menu.

Southampton: Woolston

Mettricks Woolston
Mettricks Woolston

A new Mettricks, the 4th, has opened in Centenary Plaza, Woolston. It offers real ales on handpump in addition to coffee and food. The same company also has an interest in the nearby Vospers, which also offers customers real ales. Also in Woolston, a licence has been granted to open the Three Sisters at 1 Portsmouth Road, just along from new 2018 Good Beer Guide entry micro-pub, Olaf’s Tun. Lastly, and sadly, the Grove Tavern has closed and will be demolished to make way for six flats.

Southampton: Bitterne

We noted in the last edition that The Big Cheese had closed but as it is an asset of community value the council advertised that interested parties had until the end of June to come up with an offer to save the pub. We are not aware of any bid being made.

Old Netley

Continuing east, owners Hall and Woodhouse took the unusual step of arranging a meeting at Hound Parish Hall to discuss proposals for a development of 40-50 dwellings to the rear of the Plough, in Portsmouth Road.


The Windhover Manor in Bursledon is no longer a Harvester but has reopened as a Miller and Carter Steakhouse. This is part of a chain owned by Mitchells and Butlers.

Lower Upham

Another Mitchells and Butlers eatery to change its identity is the Alma at Lower Upham. Previously a Crown Carvery, it is now a Stonehouse Pizza and Carvery, joining the Haywain at Bartley as part of the chain.


Staying with eateries, the Fleming Arms in Swaything is closed for a £200,000 refurbishment at the time of writing and was due to reopen at the beginning of October. It’s not clear if it will continue to be part of the “Hungry Horse” chain.

Horton Heath

We are delighted to report that in July a bid of some £400K was submitted to purchase the Lapstone from owners Ei. This follows a lengthy campaign by locals to keep the pub open, including a successful attempt to make the pub an asset of community value. The new owners are the Chandlers Ford based Thirstee Business soft drink company, suppliers to over 300 local pubs and clubs; this will be their first pub and after some refurbishment it hopes to be open by early November.

Eastleigh & Portswood

Good Companions, Eastleigh
Good Companions, Eastleigh

The Good Companions is under the new management of Aaron Dyson and his partner Angela Melton. Changes have also occurred at Stones, which has been renamed the Spitfire. The long standing red exterior is now black and white but the general layout inside is broadly similar though smarter and more comfortable. One of the biggest changes is that the beer prices are significantly lower than before, though the choice of real ales is reduced to two, Shepherd Neame Spitfire (obviously) and Adnams Broadside when we visited. It is part of Ei’s Craft Union Pub Company brand, as is the Gordon Arms, Portswood, which had a similar overhaul in the summer.

Staying in the town centre, during the summer those visiting the gents at the Wagon Works were warned, ‘Please be aware that the flooring has risen and caused a bump within the flooring.’ The cause of the problem was not identified but was it just coincidence that one of the beers on offer on our visit came from Melksham brewers Moles. Over the railway bridge, the last edition’s cover star, The Steam Town Brew Co, in Bishopstoke Road, is looking at a November opening. It will be selling other brewery’s beers at first until the 6-barrel plant on the upper floor opens later.

Chandler’s Ford

Two bits of good news from Chandler’s Ford. Firstly, we can report that yet another new micro-pub outlet is due to open. The Steel Tank Alehouse will be located in Chandler’s Ford Precinct in part of what was the HSBC Bank. Handily placed near the railway station and a major bus route, the opening date is still awaited. Secondly, Hiltonbury Farmhouse is open again and has undergone a refurbishment.


Also due to reopen, after more than a year of uncertainty as to its future, is the Fox and Hounds at Crawley. Behind the venture is Lenny Carr-Roberts, who successfully reopened the Bugle in Twyford after it too had been closed for three years. Planning permission has been approved for a new restaurant space at the back of the pub, which was purchased for £650,000.


A pub that closed a few years back, the Running Horse in Alresford was put on the market for £1.8m!


Queen Inn, Winchester
Queen Inn, Winchester

The garden of the Queen Inn is to become some 60% smaller. This part of the garden has always been owned by the adjacent college, who now want to use the land for car parking.

In Jewry Street, the former Ruby Reds Burger Shack is under conversion into the city’s first micro pub. It has been taken over by Amrik Rai and Teresa Zammit of Southampton’s Overdraft and is due to be open by the time this edition is in print.

North Baddesley

On 19th August the Bedes Lea in North Baddesley celebrated 50 years since its opening. The event was marked by a family fun day and a Bowie tribute act.


On the northern outskirts of Romsey permission has been granted for a post swing sign for the Dukes Head in Greatbridge Road. Staying with external advertising, the application for new signage at the Phoenix in the centre of town that we mentioned in the last Hop Press, was granted. A very much more significant application was submitted for the Cromwell Arms. Permission was being sought for nine additional letting bedrooms but the application was later withdrawn

We were sad to hear that the former landlady of the Old House at Home, Wendy Dayus, passed away in August following a short battle with cancer. She was landlady for 27 years, alongside her partner Barrie Cook, before retiring in 2000. We also note that the lease of the pub is up for sale.


Not the lease but the freehold of the Cartwheel at Whitsbury is for sale at £495,000 + VAT.


Rose and Thistle, Rockbourne
Rose and Thistle, Rockbourne

Nearby at Rockbourne, an application for three shepherd huts on land behind the car park has been made for the Rose and Thistle.


The Crown at Bransgore underwent a substantial £222,000 refurbishment earlier this year in time for the summer trade. There is an updated bar and dining area and the garden was also smartened up. There was also new external signage. The pub was later in the news for another aspect of the changes. The pub is at a busy, and many claim, dangerous, road junction and following council advice new seating in front of the pub was removed for safety reasons.


Outside seating was required in the garden of the White Buck, Burley during the summer as it hosted a performance of A Comedy of Errors as part of Fuller’s Shakespeare in the Garden tour.

New Milton

Rydal Arms, New Milton
Rydal Arms, New Milton

There are new faces behind the bar at the Rydal Arms. It is Paul and Karen Butler’s first pub. Since taking over in August there has been a gradual refurbishment that has included a new restaurant area and an increased choice of real ales.

Moving up the road towards the station, an application has been made for a rooftop smoking terrace with room for 47 customers at the Central Bar.

The Hourglass, which we mentioned in the last edition, still has yet to open.


Open again is the Falcon in the centre of Fawley village. It has undergone a £100,000 refurbishment and is being managed by Kelly Teasdale, who hails from New Zealand.


The Lobster and Burger Bar opened in St Thomas Street Lymington during the summer but then had to close at the beginning of August due to a fire. Rebuilding work has started and the reopening is currently planned for the beginning of November.

Various planning applications continue to be submitted for the Fusion Inn by owners Heineken but at the time of writing there was no sign of the pub reopening.

Pennington: Bowling Green

One bar that should hopefully reopen soon is the Wheel Inn, Pennington. See 'The Wheel turns' article below for full details.


Silver Hind, Sway
Silver Hind, Sway

A closure may be on the cards in Sway. The owners of the Silver Hind in Station Road, Carol and Andy Cottingham, say they have been unable to make the venue, which opened in 2012, financially viable. A plan has been submitted to demolish the pub/ restaurant and replace it with four houses. More than 40 people have objected to the plans. Almost opposite is the former Forest Heath pub. Currently a three bedroomed penthouse apartment can be purchased for £410,000 while a three bedroomed flat can be rented for £1,400 a month.

If you have any news about pub openings, change of landlords, closures, or other interesting news, let us know at: pubinfo@shantscamra.org.uk.

Beer on the 6 Hop Press index

by David Etheridge

First Bus operates service number 6 from Southampton to Hamble (Hamble-le-Rice as we are now supposed to imagine it), this runs every thirty minutes from way before pub opening times from Vincents Walk (stop CI) at quarter past and quarter to each hour until 6.45pm then at 7.45pm, 9pm and with the last bus at 10.35pm. Return buses leave Hamble on the hour and half past each hour until 7pm then at 7.25pm, 8.20pm, 9.40pm and finally at 11.15pm. There is a roughly hourly service on a Sunday with the last bus from Hamble at 8.25pm. For those that need to buy a ticket you would need a First ‘Hampshire Day’ ticket at £6.50 (buy from the driver) as a Southampton Day ticket does not extend to Hamble. The ‘Hampshire Day’ ticket is valid on all First buses in Hampshire so can also be used to get into Southampton to catch a number 6 to Hamble.

Ye Olde Whyte Harte
Ye Olde Whyte Harte

A tour of pubs on this route would be best carried out by travelling from Southampton to Hamble to start the crawl, journey time thirty eight minutes. There are four pubs you can choose from in Hamble village. As you alight from the bus in the Square you will have just passed Ye Olde Whyte Harte, this Fuller’s Pub has five hand pumps which were serving Seafarers, London Pride, Red Fox, HSB and ESB when visited but watch out for the Fuller’s prices. From the OWH walk down the High Street towards the river and you will soon come to the Victory with Ringwood Razorback, Sharp’s Doom Bar and Fuller’s HSB on offer. Just a little further on you come to the King & Queen with Otter Bitter, Ringwood Razorback, Sharp’s Doom Bar and Fuller’s London Pride on offer. Almost opposite is the Bugle which has a house beer a 3.8% beer brewed by Itchen Valley and served as Bugle Bitter alongside Flack Manor’s Double Drop, and New Hampshire, a 4.2% brew from Itchen Valley.


All four pubs have smallish bars for the size of the buildings and of course have seafaring decoration and plenty of wood panelling and beams although the King & Queen is much brighter with white painted tables, they all serve a full range of food and have plenty of outside seating. The Victory and King & Queen open at 11am, followed by Ye Olde Whyte Harte and Bugle at midday.

The Cottage
The Cottage

Return to the Square and board a bus towards Southampton, this will travel up Hamble lane; look out for the Harrier plane on the left at the bend so you can view the block of flats on the right on the site of the former Harrier pub. The bus will turn left at a roundabout and then shortly right into Woolston Road, alight in about 400 yards at Butlocks Heath (travel time ten minutes). Close by is the Cottage a Wadworths pub that has had a recent make over but still retains two bars with a comfortable public bar and a lounge that is a bit wine bar’ish, I feel more comfortable in the public bar. The Cottage serves IPA, 6X and Swordfish and opens at 4pm Monday to Thursday, 2pm Friday and midday on Saturdays.

The Roll Call
The Roll Call

200 yards further up Woolston Road on the right, just at the bend is the Roll Call which has also recently been tidied up by new owners and has had plenty of outside seating added for summer use or hardy souls in winter, inside are two comfortable bars with an area for customers eating towards the rear of one. Regular beers are Courage Best, Flowerpots Pots Ale and Upham Punter. Up to two guest beers are also served straight from casks behind the bar. The Roll Call opens 3pm Mondays and Tuesdays and midday from Wednesday to Saturday.

From the Roll Call turn right and walk 100 yard to the bus stop at Bowcombe and board the next Southampton bound bus (last bus 11.24pm) which will turn left through Ingleside then turn right into Netley, just after you have crossed the railway bridge admire the block of flats on the left on the site of the former Railway Inn. As the bus travels down through Netley alight at the Post Office (four minutes travel). Walk down to Victoria Road and turn left, where you will find the Prince Consort which opens at 11am and is a café pub with most of the tables inside laid out for eating and an area that can be hired for events. The beers served are Sharp’s Doom Bar, St Austell Proper Job, Fuller’s HSB and Hop Back Summer Lightning.

The Swan
The Swan

Return to the stop at the Post office (last bus 11.27pm), the bus will turn right into Victoria Road with views out over Southampton Water then right again into Grange Road. You can alight at the Netley Grange, stop outside known as the Mill House the pub’s previous name (four minutes travel) this is a modern interpretation on a barn which serves value meals and Greene King IPA and Sharp’s Doom Bar although both were ‘off’ during a recent visit. From Grange Road the bus will turn left into Newtown Road, you will pass the Gardener’s Arms on the right with no real ale. At the end of Newtown Road the bus will cross into Wrights Hill, at the bottom of the hill you can alight for the Swan which is on the right below Sholing railway viaduct (eleven minutes travel from Netley). The Swan is a single open area music venue with some seating and tables which opens at 3pm and was serving CrackleRock Firecracker and Gold Rush when visited recently.

Olaf's Tun
Olaf’s Tun

From the Swan stop (last bus 11.35pm) it is four minutes to Woolston Bridge Link Road. You will have just passed Marston’s Cricketers Arms which has two hand pumps which have been out of use on all of my recent visits. But do not despair, if you continue down Portsmouth Road just beyond the crossroads on the left is Olaf’s Tun. This new micro pub, which unfortunately does not open on Mondays and Tuesdays, normally has three real ales available straight from the cask, opening times are 6pm Wednesday/ Thursday, 4pm Friday and 1pm Saturday, also note that the pub shuts at 10pm on Wednesday/Thursday.

From Olaf’s Tun return to the Bridge Link Road for a bus to return to Southampton City Centre, there are a number of First routes you could use, giving a fairly frequent service even in the evening, but if you wish to complete your day out on a ‘6’ the last one is at 11.39pm for the ten minute ride back to the City centre.

Once upon a time of horror stories… Hop Press index

by an occasional cellarman

Whilst a local cellar was being tidied up a bit recently, amongst a lot of old paperwork an illustrated beer equipment catalogue came to light; it bears a pre-war date of 1938 and makes a fantastic read!

From the first glance it epitomises two competing themes: the many, now forgotten or unnecessary, skills a cellar man (it was of course always ‘man’) once needed; but, highlighting as well, the many doubtful activities he engaged in that in large part gave rise to CAMRA’s formation, campaigning for beer quality, nearly fifty years ago.

Ale Utiliser
Ale Utiliser

The picture (left) of that delightful, economical device, the ‘Ale Utiliser,’ is one of the more startling to modern eyes. It does exactly what it says, it utilises; utilises waste beer from whatever source as a controlled trickle into the line to one of the beer engines. Of course, when all of your waste beer was utilised it can then just as well, and with ever greater economy, utilise some water…

Lest you imagine these did not survive the war years they feature prominently, for example, in a pub management book of 1955 and were being advertised by licensed trade suppliers up until at least into the 1980s. Could there be one still lurking somewhere in our area?

Apart from the offensive nature of the picture itself (perhaps requiring a new compound porn word – ‘beer-porn’ or ‘cellar-porn’ perhaps) it unconsciously shows some other long forgotten aspects of cellar work. Note the pipework from the cask up to the bar; a strange segmented array: there was no plastic beer line in 1938, the only flexible pipework was either soft lead (!) or rubber. The impossibly heavy lead ruined the cellar man’s back (and poisoned the regular customers) whilst the rubber, although not lethal, made the beer taste awful. As a consequence, most cellars were a jungle of rigid straight tubes of glass, porcelain and eventually stainless steel, connected by a variety of swivel and telescopic joints

Also note the remark and partial drawing showing an extractor in one of the casks. Many would suppose these to be recently introduced devices but that only applies to the flexible ‘widget’ type.

The next illustration shows the level of complexity that the vexed subject of ‘waste beer’ engendered. These filters are still around, although happily now, in most part, as polished ornaments on rural inn walls. Yet I can recall in the early ‘80s visiting a Gales pub in West Sussex where the beer in service was being gravity drawn from a cask proudly bearing one of these!

The next item, for filtering back doubtful beer under pressure really was a surprise, what any Health and Safety officer would make of that one in 2017 defies the imagination…

Beer Filters
Beer Filters
Pressure Beer Filter
Pressure Beer Filter

Reading further, I almost passed over the brief mention of vent pegs until I paused to read the descriptive paragraph – several times to be sure I’d not initially misread it!

I now look at the two that I have with a certain awe wondering what monstrous activities they may have been once involved in. [For those with no magnifying glass to hand in part it reads: ‘… the tap may be used to draw waste beer back into the barrel without any gas escaping…’]

Spile Tap
Spile Tap

Concluding, on the poor beer salvaging front, there is of course one remarkable device still in legal use in the UK, although not as far as I am aware anywhere in our area – the Yorkshire-style economising beer engine, often known as an ‘autovac’ as depicted here in one variety the Beer Saver.

These are still in use around Leeds and the West Riding to catch, and reuse, the overspill inherent in producing the ‘tight heads’ so beloved by Northern folk. A particularly sinister comment in the description of this particular 1938 one is that the return tray ‘…can be fitted in the beer sink!’

Beer Saver
Beer Saver

To end, a couple of items that maybe are gone forever but perhaps in their cases, sadly so:

For the ultimate in labour saving, Martins’ ingenious tap which ‘takes the peg out’ while the beer is being poured and then remembers to put it back in afterwards takes some beating: And what of the ‘Thrusite’ engine!

Who would not love to see a bank of these extraordinary devices with the avid beer drinkers studying their glass intestinal workings!

Martins automatic spile
Martin's automatic spile
Thrusite Beer Engine
Thrusite Beer Engine

The Wheel turns Hop Press index

Peter Simpson

‘The owners are shutting the pub... Oh no! They’re not!’

All too frequently, customers’ favourite pubs shut, against their wishes, at short notice and with no time to protest. Any such opposition then falls on deaf ears.

Fortunately, the Localism Act 2011 introduced the concept of an Asset of Community Value (ACV) under which an application, if successful, could enter a pub (or other community facility) onto a statutory register for five years if at least 21 local people supported and submitted a convincing argument to the local authority. The effect of such an ACV listing was to ensure full planning permission was needed to demolish or change the use of a pub. Without it, ‘permitted development rights’ could, until this May, lead to a pub being demolished or turned into a supermarket almost overnight.

An ACV listing also gives interested groups or organisations, upon a pub becoming available for sale, a six-week period to notify interest and six months to prepare a serious community bid which must be considered by the owners before sale takes place. With this option, the first step to protect a pub has recently always been to apply for an ACV listing. However, since May this year, all pubs are now protected by law with full planning permission needed for any change.

At the Wheel Inn (Good Beer Guide listed until this year) licensee Pete Walters was given notice to quit with the pub earmarked to be shut for ever on 31 July 2017 by the owners Terramek Limited, a pub owning, development company based in London. Unfortunate personal circumstances had left the licensee working alone and unable to generate sufficient trade for some time.

In the sleepy location of Bowling Green, midway between Pennington, Sway, Hordle and Lymington the news that the pub was to shut did not sink in immediately. For over a year the pub had trickled along, without food, and just a small but loyal regular clientele including an enthusiastic Monday gathering of talented local musicians which paid the bills.

Suddenly it hit home: ‘What will we do? Where are we going to go?’ Too far to walk to another pub, public transport is too embarrassing even to be classed as such. ‘Where can we meet our friends? Where will we get the quality and range of ales we took for granted?

The pub is going to shut! We’d better do something about it! What can we do?’ Resigned moans and groans replied. Oh well, CAMRA member and local campaigner back in action!

Owners survey the property, looking for bats, none found. Plenty in Keyhaven four miles away but illegal to rehouse them. Pity.

First step, with about 10 days until closure due, get the 21 signatures. Actually 40 in five days by effort and effective networking. ACV submitted and 6th September deadline date set for decision. Owners now cannot change use until decision made.

Big decision: let the owners shut the pub and have long, protracted arguments about all pubs being viable with the right management and financial model and eventually wrest the property from the owners before it rots?

No, we want our pub now, the doors must stay open at all costs! So, a persuasive discussion with the licensee: ‘You’ve nowhere to go, you’ve free accommodation, you’ve takings coming in (and you have a licence….). You do really want to stay a month longer…’ Email to the owners: ‘The locals want to keep the pub, give us some time please.’ First mission accomplished as owners agree, although still maintaining the pub is unviable. A little out of touch, as they thought there had been no trade for five months when the pub was open throughout.

Next step, look at CAMRA’s website for help on ‘Saving your Pub’ and find reference to the Plunkett Foundation. Having, at last, listened to CAMRA on the importance of community pubs, the Government took steps to provide some protection, in a two-year plan, ending next March, they decided to throw £3.6M into the hat to help rural communities take on shops or pubs in peril.

But how do we know that anybody but the small group of loyal regulars care anything about the pub they drive past daily? Detailed and informative questionnaires, hand delivered, 350 plus households closest to the pub. In ten days. ‘Do you use the pub? Would you use it if our plans, including quality staff, quality chef, local produce usage are implemented? Why do you not use it now?’ (Oh dear! but we knew the several reasons already) ‘Could you help by volunteering in some capacity to bring the pub up to a decent standard? Would you invest in shares or advance a loan?’ 98% will use pub if we bring the goods, 74% will invest. Impressive and encouraging.

Good questionnaire response with prompt feedback as requested, many comments, but let’s make sure. Hold a public meeting, constant engagement with the community is essential. No, you can’t hold it at the pub! Thank you to the Pennington W.I. Hall for hosting instead. The five strong Management Committee of the Wheel Inn (Pennington) Community Group voted in en bloc by the 40 or so attendees.

But not all the Management Committee drink alcohol, why bother? Lisa Hayes (Secretary) – ‘I feel very strongly that once pubs close they never re-open and communities that use these pubs as meeting places/hubs lose the heart of their community.

Unanimous, community wants the pub open, they will support, they will help, they make suggestions and then argue about the location. Is it Pennington or is it Bowling Green? Ok, both! Green light, go!

Advertiser and Times, Daily Echo (Southampton and Bournemouth), feed them front page stuff − romance, community spirit etc. Sorry, BBC Breakfast, though, not good on a Wednesday lunchtime unless you just want your own selfies on national TV…

Serious stuff now with the owners. The Wheel Inn had been on the market with offers requested IRO £495,000 for nearly a year without a response; then taken off in June 2017. The pub had sadly deteriorated, become unattractive and was nowhere near the demanded value. Now they will not sell at all…

Negotiation on the rent was made and successfully reduced by £12,500 p.a. so things were starting to become rosy. No objection to some protective clauses including option to renew at end of the lease term. But where does the money come from to turn the deteriorating, unattractive pub into something the community can be proud of? Community Share Issues, the legal structure being a Community Benefit Society. To do this, registration with the Financial Conduct Authority, with support from the Plunkett Foundation, is the most efficient and costeffective route.

Interesting rules (Model Rules to be precise). You cannot pay dividends on community shares so why on earth would you want to invest in them? For your Community, for their future, to prove you want your pub to stay open and have done something about it. It is a matter of pride, of belonging, and by investing financially, embracing a collective responsibility to keep your pub in a good state of repair by shared voluntary effort.

Hoped for take-over date of 1 September becomes mission impossible due to now expected 15-day time scale plus bank holiday for FCA Registration so owners agree three month rent free period to start on 15 September or date of signing lease, whichever is earlier. But, you can enter the premises and start your work. Bingo! But what if we do loads of work and the owners pull the rug before the lease is signed. Trust, communicate, daily if necessary. You are dealing with the owners, not legal bods. Not yet at least.

The Wheel Inn at Bowling Green, Pennington, Community Benefit Society Limited was duly registered on 4 September 2017. Next day, ACV application is refused! Annoying, but now irrelevant, protected under law anyway, not being sold. But why? No response from Lymington and Pennington Town Council, no response from owners, no response from licensee, one response in support from local councillor weeding the car park. ‘Leave to market forces…’ comment from another. Unless officer visited on a Monday music night he would have seen few people… No matter.

Sub-Committees formed from varied lists of volunteers, Maintenance and Garden at the top. Three weeks later, including days arguing about various shades of green, dedicated volunteers have focused and worked intensely and skilfully. Small bar and toilets painting complete, smart, inviting and attractive.

Weeds disappear, hedge starts to shrink, bricks appear for car park wall, timber for fencing. Not just manual volunteers, local businesses both small and large digging deeply and generously to supply free of charge materials, the community uniting. Saturday morning, small armies of cleaners, on hands and knees scrubbing, polishing, steaming, dusting. Cobwebs and leaves banished, grease dissolved, mountains of junk rehomed in sheds or carted off in the sunset.

Then big challenge number one. Enter the lawyers! Money, money, loadsamoney. Umm! Gulp! Up front, now or nothing is done. Bank account three to six weeks to open, bizarre! Cannot issue shares as nowhere to put money. Don’t be shy, ask. We offer loans as well as want shares.

Huge up-front sums demanded by solicitors covered in less than two days by generous, interest free loans; then the wait for action. Four to six weeks now to wait before lease can be signed. To follow the next chapter of our story, visit the Facebook page Wheel Inn (Pennington) Community Group, answer three simple questions to confirm you have a genuine interest and then you are on board. Or wait for the Spring issue of Hop Press!

Competition Crossword Hop Press index

QUETZALCOATL (download printable pdf version here)

Crossword Grid

1.  Seafaring hunter/gatherer races with US general (9)
6.  Name jibes are still man/money centric (5)
9.  Nearly endless labour takes time (5)
10.  Knighting top men with no rich gems (9)
11.  Eastleigh workhorse or Cornish myth? (4,6)
12.  Within a tocsin echoes an antique tax (4)
14.  Storm ripped a party (7)
15.  Buried tombs! They spook Greta regularly (7)
17.  Short Latin 9, expands – elementary! (7)
19.  Lob over clothes, all I use for college (7)
20.  Stygian shade starts in no known year (4)
22.  Way to drop hints, or any words … (2,8)
25.  Oasis or The Smiths maybe? Di, Ben and I might form one! (5,4)
26.  Some certain nerve needed for a good(ish) shot (5)
27.  Nosiness not even Noah’s tally has (5)
28.  Gut’s reaction to gin dies off! (9)
1.  Bottle full (as sake) evenly drained (5)
2.  Colder sun spawns an evil character (9)
3.  Asia and the EU mix, Ed goes, dying to order (10)
4.  Home star (Cockney?) plays to acclaim (7)
5.  Peerless Tudor palace Hun’s con ruined (7)
6.  Black, ugly bump? One starts seeing a plague sign! (4)
7.  Lilac weaving? 50 to 1 you’re hippy (5)
8.  Manly knight reported Auden’s GPO plug (5,4)
13.  Slips I link to play antique game (10)
14.  Battle planner? Can I act it out? (9)
16.  Signs laid out on violin score (9)
18.  Nominally Keynesian and army style (7)
19.  Beast not to cross if up in Cambridge (7)
21.  In sudoku do solvers get much credit? (5)
23.  Soldiers in wrong-doing – alarm! (5)
24.  Man’s town strip? (4)

Prizes to the first two correct entries drawn. Closing date: 31st December 2017.

Send to:

The Editor, Hop Press, 1 Surbiton Road, Eastleigh, Hants. SO50 4HY

Issue 82 (Spring 2017) Solution & Winners

Crossword Answers

Another good entry for this edition, 25, although 5 unfortunately had single word, indeed mostly single letter, errors. Four of which were in 26 across (DONNE) mostly homophonic DUNNE but one DANTE curiously crept in!

Winners, drawn from the hat, for this edition:

Paul Garside, Southampton
Neil Mort, Hythe

The other eighteen correct solvers were:
Nigel Cook Rod Cross
Philip Doughty Simon Gunther
Norman Hurl Keith Jones
Ash Mather R S Milligan
Chris Neave Mark Nichols
Tim Parkinson Nigel Parsons
Jeff Phillips Ron Poole
Harvey Saunders Martin Sirl
Trevor Smith J H Sprenger

Available Now: Hop Press index

2018 GBG cover

CAMRA's Good Beer Guide is fully revised and updated each year and features pubs across the United Kingdom that serve the best real ale. Now in its 45th edition, this pub guide is completely independent, with listings based entirely on nomination and evaluation by CAMRA members. This means you can be sure that every one of the 4,500 pubs deserves its place, and that they all come recommended by people who know a thing or two about good beer.

Published 14 September 2017, available from leading bookshops or on-line from: www.camra.org.uk/camra-books

This edition of The Good Beer Guide is sponsored by Cask Marque and is edited by Roger Protz, a campaigner, broadcaster and the author of over 25 books about beer and brewing, he appears regularly on radio and TV and contributes to the Guardian and the Publican's Morning Advertiser. In 2015, Roger gained a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Independent Brewers SIBA.

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Hop Press issue number 83 – Autumn 2017

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