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Issue 84 – Spring 2018
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EDITORIAL Hop Press index

Writing this, I suddenly notice the date, March 16, the day before St Patrick’s Day, and realise that it is exactly forty-seven years to the day since CAMRA was founded, in a remote western Irish pub.

In the near half-century since then the Campaign has achieved much (though with that usual caveat of all active bodies: ‘with much left to do!’). From the founding membership of 4, within a year 5000 had enlisted to the cause and within two years the first Great British Beer Festival and the first Good Beer Guide were in planning.

Campaigning targets fell fast: the Red Revolution (how many even recall it?) was in full retreat, Double Diamond no longer worked any wonders and Tankard had tanked. By the mid-80s CAMRA was being described as ‘the most successful consumer organisation in Europe.’

Now, in 2018, with our membership at a record 191,000 we have achieved a new endorsement, this time from our own parliament. The Role of Research in the UK Parliament which is published by the Houses of Parliament puts the Campaign, for the first time, in the top ten of its most frequently used sources.

Staggeringly, CAMRA, at number ten on the list, is above such organisations as the TUC, the European Commission, even the Office of Budget Responsibility and the Bank of England!

Towards the end of February, London’s brewing giant, Fullers of Chiswick – well represented with numerous outlets in our area – announced that they have bought the entire brewing operation of West Sussex’s famous Dark Star brewery. No sum has been publicly announced.

Unlike the takeover of Gales a few years ago, in this instance they have not bought Dark Star’s tied houses (only four we believe), these will continue to be run by the present management as a separate pub company. Fullers also state that they will continue, and invest to enhance, production at the Partridge Green site and that it will continue to be run substantially ‘as is’, however, fears are said to be circulating in the workforce, of sweeping changes ahead.

Whilst we have a natural aversion to small fry being swept up in the food chain of the bigger beasts, there is no question that this acquisition will enhance the Fuller’s beer portfolio. Dark Star have a notably modern reputation for hoppy, transatlantic styles not really well represented in the current Fuller’s offering; the beers should fit very well. We look forward to a pint of Hophead or APA on our next visit to a Fuller’s pub.

January saw changes in Downton at the Hop Back brewery when founder, John Gilbert, announced his retirement. It was in 1986 that he sold his house and invested in a corner pub, the Wyndham Arms, in Salisbury, and almost at once began brewing beers there to join the still-continuing explosive growth of new cask-ale breweries that CAMRA’s efforts had triggered. Early on a significant addition to the national beer scene came with the production of the first ‘golden ale’, Summer Lightning, a style of beer that has since become emulated by countless other brewers of all sizes.

In 1991 the brewery also started expanding its pub estate with number two, the Waterloo in Southampton. This was beyond the capacity of the tiny plant at the Wyndham so operations were moved to a larger site at the Downton Industrial Estate.

The company now serves ten tied pubs and produces seven regular beers plus many other seasonal varieties. This success story will now continue under the control of head brewer Steve Wright and managing director Paul Sullivan although John will not relax entirely as he retains a post as non-executive chair of the company board.

At the end of March, CAMRA issued this press release, lamenting the on-going plight of our pubs, still closing at 18 per week:

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is calling for a new deal for pubs in response to fresh data which reveals 18 pubs are being lost each week. The consumer group says that urgent action is needed to cut the tax burden placed on pubs.

Pubs are being hit hard by a triple whammy of one of the highest rates of beer duty across Europe, rapidly rising business rates and VAT. A third of the cost of a pub pint is now made up of various taxes.

While temporary business rate relief and a beer duty freeze have been welcome, CAMRA is calling on the Government to implement a fundamental review of the tax system. Britain’s departure from the European Union provides new opportunities to support pubs, such as the potential for lower rates of tax for draught beer sold in pubs.

Colin Valentine, CAMRA’s National Chairman says: “Pubs are now facing a crippling tax burden, exacerbated by the perfect storm of the last business rates revaluation and a high level of beer duty. From these new pub closure figures, it is clear that a fundamental change is needed if the British pub is to survive for future generations.

“As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, the Government has a unique opportunity to update the tax system to better support pubs, which are a bastion of British culture and at the heart of communities across the country.

“We can now look further afield for a new tax deal for the sector. This could include implementing the Australian model of having a lower rate of duty for beer sold in pubs, radically changing the business rates system, or charging a lower rate of VAT for pubs or, even better, all three.

“Millions of dedicated pub-goers are looking to the Government to act now to secure the future of the great British pub. We’re now challenging the Government to be the most pro-pub in history by seizing this opportunity.”

How many readers have heard of the Pubs Code (which has been in force since July 2016) and the Pubs Code Adjudicator (Paul Newby) who was appointed to oversee it? The answer is very probably not many, even including our contingent of licensee readers.

In a spooky echo of Thatcher’s 1989 ‘Beer Orders,’ to curb the power of the big six brewers (Allied, Bass, Courage, Grand Metropolitan, S & N and Whitbread), the Pubs Code is intended to control the landlords’ rights of the big six pubcos! Those very companies, defined as having more than 500 leased pubs, that were in some cases directly created as a ruse to nullify the Beer Orders… Currently they are: Admiral, Ei, Greene King, Marston, Punch and Star.

Just as a key intention of the Beer Orders was to allow brewery-tied licensees the right to introduce ‘guest beers’ so a key idea of the Pubs Code is to give pubco leaseholders the right to opt to buy their beers on the open market and just lease the building from the pubco – the so-called MRO (Market-Rent- Only) option. The principal task of the adjudicator being to ensure fair play in setting these MROs. But, it will not surprise many to learn that Mr. Newby has not found it easy going in his job. Several MPs are calling for him to be replaced by someone who will be tougher on the pubcos, whom they accuse of being both devious and obstructive in negotiations for the relatively few MRO applications that have so far been adjudicated.

Among the complaints that the MPs have made, a persistent one is that the pubcos are, in many cases of MRO application, insisting on drawing up new leases instead of simply offering ‘deeds of variation’, – thus giving them the opportunity to greatly alter many terms, unrelated to the beer supply, and to the leaseholder’s detriment. The Code is intended to forbid this, but it is still commonly happening.

Another serious complaint was that the fees from assessors were exceptionally high and Mr Newby drew direct personal criticism for having a conflict of interest by being a shareholder in one of the county’s major pub valuation companies (Fleurets).

A motion outlining the alleged failings of the Code and calling for Mr Newby to be replaced was debated and passed at the end of January but to date he is still in post.

Want to contact us? Hop Press index

The Southern Hampshire Branch of CAMRA has some seventeen hundred members and is run by an elected committee. Our print and pdf versions have a snapshot of their specific responsibilities. For a live version please see our 'Contacts' section - www.shantscamra.org.uk/contacts

Pub News Hop Press index

Rob Whatley


Steam Town Brew Co
Steam Town Brew Co, Eastleigh

The Steam Town Brew Co, in Bishopstoke Road, opened to the public on 30 November. At least four real ales are on offer. At first these were all from guest, mainly local, breweries. As a result of the successful busy opening period brewing on the premises began slightly later than planned. The first in-house beer, a 3.7% Citra Pale, went on sale in February. It is planned to have two regular beers on offer from the in-house brewery along with seasonal and one-off specials. Customers can see the brewery from part of the extensive bar area that hosts a variety of furniture, including some seating re-purposed from their previous use in first-class railway carriages.

In the town centre’s High Street, there have been suggestions that the former JKS wine bar may reopen as a new venture. It has been closed since autumn 2014.

Chandler’s Ford

A quick hop on the train brings us to another new opening, the Steel Tank Ale House in Chandler’s Ford Precinct. The name comes from rhyming slang for bank, the previous use of the premises by HSBC. It has a plate glass frontage and is furnished with laminate flooring, industrial chic steel and wood tables and a recycled wood bar. There are eight handpumps, six for beer and two for cider.

Further along Bournemouth Road, plans have been announced for a new 153-bedroom Village Hotel, including a bar, on a site next to Asda. If it follows the pattern of another of the chain in Farnborough don’t expect anything other than national keg brands to be available. Across the road into Valley Park, permission has been granted for various changes to entrances and lobbies at the Cleveland Bay.

Potters Heron - before the fire
Potters Heron - before the fire

As we go to print, on the northern edge, at Ampfield, probably everyone will have seen the dramatic TV pictures of the catastrophic thatch fire at the Potters Heron hotel. Too soon to know the outcome yet but when it burnt down in 1966 it took 3 years to rebuild!... [editor's note - it reopened a week later; the fire-fighters skilfully confined the damage to the thatch.]


Continuing west brings us to Romsey, where general manager Tim George recently celebrated 25 years at the Luzborough. Tim has gradually worked his way up to his current position and as the pub only began trading in May 1986 he has been working there for more than three quarters of the entire time it has been open.

In the town itself, the Tipsy Pig (formerly the William IV) celebrated the first anniversary of its opening in December.

The Phoenix is under new ownership and new manager Hannah Bradbury took over the reins in the autumn. An application for illuminated and non-illuminated signage has been granted by Romsey planners.

Work has started on the refurbishment of the Abbey Hotel, which has been closed for more than two years.

In the last edition we mentioned that a planning application for letting bedrooms at the Cromwell Arms had been withdrawn. A new application was subsequently submitted by owners Fullers to double the number of letting rooms from 10 to 20. A lean-to storeroom will be demolished thus reducing the overall footprint. Campaign group, the Romsey and District Society, were broadly in favour of the plans but did have concerns that some rooms would overlook neighbouring properties and that there was insufficient parking. Permission has been granted subject to conditions, including the type of building materials to be used on this listed building.


On the southern outskirts of the Test Valley district, a planning application has been submitted for structural alterations to the Four Horseshoes. If granted, the skittle alley/function room would be demolished and replaced by a single storey extension.


Dog and Crook
Dog and Crook, Braishfield

To the north of Romsey, in January the freehold of the Dog and Crook at Braishfield was advertised for sale at £795,000. Also in the village, an application has been submitted for a single storey extension to the Wheatsheaf.


Nearby in Timsbury, the Malthouse, on the main road, has applied for planning permission to resurface the car park.


Work is under way on the Fox and Hounds (closed since 2015) which now belongs to the same independent owners as the Bugle in Twyford. They are hoping for a ‘late spring’ opening; up-to-date information will appear on the Bugle’s website.


For the second year, MPs were invited to recommend local entrants for the ‘Parliamentary Pub Chef of the Year’ contest. Romsey and Southampton North MP Caroline Nokes nominated Ryan Lamb from the Tally Ho. Ryan got through from a nation-wide field to the last four but just missed out on the top prize. There were over 130 entrants in the British Beer and Pub Association organised competition, which was won by Kevin MacLean of the Good Beer Guide listed, Rat Inn, near Hexham, Northumberland.


Also getting a mention in the same competition was Greens in Jewry Street. Winchester born and bred head chef James Swaffield was nominated by local MP Steve Brine. Next door, just after we went to press with the last edition, the second Overdraft micro-pub was opened by the owners of the bar with the same name in Shirley. The setup is similar to the one in Southampton, with real ales served direct from the cask, but also with the addition of food, a selection of tacos, being available.

Opposite, on the corner of Jewry Street and St George’s Street, a new outlet for the Turtle Bay Caribbean restaurant and bar chain has opened in what was the Toni & Guy hair salon.

Froggies Bar
Froggies Bar, Winchester

In Southgate Street, an application has been made to extend the permitted opening hours at the Exchange from 11.00pm to midnight on Friday and Saturday evenings. Nearby the Froggies Bar/La Place in Great Minster Street, near the Old Vine, closed in January.

Also closed, after trading for 10 years is El Sabio tapas bar in Eastgate Street. Many readers will recall it fondly as the Mash Tun when it belonged briefly to Ringwood Brewery. Readers of a greater age may even know it as Courage’s Lawn Tavern, one-time home to a cat fond of gin and orange!

Wykeham Arms diversion
Wykeham Arms – diversion!

Despite being one of the best-known pubs in the county, the Wykeham Arms seemed be getting some additional help to encourage custom. During recent road works with traffic diversions one of the signs appeared to be urging passers-by in the direction of the welcoming pub door:

Directly opposite, on the other side of Kingsgate Street, we note that the owners of the Wykeham, Fullers, have applied for a licence for ‘St George’s Tea Rooms.’

The Red Cat Brewery (on the Winnall Industrial Estate) has won the Gold award in the porter class of CAMRA’s Winter Beer of Britain contest held at the festival in Norwich.


Ashley Levett, the owner of the English Partridge (perhaps better known to many as the Three Horseshoes) has applied for permission to build a house in the grounds. He claims that building the three-bedroom house would improve the viability of the struggling pub and would not involve any loss of parking for the pub customers.

Bush Inn
Bush Inn, Ovington


The 17th century Bush Inn at Ovington has reopened after being forced to close following a fire in November. Fortunately, swift action by manager Carlos Dias restricted the damaged caused by the fire, which started in the kitchen.


The paper edition of Hop Press has an erroneous entry for the Mitchell and Butler owned Old Forge at Otterbourne. In fact we have no news; the item should have referred to the Shedfield pub. Apologies to Mitchell and Butler, and the Old Forge, Otterbourne.


An application has been submitted to demolish and replace the entrance lobby and enlarge the toilet facilities at the Old Forge (Shedfield, not Otterbourne!).

Horton Heath

Work continues in advance of the reopening of the Lapstone in Horton Heath. An application has been submitted to extend the bar area and add to the toilet facilities. Additional car park space is among the other changes requested.

Netley Abbey

The future of the Netley Grange is unclear after it was sold by owners Greene King. Greene King had hardly had time to give it a fair crack of the whip, having only acquired it themselves in 2016. The pub closed at the end of January and some signage has been removed but it has now been taken on by Southampton based property developers Questmap. Peter Harding, of Questmap, has said that they intend to keep ‘a smaller pub’ on the site and convert the rest to family housing. No one will be surprised if at some stage this later becomes a request for demolition and full housing development…

Old Netley

Plough, Old Netley

We mentioned in the last edition the possibility of new homes being built on land behind the Plough in Portsmouth Road, Old Netley. Owners Hall and Woodhouse claim that selling the land for housing would raise funds to improve the pub. An application was submitted for 48 houses to be built, 17 of which were ‘affordable homes’ but the application was subsequently withdrawn.

Southampton: Bitterne

An application to build 10 three-bedroomed homes on the site of the Big Cheese in Bitterne has been rejected by city planners. The Bitterne Brewery Action Group is still hoping that the pub can be owned and run by the local community.

An application for a seating area in front of the Red Lion in the precinct was granted.

Southampton: Woolston

An application to convert the former Ship Inn, Victoria Road, Woolston into three flats has been rejected by city planners. Reasons for the decision included: ‘the proposed accommodation providing poor living conditions, inadequate parking and the loss of the pub as a community facility’.

Passing under the bridge, the Yacht Tavern has undergone a £50,000 refit that is being overseen by new landlady Tara Jepson. Back on Portsmouth Road, the Three Sisters bar, mentioned in the last issue, has now opened. Real ale is not available, but customers have a choice of a variety of boxed ‘real’ ciders.

Southampton: Docks area

Crossing the Itchen, the Frog and Frigate in Canute Road has added a theatre area on the first floor. John Gober’s comic drama, Bouncers, was the opening performance and there will be regular stand up comedy nights. Continuing west, an application to establish a first-floor roof terrace drinking area at the Platform Tavern was withdrawn. However, a rooftop bar has opened at the new £25m Harbour Hotel.

Southampton: High Street and Kingsland

Ferryman and Firkin
Ferryman and Firkin, Southampton

The Ferryman and Firkin, which closed in 2009, is due to provide eight flats on the first and second floors. A little further up the road, the site of the former Walkabout, which later traded as Wahoo and Elements before closing in 2013, is to be converted to a 120-bedroom block of student flats. The façade will be retained while a five-storey building is constructed to the rear.

Another conversion to flats is the premises that were for a while occupied by Notes café/ bar. Close by in Palmerston Road, the Lord Palmerston has at last been put out of its misery. Following six previous rejected planning applications permission has now been granted to create 10 flats on the site.

Premises to the east of the Bargate are now closed and boarded up as demolition leads to the construction of a new complex of shops, restaurants and accommodation. Readers of a certain vintage will recall that the area was at one time home to the Coopers Brewery. It was taken over by Watneys in 1943 and brewing ceased in the 1950s, with few mourning its demise.

Southampton: Above Bar

One of the premises to close in the Bargate area was Mettricks. As one outlet closes another opens, as the Mettricks management have opened a joint venture with Nuffield Southampton Theatres. The restaurant is named Tyrrells after the department store (Tyrrell and Green) that once stood on the site of the new arts complex. A little to the south a snooker hall and sports bar is expected to open in what was the Savoy Taylor’s Guild.

Not far away, a Revolution de Cuba cocktail bar and nightclub is due to open in what was once Lloyds Bank and Millets on the corner of Above Bar Street and Civic Centre Road.

Almost opposite, what was Ebb & Flow, and before that Que Pasa, is now One-o-Four (after the venue’s address) and is described as a ‘Cocktail and Lounge Bar.’ The two handpumps were not in use when we visited.

An application for a premises licence has been granted for 37-39 London Road, to be known as Common Rooms. It was previously the home of Chalk Valley Farm and Kitchen, which closed towards the end of last year. The new venture, to be run by Dan Mayer, was due to open in March.

London Road Brew House
London Road Brew House, Southampton

In December the London Road Brew House held an event where water and beef or chicken flavoured Snuffle Dog Beer were the drinks of choice for many of the attendees. The customers were trendy fashion accessory pugs, whose owners were encouraged to bring them along for a pop-up event, a trend that appears to have spread south from London. Money was raised for dog welfare charities.

Southampton: Bevois Valley

Moving from one area popular with younger customers to another, Clowns-Jesters in Bevois Valley has been put up for sale by owners Lynda and Peter Green. They say they wish to give up the business after some 30 years and that their children are not interested in taking over the business. The asking price is £1.6m. (As an aside, we wonder how often this situation is likely to arise in the coming years as the owners of breweries that were founded in the 80’s and 90’s wish to step back from being involved in the business full time.)

Southampton: Portswood

We learn of an application to open a micropub called the Crafty Fox in what was previously Costa in Portswood, on the corner of the Broadway and Westridge Road. In earlier times would it have been called the ‘Quick Brown Fox’?

Southampton: Bassett/Highfield

An application to build two four-bedroomed, detached houses on land to the rear of the former Stoneham Arms in Bassett Green Road, which is now a Co-op store, has been rejected by city planners.

In Highfield Lane, the Brewhouse and Kitchen home-brew pub (formerly the Highfield and for a spell the Goat), as part of a national chain of some seventeen similar establishments, received the distinction of sharing in two awards at this year’s Morning Advertiser’s Publican Awards Ceremony: best managed small pub chain of under 50 houses and best managed pub employer of under 500 staff. Also, at the same ceremony, Fullers, with houses throughout our area were awarded the best managed pub chain of over 50 houses accolade.

Southampton: St Denys

The Dolphin in St Denys is under new management. On our visit Doom Bar was the only real ale on offer. Meanwhile, next to St Denys station, the well-known South Western Arms closed suddenly without warning in early March. The Ei owned pub has since appeared on their website in the leases for sale section.

Southampton: Shirley

Clockwork, Shirley

A more enticing range of beers has been on offer at Clockwork, which opened in Shirley Road next to Puccini restaurant in February. There are five handpumps serving locally brewed beers. The décor is unlike most other new local micro pubs with well padded seating and a blue, grey and white colour scheme. The massive light fittings from the previous Chinese restaurant have been retained and in keeping with the bar name there is a large clockwork stencil on one wall and cogs inlayed into the bar top. It is run by Steve Pitts and Andy Dubber who used to work at Aviva.

Southampton: Redbridge

Permission has been granted for the retention of garden seating at the Ship Inn, Redbridge. A condition was that the brick and slate seating area was sufficiently distant from the listed building.


The railway into the Forest brings us to Sway, where the Silver Hind still has an uncertain future. We reported in the last edition that owners Carol and Andy Cottingham had applied to demolish the pub and replace it with four houses. That application was rejected by National Park planners and in an unexpected development, members of Sway Social Club have expressed an interest in purchasing the pub following unsuccessful bids to develop the Jubilee Fields Pavilion. As we write, the latest development is a new application, this time for two rather than three dwellings.


A little to the east, the Red Lion, Boldre was the final stop in a country-wide trek undertaken by Kayleigh Snell and Paul Tyack. In September 2015 the Oxfordshire couple set out to visit the more than 600 Red Lion pubs. They chose the Boldre venue to be the last on the list after considering the availability of accommodation, the location and that it would be “cosy in the winter”. They got a warm welcome from landlady Amanda Pountney, who congratulated them on raising £2,000 for the charity Pulmonary Hypertension UK. The couple, who are getting married later this year, are considering a new challenge. There are only some 450 Royal Oaks (second commonest pub name), so that should be a piece of cake…


Moving to the centre of Lymington, the Boson’s Chair, close to the railway station, reopened in December following an extensive refurbishment.

On the outskirts of town, permission has been granted for a change of use of a former dairy building at the Walhampton Arms, which will create five letting bedrooms. Plans were also submitted to site two static caravans for staff accommodation, but that application was later withdrawn.

The Borough Arms is under the new management of Carl and Debbie Millward, who took over in December. The pub has been refurbished and there are plans for a major refit in the coming months. Carl and Debbie had previously run the Royal Oak, in Downton for three years.


Brockenhurst Brewery pump clip
Brockenhurst Brewery
Wheel Inn at Bowling Green
Wheel Inn at Bowling Green

We are delighted to report that the Wheel Inn, Bowling Green, Pennington reopened on 12 March. Our last edition outlined how money had been raised and local support garnered to reopen this pub as a community venture. For opening night the pub had three local ales: Ringwood Razorback (under its ‘proper’ Best Bitter name), Winchester’s Red Cat Scratch and a beer from the very new and very close Brockenhurst Brewery, Smokin Deer. The manager and head chef is Phil Beckett, who has many years’ experience in the trade. A great deal of work has gone into the smartening up of the pub. The beechwood flooring in the bar area comes from the former Lymington Squash Club while the display area behind the bar was made from timber reclaimed from the former Oak and Yaffle pub in Ashley.

Elsewhere in Pennington, after 13 years Eric Light has given up the tenancy of the Musketeer to concentrate on running his other pub, the Salmon Leap at Totton. To mark his contribution to the local community Eric was presented with an award by the Town Council. The new faces behind the bar are Cherry and Cliff Cole.


After suffering a chimney fire at the Crown Manor Hotel in the High Street, Lyndhurst, firefighters had to take apart a mantelpiece to make the premises safe. The future of another hotel in the town, the Lyndhurst Park, which closed in 2014, has still to be decided. Following an initial rebuff in January 2017, in December National Park planners rejected a second application to replace the hotel with 75 retirement apartments and 15 ‘affordable homes.’

Hourglass, New Milton

New Milton

After a prolonged gestation, the Hourglass, New Milton opened in December. The Station Road micropub is run by a team of partners including Clair Penton, Jake Priestley and Leah Plummer. Vibrant Forest beers will feature regularly, alongside other real ales and ciders.

We began with a venue, Steam Town Brew Co, that has an unusual range of seating and, not to be outdone, the Hourglass has seating made from pallets, oil drums and church pews, alongside some more conventional styles.

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

Southampton Beer Festival 2018 Hop Press index

Southampton’s longest bar with the largest selection of beers returns as the annual CAMRA Southampton Beer Festival 2018 on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th June. Building on the feedback and successes of last year’s event it will be bigger and better than ever.

This year we will be featuring a vast range of up to 100 real ales and craft beers, 30 ciders and perries, and a range of exciting and vibrant international bottled beers. The success of the beer and brewery choices from last year, with some of the beers being so popular they sold out within the first two sessions, has led us to look for more one-off beers, collaborations brews, and beers from up and coming ‘craft’ breweries, alongside the more established local and national breweries and microbreweries.

Last year we featured national beers such as Wiper and True’s Milkshake Stout, Thornbridge’s Lord Marples, and Tiny Rebel’s Juicy; more local beers including Dark Revolution’s Elevation, Vibrant Forest’s Kaleidoscope, and Dancing Man’s Big Casino; and one-off and collaboration beers, featuring Eight Arch with Dancing Man’s Lime and the Coconut, and Fallen Acorn with the Butcher’s Brew Club’s Yakima Nox. London Road Brew House was awarded our customer-voted ‘Beer of the Festival’ for their Black Panther Imperial Stout.

Cider drinkers weren’t left behind at last year’s festival, with a diverse range which included Dorset Star’s Stargazer, Wise Owl’s Dry, and the customer-voted ‘Cider of the Festival’, Westcroft’s Janet’s Jungle Juice. This year we will be matching last year’s selection, with a choice of up to 30 real ciders and perries.

The success of Belgium and Blues’ bottle bar has meant we have welcomed them back with open arms again this year: not only helping to supply and staff their own festival bar serving a range of the most exciting international bottled beers, but in sponsoring the stage and helping to source Saturday afternoon’s entertainment – Adam Sweet, a blues guitarist and vocalist from Dorset, and The Junco Shakers, a Southampton based skiffle/blues/roots act.

One of the key aspects of planning this year’s festival has been reviewing and listening to all our customer’s feedback from last year. The vast majority of this feedback was very positive, but we also received genuinely constructive criticism which has helped to ensure this year’s festival will give all patrons a better experience.

The feedback on the choice and type of food on offer has helped to direct the venue to offer a new and much improved menu, reflecting the change from the quick bite expected during the half-time period of a football match, to a ‘gourmet’ choice intended to match the high quality of beer on offer. This year’s menu is much bigger and will include: Thai green chicken curry, Thai red vegetable curry, a hog roast, gourmet burger (in brioche bun), jacket potatoes with choice of filling, falafel burger, home-made sausage rolls, and something we are always asked for – chips. We were also asked to bring back the ‘quiet’ session, which this year will be on Friday afternoon, and all sessions will have a ‘quiet’ seating area.

The entertainment has also been selected based on customer feedback and requests, and we are pleased to announce the following acts will perform during the festival: the Trav Cats, (a six piece old time skiffle/folk band mixed with a raucous electric lead, playing unique versions of classics and their own written songs) will be playing on the Friday evening; Adam Sweet and the Junco Shakers on the Saturday afternoon; and The Johnson Van Dykes (performing an impressive and eclectic repertoire of dusty old 60’s classics, right through to today’s chart toppers, including songs by T-Rex, Pulp, The Pixies, Elvis Costello, and The Rolling Stones) are performing on the Saturday evening.

A further request has been to bring back the ‘festival theme.’ Following on from previous festival themes such as the centenary of the Battle of Jutland, and the six centuries since Agincourt, we are pleased to help celebrate an important part of the history of Southampton as the theme of this year’s festival. This will be seen in the 2018 festival logo, the selection of the festival charity, and even a beer being brewed for the festival. The theme will be announced closer to the festival to keep customers guessing!

One of the questions we have been asked is the possibility of bringing the festival back to the Guildhall. Unfortunately, due to rising costs and an ever-increasing attendance, this has not been currently possible without dramatically increasing the price of the festival ticket and reducing numbers who can attend the festival. The feedback from the customers asked showed us this was a compromise they would not accept. Prior to committing to St Mary’s, we undertook an extensive search for suitable venues which can give space to allow for a large number of attendees and store the beers on offer, while being easy to reach, provide festival access for all, and allow for greater number of seats. The stadium fully met and exceeded this brief, as well as providing a cool, spacious and modern environment, with plenty of toilets, and it also meant we could keep the price of the festival tickets in line to previous festivals.

This year we will be selling tickets earlier, making it suitable to purchase tickets as gifts and helping to reduce the last-minute ticket rush. Tickets will be on sale from mid to late March, and will be available from Bitter Virtue, Belgium and Blues, Caskaway, The Guide Dog, St Mary’s stadium (ideal for pick up after the match), and through the festival website: www.southamptonbeerfestival.org.uk

Tickets are priced at £6 for the Friday afternoon session, £10 for the Friday evening, £9 for Saturday afternoon, and £7 for the closing Saturday evening session. Alongside all the beer, cider and entertainment, we are also welcoming back a range of stalls, including Odd Fellows Chocolates, and the popular Olive and Things.

So, come and celebrate the longest bar in Southampton and sample the largest selection of beers, ciders, and bottled beers available in the city this June at CAMRA’s Southampton Beer Festival 2018.

Micros’ Magic Elixir? Hop Press index

Despite the continuing, doleful news of pub closures, underlined in the recent press release from CAMRA mentioned in this issue’s Editorial, there is a seam of good news still to be won by the diligent prospector.

Locally, over the last four years, we have seen a truly game-changing development of the micro-pub concept. Our first, the Butcher’s Hook at the Bitterne Triangle opened in February 2014 and was followed by two more in 2015, the Bookshop Alehouse in Portswood and the Overdraft in Shirley

Throughout 2016 the exponential growth continued with four more, three in the city: Olaf’s Tun, the first east of the river, in Woolston, Caskaway in Oxford Street and the Tramstop in Portswood and then, significantly, including the first, Romsey’s Tipsy Pig, outside of the city of Southampton.

Into last year, 2017, the growth continued; in the city the Witches’ Brew became the second in Shirley and other – not quite micro styles – were appearing, such as the food/cider oriented Stable and the café/bar style Belgian and Blues both in the Above Bar area. Crucially however, micros were now spreading widely outside of our main city – Eastleigh (Steam Town Brew Co), Chandlers Ford (Steel Tank), Milford on Sea (Wash House) and even the ancient (expensive) streets of Winchester acquired another Overdraft, sibling to the Shirley original. 2018 is showing no let up in the rush to apply for premises certificates, Shirley High Street has just got a third, Clockwork and New Milton also has a somewhat similarly time inspired, Hourglass. Portswood meanwhile is still awaiting decision on its next at the Crafty Fox in the Broadway.

The striking feature of this development’s direction is the tremendous range of beers being offered to the public; not just the variety from the many new small brewers but, especially, the many totally new styles, alien to the UK. Senior drinkers amongst us find it quite extraordinary to be able to stroll down a city street and have a pint of a black IPA in the first bar, a white stout in a second and a red American ale in a third!

Three factors, all stemming from Government, combined to produce this happy conjunction: Firstly, the Beer Orders, inspired in part by our campaigning for guest beers, produced the unexpected result of creating the pubcos who then ‘owned’ an over-indebted pub stock leading to the continuing rush of disposals. Second was Gordon Brown’s enactment of the graduated beer duty, a huge stimulus to the explosive growth in breweries; a European idea that we had long urged. The most vital third factor was the 2003 Licensing Act, taking the granting of licences away from the entrenched, very restrictive, values of the magistracy and, crucially, incorporating a ‘presumption to grant’ ethos.

CAMRA likes to imagine it had at least a small part of this story, much like chaos theory’s Brazilian butterfly initiating the hurricane over the Caribbean we can feel a satisfied glow sat in our favourite micro!

1978-2018 Hop Press index

Ringwood Brewery
Ringwood Brewery

2018 brings a notable anniversary to the brewing scene in Hampshire – forty years since the founding of the county’s current biggest brewer, Ringwood.

In 1978, Peter Austin, who was head brewer at the Hull Brewery, might well at 57, have been contemplating retirement – especially as the Hull Brewery had just been taken over by the Northern Foods conglomerate. But, to the great good fortune of Hampshire’s (and the world’s) beer drinkers, he decided to go it alone, although moving to Hampshire also allowed indulgence in his other passion, the sea and small boats.

Beeching’s short-sighted reign of pillage had left Ringwood without a rail connection but consequently rich in property so a (then) very unusual business – a micro-brewery – sprung up in premises at Minty’s Yard, next to the abandoned station. Best Bitter and Fortyniner were brewed from the start, the following year Old Thumper was added and, in the winter of 1980, the XXXX Porter.

Growing continually, the old railway location was at saturation within a few years and the operation moved, but only a few hundred yards, to its present site on Christchurch Road in 1986. This was the former site of another brewery, Tunks, but as they had closed in 1821, there was little chance of comparing and contrasting any brews!

After just two years on the new site the Old Thumper was voted CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Britain for 1988. Several decades of continued growth passed until suddenly, in 2007, the beers entered the national arena when the entire operation was bought, for some £19m, by Midlands brewing giant Marston.

To mark the forty years since Ringwood’s first brew an anniversary ale is being brewed this year: Seventy Eight, a 4.2% Golden Bitter, described as having: ‘a comforting malt flavour with a citrus hoppy finish.’ The first brew of Seventy Eight was initiated on March 6 and should be appearing on pub bars in the last week of March. Our front cover picture gives an indication of what to look out for on the bar after the beer is launched.

To round out the story, it is worth recalling that Peter lived to a grand age of 92, dying on New-Year’s Day 2014 and in the years after founding Ringwood he not only also founded SIBA (the Small Independent Brewer’s Association, now the Society of Independent Brewers) in 1980, and was its first chairman, but also advised and helped with advice in founding the staggering number of 140 other breweries, in 17 nations, and on four of the world’s continents!

Certainly an unquestioned claim to be the father of the micro-brewing revolution world-wide.

Pubs offering CAMRA discounts Hop Press index

There are many benefits to being a CAMRA member, one of which is 50p off a pint vouchers (40 per year) issued by Wetherspoon. Also, a number of other individual pubs in our area offer discounts to CAMRA members on production of their membership card. These, and the Wetherspoon pubs, are detailed below, plus they are all listed on our website at: shantscamra.org.uk/campaigns/pubdiscount. The list is believed to be accurate as we go to print (Late March 2018) but may of course change without notice. Please email errors or omissions to: pubs@shantscamra.org.uk
For current data see shantscamra.org.uk/campaigns/pubdiscount/

Outside of our branch area, pubs offering members’ discounts can always be easily checked for any region of the country on the WhatPub website.

By selecting first the geographical area, find the list of all pubs and then just select the ‘member discount scheme’ in the features list, all that remain on screen will be those offering discounts. For example, with London as a search area, WhatPub claims 1692 pubs are open selling real ale with 178 of them offering a CAMRA discount.


Steam Town Brew Co. - 50p off per real ale pint Sunday, Monday and Tuesday
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
Six Bells, Lymington – Wetherspoon


Three Tuns, Romsey - 10% off cask and guest keg beers


Admiral Sir Lucius Curtis, Canute Road – Wetherspoon
Bar Marina, Bitterne - 50p off per pint of cask ale
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
Standing Order, High Street – Wetherspoon

Winchester and North-East

Alfie’s, Winchester - 10% off per pint of cask ale
Bridge Inn, Shawford - 10% discount
Old Gaolhouse, Winchester - Wetherspoon
Overdraft, Winchester – 10% off all beers
Wykeham Arms, Winchester - 10% off real ales 3.30-7.30 Sunday to Thursday

Competition Crossword Hop Press index

Please note that the printed version you may pick up in pubs, and any pdf versions downloaded before midday 29th April will have a mis-print in clue 28 across - 'mm' should read 'cm'.

QUETZALCOATL (download printable pdf version here)

Crossword Grid

Eight solutions, only partially clued, share a capital network.

1.  Audible court case changes sides improving wounds’ state (7)
5.  A hat to be envied by Greggs’ staff? (4,3)
9.  NCO at gallery prepares baby food (7)
10.  Wild western outpost James Stewart left in 1955 (7)
11.  Debone ice flows for good conduct (9)
12.  Dance – and maybe earn a bust? (5)
13.  Loud sounding (but ambivalent) poet (5)
15.  Ranch even Tonto wins oddly (5,4)
17.  Pillager (other ranks care!) (9)
19.  Reflect and expose antique fabulist (5)
22.  R and R in Le Havre? Not with HR’s say so! (5)
23.  Love of a party to divvy up supplies (9)
25.  Fabled away act he regularly enacted (7)
26.  She’ll be a genuine new cast member (7)
27.  Granny, anxious to be in the buff! (7)
28.  160,934 cm (approximately) (4,3)
1.  Landless Dutch gin with a birth-right? (7)
2.  Old warfare or old radio soap studies (7)
3.  Arabian old insurgents on TV quiz (5)
4.  Cut energy mix on quiet old vessel (5,4)
5.  Rhythmical bean? (5)
6.  In fantasyland Tia Maria runs free but ma’s out (9)
7.  Imp (tail first) twisted coil around (7)
8.  The blues now but green in a long time (7)
14.  Flab to keep one on the road? (5,4)
16.  Set mirror for IS philosophy (9)
17.  About fifty are paid to relive school (7)
18.  Eased out yet gripped by numbers (7)
20.  See C-in-C build an evidence-based world view (7)
21.  24’s dance arena in many medieval debates? (7)
23.  During Xmas hens are mighty pale! (5)
24.  Finally, cava can sandbag one well! (5)

Prizes to the first two correct entries drawn. Closing date: 1st June 2018.

Send to:

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

Issue 83 (Autumn 2017) Solution & Winners

Crossword Answers

A very good entry for this edition, 33, although 4 unfortunately had single word errors, two of which were in the four-letter 24 down (PEEL). 22 across, (BY ELLIPSIS, BY ELLIPSES) had both the singular and plural answers accepted as the clue was not specific.

Winners, drawn from the hat, for this edition:

Ron Poole, Southampton
Dave Walbridge, Whiteley

The other twenty-seven correct solvers were:
Ron Brading Jocelyn Britcher
Nigel Cook Rod Cross
Dave Ellison Martin Gardner
Paul Garside J E Green (St Albans)
Simon Gunther Stephen Harvey
Norman Hurl Keith Jones
Ash Mather R S Milligan
Gary Morse Neil Mort
Mark Nichols (Rugby) Howard Owen
Tim Parkinson Nigel Parsons
Jeff Phillips Rebecca Pink
Harvey Saunders Martin Sirl
Trevor Smith J H Sprenger
Robin Watkins (Poole)

A Close-Run Thing Hop Press index

The Guide Dog pub
Guide Dog – Pub of the Year 2018

As ever the new year brought the annual search for the branch’s ‘Pub of the Year’’

Initially every pub in the area is open for the 1700 or so local branch members to put forward in a general vote. Then, during February, the top four then go forward to a more intensive survey by a group of longstanding CAMRA members who score them against a series of nationally established guidelines – beer range and quality (obviously!) plus some other more general areas covering décor, furnishings, service, welcome, community focus, ambiance etc.

This year, after totalling the scores, the four finalists fell into an extraordinarily close grouping with just a couple of percent separating first from fourth - 217 to 222 - with the top pub, not for the first time, being the Guide Dog in Bevois Valley. The three runners-up (alphabetically) were the Bookshop Alehouse in Portswood near to Bevois Valley, Olaf’s Tun in Woolston and the Steam Town Brew Co. in Eastleigh, all of them in our ever-growing band of new micro-pubs

Well done everyone!

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Hop Press issue number 84 – Spring 2018

Editor: Pat O'Neill
1 Surbiton Road
SO50 4HY
023 8064 2246

© CAMRA Ltd. 2018