1Swale AleTHE FREE MAGAZINE OF SWALE CAMRA
Shipwrights Arms reopens after floodPage 7
Bottled Beer Tasting - our verdictPage 20
The Old Wine Vaults Rebranded Page 19
Heritage Micropub opens on the Isle of Sheppey
2********SWALE CAMRA PUB OF THE YEAR 2013********
The Three Hats Welsh Beer Festival 24th- 27th April 2014
CAMRA card holders will receive a 50p discount off every pint.
Thatchers Heritage + 2 Welsh Ciders will also be available Friday
night live music from Jumbo Gumbo
Fabulous Grandads playing Sunday afternoon Food available all
Any person joining CAMRA at this festival will receive a free
pint of their choice + the usual CAMRA membership offers
ask for more details.
https://www.facebook.com/thethreehats Three Hats Milton
3Swale Ale Spring 2014
Published by the Swale Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale Ltd
Editorial Committee and Contributors:Les Bailey, Derek Cole,
Suzanne Collins, Gary Holness, Julian Herrington, Simon Ing,
Pankhurst, Sam Oatley, Gillian Joiner, Andrew Kitney, Keir
Stanley, Jeff Waller, Malcolm Winskill,
Print Liaison: Les BaileyAdvertising: Gary Holness
All correspondence to: Les Bailey
58 Wallers RoadFaversham
Any opinions expressed within these pages are those of the
individual authors only and do not represent those of CAMRA or any
of its officials.
The existence of this publication in a particular outlet does
not imply an endorsement of it by
Swale CAMRA .
Printed by:Abbey Print, Faversham
Branch DetailsChairman: Simon IngSecretary: Les Bailey
Social Secretary: Steve BennionTreasurer: Les Bailey
Pubs Officer: Paul Irving
Welcome to the Spring 2014 edition of Swale Ale. The weather has
battered the county over the last few months and we report on one
particular pub in the Swale area that has suffered more than most.
On the up side another new micro pub has opened on Sheppey so, if
you havent already, make time to visit the island and discover it
Among many topics discussed in this issue we enter the heated
debate regarding the merits of serving your pint through a sparkler
or not and leave the secular world behind and enter the world of
the sacred with an article on ales and The Church, (blessed are the
For those of you who enjoy home baking you will find an
intriguing recipe for English Tea Bread made with beer. From
further afield you can read about what it is like to be exiled from
the fine ales of the area in a piece written by an ex-pat living
across the pond.
As usual there is plenty of pub and brewery news from right
across the Swale area, so now the days are lengthening and
(hopefully) the water levels dropping; the daffs beginning to
emerge and the promise of Spring in the air, we hope you are able
to get out and enjoy some of the fine ales that our region
opens its doors
So after two years of transferring ideas from brain to paper to
construction, battles with planning, late sleepless nights and most
importantly choosing the ales to serve, on Saturday 25th January,
Melvin and Margaret Hopper finally made their dream a reality and
opened the doors of The Heritage to the public. Melvin, a retired
Metropolitan Police Officer (now working for KCC) and Margaret, a
recently retired primary school teacher, had been offered several
premises in Sheerness, all of which
were rejected. They knew they wanted the Halfway area of
Sheppey, so when they had the chance of taking on the soon to close
Halfway Post Office they made sure they were first in line of
In October 2013 they got the keys, and with the help of good
friend Martin (who is also father-in-law to their son) they began
the huge transformation from Post Office to The Heritage. Full
credit to all involved it looks great.
Martin said We spent a lot of time doing research, visiting
other micropubs and microbreweries throughout Kent, and tried to
pick out the bits we liked. But a huge thank you has to go to
Martin who has performed miracles, doing 95% of the work on his
own, with no plans to work from, just scribbles and text messages
amazing ability to read my mind and know what I wanted.
All this hard work and commitment over the past three months has
resulted in a warm comfortable ale house, with two separate areas
known as the High Butts and Cosy Corner. High Butts has the well
known format of high benches and high tables and Cosy Corner has
traditional pub tables and chairs as well as a converted church
pew. However, by cleverly raising the floor, those seated in Cosy
Corner are actually at the same level as those in High Butts.
Like most micropubs, lager and alcopops etc are not served,
keeping to traditional cask ales from around the country but with
an emphasis on keeping one or two from local breweries across Kent.
Their opening night featured ales from Goachers in Maidstone, Mad
Cat in Faversham and two ciders from Biddenden, all served by tap
direct from the cask. They also serve wine and a variety of soft
drinks, as well as snacks, tea and coffee.
One of the many benefits and characteristics of these ever
popular drinking houses is the ability
If you believe that you have been treated unfairly in a local
pub or bar you should contact your local trading standards
department. Trading Standards exist to ensure that customers are
treated fairly and neither cheated nor mislead by traders.
The Trading Standards organisation in Swale is entitled
Environmental and Consumer Protection andcan be contacted on:
Telephone 01233 898825Email
to conduct a friendly conversation with someone you just met on
a wide spectrum of topics not just beer! Listening and talking to
visitors that frequented this new venture since opening the verdict
is that it certainly passes muster and is well worth taking the
time to visit.
The Heritage micropub is located at 17-19 Minster Road, Halfway,
Sheerness ME12 3JE. Their contact number is 01795 664 000 or 07984
A regular Arriva bus service operates from various locations in
Sheerness (ask for Halfway) or take the Maidstone to Sheerness via
The stated opening hours are for guidelines only. The Heritage
has a full licence that covers opening from 12 11pm every night
(except Sunday) it just depends on supply and demand on that
[MH & AK]
Chairmans ChatAre you like me considering investing in a small
boat? It might be the only way that I can get to the pub soon.
Climate change anyone? But seriously, with more and more rain,
flooding and even sink holes appearing, can it get worse? Well yes
it can, with water logged fields crops don't grow. So when you do
eventually get to the pub (you should still go you know...don't
want the pub to close because there are no customers, yes you will
get wet...but sit by the fire and gently steam while drinking your
pint) you may well find that the price of your pint has risen.
Barley and hops grow or don't grow in those water logged fields.
With the Environment Agency saying it could take months for water
levels to drop and fields to dry out, who knows how
much we could be paying. If we get a summer (and drought
conditions being announced) will any one be able to afford to buy a
pint? By the way when I get a boat, I will be running a ferry
service to my local. I'll only charge a small fare, I don't think
you can be arrested for being drunk in charge of a boat (but I will
be checking that) so the trip back from the pub may take longer
than the journey to the pub. One more thing - if I get enough fare
paying passengers I may even be able to buy that now expensive
pint. I may even be persuaded to go and rescue those floating beer
barrels before they get too far from the pub!
Monday: Closed Tuesday: 4pm - 9pm or later Wednesday: 4pm - 9pm
or later Thursday: 4pm - 9pm or later Friday: 12pm - 11pm Saturday:
12pm - 11pm Sunday: 12pm - 8pm
Photos by Andrew Kitney and Melvin Hopper
www.shipinnconyer.co.uk The Ship Inn Conyer email
[email protected] Conyer Quay, Teynham TABLE BOOKINGS t
01795 520881 Kent ME9 9HR
CONTEMPORARY PUB AND EATING HOUSE
with log fires, comfy arm chairs, dining room, courtyard &
garden, set in Conyer which is part of the fabulous Swale walking
area with the Saxon Shore Way and Swale Heritage Trail. Footpath
to/from Teynham station - 20 minutes walk, Bus 344/345, parking.
Dogs & children welcome.
Great Cuisine from our light lunch menu to dining la Carte with
a wide selection of traditional dishes prepared by our chef from
locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. Always ask if you
have any special diet requirements. Awarded 5 stars for food
Food served daily ~ see our website for times weekend breakfast
FREE HOUSE with good range of cask ales, lagers & wines
including Adnams, Masterbrew, Whitstable Native & Red
Read about us in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. CASK MARQUE
7The Shipwrights Arms reopens
The Shipwrights at Hollowshore has been no stranger in the past
to flooding, I recall marks on the interior wall showing where the
water levels reached in 1953 and 1978, so it is indeed very good
news for the regular customers that following the pubs closure
after the surge tide on 6th December, and then to top it all a
chimney fire on 7th January, the pub is back up and running. It
reopened on the weekend 25/26th January and thankfully, aside from
the new carpet underfoot and new photographs adorning the
fireplace, showing scenes of water surrounding the area, there is
little change inside. A job well done. It still retains that
comfortably British nautical and historic feel and Derek, the
landlord, once again gives you that welcoming smile as he serves
you with pints of lovely beer from either Goachers or maybe
Whitstable, straight from the cask.
There is often mention of community pubs and
the value of such places in our lives but sometimes with all the
pub closures reported you might wonder if such values still exist.
Quite apart from the personal heartache Derek and Ruth have been
through over the Christmas period, their customers have had an
element of their life changed with their routine enjoyment of this
pub taken away. Shipwrights regulars have had winter walks across
the marsh curtailed by the closure and who can possibly guess how
the boating fraternity coped. This is why we should all now
consider how we can emphasise to others the pubs importance in
Community Pubs week in April. Do something for the CAMRA campaign
even if you just take time to visit a favourite pub that you have
neglected for a while; oh and take friends with you.
[JW]Enjoy your garden ? But dont enjoy the maintenance.
Then please call Dave the Gardener on 07952031292
for all your garden maintenance needs.
Photos by The Shipwrights
8 A pub for everyone !
The Swan & Harlequin at Faversham
Welcome to our traditional English pub. We offer real ales in
two contrasting bars and we have eight en-suite bedrooms
Conduit Street, Faversham, Kent. ME13 7DF Tel: 01795 532341
9Swale Brewery News
As the Pilot Brewery is currently mothballed, the Shepherd Neame
beers available this quarter will all be produced on the main
There has been some redesign of pump clips and the beers are
divided into four distinct series. There are Seasonal, which are
the established beers that run for several months. These will have
new rectangular pump clips to the same basic design with each being
a different colour. Next there is Heritage and these are the beers
that are presented with the retro type of pump clip design. Then
there is the Discovery range of short-run summer/autumn beers.
Finally there is category that is yet to get a name but could be
thought of as seasonal specials. I state the series of each beer in
6th January to 2nd MarchAmber Ale (4.5%) SeasonalA dark brown
ale with fruity aroma, citrus taste and a malty finish.
3rd February to 6th AprilIndia Pale Ale (4.5%) HeritageA Pale
Ale hopped four times with Kentish hops. Well balanced between malt
and hops and a spicy aroma.
3rd March to 3rd JuneEarly Bird (4.3%) SeasonalThis is brewed
with Golding hops. It has pine and floral overtones and a soft hop
7th April to 4th May Dragonfire (4.5%) Series name to be
The St Georges Day beer; it contains malted Barley, Oats, Rye
and Wheat, with medium bitterness. The branch Brewery Liaison
Officer is Bob Thompson.
Hopdaemon recently brewed a special beer for the Dover Winter
Beer Festival called Over the Top, 5.2%, pale bronze with a citrus
and tropical fruits aroma. The brewery smells like a lemon grove
(with a couple of pineapples in there somewhere) at the moment!
They have used the hops of the allied forces in WWI...UK, Russia,
Serbia(Slovenia), France, Canada, NZ, Australia and the USA, so I
think this is a bit of a first. So popular was it at the Dover Beer
Festival that it won beer of the festival and both casks sold out
before any other cask. Whats more a second batch is being
The branch Brewery Liaison Officer is Howard Gates.
The brewery appears to be supplying a good number of pubs in
East Kent with Platinum and Auburn Copper Ale both at 4.2%. Their
Jet Black Stout at 4.8% is in production and should be available as
we go to press. Mad Cat has also brewed some special house beers
for The Vaults Cask and Kitchen, Faversham (formally The Old Wine
Vaults). For more details see page 19.
The branch Brewery Liaison Officer is Doris Munday.
Kent Brewery News
Old Dairy Brewery
The brewery now has planning permission for their new site in
Tenterden and they aim to be in the new location by the summer. At
the new site there will be a brewery shop and brewery tours will be
offered by arrangement. A 10% discount is offered to CAMRA members
on all their beers when you collect your beer from the brewery show
your current CAMRA card to get your discount.
A pub for everyone !
The Swan & Harlequin at Faversham
Welcome to our traditional English pub. We offer real ales in
two contrasting bars and we have eight en-suite bedrooms
Conduit Street, Faversham, Kent. ME13 7DF Tel: 01795 532341
Chris & Marie Annand and staff welcome you to this historic
15th Century inn in the heart of Faversham.
Immaculately kept Shepherd Neame beers
Traditional home made lunches served every day
Join us for our popular Quiz Night held on the last Wednesday of
Find us on Facebook
The Bear Inn, 3 Market Place, Faversham, Kent ME13 7AG, Tel
Swale Pub News
The Red Lion - rumours are that they are negotiating with Mad
Cat Brewery to have a permanent Mad Cat beer on tap. Easter Beer
Festival on to be held over the 18th, 19th, 20th & 21st April
2014 which will include both local & national beers and live
The Bowl Inn - rumours are that this pub has been sold to the
owner of the Hoodeners Horse and several other pubs.
The Ship - at the time of going to press this pub was regularly
serving Old Dairy and Adnams ales.
The Phoenix Tavern - continues to have a varied lineup of events
including its well publicised dining club. Harveys Sussex Best
Bitter and Timothy Taylors Landlord are their regular beers.
The Old Wine Vaults - recently renamed The Vaults Cask and
Kitchen continues to serve up to four ales including (usually) a
Kent beer. CAMRA discount is offered on the Kent beer. Two to three
real ciders are also served. A recent visit found the beer on good
form with Summer Lightning going down particularly well. Nuala and
David recently celebrated five years at the Vaults, with Peter
Meaney launching a number of new Mad Cat beers.
The Elephant - continues to serve up to five beers including an
occasional house beer which was very nice when sampled recently.
Other recent beers have included Dark Star, Caveman, Rother Valley
and Northumberland. Jim also has two regular real ciders and
continues to offer CAMRA discount.
The Chimney Boy - currently undergoing a major internal
refurbishment this should be open as we go to press. Rumours are
that a beer garden is being created to the rear along with the main
bar being repositioned. No news has been given on
whether the refurbishment will include the upstairs function
The Bear - continues to serve at least two Shepherd Neame beers
including the seasonal beer. A recent visit found Shepherd Neame
Amber Ale on good form.
The Sun - hosts a number of live bands each month and serves
Shepherd Neame Master Brew, Spitfire and other seasonal beers.
The Brents Tavern - continues to serve two real ales; Courage
Best and Directors.
Swan and Harlequin - continues to offer Dark Star Hophead and
American Pale Ale and a recent visit found Gadds Dark Conspiracy.
There are rumours that the pub has been sold to be reopened as a
boutique hotel with bar.
The Shipwrights Arms - has re-opened following severe flooding
before Christmas (refer to article on page 7). The pub is back to
normal opening hours and continues to serve three Goachers beers
(including a house special Shipwrecked) and a Whitstable Brewery
The Heritage - this new micopub on the Isle of Sheppey has its
house beer produced by Black Tap Brew Co.
The Red Lion - at the time of going to press it is having its
restaurant fully refurbished on the upper floor of the building.
This refurbishment will also include a lounge and bar area. They
are also planning a music festival at the pub sometime in
In our last magazine we gave the impression that The Brents
Tavern was selling the cheapest pint in Faversham at 2.60 for
Directors and 2.40 for Courage Best. We have been reminded that
Wetherspoons Faversham has beers starting with Greene King Ruddles
at 1.99 a pint and guest beers all sell for 2.20 a pint. Sorry for
any confusion this may have caused. Remember that CAMRA members can
use their 50p off vouchers brining a pint of Ruddles down to 1.49!
If you know a cheaper pint please let us know.
The Three Tuns - beers at our last visit; Goachers Real Mild,
Millis Kentish Best, Kent Fire Starter (smoked taste) and, fairly
rare to the area, a Westerham beer, the extremely good Puddledock
The Three Hats - continues to serve up to three beers. Recent
beers have included Fullers ESB and Bath Ales Barnsey both of which
were particularly popular. Tribute, Otter Beers and Jail Ale remain
regular guests. Malcolm continues to offer CAMRA discount on all
beers and is currently starting to plan for his April Beer Festival
which will feature around 12 Welsh Beers.
The Harps Inn - has two beers - on a recent visit Courage Best
and Doom Bar. The British Queen and Prince of Waterloo have now
been converted to houses.
The Plough and Harrow - has been sold and is likely to be
converted into a restaurant and bar (there is no news on whether
real ale will be available).
The Old House at Home - (owned by Admiral rather than
Enterprise) continues to serve three beers, on a recent visit these
were Doom Bar, Youngs Special and Youngs Bitter. The pub continues
to have live music every Sunday.
The Flying Dutchman - has up to two cask ales on - although on a
recent visit both the Tribute and Doom Bar were off.
Royal Hotel - refurbishment is currently taking place and the
tenancy is being advertised.
Wetherspoons - application for a new pub on the High Street is
currently with Swale Council but by the time of going to press
there was no further news.
The Fountain - this Shepherd Neame pub close to
Sittingbourne station continues to have bands on Friday nights
and has an excellent Thai menu.
The Paper Mill - this micropub continues to be popular with
Goachers Real Mild on permanently. Two to three other beers tend to
favour Kent breweries including Goachers, Kent and Hopdaemon.
Recently more national beers have been stocked including Saltaire
Blond which went down exceptionally well.
The Kemsley Arms - remains closed but became Swales first asset
of community value in November 2013 following a campaign by a local
community group. This status means that the owner has to notify the
local Council if it plans to sell the property. The local community
group then has six months to raise the money to buy the
The New Inn - due to be part of a major refurbishment by
Shepherd Neame over the Summer. This pub has been advertising for a
Long Hop - has been sold to the owners of the Billet.
The Summoner (Wetherspoon) - going from strength to strength and
now stocks up to five guest beers including two local ales. Mad Cat
and Spencer ale are regulars and the usual CAMRA discounts
The Vineyard - has been brought from the now defunct Smith and
Jones Pub Company.
The White Horse (Charlotte Street) and Millers remain advertised
Ypres Tavern and Bunters have new landlords.
The Brown Jug - regular beers; Harveys Sussex Best Bitter and
Greene King IPA plus two guests, one guest Harveys Old, of course
was very tasty, and Master Brew bitter. Harveys Mild was a regular
but after 18 months a change was required by the customers.
The Railway Tavern - has closed with an application with Swale
Council for change of use to several dwellings.
The Swan - a free house serving a wide range of beers including
Brighton Bier English Garden and Tonbridge Coppernob. Always has at
least one beer from Wantsum such as One Hop (first gold), Dynamo or
1381. This pub holds regular beer festivals and has an excellent
modern function room to rent.
Beer FestivalsLondon Drinker Beer and Cider Festival - Camden
Centre, London, Wed 12th - Fri 14th March
Planet Thanet 9th Easter Beer Festival - MargateFriday 18th to
19 April 2014
Three Hats Welsh Beer Festival - Milton RegisThursday 24th to
Sunday 27th April 2014
Swale CAMRA Beer Stall - Faversham Transport Weekend (normally
outside Iceland)Sunday 18th May 2014
St. Kevins Day Cider Festival - The Vaults Cask and Kitchen,
FavershamSaturday 24th to Sunday 25th May 2014
Kent and East Sussex Railway - CAMRA Beer Festival Friday 13th
June (evening) and Saturday 14th June 2014.
It is with sadness that we report the death of Les Wood, former
head brewer of Shepherd Neame, on 11th February 2014. Les Wood
started working at the brewery in 1941 after leaving school at 14
and continued full time until 1985. After this he carried on
working at the brewery part time running the visitor centre until
Regular updates on pubs in our area can be found on What Pub
The Phoenix Tavern Faversham
www.thephoenixtavernfaversham .co.uk - 01795 591462
The PHOENIX TAVERN
Abbey Street, FavershamSIX REAL ALES Changing regularly,
but always Timothy Taylor Landlord, Harveys Sussex and a
REAL FOOD prepared freshly daily on the premisesREAL
Lovely garden and open inglenook log firesREAL TRADITION - 14th
century oak beamed pub
Five Quality lagers and Quality Wine from Corney and Barrow,
Cask and Keg Cider
Good Beer Guide 2014'Official home of the Timothy Taylor
www.thephoenixtavernfaversham.co.uk - 01795 591 642
Want some sparkle in your life?
Put down your glasses! Put on your spectacles! Be ready to take
part in the most eagerly awaited debate of the past few
YES or NO to nozzles on your ale dispense?
MAMMOTH PROPORTIONSFirstly, calm down, we all know this is a
debate of mammoth proportions, rivalling that of immigration and
rising fuel costs. Well let me try and shed some light on the
It is believed that a bright thinking Yorkshireman (Ive googled
it and they do exist) wanted to replicate the just tapped
conditions of the cask (years ago in the black and white days,
before colour was invented) and attached a device to froth his beer
during the pouring stage. This was purely for aesthetic (the most
erudite word in this edition of Swale Ale, I thank you) qualities
and wasnt thought to have any effect on the taste of the beer. How
wrong our Yorkshire friend was later proved to be.
In researching this hot potato of a topic I took the time out to
e-mail some brewers to gauge their opinions on the subject. The
response was swift and enlightening and proved certain potential
Timothy Taylor - they advise the use of sparklers in the
dispense of their ales to achieve what they called the tight
Northern head. (One can only assume that was still in reference to
the beer). They did acknowledge a different flavour profile with
the sparkler and were the first to agree to a (fanfare please...)
DIVIDE. They were however, very quick to point out that many
Southern ales are pictured for advertising purposes after being
poured in a Northern style (i.e. with a sparkler).
Shepherd Neame - it is very clear how much Mr Frost gets asked
about this topic when there is an official stance, which is we do
not routinely supply creamer nozzles to our accounts. Providing our
beers are properly conditioned in cask, they will pour with
sufficient head to meet consumers expectations in our trading
areas, without the use of such nozzles. However, we will supply
them to accounts that specifically ask for them this often occurs
where there is a regional preference for this type of
This message was left on the answer machine and resembled that
of a Dalek, monotone and rehearsed and therefore I dont believe it
to have been Mr Frost himself.
Wantsum - finally a rational answer with some personal view
points. Wantsum do not give guidance either way and would prefer
from the barrel (had to be smart didnt he!!). We do see once
again though, the belief that good beer doesnt need assistance in
obtaining a smooth head and as the name real ale suggests, no
superfluous (the second most erudite word in this edition of Swale
Ale, I thank you) device should be necessary.
Wadworth, Devizes. Brian Yorston - Hate to say it but I am a
Geordie as you already know so personally I like a head on a
beer. This is drilled into you like whether you support Newcastle
or the better team - Sunderland.
As you can clearly see, the passions run deep with this dividing
issue and so, I e-mailed Everards, somewhat in the middle of the
country to see if they had strong persuasions either way. They,
knowing the magnitude of the situation, sat firmly on the
1. Do you advise the use of nozzles/sparklers on any of your
beers? If sparklers/nozzles were to be used we would advise on how
to use sparklers
With SparklerWithout Sparkler
correctly and how to keep clean. 2. Do you think the ale would
be inferior with/
without it? No I dont, the dispense character is obviously
different and beer drinkers have their own preference whether they
like beer with or without a head.
3. Would you acknowledge a North/South divide on this issue? I
dont think it is as clear cut as a North/South divide, we have 1 or
2 areas within our own core trading area where they prefer not to
use sparklers but this is still in the Midlands. Landlords and
customers can influence this and you will find some pubs preferring
not to use sparklers in various parts of the country.
4. Would you have personal feelings if ale you had brewed was
served with/without one? I think it is one of the charms and
character of beer that we can offer choice. Personally I prefer to
see and drink beer that is presented with a nice head. I think this
sort of presentation has more appeal and it demonstrates the unique
character of beer to produce foam and lace the glass as you drink
it, to me this is a sign of a well brewed quality ale. I am unaware
that any other beverage has this ability.
However, I respect the views of our customers and if they prefer
beer dispensed without a sparkler who am I to tell them otherwise.
I would much rather have them drinking cask conditioned ales as
they prefer them than not drinking them at all.
THE SCIENCE It has to be acknowledged that as you pour
through the holes of the sparkler that the surface area of the
liquid is increased, ergo the aeration process is greatly advanced.
Some (many in fact) will say that a lot of flavour is then lost to
the head of the beer as opposed the liquid itself.
My personal opinion is somewhat indifferent. I do agree that the
addition of a sparkler can sometimes have a profound effect on the
quality (both flavour and appearance) of the beer, for good and bad
reasons, but not enough to firmly express an opinion either way on
In conclusion, the only real answer to the monumental topic at
hand is to keep sampling ales from all regions of the country, and
occasionally ask the landlord of your frequented Public House to
put on a sparkler to see what the difference may be. I know Jim at
the Effelump loves to be asked.
Favershams hidden gemThe Shipwrights Arms, Hollowshore,
FavershamA 17th Century traditional creek side free house.
Selling up to five real ales from Kentish brewers, and
serving good food.
Take a trip back in time and savour the delightsof a truly
Rated by Jamie Oliver as one of the top 100 traditional pubs in
Home of the Grumpy Landlord.
Please check website or phone to confirm hours of opening.
Tel: 01795 590088
Directions: At Davington School turn into Ham Road and follow
the signs across the marsh.
The Old Wine Vaults re-brands
After five successful and enjoyable years at the helm of The Old
Wine Vaults, Faversham, both Nuala and David thought it was time
for a change and so on Friday 7th Feb in the company of regulars,
friends, family and a familiar local brewery owner The Vaults Cask
& Kitchen was launched.
Speaking to Nuala on the launch night she said Although we have
a good working relationship with all local brewers we have a
special one with Mad Cat. We were the first pub in Faversham to
have Mad Cat owner/head brewer Peter Meaneys beers and as such he
felt we could go forward to make our offering unique as a reward
for being a loyal and supportive customer. During many discussions
and tastings (hard job but has to be done!) we decided that our 5th
birthday was a perfect opportunity to launch the ales. We hope that
people will continue to enjoy the beer and the pub. After
discussions on possible names Peter suggested we go along The
Vaults theme and name the beers accordingly. To accompany this we
also thought about what food we could do (steaks, grills etc) and
matched the taste to our menu. With Peter we like to think we can
convince people that beers, not just wine, match food perfectly.
CAMRA have done considerable work to promote this as well. We also
wanted to give people the opportunity to meet Peter & Mike
Meaney and promote their brewery.
When Nuala and David took on The Hole in the Wall they decided
that a new name was needed to assist with the change in ethos and
the reputation of the pub. It had had many names since it was first
licensed (approx 1602 although the building was selling alcohol
many years before that!). Until 1965 it was called The Albion Wine
Vaults but to avoid confusion we dropped Albion
and substituted it with Old, hence The Old Wine Vaults. This
served a purpose and certainly helped change the reputation of the
pub, however it did not reflect what they did or offered. This new
branding better reflects what the pub does and the direction they
could see it going in the future. They are not a wine bar! But
indeed serve a good variety of cask ales and good food. They are
also committed to continue to serve good ales, local and
national, as well as two cask ciders. If possible they are also
looking at expanding the number of ciders if demand is there.
Nuala added that We are going to try and hold a cider festival
this year (May bank holiday) along with the Saint Arnold Beer
Festival (first weekend of July). We have also been in talks with
Macknade Farm about matching beers to food and so would like to
extend this to the pub, maybe holding taster nights for cheese,
tapas etc and matching the ales to them.
Peter Meaney of Mad Cat Brewery at Brogdale Farm,
Faversham, said that Nuala and David have been customers of Mad
Cat almost since we started up at the end of 2012 and have been
very supportive of us. In late 2013 the Old Wine Vaults looked at
its own brand image and decided to update this under "The Vaults"
name. Nuala then expressed an interest in having house ales which
could share the new branding and be a way of differentiating the
pub's ale range from others; which would be bespoke to The
Photo by Andrew Kitney
Recently some of the members of the Swale branch held a blind
beer tasting evening. We followed the example of the excellent
articles in CAMRAs Beer magazine and scored the smell and look out
of ten and the taste out of twenty.
Shepherd Neame - 1698 6.5%
Copper bronze thrice hopped ale with rich resinous notes with
spikes of citrus that add to the liquorice, Masala wine, caramel
and spicy orange notes.
Five bottle conditioned dark or strong beers from different
Kentish breweries were tasted and the order in which they were
sampled was randomly selected.
Four members of CAMRAs Swale branch gallantly volunteered for
Wantsum - Black Pig Imperial Russian Stout 4.8%
Burnt chocolate and smoky malt mixed with delicate hop
bitterness and floral notes
Mad Cat Brewery have produced three short batch beers which
cover a range of flavours - a Best Bitter in the form of Strong
Box, an English Pale Ale as Treasure Chest and an American style
hoppy ale in Fort Knox. All of these beers are 4.0% abv. The roots
of these beers lie in three regular ales Mad Cat produced in 2013,
but have modified the burtonisation (water treatment), the final
hopping stages and changed the alcohol strengths to produce flavour
profiles hopefully more tuned to those flavours the customers of
"The Vaults" seem to like.
Peter said We look on these as our first stab i.e. "work in
progress" and could make more changes as we receive feedback from
the pub. Like all development work; what we start with may not be
what we end up with so recipe contents like malts and hops are not
being given out just yet as
they may differ from the final versions.I was lucky enough to be
present at the launch
event and first impressions of the Vaults branding and of course
the three new house beers was very impressive. As Peter mentioned
these are not final versions so I am looking forward to trying
further annotations until both Nuala & David and Peter are
happy. Their aim and plan will be to always serve at least one of
the Mad Cat house beers alongside two or three other guest ales
from the range that Enterprise offers.
[AK]Other pubs with house beers in the Swale branch
The Elephant - On the Hop - HopdeamonThe Shipwrights -
Shipwrecked - GoachersThe Heritage - Sheppey Heritage - Black Tap
Please let us know of more.......
1st Shepherd Neame - 16982nd Canterbury Brewers Street Light
Porter3rd Hopdaemon Leviathan4th Nelson Brewery Nelsons Blood5th
Wantsum - Black Pig Imperial Russian Stout
It was a close run thing with only eight points separating the
first and fifth which goes to show that Kentish brewers brew some
excellent beers, but the plaudits this time go the 1698, so many
congratulations to Shepherd Neame.
Leviathan 6% (not currently bottle conditioned)
Strong ruby ale with spicy hop aromas and a rich malty
Canterbury Brewers Street Light Porter 5.8%
Dark, malty porter with strong toffee-chocolates and a liquorice
Nelson Brewery Nelsons Blood 6%
Strong malty ale with mellow roast tones. Slightly nutty and
fruity with a warming after taste.
Real Ale in bottles is widely available in Swale from major
supermarkets and local retailers including Macknade Fine Foods,
Simply Fresh and the breweries themselves. Always look out for the
CAMRA Says its Real Ale logo.
The Good Bottled Beer Guide is the definitive guide to bottled
beer around the UK. The book features listings for over 550
bottle-conditioned beers from beer expert Jeff Evans, a full
directory of breweries around the UK that produce real ale in the
bottle and their bottle-conditioned products, and selected details
of independent bottle-conditioned beer retailers.
Perfect for anyone interested in finding the best real ale in a
bottle at the local shop or in the local pub.
*Time and Tide Brewing
*Time and Tide Brewing
10 Real Ales&
4 Real Ciders
Previously in Swale Ale I wrote an article on one of our local
cider producers Duddas Tun Cider of Doddington. In this issue I
present a piece written on one of our other local producers, namely
Kent Cider Company.
The Kent Cider Co, owned and operated by Mark & Serena
Henderson, has been operating for several years now. The company
has been the recipient of numerous awards and they are highly
respected among their peers. I asked them to tell me how they came
into cider making. We have always had an interest in fruit and grew
some of our own, we especially enjoy spending time in orchards. It
wasnt until moving to live in a very rural area that we saw how
many lovely Kentish apples were going to waste. So with some
experience as hobbyists and through a fortuitous chain of events
including meeting a cider maker who was looking to retire and pass
on his knowledge that we formed the Kent Cider Co.
I asked them about getting started and whether it went as they
planned or did changes occur with experience. Right from the start
we wanted to produce ciders using traditional, artisan methods
using apples that were rarely used including heritage varieties to
showcase and celebrate the differences between apple flavours. As a
business you are not just catering for your own palette and we both
like our cider on the dry side! So we are always exploring other
flavours, often trialling small batches at events to see if they
get the thumbs up from drinkers.
Their selection of ciders is in my opinion nicely
balanced with a range of styles and tastes to suit the
occasional cider drinker and the aficionados alike. I asked them
about their range and if any proved more popular than others?
Well, flavoured ciders are hugely popular at the moment and we
love to experiment, but the most important thing to us is that we
retain a good apple flavour. Our spiced cider is one of our best
sellers garnering numerous awards as well as being voted one of the
top ten ciders in the U.K.
by the Independent Newspaper two years in a row! We still also
make small limited batches of Whisky & Rum cask matured ciders
for the connoisseur and we also produced in time for the 2013
Faversham Hop Festival a cider flavoured with green hops. I also
asked them what plans they had for the future. We always have our
eye on whats new and different things that we can explore. Our
range of ciders is constantly evolving and we have some
exciting new things to bring to events this year so watch this
Well it appears that we will have to do just that and I for one
will be looking forward with great expectation to what they have in
store for us. With thanks to Mark & Serena Henderson for their
valued assistance in helping me with writing this article.
Remember to look out
for the Real Cider Sold
Here sign in pub windows
Much as we all adore real ale Im sure some of you are surprised
to see the word sacred next to a word like ale or beer as the title
for this piece but for many primitive people, including in our own
distant past, beer was used almost exclusively as a part of
religious ritual. It wasnt just the consumption of beer that was
part of the ritual either; the production of beer was also a highly
ritualised and sacred process.
Ancient beers were created independently in numerous different
locations around the world between 10,000 and 30,000 years ago and
some of the recipes still in use today by so called primitive
cultures date back to that time. Each culture would have used
whatever ingredients were available locally and might have been in
the form of grains, fruit, root tubers or indeed the whole plant
and almost nothing in the process of producing the beer would bear
comparison with modern production methods.
These cultures have remarkably similar creation stories or myths
about how the gift of beer was first given to their people and this
almost invariably involves a goddess feeling pity for the plight of
humanity and bestowing the art of brewing on a woman for in these
cultures the brewing of beer was carried out almost exclusively by
The process of making primitive beer varies around the world
because of the differences in the cultures making the beer and the
ingredients involved, but a representative example might be the
process followed by some South American and African tribes that is
still in use today. The main ingredient used in this beer is maize.
Prayers would be made to the plant throughout the growing process
but especially at the time of harvest, when some kind of offering
or sacrifice would be made to thank the plants. The maize kernels
would be dried in the sun and then ground between two stones to
make a kind of rough flour. About a fifth of this flour would be
moistened with a little water and made into little cakes which
would then be chewed by the women who were involved in the making
of the beer. This chewing process would mix saliva with the flour
in order to convert the starch in the grain
into sugars suitable for fermentation and each cake would be
chewed until it started to taste sweet. Once all the cakes had been
chewed in this way they would be combined with the remaining
four-fifths of the flour, mixed with water and heated in a large
vessel. The enzyme amylase, which is present in human saliva, would
convert all the starch in the chewed flour into sugars and because
the enzyme is not altered or destroyed in this process it will
still be present in sufficient quantity to convert the starch in
the flour that had not been chewed. During the heating process
other plants may be added, some for flavour and sometimes for their
psychotropic properties. This wort would then be taken to a sacred
place where it would be exposed to the atmosphere in controlled
conditions in order that wild yeast from the air would combine with
it. This long process would be accompanied with much prayer usually
until the fermentation process has visibly started at which point
would be covered and fermentation would be allowed to continue
until all the sugar had been turned into alcohol.
Wild yeasts are inherently unpredictable and unwanted yeast
could spoil the whole brew, which is why complex ceremonies have
evolved to prevent this sort of thing from happening. Once the
spirit of the yeast had been established in the brew most cultures
believed it was important that it was left in a very quiet and
peaceful situation to continue its work, though it should be noted
that a few cultures
(pun intended) believed the exact opposite and would bang, shout
and stamp around the vessel throughout the fermentation process. It
is worthy of note that Lambic beers from Belgium still use wild
yeast to brew their characteristically sour flavoured beers.
Beer was not produced for general consumption and was never
drunk casually. It was generally brewed at very specific times for
specific rituals. It was not usually stored and the whole batch
would be consumed during the ritual and, along with drumming,
chanting and dancing would be used to produce an ecstatic state
amongst those taking part in the ritual. This altered state of
consciousness was seen as a very sacred state bringing the people
closer to their gods and therefore greatly increasing the chances
that the ritual would be successful.
In this country the Catholic Church had control of the
production of beer until the 16th century. Up until this time it
was illegal to even grow hops in Britain and the only beer produced
was called Gruit Ale a beer flavoured with moderately narcotic
herbs, usually including Yarrow, Wild Rosemary and Bog Myrle. It
was said to be a highly intoxicating brew narcotic, aphrodisiacal
and psychotropic, when consumed in sufficient quantity. In fact it
was only Henry VIIIs reformation and break with the Catholic Church
that took the monopoly of beer production away from the church and
so introduced the use of the (much more soporific) hop as the
primary flavour in our beers and hence making the kind of beer we
are familiar with today.
[KP]This article was inspired and informed by the book Sacred
and Herbal Healing Beers by Stephen Harrod Buhner.
THE HERITAGE Sheppeys 1st Micro Pub
Opening Hours Mon - Closed
Tues -4-9pm (or later) Wed -4-9pm (or later)
Thurs - 4-9pm (or later) Friday 12pm-11pm
Sat - 12pm-11pm Sun- 12-8pm
Location 1719 Minster Road,
Sheerness. Kent ME12 3JE
Tel: 01795 664000 www.facebook.com/ theheritagemicropub
Proud to follow the traditional
micro pub formula of no music, lager, spirits, food and TV
just good old fashioned talking.
Pop in for a pint and a chat
Serving quality cask ales and ciders from both Kentish and
national brewers. We also have a range of bottled Kent ales
available to purchase (or drink).
Great Community Pubsthe perfect blend for everyone.
A great community pub is adaptable to the needs of its locals
offering the perfect social environment for all to enjoy. Please
support your local in Community Pubs Month, April 2014.
Ever changing selection of cask ales
Large Beer Garden
Mobile Bar and Catering Service Available for Weddings,
Christenings and Birthdays
No Function too big or small
Call Malcolm on 07764 842478
Three Hats, 93 High Street, Milton Regis, Kent, ME10 2AR
SWALE CAMRA PUB OF THE YEAR 2013
THE THREE HATS MILTON REGIS
THE THREE HATSMILTON REGIS
Ever changing selection of cask ales
Large Beer GardenMobile Bar and Catering Service Available
Weddings, Christenings and Birthdays
No function too big or small
Call Malcolm on 07764 842478
The Three Hats, 93 High Street, Milton Regis, Kent, ME10 2AR
SWALE CAMRA PUB OF THE YEAR 2013
Whats in a Glass?
Greetings once again Gentle Reader. Now you might suppose that
from the title of this issues piece I am going to regale you with a
tale about a beer or two that I have had of late. This is not so,
it is in fact about the glass that the beer came in (for indeed I
have had a beer or two since we last conversed!).
It all came about when recently I, to misquote John Cleese in
the Monty Python Cheese Shop sketch, sallied forth and infiltrated
a place of purveyance to negotiate the vending of some beery
comestibles (nothing new in that I hear you cry) and I ordered a
pint of the landlords finest (still no revelations there). However
what happened next had not happened in a long time (no I dont mean
I bought a round). Mien Host asked me if I wanted a straight glass
or a jug. I was taken aback for a moment as I could not recall the
last time I had been asked what type of receptacle I would like my
beer in and it used to happen virtually every time I ordered a
As I sat supping my ale I began to ponder on when the habit of
asking what type of glass you would like died out. This got old
Obadiahs cogs turning so I did a bit of research and it turns out
that there is more to the humble beer glass than might at first
appear. On the face of it, the glass is just a convenient carrier
to transfer beer from the bar to your mouth but there have been
many changes to the style and shape of the glass over the
Until the end of Victorian times pubs were often dingy and beer
was drunk from pewter jugs (especially in the saloon bar, glasses
were served to the lower orders in the public bar). Possibly this
was to disguise the dingy nature of the beer however as pubs began
to brighten up so did the beer as filtration methods improved and
drinkers started to demand that they saw what they were drinking.
Also canny publicans found that it was
very difficult for the customer to gauge how much beer was in a
pewter tankard so were inclined to serve a short measure!
As we entered the Edwardian era the usual glass to get your beer
in was a straight sided, handleless, conical glass. Now there were
several disadvantages to this type of glass as we shall see later.
Anyway back to those aficionados of the pewter tankard frequenting
the saloon bar.
Although they wanted to see the clarity of the beer that they
were drinking they did not want to be associated with the straight
glass drinkers in the public bar. As a result in the late 1920s the
fluted, handled glass became popular. You know, the ones that
appeared on the Beer is Best posters promoting beer by the Brewers
Society in the 1930s (or the tee shirts that are available at beer
festivals that show a chap drinking out of said glass with the
slogan Beer so much more than a breakfast drink or some such
These ten sided glasses were popular with drinkers until the
when the dimple jug was introduced. It should be noted that the
British drinker is not one to change his habits easily and fluted
glasses were still being made up to the 1960s.
The demise of the fluted glass was due to the introduction of
the dimpled glass (you know the one that looks like a second world
Pottery Pint MugPhotos by Jeff Waller
Youll find a warm welcome and a great atmosphere at theThree
Tuns Pub and Restaurant. Food prepared daily usingthe finest local
produce. Kentish real ales & ciders always
available and a welcoming open fire.
Good Beer Guide 2014.Kent Life Dining Pub of the Year
Produced in Kent Dining Pub of the Year FinalistsSwale CAMRA Pub
of the Year Runners Up.
THE THREE TUNS The Street, Lower Halstow,
Sittingbourne, Kent. ME9 7DY 01795 842840
FacebookFind us on
Bomb type hand grenade). This style of glass was introduced to
enhance the look of the amber bitters that were increasingly being
brewed at the time in favour of the darker mild beers and it was
felt that the dimple glass made the beer look more appealing.
The popularity of the handled glass was not only from the
drinkers but from the landlords as well. The problem with the
straight sided conical glasses was they had a tendency to stick
together when stacked one inside another when being collected by
the bar staff and they had a propensity to chip around the rim when
being washed. To reduce this problem the nonic glass was
introduced. This style of glass has a bulge a couple of inches from
the top which reduced the likelihood of the rims being chipped.
This style of glass is becoming less popular as pubs revert back to
the straight sided glass conical glass (the name nonic, by the way,
seems to derive from no nick as the glasses as I have said had a
reduced likelihood of being chipped). This reversion to an older
style of straight sided glass can be thought of as retro chic or
does it just make the beer look better than in a nonic?
There is some speculation about a North/South divide when it
comes to the straight and the handled form of the glass. It has
come to Obadiahs ears from the Northern branch of the Spillage
For the Modeller
IIf you have an 00 gauge model railway layout and want a period
brewery delivery vehicle then this Faversham Hobby Shop limited
edition 1/76th model of Shepherd Neames Reliant could be the answer
(or maybe you just want a small souvenir of a visit to the
brewery). The detail is amazing; very clear printing of branding
and number plates and once you have unscrewed the van from its base
you will see the spoked wheels actually work; the tyres may need a
bit of plastic moulding flash removing but this can be done in two
ticks. 5 secures. [JW]
family that the dimple glass is a southern trait as we softy
Southerners find it hard to get our hands around round a straight
glass. However, milud, I call that Southern hard man Michael Caine
who in the film Get Carter asks a landlord in a Newcastle pub for a
pint of bitter in, and I quote, a thin glass.
The matter is further complicated by none other than the
renowned author George Orwell when he wrote describing his perfect
fictional London pub that they are particular about their drinking
vessels at The Moon Under Water and never, for example, make the
mistake of serving a pint of beer in a handless glass but then
apparently Orwell preferred his beer out of a china tankard! I fear
that this schism will never be resolved so we are best to leave it
Recent trends have seen the logo of the brewery and sometimes
the specific beer logo on the glass. This is something I am sure
you are familiar with if you have ever been to Belgium where every
beer seems to have its specific glass. I quite like this. It
somehow seems right.
So there you have it dear reader. I hope you have enjoyed this
short foray into the world of beer glasses and I leave you with one
last thought. It doesnt matter what shape the glass is so long as
there is a hole in the top to let the beer out!! Oh and in case you
were wondering I opted for a dimple jug when I was asked.
Ten Sided Pint Mug
Hoppy Easter Cake
Try my Easter adaptation of a traditional English tea bread
recipe. You can experiment with a variety of real ales to suit the
8oz/225g self-raising flourPinch of salt teaspoonful baking
powder3oz/75g butter or baking margarine3oz/75g soft brown sugar1
tablespoonful cocoa teaspoonful mixed spice1 teaspoonful black
treacle1 large egg (lightly beaten)2oz/50g raisins2oz/50g chopped
walnuts8 glace cherries each cut into 4 pieces
Approximately 4 fl oz/125ml Batemans Mocha Beer or similar
Chocolate Aleyou can drink the rest while the cake is cookingshame
1. Grease and line a medium sized loaf tin.
2. Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl.
3. Rub in the margarine or butter until the mixture resembles
4. Add the mixed spice, cocoa, raisins, walnuts, cherries and
5. Add the black treacle and slightly beaten egg and again mix
6. Slowly add enough chocolate ale so that the mixture forms a
soft dropping consistency.
7. Spoon the mixture evenly into the prepared loaf tin.
8. Bake in a moderate oven for 45-55 minutes until firm and well
9. Allow to partially cool in tin, then turn out on to a wire
cooling tray before either dusting with icing sugar or topping with
the coffee butter icing as suggested.
For the topping:
Either dust with icing sugar or for the absolute indulgent icing
on the cake, cream 2oz softened butter with enough icing sugar to
form a stiff paste, then dissolve I teaspoonful instant coffee with
2 teaspoonful of boiling water and add to the icing.
Mix thoroughly, adding more icing sugar/water if needed to form
a soft topping on cake. Decorate with chocolate chips, walnut
halves or cherries or a combination of all three.
At Christmas, try substituting the chocolate ale for a good dark
porter, the walnuts for almonds and the raisins for dried
cranberries, eliminating the cocoa and using a different topping.
Or why not try the recipe with your own favourite ale?
Our beer recipes have been written tried and tested by our own
Swale branch members. If you cannot wait for the next recipes in
Swale Ale consider purchasing An Appetite for Ale which is
available from the CAMRA website.
This collection of more than 100 simple and approachable recipes
has been specially created to show the versatility and fantastic
flavour that ale has to offer. With sections on Snacks, Spreads and
Dips, Soups, Pasta and Risotto, Seafood, Chicken and other Birds,
Meat Feasts, Spicy Foods, Bread and Cheese and Sweet Treats it
provides countless ideas for using beer from around the world.
To the Editor of Swale Ale,I must say that I have enjoyed the
recent editions of Swale Ale and congratulate you thereon.
Having been a member of CAMRA for many years I need to think
back why I joined it and whether I am happy with the intervening
I joined CAMRA because of my love of real ale and traditional
pubs and I now question whether this objective has been fulfilled
and whether my own tastes have changed over the years.
I would first like to address the subject of traditional pubs.
My idea of such a pub is one without any form of music apart from a
piano, or gaming machine, which dispenses good quality beer from a
well managed cellar. I am not familiar with all the pubs in the
Swale area but of those with which I am familiar there is only one
that almost matches the aforementioned criteria. That is the Black
Lion at Lynsted. Would you believe that I have never seen this
establishment mentioned in the annual honours list for Pub of the
Year. Why has this happened? All that I can think of is that the
persons conducting the annual pub reviews are so young that they
would not know what a traditional pub was like. Or maybe we are all
guilty of taking our eyes off the ball and losing sight of the
I read a lot about the campaigning matters where large pub
companies are frowned upon for closing local pubs which are running
unprofitably. A recent case is of Marstons who are now clearly
focused on the growth market of gastro style pubs which provide
good value food alongside the sale of their beers. I am sorry but I
cannot support CAMRA on such an issue. In my opinion it is a
business case for closing the unprofitable pubs and if CAMRA wish
to buy these pubs then they should feel free to do so and see if
they can run them profitably. I am sorry but beer drinking is not a
Whilst I like good beer I find it irritating that I go into pubs
nowadays which have a choice of four or five real ales but none of
them is more than 4% gravity. I personally find that there is a
growing trend for brewers to produce low gravity beers, where
flavour can be so lacking rather than something that is bursting
with flavour. These low gravity beers are often referred to as
session beers - well I am sorry but I really do not want to sit in
a pub for a whole session and feel sorry for those who do.
Another minor irritant is the term Beer Festival which I feel is
so misused and abused. I can remember when a Beer Festival
comprised an array of beers accompanied by marked glasses to
commemorate the occasion, a description of the beers on offer plus
tasting notes, bunting and bands. Now it has got to the point that
one can go to Tesco, pick up a couple of bottled real ales and tell
ones mates that you are having a beer festival!!!
Finally I feel that CAMRAs campaigning efforts should be
directed towards the Pensioners pint rather than pub closures.
Those who were around in the good old days when pubs were pubs
should be rewarded for their contribution to the industry.
I was thinking in terms of an OAP pass, similar to a bus pass,
which would be honoured in all of ones local hostelries - or is
this going too far!!!!
Trevor DuncombePhoto by Trevor Duncombe
If you would like to write to or contribute for Swale Ale
A friendly independently run pub restaurant in the picturesque
Faversham area. Local beers, wines & ciders and a choice from
the constantly changing selection of unique homemade dishes from
our blackboard come as standard in our family-run country pub. Come
and try from our selection of real ales from the local brewers in
Kent.Easter weekend family events see our website for details
Farmers markets on the green outside the pub from April 2014 and
will continue on the 2nd Saturday of each month from 10am to
16th May Live music event with Hullabaloo
4th June Cider & Cheese evening with Kent Cider Co
July Beer festival keep an eye on the website for datesThe
Plough Inn, Stalisfield Road, Faversham, Kent, ME13
0HYwww.theploughinnstalisfield.co.uk Tel: 01795 890 256 Email:
Regular readers of Swale Ale will recall an article in the
Autumn 2013 magazine inviting local MP Gordon Henderson to visit my
premises in a show of support for Cask Ale week in September 2013.
Unfortunately there was no show from Mr Henderson and no response
from his back room staff to inform me that he was unable to
So, when on a quiet January lunchtime, a sound erupted from the
mobile phone charging behind the bar, signalling an incoming email,
imagine my shock when upon inspection it was a belated reply from
my local Member of Parliaments Constituency Office Manger. They
apologised for Gordon being unable to attend (well it was party
As I travel the lanes of Kent I expect to taste a new-to-me beer
every day. When trespassing into the territories of London there is
an even greater plethora of beers. I am told that there are now 50
microbreweries in London. The choice of beer styles, strengths and
inventive names is a theatre in itself. More oatmeal stouts are
finding their way into the winter mix and I noticed an oatmeal
porter the other day which also tasted well. The stronger dark
beers are more prevalent this winter. Porters were the first beers
brewed in bulk when work moved from the country into the cities,
particularly London. Stouts are strong porters and weaker strengths
became milds - all porters in style.
Have publicans never had it so good? Well, I am told that
publicans are so inundated with brewers trying to sell their
products that they no longer pick up the phone. So, from this angle
it might be deduced that there is too much choice. And the question
I often hear is 'when is the bubble going to burst' that all these
brewers can survive? In one pub in London I was told that an
analysis of the sales showed that a cask beer was the top selling
brand followed by Meantime's London Lager and
Jottings of an Itinerant Brewer
week!) and for failure to inform me of this.Now what triggered
this sudden response
over four months later? Well apparently, our MP had recently
come across the article in this local CAMRA magazine, which just
goes to show how wide and far our distribution network now extends
(please remember, Swale Ale is available on www.issuu.com/swaleale
to follow and download at no cost). Now with Swale Ale extending
its range into the British Government what better way to put across
CAMRAs campaigning issues or any issue you feel strongly about. So
why not write an article and send it to [email protected]
Back to dear Gordon who is happy to visit my pub on another
occasion, probably if I give his office four months notice. However
Mr Henderson has visited Swales first micropub, The Paper Mill, to
show his support for this new venture, which is about 20 yards from
his constituency office.
Reports are that Mr Henderson appeared to enjoy his glass of RED
then Peroni. If I tell you that the cask beer was Sharps Doom
Bar, which was competing with three other guest beers on the bar,
you have to wonder whether the choice of cask beers is
But then these are craft beers of which the relatively new
style, black IPA, is a recent development, well, in comparison to
the days when porter was brewed. But are all microbreweries craft?
I would say yes that they aspire to producing something inspiring,
different, something that cannot be mass produced. But craft is up
against the easy drinking, not so challenging but tasty enough beer
which seems to suit the majority.
For just 23* a year, thats less than a pint a month, you can
join CAMRA and enjoy the following benefits:
A quarterly copy of our magazine BEER which is packed with
features on pubs, beers and breweries.
Our monthly newspaper, Whats Brewing, informing you on beer and
pub news and detailing events and beer festivals around the
Reduced entry to over 160 national,regional and local beer
Socials and brewery trips, with national,regional and local
The opportunity to campaign to savepubs and breweries under
threat of closure.
The chance to join CAMRA / BreweryComplimentary Clubs that are
exclusive to CAMRA members. These clubs offer a variety of
promotions including free pint vouchers, brewery trips,
competitions, and merchandise offers.
Discounts on all CAMRA books includingthe Good Beer Guide.
For more on your CAMRA Membership Benefits please visit
www.camra.org.uk/benefits* This price is based on the Direct Debit
discount. ** Joint CAMRA memberships will receive one set of
vouchers to share. CAMRA reserves the right to withdraw any offer
at any time without warning and members should check CAMRA website
for updated and details of current offers.
Plus these amazing discounts...
and growing!CAMRA Membership Benefits
20 worth of JD Wetherspoon Real Ale Vouchers.**
15% discount withNational Express coach services.
10% discount on toprooms.com.
10% savings at Cotswold Outdoor.
15% off boat hire with start locations form Falkirk to
20% off brewery and beer tasting tours.
10% discount on booking with cottages4you.
10% discount on bookingwith Hoseasons.
Up to 52% off - with attractions for the family too numerous to
name....plus many more
What is it about being a great distance from something that
makes us even more determined to focus on it than if it was, say,
on the corner of the street?
For example, why did Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton
become superb blues guitarists even though they lived thousands of
miles from the Mississippi Delta or the inner city of Chicago?
Quite possibly because the sheer distance fuelled their interest to
a far greater degree than if it was something they saw and heard
Similarly, here I am, an ex-pat Brit living in the suburbs of
Nashville, Tennessee, having lived in New York, Delaware and
California before ending up here in Music City. I spent my
formative years in Kent before I emigrated some 35 years ago, and
not surprisingly a fair portion of those years was spent supporting
the income of various licensed victuallers who ran my favourite
After all these years, there arent a lot of things I still miss
about my life in England. But the one thing I DO miss is the
Kentish pub. Not the kind with the blaring juke box and big-screen
TVs showing endless soccer matches. I mean the pub where the
landlord knows how to keep a good ale and theres someone at the bar
whom you have never met but with whom you fall into an easy
I come back to Kent about once a year and I make a point to
visit several of my old haunts, mainly in Faversham and the
surrounding countryside. Its always sad to find that, over the
years, one or two have finally closed their doors. But it is also
heart warming to discover those that have seemed to remain
unchanged from my first visits in the 1960s and even from a century
Im fortunate to have remained close friends with Eric Pollard, a
former art college mate who seems to know every pub in Swale and
far beyond, mainly because of the amazing hand-painted sign writing
work that he creates for so many of them. With Eric, I have visited
many of the pubs that I remember so well, and have been introduced
some that I never knew existed. I was delighted to read in Swale
Ale about the
emergence of micropubs and I am determined to visit one or two
during my next visit to Swale. With other pubs having to put up the
shutters, the micropub concept sounds like a smart way to keep real
ale alive and well in Kent.
So my point is this: when something is close at hand such as
your local pub it is easy to take it for granted. But when you live
far away, you really appreciate every opportunity to enjoy a fine
ale in good company. Support your local landlord!
Nashville, Tennessee P.S. I was so homesick for a pub that I
in my own house! As you can see, Shepherd Neame odds and sods
are alive and well here, even if the beer isnt, and mine is a true
micropub with only bar stools for two.
Ex-pat Brit longs for those Swale
Mike HarrisPhoto by Mike Harris
Like Mike you can read Swale Ale online at
The Grumpy Landlord
The demise of the old fashioned barmade
Now when I was a lad, (yes I can remember that far back), our
local pub was ruled over by a barmaid of truly epic proportions and
a personality to match. The back bar was her domain and even the
landlord trod carefully when he made an infrequent excursion into
Watching Flossie at work was a joy. She could serve three people
at once, feed the cat and carry on a conversation with old Ted,
while keeping a weather eye on everything that was going on in her
bar. I once saw three teddy boys trying to start a punch up in the
corner. Flossie was out through the hatch in seconds, clutching a
spare pump handle that she kept handy. Exit teddy boys clutching
their ears and helped on their way by a boot up the backside as
they went through the door.
She was also psychiatrist, psychologist, marriage counsellor,
and child care advisor and although she knew all the ins and outs
of her regulars private lives, her discretion was absolute.
Even though we were under-age, we lads knew that we could always
spend a pleasant evening in the pub under Flossies watchful eye,
making the two half pints we were allowed last as long as possible.
The local policeman knew very well that we were under-age, but he
also knew where we were and that Flossie would stand no nonsense a
clip round the ear, a two week ban and a word in our fathers ears
awaited anyone who played up. In fact whenever he popped in to
check all was well, he always gave us a nod, just to confirm that
he knew what was occurring. We always nodded back, acknowledging
the dispensation. Funny though, after a quick look around the pub,
he always disappeared out the back, to re-appear five minutes later
wiping his mouth with his hand!!!
One of Flossies attractions were her light ale dresses, (for you
youngsters, light ales were kept on the bottom shelf and Flossie
had a generous cleavage so had to bend down to get them - work it
There are still the Flossie breed of barmaid to be found, but
they are about as rare as hens teeth
in a chicken run. Now all we seem to have are bar persons or the
daftest of all mixologists- who seem to spend most of their time
texting friends and give you a nasty look if you interrupt their
vital communications by daring to order a drink!
I may be politically incorrect, but give me a Flossie any time,
you knew where you were with her and its her breed who make a
proper pub tick. Forget electronic pub games, scratch cards and
piped music that sounds like a cow with its udder caught in the
milking machine, give me a friendly barmaid who can serve a pint to
perfection and lend a sympathetic ear anytime!
DerekGrumpy Landlord of the Shipwrights Arms
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