Welcome to CAMRA West Kent

This website is for CAMRA members that have an interest in the West Kent Branch.

 

The branch area includes the towns of Edenbridge, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Westerham.



Sad news regarding Iain Dalgleish

It is with great sadness that I have to report that our former chairman passed away on the morning of the 18th August after a battle with illness. He was at home with his family around him. Many of you will already have heard this sad news and many tributes have been expressed to a lovely man who was the driving force of the branch and the SVR beer festival for many years. He will be sorely missed.
Several pubs in Tunbridge Wells are donating money in Iain and Jack the Hats memory to Hospice in the Weald.


The easiest ways to help CAMRA West Kent?

The number 1, easiest, but most important thing that CAMRA members can do to help any branch is to enter pub and beer scores via WhatPub. If you enter scores for pubs that you try they will get fed back to the relevant branch, and will be used for deciding which pubs go in the Good Beer Guide. The menu on the left contains a guide to Beer Scoring, or follow the WhatPub link above to go direct. 

 

Branch Volunteering
We’d also like to recruit a branch ACV Officer to spearhead applications for Asset of Community Value status to threatened pubs in the branch and support local community groups in applying for ACVs.

In fact we really need more active, campaigning members on the branch committee to spread the workload generally. We’re all volunteers as you know, so if you want to be more involved let us know or come to our branch meetings and get involved.


News

Brewery Visit – Please Book!
On 3rd March we have arranged a visit to Old Dairy Brewery, Tenterden. Travel by the 10.45am 297 bus from Tunny Wells station stop C (Monson Rd stop M 10.47am) arriving Tenterden 12.25. This may be our last chance to get there via this bus so roll up folks. Please advise Ian Davidson ianatleigh@aol.com if you’re interested in coming as there will be a buffet lunch provided by the brewery for which a small sum may be required (£5-6 approx.) Returning on the 4pm bus with a stop at the Halfway House, Brenchley for those that wish. Then the last bus back at 18.20. Don’t forget a Discovery ticket may save you money if using other buses.

Branch Social
On Saturday 27th January we have a social visit to the Cooper’s Arms, Crowborough for their winter Beer Festival. We’ll be meeting our friends from other branches from Sussex and Surrey who’ll be having their usual coach trip there. Travel by number 29 bus leaving TW station at 11.53 (or a little earlier in the town centre) and due at Crowborough Cross at 12.12, from where it’s about a 15 minute walk to the pub. Return buses approximately half hourly to hourly but please check timetable for times.

 

‘The West Kent CAMRA Pub Of The Year’
has been awarded to Fuggles Beer Cafe in one of the closest competitions seen in recent years. All the pubs included in this competition achieve a level of excellence to be commended, with the top 3 chopping & changing right up to the last scores being computed and as such was impossible to predict.

Fuggles, as a new branch winner came top in 3 out of the 5 categories and is I consider, a worthy winner, having been highly placed previously, including runner up last year, since opening in November 2013.

Alex Greig has with Fuggles Beer Cafe, helped to transform the “Beer Scene” in our branch area, particularly in Tunbridge Wells, serving quality cask beer and other craft ales, extended the range of products available to the public, whilst encouraging competition by setting new standards for the industry in respect of customer service and staff knowledge and thoroughly deserves the recognition this award will bring.

Top Six Pubs – West Kent CAMRA Awards

  • 1. Fuggles, Tunbridge Wells
  • 2. Windmill, Weald
  • 3. Halfway House, Brenchley
  • 4. Dovecote, Capel
  • 5. Queens Arms, Cowden Pound
  • 6. Crown, Groombridge

Most Improved pub: Toad Rock Retreat, Rusthall

Runner up – Matt & Emma at The Windmill might be disappointed as runner up having won the award for the last three years, they shouldn’t be, they’ve set new standards from the beginning and their Runner Up Award in a close competition confirms their ability to maintain them.

Halfway House, Brenchley – Sam, recently taken over from father Richard is clearly building on his dad’s previous success, continuing the quality beers and foods available whilst improving the Summer Beer festivals held & the music provided.

Toad Rock Retreat, Rusthall – Nick & Shelley fully deserve their ‘most improved’ pub having worked tirelessly to turn this pub around.

Cider Pub Of the year: The Pantiles Tap

Geoff & Jo retain their crown for Cider Pub of the year for ‘The Pantiles Tap’ with one of the best selections of quality cider in the south, never mind the region!

Club of the year: Tunbridge Wells Constitutional Club, Tunbridge Wells

The Constitutional Club with its excellent range of beers and excellent food offering deserve this accolade.

Craig Beeson, Chairman, West Kent CAMRA

Alex Greig at Fuggles was “over the moon” as you can read on his website here: http://www.fugglesbeercafe.co.uk/news/

 

Pub News

The Greyhound, Hever has reopened after a rebuild following a fire two years ago. Very nice it is too!
Fuggles new Tonbridge bar is open, and greatly enjoyed by many of us.
The Gatehouse, Tonbridge (in the former Slug & Lettuce) has 4 handpumps with changing guest beers and is worth a try if you havent been in yet.
The Greyhound Charcott is open, and its great 🙂 Congrats to all those involved the ACV application. https://whatpub.com/pubs/TTW/17/greyhound-charcott
The Two Brewers Hadlow has new tenants. I can report that beer quality has dramatically improved, food is off the menu until work has finished on the kitchen.


Awards Season!!

With the launch of the Good Beer Guide the branch gets to hand out some awards to some of the hard working people in our branch pubs. Some of the most impressive awards go to pubs with many consecutive years in the GBG.
We have also added a seasonal award for Most Highly Commended Pub. This will only be awarded when a pub has come on to our radar as being really worth a visit, the beer must be in top condition, but the management and staff are the real winners because of what they have achieved.

The first winner of this award is the Foresters Arms in Tonbridge WHATPUB LINK Congratulations to Tyson and his team on turning this pub around, its now a popular community pub, serving great beer (including a guest), and the pizzas are a hit as well.

Grove Tavern Tunbridge Wells. 15 consecutive years in the GBG. WHATPUB LINK Congrats to CJ Baxter, Steve and the rest of the team. Tunbridge Wells has a massive variety of places to get a great pint of real ale, the Grove is always on my goto list 🙂

Dovecote Inn Capel. 20 years in the GBG!! WHATPUB LLINK The Dovecote is one of my favourite pubs to walk out to from Tonbridge, and you have some great great real ale (on gravity) at your destination. Also renowned for its food.


CAMRA West Kent Facebook

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Kent CAMRA Award Presentation

February 23, 2018, 7:00pm - February 23, 2018, 8:00pm

Rockin Robin Receives Two Awards for Reliant Robin, come and join us to celebrate... Complementary Chilli Pot Provided... Followed by Live Music at 8pm

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Branch Diary

 

January 2018

  • 15th Branch Business Meeting, Humphrey Bean, Tonbridge 8pm Please note the date carefully as it was wrong in the last newsletter
  • 27th Social visit to the Cooper’s Arms, Crowborough Beer Festival

February

  • 10th Social at the Crown, Groombridge from 12.30 and then the Toad Rock Retreat, Rusthall
  • 18th GBG 2019 Selection Meeting, Brecknock Arms, Bells Yew Green, 2pm

March

  • 3rd Brewery visit to Old Dairy Brewery, Tenterden, travel by the 10.45am 297 bus from Tunny Wells station stop C (Monson Rd stop M 10.47am) arriving Tenterden 12.25. This may be our last chance to get there via this bus so roll up folks. Please advise Ian Davidson ianatleigh@aol.com if you’re interested in coming as there will be a buffet lunch provided by the brewery for which a small sum may be required. Returning on the 4pm bus with a stop at the Halfway House, Brenchley for those that wish. Then the last bus back at 18.20
  • 8th Pub crawl in Tonbridge, starting at the Nelson, then the Forester’s and the Punch & Judy
  • 19th Branch Business Meeting, Halfway House, Sevenoaks
  • 30th Social trip to Planet Thanet Beer Festival or join MMK Branch on their annual Good Friday Ramble

April

  • 8th Social at the Windmill, Sevenoaks Weald
  • 21st Branch Annual General Meeting at the Tunbridge Wells Constitutional Club, 1 Sandrock Road, TW, TN2 3PX, 2pm followed by pub crawl

May

  • 6th Social at the Halfway House, Brenchley
  • 14th Branch Business Meeting, Mount Edgecumbe, TW 8pm

June

  • 17th Social visit to the Kentish Rifleman
  • 26th Social visit to the Hopbine, Petteridge

Events, Beer Festivals, etc

  • Regular Event: Westerham Brewery Open Evenings 1st Thursday of each month. Next one 1st February (I assume, please check) https://westerhambrewery.co.uk/events/#/all
  • 26th – 28th Jan 2018 – Cooper’s Arms, Crowborough Beer Festival
  • 29th Jan – Orpington Liberal Club Meet the Brewer and Tap Takeover with The Canterbury Ales from 6pm
  • 9th – 10th Feb – Tonbridge Juddians Rugby Club Beer Festival, 24 ales plus cider
  • www.tj-beerfest.com
  • 2nd – 3rd Mar 2018 – CAMRA Spring Equinox Beer Festival, Horsham
  • 20th – 22nd Apr – The Knoxbridge, Cranbook Road A229, Frittenden, TN17 2BT – St George’s Beer festival
  • 20th – 23rd Apr – Little Brown Jug, Chiddingstone Causeway – St. George’s Beer Festival
  • 15th June – Beer Day Britain
  • 20th – 22nd July – Mark Cross Inn, Mark Cross – Food & Beer Festival

 


Protecting your local pub by nominating them as Assets of Community Value

Through the Localism Act, the Government has introduced new powers for communities in England to nominate valued facilities such as pubs as “assets of community value”. Where pubs are listed this enables communities to “stop the clock” for up to six months if they’re put up for sale to consider options for saving the pub. With 18 pubs closing every week we need CAMRA members and branches to get involved in listing pubs before more of them are lost. So far two pubs in the branch have received this protection (both called the Royal Oak, one in Tunbridge Wells, one in Pembury). For a more in depth explanation of the what, why, and where please follow this LINK, which also contains an information leaflet.