The October Issue of The Oxford Drinker, the newsletter of the Oxford branch of CAMRA (Campaign For Real Ale) is now available.
You can pick up a free copy from most good pubs in the area. There are currently copies in the Brewery Tap, The White Horse and The Loose Cannon Brewery shop. They should appear in other pubs during the next week (deliveries rely on volunteers to take them to pubs in their spare time).
Articles of interest to Abingdonians in this issue include:
Abingdon’s Loose Cannon Brewery
Report from Old Anchor Beer Festival
Oxford City Pub of The Year shortlist
Publication of new Good Beer Guide 2011, including new entries from the Oxford branch area
Preview of The Oxford Beer Festival
Welcome report from the new Oxford CAMRA branch chairman
Abingdon is having a good share of beer festivals this year. We have recently enjoyed the King’s Head & Bell‘s 1st beer festival in August, and The Old Anchor’s beer festival in July. Starting today, the Brewery Tap in Abingdon is holding its 3rd festival this year (previously ones were in June and March. Incidently, ĎAbingdonís First beer festivalí was actually held in the car park of The Brewery Tap back in October 2004.
The Tap’s beer festival features 16 real ales including Abingdon Bridge from Abingdon’s own Loose Cannon Brewery and 8 real ciders, and as with the previous Tap festivals this year…. specialist sausages and live music.
There will be live music on Saturday afternoon (4pm) from The Three Musty Steers and on Sunday afternoon (4pm) from George Haslam’s 18 piece Big Time Swing Band.
Saturday also coincides with the annual Runner Bean Day on Saturday, which offers prizes for things such as the longest runner bean.
There are rumours that The Plough on Stert street may shut again soon. It only reopened a couple of months ago at the start of July after being closed for several months prior to that. It seems that most of the regulars made other pubs into their regular during the period it was closed and have not returned since it reopened. This is a Greene King pub so there is hope that they might find new tenants, but don’t hold your breath.
The Boundary House on Oxford road has had a complete revamp and reopened a couple of weeks ago. It has branded itself as a ‘Surf and Turf’ and looks more food oriented than beer. The food is very cheap, with the menu comprising burgers, steaks, scampi. The interior has been modified so that it is all one large area instead of the seperate dining area that it used to have. It has the feel similar to an American Sports bar. For beer they were serving Old Speckled Hen on draught, which was in reasonable condition. Previously I have found the beer in there undrinkable, so this is an improvement. The large beer garden at the front has been surrounded by a low wooden fence which makes it safer for children who might otherwise run onto the busy Oxford Road.
The Prince of Wales in Shippon has 6 real ales on, with several being local beers from Loose Cannon and Shotover breweries. The refurbishing of the kitchen, dining area and toilets is complete. The pub is only just outside of Abingdon and not too far to walk or cycle. They have live music and other events on regularly.
The Royal British Legion club on Spring Road is in danger of closing. An EGM was held a few days ago due to financial problems relating to the ownership of the property. However for the time being it is still open and is currently serving Loose Cannon’s Abingdon Bridge Ale at only £2.35 a pint.
The Ox on Oxford Road is having monthly Jazz sessions with Abingdon’s top international jazz musician George Haslam and guests. They only have Morland Original beer on offer, but it was served in excellent condition. Don’t forget also that The Broad Face has live Jazz bands every Sunday afternoon from 4pm onwards.
The Kings Head and Bell in Abingdon, which reopened last autumn is holding its first annual beer festival this weekend from saturday 29th August until monday. The festival features aproximately 20 real ales, which are all from local breweries including Appleford, Vale, Hook Norton and others that did not have pump clips on yet when I looked on friday.
The full list of breweries is Hook Norton, White Horse, Abingdon’s own Loose Cannon, Oxfordshire Ales, Appleford, Box Steam Brewery, West Berkshire, Wadworth, Festival Brewery from Cheltenham and Vale Brewery.
The festival was officially opened at midday on Saturday by Beth Fleming, chairman of the Vale and Alastair Fear, deputy mayor of Abingdon.
Also this afternoon, members from the Oxford branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) members will be giving a tutured tasting demonstration and will be on hand to answer questions about real ale and what CAMRA does.
The Freedom brewery had a stand on Saturday where you could sample their Hand crafted English Lagers, which if you are only used to the bland mass produced lager brands will surprise you with their aroma, taste and body. The King’s Head and Bell regularly serve Freedom Four
There are other things going on as well including a BBQ serving local farm produce. The banner outside also refers to a local craft market and face painting.
After much anticipation over recent months, the Brewery Tap on Ock Street is the first pub to take deliveries of beer from the new Loose Cannon Brewery, Abingdon’s first commercial brewery since the Morland Brewery was closed 10 years ago.
The pub will be serving two beers: Abingdon Bridge Trial 1 and Abingdon Bridge Trial 2. The beer is currently settling, and should be ready to serve on Wednesday. A discount on these beers will be offered to CAMRA members on presentation of your membership card.
The brewer is looking for informed opinions of the two brews.
The Brewery Tap in Abingdon, is one the five contenders for the CAMRA Oxford Branch’s Town and Country pub of the year. More information can be found in the August issue of The Oxford Drinker, which you can pick up in most good pubs in town, or as a PDF on the Oxford CAMRA web site. To vote for the pub of the year you must visit each of the 5 pubs and get a form stamped, and return to Oxford CAMRA with your vote. The forms can be picked up in any of the 5 pubs. The other pubs are The Eagle in Witney. Cricketer’s Arms in Littleworth, Queen’s Head in Eynsham and The Morris Clown in Bampton.