Kings Head & Bell’s 2nd Summer Beer Festival

The King’s Head and Bell on East St. Helen’s Street is holding its 2nd Summer Beer Festival this weekend. On Saturday, the Hook Norton draymen (Taffy and Roger Hughes) brought their shire horses to the pub. On Sunday afternoon, Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers will be doing some dancing and playing music from 2pm.

Hook Norton Dray (Picture borrowed from Kings Head and Bell facebook page)

There is a good range of 20 real ales outside (and 4 more at the bar). Many of them are from local breweries including:

From further afield are:

There are also 5 real ciders.

I haven’t tried everything yet, but probably the Hooky Flagship is my favourite so far.

You can also see more pictures of the horses on The Abingdon Blog

Latest Beer at the Brewery Tap


Click the image to see the beers currently being served at the Brewery Tap in Abingdon, and what is in the cellar waiting to come on.

If enough people are interested in this kind of info, I could set up a mailing list, forum or database and also ask other local pubs to provide information for it. Please comment to this post to let me know if it is worth setting up.

You can also get up to real time info of beers available The Brewery Tap and some other pubs at YourRound.co.uk.

E-petition to Protect diversity of our town centres

Saturday’s protest in Abingdon against Tesco turning the former Ox pub into a Tesco Direct as reported in the Oxford Mail yesterday and the Abingdon Blog seemed to go well, although unfortunately I was unable to attend as I was still working as a volunteer at the Great British Beer Festival.

An e-petition has now been set up by recently elected Abingdon town councillor Iain Littlejohn asking the government to pass laws allowing local councils to have some power to prevent pubs and similar properties from changing use. Current laws mean the town and district councils are powerless to do anything to prevent a pub being turned into a shop.

Please go to http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/4922 to sign it. I have signed e-petitions before and they do get looked at and replied to by the relevant minister and if more than 100,000 people sign, it will get debated in the house of commons.

The full wording is:

Give town councils the power to use planning process to protect the diversity and individual character of town centres. Currently multiple retailers are able to set up in high streets regardless of the impact on independent retailers. Planning authorities are not currently able to prevent this happening and as such many towns centres are becoming clone towns. Similarly many pubs are being converted to convenience stores owned by multiple retailers with little consideration of their long term impact on the community. Specifically we would like to see: 1. Town councils gain right to designate their town centre for diversity protection 2. Impact on the character of the town to become a legitimate reason for rejecting an application in towns designated for diversity protection 3. All retailers wishing to locate in designated towns required to submit planning application 4. Move from public house to other form of retail to be regarded as a change of use

It may be too late to save The Ox and The Fitzharris, but signing the petition could prevent the same thing happening to other pubs elsewhere.

Protest to Stop The Ox becoming a Tesco Direct

As reported last week on The Abingdon Blog, Tesco have started work converting The former Ox pub into a Tesco Direct. It has also been reported in The Oxford Mail and Abingdon Herald.

Many local people are opposed to this as it is next to an existing recently opened convenience store, and the underhanded way that Tesco is taking over the town. They have started this work even though no planning permission applications have been submitted! Local town and district councillor are also opposed to it, and a petition has been started.

This Saturday, a protest is being organised, starting from The Ox and marching to the main Tesco store in Marcham Road. Meeting at 2pm outside The Ox.

The Ox being developed into a Tesco Direct.

Quick Round up of Abingdon Pub / Brewery News

Loose Cannon Brewery

The Loose Cannon Brewery is now selling Abingdon Bridge and Loose Cannon Pale in pint bottles. Currently available from the brewery shop in Suffolk Way off Drayton Road, at 2/bottle or case of 12 for 21.50. You can of course still buy it directly from the conditioning tanks in plastic PET bottles (1,2 or 3 litre), 5 liter mini cask, 18 and 36 pint polypins or 72 pint firkins. Please support our local brewery, which reintroduced the brewing tradition back to Abingdon following the closure of the Morland Brewery.

The Old Anchor

The Old Anchor on St. Helen’s Wharf is now running under new management. The new managers have good plans to refurbish it. Currently it is serving 3 beers in good condition from the Greene King range (Morland Original, Speckled Hen and London Glory). With the Nags Head still closed, this is the only pub where you can sit outside with a view of the river.

Brewery Tap

The Brewery Tap is now serving 5 real ciders. Unlike other pubs that just have cardboard box polypins on the counter serving at room temperature, The Tap has them in the cellar at a cool temperature being served through the beer fonts. The range includes ever popular and strong Old Rosie and the sweeter Thistle Cross. The beer range continues to be the best in Abingdon and you can now get a real time update of what is on the bar and what is coming soon in the cellar by logging into yourround.co.uk. This site if you register can also send you email alerts when a beer is changed.

Kings Head & Bell

The King’s Head & Bell on East St. Helen’s Street is having a beer festival on August bank holiday weekend (27th-29th August). They always have a range of 4 real ales, which change frequently, but mainly includes beers from Hook Norton, Box Steam, Loose Cannon and Adnams.

The Ox

Work has begun on The Ox on Oxford Road to turn it into a Tesco Direct. This is despite the fact that no planning permission has been applied for and it is close to an existing convenience store which may go out of business if next door to a Tesco Direct. There is more on this on the Abingdon blog including a lot of comments from concerned residents, and some of our town councillors are investigating what if anything can be done to stop it, though it seems at the moment that Tesco’s are not doing anything illegal. This is almost exactly the same as what happened earlier this year at The Fitzharris arms.

Blue Boar

The Blue Boar on bath street is now serving a good pint of Adnams Southwold Bitter. For several years no real ale had been available in this historic pub and this is a good sign of things to come.

Added Ingredients

Added ingredients in Stert street sells a range of bottled beers from local brewery, The Compass Brewery.

The Plough

Continues to be open, but with no real ale. I think it is still for sale, but its future seems uncertain.

Nags Head

No news on this. As far as I can see from the Land Registry, Punch Taverns still own the lease, and there are no for-sale or to-let signs on it making it difficult for anyone who did want to take it over from even knowing who to contact! I understand there are several interested people who want to take it over and turn it back into a thriving pub with its wonderful beer garden in the middle of the Thames.

Other pubs

No specific news, but other pubs including The Punch Bowl, Spread Eagle, Broad Face, Stocks Bar, White Horse and Cross Keys continue to serve beer in good condition and are worth a visit. Also if you don’t mind a walk or short cycle ride I can also recommend The Prince Of Wales in Shippon (6 real ales including beer from local Shotover Brewery), The Flowing Well in Sunningwell (a recent change of management with 3 well served beers from Greene King guest range and a lovely beer garden) and The Crown in Marcham which has real ales not seen elsewhere in this area.