Save British Beer

The beer duty escalator was introduced by the last Government in 2008, and is currently in place until 2014/15. It means that beer duty is automatically increased by 2% above inflation every single year which in this year’s budget meant the beer duty on beer rose by 5%. On top of this you are paying 20% VAT, whereas other European countries have a reduced VAT rate for the hospitality industry as they can see how it benefits their economy. As a result, tax on beer has gone up by over 40% since 2008. You now pay over a third of your pint on tax.

In the last few budgets when the chancellor said he is making no changes to tax on beer, he has meant that he is following the previous governments policy where duty is increase by 2% above inflation. In Abingdon, this has meant that pubs that used to charge 3.20 a pint are now having to charge 3.30 a pint since the budget last month.

Any more increases in beer duty will increase the pressure on pubs already struggling to survive and damage the long term ability of the beer and pub sector to continue contributing over 6 billion a year in duty and VAT, and over 21 billion to the UKs GDP.

You can help persuade the government that this is a bad thing for the UK economy and the national heritage of British cask conditioned beer which is unique to Britain by signing the petition at epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/29664 or read more about it at saveyourpint.co.uk. If 100,000 people sign the petition it will then be debated in the house of commons and have a good chance of being changed. At the moment about 30,000 people have signed it, so it needs a few more to reach the required number.

Save Your Pint - Sign the E-Petition

Brewery Tap Beer Festival Preview

We are now into beer festival season in Abingdon on Thames. Last weekend we enjoyed The Cross Keys beer festival, where the first drink to sell out was Bristol Port Cider, and next week The Broad Face has a beer and music festival (6th-8th April). However this weekend sees probably the largest beer festival ever held in Abingdon on Thames. The Brewery Tap’s Spring Beer and Cider (and pies and music) festival.

There are several beers here never before seen in Abingdon on Thames, including the launch of Abingdon’s Loose Cannon Brewery’s Blonde ale; three new beers from The recently opened Aylesbury Brewhouse and the launch of XT Brewery’s Number 6. The complete list of ales and ciders along with tasting notes can be found here.

There will live music from Rascals of Rythmn on Friday evening, Big Blues Band on Saturday and George Haslam’s Swingtime band on Sunday at 5pm.

The Festival runs from Friday March 25th to Sunday March 27th.

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.

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.