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CAMRA column: News from south Warwickshire’s pubs

WELCOME to the Shakespeare branch of CAMRA, which started in September 1981 and covers the south Warwickshire and Evesham areas. The branch celebrated its 42nd anniversary in October and I’m now tasked with keeping the readers of the Herald up to date with news from pubs in the area.

Pub of the Year

As a branch we started the Pub of the Year awards in 1999, this is an active part of the role of members and helps to promote the pubs that join in with the scheme. Thirst Edition, in Shipston, was voted as the Shakespeare CAMRA Pub of the Year for 2023.

Beer and Cider Festival

The first Stratford Beer and Cider Festival took place in 2007. It’s now an annual event which is well supported across the district and attracts visitors from outside the county, many who choose to stay in the caravan park at the Stratford Racecourse or travel by train, taking advantage of the free minibus to the festival.

If you’ve never been, then make a note in your diary: the next festival has been confirmed for Friday 21st June and Saturday 22nd June next year. Come along and join us.

News and awards

The branch members try to keep up to date with the closures and opening of pubs in our district as well as the real ales on tap – details of which can be found on the website.

The Christmas season lights the hearts of the dark ale drinkers, the lovers of porters and those ales that match strong flavours like cheeses, such as the Woodforde’s Nelson’s Revenge, a classic, malty bitter with enough citrus and spice to take on festive food. I recommend just trying a sip and a piece of cheese, a match made in heaven.

Ancient beer styles are being revived to great acclaim and, encouragingly, they are produced by large breweries that are prepared to add small batch ales to their regular brews.

Fuller’s and Greene King (who operate many pubs in Stratford) have launched new versions of a type of beer known as stock ale, which has its origins in the early 18th century. The Fuller’s beer is Prize Old Ale while Strong Suffolk Ale comes from Greene King.

Winter ales trip

Looking forward to the new year, a trip has been arranged on Thursday, 1st February, to Tewkesbury Winter Ales Festival. The Thursday is the first night of the festival and CAMRA members only, so we will get the best possible choice of ales.

The trip is free for Stratford Beer Festival helpers while there is a small charge for all other members.

And finally…

Lastly, if you’re still thinking of what Christmas present to get beer lover, then take a look at CAMRA membership – and they can enjoy the real ale tokens.

Find out more about the Shakespeare branch of CAMRA at https://shakespeare. camra.org.uk.

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