NEWS - 2010
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New Landlord at the Horse & Jockey, Bodicote 31st March 2010
Hook Norton Hosts Beers & Asian Food Evening 9th June 2010
Branch in Crisis 27th June 2010
Hook Norton Hog Roast & Real Ale Tasting 8th July 2010
CAMRA Celebrates Prime Ministers Support of Community Pubs 21st July 2010
Hook Nortons Wheat Beer Returns to the Bar 22nd July 2010
Switching to Beer Can Help You Lose Weight 11th August 2010
'Vaults' New Owners to Host Charity Music Festival 26th August 2010
Details of Cider Pubs in North Oxfordshire Wanted 3rd September 2010
North Oxfordshire CAMRA Beer Festival Helpers Trip 10th September 2010
'Chequers', Chipping Norton, Changes Hands 12th September 2010
CAMRA Celebrates Community Run Pubs in GBG 2011 17th September 2010
Hook Norton's Flagship Sets Sail in October 22nd September 2010
'White Swan', Wiggington to Re-open 1st October 2010
'White Swan' Flies Again 7th October 2010
The End of the 'Cricketers Arms' and the birth of A.K.A. 14th October 2010
CAMRA Vows to Keep Up Pressure to Reform the Beer Tie 14th October 2010
North Oxfordshire CAMRA Helps Save the 'Whitmore Arms' 25th October 2010
Hook Norton Hits 'Jackpot' With its Latest Brew 26th October 2010
Hook Nortons 'Flagship' Gets Real in a Bottle 1st November 2010
10 Lords Leaping, 9 Ladies dancing - Hook Nortons '12 Days' is Back 22nd November 2010
Vale Brewery in Brill to Hold Open Day 25th November 2010
'The Butchers Arms', Balscote Features in the Guardian 7th December 2010


New Landlord at the Horse & Jockey, Bodicote

31st March 2010

New landlord John Morgan arrived here toward the end of February, moving from the Grimsbury area. The pub is very familiar to John as he used to live in Bodicote and drank here in his younger days. He sells two real ales; Hooky Bitter as a regular and a second changing ale. During a recent visit this was Shepherd Neame Spitfire. There is a third hand pump in the lounge bar used for the Hooky Bitter but if demand for real ale increases, John would be happy to offer a third beer. The pub is open 5-11 Monday-Thursday, 12-3 & 5-close Friday and noon-close Saturday & Sunday.

John is now serving food. The traditional pub menu is available three days a week 12-2 & 6-9.30 Friday & Saturday and 12-3 Sunday.

Live music and Sky Sports are also featured.

Source: North Oxfordshire CAMRA

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Hook Norton hosts an evening of Beer and Asian food on 19th June

9th June 2010

The Hook Norton Brewery in North Oxfordshire is hosting a tasting of its ales with Asian food on Saturday 19 June at 6.45pm for 7pm start.

The food is prepared by the acclaimed chefs from the Thai Shire restaurant in Chipping Norton.

An extensive range of Thai, Chinese and Malaysian dishes will be available to sample, including Thai spring rolls, Chinese king prawns and sesame prawn toasts and Malay sambal chicken and satay chicken.

Entrance is by ticket only, which can be purchased in advance for £10.00 from the Visitor Centre.

Visitor Centre Manager Richard Hughes said: “The authentic Asian food is prepared by the friendly staff of the Thai Shire restaurant. The dishes will be marvellous partners to Hook Norton’s range of craft produced beers.

“The Asian food and beer evening will be fun way to help people understand that beer is the perfect partner to many food styles. Indeed, when it comes to the delicate flavours found in some Asian dishes beer is not just the equal to wine it is better.”

Entrance is by ticket only, which can be purchased in advance for £10.00 from the Visitor Centre. To make a booking for the call 01608 730384 or pop in to the Hook Norton Brewery Visitor Centre.

Tours of the brewery have to booked in advance and take place at 9.30am, 11.00am and 2.30pm on Monday- Friday. Saturday 10.30am and 1.30pm. Each tour takes about two hours and includes a tasting of Hook Norton beers. Tours cost £9.50 per person.

The Brewery Visitors Centre, Brewery Lane, Hook Norton OX15 5NY is open Monday to Saturdays from 9.30am to 4.30pm.

Source: Hook Norton Brewery

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North Oxfordshire Branch needs YOU!

27th June 2010

The North Oxfordshire Branch of CAMRA is in real danger of folding because of a lack of members willing to get involved with the running of the Branch.
At the moment we are missing a Vice Chairman, Press and Publicity Contact and Branch Secretary, all of which are vital roles.
For the last year we have been running with many posts vacant which has resulted in some members having to carry out other posts as well as their own. It has now reached the stage where this cannot continue.

However it's not only at Committee level that the lack of active members is having an impact on the Branch - we rely on volunteers (known as Clustermasters) to deliver Beer on Tap and to act as a contact between the Branch and pubs within their 'cluster'. North Oxfordshire Branch covers a wide geographic area and we always need help with this important job.

North Oxfordshire CAMRA Branch desperately needs your help!

Please consider getting involved in some way - if you would like more information about the various posts, please contact the Chairman or check the VACANCIES section of this website.
Posts can be shared if that would help, and if you are interested in clustering you don't have to commit yourself to delivering to lots of pubs, every little helps.

If the Branch doesn't get more help with the organisation and running of the branch there will be NO MORE BRANCH and that means:

  • No more Banbury Beer Festival.
  • No more Beer on Tap.
  • No more campaigning for pubs and real ale in this region.
  • No central information point or promotion of local beer festivals.
  • No news of events, new owners, etc from pubs around North Oxfordshire

The future of the North Oxfordshire CAMRA Branch is in YOUR hands.

Source: Beer on Tap - Issue 41

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Hook Norton Brewery hog roast & ale tasting

8th July 2010

The Hook Norton Brewery in North Oxfordshire is hosting a tasting of its ales with a hog roast on Saturday 24 July at 6.45pm for 7pm start.

The pig is being prepared and spit-roasted by Kench Butchers from Chipping Norton.

Visitor Centre Manager Richard Hughes said: “The evening is the perfect opportunity to sample beers from Hook Norton’s range of award wining beers and learn a little about why they are so special.

“The evening also gives us an opportunity to show that Hook Norton beers are drinks of some sophistication, with a greater range of colours and flavours than wine.

“We believe our beers are perfect for partnering with many foods.

“The tasting includes Haymaker, at 5 per cent ABV, a clear, golden, summer ale, with a refreshing aroma and taste.

“Brewed from a blend of Maris Otter Pale Ale and Cara pils malts and a mix of Fuggles, Goldings and Challenger hops, its aroma is beautifully fragrant and fruity, featuring grapefruit, tangerine and peach.

“The quality and depth of its taste should make it an ideal accompaniment to the sweet flavour of the roasted meat” he said.

Entrance is by ticket only, which can be purchased in advance for £10.00 from the Visitor Centre. To make a booking call 01608 730384 or pop in to the Hook Norton Brewery Visitor Centre.

The price of admission includes a tutored tasting of Hook Norton’s award winning ales, then a portion of roasted hog and two halves of Hooky beer of your choice.

Source: Hook Norton Brewery

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CAMRA hails big society support for community owned pubs

21st July 2010

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has today welcomed the Prime Minister’s endorsement of pubs as local assets and the promise of Government support for communities wishing to save threatened pubs through community ownership. CAMRA’s new polling research shows that 43% of people would be willing to join efforts to save their local favourite pub if it was under threat. Among regular pub goers this figure rises to 63%.

CAMRA has written to the Government seeking assurances that adequate resources will be allocated to provide business, legal and financial advice to communities wishing to save their local pub by running it as a mutual, co-operative or social enterprise.

Jonathan Mail, CAMRA Head of Policy and Public Affairs, said:

‘Pubs provide the vibrant heart of our communities and provide an invaluable meeting place and the centre for countless local activities. The loss of such pubs can be devastating to community spirit and identity and Government has a key role to play in enabling communities to come together to save their local pubs. CAMRA is committed to ensuring the Government back up their vision of a Big Society with practical legal, business and financial advice to ensure the success of community attempts to save local pubs through community ownership.’

Source: CAMRA HQ

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Hook Norton's wheat beer, Summer Haze returns.

22nd July 2010

Come rain or shine enjoy Hook Norton’s Brewers Selection for August – Summer Haze.

Hook Norton’s Summer Haze returns to pubs and beer festivals for August.

First brewed in 2009, Summer Haze, at 4.5% ABV, it is the first wheat beer from Hook Norton, but don’t be fazed if it has a slight haze, wheat beers are meant to.

Light, fruity, highly effervescent and refreshing, it is an ideal drink for a summer’s day. A common style in Belgium and Germany, where they are often known as white beers, the protein in wheat can cause a slight haze in the beer.

Wheat helps give the Summer Haze a smooth mouth feel making it easy to drink. It is the perfect partner to food and ideal for someone who wants to try a real beer for the first time.

Source: Hook Norton Brewery

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Switching to beer can help you lose weight

11th August 2010

Swapping from wine to beer for just one week would save as many calories as a jog

Good news for beer drinkers as new research shows people can enjoy their favourite Hooky Norton ale without putting on weight. In fact, swapping from wine to beer for just one week would save as many calories as a half-hour jog.*

The research, published by CAMRA during last week’s annual Great British Beer Festival in London shows that around one-third of men and women wrongly believe that beer has more calories than other alcoholic drinks. In fact, the opposite is true and, when drunk in moderation, beer can help you to lose weight, cut your alcohol consumption and, more generally, supplement a healthy lifestyle.

CAMRA’s research is based on a groundbreaking report entitled “Beer, the natural choice?”, by leading health journalist Isla Whitcroft. The report examined the health properties of beer and its calorie content, compared to other alcoholic drinks:

Half pint of 3.8% Bitter (284ml)
Medium glass of 12% Red Wine (175ml)
Medium glass of 12% White Wine (175ml)
Bottle of 5% 'Alcopop' (275ml)
85 Calories
119 Calories
131 Calories
179 Calories
1.1 Alcoholic Units
2.1 Alcoholic Units
2.1 Alcoholic Units
1.4 Alcoholic Units

Hook Norton Managing Director James Clarke said: “It is great to see the myth of the beer belly finally laid to rest. Too many consumers, particularly women, have been discouraged from drinking beer because of worries that it is fattening or unhealthy, and now we have proof positive that the opposite is true. We hope this research makes more people realise that beer is low in alcohol and calories - but still packed with a fantastic amount of flavour.”

Professor Charlie Bamforth, renowned technical brewing expert, also welcomed the report’s findings. He said: “The major source of calories in any alcoholic drink is the alcohol itself, and because beer is the drinks category with the lowest average alcohol content it is also lowest in calories. Beer also contains no fat or cholesterol and very few free sugars. So for someone looking to lose weight, swapping their glass of wine for a beer every day would not only reduce their weekly alcohol intake by seven units – but also cut out more calories than are burned off during a typical 30 minute jog.”

*Based on Food Standards Agency Calorie

Source: Hook Norton Brewery

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Free music festival at the Vaults, Banbury

26th August 2010

The new owners of the Vaults in Banbury, Jem Morey and Ant Murray are introducing themselves to the area by holding a charity music festival.

Jem and Ant have recently taken over the Vaults in Parsons Street and have organised the mini festival in aid of Katherine House Hospice.

The event will feature live music throughout the day including Hot City Symphony, the King Arthurs and Banbury band Outraze who will play their last ever gig.

"We feel it's very important yourself as a busines with a local charity," said Mr Murray. "We hope this will be the first of many events in which we can work together with Katherine House Hospice".

The free event will be on Sunday 29th August from 3pm. Barbecue food will be available all day.

Source: Banbury Guardian

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Cider pub nominations wanted in North Oxfordshire

3rd September 2010

Real cider is a long-established traditional drink which is produced naturally from apples and is neither carbonated or pasteurised. However real cider is in a similar situation to that which faced real ale some 30 years ago with the number of outlets for real cider is diminishing, even in the West Country. The situation with perry (which is made from pears) is even worse, as it is rarely available away from the farm gate. It is unfortunate that many of the most well known ciders in the UK are cold, fizzy keg products which have been produced artificially rather than naturally. It is well worth you tracking down some real ciders and perries and more and more people are discovering for themselves how deliciously mellow, aromatic and intoxicating the flavours of naturally produced real cider can be.

Is there a good cider pub near you?

CAMRA has launched a new scheme to promote pubs serving real cider, but if you take a look at the main CAMRA website you'll note that there is currently only one listed in our area - can that be right???

If a pub near you has at least one real cider available throughout the year then please submit the pubs details to our Chairman, Lynne Baldwin by 30th September.

Source: North Oxfordshire CAMRA Committee

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North Oxfordshire CAMRA tour of the Black Country

10th September 2010

On Saturday, 18th Sepember, the volunteers who helped staff the Banbury Beer Festival back in May are touring the Black Country
The trip is by coach, with two pick-ups in Oxfordshire - one at Pear Tree Services (Oxford) at 10:00am and the second outside the Woolpack in Banbury at 10:30am.
The tour takes in 7-8 different pubs in the Black Country, including a Sarah Hughes tour before returning to Banbury at around 10:00pm, followed by Pear Tree Services shortly after.
There are two meal stops, the first at midday at the Weighbridge and the evening one at the Waggon and Horses at 7:00pm.

Those volunteers who helped at the Beer Festival can go for free and anyone else who wishes to attend can go for a small fee:

CAMRA members - £15 / Non CAMRA members - £17

For further details or to book your place contact our Social Secretary

Itinerary (provisional)

Various OXN pick ups - Pear Tree Services 10am

Banbury dep. 10.30
Alvechurch arrv. 1125

, Scarfield Hill,B48 7SQ inc. lunch option

Avlechurch dep. 12.45
Sedgeley arrv. 13.30

2. Beacon Hotel
, 129 Bilston St., Dy 3 1JE (incl Sarah Hughes Brewery tour)

Sedgeley dep 14.45
Brierley Hill arr 15.15

3. Vine(Bull and Bladder)
,10 Delph Rd.,DY5 2TN

Brierley Hill dep. 16.15
Cradley Heath arr16.35

4. Hollybush
53 Newton Lane, B64 5EA (for sampling Millstone Tiger - Beer of the

Cradley Heath dep 17.10
Halesowen arr 17.15

5. Waggon and Horses 21 Stourbridge Rd., B63 3TU
possible to walk to:
6. Hawne Tavern,78 Attwood St.,B63 3UG

Halesowen dep.(Waggon & H) 18.15
Oldbury arrv. 18.30

7. Waggon and Horses
, 17A Church St., B69 3AD inc. food option

Oldbury dep. 19.45
Warings Green arrv 20.30

8. Blue Bell Cider House, Warings Grn Rd., B94 6BP(s of Cheswick Grn off Ilshaw
Hth Rd)

Warings Green dep 21.20
Banbury 22.00

Various Oxon drop offs - Pear Tree Services 22.30

Source: North Oxfordshire CAMRA Committee

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Chequers, Chipping Norton changes hands

12th September 2010

Tuesdays are traditionally the days for pub hand-overs, and the last day of August saw the Chequers in Chipping Norton change hands with the tenancy transferring from the hands of John Cooper, landlord since taking over from Josh and Kaye Reid in October 2006, to Jim and Indra Hopcraft.

The Hopcrafts have been in Chippy since the late nineties, when they moved to the area while working for Wychwood Brewery. They had managed some Hobgoblinns around the country before becoming part of the management team in Witney. Jim is a CAMRA member and you may have met him at Chipping Norton's Rugby Club Beer Festival which he has co-ordinated for the last five years.

The Chequers is well known for its quality selection of Fuller's ales. Jim says "It's a delight to be involved with such a great well known pub. We will be extending the beer range to make use of Fuller's reciprocal deals but I hope you can be sure of a well kept ale at any time. We have a fantastic new chef who is excited about preparing fresh local food both for the traditionalist and for those who want to try something a bit different".

With landlords called Hopcraft and a chef called Tuckwell the Chequers is already on the right road. We welcome Jim and Indra, wish them every success and look forward to many more meetings in this pleasant venue.

Jim and Indra with their daughter Freya, Assistant Manager Alastair Milne and Chef Nathan Tuckwell.

Source: North Oxfordshire CAMRA Pubs Officer

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Locals run their locals

Good Beer Guide celebrates growing trend of community-owned pubs

17th September 2010

CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2011, launched on Thursday 16th September 2010, has applauded the growing trend of community owned pubs.
With 39 pubs closing every week, more tight-knit communities are banding together to save their local pub from closure.

Roger Protz, editor of the Good Beer Guide said, “It is great to see more and more communities coming together to save their local pubs from closure. A community pub offers locals the best place to socialise and I was delighted to see that seven community-owned pubs made it into to this year’s guide. It just goes to show how successful these schemes can be.”

The seven community pubs that appear in the 2011 Good Beer Guide are as follows: (For a full list of community-owned pubs please visit

Red Lion, The Green, Preston, Hertfordshire, SG4 7UD (Page 203, Good Beer Guide 2011)
This is the country’s oldest community-run pub. It’s an attractive Georgian building in a small village where many houses were designed by the famous architect Sir Edwin Lutyens.
In 1982, Whitbread, which owned the pub, announced it planned to turn it into a steak house. Locals felt this would destroy the intimate character of the pub and force out the local cricket teams who used it before and after matches. A steak house would also attract unwanted traffic from such large neighbouring towns as Hitchin, Welwyn Garden City and Stevenage.
So a group of locals raised the cash to buy the pub and formed a board of directors: they received a message of support from the Queen Mother, whose family has historic roots in Hertfordshire.
Today the successful and award-winning pub is run for the community by Jo and Ray Lambe.
The Red Lion was named CAMRA Hertfordshire Pub of the Year in 2000, 2001, 2005 and 2006.

New Inn, Shipton Road, Shipton Gorge, Dorset, DT6 4LT (Page 136, Good Beer Guide 2011)
The New Inn is a remote rural pub that was saved from closure in 2006 by a group of local people who lease it from Palmer’s, the family-owned brewery in Bridport.
Under local control, the New Inn has become the focus for many village activities and plays a vital role in an isolated community that has lost its post office and village shop.
The pub stages regular quiz nights and coffee mornings and offers special meals for pensioners. It attracts visitors walking the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage site.

Star Inn, 2 Back Hope Street, Higher Broughton, Salford, Greater Manchester, M7 2FR (Page 326, Good Beer Guide 2011)
The Star proves that pubs can be saved in big cities as well as small villages.
The pub, in The Cliff area of Salford, was closed by Stockport brewer Frederic Robinson in 2009 and was bought by a group of regulars who formed a co-operative that now has 62 shareholders.
The pub is run by an 11-strong management committee. It has a house beer brewed by local craft brewer Bazens.

Angel Inn, Main Street, Grosmont, Gwent, NP7 8EP (Page 572, Good Beer Guide 2011)
The Angel Inn is a pub of historic importance, close to Grosmont Castle on the Three Castles Walk.
When the pub was threatened with closure, it meant the heart would be ripped out of the community as the Angel is the last pub in the village.
Locals raised £250,000 to buy the pub. The Angel sells beer from Tomos Watkin and Wye Valley and stages beer and cider festivals in the summer. There’s often live music at weekends.

Jolly Farmer, Church Road, Cookham Dean, Berkshire, SL6 9PD (Page 43, Good Beer Guide 2011)
This is a fine example of how a pub can be saved and become a vital hub of the community.
In 1987 Courage announced it would sell the pub, with plans for it to become a curry restaurant.
As a result of local protests, Courage abandoned the sale and said it would sell the pub to the community for £300,000. Sixty shareholders clubbed together and raised £250,000 while Courage gave the remaining money through a loan with a clause saying that the more beer the pub sells the less interest is charged.
The pub has taken on the services of the local post office and there are plans to run a community shop on land next to the pub.
There are regular beer festivals and as well as Brakspear Bitter and Young’s Bitter the pub still sells Courage Best.

Three Horseshoes, Dye House Road, Thursley, Surrey, GU8 6QD (Page 438, Good Beer Guide)
This pub was threatened with closure when a developer wanted to turn it into private housing.
The pub was closed for five years but was re-opened in 2004 when it was bought by a group of locals.
It’s now one of the most successful pubs in the area, attracting visitors to the Devil’s Punchbowl and Thursley Nature Reserve. The pub offers cask beers from Hogs Back and Surrey Hills craft breweries and families are welcomed to a two-acre garden.

Old Crown, Main Street, Hesket Newmarket, Cumbria, CA7 8JG (Page 92, Good Beer Guide 2011)
The Old Crown is Britain’s best-known community-run pub. It’s the last pub in the village and when it was threatened with closure locals formed a co-op to buy it and run it.
A second co-op was set up to run the small Hesket Newmarket Brewery behind the pub. The pub has twice been visited by Prince Charles as it’s a prime example of how a pub can be the hub of its community.

For a full list of community-owned pubs please visit

Source: CAMRA HQ

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Hook Norton unfurls its Flagship brew

22nd September 2010

Flagship sails to the bar for October only

Hook Norton Flagship, at 5.3 per cent ABV, returns to the bar for one month only in October after an absence of 12 months.

The beer was originally brewed in 2005 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar and is the perfect drink to toast the architect of the victory at Trafalgar, Lord Horatio Nelson who died on 21 October, in 1805.

Hook Norton managing director James Clarke said: “Flagship is a true India Pale Ale style of beer. Pale in colour it is a fulsome and robust beer, full of hops it is infused one of the new dwarf hop varieties – which is called Admiral of course.

“The Admiral hops contribute to a full fruity mouth feel, and a sweet fruity aroma. The beer is a perfect accompaniment to a ploughman’s – good beer and cheddar cheese, what could be better?”

Ingredients: Flagship Maris Otter Pale Ale, Enzymic malts, Fuggles, Goldings and Admiral hops.

Food pairing: Goes well with a strong cheddar cheese.

Source: Hook Norton Brewery

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White Swan, Wigginton to re-open.

1st October 2010

The villagers of Wigginton are getting their pub back. The White Swan at Wigginton will reopen under the new management of Kirsty Riddell and Philip Kingston on Friday 1st October 2010 at 6pm. Kirsty and Philip, with the help of some of the villagers and staff from the Hook Norton Brewery, have worked hard to get the pub, which was shut for several weeks, ready for business again.

Now they are ready to go and put the pub back where it should be - at the heart of community life. The couple plan to make the pub popular with locals and the many walkers who pass by.

Source: Hook Norton Brewery

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White Swan flies again

7th October 2010

The villagers of Wigginton are celebrating the reopening of their pub which had been shut for six months.

The White Swan at Wigginton has reopened under the new management of Kirsty Riddell and Philip Kingston.

Kirsty and Philip say they have worked hard to get the pub ready for business and now want to put it back, where it should be, at the heart of community life.

The couple who live in the nearby village of Hook Norton, say they really like the White Swan, as it is full of character and has a great atmosphere.

Kirsty said: “I have always wanted to run my own pub, and now the Hook Norton Brewery has helped me to do so.

“We want to make a difference and make this pub thrive again. The village has no school or shop and the only place locals can meet together is in the pub.”

And the couple’s hard work and enthusiasm certainly seemed to pay off on the pub’s opening night as the bar was crowded with villagers celebrating the return of their much missed local.

“I’m so happy the pub is open,” said one local, “we have all missed it.” Another said: “Once people see the place is open again they will want to use it.”

Kirsty and Philip plan to introduce a simple food menu within a couple of weeks. A ladies’ darts team will play at the pub and plans are in hand to get a men’s team going too. During the summer Aunt Sally will be played outside in the pub’s relaxing garden.

The couple also plan to make the pub popular with the many walkers who pass by. The pub is an ideal base for ramblers who want to explore the local countryside. Walkers can leave their cars in the pub’s car park before returning for lunch and a pint of Hooky, however booking is advised.

Hook Norton Brewery’s horse drawn dray is a regular and much loved feature of life in the village of Wigginton. Most Fridays the village sounds to the clip of clop of horses shoes as the dray delivers beer to the White Swan.

Source: Hook Norton Brewery

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The demise of one pub and the creation of a new bar in Banbury

14th October 2010

Time has finally been called on the Cricketers Arms in Grimsbury, which has been closed since December 2009.
Last week Councillors approved plans to convert the pub on Middleton Road into flats.
The exterior of the building will remain largely unchanged apart from a lick of paint and new windows, but the interior will be completely remodelled into six two-bedroomed apartments over 3 floors.

The Cricketers Arms has had quite a notable recent history, with the death of Kevin Lavelle in 2004. Police are treating this as murder but nobody has been brought to justice yet.
In December 2009, because a deal couldn't be struck with the then owners, Enterprise Inns, the pub lost its licence and shortly afterwards a fire tore through the pub causing extensive damage.

With the demise of one drinking hole, comes the imminent opening of another in Banbury Town Centre.
Building work is well under way to refurbish the site which used to house 'Yates' in Parsons Street. 'Yates' closed in Easter 2008 and the building has been empty ever since. Marc Sylvester, who used to own the 'Wine Vaults' which is opposite, had been eyeing up the site and bought it in July. The new bar will be called 'Also Known As' and is due to open mid November.

Mr Sylvester says "It will be a new 'high-end' bar with vintage furniture and live music and entertainment for people to come and have a drink. This will be totally different from what you would normally get in a smal town like Banbury".
He addes that he hopes to bring a bit more character to Parsons Street, which has been rejuvinated over the past few months.

Source: Banbury Guardian

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CAMRA vows to keep up pressure to secure reform of the beer tie

14th October 2010

“Blinkered” OFT fails to tackle Pub Company abuses

CAMRA is continuing its campaign to secure reform of the beer tie despite today’s announcement by the OFT, Office of Fair Trading, that it will take no action. This is despite considerable evidence providing reasonable grounds to suspect anti-competitive behaviour by the large pub companies.

The inaction of the OFT, whose responsibility is to ensure markets work well for consumers, is all the more remarkable given that the Commons Business Select Committee and the Government recognise that a competition problem exists and are working to find a fair solution.

Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive, said:

“CAMRA’s initial reaction to the OFT’s decision is that it is based on a blinkered and selective consideration of the evidence. The OFT has squandered an opportunity to support a process of industry self regulation to improve competition and benefit consumers. Today’s OFT decision does nothing to change the fact that the Business Secretary ,Vince Cable MP, has publicly stated that the pub companies are on probation and that they will face legislative action if they fail to reform by June 2011.”

“The OFT recognises the concerns of tied pub landlords but has failed to recognise the impact of these on consumers. It is extraordinary that the OFT appears to have dismissed as irrelevant the treatment of tied pub landlords by the large pub companies. A balanced and fair relationship between tied pub landlords and the large pub companies is crucial to ensuring the pub market works well for consumers.”

“The OFT’s own analysis recognises that tied pub landlords on average pay around £20,000 more for their beer every year as a result of being tied and unable to purchase beer on the open market. CAMRA, unlike the OFT, recognises that higher costs imposed upon tied pub landlords will inevitably be passed onto consumers through higher prices, under investment and pub closures.”

Dr. Rick Muir, author of the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr) groundbreaking 'Pubs and Places' Report said:

“ippr research shows community pubs are not just places to drink, but are also places where people meet friends and neighbours and where local clubs hold meetings and events. Community pubs are the embodiment of the “big society” principle yet many risk being squeezed to death as a result of restricted competition. The OFT has failed to stand up for individual pub landlords and ultimately it will be consumers who suffer as yet more pubs close.”

For further information:

CAMRA's Press Office - 01727 798444 or 01727 798448

Source: CAMRA HQ

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North Oxfordshire CAMRA helps save the Whitmore Arms

25th October 2010

There’s no doubt that running a rural pub is a tough gig but when the landlord at the Whitmore Arms in Hethe recently attempted to cut his losses by applying to turn the pub into a house, the opposition was overwhelming.

Facing the prospect of losing their much loved pub, locals John and Nick immediately turned to Brian Wray and Paul ‘Monty’ Montague at their local branch for help. ‘Although we’d managed to gather 104 objections (there are only 110 households in Hethe), CAMRA were able to provide us with an incredibly detailed business viability report that was sent along to the local council,’ said Nick. ‘The speed with which Brian and Monty responded was incredible and we are so grateful to them.’

Speaking at the planning hearing, Nick argued that the pub had plenty of life left in it with the right investment. He said ‘This pub sits in the heart of Larkrise country. It’s been serving beer for hundreds of years and we see no reason why it shouldn’t continue to do so although we recognise the current landlord may not be able to invest the money to make this happen’. While the council rejected the planning application they sent out a strong message to the local community of ‘use it or lose it’ and said that if the application appeared again, it might get a more sympathetic hearing.

‘We‘re grateful for the council’s wisdom on this matter’ said Nick. ‘This pub sits at the heart of this beautiful village. The pub’s loss would have had a devastating impact on the village and we accept the warning that has been sent to us.’

Nick said ‘I particularly want to thank Brian, Monty and others, who came so quickly to support our campaign. CAMRA’s submission to the council provided a powerful argument against closure and I hope that together we have sent a strong message out to others who would try and tamper with our country’s heritage.’

The campaign group have now found an independent buyer for the pub who they hope will be able to bring the required investment to The Whitmore in the coming year.

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Hook Norton hits the 'Jackpot' with its latest brew

26th October 2010

Hook Norton Jackpot, at 3.8 per cent ABV, is the Brewer’s Selection beer for November.

A golden bitter, it is easy drinking and well-balanced. The beer’s fruitiness comes from the Fuggles and Goldings hops. Its gentle bitterness comes from Challenger hops and the rounded maltiness is from the Maris Otter malt.

Hook Norton Jackpot was first brewed in the 1960’s as a bottled beer but production of it was finished in 1987 when the brewery stopped bottling on site. Jackpot was reintroduced in 2009 as a limited edition ale.

“Our reputation is largely hinged on producing flavoursome ales with a more modest percentage of alcohol by volume, using the finest raw materials,” said Hook Norton Managing Director James Clarke.

“Jackpot is dry-hopped with Challenger hops which is an unusual hop to use but it gives the beer a wonderful balanced fruitiness,” he said.

Jackpot is a fine partner to food, it is an ideal match to a traditional cheese ploughmans or something with a slight spice, like a pepperoni pizza

Source: Hook Norton Brewery

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Hook Norton’s Flagship brew gets real in a bottle

1st November 2010

Hook Norton’s Flagship beer has gone real in a bottle.

Hook Norton’s limited edition draught beer is now available throughout the year as a bottle conditioned beer.

It joins the company’s Double Stout, which has been bottle-conditioned for some years. The beer is packaged in Hook Norton’s stylish 500ml bottle and is available in cases of 12.

Hook Norton’s Managing Director James Clarke said people are showing a growing interest in living, bottle-conditioned beers and Flagship will appeal to the discerning drinker.

He said: “Real ale in a bottle is unpasteurised. It is a natural live product which contains yeast for a slow secondary fermentation in the bottle. This process provides wonderful fresh flavours and a pleasant, natural effervescence.

“Flagship is a true India Pale Ale style of beer. Pale in colour it is a fulsome and robust beer, full of hops it is infused one of the new dwarf hop varieties – which is called Admiral of course.

“The Admiral hops contribute to a full fruity mouth feel, and a sweet fruity aroma. The beer is a perfect accompaniment to a ploughman’s – good beer and cheddar cheese, what could be better?

“People who have enjoyed drinking Flagship in the pub can now enjoy its taste at home.”

Hook Norton Flagship, at 5.3 per cent ABV, was originally brewed in 2005 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

Ingredients: Flagship Maris Otter Pale Ale, Enzymic malts, Fuggles, Goldings and Admiral hops.

Source: Hook Norton Brewery

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Ten lords leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids milking and seven swans swimming - what is going on in Hook Norton pubs?

22nd November 2010

Hook Norton has launched its latest brew Twelve Days. The award winning beer will be on sale on draught in pubs until the end of the year.

So lighten the dark nights with a glass of Twelve Days, a beer, which was recently one of four Hook Norton Beers to win a prestigious gold medal in the International Beer Challenge.

Twelve Days, at 5.5 per cent ABV, has the warmth and colour of the perfect Christmas pudding.

Hooky’s Managing Director James Clarke says that Twelve Days is beautifully balanced, with a strong malt and nutty flavour which comes from the Maris Otter Pale ale, Chocolate, enzymic and crystal malts.

“The hop character is present in the aftertaste, which is dominated by a refreshing sweetness. It goes well with a log fire, or blue cheese, or maybe rich Christmas cake or pudding.”

Source: Hook Norton Brewery

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Vale Brewery in Brill to hold open day

25th November 2010

On the 4th Dec 2010, Vale Brewery in Brill will host an open day.
Between 11.30 and 4pm they will offer free brewery tours and free tasters of about 7 of their beers. For the thirsty, pints are available at £2 a pint.
They will have their Christmas beer - Good King Senseless available, along with Winter Solstice, Long Dark Nights and several of their regular brews. Plus they will be making a special beer available just on the day.
This is open to anyone who is interested in the brewery and their beers, and as they have a new 20 barrel kit, should be of interest even if you have visited previously.
Vale Brewery has linked in with The House of Spice in Haddenham, who will be selling hot food.

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The Butchers Arms, Balscote features in The Guardian

7th December 2010

On Saturday 4th December 2010, The Guardian ran a feature of 'Pubs with added Christmas cheer'. One pub in the North Oxfordshire CAMRA Branch was featured - The Butchers Arms in Balscote - Well done!!!

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