News Archive - 2013 - 2017

Oxfordshire Pub of the Year Voting
For any branch member who wishes to vote in this competition, the 4 branch Pubs of the Year for Oxfordshire are :
- Red Lion, Horley (North Oxon)
- Mason's Arms, Headington (Oxford)
- Plum Pudding, Milton (South Oxon)
- Royal Oak, Wantage (White Horse)
You cannot vote for your own branch PotY, and must vote for all 3 of the other pubs for your vote to be counted.
The voting form is available here.
Please return any completed forms to the Oxfordshire Area Organiser, Lynne Baldwin, by the end of May.

Branch Pub of the Year
We are very pleased to announce the results of the 2015 branch Pub of the Year contest.

This year there were 8 finalists shortlisted, each of which featured real ale of the highest quality making the judging all the more difficult.
Nevertheless, winners had to be selected. Thanks to all those who participated in the judging process.

This year's winner is: The Red Lion, Horley.

Runner up : The Pear Tree Inn, Hook Norton.

Third place : The Bell, Adderbury.

Congratulations to all the finalists, especially to our top 3. Please keep a lookout on our website for details of the forthcoming certificate presentations.

Branch Cider Pub of the Year award to be presented
The Falkland Arms in Great Tew has been chosen as this years branch Cider Pub Of The Year, thanks to all those involved in the judging and well done all at the Falkland Arms. The award is due to be presented on Thursay 12th February, 8pm.

Champion Beer of Britain Vote
CAMRA members are encouraged to vote in this year's Champion Beer of Britain (CBOB) competition.
Up to 5 beers can be nominated, in order of preference, in each of 11 categories:
Milds, Bitters, Best Bitters, Strong Bitters, Golden Ales, Speciality Beers, Old Ales and Strong Milds, Porters, Stouts, Barley Wines and Strong Old Ales, Real Ale in a Bottle (RAIB).
Cast your votes online before 30th November 2014 here.

Upcoming Survey Trips and Branch Meeting
Members are invited to participate in survey trips visiting our areas pubs:

- 11th October (from Banbury)
- 8th November (from Bicester)
- 29th November (from Chipping Norton)

Also to a branch meeting in the Olde Reindeer Inn, Banbury on Tuesday 28th October, 8pm.

Branch GBG Launch
The North Oxon branch of CAMRA will be launching the 2015 Good Beer Guide at the Chequers in Churchill on Thursday September 11th. Come along from 8pm. Copies of the GBG will be available for sale, CAMRA members can purchase it at a discounted price of just £11.
Note to members in our branch - the Chairman's letter which accompanies your copy of 'Beer on Tap' will include an invitation to the launch, unfortunately we now know this is not going to be delivered in time for launch date. Apologies.

Pubs Matter - So why can't we have a say?
CAMRA has launched a new Key Campaign urging the government to close national planning loopholes and ensure planning permission is always required before the change of use or demolition of a pub.
Local communities can be left powerless when their local is threatened with demolition or conversion into a supermarket. A small change to planning laws would provide communities a new weapon in the battle to protect our pubs.
Click on the image to the left now to find out how you can help.

The importance of beer scores
Two short videos have been created to explain why it is important to submit scores for the real ale you drink in our pubs, and how you can submit scores online through CAMRA's "What Pub?" website:

Why you should score your beer
How to submit a beer score

The "What Pub?" website can be used to submit scores for pubs througout the country. Members of North Oxfordshire branch can also submit scores for pubs in our area through our own website (here) or by contacting our pubs officer.

End of the line for village's pub takeover bid?
Bloxham looks set to fail in its bid to buy and run its own community hub in the disused Red Lion pub.
Fuller's Brewery has rejected a claim that its fear of missing out on potential development profits had halted the village's plan to renovate the pub and run it as a community meeting place, pub and restaurant.
Continue reading here.

Drayton Leisure Golf Club driven to closure
Drayton Leisure Golf Club is to close with the land made available for housing, the Banbury Guardian has learned.
The Warwick Road club and adjacent campsite sits on land owned by Trinity College, Oxford, and former Banbury Mayor Nicholas Turner - who runs the club - confirmed on Tuesday that he has returned the lease to the college as the club is no longer financially viable.
Continue reading here.

July-August News Round Up
The branch AGM took place in Churchill, with a few small changes to the committee as a result. (See the contacts page).
A social trip to Winchcombe for N. Cotswold branch's 1st Ale and Steam Summer Weekend was enjoyed by all.
The Banbury Beer Festival Helpers' Trip has been arranged. It will take place on 27th September, visiting Mitcheldean, home of Bespoke Brewery whose 'Money For Old Rope' was beer of the festival this year. See the diary page for details.
There are 3 noteworthy forthcoming events in Oxford. Firstly a branch social will take place on 6th September, to include a beer festival at the Masons Arms in Headington. Secondly the Oxford Beer Festival 16-18 October is always worth a visit. Finally there will be a Super Regional Conference on 1st November at the Town Hall, especially relevant for those of us who were unable to make it to the national members weekend in Scarborough. Registration is now open. For more details of these events please see the diary page.

BBF organiser interview link
Following a successful Banbury Beer Festival earlier this year, we thought this podcast might be of interest, which includes an interview by Jules Procter of the Banburyshire Brolly Podstation with our festival organiser Tim Wilkins. Listen to it here.

Branch AGM, Mon 14th July
The branch AGM will take place at The Chequers, Churchill on 14th July at 8pm.
All branch members are welcome to attend. The agenda can be viewed here.

Happy Hour at the Three Pigeons
The Three Pigeons, Banbury is currently running a happy hour daily between 4pm and 6pm, including the guest ale at £2.50 per pint.
Branch secretary Lynne Baldwin is pictured right enjoying a pint in the beer garden.

Butchers Arms Sunday Tea Shop
At the Butchers Arms, Balscote, a tea shop is available during Sunday afternoons between 3pm and 6pm, where you can enjoy a nice cream tea with a sandwich or cake. (Beer is also available!)
Pictured below are the landlord Ken with his teapot, and branch secretary Lynne with her cuppa.

Hook Norton Brewery to launch a micro-brewery
Recently spotted on Twitter: 02/07/14

SH Jones in Banbury High Street is hosting an IPA tasting session on 27th June at 7pm. Tickets cost £12. For more info call the shop on: 01295 251179.

IPA tasting in Banbury
SH Jones in Banbury High Street is hosting an IPA tasting session on 27th June at 7pm. Tickets cost £12. For more info call the shop on: 01295 251179.

Win Beer with the Beer Master
This year's Great British Beer Festival will be hosted by the BEER MASTER, who has used all of his extensive knowledge to select more than 900 of the best beers, ciders and perries from Britain and overseas.
To get you in the mood for this year's Great British Beer Festival, here's your chance to be the Beer Master and win a year's worth of beer.
Simply send a photo of you holding the Beer Master's Tache flyer and you could be in with a chance of winning twelve cases of beer - delivered every month direct to your door - each consisting of 18 different bottled real ales.
The flyers are going to be distributed to hundreds of UK pubs in the run up to the Great British Beer Festival this summer, or alternatively you can visit to download a Beer Master flyer yourself.
When taking your photo and choosing your location be creative, be adventurous, be humorous - but most importantly, be the Beer Master!
To enter the competition
  • Download, print off, and cut out a Beer Master flyer by visiting: (or pick one up from selected UK pubs)
  • Take a photo of you holding the moustache flyer to your face
  • Email your photo to
  • That's it!
All entries will be displayed at
Deadline for entries is Saturday 16th August 2014

Regional Pub & Club of the Year judging
Members of our branch are encouraged to participate in the regional Pub Of The Year (POTY) and Club Of The Year (COTY) judging.
Your effort & dedication in making the journeys necessary to review all the establishments in either category is very much appreciated.
Judging forms can be downloaded here: POTY, COTY.
Please send any completed forms to our Regional Director, Nick Boley by 3rd August.

Norwich City of Ale visit
Review of webmaster's recent visit to Norwich. Click here.

BBF 2014 review in The Banbury Guardian
See here for info.

BBF Beer Of the Festival
Congratulations to Bespoke Brewery in Gloucestershire, whose rich dark forest stout 'Money For Old Rope' went down a storm at Banbury Beer Festival and was voted by the public as Beer Of The Festival.

BBF article in The Banbury Guardian
See here for info.

Banbury Beer Festival Ale & Cider lists now available
Please see here for info.

Banbury Beer Festival Approaches!
Banbury Beer Festival 2014 The North Oxon Branch of CAMRA's main event of the year - Banbury Beer Festival - begins is less than a week's time.
There will be 100+ beers and ciders from around Britain, with featured ales this year coming from Sussex and Kent.
Check the beer festival pages for the latest news and info.

Pub Marks award to be decided at BBF '14
Our website allows North Oxon CAMRA members the ability to submit scores, throughout the year, rating the quality of real ale served in pubs across our region.
Scores can be in the range 0 (undrinkable) to 5 (perfect), and the results help to build a valuable indication of which pubs are most consistently delivering quality beer to the public. The pub marks are very important, as they help to feed the selection process for entries into CAMRA's Good Beer Guide, recognised across Britain as the number one independent guide to good beer and good pubs.
Last year, our branch presented an award to the person who contributed the highest number of marks for pubs in our area throughout 2012-2013. This was to say 'thank you' and to encourage more members to contribute pub marks in the coming year. Alan Mitchell was the winner, receiving vouchers to spend on ale at one of his favourite local pubs (pictured right with branch chairman John Bellinger, at Banbury Beer Festival 2013). We'll be continuing the award this year, and deciding the winner at this year's Banbury Beer Festival!
CAMRA members of our branch, please remember to submit marks for pubs you visit. Who knows there could be something in it for you!!!
Members of other branches can also submit scores for pubs in our area, via CAMRA's What?ub website.

Congratulations to N Oxon Pubs of the Year
The Chequers, Churchill has been voted North Oxon Branch Pub Of The Year.
In a close contest, the runner-up was The Killingworth Castle, Wootton.
The Elephant & Castle, Bloxham has been voted Branch Cider Pub Of The Year.
Many congratulations to our winners. The awards will be presented on:
   Fri 25th April, 10am : Killingworth Castle
   Wed 30th April, 8pm : Elephant & Castle
   Thu 1st May, 6pm : Chequers

Isle Of Man visit
Review of a recent visit to the Isle of Man. Click here.

Hook Norton ales win 2 local CBOB bronze awards
Congratulations to Hook Norton Brewery on receiving bronze awards in CAMRA's 2013/14 London and South East England area Champion Beer of Britain (CBOB) competition.
Hooky Mild was judged bronze in the Mild category, and 12 Days was judged bronze in the Old Ale and Strong Mild category.
The CBOB competition is organised around a number of local areas. Finalists are selected from branch and tasting panel nominations, followed by blind tastings at beer festivals across the area. Area finalists go forward into the national CBOB competition, judged at the Great British Beer Festival in August.

Banbury Beer Festival Cask Sponsorship
The Banbury Beer festival will be held at the TA Centre in Oxford Road between 8th and 10th of May. This year we are offering businesses or individuals the opportunity to sponsor a cask. Sponsorship costs £100, the sponsor's name will appear in the festival programme as well as a sign above the cask. Sponsors will also receive 2 free festival entrance packs, each consisting of a commemorative glass, programme, and £5 of beer tokens.
For more info, please contact the festival organiser, Tim Wilkins.

Pub Of The Year Survey Trip
A minibus trip will run on Saturday 8th February to survey the 6 pubs short-listed for North Oxon CAMRA Pub Of The Year. The cost is £10pp. Pick-ups will be at Middle Barton (11am), Banbury (11:30am), Hook Norton (midday). For further details, please contact our vice chairman: Paul Forrest.

Real Ale promotion at the Pickled Ploughman
The Pickled Ploughman, Adderbury are running a promotion on real ales during the next 2 Fridays (17th and 24th January), with a discount of £1 per pint being offered.

Bloxham Red Lion Community Action Group
A group of villagers from Bloxham have formed a community action group with the intention of buying the Red Lion pub freehold and ensuring that it should remain an asset to the community. The pub has been closed since August and is currently listed for sale by the brewery.
The aim is to form a community provident society where interested parties can purchase membership shares to acquire part-ownership of the pub and vote in how it is run and what facilities it should provide. A website has been set up with full details. Please click here for further info.
There will also be a public meeting on January 12th, which will be held at the Jubilee Hall in Bloxham, starting at 5pm.

Beer Writers' Workshop enhances the quality of Beer on Tap!
The North Oxfordshire Branch of CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale), held a Beer Writers' Workshop in the Boardroom of the Hook Norton Brewery on Saturday 9th November to help its members write interesting news stories for their branch newsletter, 'Beer on Tap'!
Fifteen members, including some from the Oxford branch, spent a day hearing from guest speakers Tom Stainer, editor of two CAMRA publications 'What's Brewing' and 'Beer' magazine, and Tim Hampson, freelance journalist and chairman of the British Guild of Beer Writers. After discussing what was news, where to find it and how to write it, they went in groups to search for interesting newsworthy stories in local pubs, before returning to write them up under the critical eye of the experts.
Branch Chairman John Bellinger, who had the original idea and organised the workshop, was very pleased with how the day went. He said, "I've had some really positive feedback from all who attended. Our two guests, who earn their living writing about beer and pubs, added a real professionalism to the day and the knowledge gained by those who attended will help to further enhance the quality of our magazine, 'Beer on Tap'!"
The day was rounded off by a tutored tasting in the Hook Norton Brewery Visitor Centre, followed by supper at the Gate Hangs High as guests of Hook Norton Managing Director and Head Brewer James Clarke, Great Great Grandson of brewery founder John Harris.
The free magazine, funded by advertisers and other branch activities, is sent to all members and is also available in pubs throughout North Oxfordshire which serve cask ale. The latest copy of Beer on Tap also appears on the web, here

Nominate a Cider Pub Of The Year
Nominations are now being accepted for Cider Pub Of The Year.
If you'd like to nominate a North Oxfordshire pub for consideration, please email the details (pub name and address, list of real ciders and perries sold, plus your contact details) to our cider rep Fin.
You don't have to be a CAMRA members to nominate a pub.
The closing date for nominations is 30th November 2013.

Hook Norton Brewery host an evening with Adrian Tierney-Jones
On Friday 18th October, Hook Norton Brewery will be hosting an exciting evening event featuring Somerset-based beer writer Adrian Tierney-Jones, who will be visiting the brewery to talk about his new book, '1001 Beers You Must Drink Before You Die'! He'll be hosting a talk based around why beer is the best drink in the world (as we all know) and of course, the 1001 beers you must drink before you die. Adrian has spent more than 21 years writing about beer, pubs, travel, food and whatever takes his fancy, backed up by a string of beer writing awards!
Hook Norton Brewery is delighted to have its Double Stout and Old Hooky mentioned in the book and both of these beers will be available to taste during the evening, as well as four others that are featured in the publication. Tickets are £20 and as well as having the chance to taste test six beers from the book, guests will be treated to delicious hot food which will be served to compliment the beer based evening.
North Oxon CAMRA branch chairman John Bellinger who is himself attending the event said, "Not sure I'll make all 1001, but six in one night is a great way to start!"
For further details about Adrian's visit to Hook Norton Brewery, or to purchase tickets, call: 01608 737210.

Press coverage of the 2014 Good Beer Guide Launch
The Banbury Cake, along with several other news publications, ran an article on the N. Oxon CAMRA branch's launch of the GBG 2014, which included a few words from our chairman John Bellinger.
See it here.

2014 Good Beer Guide Launch at the White Horse, Banbury
On Thursday 12th September, the North Oxfordshire branch will hold an event to launch the publication of the 2014 edition of CAMRA's premiere publication, the Good Beer Guide, at the White Horse in North Bar Street, Banbury at 8.00pm.
The guide contains details of 4,500 of the best UK real ale pubs as well as information of every real ale brewery along with their key beers. From country pub to urban style bars and back street boozers, all the pubs have been selected and reviewed by over 149,000 CAMRA members making it the only guide of its kind where entries are recommended by consumers! The guide gives details of food, opening times, beer gardens, accommodation, transport links, pub history, disabled access and facilities for families. In addition it has informative articles on pubs, beer and brewing and listings of beer festivals around the UK.
At this year's launch copies of the guide will be available to purchase at a special low price of £10 for CAMRA members and £12 for non-members (the cost of buying the guide at any other time is £11 + £2 p+p for members and £15.99 + £2 p+p for non-members *).
We will have a recruitment stand once again at this year's event, so if you're reading this as a non-member and want an "excuse" to join, come along, have a chat, sign up on direct debit and qualify for your members discount.
* Prices are subject to a discount when ordered on line or by telephone and members who subscribe to the Privilege Club by direct debit will also qualify for a further discount. 31/08/2013

Update on The Crown, Charlton
Following the earlier news item on the Crown, the owners (Admiral) have decided to lease it to new tenants for 6 months with a view to purchase. Good news is that the new tenants intend to continue running the Crown as a pub. It will close on 11th September for refurbishment, expecting to re-open early October.

Pledge to save The Crown, Charlton on Otmoor
Residents of Charlton and the surrounding villages are aiming to create a community society to purchase the village pub, The Crown, whose future is uncertain.
The pub lies just outside the N. Oxon branch area, but close enough that it's considered "the local" by a number of CAMRA members in the branch's south eastern corner, especially since the Plough in Merton closed its doors some years ago.
The aim is to raise £300,000, and pledges to invest towards a purchase are currently being requested. This opportunity is not limited to residents of local villages. If you'd like to help save the Crown, please act now. Full details are available here. (Although we're past the listed response date, pledges are still being taken). Next meeting: Mon 22nd, Charlton village hall 8pm.

Branch Pub Of the Year 2013 - The Chequers, Chipping Norton
The branch Pub of the Year award was presented on 25th May. Many congratulations to Jim and the team.
It was a well attended evening, with plenty of ales on offer in top notch condition.
If you missed the presentation of the award, or just want to relive the moment, you can download a video here. (Advance warning - it's a 24 megabyte file, which may take several minutes to download depending on the speed of youtr internet connection).

Banbury Beer Festival 2013
The branch's main event of the year, Banbury Beer Festival was held at the TA Centre between 9th and 11th May. 90+ beers were available, many from this year's featured area of Cumbria, and it was a Cumbrian ale that saw the most votes for Beer of the Festval. Hardknott Azimuth is lovely fruity IPA that was immensely popular - it ran out in no time! As always the ales were complimented by a thoughtful selection of ciders and perries, and fruit wines were also on offer this year. There was music to keep everyone entertained on Thursday and Saturday, and plenty of food including a hog roast. The weather was rather mixed but it didn't dampen the spirits (even those who were unlucky enough to be manning the gate during a downpour were still smiling!) Photos to follow...

Slow news day months?
Apologies the news page has been a little neglected recently, we'll try to put that right from hereon in.
There's been plenty going on in the N Oxon branch since the last news item, including the 2013 Banbury Beer Festival and the Pub of the Year award.
Please keep an eye out for events at pubs in the area and pass on details to the webmaster for inclusion on this page.

The Lamb in Crawley reopens
Having been closed for a few months, the Lamb reopened on 19th April.

Chimney fire spreads to pub
A chimney fire spread through the roof of the White Horse Public House in Duns Tew in North Oxfordshire on the night of Saturday 6th April 2013. No-one was hurt.

Come along to the Cider POTY Presentation
The branch Cider Pub of the Year award will be presented at 8pm on Saturday 9th March.
Come along to The Crawley Inn and enjoy a cider or perry.... or a real ale of course!

Website for the 13th Banbury Beer Festival now online

Branch Cider Pub of the Year
Congratulations to the Crawley Inn, which has been named North Oxfordshire CAMRA's Cider Pub of the Year for 2012. A date for the presentation of the award is yet to be confirmed, and will appear here in due course.

Champion Beer Of Britain Voting
Votes for Champion Beer of Britain can be cast until 31st January.
CAMRA members can vote here

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