Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

Branch News Archive

17 August 2020

The Events page has been updated with links to two pub/club beer festivals to be held later this month.

3 August 2020

An update has been posted on the Branch Diary page.

25 April 2020

A page has been added, Lockdown pub reopenings, giving details of pubs/breweries offering takeaway or delivery services.

16 March 2020

Please see Beer Festival and Branch Diary pages for changes due to COVID-19.

6 March 2020

The information on the Pub Awards and Beer Festival 2022 pages has been updated to include links to the pub voting form and staffing form respectively.

7 January 2020

Branch Diary page updated - Branch Diary

8 November 2019

Branch Diary page updated - Branch Diary

14 October 2019

Following the October branch meeting we are pleased to announce that we have filled the Vice-chair and Pub Liaison Officer (Northampton) positions, so thank you to Bernie Peal and Gary Drinkwater respectively for volunteering.

26 June 2019

It is hoped that we can set up a Tasting Panel in Northamptonshire. Without one, Northamptonshire beers do not get tasting notes on the CAMRA data base, the Beer Information Service. A Tasting Panel is a group of CAMRA members who have been trained to taste real ales in such a way that they can record the characteristics of beers on tasting cards which provide data for use in CAMRA publications such as the Good Beer Guide, on CAMRA websites and in Festival Programmes. The data is also important in making nominations for the Champion Beer of Britain competition. Members therefore provide a useful service and become more involved in CAMRA and have fun on the way.

Training consists of attending a course which lasts about 5 ½ hours on a Saturday. Our training day will be held in the function room of a pub that serves a decent selection of real ales. We will choose a reasonably central venue to keep travelling costs to a minimum. A cost of £10 plus beer consumed is involved. By the end of the course we will be able to:

- Identify the four basic flavours of beer – sweet, salty, sour and bitter

- State the four key ingredients in beer

- With the help of notes, identify some of the more off usual flavours in beer and where they come from

- With the use of CAMRA’s beer style sheets, identify different beer styles.

Having got trained we then complete 12 tasting cards over the next 12 weeks to become qualified. This process can be done on a solitary basis but it would be more enjoyable to attend events with others and that is what we hope to achieve. When we have qualified tasters, we can then organize tasting events for local beers, at pubs and breweries.

The initial commitment is to attend a training day. We have a CAMRA trained Trainer in Jamie Stenson who is fairly local and willing to help us. If we get sufficient numbers (20 is the optimum number) then we could arrange the first training day as early as May or June. Attending a training day does not obligate you to do anything else, you may feel it is not for you, so please do not be put off by things stretching into the distance.

Feedback from other areas indicates that members of Tasting Panels find the experience to be rewarding and enjoyable.

When the project gets going we will elect a Chairman of the Tasting Panel who will be responsible for organizing it all. In the meantime I am informally carrying out the initial arrangements. If you are at all interested in joining the project, or if you would like any further information, please do contact me by email at moc.liamg@egnivelkcin or by telephone at 07483 888967 or 01604 660209 where there is an ansaphone.

Nick Levinge

16 May 2019

Following the sale of the Merrimen Brewery, this week saw the relaunch of the brewery as Litchborough Artisan Brewery. The owner, Richard Bustin, wanted the new name and beers to reflect brewing in Litchborough and all the history that goes with it. As he says, Northamptonshire should shout loudly about its craft brewing heritage!!

12 April 2019

The Spring 2019 edition of Over The Barrel is now available in selected pubs throughout Northamptonshire.

25 March 2019

Following our March branch meeting we selected our Pubs of the Year. The winners are;

Club - Rushden Historical Transport Society bar, Rushden Station
Cider Pub - Badgers Arms, Long Buckby
Rural Pub - The Dukes, Woodford
Town Pub - St Giles Ale House, Northampton

The overall Branch POTY is St Giles Ale House

Congratulations to all our winners. Dates for presentations will be published in due course

20 March 2019

Due to the closure between 1 April 2019 and 16 July 2019 of The Cordwainer, Northampton (Wetherspoon) for refurbishment, there will be no Social Breakfast Clubs until it reopens and it will not be included in the Social Crawl on 19 April.

17 March 2019

Branch Diary page updated - Branch Diary

1 December 2018

The Winter 2018 edition of Over The Barrel is now available in selected pubs throughout Northamptonshire.

12 November 2018

Branch Diary page updated - Branch Diary

3 November 2018


The next Branch AGM will be at 19:30Hrs on 14th January 2018 at The Lamplighter, 66 Overstone Road, Northampton NN1 3JS.

Branch AGM 2019

10 September 2018

The 2019 Good Beer Guide Licensee Packs are being distributed to the relevant pubs, and the 2019 GBG is due to be launched on 13 September.

29 August 2018

The Summer 2018 edition of Over The Barrel is now available in selected pubs in Northampton, and in the rest of the county as soon as our volunteer distributors can get it delivered.

12 August 2018

Branch Diary page updated - Branch Diary

23 July 2018

Branch Diary page updated - Branch Diary

10 July 2018

At the July branch meeting, due to a number of people being on holiday, it was agreed that there would be NO branch meeting in August. We will meet again in September.

16 June 2018

Branch Diary page updated - Branch Diary

21 May 2018

Northampton County Beer Festival - Becket's Park, Northampton - Friday 1st June to Sunday 3rd June

Planning is well under way, with beers selected and ordered, and cider selection almost complete.

We just need people - to drink and to volunteer to staff the event. Have you volunteered yet?

Staffing Form

Further updates here:

18 March 2018

Pub of the Season (PotS), Pub of the Year (PotY) and Good Beer Guide (GBG) pub selection

Each year Northamptonshire branch, as do other branches nationally, selects pubs within its area for PotS and PotY awards, and nominates pubs for inclusion in GBG.

One of the commonest types of question we get asked is “...why don't I get the opportunity to vote on these best pub awards? “

The easiest answer to that is along the lines of “Come to Branch Meetings and get involved in the selection process.”

We do appreciate that this may not be possible, and there is another way to get involved.

For a pub to get to that stage in the first place we need the help of yourselves, our beer-drinking, pub-going members. We need you to drink beer and score it on WHAT?UB!

It’s quite straight forward and can be done at the time on any mobile device, internet/network connectivity permitting, or after the event on your laptop, tablet, PC etc. Just log into WHAT?UB! with your CAMRA member number and password and search for and select the pub(s) whose beer you want to score.

You should now see a ‘Submit Beer Scores’ panel, and a ‘Beer Scoring’ tab which takes you to a page explaining the scoring system.

Once a score has been submitted we can see it on the beer scoring database. We look at the average scores and number of scorers, the more scorers and the higher the average score the more chance the pub has of being selected for PotS, PotY or GBG.

Once we have our shortlist we ask members to volunteer to visit the pubs, drink the beer, make a few notes and give us their opinion on whether the pub deserves the award or inclusion in GBG. All this information is then collated and the pubs voted on at the relevant branch meeting.

It really is that simple. No secret meetings, no collusion with, or persuasion from, the pubs, just the feedback we receive from our members.

12 March 2018

At the branch meeting this evening the following awards were decided;

Pub Of The Year - Early Doors, Daventry

Cider Pub Of The Year - Coach and Horses, Wellingborough

Pub Of The Season (Town) - St Giles Ale House, Northampton

Pub Of The Season (Rural) - Bulls Head, Arthingworth

5 March 2018

Today saw the distribution, by email, of our first monthly branch newsletter. If you haven't received this, and would like to, sign in to the national CAMRA website and update/add your email address in the 'My Membership' section. An online, downloadable version is available here: Branch Newsletters/Bulletins

6 February 2018

Following a well-attended and successful AGM at the Lamplighter on 5th February, we are pleased to announce that Dean Cornwall was duly elected as our new Chair. We wish him well in his new role.

We would also like to thank the outgoing Chair, Ian MacAulay, for all his hard work over the past few years and wish him well for the future.

Please see Branch Contacts for the full list of committee members.

31 January 2018

Frog Island saved!

20 November 2017

Pub Openings/Re-openings/Closures

The King David, Newnham Road, Kingsthorpe - reopened on 17th November. It appears there are no cask conditioned ales available.

The Old House, Sheep Street, Wellingborough - opened on 17th November.

The Bakers Arms, High Street, Bugbrooke - reopens 1st December.

The Butchers Arms, Greens Norton - reopens 1st December

The Badgers Arms, High Street, Long Buckby - opens December. Long Buckby's first micro-pub.

The Squirrels, Main Road, Duston - closed on 12th November for major refurbishment. Reopens December.

The Bantam (ex Bantam Cock), Abington Square, Northampton is now The Press, a gourmet burger restaurant.

14 November 2017


The next Branch AGM will be at 19:30Hrs on 5th February 2018 at The Lamplighter, 66 Overstone Road, Northampton NN1 3JS. Please note the NEW date.

Branch AGM 2019

8 November 2017

Wellingborough's 'newest oldest' pub, the Old House, is due to open at midday on 17th November 2017. This is a new venture for Hart Family Brewers.

9 October 2017

Branch membership has now passed 2300, 20-30 members regularly attend Branch Meetings.

5 May 2017

Towcester Mill Brewery Tap - Pub of the Year;

14 March 2017

Following our Branch Meeting on 13 March we are proud to announce our 'Pubs of the Year' for 2017;

Town Pub: Towcester Mill Brewery Tap

Rural Pub: Old Kings Head, Long Buckby

Cider Pub: Early Doors, Daventry

Club: Kingsley Park WMC, Northampton

7 March 2017

Another pub closure;

7 February 2017

The following pubs were all recently advertised for sale by Drake & Company, :-





14 December 2016

Hart Family Brewers are planning to open a new pub in Wellingborough;

8 December 2016

Worked is planned to start on the Shipman’s (Drapery, Northampton) during the first quarter of 2017. Updates will be posted in due course.

7 December 2016

The latest edition of Over the Barrel has now been published and is being distributed throughout the county. It can also be viewed here;

6 December 2016

The Shire Horse, Kettering (sister pub to Olde England I & II, Black Prince and Falcon), is due to reopen on Friday 16th December.

22 November 2016

The GRAND OPENING of St Giles Ale House is on Thursday 24th November at 12 noon.

19 November 2016

The Hopmaster General micropub, College Street, Rushden opens on Saturday 3rd December.

1 October 2016

Local brewers in the news;

27 September 2016

Work on refurbishing the Shipmans, Drapery, Northampton is hoped to start in November and last for three months. Once we have an opening date we will let you know.

22 September 2016

Another town pub about to be lost. Planning application was submitted on 12 September, Ref: N/2016/1236, to convert and extend the Victoria Inn, Poole Street, Northampton to form 6 flats.

6 September 2016

Shortlisted finalists for the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food & Drink Awards 2016/17 have been announced. Of particular interest are;

Artisan Local Drink of the Year:
Ashmeads Kernal Apple Juice – New Creation Farm, Nether Heyford
Bad to the Bone – Gun Dog Ales, Woodford Halse
Big Bang Theory – Nene Valley Brewery, Oundle
Guilsborough Gold – Nobby’s Brewing Company, Thrapston
Lucky IPA – Maule Brewing Co, Northampton

New Local Drink of the Year:
Apple Cider 2015 – New Lodge Vineyard, Earls Barton
Attitude IPA – Brigstock Brewhouse, Brigstock
Elderflower Vodka – Jelley Distilleries, Brixworth
King Richard III Cider – Welland Valley Vineyard, Marston Trussell
Podium Gold – Towcester Mill Brewery, Towcester
Wakatu Pilsner – Maule Brewing Co, Northampton

The winners and runners-up will be announced at the Awards Dinner taking place at Northamptonshire County Cricket Club on Thursday 3rd November.

1 September 2016

It appears that Hunsbury Craft brewery will start brewing again shortly, although nothing further is known at this stage.

25 August 2016

Following the successful relaunch of J.Church Brewing, beers are now also being brewed under the 'Olde England Ales' name.

23 August 2016

A new micropub, the St Giles Ale House, is due to open at 45 St Giles Street, Northampton. Initially 6 real ales, 6 real ciders and a small selection of continental/craft beers will be stocked. Possible opening is in 6 weeks time, so mid October hopefully.

20 August 2016

The former Bootleggers pub/bar in Northampton has been sold and is now a Chinese restaurant.

28 July 2016

A campaign by residents in a Northamptonshire village has saved their local pub from being converted into houses.

A new landlord now hopes to reopen The George in Ashley, in the far north of the county, in September.

10 July 2016

Beer Guerrilla, the new off-licence on the Wellingborough Road, Northampton, is due to open at midday Saturday July 16th.

10 June 2016

Northampton's newest pub, the Lighthouse on the Wellingborough Road, opened at 5pm on 9 June. It sells itself as a sports bar, with fourteen 58 inch TVs, and a fish & chip restaurant/take-away. It also claims to have one of the largest beer ranges in the county, with more than 50 beers/ales from around the world dispensed from over 40 keg/craft beer/cider taps and 3 hand-pumps.

27 May 2016

The Penny Whistle, Abington Square, Northampton has now reopened, albeit in a smaller format than before due to the front part being converted into a bookmakers.

13 May 2016

The current owners of the Bell Inn, Finedon, Dennis and Jo Willmott, are retiring after 47 years and have put the pub up for sale. It is for sale through Berrys with a guide price of £595,000.

10 May 2016

Vale Brewery have put the Victoria Inn, Poole Street, Northampton up for sale. Freehold price of £275,000

3 May 2016

The first of the beer lists for Delapre 2016 have now been uploaded to the Beer Festival Page on this site. The others will follow once they are finalised.

29 April 2016

An application for change of use has been submitted to turn part of the Royal Mail sorting and delivery office in College Street, Rushden into a micropub. If the application for change of use is granted, Stop4.Beer will operate the site as a freehouse named The Hopmaster General and it is planned that it will open to the public in late summer.

The Watercress Harry pub in Market Street, Kettering, which is currently closed, has been taken on by operator Amber Taverns. Amber Taverns hope the pub will open in August or September under the name The Stitching Pony, named in respect of the town’s leather trade.

22 April 2016

It has been reported that the Eastgate, Abington Street, Northampton, has been sold by McManus Pubs to Burger King. A public consultation on plans to turn the pub into a Burger King will end on May 9. The first floor of the pub is likely to be converted into residential accommodation.

13 April 2016

Three more pubs in the county lost:-

Barn Owl, Northampton - approved to be converted into a Co-op food store

Fox & Hounds, Wellingborough - approved for conversion to residential use

The Blue Bell, Gretton - application submitted for conversion to residential use

On a more positive note, The King William IV, Kingsthorpe village, reopened on 6 April, being run by Stewart and Sue Neal

21 March 2016

The Broadmead pub, Broadmead Avenue, Northampton is now shut and boarded-up. The whole site appears to have been bought by a company involved in 'Development And Selling Of Real Estate/Development Of Building Projects'.

12 March 2016

J Church Brewery will be moving into one of the cellars at The Black Prince (formerly The Racehorse, Northampton) in April and along with his great beers will brew some special dark ales exclusively for the pub.

11 March 2016

Towcester Food Festival June 11/12 2016. 100 artisan food and drink stalls, chef demos, free tastings and live entertainment. Free on-site car parking.

A number of local ale and cider producers usually attend this event.

09 March 2016

Saxby's cider - new bottled and draught ciders available from March 21st, a rhubarb cider made using juice from the Yorkshire rhubarb triangle and a limited edition Oak mature table cider available in 75cl bottles.

01 March 2016

The Trumpet, Wellingborough Road, Northampton (owners: The Spirit Group) has recently undergone a refurb and claims to offer 10% discount to CAMRA card-carrying members.

The King William IV, Kingsthorpe village, has ceased to trade due to market pressures.

The Racehorse, Abington Square, Northampton now on long-term lease to owners of Olde England. Due to reopen in March as the Black Prince.

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