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This page was last on 03 February 2008 22:51:54.

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BEER FESTIVALS

LOST FREE HOUSES

Orepool in Sling 2007 (Closed) - Royal Oak in Whitecroft Dec 2007 (Closed) - George Inn in St Briavels has been taken over by Wadworths 2007 - Woolaston Inn, Woolaston (Taken over by Enterprise) 2007 - Victoria, Newnham April 2007 (pub closed) - The Bridge, Cinderford March 2007 (pub closed) - Moon and Sixpence, Tintern January 2007 (pub closed) - Golden Lion, Cinderford July 2006 (hand pumps taken out), Orepool, Sling (Barrelage tie to Scottish Newcastle) - Nelson Arms, Drybrook Jan 2006 (Closed) - Village Inn, Trellech May 2005 (Closed) - Riverside in Ross on Wye 4/05 (most hand pumps now under beer tie) - Forge Hammer, Cinderford April 2005 (Tied, but now takes occasional guest - April 2006) - Kings Head, Littledean Jan 2005 (closed)

NEWS

January 2008 - Lots happening on the pub front - almost all bad.  I have not had either the time or money to go out extensively, and that is where you hear the good news.   The Travellers Rest at Stowe has re-opened with the landlord of the Miners Arms at Sling running it.  The Orepool at Sling has closed - not that I saw a lot of people drinking there since the re-fit.  The Royal Oak in Whitecroft has closed - don't know the details but the real ale had effectively been taken off there and they had tried to open a nightclub.

May 2007 - Cirencester Beer Festival was quiet relaxed, customers being able to buy beer without too many queues.

April 2007 - The Victoria in Newnham has been shut by its owner, and the landlord and all staff have lost their jobs.  What a nightmare!  No apparent reason apart from the owner wishing to make money from the property.  The pub was busy with a good mix of clientele.  I hope that Mark and Jan find another pub in the local area as they looked after the real ale well.  Ye Olde Ferrie Inne in Symonds Yat has changed landlords and Tim from the Fountain in Trellech Grange now runs this pub as well.  The Miners Arms in Whitecroft has new owners - Mario and Karen.  They want to add more of a food dimension to the pub whilst keeping local produce.  They previously ran a pub/restaurant on the South coast.  The Vine Tree on the outskirts of Ross on Wye has also changed hands to a family new to pubs.  They want to keep the real ales free of tie, but time will tell.  The pub has been boring over the last 18 months or so, just selling Doombar on the one working hand pump.

March 2007 - The Bridge has not attracted real ale customers and is just keg and lager at present.  (Update pub now closed again).  The Yew Tree in Longhope has Hancocks HB and 6X on - tied to Enterprise.  The Swan in Pillowell has now opened new  extension to give more pub room and better kitchen facilities.  The Miners Arms in Whitecroft has been sold to a Greek chap who takes over early in May.  Apparently he aims to make to pub more food orientated.

December 2006 - The Bridge Inn in Cinderford has re-opened.  It will be wet led to start with and offering quick lunchtime snacks.  The New Harp Inn in Hoarwithy beer festival had 12 real ales on and numerous bottled beers and lagers.  Freeminer came first and second with Fairplay and Slaughter Porter with Spinning Dog Christmas Cheer in third.  Had an excellent rabbit pie and appears to be a pub well worth checking out.  The Penny Farthing at Aston Crews is under new ownership (not sure if owned or leased) the new landlady being Jane.  Not been there yet but the pub has been tied for at least the last ten years.  the Tufthorn has re-opened after about six months.  New landlord is local.  The Woodlands in Cinderford has re-opened with Martin as landlord.  From what I could see the pub had been shut more than open - never finding it open when I called round over the last year.

November 2006 - I hear the Pike House has been bought but needs some work.  More when I hear it.  The Royal Oak in Whitecroft has re-opened with Ifor from the Market Place Tavern in Coleford as landlord.  The George in St Briavels is on the market for 850K freehold or 100K leasehold.  The Inn on the Wye is on the market for 1.3M.  Fred and sue (ex of the Crown in Lea) have taken on the Malt Shovel in Ruardean.

October 2006 - The Pike House in Beery Hill has closed and is boarded up.  The Royal Oak in Whitecroft shut when the landlord decided to leave.

August 2006 - Kev and Jen are retiring from the Rising Sun in Moseley Green. It has been in the family for a long time, and they have run the pub for 30 years.  It is now time to retire, and will be handing over the pub on the 31st August (delayed until the second week in September), retiring locally to Yorkley.  Best of luck to them, and hopefully the new landlords will carry on serving good, local real ale.  Bob and Liz at the Miners Arms in Whitecroft has left.  With any luck the new landlords - David and Caroline - will re-introduce some more local beers to the choice - and probably some food to match the kitchen improvements that Bob and Liz installed, but did not properly utilise.  The Orepool in Sling re-opened in the last week of August.  They have a financial tie to Scottish and Newcastle so are serving Theakstons and Courage.  The King of Spain has re-opened as Kings Head - Brains and wye Valley but says won't take local beers.

May until July 2006 - The Tufthorn has shut.  Previously tied to Greene King by way of brewery loan, it does not appear to have re-opened. at present.  In July, Rob - landlord of the Royal Oak in Whitecroft was found dead having apparently hanged himself.  The Orepool in Sling has closed.  The Swan Inn in Pillowell has changed hands.  Stagnating somewhat under previous owners, I don't know what the new owners will make of it.  Previously owners of the Keys in Bream (aka Hedgehog and Cross Keys) they are not known for real ale choice and have expressed a preference for only stocking Scottish Newcastle beers.  Please let me know if this changes.  The Angel in Ruardean has been reduced to 260K.  The lease for the Crown in Lea is on the market for 65K.  The Cross Keys in Lydney is on the market for 85K (lease as pub is tied).  I believe the Netherend Inn is on the market for 320K freehold.  The Moody Cow in Upton Bishop is on the market for 150K leasehold.  Quite a lot for leasehold, so must offer something special.  Montague Arms just outside Sling is on the market for 295K.

April 2006 - I understand that the following pubs are on the market, but I have not yet had any confirmation - Forge Hammer in Lydbrook, Rising Sun in Moseley Green, the Boat in Penallt, Miners Arms in Whitecroft 425K, Junction near Westbury on Severn and the Anchor in Lydbrook 440K (although this has been on the market for some time).  Also Pike House in Berry Hill 370K, Royal Forester 328K, the closed Bridge Inn in Cinderford 275K, the Angel in Ruardean 275K and the Greyhound in Popes Hill for 439K.  Leases are for sale for the Crown in St Briavels, Kings Head in Blakeney and a Drybrook pub - possibly Hearts of Oak.  There are more that I have not been able to identify.

March 2006 - The Fountain and Union in Westgate Street, Gloucester both shut unexpectedly.  Rumour says due to financial issues.  Enterprise hope to have the Fountain open again soon.  The Nelson in Drybrook is closed - I believe they wanted to turn it into a house.  The King of Spain (Kings Head) in Berry Hill is also shut.  The Crown at St Briavels was due to change hands, but new landlords Derek and Gill Smallman have fallen through at present.  More news when I hear it, but in the meantime the pub is closed lunchtimes during the week.

February 2006 - The Cock Inn in Blakeney has changed hands.  It is still a free house and the new owners and the bar manager (Jason) are all experienced in the pub trade.  The Golden Lion in Cinderford is regularly serving Speculation from Freeminer.

January 2006 - Freeminer have launched a new beer through Morrisons.  Another own label product, Morrisons have called it The Best.  6% ABV, it is a dark, flavoursome bottle conditioned beer.  Rumours that the Bridge Inn in Cinderford may re-open as a restaurant.  Ye Hostelry in Goodrich looks set to change hands shortly.

September 2005 - The Woolaston Inn has re-opened after a closure lasting some 16 years.  They reckon to have spent approx. half a million on the refit, and it is unlike any pub in the Forest.  Marble floors, large eating areas and plenty of parking, it caters for the passing trade to a great degree.  No real ale served yet until cellar cooling is sorted out, but indications are that local beers will be featured.  The Yew Tree at Cliffords Mesne has changed hands.  This had been changed to an up-market gastro pub, pushing out the local drinking custom.  The new owners hope to reverse this and attract custom back.

August 2005 - Worcester CAMRA Beer Festival took place 11th - 13th August.  With over 230 beers plus cider you can only scratch the surface, but a good time appeared to be had by all.  A lot bigger than two years ago when we last went.  I didn't manage to get to the Barrel's Beer Festival in Hereford as I was working late.  This BF has included the Western Society of Independent Brewers competition for the last three years.  This year Spinning Dog brewery won overall with their new Organic Ale, Freeminer picking up a Silver with Speculation in the premium beer category.  Further to my note in June, the Dog and Muffler is definitely on the market.  The Bird in Hand in Broadwell, Coleford has changed hands.  Dave and Clare are now landlords, but beer choice remains national with Greene King Old Speckled Hen and Bombardier on sale.  The re-opening of the Bridge Inn in Cinderford was short lived, the pub once again closed after only a couple of months.  Just a hundred yards up the hill, The White Hart in Cinderford is now being run be Mr and Mrs Cinderey who are local.  They aim to bring the pub food back to popular standards and are already building trade.  The Kings Head (King of Spain) in Berry Hill has changed hands.  Still having the Greene King tie it was selling three GK beers, but will be featuring Freeminer Bitter in September.

July 2005 - At the Cotswold Beer Festival a competition was held for the first time to vote CAMRA Gloucestershire Beer of the Year.  Freeminer Strip and at It won the competition - a shame it is only a seasonal beer!

June 2005 - Village Inn at Trellech has shut, leaving to Lion Inn (an excellent, award winning pub) as the only pub in the village.  Raglan Arms in Llandenny is set to change hands this month.  The White Horse in Mitcheldean has Caledonian Deuchars IPA at present.  Viney Hill and St Swithens Sports and Social Club held their first beer festival with eight real ales from local breweries.  The Lion at Trelleck held their annual beer festival in a marquee in the pub grounds.  Previous years have seen the village more involved on a fund raiding basis, but it was left up to the pub this year which raised funds for junior rugby in the area.   Rumour has reached me that the Dog and Muffler may be on the market, but I have not been able to confirm this via trade adverts: so just a rumour.   Freeminer has been awarded the Cotswold Life Drinker Producer of the Year 2005.

May 2005 - The Ship Inn in Newnham has re-opened.  Adrian from the Dog and Muffler is running it, and now owns these two pubs and the Forge Hammer in Lydbrook.  The renovation has been very sympathetic, and puts back the quoits and dartboard.  As yet, the choice of beers is still to be decided.  The Alma Inn in Linton is still only stocking beers from the budget end of the market.  The Forge Hammer in Cinderford has now changed hands and is being run by Kevin and Mrs Overton, but they have a beer tie which means they cannot buy any beer they wish to.   However, they seem to be fitting in better with the local community than the previous landlords.  The Bridge Inn in Cinderford will be re-opening at the end of the month.  Unfortunately, it has been purchased by a pub group which will probably mean another free house that has bitten the dust.

April 2005 - New breweries opening in Gloucestershire... The North Cotswold Brewery has a new owner called Jon.  Used to work for Exe Valley.  Cheltenham will have a small brewery by the end of the year at Battledown.  A small brewery in the Stroud area could also happen, but timings are not yet confirmed.  In Herefordshire a small brewery has opening in Weobley called Wilds.  The Rose and Crown in Tintern is on the market along with the Kings Head (King of Spain) in Berry Hill.   The Loughpool North of Ross changes hands at the beginning of May.  I understand that the new owners intend to keep is as a gastro pub, but too early for any definite news.  The Mill Race (Spread Eagle) in Walford is being re-built and hopes to re-open during May, along with the Riverside in Ross on Wye.  The Riverside has taken a brewery loan, so is no longer a free house, possibly meaning there are none left in the town.  The Brockweir has changed hands.  New owner has a long way to go to reverse the decline caused by the previous owner.

March 2005 - The Golden Lion in Cinderford has now re-opened.  Run by Frank and Charlotte O'Toole, is has been torn apart inside and re-modelled.  More open plan, it will have pool table at one end with leather sofa's at the other.  As far as real ale goes, they aim to launch with Scottish and Newcastle brands, moving on to other beers when volumes allow.  Sad to see another free house bite the dust.  No food to start with as the kitchen needs to be rebuilt.  The Riverside in Ross on Wye is having similar work done.  Shut now for some time, it is being stripped out entirely, with a pub company doing the cellar work and tying them up for the life of the pub.  From being a free house it will now only have one free hand pump, and the use of this will depend on the sales of the tied pumps.  Aiming to re-open in April, with new owner Geoff.  The Swan at Brierley has a sign outside advertising for new lessee.  This means that Morry is now leaving or has left?  Not been in, but if you have, please let me know.  The Railway in Cinderford is still living up to it's troubled life.  Not being able to keep a landlord, or pay it's bills under the previous landlord, it has now looking for a new manager again.

January 2005 - The Penny Farthing at Aston Crews has changed hands.  Although the press releases at the time suggested this had changed to a free house, it is still tied to Punch, and has 6X and Abbot on.  Still seems popular for food sales with more elderly clientele.  Glasshouse at May Hill was selling Butcombe, Bass and Archers Village.  All beers tend to be on the weak side as you normally have to drive to reach it.  Recent extensions have worked to provide a popular eating pub, even midweek in January.  The Brockweir Country Inn is continuing its apparent decline.  Called by at lunchtime, to find from a blackboard outside that it is only open in the evenings apart from Sunday lunchtime.  This used to be a bustling local pub with a good number of visitors, even in Winter.  Shame.  The Sloop Inn in Llandogo has changed hands again.  Run by a newcomer to the pub trade, the new landlords Peter and Sheridan Morse at least appear willing to try a good range of beers.  The Cherry Tree at Tintern completed its extension last Summer, and has now added a village shop and post office at the front.  A welcome range of real ale in the village.  The Greyhound at Popes Hill has changed hands with a lot of work being put into updating the kitchen area.  Haven't been in to drink, but let me know if you have any comments.  The George at Aylburton has changed hands.  Still a free house, the owner appear to have moved away from buying a good range of local beer, on now appear to only buy beer on a cost basis.  (Later update March 2005 - does not even appear to buy on price, so not sure what motivates beer policy.  Only national brands appear to be being sold, so is he a free house any more?). Please let me know if you find this has changed.  The Crown at St Briavels has a new landlord.  Alan has brought the lease from the previous owners who have retired. He is keeping a range of real ales and is always willing to take advice from the locals.  The Bridge Inn in Cinderford has shut, less than a year after the new landlord took over.  This pub used to have a roaring lunchtime trade which melted away.  The Ship Inn in Newnham shut some months ago when the manager ran into financial trouble.  No sign of it re-opening yet.  The Kings Head in Littledean shut with some publicity when Pat decided to move abroad.  The worry is that the pub will shut and be turned into flats.  Unsure if the pub has been brought by Bell's, but if it has there will certainly be pressure to do this, as a similar move is under way at the grounds of the Littledean House Hotel.  Moving to Ross on Wye, the Riverside changed hands last Summer.  From a thriving real-ale oriented pub, it has been run into the ground and shut down.  On a brighter note, Freeminer Brewery is brewing another bottled beer for the Co-op.  Brewed using Fairtrade honey from Chile, it is called Bumble Bee and will be available from early February nationwide.  The Railway in Newnham was serving Youngs Bitter, Timothy Taylors Landlord and Abbot when I called in at the end of the month.  Youngs was well kept.  They are still serving a good range of cider.

September 2004 - The Angel in Ruardean is back on the market.  The present incumbents have only been there for a short time, but I wasn't taken with their ideas on running the pub.  It could do well with a good number of houses around it, but slightly let down by lack of a car park.

August 2004 - The Nelson at Drybrook appears to have re-opened, but have not yet been in to find out what is for sale.  The trade day at the Great British Beer Festival was eventful to say the least.  After the booing that greeted Green King IPA winning Silver medal in the Champion Beer of Britain, the heavens opened and Olympia was struck by lightning.  By the time we left, rain was pouring through the roof, and water was coming up through the sewer and drainage pipes.  Did not realise how bad it was until we left, and got stuck on a tube train for the five stops back to Paddington.  Paddington tube was shut due to flooding, so missed the train back to Gloucester!  Ended up taking a taxi back from Bristol to Gloucester, the second year in a row that a rail trip to GBBF has ended with a taxi ride!

July 2004 - The Nelson at Drybrook has shut it's doors - maybe only temporarily.  Watch this space for news about a possible re-opening.  The Cock Inn at Blakeney changed hands this month.  New landlady is from Bristol area.  Saul Canal Festival was an excellent success with over 7,200 pints of real ale from Freeminer, Teme Valley, Wye Valley and Wickwar being sold.  Don Burgess from Freeminer Brewery has earned an achievement award from Cotswold Life magazine at the award ceremony at Cirencester Park.  Went to the Cotswold Beer Festival on the trade day (Thursday) and they seemed to have a good selection of local and national beers.

June 2004 - The Red Hart at Awre has changed hands, the new landlady being Marcia.

March 2004 - The King of Spain at Berry Hill is still on the market, as is the Golden Lion.  John and Claire are taking over a pub in Cheltenham.  Littledean House Hotel is open again under new ownership, but the bar/cellar area needs some work before it is active again.  The Britannia, on the market for some time until recently, appears as if it is being turned into a private house. 

March 2004 - The Railway at Newnham has changed hands again.  After Chris and Jane Miller left, the pub passed to Enterprise, and real ale sales took a dive.  Enterprise have obviously decided not to persevere with the pub, and David Price has now brought it.  He has worked locally for some time, but has now decided to move into a pub - having had experience of running Newnham Club before.  It will be interesting to see how well he does, as Newnham desperately needs a good real ale pub again. 

February 2004 - The Angel at Ruardean has changed hands.  The new landlords do not have the experience of running a real ale pub, so time will tell what will happen.  Redruth Brewery has gone into administration.  Not sure if it is still brewing.

January 2004 - CAMRA meeting at the Lamb in Clearwell.  Freeminer Bitter excellent!  Outside the Forest, I found two excellent pubs if your travels take you up to the Midlands.  The Old White Rose in Bilston is large inside and has twelve real ales on, each of which apparently last no more than two days.  Good value food as well, and was busy on the Friday afternoon I spent there.  Next to junction 1 of the M5 is the Vine at West Bromwich.  An Indian pub, it had three real ales on and a good selection of Indian food.  A barbeque room offers excellent value food, on top of a standard menu.

December 2003 - CAMRA in the Forest held a pub crawl on the 16th taking in the New Inn and Rising Sun in Ruspidge, Kings Head in Littledean, Red Hart at Awre and the Miners Arms in Whitecroft before heading back to the Golden Lion.  The second Golden Lion Winter beer festival was held from 12th to 15th December with beers from around Gloucestershire.  I enjoyed all of them.  Went to the Dragon in Worcester (best real ale house in the city).  Danish Dynamite, Oakham Raucous Reindeer where excellent, Millstone Brewery Millstone Edge was too bitter for my taste.

November 2003 - The Great Welsh Beer Festival in Cardiff appeared to be a great success with some beers running out on Friday night.  The venue at the old City halls has the capacity, but was definitely busy!  Justin from the Breconshire Brewery was helping to run the bar.

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  Gloucester CAMRA visited the Golden Lion at 7PM on Wednesday 19th November at which the new Freeminer beer Stay and Drink was launched. 

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A further CAMRA meeting was held at the Miners Arms, Whitecroft.  Much discussion regarding what should be happening, but initially and December meeting will be arranged, hopefully with small buffet, on the 2nd December.  A pub crawl is also on the cards, possibly on the 9th December.  The Cock Inn in Blakeney has changed hands.  A campaign of cleaning appears to have paid off with real ale sales climbing, which means quality rises with turnover.  They are selling Speculation from Freeminer at present.

October 2003 - CAMRA in the Forest of Dean is re-launching.  The first meeting with the new organisers will be at the Golden Lion in Cinderford at 8pm on the 2nd October.  Half the beer at the Rising Sun, Bream beer festival had run out by the time I got there.  Tried Harvistoun Bitter and Twisted, Black Zider, Gales Trafalgar, Titanic Captain Smith and Blakeney Red Perry.  Freeminer Brewery now have Trafalgar IPA ABV 6% and Speculation ABV 4.8% available in bottles.

September 2003 - The Brockweir Country Inn in Brockweir has changed hands.  The previous landlady had run the beer choice down and there were quality issues as well.  The new landlord, Clarke, is well used to hygiene being a chef, and has already noticed an increase in beer sales.  Worth a visit again if you are in the area.  The Forge Hammer in Cinderford has also changed hands, and is still a Free House.  I don't yet know what the beer plans are for the pub, apart from the comment that the range will improve.

August 2003 - Attended the Great British Beer Festival at Olympia on trade day.  The champion beer was Harviestoun Bitter and twisted - a result I quite agree with.  The following weekend Alison and I went along to the Worcester Beer Festival held at the racecourse.  This was the first time we had attended, and we were made welcome by Richard Oak one of the organisers and Richard from the Dragon in Worcester.  Unfortunately both the Booze and Blues, Beechenhurst and the Golden Lion beer festivals were not held.  Good news for Freeminer Brewery at the Barrels Beer Festival in Hereford which featured the Western Region of SIBA beer festival.  In the SIBA competition blind tasting the results were - Champion Beer of the Festival - Freeminer Gold Miner Bottle Conditioned 5%ABV, Bitter - Salopian Shropshire Gold 3.8%ABV, Best Bitter - Woods Pot of Gold 4.4%ABV, Premium Bitter - Salopian Golden Thread 5%ABV, Milds and Stouts - Mount Murrey Ruby Mild 3.5%ABV, Speciality Beer - Spinning Dog Mutleys Pitstop 4.0%ABV and Bottled Beers - Freeminer Gold Miner 5%ABV.

July 2003 - Cotswold Canal Trust beer and folk festival at Saul exceeded the organisers expectations.  40 beers where on offer, and all sold out over Friday and Saturday!  Half as much again was imported at 1 am on Sunday from Freeminer, and although it did not have time to clear this all sold on Sunday.  Could not make it to the Cotswold Beer Festival as I was on holiday.  Freeminer has won a national bottling run for the first bottle conditioned beer that The Co-op have produced - Gold Miner 5%ABV.

April 2003 - I went along to the beer festival at the Golden Lion in Cinderford.  Featuring beers from around Gloucestershire, it had Donnington Triple XXX Mild and SBA, Uley Old Spot, Freeminer Iron Brew and Gold Standard, Goff's Lancelot, Wickwar BOB and RCH Old Slug Porter.

March 2003 - The Dragon in Worcester hosted the SIBA (Society of Independent Brewers) Western Region Competition with 35 different beers entered.  If you haven't visited the Dragon in Foregate Street it is well worth the effort if you are in town - a real real ale pub.  Had a meal at the Swan in Pillowell.  Good food in large quantities!

February 2003 - Tewkesbury CAMRA held its 8th Winter Beer Festival at the White Bear.  Featuring twenty beers and a couple of ciders it was very busy when I visited with Geoff and Gee on 6th February.

December 2002 - The Golden Lion in Cinderford held its first beer festival.  With a couple of Freeminer beers - Speculation and Royal Union Steam Ale- the others on sale were Archers Winter Ale 5.2%, Wychwood Festival 5%, Archers Blackjack 4.6%, Goffs Black Knight 5.3% and RCH Pitchfork 4.3%.  Still in Cinderford, the White Hart in St Whites Road is still blossoming, with good quality food and the occasional guest real ale to supplement Greene King.

November 2002 - The Golden Lion is hosting a real ale night on Mondays - 1 a pint. Went to Wetherspoons in Ross on Wye for the Halloween Beer Festival (sic). York Centurion's Ghost was outstanding.  The Bridge Inn in Cinderford has changed hands together with the White Horse in Soudley.

October 2002 - Went to the Rising Sun beer festival in Bream.  Only disappointment was that no Freeminer beer was on when I was there.  Two beers which stood out were Cottage Stanier Black Gold, and Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted.  On the Sunday went to Apple Day at the Dean Heritage Centre - Minchews Perry was excellent. Went to the Cardiff Beer Festival held at the City Hall.  Some are written up on the beer tasting page, the rest were - Iceni Hop Harvest 4.6% (2), Freeminer Royal Union Steam Ale 4.5% (4), Freeminer Speculation 4.8% (4), Garton Stunned Mullett 5.0% (1), Warcop Rockers 4.8% (3) and Orchard Cider Wye Cider 6.6% (3).  The Swan in Pillowell has now re-opened after a change of ownership.

September 2002 - Freeminer Brewery has launched a new beer available round the Forest towards the end of the month.  At 4.5% the beer has a light tawny colour, with a smooth initial taste which fades to a very gentle bitterness.  Very drinkable.  It was brewed on the centenary of the Royal Union Steam navigation Pit disaster, and has therefore been called Royal Union Steam Ale. 

August 2002 - Random Shot has opened at Taurus Crafts in Lydney.  Run by Chris and Jane Miller who are selling the Swan in Pillowell, it concentrates on the retail of bottled beers and ciders (with a few other choice beverages!).  A web link is on my beer link pages.  I paid my first visit to the Great British Beer Festival.  The beers I tried follow and are marked out of five (high) - Gales Summer Hog 3.9% (3), Bateman's Summer Swallow 3.9% (1), Adnams Broadside 4.7% (4), Malvern Hills Black Pear 4.4% (4), Echte Kricek 6.8% (3), Dark Star Sunburst 4.8% (4), Hogs Back Hop Garden Gold 4.6% (3), Jennings Crag Rat 4.3% (4), Moorhouse's Black Cat 3.4% (3), Iceni Raspberry Wheat 5.0% (4), Milton Electra 4.5% (4), Nethergate Umbel Magna 5.0% (4), Oakham White Dwarf 4.3% (5), Oldershaw Ahtanum Gold 4.3% (0).

June 2002 - The Forge Hammer in Cinderford had 13 real ales on, and took advantage of the extended Jubilee weekend to run it over four days.  Alison and I went along to the Alma Inn on the Sunday, trying the Speculation, Red Earl, Gales Best, Smiles and Jennings.

May 2002 - New landlords have taken over the Greyhound in Popes Hill.  Having met them briefly, they have come from a real ale background - Shepherd and Neame - and say they want to keep the pub's attraction to its regular customers.  Also, the Severn Bore in Minsterworth, Courtfield Arms in Lydbrook and the Nags Head in Longhope have all changed hands.  I visited the Mailrooms in Ross on Wye, and tried the Spitfire and Back Street Heroes from Freeminer.

April 2002 - A write up on the Hope and Anchor by the river in Ross on Wye is on the pub details page.  I don't like Bank's beers, so if you agree it is not worth going for the beer.  Excellent location though, and good start for a pub crawl.  The Rising Sun in Bream held a presentation evening, as it has been awarded the title of Forest Pub of the Year 2002 by CAMRA.  

March 2002 - Visited the Beauchamp Arms in Dymock for the first time.  A pub with a relaxed atmosphere and apparently good food, it is worth a visit if you are in the area.

January 2002 -  The Swan Inn in Alvington is a pub I have not been to for a couple of years.  Visiting between Christmas and the New Year, I caught it in a quiet spell.  The only real ale on was London Pride.

December 2001 -  The Swan Inn in Pillowell has launched a website - two in fact.  First the is the www.swancheesehouse.com, but, more importantly from the beer point of view, www.swanbeerhouse.com.  As well as operating a bar with good real ale and selling local and regional cheeses, Chris and Jane now sell bottle conditioned (the ones with the sediment) ales, either over the counter or by mail order.

November 2001 -  A new page on the website gives you beer tasting details, to which I shall add wine, lager, cider etc in due course.  With Christmas coming up please use the iDrink site on my links page to mix more adventurous drinks when you get bored.

October 2001 -  The Forge Hammer in Cinderford  was serving an excellent pint of Wye Valley Butty Bach.  The Rising Sun in Bream held its second beer festival.  John and I met Geoff and Gee, Andrew and Suzanne and my ex-boss Glyn.  I think there were about 30 beers available - I remember Rebellion Smuggler, RCH East Street Cream and Beowulf Hero where all excellent.

August 2001 -  The Alma Inn in Linton held a festival of music on the 10th and 11th of August.  There were 7 live bands over the Friday and Saturday together with 15 real ales!  He has a web site www.almainnlinton.co.uk and the phone number is 01989 720355.  The White Horse in Mitcheldean has changed hands.  I feel it may take some time to recover, and any exciting real ales appear to be ruled out by the new landlord.

June 2001 -  The Forge Hammer beer festival seemed busier that in previous years.  I tried almost all of the beers on offer, and out of the ten I tried eight hit 4 out of five on my personal scoring system!

May 2001 -  J D Wetherspoons in Ross on Wye has now opened.  It is called the Mail Rooms as it is based in the old Post Office in Gloucester Road, Ross on Wye.  For a full write up see under Pub Details.  The Crown and Sceptre in Ross has undergone a makeover as well - full write up is in the same place. 

April 2001 - Wetherspoons held a mini beer festival from 26th to the 29th April.  Geoff, John and I went along to the Regal in Gloucester.  The beers I tried were St Peters Organic Best Bitter, Hopback Fools Fortune, Everards Perfick, Caledonian Flying Scotsman, Batemans Victory Ale and Robinson Stockports.  All very nice, if a bit on the cold side.  The Crown and Sceptre in Ross on Wye has delayed its beer festival normally held over the Easter weekend.  It will be held during the second Bank Holiday weekend in May instead.  Make a note of the dates in your diary - 25th, 26th and 27th May.  The Forge Hammer in Cinderford will be running their beer festival on the 16th and 17th June.  See you there!

March 2001 - BEER PRICES GOING UP 10P PER PINT!  The national breweries are using their increasing stranglehold on the market to increase prices of their beer and lager, seemingly across the board.  Luckily, independent real ale brewers are not included in the price rise - until, of course, they decide to jump on the bandwagon.  The large brewers blame the increase on higher cost of materials.  However, the move does seem designed to convince the government that the brewers are not serious about needing a reduction in duty (and price) to stop people buying from abroad.... and the timing of just after the budget?  Wetherspoons in Ross on Wye is apparently due to open in May.  Rumour has it that the Lamb in Mitcheldean is aiming itself more at the B&B and restaurant trade.  As long as I can remember, no real ale has been served.  The presentation for the CAMRA Forest of Dean Pub of the Year 2001 has been made to the Greyhound, Pope's Hill.

John presenting the certificate to Ray and Avril

SIBA - the independent brewers - will be holding one of their tastings at the Miners Arms in Whitecroft on Saturday the 24th March.  Once judging has finished at 4pm I understand that the beer will then be sold off......