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Beer Festival Helperís Trip to Whitstable

North Cotswold Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale


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Whitstable Brewery Oyster Stout was voted best beer at our 1st North Cotswold Branch Beer Festival in September 2008. Please click on the Oyster Stout bottle label left for the Festival Report


As a thank you to our Festival Helpers, Martyn Herbert organised a subsidised trip to Whitstable Brewery in Kent on the 28th February 2009.

The luxury coach set off at 0800hrs from Cheltenham picking up the party of 19 following the timetable exactly until a diversion to Holland on narrow Kent lanes created a short delay. At least thatís where Andrews satnav suddenly thought we were after guiding us well for several miles.


On arrival at the Brewery other CAMRA members from the local Branch awaited along with Brewery staff and immediately the welcome words for weary travellers was heard :- to grab a glass and fill it up from a choice of four barrels: Oyster Stout, East India Pale Ale, Pearl of Kent and Native.


The non technical quick tour option was selected but our Phd Chemistry guide Algerian, French educated ex Fullers head brewer, Rafik, was able to deliver the longest most informative description of the brewing process I have ever heard. Several liquid top ups were necessary to restore stamina.



Martyn Herbert then seized his opportunity, during the brewers one pause for breath, and presented a framed certificate to him for the beer of the festival, Whitstable Oyster Stout. Seriously, an excellent visit!


We then moved on to the Plough Inn at Stalisford Green for drinks and lunch.



Andrews Satnav performing again, dunking it in Oyster Stout convinced it that we were actually in Kent.


At the Plough (above) in addition to another CAMRA Branch Chairman hoping for a quiet lunch more Whitstable beer was on offer including Winkle Picker along with Incubus Hopdaemon. ††This was followed by a superb sausage and mash dish prepared by the kitchen team who formulated a special sausage recipe for the day using Whitstable Brewery Oyster Stout, venison, chocolate & chilli. This pub purchased by Landlord Robert Lloyd (Right) when disposed of by Shepherd Neame has gone from strength to strength, GBG status and a best in Kent award.

On our way back after knocking off a wing mirror against the Bull at Streatleywe stopped off at the famous Bell at Aldworth, shown left. It was now late in the day and getting dark.

We sampled three excellent West Berkshire beers and Arkells 3B plus some of their good value rolls and Ploughmans. The open air gents toilet has been upgraded with a light bulb since my last visit.



After reversing the coach back to the main road we dropped Andrew off at Goring Station and his satnav in the Thames we found our way home via Wallingford and Oxford.


The Cheltenham hard core finished the evening off back at the Motor club, would you expect anything less. Roll on this coming yearís best in festival, any Scottish beers Martyn?


Report Author Roger Price. Photos by Roger Price & a couple by Peter Rowe