News Archive

  • Branch Pub and Brewery News (February 2020) Thursday 20 February 2020

    Pub news:

    • The Reformation (Gallowstree Common) has its ACV. However it covers only the pub and the car park to the front – the remainder of the plot having already been sold.
    • The Carriers Arms (Watlington) is still closed, awaiting the current tenant of the Fat Fox to take over. It’s possible there may be a change of name.
    • The front bar of the Social is still closed; though the club part is still operating.
    • The Crown (Chalgrove) has now been sold, as a pub.
    • The Red Lion in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, has a new tenant, Corrine Cook.
    • Curly, at the Rainbow, has received an award from Brakspear for working with them for 30 years.

    Brewery news:

    • Loddon’s Hocus Pocus won the Old Ale/Mild category at the Winter Great British Beer Festival.

  • Branch Pub of the Season for Autumn revealed Monday 9 December 2019

    We made a presentation on Thursday 28th November to David Haines (pictured right), landlord of the Royal Standard in Wallingford, as the Branch Pub of the Season for Autumn 2019.

    Branch Chairman, Graham Hards (pictured centre), in presenting the award, commented:

    “With around 18 pubs a week closing across the country, it is great that the Royal Standard is bucking the trend, by re-opening as a pub after many years trading as a restaurant, the Partridge. Close to the heart of CAMRA is that the pub is aiming to be a valuable asset for the whole of the local community by offering a wide range of activities and services. Furthermore and, very importantly, is that the Royal Standard is supporting the local, Cholsey based brewery, Amwell Springs Brewery, by serving three of its cask-conditioned ales in tip-top condition. We hope that the Royal Standard continues to prosper and we wish David every success in this exciting venture”.

    The photo is from the presentation, which also includes David Gibbons (pictured left), Chairman of Amwell Springs, who also attended the presentation.

  • An Eazy Evening at Amwell Springs Brewery Saturday 14 September 2019

    Members from our branch were lucky enough to spend an excellent evening at Amwell Springs Brewery in Cholsey last Wednesday (11th September). Andrew Gibbons, Head Brewer (pictured next to the stillage), explained the brewery’s beginnings, including the fact that the brewing water is sourced directly from chalk-filtered springs located only a few hundred metres from the brewery.

    Andrew’s father, David (also pictured in the foreground), who is the chairman of the brewery (and is the inspiration for one of the names of the beers!) helped Andrew explain the stories behind the intriguing beer names!

    Liquid refreshment was kindly provided in the form of a fresh barrel of Eazy Geez, which received many compliments.

  • Branch Pub and Brewery News (September 2019) Saturday 14 September 2019

    Pub news:

    • The Crown in Benson, has been bought by Hook Norton Brewery. Branch Chairman, David Cooper attended a meeting with James Clarke, Managing Director of the North Oxfordshire brewery, and signs are very positive with the brewery planning to invest heavily into making it a good community-focussed pub. The plan is to re-open the pub before Christmas following some major refurbishment.
    • The Reformation, Gallowstree Common has re-opened under a one-year tenancy of Bob Hurst. Gravity and Oxford Gold on pump, but only snacks and sandwiches at lunchtime food-wise.
    • The ACV for the Fleur-dy-Lys in Dorchester expired in April 2019 and has not been renewed. The pub remains closed.
    • The Red Lion in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, is once again being run by very popular landlady Sue Robson, and is proving to be very busy and popular with the locals. However, as her intention was not to continue running the pub in the long term, she has put the lease back on the market, but will only hand this over to someone who will run it as she and the community would like.

    Brewery news:

    • The owner of the Lovibonds site in Henley has won his appeal for his application to demolish and build anew in the tap room area.

  • Branch Pub and Brewery News (July 2019) Wednesday 28 August 2019

    Pub news:

    • The Dog & Duck, Highmoor, has finally been demolished.
    • The Reformation in Gallowstree Common may reopen soon. The Parish Council has canvassed locals asking for previous events they’ve attended there for evidence to support an ACV.
    • Sat Sandhu has finally left the White Lion, Crays Pond. The pub does have an ACV.
    • There is a new landlord at the Red Lion in Peppard Common
    • The freehold of the Crown in Benson is for sale at £495k. The previous tenant estimated that it will need ≈£750k to bring it back to a satisfactory standard. Branch Chairman, David Cooper, is looking into getting an ACV on it.
    • The Big Bash at the Butchers Arms in Sonning Common, was a success attracting around 1200 people.

  • Central Southern Cider Pub of the Year 2019 in our Branch Monday 29 July 2019

    The Plum Pudding in Milton has just become the 2019 Cider Pub of the Year for the Central Southern Region; this means that the pub owners Mandy and Jez Hill (pictured either side of Elvis Evans who is the Regional Cider Coordinator) had to fend off other cider pubs from Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, as well as Oxfordshire.

    Lets hope we can get another Oxfordshire based National winner, as we did in 2012 with the Royal Oak in Wantage taking the crown.

  • Branch Pub and Brewery News (June 2019) Monday 17 June 2019

    Pub news:

    • Our reigning Branch Pub of the Year, the Fleur de Lys (East Hagbourne) won the first round of the Central Southern Region Pub of the Year and is now up against the Bell (Aldworth) and the Rising Sun (Haddenham).
    • The Bear at Home (North Moreton) and the White Lion (Crays Pond) have both had their ACV renewed
    • David Cooper (Branch Chairman) reported to the May meeting that the ACV application for the Reformation (Gallowstree Common) failed because of lack of substantiation on community use. SODC is actually supportive of the application but is wary of granting approvals that could subsequently be challenged.
    • It was previously noted that the Bottle & Glass management plans to open a bar/restaurant in the recently-closed Cau restaurant. There are no plans to sell real ale – Loddon and West Berks bottled beers only.
    • Ei is advertising for a new tenant for the Bird in Hand (Sonning Common).
    • The Sun (Hill Bottom) has new tenants and is now open seven days a week.
    • The Royal Standard (previously the Partridge, Wallingford) is being run by a small pubco, Punch Monkey, owned by the ex-Town Arms tenant, and is currently selling Amwell Springs.

    Brewery news:

    • Brakspear has rebranded its beer range. Brakspear’s Bitter will now be known as ‘Gravity’.

  • Branch Pub and Brewery News (May 2019) Tuesday 21 May 2019

    Pub news:

    • The Crown in South Moreton, held a shareholders’ party on Good Friday and is now properly open as a community venture.
    • The Crown in Benson, is up for sale. The ACV is about to expire and needs to be renewed quickly. David Cooper (Branch Chairman) is currently drafting it.
    • The ACV application for the Reformation, Gallowstree Common, has failed. Apparently it wasn’t strong enough on the community use aspect of the application. Unfortunately the Parish Council member who completed the application is no longer in a position to work on it, so unless someone else picks it up, the ACV application will not be taken further.
    • The Station House, Henley, has a new tenant who has renamed it after himself: it’s now Hof's Bar & Dining.

    Brewery news:

    • Philsters’ new five-barrel plant is up and running but is actually sited just outside the SOX boundary.
    • Bell St is currently brewing Brakspear Old.
  • Branch Pub of the Year for 2019 Revealed Sunday 24 March 2019

    South Oxfordshire CAMRA's Pub of the Year for 2019 is the Fleur de Lys in East Hagbourne. The picture shows Ruth and Darren Sargison of the Fleur receiving the award from SOX Chairman David Cooper. The presentation was made last Wednesday 20th March in a packed pub, where, as well as hosting the CAMRA Award presentation (David Cooper, Paul Dixon, Bob Smith, Graham Hards, Mark Lewthwaite,  Barry Davis, Vaughan Machin were in attendance from the Branch), Ruth & Darren were also running a folk music evening, a crib league match and a birthday party or two – in addition to serving six ales all in superb condition! Congratulations to you both!

  • Branch Pub and Brewery News (February 2019) Tuesday 26 February 2019

    Pub news:

    • Residents of Crays Pond are celebrating a notable victory in a 5½ year campaign to recover their village pub, the White Lion, following success in the High Court on Thursday 21st February 2019. The judgement is the culmination of over five years of campaigning by the Crays Pond Action Group. South Oxfordshire District Council also deserve a lot of credit for pursuing this and we are grateful for their persistence. We hope that the village will be able to buy the White Lion and turn it back into the thriving community hub it once was. To find out more, download the following news article Persistence Rewarded - White Lion, Crays Pond, written by our Branch Chairman, David Cooper, for the next issue of What's Brewing.
    • Sadly Patrick and Lucy Marples will not be renewing their tenancy of the Bear at Home when it expires at the end of March. We are also aware that the pub’s ACV expires at the end of March, so it is important that it is renewed. Our chairman, David Cooper, will be contacting North Moreton Parish council to check whether the intention is to renew the ACV.
    • The Kidmore End Parish Council is in the process of renewing the ACV for the Reformation.
    • The Plowden Arms closed on New Year’s Day – it is uncertain why.

    • The Little Angel is currently closed for refurbishment, reopening in mid-March

    Brewery news:

  • Branch Pub of the Season for Winter revealed Friday 18 January 2019

    Congratulations to Raymond and Suzanne Sexton, at The Red Lion, Chalgrove who are pictured here with Branch Chairman, David Cooper presenting them with our Winter Pub of the Season award.

  • Branch Pub and Brewery News (December 2018) Monday 17 December 2018

    Pub news:

    Brewery news:

    • Bell Street Brewery has two new seasonal beers. November: Sax on Fire, and December: Very Merry at 6%. 13 firkins have been brewed.
  • 25 years at the Bird in Hand Tuesday 6 November 2018

    Graham and Celia Steward at the Bird in Hand in Henley have clocked up 25 years of owning/running the pub: the exact date was Saturday 3rd November. Marisa Francini, on behalf of the South Oxfordshire branch, presented them with a Special Award certificate to mark the occasion, and made a small speech, emphasising the following points:

    • It is a fantastic community pub with a huge number of regulars of all ages.
    • They are open every day of the week, lunchtime and evening. (Not all of the pubs in town do so).
    • They have appeared in 24 consecutive editions of the Good Beer Guide
    • It is a credit to them that they have managed to stick to their initial plan to run the pub as a wet-led business for 25 years without having to resort to an extensive food offer in order to survive. They do serve snacks though!
    • Their success is all the more remarkable, considering that the pub had been closed for a period of time before they took it on and brought it back from the dead. CAMRA estimates that 18 pubs a week are closing, but the Bird continues to thrive and prosper, and long may this continue!

  • Branch Pub and Brewery News (October 2018) Tuesday 23 October 2018

    Pub news:

    The Reformation has reopened.

    The Three Tuns, Henley, has a new landlord.

    Brewery news:

    Bell Street Brewery’s recent seasonal was Henley on Toast (4.1% ABV) was created in collaboration with Toast Ale, uses surplus bread from Lawlor’s bakery in Henley.

  • Branch Pub and Brewery News (September 2018) Sunday 30 September 2018

    Pub news:

    The Chequers, Aston Tirrold has reopened as ‘The Fat Frog at the Chequers’.

    The Cherry Tree, Stoke Row, has new licensees and is currently very busy. They are selling hand-pumped cider.

    The Leatherne Bottel, Goring, has reopened as a restaurant.

    Brakspear has delisted the Crown, Nuffield, from its pub list, is in the process of making the Four Horseshoes, Checkendon, fully residential, and is advertising for a new tenant at the Cross Keys, Wallingford. On a more positive note, Brakspear has indicated that the Rising Sun, Highmoor, is in the process of acquiring a new tenant.

  • Branch Pub and Brewery News (August 2018) Monday 3 September 2018

    Pub news:

    The Mulberry, Didcot opened on 2nd July. Initial reports indicate that the refurbishment has been well executed and three ales were on sale: Good Old Boy, Abingdon Bridge and Roundhead.

    The Crown, Stadhampton, has closed: our current assumption is this is not permanent. This pub is owned by Hawthorne Leisure, i.e. the company created to take excess pubs from Greene King.

  • Branch Pub and Brewery News (June 2018) Sunday 1 July 2018

    Pub news:

    On 17th May there was a meeting of the people who have pledged to invest in the purchase of the Crown, South Moreton. This resulted in an increased offer to Worthmore Investments, which has been accepted.

    The Keep in Wallingford has installed a cider handpump, drawing the cider from a box under the bar.

    Ye Olde Leathern Bottel, Goring, closed on 13th May. It was once a pub but has been a restaurant, latterly Italian, for many years.

    Brewery news:

    Amwell Springs Brewery in Cholsey is installing a six-barrel plant, with support from Dave Maggs (ex-supremo of West Berks).

  • Branch Pub and Brewery News (May 2018) Tuesday 29 May 2018

    Pub news:

    The Cross Keys in Wallingford has reopened with the availability of quality real ale high on the agenda. Four cask ales sourced from the Marston's subsidiaries, including a weekly changing guest are currently available.

    The campaign to save the Crown, South Moreton, has raised pledges for £230k and this has enabled them to offer the current owner, Worthmore Investments, £340k. The balance would be made up with loans. However, this offer appears to have been turned down because another potential buyer has offered £450k.

    Our award of Pub of the Year to the Flowing Spring, in Playhatch, was generously covered in the Henley Standard, with a shorter article in the Reading Chronicle too.

    There are new tenants in the Cherry Tree, Stoke Row, and the Station House, Henley.

    Brewery news:

    Bell Street has produced a special beer to mark the Royal wedding – Hooray Harry at 4.1%.

    Amwell Spring in Cholsey is planning to produce cask ale in addition to the current bottled range.

    Loddon has a new mild – ‘Wilfreds’. The flavour is dryer than one would expect from a mild.

  • Branch Pub and Brewery News (March 2018) Monday 26 March 2018

    Pub news:

    The Unicorn, Kingwood Common, has new tenants, locals Rachel Salman and Alex Smith.

    Sam and Richard at the Reformation, Gallowstree Common, say they will not be renewing their lease in August as they want a break from the very busy life of running a pub. They have let Brakspear know now, so that new tenants can be found ahead of the summer season.

    The Queen Victoria, Henley, has recently closed at short notice.

    The Little Angel, Henley, has a new manager, John Thirlway.

  • Branch Pub of the Season for Winter 2017/18 Tuesday 23 January 2018

    The Branch Winter 2017/18 Pub of the Season is the The Catherine Wheel in Henley. Heather Harris is shown here holding the award that was presented by South Oxfordshire CAMRA Branch Chairman David Cooper.

  • Branch Pub and Brewery News (January 2018) Friday 19 January 2018

    Pub news:

    The Wallingford Arms, Didcot, closed around four years ago – it was in a poor condition then, and presumably has deteriorated further, and looked ripe for demolition for housing. So it’s a welcome surprise to see that it’s having a major refurbishment, presumably in advance of reopening.

    The Fox Inn, Cane End, closed as a pub some years ago and has since been a variety of mainly unsuccessful Asian restaurants. A Wargrave developer has submitted a planning application to SODC to demolish it and build six houses.

    Landlord changes are imminent at our Autumn Pub of the Season, the Sun, Whitchurch Hill, and the the Town Arms, Wallingford; and there is a new manager at the Station House in Henley. There is a sign outside the Queen Victoria in Henley, advertising for a new tenant.

    Brewery news:

    Bell Street Brewery is producing Brakspear’s Mild as a January special.

  • Branch Pub of the Season for Autumn 2017 Sunday 17 December 2017

    The slightly belated Branch Autumn 2017 Pub of the Season is the The Sun at Whitchurch Hill. The licensees are Giles Langford and Nina Taraborrelli. Giles is shown here holding the award that was presented by Chairman David Cooper.

  • Save the Crown in South Moreton Sunday 17 December 2017

    South Moreton are seeking local support to save their village pub, The Crown. The previously Wadworth-owned pub was closed by the brewery in 2016, and has been threatened with conversion to a curry house, which thankfully never came to fruition. A property developer is now seeking planning permission to convert the site into three separate houses, and this has fuelled the local residents to fight to keep the Crown as their local pub.

    To keep up to date with news of the campaign and to register your interest, visit their website or Facebook page. All supporters are invited to a special community meeting taking place on January 13th 2018 at Hall Farm, Mill Lane, South Moreton, OX11 9AJ. There will be presentations and opportunities for questions, accompanied by a pig roast and licensed bar.

  • Pledges needed to save village pub Saturday 11 November 2017

    The Fleur de Lys in Dorchester is up for sale. It has an ACV listing and the community are proposing to buy it and run it for the village. They need to raise about £600,000 from a mixture of share sales and loans. The deadline for them to put in a bid is 27 November and are, at present, about £200,000 short of their target. They are collecting pledges to subscribe for shares in the Community Benefit Company that has been set up. The minimum subscription is £100 and maximum £100,000. No money need change hands yet. Offers of loans are also welcome

    The Fleur is a popular pub in this attractive tourist destination and currently profitable. It is a past Branch Pub of the Season and GBG entry. We encourage all CAMRA members to make a pledge and help to save this historic pub for our area.

    For more information, see their website.

  • Woodcote Rally presentation 2017 Wednesday 1 November 2017

    CAMRA volunteers work hard every year to make the Woodcote Beer Festival a success. Half of the money we make goes to CAMRA's campaigning funds and half to the Woodcote Rally which uses it to support local good causes. Over many years now, the CAMRA beer tent has been one of the major contributors to the Rally funds. In fact the Rally Committee expects that the 2018 event will bring the overall total of charitable donations to over £500,000.

    The photo shows SOX Chairman David Cooper presenting the 2017 cheque to Pete Solomons of the Woodcote Rally, accompanied by CAMRA Regional Director Carl Griffin.

    Woodcote Rally next year will take place on the weekend of 14th-15th July 2018.

  • Regional Pub and Club of the Year 2017 Tuesday 22 August 2017

    The Nags Head in Reading has been voted as our Regional Pub of the Year for 2017. 2nd Place went to the Royal Oak in Wantage, followed by the Valiant Trooper in Aldbury in 3rd.

    Our Regional Club of the Year for 2017 has been chosen as the Royal British Legion in Marlow, followed by the Stanford Social Club in Stanford in the Vale and then Goring Social Club in 3rd.

    Congratulations to our Regional winners who will now be put through to the National competition.

  • Branch Pub of the Season for Summer 2017 Thursday 3 August 2017

    The Branch Summer 2017 Pub of the Season is the Flowing Spring at Playhatch. Licensees Nick and Hazel have recently purchased the freehold for the pub from Fuller's, which is a fantastic achievement. This Pub of the Season award is affirmation of the quality, and now the variety, of real ales served at the pub.

  • Cider Pub of the Year 2017 Thursday 11 May 2017

    South Oxfordshire CAMRA has made The Keep, Wallingford, our Cider Pub of the Year. The Keep, as many will already know, is the branch's first micropub which opened a year ago in what was a record shop just off the crossroads in the centre of Wallingford. The photo shows branch Chairman David Cooper handing the certificate to Sam Smith, one half of the partnership that owns the pub.

  • Branch Club of the Year 2017 Saturday 22 April 2017

    St George’s Night at the Goring Social Club was celebrated with an evening of music provided by the Roy Bailey Band. On the same evening, the Club’s commitment to real ale was rewarded by the presentation of South Oxfordshire CAMRA’s Club of the Year award, for the second year running. The picture shows Club Secretary and SOX member Ian King (left) presenting the award to Steward Dave Dean and Assistant Steward Adam Smith.

  • Branch Pub of the Season for Spring 2017 Thursday 20 April 2017

    The Branch Spring 2017 Pub of the Season is the Blueberry, Blewbury. The licensee is Mariana, who is shown here holding the award that was presented by Chairman David Cooper.

  • Branch Pub of the Year 2017 Thursday 20 April 2017

    South Oxfordshire CAMRA's Pub of the Year for 2017 is the Fleur de Lys, East Hagbourne. The picture shows Ruth and Darren Sargison of the Fleur receiving the award from SOX Chairman David Cooper. 

  • Jamie Manson wins Branch Darts Tournament Tuesday 28 February 2017

    South Oxfordshire CAMRA’s 36th annual darts tournament took place this month; this year’s venue being the Dolphin, Wallingford. In a closely fought contest Jamie Manson and Nik Kudryavtsev emerged as winners of the two mini-leagues with Jamie taking the crown in a best-of-three final. The photo shows Jamie (right) receiving the champion’s shield from branch Secretary Paul Dixon.

  • 25-year service awards for Goring Social Club Stewards Saturday 31 December 2016

    These days, is seems that if a pub isn’t shutting, it’s having a change of landlord every few years. To be Mine Host for 25 years must be a rare event, but it is one that was celebrated at Goring Social Club on New Year’s Eve. During a break in the music a few minutes before midnight, members were informed that, in two days’ time, the Club’s Stewards, Dave and Jane Dean (pictured right), would complete 25 years’ service at the Club. A CAMRA Special Award certificate was presented to Dave and Jane. Many thanks to Ian King for organising the presentation and photo to mark the occasion.

  • Branch donates Woodcote Rally proceedings to local charities Saturday 5 November 2016

    South Oxfordshire CAMRA branch recently gave the representatives of the Woodcote Rally a donation of £2,500 which came from the money the Branch made by running the beer tent at the event last July. This will be used to support local charities. The picture shows Pete Solomons of the Rally Committee receiving the cheque from Derek Graham, the SOX Festival Treasurer.

  • Branch Bristol Pub Crawl Saturday 24 September 2016

    Janet Humphrey has very kindly written up the very successful branch pub crawl in Bristol that took place on the 24th September. If you would like the re-live the day or would just like to find out more about the pubs in Bristol that we visited, please download Janet's report. Many thanks to Janet for taking the time to write the pub crawl up.

  • 2016 Autumn Pub of the Season Awarded Thursday 1 September 2016

    Four times a year the SOX Branch makes a Pub of the Season award. This often (though by no means always) recognises licensees who have been making an effort to improve pubs that previously may have been under-performing a bit. The Fleur de Lys, East Hagbourne, was a tad sub-optimal when the current licensee Ruth Sargison (pictured right) took it on. Now, assisted by police sergeant husband Darren, she has elevated it into the latest Good Beer Guide and the Branch is delighted to recognise Ruth and Darren’s achievements by awarding them 2016 Autumn Pub of the Season. The Fleur is a Greene King pub but has a generous guest beer policy. There is a wide range of good pub food on offer and regular entertainment. Each July, Fleurfest features a full weekend packed with entertainment. See for more details.