Cambridge CAMRA in November

Congratulations to the Haymakers

We are delighted to announce that the 2021 Cambridge and District CAMRA Pub of the Year is the Haymakers on Chesterton High Street. This year’s selection process was heavily influenced by the pandemic. Not only has it delayed the selection but it also affected the shortlist of pubs, all of which were recipients of our lockdown awards and mostly will appear in the 2022 Good Beer Guide. In the case of the Haymakers it has been in every Guide since the 2015 edition and it won a lockdown award for hosting the Red Hen Project kitchen. The Haymakers was saved and reopened by Milton Brewery’s sister company in spring 2013 and has been offering well kept beers from Milton and many other small breweries ever since. It also has a great reputation for its ciders as well as its pizzas and other food. Congratulations to Liz and her team and thank you for your care and hard work. The presentation will be made at the pub on the evening of Tuesday 26 October. You are welcome to join us. Pub of the Year is the only award that we are giving out this year.

Saving the Flying Pig

What makes a great pub? There is a long list of attributes and it helps if you think about some of your favourite pubs when compiling it. So think about the Flying Pig. What makes the Pig such a wonderful pub? It’s a much loved building with a long history but it’s a whole lot more than that. CAMRA members will always praise it for its range of well kept ales. The quirky, dog-leg beer garden. Then there’s the décor and the music and the great bunch of people that they attract to the pub. PigFest and other charity events. What brings it all together are Justine, Matt and their welcoming staff. The Pig is such a wonderful pub that it’s no surprise that people rose up when its future was threatened by developers. An online petition was set up that has over 15,000 signatures and rising. There’s a Save the Flying Pig Facebook group that keeps followers up to date on things. So who would you expect to be behind a Save the Flying Pig website that was set up recently? The developers! The developers want you to lobby local councillors, council officials, your MP, the Planning Inspectorate and the Ministry of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on their behalf to try to get the refusal of the planning application to redevelop the site that includes the Flying Pig overturned. These are the developers who have repeatedly misrepresented CAMRA including when they told the Cambridge Independent on 7 October: “The scheme was supported by Cambridge City Council [planning officers], Historic England, the Botanic Garden, Cambridge Past, Present and Future, the Disability Panel and others. Even CAMRA confirmed ‘all their concerns had been addressed’.”

We contacted the Cambridge Independent and sent them our submissions to the Planning Department (which are in the public domain via their website). The CI online article was then updated. These are the developers who told Justine, Matt and family to leave the pub, which is also their home, by the end of October and will then presumably board the pub up and leave it closed or worse. Yes these are the people behind the new website. So beware, if you smell a rat it’s not The Pig.

Sadly the Flying Pig closed on Saturday 23 October.

Good Beer Guide

The publication of the 2022 edition of CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide was again delayed due to Covid restrictions making pub selection difficult. Its release date is Friday 12 November. You can purchase the 2022 Guide, many other books, merchandise and gift memberships from CAMRA’s online shop.

Although the 2021 and 2022 Guides were published later than usual CAMRA is planning for the 2023 edition to come out on time. For that to happen, we need your help in selecting our branch’s 26 entries. Until 10 December we are asking you to nominate the pubs that you have visited in the past twelve months or so that you think should be on our shortlist. The best way to do so is online using your CAMRA login details. You can revise your nominations as many times as you wish up until the deadline. You can also send your nominations by email (please include your name and CAMRA membership number). Pubs need multiple nominations to make the shortlist (and city pubs need more than rural pubs) so please don’t assume that someone else will have nominated the pubs that you think should be considered. Once nominations have closed we’ll draw up a shortlist and, from 13 December, we’ll ask for your opinion on those. This year we have changed who can be involved in selecting our branch’s 26 entries. Previously only Cambridge and District branch members could take part in the selection process. From now on CAMRA members from adjoining branches will also be able to give their views. We are doing this because drinkers often travel from adjoining branches to visit pubs in Cambridge and some of our rural pubs are as likely to be visited by members from adjoining branches as they are by our group members.

Beer scoring

Many thanks to all our members who have been scoring their beers recently. In the five weeks to 24 October, of the pubs with multiple scores, the Queen Edith on Wulfstan Way and the Chestnut Tree, West Wratting are the city and rural pubs with the highest averages. Beer scoring is easy to do via the pub’s WhatPub entry. If you have a smart phone and internet access you can score while you drink. If not you can do it from home later. Your beer scores help us to discover which pubs are serving the best beer and also helps in selecting candidates for the Good Beer Guide.

Future events

  • Tuesday 26 October. 8pm. Pub of the Year presentation to the Haymakers, Chesterton High Street.
  • Thursday 28 October. Meet the Woodforde’s Brewer at the Pickerel, Magdalene Street.
  • Monday 25–Saturday 30 October. Norwich and District CAMRA’s Norwich Beer and Cider Festival.
  • Thursday 4 November. Tap Takeover at the Blue Moon, Norfolk Street. Brewery to be confirmed.
  • Tuesday 9 November from 8pm. Open Branch Meeting at Calverley’s Brewery Taproom, Hooper Street.
  • Friday 12 November. Good Beer Guide 2022 published.
  • Tuesday 30 November–Saturday 4 December. East London and City CAMRA’s Pig’s Ear Beer Festival.
  • Tuesday 14 December from 8pm. Open Branch Meeting at the Lord Byron, Trumpington (to be confirmed).
  • Saturday 18 December. Provisional date for our Christmas Strolling Social. We will be visiting some pubs in Bury St Edmunds.