Notes From a Small Armchair…

Last Friday night saw a group of us from ED CAMRA (East Dorset Campaign for Real Ale), piling in at the very tiny Micro Moose in Winton.  It was an auspicious occasion; they were to be presented with a second award in as many months.  Just before Christmas we presented Pam and Mark with our Pub of the Season (Autumn 2017), and now they were to be presented with the Pub of the Year.  The Pub of the Year award is a very fine, etched, wooden plaque.  A baying moose graces this particular one, and it really looks the business.  Pam and Mark work so hard at the Micro Moose, they are always there, always smiling and always serving lovely ale and cider.  There are other drinks too, but we only have eyes for those two.   If you haven’t been there yet, it is worthwhile making the trip, you are in for a treat.

Not everyone made it to the Moose, some of ED CAMRA went to the birthday celebrations at the Firkin Shed, down the road.  We like to spread our love… Next weekend we will be there again presenting Paul with the well-deserved Cider Pub of the Year.  Although he also sells wonderful real ales, we are also impressed with the choice of real ciders.  It was a rather sozzled and rowdy crowd that took the number 15 bus back to Poole…

Next morning, Saturday 24th February, we are on board another bus.  (I really think public transport was invented for us), this time in the opposite direction, to the lovely old village of Corfe.  It was a very cold day, (the promise of “Beast from the East” on the way this coming week) but there was not a cloud in the sky and the gnarly, skeletal ruins of the castle looked over us as we ricocheted from pub to club to pub.

The Corfe Castle Club, (no longer affiliated to the Royal British Legion), lent us their upstairs room for our branch meeting, and in return we polished off most of their Dartmoor Ales (Jail Ale and Resolution) and their Timothy Taylor Landlord.  Oh, and not forgetting their lovely rolls; they were seriously good (big, crispy and delicious…).

This was another auspicious occasion, the first branch meeting with Nigel as the new Chairman of Ed CAMRA, Jacquie as the new secretary and Lisa (that’s me) as the new membership secretary.  That’s three people taking over the roles that were ably and proficiently done by two people, Darren and Tree, for several years.  They are now taking a well-deserved rest, which will give them more time to enjoy their free time, their family and occasionally get drunk with everyone else.

Any members of East Dorset CAMRA, and visitors, are welcome and encouraged to come to the branch meetings.  They are rarely dull, and it gives everyone a say. and an understanding of how CAMRA campaigns for and promotes real ale and cider.  You also get to learn about the pubs and breweries in East Dorset and find out and contribute to the latest news updates.

Two of our most important activities are Beer Scoring and Nominating pubs that deserve recognition that serve quality ales in superb condition.   We pride ourselves in believing that no publican goes unnoticed, unappreciated or unrecognised, but it can only happen when people come together and talk, score, vote and go out and visit the pubs and clubs in the first place.  There are lots of opportunities, organised by Steve, to visit real ale serving pubs in the area, and then members are invited to nominate and vote for a variety of awards: such as Pub of the Season (POTS), Pub of the Year (POTY), Rural Pub of the Year, Community Pub of the Year and Club of the Year for which they receive an award in front of all their friends, customers and us, (see first paragraph of this article).  The caveat for voting is that you have to have visited them recently, and you have to either vote at the branch meeting, or you can email your vote. So, you can see how easily YOU can make a difference to the outcome of the voting, and that it is completely fair and unbiased.

Beer Scoring is probably the most important activity of all and it is Dawn’s job is to round up all our scores after we have tasted a beer and submitted our findings.  Ways in which we submit our scores can be either manually, (just give her the details on the “Passport” or go to “What Pub” (the link is on the CAMRA website) and submit your scores that way.  The pubs with the highest scores will ultimately be included in the Good Beer Guide.  What better way to show your favourite and hardworking publican your appreciation of how he or she looks after your ale.  If you are a real ale fan and a keen supporter of a favourite pub or pubs, these are the two ways that you can influence the future and popularity of both.

In line with all branch meetings, the meeting was punctuated with regular “Beer Breaks”.  Steve updated us all with the dates and details of upcoming social events.  You see, being a member of East Dorset CAMRA, is not just about what you can do for the campaign for real ale, but what it can do for you too.  Making new friends and getting out in the county or further afield is enjoyable for most people, and genuinely everyone is welcome.  “More the merrier” as they say!  We are a friendly and easy-going bunch, we like a good laugh and really the only thing we take seriously is our ale and cider!

So, in the Socials roundup, Steve reminded us about the Beer Festival on Good Friday at St Dunstans’ Church in Parkstone, another Beer Festival in Wareham at the end of March, Swanage Railway Beer Festival and yet another Beer Festival coming up in Winchester.  He advised us of March’s Don’s Spot, which this time is a Wimborne Wander, and a brewery trip to Vibrant Forest in Brockenhurst, a mini bus trip taking in various favourite pubs around the Purbecks, and a Pub Crawl in Swanage, (Robin will be our local guide, so we’ll be in good hands).  Steve announced the proposed weekend in Liverpool in June and reminded us of Chaplins’ Spring Equinox Beer and Cider Festival in Boscombe and the Sausage and Cider Festival at The Blue Boar in Poole town centre.  We discussed how we can continue to support Martin as volunteers with the Beer and Bluegrass Festival in July and we are hoping that he will reward our hard work and tenacity with some decent weather this year.  We don’t want a repeat of that horrible torrential rain that failed to ruin the event but succeeded in getting us all soaked to the skin.

Nigel asked the BLOs (Brewery Liaison Officers) for their recommendations for which beers to put forward for consideration for the GBBR and the results are as follows: 8 Arch Corbel, Brewshack 8 Grain Porter, Hall and Woodhouse Badger Ale and 6d IPA.  As the membership secretary I brought the meeting my ideas of how we can engage more with our 1,750 members and make sure that our younger members and female members feel that CAMRA membership is relevant to them, otherwise what is that £25 per year subscription for if its not for enjoying yourself?

Finally, Nigel reminded us of the forthcoming Revitalisation Project meeting which is coming up in Eastleigh on Saturday 3rd March and the AGM in Coventry in April, which are vitally important for all members of CAMRA.  If you haven’t formed your opinion yet and want your say in influencing the fundamental purpose of CAMRA, visit for an overview of the proposals and to find out how to vote at the AGM and Members Weekend, 2018.

Thank you for reading this first blog, if you would like to contribute an article for this or Ed’s Pint, please contact me through the Contact us page