Chelmsford and Mid-Essex

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale


CHEERS FOR 40 YEARS. Click here for CME40 Party Photos

Chelmsford and Mid-Essex CAMRA do not do anything by halves so when it comes to celebrating their 40-year anniversary they are blazing the trail to be pro-active for campaigning throughout 2015. Some branches have a reunion in a pub over a few beers to mark their ruby anniversary and leave it at that. CME are making much more of this milestone. Of course, the obligatory booze up is on the cards too!

Logo Competition Jane Waldock was presented with a certificate and her personalised 40 year shirt for winning the logo competition. Her logo is being used for all the publicity regarding celebrating 40 years of the branch also known as CME CAMRA. Her design is on the ruby red shirts for the festival volunteers to wear to promote the winter and summer festivals in advance as well as during the festivals.

CME40 Cider In the autumn, a celebratory cider was made, which is to be sold at the summer 2015 festival. Ian Reynolds, assistant cider manager and cellarman produces Bertie’s Cider in Braintree which is in Mid-Essex. He got branch chairman, Doug Irons and cider representative Claire Irons into the practicalities of washing the apples, feeding them into the scratter, collecting the resulting pulp and the making up the cheeses ready for pressing to extract the juice. With three people taking turns to do the jobs including cleaning off the cloths and reloading the combined scratter and press machine the juice soon flowed. Ian carefully poured it into the fermenting vessels. One container had yeast added whilst the other one was left to ferment naturally. Hopefully some will be ready for the volunteer thank you do in May which has been designated a cider month by CAMRA. It will be apt to sup some celebration cider then. Wassail!

Real Ale and Cider Trails For campaigns 3 and 4 the 40 Pubs for 40 Years Real Ale and Cider Trails have been launched. These run from mid-January to mid-June with the prizes to be collected at the Beer and Cider festival 7th-11th July in Admirals Park, Chelmsford. Having encouraged people to try a range of real ale and cider at the festivals we want them to do so in pubs throughout the year. This supports pubs with sales and scores. Scoring the beers they drink on helps in the selection of pubs for the Good Beer Guide and the Pub of the Year competition. The Trails consist of The Black Bull: the venue of the first branch meeting in October 1975 and the pubs in the Where To Find The Best Real Ale in Chelmsford and Mid-Essex pub guide. The guide includes public transport details, however weekend bus trips have been organised for the country pubs in the Out and About and Rural Trails. Most of the 14 pubs in the City Centre Trail will have mild on in May for the Mild Crawl. Several thirsty drinkers had completed this trail within a fortnight of the launch. Although The Flitch of Bacon in Little Dunmow is temporarily closed it is hoped that it shall reopen as a community-run pub soon. Of course, if it fails to open in time then collecting the stickers for drinking real ale or cider in the remaining 39 pubs will merit the top prize of the trail shirt and entry into the prize draw to win 35 pints of cider or beer. The mini trail featuring six of the original 12 pubs from the 1975 Good Beer Guide has proved popular.

40 Year Beer Franco Davanzo, brewer at Felstar Brewery, brewed beer to commemorate the ruby anniversary of the branch using 40 ingredients to create 40 not Out at 4%.This is unique for the winter festival and available from the cask or in bottles to enjoy throughout the year. For the summer festival Simon Tippler of Round Tower Brewery, the first in Chelmsford since Gray and Sons closed in 1974,and Nelion Ridley of Bishop Nick Brewery plan to brew their 40 year beers to sell on their brewery bars whilst showcasing their range of ales. Nelion is from the family who ran Ridleys Brewery: The Essex Brewer, which was sold to Greene King in 2005.

Ale and Hearty In 2013 the branch was involved in an exhibition at the Chelmsford Museum called Ale & Hearty: The Pubs and Breweries of Chelmsford which also included the history of the branch and old photographs. Some of this material with updates is due for display at the festivals and the reunion party this year. Several members from the 70’s are still supping and enjoying the fact that that the branch has grown so much to have over 1,650 members. Shame the beer is no longer 20p a pint !

CME40 Party Publicity Officer and Cider Representative, Claire Irons, is keen to hear from people who have interesting memories of the branch, its festivals and social events which they are willing to share. Ideally, it would great to share them in person with members of the branch old and new at the CME40 party, which is to be held on Saturday 17th October at the Black Bull in Margaretting 40 years after the first meeting. Landlady Julie Bennett, who was a Ridley’s tenant for over 20 years, will have 6 real ales and a real cider for the party to accompany the buffet and good company. Contact Claire on 01245 290710 or ku.gro.armac.drofsmlehc@yticilbup.

Cider Safari With the summer festival cider bar being the largest cider bar in East Anglia it has put Chelmsford on the map as a cider destination. As well as the Essex Cider Shop in Chelmsford, which supplies festivals, pubs and punters in the shop there are 20 branch pubs selling real cider at the last count; 18 of those are featured in the 40 Year Trails. Continuing the campaign for real cider and perry a cider map of Chelmsford and mid-Essex may be produced as a development of the cider safari for distribution beyond the branch. This will be an excellent reference including whatpub details for the pubs throughout the year as well as October as cider month focussing on pubs.

And Finally Visits to pubs that are no longer in the branch area due to boundary changes and a few old favourites from times gone by will round off 2015.

By Claire Irons, Publicity Officer and Cider Rep for Chelmsford and Mid-Essex CAMRA.