The South Hertfordshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale is the oldest branch still in existence. It began life as the Hertfordshire branch holding its first meeting at the Farriers Arms in St.Albans on 20th November 1972. There is a plaque on the pub’s wall to commemorate this historic event.
The South Hertfordshire branch covers a large area incorporating about 350 pubs. It includes towns such as St.Albans, Harpenden, Hatfield, Welwyn Garden City, Hertford, Ware, Borehamwood and Potters Bar as well as many villages and has a membership of 2,000 people.
The branch engages in a wide variety of activities to promote real ale in its branch area. Together with other branches in Hertfordshire it produces a free newsletter, Pints Of View, which is distributed in local pubs to spread awareness of the issues that matter to those who care about the type and quality of the beer that they drink. It surveys local pubs, not only for the national Good Beer Guide which lists the best pubs for real ale in the country but also for the Hertfordshire Pub Database which lists all pubs selling real ale in the county. It also holds a Pub of the Year competition.
Every year the branch stages the St Albans Beer & Cider Festival held at the Alban Arena in the city centre. Outside of London this is the largest beer festival held in the South East featuring over 300 real ales and over a hundred foreign beers as well as various ciders and perries.
All branch activity is carried out by volunteers. Meetings are held every month to discuss the work of the branch and social events such as brewery trips and pub tours are also a feature of the branch calendar. All members are welcome to take part in these – details appear in What’s Brewing and Pints Of View or contact the Branch Contact if you are interested in getting involved.
The branch is also fortunate to have within its borders the National Headquarters of CAMRA in St Albans.
Why not come and join us to promote real ale in Hertfordshire?
The branch contact is John Bishop.