It's been a while since I last posted anything, so I thought I'd better update my small, but loyal band of readers about what's been happening in this corner of Kent.
Members of West Kent CAMRA held their Good Beer Guide selection meeting the wekend before last. We normally hold these meetings on a Sunday lunchtime, with the business starting at 2pm. This gives those members wishing to partake of a spot of lunch prior to the meeting, the oportunity to do so. This formula has always worked well in the past, and usually ensures a reasonable turn-out. Unlike some branches, nominations for the new GBG are asked for prior to the branch AGM, which takes place in November. All nominations received are then surveyed prior to the January selection meeting. This means that when it comes to actually deciding entries for the forthcoming guide, the branch are in a good position to sort the wheat from the chaff - having completed survey forms to hand, plus the recommendations, or otherwise, of the person (or persons) who actually carried out the suvey.
This years selection meeting took place on neutral territory, just over the Sussex border, at the Brecnock Arms, Bells Yew Green. This excellent Harveys pub is about five minuts walk from Frant station, which itself is just one stop away from Tunbridge Wells on the Hastings line. Regular readers will remember a previous blog of mine where we were thwarted in our efforts to hold a social at the Brecknock due to over-running building work. This time I am pleased to report that the pub was well and truly open for business.
The alterations carried out to the Brecknock involved moving the bar-counter back into the rear saloon bar, a part of the pub that was rarely used, and knocking through the dividing wall between the bars. Normally I am not in favour of knocking bars through, but in this case there are still two separate drinking areas and the limited space in the pub has been much better utilised.
Roughly half of us took the lunch option, and my steak and ale pie, accompanied by roast potatoes, vegetables and gravy was most excellent. Also excellent was the Harveys Old to wash it down, It was just a little unfortunate that halfway though the afternoon it ran out, having been the choice of most of the attendees at the meeting.
The selection process went remarkably smoothly; in fact I was slightly disappointed there were no arguments or any real bones of contention. We filled our allotted quota of pubs, and aso selected a couple of reserves, should space allow. It was particulaly good that on a wet and dismal Sunday afternoon, we managed an attendance which ran into double figures. What was also good was the throng of happy drinkers, as well as diners, packing the Brecknock on what was its first Sunday lunchtime since re-opening. Full marks therefore go to Joe and his missus (whose name escapes me at the moment), for continuing to run an excellent village local which remains at the heart of the local community, and also to Harveys for the sympathetic way in which they have extended this much-loved pub.