Sunday, 30 January 2011
Good Beer Guide 2012 Selection Meeting
Today our local CAMRA Branch held its selection meeting for the 2012 Good Beer Guide. We had deliberately chosen a pub a little off the beaten track, but one which was still readily accessible by public transport. That was the theory; unfortunately we had reckoned without Network Rail's plans for extensive engineering work this weekend, that would have turned a straight forward half hour rail journey, into an hour and a half bus and train marathon. Fortunately a group of us were able to travel over by car, whilst a few members who lived a bit closer were able to brave the rail-replacement bus service, so in the end we had a reasonable turnout of members.
The pub that was hosting our meeting was the Two Brewers in the picturesque village of Shoreham, to the north of Sevenoaks in the Darenth Valley. There are four pubs in the village, and in the past I always regarded the Two Brewers as the poor relation. How things have changed! When we entered the pub we were pleasantly surprised to see the alterations made by the couple who took over the pub some 15 months or so ago. The red-velvet, padded bench seats were gone, along with the jaded carpet and oppressive decor. Instead we were presented with a pub with a bright, modern contemporary feel, with a warm welcome from the landlord and his staff. In short we were really made to feel at home!
There were three cask beers on offer, Black Sheep Best, St Austell Tribute and Reverend James from Brains. Not stunning beers so far as some beer bloggers are concerned, but still a pretty reasonable selection in my book. Most of us went for the lunch option, prior to the meeting, and my chicken, bacon and leek pie was first class.
The meeting itself didn't kick off until 2pm and got off to a bit of a slow start. As is usually the case though, once the obvious candidates had been chosen there was quite a bit of wrangling over which other pubs should also be included. Eventually, we managed to whittle down the 40 pubs shortlisted to our allotted 22, and some two and a half hours later the meeting drew to a close.
For me though the best part of the day, apart from some good beer and food in the company of friends, was to find that the Two Brewers had been transformed into such a thriving, successful and vibrant pub!