It was a right “Proper Job” in the Chequers at Sevenoaks last Monday night, the venue for the West Kent CAMRA Open Business Meeting. The iconic IPA from St Austell Brewery was one of half a dozen beers on sale that evening; a selection which also included Tribute from the same brewery, a couple from Tonbridge Brewery – definitely our local “rising star”, plus that “must stock beer” in these parts the ubiquitous Harvey’s Best. What made the beer selection even more special was the fact that on Monday nights all cask beers in the Chequers are sold for just £2.50 a pint!
As mentioned in one of the responses to my “Still Fit for Purpose?” post, none of the members present were under the age of 50, and none of them were women. I have said before that we desperately need to encourage some younger blood along to our meetings, but the way to achieve this remains as elusive as ever. The business was the usual branch stuff, with the highlight being discussion of the forthcoming social programme. Pub Preservation also featured quite highly, and it is encouraging to report a recent re-opening of a flagship pub which had been closed for ages, and the imminent re-opening of another. The trouble is none of this would be of much interest to younger members, or those more concerned about the latest developments on the “craft beer” scene, and therein lies the concern.
So what of the pub itself? Well in my opinion the Chequers is definitely the best pub in Sevenoaks, combining the best aspects of an old, traditional former coaching inn, with the requirements of a modern 21st Century operation. Situated close to the junction of the London and Dartford roads, and adjacent to the town’s market, the Chequers dates back to the 16th Century. Its antiquity is obvious upon entering, with the expected low ceilings and exposed beams. During the winter months a log fire adds a nice welcoming touch. Away from the main bar there is a separate area, which we have taken advantage of many times in the past, as a place where we can conduct our meetings in relative peace and quiet.
As well as a good range of traditional beers, the Chequers offers value for money meals; every lunchtime, and evenings on Monday to Thursday. The pub was pleasantly busy last Monday, although I suspect the discounted beer price helps in this respect. It is a fine example of a thriving town-centre local, of the type which has disappeared from many towns, and is certainly well worth a visit if you are ever in Sevenoaks.
As for the beer, well Proper Job is definitely one of the finest beers produced by St Austell. Pale amber in colour, with a strong fruity character, with citrus notes to the fore, and a decent level of bitterness in the finish, Proper Job is certainly a very aptly named beer. Enjoy!