Last night a group of around 15 local West Kent CAMRA members gathered at Fuggles Beer Café in Tunbridge Wells for the presentation of the bar’s award for Branch Pub of the Year. The evening also coincided with a “tap takeover” from Gun Brewery.
Fuggles was heaving, and was probably the busiest I’ve seen it, but I managed to squeeze in, and after buying a glass of one of the Gun Brewery beers, I made my way to the rear of the bar where I found my CAMRA colleagues waiting at two specially reserved tables.
I thought I had missed the presentation itself, but as luck would have it, things were running late, so I was able to witness Branch Chairman Craig handing over the certificate to Fuggles owner and founder, Alex Greig. I was unable to hear the speeches, but I know that the award was well received and well deserved.
Fuggles’ success reflects the dedication, hard-work and commitment Alex and his team have put in since opening their door for the first time, back in 2013.. With 20 ever-changing draught beers, including 6 cask ales, real cider and over 100 speciality & rare bottles, plus over 100 gins and whiskies, together with food & coffee served all day, Fuggles is definitely one of the premier go-to places in Tunbridge Wells. Other operators have had to raise their game, in order to compete, so the overall effect has been a general raising of standards. As if that wasn’t enough, Fuggles will be opening a new outlet, under the same name, in Tonbridge, later this summer.
Things were a little hectic last night, but the company was good and so were the beers. I stuck with the offerings from Gun; themselves a successful and highly rated brewery specialising in small-batch, unfiltered beers. They are based on an organic farm, at Gun Hill, deep in rural Sussex, and brew a wide range of well-crafted and highly drinkable beers.
For the record I enjoyed Vermont Pale 4.4%, Hons the Serenity 4.4%, Zamazama IPA 6.5% and Imperial Stout 7.4%. All were excellent, and all were keg – if that means anything. There were several other Gun Brewery beers I would like to have tried, along with a cask session ale from Thornbridge. However, with a busy day of work beckoning the following morning, I resisted the temptation.
So an excellent, if somewhat blurred evening. Congratulations to Alex and his staff on this well-deserved award, and I look forward to being able to drink beers of this calibre, within walking distance of home, once Fuggles opens in Tonbridge in a few month’s time.
Photos courtesy of Fuggles plus Craig and James Beesom. I did take a few of my own, but the quality left much to be desired, so thanks chaps.