It's been a week or so since I last posted anything on this site, although during this time I've been quite active posting comments on other peoples' blogs. Since my last posting I've survived my first week back at work - it was quite nice to get back and actually do something, as although I've got several projects lined up at home, it's not really the best time of year to be starting them. I've also survived the cold weather - I say survived but that's a bit harsh really as I much prefer bright, crisp but cold days to gloomy wet and windy ones, however mild the latter may be.
On Saturday I attended the Kent CAMRA Regional Meeting, which took place in the grandiose surroundings of Tunbridge Wells Constitutional Club. This venue was recently voted Kent Club of the Year by local branches of CAMRA, and at a pre-arranged break in the proceedings, a photographer from the local paper duly came along to take the obligatory photo's of the club steward being presented with his certificate. The attendance at the meeting was reasonable despite the extreme cold, and four cask ales were available for us to sample. I confined my sampling to just two of these (Old Hookey plus Ringwood Fortyniner), but they were both good, and to help soak up some of the beer, we were provided with a buffet lunch.
Now it's several years since I last attended one of these meetings, having decided after the last one that life's too short. As my local branch were acting as hosts though it semed rather churlish of me not to to show my face, and besides I wanted to see what the Constitutional Club was like for myself. As well as representatives from our own branch there were a number of familiar faces in attendance, but one thought struck me more than any other - namely, none of us are getting any younger. This thought was made more poignant by the absence of one regular attendee who is in hospital recovering from a heart attack. More than ever CAMRA needs an influx of new blood. Membership levels may well be approaching the 100,000 mark, but we desparately need some younger faces in order to carry on the campaign.
On a lighter note, the meeting finished remarkably early - thanks largley to our own branch chairman Ian who, in his capacity as Area Organiser for the western half of the county ably chaired the meeting, and kept discussions properly on track. Half a dozen or so of us embarked on a mini-pub crawl of Tunbridge Wells afterwards. The first port of call was the up and coming Royal Oak, where we enjoyed some excellent Larkins Porter.
From here we walked straight through the town centre up to Sankeys http://www.sankeys.co.uk/, on Mount Ephraim. This is a wonderfully idiosyncratic establishment which as well as selling two well-kept cask ales from Harveys and Goachers, also offers the best selection of draught continental beers in this part of Kent. Amongst the offerings are Hacker-Pschorr Helles and Erdinger Weiss Bier from Germany, Lieffmans Kriek and Fruhli Strawberry Beer from Belgium and Lindeboom from Holland. The walls and ceilings are festooned with what must be one of the most comprehensive collections of enamelled metal advertising signs in existence, most of which relate to long lost, but not forgotten local breweries. If you are ever in Tunbridge Wells, do give this place a try.
From Sankeys, my companions had one last port of call - the unspoilt Grove tavern, tucked away in the" village area" of Tunbridge Wells. I stayed for one last pint in Sankeys though before making my way down to the station through the cold and frosty streets, where I caught the train home after a good day out.