Sunday, 13 December 2015

West Kent CAMRA Christmas meal - 2015

Not many photos, but today the Bailey family joined ten other West Kent CAMRA members and friends for the annual branch Christmas meal. This year’s venue was the Brecknock Arms at Bells Yew Green; a small and comfortable Harvey’s pub, just one stop on the train from Tunbridge Wells.

The pub provided the perfect location, combining the relaxed informal atmosphere of a village local with good food and equally good drink. This year’s dinner was an unqualified success and a complete contrast to five years ago, when we last visited the Brecknock for our Christmas meal. On that occasion the pub’s heating had broken down, and we sat huddled close to the fire, trying to keep warm!

There were no such problems this time and, if anything, we were almost too warm and cosy, particularly in view of the unseasonably mild weather outside. Eileen, Matthew and I went for the traditional roast turkey, which was very good. Also good were the Harvey’s beers, and with the Sussex Best being joined on the bar by XXXX Old Ale and draught Christmas Ale, I was in beer heaven!

Prior to our meal, we were joined for drinks by intrepid walkers Craig and Phil – plus dog, who had walked over, across the fields, from Tunbridge Wells. The Brecknock is that sort of pub; in fact everything a village pub should be, and it is great to see this Victorian local thriving again, following a period of uncertainty and several indifferent owners.

The turn-around in the pub’s fortunes, is down to new owners, Sally and David Fawcett who have transformed the Brecknock since taking over back in February. Together with their friendly staff, they coped admirably not only with our party of 12, but also with another group of diners in the other bar.

We left the pub, shortly before 4.30pm, to catch the train back to Tonbridge. A few intrepid souls alighted at Tunbridge Wells, announcing they were going up the hill to Fuggles, for some Otley O6 Porter. They are probably still there!

For some background information on Harvey’s outstanding Christmas Ale, click on this link to a video blog about the beer, from the company’s Edmund Jenner.


Anonymous said...

I remember some very good Sussex Best there a few years back Paul; looks a really good place for a traditional lunch. I also remember the Christmas beer, I think at a Harveys pub near High Rocks that I can't recall.

Paul Bailey said...

The Brecknock is definitely recommended for lunch, Martin. I can't think of any pubs near the High Rocks, apart from the High Rocks pub itself I don't know if you're thinking of the long-closed Brokers Arms, opposite the Spa Hotel, or the Beacon in Rusthall; both of which may have sold Harvey's Christmas Ale in the past, but there is some nice countryside around there, and you can now visit the High Rocks by train (Spa Valley Railway).

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