- Pub of the Year 2023
Friday 20 October 2023
Congratulations to Matt, Emma and all the staff at the Nelson Arms, Tonbridge in getting through to the last four pubs in CAMRA's Pub of the Year competition.
They started the journey earlier in the year when West Kent CAMRA members voted them their Pub of the Year. They subsequently were voted West Kent Pub of the Year and won a "playoff" with the East Kent Pub of the Year to be Kent Pub of the Year.
This meant they went through to the national competition where the winners of all sixteen CAMRA areas were judged. These sixteen where then whittled down to a final four which includes the Nelson Arms.
There will be a presentation to the Nelson Arms on 1 November 2023 at 7.30 to commemorate this.
The CAMRA press release about the final four pubs can be found at https://camra.org.uk/press_release/camra-announces-top-four-pubs-in-the-country/.
- Forthcoming Events
Monday 9 October 2023
Cellar Head Brewery holds brewery tours on the first Saturday of each month starting at 12pm with tasters and 10% off at the brewery shop (not the bar). Tap Room will be open to continue drinking. Full details here.
Fuggles Beer Café, BOTH PUBS have frequent events so please check here and put them in your diary: Full details here.
Nevill Crest & Gun, Eridge – Pub walk, first Saturday each month. Meet at the pub at 9:30 for coffee and bacon roll (on the house) and depart at 10:00 for a 6km circular walk. Back about midday for a well-earned pint and lunch if you want.
9th - 11th Nov – Egham Beer Festival, easy to get to, train to Waterloo East, then train from Waterloo to Egham and 8 mins walk. Full details here.
10th Nov – Long Man Brewery – Vintage Old Man Launch Party. Full details here.
11th – 18th Nov – Hastings Old Town Cider Festival at the Albion, the Jolly Fisherman, the Crown & the Jenny Lind
16th Nov - Fuggles Beer Café, both pubs – De Ranke Hop Harvest 2023, the yearly release of De Ranke’s ‘Wet Hop’ beer at 5pm. Fresh, undried hop flowers are picked that morning and used to the beer the same day. Fresh, floral and with the classic bitterness you’d expect from De Ranke - they vary the hops used each year too so you can expect something a little different each time. Also in TW Fuggles the same evening - 10th Birthday Whisky & Beer Tasting - Tickets on sale soon…. Full details here.
16th – 19th Nov – White Horse, Parson’s Green, London – Old Ale Festival, old ales, meet the brewers, live music. Full details here.
17th Nov - Fuggles Beer Café, both pubs – Collabagedon 2023 - 12 brilliant breweries taking part and creating 12 delicious beers. Showcasing all 12, with 6 available in each Fuggles. It will also be forming part of Fuggles’ 10th Birthday celebrations in Tunbridge Wells! Full details here.
24th Nov until sold out – The Humphrey Bean, Tonbridge – By the Horns Brewery Tap Takeover.
28th Nov – 2nd Dec – 39th Pig’s Ear – Dark Side of the Pig East London Beer & Cider Festival. Full details here.
16th Dec – Cellar Head Brewery – Christmas Brewery Bash with live music. Full details here.
15th – 17th Feb 2024 – Great British Beer Festival Winter, Burton Town Hall. Ticket details here.
22nd – 23rd March 2024 - CAMRA North Sussex Beer Festival, Drill Hall, Denne Road, Horsham. Details here.
26th – 28th April – CAMRA Members’ Weekend, AGM & Conference, Dundee.. Full details here.
- Bus Trip to Groombridge and Langton Green
Friday 22 September 2023
On Friday 15 September a group of us departed Tunbridge Wells on the hourly Metrobus 291 service to East Grinstead and Crawley at 11.52 . Our destination was Groombridge, a village that is in both Kent and Sussex.
Our visit started at the Junction Inn Groombridge, a pub which is across the border in Sussex. It was originally called the Junction Hotel and was built with the coming of the railway to Groombridge. It is now a large pub with three distinct drinking/eating areas with outside tables to the front and rear. There was just the single cask beer available, Harvey's Sussex Best.
The next pub on the agenda was the Crown Inn which is a short walk across the border into Kent. The Crown Inn dates back to about 1585 and its low beams and inglenook fireplace has a wealth of history. During the 18th Century the Crown Inn became the headquarters of the Groombridge Gang, ruthless smugglers who terrorised the country between the village and the South coast.
We arrived on a hot afternoon and after getting our drinks sat out the back of the pub with nice shady umbrellas. Some of our party partook of the food on offer and there was much discussion of the East European dishes available. The cask ale on offer here was Harvey's Sussex Best and the rarely seen Larkins Pale Ale. After a couple of drinks and finishing the meal it was time to move on to our next destination.
Some of us went to the front of the pub where there is a very convenient bus stop for the short hop up Groombridge Hill to the Hare at Langton Green. However, a couple of the more fitter members of our group decided to walk up the footpath to Langton Green. The bus came almost on time and we were quickly whisked up the hill.
The Hare at Langton Green is a new name for the pub. It was formerly the Greyhound Hotel dating back to 1785. The original building was demolished in 1900 when a fire partially destroyed the living accommodation and revealed the old house to be in an advanced state of dilapidation. The current building was completed in 1901. It is not known when the name changed from the Greyhound Hotel to the Hare but there is an Inn sign for the Hare dating back to 1992.
On arrival we quickly made our way to the light and airy bar area where we found four cask ales available. Green King IPA and from the same brewery, Ruddles Best. Of more interest to us were the other two ales. Cellar Head Session Best and Five Points XPA. We had to wait for our colleagues to walk up the hill and they soon arrived in desperate need of a drink. After a pleasant stay and a look around the pub it was soon time to catch a bus back to Tunbridge Wells.
A few of us ended up at Fuggles Beer Cafe as it is in an excellent location for catching buses back towards Tonbridge. There was the normal extensive list of cask ales and cider and craft beers and ciders to choose from.
- Nelson Arms Tonbridge - Kent CAMRA POTY 2023
Friday 8 September 2023
Yesterday evening we gathered at the Nelson Arms Tonbridge for the formal award of the Kent CAMRA Pub of the Year.
Martin Knight, Kent CAMRA Regional Director attended to present Matthew Rudd, the licensee, with the award. Following the presentation Matt said that whilst his name was on the Certificate it belonged to all of his staff, many of whom were present last night, and he couldn't have done it without the wonderful customers who come into the pub from near and wide to consume the beer.
The pub was packed last night but here are a few of the photos we managed to take.
- Kent Pub of the Year 2023
Sunday 27 August 2023
West Kent CAMRA are pleased to announce that The Nelson Arms, Tonbridge has been voted Kent Pub of the Year 2023. They now go forward to judging against all the other CAMRA Regional winners. A full list of all sixteen Regional winners can be found on the CAMRA website.
Congratulations to Matt, Emma and all of the staff in the Nelson on winning this prestigious award.
There is Special Social at the Nelson on Thursday 7 September to which all members and friends are warmly invited. The evening will include the presentation of the Kent CAMRA Pub of the Year 2023 Award at 7pm, so please don’t be late. Please come along and help us celebrate one of our pubs winning the whole of Kent award this year.
- Casper Morris
Tuesday 27 June 2023
Casper's wife, Lindsey, has recently been in touch with the branch
Casper died this May at the age of just 50, having lived with late stage cancer for two years.
Lindsey wrote to us with the following request:-
"My husband, Casper, was a CAMRA member since 1990, (I think he got membership for his 18th birthday). He had his membership on direct debit so he never forgot. Casper died this May at the age of just 50, having lived with late stage cancer for two years.
Cas loved a good beer and a good pub and had a motto “always time for a cheeky one”, which he’d hopefully say as we drove past country pubs. There mainly wasn’t time for a cheeky one, especially when our kids were very little! But we loved it when there was time, and family walks or days out would often end with a pub somewhere near us.
Proper beer was important to him, and whenever we had a big family party we would ensure there was a nice real ale for everyone to drink.
He died a paid up CAMRA member, renewing his membership last January even though he was very ill. I wondered if, next time some CAMRA members meet in West Kent, whether you could just raise a glass to him? It feels weird to just cancel his membership with nothing to mark the 33 years he was a member."
The Branch will be raising a glass to Casper at the next Branch Meeting and I would ask anyone reading this to raise a glass to Casper the next time you pop out for a cheeky one.