West Kent

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

Branch Social Reports

  • 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.

    Junction Inn Groombridge

    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.

    Crown Inn Groombridge

    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.

    Crown Inn Cask Beers

    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.

    Hare Langton Greens

    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.

    Hare Langton Green Cask Beer

    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.

    Note: Metrobus timetables are available at https://www.metrobus.co.uk/services and at https://bustimes.org/

  • Branch Pub of the Year 2023 Saturday 13 May 2023

    In the past couple of weeks we have been out giving out Certificates for our 2023 Pub of the Year competition.

    We started at the Nelson Arms, Tonbridge where we awarded the Winners Certificate.

    We the presented the Nelson Arms with their Cider POTY Winners Certificate

    The following week we visited Fuggles Beer Cafe, Tunbridge Wells to present them with their Runner Up Certificate.

    After Fuggles we went up the hill to present the George, Tunbridge Wells with their Runner Up Certificate.

    West Kent CAMRA POTY Winner Award

    West Kent CAMRA Winner Certificate

    West Kent CAMRA Cider POTY Winner Award

    West Kent CAMRA Cider POTY Winner Certificate

    West Kent CAMRA POTY Runner Up Award

    West Kent CAMRA POTY Runner Up Certificate

    West Kent CAMRA POTY Runner Up Award

    West Kent CAMRA POTY Runner Up Certificate

  • Grove Tavern Banner Presentation Friday 21 April 2023

    Earlier in the year we visited The Grove Tavern to award the landlord, Steve Baxter, a Certificate for being in the Good Beer Guide for 20 years. On Wednesday this week we returned to present Steve with a banner to celebrate over 20 years in the Good Beer Guide. He now has to find somewhere to display the banner.

    Grove Tavern Banner Presentation

    Grove Tavern Banner Presentation

  • Branch Social Report 30 March 2023 Friday 31 March 2023

    Yesterday saw the branch make a visit to one of our most northern most pubs, The Rose and Crown at Halstead. This was a precursor to visting the Orpington Liberal Club (OLC) for it's Spring Beer and Cider Festival preview. Most of us gathered at Tonbridge Station where we caught a train to London. Several alighted at Sevenoaks to catch a connecting service to Knockholt, where they would walk to the Rose and Crown whilst I stayed on the train to Orpington where I met a colleague and we caught an R5 bus to Halstead. When I got to the Rose and Crown the walkers had already arrived. We joined up in the bar where we were able to enjoy some of the selection of six real ales available.

    The Beer List at Rose & Crown Halstead

    All too soon it was time to depart to catch an R10 bus back to Orpington which would get us there for the opening of the OLC. A couple of the fitter members decided to walk back to Knockholt Station whilst the rest of us caught the bus. We arrived at OLC shortly after six, meeting another member outside and on entering we found two other members already there. There we found a selection of 20 different real ales of various strengths and styles, enought to keep most members happy. There were also eleven real ciders.. During our stay a few more members came to join us whilst some left.

    Beers at Orpington Liberal Club Beer Festival

    More Beers at Orpington Liberal Club Beer Festival ]

    West Kent Members enjoying the Festival Beers

    Thank you to the Rose and Crown and OLC for their hospitality. I certainly enjoyed the day and I think most others did.

  • By the Horns Brewery Visit Sunday 26 March 2023

    On March 25th we visited By The Horns Brewery to present them with 2 certificates for winning best green hop beer and for runner up of beer of the 2022 Spa Valley Railway Beer fand Cider Festival.

    West Kent Members enjoying the By the Horns Beers

    Will Longmate preenting the Certificate for Green Hop Beer of the Festival

    Will Longmate preenting the Certificate for Second in Beer of the Festival

  • Sevenoaks Social - The Anchor Friday 24 March 2023

    Yesterday evening the branch visited Sevenoaks for a social.

    Our first port of call was The Anchor where we had been invited by Barry Dennis, the licencee. This was to celebrate the unveiling of his banner showing that The Anchor has been in the Good Beer Guide for more than twenty years.

    The photo shows Tony Shea, Vice Chair of West Kent CAMRA congratulating Barry on his acheivement.

    Anchor Sevenoaks Tony & Barry

    Anchor Sevenoaks Barry

  • Sevenoaks Social - The Sennockian Friday 24 March 2023

    Following our visit to The Anchor we popped round the corner to The Sennockian where the Manager, Alex, had invited us to visit and sample some of the real ales available in the Wetherspoons Real Ale Festival.

    West Kent Members enjoying the Festival Beers

    We had and excellent welcome from Alex and his staff and they had reserved us a table. There were five festival ales available, one of them being served direct from the cask behind the bar.

    Beers available on the evening we visited

    Titanic Cask behind the bar

    Upcoming Festival Beers at the Sennockian



    Yesterday evening a group of West Kent CAMRA members and SVR Beer Fistival gathered at The George, Tunbridge Wells. We were there to present Paul Fillis, the brewer at Fonthill Brewery (which is based at The George) with the Certificate for winning the Beer of the Festival vote.

    Paul gave us a quick tour of the brewery before Chris Evenden, SVR Festival Organiser, presented Paul with his Certificate for the winning beer, Good Morning Captain. The beer is a 3.9% straw coloured pale ale which is available in The George and in The Ragged Trousers on the Pantiles. It is also sometimes available in The Sussex Arms at the Pantiles and The Greyhound in Charcott. Certificate Presentation Paul Fillis with the Certicate