Dudley and South Staffordshire

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

News

Here is the latest news about the branch and pubs & breweries in the branch area.

  • Happy Easter Thursday 28 March 2024

    Wishing you a Happy Easter. Don't forget that many pubs will be open over the long Bank Holiday weekend. We can all agree that drinking good beer in a nice cosy pub is much more fun than sitting in M6 traffic. .

  • Sedgley's The Beacon Hotel wins award Friday 15 March 2024

    Sedgley's The Beacon Hotel has won the Dudley and South Staffordshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale's annual pub of the year award for the tenth time. Sedgley's The Beacon Hotel has won the Dudley and South Staffordshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale's annual pub of the year award for the tenth time.

    The Beacon in Bilston Street came out on top in judging by branch members of four finalists. A presentation date for the branch award has yet to be finalised.

    The Beacon Hotel scored highly for the quality of its beer and was also given good marks for its style and cleanliness, welcome and alignment with CAMRA principles. It last won the award in 2018 and will now go through to be judged in the West Midlands county round of the CAMRA national competition.

    Runner-up in the branch competition was Black Country Ales pub, The Old Bush Revived in Powke Lane, Rowley Regis.

    Third place for 2024 went to The Jolly Crispin in Upper Gornal - a Red Pub Company pub. The Cross Inn in Kinver, which was the top scoring Staffordshire pub in the branch area and has been put forward as the branch South Staffordshire pub of the year for the Staffordshire county judging. Branch chairman John Corser said: "It was a difficult job for members in judging the four finalists, which also included The Malt Shovel in Dudley.

    "All scored well for beer quality but the Beacon came out clearly on top with the majority of judges putting it top of their list.

    "Congratulations to all the pubs on doing such a good job in offering great real ale.

    "The 2023 pub of the year The Bird in Hand in Wordsley narrowly missed out on getting on the judging shortlist."

    Sedgley's The Beacon Hotel has won the Dudley and South Staffordshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale's annual pub of the year award for the tenth time.
  • Dudley Winter Ales Fayre 2023 - thank you trip Tuesday 12 March 2024

    If you volunteered at the Dudley Winter Ales Fayre 2023, we've just emailed out details of the thank you coach trip, to Tamworth, on Saturday 13 April.

    For more information, email us at ku.gro.armac.yeldud@sreetnulovfawd.

    (This is also open to non-volunteers at a cost of £10 pp.)

  • Changes at the Fountain, Lower Gornal Thursday 29 February 2024

    There has been a change of licensee at a Lower Gornal pub.

    Michael Boulton and his wife Hannah have taken over at The Fountain Inn in Temple Street, Lower Gornal.

    Mr Boulton has succeeded Bill Redwood, who had run the pub for six years since 2017. He has been managing the pub for the last four years and has now taken on the lease, which had five years to run, and extended it to 15 years.

    Mr Redwood is continuing to run Fountain Ales on Oak Street Industrial Estate in Cradley Heath. It was set up last year to supply beers to the pub. They include Golden Gornal, GPA, Temple Cascade and a Drop of Citra.

    Mr Boulton, aged 34, has been working in the licensing trade since the age of 19. He worked for Mitchells and Butlers for nine years and then for Sadler's Ales in Lye before coming to The Fountain.

  • Black Country Boating Festival Wednesday 28 February 2024

    Organisers of the Black Country Boating Festival are once again seeking volunteers from the Dudley and South Staffordshire branch to help out manning the bar at the annual event.

    The 38th annual festival takes place at Windmill End and Bumblehole, Netherton from September 13 to 15.

    If you're interested in helping out an online application form can be found at bcbf.com or via the Facebook page Black Country Boating Festival (https://www.facebook.com/groups/380502508658355).

  • The return of The Crooked House? Tuesday 27 February 2024

    The Crooked House at Himley, which was demolished last year, may rise again.

    The owners have now been told to rebuild it with South Staffordshire Council serving an enforcement notice for the unlawful demolition of the building.

    The notice has been issued under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development Order 2015).

    It requires the building to be built back to what it was before the fire which initially damaged it in August.

    A statement from South Staffordshire Council says: "The council understands and empathises with the concern and interest following the demolition of the Crooked House, Himley in 2023.

    "We are continuing to work with the police and other partners, including Health and Safety Executive (HSE), building control and Historic England, and our focus is on our own investigation regarding the planning and building control breaches with the aim of reaching a positive outcome.

    "This remains our priority, and it is very important that whilst the council is still investigating the incident and considering our legal options and next steps, we do not comment on any element of the ongoing investigation, so that we do not potentially prejudice our enforcement action.

    "We continue to urge everyone to stay off the site, not to breach the fencing, nor remove any materials as it may hamper ongoing investigations being carried out by multiple agencies. "

    The owners have 30 days to appeal and the notice must be complied with within three years.

    Reacting to the news that South Staffordshire Council have issued an enforcement notice, requiring the owners of the Crooked House, Himley to rebuild the pub brick-by-brick, Gary Timmins, CAMRA’s pub and club campaigns director, said: “The destruction of the Crooked House was a national tragedy, so it’s fantastic news that the owners have been ordered to rebuild the pub brick-by-brick. This is exactly what we were hoping to hear from South Staffordshire Council, and it’s a testament to the hard work of all the dedicated campaigners who stepped up and fought for the Crooked House.

    “It has also been great to see Marco Longhi MP and West Midlands Mayor Andy Street champion this cause. It’s now vital that systematic change happens, to ensure that the Crooked House is the last time we see such a shocking loss. Unfortunately, CAMRA is still investigating eight from 2023 where pubs appear to have been demolished or converted without apparent planning permission. We’re calling for Government to bolster planning policy so that unscrupulous developers know they will face action if they breach the law.”

    One of the branch's most unique pubs could be rebuilt.
  • Branch meeting minutes Wednesday 21 February 2024

    You can download the latest copy of our meeting minutes:

    Branch meeting minutes - February 2024.

  • Sarah Hughes' Snowflake wins GBBFW award Sunday 18 February 2024

    A branch brewery has seen one of its beers crowned the Champion Winter Beer of Britain. Snowflake from the Sarah Hughes Brewery at the Beacon Hotel in Sedgley came out on top in blind judging at the Great British Beer Festival Winter festival at Burton upon Trent Town Hall.

    The eight per cent ale, which is produced ready for Christmas each year, took the title ahead of last year's winner Elland Brewry's 1872 Porter.

    The joint silver went to Magnum Mild from Muirhouse Brewery. Snowflake was also the beer of the festival at Dudley Winter Ales Fayre at Dudley Town Hall in November where it was the first beer to sell out.

    Snowflake, which was originally launched in 1999, at eight per cent is the strongest beer that Sarah Hughes produces. I Simon Massey, director of Sarah Hughes Brewery and the Beacon Hotel, who received the award from CAMRA national chairman Nik Antona, said: “This is fantastic news. Quality is what we strive for, and it is all down to the brilliant team who work in the brewery and the pub.

    This batch of Snowflake was brewed in September and sold out in two weeks over the Christmas period. We always put it out at the start of the Dudley Winter Ales Fayre, where it sold out there too. “I am very proud for my head brewer Ricky Follos. This is a massive achievement, and he should be very chuffed. The hard work really has paid off.

    “The brewery closed in the mid '50s, but my uncle, John Hughes, reinstated the brewery in 1987. He had a vision of what it could be, and I hope this award makes Sarah Hughes Brewery and the Beacons Hotel pub a must-visit destination in the Back Country.”

    In response to the struggles facing the pub and brewing trade, Simon said: “It is going to be another tough year for the industry. My overhead costs have doubled.”

    Camra’s awards director Laura Emson said: “Congratulations to Sarah Hughes Brewery on their well-deserved win, Snowflake is an incredible example of a barley wine. Each year, judging this competition gets harder and harder as the quality beer produced by UK brewers continues to astound us. “This year’s runner up and last year’s CWBOB winner, Elland Brewery’s 1872 Porter, went on to clinch the celebrated Champion Beer of Britain 2023 award as well.

    It was deeply upsetting to hear that this multi-award-winning brewery is now facing liquidation, just six months after claiming CAMRA’s top prize. The pub, brewing and cider making industries are in turmoil and unless government offers meaningful support to the sector in the upcoming Spring Budget, the UK risks losing many more of its talented brewers.

    “I want to thank the hardworking volunteers and judges who have made the festival and the Champion Winter Beer of Britain possible. Congratulations once again to Sarah Hughes brewery and all our fantastic category winners. I wish them all the best of luck in the overall Champion Beer of Britain 2024 competition.”

    This year’s gold and joint silver award winners will be available at the Great British Beer Festival Winter this week while stocks last.

    The category winners from the Champion Winter Beer of Britain competition, including Snowflake, will be entered into the overall Champion Beer of Britain competition later this year.

    An edited piece of this featured within The Express & Star.

    A branch brewery has seen one of its beers crowned the Champion Winter Beer of Britain. Snowflake from the Sarah Hughes Brewery at the Beacon Hotel in Sedgley came out on top in blind judging at The Great British Beer Festival Winter festival at Burton upon Trent Town Hall.
  • Dudley's Lamp Tavern Saturday 17 February 2024

    Some good news from Dudley's Lamp Tavern's team this week, that Bathams are no longer selling the pub.

  • Kinver social Wednesday 14 February 2024

    We've got a social in Kinver this Saturday. Meeting at The Cross from midday. Hope you can join us!

  • The first Dudley Winter Ales Fayre 2024 organisation meeting Thursday 8 February 2024

    A good, DWAF organisational meeting last night. The team have really taken thoughts and feedback from last year, on how we could make Dudley Winter Ales Fayre 2024 an even bigger success.

    The main point here, is that it looks like we're going to have another festival in November.

  • CAMRA donates to the Black Country Food Bank Tuesday 30 January 2024

    The Dudley Winter Ales Fayre delivered a £320 boost to the Black Country Foodbank. Festivalgoers donated unused beer tokens and cash to help the cause. John Corser, DSS Chair delivering a £320 boost to the Black Country Foodbank. The Dudley and South Staffordshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale chose the foodbank as its annual beer festival charity.

    Branch chairman John Corser visited the foodbank's warehouse in Albion Street, Brierley Hill to hand over a cheque to chief executive Jen Coleman.

    The money will help support the work of the volunteer-run organisation which now has 27 food banks across Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall. Black Country Foodbank originally started in 2006 from one site at Chawn Hill Church in Stourbridge. It now has a team of 30 volunteers working from Brierley Hill, including drivers and sorters, and more than 350 across the other sites.

    Jen said that the donation from the festival would help with the work. "As well as the food banks we support 50 other charities with food projects including food parcels, hot meals and children's breakfasts," she added.

    Anyone wishing to help the charity can contact ku.gro.knabdoofyrtnuockcalb@ofni The winter ales fayre in Dudley Town Hall from November 23 to 25 sold out every drop of beer and cider.

  • January meeting minutes Tuesday 23 January 2024

    You can see the minutes of our most recent meetings here: Branch meeting minutes - January 2024.

  • Events calendar for 2024 Thursday 11 January 2024

    You'd best get your diary out as, thanks to our secretary, we've got a load of branch meetings, including Dudley Winter Ales Fayre organisation sessions, all mapped out in our calendar.

    Head on over to the Branch Diary page.

    Our first meeting takes place this forthcoming Monday.

  • Happy New Year Monday 1 January 2024

    Happy New Year to you!

    Perhaps you're thinking of doing Dry January? If so, good for you. It's important to keep healthy.

    But don't forget that we have some great pubs and breweries in the area, and in these tough economic times they can only keep afloat with your support.

    2023 really demonstrated the lack of footfall to pubs. Without tangible support, these community beacons will be lost forever. Let's do what we can to keep them.

    Our websites dudley.camra.org.uk and whatpub.com will help you find details of venues. Why not have a look to see what's around the corner. At the very least, you can always have a couple of fizzy pop, before we get in to February.

    Wishing you the best for 2024.

  • The Swan Inn reopens Tuesday 26 December 2023

    The opening date for a Sedgley real ale pub, which dates from the early 19th Century, has been confirmed as January 5.

    The Red Pub Company will be operating The Swan Inn in Gospel End Street. Its director Paul Jones had hoped to get all the improvement work completed in time at the Grade II listed pub for pre-Christmas opening but it did not prove possible..

    The Swan will open to the public at lunchtime on Friday, January 5. There will be six handpulls and it will offer two craft kegs as well."

    The pub was bought from Stonegate Pub Company in July for £255,000 and has been let to the Red Pub Company. The re-fit of the downstairs has cost around £70,000.

    The upstairs of the pub, which was also previously a hotel, has nine rooms which will be let out for a separate Airbnb business. A similar amount is to be spent to upgrade the rooms to a high standard. Mr Jones said the new licence for the pub had been approved, with a 12 midnight closing time each day.

    He plans to put on indoor and outdoor music at the pub, which has a snug as well as the main bar. There will also be an outdoor bar.

    The Swan, opposite All Saints Parish Church, has been shut since February. It will be Red Pub Company’s 18th pub and 10th real ale specialist premises.

    The opening date for a Sedgley real ale pub, which dates from the early 19th Century, has been confirmed as 5 January.
  • Snowflake at The Beacon Hotel Sunday 24 December 2023

    Members of the Dudley and South Staffordshire branch visited the Beacon Hotel on their annual festive tour of the village pubs.

    A seasonal ale brewed by a Sedgley brewery was the beer of the festival at the Dudley Winter Ales Fayre.

    Winter ales fayre organiser Robin Shields presented the beer of the festival certificate to Simon Massey, operations manager and director, and Ricky Follos the brewer. The Sarah Hughes Brewery is based at the Beacon in Bilston Street and supplies several beers to it. Snowflake, an eight per cent brew, was judged the winner in a blind tasting by by branch members and the festival team.

    "I'll be putting the certificate in pride of place in the pub," said Simon. "It is nice to win an award on your home turf," he added.

    The branch also visited the White Lion and the Mount Pleasant in Sedgley.

  • December meeting Sunday 17 December 2023

    The minutes from December's meeting can be found here... Branch meeting minutes - December 2023

  • A new beer from Holden's Tuesday 12 December 2023

    A branch brewery has launched a new winter seasonal beer.

    Jolly Stag is now on sale in Holden's pubs across the West Midlands. The 4.7 per cent ale has been brewed at Holden's Hopden Brewery in Woodsetton. It will be available on draught only and is not being bottled.

    Holden's bottled beers, including Christmas packs, can be bought from the brewery shop off the A457 Sedgley Road.

  • New Inn news Tuesday 12 December 2023

    A new licensee has taken over at one of Wombourne's pubs.

    Anne-Marie Yeomans is running the New Inn in Station Road.

    She took over at the end of November at the Marston's pub and is offering four real ales. Anne-Marie also ran The Black Horse in Delph Road, Brierley Hill and previously was at the Horse and Jockey in Walsall Wood and The Garibaldi in Stourbridge.

    She has reopened the kitchen to offer food and plans to restore the New Inn as a community pub and plans live music, discos and quizzes in the new year.

  • Ales & Tales 47 Thursday 7 December 2023

    The latest edition of Ales & Tales is available now and can be picked up in many of our local pubs. If you'd like to read it now, you can also download a copy here: Ales & Tales 47 - Autumn/Winter 2023

    The latest edition of Ales & Tales is available now.
  • Dudley Winter Ales Fayre 2023 Wednesday 29 November 2023

    If you came over to DWAF we'd like to thank you. We'd really offer an opportunity to share your thoughts - good, bad or indifferent - in readiness for our debrief.

    Please head over to https://t.ly/aWEt2 to capture your views.

    That's done for another year