Now, depending on your particular point of view, the first thing that came into your mind might have been that the current Prime Minister of Great Brexit certainly is doing a terrific job! In my case, it was that Melinda May from Marvel’s Agents of Shield [Ming-Na Wen] has no right to be that fit in her 50s! Others, perhaps more prosaically, might just reflect that in this month the days are getting longer – and warmer; the lilacs are in bloom; the birds are singing; and the football season is at last reaching its end. Here in OPC, we take the opportunity to make the most of the Spring weather [which, according to the BBC website, will be sunny but breezy on Thursday] by heading out of town for this month’s meeting. [See details at the end of the invitation].



Unfortunately, the nudist pub promised in our April the 1st invitation won’t now be opening in Otley any time soon. The potential landlords say they were fooled by a (completely genuine!) campaign (reported here in The Wharfedale Observer) to make Otley a ‘wildlife friendly’ town, and just got naturists and naturalists a bit mixed up. Nevertheless, I would like to thank everyone who gave me suggestions for the name of the pub, and for some of the indoor and garden games that could have been played there – even though some of them were quite disturbing.

However, if anyone has any brilliant ideas of what other ‘speciality’ pubs we might have in Otley, please don’t hesitate to share them with us!



Does anybody else, like me, feel just a tiny bit aggrieved that CAMRA’s showpiece beer festival is now in London every year? OK, it’s huge now, and finding a big enough venue in a different GB (sorry, Northern Ireland) town or city each year might be difficult. Then there’s the crowd. Presumably CAMRA have decided – either from experience or conviction – that not enough people would come if they moved it out of the capital. Well, from what I hear, numbers attending real beer festivals are dropping anyway – perhaps because every town hall, sports club, church and street corner bar in the country has its own festival nowadays. Or maybe it’s just that such a wide range of good beers is available at so many pubs from week to week anyway, that the old idea of visiting a festival to try out new ales is just not necessary any more.

So festivals need to provide something new to keep attracting punters, and the Great British Beer Festival this year is offering tutored beer tasting sessions presented by well-known beer experts. The sessions will of course be at an additional cost, but you get the drinks free as you’re being taught about them. So if that’s the sort of beer-y thing that appeals to you, you can see the full list of sessions here along with the individual cost and how to buy tickets in advance. The GBBF takes place at Olympia in London from the 8th to the 12th of August. I’ll be in Florence at the time – my five week mission: to explore strange new bars, to seek out new beers and new breweries, to boldly go where no CAMRAman has gone before.



We’ve talked enough about whether alcohol is inherently ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for you, but here’s something we can all sign up to! According to this article in The Independent online, new research has shown that drinking two beers is more effective at relieving pain than taking painkillers. WELL NO SH*T, SHERLOCK! But don’t forget – no more than 6 Ibuprofen, 8 Paracetamol, or 2 (yeah, right!) units of alcohol a day. (But is that ‘and’, or ‘or’?)



That’s what Beer Nouveau at The Temperance Street Brewery in Manchester call their plan to explore historic beer styles that have been lost over time or have changed beyond recognition, and to find out what they used to taste like. A classic example of this is Mild. They looked back through brewing recipes from the 1960s and ‘70s when Mild was in its heyday and thought, “These should produce some pretty decent beers”; a few test batches proved them right. So they did the same for stouts too, with Satanic Mills developing out of a stout from the 1970s and further evolving into Peterloo, which has since become their bestselling house beer.

They’re now planning to crowdfund the next stageof their experimental programme, which is to age IPAs and Russian Imperial Stouts in wooden casks and barrels for the same length of time as they were kept originally. Early details of the programme appear here, and financial details of the crowdfunding agreement will appear in June if you’re interested



Do you remember when some pop bottles used to look a bit worse for wear when you bought them, whereas others looked brand new? That was because they were returned to the shop to reclaim a cash deposit when they were empty, then collected by the crateful by the drinks manufacturers, to be used again and again – as often as possible. Now it seems as though such a scheme could be brought back for beer bottles – at least North of the border. According to this article in The Sunday Post, a campaign to introduce a deposit return scheme for cans and bottles in Scotland has been backed by seven breweries. It’s not THAT long ago that Scotland’s other national drink stopped its own deposit return scheme, so there is recent backing for such a plan. The difference with the new plan is that a deposit would be paid on drinks cans and plastic bottles as well, to encourage recycling. [Cue lots of little kids scouring bins and back alleys for grubby bottles and cans to take back to the local shop – but hey, if that works for everyone concerned, why not?]



According to CAMRA’s ‘WhatsBrewing’ newspaper for May, a House of Lords report into licensing legislation has recommended the scrapping of the late night levy on pubs, clubs and live music venues. It recognises they are part of our cultural identity, especially at night, and says that licensing laws should not be used for health and/or safety purposes. On the other hand, the select committee has apparently also recommended increasing taxation on alcohol. With around a third of the price of a pub pint “being made up of one tax or another”, CAMRA are obviously not happy with that!



Are you still wondering whether anything will ever be done to The Summercross, or whether any development will ever take place on the site? After hearing last month that a planning application had been raise to convert The Yeoman into residential accommodation, it now seems that news might finally be coming through about the pub on the corner of East Busk Lane that kick-started all this Otley Pub Club business! I hope to bring you something more specific next time, but sadly it does appear to involve “outstanding quality and more options for older people living in the Wharfedale area” rather than a return to life as a community pub and hub.


THERE’S GOOD NEWS, AND THERE’S . . (Oh, hang on!)

 Good news for beer drinkers, as Waitrose announce they are adding 25 new beers to their in-store range. Follwing Tesco’s announcement recently that they too were increasing their craft beer offer, Waitrose will include beers from Redchurch, Wild Beer, Five Points, Alchemy, And Union, and Yeastie Boys. But of course there is a downside. Waitrose say they are especially seeing an increase in 330ml can sales, which indicates they are grabbing the under-35s market, and keeping them away from traditional pubs. Also, by keeping the prices of craft beers low AND selling traditional bottled beers for not much more than the cost of the packaging (a pound a pint, anyone?), they are constantly hammering away at the pub trade, which just can’t compete with the giveaway prices on offer. #BAD


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Put on your walking boots and join us on a stroll over the river and up the hill to The Roebuck this Thursday, May 4th. The committee meeting will be held at 19:15 as usual, with the ‘social’ side of the evening follow
ing the meeting at about 8-o-clock. We’ll stay up there until 9 before heading back down towards town, and calling in at The Yew Tree for another drink or two between 9 and 10 on the way.



Bob Brook

OPC Secretary

02 May 2017

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