Welcome to CAMRA West Kent

By Chris

This website is for CAMRA members that have an interest in the West Kent Branch.


The branch area includes the towns of Edenbridge, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Westerham.

Sad news regarding Iain Dalgleish

It is with great sadness that I have to report that our former chairman passed away on the morning of the 18th August after a battle with illness. He was at home with his family around him. Many of you will already have heard this sad news and many tributes have been expressed to a lovely man who was the driving force of the branch and the SVR beer festival for many years. He will be sorely missed.
Iain’s funeral service will be held at 1pm Friday 1st September, at the Kent and Sussex Crematorium, Tunbridge Wells. Anyone wishing to attend will be welcome. In lieu of flowers, there will be donation boxes for Cancer Research UK and Hospice In The Weald.
There will be a gathering following the ceremony for a glass to be raised in Iain’s memory at The Royal Oak, Prospect Road. Local breweries Pig & Porter and Kent Brewery have donated some beer for the occasion in memory of Iain and his enormous influence and contribution to the Kent local beer scene.

The easiest ways to help CAMRA West Kent?

The number 1, easiest, but most important thing that CAMRA members can do to help any branch is to enter pub and beer scores via WhatPub. If you enter scores for pubs that you try they will get fed back to the relevant branch, and will be used for deciding which pubs go in the Good Beer Guide. The menu on the left contains a guide to Beer Scoring, or follow the WhatPub link above to go direct. 

SVR Beer Festival Volunteering
I know it’s a while off at the moment but we’re looking for volunteers to fill the following roles at the festival

  • Membership Manager – moving around the festival sites offering folk the chance to join CAMRA
  • Festival Auditor – somebody numerate able to sign off simple accounts on behalf of the branch

Aside from these two posts, if you’re thinking of volunteering (again?) for regular bar work, etc. this year, it would also be helpful if you could let me know your likely availability as soon as possible

Branch Volunteering
We’d also like to recruit a branch ACV Officer to spearhead applications for Asset of Community Value status to threatened pubs in the branch and support local community groups in applying for ACVs.

In fact we really need more active, campaigning members on the branch committee to spread the workload generally. We’re all volunteers as you know, so if you want to be more involved let us know or come to our branch meetings and get involved.



‘The West Kent CAMRA Pub Of The Year’
has been awarded to Fuggles Beer Cafe in one of the closest competitions seen in recent years. All the pubs included in this competition achieve a level of excellence to be commended, with the top 3 chopping & changing right up to the last scores being computed and as such was impossible to predict.

Fuggles, as a new branch winner came top in 3 out of the 5 categories and is I consider, a worthy winner, having been highly placed previously, including runner up last year, since opening in November 2013.

Alex Greig has with Fuggles Beer Cafe, helped to transform the “Beer Scene” in our branch area, particularly in Tunbridge Wells, serving quality cask beer and other craft ales, extended the range of products available to the public, whilst encouraging competition by setting new standards for the industry in respect of customer service and staff knowledge and thoroughly deserves the recognition this award will bring.

Top Six Pubs – West Kent CAMRA Awards

  • 1. Fuggles, Tunbridge Wells
  • 2. Windmill, Weald
  • 3. Halfway House, Brenchley
  • 4. Dovecote, Capel
  • 5. Queens Arms, Cowden Pound
  • 6. Crown, Groombridge

Most Improved pub: Toad Rock Retreat, Rusthall

Runner up – Matt & Emma at The Windmill might be disappointed as runner up having won the award for the last three years, they shouldn’t be, they’ve set new standards from the beginning and their Runner Up Award in a close competition confirms their ability to maintain them.

Halfway House, Brenchley – Sam, recently taken over from father Richard is clearly building on his dad’s previous success, continuing the quality beers and foods available whilst improving the Summer Beer festivals held & the music provided.

Toad Rock Retreat, Rusthall – Nick & Shelley fully deserve their ‘most improved’ pub having worked tirelessly to turn this pub around.

Cider Pub Of the year: The Pantiles Tap

Geoff & Jo retain their crown for Cider Pub of the year for ‘The Pantiles Tap’ with one of the best selections of quality cider in the south, never mind the region!

Club of the year: Tunbridge Wells Constitutional Club, Tunbridge Wells

The Constitutional Club with its excellent range of beers and excellent food offering deserve this accolade.

Craig Beeson, Chairman, West Kent CAMRA

Alex Greig at Fuggles was “over the moon” as you can read on his website here: http://www.fugglesbeercafe.co.uk/news/


Pub News

The Greyhound, Hever has reopened after a rebuild following a fire two years ago. Very nice it is too!
Fuggles new Tonbridge bar is hoping to open by around the first weekend of August.
The Gatehouse, Tonbridge (in the former Slug & Lettuce) has 4 handpumps with changing guest beers and is worth a try if you havent been in yet.
The Greyhound Charcott is being refurbished in preparation for opening as a freehouse. A local couple have purchased it and are working night and day to get it ready.
The Two Brewers Hadlow has new tenants. I can report that beer quality has dramatically improved, food is off the menu until work has finished on the kitchen.

 6th SPA Valley Railway Beer & Cider Festival (2016) Looking Back

Last years festival was a great success, thanks to everybody that volunteered, and all those that visited.
Extra info http://www.spavalleyrailway.co.uk/product.php/19/6th-camra-real-ale-cider-festival-and-autumn-diesel-gala

A message from Keith Ennis and the branch to our volunteers.
Dear Spa Valley Railway Beer and Cider Festival Volunteer
I think we have all had time to catch our breath and reflect upon last weekends successful Festival. Firstly, I would like to thank all of you for the hard work you put in to serve an estimated 11,000 pints of beer and cider.  As staffing officer, I must thank all of you for your willingness to do whatever was asked of you, or for just seeing jobs that needed doing, and getting on with them.  All of this made my job a lot easier.
The result of the Beer of the Festival Competition, voted for by the public was as follows:
Gold               Kew Brewery – Nightshade
Joint Silver    Downlands Brewery – Red October
Joint Silver    By the Horns Brewery – Old Smoke Tea Bitter
We hope to arrange a visit Kew Brewery to present the award.
There were not enough votes for cider to have a meaningful result.
In the Green Hop Competition, held prior to the Festival opening, the results were:
Gold           Old Dairy Brewery – Bullion Single Hop
Silver          Goody Ales – Green Hop Genesis
Bronze        Westerham Brewery – Scotney Green Hop

On 8 November the organising committee are meeting to review the Festival.  If you have any comments or suggestions on how the Festival is run, positive or negative, I would welcome them to feed into the meeting.  Please let me have your views in the coming week.
Finally, we hope to be running the Festival next year and that you will be able to come back and help us again.  We are always looking for capable people to join the committee to help organise the Festival.  If you feel you can help us, please let me know.
Keith Ennis
Spa Valley Beer and Cider Festival Staffing Officer
West Kent CAMRA Cider Officer


CAMRA West Kent Facebook

Odd question time. Somebody is looking for a pub with a playable piano around Tonbridge and the sounding area, any ideas? ... See MoreSee Less

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Camra members also get 10% off ... See MoreSee Less

Come and join us for Cask Ale & Cider fest! We will have 65 different Ales & Ciders from now until the 31st October. Don't forget to pick up your collectors card from us. - collect 6 stamps and get a ...

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CeeJay Williams shared The Gatehouse Tonbridge's post to the group: West Kent CAMRA. ... See MoreSee Less

In just under two weeks time we have another amazing Meet The Brewers with Kent Brewery! Along with our last Crafty Monday before our new menu launch, enjoy 3 1/3rds of craft beer or ale for £3! Who'...

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Branch Social
On Monday 18 September we have a Tunbridge Wells pub crawl starting at the Royal Oak at 8pm and going on to the Bedford and Fuggles.
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DOrking and Hofmeister brewery take over at the Old Fire Station Tonbridge. ... See MoreSee Less

We open Thursday night 6pm for the Hofmeister Brewing Company & Dorking Brewery takeover. Friday 5pm -close Saturday Midday 6-close

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Branch Diary


  • 8th Kent Regional Meeting comes to our branch again, at Juddians Rugby Club, Tonbridge to coincide with the SIBA SE/Juddians Beer Festival
  • 17th Branch Business Meeting – Humphrey Bean, Tonbridge 8pm PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF VENUE
  • 18th SVR Planning Meeting – Opera House, Tunbridge Wells 8pm

Events, Beer Festivals, etc.

• 30th June – 1st July – Capel Fete with Mini Beer Festival of Tonbridge beers at only £2.50 a pint and live music Fri eve, etc. www.capelfete.com
• 1st July – The Beer Barn (at Rockin Robin Brewery) Summer Bash, Campfield Farm, Haste Hill Road, Boughton Monchelsea, ME174LR, 1-10.30, £40 Ticket Only in advance from the Beer Barn 07787 416110, includes Rockin Robin Ales, Cider, Wine, Prosecco and Dogs and Burgers from the BBQ, live music from 4 bands. Drink and eat as much as you like
• 1st – 2nd July – Elephant’s Head, Hook Green – Beer & Cider Festival from noon, BBQ, spit roast, entertainment www.elephants-head.co.uk
• 3rd July – Gatehouse, Tonbridge – Dorking Brewery Meet the Brewer and Tap Takeover, 7pm the first 50 half pints are free
• July 6th – Westerham Brewery Open Evening & Brewery Tours, 6.30 – 9.30pm, £10 for nine 1/3 pint tasters, also a wine option and a driver’s option, food, book here. They’re running various events at the brewery so check out the website
• 6th July – Cellars Ale House, Maidstone – Meet the Brewer and Tap Takeover with Dark Star Brewery
• 6th – 7th July – Hastings Beer & Music Festival – hbmf.co.uk
• 7th – 8th July – SIBA South East/Tonbridge Juddians Beer Festival, Tonbridge Juddians Rugby Club, The Slade, Tonbridge, TN9 1HR, Fri 5-11, Sat 11-11, 187 casks of ale from 64 regional brewers, ciders, £3.40/pint, free entry, music Sat, soft drinks, food, souvenir glass £2 www.tj-beerfest.com email me back for a pdf of the poster
• 7th – 9th July – Sevenoaks Vine Club/Sevenoaks Lions Club VineFest Beer & Music Festival at the Vine cricket ground. 42+ beers, 18+ ciders, live music, cricket, Fri 5-11, Sat 12-11, Sun 12-7 svcc1734.org/news/vinefest-2017
• 14th – 16th July – Oxted Beer & Music Festival, Master Park, Oxted, RH8 9LA. 100 ales, ciders and craft lagers, Pimms & Fizz Bar, Gin Bar and Retox Cocktail Bar, food, entertainment across 2 music stages, dance tent, club DJ’s, face painting, magicians and street entertainers. Tickets here
• 16th July – Fuggles Beer Café, Tunbridge Wells Belgian Beer Tap Takeover to coincide with Tunbridge Wells Belgian Week
• 20th – 22nd July – CAMRA Kent Beer Festival, Canterbury, Merton Farm, off Nackington Lane, Canterbury, CT4 7BA. Thur 6.30-11 £6 on door or online, Fri 12-4 free, 6.30-11 £8 advance tickets only, Sat 12-9 £6 on door www.kentbeerfestival.com
• 20th – 22nd July – Beckenham Beer Festival www.bromley.camra.org.uk
• 20th – 23rd July – The old Fire Station, Tonbridge Kent Brewery Tap Takeover
• 22nd July – Hollingbourne Beer & Music Festival at the Windmill, Hollingbourne (owned by TV Celebrity Chef, Richard Phillips) in association with Musket Brewery, live music 12-8, BBQ, children’s entertainment and play area, tickets £3 www.thewindmillhollingbourne.co.uk
• 28th – 30th July – Brecknock Arms, Bells Yew Green – Beer Festival
• 29th – 30th July – Royal Oak, Crockham Hill Beer & Music Festival, Sat 2-11, Sun 1-9
• 3rd – 6th August – Spa Valley Railway Summer Gala and Beer Festival
• 8th 12th Aug – Great British Beer Festival, London Olympia (Tue is Trade only until 5pm) www.gbbf.org.uk
• 2nd Sept – CAMRA East Malling Beer Festival run by our neighbouring Maidstone & Mid Kent branch, 11-7, 75 ales, 30 ciders & perries, live music, free admission to CAMRA members, £5 otherwise, free shuttle bus every 30 mins from 11am Aylesford station and hourly from 10.50 W Malling station
• 13th – 14th Oct – Oktoberfest in Mote Park, Maidstone. Bavarian beer and food in a marquee with oopah and folk music. Fri 6-11, Sat 12-5 and 6-11. Tickets on sale now www.kentoktoberfest.co.uk
• 20th – 22nd Oct – Spa Valley Railway Beer Festival run by CAMRA West Kent Branch in association with SVR, who this year celebrate their 20th Anniversary of opening

Kent CAMRA Website goes live

Kent CAMRA has launched it own website, this gives extra info on the Kent area and includes information on cider and brewery’s. It also provides links to all the local CAMRA websites


New CAMRA members site launched


Protecting your local pub by nominating them as Assets of Community Value

Through the Localism Act, the Government has introduced new powers for communities in England to nominate valued facilities such as pubs as “assets of community value”. Where pubs are listed this enables communities to “stop the clock” for up to six months if they’re put up for sale to consider options for saving the pub. With 18 pubs closing every week we need CAMRA members and branches to get involved in listing pubs before more of them are lost. So far two pubs in the branch have received this protection (both called the Royal Oak, one in Tunbridge Wells, one in Pembury). For a more in depth explanation of the what, why, and where please follow this LINK, which also contains an information leaflet.

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