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.
Several pubs in Tunbridge Wells are donating money in Iain and Jack the Hats memory to Hospice in the Weald.

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

Can you please spare some time to help at Spa Valley Railway Beer Festival which runs from Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd October 2016? As I’m sure you know the West Kent CAMRA branch, of which you’re a member, runs the festival each year in association with SVR. We rely entirely on volunteer helpers and this year we’re planning a bigger and better festival, that will need plenty of volunteer support. Saturday has always been especially busy in previous years so we really need as much help as possible that day. It’s great fun so if you can spare a few hours over the weekend it would be very much appreciated. Ideally we’re looking for a commitment to at least 4 hours from each helper, please, if you can. If you would like to volunteer please email
campaign @ camrawestkent.org.uk

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 open, and greatly enjoyed by many of us.
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 open, and its great 🙂 Congrats to all those involved the ACV application. https://whatpub.com/pubs/TTW/17/greyhound-charcott
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.
Unfortunately we lost the fight to save the 

Awards Season!!

With the launch of the Good Beer Guide the branch gets to hand out some awards to some of the hard working people in our branch pubs. Some of the most impressive awards go to pubs with many consecutive years in the GBG.
We have also added a seasonal award for Most Highly Commended Pub. This will only be awarded when a pub has come on to our radar as being really worth a visit, the beer must be in top condition, but the management and staff are the real winners because of what they have achieved.

The first winner of this award is the Foresters Arms in Tonbridge WHATPUB LINK Congratulations to Tyson and his team on turning this pub around, its now a popular community pub, serving great beer (including a guest), and the pizzas are a hit as well.

Grove Tavern Tunbridge Wells. 15 consecutive years in the GBG. WHATPUB LINK Congrats to CJ Baxter, Steve and the rest of the team. Tunbridge Wells has a massive variety of places to get a great pint of real ale, the Grove is always on my goto list 🙂

Dovecote Inn Capel. 20 years in the GBG!! WHATPUB LLINK The Dovecote is one of my favourite pubs to walk out to from Tonbridge, and you have some great great real ale (on gravity) at your destination. Also renowned for its food.

CAMRA West Kent Facebook

The Black Boy in Sevenoaks passes the Brewery Beer Audit with flying colours. Great pint of Whitstable Bay and Spitfire. Friendly landlord and bar staff. ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Christopher McKenzie shared Cellar Head Brewing Company Ltd's event to the group: West Kent CAMRA. ... See MoreSee Less

SUB THREE launch *New BEER*

December 19, 2017, 6:00pm - December 19, 2017, 9:00pm

Come and meet the Cellar Head team when we launch our new low ABV beer at it's inspirational birthplace - The Halfway House in Brenchley. SUB THREE is a full-flavoured with a rich red hue and triple ...

View on Facebook

Christopher McKenzie shared Cellar Head Brewing Company Ltd's event to the group: West Kent CAMRA. ... See MoreSee Less

Christmas Brewery Open Afternoon

December 22, 2017, 3:00pm - December 22, 2017, 8:00pm

Join us at the brewery on Friday 22nd December 2017. Tours & tastings will take place from 3pm until 8pm. ​Bottles, Gift Packs, T-shirts, 8.5pt Mini-Casks and 36pt Beer in a Box will all be on sale ...

View on Facebook

Branch Diary



20-22nd SVR / West Kent CAMRA beer festival, 160+ real ales, 30+ ciders, Belgium / keg bar. Trains as well!! FULL DETAILS HERE


21st SVR BF wash up meeting
25th Social visit to the Fountain, Cowden and Kentish Horse, Markbeech travelling by the 234 bus from TW with the option of a walk between the two pubs
28th Branch Meeting at the Royal Oak, TW 8pm, all members welcome


tbc Christmas Lunch, likely to be at the Brecknock or the Windmill. Other suggestions welcome

Events, Beer Festivals, etc.

  • Regular Event: Westerham Brewery Open Evenings 1st Thursday of each month – next 5th Oct https://westerhambrewery.co.uk/events/#/all
  • Now until 31st Oct – The Gatehouse, Tonbridge Cask Ale and Cider Fest, 65 different ales and ciders. Pub also runs a loyalty card scheme; collect 6 stamps for a free pint and CAMRA members 10% discount on ales (maybe also ciders)
  • 22nd Sept – 8th Oct Kent Green Hop Beer Fortnight, details: https://kentgreenhopbeer.com/
  • 2nd Oct – The Gatehouse, Tonbridge Meet the Brewers with Kent Brewery, free samples, Q&A with the brewers, 7pm. Pub also runs a loyalty card scheme; collect 6 stamps for a free pint and CAMRA members 10% discount on ales (maybe also ciders). 3 thirds for £3 on Mondays too
  • 5th Oct – Westerham Brewery Open Evening https://westerhambrewery.co.uk/events/#/all
  • 5th – 7th Oct – The Old Fire Station, Tonbridge – Old Dairy Brewery launch of their Cattle Shed Brewery Craft brand
  • 5th – 7th Oct – Eastbourne Beer Festival www.eastbournebeerfestival.co.uk
  • 7th – 8th Oct – Kent Life Apple & Cider Fayre www.kentlife.org.uk
  • 12th – 15th Oct – Orpington Liberal Club Beer Festival, including lots of Green Hop beers http://orpingtonliberalclub.co.uk/beer-and-cider-festival/
  • 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
  • 15th Oct – Pippins Farm, Pembury Apple Day 11-5 includes cider and juice tasting www.pippinsfarm.co.uk
  • 15th Oct – Fuggles Beer Cafés at both Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge – Lowlands Tap Takeover Ft. De Molen, Kees, Frontaal, Het Uiltje and some special Belgians! Both pubs, same day over 30 beers between them from some of the best breweries in the Lowlands of Europe! Jaco and Menno from De Molen will be in TW from 1.30pm and in Tonbridge from 3.30pm
  • 19th – 22nd Oct – The Beer Barn at Rockin Robin Brewery, Boughton Monchelsea Beer & Cider Festival, live music Fri 8pm www.rockinrobinbrewery.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
  • 2nd – 4th Nov – Redhill Beer Fest www.camrasurrey.org.uk


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.

Comments are closed.