I have lots of local pub and beer news to share with you this week.
SOUTH HERTS PUB OF THE YEAR
CAMRA announced their South Hertfordshire Pub of the Year as The Woodman in Wild Hill. It also won overall Herts Pub of the Year so from CAMRA’s perspective the pub is the best in Hertfordshire. As we have so many excellent pubs, this really is a huge recommendation, so it’s well worth a trip out there. The Woodman, for those who don’t know it, is described in the 2011 Good Beer Guide as follows:
“This small friendly village pub extends a warm welcome to a varied clientele of all ages. Six beers are available including three (Ed note: now 4 guests), with at least one ale from a Herts brewery. Good pub grub is served at lunchtime (no chips) and no food Sunday. The large garden is ideal in summer. The pub holds an annual beer festival in June (5th and 6th June this year). An all round superb boozer, the Woodman has won CAMRA South Herts Pub of the Year a record seven (now eight) times.”
The Old Cross Tavern in Hertford came second in South Herts and our very own The White Lion in St Albans won the bronze trophy. The awards focus on the quality of the beer rather than gastro food, wine or interiors so if you are looking for a really good pint, do try one of these pubs.
That Little Place restaurant in Harpenden (Station Road) has launched its own beer, Harpenden Gold. Chef and Patron Alec Goodhand has been busy reviving his skills as a former brewer at the Verulam Brewery to bring this traditional English beer to Harpenden. A premium light ale, Harpenden Gold is golden in colour and is brewed personally by Alec using Maris Otter and Crystal Malt together with wheat for a traditional taste and crisp biscuity finish. English Goldings hops give it a lovely fruitiness.
Harpenden Gold was bottled conditioned at That Little Place and it is already their best-selling drink. You can only order it with food, but as this is one of our best local restaurants, that is no hardship! That Little Place was Runner Up Best Restaurant and the only Harpenden Finalist in the St Albans District Food and Drink Festival 2010. The aim is for Harpenden Gold to feature at local beer festivals. Alec also grows his own hops in St Albans and will use them later this summer to brew ALE 5 for the St Albans Beer Festival.
The Mermaid (Hatfield Road, St Albans) had a barrel of Harpenden Gold but it has already sold out. The Farmer’s Boy (London Road, St Albans) have a barrel waiting to go on, probably this weekend. The Farmer’s Boy are also selling Hoppy NuptiAle to mark the Royal Wedding. It was brewed in the micro Verulam Brewery behind the pub, the same place that Alec from That Little Place used to brew. If you need an excuse to try it I am sure there are other weddings this summer you can toast too. 50% of the proceeds for Hoppy NuptiAle goes to the Royal Wedding Charity gift fund, which includes the New Zealand Christchurch Earthquake Appeal. Kevin the brewer also makes Farmer’s Joy which has a very good local reputation.
CARNIVAL AND FESTIVALS
The Tring Brewery were at the Harpenden Carnival last week, and despite the British weather their temporary beer garden in Rothamstead park was doing well. Look out for their award-winning local beers at various pubs in the area and at the St Albans Beer Festival too.
There is no CAMRA Harpenden Beer Festival this year, but there will be ‘Harpenden’s Own Beer Festival’ on the 9th-11th September at The British Legion, 21 Leyton Road, Harpenden. Admission will be £3, with food available and live music. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
The next CAMRA beer festival will be the annual St Albans Beer Festival at the Alban Arena. The dates for your diary are 28th September – 1st October. This will also coincide with the St Albans Food and Drink festival. More details nearer the time!
Phil Defriez Chairman, South Herts Campaign for Real Ale
Tom Craig, The Woodman, Wild Hill
CREDIT: Terry Richards photography