Cheers! Real ale society celebrates 40th year in Grantham

Inauguaral meeting of the Grantham CAMRA committee in 1975 at The Angel and Royal Hotel.
Inauguaral meeting of the Grantham CAMRA committee in 1975 at The Angel and Royal Hotel.
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A group of Real Ale afficianados are celebrating their 40th anniversary in the town.

The local branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) has come through some ups and downs, but is now marking four decades since it was inaugurated at the Angel & Royal Hotel in 1975.

A CAMRA meeting held in 1998.

A CAMRA meeting held in 1998.

The branch will put on more than 30 beers as well as ciders and perry at its beer festival in Grantham Railway Club from August 5 to 8. It will be open from 11am to 11pm. Admission is £2, free for CAMRA members. There will be live music on the Friday night.

Last year, 270 CAMRA members attended the Grantham festival, with many travelling from up and down the country. Another few hundred non-members went along.

The Grantham branch likes to seek out new and rare beers and put them on at its festivals, so they will come from far and wide. But it also likes to support its local micro-breweries and these will be represented at the festival in August. Grantham breweries Newby Wyke, Brewster’s and Oldershaw’s will each have beers to try out.

Gilbert Harrison, of the local branch, said: “We are blessed with three great brewers. We always support them and they support us. There are 39 gallon barrels of different beers from up and down the country. This year we are also having British meads.”

A CAMRA beer festival held in the Guildhall some time in the 1980s.

A CAMRA beer festival held in the Guildhall some time in the 1980s.

Gilbert added: “Last year we had people from London, Lincoln, Hull and Newcastle. The majority of them are micro brewers. It’s unbelievable how many beer festivals there are each year. You can go to a beer festival every week which is put on by CAMRA.”

When the Grantham branch of CAMRA was launched there were only two pubs in the town included in The Good Beer Guide – The Angel & Royal and The Granby. The latest edition of The Beer Gutter Press, published by local CAMRA branches, says: “There truly was a dearth of real ale brewed locally and very few outlets in which to get it! Independent brewers of real ale were being closed or taken over at an alarming rate so how encouraging it is now that Grantham can boast three small (and successful) breweries.”

Chairman of the Grantham branch Neville Lomas said members celebrated the 40th anniversary at the end of June in the Angel & Royal where that original gathering took place. Neville said: “We invited people who were at that first meeting to come along and so people came from across the country. It was a very good turnout.”

Pubs throughout the area are ‘surveyed’ by local members and each year there are awards for the Country Pub of the Year and Town Pub of the Year. So get a taste of what it’s all about at the next beer festival at the Railway Club and support you local breweries and real ale. For more about the branch and what you can expect at the beer festival go to www.granthamcamra.org.uk

A Grantham Journal story about the meeting of the Grantham branch of CAMRA at the Shirley Croft Hotel in 1990 after it was threatened with closure.

A Grantham Journal story about the meeting of the Grantham branch of CAMRA at the Shirley Croft Hotel in 1990 after it was threatened with closure.